Having a boyfriend was the best feeling in the world.
Ever since Kurt had said yes, Blaine felt as if he had his own little sunshine factory somewhere inside his chest. He woke up with a smile every morning, eager to get to school and see Kurt again. There was more bounce in his step and new energy in his muscles. Even his head felt exceptionally clear and focused – except for the moments when Kurt distracted him, which he did regularly with the smallest gestures and the most innocent words.
His nights belonged to Kurt, too. He could no longer remember a time when he hadn't dreamt of Kurt every night – either normal dreams with their surreal dream logic that fled in the morning, leaving behind abstract, vague memories, or, sometimes, just glimpses, out of context pictures that stayed with him for days afterwards. A couple of times Blaine experienced a weird sense of déjà vu in completely innocuous situations – a feeling like he must have already seen Kurt in this particular blue shirt and black vest combo, illuminated by the sudden ray of pale March sunshine; must have had the quick kiss on the lips in the middle of Dalton's mostly empty library when he leaned in to fix Kurt's crooked tie.
Except he was pretty sure he hadn't.
He didn't dwell on it too much, though – not when every moment spent with his boyfriend was so wonderful it took his breath away.
It felt ridiculous, how not that long ago he had believed that he could be a danger to Kurt, that his instincts or the mark on his skin could push him to do something forceful or ungentlemanly. It couldn't be further from the truth. There was physical desire, of course – he was a teenage boy with an incredibly hot boyfriend, after all – but mostly, what he felt for Kurt was gentle and tender, protective even. He just wanted Kurt to be happy.
Which was what led him to this very moment in the Warblers practice – facing the befuddled council, heart pounding with excitement. The first half of his idea had been decided, his dual lead for Regionals suggestion accepted. It was time to move to the second, more significant part.
He waited for the noise of conversation to die down a little, but as soon as the the topic of auditions was raised, he spoke up.
"No, no auditions. I want to sing the duet–" the dramatic pause was probably unnecessary, but he couldn't stop himself. "With Kurt."
Only then did he look to his right where his boyfriend sat on the other couch (they'd learned early on that the only way not to get completely distracted during practice was to sit separately), and the stunned look on Kurt's face made him grin. He hadn't known of Blaine's plans. It was a thank-you-for-the-two-weeks-together surprise.
Except something wasn't right.
A murmur was rising in the room, a few faces at the back clearly upset, angry even, and Blaine could hear at least one Of course he'd choose his boyfriend. But... didn't they realize how amazing Kurt's voice was? How well they sounded together?
Blaine raised his hands in a placating gesture and waited until the room was quiet.
"Gentlemen. I know what it looks like, but hear me out. I have a particular song in mind: Perfect. It would fit perfectly with Raise Your Glass. This way we can build our setlist on Pink's songs. And since I've sung this one with Kurt already –"
"Of course you did," someone behind him muttered.
"– and I know that our voices go together really well, and we have good chemistry–" some sniggers and groans from the back of the room, and Blaine actually stopped talking and looked around. The group of boys closest to him and Kurt – mostly freshmen and sophomores who always eagerly followed his lead – were smiling and nodding in agreement, but they were the only ones. Behind them, the older Warblers didn't look impressed at all. Blaine tried to keep the confidence and authority in his voice as he asked. "Anyone in favor of Kurt being my duet partner at Regionals?"
The number of raised hands was smaller than he'd expected. Eventually, it was only Thad's hesitant support that decided the matter. Wes smiled stiffly and struck his gavel.
"Decided. Congratulations, Kurt."
"You shouldn't have done it, Blaine. It was a lovely gesture, and you're an amazing boyfriend, but you shouldn't have antagonized them like that."
Blaine shrugged, pushing away the uneasy feeling he'd had in his stomach since leaving the practice. "What are you talking about? They voted in your favor."
"Just barely. And they didn't like it at all. I'm new, and I'm your boyfriend. I wouldn't be given this opportunity in normal circumstances. It doesn't seem fair."
"But your voice is amazing, Kurt. And we're going to kill this song. They will love us for this when we win Regionals, you'll see."
