Everybody Loves A Misanthrope
Pornspam: Always Here In The Silence (Kurt/Blaine AU, NC-17)

Gratitude to everyone. Thank you all so much! Here’s the Nerd!Blaine/Badass!Kurt AU.

Title: Always Here In The Silence
Author: Cimmerians (fuck it, imma just be Cimmerians now)
Fandom/Pairing: Glee, Kurt/Blaine
Rating: NC-17 for m/m sex
Word Count: 15,083
Summary: Nerd!Blaine/Badass!Kurt AU.
Author Notes: My eternal thanks to AubreyLi for reading this and soothing me and enheartening me in her generous way. To Andie, for her cheerleading and patience and what can only be described as gracious mercy. To Alice, for giving me the gift of her time and her brain when she already has so many, many demands on both. And, last but definitely not least, huge, huge thanks to Migasm, for her willingness to do art for this story, which I don’t have yet but I am so fucking excited about getting it that I flail every time I think about it.

Dedication: to Michygeary. Who is just about the most patient person on the planet.

***

Kurt Hummel was eleven years old the first time one of his schoolmates called him a faggot. He didn’t even know what that meant until he looked it up on the computer in the school library. His flushed-red cheeks burned as he hastily closed the browser page.

He went to his father after school (as he always did), planning to sit quietly and do his homework until his dad closed up the shop (as he always did)—but that was the day he walked into the shop to find Curtis, his dad’s best engine guy, installing a new battery on a beautiful, low-slung, alloy-wheeled Big Dog Chopper.

It caught him, caught him in a way that cars never caught him—something about the curves and chrome of it, elegantly perched there on its kickstand like some kind of beautiful and exotic animal, somehow far above the cracked and grease-stained cement floor it rested on. Kurt felt a warm tingle run up the back of his neck.

“Hey, Little Dude,” Curtis said affably, wiping his hands on a rag. “Whatcha doin’?”

Kurt unslung his book bag and took a step forward, unable to look away from the bike. “Nothing. Can I help?”

Curtis’ pleased smile and nod made him forget all about Johnny Jacobsen and his filthy mouth for the first time that day.

***

Blaine Anderson was ten years old when a furtive, guilty websearch on the meaning of some of the dreams he’d been having led him straight to one inescapable conclusion. But he didn’t trust the internet, so he started spending more time at the public library—never to check anything out, of course, because they undoubtedly had ways of tracing that—but the nonfiction section had most of what he needed to know, and once the librarians got used to him they stopped asking if they could help, so he stopped having to pretend he was looking at books about anthropology.

He spent most of that summer reading, branching out after he’d (sort of) satisfied his curiosity about the one subject, moving onto things contained in books that he actually could check out without fear of reprisal. It just… it was good, to know things. It helped.

His parents were very proud. His father, in particular, told him he was a good man for finally buckling down.

***

“You,” Burt said, wiping his hands on a rag and leaning against the cinderblock wall, eyeing his son like he suspected something. “You… want to learn how to ride a motorcycle?”

Kurt shifted his bookbag on his shoulder, but stood firm, meeting his father’s eyes squarely. “Yes. So that when I’m old enough, I can have one.”

“A motorcycle,” Burt repeated carefully. “One of those things that goes fast and is really loud and has a filthy, greasy engine in it—”

“Jeez, dad—‘Father of the Year’ doesn’t have a ‘Most Sarcastic’ category, you know—”

“No, and neither does ‘Smart-mouth Kid of the Month’…” Burt trailed off, looking away, then back. “Is this… this isn’t something about your mother being gone, is it?”

Kurt took a breath. “No, I don’t have some kind of deathwish, if that’s what you’re asking. I just… I like motorcycles. And someday, I’d like to have one.”

Burt blinked, then shook his head and smiled ruefully. “Huh. Well, it’s not the kind of thing I thought I’d ever hear from you, but… you’re a special kid. Okay.” He shrugged. “Motorcycle safety 101 starts right now.”

***

“Hey, four-eyes.”

Blaine ignored the whisper, and kept working.

“Hey, Poindexter—what’s the answer to number seven?”

Blaine pushed his glasses up on his nose and continued checking the logical flow of his extra-credit algorithm.

The problem with spitballs, he discovered after the period was over, was that they were terribly difficult to work out of his curls. He was going to have to do something about that.

***

Burt paused halfway through drying a plate. “A nun-what?”

“Ninjutsu. It’s… martial arts.”

Burt eyed him, and Kurt wondered if maybe he should have initiated this conversation before he put on his hairband and nighttime facial mask. “You want to take… you mean, like, Kung-Fu?”

“Kind… kind of like that, yeah. But different.”

Burt frowned. “Is it… is someone picking on you, Kurt? For, uh, anything?”

“No,” Kurt said quickly, shifting from foot to foot. “But… if they ever, you know, did, I’d like to be able to take care of myself.”

Burt’s frown stayed put. “I don’t want you fighting.”

Kurt smiled. “That means yes, doesn’t it?”

Burt sighed. “You don’t have to sound so smug about it.”

***

Blaine graduated Salutatorian of his Junior High class. He would have—could have—made Valedictorian, but his only competition for the honor was a quiet, studious boy with the odd but mellifluous name of Denholm DeSainte, a boy with beautiful green eyes and paper-pale skin and long eyelashes. Blaine really wanted to hear his Valedictorian address. Or at least have an excuse for staring at him while he was talking.

He shook hands with Denholm afterwards, but despite wiping his hand against his slacks in anticipation of the moment so often that his palm was stinging, he was still sweaty when they shook. He hurried away without offering anything more than perfunctory congratulations, and didn’t look back.

***

“Dad?”

“Yeah?” Burt was flat on his back under the chassis of an ancient Oldsmobile, but Kurt could still hear him just fine. He’d turned off the shop radio.

“I…” He hesitated, then closed his toolkit. His baby didn’t need a tune-up anyway—that had just been an excuse. He swallowed, then tried again. “I’m gay.”

The creepy-crawler rolled slowly—excruciatingly slowly—out from under the car. His father sat up stiffly, as if pained. “I… huh.” He looked Kurt over carefully, then tilted his head. “Uh, Kurt, I don’t want to, I mean… I’m not gonna… but. Are you sure? I mean, your bike, and your crazy ninja-thingie, and those steel-toed boots you just talked me into buying for you—”

Kurt felt his eyes burn, and he let the tears roll down his cheeks without wiping them—his hands were covered with motor oil. “I’m sure,” he said hoarsely, wishing his voice wasn’t so shaky. “I’m just… I guess I’m just kind of a… a gay badass.”

His father laughed at that, laughed even though he was crying, then got up and came right for him and put his arms around him. Kurt ducked his flaming-hot face into the reassuringly dirty fabric of his father’s coverall, and swayed a little, dizzy with relief.

“Well,” Burt said, choking a little on the word. “I always said you were special.”

***

“It’s going to be great,” his father said, patting his shoulder. “We’ll get her built, get her in cherry condition—and then you’ll have a car. I mean, I know a boy your age can’t just think about books; isn’t there some nice girl you’d like to ask out?”

“Dad, I’m…” Blaine stopped, swallowed, and looked down at the ground. He felt like his stomach was full of rocks. “I… I don’t know anything about cars,” he finished quietly, then hung his head even lower.

“Well, that’s why I’m here,” his father said, with that hearty tone in his voice that Blaine was quickly starting to hate. “It’ll be good for you to get your hands dirty—make a man out of you.”

***

The first time Karofsky shoved him into a locker, Kurt let it go—he’d already been called to Figgins’ office three times (once for smoking, once for truancy, and once for something called ‘disrespect for authority figures’, which seemed to be a by-product of actually telling teachers what he thought). That last time, Figgins had threatened to call Kurt’s dad in for a conference, and that was just—no, not going to happen. So he let it go.

But the second time, the sudden slam of metal against his head made a sound like a tolling bell inside his skull—and he didn’t know if it was the shock or the pain or the noise, but something, something about it pulled up a curtain inside his head, and all of a sudden, he could see.

He saw. He understood—and without any further thought he followed Karofsky down the hallway and into the locker room. He glanced around the hall before he pulled the door open, but he needn’t have bothered—everyone was pretending he was invisible, as they usually did, and that anything that happened to him was something he’d asked for, as they always did.

Karofsky was alone. “The fuck are you doing in here, faggot?” Karofsky asked him, shrugging his jacket off his shoulders. “The girls’ locker room is next door.”

“Just needed to make sure we understand each other,” Kurt said mildly, and kicked Karofsky square in the chest.

He took the advantage surprise had given him, and pinned Karofsky to the ground immediately, straddling his gasping, twitching body with one forearm pressed solidly across his throat. Karofsky’s arms were still caught in the sleeves of his jacket, which was under both of them, so Kurt didn’t bother with any defensive measures.

“Gonna kill you,” Karofsky wheezed, his eyes red and wide and murderous.

“You’d rather fuck me,” Kurt said placidly, and if he’d had any doubts (which he hadn’t), Karofsky’s look of guilty, horrified dismay would have done away with them immediately. “You want to nail my lily-white ass so badly you’d lick it, if I let you.”

Karofsky was deep red and dewed with sweat, his body twitching, thumping against the floor. “You… that’s a lie. I’m not—I’m no fucking pansy. I’m a man—”

“You’re a man with a giant boner,” Kurt said, because it was true. He steeled himself, then pressed his thigh up hard, almost too hard—not exactly what he’d thought his first experience with another man’s erection would be like, but—he had a point to make. “Looks like today’s the day you face the Judy Garland medley, hamhock.”

