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This Is Not An Epiphany

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On Easter Eve, the sun comes out and dances with the moon.

It’s a stupid bit of childhood folklore, passed down to Kurt from his grandmother, and Kurt had long ago eschewed organized religion or holidays that didn’t invite glamorous decorating schemes. But as a kid he’d always tried to stay up late, to see the moon and the sun, and even if his mom had always caught him and tucked him into bed before he’d ever gotten to catch a glimpse, the childish magic of the idea has always lingered.

It’s that that makes him not reject Adam out of hand when he suggests going to church on Easter Sunday (“Or maybe Easter Vigil, Kurt, they have the most fantastic bonfire!”) - not that he says yes, he just doesn’t immediately shut Adam down.

Kurt doesn’t say yes until Blaine - in town for spring break and to check out NYADA, ostensibly - gets into an argument with Adam (it’s polite, it’s friendly, it’s funny, but it is still an argument) about the finer points of distinction between Catholic and Anglican doctrine.

“No, see, after the Reformation -”

Adam just grins and leans back in his chair. “No, here, I’ll prove it to you, come out with us Saturday night, for the vigil.”

Blaine catches Kurt’s eye over the top of Adam’s head. “You’re going to church?”

Kurt wasn’t going to, actually, but Blaine is giving him the please-get-me-out-of-this look, and Blaine is in his house, and got himself into an argument with his boyfriend, and he can deal with the consequences of both of those choices.

“Yeah! You should come too. Adam says St. Patrick’s is beautiful.”

“Does he.” Blaine’s hands are curled on the table, and when he turns his head to look out the window Kurt can see how tight he’s holding his jaw.

He’s all smiles, though, when he looks back at Kurt. “Do you have a hat I could borrow?”

Kurt shouldn’t laugh at the old in-joke. But he does.


It’s cold, spring-cold, blue-black damp night when they emerge from the subway, Rachel’s hand tucked in Blaine’s arm, Adam’s shoulder brushing Kurt’s, Santana stalking ahead of all of them. The cathedral glows in the dark, amber bleeding out into the night from under the geometric web of scaffolding that surrounds it. They tried to be early, but they’re not early enough to snag a whole pew together, so Santana and Rachel take the one in front of the boys (Santana’s hand is surprisingly gentle on Rachel’s shoulder when she leans down to flip up the kneeler) and Kurt finds himself awkwardly with Adam on his right, and Blaine on his left; the Maginot Line and Sarajevo all at the same time.

If this were anywhere but New York City Kurt would feel horrifically out of place and uncomfortable; but it is New York City, and so he just feels generally out of place and uncomfortable. The space feels ancient, monolithic; soaring and yet constricting, columns stalking away into darkness up the aisle and tieing heaven to earth. The acoustics are strange, unfamiliar, amplifying and muting the quiet rustle of voices and footsteps and outerwear being shed, and when the organ starts to play it shocks the air alive, and vibrates the floor beneath his feet.

Music, a crowd; his friends and classmates; dusty music books and discordant singing: the elements are familiar, but it all feels so strange. Kurt doesn’t listen to the mass. At first he lets his mind drift, tracing the columns and arches and stained-glass patterns with his eyes until he gets bored. Then he starts watching the crowd; typical New York city motley, some tired, some eager. Santana’s head starts to nod until Rachel pokes her in the side. Blaine changes the cross of his legs, and whispers “sorry” and scootches away when his thigh brushes Kurt’s. Adam leans forward to put a hymnal back in its pocket and, when he leans back, lets his hand fall to the pew beside Kurt’s, fingers just touching.

There is a bonfire, eerie in the late city night. It reminds Kurt of Rent, burning scripts and music in barrels for warmth, the past gone to heat the future. He tosses in his own sprig of palm leaves, taken from the table by the door, and watches the fire lick and crackle up the veins of them, and then fade and crumble into ash.

It’s a big congregation, a big fire, a long line of people circling it and throwing on their palms. It’s nothing like Kurt imagined the sun dancing with the moon would be, but as he stands there and pulls his jacket tighter against the cold night air, it feels the same. Something odd, something otherworldly, folklore and fantasy coming to life, for a night, old stories and fables with a moral couched more or less obnoxiously in them.

