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Fic: Ash and Phoenix

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Kurt and Blaine each discovered Depeche Mode's Speak & Spell album separately. Kurt came home one day in second grade to his mother on a rare high-energy day, sitting on the couch with a notepad in her lap, her head bobbing side-to-side as she sang along with a man's voice, Hey you’re such a pretty boy, you’re so pretty.

Kurt fell a little more deeply in love with her that day, and with Depeche Mode for the first time. There was something joyously subversive about the song (although he didn't quite have the words yet for what that thing was), and he bounded over to the couch and took her hand and she danced with him, never getting up from the couch but still managing to twirl and spin him, and allowing him to lead her in swinging happily from side to side, back and forth to the rhythm.

She was gracious as a bird in flight, even when she was earthbound.

Blaine discovered it when he was 11. Cooper had assumed that Blaine was gay since he was four years old and announced that when he grew up, he was going to marry Miles Robinson from Sesame Street. But it didn't occur to Cooper to do anything about it until an existential crisis in his early twenties, when he felt like his life was at a dead end and stayed awake at night questioning all his past choices and peccadillos, including his general shittiness as an older brother and mentor. The self-berating only lasted for a week, but one of its tangible effects was that Cooper asked one of his housemates – a gay Gen-Xer six years older than Cooper who patched a living together from a mix of software design, singing telegrams and bit appearances in deodorant ads – to please put together a mix CD of the gayest songs he could think of.

When the CD came in the mail, Blaine ran up to his room, stuck it in his computer, put on his earphones (you could ever be too safe with anything that came from Cooper) and squirmed with embarrassment and delight when Dave Gahan got to the Boys meet boys, get together. Boys meet boys, it's forever. Don't say no, of "Boys Say Go!"

This is all to explain why, by the time they met, both Kurt and Blaine had memorized every song in Speak & Spell and why it was natural for them to break out into spontaneous renditions of "Photographic" and "Tora! Tora! Tora!", bouncing around the commons when no one else was around and looking away from each other momentarily every time the lyrics approached anything remotely sexual.

Right before they started dating, when Kurt had given up most of his hope that he and Blaine might become anything more than friends, and Blaine revealed that when Barry Gibb hits those high notes in "Night Fever," it made him swoon, Kurt responded with, "I think my favorite song on Speak & Spell is 'Nodisco.' Does this mean you'll refuse to add it to our repertoire?"

"Ugh. Are you serious? That's the worst song on the entire album."

Kurt rolled his eyes. "You're only saying that because you don't like the sentiment. You know it has a wicked beat." It was actually Kurt's least favorite, too, but it was fun to tease Blaine and be a little merciless about it.

Blaine shrugged. "If we changed the song to 'Prodisco,' I might sing it with you."

Kurt laughed out his nose.

They added "Just Can't Get Enough" to their repertoire soon after they started making out. But "What's Your Name?" replaced it as their favorite a few weeks later, thanks to a vigorous kissing session in the janitor's closet in which Kurt accidentally blurted out that Blaine had the prettiest eyelashes he'd ever seen, and Blaine responded by batting them and kissing a soft moan into Kurt's mouth.

Of course, the way things are now, they can't sing that together anymore – even if, when Blaine's image appears on Kurt's phone screen to notify him of a new text or phone call, Kurt's breath sometimes catches and the familiar refrain of Hey you're such a pretty boy unwinds like a spool in his brain, the threads of it tangling in his amygdala.

Even if they slept together at Christmas and flirt injudiciously via text message because it feels good and easy and right. Nothing overtly sexual or romantic; just silly, small things that teeter on the border between what friends say to each other and what lovers do:


Kurt: I got my letter from NYADA.

Blaine: And?

Kurt: I'm in.

Blaine: I'm glad they finally saw what I always did.


Blaine: Tina has a crush on me.

Kurt: Who doesn't?


They really shouldn't be singing any of Speak & Spell together, probably – the entire album reeks of desire. They shouldn't. But they want to. So that's what they decide to do.

A week before the wedding, they settle on "Just Can't Get Enough" over late-night Skype chat, and maybe Kurt shouldn't have had that microbrew when he ordered pizza with Adam earlier this evening, because he starts to type out Just can't seem to get enough of you ;) before the non-affected part of his brain catches on and screams DELETE! DELETE! DELETE! at him.

Kurt deletes, and somehow manages to quickly and politely sign off without saying anything incriminating.


When Blaine is in Lima and Kurt is in New York, being just friends is mostly manageable. If Kurt thinks about Blaine sometimes when he's jerking off, it's only because Blaine is the only guy he's had sex with, and the last few times they had sex were phenomenal.

Anyway, it would be awkward to try to think of Adam, since they haven't exactly gotten to first base together yet. Kurt's not even sure they're dating. He thinks they might be, in the way that people dated in the 1950s. They do things that could be called dates – have coffee, escort each other to student recitals and free art openings, study together at appointed times – and Adam often squeezes Kurt's hand or kisses Kurt goodbye on the cheek, giving Kurt the most delightful little stomach butterflies. Sometimes, Kurt kisses Adam's cheek, too; once, he turned his head slightly and pecked him right on the lips. It was so quick that he barely registered the feel of them against his.

Still, he knows Adam's scent well – a comforting combination of Nivea aftershave and cinnamon Altoids – and the texture of his jaw – smooth after morning coffee and pleasantly scratchy by the time afternoon study sessions role around.

But neither of them have used the word "dating," and Adam refers to Kurt as "my friend" when he introduces him to other people.

Kurt's pretty sure that Adam is interested in more, though. He catches Adam looking at him sometimes with – well, not quite awe, but a more tranquil sort of appreciation. Kurt wonders if that's what mature love grows from – an affection that's peaceful and sweet, not the tempestuous, groin-and-heart-gripping need that often overwhelms him when he thinks of Blaine.

He wants to do more with Adam sometimes. When Adam talks or swallows his coffee or starts singing little harmonies with the church bells that chime every hour near the coffee shop, Kurt gets distracted by the bobbing of Adam's Adam's apple (and what a mouthful that is to think, much less say; the English language needs another word for that, because the French pomme d'Adam isn't much help here). It's so gorgeously masculine, and Kurt gets an impulse to put his lips to it, to feel the movement of it in Adam's throat as he makes Adam moan.

But the impulse fades as quickly as it comes on, and Kurt thinks that's good; he's enjoying the quiet comfort of whatever this is with Adam. His body sometimes wants more, but he's not sure he does.


Kurt arrives in Lima the afternoon before the wedding. There's no reason to make too long of a weekend of it – his dad's still in D.C. and, anyway, Kurt doesn't want to miss any more of the classes they're paying for than absolutely necessary.

Blaine picks him up at the airport. When Blaine offered, Kurt immediately said yes while wondering if he should say no. Maybe it was too much of a "boyfriend" thing to let Blaine do. But Blaine is on perfect best-friend behavior. He doesn't try to surprise Kurt at the security checkpoint with a dozen red-and-yellow roses, or appear unannounced at the baggage claim with a single cream-colored tulip.

