Artist: naderegen // tumblr: naderegen
Author: aacerr // tumblr: blaine-wilde
Rating: PG-13 for the story, G for the art
Word Count: 14,400
Summary: Follow the adventures of a lost Blaine Anderson and his traveling companion Lafayette Walter around the world while they both look for a place to call home. Alternatively: What happens in Vegas, most definitely does not stay in Vegas.
Author's Notes: I am so proud of this and proud of myself and wow, I can't believe it's finally posted. Thank you to the reversebang for forcing me to post and put my insecurities away. I am honored to work in such a project with such talented people. Speaking of which...
Thank you so much to my sister Ariel for beta reading this for me and suffering through a million drafts while reminding me the difference between silly things like your voice becoming a horse and your voice becoming hoarse. Also, to the wonderful Leslie, immunetoiocane on tumblr, for cheerleading and generally just being my best friend even while in another country and time zone. She helped me more than she realizes. Lastly, a gigantic thank you to Elsje, my artist, for being literally the easiest and sweetest person to work with. Thank you for being endlessly patient and kind. Go to her tumblr and follow her. As well as see all her lovely art. Which you may view here.
Completed as part of kbl_reversebang 2012.
They had fallen asleep like that. Pressed together as if they’d been this close their entire lives. The blinds on the windows of the hotel room keeping the rest of the world out along with the morning sun. Neither stirred until Fay came stumbling in at nearly noon.
“I’m walking into the room.” She said rather loudly from the doorway. “I suggest covering up anything that maybe you wouldn’t want me to see.”
Blaine opened one eye, sighing against the skin of Kurt’s neck. He saw Fay standing by the entryway with her arms folded across her chest and a self satisfied smirk on her face. “Hey, Anderson.” She said, taking a few more steps toward the bed. “How was your night?”
“Fine.” Blaine replied, sitting up as gingerly as he could in an attempt not to wake Kurt. “Keep your voice down.”
“Sorry. Why are your clothes on?”
Blaine blinked. “What?”
“You’re fully clothed. Did you--Blaine! You had an empty hotel room to yourselves, you are not in high school anymore, you could have at least shed some clothing--”
“Nothing happened!” Blaine’s eyes were comedically wide as he glanced back down to Kurt’s sleeping form. “Nothing like that at least.”
“Well then why the fuck did I let you two have the room to yourselves?!”
“Uh. Because you’re stubborn and convinced everyone has a sex drive as avid and shameless as yours.”
Blaine grinned. He grinned because despite her being quite possibly the most annoying person on the planet, she cared about him. “You wanna be the best friend ever and go get some coffee for the three of us?”
“Ooh.” Fay smirked again. “It’s the three of us now? I like this version of you, Anderson. All attentive boyfriend-y and shit.”
Blaine threw his pillow at her (which, annoyingly, she easily deflected), “go!”
With a mock salute and her purse in hand, Fay was out the door again.
“She won’t be back for hours.” Kurt mumbled into his arm.
Blaine started. “What?”
“She’s giving me another opportunity to seduce you. She won’t be back for hours.” Kurt sat up and tried valiantly to stifle his yawn.
“Is that what she’s doing?” Blaine smiled. “How do you already know her so well?”
Kurt shrugged sleepily and let his head drop to Blaine’s shoulder. “‘s a gift.”
Blaine let his head rest atop Kurt’s and quickly twined their fingers together. “Do you work today?”
Kurt shook his head under Blaine’s. “Nope. Let’s go on an adventure.”
Blaine snorted, causing Kurt to raise his head and lift an eyebrow at him. “Sorry, sorry. You just don’t seem awake enough for breakfast, much less an adventure.”
“Rude. Fine. Show me your pictures.”
Blaine suddenly felt like he was frozen in place. “My... What?”
Kurt looked at him seriously, more awake now. “Your pictures. In between every story last night you would mention how great of a shot it all was. How beautiful the lighting in Florence is in the evening or how Himalayan mountain pictures are gold, et cetera, et cetera.” Kurt waved a hand. “I wanna see them. You obviously put a lot of effort into it, so it obviously means something to you.”
Blaine was nodding. He hadn’t realized he’d said any of those things. He always took pictures. He never did anything else, though. His mom had a couple framed in their house, but nothing more than that. “Okay.” He finally said. “Sure. Yeah.”
Kurt grinned and jumped up. “I’m gonna run to the bathroom, make myself less... Sleep rumpled and such.”
Blaine turned and caught his wrist, “but it’s such a good look for you.” He leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Kurt’s lips, stealing the breath from them both because oh right, we can do this now.
Kurt pulled away and cleared his throat. “I could say the same thing about you.” He ran a hand through Blaine’s hair before pressing another kiss to his forehead and running off to the bathroom.
Blaine stared after him for a moment before running to his bag to get his camera and his memory cards. No one had ever asked to see his pictures before. He showed Fay a couple when she was in them, but her interest pretty much ended there. Probably because she was seeing it all first hand with him. But Blaine loved pictures. He loved seeing everything and then being able to take what he couldn’t memorize with him.
