Title: Tricks (One - Shot)
Word Count: ~6, 600
Pairings/Characters: Blaine/Rachel - sibling AU, Kurt
Warnings: Oh so AU!
Summary: Sleepover 5 (kind of!): Rachel arranges to meet Kurt to shop for 'pamper night' supplies but she has something else in mind entirely.
...and there's more! So I hope this pay off was worth the wait :) Oh how I adore writing sneaky Rachel and the fall out of her ridiculous plans.
See previous parts of the verse for full author notes. More shall definitely come soon.
It's not necessary to read the previous sleepovers but it is probably best you do as it is a gentle development :)
So,” Rachel sighed, appearing at Blaine’s door with a plate of cookies and large glass of milk.
Blaine glanced up from his homework and headache, confused. “So?”
She huffed. Clearly Blaine was supposed to be a mind reader. “Dad said you were successful with the Summer job.”
Blaine smiled, remembering. “I did. Is that what the cookies are for? Celebratory present for your lucky ‘I got the role by the skin of my teeth’ brother?”
She frowned, taking a spot on the bed beside him and folding her stocking-clad legs under her. Placing down her gifts, Blaine could see the softness in her usually steely eyes. “You didn’t tell me.”
“I only found out an hour ago and, correct me if I’m wrong but you’ve been so Finn- consumed that you wouldn’t have noticed if I’d sprouted an extra head.”
“Fine.” She spat the word with such fierce petulance that Blaine felt the bed move. She flounced off, hands balled to fists by her side but she stopped as she reached the door, twirling in indignance. “I only wanted to say congratulations but clearly I’m useless. I’m a useless girlfriend, useless friend and I’m a never going to NYADA, never going to be able to compete with all of the foetus stars with unbelievable credits and the best high kick I’ve seen in my life. I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment as a sister.” Her voice was harsh, limbs stiff.
Blaine let her rant. If there was anything he’d learned about his sister’s temperament, it was her need to let it all out, to unleash her drama on the world and vent her pain. Passionate people always needed a release and a way to snap their intensity - Rachel’s was a well practised ballad, her strength and paradoxically femur emotions fused together and blasted her feelings into the ether until everything was clear again and the clouds were parted.
Until the next time.
Her lips were forced into a tight bow and Blaine knew that a ballad simply wasn’t going to cut it this time.
“I’m bored of Chaucer anyway,” he said softly, smiling with a duck of his head. He caught her eye line and, quick as lightening like a crying child presented with a lollipop, she brightened.
She joined him on the bed again, silence reining for a moment as Blaine nibbled one of her iced sugar cookies. She was annoyingly good at that too.
Eventually, she spoke. “It is amazing that you got the part. Did it go well?”
“The head judge seemed impressed. It wasn’t going well to begin with but I used your wise words of encouragement and flashed him some teeth and slipped in some well executed vibrato. They said they’d be fools not to cast me. So all in all, I did ok, I guess.”
Rachel nodded, assessing him. “You have a much better range now. I do think the Warblers have helped to mould your raw talent into something with usable potential. People can see that without looking for it.”
He blinked at her, smiling. “Who are you and what have you done with my sister? You’re far too sweet.”
Her forehead curled up, pain registering there.”I do try hard. I know I make mistakes but I just want to live life to the full and do what’s right but -“
“Are you going to tell me what this is all about or am I going to have to read between the lines?”
She toyed with her fingers for a second, worry lines still visible. Everything screamed Finn Hudson and Blaine pushed down his exasperation with their whiplash romance to nudge her shoulder gently.
He could hear her breathing stutter, mouth opening as if to speak but still, she said nothing.
“You can talk to me, you know? I know we’re programmed to compete and argue but we are brother and sister. You’re upset. Stop being dramatic. Stop enjoying the suspense and spill.”
She went to scowl but his honesty worked, her eyes sliding into resignation. “Don’t hate me,” she whispered.
“I stuffed the ballot boxes in the election and Kurt was accused of cheating -“
Blaine’s stomach dropped like lead. “Rachel! You -“
“I know, I know,” she whined, the start of tears pooling along her lashes, she pressed her hands into the bed in obvious frustration. “I just wanted to help him so badly. I made a mistake and I have to pay for it. I’m truly sorry, I really am but it means I have to miss Sectionals and I’m suspended, Blaine.”