He's the consummate bro. He leaves his house when Kurt calls from the just-landed airplane and pulls up 20 minutes later outside the baggage claim. He stays in the driver's seat when Kurt lifts his luggage into the back and, even though his smile is brighter than the afternoon sunshine when Kurt slides into the passenger seat, he doesn't initiate a hug or reach for Kurt's hand. He just squeezes the steering wheel giddily and says, "New York's been good to you."

Something about that makes Kurt feel so loose and free that he wants to lean over and stick his tongue in Blaine's mouth, but he doesn't. He just says, "It's good to see you again."

They drive to Kurt's house. Blaine helps Kurt carry his luggage up to his room, but he doesn't go inside of it. He hands the suitcase off to Kurt, and his smile goes up into his eyes when Kurt's fingers linger against his longer than is strictly necessary for a suitcase exchange. "I'll go set up the stereo," Blaine says, turning back toward the stairs. "Take as long as you need."

Kurt watches Blaine as he skips down the stairs. His outfit is familiar – white Brooks Brothers cable-knit sweater with bands of red and blue around the neck and cuffs, cream-colored khakis with patch pockets that hug the lower curve of his ass – but the Blaine who walks away from him is a different Blaine than Kurt has ever seen before. The old Blaine would have carried the suitcases into Kurt's room and insisted on helping Kurt unpack, and if Kurt had said he'd rather unpack by himself and asked for a moment alone to find his bearings, that old Blaine would have looked wounded at the loss of an opportunity to prove his usefulness.

Kurt likes this new Blaine.


(When I'm with you baby, I go out of my head.)

Kurt should try to forget why he fell for Blaine in the first place, but it's kind of difficult with Blaine smiling at him through every damn lyric of the song and his eyes all wide and expressive like some Disney cartoon heroine's.

(All the things you do to me and everything you said …)

Kurt should try to remember what it felt like to have his heart torn out of his chest and fed through a paper shredder, but apparently the new heart he's grown to replace it doesn't believe in dwelling on bygones. It just wants to flutter and dance and love as recklessly as the old one did.

(It's getting hotter, it's a burning love, and I just can't seem to get enough of –)

Their first run-through is perfect. Of course it is. They've had it down pat since the second time they sang it together in the Dalton common room and, just in case, Kurt's been rekindling and revising the harmonies in the shower and the kitchen and on his way to classes and on the airplane (until the passenger next to him loudly cleared her throat and thrust her earbuds in dramatically) ever since they agreed on it a week ago.

"We're going to blow them away," Blaine says, so much lightness in his voice it's almost laughter, as he collapses backward onto the couch. He's panting a little, and there's the sheen of sweat starting to gather on his temple, and Kurt can almost remember how Blaine's skin tastes when it's like that. Blaine's body is lax, so loose and receptive that if Kurt crawled on top of him right now, he's pretty sure that Blaine would take whatever Kurt wanted to give, and give a little more back.

Kurt remains standing. "We shouldn't stop practicing, though." He reaches a hand out to Blaine and pulls him up off the couch.

"You're right. We should practice." Blaine looks Kurt directly in the eye with every word, although his lids flicker on the word practice, like he's trying with all his might not to look down at Kurt's lips. Kurt has an urge to reward the effort by pinning Blaine to the wall and shoving his hand down his pants, but he doesn't. He puts that energy into his voice and his dancing.

(You're like an angel and you give me your love.)

He thinks about the burning love of angels and wonders if it's possible to know, at the outset, whether the angel who sets you on fire will smite you like a first-born son in Egypt or prove to you, once and for all, that you are a phoenix.


They run through it seven more times (apparently they both have a lot of energy to burn), and would run through it a few times more, but Finn gets home just as Blaine's about to start the music up once again.

"Little brother!" Finn squeals, dropping his stuff on the table next to the door and lunging past Blaine with arms open wide.

Kurt falls into them. He's hoping Finn's brotherly touch will ground him, take the edge off the buzzing, hormonal need for bodily contact.

It doesn't. It feels solid and warm and good, but it doesn't feel like Blaine.

"You know, Finn," Kurt mutters into Finn's shoulder, "I'm actually older than you."

Finn steps back a little, but he doesn't let go completely. His hands are on Kurt's shoulders, and he's looking down into Kurt's eyes like a proud papa bear. It's endearing, if ridiculous. "Doesn't matter." Finn smiles. "You're still littler."

Kurt rolls his eyes. "You're incorrigible."

"What? You mean like corrigible cardboard?"

A half-swallowed laugh-turned-cough erupts from Blaine's throat. Kurt turns to look at him. His face is turning pink with the effort of not giggling. Kurt's not sure how Blaine survives glee club every day with Finn in charge. Finn must say more ridiculous things than "corrigible cardboard" 20 times an hour.

Kurt winks at Blaine and turns back toward Finn as Blaine sputters into a cough behind them. "Nevermind, Finn," Kurt says. "I'm glad to see you again, my towering brother."

Finn walks back to the entry way to hang his coat up – how grown-up, Kurt observes – and picks a pizza box up off the table, leaving his bag and pile of folders there to deal with later. "Sorry I didn't pick you up at the airport, Kurt. All this wedding stuff, and the bargaining I've had to do to get the band kids to play at the wedding. If I have to get them this many gift certificates for the Pizza Station every time they do something for us, I'm going to need to get two more jobs." Finn gestures at the pizza box. "Speaking of which, they give you a free pizza for every $200 in gift certificates you buy. You guys hungry?"

"Starving," Kurt says, and Blaine nods his head vigorously in agreement.

Pizza is only fifth on the list of things that Kurt is hungry for right now. Blaine's mouth, Blaine's chest, Blaine's whimper, Blaine's body beneath him – those are the top four. But pizza will have to do for now.


"I'm so glad you guys are friends now." He's just taken a bite of pizza, so it actually comes out more like Ahm show gwad you gahs ah fwenz now, but Kurt is used to Finn talking this way, so it's not too hard to translate.

"Me too," Kurt says.  Without thinking, he reaches under the table and gives Blaine a friendly little squeeze on the thigh. And then he wonders if he should panic.

But Blaine keeps cutting his slice of pizza into little bite-sized pieces as if nothing untoward has just happened. He looks up at Finn. "And me three."

Finn swallows. "How do you do it, though? I mean, I'm trying to be friends with Rachel, but it's kind of hard because sometimes she's really mean, and the rest of the time I really want to kiss her." Finn scratches his chin. "Well, actually, sometimes I want to kiss her when she's being mean, too."

Blaine clears his throat and pops a forkful of pizza into his mouth, presumably so he doesn't have to answer.

"Sorry," Finn says. "Was that too much? I keep forgetting I'm kind of your teacher."

Blaine shrugs and lifts another bite of pizza to his mouth.

