Nothing's So Loud (5/10?)
Author: a_glass_parade (GlassParade)
Rating: PG-13 to mild R in the future.
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine, reference to past Quinn/Finn and current Rachel/Finn
Genre: Romance, AU, Movie Adaptations
Warnings: Mentions of attempted suicide.
Spoilers: While events and references from all three seasons of Glee may be adapted and worked into the story occasionally, it's otherwise fully AU.
Word Count: Currently 26,000+ (adjusted because of I can't count)
Summary: Blaine Anderson is the easy going skateboarding slacker who's carried a torch for sheltered class Valedictorian Kurt Hummel for the last year. On the day they graduate from high school, he decides to do something about it. There's no way they should work. Everything will conspire against them. Can this unlikely pairing prevail?
Additional Notes: gameboycolor and naderegen wanted 90's Klaine. I suggested updating Cameron Crowe's iconic movie "Say Anything" to 1998 and making Blaine and Kurt into an analogue of Lloyd and Diane's star-crossed romance. This very loose adaptation, for better or for worse, is the result. Title is from the song "All I Want" by Toad the Wet Sprocket.
"You are so screwed."
Quinn's declaration was accompanied by a dry chuckle that did nothing for Blaine's twitching nerves. "Very encouraging, Quinn. Nice work. Great way to cheer me on. I love you, too."
"I'm just saying, he made your second date a family dinner." The amusement on her voice didn't abate, and Blaine glared at the phone receiver as if she could feel his irritation. "Not really your forté."
"You do that nervous talking thing," Jeff added distractedly, the beeps of his video game coming through the phone line loud and clear. "My recommendation is to not do that."
Tina, at least, was somewhat more sympathetic. "What's wrong with Kurt? He's not usually this mean, throwing Blaine into a tense situation like that. I really thought better of him."
"Okay, you guys? Not helping." Blaine picked up a green button-down and examined it before tossing it aside in disgust. He paced the living room in agitation. “I am now officially more nervous than I was twenty minutes ago.”
"You're the one who wanted to do a conference call," Quinn reminded him, exhaling a mouthful of cigarette smoke directly into her mouthpiece.
"Yeah, because I wanted you to be nice and tell me it's going to be fine! Not because I wanted you to point out my shortcomings!" He threw himself down on the couch. "I wanted a date date. Just the two of us. This is not ideal."
"He did say he was going to fit you into his schedule as best he could," Jeff reminded him. “This was probably his only chance. You should be happy he took it, Blaine.”
"And didn't you say his dad liked you?" Ever the optimist, Tina was trying to find silver linings for him. “That's really good! My dad doesn't like Mike at all. You're lucky.”
“Yeah, his dad likes me, but I don't want a date with his dad,” Blaine grumbled, finally flopping down on top of the pile of his clothing he'd strewn over the couch. “I want a date with Kurt. One without drama, alcohol, other people.”
He could just about hear Quinn's eyes rolling. “Honestly, you kind of should have thought of that before you made the first date a party. Let alone a party at Puck's. That was your own damn fault...not that I'm not grateful you were there when things went wrong,” she added hastily.
“Clearly.” He rubbed at his temples, where a headache was just starting to set in. “Maybe this is revenge for that. Maybe he doesn't actually like me. Maybe he's just placating me and hoping I'll lose interest.”
“Let's take a poll,” Quinn suggested, her patience with his fretting obviously gone. “If you were Kurt, would you honestly like Blaine?” Her tone was serious. “Answer carefully.”
Blaine sat up on the couch. “Hey, wait, I don't like this game,” he protested, only to be shushed by Quinn.
Jeff answered first after a long silence, even pausing his video game to do so. “If I were into guys,” he replied slowly, “Then yeah, I probably would like Blaine.”
Tina concurred with enthusiasm. “Yeah, of course I would.”
That left only Quinn. “Yes,” she answered, no doubt or question at all. “Absolutely.”
