When Rachel had married Blaine, Kurt was her Best Man.
He’d stood at her side in a smart, pale grey suit and dabbed at his eyes with a freshly-starched white handkerchief as they said “I do.” He gave a toast at the reception, capturing the audience in laughter as he told tall tales of their high-school escapades and how lucky she was to have found someone who seemed to match her perfectly.
The night before, Blaine had showed up to Kurt’s apartment, drunk and babbling about how he’d chosen the wrong person, how he’d settled for something - someone - he didn’t want, but couldn’t bear to hurt Rachel’s feelings.
They’d ended up in Kurt’s bed, naked and sweating and Blaine tasting of beer and cigarette smoke, bodies pressed together stickily and Kurt trying to force down the guilt and shame he felt about sleeping with his best friend’s fiancé, telling himself over and over again that it was a one-time thing, that he hadn’t been thinking, that Blaine was drunk and probably would just laugh it off in the morning as a pre-wedding jitters.
There had been a note left under his pillow, a single piece of paper folded in half with Kurt on the front in Blaine’s untidy hand.
Kurt didn’t read it until after Blaine and Rachel left for their honeymoon, two weeks in the Cuban sunshine and the invisible chain of Kurt and Blaine’s secret tryst stretching between them, across land and ocean from New York city to the south coast of Florida.
It said all of nine words.
I’m sorry. I’m not as brave as you are.
Flash forward three weeks and Kurt and Blaine are together again, in Kurt’s apartment while Rachel is out at a yoga class. Seeing him was a shock for Kurt; Blaine was brown as a nut, his hair falling into his eyes, and oh-so-happy to see him that it made Kurt’s insides squirm. It wasn’t him he should be looking at like that. It should be Rachel.
Blaine swoops in and kisses him, slow and open-mouthed, his hands finding the pale column of Kurt’s throat and the line of his jaw, holding him in place until he has to jab Blaine in his side to get him to pull back and look at him.
He has so many questions. Why and when and how and what about Rachel? But they all die on his lips and he can’t bring himself to form the words, because he’s kissing Blaine back and grabbing his waist and his hips and the back of his neck, feeling the silky, springy hairs there, scraping his nails across the skin in a way that makes Blaine shudder and moan into his mouth.
The third time it happens, it’s Kurt who initiates things. They’re sitting down for dinner - Kurt, Rachel, and Blaine - and Rachel is clearing away the dishes and filling the sink, gushing all the while about how great their honeymoon was and the amazing time they had, and when she makes a not-so-subtle remark about the shape of Blaine’s thighs in his shorts, Kurt catches Blaine’s eye across the table and gives him a sly, knowing smile.
Later, when Kurt leaves and is just settling down for the night with the TV on low in the background and a sketchbook open in his lap, willing inspiration to hit, he picks up his cell and texts Blaine.
I wish there was a way to make this easier for all of us.
A few moments later, he receives a reply.
I wish I could kiss you without feeling like a coward.
Kurt hesitates before sending his next message.
It’s not cowardly if the fear is justified.
Then, Blaine again.
Believe me, it is.
Another message follows soon after the first.
I think of you when I kiss her. I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve made such a huge mistake.
Kurt gets distracted by something on the TV, and almost forgets to reply, but he does eventually just as he’s turning off the light.
So have I.
Sex with Blaine is unlike anything he’s experienced before. Sure, he’s had relationships and hook-ups and everything in between, handjobs and blowjobs and all the rest, but his last serious relationship ended two years ago and since then he’s never really found anyone he was interested in long enough to go beyond a third date.
But lying on the couch stark naked with Blaine above him, panting into his shoulder as he grinds their cocks together in a delicious friction of sweat and pre-come, Kurt thinks, Yes, this is what it’s supposed to be like. Blaine’s skin is warm and flushed a deep pink, contrasting with Kurt’s own pale body in a way that draws Kurt’s eye again and again.