Kurt didn't look entirely convinced.
Making Kurt happy had officially become Blaine's new favorite pastime.
There was something in the way Kurt's face lit up with joy and wonder, in his most genuine, uncontained smile that showed his teeth and made his eyes crinkle, that felt like the biggest prize in the world. How could he worry about anything – another argument with his father or one more anxiety attack for no apparent reason – when Kurt looked at him with such open adoration, as if Blaine was the best thing that happened to him in a long time; when he whispered thank you and kissed his cheek.
There were so many opportunities to show Kurt how important he was; so many moments, little and big, that made Blaine's heart sing.
Soothing Kurt's nerves before they went onstage at Regionals. Seeing him shine bright when they sang – not ostensibly to each other, but in Blaine's head, so very much so. Holding his hand when it turned out that no matter how good they were, New Directions won with their original songs. Having flowers delivered to Kurt's house, just because, and then listening to his delighted, breathless voice telling him how much he loved the gesture. Spending an hour pointing out every little thing that he loved about Kurt, when his boyfriend had a bad day. Talking until Kurt fell asleep on the phone one night, then just listening to him breathe, imagining how it would feel to be there, so close, with Kurt's breath ghosting over his skin and his warmth seeping into Blaine's body.
Blaine had never felt so appreciated before. So wanted. He was almost afraid to think it but he felt... loved. And it felt better than he'd ever believed possible.
Being with Kurt, seeing each other every day at school and still going on dates or just hanging out afterwards, spending so much of his time either with Kurt or at least in the blissful awareness that he was close, somewhere in the same building, almost within reach – it was amazing. A dream come true. Blaine felt so, so lucky.
He should have known it was too perfect to last.
Kurt hadn't even stopped and thought before asking Blaine to come to the Night of Neglect concert with him and support his McKinley friends, but now, as they were walking through the school, he was wondering if it hadn't been a mistake. It was the first time visiting his old school since he'd transferred, and showing Blaine around, pointing out places that mattered to him and reminiscing about favorite moments made the melancholy and longing flare in Kurt's chest.
Of course, so many of his McKinley memories were painful and bitter, but it seemed to only make the bright, happy ones stand out more, vividly colorful in sharp relief. This was a place that he both hated and loved, a place where he'd been bullied for years for who he was – but where he could actually be who he was, head held high in defiance and every outfit a statement. Yes, he'd had to scream to be heard – but at least he could scream, didn't have to dial down his personality and his attitude to fit in better. He missed that. Not all the time, especially not now that he had Blaine, but there were moments when it ached, deep and unrelenting.
Like right now.
And he tried not to let it show, but he must have because Blaine was looking at him, sweetly concerned and so beautiful.
"Aww, you miss them."
And Kurt didn't even have to answer because Blaine knew, he got it, even if he didn't understand, even if it made him sad to see Kurt pine over his old school and old friends. He got it and his expression was resigned, yes, but mostly just accepting – not upset or betrayed like Kurt thought it would be if Blaine knew.
He had no time to contemplate it, though, because just then life decided to remind him why exactly he'd left McKinley in the first place.
Karofsky was as hulky and menacing as ever, scowling and snapping at them, but surprisingly – maybe because of the respite, the distance Dalton had allowed Kurt for the last few months, or because he had Blaine by his side – it was no longer so scary. The bully seemed smaller somehow, ineffectual, like a dog that could only bark because it was too terrified to come close enough to actually bite.
Except Blaine – kind, dapper Blaine – clearly didn't see it the same way because suddenly he was right there, pushing Karofsky away, hard. Fury was flashing over his face – and, shockingly, flooding Kurt's mind, and it felt so crazy, impossible, feeling emotions that so very obviously weren't his, that he didn't even try to react, momentarily paralyzed. The fact that Santana appeared when she did and discharged the situation before it got out of control was a minor miracle because Kurt was pretty sure it would turn ugly really fast otherwise.
He was fine until they were seated in the almost empty auditorium, listening to Tina sing. But then he started trembling – just internally, a slight vibration spreading under his skin, then growing deeper, until his heart seemed to stutter and his breath came in shallow, hitching puffs of air – and he couldn't stop. The visions of what could have so easily happened, and the feeling like he was losing control over his mind... it was too much, too sudden, utterly overwhelming.
