Spoilers (if any): None.
Warnings (if any): Illegal drug use.
Word Count: ~3,700
Summary: Summer jobs and various acts of excess.
This continues from:
These Thousand Names for Gratitude
All the Honesty of Politics
Circles as the Dark Winds Down
The Distance Between Ohio and Boston
“Blaine, air conditioner. TODAY,” Kurt says, as he angrily flips through the clothes in his closet looking for something he can stand to wear in this heat. Boston is positively disgusting in the summer.
It's not that it's actually warmer than Ohio or any more humid. It's that there are more people and terrible air flow in their apartment and it never, ever seems to cool off at night. And it's one thing to be sweaty and disgusting and aggravated all the time, and it's another to be that way when you're sleeping next to someone. Fuck the environment, because Kurt is so done with this.
“It's going to --”
“I don't care. About the electric bill or the rain forests or a rash of theoretical brown outs in 2018. Right now I care about not killing you. Or me. Or the neighbors.”
“All right, but you're installing it after work.”
Kurt shoves another shirt aside and rolls his eyes. “I love being the man of the house.”
The shop, thankfully, has air conditioning.
Kurt doesn't think he could stand to sort people's cast-offs without it. While they get do get some exceptional pieces in on a fairly regular basis, there isn't a day that Kurt isn't stuck explaining at least once that the worst of the 1970s and pit stains aren't really a part of the whole designer consignment aesthetic. But this week they're letting him do the windows, and it makes up for a lot.
He still texts Blaine at lunch to ask if he's bought the damn air-conditioner yet.
On the list of discoveries Kurt never expected to have and is slightly surprised by, is the fact that dressing and undressing mannequins is actually quite challenging.
They're unwieldy, and they don't move, which is how he winds up enlisting Lisa and Odi – (“Like drugs,” Odi says; “It's actually Odette; her parents named her after a spy,” Lisa explains; “Or odious,” the girl in question continues) – to help him with them.
“A professional always removes the hands and feet first,” Odi explains, and that's when Kurt realizes they haven't been sizing up the new boy as a threat, but are just as weird and broken as pretty much everyone else he's ever known.
Kurt figures out pretty quickly why Blaine didn't want to be the one to install the air conditioner. It's not that it's heavy (although it is) or that Blaine doesn't know how to use a phillips-head (he does), it's that it's really hard not to drop the damn thing out the window during the installation process.
“Do you know how I know this was the right decision?” Kurt asks as he flips it on, still panting from the struggle to keep it from flying free.
“You're looking at me like that little display turned you on.”
“Not feeling it?”
“I hate summer, Blaine.”
“You hate winter too.”
“No. I hate being cold. In winter, I can wear beautiful clothes. Summer, however, is not fashion forward, no matter what that Macy's catalog, that should be burned, tells you,” Kurt says and has to bite his tongue to keep from nagging Blaine about throwing out it and the rest of the pile of catalogues that's been accumulating on the kitchen table of late.
Blaine comes by the shop at closing the night that Kurt's windows go up. They sit on the sidewalk across the street to admire them as Blaine pops open a bottle of sparkling cider and pours it into plastic cups so that the two of them can toast.
Kurt laughs like he's embarrassed, but he isn't really. This probably isn't what he wants to do with his life, but he's proud of it anyway. He snaps a picture of it with his iPhone and sends it to Carole. She'll show it to his dad, who's still refusing to upgrade to a phone that does anything more than, well, phone.
“So,” Kurt says, in that voice that Blaine knows means Awkward Conversation Ahead. “I can pay a proper amount of rent that I know I'm not obligated to but would probably make us all feel a lot better this summer... or I can buy us a piano.”
Blaine closes his eyes for a moment and sips his cider. Kurt knows he's not thinking it over, but relishing the moment.
“As long as you pay the electric bill,” Blaine says lightly.
It's a deflection, but it doesn't matter. The piano wins.
Lisa and Odi become obsessed with Project Piano; Kurt's not really sure why. They've never heard him sing; they don't know him that way; and when they ask, he refuses, for reasons he's uncertain of. But it feels nice to have a secret superpower other than being gay and having a really hot boyfriend.
Because everybody, everybody, always wants Blaine.
