Title: Here I Am, Honey (6/12 + Epilogue)
Pairings: Klaine, background Finchel (with very little focus)
Word Count: 5,358 this chapter / 30,078 overall (so far)
Spoilers: I'll be making nods to canon throughout, so I'll say "all aired" just to be safe, but this is very AU
Warnings: As with the movie, this story does include significant allusions to abortion. Also mild angst and slow burn/buildup.
Previous Chapters: One / Two / Three / Four / Five
Summary: When Blaine Anderson visits Kellerman's Mountain Home with his family in the summer of 1963, he isn't expecting anything more than days in the sun and games of croquet, but when he and his cousin Rachel meet the staff dance instructors, his plans get thrown for a loop. Blaine's family vacation might just end up being the time of his life. A Klaine Dirty Dancing AU.
Author's Notes: Title from Solomon Burke's "Cry to Me." Many thanks to my wonderful beta shandyall! If you're so inclined, feel free to come say hi on Tumblr over here. A few additional notes under the cut.
- I have been informed that I should be tagging my fic entries so that they can be tracked. (1) I'm still flailing that people want to track this, and (2) I'm tagging this chapter as "klaine dirty dancing au" and will go back and tag previous chapters once this is posted.
- I have to put one of the chapter notes at the top this time around. As I've mentioned, I got the title for this story from the song "Cry to Me" by Solomon Burke, which appears in this chapter. Should you want to listen to it as you read when it becomes appropriate, you can do so here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEu8DrO9PbY
Blaine was fairly sure that he didn’t relax a single muscle during the entire twenty-minute ride to the Sheldrake. He couldn’t remember ever being so consciously careful to not touch another person. With Rachel taking the entire backseat to herself to change clothes, Blaine, Kurt, and Finn were all sharing the front seat. Although Kurt was taller than Blaine, he’d offered to sit in the middle beside Finn, which actually was the most comfortable arrangement for Blaine. The only problem was that he wasn’t comfortable at all.
There was just enough room on the seat for all three of them to sit without touching each other, but the space between Blaine’s thigh and Kurt’s was slight. Their shoulders brushed slightly every time the car went over a bump or around a curve, no matter how hard Blaine pressed himself into the door.
It wasn’t that he minded having his shoulder brush Kurt’s — quite the contrary, if he was being honest — but it felt fraught with something now. He just didn’t know what that something was.
When they arrived at the Sheldrake, Blaine practically tumbled from the car. He barely got to look around before Kurt was hurrying them inside, where they checked in with the entertainment director and were hustled backstage. By the time Rachel and Finn were standing onstage and a strident voice was announcing “The Sheldrake Hotel is proud to present Finn Hudson and partner in Mambo Madness!”, it seemed like only a few seconds had passed.
The spotlight flared on, illuminating Finn and Rachel. Even from a distance and in profile, Blaine could see how pale and nervous Rachel looked under her stage makeup. She reminded him suddenly of a little girl playing dress up, and he couldn’t understand why she was so scared. Rachel loved being in front of an audience, and she had plenty of experience singing and dancing on stage. He supposed these circumstances were a bit different.
Beside him, Kurt was holding himself tensely. He was standing close to Blaine’s left side as though for comfort, and he had one hand curled over his mouth. He might have actually been biting his fingernails, but Blaine couldn’t tell.
The routine started well. Or at least it seemed to be going well in Blaine’s estimation, which certainly wasn’t expert. The tension was slowly leaving Kurt’s shoulders, though, which seemed to be a good sign, and by the time the number was half over, he’d actually dropped his hand from his mouth to grip his elbows.
Then came time for the lift.
Rachel backed up to one side of the stage, and Finn retreated to the other, nodding encouragingly at her. She flew towards him —
And came to a screeching halt, colliding with his arms and jamming them back into his chest. With a panicked look, she spun toward the audience and made a few hitch-hiking gestures that looked like they were straight out of the hand jive.
Kurt gasped in horror and moaned, “Oh, no.”
