“Well well well, you two look very good for dead people.”
Kurt has seen this moment in his nightmares, waking up in a cold sweat too many times to count, but reality proves to be even more terrifying. The elegant black suit, the gaunt face and solemn expression that Kurt knows is only a mask for the cruelty underneath – they all look sharper here than in his memory.
The Haunt has finally found them.
He steps closer – too close for comfort – and reaches with his long arm to flick on the light. In the sudden glare, pale and looming, he looks like Death.
None of them speak, too shocked to move in the doorway, and the man smiles kindly.
“Well, apart from Miss Berry’s paleness from the recent child loss. Such a tragedy.” He coos, and something in Kurt snaps.
“What do you want?”
“My my, is this a way to welcome a friend after such a long time?” The man chides gently, and then looks at Blaine who’s standing by Kurt’s side now, shielding Rachel. “Oh, I’m sorry, let me introduce myself, Mister Anderson. I’m–“
“I know who you are.” Kurt has never heard Blaine’s voice so cold. The Haunt’s extended hand hangs in the air.
“Oh. They told you about their home, then? Very well.” The man says cheerfully and turns to Kurt again. “Imagine my surprise when a friend from our New York community who works at the DMV called me with the most curious information. Seems like he found two interesting names added to the city records. Names that were strikingly similar to those of our long lost and dearly missed children. Of course, I had to investigate – I spent some time in the city, people-watching, making new friends, and what a joyful discovery it was when I found out that you are indeed alive. I’m sure your parents will be beside themselves with happiness at your miraculous return. They’ve taken your deaths very hard, as you can imagine, especially with the letter you left that blamed them for your deaths.” His voice is full of compassion.
Behind Kurt’s back, Rachel lets out a choked sob. Kurt’s own throat clenches painfully, but he swallows and says in a voice that’s only a little rough, “We’re not going back.”
The Haunt’s face is a picture of innocent confusion.
“Oh, but surely you must have realized by now that the world is nothing like the song and dance you envisioned it to be. It couldn’t have been easy out there on the run, and even now–“ he gestures at the apartment around them. “What have you gained? Living in poverty with useless jobs and barely enough money to survive. Poor Rachel, stripping for roles she won’t get anyway, so desperate for love that she’s falling for older men, only to be used and left to make decisions that are too big for her little head.”
Blaine nearly chokes on some indignant sound. “Now listen, you–“
The Haunt pays him no attention as he turns to Kurt.
“And you. Working day and night just to make ends meet, without the comfort of family to soothe and take care of you at the end of a hard day. You’ve put so much time and distance between you and your community, so much effort to follow this boy, and for what? You’re still with the woman that is destined for you because deep in your heart, you know that’s your place. Wouldn’t it be easier to stop fighting it and return where you belong? Start a proper family in the comfort and safety of the community?” The concern in his voice sound almost authentic. “Don’t throw your whole life away, child, just because of one teenage crush on some kid who doesn’t even have the guts to be with you.”
Suddenly, Blaine’s hand is pressing into Kurt’s, warm and insistent, and Kurt takes it gratefully like the anchor it is. And then he has to try very hard not to act surprised when Blaine says, “Why would you think I’m not with him?”
Having your breath taken away is not a good thing when you’re trying to act all adult and certain, but somehow Kurt manages to keep his voice firm. “Mister Harris, thank you for coming all this way, and taking the time and effort to spy on us so thoroughly, but we’re not going back. And we don’t appreciate you invading our space or our lives, so please go and leave me, my sister and my boyfriend in peace.”
The Haunt’s eyes narrow dangerously, the amicable mask gone in a blink.
“You know, I could make life very difficult for both of you, child,” his voice is cold as ice now. “It would be so easy. Words and opinions can go a long way if released in the right place, did you know that? I could make it my pet project – how much would it take for you to lose your job? What could I plant in your papers to mark you untrustworthy in a way you’d never be able to wash away? To make it difficult for you to find another employer? How long would it take until you’re back on the streets?” he sneers. “I could make sure your pretty little fiancée never touches the stage in any respectful theater. Or your boyfriend – he wants to be an actor too, doesn’t he?” The Haunt cocks his head. “You two caused a lot of trouble to the community, a lot of discord and anxiety with your lies and your defiance. I could make you pay for this.”
Kurt looks him in the eye, suddenly unafraid. “I’m sure you could. But will you?”