Kurt emerged from the bathroom then and with that thought on his mind, Blaine snapped a picture of him before he could protest.
“Blaine!” Kurt frowned. “I’m not nearly decent enough to be photographed!”
“On the contrary, Kurt. You are probably the most stunning picture I have ever taken.” Blaine’s face was completely serious and Kurt had to accept the compliment because Blaine just left no room to argue.
That didn’t stop his cheeks from coloring, as he wrapped his arms around Blaine’s waist and peered over his shoulder at the small digital screen of the camera, though. “Lemme see.” He whispered into the skin of Blaine’s neck.
“Where should I start?”
“At the beginning.”
Blaine smiled and put the oldest memory card he had with him into the camera, exchanging it for the one with Kurt’s picture and led them both to sit down on the bed.
“What’s on this one?” Kurt asked, sitting close enough to Blaine’s side to be able to see the small screen in his hands.
“Looks like...” Blaine began to scan through the pictures, smiling. “Fourth of July. Last summer.”
“Can I see?” Blaine handed the camera over without a second thought and allowed Kurt to scroll through the pictures. He sat back and watched Kurt’s reactions. He could almost tell which pictures Kurt was looking at just from the expressions on his face. His soft smile whenever there was a picture of Blaine’s mother, the wonder in his eyes at the bright, multicolored fireworks and the way he bit his lip whenever there was a shot that Blaine allowed himself to be in. It was fascinating to be able to see his life reflected back to him from someone else. Blaine couldn’t remember the last time he had even wanted to look through these.
“Who’s this?” Kurt looked up from the screen to Blaine before turning the camera towards him. Blaine smiled. A small girl with golden curls and a bright smile was triumphantly holding up an empty watermelon rind and grinning at the camera; her accomplishment smeared all over her face.
“My next door neighbor.” Blaine explained. “Her name’s Annie. I’ve known her since she was born. I grew up babysitting her.” Kurt smiled again and went back to flicking through the photos. Blaine could see picture after picture of Annie. “That was the weekend we went on a hike.” Blaine ran a finger over Kurt’s, signaling him to stop on one picture in particular. A clear, close up picture of a butterfly perched on Annie’s finger. “There were literally dozens. Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies, I believe.” Kurt looked up to study Blaine’s face as he continued speaking. “They’re amazing. See how blue their back wings are?”
Kurt nodded, baffled. “You seem awfully excited about a butterfly.”
Blaine set his eyes back on Kurt’s. “It’s not just the butterfly. It’s what the butterfly means.” Kurt continued to look completely lost. Blaine chuckled, “this was taken almost exactly a year ago. Do you know how long most species of butterfly live, if they’re lucky enough to die of natural causes?” Kurt shook his head, gaze never leaving Blaine’s. “Three to six weeks.”
“So... What you’re saying is... This butterfly is most likely dead?” Kurt arched an eyebrow.
“Well. Most likely, yes. But it’ll never really be dead. You see? Because it’ll always be right here.” Blaine pointed at the photo staring up at them. “No matter where this particular butterfly is today, whether it’s even still here or not, I’ll always have it. I’ll always remember it. It’ll always live on.”
Kurt looked back up at Blaine from the screen again. “That’s why you do it, isn’t it? That’s why you take pictures of everything? That’s why you took my picture just now?”
Blaine shrugged. “I guess so.”
“You are something else, Blaine Anderson.”
“That’s one way to put it.” Blaine mumbled. Kurt went back to searching through the pictures until he reached the end of the memory card. Blaine switched it out for the next and watched Kurt scan through his senior year of high school. He photographed the school plays, a few miscellaneous pictures of friendly outings and finally his graduation. Kurt’s eyes lit up as he watched the sea of blue caps and gowns flick over the screen, searching for Blaine in every picture. He reached the end of that memory card as well and Blaine began to chew on his bottom lip nervously.
“What?” Kurt rested his chin on Blaine’s shoulder.
“We’re about to get into this summer.” Blaine held the small card in between them.
Kurt grabbed it and smiled before placing it into the small slot, powering the camera back up. He saw Fay’s smiling face as the first picture on the roll. Then, a very obviously forced picture of Fay and Blaine on the plane, taken at arms length. Blaine was frowning, but it was obvious he wasn’t upset, as Fay laughed next to him. “I see what you mean.” Kurt murmured as he ran a finger over Blaine’s digitized face. “How important moments are.” He continued to scroll through and saw all of Florida. Frowning when another memory card was over. “How many more?”
Blaine looked down into his case. “Three. But I may have to ask you to skip the parts in Texas...”
Kurt grinned. “Not a chance.”
He made his way through every single picture Blaine had brought with him. Every picture from every place he and Fay had been that summer. He watched Blaine’s life basically through Blaine’s eyes until finally he came to the final picture. The one with him looking slightly annoyed, but obviously extremely happy, walking towards Blaine. His breath caught.
“Could I take one with you?” Kurt turned to ask.
“Of course.” Blaine said immediately.
“You have to smile.”
