Kurt is in the audience at sectionals the first time he reads the name anywhere other than on his skin. The name is so familiar by now that he almost doesn’t register it at first. His mind does a double take and he scans back up the playbill to read it again.
The New Directions have already performed and have taken their seats to watch the other two clubs. The group currently on the stage is from Crawford Country Day, the all girls private school in Westerville. Kurt had just been scanning the playbill as a distraction, to calm his anxious nerves, when he saw it. “Soloist: Blaine Anderson.”
This can’t be right. He looks up and focuses on the girl standing out in front on stage. She’s in the same uniform as all the rest of them - a shirt and tie, a navy vest, a knee-length plaid skirt, long socks - and her thick, curly, black hair is pulled back in a pony tail. Her voice is strong, she’s smiling confidently, and her movements are full of energy and ease. He’s sure she’s very attractive, as girls go, but that’s just it. She’s a girl.
As soon as the song is done he turns to Rachel and whispers urgently at her to get her attention and shows her the name. She looks at it, then at the stage, then back at Kurt. “…Maybe there’s more than one Blaine Anderson?”
“We haven’t even met and we already have so much in common. How many Blaine Andersons do you think are actually in glee club in Ohio?”
“She still might not be your soul mate. It all depends what name she has on herskin. You should go talk to her and find out. It’s probably just a coincidence.”
“Yeah. Okay. I’ll just…”
“Quick, before the next group comes on.”
Kurt nods and accepts a reassuring smile and shoulder squeeze, then gets up and shuffles along the row of seats past everyone’s knees, apologizing as he goes. He gets to the Crawford dressing room just as they’re arriving, cheering and congratulating each other in their excited, high pitched voices. He hovers at the doorway and clears his throat. “Excuse me? I’m looking for Blaine Anderson?”
The lead singer with the ponytail turns toward him with a worried expression and steps closer. “I’m Blaine.”
Kurt presses his lips together, his gaze hovering somewhere around Blaine’s shirt collar. “Hi. Um, I’m Kurt Hummel -“
A squeak comes from somewhere across the room. A blond girl flaps her hands and exclaims: “Ohmigod! Blaine!”
Blaine stares at Kurt wide-eyed, then grins from ear to ear. She looks around the room, gesturing to the door. “I’m just going to, um -“
“Yes, definitely!” The blond girl shoos her. “Go go go!”
Blaine leads Kurt out into the hallway by the elbow, looking kind of stunned. She covers her mouth with her hands, bouncing giddily on the balls of her feet. “It’s really you! Wow. I’ve waited for this moment for so long, I can’t -“
Kurt had always told himself whatever man ended up being his soul mate, they’d be perfect for each other so it wouldn’t matter what he looked like. Kurt would love him even if he wasn’t physically attractive. But this. It had never even occurred to him as a possibility.
“I feel like I won the lottery,” Blaine says. “You’re so handsome.”
Kurt attempts a smile. “You’re very talented. Your singing -“
“Yes, I was very impressed.”
“Thank you! Wow. This is like Christmas. I just - I want to know everything about you! Can we talk? I mean - We have to go back and hear who won soon, but after that?”
“My glee club usually hangs out after competitions. If we win, we celebrate, and if we lose, we, you know, complain a lot.”
“But I think I can skip just this once. Special circumstances.”
Blaine nods enthusiastically. “My parents aren’t home; we could go to my house?”
Kurt raises his eyebrows at her boldness. “We should be with our clubs for the announcement.” He bites his lip. “I’ll meet you here after.”
Blaine can’t seem to stop smiling. She lets out a breath. “Okay.”
They talk all the way to Blaine’s house, and they keep going for hours after they get there. The New Directions had won, which meant Blaine’s team had lost, but it hadn’t dampened her enthusiasm over finally meeting her soul mate. She keeps up a stream of questions and opinions and spirited debate, and Kurt finds himself excitedly agreeing with her on so many topics. They both love Broadway and fashion, they’re both interested in human rights, and they even share a guilty fascination with trashy reality TV. The conversation is riveting, fun, and it makes Kurt feel seen for the first time since… he can’t remember when.
They’re sitting facing each other, cross-legged on Blaine’s bed, when she pauses, blushes, and asks to see her name. “I mean, if it’s… It’s not anywhere, awkward, or…”
“No, no, it’s fine. I can -“ He unbuttons his left cuff and starts rolling up his shirt sleeve until the inside of his elbow is visible. He holds out his arm to her, and she traces over the letters of her name, a deep tan, standing out against the blue vein they run along. Her touch is light, almost ticklish, but somehow also the most intense, profoundest sensation Kurt has ever experienced. He closes his eyes and feels a phantom tingle all the way up to his chest. He waits until she pulls away before he asks: “Can I see mine?”