Kurt reaches for Blaine's thigh again. But he doesn't pinch it this time. He just rests his open palm on it, letting the solidity of Blaine's body ground him so he can say what he needs to say. "Blaine's the best friend I've ever had. I realized I didn't want to throw that away just because I was mad at him."

Kurt's eyes sting, but he has years of practice putting on a show face, and he keeps it on now. Finn doesn't seem to see through it – but Kurt's not sure he can say the same for Blaine, who lays down his cutlery and lowers one hand under the table, wrapping it over the back of Kurt's.

"Huh." Finn squinches his eyebrows together. "Maybe it's easier when you're both guys. I mean, you fall in love with dudes, but you're also used to having guys who're just your bros, right? Like Blaine and Sam, and me and you." Finn points at Kurt. "So you can turn your boyfriends into bros."

"Sure," Kurt says, even though that's not how it is at all.

"I've never really been bros with a girl, though. Maybe that's what I need to learn. How to be bros with a girl. Maybe you guys can teach me."

"Well, not being romantically attracted to girls kind of helps out in that department," Blaine says.

Finn nods his head. "Well, cool. Whatever. It's just – it's awesome that you guys can be bros." Finn extends his fist across the table. Kurt and Blaine give each other's hands one last squeeze before letting go to give Finn some brotherly fist-bumps.


Kurt has dinner plans with Carole. Walking Blaine out to his car, Kurt wonders how bad a stepson he would be if he cancelled them.

Probably pretty terrible. He hasn't seen her since August.

So instead of grabbing Blaine's coat lapel and dragging him back inside, Kurt stops at the curb as Blaine steps off it, lets the distance grow between them as Blaine makes his way to the driver's side door.

"Blaine," Kurt says as Blaine opens the latch.

Blaine looks over the roof at Kurt. "Yeah?"

"I meant what I said earlier. I'm glad we're friends."

Blaine smiles, and all the light from the streetlamps finds a home in his eyes. "Me, too."

Kurt glances away, watching his own hands as they touch the roof of the car because it's too terrifying to reach for Blaine himself. He smiles wryly. "You're my best bro, bro."

Kurt doesn't hear a snicker from Blaine's side of the car like he expects to. Instead, he turns toward Blaine to find the most sincere, glowing smile. Kurt feels it in his chest like a thread stitching his broken pieces back together. "Thanks, bro. I hope I can be that for you, if that's what you want."


Kurt has known for weeks which tie he wants to wear to the wedding, but he packed three others in case he'd have a last-minute change of heart.

He doesn't.

This is the tie he wants Blaine to see him in today. He's had it in his collection since early last fall, as one of his first perks from interning at He was helping one of the stylists organize the couture vault when she lifted up a handful of identical black Title of Work bowties from one of the accessory drawers. Each had a thin silver chain across the center knot, hooking the two sides of the tie together. His mouth may have dropped open when he saw them, and maybe just the tiniest bit of drool started to pool beneath his tongue.

"Why do we have seven of these? They're one size fits all," she said. When he didn't answer, she looked up at him. The drool might have started to move onto his lip, but if it did, he's blocked that part of the memory out. He's replaced it with the sound of her bubbly laughter. She tossed one of the ties at him and it thumped against his chest before he caught it, like water, in his cupped hands. She winked at him. "Looks like I just made someone's day."

And she had. He actually skipped all the way to the subway after work, the tie folded neatly in the inside pocket of his coat, next to his heart.

He'd wanted it since he first saw it at Barney's on a Breakfast at Tiffany's, if-only-we-could-have-it-all sort of window-shopping trip with Rachel. Their imaginary budget was $50,000, and that tie was the first thing he would handed to his personal shopping assistant, if he had had one. It reminded him of the Ashton Michael houndstooth tie he'd been lucky enough to win on an e-Bay auction sophomore year, the one with two gold chains that Blaine liked to curl his fingers around when they were alone. "I don't know what it is about these chains," Blaine would whisper between soft bites to Kurt's earlobe, "but they kill me every time."

"Maybe because you like being my lucky ball and chain," Kurt whispered back once.

Blaine snorted and paused from snacking on Kurt's ear. "Oh my god, was that a They Might Be Giants reference? You can't bring up They Might Be Giants when we're about to have sex. They're a boner killer."

When Kurt reached down to check, Blaine inhaled a sharp breath and stuttered out a ghostly, "K-Kurt."

"You seem to be doing fine in that department."

Two weeks later, Blaine asked Kurt to handcuff him to the headboard for the first time, and Kurt did – hands shaking and breath faltering, but he held it together and Blaine was so beautiful with his arms stretched above his head, the soft dip of his armpits so irresistible, his body so strong and pliant and giving, and Blaine was so gorgeously powerful when he came that Kurt started crying – not from fear or newness or feeling overwhelmed (although all of those feelings applied in the moment) but because everything was so immediate and real, and because he finally understood that this was exactly the place they both had always wanted to be.

Kurt didn't show the Title of Work tie to Rachel when he got home from Vogue. He put it in the large under-bed storage box where he stowed most of his accessories, and planned not to break it out until Blaine's first visit to New York.

And then Blaine visited earlier than expected, and everything was pain, and Kurt let the tie languish under his bed for months next to the Ashton Michael tie and the Nicolina Royale brooch of the blackbird and the dove tethered together by silver links. (Blaine had loved this, too, even though he said it was a little wrong because the blackbird was bigger than the dove, and it should be the other way around, because Blaine is smaller than Kurt. But Kurt said it was perfectly right, because the blackbird sheltered the dove with its body, and that's how Kurt felt around Blaine – sheltered, and safe).

The tie stayed there through Halloween and Thanksgiving. Even after their closeness at Christmas, he couldn't bring himself to look at the tie again.

And then, in January, things happened. Kurt casually mentioned coffee with Adam and Blaine didn't freak out, and Kurt noticed this certain lightness in Blaine's voice every time he mentioned Sam, and Kurt didn't freak out – and Kurt realized he and Blaine were safe again. That even if they couldn't be what they had been, their friendship would endure.

He took the tie out of the box watched himself in the mirror as he fastened it around his collar. He knew that if Blaine saw him now he would understand, too, that everything would be okay, even though it was all different now.

Kurt looks at himself in his mirror now. It's the same mirror where he watched himself grow up – where Blaine tried to teach him how to be sexy; where they stood next to each other before their first prom and Kurt realized he didn't have to try anymore, he just was sexy when he was next to Blaine; where they fixed each other's hair after hurried afternoon makeouts; where he stared at himself and wondered who he was after that whole thing with Chandler; where he gave himself a pep talk before getting on the plane for New York.

He's grown up even more, in the months that have passed. He can see it in his face. The cherubic naïveté of yesteryear has been replaced by a chiseled confidence – not the better-than-you confidence that he wore like a protective blanket through his years in Lima, but the type of confidence that you get from admitting that you don't know anything about life, but you're going to try to live brilliantly, anyway.