Onstage, Finn had twirled Rachel back around and was moving through the end of the routine. Blaine hazarded a glance at Kurt and found him staring up at the ceiling with his mouth ajar, shaking his head in despair.
“Hey,” Blaine whispered. Kurt didn’t respond, so, despite his earlier reticence, Blaine bent toward Kurt and nudged his arm lightly with his shoulder. “It’s fine. They’re still going. The audience likes them.” In fact, the audience was currently applauding a less complicated spinning lift.
Kurt swiveled his head back down to stare at Blaine, a look of long-suffering disbelief written all over his face. Which, given the fact that Blaine had just shuffled toward him, was really very close to Blaine’s. As the moment stretched out between them, Kurt’s irritated look was melting away, his eyes rounding and his lips — his lips. Blaine was staring at them, and was he even leaning forward a little? He snapped his gaze back up to meet Kurt’s and found it stricken and confused.
They jumped swiftly apart when Rachel and Finn appeared in front of them, winded from the dance. “I’m sorry!” Rachel was babbling. “I’m so sorry! I just — I froze, and I couldn’t —”
“Hey, it’s okay,” Finn spoke over her rambling. “You did really good. Hear them clapping? You were great.”
“I was so worried when I saw the Schumachers walking in. Blaine — the Schumachers are out there.”
“What?” Blaine asked. He was distressed and agitated and he had no idea what Rachel was talking about. He glanced over at Kurt, who was staring at the floor, his brow furrowed.
“The Schumachers. You know the little old couple from Kellerman’s? She dropped her purse the other day?”
Blaine still hadn’t managed to wrap his whirling mind around what was happening when the entertainment director reappeared. “Thank you so much for your time, Mr. Hudson,” he said to Finn, extending an envelope. “We’ll look forward to seeing you again… with your usual partner.”
Rachel’s mouth thinned into a severe line, and Blaine pulled himself together enough to rest a hand on her shoulder. “Great, shall we?” he croaked out. Rachel nodded tersely while Finn thanked the man, who encouraged them to be quickly on their way.
As they headed for the parking lot, Finn and Rachel led the way, keeping close together. Blaine and Kurt followed behind, walking a pace apart and not looking at each other even once.
- / / -
Blaine was even more uncomfortable on the ride back to Kellerman’s than he had on the way to the Sheldrake. Kurt was holding himself stiffly, and Blaine felt like tension was pouring off of him in waves. Blaine shoved himself as close as he could to the door, unable to think about anything except – what if he’d been wrong?
Why else would he have the magazine? Blaine couldn’t come up with any other explanation for it that made sense. He’d toyed with the idea that Kurt had bought it for someone else, but even that was hard to believe. The magazine hadn’t looked new, and it was half buried under a shoe and some dust bunnies.
As if Blaine didn’t have enough on his mind, he’d noticed that Finn was darting his eyes up to the rear-view mirror this time to sneak glances at Rachel. With Kurt in between them, he was having a hard time catching Finn’s eye to glare — or Finn was just ignoring him.
Kurt, however, stared straight ahead through the windshield, even though the rearview mirror was practically hitting him in the forehead.
Maybe it doesn’t mean anything that he’s not looking, Blaine thought. Maybe Kurt liked girls, but he didn’t like Rachel. Maybe he wasn’t looking out of respect for Finn.
But then why did he have the magazine? Blaine wondered for what felt like the millionth time that evening. He had to be. Somehow, the thought was even worse than the possibility that he was wrong about Kurt entirely, because it might mean that Kurt was just like Blaine, but he wasn’t particularly interested in Blaine.
Finally, tired of listening to his thoughts chase themselves in circles, Blaine huffed and turned to practically hang out the open window, doing his best to ignore everything going on in the car. He looked up at the stars visible overhead in the clear night sky and tried to focus on the radio instead. It was playing “Some Kind of Wonderful” by the Drifters. Right, Blaine thought.