“I’m. Going. To kill you,” Karofsky breathed, but two seconds later he lunged forward, pressing up into Kurt’s leg and actually trying to kiss him, of all things.

Kurt laughed. “Not a fucking chance, asshole. I’m not doing this for fun.”

“Why… why… fuck, Kurt—”

“You’re going to leave me alone,” Kurt said hoarsely with one last, too-hard press of his thigh, then let up, ignoring the resulting choked-off whining noise. “Aren’t you?”

Karofsky just panted, his eyes tight shut.

Kurt tsk’ed. “It wouldn’t take very long for me to get you off, would it?” he said softly. Karofsky thudded his head against the tile floor, gasping, his hips lifting, the rest of him not even struggling any more. “I don’t think it would take long at all,” Kurt whispered, leaning close, closer, until the tip of his nose brushed Karofsky’s ear. Karofsky grunted and shuddered, but that was all. “Not much, to push you over the edge. I could just jerk you off into my handkerchief, then stick it in my pocket and keep it forever—a sweet little remembrance of our time together. Something I could show to Figgins, or to your dad—”

“Don’t,” Karofsky’s voice cracked. “Just… don’t. Please… I’ll leave you alone. I’ll… I will.”

“You’d fucking better,” Kurt said coldly, then got to his feet. He half-expected Karofsky to haul his ass up off the floor and push his luck—but no. He didn’t move. He just… laid there, staring at Kurt with wet, miserable, furious eyes.

Kurt left quickly, because he wanted to be long gone before the shakes set in.

***

Blaine met Michael Taglio through the simple expedient of the two of them always being the last two people who stayed late at the library who weren’t, like, eighty. For a long time all they exchanged were cautious nods and clandestine appraisals of each other’s book-piles, but a few weeks later Michael made a remark about the book Blaine was reading (Cosmos), and one thing led to another and then… somehow, without even trying to, he’d made a friend.

They went to different schools, but every day afterwards they met in the library—their joint refuge, their haven, the foundation of their sudden, shocking, miraculous connection.

Life was very different, with Michael. Better. Michael was smart, sarcastic, privately if not publicly contemptuous of his loud, boisterous family, and—Blaine realized after the first time they really talked—beautiful; classically handsome behind his thick hornrimmed glasses and fussily-slicked-back hair.

Blaine fell hard, silently and without warning, and it was terrible and painful and awful but somehow also wonderful because of the way Michael looked at him, because of the casual way Michael touched him on the shoulder or the back or the arm—so easily, like touching was easy—because of the way Michael smiled when it was just the two of them, like Blaine was the only thing he needed in the whole world to be happy.

He never would have said anything. Not in a million years. But then Michael turned up at the library restless and fidgety, almost manic—a shocking departure in a boy normally so self-possessed.

“Do you think,” Michael asked, then stopped, swallowing and then blushing and then looking away. “Do you think books would be a good gift for, um. Someone? If I… I mean, the kind of gift that would maybe… that would let them know I liked them?”

Blaine’s heart started beating so hard he could feel it in his fingertips, in his toes. “I think,” he started, then had to clear his throat. “I think… yeah. Of course.” And the look of delighted relief and hope and crazy daring on Michael’s face almost made Blaine brave enough to just kiss him then and there.

Only it turned out it was a good thing that he hadn’t, because the books Michael had in mind turned out to be for some girl in his Comp Sci class named Giselle, and that was just—too much. Way too much, and Blaine didn’t have enough left in him to cover, and so when Michael asked him what was wrong he actually told him, said it, he said it out loud, that he’d thought it was him

And Michael looked horrified, and worse—he looked betrayed—and he didn’t call Blaine any names but all the names were right there anyway, written plainly and emphatically on Michael’s disgusted, betrayed face.

Michael left the library. Blaine never saw him again.

***

It had just… been a thing. A stupid thing. A stupid lapse of judgment. Just a random moment sitting on the locker-room bench in his robe after showering off the sweat from running detention laps, with the loser next to him whining on endlessly about how his stupid prude of a girlfriend wouldn’t even give him a lousy handjob—a subject that had been well-canvassed over the course of the ninety minutes they’d spent stretching and doing jump-squats and then running, running, running.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Hudson,” he snapped, “if you don’t shut up about your stupid neglected dick I’m gonna jerk you off myself—”

Just a remark, a stupid, throwaway remark, something meant to shame the guy into complaining about something else for a change. And it did kind of work, in that the guy shut up immediately, staring at him mutely with wide, brown eyes—only then Kurt realized that he’d basically just propositioned another boy… a really, really big boy. His muscles tensed automatically.

“Would that make me a… um. Gay?”

It wasn’t the response he’d expected. “No,” he said brusquely, then looked away, breaking the creepy staring contest they’d been having. “Just pathetic and desperate.”

“Oh.” Kurt didn’t look at him. He just paid strict attention to drying between each one of his toes. And it seemed like that would be the end of it, only then the guy cleared his throat and went on. “Because I’m kind of… already. Those things. So. Um. Sure?”

The entire thing was just… ridiculous. Absurd. But he wound up doing it anyway, right where they were, right there on the locker room bench.

It took about thirty seconds. And it wasn’t even that sexy, but it was… something, something… powerful, doing that, watching the guy just… come apart like that.

Two days later, he heard footsteps heading his way when he was out behind the gym. He butted his smoke against the bricks and flicked it away, in case it was a teacher.

It wasn’t. “What do you want, Puckerman?”

Puck shrugged. “My girlfriend’s in juvie. I need to blow off some steam.”

Puck kept pushing for a blow job, but Kurt kept it to a hand job and some dirty talk—no kissing.

Hand job. Dirty talk. No kissing. It turned out there were a lot—like a lot—of straight boys at McKinley who were really into that. They came on like lions but they left like lambs, each and every time and each and every one of them with this attitude that they were somehow getting away with something, that they were getting away with using him—

Only afterwards, all he’d have to do is look at them, lift one eyebrow, and they would blush and stammer and look away. So he was pretty clear on who was using who, in the end.

Nobody shoved him into lockers any more.

***

He had been—relatively, at least—happy, at Dalton. The uniforms, the rules, the hushed and reverent silence of the school library, the academic stringency—he’d heard other boys complain about all of those things and more, but he’d never understood why: it was so much easier, so much simpler, when all you had to think about was your work.

He had done well at Dalton, and if anyone had ever asked him if he’d been lonely there (not that anyone ever did), he just would have said—that’s beside the point.

But that was then and there, and this was here and now—his new school, a depressing and dreary stone-faced edifice, the architecture every bit as forbidding as the hordes of shrieking students streaming through the parking lot where he sat in his car, all windows rolled up, all doors firmly locked—like some kind of cage.

“Porcelain bird,” he said, rolling down the window, and then bit his lip hard. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud. Hadn’t meant to even think those words ever again—his father’s term, the ostensible reason given for why he had to switch schools—because apparently Dalton’s superior curriculum didn’t include sufficient coursework in ‘being a man’.

He watched the students passing by until the stream thinned to a trickle, and then slowed further until there was just the odd one here or there, running towards the front doors loaded down with books and papers. They disappeared through the doors into a shadowed hallway like they’d been eaten by some kind of careless and vapid idiot monster. Blaine looked at his watch and realized that for the first time in his entire life he was going to be late for school—because God help him, he really, really didn’t want to go here.

He had just about steeled himself to open the car door and get it over with, when the moody tumble of his thoughts was interrupted by an ear-splitting roar—and really, that sort of noise shouldn’t be legal, shouldn’t be—

The noise was a motorcycle, low and black and covered with chrome, and of course it pulled into the spot right next to his, the deafening engine revving briefly before turning off. The person riding it kicked down the kickstand, but stayed straddling the bike while working off a shiny black helmet with a full faceplate. Blaine was half-amused, half-dismayed at this up-close-and-personal sneak-peek he was getting at McKinley High’s answer to James Dean—only then the helmet came off and the most beautiful boy Blaine had ever seen in his entire, entire life patted his perfect hair back into place, latched his helmet to the bike, and lit up a cigarette.

Blaine swallowed convulsively. There was an abrupt, bifurcated line in his mind—on the one side was his awareness that his throat was dry and his heart was pounding and his tongue had somehow gotten glued to the roof of his mouth—but the other side was aware only of what his eyes were seeing, and didn’t think anything else mattered at all. It was like a snapshot, an intense and vivid moment in time that he was quite sure he would never be able to forget: the boy, the line of his thigh in tight, faded denim, the sun winking off of black paint and chrome and the zippers of a pristine leather jacket, and—that face.

The face that turned to him suddenly, as if aware of his scrutiny—which made sense, because Blaine was mildly surprised there weren’t sirens going off somewhere, given his internal state.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” the boy said to him in a haughty, contemptuous voice, then flicked the butt of his cigarette away, slid smoothly and gracefully off the bike, and walked into the building.

***

Blaine located the school office on autopilot, filled out paperwork on autopilot, and accepted his schedule of classes in the same mode. He had all AP classes, of course, and he found his first, second, and third period classes without too much trouble. Fourth period was a problem, however. He triple-checked the numbers on his schedule against the numbers on the door, but the classroom beyond was empty except for one student, a girl with a long, blonde ponytail and the remarkably abbreviated uniform of the school’s cheer squad, standing against the far wall and staring at… what appeared to be the pencil sharpener.

Blaine cleared his throat. “Excuse me, is this, um,” he peered at his schedule. “Mr. Zuckerman’s classroom?”