Lent: forty days of preparation and atonement. Ashes and fire to bookend it all, the cycle of life and death. So literary, so symbolic, so incredibly pagan - Kurt thinks he might like the irony of it as a church holiday.

Next to him Blaine shifts from foot to foot, cold in the wind, and when he feels Kurt’s eyes on him he turns to look, and for an instant their gazes catch. Kurt looks away first, and reaches out for Adam’s hand. Adam squeezes his gratefully, but it doesn’t erase the image of the brightness of Blaine’s eyes from his mind.

Back inside, for the rest of the mass. It’s warm, now, overheated with the press of bodies and Kurt feels better, lighter, more comfortable. It’s familiar, almost, this unfamiliar space. This is a place where families come, where celebrations happen, and those are things that he is used to, things that are good. The service drones on and Kurt slips into something actually like contemplation. Meditation, maybe. The things he used to want. The things he thought he would have, for himself, and for his family. The things he is beginning to learn he will always have.

The things he thought he would always want, except -

Except fire, and ash, and death, and rebirth. A beginning, an ending. A cycle. No beginning.

No ending.

The Easter candle - it’s Rachel, of all people, who schooled him in these things, because she is comfortable with and shameless of tradition - is lit from the bonfire. The flame is passed around, hand to hand, multiplying in the dark; little lights flickering alive down the pews. It comes to Adam first, closest to the aisle, and he cups Kurt’s hand in his to keep it steady while he touches his candle to Kurt’s.

All of the electrical lights in the cathedral are off, now; there is only the glow of the candles, like a field of stars. They reflect in Blaine’s eyes, pinpricks of light when Kurt turns to him and holds out his hand.

Kurt doesn’t have to touch his hand, except that he always has, if he’s been given the chance, and time and distance has not lessened that streak or that impulse. It’s been a long, hard month since the non-wedding. His dad’s been through surgery and chemo and it’s killed Kurt, that he can’t be there for him. But Blaine has taken his place, and if at Christmas he’d resented that by now he’s realized what a gift it is, what a blessing, what an inevitability. Blaine has been the third Hudmel boy since he kissed Kurt over a dead bird’s casket, and he never has stopped being one. Kurt had finally stopped resenting it when he’d finally realized it had nothing to do with him at all. You don’t get to choose your father’s sons.

So he touches Blaine’s hand, and passes the flame along, and Blaine’s eyes are candle-flecked and patient. Sure.

Forty days in the desert. Fire to ashes.

It’s almost midnight by the time mass is over, and long past midnight when they finally make it back to the loft. Adam stays for a cup of coffee. Rachel is asleep almost before they make it in the door, and Santana waves herself off with a promise to make braided bread in the morning (Blaine, at the table across from Adam, looks shocked. Kurt shrugs; they all have their own sacred things.)

Adam doesn’t stay over nights, even if there had been any room for him, and tonight Kurt feels so grateful for that, for so many reasons. When he finishes his coffee and washes out his cup Kurt watches him with honest affection, and then follows him to the door.


When he comes back in all of the lights are out, except the glow of the little lamp on the table, where Blaine sits, head propped on his hand looking out the window. He looks tired.

“You didn’t have to wait up.” Kurt grins a little, and is surprised at himself, and leans against the pillar.

“I know,” Blaine says easily, and lets his hand rest back on the table. The atmosphere is easy, familiar, warm, and now that Kurt has stopped fighting it he feels the rightness of it, what they are beyond any power of his desires. Their only bounds are their choices.

“I’m going to go to bed now, though,” Blaine says, and lifts his hand again to cover the yawn.

He looks surprised, and then wary, and then hopeful, and then guarded, when Kurt follows him into the partition they’ve added for him. The guardedness and the wariness deepens when Kurt twitches the partition curtain closed behind himself, and sits on the edge of Blaine's mattress.


"Take your clothes off."

Blaine's eyes go wide, and even in the shadowed dark Kurt can see him go pale. "What about Adam?"

"Would it make a difference?"

Blaine swallows, and the shadows on his throat shift. "Yes."

And that is it: This time, Blaine will wait.

Kurt has made him wait long enough. "I ended it with Adam."

Blaine's chest rises and falls. "Kurt. When?"

"Just now."

Blaine runs a hand through his hair, and looks down at Kurt helplessly. "Why?"

"Take your clothes off," Kurt says again, and feels his fingers twitch in his lap when Blaine's hand flexes at his side. "And I'll show you."