“Can’t make any promises.” Blaine smirked as Kurt held the camera out to try and get them both into the frame. Kurt glared at him until his face broke out into a grin and the picture was snapped. “Cheating!” Blaine laughed as Kurt snapped another photo. “Stop it, you!” He reached for his camera, but Kurt just continued to snap photos.
“Never. There aren’t nearly enough pictures of you in all of these.” Kurt jumped up from the bed and ran to the other side of the room, he leaned up against the wall and took another picture as Blaine lunged forward towards him, grinning. Blaine wrapped his arms around Kurt’s waist and pulled their bodies close together before kissing him soundly.
Kurt, of course, pulled the camera out in front of them and caught this moment on film too.
Blaine pulled away. “You’re awful, you know that?”
Kurt bit his lip before kissing him again. “Never said I wasn’t.”
Blaine laughed. “Give it back, come on.” He held his hand out and watched as Kurt pouted before placing the camera into his outstretched palm. “My turn.” Blaine took the picture of Kurt’s pout before he could change his expression.
“You’re awful, too!” Kurt covered his face with his hands and Blaine took another, just like that.
“Never said I wasn’t.” Kurt moved one finger to the side so he could peek out at Blaine through the open space. “Come lay down with me.” Blaine said suddenly and Kurt moved his hands away completely.
Blaine walked backwards to the bed until he felt the frame press against his calves. He sunk down and watched Kurt walk towards him. With Kurt standing over him, he took another picture before looping the strap around his neck and letting it hang over his chest. He looked up at Kurt again, this time without a lens between them and brought their bodies closer together, parting his legs so Kurt could fit between them. Blaine ran a hand up Kurt’s arm making him inhale quietly before making eye contact with Blaine.
Kurt kept their eyes locked as he raised his arms and brought the shirt he was wearing over his head. Blaine ran his hand back up Kurt’s abdomen before leaning in slightly to press a kiss to the skin beneath his belly button, making a silent path over to his hip. He looked up and Kurt placed both hands on his shoulders, leaning down to connect their lips in a brief kiss. Blaine inhaled shakily before moving back towards the headboard, silently asking Kurt to follow. He did.
Blaine lifted his camera, ready to place it aside, before he looked up again. Kurt caught his eyes before letting his gaze flicker to the camera, then back to Blaine. Kurt nodded, almost imperceptibly and Blaine brought it up to his eye to take a picture. Kurt bit his lip and blushed slightly as Blaine took another. Blaine let the camera hang around his neck again and held his arms out. “Come here.” Kurt complied and crawled until he was straddling Blaine’s thighs, his hands gripping the headboard above Blaine’s shoulders. Kurt brought one hand down to grip the bottom of Blaine’s shirt before tugging it upwards. Blaine placed the loop of the camera strap around Kurt’s neck before taking his own shirt up and off.
Kurt took the picture. Blaine flushed. Kurt took another. They allowed themselves license to just look then, with their own eyes. Silently, they decided that even the camera wasn’t allowed in on their moment anymore and Kurt set it aside.
“You okay?” Blaine asked, cupping Kurt’s face in his hands.
Kurt nodded. “Yeah.” He whispered. “You?”
Their lips met then in a messy kiss, almost too eager for how slowly they’d been moving before. Kurt balanced himself on one hand resting on Blaine’s shoulder, bringing the other up to cup Blaine’s jaw. Blaine pressed forward until Kurt crawled off his lap and onto his knees so Blaine could mirror his position and bring their bare chests flush together. They wrapped their arms around each others backs, trying to get as much skin to touch as possible without having to break the kiss. Kurt’s hands ran up the length of Blaine’s back, over the column of his spine, before hooking themselves over his shoulder blades and holding him there. Blaine’s hands flew down to the clasp of Kurt’s belt and began working it open before Kurt brought a hand down to help.
Neither one heard the door open and Fay spill inside.
“Oh shit.” She tried to stay quiet, but in her retreat had fallen over the coffee table.
Kurt and Blaine separated with a jolt, one ending up on either end of the bed.
“Fuck, no! Go back to doing whatever it was you were about to do! Sorry! I’m leaving! Coffee’s on the table!” Fay scrambled to get up.
Kurt couldn’t stifle his laughter as Blaine self consciously crossed his arms over his bare chest.
“Mood’s kinda been killed, Fay.” He mumbled, mostly bitterly and to himself.
“I am the worst best friend ever. Oh my god. I am so sorry, I-” She was cut off by a flash. Blaine whipped his head around to see Kurt, shirtless and with his belt undone, kneeling on the mattress with his camera in hand. “Did you just take my picture?” Fay said in disbelief.
Kurt smiled. “I wanted to remember this moment.”
Blaine couldn’t form words, so Fay did it for him. “I like this boy.”
Blaine heard another picture being taken as Kurt immortalized his impressive impersonation of a deer in the headlights look. “Me too.” He said as Kurt smiled at him.
They spent every second they could together after that. Soaking up a lifetime of events in one week’s time. Kurt even asked Fay to come along on their tour of the city. Fay wasn’t sure why, but Blaine knew it was Kurt’s way of thanking her.
Kurt spent every night in their hotel room and Fay spent every night on the couch so Kurt and Blaine could hold each other through the night. Neither one brave enough to bring up what almost happened before Fay had interrupted them.