The girl looked at him, her face wide-eyed and placid, marred only by what looked like mild worry. “No. Do you have a pencil?”

“A pencil?”

“Yes. I came in here because I remembered that my pencils need to be sharpened. But then I remembered that I forgot my pencils at home—and now I feel guilty about leaving it hungry.”

Blaine blinked. “The pencil sharpener?”

She blinked back at him. “Of course. It can’t eat sandwiches, you know.”

Blaine wondered if he was perhaps being pranked, but in the end he just unslung his backpack, unzipped it, and gave her a pencil. The girl smiled at him as if he’d just saved her from a speeding truck, and went to work with the sharpener. “Thank you so much. I’m Brittany.”

“Blaine.”

“Brittany—” the voice from the classroom doorway—the familiar voice—startled him, and Blaine turned to see the boy from the parking lot frowning in at the pair of them. His heart thudded hard in his chest. “Ms. Hergenroether’s class is next door. Did you forget again?”

“No,” Brittany said cheerfully, still feeding the pencil sharpener. “I know. It’s the room to the left—”

“The right, actually.”

“Right. I’ll be right there.”

The boy disappeared down the hall without another word. Blaine swallowed. “Is. Uh. He. Your boyfriend?”

Brittany rolled her eyes at him as if he’d said something particularly dense. “No—of course not. He can’t be—Kurt’s capital-G gay.”

Blaine’s stomach dropped and his skin flushed hot. “Um. Oh.”

“Which is really too bad, because I’d totally make out with him.”

“I see.”

“Plus, if we were dating, I could finally be in Dykes on Bikes.”

Blaine pressed his lips together. Brittany withdrew a tiny, mutilated stub of pencil from the sharpener, and looked at it with evident satisfaction. When she offered it back to him, he just shook his head. “No, that’s okay, Brittany—you keep it.”

“Okay. Thanks, Blaine,” Brittany said, smiling. Then she tilted her head and looked him over. “Hey. Do you want to make out?”

“What.”

“I don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend right now, and I want to see if your bowtie would spin.” She blinked, and tilted her head the other way. “Hey, you’re turning kind of purple. Are you part dinosaur?”

***

Blaine spent his lunch period in the school library, following a long-established habit. Before he left, he flipped through the previous year’s Thunderclap with restless, nervous hands until he found what he wanted, then looked around to make sure he was unobserved. He was. Blaine steeled himself, then quietly and surreptitiously slipped the book into his backpack, his cheeks hot, his breath high and shallow in his throat.

So he had, literally, taken a picture. And it was going to have to last him however long it took for this insanity to run its ridiculous course, because at this point he seriously doubted if he’d ever be able to speak to Kurt Hummel without hyperventilating.

***

“It’s one of Principal Figgins’ ideas,” Tina told him, idly picking spitballs out of her hair—she’d been in three of his classes so far, and she seemed very nice, and she hadn’t asked him to make out yet, so he’d made the effort to respond to her overtures. “A few of the AP classes were put together with the remedial classes—” she broke off abruptly to bat away a giant, soaked wad of paper that had been headed right for her eye. She had excellent reflexes. “—to see if we could help each other. Welcome to the hell part of the day.”

He was just about to express his opinion on the subject—there was no reason not to, as the teacher, Mr. Beck, was just kind of dozing behind his desk, completely ignoring the chaos of the pitched battle taking place—when Kurt walked in. Sauntered in. And sat at the empty desk to Blaine’s left. Blaine looked straight ahead at the blackboard, blinking rapidly.

“Mr. Hummel,” Mr. Beck drawled, “so nice of you to grace us with your presence. Why don’t you have Mr. Anderson there next to you walk you through enough parts of speech to pass the quiz we’re about to have on diagramming sentences? He’s new, and you haven’t made him cry yet. A golden opportunity for you.”

There was a collective groan from the class at the mention of a quiz, but Blaine barely heard it. Kurt was looking at him, and he was looking at Kurt, and really he shouldn’t do that because, because…oh. Eyes.

Kurt’s gaze dropped to his hands, one eyebrow arching scornfully, and Blaine realized that he was holding out the sheet with the sample sentences they’d been given. “Yeah, sorry, new kid. Not really my thing.”

Blaine pulled the paper back to his desk, cursing the heat in his cheeks. Then, seizing a moment of inspiration, he flipped the sheet over to the blank side, scribbled hastily, then held it back out, swallowing hard.

“The Triumph Street Triple R roared down the highway,” Kurt read aloud, then looked at him. “You know my bike?”

I had a lunch period and a library, he didn’t say. “It’s beautiful.” He cleared his throat. “I’m Blaine.”

“Kurt.”

The rest of the period passed in a haze of articles and possessives and liquid-cooled engines, and quick glances at the most amazing eyes he’d ever seen.

***

Small steps. Infinitesimal, gradual steps. His brain kept flashing on those crazy naturalists who camped out and tried to earn the trust of wild animals—the environment was certainly fraught with enough dangers to make the comparison disturbingly viable.

He helped Kurt in English. He nodded at Kurt in the hallways. He accepted Tina’s invitation to have lunch at her table in the cafeteria, where he had a good view of the table that Kurt sat at—usually alone, but occasionally with one or two girls.

He was in the bathroom, washing off the stinging, icy remnants of a green apple slushie when the door opened and Kurt came in. Blaine scooped water onto his face and rubbed frantically, humiliation curdling in his stomach, his cheeks hot despite the slush dripping off his chin. When he blinked his eyes clear Kurt was still there, taking in the scene, including the two boys standing a few sinks over, snickering.

“Out,” Kurt said mildly, and the two boys skittered out of the bathroom like it was on fire.

“I’m almost done,” Blaine said hastily, groping for the towel dispenser.

“Not you,” Kurt answered. He pulled something out of his pocket—a Leatherman, Blaine saw through one squinted eye—and deftly picked the lock on the dispenser, handing the giant roll to Blaine. “Here.”

Blaine took it, swallowing. “Uh. Thanks.”

Kurt shrugged, washing his hands vigorously. “Been there. I know how much it sucks.”

Blaine tore off a long strip of toweling, and attempted to dry his hair with it. “You? People throw slushies… at you?”

Kurt looked away, drying his hands and inspecting his fingernails. “Not anymore.”

Blaine tossed the soaked towel away and tore off another one. “Um. Why… I mean, how did you stop them?”

Kurt smiled a little—just a little, a sad kind of smile, Blaine thought. “I fought back, I guess. In my own way.”

Kurt left the bathroom. Blaine watched him go, then looked down at his shirtfront, sighed, and ripped off another strip of towel.

***

The slushie conversation gave Blaine the courage to take the next step sooner than he’d planned—he walked into the cafeteria the next day with his loins girded, so to speak; a carefully-worded offer fully prepared in his head.

The only problem was—no Kurt. But he was at school today—Blaine had seen him in the halls, had seen his bike in the parking lot when he went to his car for one of his own reference books.

He debated, doubted, hesitated… and then decided. He walked up to the table Kurt usually sat at, where one of the girls he sometimes ate with was sitting by herself. He cleared his throat. “Pardon me—I was looking for… I was hoping to speak to Kurt. Do you know where he is?”

The girl turned towards him, gigantic, beautiful eyes assessing him coolly from her round, brown face. “You? You’re looking for Kurt?”

Blaine felt abruptly self-conscious. “Um. Yes?” He could feel himself blushing. “I had… there was something I wanted to talk to him about—”

“I bet,” the girl said with what appeared to be some level of amusement. Then she shrugged. “He’s out behind the gym.”

“Oh. Well, thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” the girl said, waving one hand airily as she turned back to her lunch. “Have fun.”

“I… uh. Thanks.”

Have fun?

***

When Blaine rounded the corner, Kurt was just tossing the butt of his cigarette away, brushing his hands off. He looked Blaine over, evidently surprised. “You? Really?”

Blaine hoped his smile looked warm and friendly, not the pasted-on nervous grin it felt like on the inside. “Hey, Kurt—I heard you were out here, and I thought I’d… that is, I wanted to talk to you—”

Kurt was smiling, a half-amused, half-bitter smile. “Yeah, okay. I guess you never know.”

The next second Blaine’s breath stopped dead in his throat, because Kurt took him by the shirtfront, hauled him around, and pressed him—hard—into the brick wall. “Let me run the rules down for you, since this is your first time.” Kurt was close, so close, and something very wrong was going on, and Blaine needed to think and he needed to pay attention, but that was pretty much impossible because… Kurt was so close. “No calling me by any girly names. No kissing. And if you come on my boots, I’ll make you lick it off. Understood?”

Blaine nearly passed out. “I… I… oh my God what?”

Kurt shrugged, shifting against him. “You don’t have to freak out, you know—you’re not the only straight boy at McKinley who occasionally wants to get jerked off by… uh—”

Kurt let go of him. Blaine figured that was probably because he was hyperventilating. He shook his head, then wished he hadn’t done that because he nearly keeled over. “I’m not…” he managed, sounding half-strangled.

Kurt stepped back from him, eyeing him warily. “You’re not… you’re not here for a hand-job, are you?”

Blaine shook his head. “I’m not… no.” He was numb. His lips were numb. And they were still moving. “And I’m not… I’m not straight.”

Oh, God. He’d actually said it. Out loud. To another person. To Kurt. On top of everything else, it was… too much. His eyes stung.

Kurt blinked. “You… huh. Really? You’re… gay?”

He was shaking. This was awful. “Yes,” he said, and yanked his glasses off to wipe his eyes. He swallowed. “Nobody knows.”