Blaine was stunned stupid, sitting frozen with his fingers fisted into his own hair. “What?”
“You heard us, we're not repeating it,” Quinn sighed, a smile in her voice. “Now get your ass dressed and over to Kurt's house and be awesome.”
“I could wear this,” Kurt mused, holding a charcoal jacket with white lapels up before himself, eyes fixed on his reflection in the mirror. “Or I can go a little more casual.” He draped the jacket over a nearby chair and picked up the other garment resting there, a soft royal blue cardigan that Blaine privately wanted to pet for hours – preferably while it was on Kurt.
“I think you'd look fantastic in either one,” he replied honestly. He'd opted for a blue Oxford over jeans and his one pair of decent leather dress shoes. Despite being fairly certain he looked perfectly fine – his sister had been very approving, which was definitely not always or even often the case – Kurt was making him feel underdressed. “Are you sure I don't need to go home and change?”
“Not at all,” Kurt assured him, moving to sit on the bed. “I told you, it's just my dad's sister Sarah and her boyfriend James. And of course me and my dad.” He toyed with a fold of the furry blanket that was draped across the bed. “I know it wasn't what you had in mind for a second date. I'm sorry.”
Blaine felt a little guilty over his temper tantrum earlier. “I'm just glad you wanted to see me at all,” he mumbled, glancing down at Kurt's hands. This proved to be a tactical error, however, as he then found himself fascinated by said hands and all the things that hands could do. Swallowing, he glanced back up at Kurt's face, which looked worried. “No, seriously, I know you said you were going to be busy, so it's great that we get this chance. Although...won't your aunt mind that there's a guest?”
“Aunt Sarah?” Kurt laughed lightly and shook his head. “No. She'll actually be thrilled. She's been asking me when I'll find a 'nice young man to bring home'.” At Blaine's blush, he smirked. “And James is really nice. They're like...Julia Roberts and Bill Cosby.”
“Sorry?” Blaine tried to imagine this and failed completely. “Does not compute.”
“Well, she's this freespirited hippie artist, and he's a PhD in child psychology. They met at a seminar on the benefits of art therapy.” He patted Blaine's hand before scooting off of the bed and into his closet to finish dressing. “I think you'll like them. They'll like you.”
“If you say so.” Blaine got up and prowled the room, running his fingers over the spines of the books in the shelves that lined the walls. He was unsurprised to see a large number of bound scripts for plays and musicals – Angel Street, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Tartuffe. Several collections of short stories were scattered here and there, including a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales that matched one he'd bought for Quinn last fall. And then there was an absolutely lethally enormous volume of Shakespeare's plays that was too tall to fit in the shelves and had been laid out on an end table. He tried to pick it up with one hand, nearly spraining his wrist. “Kurt, this is the biggest book I've ever seen.”
“The Shakespeare?” Kurt's muffled voice as it wafted from the closet was amused. “My dad gave me that for Christmas when I was nine. I'd just told him I wanted to be on stage for a living, and he didn't really know what else to get.” He bustled out, clad in tight jeans and the pettable cardigan. “If my mother had still been alive, she might have steered him to something a little more...portable.” Running his fingertips over the soft calfskin cover, his voice grew more wistful. “But she'd only been gone a few months. Right before my ninth birthday. He was still trying to figure out how to get through each day.”
“It's just been the two of you for that long?” Blaine felt the urge to try and hug the sadness away, but held back, unsure if it would be appropriate. “You were so young.”
With a light shrug, Kurt slid the book back into its place. “We've made it work,” he murmured, a distant smile crossing his face. “A few too many burned chicken dinners, some laundry turned pink from a stray red sock, days when I had to just sit quietly and let him pull himself together...but we got through it.” His smile grew brighter as he turned to face Blaine. “He was a good dad before, but I think the adversity made him a really great one. Maybe the best. I would never be who I am without his support.”