Kurt takes Rachel as his date to the wedding – or technically, she takes him, since she's the one who pulls up at his house in her dads' silver Lexus an hour before the wedding is set to begin. Kurt's been ready for two hours (earlier than he expected, because he woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep, and because the bowtie choice was so easy), standing at the front window because he didn't want to sit and wrinkle his suit, practicing his voice homework and sending sporadic texts back and forth with Blaine.

Blaine: Emergency: Tina got me a boutonniere. I didn't get her anything.

Kurt: That's fine, because (1) this is not prom and (2) maybe she'll finally catch on that you're not her boyfriend.

Blaine: She knows I'm not her boyfriend.

Kurt: That's not what Mercedes told me.

Blaine: Mercedes lives in California.

Kurt: Mercedes had dinner with Tina yesterday and dessert with me. Tina thinks you're her boyfriend.

Blaine: Girls are confusing.

Kurt: I know.

Rachel whistles at Kurt when he steps into the car. "Hot damn," she says. "I wish I was an attractive young gay man, because I would totally do you."

"Rachel, you really need to stop saying things like that. It's creepy."

Rachel pulls away from the curb. "Society teaches women that our sexuality is something to be afraid of. It's important that we learn to become comfortable expressing our eroticism."

"Is that what Brody told you?"

Rachel scowls at the road ahead. "Shut up."

"I see I hit a little too close to home."

"Look. All I'm trying to say is that you look very handsome, and I hope that Ms. Pillsbury has a whole stable full of auburn-maned gay cousins, because you, Mr. Hummel, are going to get the pick of the crop."

"That sentence was wrong on so many levels."

"What?" Rachel reaches over and pinches Kurt on the knee. "Everyone should get laid at a wedding if they want to. Don't be such a prude."

Kurt rolls his eyes. "I'm not being a prude, Rachel. I'm objecting to you mixing the equine metaphor with the agricultural metaphor."

Rachel cocks her head to the side. "You're right. I didn't think of that. I'll need to work on that if I get back into songwriting."

"And also, it's kind of gross to compare men to horses."

"But why? Horses have such big penises. I mean, have you ever seen a horse erection? I saw a pony with an erection once and I swear it was so huge I thought at first that it was just standing over a random fence post. I mean, Brody has a nice penis, but if it were that big –"

Kurt closes his eyes. "Stop, Rachel. Please. Just stop. I spend every night in New York trying not to overhear your bizarre mating rituals. Can I just have a few peaceful days in Lima where I don't have to think about your sex life?"

Rachel sighs. "You're so uptight. Did everything go okay at your rehearsal with Blaine yesterday?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, with me and Finn – I'm past all of that, you know? I've grown older and moved on. I've found someone who's a better fit for me."

Kurt rolls his eyes, but she's paying attention to the road and doesn't see.

"But Finn's stuck here in Lima and he's still stuck on me. So there's some tension there, even when I don't want there to be. And it's the same with you and Blaine. You're dating someone who's older and more mature –"

"Did Adam use that word with you? 'Dating?' Because we haven't really talked about –"

"I didn't mean that he's your boyfriend or you're exclusive, Kurt. Brody and I don't define things, either. It's important at this stage in life to be free to explore multiple people."

"Oh, so is that what Brody calls it? Exploring?"

"Shush, Kurt, we're getting sidetracked. I just thought maybe you and Blaine had a fight because you've moved past him, now."

Rachel has probably said a hundred variations on You've moved past Blaine since the breakup; Kurt has never bothered to correct her, even though he's accepted that he's never going to move past Blaine since Thanksgiving. It's like saying you can grow past the need for oxygen.

Maybe, like in voice lessons and dancing, you learn new ways to use your lungs. You learn to breathe more consciously, to never get to the point where you're gasping for air.

But you still need it.

"Blaine and I are fine, Rachel," Kurt says. "Things are different, but we're fine."


Blaine is stepping out of the passenger side of Tina's Prius when Rachel pulls the Lexus into the church parking lot. His coat is the same one he wore the day of their first kiss, when they got caught in the common room only five minutes after they'd begun and moved out to the parking lot to make out in Kurt's Navigator until the sun started to set. Kurt remembers it from last Valentine's Day, too, sneaking feels under the front of it at every traffic light on the way back from Sugar's party at Breadstix. When they got to Kurt's empty house, Kurt didn't give Blaine enough time to take it off before he pressed him against the back of the entryway door and started fucking their cocks together. (There were advantages, sometimes, to having a father who spent weeks in D.C. and a stepmother who worked the nightshift.)

Kurt gets out of the car before Rachel's even turned the motor off. He vaguely hears the beginnings of her shrill protest, "Wait, you need to help me with the –" but he shuts the door before she's done. He'll ask for forgiveness later.

Blaine's talking to Tina over the roof of the Prius, facing away toward the church, so Tina's the first to spot Kurt jogging toward them.

"Hi, Kurt," Tina says. Something about the way she enunciates his name makes it sound like a curse word.

Blaine spins around. "Kurt!" The early afternoon sun catches in a halo around Blaine's hair and his eyelashes sparkle like a melody and his smile could be its own source of light. He's so stunning that it wounds Kurt's heart and heals it at the same time.

Kurt steps closer. Blaine's coat isn't buttoned, and Kurt can see the black tie knotted around Blaine's collar – not a bowtie like Blaine usually wears, but a necktie like he wore every day at Dalton, and the association makes the words of the old familiar song pop into his head and once they're there, Kurt doesn't care about being smart anymore. He reaches for Blaine's hand and speaks them.

"You're so pretty."

Blaine's eyes go wide, and he whispers "Kurt" like a secret, sacred word that only the two of them know.

"You're so pretty." Kurt closes his eyes because it's true, and if he looks at Blaine any longer this new heart that he's growing is going to burst and he doesn't know if he can grow another one after this. "And you're my best friend. I don't want anything to change that."

"It won't."

Kurt opens his eyes again, and somehow in the few moments that they were closed, Blaine's eyes have become even brighter and softer and more dazzling than they were before.

Kurt doesn't know who kisses first and it doesn't matter because Blaine's lips are against his and their hands are clinging together and Blaine is making this sweet whimpering noise and pressing closer, closer into Kurt's chest.

Tina's voice breaks through like the clatter of tin cans. "Hello! You have an audience!"

Kurt breaks away from Blaine's lips long enough to murmur, "I don't care if you don't."

"Nope," Blaine answers and they kiss again, so hot and open-mouthed it makes Kurt want to swallow Blaine whole. He presses Blaine against the car, bodies flush together, and he can feel Blaine already growing hard against his thigh.

"On second thought," Kurt says, reaching behind Blaine for the door, "maybe we should get in the car."

"Good idea," Blaine whispers breathlessly.

They scramble into the backseat amid Tina's shouts of, "You can't make out in my car! It's my car!" but when they close the door behind them, her words become muffled noise and all they can hear clearly is her fist knocking against the window above Blaine's head.

"I should feel guilty, but I don't," Blaine whispers, heaving up and pulling Kurt on top of him, and it's like falling into home.

"No, you shouldn –" Kurt starts, but his words cut off into a shuddering sigh when Blaine bites his earlobe.