Kurt looked him over; smiling again, but—different, a different smile. “With that wardrobe?” he said softly, touching Blaine’s bow tie with one finger. “I think you’re probably right.”

And just like that, Blaine was laughing—about the last thing he expected or felt like doing, but—he couldn’t help it. He laughed so hard he doubled over, sliding down the wall until he was crouched down on the concrete with his face in his hands. He heard Kurt chuckle, then laugh, and then snort, delicately—and that didn’t help at all.

When he finally wiped his eyes and looked up, Kurt was leaning against the bricks with both arms crossed over his chest, regarding him with evident amusement. “Are you done?”

“I… yes. I believe so.” Kurt held out his hand and Blaine took it, trying not to think about how easily Kurt hauled him upright. “Sorry.”

Kurt shrugged. “No big deal. What did you want?”

His brain was still semi-scrambled—he repeated the question to himself, but it was hitting a dead circuit. “Um. What?”

Kurt’s mouth quirked at the corners. “Well, if you didn’t come out here for a hand-job, what did you come out here for?”

It occurred to him that he would probably regain his equilibrium a lot faster if Kurt would stop mentioning that quite so casually—but there didn’t seem to be any way to say so, politely. “Oh. I… yes. I thought, maybe—” his speech, so carefully constructed, was nothing but a tattered mess in his head. “Uh. Work. Schoolwork. I could… I’d help you. If you wanted.”

Kurt looked away from him for a moment, as if he were thinking it over. Blaine had enough time for his heart to cramp up over the perfection of Kurt’s profile before Kurt turned back to him, smiling faintly, a roguish and deeply disconcerting glint in his eye. “Hmm. Instead, how about you do my homework for me and I’ll stroke you off?”

Blaine choked, then started coughing. Kurt thumped him on the back, hard. “Jeez—I’m just kidding, Blaine. Don’t pop a vessel, okay?” He shook his head. “You know, if you’re gonna hang out with me, you may want to work on not being so fucking uptight all the time.”

***

Simplify the following expression—what the hell does that even mean? That I’m supposed to look bored? Because it’s working. I don’t even know what an expression is—”

“It’s a mathematical phrase,” Blaine said automatically, unloading his books from his backpack. “In that context, a combination of ordinary numbers, variables and operators.”

He looked up to find Kurt staring at him, a half-amused, half-annoyed look on his face. “Oh really? You don’t say. Well then, what’s…” he flipped pages. “uh. The fundamental theorem of—”

“Every single-variable polynomial—every non-zero one with complex coefficients, anyway—has exactly as many complex roots as its degree. If each root is counted up to its multiplicity.”

Kurt’s eyes narrowed, and he closed the book and picked up another one, paging rapidly. “When did the Continental Congress first meet?”

“1774.”

“With how many delegates?”

“Um. Fifty-six.”

Kurt tossed that book and picked up another one. “What year did Guyana declare independence?”

“1966.”

A flash of blue eyes. “From?”

“England. Or, the U.K.”

Another book. “Okay. What’s the first line of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, smartass?”

Blaine closed his eyes. “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”

He opened his eyes, and cracked up at the expression on Kurt’s face. Kurt tossed the book aside, breaking into a grin. “You know what, Blaine? Fuck you.”

Then they were both laughing.

***

Blaine was mentally working out a lesson plan to best develop Kurt’s budding interest in algebra, when a sudden shove sent him careening into the lockers. He managed—barely—to hold onto his books and notes, although his glasses were knocked askew. He supposed he was lucky they hadn’t broken.

Two boys in letterman jackets were making their way down the hall, the one that had pushed him, and another one, who actually, shockingly, spoke up. “Dude—impulse control!”

Blaine was still staring after him when suddenly Kurt was there, right next to him. “Don’t bother, Blaine. That’s Finn Hudson. Giant cock, but he’s got some impulse control issues of his own, if you know what I mean. Also, he’s straight. Well… technically.”

Blaine hoped the sudden rush of heat in his cheeks would be attributed to the shoving incident. “Um, I wasn’t… that is… I was just. Surprised. That he said that.”

Kurt shrugged. “Finn’s a decent guy. Most of the time.” He reached out and tweaked Blaine’s glasses until they sat right.

Blaine swallowed. He shouldn’t ask. He wasn’t going to ask. Except no, his lips were moving, so apparently he was asking. “So, I guess you and he, uh…”

One corner of Kurt’s mouth turned up. “He was my first, actually.” He tilted his head and fluttered his eyelashes. “A fact that would undoubtedly make me all misty were I not, you know, me.” He crossed his arms across his chest. “Don’t worry about Puckerman—I’ll talk to him.”

“Who?”

“The asshole who pushed you—”

“Oh—no, Kurt. Really.” He cleared his throat and resettled his glasses. “I mean, that’s very kind of you, but—I don’t want you to fight my battles for me, you know?”

Kurt raised an eyebrow. “If you say so—but it’s no problem, if you change your mind—I’ve gotten pretty good at it.” He dropped a wink. “Speaking of which,” he craned his neck to look at the clock on the wall, “I gotta go. There’s a hockey player waiting for me behind the gym who likes a tight, overhand grip coupled with lots of verbal abuse. No rest for the wicked.”

Blaine returned his airy, farewell wave with a brief, hesitant nod, then headed down the hall towards the library on feet that felt like they were made of lead.

***

He never meant to ask. He actually meant never to ask—it wasn’t his business, and it seemed like a touchy subject, despite Kurt’s deliberate nonchalance about it. But today they were studying at a small table tucked in the back of the Lima Public Library, and the winter sun streaming through the windows made Kurt look like he was glowing, so perfectly angelic that Blaine felt like someone was wringing his heart like a damp rag every time he looked up. Blaine couldn’t focus on teaching composition. He couldn’t focus on anything at all, unfortunately—not even on keeping his mouth shut when he knew that he should.

“Why do you do it?”

Kurt glanced up briefly from his notes, his brows drawn together. “Do what?”

“With, uh. You know. Guys. Behind the gym.”

Kurt shrugged and went back to scribbling. “It works for me.”

Blaine swallowed. “Oh.” He had a million things he wanted to say to that.

He said none of them.

***

The light streaming in was blinding, painfully so—but Blaine didn’t even care because along with the light came air, wonderful air, air that didn’t smell like—

“Oh my God—Blaine?”

Blaine ducked his head and put his hands over his face, his shoulders hunching with the sudden weight of added mortification. Kurt. Of course, Kurt would be the one to find him like this. “Uh. Hi. Yeah. I’m not… this isn’t on purpose, you know—”

“What—that some assholes locked you in a porta-potty and then rolled it? I’m pretty sure that was on purpose, Blaine.” Blaine blinked up into the light and saw Kurt’s face, dark and thunderous and… angry. “Who did it?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Blaine said, and shook his head when Kurt extended a hand. “No, don’t touch me, okay? I’m… I can climb out on my own. I just… I really need a shower.”

The sun was setting and the school was deserted as they made their way through the halls. Blaine kept as much distance between them as he could, and he didn’t return Kurt’s glances. “I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad I had to run punishment laps today,” Kurt said, his hands fisted in his pockets. “I never would have found you otherwise.”

“I promise you, you’re not anywhere near as glad as I am. I thought I was going to be there all night.”

“Are you going to tell me who did it?”

“Are you going to tell me why you got punishment laps?”

“I told my Spanish teacher exactly what I thought of him.”

Blaine actually found himself chuckling. He’d met Kurt’s Spanish teacher.

“Blaine—”

“No, Kurt. I’m not going to tell you. I don’t want you… doing anything… on my account.”

Kurt tapped a locker with his fist as he passed it. “Oh, whatever, Blaine—look, I can just put you back in the porta-potty if you feel the need to martyr yourself—”

“I really don’t.” Blaine ducked into the locker room when Kurt held the door for him, and flipped on the lights with his elbow. “Thanks, Kurt. For… letting me out.”

Kurt shrugged, flipping his Leatherman out of his pocket. “Apparently it’s the least I can do. Well, that, and break into enough lockers to find you some clothes that will fit.”

Blaine didn’t say so, but he was kind of absurdly touched by the gesture.

He used an entire bar of soap and half a bottle of shampoo. When he finally felt that he’d scrubbed himself down to a molecular level he shut off the tap, shook the water out of his hair, then wrapped a towel firmly around his hips before he walked back out into the locker room.

Kurt had left a stack of clothes on the bench, and was rummaging for more in some hapless jock’s locker. “Honestly, Blaine; I don’t know why I’m being so damned picky choosing clothes for a guy who thinks suspenders and grandpa-pants are the height of sartorial snazziness, but…” he trailed off when he turned around, a white shirt hanging from his fingers. He stared for a few seconds, then cleared his throat and turned away, tossing the shirt in Blaine’s direction. “Anyway, these should fit you. I’m gonna… I’ll wait for you outside, okay?”

Blaine caught the shirt with the hand that wasn’t clutching his towel. “Okay,” he said quietly, but the door had already wheezed shut.

He dried off and dressed quickly—jeans, boots, white v-neck shirt and a black flannel overshirt, then ran his fingers through his untidy mop of hair—it would have to do.

Kurt looked him over when he came through the door into the hallway. He nodded, but his face was solemn. “Look, Blaine, you’re not… you’re obviously not some ninety-pound weakling, okay? And I know you don’t want me to do anything… uh. Vengeance-y… but. This thing, this thing that happened to you today—that was bad. Really bad. And you have to know it’s not going to stop. Not until you do something.”