Before he knew it, Blaine had filled up two more memory cards and Kurt had been in nearly every photo. More often than not the camera would find its way into Fay’s hands and she would take pictures of them together and for once; Blaine liked being on the other side of the camera.
It was too soon when the day they all had to leave came at the end of their week together and Blaine stood beside his closed backpack.
“Why did we make the eleven day rule?” He asked the worn fabric of the small bag staring up at him.
“Because you wanted to see the world.” Fay called from her suitcase across the room.
“Well now I just want to see Las Vegas.”
“No, you just want to see Kurt.” Fay walked over to him, tugging on his elbow until he faced her. “He’s leaving too, though, remember?”
Blaine nodded solemnly. “I know.”
“Hey...” Fay said softly. “Look at me.” Blaine did. “It’s not like you’re saying goodbye forever... You could see him again--”
“How?” Blaine’s gaze was hard. “He has a life, Fay. A real life and a dad who apparently needs him more than I do.”
“Don’t talk like that...”
“Like what? Like a realist?” Blaine scoffed. “I don’t really have a choice here. This is real. It’s happening and there’s nothing--” Blaine’s voice cracked, he cleared his throat before continuing, “nothing I can do about it.”
“You could tell him.”
“Tell him what?”
“That you love him.”
Blaine’s eyes widened and someone knocked lightly on the door before he could say a word in answer. He looked at the door and then back at Fay’s face. “I’ll be right there.” He croaked out before he could get himself to move towards the entryway.
“Hi.” Kurt said as soon as the door was open.
“Hi.” Blaine said back.
“Can I come in?” Blaine moved aside wordlessly, allowing Kurt to sweep past him. “When is your flight?” He asked as Blaine closed the door.
“Mine’s at eleven.”
Blaine turned toward him quickly. “That’s in two hours.”
Kurt nodded. “Yeah.”
“So you came to say goodbye, then?”
Kurt looked at his feet guiltily. “I wanted to tell you sooner, Blaine.”
“No.” Blaine shook his head. “I’m sorry. I’m not mad. I’m just--”
“Sad.” Kurt finished for him. Blaine nodded. “Me too. Come here.” He held out his arms for Blaine to fall into. Blaine wrapped himself around Kurt’s body, clinging to him like his life depended on it.
“Sorry.” He mumbled into Kurt’s chest.
“Don’t be, okay? I’ll miss you, too.”
Blaine crushed his nose against the soft fabric of Kurt’s shirtfront and let out a slow, shaky breath. “I love when you do that.”
“Do what?” Kurt was stroking a hand through Blaine’s hair.
“Say exactly what I’m too scared to say.”
Kurt smiled and closed his eyes, a single tear escaping before he could wipe it away. He buried his own nose into Blaine’s curls and inhaled deeply.
They both heard the familiar flash of a camera as Fay caught their goodbye on film. Neither moved. Neither cared.
“I have to go.” Kurt whispered.
“I’m going to miss you so much.”
Kurt inhaled sharply through his nose before pulling himself back and tilting Blaine’s face towards his own. “I’m going to miss you more.”
Blaine shook his head and leaned forward to press his lips against Kurt’s in a slow, drawn out kiss. He pulled away and cupped Kurt’s cheeks with his hands, Kurt quickly thread his own over top Blaine’s to hold them to his face just a little longer.
“Goodbye.” Blaine said, even though it wasn’t enough. Wasn’t what he wanted to say. Wasn’t what he wanted to hear Kurt say back.
“Goodbye.” Kurt said back anyway.
As soon as Kurt was gone, Fay was on him as fast as she could be with a hug. “C’mere, Anderson.” She whispered against his temple before squeezing him tight to her body. Blaine gripped the back of her shirt for a while before composing himself enough to pull back.
“I’m okay.” He sniffed.
“You’re okay.” She affirmed.
“If you don’t stop moping and come walk the Freedom Trail with me, I will break your camera.”
“Good. Then maybe I’d stop looking at the pictures.”
“Anderson. It’s only been like three days. He’ll call you. Stop torturing yourself and come see where Paul Revere grew up with me. I’ll even buy you an ice cream before we go to The Old North Church.”
“Fine. But I’m bringing my camera.”
“I’d be worried if you didn’t.”
“Why are we here?”
“Because you won’t pick the places anymore and I’m on a patriotic kick.”
“It’s been two weeks.”
“You sound even less sure than I feel, Fay.”
“C’mon. Let’s go see the Lincoln Memorial.”
Washington, D.C. --> Chicago, Illinois
“Okay. That’s it. I have had enough.” Fay said as she slammed her hand down on the desk in front of where Blaine was sorting through some photographs. “We have been in Chicago for eight days and haven’t even been to Navy Pier yet, Anderson. That is unacceptable.”
“Huh?” Blaine finally looked up at her.
“What has gotten into you?” She frowned. “You’re less mopey than before, but you’re spending even more time in the hotel room than you are out in the wonderful places I am trying to take you to see.”
Blaine raised a finger at her before rearranging two pictures in front of him. “There.”