For one awful instant Blaine doesn't move, and Kurt thinks that he won't, that he was wrong, that all of this was for nothing and will come to nothing. But then Blaine breathes, "Kurt," and his hands go to the buttons of his cardigan.

There are candles on the overturned wine case that's doubling as a nightstand. The power keeps going out and it's easier just to keep them, and matches, everywhere. Kurt lights one, and then another, and then turns back to watch Blaine.

Blaine stops, again, with Kurt's eyes on him, his fingers curled into the waistband of his own trousers.

"Kurt," his name, again, and Kurt knows all the ways Blaine says his name. This one is new. "Are you sure?" One last out, one last chance, one last prayer that this is going to mean what Blaine wants it to mean.

Kurt starts unbuttoning his own shirt.

Then they're both naked; Kurt, kneeling on the bed; Blaine, standing in front of him, his skin pebbled in the cool air.

"Come here," Kurt says, and holds out a hand.

Blaine goes.

They lay on their sides, facing each other, only their hands caught and tangled in between. Blaine's eyes are bright in the dark, wide and disbelieving, moving over Kurt's face like he's never seen it before, or never will again. He only blinks when Kurt untangles their hands to skim up Blaine's wrist, his arm, rubbing at the tender skin at the inside of his elbow and skimming over the soft lines of muscle in his upper arm. Blaine's clavicle is shadowed, and Kurt dips his fingertips into it, rubs his thumb along the bright ridge of bone. He can feel when Blaine swallows, his breath still controlled and even, and he leaves his palm on the side of Blaine's throat, feels the soft beat of his pulse through his skin. Blaine blinks mildly, and then closes his eyes when Kurt skims a fingertip over his forehead, to his temple, down his nose, gently stroking over eyebrow and eyelid. Quiet touches, slow touches, gentle touches.

The calm starts to give, just a little, the first rippling currents of unrest, when Kurt's hand leaves Blaine's face and start tracing down again, across his breastbone, touching lightly across his chest. Kurt doesn't move any farther, though, just lingers and traces circles Blaine's nipple with a thumbnail, light scratches over pebbled skin. They have hours until sunrise. Kurt is in no hurry.

Chest to waist and waist to hip; Kurt takes his time, fills his eyes and his fingertips with the sense of Blaine's skin, Blaine's body warm and alive. Blaine is patient, slow-steady breathing that doesn't hitch when Kurt rubs his thumb over the smooth jut of hipbone and the thin soft skin below it. Patient, but wanting; his eyes are hooded but bright and he's not moving not because he doesn't want to, but because he's waiting.

It’s not Blaine’s patience Kurt is testing now, it’s his own. He slides just a little farther down the bed so he can touch Blaine’s thighs, the strong-coiled strength of his legs, lying calm and quiet now. The complex sliding bones of his knees, shifting with telegraphed motion when Blaine flexes his feet. The bunched muscles of his calves, and fine-boned ankles.

Kurt shifts onto his knees and Blaine rolls onto his back when Kurt touches his feet, skimming down the fine bones, tracing the strong tendons, stroking the instep with his thumbs, digging in a little harder when Blaine’s eyelids flutter. Blaine bends his legs to brace his feet on the mattress, and Kurt curls a hand around each ankle and rests there, looking up the length of Blaine’s body, naked and bared and open. The reflected candlelight flickers when Blaine blinks, and there’s a flash of dark pink when he touches his tongue to his lips. Kurt is done making them wait.

He doesn’t let go of Blaine, just lets his hands glide up his body, ankle to leg to waist to chest and then down his arms again, closing around Blaine’s wrists while he hovers over him, weight braced on his own elbows and their faces so close in the candle-flecked dark.

“Kurt,” Blaine whispers, and it’s out of turn, not part of Kurt’s plan except that none of his plans have ever worked without Blaine anyway. That’s the whole point.

“I love you.”

Blaine blinks, again, and the faint light of the candles glows over his eyelids, then catches in the liquid dark of his eyes. “I know.” His wrists flex under Kurt’s hands, and Kurt eases the pressure enough for Blaine to slide them out of Kurt’s grasp and take his hands instead.

Kurt lets Blaine lace their fingers together, and then slides back down his body, settling between his knees. Blaine is hard, thick and and Kurt tries to let go of their hands, the better to take Blaine in. When he loosens his grip, though, Blaine just clings tighter and Kurt has to work just with his mouth.