Kurt’s eyes were frank and level, intense and right at him, and there was a dismaying moment of flipping freefall in Blaine’s stomach, a moment in which he suddenly realized the full extent to which he was pretty much powerless in the face of Kurt asking him…anything. “I… yeah, yes, I know. I just. I’m not sure what I should… I mean, I’m not really—”

“That’s what I’m saying,” Kurt interrupted, his voice earnest and low. “I could help. I could… teach you some things. Let me teach you.”

“I… yes, okay,” he answered, because Kurt could have said ‘Let me set you on fire, Blaine,’ and he would have said the same thing. “I’d like that.”

Kurt smacked him on the shoulder as they headed down the darkened hall, and Blaine started wondering whether there was any kind of athletic undergarment that was designed to conceal unbidden and inappropriate autonomic responses in teenage males.

***

They fell into a routine: study after school in the library until it closed (and until after-school sports practice was over), then an hour or two in the gym, which they usually had all to themselves by then.

Usually, but not always. Blaine was practicing his falls (he didn’t need the mirrors lining the walls to know that he looked like the world’s biggest dork doing it, but knowing how to fall turned out to be somewhat vital to the whole process, so practice he did), when the door to the locker room banged open—but it wasn’t Kurt. It was one of the football team jocks; a big, florid blond boy who’d slushied him once or twice, and who, yes, Blaine was quite sure of it, had been in the group that had locked him in the toilet.

The guy looked him over and grinned. “What the fuck are you doing—some kind of stupid-ass nerd ballet?”

“It’s called Ninjutsu, Strando,” Kurt snapped, walking into the room in a pair of black sweats and a black t-shirt. “But you may know it better as ‘that thing I’m going to use to fuck your ugly ass up if you don’t get the hell out of here’.”

The blond boy stepped forward. “You don’t scare me, Hummel—”

Kurt leaned against the mirrored wall, his arms crossed over his chest. “No? Well, we’re even, then—because you and your itty-bitty dick wouldn’t scare anyone, except maybe a cockroach. Which might actually be your best chance of passing on your genetic material, now that I think about it—”

Kurt’s voice rose shrilly towards the end, but the door whooshed shut behind Strando before Kurt even finished the sentence.

Blaine sat up on the mat, wrapping his arms around his knees. “That guy? You… and that guy?”

Kurt looked at him sharply. “Is there a problem, Blaine?”

“No.” He swallowed. “No problem. I was just… I didn’t see that coming.”

Kurt snorted mildly, staring down at his feet and digging one toe into the mat. “Trust me—you’d need a magnifying glass to see that guy coming.”

Blaine took it for the olive branch that it was, and started stretching his hamstrings.

***

Things were different. Kurt was different.

He was… prickly, for one thing. Blaine wasn’t sure if it was due to the fact that they were spending so much time together, or if it was something he’d done without meaning to, or if it had nothing at all to do with him, but—Kurt was prickly, touchy—and the dynamic between them had shifted without Blaine having any idea why, or what he could possibly do about it.

In the absence of information or ideas, he did what he did best, and applied himself to learning. He worked hard, and pushed his body hard, and did everything he could to make sure that Kurt’s lessons weren’t wasted on him.

“You’re still not attacking hard enough,” Kurt told him, shaking his head, arming sweat off his forehead.

Blaine picked himself up off the mat. “I know, I know you said to go for it, but. I just.” He shrugged. “What if I hurt you?”

Kurt just looked like he was tossing his head, but—the next second Blaine was flat on his back on the mat with Kurt’s sock-covered foot pressing down on his chest, his right arm up and extended and caught in what felt like an iron grip, wrist twisted almost to the point of pain. Kurt’s eyes were solemn, huge, a brilliant blue. “And I told you—I won’t let you.” He looked away, blinked, then back down at him. “I’m not going to let you hurt me, Blaine.”

After that, Blaine attacked harder.

So the prickliness was new, the cause unknown. And to make everything even more confusing, the other thing that was new was… something that was kind of the opposite of prickliness, moments where Blaine would look up from his books or his practice or his stretching to catch Kurt staring at him with a soft, languorous expression on his face, his eyes half-lidded and dreamy, his cheeks flushed.

It didn’t happen very often. And it didn’t last very long, Blaine’s observation seemingly enough to break the spell. And that was probably a good thing, because every time it did happen Blaine’s heart sped up to a gallop, then his face got hot and his breathing went funny—but then it was over, always over, gone between one moment and the next as if it had never been there at all.

***

It was late, and they were both sweaty and exhausted, but Kurt told him his form was almost perfect on the last attack, so they ran it again, and again, and again…

“Let go, Blaine,” Kurt said, the words staccato between gasps for breath. “Muscle-memory, you have to just… let your muscles do what you taught them. You have to just go for it.”

Blaine went for it.

“Better. Again. Harder. Faster.”

Blaine went again, heaving for air when his back hit the mat.

“One more, come on—”

“No more,” Blaine said to the ceiling, feeling his muscles shake. “I can’t—”

“You can. Blaine. Come on—”

“Kurt—”

“Blaine. Now. Do it—”

Blaine did it—no finesse whatsoever, all of his control drained away by exhaustion. There was only his brain telling his body what to do without any interference from the part of him that thought about who he was doing it to—and Kurt went down hard, flat on his back with Blaine on top of him, all the air wheezing out of his lungs all at once.

Blaine tried to push himself up and off, but his muscles felt like overboiled noodles and all he managed was a shaky half-pushup before he collapsed. “God—sorry, Kurt.”

“Don’t… that was… what I wanted…” Kurt was staring right at him, breathing hard and sweating and flushed and half-smiling, and Blaine felt the world slewing away from him a little.

“You… you’re okay?”

“Mmm.” Kurt’s ankle hooked over his, ran halfway up his calf, then back down again. Blaine had to fight back a gasp and a whole-body shiver. “That was exactly what I’ve been waiting for you to do.”

“Oh. I… uh. Good.” Kurt’s lips were so pretty, pink and full and soft-looking—tempting, inviting—and he really shouldn’t be looking at them because all that did was make him feel like a man dying of thirst while staring at water.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m… um.” He was nowhere near okay. He couldn’t stop staring at Kurt’s mouth, and that was a problem all on its own but what was even worse was that he was actually easing down, tilting his head and slowly giving in to the pressure as if there were a hundred-pound stone looped around his neck, his mouth craving so badly that the want of it curled through his throat and his belly and his blood—

“Blaine.” Kurt’s eyes were wide. “Don’t.” His voice was clipped, calm, and ice-cold. Blaine felt the body under his own go abruptly rigid.

“Kurt—”

“Whatever it is you’re thinking—no. Don’t do it. Just… don’t.”

That was that, that should have been that, that was clear—but. There was something going on under that, under the reserve, under the ice. “Kurt, I—”

That was as far as he got before he went flying. “I told you,” Kurt said coldly, standing seemingly so very far above him, his voice shaking, his hands curled to fists. “I don’t kiss.” He looked away, blinking at the wall, his eyes bright. Then he looked back down. “Now, if you’ve finally worked up the balls to ask for the hand-job you’ve been silently begging for since the day we met—”

“No,” Blaine managed, sitting up and scooting back, as far away from Kurt as he could get. His eyes stung, and his stomach was cramped, heavy and sick. “No, Kurt, I really don’t want to be one of the nameless, faceless guys you use in order to feel like you’ve somehow gotten even with them—”

Kurt’s eyes flashed. “Don’t you even think about judging me—”

“I’m not judging you—I’m too busy wondering why you insist on treating yourself like you’re worthless, when you’re—”

“You can cram your fucking pity right up your ass, Blaine,” Kurt spat at him, crossing his arms over his chest and backing away. “It might do you better than the stick you have up there right now.” His mouth twisted. “And yes, you are judging me—you always have. And you know what?” He looked at Blaine, his eyes brilliant, “I don’t give a shit what you think about what I do—because at least I’m not some kind of repressed, puritan monk. At least I don’t creep through the world being fucking terrified of who—what—I am.”

And with that, Kurt turned and walked away from him. Blaine’s breath caught in his throat, and his eyes spilled over and tracked down his cheeks. “Kurt—”

“You and I are done, Blaine,” Kurt said without turning around, his head bowed low, one hand on the handle of the open door. “Just—stay the fuck away from me.”

The door wheezed shut after Kurt went through it, closing with a solid, final click.

And then Blaine was alone.

***

That was Monday night. On Tuesday, Blaine claimed a headache, and stayed home from school. He stayed in bed all day, a day that seemed to last for at least fifty hours.

On Wednesday, he stayed home again. As soon as his parents were gone, he got up and went to his desk, where he spent the day writing a letter to Kurt. And then re-writing it. Re-writing it. Re-writing again. It gave him a terrible headache.

He still had the headache on Thursday. As soon as his parents were gone, he went to the living room fireplace and burned the letter. Then he went back to bed.

On Friday morning, he woke up with his head so calm and clear there seemed to be a deep, resonant hum occupying the space between his ears. It sounded almost like the far-off roar of a motorcycle engine.

He got up, and went to school.

***

He was calm, perfectly calm, through the first half of the day. He went to the cafeteria at lunch, verified that Kurt was not at his usual table, and headed down the hall towards the gym. But before he got there he started to shake, and the linoleum under his feet seemed to be gradually disappearing down a dark tunnel, so he ducked into the bathroom and stood there, both arms braced against the sink and his head hanging down, breathing deep and steadily until his vision cleared and his heartbeat returned to normal.