“I figured out the way I’m going to organize these pictures.”
“Organize them for what? You’ve been working on this for a week. I’ve never even seen you print a picture before...” She leaned in closer and saw that nearly every photo on the desk in front of Blaine was of either him and Kurt, or of just Kurt.
“I’m sending it to him.” Blaine said firmly as he ran a finger over Kurt’s photographed face.
“Really?” Fay’s voice softened. “Like in a scrapbook?” Blaine nodded. “Can I see?”
Blaine’s cheeks reddened. “Uh... Well...”
Fay rolled her eyes before grabbing an envelope from the bottom of Blaine’s carefully piled stack. “I know all about you and Kurt’s sexy photo-shoots. I had the camera for most of Vegas, remember? You didn’t exactly do a bang-up job of hiding the evidence.” Blaine’s blush deepened and he ran a hand through his hair.
“Why hasn’t he called me yet, Fay?”
Fay put the envelope down. Blaine sounded so defeated, so weak, so... Completely different from the way he usually did. “I dunno, baby.” She sighed. “Why can’t you call him?”
“I texted him the day we left. Nine times. I figure if he wanted to see me again, he’d have responded to at least one of them...”
“Then why the book of memories?”
“It’s not just of Kurt and I... It’s of my favorites of every memory card he looked through and the highlights of the time we spent together. Plus the added bonus of some new things we’ve done since we left...”
“But if he’s not even responding to your texts, why would he want a book of pictures from you?”
Blaine sighed. “Because I can’t let myself believe he wouldn’t want it.”
“How are you gonna send it to him?”
“He told me about his dad’s tire shop. I got the address online. Wasn’t that hard.”
“Stalker.” Fay smirked.
Blaine just shrugged.
“Geez, you think you’ve got enough pictures of this giant crack in the ground yet, Anderson?”
“They’re for Kurt’s book, aren’t they?”
“I’m sending it before we leave here.”
“Be careful, Blaine.”
“I’m not even anywhere near the edge.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“So I heard you on the phone pretty late last night.” Fay brought up as they got out of their cab. “You hid in the bathroom and everything.”
Blaine chewed his bottom lip. “So?”
“Who was it?”
“No one, Fay.”
“Then why did you choose to go to Washington, Ohio as our next destination?” Fay stopped walking.
Blaine kept his back to her. “Because you want to visit Fayette county.”
“Blaine.” Fay’s voice was soft and lower than usual.
Blaine cleared his throat and clenched his fists at his sides before speaking. “He, um. He told me not to send him things like that.”
“He got your scrapbook already?”
“I paid for express shipping.”
“We don’t need to talk about it.”
“Why don’t you just go meet him? Tell him how you feel?”
Blaine finally turned towards her, his knuckles white where they gripped the straps of his backpack. “Because he doesn’t feel the same way. I was something to keep him occupied while he was bored and lonely in Las Vegas and the fact that I’m in love with him doesn’t matter, okay?” Blaine didn’t meet her eyes. “I just want to be in the same state as him. Please leave me to be pathetic in peace.”
Fay looked down at her feet before nodding. “I’ll go buy our tickets.”
“I love you, Blaine.”
“Please don’t say that.”
Fay flinched and Blaine had to hold himself back from apologizing. He just couldn’t deal with that word right now. He couldn’t deal with someone telling him that when he felt like it didn’t mean anything. When words were so empty.
Blaine hauled Fay’s suitcase over to a small waiting bench and sat while she paid for their next flight. He stared down at the floor. How much longer could he do this? Wander from place to place without anywhere he wanted to be anymore? This used to be all he wanted to do, all he could ever see himself doing. But after eight days of knowing Kurt Hummel Blaine found himself picturing an apartment with a bed big enough for two until he dug his fingernails into the palms of his hands just to derail that train of thought.
“C’mon, we’ve gotta go. Our flight’s in an hour.” Fay was suddenly standing in front of him. Blaine simply nodded.
“Okay, according to this map, Washington is about an hour or so south-ish from here.” Blaine frowned at the paper in front of him. “Shall we rent a car?”
“Already called it in back in Arizona. There should be a car waiting for us outside.”
“Sweet.” They walked out to the pick-up lane before seeing a man standing outside of a black car holding a sign that read: Anderson. “You would.” Blaine mumbled under his breath before snapping a quick photo of the man and his sign.
“I know I would. I did.” Fay grinned and ran over to greet their driver. Once their bags were placed securely in the trunk, they set off.
Blaine pulled out the map again. “Wait. I think the driver took the wrong way on the highway. Washington is southwest and we are definitely headed in a northern like direction.”
Fay placed a hand on his knee. “Don’t worry so much. Let’s play the license plate game!”
“Fay. No. What did you do?” Blaine said in the most authoritative tone he could muster.
She took a deep breath. “Okay. Don’t get mad at me.”
“I’m already a little mad.”
“You love spontaneity though.”
“I don’t like the kind where you’re spontaneous and I’m left out of the loop. Why are we headed the opposite direction from where we agreed upon?”
Fay took another deep, steadying breath. “Lima is about two hours from here.”
