Stop Loss: Chapter 30, Part 2

Jul 09, 2012 13:31

....and the rest:

Although two paper cups from the Lima Bean were wedged into the cup holders of Kurt's Navigator as he drove out to Westerville after school the next day, Kurt didn't dare touch them-his hands were already jittery enough even without the extra caffeine, and Kurt's brain on stimulants was a scary place, at times. As it was, only sheer willpower was allowing him to devote his whole attention to the road, rather than dwell on what might happen when he saw Blaine again.

The drive was shorter than Kurt remembered, only seventy minutes-Blaine's house was on the opposite side of Lima, though, and Kurt could understand why he'd choose to stay in the dorms during the week instead of traveling three hours a day, every day-and before he knew it, Kurt was driving down the path that cut through the ornate, iron gate and past the lush grounds toward the visitors parking lot.

As he found an empty space near the main entrance, Kurt drank in the gorgeous campus with an appreciative eye. His dad, he knew, had briefly considered sending him to Dalton instead of Carmel when he was a freshman, impressed by the anti-bullying policies. But with Kurt too young at the time to get his license-he'd been driving under Burt's supervision since he was eleven years old (and finally tall enough to reach the pedals) but the state BMV didn't care-and Burt unable to take enough time off from work each day to drive him, the only option left would have been to have Kurt board at the school, which they couldn't afford and wouldn't have allowed even if they could.

It was still strange to think, though, as Kurt quickly texted Blaine and continued to admire the architecture and uniformed students strolling along the paths, that if circumstances had been different, Dalton might have been his school.


Kurt's head snapped up at the sound of the familiar voice calling his name, and smiled: Blaine, perfectly adorable in his boxy, slightly-too-large-for-him blazer, had come out a side entrance that he'd overlooked, and was walking in his direction, waving.

Waving back, Kurt scooped up the book bag that he'd deposited carelessly at his feet and hurried across the parking lot to meet him, all of his half-formed thoughts and planned conversations flying out of his head now that he was actually face to face with Blaine again.

And Blaine looked good. Nervous, maybe, but good.

"Hey," Kurt called back stupidly, once they were close enough to talk without having to shout. "Nice tie."

Blaine blushed slightly, looking down at the striped uniform tie and twisting a hand into his curls self-consciously. "Thanks," he responded shyly, coming to a stop a few feet in front of Kurt. Biting his lip and glancing up at Kurt awkwardly, he started to lift his other arm, then paused, clearly debating whether or not to hug him.

Kurt had no such qualms, and closed the distance between them and wrapped his arms around Blaine's shoulders, breathing in his scent as Blaine let out a shuddery, relieved sigh and buried his face in Kurt's neck.

"I'm so glad you're here," Kurt half-heard, half-felt him whisper after a minute, and he tightened his grip, letting his forehead rest on Blaine's temple.

When Blaine finally pulled away several minutes later, his eyes were shiny and damp. "I…um," he stammered, smiling. "Do you, I mean-do you want to come see my room? I got us some coffee from the student lounge, and it's probably still warm."

Kurt clapped a hand over his mouth. "I completely forgot," he explained, when Blaine looked at him worriedly, "I got us coffee, too, and it's still in the car."

Blaine's eyes lit up. "Is it from the Lima Bean?" he wanted to know, his smile widening when Kurt confirmed that it was. Humming contentedly, he threaded an arm through Kurt's. "Back to the car then, please," he requested, starting back across the parking lot. "The coffee here isn't bad,but…"

Grinning madly, Kurt let Blaine pull him back to his car, expounding upon the virtues of the Lima Bean and proper caffeination the whole time.

Once the coffee was fetched (Blaine drank half of his in several large gulps before Kurt could even close and relock the car door), Blaine led Kurt through Dalton Academy's main entrance and down several stately, carpeted hallways, out an exit and across a meticulously pruned courtyard, and into a second, only slightly smaller building with several oak doors visible in each direction.

"You were right about the likelihood of me getting lost," Kurt confirmed as he followed Blaine up a flight of stairs, making Blaine smile as he fished a slim key ring out of his pocket.

"It seems impossible, but you really do get used to it," he promised Kurt, stopping in front of the fifth door from the staircase and fitting his key into the lock. Pausing, he glanced at Kurt apologetically. "It's messy," he warned. "I'm in the middle of packing, and…yeah. Don't judge me too harshly."