He splashed some water on his face, dried himself off with a strip of towel (staring at the lock on the dispenser the whole time, a lock that still bore deep scratchmarks from being jimmied), and left.

Kurt was behind the gym, lounging against the bricks, smoking. He looked at Blaine with no visible change of expression. “What the fuck do you want, Anderson?”

“I want…” he cleared his throat and tried again. “I want the same thing that everyone else who comes here wants.”

Kurt laughed, a short, sarcastic bark, tossing his head and looking away. “Right. As if. Get lost.”

Blaine took a step forward. “No.” He took another step. “You’re angry at me for judging you—well, here’s your chance to get even. Do this, and then you can feel about me the same way you feel about all the others—”

“Blaine.” Kurt’s voice was soft, but icy-cold. “Shut the fuck up, and get away from me.”

Blaine took one more step. “Why? Are you afraid to touch me?”

Kurt flicked his cigarette away and turned to him, one eyebrow raised. The cool, contemptuous look on his face had darkened. “What—you think I won’t, just because we were friends?” He took a step forward. “You think I won’t take you down?”

“You are,” Blaine said with conviction. He was shaking, and he didn’t care. “You are afraid—”

That was as far as he got before Kurt had him by the arm, dragging him roughly around the corner to a small alcove, bricks on three sides and nothing but an empty field across the way, dry and brown and dead at this time of year. “I’m really not,” Kurt said calmly, conversationally, one hand hard against Blaine’s chest while the other flicked and worked his pants open with expert speed. Blaine’s knees almost went out from under him when Kurt’s hand plunged into his briefs, but apparently Kurt was used to that, because he wedged his knee in between Blaine’s thighs and steadied him against the cold bricks like it was just the next step in the process.

“Huh,” Kurt said mildly, staring down. “Not bad, for a geek.” His touch was smooth, practiced, and clinical—but it was Kurt’s hand, Kurt touching him there, where his heart beat and he ached so badly that he was hard in seconds, so much pent-up need in him—

“And a grower, what do you know,” Kurt murmured in his ear, almost a purr, his hand moving below, smooth and slipping on precome, a tiny, professional flick at the top of each stroke. “Very nice. You want to fuck my hand, Blaine? Want me to make you come? Want me to make you beg me—”

There was more, but Blaine couldn’t listen to it. He stared over Kurt’s shoulder at the dead, frozen field, and a wave of sadness washed through him. It crested at his throat, so intense that he would have slid down the wall if Kurt hadn’t been holding him upright. The touch between his legs was good—so good, too good—but he was losing his erection anyway.

Kurt leaned away from him a little, looking down and frowning. “What… what the fuck is your problem, Blaine?” He looked up, blinking. “I’m actually really good at this, you know—”

“Kurt,” Blaine said, and his voice was so hoarse, barely a croak. “I know you won’t… that I can’t… but I—can I touch you?” He reached out, close but not touching, hovering there. “Can I please… at least… touch you?”

Kurt’s eyes widened. “You… you want to touch me.”

“Please…”

“Like this.” Kurt squeezed his flaccid penis.

“Yes.”

Kurt turned away from him for a moment, then turned back, shrugging. “Whatever gets your rocks off, Blaine. But don’t think I’m going to—”

Blaine was burning, flaming-hot despite the icy winter air. He was shaking almost too badly to get Kurt’s jeans undone, but desperation eventually prevailed. He gasped and jerked when he got inside Kurt’s black boxer-briefs, taking Kurt in his hand with his heart pounding like crazy—and just like that he was hard again, hard and throbbing and pushing himself into Kurt’s grip.

Kurt made some noise, some soft noise, then they were leaning against each other and slowly sliding until finally Kurt was the one sagging against the wall with Blaine leaning into him, holding him up. Kurt’s touch wasn’t expert any more—it was sloppy and shaky and rough, fumbling and entirely without rhythm, and it felt about a million times better than it had before. Kurt was hard in his hand, hard and hot and smooth and beautiful. Perfect. Blaine leaned his head back and sighed. “Kurt. Oh my God… Kurt—”

“Don’t,” Kurt breathed, but he didn’t stop, and he didn’t stop pushing his hips up against Blaine’s fist, so Blaine wasn’t exactly sure what it was that he was supposed to not do. He squeezed Kurt from root to tip, then stroked lightly, slowly, putting everything he had into it—all of his frustration and all of his longing, all of his sadness and desire and—everything. He brought his head up slowly, breathing hard—and Kurt was breathing hard, both of them sharing air and mingled breath and Kurt was staring, staring right at his mouth, his cheeks flushed and his eyes soft, so hazy-dreamy and soft. Kurt licked his lips and Blaine moaned, Kurt shook all over and Blaine gasped, then Blaine felt Kurt’s free hand slide up his neck and into his hair, clutching there, pulling him closer.

He wasn’t sure which one of them moved first, but the moment their lips touched Kurt came in his hand with a choked-off cry, throbbing and spilling hot over his knuckles. Just one kiss, soft and sweet and chaste, then everything went white and he closed his eyes and came helplessly, pushing himself into Kurt’s fist and shaking hard.

They were tangled together and wet, heaving for breath with their foreheads touching. Blaine cupped Kurt’s face with his free hand and opened his eyes, groaning just a little because Kurt undone was so incredibly beautiful, glowing and vulnerable with his dusky lashes closed and his mouth open, rosy and gorgeous and just so perfect—

Kurt opened his eyes, and there was one dazed and dreamy moment where nothing else existed except the two of them, closer than close—but the next second Kurt blinked and then pushed him away, not roughly, but firmly, then turned from him, his head bowed as he did up his jeans.

Blaine felt like someone had just punched him in the stomach. “Kurt—what—”

Kurt was quiet for a long time, catching his breath. When he spoke, his voice was shaky, almost too quiet to hear. “No, Blaine. We’re not… that was… we just… that was a mistake. It’s not gonna happen again.”

Blaine swallowed hard. He was still gasping. “What… did I do it wrong? What did I do wrong?”

Kurt lifted his head, but he didn’t turn around. “Look, Blaine—you just… you picked the wrong guy if you wanted a boyfriend. That’s… I’m not boyfriend material.” He lit a cigarette, the glowing tip of it jittering wildly. “And I don’t want to be.”

“Kurt—”

“Blaine.” Kurt turned to him then, and other than a trace of hectic flush brightening his cheeks, he looked every bit as calm and remote as he had the day Blaine first met him. “Do us both a favor, okay? Just put your gigantic brain to work on forgetting that this ever happened. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Kurt walked away with his hands fisted in his jacket pockets and a thin ribbon of smoke curling over his shoulder. Blaine slid down the wall until he landed on the icy concrete, put his face in his hands, and tried to breathe past the boulder of pain in his throat.

***

He gave it a week. One week for Kurt to realize what a mistake it had been to walk away. He didn’t pursue Kurt, but he didn’t avoid him either—not that either one would have made any difference, because Kurt appeared to have decided to forget not only what had happened between them, but the fact that Blaine even existed. It was a very, very long week.

When it was over, he gave it another week—Kurt was stubborn, he was proud, he was… he was Kurt, and Blaine loved him, and if that meant waiting an uncomfortably long time for Kurt to see what was right there in front of him—well, he would wait. It was another long week.

Halfway through the third week, he was digging through his backpack looking for his AP history notes when he found a pen that Kurt had gnawed on during the agonizing evening they’d spent on gerunds, a pen he’d scooped up guiltily when Kurt abandoned it, his own lovesick magpie treasure. He stared at it for a long time, rolling it back and forth across the table, then picked it up and gripped it tightly, swallowing—and tossed it in the trash.

It was time to move on.

***

The next day at school he applied himself, pleased when he seemed to be making progress. It was almost lunch, and so far he was entirely normal—back on track, no more mooning, no more moments of distraction where he had to stop and force his brain onto whatever task was laid out in front of him, no more losing track of his surroundings—

“Hey, um,” Blaine jumped. He’d been so busy congratulating himself on his complete normalcy that he hadn’t noticed the guy standing next to him at his locker—and that was ridiculous, because the guy was big enough to be seriously hard to miss. “You’re friends with Kurt, right?”

Blaine felt his cheeks flush hot. “Uh. I… um. Yeah. You’re… Finn, right?”

“Yeah. Finn Hudson. I’m… look, can I talk to you for a minute?”

In that moment, Blaine realized he’d basically been entirely successful at fooling himself into believing that he’d been the least bit successful at ‘moving on’—because his first thought was that maybe Kurt had sent this guy to talk to him about… them, which was completely insane. First of all, if Kurt had something to say to him, Blaine was pretty sure Kurt would choose to say it himself. To his face. And secondly, even if Kurt had decided to use an intermediary for some reason, it seemed much more likely that he would use one of his friends, Mercedes or Rachel or Quinn, rather than… than the jock he’d given his first hand-job to. “Of course,” Blaine said lamely, belatedly, finally realizing that Finn was just standing there staring at him, waiting for an answer.

“Thanks. I… uh. Look, I know—Kurt’s having a hard time right now. And I know he’s giving his friends a hard time, but I think he really needs—”

“What did he do?”

Finn shrugged. “Well, he stormed out of last period yelling, and I’m pretty sure he took off, probably for the hospital—”

Blaine’s stomach dropped. “… hospital?”

Finn blinked. “Yeah, um. Didn’t you know? His dad had some kind of major heart attack two days ago, and now he’s in a coma and they don’t know if he’s going to wake up.”

“Oh my God…”

Finn tilted his head. “You didn’t know?”