The knocking stops, and there's footsteps moving away, and they start in earnest now. It's been too long since he's touched Blaine's body, too long since he's buried his face in Blaine's neck and smelled him: that odd, heady mix of Blaine's skin and hair products – raspberries and cinnamon and honey and bergamot – that have come to signify sex in Kurt's mind; and underneath it, Blaine himself, alive and clean like the air just after a lightning storm.

He could disappear into it, wants to disappear into it, almost disappears into it.

But the church bells start chiming and (even as he's kissing Blaine with such greedy desperation that he's probably leaving small bite marks on his lips) Kurt can hear Adam's voice singing harmonies with them in his head.


Maybe it's good that Mercedes comes knocking. The logical part of Kurt's brain tells him that it is, at least. Or maybe it's not the logical part of his brain. Maybe it's the useless storage bin part of his brain – the one that warehouses tired adages about moderation and maturity and sex being a two-edged sword and blah blah blah.

It is true, however, that if they'd gone on much longer, Kurt would have made sure that Blaine came in his pants, and seeing that would have made Kurt come in his pants. Kurt wouldn't have regretted the moment, but he would have regretted having to explain that particular stain to the drycleaner. Protein stains are a bitch to get out of wool. And it would have been a tad bit uncomfortable walking into the church with a damp crotch.

Walking into the church with a boner, on the other hand, feels … triumphant. Take that, Moses! Take that, Mr. Paul of Tarsus! My boner is not impressed by your petty moralisms.

A wedding ceremony might prompt more complicated stirrings in Kurt's heart, but fortunately for him, there isn't one, so it doesn't.

He doesn't go searching for Blaine after the non-wedding, but he finds him anyway, standing with Tina about ten people ahead of them as everyone files out of the church. Exiting is slow because Ms. Pillsbury's parents have stationed themselves at the exit door to vigorously shake hands with each of the guests. Kurt isn't staring, exactly, but he might be craning his neck just slightly to see Blaine a bit better through the crowd.

He catches half of Blaine's face when Blaine turns to shake hands with Mr. Pillsbury. He's wearing his look of composed gentlemanliness, but with the way the one eye that Kurt can see is squinting slightly, he can tell Blaine is thoroughly confused. He wonders if anyone other than himself understands what that look means. It's absolutely adorable.

"Ah, so you must be Emma's kids," says the mother when Rachel and Kurt reach the vestibule.

"We used to be," Rachel says, returning Mrs. Pillsbury's handshake with equal heartiness. "She helped us get into the New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts. It's very prestigious. You have a wonderful daughter."

"She's alright, I suppose," says Mrs. Pillsbury. "I'm not sure how she can stand it, though, being in a school full of brunettes and blondes all day." She lets go of Rachel's hand and tosses her hair over her shoulder. "Ours is truly a dying race. Well, now that Emma's not marrying that man, there's still the possibility that she'll mate appropriately."

Rachel's eyebrows squinch in confusion. "Your race?"

"Redheads, dear. Intermarriage is destroying us. Like the Zoroastrians. And the Jews."

"Intermarriage is not –" Rachel starts, but Kurt steps on her toe before she can continue. Usually, he'd love helping Rachel deliver a good verbal smackdown to a deserving victim, but he's just not in the mood right now. Everything so far about this visit to Lima so far has been surprisingly ... easy, and joyful, and kind.

Alienating the mother of the not-bride might give it a different flavor.

Anyway, he's kind of in a hurry to catch up with Blaine in the parking lot.

He thrusts his hand out to Mrs. Pillsbury. "You must be very happy, then," he says.

Mrs. Pillsbury beams. "Why yes, I am. Make sure all your friends know the reception is still on. We've got plenty of reason to celebrate!"


He doesn't catch Blaine in the parking lot. The Prius is already gone, but when Kurt takes his phone out of his pocket and turns it on to message Blaine that the reception is still on, he finds that Blaine has beat him to the punch.

His heart flutters in his chest.

He does his best to ignore it.


"Kur –" Blaine starts, but he doesn't get much else out because Kurt cannot keep his mouth off of Blaine's juicelicious lips. They're so plump and pliable and softer than Kurt remembers from this morning or Christmas or months ago (because how can the mind preserve a perfect memory of something so exquisite?), and the way that Blaine moves them – oh – and the little sounds, and the scrumptious taste of punch and tongue and sweet sweet Blaine, and the dear warm breezes when Blaine takes his gasping breaths.

The creaking of the bathroom door and the incessant flushing of the urinals and the loud, passive-aggressive coughing are so much white noise. So is the more aggressive coughing, and the sort-of-hesitant "Guys? Hey, guys," that becomes less hesitant and more irritable with every repetition, until –

"Blaine Devon Anderson!" Artie's voice reverberates around the men's room, causing even the classy wooden door on the stall that Kurt and Blaine are currently occupying to shudder.

"Oh fuck," Blaine mutters into Kurt's mouth, and it's not exactly the good kind of oh fuck. They start to lean away from each other, but it feels wrong, like there's a thread that's holding them together and if they step too far apart, it will snap – or strangle them both. And Blaine must feel something similar, because his eyebrows draw together like they do when everything is too difficult and it makes Kurt's heart wobble and they both mutter "oh fuck" this time – but now it's the good kind – and dive back to each other's mouths.

"Nightbird! An injustice is being committed as I speak!"

Blaine makes a frustrated moan that vibrates into Kurt's chest.

Artie bangs on the door. "A wrong must be righted! And you are the only member of the Secret Society of Superheroes who can return justice to the world!"

Kurt stifles a delighted giggle. He doesn't want Blaine to think he's laughing at his superhero ways. He's not. Kurt thinks the whole thing is hot; he's frankly a little jealous of the current students of McKinley who have seen Nightbird wander the halls of McKinley in his tights. It's not just the tights that are hot, though. It's Blaine's earnestness about the whole thing – about everything to do with making the world a kinder place. If Kurt's chained bowties are Blaine's kryptonite, Blaine's earnestness is Kurt's.

Kurt gives Blaine one long, last (for now) kiss. "If an injustice is being committed, you need to go take care of it," he murmurs sweetly, readjusting Blaine's tie.  "I can wait."

"Don't think I don't want –" Blaine starts to whisper back.

But he's cut off by Artie's groan. "Will you two lovebirds stop your cooing and open the freaking door?"

"Hold on," Blaine calls back, rolling out from between Kurt's body and where he's pressed against the wall. He trudges the five feet to the stall door and swings it open. "Yes, Dr. Y? You have a mission?"

Artie's face is … impressive. Stern, authoritative, with a strong hint of controlled anger.

Kurt misses having him around.

"Yes, Nightbird," Artie says slowly. "You see, there is only one accessible men's stall on this floor of the hotel, and –"

Blaine covers his face. "Oh my god."

"Yup. So while I'm happy that you two are finally back together and hopefully saving up again for the down payment on your Swiss chalet –"

"We're just friends," Blaine and Kurt blurt out simultaneously.