Blaine’s eyes widened. “You didn’t.”
“I kinda did.”
“He doesn’t want to see me!”
“God, Blaine, you’re so dense.”
“No, you’re the dense one! Make him turn the car around right now or I’ll...”
Fay sighed. “You’ll what?”
“Cry.” Blaine crossed his arms over his chest and slumped down in his seat.
“Blaine... I’ve seen you cry enough this past month without him...”
Blaine looked up into her eyes for the first time in a while. “He doesn’t want me...”
“Can I see your camera?”
Blaine was confused for a second, her request ebbing away a bit of the pain clouding his expression. “Okay...” He took the camera from around his neck before handing it to her. She promptly switched it on.
“What memory card is in here right now?”
Blaine blushed and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “The, uh, the morning you walked in on us.”
“Of course it is. You look at this one a lot, don’t you?”
Blaine shrugged. “Sometimes.”
“Then how are you missing the way he looks at you?” She flipped to the very first picture of Kurt. The one where he was walking out of the bathroom towards Blaine and even then, unaware and caught off guard, he could see it.
“That doesn’t mean anything. That was then.”
Fay switched out the current card for another, more recent one. “What about this one?” She said as she flicked through until she found the picture of the two of them, right before Kurt walked out the door. Blaine was cupping Kurt’s face and Kurt’s hands were laced on top of Blaine’s.
“He’s in love with you, too, dumbass.”
Blaine stared at the picture. At the tears in Kurt’s eyes. He hadn’t looked back on their goodbye pictures. Hadn’t let himself. But he saw it anyway. The way Kurt looked at him. He saw it mirrored in his own expression, looking right back at Kurt.
Fay flicked the camera back to a picture of Blaine laughing in the back of a cab and Kurt gripping Blaine’s hand between both of his own. She scrolled through the rest of the photos on that card and Blaine saw exactly what Fay had been talking about. It was in every single picture of the two of them. It was even in the ones of just Kurt, because it was obvious who was holding the camera.
“He’s in love with me.” Blaine whispered.
“Hallelujah!” Fay exclaimed. “How are you both such idiots? I swear.”
“Thank you, Fay...” Blaine said seriously. “For everything. I love you.”
Fay grinned. “Love you too, Anderson.”
Two hours later full of giddy smiles, nervous finger drumming, radio sing-alongs and many a game of punch buggy, they were in front of Hummel Tires and Lube.
“I can’t go in.”
Fay rolled her eyes. “Of course you can. Do I need to go buy you some vodka to make this go faster?” Blaine glared and Fay laughed. “You can do this.”
“You aren’t coming with me?!” Blaine’s mouth fell open. “You... You have to, though!”
Fay sighed and shook her head. “No, Anderson, I’m going to explore Washington, Ohio and Fayette county for a couple of days.”
“You can’t.” Blaine croaked.
“Baby, this is your hill to climb alone.” She winked. “Now get out of the car and stop acting like you don’t want to run inside there and jump him.”
Blaine closed his eyes. “I’m going to miss you.”
“I’ll see you again.”
“When?” Blaine turned to face her and opened his eyes.
“How about... In a couple of years, when you’ve settled down with your gorgeous husband that all the neighborhood housewives can’t help but fall in love with?”
Blaine let out a watery laugh, “and at least three kids, right?”
“At least!” Fay giggled. “I love you, you know that?”
Blaine nodded. “Keep in touch.”
Fay smiled and looped Blaine’s camera back around his neck before kissing his forehead. “I’ll send you crappy cellphone quality pictures that you won’t be able to stop yourself from cringing at.” She held up three fingers. “Scouts honor.”
Blaine pulled her into a hug. “Swear it?”
“When have I ever been reliable enough for my word to count for anything?” Fay said back as she hugged him tightly.
“Fair point.” He smirked into her neck.
“I hate you.” She grumbled.
“You love me. You adore me.” Blaine pulled back and wiped a tear from her cheek with the pad of his thumb.
“Those are synonyms, you jackass.” She grinned. “Now go get your husband--I mean, Kurt.”
Blaine rolled his eyes but smiled fondly. “Love you.”
“Get out of the car.”
Blaine opened the door handle and gripped his backpack tightly before turning back to wave as Fay rolled down the window. “Love you, too.” She smiled her brightest smile, the one that convinced Blaine to come with her all that time ago, and Blaine couldn’t help but to bring the camera up to snap one last picture of it before she was rolling the window back up and being driven away.
As he let the camera fall back down to his chest he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. He pulled it out to see a photo message from Fay.
Miss you already. Tell Kurt I get all the credit for this and that at least one of your three kids has to be named after me.
The picture was a screen capture of Fay’s phone background. It was a picture of Blaine in the center and Fay and Kurt leaning in from both sides to kiss his cheeks. Blaine felt himself tear up again as he stared down at the screen.
With that image, he had the courage to walk up to the front door of the garage.
“Mr. Burt Hummel?”
A gruff looking man wearing coveralls and a fair amount of grease looked up from a clipboard. “That would be me, what can I do for you?”
“Uh. My name is Blaine Anderson.”
Burt Hummel looked him up and down before nodding. “Okay?”