Of course, he knew – it was easy enough to guess – that picking up Blaine's emotions must have been just another effect of his mark, one that he'd have to analyze and get used to at some point. It made sense, given the level of connection they shared – or, at least, that he seemed to have to Blaine. It was just... terrifying. Control was something Kurt didn't give up easily. Or ever, really.
Blaine kept looking at him all through the concert but didn't ask anything, just took his ice-cold hand and held it, never letting go, and if there were moments when it felt like an anchor, a lifeline – well, Kurt wasn't going to tell anyone. But he didn't have to say anything for Blaine to know that something was wrong.
Blaine waited until they were safely parked in a darkened spot at the end of Kurt's street before he turned to Kurt and spoke, his face solemn.
"Kurt, I'm sorry. I know I upset you earlier, and I've never wanted to do that. It's just, when I saw him, when I remembered what he did, what else he threatened to do... I snapped. He hurt you, repeatedly, he hurt you, Kurt, and I can't–" Blaine's breath hitched and he paused for a while, just breathing heavily. When he spoke again, his voice was quiet and tight, but calm. "I hate him. I've never hated anyone like this, Kurt, not even the bullies back at my old school. But him – I felt my blood boil when I saw him. Still, I should have controlled myself better, and I'm sorry."
Kurt took Blaine's hand, his thumb starting the soothing strokes over the back of it on instinct.
"It's okay. I just... I got scared. He's so much bigger than you, if he hit you... I can't stand the thought of you getting hurt."
Blaine chuckled, a surprising little outburst of sound.
"You know, I may be small, but I doubt he would be able to hurt me. I box, Kurt. And I bet I'm faster than him, not to mention more flexible. You don't have to worry about me. But I should have thought before reacting. I just... I'm crazy about you, Kurt. It makes me reckless sometimes and –"
He didn't get to finish because suddenly Kurt was in his lap, kissing him like a starving man, and he didn't even remember how he got there, his body just moved. Never mind the mind-boggling new discovery of picking up emotions, that could wait. Kissing Blaine couldn't, they only had a few minutes left until Kurt's curfew and Blaine had just said the most amazing thing ever and this was the best way Kurt knew to react without telling him, clear and loud and entirely too soon, how much he loved him.
They'd been really careful not to get carried away again since that day at his house two weeks ago, and they hadn't really had time to be alone much anyway, which only meant they were starved for each other now. It was so easy and so wonderful to let himself slip just a little, and then a little bit more, and it wasn't until he heard Blaine's sharp intake of breath that Kurt realized that his shirt was half-open.
And that Blaine was staring, eyes wide and shocked, at the vicinity of his left collarbone.
"N-no, Blaine, I promise it's not what it looks like, it's not a tattoo, I wouldn't, I... I know it's weird, just let me explain–" His voice was high and panicked, words falling together in a rush, but it was no use. Blaine let out a faint, shaky Oh my god before pushing Kurt gently away, back to the passenger's seat.
"Please– You have to believe me–" Kurt didn't care that he sounded like he was begging because he was, desperate to fix it, tears stinging his eyes, but Blaine just shook his head.
"Kurt. Wait." And then he was tugging at his own his shirt for some reason, and Kurt's curfew alarm was blaring, and he reached for the phone blindly, just to make it shut up, not now, but couldn't find it in the half-darkness. When he finally did and turned the alarm off, and looked back up at Blaine, he was blinded by... skin. So much skin, bare and tanned, Blaine's stomach toned and flat with just the barest hint of softness around his bellybutton, and it looked positively lickable and Kurt gasped – and then gasped again when his eyes slid down to the sharp jut of Blaine's hipbones and he caught a glimpse of something darker, a familiar shade of brown that looked almost like –
Hands shaking, he reached to switch on the light and... yes, he hadn't imagined it. There, plain as day, shocking and real and possibly the most breathtaking thing Kurt had ever seen, his own name curved gently over Blaine's left hipbone.