Kurt took a sip of his mocha. "I'll take your explanation under advisement," he agreed, and Blaine rolled his eyes before pushing the door open.

Kurt managed to keep his jaw from dropping, but it was a close call: Blaine's room was every bit as disheveled as he had said. Half-full boxes of books, toiletries, and other possessions were strewn randomly around the carpet, open and exposing their contents. The walls had been stripped of décor, only the pieces of double-sided tape left behind indicating that anything had been hanging at all. The bookshelf, almost completely devoid of books, was holding both Blaine's shoe collection and an assortment of spiral notebooks, and it appeared as if Blaine's entire tiny wardrobe was heaped on top of his bed, the open closet door revealing a few sets of Blaine's Dalton uniform and six or seven abandoned hangers.

Seeing that Blaine really was a little embarrassed about the state of his dorm room-and well he should be, Kurt thought, Martha Stewart couldn't help this room with a backhoe and an army-Kurt refrained from mentioning anything. "Why are you packing?" he asked instead, delicately picking his way over to Blaine's (mercifully empty) desk chair and sitting down. "Your school year can't be over yet, can it?"

Blaine nodded, an errant strand of hair falling into his eyes. "Our last day is on Thursday, actually," he told Kurt, shoving a pile of clothes to the side and sinking down on the bed across from him. "My mom's taking a few hours off from work on Friday morning to come move me out of the dorms."

Kurt raised an eyebrow. "That's really fast," he commented, surprised. "Classes don't end at Carmel until…" He wrinkled his forehead, thinking. "The Wednesday after next week," he concluded; "you're done almost two weeks before we are."

Blaine shrugged his shoulders, taking a final sip of the coffee that Kurt had brought him before dropping the empty cup into the trash. "I know, it was a nice surprise," he agreed. "And after finals last week, I'm ready for summer."

Kurt nodded. "Are you…" he started carefully, before shrugging off his hesitation and pressing ahead. "Are you staying here for the summer, or are you staying with your Grandma?"

Blaine smiled sadly at him. "Grandma," he answered, his fingers tugging absently at the hem of his blazer. "I'm leaving on Saturday. This summer will be my longest visit since I was a kid, so she's really excited that I'm coming."

Kurt smiled tightly. "That's nice for her," he said as neutrally as he could manage, determinedly pushing aside the wave of despair that had hit him at Blaine's revelation; that he was finally starting to get Blaine back, only to lose him again.

But if wasn't going to see Blaine again for several weeks, he wasn't going to waste what little time they had together being upset. There would be plenty of time for that later.

Blaine seemed to be thinking along the same lines as he flashed Kurt a cheerful, if not quite genuine, smile. "My parents and I are going to Niagara Falls for the weekend, though," he told Kurt, squirming slightly on his bed. "Like a mini-vacation for just the three of us, before they drive me to Toronto on Monday night."

Kurt perked up, intrigued by both the destination and by Blaine's parents making a visible effort to spend some quality time with their son. Wisely, he only commented on one. "I've never been to Niagara Falls," he mentioned, swiveling his chair rhythmically back and forth. "Do you spend a lot of time there?"

Blaine shook his head. "I think the last time I was there was about three years ago," he admitted, "but the Falls are really pretty, and everything around it is really green and floral, because of all the mist."

He snorted, and shot Kurt a real smile. "You'd hate everything more than a block away from the waterfalls, though," he told Kurt, eyes bright. "It's a giant tourist trap-the streets are sticky and gross, and everything's neon or pastel and smells like fudge."

Kurt shuddered. "That's ghastly," he stated flatly, mildly horrified. "Better you than me."

Blaine's smile grew. "But there's a mini golf course that's dinosaur themed, Kurt," he mocked Kurt, grinning happily. "They have giant statues and everything, and the T-Rex is at least twenty feet tall."

Kurt grimaced. "That," he said solemnly, gazing at Blaine, "sounds exactly like something you'd love, and that is why, of the two of us, I'm the arbiter of taste."

Blaine's smile turned gentle. "I know," he agreed easily.

They were both silent for a minute, looking at each other.

Finally, Kurt took a deep breath. "Do you think," he asked delicately, "that it's weird how much I already miss you, even though we're both right here?"

Blaine nodded seriously. "Totally," he replied, keeping his expression blank. "You're probably the weirdest person that I know, Kurt."