“And I’m in love with your son.” Blaine wasn’t sure why those particular words decided to fly out of his mouth right then, but for some reason they seemed like exactly what needed to be said.
To Blaine’s surprise Mr. Hummel just nodded again. “I know.”
“You know?” Blaine squeaked.
“He’s upstairs. Top floor. It’s his favorite place for when he’s upset.” Burt took his baseball cap off his head before rubbing a hand over his balding scalp. “He’s been spending an awful lot of time up there ever since he got your package. Ain’t even givin’ me grief about working anymore, you know?”
Blaine looked down at the dirty concrete floor of the shop. “I’m sorry...”
“Just go, kid.” He jerked his head in the direction of some stairs. “Make it right.”
Blaine met the other man’s eyes and nodded frantically. “I will, sir.”
Burt exhaled. “You love my son?” Blaine nodded again and swallowed audibly. “Then call me Burt, okay?”
“Thank you, Mr. Hummel, Burt, sir.” Blaine smiled sheepishly in apology as he made his way up the stairs two at a time.
Once at the top, he came face to face with a closed door. He knocked tentatively.
“Dad, I told you, I’m not hungry.” Blaine’s heart sped up at the simple sound of Kurt’s voice, he opened his mouth to speak before he heard Kurt again. “Wait, on second thought, you can’t eat alone, you’ll put salt on everything--” There was the unmistakable sound of something crashing to the floor and then Kurt cursing under his breath. “Oh, just come in!”
Blaine smiled, he could almost picture Kurt grumbling at whatever it was that he had knocked over in a pile on the floor. He sucked his bottom lip into his mouth briefly before taking a deep breath and opening the door.
“Dad?” Kurt looked up from the pile of books he had knocked over and as soon as he saw Blaine he dropped the few he had gathered back up into his arms. “B-Blaine.” He stammered.
“Hey...” Blaine took a step forward. “Need some help?”
“No.” Kurt said too quickly, then sighed. “They were in alphabetical order before, I’m just... Flustered.”
“You fluster me.”
Blaine sucked in another sharp breath and walked over to where Kurt was standing in between two book shelves. “Hi.” He said again.
Kurt was holding his breath, he looked down at the pile of books before letting it out in a slow, breathy gust of, “hello.”
“Why didn’t you call me?” Blaine said before he could think any better of it.
Kurt’s head snapped up and his eyes were wide. “What?”
“You never called, Kurt.” Blaine whispered. “You called one time and that was to tell me not to send you any more packages.” He couldn’t look Kurt in the eye. He couldn’t do it, because if he did, he’d never say everything that he needed to say to him. “You remember what I said about pictures? That they were like living memories, even if the subject wasn’t the same, the picture always would be.” Blaine paused. “I sent you those pictures so that you could remember what it was like before you decided you never wanted to see me again. So that you could look back on all the times you saw the Blaine that made you smile and blush and not the one whose texts you don’t want to answer.”
“I just wish I knew a way to make you look at me the way you did in all these pictures again.”
“Blaine, look at me--”
“Why not?” Kurt’s voice was coming out tight, like he was holding back a sob.
“Because I still look at you the same way I did in those pictures... And it’d kill me to not see you looking back that way.”
“You remember what you told me? That first night?”
“The night we met?”
“No, the night we...”
“Oh.” Blaine looked up, but picked a spot over Kurt’s shoulder to stare at. “What’d I say?”
“You said that once you’d seen enough of the world, you’d be able to say to someone...” Kurt swallowed and closed his eyes. “That there would only ever be one place where you belonged, because there would only ever be one place where they were.”
Blaine nodded, confused. “Yeah?”
“Well I was here, Blaine.” Kurt looked down again. “I was here and you sent me a scrapbook full of you still out there looking.”
Blaine wasn’t sure if a heart could literally shatter but the sharp stabbing pain he suddenly felt would have been what it felt like if it were possible. “You thought--”
“When you texted me the day I left... You asked where I thought you should go next...” Kurt pulled at his shirt sleeve. “I didn’t respond because I would have asked you to come here.”
“I would have come.”
“If you wanted to come, you would have.”
Whether or not Kurt meant for the words to sting, they did. Blaine shook his head. “Kurt--” He took another step closer to Kurt and finally, finally, made eye contact with him, just in case Kurt could see the truth in them. “Kurt, I wasn’t still looking for my incomparable person. Because, God, here you are...” Blaine took a chance and grabbed both of Kurt’s hands, smoothing his thumbs over the backs of them. “I have been looking for you forever,” he pulled Kurt closer to him. “Why would I let you go so easily?”
Kurt pulled one hand away and swiped it over his cheek to dry the tears there. “I don’t know, Blaine.”
“I keep searching...” He took a deep breath, “for a place that I’ll go and it’ll just feel right. Like how you said you feel about New York...” Blaine placed his palm on the damp skin of Kurt’s cheek. “But I’ve never been anywhere that felt as much like home as when I was with you.”
Kurt’s mouth fell open slightly and he took a quick breath before snapping it closed. “You love me.” He said, as if it were a revelation.