“You're lucky. So lucky.” Blaine reached out, spontaneously catching Kurt's warm, smooth hand up in his, squeezing just a little. The unexpected contact hushed them both into silence, staring at their joined hands in something akin to curiosity and wonder. Kurt let his thumb run over the back of Blaine's hand in a gentle, intimate motion that sent shivers up his spine.
Too soon, Kurt disengaged, but slowly, as if he didn't quite want to. “We'd better get downstairs,” he breathed, a warm tint in his cheeks. “Sarah and James will be here any minute, and I have a few more things to do with dinner.” He leaned down to whisper in Blaine's ear. “Next time, though, it really will be just you and me.”
With that promise, he smiled and headed downstairs, Blaine following behind as soon as he'd managed to compose himself.
True to Kurt's word, the dinner was good and the company excellent. James and Sarah were entertaining, intelligent people who'd been together so long they could communicate almost without speaking at all. They were fascinating to watch.
Just as fascinating were Kurt and his father, who had run the dinner with a similar ease, moving from kitchen to dining room with delicious smelling dishes of chicken in puff pastry and a large, colorful salad with homemade dressing. Blaine leaned over to Kurt after tasting the latter. “Did you make all of this?”
“He sure did,” Burt interjected before Kurt could answer, a proud smile on his face. “Took over cooking when it turned out my skills were stuck on microwaving leftovers. I did the vegetables for the salad, but that's about it.”
Blaine shook his head, astonished. “But how did you find the time?” he asked. “Learning to cook like this must have taken forever, and you already do everything in the world. Seriously, Kurt, how?”
“Trial and error,” Kurt shrugged, a wry smile on his face. “And no social life, that helped.”
“And you're brilliant,” Burt insisted, chuckling when Kurt ducked his head in embarrassment. “Nah, come on! I get to say these things, I'm your dad. Not that you'd ever know it.” He winked around the table. “If I didn't know better, I'd say Lizzie and the postman had somethin' they needed to confess to me.”
“Shush, Burt, you're embarrassing the boy. And in front of his date.” Sarah meant well, but now she had both boys turning red and looking anywhere but at each other. She picked her napkin up off of her lap and dabbed at her lips before beaming at her nephew and changing the subject. “Kurt, honey, what airline are you going to be flying to England?”
“British Airways,” Kurt answered politely, fidgeting with his fork. “I'm expecting the ticket and itinerary to arrive within the next month.”
Burt winked at his son. “And we're not gonna have a repeat of your last flight disaster, right, kiddo?” He reached over and gently shoved at Kurt's arm while the boy suddenly looked as if he wished himself to be anywhere but where he was at that moment.
Blaine hated to add to Kurt's obvious misery, but he was deadly curious about what had happened on that flight. Fortunately, James was able to save him from inciting Kurt's ire by asking the question himself. “What happened last time?”
“Sarah never told you? Wow.” Burt was chuckling as he put his knife and fork aside, preparing to tell the story. “He was about...what would you say, Kurt? Six? Seven? Before Lizzie got real sick, anyway. I won a trip to Disneyworld for being one of the top new small businesses in the state. Park tickets, hotel, plane fare, the works.”
Kurt was almost whimpering at the recounting of the tale. “This is awful,” he moaned, burying his bright pink face in his napkin. “I was six.”
“Yeah, woulda been funnier if you'd been sixteen. Too bad. Now hush.” Burt waved a finger at his son and continued. “Anyway, he was afraid of planes. And Lizzie had been reading him bedtime stories about airplanes for a couple of weeks, and I'd been tellin' him all the cool stuff I knew about them, so we were hoping he'd be okay when we had to take the trip.”
“And I wasn't,” Kurt confessed, emerging from the makeshift shelter of his linen serviette. “I'd seen stuff about plane crashes in books, or the newspaper, or even on TV. I couldn't shake it.”