The man is silent for a long while, his cold eyes taking in the sparse, cheap furnishings of their apartment and resting with visible distaste on their joined hands, on Rachel’s face with its bold make up. When he finally speaks, spite is dripping from his words.
“I guess you just have to wait and see. Maybe I will, now or one day when you don’t expect it anymore. Or maybe I’ll let this life be your punishment. This dirty, corrupt city will chew you up and spit you out anyway, broken and unhappy, and you will cry for the easy, safe life in the Harbor. And it will be too late. You can never return, you can never be a part of our community again. So go, children. Enjoy your freedom that you’ve decided to pay such a price for. Enjoy it while you can. But know I’m always there, watching. I don’t forget.”
With one last condescending look, he leaves.
xXxXxKurt’s hand cold and sweaty in his, Blaine steps aside as the tall man pushes by them on his way out the open door. What a stuck up, condescending prick. And creepy at that. The way he looked at them, ugh! Like he was sickened by the sight of them holding hands, by the very idea of them being together.
Blaine has never been on the receiving end of such a reaction before – not from his family nor those few of his friends who saw him flirting with guys. So this disgust, something he’d only ever heard about until now, feels like a reality check.
But so does something else.
The man’s words were clearly intended to hurt, to target Kurt and Rachel’s most vulnerable spots, but one thing struck Blaine right between the eyes.
Kurt did it all – broke a suicide pact, struggled to keep them both alive on the run, got to New York – because of him. And Blaine knew this already, both Kurt and Rachel told him more than once. Only now, coming from a sneering stranger’s mouth, it feels like a punch.
Kurt risked everything. He went through hell to come back to Blaine. Because he loves him.
And Blaine is pushing him away because he’s afraid of heartbreak?
He’s been given a miracle, another chance, and love so bright and strong it literally defeated death. And he’s saying “no, thank you” because it may burn him?
Because he doesn’t trust Kurt?
What more does he need to trust?
Blaine recovers first.
“So that was–“
“The Haunt, yes.” Kurt can feel his heart pounding as the adrenaline rush fades, making him weak in the knees.
“Okay, I admit he was a little scary.”
That makes Rachel giggle behind them, a breathless, hysterical burst of sound. Kurt starts to turn towards her. Only–
“You’re still holding my hand.” Not that Kurt minds. Not at all. It’s just that Blaine doesn’t seem to realize, and Kurt doesn’t want to take advantage of his kind gesture. It’s enough that Blaine helped him, pretending to be Kurt’s boyfriend in front of the Haunt.
“I know.” Blaine is looking at him as if he’s seeing him for the first time. “Is that okay?”
Kurt forgets to breathe.
“Completely okay,” he whispers.
“Okay then,” Blaine whispers back, relief clear in his smile.
“Oh my god, guys! Now you’ve decided to end this dance?” Rachel’s exasperated groan breaks them out of their reverie. She tries to walk between them to get properly inside the door at last, breaking their connection, but Blaine just raises their joined hands so that she can get underneath. She huffs and rolls her eyes.
They don’t break apart as they follow her to the couch, holding hands while they slowly calm down and discuss the unexpected visit. The fact that the Haunt found them, the amount of information he’d managed to gather, the possibility of his meddling – it’s all terrifying, but honestly, Kurt is more relieved than anything. It feels like a spell has been broken. They’ve been frightened of this exact thing happening for almost two years, their imaginations spinning more and more paralyzing scenarios as time passed, until it felt like their world would inevitably end if they were ever found.
And now it actually happened, and they are still here, whole and untouched, though shaken. With a small gasp, Kurt realizes that he’s no longer afraid. Now that they are adults, away from the Harbor and without the temporary shock of a moment, the Haunt seems like a bitter old man with more talk than bite rather than the monster from their past. If there are consequences – although Kurt honestly doubts that – they will deal with them when they come. But in the meantime, there’s life to live.
The boys stay on the couch together when Rachel goes to the kitchen to order pizza. They had a nice, proper dinner plan, but that can wait. They can cook tomorrow. Tonight, this newfound link between them feels too fragile to let go even for a minute.
“Kurt?” Blaine strokes his thumb over Kurt’s knuckles.
“Would it be okay if I stayed tonight?”
Blaine’s air mattress has been returned, and Rachel hasn’t needed Kurt to hold her through the night for over a week now. They both know what Blaine is really asking.
“Yes,” Kurt breathes.
