Title: Open Up your Door (One - Shot)
Word Count: ~3,000
Pairings/Characters: Blaine/Rachel - sibling AU, Kurt
Warnings: Oh so AU!
Summary: Sleepover 2: In the thores of a duet drama, Rachel and Kurt spend time planning. Kurt can't help but realise a change in Blaine's usual mood so tries to help in his own special way.
I couldn't resist writing more and since I already had half of this written, I thought I'd finish it off. It seems that people want more (you lovely people) so I thought I'd turn this into a lil bit of a verse cheesily entitled "The Sleepover Chronicles". Each will take place at one of Rachel's sleepovers and will track how Kurt and Blaine become closer as each week passes. I'll post them whenever I have spare time :)
It's not necessary but seeing as this is a verse, here's the link to the first story - All I Do Is Dream Of You
[Again FYI - Kurt and Blaine aren't dating but have known one another for a long time]
It truly was a thing of beauty or, if looked at with a more cynical eye, a product of having two very precocious children like Rachel and Blaine, that parents would build a stage in their basement.
Not only a simple stage but one equipped with bedazzled microphones, an alphabetically arranged song book collection and a luxurious grand piano.
As Rachel hunted in the small cupboard under the stairs, Kurt couldn't help but perch on the dresser and listen to Blaine play the most melancholic melody. The Anderson-Berry family were people of jazz hands and pressing through with a steely show face but Blaine was somewhat different. Kurt knew he'd suffered at his old school - possibly much the same horror Kurt had faced at McKinley - and the effects of it were hard to overlook.
Kurt had been staying over at Rachel's house for as long as he could remember and, naturally, Blaine had always been around; Kurt knew they weren't best friends but it was an alternative kind of relationship, one that made Kurt feel content. It was the unspoken familiarity of it all, the fact they spent so much time close by one another but never in deep conversation.
Something about it felt fated, shuddery warm and teetering on the edge of something wonderful. It was the anticipation of seeing Blaine that, alone, was enough to cause his heart to thud harder upon entering the Anderson-Berry household.
They shared something unspoken; written all over Blaine's face as he tickled the ivories was an expression that his entire family seemed to have missed. His eyes were downcast, shoulders slumped and heavy, curling his body inward as he took his obvious frustration out on the keys.
"Found it!" Rachel called, skipping into view holding a box of old dog-eared books. "I suggest we take a pile each and sort through them slowly to find a duet perfect for our unique style and combined tone. I have pink lemonade cooling in the refrigerator to help us work quicker." She tugged at the arm of his $60 cashmere sweater.
Blinking away from Blaine, Kurt forced a smile, tight lipped. "It seems you already have a plan but spare my sleeve. What has it ever done to you?"
"Oh. Okay, come on." The wonder of her obliviousness was a thing to behold. Blaine hadn't flinched since they'd entered the room, clearly a sign of how far away his mind seemed to be. Playing the piano always seemed to do that to him.
"Rachel?" Kurt whispered, careful to keep one eye on her brother. She turned mid way up the stairs, skirt swishing.
"Is Blaine ok? I mean, usually he'll help or at least rag on you for being so over prepared as this duet is in a month. It’s not like we haven’t got plenty of time, but he hasn't said a word."
Her forehead creased in thought before she tugged him close and out of view. "He had a bad week," she said, tone hushed but important as if sharing a long kept secret. Kurt wondered if it felt that way to her. "Do you remember the problems he faced at his old school? Those bullies? The way they hurt him?"
Nodding, Kurt couldn't help but glance around the corner, taking in Blaine's softly lilting fingers, the strong but gentle curve of his arms, his kind eyes - how anyone could find enough hatred to direct towards someone like Blaine was a mystery. Such is the world they live in - cruel, unfair and far too quick to judge. "Well, he went shopping after school yesterday for a new bow tie for Mom's birthday next week and he bumped into some of them. It seems they said a lot of things to upset him because he came home and spent the night running lines with me for West Side Story and drinking tea. He never does that unless he needs the company and, well, you know that Blaine is a coffee addict. I knew something was wrong."