“No, I…” Blaine closed his eyes, then opened them. “He… Kurt hasn’t wanted to talk to me much, lately.”

Finn nodded. “Yeah, I think there’s a lot of that going around.”

Blaine took a breath. “So… how come you know? Are you, uh, friends?”

“No, it’s… my mom’s been dating him.” Blaine’s mouth dropped open, and Finn waved his hands around, shaking his head. “Kurt’s dad, that is. Not Kurt.” Finn’s cheeks went pink. “I haven’t exactly been advertising it, but… yeah. And Kurt’s… he’s a good kid. And he needs friends. Whether or not he wants them right now.”

“I… oh. Yeah. Um, thank you, Finn.”

Finn shrugged. “Just be there for him, okay?”

Blaine nodded, but Finn had already walked away.

***

He heard Kurt while he was still making his way down the hospital hallway. Probably half the floor could hear him.

“I don’t give a fuck about your good intentions—” Kurt yelled, and there was so much tension, fear and pain in his voice that Blaine winced. “He’s my dad, and I don’t want you—”

A quiet murmur cut him off, and Blaine had no idea who was speaking until he reached the room—which was packed, Mercedes and Rachel and Quinn and some other lady he’d never seen before, all clustered around Burt Hummel’s hospital bed.

“I know you’re scared,” Mercedes said, and Blaine honestly didn’t know which squeezed his heart worse—the pallid, frail-looking man in the bed, or Kurt, who looked like he was on the verge of tears. “And I know you’re tough—but this isn’t the time for you to be tough, Kurt. This is the time for you to turn to God. We’re just praying for him. For him, and also for you, and if you would just—”

“Don’t pray for me,” Kurt spat, and he looked like a cornered wild animal, snarling and panicked. “Prayers are stupid and useless and all the fucking praying in the world isn’t going to make one damn bit of difference—”

There was a babble of voices, all of them talking at once, and it wasn’t precisely difficult to grasp the scope of the conversation. Kurt was backing into the corner of the room with both hands in his hair, and the group around the bed had become the group around Kurt, hemming him in—and all of a sudden Blaine was furious, cold and hot at once, his hands curling into fists.

“There’s been no scientific proof about proximity affecting the efficacy of prayer,” he said, loudly enough that all of the heads in the room (except Burt’s) swiveled towards him at once. He didn’t even care. “So if you’re determined to pray for him, you can at least do it outside this room, where you won’t upset the one member of the family who’s still conscious.”

He herded them out one by one, not listening to a word any of them said, not even stopping to wonder where the authority or the anger had come from. When the last one trailed out he shut the door with hands that had finally started to shake, and turned around to find Kurt right there, staring at him with reddened, overbright eyes.

“I’m sorry, Kurt, I know you love them, but people—when they get like that, it just… it pisses me off.” He looked away, fuming. “It’s like they think they have the right to do whatever they want, say whatever they want, just because they believe in God—”

“Don’t you believe in God?” The question was so quiet he almost didn’t hear it.

“What? I… oh. No. I’m an atheis—”

Kurt kissed him, his mouth wet and molten and salt-bitter, arms around his neck and fever-hot body pressed right up against his own. Blaine closed his eyes and rocked on his feet while something deep in his chest exploded outwards, and his arms wrapped Kurt up all by themselves, without any direction from him. The rest of the world suddenly seemed very remote.

When Kurt finally pulled away Blaine let him go, then put his hands in his pockets so they wouldn’t reach out again. He ached. “Kurt—”

“I’d like to be alone with my father,” Kurt said softly, already turning away, drifting towards the bed like nothing at all had happened. Blaine watched him pick up his father’s hand and squeeze it, saw the tears that had been threatening finally spill over, running down Kurt’s cheeks.

“I’ll… uh. I’ll be out here. If you need anything.”

He found a plastic chair in the hallway three rooms down, and set it up on one side of the closed door to Burt Hummel’s room. He sat there for a long time, compulsively swallowing over and over until the taste of Kurt’s mouth was just an unforgettable memory.

***

And that was where he stayed, every moment that he wasn’t in school. At some point each evening he would leave his post to go to the restaurant across the street for two meals to-go, since the hospital cafeteria was fully up to the standard of hospital cafeterias everywhere. He went into Burt’s room long enough to drop off a plate for Kurt, then back out into the hallway, where he would pick at his own dinner listlessly until it was time to throw it out.

“Are you a friend of the family?” a nurse—Dylan, his nametag said—asked him the first night he was there.

“I’m… a friend of his son’s,” he answered lamely, wondering if he was about to be sent packing.

But Dylan just smiled a little, then nodded and moved on, and that was the end of that.

He heard Kurt, sometimes—no discernible words, just the soft, slow murmur of his voice. It was somehow comforting and sad all at once, terribly intimate at the same time that it was hopelessly remote.

He made a halfhearted attempt at doing his homework, but for the first time ever his books couldn’t hold his attention, and his homework seemed maddeningly incomprehensible. So mostly, he just sat.

One evening, he’d actually started to nod off a little when Kurt’s voice—not soft, now, but loud, loud and very, very urgent—woke him; Kurt yelling for a nurse. His stomach cramped with a sudden wave of fear, but when he followed the nurse into the room he found Kurt standing next to his father, holding his hand.

“He moved—he did, he moved just a little and he made a noise—he heard me, I know he heard me, he heard me and he squeezed my hand—”

Burt Hummel stirred a little, and his eyelids fluttered. The nurse moved in and took over.

Kurt burst into tears.

Blaine took a deep breath, then turned around and left. He left the room, left the hospital, and went home.

***

He came home to a perfectly dark, cold, silent house, which didn’t make sense until he remembered that his father had a conference in San Diego, and his mother had gone along due to her deep distaste for Ohio winters. And that was good, he was glad, it meant he didn’t have to answer (or carefully not-answer) any questions, it meant he could go straight to his room and curl up on his bed and gaze out his bedroom window at the stars, and wait for his eyes to drift closed.

***

He didn’t remember shutting his eyes but he must have, because the tapping at his window woke him up from a sound—if uncomfortable—sleep. When he clicked his bedside lamp on Kurt’s face at his window was shadowed and pale, seemingly suspended in space, his black jacket and cap lost against the night sky.

Blaine slid the pane up with numb fingers, stepping back when icy air washed into the room. “Kurt—”

“They think he’s going to be okay,” Kurt whispered, shifting on the windowsill until he was half-draped across it. Blaine heard the lattice that ran up the side of the house next to his window creak ominously. Kurt winced. “Fuck—sorry—”

“My parents are gone,” he said, and it was just practical, just a practical thing to say when a guy was trying so hard to be quiet while breaking into the second-story window of your bedroom—but then Kurt lunged and a shutter banged and his curtains fluttered, and then Kurt was crouched on the floor of his room, staring up at him with huge, shadowed eyes, and suddenly it didn’t seem practical at all. Blaine took a step back. “I’m… uh. I’m so glad, about your dad, that’s—”

“I’m in love with you, you know.”

Blaine felt something sharp lodge in his throat. He closed his eyes. He tried to move, and couldn’t. “No, I… no, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that.”

He heard the window sliding closed, and the click of the lock, and then Kurt was right there, freezing-cold leather and the faint, crisp scent of winter air and burning leaves. Blaine gasped when icy, trembling hands settled on his arms, but didn’t open his eyes. “Blaine?”

“Yes.”

“You love me.”

He swallowed. “Yes.”

“Then. Please.” A quiet, rough whisper. “Kiss me?”

He didn’t remember how they made it to his bed, he only remembered stretching Kurt out there, their mouths sealed together, soft and silky deep wet kisses that were like food to a man who was starving. He fit their bodies together until they meshed seamlessly, until their bodies fit the way their mouths fit, perfectly and so sweetly that it made him feel like his blood was humming.

He wanted to touch—everywhere, wanted to taste and explore and feel and gorge himself on everything, wanted it like he wanted to go on breathing, the muscles in his stomach fluttery and taut, his balls aching and his cock so hard it hurt. He wanted. But. “Kurt—can I… please, what do you—”

“Everything,” Kurt breathed in his ear, shaking hard under him with fists tight in his hair.

Blaine closed his eyes, something deep in his chest spilling over while his cock throbbed and twitched, strangled and constricted in his suddenly-too-tight pants. “I… yes,” he managed. He tried not to be too rough getting them both out of their clothes, tried not to be too greedy, but Kurt was so beautiful naked, dark hair and satiny-pale skin, rosy at his lips, his nipples, his cock, his drawn-tight balls. Blaine wanted all of it, took all of it, touched and licked and sucked while Kurt moaned and shivered and arched under him.

He’d been aware—very keenly aware—of how much he’d had to hold himself in check around Kurt, but he hadn’t known, there was no way he could have known, what permission would do to him, how fundamentally it would undo him from the inside out until he felt like nothing more than a collection of desperate hungers. And he was pretty sure he understood, now, why Kurt had the rules he did, held the line where he did, why he took such determined refuge behind impenetrable walls—because without them Kurt was so, so vulnerable; open and tender and soft, clinging to him and falling apart and his response to everything—every touch, every kiss—right there on his face.

Kurt uttered a soft, stunned-sounding cry when Blaine went down on him, light tremors running through him and then quiet, quiet until his fingers crept slowly into Blaine’s hair and he moaned, his hips twitching. Blaine arched his back to keep his own hips from rutting into the covers, Kurt’s cock heavy and salty on his tongue, his senses soaking up everything, reveling and swallowing until he felt Kurt’s muscles lock up, until Kurt gasped sharply, pushed into his mouth hard three times and then came, groaning with one hand in Blaine’s hair and one on his shoulder, holding on like he couldn’t let go.