Mostly Kurt finds it funny. Sometimes he doesn't. There are far, far too many people at both of their schools who don't really have friends, just people they know who they think will help further their very big and not necessarily delusional ambitions.
There's a thing with some girl named Nevada that practically has Kurt throwing things. It's not that he's jealous, although he might have gotten there had she not turned out to be evil so quickly. It's that Blaine is betrayed.
The whole thing reminds Kurt of Rachel and Quinn and all the times they decided they were going to rule the school with this or that boy; but Blaine, hapless, sweet Blaine who thinks the best of everyone, doesn't even see it coming until she tries to kiss him, and he's gracefully not interested, and she ungracefully tells him how he was supposed to help her conquer the world.
But the most ridiculous part is that Kurt's standing right there for 80% of it. Sometimes, he feels like a ghost.
When he doesn't feel like a ghost is at the shop or when he walks the two miles home from it, talking to Carole and Finn and his dad in quick succession on his phone. He doesn't feel like a ghost when he sings, going to lessons twice a week while school's out and doing scales in the shower because he's not awake enough for anything else. And he doesn't feel like a ghost when Blaine comes home from rehearsal bouncing with joy over some little 16-bar solo because Kurt knows he was the one that made that happen.
And so he doesn't feel like a ghost when Blaine touches him, even if he doesn't always understand physical sensation the way he thinks he's supposed to. Blaine lets him evaluate each new thing with yes (textures) and no (ice) and maybe (bondage, although only if Blaine's the one getting tied up) and sound (candle wax, because he doesn't want to talk about it at all, ever, but yes, yes, yes and yes).
Kurt could feel, he knows, like a ghost when they go dancing, but he doesn't, because Blaine is pretty like everyone and he is pretty like no one, so Blaine may be the half of them who catches attention, but Kurt is the half of them who keeps it.
Wes and Pris come up from New York one Thursday afternoon and Blaine meets them at the train station after his last tutoring session of the day.
He'd tried to get Kurt to do the tutoring thing too – the pay better for fewer hours than any consignment shop – but Kurt had hedged, saying he hadn't the patience for it, when the truth was he just worried about seeming too fucking queer for anyone to feel good about hiring him to help some eight-year-old with his French.
So Blaine brings their friends by the shop to show off Kurt's windows before they all go to dinner, Lisa and Odi tagging along for Thai food and Wes talking about how it's even hotter in New York.
“The thing about dressing mannequins,” Kurt says at one point like he's an expert, “is that you have to take the feet off first.”
The six of them wind up back at the apartment, sitting on the living room floor and sharing a bottle of wine as Pris rolls a couple of joints.
“My political career is over,” Blaine groans at one point as Wes opens a window and places a towel under the door.
When Kurt reaches for the joint, Pris looks at him like he's stupid. “But you sing.”
“I still want to try it,” he says, annoyed that people always think singing's supposed to make him good.
There's a moment, when he realizes he's sitting on the floor with a bunch of giggling girls and looks up to see Blaine and Wes sitting on the sofa and speaking quietly to each other about something that so clearly doesn't involve him, that Kurt feels like he's back at McKinley, like this exquisitely dysfunctional world won't let him in because it's the only way it can save him.
Lisa and Odi leave just before the T shuts down, while Blaine manages to be coordinated enough to set up the air mattress for their guests.
As Kurt strips out of his skinny jeans in their bedroom, he finds himself thinking about mannequin feet, and even though they have visitors, he goes to bed naked and is eager to make Blaine come when he finally joins him.
“That really is shit for your voice, you know,” Blaine says in his afterglow, as he teases Kurt lazily.
“Tell me tomorrow.”
“I'm only telling you now because you're clearly enjoying this so much.”
Kurt makes a noise that Blaine knows means more and now, even as he's never heard it before.
“What do you want?” he asks.
Blaine ponders for a moment before picking up Kurt's hand and sucking on one of his fingers. As he swirls his tongue around it, Kurt gasps loudly enough that Blaine feels he has to put a hand over his mouth, and Kurt clearly likes that too, smiling against his palm and moaning.
“What are you so distracted by?” Blaine asks, grabbing Kurt's waist and cuddling close to him as they wait for a better song to lure them back out onto the dance floor.
“Them,” he says, nodding his head vaguely towards Wes and Pris who are still out there.