Her chest heaved with sobs but Blaine could hardly move. “You did tell the truth though, right? You cleared Kurt’s name because if not, Rachel, then -“
“Of course I did. I thought against it as nobody would be able to prove Kurt did anything but then Figgins dragged him into his office and I panicked.”
“Rachel.” His sigh was laboured, heavy with disappointment and the almost laughable way that part of him wasn’t shocked. She loved Kurt and she loved herself - both good reasons to snatch what she wanted with both hands.
“You hate me,” she said, sniffing with a pathetic wet noise in her throat.
“I don’t hate you. You just do stupid things sometimes,” Blaine sighed with a shake of his head. She looked into his eyes, forlorn. “This is one of your more impressive catastrophic mistakes but you won’t do anything like this again, will you?”
“No. I’ve learned my lesson,” she whispered. Her shoulders wilted as she pressed her face into her hands, hiding. “I also may have messed up with Finn too.”
There it was. Another chapter in the great story of Finn and Rachel. Blaine almost held his breath, as if waiting for the big reveal in a hideously cheesy soap opera - she lived her life much the same sometimes. “Come on then, what now? Artistic differences? A scheming Cheerleader with zero conscience? The inimitable Miss Fabray? Puckerman and his cocky libido? Jesse St. Big head? Or something new?”
“No. None of those things. It’s, um, it’s nothing really. Just.” With a shaky breath, she whispered, “Sex” into her hands and threw her upper body forward, curling into a ball.
Well, that was new and… disturbing. It was a necessity to never ever hear of anything even remotely related to Rachel’s sex life. She didn’t have a sex drive, only a wish to hold hands and kiss without hands wandering into intimate places. If it all stayed unspoken between them then Blaine knew he’d be lucky and he could sleep peacefully at night.
Clearly it wasn’t meant to be.
With a regretful heart, Blaine broke the awkward silence. “Had or considered?”
She squeaked, shaking her head. Her words rumbled into the mattress. “Nearly had, definitely considered. It was a beautiful night.”
“If he pressured you then -“
“No!” She sat bolt upright, eyes frantic. “No. Not at all like that. If anything, I was the one to push for it and suggest it. I just wanted - I - I wanted…”
“What? Wanted what?”
“To be the best Maria I could be.”
There it was. The ludicrous comment he knew was hidden in there somewhere. She thrived on the particular moments in life that came hand in hand with drama.
“And by this you mean that you wanted to sleep with Finn as some sort of method acting? To understand Maria?”
“Oh, Blaine,” she sobbed, suddenly clinging to his arm and pressing her damp eyes into his sweater. The wool became soaked in seconds.
“I take it he found out?”
Her whimper was enough of an explanation.
“Rachel, you need to talk to him. I get it, I do. But apologise and make him see he’s not just a means to an end. That is if you actually do want to take things to the next level with him.”
After a few sniffles, she took a breath, answering, “I do.”
“Well, make it right. With Kurt, too. Is he mad?”
Her hair tickled his chin as she shook her head. “I don’t think so. He lost though. Brittany won the election.” She leaned back to look into his eyes. “He was ever the dignified loser, congratulating her and being supportive. I could never be as good as he is sometimes.”
“Just show him you care and I have a feeling Kurt will understand. As much as he fights it, he does have a soft spot for you.”
She wiped at her blotchy cheeks and sucked in air, rearranging her crinkled cardigan. “You like him don’t you? Kurt.”
Blaine felt the panic creep in. “What do you mean?”
With a smirk, her tears almost gone, she shrugged dismissively. “I’m extremely perceptive, Blaine. Just because you’re my brother and he’s my best friend doesn’t mean I’m blind to the attraction there. Kurt’s a very aesthetically blessed young man and he’s - “
“Rachel,” Blaine urged, cringing, “Rachel. I’m going to need you to stop talking. Please.” Blaine shut his eyes and waited for the waves of humiliation to pass. It was one thing untangling complicated feelings for Kurt and having completely inappropriate day dreams about him - his smile, the pale skin at the curve of his neck, the way he had looked cast in shadow all cuddled up in their lounge that night - but Rachel was a dog with a bone and this was one mission Blaine was adamant she’d never follow through with.
“But nothing,” Blaine said firmly, turning to face her. He affixed his stern expression and hoped to God she’d respond to it. “Just, please don’t interfere because there’s nothing going on. Ok?”