"What did they say?" Her expression changed, the edges of it frayed with obvious pain. A rarity it was for Rachel to show such deep seated concern for another – usually it would benefit her in some way – but, for those she held dear, she felt their pain as if it belonged to her.
"Just the usual despicable things. He was wearing a pair of midnight blue pants with no socks and those black and white wing tips, you know, the - "
Kurt smiled. "The ones I advised him to buy from Brooks? They're spectacular."
Rachel sighed, her body growing limp. "Well, yes. You have a discerning eye but these bullies taunted him and in public too. They know he's gay so naturally they used what they could to pull him down. It’s as if he’d forgotten how bad it could be now he’s at Dalton Academy. I feel so bad for him but he bottles it all up so tight that I wonder if it's best to avoid the topic unless he brings it up. You know, I'm not one to pry."
Much, Kurt thought, but he kept tight lipped. Instead, he nodded in understanding and followed her up the stairs with one last glance at her brother.
* * * * * *
After an hour of sitting cross legged on the floor and sipping Rachel's sweet concoction from a bejewelled wine glass, Rachel huffed out a breath and threw down her book.
"It's no use. Maybe we should look elsewhere. Perhaps somewhere other than Broadway?" Kurt simply glared, eyes affixed until she smiled wide and nodded. "Oh there's a reason you're my best friend, Kurt Hummel. No. You're right. Let's stick to our mission. We're clearly not looking hard enough."
"Maybe a break is in order. I can make some warm milk for us?"
She beamed, collecting the piles of books together at once. "That sounds delicious. Do you need any help? I'm a darling in the kitchen or so my Dads say."
"I bet they do," Kurt drawled but, of course, the thinly veiled, passive aggressive insult soared over her head. "I'll be back in a while." He jabbed his finger pointedly. "And keep looking. The perfect song is in there somewhere."
With exaggerated concentration, Rachel frowned at the remaining books to peruse and sighed heavily, throwing herself back on the rug, an arm flying to hide her eyes. It was a perfect time to escape.
As Kurt made his way down the hall, it was customary to walk inconspicuously past Blaine’s room. Blaine sang a lot, dancing and moving around the large empty space at the bottom of his bed, but Kurt could only hear music playing in the background. With their parents gone, usually the Anderson-Berry kids took advantage of the treat and dialled up the volume to ear splitting levels.
If Kurt hadn’t already noticed the mood change in Blaine, this minor detail would have been enough.
“Who’s this?” The words were out before Kurt could even think to stop them.
Blaine gasped, his head snapping up at the sudden sound. Music blared from his speakers, the bass providing a deep resonating beat that vibrated even the door frame that Kurt knew he was leaning against in a far too relaxed manner. It wasn’t often that being in front of Blaine felt easy – usually, Kurt felt frantic, constantly self assessing himself as if to see himself as an outsider would.
Blaine’s eyes were bright, rounded in shock but as Kurt shrugged his welcome, they softened quickly.
“Talking Heads. It’s my seventies and eighties playlist.”
Nodding, Kurt found himself smiling easily, slipping just inside the room to lean at the wall. Blaine shifted on the spot with recognition of the imposition but he slid what appeared to be homework to one side.
“Your sister is in the throes of a Broadway related drama. There isn’t a duet in the history of musical theatre good enough for us to sing. Aside from the world debt and hunger, I think its right up there with monstrously important issues.”
The crinkles at the corner of Blaine’s eyes were addictive. Kurt knew he tried to make him smile more than anyone else; most other people received the sharp end of his wit and tolerance but Blaine was different.
“She brought me a mug of coffee with a packet of macaroons earlier. I put it down to a well performed lobotomy but, who knows. Maybe it’s the stress of choosing your next show stopping number. It must have got to her good.”
Laughing, Kurt caught himself unaware. He coughed away his nerves at the realisation that his fingers had a mind of their own. Skimming them across the waistband of his jeans wasn’t an action one indulged in when in the presence of your best friend’s brother, especially in the confines of said brother’s super stylish bedroom.