He peppers Blaine’s neck with hot, sporadic kisses as he forces his hips up higher, faster, pushing his body against Blaine’s and chasing the climax they both desperately need.
As they come down from the high of orgasm, sticky and panting and loose-limbed with Blaine’s head resting on Kurt’s chest, they’re brought back to reality with a bump as Blaine’s cellphone rings somewhere in the pile of clothes on the floor.
Leaning over Kurt to check the Caller ID, he says grimly, “It’s Rachel. I better get this.”
He rolls off of Kurt’s body and fishes for his underwear with one hand while he tells Rachel that yes, he’ll pick up vegan pasta and bread and the tomato sauce she likes, that he’ll see her soon, and that he loves her.
The words leave a sour taste in the back of Kurt’s throat.
Kurt next sees Rachel alone when she asks him to meet her for coffee at a little place a few blocks away from their respective apartments, halfway between Kurt’s, and Rachel’s and Blaine’s. He knows of it; he’s passed it a few times on the way to work, but never stopped to go inside.
Rachel is all bright smiles and sparkling eyes when she sees him, hugging him tightly and saying how long it’s been since they’ve talked in person. She’s wearing a new scarlet coat and a soft black scarf is wrapped around her neck.
“Do you like it?” she asks, unwinding it and throwing it over the back of her chair. “Blaine bought it for me as a surprise gift, and honestly, I love it."
This takes Kurt aback. But she looks so happy, he can’t bring himself to say anything rude or distasteful, even though he knows in his bones that the scarf was a guilt gift, a way of appeasing Blaine’s conscience. He can’t say he blames him. He feels uncomfortable just looking at her, seeing her smiling face and the way she talks about Blaine, about her husband, who’s so kind and so generous and so loving.
And is cheating on her with the man sitting right in front of her.
Their first official date, if one could even call it that, is on a Friday night when Rachel is out with some girlfriends.
Blaine brings pizza and wine and cheesecake to Kurt’s apartment, and how can Kurt say no? The pizza smells delicious, grease and cheese the hot tang of pepperoni, and the wine was Chardonnay, his favourite. And he’d never been known to turn down a cheesecake.
They sit on Kurt’s couch with their legs entwined, eating pizza straight out of the box with their fingers and stealing grins at each other through mouthfuls of hot, cheesy dough. It’s nice and comfortable and domestic, easy-going and relaxed, especially once they’ve had a few glasses of wine each, and Kurt should feel guilt for not thinking of Rachel at all, but he doesn’t.
When their food has settled and most of the wine is gone, Blaine brings out the cheesecake from the fridge and a couple of forks and sets it between them. Kurt wastes no time digging in, savouring each mouthful. It’s creamy and tangy and the crunch of the biscuit base off-sets the lemon beautifully.
"I could do this all night,” Kurt says softly, in between mouthfuls. “Stay here with you, I mean. You’ve really pulled out all the stops.”
Blaine smiles in response. “I’m glad. I wanted this to be more than just sex, y'know? Not that I’m complaining about that,” he adds quickly, “because I’m not. I am so not. I wanted to…wine and dine you. Even if it was a take-out pizza. But I’ve been eating vegan cheese for the last month, so I had to do it. Rachel doesn’t need to know.”
“About the non-vegan cheese?” Kurt asks, innocently enough, but there’s more to the question than simply a concern for Blaine’s diet.
“About anything,” Blaine says, serious. He puts down his fork and swallows. “Kurt, I’m not ready to…,” he pauses, “…come out. I really do care about Rachel, just not in the right way, and that’s why I can’t hurt her. Not yet. I’m not ready to take that step.”
“I get it,” Kurt says, and he means it. “I know how scary it can be. I was lucky; I had that supportive environment, from my dad, from Rachel, from my other friends in high school. It was easy. Or, well, easier. But if you’re not ready to tell people that you’re gay, I won’t say anything. Rachel’s my best friend. I don’t want to hurt her, either.”