When they pulled up in the staff parking lot at Kellerman’s, Finn was almost out of the car before he’d turned off the engine, nearly tripping in his rush to open Rachel’s car door. Blaine, who’d again escaped from the car as soon as he was able, looked over the top of it to see her step out, standing close to Finn’s chest and smiling up at him shyly. They were suddenly obscured when Kurt emerged from the car after Blaine. His eyes met Blaine’s for the first time since they had been standing backstage, and they were guarded.
They were all distracted by the sharp scuffing sound of someone running toward them across the gravel. Blaine vaguely recognized him as the man who’d cut in on Finn and Quinn the first night that he’d visited the staff cabin. “Sam, what it is it?” Finn asked as he came to a halt beside the car, breathing heavily.
“It’s Quinn. Come quick.” He turned and headed back toward the cabins that housed the staff. Finn and Kurt exchanged a worried look and followed close on his heels. Without a word, Blaine and Rachel hurried along behind.
All along the long porch at the front of Quinn’s building, members of the staff huddled in small groups, their faces drawn and eyes wide as they watched Finn and Kurt rush by, and a few more were clustered in the corners of Quinn’s room. Blaine shouldered his way in the door, and his heart and his stomach dropped when he edged around Sam and got a good look at the girl on the bed.
If he hadn’t known it was Quinn, he might not have recognized her. All the color was drained from her face, leaving a sickly gray in its place — even her lips seemed pale. Her hair was dark with sweat and matted down to her head where it lolled on the pillow. The bottom half of her body was twisted up, both hands on her abdomen, like she was trying to curl around the pain there but couldn’t quite manage to do so. Blaine could see smudges of blood on the blanket.
Finn and Kurt had dropped instantly to their knees beside the bed. Kurt took one of Quinn’s hands while Finn brushed her hair back from her forehead. Her eyes fluttered open, and she weakly choked out, “Hi.”
“We’re here, Quinn. We’re here for you,” Finn said, a quaver evident in his voice.
“Has anyone called an ambulance?” Kurt bit out. He cast a wild look at the others assembled in the room.
Sam stepped forward. “She wouldn’t let us,” he said desperately. “She said the hospital would call the police. She made me promise.”
Blaine had seen Kurt glare before, but it was nothing compared to the furious expression on his face now. “She wouldn’t let you? Look at her! What happened?” Behind him, Finn continued to hold Quinn’s attention and speak soothingly.
“He didn’t use ether, nothing,” Sam stuttered out. “We could hear her screaming from outside.”
“I thought he was a real M.D.!” Blaine exclaimed, and several heads swiveled toward him as though they had forgotten he was there.
“The guy had a dirty knife and a folding table,” Sam continued, still speaking to Kurt and Finn. “I tried to get in, guys. I swear to god.”
Blaine didn’t wait to hear anymore. He peeled away from Rachel’s side and bolted for the door, sprinting hard once he was outside of it, not worrying about conserving his breath or anything other than moving as fast as he could. His footsteps were loud in the dark, and he heard my fault, my fault in his head, throbbing along with them and the beat of his heart. He’d gotten the money. Quinn was – and he paid for it.
Botched procedure. Untrained practitioner. The words bubbled up from his memory and spurred him to an even faster pace.
Only when he neared his own cabin did Blaine slow down. He kept moving as quickly as he could, but he tried to stay as quiet as possible. He crept into Hiram and Shelby’s room, relieved to see that he hadn’t awoken them. He shook Hiram’s shoulder gently. “Blaine?” his uncle asked groggily. “Is something wrong? Is it Rachel?”
In response, Blaine shook his head and held up the black doctor’s kit that Hiram always kept next to his bedroom door, both at home and on vacation. Hiram eased himself out of bed at once, and they were soon headed back to the staff quarters.
Not much had changed in Quinn’s room. Kurt and Sam were arguing heatedly in one corner, presumably over whether to call an ambulance. Finn had taken the hand that Kurt had abandoned and was continuing to speak softly to Quinn.
“Excuse me!” Hiram said, commanding the attention of everyone in the room. “Excuse me, thank you. I’m going to need everyone to clear out. Everybody out, please. Who’s responsible for this girl?”
“I am, sir,” Finn volunteered, standing awkwardly and hovering near the bed. Rachel stayed beside him with one hand on his arm.