Blaine is thick and slick and velvety-soft on his tongue, and he doesn’t wait for Kurt to get comfortable before he bucks up. He’s still holding Kurt’s hands and Kurt can’t hold his hips down like this, has to let him take what he wants from Kurt, has to take what Blaine’s giving him.

Kurt’s eyes water and he blinks and blinks but can’t clear them, the relief and the blooming ecstasy that this is, Blaine so vulnerable and so demanding. Blaine holds his hand and his heart and his attention and Kurt lets him have them, his punishment and apology for what he hadn’t given Blaine when he’d needed it and hadn’t known how to ask. He thrusts and Kurt swallows around him, sucks and laps and hollows his cheeks and tries to swallow it all down, the spit and the salt and the sting of his own eyes.

It’s too much, though, and his chest cracks and his own sob mingles with Blaine’s broken moan when he arches his back and squeezes Kurt’s hands and comes, bitter-slick, in his mouth, breath ragged and hard and his pulse pounding in his wrists under Kurt’s clinging fingers. It’s way too much, his own cock hard and his balls aching but his nerves still stripped and exposed, like he’s the one who just came. He presses his forehead into Blaine’s bent knee and hides there, catching his breath, trying to grab at his cracked composure and make this something measurable again, something he can understand.

Blaine still hasn’t let go of his hands, and Kurt is keenly aware, feels it like fading embers when Blaine starts to unpeel their fingers, feels the way the muscles in his leg move, every part of him connected and working together, when he reaches to touch Kurt’s face. Kurt blinks, and turns his head, and looks at him. Blaine swipes a thumb under his eye, gathering the wetness there. The room fractures into a kaleidoscope of gold light until Kurt blinks again and there is just Blaine, and his ember-dark eyes, his amber-lit skin.

Blaine lets his hand fall to Kurt’s shoulder and tugs a little, pulling him up. Kurt reaches for Blaine’s bag, next to the bed, but Blaine gets there first. He digs through it and when he hands him only the lube, Kurt raises an eyebrow. Blaine nods, an affirmation. Kurt takes a breath, and trusts him.

Blaine’s body is hot, and tight, and it’s still only touch, Kurt’s fingers on Blaine’s skin, inside of him. It’s so much, though, and Blaine is so beautiful, crooking an arm behind his head so he can watch, muscles tightening in his shoulder and all along his side.When he’s ready, when Blaine stops holding in the little whimpered breaths as he rides Kurt’s fingers, Kurt pulls back and reaches for the lube again.

They’ve never done this, not like this, and the scorching heat of it, skin-to-skin and the closest they can be, is almost enough to undo Kurt on the spot. He pulls in a breath and holds back, though; grabs Blaine’s hand and breathes and doesn’t come while he pushes into silky-tight-hot. Blaine’s spine bends and Kurt’s does too, curving asymptotes of pleasure, and Kurt uses his free hand to hitch Blaine’s hips to a better angle and starts to fuck into him.

He chases the curl of Blaine’s spine, the hitch of his breath, the clench of his fingers and the flutter of his eyelashes as his cock starts to swell and fill again, everything he’s wanted to badly to see, to cause, to believe, what their bodies can do together. The heat of it is melting Kurt,from his dick to his spine and all across his skin. It contains and comprises him while under him, with him, surrounding him, is Blaine, skin aglow, eyes blown-black, mouth dry and open and gasping. It’s cracking Kurt from the inside, licking flames of pleasure at his joints dissolving his wholeness, Blaine around him breaking him apart.

He tries not to, tries to hang on, needs this to last, but Blaine’s hands come up and grab at his ass, pushing him down, pulling him close and Kurt can feel everything, every cell in his body aware of the the hot-hard press of Blaine’s dick against his stomach, of the scratch of his hair against his skin, of his breath as he starts to pant, damp against the skin of Kurt’s neck “God, Kurt, fuck, oh god, please -” and Kurt can’t, scrabbles to hang on but the pieces of himself fall out of his hands and he shatters there on the mattress, bright-glowing white-flickering pleasure shocking in its totality as he crashes apart. He comes, hips thrashing, biting Blaine’s shoulder to muffle his own gasps while Blaine keens and throbs and comes around him.