She huffed, short and sharp. “But the way you look at him. I’ve never seen you look at anyone like that before and Kurt’s single so why not? It’s perfectly simple.”
“Rach, even if I did like Kurt, there’s nothing to suggest he likes me too. It’s far from simple. I’m his best friend’s brother and we’re friends but I really don’t want you to match make. In fact, I forbid you to. Ok?”
As if the mere thought pained her, Rachel frowned in thought. “But Blaine,” she sighed, facing sliding into a saccharine smile that reignited Blaine’s panic. “I am particularly experienced in the world of dating now. Being part of McKinley’s IT couple has been testing but along with everything I’ve learned from my extensive research into relationships and not to mention the wide range of romantic comedies and musicals I’ve watched in my short years, it means I can pass on my wisdom. I just want to help you be happy.”
“To make me happy you need to forget this whole Kurt thing. It’s not your role, Rachel. Ok? You don’t need to baby me.”
“Kurt is extremely compassionate and a wonderful friend, even if he does insult my fashion sense and never holds back on his opinions. I do respect that about him though. He’s - ”
“Ok. No.” It was time for her to leave. The next step was for her to begin listing the pros and cons of dating Kurt Hummel and, from there, it would only go downhill. Scrambling to stand, Blaine tugged Rachel’s arm and in a sea of floundering limbs, she was pushed out of the door. Blaine closed it behind her firmly.
“I still think you two should spend some time together!” Rachel’s voice boomed through the gap in the door and Blaine leaned against it, weary.
“Go away Rachel.”
Eventually her screeching ceased and Blaine returned to his spot on the bed next to his pile of unfinished homework. He buried his head in the duvet. Kurt was amazing and his note, well, it had changed everything. There’d been something there, something undistinguishable and simmering under the surface of their pleasantries for too long but never did Blaine expect it to develop into anything.
There were many moments that Blaine could call upon from memory to cement his aversion to relationships. He hadn’t entered a GAP since his disastrous Valentine’s day escapade – Jeremiah was sure to have issued a restraining order –, his first crush had been beaten to within an inch of his life on their first ‘date’ and not to mention the horror of being smitten with a member of Vocal Adrenaline who subsequently turned out to be a man eater with an ego the size of Jupiter.
Nothing went well in the world of dating and Kurt was far too special, a chance to really get it right that Blaine knew he’d lost his nerve for. With Kurt, it was smooth sailing; everything felt natural, gently progressing and so filled with affection that giving anything a second thought felt like tainting it.
If he intervened and did anything to push or hurry or alter the course of things then it was inevitable that something would go horribly wrong and not only would he lose a friend, he’d kiss goodbye to the potential of something more, something he barely dared himself to consider for more than a second.
* * * * * * * *
It was one of those nights that had the potential to be maudlin. The mist lingered in great plumes as Kurt made his way to the supermarket not far from Rachel’s house. He’d dressed for the colder weather in his favourite black boots and his favourite trapper hat and matching scarf. Rachel had arranged to meet him there so they could stock up on supplies for their pampering evening.
The election had been one shenanigan after another: Rick ‘Whateverhisnameis’ had lived up to his douche bag image, wooping and hollering along the corridors shouting his possible methods of revenge on the student body, Britt had pinned posters for her ‘Topless Tuesday’ plan from floor to ceiling and Kurt was declared a losing candidate much to half of the student body’s delight.
There was no loitering pain regarding his loss; the misery came from considering another dent in his NYADA application.
He rounded the corner, careful to avoid a loose paving slab which inevitably hid a puddle of water that Kurt could see splashing up his favourite pair of Diesel jeans, prompting a night long sulk. A drama queen he may be but it was too distressing a thought to consider.
Mid-internal rant, Kurt failed to feel the presence behind him.
Turning, Kurt jumped, startled. He pressed his hand to his heart in mock surprise. “Blaine! What, um, what are you doing here?” He stumbled over the basic skill of speech for a moment, heart beating hard.
“Meeting Rachel. She said we needed some groceries but she’s still at Finn’s for a couple of hours and my dads are away at a benefit so the responsibility falls to me.”
Something in Kurt’s stomach tightened. “But I’m meeting Rachel. She asked if I could help her buy some bits for tonight.”
There was a flicker in Blaine’s expression, something faraway and strained. “I’m going to kill her.”