It was rather impeccable. Blaine had an unusual affinity for all things retro but his taste was unrivalled at times. He was the only person that Kurt knew who owned a record player, the crackles and mesmerising hiss providing the usual and comforting sound from his room as Kurt visited the bathroom or grabbed a late night glass of water.
If truthful, all he wanted to do was crawl up in the cosiness of Blaine’s knitted angora bed throw and watch him do, well, anything.
“So, good day?” Kurt offered a hopeful smile. Surely small talk would work to cut the tension a little.
Smoothing his palms down his thighs, Blaine shrugged. “Kind of. Wes – um, that’s my friend from school - gave me a heads up that I’m this year’s featured soloist again so that’s great.”
Blaine’s expression spoke of anything but positive feelings.
“You seem enthused.” Perhaps sarcasm would work.
Blaine chuckled to himself, his shoulders shrugging once more in a manner that appeared to be keeping his body contained, curled in on itself as it had been down by the piano.
“Sarcasm. Kurt Hummel’s speciality. This is what it feels like to be on the receiving end of it. Usually it’s Rachel.”
“Yes well,” Kurt sighed, tilting his head playfully, “she deserves it ninety nine percent of the time.”
With a swift raise of his brow, Blaine blinked. “So I deserve it?”
“Not deserve, so to speak, but you definitely don’t appear to be that excited about the honour of representing The Warblers for the... what is it? Hundredth time.”
“Very funny,” Blaine groaned, his fingers idly scratching at his temple. Kurt was sure there was a pinkness to his cheeks that hadn’t been there before. “It’s just been a rough week, that’s all. I really am excited about it. I’m not some robot of the arts who sees it as just another solo.”
“I know. You inherited the humility gene whilst your sister unfortunately missed out.”
The grin that spread across Blaine’s face was so full of delight and amusement that Kurt sucked in a breath to steady himself. “You can come in, you know? I know you’re here to see my sister but if you’re intent on teasing me then it’s only polite that I offer you a seat.”
“Actually,” Kurt laughed out, “I was going down to make some warm milk because I have a feeling your sister’s going to have an aneurism and that’s something I really do not want to witness without a soothing hot drink. Would you like some?”
For a second, Blaine didn’t move. Kurt could feel his fingertips start to shake under the scrutiny but then Blaine’s lips quirked into the softest smile Kurt was sure he’d ever seen. It was the kind of smile you make when someone presents you with a meaningful gift - the precious kind.
“Warm milk, really?”
“It’s soothing. Why? Is there a problem?” Kurt sniped, smirking. Blaine’s eyes seemed to be sparkling but Kurt reasoned it could be down to the many lamps littering his room of the rather gorgeous gilded retro clock by his bed. Regardless, Kurt shuffled on the spot, sure to check his legs weren’t entirely made of jelly.
“No. That sounds great, actually. Thank you.”
“Not a problem. I like to add cinnamon but, um, it’s up to you.”
Blaine grinned again, cheeks dimpling in the cutest way. There truly was something to be said about a good smile, one that ached with sincerity – one much like Blaine’s.
“Wow. You can come over more often.”
Kurt gasped dramatically, feigning offence. “And now I feel used.”
“No,” Blaine said, laughing and leaning forward on his bed. Kurt could help but sneak a glance at the tone of his arms and the way the muscles shifted so effortlessly, riding up his t-shirt – why did Blaine always insist on wearing those clothes inside? He was a sweater and bow tie boy usually but, in the confines of his house, he was something else entirely and it played havoc with Kurt’s ability to remember his own name. “I promise I’ll repay the favour next time you come to stay. Even?”
With a half hearted shrug, Kurt quirked his brow. “Maybe. Anyway, I’ll bring it up in a while. Maybe it’ll make you feel better.”
The realisation was delicious to watch as it washed over Blaine’s expression, turning it from amusement to confusion to wonder in a heartbeat. “What – I’m fine. I –“
“I know what a bad day looks like and you’re as transparent as your sister. Trust me, warm milk helps.”