Scowling, Kurt tossed his empty Lima Bean cup at Blaine, who dissolved into laughter as it hit him on the shoulder. Rolling his eyes, Kurt let out a faux-affronted huff. "Come on, you jerk," he demanded, climbing to his feet and holding out his hand in order to pull Blaine up off of the bed. "You're never going to get everything in this room packed by Friday morning without my expert guidance. Get up and I'll help you."

Laughter fading, Blaine tossed Kurt's cup into the trash with his own and took Kurt's hand. "What would I do without you?" he asked simply, smiling warmly as Kurt pulled him to his feet.

Kurt fluttered his eyelashes. "Drown in a miasma of your own clutter, apparently," he predicted dryly, patting Blaine's cheek patronizingly before turning toward the piles of clothing on the bed. "I'll fold, if you can dig up a couple more boxes."

They packed.

Kurt had no idea how on earth Blaine had managed to accumulate so much stuff in less than two months-in one room, even-but somehow he had done it, and it showed. For two hours, Kurt folded clothes, organized boxes, reorganized the boxes that Blaine had already packed whenever Blaine wasn't looking, secured shampoos and soaps and gels in plastic bags (one disastrous trip to Miami had had taught him that much), and listened to Blaine as he talked and talked and talked; talking as if he'd been saving all of his words since the last time they'd seen each other.

He was taking fencing a couple of days a week after school, he told Kurt-which explained the white, asylum-like jacket that Kurt had found in a drawer-and after being scouted by the cross-country coach when she saw him coming back from a run the week before, he was seriously considering joining the team ("maybe it'll be more fun this time, since I don't have to pretend to be straight by not reacting to the gay slurs in the locker room at this school"). More interesting to Kurt, he'd also joined the Warblers, and genuinely seemed to be enjoying it.

He tentatively asked Kurt about a few of the people that he'd gotten along best with at Carmel, and Kurt managed to fill him in to the best of his knowledge. It went unspoken but agreed upon, though, that Vocal Adrenaline, Blaine leaving Carmel, and anything involving Kurt's dad were all off-limit topics for a little while longer, at least.

Also unspoken was how comfortable Kurt felt, just talking and hanging out with Blaine again, and how the more Blaine joked and laughed and relaxed, the more unfairly beautiful he became, to the point where Kurt was grateful that his hands were busy folding and lifting and organizing so that he wouldn't be tempted to grab Blaine and kiss him fiercely, potentially ruining everything.

It also didn't help that, after half an hour of moving boxes around, Blaine had changed out of his blazer and button-down and into a thin white t-shirt that clung to his chest and showed off his newly developed arm muscles, sleek and strong from fencing practice.

By the time that Kurt (and Blaine under Kurt's direct supervision) had made a sizeable dent in Blaine's packing, it was nearly dinnertime. Taking a sip of the now lukewarm Dalton coffee, Kurt glanced at Blaine's clock radio and grimaced. "I should-I need to get going," he told Blaine reluctantly, already dreading the long, Blaine-less drive home.

Blaine looked equally dismayed. "I wish you didn't have to," he admitted, glancing down at his bare feet. "It-I wish you could just stay. I miss not seeing you."

He looked plaintively at Kurt. "I'm going to miss not seeing you," he added. "When I'm gone."

Kurt felt his eyes start to itch. Before he could reply, though, Blaine had turned away and was digging through the notebooks stacked on top of his bookshelf, possibly the one pile in the entire room that had gone untouched in the packing frenzy. When he turned back around, there was a blue notebook in his hands that he held out to Kurt.

"I've been saving this for you," Blaine told him, looking suddenly shy. "Don't read it until later, though, okay?"

Which meant, of course, that Kurt immediately felt the urge to snatch the notebook away and read every word as fast as he could.

He managed to control himself. "Okay," he echoed instead. "Can I ask what's in it?"

Blaine shook his head. "Not yet," he said, tone regretful. "Just…read it, and then ask me about it, if you want to."

Curiosity piqued, Kurt nodded in agreement. Rather than tuck the notebook into his bag on Blaine's desk, however, Kurt gently set it down with the rest of his things and turned back to face Blaine. "I'm really glad you called me this weekend," he said quietly, memorizing Blaine's face with his eyes while he still had the chance.

Blaine's eyes grew too bright. "I'm sorry that it took me so long," he confessed, his voice slightly gravelly. "Kurt, I…"

He trailed off, and Kurt took a deep breath. "I want to be able to talk about that," he admitted, reaching out and taking Blaine's hand. "I really want us to keep talking this summer, about everything. We-I want to know where I stand with you, and how we fit into each other's lives. Because I'm not ready to let you go."