Hiram, who had moved to sit beside Quinn on the bed, looked up at them, his expression unreadable. “Thank you. Everyone out, please.”
Finn’s face worked for a few seconds, but eventually, he gave Quinn one last anxious look and left the room, Rachel and Blaine following close behind.
The wait was interminable. Blaine didn’t have any idea how much time passed — it truly could have been minutes or hours. It was enough time for Kurt to stop wearing a path in front of Quinn’s door and slump against the railing. It was enough time that Rachel went from standing a foot away from Finn, to a few inches away, to being sidled up against him. Several of the other staff members stayed to wait, clustered on the porches, talking in low, worried voices.
Everyone started when the door swung open, falling silent in unison. When Hiram strode out, his face was grim, and Finn choked out, “Please, sir, is she —”
“She’s going to be fine,” Hiram said coolly.
A sigh seemed to escape everyone all at once. Kurt and Finn exchanged relieved looks and then turned eagerly back to Hiram, each sticking out a hand to shake and tripping over the other’s grateful words of thanks.
Hiram raised his hand, and Blaine lifted his eyebrows in surprise — but then he only used it to slide his arm around Rachel’s shoulders and guide her down the stairs. Blaine shot an apologetic look at Kurt and Finn and moved to follow. They walked in a terse silence until they had left the staff cabins far behind. Then Hiram stopped abruptly.
“Is that what my money paid for?” he asked, turning to face Blaine. Rachel stared at Blaine wide-eyed.
“I’m sorry — I didn’t know —” he stammered.
“I’m disappointed, Blaine.” Hiram spoke quietly, but the words cut through him in a way that yelling never would. Blaine averted his eyes and hung his head. “I don’t want either one of you to have anything to do with those people, ever again. Do you understand?” Blaine nodded minutely. Rachel said nothing, and Blaine assumed that she was nodding along with him. “Good. I’m going to bed, and you kids are going to do the same.”
Without another word, he started walking again. Rachel was watching Blaine again, and for the first time in years, he didn’t know how to read her eyes. Was she more disappointed or confused? Sad? Worried? He tightened his lips, looked at his feet, and trailed after Hiram. Inside the cabin, they parted ways without saying good night.
Once he was alone in his room, Blaine didn’t make any preparations for bed other than stripping down to his t-shirt and underwear before flopping onto the bed. He tried lying on his stomach, then his side, then his back. He flipped his pillow over once, then again. It was all to no avail — he couldn’t even imagine falling asleep anytime soon. The air in his room felt thick and stifling, and there was no breeze from his open window, which was facing the wrong direction. Blaine sat up and sighed. There really was no use. He slipped into a pair of jeans and crept out through the main room and onto the porch. After turning a chair so that the air would move against his face, Blaine collapsed into it and tried valiantly to clear his mind.
He couldn’t have been there for more than five minutes when he heard footsteps and the whispered sound of his name. Blaine spun around, surprised to see Kurt cutting toward him across the cabin’s small yard. “I thought that was you,” he said.
“Kurt. What are you doing here?” Blaine asked, keeping his voice as low as possible.
“I couldn’t sleep. I was just out walking,” Kurt said. He’d changed out of the clothes he’d worn to the Sheldrake as well and had his hands in the pockets of his blue jeans. “Can I talk to you?”
Blaine cast a nervous glance at the open window to Hiram and Shelby’s bedroom. “Not here,” he whispered. Kurt nodded and jerked his head back in the direction that he’d come.
Blaine shuffled along beside Kurt, too nervous to even raise his eyes. Everything that had happened with Quinn had erased the earlier part of the evening from his mind, but now the confusion and the dread and the worry had returned in full force. Distracted, he kept his head down and matched Kurt’s footsteps, not even realizing where Kurt was going until they were closing in on the building that housed the dance studio. It was dark inside, but Kurt stopped Blaine as he reached for the lights. “We don’t want anyone to get suspicious,” he said quietly. “It’s brighter upstairs. Come on.”