Afterwards Kurt was boneless, dewed with sweat and heaving for breath and open, his thighs lax. Blaine moved up quickly to kiss Kurt’s panting mouth and then back down, sliding and spreading Kurt’s toned, dark-furred legs until he got what he wanted. He licked softly, experimentally, a gentle open-mouthed kiss to Kurt’s rose-dark, twitching hole.

“Blaine—” a hoarse, shocked whisper.

“If you don’t like it, I’ll stop,” he breathed, petting Kurt’s thighs like he was soothing a shying horse. “Just… let me try?”

He didn’t wait for an answer but dove back in, wet, soft kisses and tiny bites and gentle circles with the tip of his tongue—a seduction, something that he would have said he had absolutely no aptitude for—and maybe he didn’t, but that wasn’t going to stop him from trying. Putting his mouth there was sweet and soft and scorchingly intimate, pushing in a little and then out, and in a little more, using the flat of his tongue and then just the tip, gentle kisses and hard-hungry kisses and patient, slow, hot kisses—

“Please don’t stop,” he heard Kurt breathe, so low and subvocal it probably wasn’t meant for his ears at all, but Kurt’s rocking hips and shaking thighs said the same thing. Blaine opened his eyes to see Kurt’s hand wrap slowly, tentatively around his own renewed erection, pale skin against flushed red, and he moaned a little through his nose, humming approval.

He couldn’t look away. Kurt seemed hesitant at first, and to Blaine it felt like a personal victory when Kurt’s strokes on himself grew gradually more languid and indulgent, slow and lingering, moving like he was moving in a dream. Blaine was absolutely ruthless with himself about keeping his own throbbing, desperate cock out of the sheets, and it was like he was living through his mouth and his eyes only, looking for Kurt’s response and shifting, doing more of this and less of that, going deeper and giving all he had, then backing off again.

Kurt’s soft moans were irresistible, somehow the hardest thing to ignore, striking sparks off the core of his being. But Blaine held on, and held on, until the sounds Kurt made spiraled up to breathy, helpless cries, until Kurt’s hips and his hand sped up and then Blaine closed his eyes because if he watched Kurt come he thought he would probably completely lose it.

Kurt’s hole twitched rhythmically around his tongue when he came, and Blaine groaned, shuddering, rocking with Kurt’s rocking hips, his grip there tight, probably too tight, but right now it felt like the only thing he had to hold on to.

“Blaine,” Kurt sighed, and Blaine knelt up with his eyes still closed, still working the tips of two wet fingers in and around Kurt’s ass, trying to ignore the last throbs and tremors, the open, hot, silky clasp of him.

“Yes?” His voice was wrecked, deep and throaty, shaky.

“You’re gonna fuck me, right?”

Blaine jerked, shuddered. “I… oh, yes.”

“Good.”

His bedside drawer squealed and stuck halfway when he pulled it open. Blaine winced but kept digging, staring resolutely at the drawer and absolutely not at the flushed, limpid, gorgeous, come-spattered boy lying under him. He retrieved a bottle of lube, and then a condom (not easy, as both had been carefully hidden under his socks). Kurt took the lube and held onto it, then took the condom and tossed it across the room.

Blaine had to look at him then. “Kurt…”

Kurt’s eyes were remarkably clear and focused. “It’s your first time.”

Blaine nodded.

Kurt touched his face, once, softly. “Mine too. And I want to feel you.”

Blaine closed his eyes and swallowed. “Oh.”

He probably used too much lube, but he didn’t care—Kurt was fiercely tight, squeezing around his fingers in a way that made Blaine a little lightheaded, made him clamp down on the groans that wanted to spill out of his throat. He slathered an additional handful over himself, touching as lightly as he could, and then—and then there was nothing left to do, except for what remained to be done. So that’s what he did.

He thought it would be awkward—it seemed like it would have to be awkward, given the circumstances—but he had forgotten how profoundly kissing Kurt drew him out of himself, brought parts of him forward that he’d never even known about. Kurt wound around him like a vine and drew him down, offering his mouth with such appealing abandon that Blaine couldn’t resist, and then they were kissing and then they were closer and then he swallowed Kurt’s soft noise and fed back one of his own—and then they were there, Blaine rocking in tiny increments, his brain one cool, quiet rush, as if everything in him had been rendered silent.

Inside, Kurt was hot and smooth, deliciously fitted to him, perfect and irresistible. Outside, Kurt was dreamy-eyed and flushed, clutching his shoulders and wrapping around him with strong, silky thighs, kissing him with slow languor until they were sealed together, then arching his head back into the pillows, licking his lips and sighing.

“Blaine… that’s so… you feel so good—” Blaine kissed him hard and spread him and fucked him, still moving slowly, his hands roaming from Kurt’s arms where they wound around his neck to Kurt’s thighs where they wrapped around his waist, finally settling with one hand fisted into Kurt’s hair while the other reached down between them, down to where everything was humid and moist and Kurt was hard and wet. Kurt moaned when Blaine took him in hand, and his hips jerked hard. “Fuck—Blaine…”

Blaine kept his touch light, kept as much of his focus as he could on stroking Kurt and making it good for him. He was sweating, he was shaking, he was eternally only one narrow hair’s breadth from losing control, and he bit his own lip fiercely, gasping a little when Kurt twisted up his head and licked him there. “Kurt,” he managed, “don’t—I’m… I can’t—”

“Just fuck me,” Kurt whispered to him, pulling Blaine’s hand away from his cock, lacing their fingers together and stretching their joined hands up above his head. “Just… fuck me hard and come.”

That pretty much destroyed whatever vestiges of control Blaine had left. He smothered Kurt’s gasping mouth with his own, reached under Kurt’s ass with his free hand to tilt him up, and then just let go of everything that had been holding him back and went for it, groaning brokenly while his hips bucked and his heart hammered triple-time in his chest. Kurt thrashed under him, clutching his fingers and clawing his back and rutting up against his stomach, and Blaine let himself sink deeper, let himself take what he needed, let himself fuck Kurt as hard as he possibly could. He managed one more wet, hungry kiss before his back arched helplessly and he came, muscles locked and a half-choked-off cry stuck in his throat. Kurt moaned under him, low and sweet, clutching him and coming on his belly and throbbing around him, hips grinding against his own slower and slower until they were finally still.

There were more kisses, afterwards, coming down; more kisses, endless kisses, and a long, long time of quiet. Blaine indulged himself until he went soft enough to slip out of Kurt’s body, and he was still shaking, still glowing when Kurt pushed him gently away, his eyes closed, his beautiful brows knit together.

“Wh… what… Kurt. Did I hurt you—”

“No.” Almost too soft to hear.

Blaine reached out, slowly, and touched Kurt’s shoulder, relieved when Kurt turned back to him, scrunching down in the bed until he could bury his face against Blaine’s chest. “What is it?”

Kurt breathed deep, then again, then a third time before he spoke. “I just… I don’t know how… I don’t know if I can put myself back together, after that. I’m not… I’m not sure I know how.”

Kurt hadn’t specified, but Blaine was fairly sure he knew what Kurt meant by ‘putting himself back together’. “Oh,” he said quietly, stroking Kurt’s damp back gently, softly. “Well… maybe you don’t have to—”

“Of course I have to,” Kurt snapped, but there was no real fire in it, just a heavy quality of sad resignation. “It’s the same world as it was yesterday, Blaine, the same shitty world for… for people like us. The same—”

“I mean,” Blaine interrupted, rolling Kurt onto his back and pinning him with one leg, stroking his stubbled cheek gently with the tips of his fingers. “I mean, maybe you don’t have to here. When you’re… with me.” He swallowed. “I really, really hope you don’t. Because here,” he tucked a sweat-damp lock of hair behind Kurt’s ear. “It’s not the same world at all.”

Kurt blinked. “You’re pretty determined to love me, aren’t you?”

Blaine laughed a little, his eyes stinging at the same time. “It hasn’t worked out so great when I’ve tried not to, so, yes.”

Kurt nodded, then used his thumb to trace under Blaine’s eye, wiping away wetness. “Boyfriend material,” he said softly, self-consciously. Then he sniffed, and smiled a little, shaking his head. “As long as I don’t have to give up being scary.”

Blaine kissed Kurt’s forehead, then his cheek, then, lingeringly, his mouth. When he pulled back, Kurt was blushing all over again. “Look at it this way,” Blaine said quietly. “More people will be afraid of you than before.”

Kurt blinked, his smile widening. “You think so?”

“Mmm. Yes.” He cupped Kurt’s face in his palm. “Because as soon as my parents come home, I’m going to introduce them to my boyfriend—and I guarantee you, both of them are going to be suitably petrified.”

Kurt laughed softly, pressing his cheek into Blaine’s hand. “Well, when you put it that way—how could I resist?”

Then Blaine kissed him again, because he couldn’t resist either.

~End

Author’s endnotes: As it turns out, there’s kind of an overarching theme to almost everything I write, to wit: resolution of emotional issues through development of sexual and emotional intimacy. This makes me pretty much a one-trick pony, but you know what? I AIN’T EVEN SORRY. IT’S MY FUCKING PONY. What I’m trying to say, in my own hamfisted way, is: thank you for reading. I had a great time writing this story, and I hope it’s something that worked for you.

Title is taken from Pete Townshend’s song I Am An Animal. Because yes.

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