Blaine gripped Kurt's hand like a lifeline. "No," he agreed, blinking rapidly and staring down at their intertwined fingers, "I'm not either. You're right, about all of it."

Kurt swallowed. Blaine's lips were even darker and fuller than he had remembered.

And if I leave now, Kurt realized, I might never get another chance.

"Can I kiss you?" he breathed softly, trembling a little as Blaine looked up at him with his large, beautiful brown eyes. "Just in case we decide-I just want to be able to remember it. Please."

Blaine didn't answer.

Instead, slowly, he let go of Kurt's hand and stepped closer, the warmth of his body seeping into Kurt's and his hand brushing against Kurt's arm as he lifted it to stroke his cheek, cradling Kurt's jaw as he leaned in and kissed him for the first time in two months.

Kurt had dreamed about kissing Blaine countless times, almost from the first day that they had met. There was no contest-his imagination, gifted as it was, paled in comparison to the reality of Blaine's mouth on his, soft and smooth; the slight sting of Blaine biting gently at Kurt's bottom lip, breath warm on his skin. Blaine gasped softly as Kurt's hands drifted over his back, pulling him in closer and holding him reverently in his arms, both elated and terrified by the warmth and closeness and trust and responsibility that loving Blaine-loving anyone, really, but especially Blaine-came with. And with a muffled moan, Blaine responded, pressing himself into Kurt's touch and twisting his hands into Kurt's shirt as he tilted his head, opening his mouth slightly and taking control of Kurt's body.

It was the perfect kiss. And the possibility that it might be the last one that they ever shared was so gutwrenching that Kurt pushed the thought aside; something to consider when his head wasn't swimming and his skin wasn't buzzing, his arms and head and blood and heart filled with Blaine and nothing else.

When Kurt finally closed the door to Blaine's room several minutes later-promises to call each other soon, not to mention a few tears, exchanged-he let out a heavy sigh, taking a minute to lean against the expensively-papered wall and clear his mind, eyes fluttering closed.

And when he opened them, he nearly jumped out of his skin-a door across the hall and a few feet down was open, and the owner of the room was standing in the doorway with his keys in hand, watching him curiously.

Before Kurt had the chance to snap at the stranger for scaring him (with heart disease in his immediate family, sudden shocks were clearly undesirable), the boy took a step forward, pulling the door shut behind him. "That's Blaine's room," he said, glancing at the door that Kurt had just exited. "Would that make you Kurt?"

Kurt felt his annoyance ebbing away-if the stranger lived right down the hall and knew who Kurt was, he was obviously friendly with Blaine. "I am," he confirmed, not bothering to hide his curiosity. "How did you…"

"Blaine left Warbler practice early today," the boy explained, slipping his keys into his pocket. "He said that he was having a special visitor this afternoon, and since you're not in uniform, I assumed that you were him."

Kurt preened a little at the idea of Blaine describing him as 'special' to people. Especially when his choice of adjectives could have been a lot worse. "You're a Warbler, then?" he asked politely, falling into step with the stranger as they headed for the stairs.

The boy nodded proudly. "I'll be the Head of the Council, in a few days," he confided in Kurt.

Kurt nodded back, suitably impressed. "Congratulations on your promotion…" He trailed off inquisitively, not quite sure who it was that he was congratulating.

The stranger shook his head self-deprecatingly. "Forgive my manners," he excused himself, holding out his hand for Kurt to shake. "My name's Wes. Blaine and I met quite a while back."

Kurt shook his hand, head buzzing as he tried to remember if Blaine had ever mentioned any of his Warbler friends by name-and it sounded as if Blaine and Wes actually were friends, and not just neighbors who happened to be teammates.

If he had, Kurt couldn't remember it.

"Actually, I'm glad that I ran into you," Wes continued as they made their way down the staircase. "Perhaps you can convince Blaine to accept a more active leadership role in the Warblers next year."

Kurt, who was a step in front of Wes, glanced back in confusion. "What do you mean?" he wondered out loud. "Did you want him to join your Council, too?"

Wes smiled. "No, nothing like that," he told Kurt, clearly amused at the prospect. "The vote for next year's section leaders and soloists is tomorrow, and Blaine's fully eligible to participate, since he's been one of us for more than thirty days, now. After a considerable amount of prodding"-Wes raised his eyebrows, giving Kurt a knowing, significant look-"he agreed to audition for the backup soloist position, but he and everyone else knows that he'd be the favorite for the lead soloist position if he'd agree to submit his name."