Burt picked up the story again. “So we get on the plane, Kurt's clingin' to Lizzie like a little monkey while she reads to him, and I got a bag of snacks and toys so I can bribe him into behaving. It would've worked if all the babies on the plane hadn't started crying at once when we started to taxi out.”
Kurt sat up straighter and tilted his chin into the air defiantly. “I thought they knew something I didn't. Like animals, when there's an earthquake coming.” He caught Blaine's sympathetic gaze and flushed a little. “It made sense at the time.”
“Well, we couldn't calm him down for love or money then,” Burt went on, leaning back to drape his arm over the back of his chair. “His screamin' was pissin' off everyone he wasn't scaring to death, and he was starting to choke on it.” He spread his hands out in a shrug. “All I could do was ask the stewardess to get the pilot to turn the plane around.”
“Which he did.” Kurt propped his head up on his hand, appearing to recover from his embarrassment a little. “He was happy to do so if it stopped the hysterics. So back to the gate we went, and we disembarked, and now I can never fly United again.”
Blaine nudged him under the table with his knee. “Yeah, but the important question is: did you get to go to Disneyworld?”
“We did, actually. Dad took us straight to the Amtrak station and we went by train.” Kurt grinned at his father, eyes now fully twinkling. “A vast improvement.”
“I'm pretty sure that was the trip that got Kurt bit with the acting bug, too.” Burt was chuckling again. “You wanna tell 'em this part, kid?”
“Oh, my God, that's right! How could I have forgotten?” He turned to Blaine, hands dancing to animate his speech. “There was a man on the plane who worked for an advertising agency that had King's Island as a client. They were filming new commercials for the park, and he liked my scream. So he tracked us down! From Dad's t-shirt of all things.”
Burt nodded. “I was in a shop shirt,” he explained. “He remembered the name.”
“So we come home to a message on the answering machine from this guy who wants to record me screaming.” Kurt stuck his tongue into his cheek and smirked. “We go in, I scream, we get a little money, and my scream was on the air for years. I was the high pitched scream you heard when they showed The Racer.”
“That was you?” Blaine's eyes felt like they were going to pop out of his head. “Jesus! That scream was bloodcurdling, I was terrified of roller coasters for years because of you, Kurt!”
Kurt leaned over and jostled his shoulder playfully. “Sorry.”
“Burt trots that out at all the family reunions,” Sarah informed them, smiling indulgently at her nephew. “It's always a hit. Blaine?”
He looked over at Kurt's aunt, blinking in surprise. “Yes?”
“Your turn.” Her eyes were alight with curiosity. “Why don't you tell us something about you? Kurt's my nephew, I know everything about him. So...what about you?”
“Er, um, well,” Blaine stalled, unsure what to say. Next to Kurt, what was there about himself that was interesting at all? Nothing he could think of. “What would you like to know?”
“You graduated from McKinley, right?” James' voice was low and his expression friendly, so Blaine nodded without even thinking about it. “Well, what are your plans now?”
Not the future question again, Blaine groaned to himself. “Right now? To spend as much time as possible with Kurt.”
Everyone laughed, but James shook his head, persisting. “No, I mean in the future. Are you going to college?”
“Oh, James, relax. This isn't what I meant when I asked Blaine to tell us about himself.” Sarah swatted at her boyfriend's arm, beaming Blaine the infectious smile that all the Hummels shared. “Ignore him, Blaine, he's a therapist, he can't help it. He likes putting people in little boxes.”
“I do not!” James protested. “I'm curious! After all, Kurt knows what he wants to do, I just want to know if his boyfriend does.”
“Oh, I'm not his boyfriend,” Blaine blurted.
Kurt hurried to explain. “This is just our second date.”
James eyed them both speculatively. “I'm going to leave examining that for another time,” he announced, a sly twinkle in his eyes. “Blaine?”
Blaine gave in, cursing his innate need to please people. “I don't know,” he admitted. “I haven't decided yet. Right now, I work in Mr. Motta's skate shop. I like it, I'm good at it. But I don't want to ratchet skateboard wheels for the rest of my life.”