At the end of the night, Kurt walks Blaine the short space from the couch to the door and kisses him goodnight. He tastes cheesecake and wine and thinks that he might be falling just a little bit in love.
Thanksgiving proves to be a different kind of hurdle altogether.
Rachel and Blaine are hosting a Thanksgiving party at their apartment for all of their friends and family, and somehow, Rachel invites Kurt and his dad and stepmother Carole, as well as her own parents and Blaine’s parents and his over-exuberant brother, Cooper, and Kurt feels trapped like a fly under a glass because how the hell is he supposed to act neutral and friendly around Blaine with all their friends and family watching? With Rachel watching? It’s one thing to sit with them at dinner and exchange shy smiles with Blaine over the table and oh-so-casually press his body close to him as he helps Rachel put away the dishes. It’s another thing entirely to sit through an entire three-course meal with Blaine and pretend like nothing is going on between them.
Eventually, he agrees to go, but only because he hated seeing the look of disappointment on Rachel’s face when he told her he might not be able to make it.
“But Kurt, you have to come! It’s Blaine and I’s first official dinner party as a couple and you have to be there. I won’t take no for answer.”
So. That was that.
He agonizes several hours over his outfit, trying to decide between the deep red shirt with the silver buttons or the plum-coloured shirt with the gold buttons, the black pants or the brown pants or the grey pants, whether or not to wear a neckerchief and a pocket square or both, whether Blaine will notice if he tries too hard and whether Rachel will notice if he’s dressed too casually.
In the end, he chooses the red shirt with the black pants and black-and-white pocket square, simple and understated but still smart enough that he knows he looks good without looking like he’s trying too hard to impress.
Rachel throws open the door with a wide smile and shriek of joy, pulling him in for a bone-breaking hug. She’s wearing a slinky red dress and her hair is long and loose over her shoulders. She beckons Kurt through, and he finds Blaine in the kitchen, busy chopping vegetables at the counter. He’s wearing a floral apron over a violet shirt and leaf-green pants, and Kurt’s mouth waters slightly at the shape of his ass in the fabric and the way the colours compliment his tan skin so wonderfully.
But he can’t think like that here, not with everyone watching them. He is Rachel’s and Blaine's friend, nothing more.
Still, he clenches his jaw and pointedly asks Carole if she wants more wine when Blaine slides an arm around Rachel’s waist and presses his lips to her cheek.
The next time they see each other, it’s all groping hands and messy, wet kisses and panting breaths. Blaine burrows his face into Kurt’s neck as if trying to swallow him whole, Kurt holds his hips in place and kneads his ass in his palms, teases along the waistband of Blaine’s jeans and scratches his nails through the coarse hair trailing from his navel to his cock.
Afterwards, they slump against the kitchen counter, breathing heavily, and Blaine says, “Rachel’s pregnant.”
Kurt can only reply, “Oh.”
Kurt doesn’t see Blaine for more than a few minutes at a time for the next three weeks, and only speaks to him sporadically through text. He’s busy with Rachel, all the time; sonogram appointments and prescriptions and doctor’s visits and ante-natal yoga classes and parenting classes and calls to everyone they know telling them the good news.
Kurt wants to be happy. Really, he does. Rachel has always wanted to have a baby and he genuinely thinks she’ll be a great mother. But what makes his insides writhe uncomfortably and a bitter bile rise in his throat is the fact that Blaine is so clearly happy at the prospect of being father that he seems to have forgotten Kurt entirely.
And he knows it’s wrong and unfair and he has no right to feel jealous or angry because, dammit, Rachel needs Blaine more than he does and they're married and Kurt is, to all intents and purposes, only Blaine’s bit on the side, the mistress in all but name.
So he smiles and puts on a brave face and coos over tiny baby booties with Rachel and tries to put whatever he and Blaine have, if it really is anything at all, to the back of his mind because clearly he has other priorities now that must take centre stage.