Artie looks back and forth between the two of them and laughs. "Good one, guys."

They stare at him.

He goes silent mid-laugh. "You two are serious?"

Kurt steps up behind Blaine and puts a hand on the small of his back. "We're two bros helping each other out." He hears Blaine stifle a snicker.

Artie shakes his head. "I hate to break it to you guys, but that's not usually what 'bros helping each other out' looks like."

Kurt shrugs. "To each his own. But you're kind of missing out."

Artie nods. "I'll take that into consideration. Can I have my stall now?" He holds up a hand to stop Blaine's onslaught of sorries. "You can write me a formal apology later. All I need to hear right now is that you guys didn't leave any, you know, traces of your activity in there."

Blaine jaw drops as Kurt tugs him toward the sinks. "God, no."

"Well, good. How about you leave me to do my business and you two go get a room. You know, since we're in a hotel."

Kurt and Blaine look at each other and smile. Artie is a genius.


"Want you." Kurt has Blaine pressed against the back of the hotel room door. "Want to touch you and taste you and fuck you and make you come right now and make you come later. Want everything." He tugs at the knot of Blaine's tie and unbuttons his collar to bite at the sweet, fleshy crux of shoulder and neck.

"O-okay." Blaine shudders. "Sounds like a plan."

Everything is fast and hot and Blaine is so, so hard underneath those pants and, this time around, Kurt's been hard at least since they stepped into the elevator and Blaine started giggling like an incorrigible schoolboy. "Been wanting to fuck you all day." He undoes both of their pants in quick succession, shoves them down unceremoniously, takes Blaine's cock in his hand and teases it. "Wanted you yesterday and this morning and in the church, wanted to fuck you when you were bouncing your sweet little ass around the stage –" He reaches around Blaine then, curls his fingers into that perfect-soft-firm flesh and pulls Blaine toward him, closer and hotter, until their cocks are lined up just-right-yes-perfect-as-goddamn-fucking-puzzle-pieces.

Kurt doesn't last. Neither does Blaine. But it doesn't matter. Blaine is gorgeous when he falls apart, the high line of his cheekbones flushing apricot-pink, and his eyes – he doesn't look away from Kurt for a moment, and Kurt feels his heart clench and flex in his chest like an underused muscle that's slowly learning its own power. They collapse in a sweaty, sticky heap on the floor, kissing and laughing uncontrollably, raucously, joyously, and don't stop until they've thoroughly vanquished the poor tissue box, peeled the rest of their clothes off and draped them neatly over the bedside chair.

Blaine pulls back the comforter and top sheet and crawls into the bed.

"You're naked," Kurt says, dumbly awestruck by the shift of muscles under skin, like he's not the one who just removed most of Blaine's clothes.

Blaine smiles shyly, reaching down for the sheet, pausing as if he's not sure whether to pull it over himself or leave it draped at his feet. "Yeah. I kind of am. Is that okay?"

Kurt nods and reaches over to pull the sheet out of Blaine's hand. He drops it over the edge of the bed. "Yeah. I want to look at you. It's been a while."

Blaine swallows, blinks. "Okay." He leans back into the pile of white pillows against the headboard, watching hesitantly as Kurt lowers himself next to him.

It occurs to Kurt, for the first time today, that Blaine is probably as nervous as Kurt should be. He smiles and kisses Blaine's forehead. "Don't worry. I like what I see."

Blaine lets out a small huff of laughter. It's beautiful and bright, like a young robin taking its first flight. Blaine's body goes lax and happy. Kurt puts his hand and ear on Blaine's chest; he can feel the muscles there unwinding incrementally.

"You've gotten more hair," Kurt says, tracing his finger through the sparse, wiry curls around Blaine's nipples. "I noticed at Christmas, too." He can almost hear Blaine blush.

"Yeah," he says. "It's kind of gotten to be too much for tweezing. I waxed it for the Men of Glee calendar, but everything started to come back and – I guess if I'd known I was going to end up here I would have done something about it."

Kurt kisses Blaine's sternum, feels the tickle of the short hairs against his jaw. "Mmm, no. I'm glad you didn't. I like it."

Blaine laughs again. "Really?"

Kurt looks up at Blaine, holds his gaze. "Yeah. It's you."

Blaine eyelashes flutter like tiny, light-ecstatic moths. "Thank you."

"It's also kind of hot." Kurt sucks a soft kiss to Blaine's nipple. "I never knew."

Blaine shrugs. "Well, that's not my fault. I tried to turn you on to Barry Gibb –"

"I remember you going on about his falsetto, not his chest hair."

"Well, there are many amazing things about Barry Gibb."

"Like that he's old enough to be your grandfather?"

Blaine huffs. "I never look at any of the pictures past the Guilty era. He'll always be 36 to me."

Kurt bites Blaine's pec, just hard enough to make him hiss. "That's still a little old."

Blaine hums. "Some kinds of love surpass the ages."

Kurt looks up at him – maybe a little too long, maybe smiling a little too brightly. He blushes and turns his attention back to Blaine's torso, tracing down his happy trail toward his stomach. It's grown softer since August – the lines are still there, delineating muscle from muscle, but they're less pronounced, veiled by a thin layer of fat. Kurt likes this, too, although it's hard to put his finger on why. He thinks it has something to do with the old Blaine and the new Blaine – the old one, always trying too hard to be perfect; and the new one, just trying to be.

"I'm starting to feel a little like a brass Buddha," Blaine says. "I think you're going to rub all the hair off my stomach."

"Mmmm, but your belly's kind of irresistible."

"Really? I thought it was just kind of … fluffy."

Kurt chuckles. "I like fluffy."

"You like my chest hair, you like my fat belly –"

"It's not fat," Kurt interrupts. "But even if it was –" He bites his lip.

"Not fair of you to stop there."

"I don't know. I think I'd still like it."

Blaine hikes Kurt up the bed and pulls him in for a tight, chest-to-chest hug. "You're the best friend ever."

Kurt kisses his cheek. "I'm glad I can be that for you."


They have all night. So they fall asleep with the lights on and the blankets off, using only each other's bodies for cover.


Kurt wakes up in the dark. The blankets are pulled up around him, and even before he reaches out to the left and to the right, he can tell that he's alone in the bed. He listens, and there's no sound from the bathroom. "Blaine?" he calls out. He sounds plaintive, like a small child, but he doesn't allow himself to think about it.

He rolls over and turns on the light. Blaine's pants are gone, and his undershirt and belt and jacket, but his shirt is still on the chair next to the bed where they left it earlier, and his tie is on the bedside table. So is Kurt's phone, which is flashing quietly. Kurt picks it up and checks the messages.

Blaine: Couldn't bear to wake you, Sleeping Beauty. Bringing back food in a few.

Kurt doesn't even realize how hard the panic has been clutching at his stomach until it dissipates. He turns and stretches and – ugh – catches a deep whiff of his armpits. He rolls out of bed and heads for the bathroom, flicking only the nightlight on before he steps into the shower. He feels dreamy and sweet and isn't quite ready for the full brightness of artificial day.