“Go on,” James invited, leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingers in front of his chin. Sarah rolled her eyes at him, but had clearly decided she couldn't help Blaine any more than she had – she must have been accustomed to James' obvious stubborn streak. With an apologetic smile, she scooted her chair back and started clearing the table with Burt. Kurt reached under it and squeezed Blaine's hand, offering a smile of his own.
“My dad wants me to join the military, like him,” Blaine continued, letting his thumb glide over Kurt's hand as Kurt's had over his earlier. “But I'm really not down for that. It's not a good fit. There's skateboarding, and I'm actively working on that, but how many years can I last on the pro circuit before broken bones and arthritis do me in? Then what, do I open my own skate shop? I'm not really feeling that either.”
“It doesn't sound like you have much direction,” James observed in a mild tone. Blaine saw Kurt's mouth drop open and his face flush with anger. Squeezing the other boy's hand again, he shoved the irritation he felt deep down and thought carefully about his reply.
“That's...probably true,” he started, searching for the right words. “I prefer to think that I'm operating on a process of elimination. If I discard everything I don't want to do, then maybe eventually I'll end up with something I do want to do.” He took a long, deep breath. “So right now, I have a pretty good start on what I don't want to do: I don't want to take orders from people, I don't want to order people to do things, I don't want to take people's orders for things they want to buy. Orders, basically, are a no.” He lifted his chin, feeling more confident as he went on. “That still leaves me with a world of possibility. Right now, the possibilities I like best are skateboarding and spending time with Kurt, so I'm pretty much going to go with those and choose something more permanent when I'm ready.”
James was still keeping a steady gaze on him. “That's a lot of uncertainty.”
“Life's uncertain. The only thing I know for sure is that my life is mine, so I'm the one who gets to call the shots.” Blaine smiled politely and concentrated on not squeezing Kurt's hand off in anger. He wanted to be able to hold that hand a lot more this summer, and it would be easier to do that if he didn't break it on their second date.
They were both surprised when James threw back his head and laughed. “I really couldn't ask for a better answer,” he informed them, still chuckling. “Good for you, Blaine. I like your honesty. You're pretty self-aware for your age.”
“Military brat,” Blaine shrugged, still a little wary and annoyed that he'd basically just been psychoanalyzed. “You move around too much to get to know other people, so...” He let his sentence fade out, wanting to be done with this conversation. Kurt picked up on it and got to his feet, tugging Blaine up with him.
“We're going for a walk,” he informed his aunt's boyfriend, who just nodded at them, understanding. Kurt pulled him through the kitchen, letting Sarah and Burt know the same thing before leading Blaine out of the kitchen door and down to the sidewalk. “I'm so sorry, Blaine. I forgot he does that.”
“He meant well,” Blaine mumbled, shoving his hands into his pockets and keeping his eyes firmly directed at the ground. “He's a therapist, it's what they do, right?”
“Now it's my turn to ask you what's the matter,” was Kurt's response as he reached over to pull Blaine's hand free, clasping it as he had the morning after their first date. “You're so confident most of the time.”
He cast a sidelong glance at Kurt's curious face, feeling his mouth curl into a half-smile. “Are you psychoanalyzing me now?”
“No, I'm getting to know you.” Kurt set their hands to swinging between them and made a silly face at Blaine. “Seems like the sort of thing to do on a second date.”
Blaine tilted his head all the way back and sighed. “My dad's in the military. You know that. It comes with the burden of living up to some pretty high expectations.” At feeling Kurt press his hand reassuringly, he breathed a little easier. “I grew up wanting to really please everyone all of the time. Good grades, well behaved – everything my dad wanted. And then...” He puffed out a sigh. “Then I came out.”
“I'll assume that wasn't really something your dad wanted.” The tone of Kurt's guess was dry, and Blaine nodded.