It’s the combination of too much eggnog and too much of Carole’s delicious food that makes Kurt loose and silly and blissed-out enough to press Call and wait for Blaine to pick up on the other end.
It’s Christmas day and out on the back porch in his coat and thick woollen scarf with his cell pressed to his ear and hope spreading warm in his chest at the thought of hearing Blaine’s voice (but perhaps that’s just the eggnog).
He answers after five rings, “Hey, Kurt,” and God if his voice isn’t enough to send shivers down Kurt’s spine, low and mellow in his ear and familiar enough to make his fingers and toes tingle.
“Hey,” Kurt says, “I just wanted to say Merry Christmas.”
“Thanks, Kurt.” His voice is soft. “Merry Christmas to you, too. Is everything going okay with your dad and Carole?”
Kurt’s surprised he remembered them. “Yeah, everything’s great. The meal was amazing, as always, although now I’m so full I actually feel like the poor turkey himself, and Carole made dessert, Christmas pudding and apple strudel. How about you?”
“It’s going really, really well, all things considered. Rachel wasn’t feeling too great this morning so we’ve spent all day in our pyjamas and ate take-out Chinese instead of the traditional roast.”
Rachel again. Rachel Rachel Rachel.
He felt terrible for thinking so cruelly of her.
“Very fancy,” Kurt says. “Get any great gifts?”
“Ah, no, actually. Money’s tight, so Rachel and I decided not to do extravagant gifts. She’s already having my baby, what else could we possibly give each other?”
The life you want instead of the life you’re pretending to enjoy.
When Kurt doesn’t say anything in response, Blaine sighs and says, “Kurt…is this bothering you, me talking about Rachel all the time? Because I can stop.”
“No! No, no, God, no. No, it doesn’t - it’s just - she’s your wife. You're married to her. You’re allowed to talk about her and I'm not allowed to wish she didn’t exist because she’s my best friend, and she’s your wife, and this is so - so screwed up!” Kurt bursts out. “I feel terrible for thinking it, but it is. I’m pretending I don’t have feelings for you when I know that I do and I know you’re only pretending you love Rachel because you’re too goddamn noble and kind and sweet and gentle to say anything to her about what you’re really feeling, and honestly? I think that if she wasn’t pregnant you would have told her you were gay before you two even got serious enough to get married.”
The silence that follows is deafening, ringing loud and clear in the vast, empty space between them.
“Merry Christmas, Kurt,” Blaine says finally, dully, and hangs up, leaving Kurt standing out in the cold and wondering why the hell he said what he said.
Kurt makes it up to Blaine with homemade tiramisu and tickets to Les Miserables on Broadway, which Kurt remembers that Blaine has never seen but always wanted to.
“I’m sorry I was a jerk,” Kurt says.
“No, no, don’t apologize, I - I think I needed to hear that, from you. It was a wake-up call for me. You were right. I can’t keep pretending to love Rachel when I don’t.”
Kurt looks up from where he’s picking at a table mat with his fingers. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that…,” Blaine pauses, staring at the wood of the table. “I think I’m going to tell Rachel. That I’m…gay. It’s not worth it to keep lying to her like this, it’s not right.”
Kurt reaches across the table and takes Blaine’s hand. His skin is warm and soft. “I promise you that whatever happens, I’ll support you.”
They end up having dinner at an Italian restaurant beforehand, convincing themselves that there’s nothing suspicious about two friends out for a meal. When they get to the theatre, they hold hands in the dark and pass tissues between them to wipe the tears streaming from their eyes as the final chorus of Do You Hear the People Sing? rings out and the auditorium shakes with the thunder of applause and stamping of feet as the audience, Kurt and Blaine included, rises to their feet to give a standing ovation.
Kurt is so very definitely, absolutely in love. And he’s pretty sure that Blaine feels the same way.
When they say, “I love you” for the first time, it’s New Year’s Day and Kurt stumbles across the room with a raging hangover to answer his cellphone, crashing into the nightstand as he does so and cursing a deity he doesn’t believe in for letting him drink so much the night before.