Kurt's immediate reaction to Wes's explanation was surprise-Blaine had mentioned, while they were packing, that he almost hadn't joined the Warblers at all, but hadn't said anything about how well he was doing.

And even more shocking than that was that Kurt wasn't even the slightest bit jealous of how quickly or easily the opportunity had fallen into Blaine's lap.

"That's wonderful," he replied honestly, making a mental note to ask Blaine about it the next time that they talked. "He deserves it."

"He's exquisitely talented," Wes agreed, leading Kurt down the hall and opening the front door for him. "And like I said, when I heard that you were coming, I hoped that perhaps he'd mention the situation to you, and that your opinion would have some sway with him." Closing the main door behind them, Wes smiled sadly at Kurt. "You're the first visitor he's had so far, besides his family," he added.

Kurt nodded, swallowing the sudden, painful lump in his throat.

"Is he-do you think he's happy here?" he asked Wes quietly as they walked down the path.

Wes's eyes widened. "Oh, he's doing very well here," he rushed to assure Kurt. "He's enormously well liked, as you must know, and he's getting excellent grades in his classes, now that he's caught up with the material."

Kurt shook his head impatiently, feeling vaguely as if he had stepped into a parent-teacher conference. "No, I know all that," he lied-he'd surmised as much from Blaine's stories and explanations, but Blaine had never officially confirmed any of it. "But is he happy, here?"

Wes sighed, somewhat reluctantly. "He wasn't, for a while," he admitted, with a heavy uneasiness that suggested that Wes considered the truth a personal failure on his own part. "He was certainly overwhelmed by everything for the first couple of weeks that he was here, much more so than I would have expected.

"But I think he's getting better now," he added, glancing at Kurt hopefully. "Obviously he still has some inner turmoil to work through, but maybe the summer vacation will give him the opportunity to rest and heal, somewhat."

Kurt decided that he liked Wes-for all his pomposity (and who didn't love a good SAT vocabulary word, now and then?), he seemed to genuinely like Blaine, and that was good enough for him.

"I hope you're right," he responded, offering Wes a kind smile.

The drive back home felt twice as long as before, although the traffic on the road was nearly as nonexistent as it had been on the way out to Westerville.

Kurt drummed absently on the steering wheel, impatient to make it home. He was both relieved and saddened by his visit-pleased that he'd gotten to see Blaine and that, while they hadn't really delved into any serious topics, there was a lot more reason to be hopeful about their future than before; disheartened that even though he'd seen Blaine, it would be several weeks before he'd have the chance to see him in person again, although the lack of radio silence over the summer would certainly make things easier; mixed feelings that, according to Wes-whom he'd exchanged numbers with, just in case-Blaine was doing both better and worse than he'd hoped for.

It was nearly 7:30 by the time Kurt pulled into him driveway, and he knew that Burt would be eager to get dinner started. Pulling his key out of the ignition, Kurt grabbed his bag off of the seat next to him, mind already flipping through possible dinner ideas that would take less than fifteen minutes to prepare. In his haste, he managed to sweep Blaine's notebook onto the floor; swearing softly under his breath, he bent over and picked it up.

Two post it notes fluttered to the ground.

Kurt stared.

He quickly opened the notebook, his eyes widening as he leafed through the pages and realized why the whole thing had felt so much thicker and heavier than usual-more post it notes covered in Blaine's handwriting, hundreds of them, were stuck to every page.

Slamming it shut and clutching it tightly to his chest to keep any more of the notes from falling out, Kurt leaned over the seat and grabbed the two messages that had managed to escape. The first one, from over a month before, made him smile:

My audition is in half an hour, it read, and I'm using the song that we almost went with for Evaluations. I still don't think that I sound at all like Johnny Rzeznik, but thank you for saying it xoxoxo

Shaking his head in amusement, Kurt slipped the note into his pocket and looked down at the other message. The second note was slightly crumpled, and Blaine's handwriting was miniscule, covering the little paper with ink, and Kurt had to squint at it in order to figure out what it said.

When he did, though, his breath hitched and his chest tightened, and his eyes blurred with tears so thick and fast that he could no longer read the same three words, written over and over again on the tiny square of paper:

I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you…

fanfiction, warbling on, glee, writing, klaine, oh blainers, not on kurt hummel's bucket list

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