By the time Kurt steps out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, Blaine's back, lying on the bed next to a crystal platter of canapés and, beside it, an equally large platter of baby cupcakes.

Kurt's eyes go wide. "Did you steal all that from the reception?"

Blaine shakes his head. "More like 'rescued.' It was already winding down and they were starting to throw the food away. Miss Pillsbury's parents said to take whatever I wanted."

Kurt raises an eyebrow. "Including the platters?"

"They're disposable."

Kurt steps closer and leans in for a better look. "Holy crap. I never would have guessed. They make a disposable version of everything these days, don't they?"

Blaine shrugs and bites off the end of a tempura pepper. "Not everything." He rolls back and reaches onto the floor behind him. "They gave me this, too," he says, lifting up a green bottle.


"Sparkling cider," Blaine corrects him. "Would you have liked champagne better?"

Kurt considers. "No," he says, meeting Blaine's eyes. "Not tonight." He swallows I want to remember everything before it slips its way out.

Blaine smiles the same as if Kurt had said it, though. "Me, neither."


The inequality of the clothing situation is entirely unjust. Kurt decides that Blaine has to remove one piece of clothing for every baby cupcake that Kurt eats; Blaine is naked within five minutes.

"You know, this isn't really fair," Blaine says, swallowing the last of his spring roll and looking meaningfully at the towel tied around Kurt's waist. "You're still covered."

Kurt sucks a strawberry into his mouth. "You haven't eaten a cupcake yet."

"But these canapés are so good. You need to try the crackers with the olive tapenade."

Kurt swallows his strawberry and pops cracker into his mouth. "Holy crap," he starts when it's only half-chewed. "I think I'm having an oral orgasm. I didn't know they could make food this good in Lima."

Blaine looks smug and grabs a cupcake. "There's a lot of good things in Lima. You just have to know where to look."

Kurt's towel comes off, and the food gets pushed off the bed, and Kurt starts licking up and down Blaine's chest on the premise that some crumbs might have gotten caught in his chest hair.

"I got –" Blaine gasps, "some supplies too while I was out, in case your – oh – plans haven't changed."

Kurt moved down to nibble the flesh around Blaine's navel. "That wasn't necessary."

"Oh," Blaine says hesitantly. "New plan?"

Kurt shakes his head. "Same plan. It's just I've had supplies in my coat pocket since this morning."

Blaine's cock twitches against Kurt's chin. "Oh, that's –"

Kurt looks up. "Hot?"

"You have no idea how hot."

Kurt presses his hardness against Blaine's thigh. "Actually, I think I do." When he plunges his mouth over Blaine's cock, he's not sure who groans louder.

Kurt feels like a starving man who's just been given his first meal in forever. It's not a far cry from that – it's been six long months since he's had Blaine's cock in his mouth, six months since he's tasted the sweet-salt flavor of the sweat there, the musty tang of Blaine's earlier orgasm, the silk-soft smoothness of skin over unyielding hardness.

He's come innumerable times to the memory of it, playing in his mind over and over the feel of Blaine's foreskin against his lips, the sharp moan that Blaine makes when Kurt pushes it back and licks under it, the taste of Blaine as he starts to leak out onto Kurt's tongue.

And now Blaine is inside him, perfect sweet Blaine filling his mouth and his heart and Kurt wants and wants, never wants to stop sucking and licking and slicking hot wetness and making Blaine feel this way, making Blaine make those glorious choked-off noises that he makes when he's trying not to come too fast, trying not to come at all, trying to make it last and last.

One of Blaine's hands reaches down and grips tight into Kurt's shoulder, fingertips digging in the muscles hard and steady and it's so so hot, the way that Blaine needs; and the other hand lays soft against the back of Kurt's scalp, petting softly, gratefully, and that's even hotter somehow, all that restraint in the midst of all that need.

Kurt takes him deeper, relaxing his throat the way they do in their vocal lessons and Blaine bucks up into it instinctually before pulling back – "Oh my god I'm so so sorry" – but Kurt puts a finger over Blaine's lips and shakes his head as much as he can with a cock in his mouth and then – slowly, deliberately – he sinks deeper, sinks down until he can feel the hairs around the base of Blaine's cock tickle the tip of his nose.

The noise that Blaine makes is – Well, when Kurt was little, he thought that thunder happened when angels shook the heavens. The sound that Blaine makes is something like that.

Kurt's throat aches a little, and his jaw aches a lot, and maybe his heart aches, too – but it all feels so good, the way his muscles felt after the first week of classes with Cassandra July, where every twinge was a proud reminder of what his body was learning to do.

So he doesn't let go. He keeps holding onto Blaine, kissing him with his tongue and his cheeks and the tight heat of his throat.

"Kurt – I can't – I need –" Blaine is desperate, thrashing beneath him, that sweet restrained hand on the back of his neck curling finally into a tight fist.

Kurt lifts off only long enough to command, "Do it," but even that's too long; he feels like he's already forgetting, forgotten, and he needs to never forget. Whatever this is or isn't, whatever happens or doesn't, he needs to always hold on to the feeling of Blaine here beneath him, the contours and smells of him, the tight wet sounds, the thrumming joy in his chest. He needs to store it in his body, hold onto it until it's shaped for him a new heart that can love as fiercely as the old one.

Blaine comes with an anguished cry. It's hot and bitter and not sweet in any real sense of the word; and still it is supremely, sublimely sweet. Kurt swallows and sucks, feels Blaine go start to go softer and keeps sucking, kissing the addictive flesh until Blaine shakes out the last aftershocks of his orgasm.


"Where did you learn to do that?" Blaine says. "Or wait. Is this better off as one of those 'don't ask, don't tell' sort of things?"

"You know I haven't done anything with –" Kurt starts, but he doesn't say the name. "I would have told you."

Blaine pushes back the hair over Kurt's ear. "You don't have any obligation, too, though."

Kurt frowns. "Yes, I do. You're my best friend."

Blaine smiles like he just won the flower toss.

"And anyway, I just gave you a blowjob and I'm about to fuck you. I'm pretty sure from a safer sex perspective, I'm obligated to tell you everything."

"Fair enough," Blaine says flatly, but his eyes are twinkling. "Then are you going to tell me how you learned to do that?"

Kurt smirks. "NYADA."

"I don't remember seeing that in the course list."

Kurt bites his earlobe. "Real voice coaching does wonders for all types of vocal control."

"If that's what you've learned after a month a NYADA, I hate to think what your powers will be by the time you graduate," Blaine says. "I think you killed me."

"You can't die. I haven't fucked you yet."

Blaine winks his evil, seductive wink. "You should fuck me anyway. You probably have the power to resurrect people, too."


The skin of Blaine's pucker is seductive, too – dusky pink like his lips and so incomprehensibly smooth that Kurt thinks he could contemplate it for years and still never tire of its beauty.

