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Suddenly I See

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KURT

For the first time in his life, Kurt had everything he had always dreamed of. A place at a prestigious dramatic arts school. A job at Vogue. A loft in New York City, interior decorations a la Kurt Hummel. New friends who hadn’t seen him with a slushie facial or a Prom Queen crown. His own band- and one of the highest items on his success-list: a steady boyfriend (fiancé!), who had recently moved in with him.

Unfortunately, living the dream wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

While his classes were going well, and so was his job and his band, his living situation was becoming more and more unbearable. His engagement to Blaine hadn’t magically made all of their problems go away. Not that Kurt had really expected it would, but maybe a small part of him had still believed in magic back then. Six months later? Not so much.

When Blaine came to New York to audition, he had been scared and intimidated by life in the big city. Kurt talked him out of that, but it seemed he had done a little too well with his peptalk.

Boosted by his acceptance at NYADA and the constant accolades of his peers in Ohio, Blaine had arrived in New York with a single goal- not just taking a bite out of the Big Apple, but to swallow it whole.

Blaine had moved into the loft and immediately started making changes. Different towels, different sheets (he didn’t come out and say it, but heavily implied that he was uncomfortable with sleeping on sheets that Kurt ‘may or may not have shared’ with someone else while they were broken up); a SodaStream machine that was loud and left water stains on the kitchen surfaces, a small piano that he played constantly. And not a day went by without him moving things (that Kurt would then move back) or Blaine making some passive-aggressive remark about Kurt’s décor.

Kurt was pretty sure that things would start breaking accidentally-on-purpose soon. And while Blaine insisted on cooking Kurt breakfast every day, he never participated in cleaning up the mess he had made - which cost Kurt a lot more time than making his own breakfast.

When he asked (very, very carefully) if Blaine could maybe save his culinary skills for Sundays when Kurt had the time to savour breakfast in bed, Blaine had sulked for days before ceasing to cook altogether. Kurt knew that could have gone better, but he was secretly glad of it. At least now, if he didn't eat pancakes and fried eggs every morning, he could stop skipping lunch at work.

And then there was the roommate situation.

Rachel had moved back into the loft and had fallen back into her special ways (maybe even a little worse, now that she had Funny Girl ). On top of that, without prior discussion with Kurt, Blaine had invited his best friend Sam (Kurt had always imagined he was Blaine’s best friend, but times had changed) to stay at the loft ‘until he found his own place’.

Sam didn't pay rent, ate a lot of food, and stayed up late watching movies or playing games when Kurt was trying to study or sleep. He also had a knack for interrupting the sparse moments of intimacy Kurt and Blaine still shared. Kurt found this especially problematic, because there were already so few of those moments to begin with.

Even though Kurt was now living together with Blaine, they had less sex than while they were in their long-distance relationship- especially if Skype calls counted. Somehow, there was always something else to do, or one of them was tired or had to get up early. It didn’t help that the times when they did manage to get a little frisky often ended up in disappointment.

According to the magazines Kurt had read on the topic, what they needed was privacy, a relaxed atmosphere and good communication. The loft offered none of that, and communication had never been their strong point. Whenever Kurt tried to bring it up, Blaine got overly defensive and they only ended up blaming each other.

Tired of voluntarily adding another thing to the list of things they fought over, Kurt had stopped trying and just hoped things would get better on their own and Sam would learn to knock at some point. Still, it was less than ideal. A guy had needs, after all; and even more than the physical, Kurt needed to feel emotionally connected to someone.

Luckily, he had found someone in New York to help with the platonic side of that.

Elliott had come into his life sparkling and glamorously, but behind his stage persona Starchild, he was down to earth, calm and mature, and exactly what Kurt needed when he had to escape his home life. His door was always open, and so were his ears. By now, Elliott knew more about Blaine than any of Kurt’s friends. Kurt easily felt as close to him as he used to be to Mercedes, with an added bonus of not having to worry about making his new friend uncomfortable with the guy stuff.

And so, once again, he found himself pouring his heart out to Elliott, this time in the middle of a music store, after another night of fights, blaming, and a definite lack of angry (or make-up) sex.

“...I know what I’m about to say sounds like a bad Bravo show, but I’m starting to think like that couch was an omen. Of our relationship. Seemingly fine from the outside, but headed for certain disaster.”

“Huh,” Elliott let out non-committantly.

“Does that sound crazy?”

“Absolutely,” Elliott confirmed.

Kurt sighed. He had gone over it so many times the night before that he just wasn’t sure what was sane anymore. All the while, he kept hearing April Rhodes’ voice in his ear, toasting to his and Blaine’s ‘inevitable divorce’ after she found out they were getting married.

“It’s not just the couch…” Kurt admitted, looking away from Elliott and fixing his eyes on the sheet music in Elliott’s hands.