The studio itself was a little better, faintly illuminated by the exterior lights on the next building. Kurt moved to stand beside the record player, and Blaine was careful to keep a wary distance, moving to the center of the room. He cleared his throat and asked, “How’s Quinn?”
“She’s resting,” Kurt said. “Your uncle gave her something to help her sleep. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about actually. I can’t thank you enough for what you did for her.”
“What I did? I helped her pay for the appointment that almost killed her!” Blaine exclaimed.
Kurt flinched at the word. “There was no way you could have known. None of us did, and we all helped pay for it. Don’t blame yourself. You helped save her too.”
“I just — I don’t think I deserve any thanks, that’s all. I only did what anyone would have done.”
“Anyone? None of them even called an ambulance,” Kurt scoffed.
Blaine shook his head. “All I did was run and tell my uncle. It’s not a big deal.”
“Blaine,” Kurt said seriously, “it was really brave of you to go to him. We were all too scared to even make a decision. You went to him for the money, too. And you tried to get it from Puck first. Aren’t you scared of anything?”
“Me?” Blaine asked incredulously, his voice a quiet scoff against the half-dark. “I’m scared of everything. I’m scared about what happened tonight. I’m scared for Quinn. I’m scared about what’s going to happen when I move away next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. I’m scared of what I did…” He gulped, and it was almost like a sob, and the words just kept spilling out, messy and honest and everywhere. “I’m scared of who I am. And most of all, I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”
His voice was low and desperate, and he could barely hear it over the pounding of his heart against his ribs. He kept his head bowed, feeling like he was waiting for a blow.
There was a brilliant, terrible moment of silence.
Then came the unexpected sound of Kurt sliding a record out of a paper sleeve and setting it up on the player, starting it with the volume low. There was percussion first, and piano, a steady, sensual beat. “Dance with me?” Kurt asked, his voice barely more than a whisper above the music.
Blaine froze and glanced up. He sucked in a breath, the air rasping over his dry lips, and his tongue stuck to the skin as he tried to wet them. Kurt’s face was composed, but his eyes were burning as he nodded, just a little.
So Blaine shuffled forward, his blood racing around his body in revolt, unsure how he was going to manage dancing when his feet felt, all at once, heavy as lead and like they were barely holding him against the floor. Kurt approached him too, and, as Blaine had seen him do before and dreamed about feverishly, he reached out to drop one arm low around Blaine’s waist, pulling him closer. Blaine stared at the peaks of Kurt’s collarbones, pushing up under the thin cotton of his t-shirt, and then Kurt started to sway.
It didn’t feel as graceful to Blaine as it had looked when Kurt danced with one of the girls, but Blaine suspected that was his fault — he felt like he was all right angles and left feet. Still, he moved tentatively with Kurt, his hands sliding up to find anchor on Kurt’s arms. As though the touch encouraged him, Kurt began to swing more purposefully into the dance, shifting Blaine easily to the proper positions. Blaine could feel the strength all over Kurt’s body, and he was glad for the direction — he was reeling and he wasn’t sure that he could have made his limbs obey if he tried.
While Solomon Burke sang about loneliness into the dark, Kurt leaned Blaine into a sort of dip, bending him a little at the waist and pulling him back in, and there, holding tight, they both froze. Blaine had closed his eyes, but he knew how close he was, the lingering smell of Kurt’s aftershave and sweat making him dizzy. He could feel his own breath ricocheting back from where it was dampening the skin of Kurt’s jaw, and before he could help himself, he swayed forward just a little — not to kiss, but just to let his parted lips bump and brush there lightly, over the skin of another man.
Kurt shuddered, and then they weren’t dancing at all anymore. In a sudden flurry of motion, Kurt had pulled back far enough to get his hands on Blaine’s face, and with a harsh breath that was loud in Blaine’s ears, he dragged Blaine into a forceful, hungry kiss.