He strokes the pad of his thumb over it, watches as it flushes dark like a kiss. "Do you think about me when you finger yourself?"

"Jesus, Kurt," Blaine says, his hips canting forward, his voice shaking. "You can't say stuff like that."

"I just did," Kurt says. "Anyway, I think about you."

"When you –?"

Kurt presses the tip of his thumb in, and Blaine makes a sweet, high sound that's somewhere between a whimper and a song. "When I touch myself," Kurt says. "I imagine it's you."

Somewhere in the back of Kurt's head, a voice that sounds like it might be logic tells Kurt to shut the hell up, that this is not the kind of thing you tell your ex-boyfriend/fuck buddy when you're about to slide your finger into his ass.

Kurt ignores it. "I always come harder when I imagine it's you."

Blaine reaches down and starts stroking his cock. "All the time. It's always you. You know that."

Kurt pushes his thumb all the way in.

"Fuck, but you feel so much better, Kurt. Than anything I can do."

"You do, too," Kurt mouths, but he's not sure it's loud enough for Blaine to hear.


Blaine is so hot and slick and – what was that he said about earlier about sex being like dying? Kurt understands it now. He really does. He thought he'd remembered what it felt like to be inside Blaine, to lose himself in the tight-wet fever of him, but he hadn't at all. He's going to drown in it, and he doesn't care at all.

"Kurt?" Blaine says.

Kurt opens his eyes, and remembers why he closed them. Blaine is looking up at him, so beautiful and expectant and so, so open, and Kurt feels like he could fall in if he doesn't stop himself.

He thinks maybe he already has.

"You with me?"

Kurt nods slowly. "Yeah. I just – it feels so new."

"Yeah." Blaine laughs and pulls Kurt down toward him until they're almost chest to chest. "It does."

They kiss, slow and sweet and unrushed, and Kurt moves inside Blaine the same way, trying to get used to this feeling but not quite being able to.

It's not the kind of thing you get used to.

"Kurt?" Blaine says. There's sweat breaking out on his temple, his ears, his neck. He's damp and salty and Kurt kisses and kisses and kisses.


"You feel really good."

"You do, too, Blaine."


Somehow, Kurt doesn't notice at first. Maybe he's too busy feeling Blaine under his hands and his hips and his mouth, the newness of it, the odd familiarity.

Blaine is on his back, his thighs folded against his chest, his calves draped around Kurt's waist. He uses them to tug Kurt in when he wants more, lets them lie lax and weightless when he wants Kurt to take control. They're weightless now – all of Blaine but his sweet, tight muscle feels so slack and loose and calm, and that's when Kurt notices that Blaine's arms aren't around him. They're stretched out over Blaine's head, propped against the pillows. His wrists are crossed, the way Blaine crosses them when Kurt cuffs him to the headboard.

Kurt stops, holds himself still inside of Blaine.

"What's wrong?" says Blaine.


Blaine scrunches his eyebrows. "You sure?"


"Then why'd you stop?"

Kurt glances up to Blaine's wrists. "You –" He starts. "Your hands. That's what you do when –" Kurt's not sure about speaking the words. The image is already so clear in his mind and he's thrumming with want and if he's misunderstanding, if it's not what Blaine wants –

Blaine watches him patiently. It gives Kurt the strength to continue.

"That's what you do when I cuff you. Is that – Is that what you want?"

"Yes," Blaine says simply. The smile on his lips and in his eyes is small, but clearly discernable.

"Okay," Kurt says. Kurt looks around the room, then nods toward the clothes on the chair. "I don't suppose you're hiding a pair in your suit jacket?"

Blaine giggles. "Nope."

Kurt kisses into his laugh. "We'll manage."

They do.

Blaine's tie is still sitting on the side table ("You did that on purpose, didn't you?" Kurt teases). Kurt tugs it off and lays it under Blaine's wrists, starts to wrap it around before realizing there's nowhere on the headboard to tie it to.

So he does the only thing there is to do. He ties Blaine to his own left wrist, tightening the knot with his teeth.

"Oh," Blaine says, a bit breathless, when Kurt's handiwork is done. "That's –" He stops.

"Yes?" Kurt says.

Blaine bites his bottom lip, flutters his eyelashes. "Unexpected," he says, finally.

Kurt feels a knot tighten in his stomach. "Do you want me to undo it?"

Blaine shakes his head. "No. I think – I think I like it better than what we've done before."

"Okay." The knot in Kurt's stomach loosens. "Good."

They watch each other. Blaine is flushed and he's starting to tremble, and Kurt can feel him growing harder against his stomach, and their three hands are clutched together like a holy trinity above Blaine's head. "Kurt?" he says.


"Um … Can you fuck me now?"

"Sure." Kurt chuckles. "Sorry. I was a little … overcome by you."

Blaine smiles. "I'm overcome by you, too."

When they kiss this time, it's not slow or steady or even very sweet. It's hot and needful, like a flash fire burning through their bodies, and Blaine is hot and needful, and Kurt moves in him, moves for him, trying to quench this terrifying, delicious thirst.

Their hands clench together and Kurt feels a glorious new stretch in his arm and side with each thrust. "Blaine," he says. "Oh, Blaine."

"Kurt," Blaine answers. "Kurt. Kurt. Kurt." His chest and thighs are growing slippery with sweat, from his own body and from Kurt's, and their bodies slide together ineluctably, and Kurt is getting close, closer, teetering toward the edge.

"Blaine, I love being inside you."

Blaine doesn't hesitate. "I love you."

Kurt devours Blaine, his lips and tongue and teeth and chin, wet-sloppy-disgusting-hot kisses, devours him with gratitude and devours him because if he doesn't, words are going to spill out of his own mouth and they can't, not right now, not until a calmer moment, not until he can think about what saying them means.

Blaine breaks away for breath and words fall out of Kurt's mouth stupidly, fast and reckless like air out of a tire. "I can't say it, Blaine, I can't say it –"

Blaine clutches Kurt's hand. "You don't have to."

"But I do, Blaine. Please know that I do. So much. I do. Tell me you know."

"I do, Kurt."

Kurt feels dizzy, delirious and – oddly – secure. The world has not dropped out from under him. His heart is still beating in his chest. Nothing has shattered in pieces on the ground. "Blaine, you're so, you make me, I want to –"

"I want you to."

Kurt doesn't close his eyes when he comes. He resists the temptation to let his vision blur until everything is a fuzzy flash of white. He keeps his eyes on Blaine, watches in awe as this gorgeous man watches him in awe, reaches between them and strokes Blaine's sweet sublime cock until Blaine is coming too, eyes open and on him.

Blaine murmurs sweet nothings and sweet everythings as they come down, and Kurt blushes and feels safe and, even though he's not quite ready to, he pulls the knot of the tie loose and unwinds it slowly from their wrists.

Blaine seems to sense Kurt's hesitation – or maybe he feels the same way – because he grabs the loose end of the tie once his hands are free, and Kurt latches onto the other, and they hold it between them as they lie together, their breaths slowing.