She sits there for a moment, eyes unfocused, swallowing hard. Then she nods and laughs weakly. “I guess it’s only fair, right?” She pulls her tie off and slowly undoes the top buttons of her shirt, one, then another, then another, all the way down to her cleavage and the slightest view of the top edge of her bra. She pulls her shirt and her bra strap down off her left shoulder to reveal the round lettering of “Kurt Hummel” written on her chest, just beside her sternum.
Kurt doesn’t even think. He just reaches out to touch it. Seeing his name on someone else’s skin sends a wave of feeling coursing through him in a way he never could have predicted. His heart swells, his mind races, his blood rushes, and he feels undeniably, embarrassingly turned on. His mind produces a flurry of images - him licking the skin where his name is written, Blaine calling out his name in the heat of passion, a splatter of his own come across the letters - and he moans out loud before he realizes what he’s doing.
Their eyes meet, and Blaine looks as flushed and red as Kurt feels. She licks her lips. “Can I kiss you?”
Kurt nods. They lean toward each other and meet in a kiss, the first real kiss of Kurt’s life. It feels - good. Soft and comforting and strangely soothing, and yet somehow so much sexier than a kiss with a girl has any right to be. He kind of doesn’t want it to ever end.
He hasn’t removed his hand from her chest, and in fact it has slipped down to the softness of her breast, and he finds himself so wrapped up in the kiss that he doesn’t even mind. He doesn’t even care what kind of body she has. She’s hissoulmate, and that is suddenly the sexiest knowledge he has ever had.
She moans against his lips, and he tenses his whole body as he gasps into her mouth. Everything strains for more, from his toes to his fingers, and then she hastily pulls away and scrambles off the bed, leaving him there, aching. He realizes with a shock that he has just squeezed her breast, without noticing, and without permission.
She stands in the corner of the room breathing deeply and wiping her eyes. “I’m sorry. I can’t. I can’t.”
“I’m so sorry.” Kurt’s first instinct is to get up and go to Blaine, but her arms are crossed over her chest and her body is turned away from him, so he stays where he is on the bed. “I didn’t mean to -“
”I know, it’s not your fault. I’m just…” Blaine spreads her hands in a gesture that seems to indicate all of herself. “I’m just…” She sighs.
“Are you okay?”
“We were moving too fast. We just met, so I understand -”
“It’s not that.”
Kurt clasps his hands in his lap and lowers his head. He doesn’t look up until the bed shifts as Blaine returns to it and sits across from him, doing up the buttons of her shirt.
“I always thought that once I met my soulmate, I’d feel okay about my body,” she says. “I thought maybe everyone feels more comfortable in themselves when they’re with the person who accepts everything about them.”
“What don’t you like about your body?”
Blaine widens her eyes. “I’ve never really talked about this.”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“No, it’s - Your soulmate is supposed to accept you, right?” She attempts a smile. “I mean, if I was into low-riders and backwards baseball caps, I’d have a soulmate who’d be okay with that. I imagine even serial killers have soulmates who accept serial killing, right? Probably everything about me is something I can tell you, and it’ll be okay…?”
“I certainly hope so, because I kind of enjoy MC Hammer, and I really don’t want to lose my soulmate over it.”
Blaine laughs, suddenly and brightly.
Kurt blushes. “I thought I should make that clear as early as possible.”
“I’m okay with you enjoying MC Hammer.”
Kurt’s nose scrunches. “Your thing can’t possibly be as bad as that, right?”
Blaine’s smile fades as she studies Kurt’s face. “I hate my chest.”
Kurt reaches out and puts his hand over hers.
“I always have. It makes me really uncomfortable to be reminded about it, and to be touched there. And, I don’t really like people referring to me as a girl either. Or as a ‘young lady.’”
Kurt presses his lips together. “Are you transexual?”
“No. I don’t think so. I can’t be, because I have to wear a skirt every day, and I don’t mind.”
Kurt just shrugs. “I’ve worn skirts before. I mean they were men’s skirts, but still.”
He nods. “And ladies’ sweaters, and brooches, and a corset…”
“But you don’t… want to be a girl.”
“God no. I’m definitely a guy.”
Blaine puts her other hand over Kurt’s and squeezes it. “Would it be weird for you to start calling me ‘he’ sometimes?”
Kurt laughs. “Blaine, I’ve been calling you ‘he’ for years.”
Blaine looks down at the bedspread and grins. “This is so strange.”
Blaine leans forward and kisses his lips, looks into his eyes, then darts back in to kiss him again before finally sitting up straight. “It didn’t happen the way I expected it to at all, but… Meeting my soulmate did make me feel okay with myself. Not my body, but my actual self.”
Kurt rolls his eyes in a much too smiley imitation of smugness. “What can I say? I’m kind of perfect like that.”
“Yeah.” Blaine kisses him again. “Perfect for me.”