It’s a long time, coming down. The impulse that had been there, before, to pull away and get out, is gone. There’s only drifting stillness, punctuated by their breath, a calm as profound as the stars. Kurt keeps his head pressed against Blaine’s shoulder and just breathes until he feels the gentle press of Blaine’s hand on his back, and then he lifts his head and looks down at him, at his so-close, so-loved face alight in the reflected candlelight.

Blaine slides his hand down his back, down the line of his spine and then smooths to his hip, holding him. “Kurt,” he says, so quiet in the dark that his voice is barely a whisper, a black-and-white hush of sound.

“Mm?” Kurt presses a thumb to the mark his teeth have made on Blaine’s skin, and Blaine’s eyelids dip.

“I love you.”

“...I know.”

He hasn’t, yet, and now he knows why, as Blaine’s eyes fall to his mouth and then back up to his eyes, and Kurt lets his hand slide up the side of Blaine’s neck, to his jaw, and kisses him.

It’s sweet at first, even chaste, if anything can be chaste with Kurt’s softening cock still inside Blaine. But then Blaine breathes in and opens his mouth and then it’s not chaste at all. Kurt gets his hands in Blaine’s hair and Blaine’s arms wrap around his back and they’re as close as they can be but it’s not close enough, sharing breath and sweat and skin while Kurt licks into Blaine’s mouth, and holds him there.

Kurt gets up on his knees, his back bowed over Blaine so that Blaine has to crane to reach his mouth. He nips at Kurt’s lip and then lets his head fall back on the pillow when his neck can’t take the strain anymore, blinking dark-eyed up to him.

Kurt can feel the shift in the air before Blaine moves, the sudden spark of energy as his muscles bunch and coil and then Blaine is on him, rolling him, pressing Kurt down into the bed and kissing him and kissing him and kissing him. It’s instinct to tense, to flinch back, to push away, but it’s like the impulses aren’t making it from his brain to his limbs. Kurt takes a breath, scent of Blaine and sweat and spunk, and lets them go.

Blaine’s mouth on him, slick and strange and so familiar, makes him choke, and a flailing hand knocks the night stand and sends the candles toppling over, guttering out in their own wax. He bites at the palm of his own hand and blinks into the dark-black-dark-black, Blaine’s tongue on him gentle, relentless through the oversensitivity.

He moves farther down and Kurt lets his legs fall open, arches his hips to press forward when Blaine tongues behind his balls. It’s not something they ever did, not like this, too dirty and secret and close for Kurt to bear. But Blaine has all of him now, and he has all of Blaine, and neither of them are saints and this is just what they have, to hold and to offer. So Blaine licks him open, tongue flicking and kissing and then pressing, stroking, fucking, and it’s everything they never said, never had words for.

Blaine reads his whimpers and eases up, ends with a kiss to his hip and then slides up his body. His skin is dark without the glow of the candles, gray in the dimness, and against him Kurt’s hands are pale when he runs them up Blaine’s sides and laces them at the back of his neck. Blaine’s cock nudges, hard again, against Kurt’s hip, and Kurt could laugh except that Blaine’s eyes are too serious on his, and he has to close his when Blaine leans down to kiss him, gently, on the mouth.

“Please don’t,” Blaine whispers against his lips, and brushes his thumb under Kurt’s eye. Blaine shifts his hips, and reaches down between them, but it’s not until Kurt opens his eyes again that Blaine curls his hand around his jaw, and starts to press in.

Blaine inside him again is everything. Like his body is on fire from the inside, sparking jumps of nerves lighting from where Blaine is pressed into him, stretching and filling. It feels like his soul is on fire while their fingers catch and cling and they can’t look away from each other. Outside is cold but here, in Blaine’s arms, Blaine in him, the warmth shivers to life and catches in Blaine’s eyes, so bright in the dark, reflected moonlight and the glow of Kurt’s skin.

It’s slow but it’s anything but calm, Blaine’s hands on him, Kurt’s hands on Blaine, taking all of the pieces and putting them back together so they can fall apart, together, and be safe, tangled shattered parts to make something like a whole. Kurt kisses him and loses himself, finds himself, in Blaine’s body while the pressure builds, tender stinging push and pull. He wraps his legs around Blaine’s waist and pulls him closer, needs him everywhere, wants him always.