Blaine gasped sharply through his nose, but he didn’t waste any time in tilting his head just a fraction more to the side and kissing back. Hard. Because this — this was what had been flitting in the edges of his mind, haunting his subconscious, making itself known in his dreams. His hands, which had been dislodged from Kurt’s arms in the commotion, found the sides of Kurt’s shirt and fisted tightly, pulling the lightweight material tight across the small of his back. Kurt left Blaine’s face and tugged him in, gripping his shoulders, his neck, the back of his hair.
Then Kurt was using his lips and tongue to open Blaine’s mouth, and Blaine had a flash of panic, his thoughts momentarily overriding the sensory overload from his body. He barely knew what he was doing, and there was no way he was going to be able to hide it if this went very much further. He didn’t even know if he wanted it to go very much further.
Maybe he should have put a stop to it, but it was surprisingly simple to let the alarm fade away, to let instinct take him, to slide his tongue along Kurt’s inside his mouth, to press in a little closer and let Kurt’s solidity make him feel less shaky. One of Kurt’s hands dropped to Blaine’s back, steadying him, and then Kurt was walking him backwards until Blaine collided unceremoniously with the wall of the studio. He lost his hold on Kurt’s shirt at the impact and reached up to wrap his arms around Kurt’s neck instead. Kurt pressed in close, and then every nerve ending and blood cell in Blaine’s body went into a state of high alert as he felt the solid line of Kurt’s erection snug along his hipbone. There was no way that Kurt couldn’t feel him too.
Blaine huffed out a surprised whining noise, which was muffled in Kurt’s mouth and reflected back to him when Kurt groaned. For the first time since they’d latched onto each other and for just a moment, they paused, their mouths open and sharing hot breaths. Blaine realized with sudden certainty that Kurt had been keeping their hips apart while they were dancing, but he supposed the time for that pretense had long passed.
Then Kurt brought his mouth together around Blaine’s bottom lip and dropped one hand to his hip, bringing their bodies into better alignment before he pulled just back enough to roll forward again into Blaine’s body, and the feeling of it jolted through Blaine like lightning.
Kurt did it again, and Blaine moved too, experimentally and a little out of sync. Oh, he thought. That made it even better. So he didn’t stop, and Kurt didn’t stop, and the crash of their mouths grew wetter and sloppier, their hands and breaths even more frantic.
Blaine pulled back suddenly, tilting his head away and gasping in the night air, unable to focus enough to bring his lips together to kiss. Without pausing, Kurt dropped his mouth to Blaine’s jaw, sucking kisses there and scraping a little with his teeth as he continued to roll his hips. Blaine clutched at Kurt’s shoulders, his eyes screwed tightly shut. It was like running, in a way, the rhythm, his heart and lungs working hard. There was something building like storm clouds at the edges of his vision — something just out of reach, and Blaine wasn’t sure if he was chasing it or it was chasing him. The sensation was familiar and frightening all at once, and Blaine knew that he wanted it more than anything else in the entire world. Whining, he grabbed Kurt’s hips and pulled him in hard, and it broke over him like a wave as a strangled cry escaped his throat.
Then it was all he could do to hang on, shuddering, as Kurt rocked into him a few more times, before tensing with a muffled cry and finally going still.
When Blaine’s thoughts caught up with him, they were mostly stunned, horrified white noise. A quick inventory revealed that he had moved his hands — one was wrapped around the back of Kurt’s neck, where the roots of his hair were now damp with sweat, and the other had returned to grasp at his shoulders. They were still pressed closely together from their chests downward, and their feet were tangled. Kurt’s arms were wrapped around his waist, and Kurt’s weight was pinning him to the wall. He felt like he should do something, say anything, but instead he just stared wide-eyed into the murky darkness past Kurt’s shoulder.
Kurt moved first, taking a deep breath and pulling himself to stand up a bit straighter. His hands slipped slowly away from Blaine’s body, and Blaine removed his too, not without a feeling of reluctance. Kurt kept his eyes downcast at first, but then he visibly steeled himself and lifted them to meet Blaine’s. If Blaine were to guess, he felt certain that they mirrored his own quite well — wide, shocked, confused, searching. “Um, there’s a bathroom downstairs,” Kurt said, and his voice was rough. Even in the dark, Blaine could see that his face was aflame.