“Wes and Pris?” Blaine asks, incredulous.
“Not them. Next to them.”
There's a couple, and they're only vaguely dancing. But that doesn't mean they're not moving to the music, but it's more hands and tongues and biting each other's lips and trying to climb inside each other, but slow, not frantic, and Blaine's not sure they really know there's anything else in the world besides each other. He and Kurt don't really do things like that in public. But it's definitely, definitely how he feels about him, kind of all the time.
“They are really high,” Blaine says.
“You're not usually so voyeuristic.”
“New things,” Kurt says, and Blaine kisses his neck. It's enough for Kurt to finally take his eyes off the dance floor and twist in his arms to face him. “What were you and Wes talking about last night?”
Blaine smiles sly, like Kurt's just said something particularly clever and he's proud. “That's more his story to tell than mine.”
“Old or new?” Kurt asks.
“Did you two have a thing? Before I met you?”
Blaine chuckles and shakes his head. “I don't really have an answer to that that's going to be entirely true. Like I said, more his story than mine. You're not, like, worried about it or anything, are you?”
Kurt laughs and shakes his head. “No,” he said and brushes his fingers briefly over his boyfriend face. “I just want to know everything.”
Kurt's never not going to be sneaky. Blaine's understood that for a while now. It doesn't mean he's good at it, but it does mean that Blaine's learned, especially since that drama with Kurt calling his mom, to keep an eye out for relatively unexpected traffic signs. One particularly reliable source? When Kurt uses his computer and then leaves recent Google searches open in separate tabs.
That was how the air-conditioner conversation had started. And the thing with the candle wax.
Today it's MDMA. And really, Blaine feels entirely weird about Kurt's responsibility quirk kicking for the sake of researching illegal drugs. But, like a good boyfriend, he reads the pages about crappy reactions people can have and agreements for minimizing relationship impact (and there is nothing about that phrase that feels comforting) as Kurt putters around the kitchen making making them all breakfast.
Entertaining before noon, is always omelets for Kurt, and Blaine gives a little involuntary gasp as he suddenly knows what they will look like doing this at thirty. It hits him so hard it actually pins him to the chair for a moment, hands gripping the edge of his desk. Kurt's always been more knowing than him, and he wonders if he feels this way all the time.
They talk about it a lot. Openly. It's sort of weird. It would feel like an important evolution in their relationship, except it's about drugs, and Blaine's pretty convinced that that's not allowed to count, although he keeps that particular thought to himself because it's the sort of weird thing that would hurt Kurt's feelings.
They agree to only take a half at first, just in case it's miserable for either of them. They agree to do it out, dancing, because that seems fabulous, but without their friends, because it's none of their business. They agree no other people, not at all, and Blaine even says they should write notes to themselves about that and keep them in their wallets or their pockets or whatever just in case something really stupid seems like a good idea at the time.
“Like that thing with your mom.”
“Well, no, not like that,” Blaine says. “But yes.”
They agree to make no relationship decisions in the hangover and to be heavily scheduled the next day so that no matter how awful they feel, they have to go do things in the world and not dwell. And they agree that Kurt will go to Lisa and Odi to ask about finding a source because they're exactly those types of girls.
“How do you know?” Blaine asks.
“I don't know, Blaine, I thought the black-light sensitive tongue piercing was kind of a dead giveaway, you know?”
“What's their deal anyway?”
“No idea. Although, they are sort of a set. I assume if they were sleeping together, they'd tell me.”
“Okay, this part where we wait feels entirely stupid,” Kurt says, clutching his bottle of water and waiting to feel entirely awesome or entirely awful. In the moment, he's sort of embarrassed by the whole crazy plan, and appalled that it's become such a big deal and that he gets hard just thinking about getting fucked up with Blaine.
Fifteen minutes later, he's definitely not feeling stupid or embarrassed. Thirty minutes after that, Blaine's pressed up against him on the dance floor and Kurt can't stop envisioning the mobius strip of sensation they are as they rock against each other even as there's no urgency to come, but just to map everything about the other.
“We should have done this at home,” Kurt gasps.
“Taxi? Home? Other half?” Blaine asks, close and wet against his ear.
Kurt nods and tries to set Blaine away from him. The taxi's going to be a fucking nightmare.
The taxi actually isn't a nightmare, because Blaine is a genius.