“To say the least. We fought about it for a long time. It never got abusive or anything, but...I mean, I felt his disappointment. He made sure of that. It was the first time I'd disappointed anyone.” He shook his head, feeling like he was trying to dislodge the unpleasant memory from where it was clogged up in his brain.
“I'm sorry,” Kurt said again, drawing a little closer to twine his arm through Blaine's as they walked. “I can't imagine...my dad's always been supportive. That's what you meant when you said I was lucky, isn't it?”
“Yeah.” He scuffed his feet along the sidewalk, kicking up acorns and buckeyes that had fallen to the ground. “I finally got around to deciding I'd be way happier if I just did my own thing, and I am. I just can't shake the fear of disappointing people.”
“Hence the confident façade.”
“It's not a façade,” Blaine objected. “I am confident most of the time. I'm just...also really conscious of the possibility of disappointing other people. I hate questions like that about my future because I feel like I'm disappointing them, even though in the end it's no one's business but mine what I do and when I decide to do it.” He sighed again. “It's hard to get contradicting attitudes to work together.”
“Well. You don't disappoint me.” Kurt leaned in and nudged at his shoulder, a hopeful smile on his face. “I like you, Blaine. Contradictions and all.” They walked in companionable silence for a while, Blaine unable to wipe a happy new grin off of his face. Kurt spoke up again. “So if you moved around a lot, it must have been difficult for you and Quinn to stay friends.”
“Ah. That's actually a good story. I was born here, I think you knew that.” He saw Kurt nod out of the corner of his eye. “Well, my dad didn't enlist until I was about eight, so Quinn and I were in elementary school together. Our parents were friends, like from high school, I think. They exchanged letters a lot. Quinn and I wrote letters, too – they made us do it for a while, but then we started doing it because we liked to keep in touch.” He smiled at this, a good memory. “I still have a lot of them, actually, but don't tell her. She'd kill me.” They both laughed. “Then when I was 12, we got stationed at Wright Patterson. That was close enough for our parents to visit with each other sometimes, and Quinn and I reconnected.”
“How did you end up at McKinley, then? Wright Patterson's over an hour away.” Kurt's curious tone made it clear he'd never heard the story. Not really a big surprise; he'd trust Quinn to keep secrets behind her teeth under the most vile of tortures. Blaine turned in on himself, knowing his face was going closed off. “Okay, you don't have to answer.”
“Um, no, it's fine...” He took a deep breath, facing the memories head on in vivid, gory detail. “I got bullied. Military brats...they're a nastier breed of kid sometimes. And you know how the military feels about homosexuality.”
“You knew then?” Kurt sounded amazed at this. “I guess I knew pretty young too. Never mind.”
“Kind of. Yes. I didn't really acknowledge it because I wasn't sure how to deal with it.” He reminded himself to keep breathing, keep talking, keep calm. “But you know kids, if they sense a weakness, they're on you like hyenas and blood. They decided I was gay before I could figure it out myself, and they didn't like it, and they made my life hell.” Blaine swallowed back panic at remembering it all, the horrible notes, the insults Sharpied across his locker. “At the end of the school year my 8th grade year, I was beaten up really badly and shoved into a locker in the school gym. No one found me for hours.” His shoulders ached from phantom bruises and muscle tears that had healed long ago. “My parents were horrified to discover the extent of the bullying. I'd always made like everything was fine, see.”
“Blaine, that's horrible.” Kurt stopped them and pulled his arm away, grabbing Blaine and turning so that they faced each other. Sadness swam in his blue eyes. “Why didn't you tell anyone?”
“Because it would have disappointed my father that I hadn't made friends.” At Kurt's distressed gasp of realization, Blaine let a faint smile cross his face before dropping his head down. “I wouldn't tell them that I had figured out I was gay for a little while longer yet, so they just figured the kids had a personal vendetta against me. And then they arranged for me to stay with the Fabrays my freshman year so that I could start at a new high school, completely fresh, but with at least one friend already in place.”