With that, Kurt turned and left. As he descended the stairs, it was difficult to regulate the flurry of butterflies in his stomach. There was always the risk of crossing a line but Kurt knew how it felt to be alone with an overwhelming stack of issues on our shoulders, weighing you down until you the emptiness wrapped you up, encasing it all inside. The easiest way to deal with the pain was to internalise it and hide it away from the world. Blaine had a loving family so liberal that they barely had a shock reflex but that didn’t necessarily breed a household of gut spilling. It was written all over Blaine’s face – he was hurting but hell would have to freeze over before he bothered his family any further with it.
As far as Blaine was concerned, these little momentary moments of misery were blips on a radar, inconsequential nothings that could be pushed aside. Kurt knew otherwise.
Later and with three mugs of steaming warm milk on a tray, Kurt was about to step up to the second flight of stairs when he stopped, hunkering down to listen as he heard Blaine’s voice at the periphery of Rachel’s room.
“Did you tell Kurt about what happened on Friday?”
Kurt watched as Rachel chewed her lip, the puppy dog eyes appearing on cue. “He noticed you seemed down, Blaine. I wouldn’t have told anyone else but he went through the same thing so I didn’t think you’d mind.”
The crockery clinked on the tray as Kurt steadied his hands on the step in front, too afraid to breathe.
“No. I don’t mind. I just, I wish you’d let me make that decision. I don’t mind you talking to Kurt though. He’s an exception.”
“He does understand, you know? It was awful watching him go through hell at school and he tried to hide it just like you do. You’re more alike than you know.”
Kurt heard the breathless edge of Blaine’s laugh. “I’m sure he’d be thrilled to hear that. Plus, I don’t have his style.”
Rachel’s girly squeak was audible even from the stairway. “Oh he’d love to hear that. It’s true though, you dress like a Grandpa, Blaine.”
“Coming from the girl who owns a Barbra-esque pantsuit and wears brogues with woollen tights. You’re such a hypocrite!”
“Shut up, you!” She squealed. Kurt could see her stocking covered feet kicking out and Blaine’s hands shielding his face as he laughed, loud and infectious. “Ok then we’re both not as fierce and fashionable as Kurt but –“
“But nothing. Let’s just leave it there shall we,” Kurt interrupted, fighting back giggles at their stunned faces. “You’re both not as fierce and fashionable as me. This much is true.”
Crossing the room and knotting his legs to sit, Kurt placed the tray between them and glanced sideways. Blaine’s eyes were fixed on him, an unidentifiable question in his gaze but still, they were filled with gratitude.
“Oh when we move to New York we shall host the world’s most spectacular dinner parties. I have you. Practically my own personal chef.” She giggled, nudging Kurt’s shoulder repeatedly until a smile cracked his face. Remaining stoic around a giddy Rachel Berry was one of life’s impossibilities.
“I hope I’ll get an invite,” Blaine chipped in, peering over the edge of his mug with his hands wrapped tight.
“Like hell you will, baby brother,” Rachel groaned. She stuck her chin in the air with petulance but as Blaine pouted, her playfully narrowed eyes said otherwise.
“Hey,” Kurt scolded, nodding pointedly at Rachel. “It’s my dinner party so I decide who’s allowed to attend.”
As she scowled into her mug, Blaine stared over the rim of his. He looked directly into Kurt’s eyes and didn’t look away, not even for a second as he sipped slowly. Kurt felt his spine rush with tingles, toes curling in his socks at the sheer intensity of the ache he felt, the desperation to cross the distance between them. Blaine looked delectable to cuddle close to and, for once, Kurt allowed himself to imagine it.
His face must have altered, betraying his feelings as he blinked into the moment to find Blaine smirking, his lips pressing gently to the edge of his mug. The heat on Kurt’s cheeks flamed but he glanced towards Rachel. She seemed oblivious.
Kurt tried to breathe deep to suppress the excitement pooling low in his stomach, tugging at his chest and making him helpless with how much he wanted in that one moment. He wondered, briefly, how he would ever survive next week’s sleepover.