“I’m starting to feel claustrophobic. I wake up next to Blaine, I go to school with Blaine, I come home to Blaine…and we have nothing to talk about because he’s literally there with me all the time! I mean, he takes 6 out of 8 of my advanced classes. How is that even possible? He’s a freshman! I am only now catching up on the classes I missed by starting NYADA a semester late…And the other day he showed up at the diner again to sing for my customers. They actually tipped him instead of me.”

Kurt shook his head. “It’s like high school all over again. He’s doing everything I did- everything I’m still doing!- but better.”

“Hey, come on now,” Elliott chastised, frowning a little.

Kurt knew what he meant and shrugged.

“You know what I mean. Not really better, but… when I do it, I barely pass, and when he does it, everyone loves it. I’m expecting him to show up at Vogue as a model or something any time now, because that’s the only part of my life he hasn’t invaded yet.” Kurt cocked his head. “Or he’ll probably try to take over my band,” he added as an afterthought.

Elliott snorted, and Kurt felt a little vindicated, a spiteful feeling he tried to repress as soon as possible. Blaine was his fiancé, after all.

"I don't know. I feel like I’m starting to lose my identity.” Something inside told Kurt he shouldn’t be so dramatic, but that voice sounded a lot like Blaine- and dammit, he was a dramatic arts student. Drama was his life!

Elliott sighed and turned to face him. “Okay, well- stop me if you don’t want my opinion.”

Kurt made a point of not stopping him, and Elliott chuckled. “When I first heard you were engaged, I thought, uh-uh, big mistake, too young - but then I got to know you and realized you’re really mature for your age-”

“You sound like a geezer,” Kurt mumbled. “You’re only three years older than I am.”

“-and I’m super-jealous,” Elliott continued. “Still, though- everyone needs time alone. It’s healthy. So just set some boundaries. But… don’t forget to rehearse with your band.”

Kurt smiled a little. “Well, don’t worry. I don’t think I need alone -alone time. Just some time away from Blaine every now and then. Band rehearsal totally counts.”

“Good,” Elliott agreed happily. “So what do you think about A Great New World?” He waved his sheet music at Kurt.

Kurt took it, glad for the immediate distraction. He needed to think about this, about what kind of boundaries he wanted to set- and how he was going to break it to Blaine- but for now he needed some time to let it sink in.

-

ELLIOTT

Elliott walked Kurt to the NYADA campus, and after they had hugged and said goodbye, he watched Kurt go, mingling among his peers easily. Elliott smiled. It wasn’t hard to see why NYADA had accepted him. Kurt looked like he belonged there.

Since he met Kurt, Elliott had often thought about his own audition at NYADA. Roughly four and a half years ago, a younger, slightly chubbier version of himself had stepped up to the stage, sweaty palm wrapped around a cordless microphone, and peaks of dyed black hair hanging into his eyes. Starchild had not yet been born - it wasn’t until NYU that Elliott accepted his own theatricality, and that had probably shown in his audition. It was hard trying to show everything you had, if you felt like you had to hide a large part of yourself.

And the more he heard from Kurt about the cutthroat world of showcases, student sing-offs and sycophants, he knew his rejection from NYADA had been a blessing in disguise. With the arts as only a section of NYU’s spectrum, he did not have to 'compete' with the entire student body for parts, nor play the popularity game. He was very happy at his university now, doubling in Music Theatre and Costume Studies. It united both of his passions; performing and sewing.

NYU had helped him meet a range of interesting people with diverse interests. He had found a place of his own in New York, came out (as gay and as a nachwuchs -glamrocker), had a few affairs, got a few new tats. Now, at twenty-three, he finally felt as self-assured in his life and his art as Kurt seemingly already did at 19.

Elliott smiled. Well, that was the reason Kurt was the leader of their band, and not him.

Kurt turned around at the entrance and waved.

Elliott put his hand up as well and shouted: “Don't forget! Friday! Business Make-over!”

“You got it!” Kurt yelled back, and blew him a kiss.

Elliott could see the people around Kurt looking from Kurt at him, and Elliott did his best to hide how smug that made him feel.

That’s right , he thought. I’m friends with the coolest guy at NYADA. Suck it up. He wondered how many of them assumed he was Kurt’s fiancé.

The thought of Blaine sobered him a bit, and on his way home, Elliott pondered the things Kurt had told him at the music store.

He hadn’t lied when he had told Kurt he was jealous of his relationship; to find someone at such a young age, to go through all of these phases in life together- school, college… of course that was something to envy. But only if it was voluntary. And Blaine somehow maneuvering himself into all of Kurt’s classes, or insisting on making Kurt breakfast that he didn’t really want and then expecting him to be grateful, didn’t exactly sound like Kurt had a choice in the matter. Or like it was making him happy.

Elliott wasn’t even sure why Blaine suddenly insisted on spending so much time with Kurt when a few months ago, he wouldn’t even come to see Pamela Lansbury’s first gig (or any of their following gigs). He must have known how much that meant to Kurt. Still, Elliott hoped they could work things out. He might not like the guy, personally- for more reasons than Kurt knew- but it was clear that Kurt loved him and Elliott wanted Kurt to be happy.