Blaine nodded before hugging Kurt tightly to his chest. “And I love when you do that.”
“What? Say exactly what you were too scared to say?”
“No.” Blaine pulled away and held Kurt at arms length for a moment as his eyes scanned Kurt’s face. “Look at me like you love me back.”
Kurt flushed and he wrapped his arms back around Blaine. “I do.” He whispered into Blaine’s temple.
Blaine grinned and just allowed himself to stand there, rooted to one place to hold Kurt.
“Wait.” Kurt said and pulled back. “Where’s Fay?”
“Oh!” Blaine pulled his cellphone from his back pocket. “She’s in Washington, remember how I told you she wanted to go there?” Kurt nodded. “Well I think she wanted an excuse to leave us alone again. Hold on.” He quickly tapped out a message to Fay. “Now smile or she’ll kill me.” He said as he held the phone out to take a picture of the two of them. Kurt smiled softly and leaned in to press a kiss to Blaine’s cheek right as he snapped the picture.
“I didn’t smile.” He said as Blaine stared down at the phone screen. “I hope she doesn’t kill you.”
Blaine bit his lip and attached the picture to his message before hitting send.
I can hear the neighborhood housewives swooning already.
“What does that mean?” Kurt asked, reading over Blaine’s shoulder.
Blaine laughed. “Nothing. What were you doing in here before I came up?”
“Sulking and masochistically going through our scrapbook.” Kurt sighed and sat back down on the floor between the bookshelves. He took the scrapbook into his lap again and sighed at the pages.
Blaine smiled and leaned against the shelf above Kurt, looking down at the photographs of them together. “I miss traveling with you.”
“We never went anywhere together.” Kurt looked up to meet Blaine’s eyes.
“No, but we acted like tourists all around Las Vegas together.”
Kurt smiled and ran a fingertip up the pant leg of Blaine’s jeans. “You know what I like about you?”
“Well I’m hoping there’s more than one thing or else we might have a problem.”
“No, Blaine, I’m serious.”
Blaine laughed. “Okay. What do you like about me?”
“The first night I met you. At the bar. You had dirt under your fingernails.”
Blaine cocks an eyebrow at this. “And you like that because...?”
“Because I couldn’t think of anywhere within a 10 mile radius where you could possibly get dirt under your fingernails, unless you went somewhere to dig in the sand.”
“And this was an appealing quality?”
Kurt nodded. “Because that meant that you were either odd enough to be digging in the sand, or curious enough not to be from around there.”
“Or I could just be dirty.” Blaine wrinkled his nose.
Kurt smiled. “No, because then the next day, I checked again and they were clean.” Kurt reached up and twined his fingers with Blaine’s then, bringing their joined hands near his face to examine Blaine’s fingertips. “See?”
Blaine brought their clasped hands up to his lips briefly before leaning down closer to Kurt. “You wanna know why I had dirt under my finger nails?”
“Am I going to regret holding your hand?”
“I hope not.”
Kurt smiled before sighing contentedly. “Okay. Why?”
Blaine smirked and leaned down as close to Kurt as possible before brushing his lips against the shell of his ear and whispering. “Because I was digging in the sand.”
Kurt shivered involuntarily at the contact before a smile cut through the tension. “Are you lying to me?”
Blaine grinned and pulled back. “Actually, no.”
“So you were odd enough to be digging in the sand.”
“But also curious enough to not be from around there.”
“So I was right about you from the start.”
“I’ll have to remember to thank Fay for losing her earring.”
“Is that why you were digging in the sand?”
Blaine nodded, grin splitting his face wider than before. Kurt felt the need to just lean up and kiss it away. So he did.
“Remember how you said you wanted to go somewhere with me? Somewhere neither of us has ever been?” Blaine asked, smiling down at Kurt as he pulled away.
“Yeah.” Kurt breathed out.
“Well, where do you wanna go? We have the whole world now that we’re together again.”
“Hmm...” Kurt tapped a finger to his lips. “I hear California is nice, but I wouldn’t want to stay there forever.”
Blaine grinned and ran his fingers over the globe beside him. “I have an idea.”
Kurt sat up straighter. “What is it?”
Blaine grabbed a few books from a random shelf: one on England, another on Italy and two on North America. He eyed them carefully before tucking them against his shoulder and leaning towards Kurt. “Let’s go everywhere.”
Kurt looked down at the scrapbook in his lap. “You already did that...”
“No one’s been everywhere, Kurt.” Blaine said seriously.
Kurt looked back up at him, smiling slightly. “Why don’t we spin the globe and wherever it lands, that’s where we’ll go.”
Blaine raised his eyebrows. “Spontaneous. I like it.” He looked at the globe in question then back down at Kurt. “You’re serious?”
Kurt nodded. “I have eleven days to kill.”
Blaine grinned and spun the globe around, watching it turn quickly several times before he stopped it with his finger.
“So?” Kurt asked, tilting his head back and trying to get a glimpse of their destination. “Where are we going?”
Blaine smiled down at Kurt before leaning in closer to him. “How do you feel...” Blaine glanced at the small green shape his finger had landed on, “about Paris?”