It was murmured into Blaine’s scarf but Kurt couldn’t help the fluttering in his stomach at the realisation of just what she’d done. Kurt surprised himself a how little he blamed her underhanded methods and how he didn’t share Blaine’s need to strangle her. Kurt didn’t feel an ounce of shock, knowing that it was impressive she’d gone so long without trying to set them up. She was a scheming snake but at least it meant he had time alone with a gorgeous boy.
In a way, Kurt almost wanted to hug Ms Rachel Anderson-Berry but knew, after all, it would only reaffirm her own very high opinion of herself.
“She’s nothing if not persistent,” Kurt sighed, smiling at the look of exasperation in Blaine’s eyes.
“I’m so sorry about this. She seems to think she can dictate everyone’s lives for them and unfortunately not everyone is as blinkered to the real world as my sister.” Blaine groaned, fumbling with his scarf to tighten it. “Feel free to leave, Kurt. She’s insane. I’ll deal with her. You don’t have to too.”
Blaine turned to walk into the store, hand stuffed into the pockets of his rather beautiful pea coat and Kurt simply couldn’t let him leave. “Except I do have the ability to think for myself despite what your darling sister thinks,” he called, hoping desperately that Blaine would turn.
He did, much to Kurt’s sudden delight. Pushing down the need to jump up and down on the spot, Kurt shrugged at Blaine’s questioning face. “You want to help me shop?”
With a playful roll of his eyes, Kurt answered, “Well, it beats staying at home and imagining the things that aren’t happening on the other side of my wall with your sister and my brother. I’d like to keep my mind pure and untainted, thank you very much.” Kurt could barely contain his giddiness, the feeling of contentment bubbling over at Blaine’s helpless laugh. “It’s true. The noises, Blaine. I choose to go to my happy place but even then it’s no utopia. I can still hear them.”
Blaine was laughing hard, glancing up under his lashes. He leaned slightly against the wall, hands still in his pockets, and Kurt couldn’t resist focusing on the way his shoulders were swaying ever so slightly.
“So this happy place? What’s it like? Mind if I steal it because I’m still yet to find anywhere that works to block out my family.”
Kurt skipped a couple of steps to Blaine’s side, grinning and he knew it was from ear to ear – nothing could stop that. “Oh, you know. It’s a giant walk in closet, full of McQueen. Or I go to Tiffany’s. I had breakfast there with Rachel when we went to New York. I never wanted to leave. It sometimes manifests itself as a stage with an audience all worshiping the very ground I walk on but, you know, that’s only when I’m feeling fragile.” Kurt smiled to himself, adoring the feeling of speaking so freely around someone and knowing that Blaine wouldn’t judge him for it. “Feel free to gatecrash. It’s quite awesome.”
“I’ll keep it in mind,” Blaine added, biting at his lip. He slid his hands out of their cosy holes and gestured to the door. “After you.”
Smug and just a little lightheaded, Kurt stepped through and into the warmth. “There’s something so garish about supermarkets,” he said, distractedly, eyeing up the fruit aisle with ideas for organic face masks dancing in his head. “It’s the lighting. It does nothing for the skin.”
Blaine hummed happily next to him, slipping a basket over his arm. “Do you always assess the aesthetics of a place before you enter it?” he teased, glancing at Kurt from the corner of his eyes.
Blaine shook his head, amused. “I must have missed that childhood lesson.”
Kurt tried hard to dampen his smile a little, to stop his hips from swaying as he walked, his shoulders from bending towards Blaine, his lips from quirking up at every single shared word or exchanged glance…
Everything was heightened and impossible to ignore. Kurt knew he was good at masking his true feelings and fooling the world around him – spending most of his school life in a permanent state of superiority had done that to him – but, with Blaine, things felt so easy, exciting and nothing short of overwhelmingly addictive.
They shopped and talked in abundance, often finding themselves laughing and looking toward one another with the same shared awareness, the astonishment in their eyes registering in seconds. Kurt knew why Rachel had done what she’d done; it was becoming difficult to stop looking at Blaine as if he was a deliciously luxurious McQueen skull print scarf on sale – half off. Everything about him was intoxicating and by the look in Blaine’s eyes – the wonderment sparkling as they moved through the aisles – Kurt wasn’t the only one anxious to hold onto the moment for as long as possible.
As they reached the frozen aisles, Kurt tugged his hat down, careful to not disrupt the fringe he’d so carefully positioned.