“God, Blaine, I can't...” Kurt tucked his hands under his arms and was shivering slightly. “How did you fly under the...er...gaydar, then? At McKinley?”
“Quinn.” Blaine shrugged. “She was the first person I told about maybe being gay. And the only one, for a long time. My freshman year, we...we didn't go around saying she was my girlfriend, but we didn't say she wasn't, either.”
“But then you left?”
“Then I left,” he confirmed, nodding. “She got tangled up with the mess with Finn and Rachel. And I came to terms with myself in England, came out to my parents, and came home not really wanting to hide anymore. Between my mad skateboarding skills,” He stuck out his tongue and wiggled his eyebrows, making Kurt laugh. God, he liked Kurt's laugh. “and no one wanting to cross Quinn, plus a couple of incidents where no one I could prove I was in the locker room when pepper spray somehow got on a bunch of jock straps...well. My senior year went pretty well, in the end.” He winked. “What about you?”
“Oh, I got my fair share of crap freshman year, too.” Kurt stuffed his hands into his pockets as they started to walk again. “But sophomore year I joined Glee, and so did a bunch of football players, so I had some guys who were semi-friends always around like bodyguards.” He heaved an airy sigh. “Junior year, I guess it became pretty clear to everyone that I was going to be Valedictorian, and no one wanted to make headlines for being the the guy who beats up the gay honors student with the bright future. So they mostly left me alone.” Chewing on his lip for a moment, he clarified. “Mostly. Mutters, whispers, rumors, notes and things. Nothing I couldn't ignore. I didn't have close friends, but I didn't have any outright enemies, either. That was something.”
Blaine reached out and looped his arm back through Kurt's. “I wish I'd gotten the courage to talk to you sooner, then.”
“Why?” Kurt tilted his head and smiled in curiosity.
“No one deserves to go through high school alone. I don't know what I would have done without Jeff and Quinn this year.” Blaine swallowed back a lump of gratitude as he thought about it. “They've been amazing. And my sister, too.”
“Well, and I had my dad,” Kurt pointed out. “Plus I was kept so busy, it was kind of okay to not have much of a social life.”
“Still. I don't know. You're a stronger person than I am.” Blaine smiled. “It's really admirable.”
“Oh, stop.” Kurt shook his head, a shy smile on face as he refused to meet Blaine's eyes. “I just...I'm not...honestly, sometimes I wonder just how high the pedestal you put me on is. I'm just me, Blaine.”
“And I like you, Kurt. So I get to say nice things about you. Which in your case happen to be true.” Blaine ducked his head, trying to catch Kurt's evasive gaze. “I'll change the subject if it makes you feel better. Third date? I believe you promised me an exclusive audience this time.”
“You mean my family hasn't scared you to death? Damn, I'll have to think of something else to drive you away.” But Kurt's voice was bright with teasing, and when he tightened his arm around Blaine's, the extra contact nearly made Blaine trip over his own feet. “Oh, God, Blaine. I don't know. I just don't. The pile of things to do is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger but I really do want to spend time with you so much. God, why do we have to sleep? And eat? Do you know how much time I could spend with you if I didn't have to sleep or eat? And don't get me started on...”
As they came around the corner onto the street the Hummels' house was on, Kurt was so absorbed in ranting about how everything took up all the time in the day that it was Blaine who first noticed that something was terribly wrong. He grabbed at Kurt's arm. “I'll take a raincheck,” he blurted.
Kurt looked up, confused. “What? Blaine? Why did you...” He trailed off into nothing when he realized they were staring at an ambulance, lights flashing as paramedics loaded an unconscious Burt Hummel into the back of it. Sarah and James were clutching at each other in the driveway, in a position that Kurt unconsciously duplicated when he reached out and pulled Blaine to him, holding close like he was hanging on to a piece of driftwood that was the only thing keeping him from drowning.