It starts as a spark, the familiar pressure, rising and coiling up his spine and he doesn’t try to fight it, has nothing left to fight it with even if he wanted to. He breathes, Blaine-scent in his mouth, warmth in his lungs and heat in his core, and lets go.

Pleasure in waves, as his body gives in, gasping and rolling and tightening around Blaine who muffles a shout in Kurt’s mouth and comes, bodies seized and tangled together, clinging kissing panting heaving mess. Kurt strokes his hands along Blaine’s back and Blaine’s hands are in his hair, soothing silent there, there as Blaine blinks sex-heavy eyes and Kurt tries to understand where he ends and Blaine begins.

It’s a long time coming down, quiet kisses and touches and slow, reluctant untangling of fingers and buzzing-drowsing limbs. They clean up, sheets to wipe away the worst of the mess, and then Kurt is on his side and Blaine’s arms are around him, Blaine’s head tucked into his chest and their legs tangled again, under the blankets, over-warm and exhausted. Kurt could stay here forever; here is forever. He blinks his eyes, hard, and nuzzles a kiss into Blaine’s hair when Blaine sweeps a hand down his spine.

“Kurt?” Blaine lifts his head to look up at him, blinking sleepily, when Kurt can’t stop the sniffle at the way it doesn’t even have to be for sex for Blaine’s hands to contain him and take him apart. Blaine’s eyebrows instantly pinch in, worried and a little afraid. “Are you okay?”

Kurt nods, and tucks his head down so that they’re nose-to-nose on their shared pillow. There are things he could say, about what he’s learned, about betrayal and the process of grief, and faith, and rebirth. That forgiveness is a long, slow, agonizing process and that it takes time. That it’s taken time. And now that he could say it, now that they are here and close and together and have no words left to wound with; he could say it. But he blinks and curls his fingers through Blaine’s between their bodies and watches Blaine watch him, and knows that Blaine already knows.

“I love you,” he says instead, and smiles at Blaine’s smile, so sweet and so relieved.

“I love you too.”

Sleep rolls over him, heavy like a wave. Kurt holds Blaine’s hand, and goes under with him.


The sun, just coming up over the world outside. Gold and red and soaking the streets in color, Kurt pushes up the window to the fire escape and leans out, sucking in a hissed breath at the cold air.

The blanket-huddled lump at his feet shivers, and Kurt reaches down to pet at the dark curls.

“You could have warned me,” Blaine complains sleepily.

Kurt just smiles. “You wouldn’t have gotten up otherwise. Come on, get dressed.”

Out on the street the color is brighter and deeper as the sun crawls higher, early crisp-clear March morning. Kurt tucks the ends of Blaine’s scarf into his coat for him, and feels the smile on his cheeks, the way he has every time, when Blaine holds out his hand for him.

It’s not far, just a walk around the block, but Kurt needs to be outside, needs to see the sky and smell the air (exhaust and the wrung-clean scent of morning, even in filthy New York) and hold Blaine’s hand and make sure this isn’t all going to vanish into the dawn, like mist, like a dream.

At a corner stall there are flowers, and Blaine stops and touches the bunches of roses, yellow and red, and raises shy eyes to Kurt’s. And he’s tempted, he is, and maybe again, someday, but - Kurt shakes his head, and reaches for the white.

They give the flowers to Santana, who rolls her eyes but smiles anyway and finds a bowl to put them in. The apartment is warm and snug after the crisp air outside, and warm and fragrant with the smell of baking bread. Blaine helps set the table and Kurt pulls back the curtain to his little partition, to let in more of the light.

The bed is there, empty and rumpled and still warm, and it keeps catching Kurt’s eye as they eat breakfast, Rachel kicking at his foot under the table and giving him a look because her room and Blaine’s share a curtain. Oops. It’s okay, Kurt tells her with just the arch of an eyebrow. They won’t bother her tonight - Blaine won’t be staying there anymore.

Rachel rolls her eyes, too, and it’s too much time spent with Santana, clearly.

After breakfast there’ll be dishes to wash, itineraries to confirm, plans to make. So Kurt takes one last moment, in the quiet and the calm, and wraps one hand around his coffee mug and the other around Blaine’s, who looks up, startled out of conversation with Santana. When Kurt leans in to kiss him, smoke rising and twining from their mugs, Blaine’s smile is like every sunrise there ever was or will be.