“I could never wear a trapper hat and pull it off,” Blaine sighed, pouting. “I saw one that I loved once and it wasn’t too expensive but I looked bald when I tried it on. But of course, you pull it off like the very garment was created for your head and your head only.”
Kurt basked in the compliment for a moment, forcing himself to accept it instead of squirming under the assessment. A coy smile was inevitable but Blaine seemed happy regardless. “It’s my favourite. Soft woollen lining and plus,” Kurt grinned, “I like playing with the chords at the bottom.” He tossed them about, Blaine laughing to himself.
“Not just hat but a toy too. Amazing.”
Kurt couldn’t help but hold their gaze a little longer, aching inside at the twinkle in Blaine’s eyes. He reached over to grab something but Kurt drank in the other details. He focused on the soft wool of Blaine’s scarf as it curled against his skin as Blaine moved, scrunching the looser curls at his neck.
Blaine began reading the back of the packet.
“Nutritionally aware?” Kurt asked.
Shaking his head, Blaine replied, “Kind of but not enough to check every detail. This is for Rachel the strict vegan. It kind of makes shopping doubly as long and twice as boring.” As Blaine perused, Kurt sent off a quick text to Rachel.
You better start planning that funeral you once mentioned. Don’t expect a heartfelt speech from me.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
You are an appalling liar.
Am not. You just failed to tell me how smitten you are with my brother and after witnessing you both looking quite cosy in my bathroom last week, I vowed to make you both happy.
By being underhanded.
As if you would have gone willingly.
I hate you.
I’m willing to accept that. Just as long as you’re both happy. < 3
Don’t pretend you’re so selfless and angelic, you monster. SCHEMING monster.
Clever, though? : )
Got to go. Your brother is spending time choosing food for you. You should be grateful and show it sometimes.
Why do you think I set this little rendezvous up? ; ) < 3
Kurt forced back the enormous smile ready to burst onto his face and betray him. Got to stay cool.
“You ready to go?” Blaine asked eventually, placing a couple of products into his basket. “We don’t want to keep Her Majesty waiting for your night together.”
Kurt scowled. “She’ll be lucky if I speak a word to her after this little escapade.”
For a second, Blaine didn’t move, just looked. At Kurt’s questioning frown, Blaine tilted his head asking, “Not enjoying our shopping trip?”
“No, of course I am” Kurt giggled, awed, “but it’s sensible to knock your sister down a peg or two every now and then. Her ego is big enough as it is.”
“Isn’t that the truth,” Blaine drawled, winking as he turned to head for the check out. Kurt squeezed his hands into fists inside his coat pockets, attempting to contain the effervescent joy that made his skin feel as if it were on fire. It was a wink for him, a small and technically insignificant moment to most but, to Kurt, it felt precious. Also maddeningly hot.
As he joined Blaine, the assistant smiled. She was young with long wavy blonde hair piled into a high pony and large earrings dangling down to the collar of her regulation shirt. Kurt offered a little smile in return until she melted, positively swooned as Blaine turned to face her.
“Hi,” she almost purred. Her voice seeming to shake around the edges, though. “Are you having a great day?”
She was shameless. As if it wasn’t enough that her eyes never left Blaine’s, she giggled as he joked about having a demanding sister and actually fluttered her eyelashes. Kurt had never seen someone quite so blatant in their attraction for a total stranger but wondered if Blaine encountered it a lot.
Kurt had experienced a little mild flirting once when being served in New York when he and Tina went for early morning coffee but nothing quite like this girl. Did people actually do this?
Blaine seemed oblivious though, chatting kindly back and placing his purchases on the belt.
“Is it cold out?” she asked, bending below the counter as Blaine turned to deposit his basket in the pile. Kurt had to cover his mouth at the sight of her newly glossed lips when she appeared. It was absurd.
Still, Blaine carried on regardless. “It’s quite cold. I have my scarf so I’m fine,” he offered cheerfully. She beamed back.
“Well it is a really nice scarf.”
Kurt wondered if he was invisible. He considered being bitter, coughing and announcing he was also a human being and capable of small talk but clearly if he stripped naked and sprawled over the counter, Yolande – as her name tag declared - wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.
“Oh thank you,” Blaine replied, beginning to pack everything into bags, “Kurt’s the scarf guy, though.”