It’s a text from Blaine.
Happy New Year!
Kurt sends him a message back.
A minute or two passes.
Too much of a wild night? Blaine asks.
You have no idea, is Kurt’s reply.
I love you, Kurt.
That brings Kurt up short, clearing his alcohol-fogged brain for just long enough for him to gasp out loud and feel his pulse quicken.
Blaine loves him. He’s never told him he loves him before.
I love you, too, he sends back, before he can change his mind.
It feels amazing.
The day Blaine tells Rachel he’s gay is the day that Kurt gets a promotion at work.
It’s also the day that Rachel has her twelve-week sonogram, where they find out that they’re not just having one baby - they’re having twins.
It’s chaotic that afternoon, Kurt babbling to anyone who will listen about his promotion - Assistant Stylist to the Editor-in-Chief, whereas before he was simply a Junior Stylist, Rachel overwhelmed with the knowledge that she’s becoming a mother to two babies, not one, and Blaine panicking and freaking out at the idea of having to give Rachel even more unexpected news and trying to find the right time to sit her down and explain everything to her.
Of course, Blaine isn’t going to mention Kurt at all. Not yet.
In between long gulps of beer, he congratulates Kurt on his promotion and hammers him with questions about just what the hell he is going to do.
“I think that you need to be honest with her,” Kurt says. “And that you need to do it as soon as possible.”
An hour later, that’s what he does. He tells the truth. Not all of it, but most of it.
It breaks all of their hearts.
The following evening, Blaine crashes on Kurt’s couch. Rachel is staying in their apartment, refusing to come out of their bedroom. He says that it was probably right that he was the one to leave.
There’s a bag of his things by the front door. He doesn’t say how long he’s staying.
February means Valentine’s Day, and with Blaine still barred from his own apartment, it leaves him no choice but to stay with Kurt, who has been fielding calls and texts from Rachel since the night the truth came out (no pun intended.)
What is he supposed to say? That he knew Blaine was gay? That he understood her pain? Please. He could never look her in the eye and tell her he had no idea, because of course he did, and he doesn’t think he can continue to lie when Blaine has been so honest.
It’s just too hard to pretend, and so he ignores her and puts in a cheesy rom-com and he and Blaine snuggle up on the couch under a blanket, playing footsie with their socks still on and giggling like a pair of teenagers in the artificial light from the TV.
In any other circumstances, they’d probably be in a hotel room right now, splitting a bottle of champagne and reaching for the lube and condoms, but this will have to suffice.
“I love you.” Kiss. “I really, really love you.” More kisses, hands pulling at Kurt’s thighs, willing him to wrap his legs around Blaine’s waist.
“I really love you, too,” Kurt whispers back, nuzzling along Blaine’s jawline and the spot just under his ear that makes him shudder with pleasure.
It’s a Tuesday night and, for once, Kurt doesn’t have to work late so they did the cliché thing and bought a hotel room for one night, far away from where they both live but still in the city, so that they could look out their window and see the bright lights of New York without being reminded of what - and who - was left behind there.
But neither of them were thinking about Rachel or their parents or their friends or anyone, really, because all that mattered was that they were alone and they were with each other. They both needed a break - Kurt from work, and Blaine from the trappings of a marriage that neither he nor Rachel wanted to admit was over for the sake of protecting both their feelings, as well as from the thought of the two children who were now involved and that made things so, so much more complicated.
So Kurt arched his back and pressed his hips to Blaine’s and allowed him to touch and kiss and caress every part of his body he could reach, and Kurt responded in kind, tangling their bodies in the soft white sheets and giving in to the fantasy that this was something that could be easy if they only tried their hardest.
It all comes crashing down in March, and all because of a stupid, stupid split-second decision taken by Kurt in the heat of the moment because he’s in love and happy and wants to stretch the moment out forever.