He says they each have to stay as close to the door on their respective sides of the cab as possible, and he tells Kurt to close his eyes and just feel that he's there, totally with him, even if they aren't touching for these fifteen minutes.
Because they've made it through worse, it works.
Home is chaos – there's water and naked and the other half – until they finally hit the bed, Blaine on his hands and knees rubbing the top of his head all over Kurt's body. And Kurt can't stop laughing because the curls tickle.
But Kurt can't bear it when he can't reach any of Blaine to kiss and so mouths at the side of his own hand just to work his jaw. Eventually they wind up kissing around Kurt's fingers, wet and messy and stupid with desire.
When Blaine pushes him over onto his belly Kurt thinks he can't do this, that it's already way too intense and that where he's used to being a little drunk making that easier to deal with, this, which he thought would be the same, is actually exactly the opposite.
But Blaine is tracing his lips down Kurt's spine, making this a different problem entirely.
Kurt babbles as Blaine works his tongue over his hole, and Blaine gets lost in both the sound and sensation of it. Distantly, he's aware that Kurt's being really, really loud, that they've both been really, really loud all night and that they may even manage to earn themselves an awkward note from the neighbors about it, but he doesn't care because Kurt is happy, and he is mesmerized and messy.
The noise isn't an expression of pleasure, but the pleasure itself, vibrating up through bones and tissue, and Blaine knows that he never knew what it meant to be good before he had Kurt to be good for.
It's well past five in the morning when they find themselves sitting up against the headboard starting to come down. Blaine's holds a glass of water for Kurt as he drinks, his boyfriend too trembly and exhausted to be sure he wouldn't drop it if he held it himself.
“Good?” Blaine asks softly.
Kurt nods. “We're going to feel awful tomorrow.”
“Do we need to write notes to ourselves about that?” Kurt teases.
Blaine shakes his head and looks down at the state of their bed. “So much laundry,” he says sadly.
“You know I didn't need to do this to feel this way about you, right?” Blaine says, somewhat abruptly, like he's just thought of it and it's a somewhat alarming thought.
Kurt nods and curls into Blaine's side, enjoying the way his boyfriend absently pets his hair. He's sure Blaine thinks he's asleep when he finally gets around to actually responding.
“I didn't either. I thought it would make stuff less... I don't know. Scary.”
“This whole thing seems to be so easy for you – sex, us, school – linear, like you know how to play grownup. And I feel like I'm bouncing around on a pinball table sometimes.”
“But it didn't make it less scary?” Blaine asks, trying hard to understand but not really up to the task and pretty sure they're breaking some agreement they'd made about relationship discussions in the aftermath, but maybe this isn't over yet, so it's allowed. He's just not sure.
Kurt shakes his head. “No. Right now, I don't think any of it's supposed to feel any differently than it does. I don't think I'm supposed to feel any differently than I do.”
Blaine nods. He can tell there's more and he just has to wait for Kurt to find it.
“In school, I hated, hated, that I was gay,” Kurt says pulling away from him and sitting up cross-legged on he bed. “I wasn't ashamed. But it just... sucked. I didn't know if I was supposed to wish I was a girl or wish I was straight or what, but I wasn't any of those things, and I just hated it. I hated having to tell everyone that I didn't choose this. Like it's destiny. It may be romantic, Blaine, but I hate the idea of destiny.”
Blaine nods. His thought process wasn't the same, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know exactly what Kurt's talking about anyway. “And now?” he asks.
“I think I'm very glad I got to choose to be here.”
“We should try to get some sleep,” Blaine says gently, and Kurt acquiesces without fussing about skin care or the state of their sheets.
“You look horrible,” Lisa says.
“Or very, very good,” Odi adds.
“Do you think I can keep the sunglasses on in here, or does that make me look like too much of an asshole?” Kurt asks.
They laugh and it's piercing. He tries not to wince, but he does anyway.
“Why are you even here?” Lisa asks.
“Project Piano,” Kurt says. It's an easier answer than explaining all their agreements about the aftermath.
This time, when Odi asks him to sing, he complies, his voice soft and clear and full of some sad lullaby that's all he can manage to summon under the circumstances.
They lean against him afterward, none of them needing to say anything to understand.
Next: Languages You Don't Even Know