At the mention of his name, Kurt jumped, blinking. “Hmmm?”
Blaine grinned, amused. “You. I was saying you like scarves.”
Looking towards a confused Yolande, Kurt added bemusedly, “Um, yes. I’m a real life connoisseur of beautiful neck accessories.”
As tight as a drum, Yolande’s smile lasted a whole of three seconds before she sent a twinkling one in Blaine’s direction. As a product of her distraction, Kurt watched as she extended her arm to drop a bag of chips back onto the belt but instead, missing it entirely and sending a cascade of falling objects.
Quick as a flash, Kurt bent down to pick them up, cursing her clumsiness. As he straightened with arms full of groceries, the protruding part of the counter caught his head and he winced in pain, moving slowly to avoid his hat falling off. It was too late because, with occupied arms, Kurt knew it was twisted and skewed.
Yolande’s apologies were quick to arrive but Kurt blocked her out at the sound of Blaine’s chuckle, warm and close, as he swiftly helped to bundle the bags of chips away. He returned quickly and Kurt glanced up, attempting a scowl. Fashion faux pas were in no way humorous.
“You ok?” Blaine asked, ducking his head as Kurt tugged his hat level, huffing. It was then that Kurt picked up on Blaine’s scent, the one thing he’d been desperate to memorise for weeks. A tingle inducing hint of aftershave - the expensive kind - and a gorgeous combination of coffee and boy.
“Fine. Fine. Can’t be helped.” His voice was clipped, strained in its dismissal as for some reason his hat wouldn’t sit right and his fringe was now unruly. It was difficult to regain composure and dignity when his fingers were trembling under the gaze of an entire queue of people and not to mention Blaine and his stupid dreamy eyes.
As if reading his mind, Blaine stepped close and pushed Kurt’s hands down to subdue his fussing. It must have been written all over his face - the unhappiness at being rumpled in a busy supermarket - because Blaine smoothly tugged the flaps of material straight and, with swift soft fingers, tucked Kurt’s fringe to one side. Kurt could feel its perfect coif once more.
“Thank you,” he breathed out, hardly in control of his woozy smile.
Blaine’s cheeks flushed immediately but something sparked in his eyes, sharp and alive and so very obviously - hopefully - charmed that Kurt caught his breath and held it. He looked ridiculous yet Blaine was staring with soft eyes.
With a swift snap of his head, Kurt glared at Yolande. How dare she interrupt a perfectly lovely moment?
“Yes?” Kurt snapped.
Blaine coughed into his hand, the edges of his smile visible.
“I, um,” she started, her skin deep red, “I didn’t realise.”
Kurt couldn’t help it. She was now prolonging her interruption with inane and pointless comments so vague that they verged on irritating. He just wanted to look into Blaine’s eyes again and to drift away on the cloud that she’d so quickly pulled from beneath him.
The ice in his eyes was evident from her forlorn face. “I didn’t realise you were, um, together. Sorry, I, um. Ok, I’ll just total this up for you, um, ok?”
Her skin was practically purple now, blotchy with stress and Kurt couldn’t help but stare; not at her embarrassment but out of shock.
“Together?” Blaine asked, bemused, “as in a couple? You think we’re a couple?”
Yolande’s hands were practically tangled in desperation as she jabbed the cash register buttons and all but threw the remaining items into bags.
Now it was Kurt’s turn to fight the blush. “Ok!” he rushed out, “I’m going to wait outside.”
He had to escape. Blaine was just staring after him with wide eyes.
Outside, Kurt breathed the cold air in deep, smoothing down his hat and tightening the knot of his scarf. Supermarkets were so stuffy anyway. They employed incompetent people who flirted with the customers and then embarrassed the rest of them. Kurt could feel his cheeks burning.
Yolande. What kind of name was that anyway? She couldn’t even place a simple bag onto her own counter. She had to go throwing it around and batting her poorly mascara-coated eyelashes at the first boy with a nice smile.
Significantly-more-than-a-nice smile, in truth, but still.
Blaine would think he was an idiot, a childish idiot incapable of handling a simple misunderstanding but it was all too much at once. They were here alone and connecting more than ever before and naturally – and once again proving there wasn’t a God because which deity allowed such excruciating things to happen in the pursuit of romance? - something happened to break the spell.
Taking a deep breath and planting on a bright smile, Kurt turned. “Yes?”