“What?” Blaine rasped out.
“A bathroom. Downstairs. You need to — clean up?”
“Oh.” All at once, Blaine became acutely aware of the uncomfortable mess he’d been left with. “Yeah, yes. Thanks.”
Kurt nodded, sucking on his lower lip a little, and then he turned to lead Blaine down the stairs. He paused outside of a doorway and motioned to it awkwardly before crossing his arms over his stomach. “Here it is.”
“Thanks,” Blaine repeated, shuffling past. He turned on the light as he closed the door, squinting at the sudden brightness. When his vision cleared, he caught sight of himself in the cracked mirror, and for a moment, his hygiene was forgotten. He rested one hand on each side of the cool porcelain sink and stared.
His hair was ruffled up, especially in the back, and his face was bright with color. Where Kurt had been worrying his jawline with lips and teeth, the skin was fading red. His lips were swollen, his chin was pink, and even his eyes looked different somehow. It didn’t even feel like he was looking at himself.
You’re not, he thought. It’s different now.
Giving himself a shake, Blaine made quick work of cleaning up as best he could. He splashed his face with water and used a little more to try to smooth his hair back into place. It wouldn’t make much difference for long, but he only needed to make it back to his cabin, and with any luck, he wouldn’t pass anyone on the way. He turned and reached for the doorknob, pausing just before he turned it. What if Kurt had left? The image of trudging back to his cabin disheveled and alone sprang unbidden into his mind.
So what if he did? Blaine asked himself. You can’t stay here. He pulled the door open.
Kurt was leaning against the wall opposite. He swung his eyes up, narrowing them as the wedge of light that escaped through the door lit up his face. Blaine felt an unaccountable surge of relief. “It’s all yours,” he mumbled, trading places with Kurt. He shut the bathroom door, leaving Blaine alone in the dark.
He tried to think things through, but it was impossible. There was no way to categorize or quantify or even define what he’d just done. For the briefest of moments, Blaine considered leaving, running away out of fear, but Kurt had waited for him, so he stayed put, closing his eyes and leaning back against the wall.
Kurt emerged a few minutes later, turning off the light and casting them both into darkness. Blaine blinked as his eyes adjusted, waiting to locate Kurt in the shadow. He still didn’t know what to say, and he hoped that Kurt had some idea.
Kurt said, “Come on. I’ll walk you back.”
Outside, the air was clear and fresh and moved faintly by the breeze. Kurt and Blaine walked side by side in silence, not touching, but close enough that their arms swung against each other after every few steps. Against all odds, Blaine suddenly felt a little calmer. There was nothing to hear but the faint sounds of their footsteps and the rustling in the trees, the air was cool on his face, and Kurt was walking him home. He wished the path was longer, because he knew that as soon as he was alone with his thoughts, any inner quietude would be gone.
Kurt paused at the place where the little path that led directly to the Berrys’ cabin broke off from the main loop. “I should probably stop here,” he said quietly.
“Yeah, okay,” Blaine replied, also keeping his voice low. They’d shuffled around so that they angled in toward each other, and Blaine didn’t know what to do with his hands. He didn’t know what to do at all. If Kurt were a girl, or if he were a girl, would they kiss? Did it matter? They were still standing in a place where anyone could see them, even if seemed like no one was around.
But then Kurt glanced up and, as he’d always been able to do, pinned Blaine in place with a look. His lips turned up in a small smile that looked almost — normal? Bashful? “Good night, Blaine,” was all he said, his voice soft.
“Good night,” Blaine whispered, staring back for as long as he could until Kurt nodded and turned away.
It took him a long time to fall asleep that night.
Additional Chapter Note:
- The hand jive is a dance that was popular in the 1950s that involves hand movements and clapping. There's a video of video of Johnny Otis performing "Willie and the Hand Jive" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEeeGMpM_Nk. It doesn't really illustrate the hitchhiking movement well, but I love it because it's of the time period. Also, I'm amused by this WikiHow about how to hand jive: http://www.wikihow.com/Do-the-Hand-Jive.