They’re in Kurt’s kitchen, waiting for the coffee maker to be ready and the smell of sizzling bacon is wafting from the stove where Blaine is making breakfast for them both, because he stayed over last night - again - when his cellphone rings.
And Kurt, because he’s too blissed-out to care - and this is the kind of thing people’s boyfriends do, right? - reaches for Blaine’s phone and answers it, a jolly, “Blaine’s phone!”
And then he hears on the other end of the line, “Kurt? Why are you answering Blaine’s phone?”
“Uh,” Kurt stammers, racking his brain for some kind of plausible excuse but finding nothing. “Uh, I, uh - Rachel -”
“Oh my God,” she gasps then, realization dawning on her and Kurt feels like his stomach is full of ice water. “Oh my God, you’re with him. You're with him and you’re - you’re - oh my God. You and him?” she shrieks, “This whole time?”
“I can explain,” Kurt tries to say, his voice shaking. Blaine has stopped cooking and is at Kurt’s side, hand on the small of his back, the same horror-filled expression on his face as there is on Kurt’s. “It was never supposed to happen. We didn’t plan this. It’s - God, I sound like I’m from some kind of cheesy movie.” He pushes his free hand through his hair, fingers shaking.
“How long?” Rachel demands, and her voice is wet with the threat of tears.
“Since the night before you got married.” Kurt thinks that there’s no point in any more lies. Might as well say it like it is.
“You’re supposed to be my best friend,” Rachel sobs. “You’re supposed to be my best friend and you’ve been sleeping with my husband since before we got married?”
“I’m sorry, Rachel."
Blaine extends his hand in an unspoken gesture; Let me talk to her. Trembling, Kurt hands over the phone, his whole body feeling like lead. This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. Nowhere near it. And it was all his fault.
Blaine and Rachel talk for what feels like hours, in hushed voices that make Kurt feel even worse than he already does. Eventually, Blaine hands up and comes to wrap his arms around Kurt’s waist, warm and forgiving. Kurt nestles into his embrace, twisting his head round to kiss him.
"She’ll come around, you know,” Blaine says.
Kurt shakes his head. “I betrayed her. We’re supposed to friends, and I betrayed her. She’ll hate me forever.”
“I’m sorry I put you in this position,” Blaine murmurs against the top of Kurt’s head.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” Kurt says simply.
Rachel’s and Blaine’s divorce is finalized a week short of Rachel’s seventh month of pregnancy, though looking at her you would never think she still has two months to go. She’s huge, impossibly so for a such a small person, and glowing radiant, even when so much has happened.
As Blaine predicated, she does eventually come around to the idea of him and Kurt together, although it still stings, but she insists that she’s happy for them and regrets that she made Blaine hold on to the marriage for as long as she did.
Blaine and Kurt go public with their relationship two weeks later, to the shock and surprise of many of their friends and family. They press themselves close to each other and link their fingers under the table and Blaine is beaming so wide Kurt is sure his whole face will split in half if he keeps it up.
Blaine and Rachel’s twin daughters are born at 12:33pm after thirteen hours and six minutes.
She had insisted on them both being present at the birth, Kurt on one side and Blaine on the other, the three of them linking hands in a strange kind of chain as Rachel cries and curses and eventually falls back onto the stack of pillows, hair stuck to her face and neck with sweat but still smiling as the nurse pronounces the first, and then the second, child to be girls.
Two perfect, albeit squalling, baby girls and Kurt is close to crying and Rachel and Blaine already are as they each take one twin in their arms, and the three of them crowd together on Rachel’s narrow bed, an odd misshapen family but a family nonetheless.
Meeting each other’s eyes over the top of Rachel’s head, they wonder how they got so lucky, to fall in love and to gain a family - seemingly all at once.
The chain between them breaks, setting both of them free - to love, and to re-start their lives, no longer Kurt and Blaine but KurtandBlaine, a couple, two people in love who want to live the rest of their lives as happily as possible.
It starts now.