Blaine wrinkled his nose into a grin, saying, “Well that was awkward.” He kicked a little at the pavement in his wingtips – the very same pair Kurt salivated over frequently.
“Don’t worry about it. She was distracted. It happens.” Feigning ignorance to the intention behind Blaine’s words seemed to be a good idea but Kurt watched him cringe, shaking his head.
“No, I meant the other thing. What she… I mean, what she presumed. Sorry if that made you feel awkward.”
“No. No. Not at all,” Kurt rushed, fighting the manic look threatening to burst free, “I won’t lie, I was surprised she even jumped to that conclusion what with this lovely liberal state we live in being so accepting but no matter, it’s fine.”
Blaine was quiet for a second, adjusting his arms around the grocery bag. He glanced away.
“She, um, she said you were cute.”
“What?” Kurt’s eyes shot wide. “Why would she say something like that?”
Blaine started as if to talk but instead, he rolled his eyes mockingly. “Are you kidding me?” Kurt wondered if he’d just undermined the prominence and style concept of a well designed bow tie because Blaine looked alarmed.
“No. I rarely kid,” Kurt joked, waving his hand. He began to walk. “Unless it’s about your sister’s wardrobe choices or anything else inexcusable and then it’s just sarcasm.” There was no air. None. Kurt kept moving, hoping the tension would disappear. It was too much to cope with all at once.
“Kurt,” Blaine urged, hand warm at the crook of his elbow. “Hey?”
He stopped, turning to nervously glance into Blaine’s eyes only to find they mirrored the same emotions only deeper and written as plain as day. “Hmmm hmm?”
“She said it because it’s true to anyone with a pair of working eyes and don’t you dare roll yours because I know you well enough to know it’s something you do.”
“Lies,” Kurt said quietly, smirking as he ducked, swiping the sole of his shoe at the pavement.
“That you’re cute or that you can’t take a compliment?”
“Oh I can take a compliment. Tell me I’m fabulous and I’ll agree,” he teased, much to Blaine’s apparent amusement. Kurt ached to reach out and let his fingers trace the lines of Blaine’s lips, the tiny crinkles at the corner of his eyes when he smiled and the solid line of his jaw. Kurt was staring and Blaine knew it too. “I just… it was awkward, yes.”
“She apologised a lot,” Blaine laughed. The tension dissipated slowly and Kurt felt he could relax again, holding tight to the comfort seeping back in. It was very Blaine, the natural feeling of being. Whereas his sister barrelled through life, one explosion of colour and madness at a time, Blaine crooned and politely side stepped his way with a soft smile and a swagger so genuine it hurt. Hard.
He made people feel at ease and the relief was intense. Kurt knew he didn’t have to worry – they were friends. Silly misunderstandings weren’t going to ruin that.
“She had good right to.”
“What?” Blaine nudged his shoulder as they turned the corner. “It’s offensive being my fictional boyfriend, huh?”
Kurt almost choked on his words. “No. Um, Blaine. No.” He sighed, exasperated. “Just. You’re cruel.”
Laughing, Blaine curled forward and clutched the bag too him, his smile sparkling. “You’re cute.”
After a beat of silence, Kurt laughed sharply. “Thank you.”
“See!” Blaine jumped, grabbing at Kurt’s shoulder with a giddy hop step. “How easy was that? It just makes me want to try more out on you.”
“And they’ll all be true.”
Blaine was giggling now, helpless and grinning so big and goofy that Kurt had to remind himself how to walk.
One foot. Then the other. Repeat.
“How about this one?” Blaine asked, suddenly more composed, hitching the bag onto his hip.
“I like you.”
Kurt stopped walking completely, hands fisted into the lining of his pockets to stop the shaking. His entire body flushed hot under his coat, ears prickling as the blood pounded in them to a steady beat.
Blaine was serious, his cheeks trembling to hold his smile.
Kurt didn’t have any words. He couldn’t look away, so desperate and aching to hear more but frightened too. This didn’t happen to him. It wasn’t his thing. Blaine was having an aneurism, surely. Or a moment of insanity.
“I just,” Blaine said eventually, voice wobbling, but he fixed his eyes and spoke on, “I just think that if some girl in a shop can see it and my sister, who spends her time thinking of herself, can see it then it’s only fair I let you in on the secret too.”
The joke was lame but perfect. So perfect that Kurt wanted to cry. He could feel the dampness threatening at the corner of his eye but forced a slow breath.
“But that’s my secret.”
Blaine just blinked back, seemingly bewildered. “What do you mean?” His voice was soft, searching.
Swallowing hard, Kurt composed himself. It was almost impossible with his heart aching with happiness but it had to be contained – for now. “I mean, it’s my secret that I, um, like you. So I’m a little annoyed you stole my thunder.”
Blaine barked a laugh, beaming bright and a little delirious. “Well, I must apologise. Maybe we can pretend I never said what I did so – “
“No!” Kurt hurried but then quickly composed himself with a tiny smile. “No, that won’t be necessary.”
As they walked in silence, Kurt could feel it crackling between them. What it was didn’t seem to matter because Blaine liked him. He liked him and honesty truly was the best policy in the world. Kurt felt a tug of need, so fierce that it took his breath way. It was a ‘sing from the rooftops’ moment.
“Rachel – “
“Knows anyway,” Blaine turned, offering a shrug. “Obviously.”
“And I have a feeling we’re about to inflate her ego.”
Kurt groaned, still smiling from ear to ear. He hopped up the sidewalk after Blaine. “She’s going to be insufferable. More than usual. Smug Rachel. Is it bearable?”
“No,” Blaine said simply before letting his bottom lip slide through his teeth, “but then again, when is she?”
Laughing, Kurt nodded with eyebrows raised. “True. Very true.”
“But I did want to ask because, um, I know you come over every weekend to see Rachel but your note. You said that maybe you didn’t just come to see her and I wondered what you were doing next weekend because, well, she’s with Finn on Saturday evening till late and what is the Anderson-Berry household without Kurt Hummel?”
“Exceptionally,” Blaine grinned, infectious and so devastatingly handsome. Kurt felt his knees wobble, legs suddenly incapable of doing their job. “But I did want to ask if you’d like to come over, you know, even though she won’t be here. If you’d like to.”
For a moment, Kurt was sure he was dreaming. The bright orbs from the streetlights made the darkened road look enchanting, not to mention the golden glow they cast in Blaine’s eyes.
“I’d like that,” Kurt said quickly so as not to allow Blaine a second to doubt how much Kurt wanted it. He did. The thought of spending time alone with Blaine minus sisters, shop assistants and the general public was thrilling. Images flooded his brain: lying in the center of Blaine’s floor listening to his Rufus Wainwright records that Kurt was sure only Blaine possessed, singing together and prancing atop Rachel’s stage without hope of being pushed off for an impromptu rehearsal and eating together all furtive glances and nervous giggles. It all felt so possible now and Kurt didn’t know which to do first, laugh or cry.
Blaine’s entire face lit up, dazzling in its brilliance, just as the front door opened and a shadow appeared.
“So when do I buy my hat for the wedding?” Rachel called into the darkness. As if by magic, the moment was broken. Blaine’s whine was understandable.
“Impeccable timing as always, little sis. Thank you for that.”
She bounced down the steps, skirt billowing. “You’re very welcome. Now, have you had a lovely evening?” She grinned cheerfully up at Kurt, gripping his arm.
With only a momentary but poignant flicker of a look towards Blaine, Kurt nodded rigidly, glaring down at her. “Yes, thank you.” She meant well, really.
Blaine looked close to bursting, his face the picture of contained excitement and wonder so recognisable because Kurt knew he’d looked something similar before being interrupted. As Rachel’s hand clasped his and dragged him up and into the house, Kurt managed an apologetic shrug in Blaine’s general direction and that was it.
It wasn’t until he was ensconced in Rachel’s room and silently pretending to listen to her rant about the threat of the Troubletones that Kurt felt his pocket vibrate. He sneakily hid his phone under one of the sequined cushions to read.
It’s ok. I get you all to myself next week. Blaine x
Without screaming into Rachel’s duvet or launching himself across the room and smothering her in frantic kisses, Kurt clutched her fuzziest pillow to his chest and listened.
It was the greatest gift he could give her and, right now, she deserved everything.
Thank you so SO much for all of your messages and lovely comments about this verse. It was only ever intended on being a short little thing because usually fandom fun and madness gets tossed aside quickly but, for some reason, there’s a tiny bit of love for this story somewhere and I want to thank anyone responsible for that :)
More will come soon (but Au Pair is my project for this next week!)