There’s a small sniffle from the kitchen. Rachel is leaning against the counter with a phone in her hand, watching them with fond, wet eyes and a soft smile. She sticks her tongue out at Kurt when she sees him grin.
“Oh shush you, I’m still emotional from the hormones. And you two are just… It’s been too long, okay?”
When the pizza is eaten, Rachel disappears into her bedroom, only to come back out with her oversized bag on her shoulder.
“Okay boys, I’m going out and I won’t be back until noon tomorrow.” She catches Kurt’s concerned expression and shakes her head. “Don’t worry, I’m just going to spend the night at Allie’s. She’s been inviting me for a girls’ night for months now and I just decided tonight might be a great time for it.” She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively and Kurt groans.
“Oh my god, Rachel, you don’t have to go anywhere.”
He’s thrilled with Blaine staying, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to dive into everything all at once. For one, he wants to make sure the bubble doesn’t burst in the morning again. And if it hopefully, miraculously doesn’t, if they really are back together, he wants to do it properly this time – slowly, gradually, giving themselves time to explore everything.
But Rachel just smiles sadly and pulls on her coat. “I kind of do. I just need the company of someone who isn’t deliriously in love tonight. Have fun, cupcakes!”
Blaine kisses him the second the door closes behind Rachel. It’s soft and sweet, just a gentle touch of their lips, and yet it’s enough for all the dormant butterflies in Kurt’s stomach to rise in flight. With a helpless, desperate sound, Kurt cups Blaine’s cheek and kisses back, pouring all of his longing, his hope, his love into the frantic press of his lips against Blaine’s.
It’s better than that night before Christmas. They are completely sober, for one, so there’s no doubt in Kurt’s mind that every kiss and touch happens because Blaine chooses it. And then there’s Blaine’s face. If Kurt opens his eyes, he can see the curl of Blaine’s long eyelashes on his cheek and, in the short moments between kisses, the whole galaxy of colors in Blaine’s wide eyes, full of so much affection that Kurt’s heart aches in the best possible way.
They can’t stop kissing for long, their eyes fluttering close again, but there are other senses to enjoy. Those delicious little sounds Blaine lets out, the delicate, fading smell of his cologne, the tickle of his stubble when Kurt strokes his fingertips down Blaine’s cheek and jaw. He’s ready to let go and just drown in the sensations when Blaine pulls away.
“Be my boyfriend?” he says, breathless, and Kurt feels his heart stutter in incredulous joy. But then Blaine frowns, looking unsure. “I know I’ve been acting like an ass, I’m sorry, is it too late? Because–“
“Blaine,” Kurt shushes him, unable to stop the wide grin growing on his face. “Of course I’ll be your boyfriend.”
Breath leaves Blaine in one relieved exhalation, and then he’s kissing Kurt, firm and a little sloppy in his rush. Kurt tangles his fingers in the hair at the back of Blaine’s head and kisses back. It’s different from their kisses back in Lima, where there was always the feeling of having finite amount of time to fit all the closeness they wanted. Now there’s no hurry. Or at least Kurt hopes so.
They get lost in it. That’s the only explanation of how Kurt finds himself with Blaine straddling his thighs, pressing the unmistakable hardness of his erection against Kurt’s. Almost an hour has passed and Kurt is aching, trapped in his skinny jeans. In his lap, Blaine is panting softly, trembling with the effort of restraint. It would be so easy to give in to the sweet temptation, let their bodies find the perfect rhythm again and just drown in the pleasure of being together like this after so long.
But this isn’t what Kurt wants. And they haven’t had this conversation yet, but it seems that Blaine is on the same page here. He presses a soft kiss on the tip of Kurt’s nose.
“Shower?” he asks. “Separately, I mean.”
Kurt nods. “Good idea.”
But it turns out that the shower doesn’t provide the desired cool-off effect at all. Kurt’s skin is tingling everywhere Blaine has been touching him, and the thought of him stepping into this very tub in a moment, so hot and so naked, is enough to keep certain parts of Kurt’s anatomy very interested. He could probably kill his hard-on by dousing himself with ice cold water, but it would be a temporary solution. And Kurt definitely doesn’t want his neglected libido to override his rational knowledge of what he wants once he’s in bed with Blaine.
So he does what seems like the best solution. With the fresh memory of Blaine’s body hard and close against him, and the level of arousal coursing through him already, it only takes a dozen firm strokes and Kurt is coming, biting on his thumb to keep Blaine’s name from escaping his lips.
Judging by the hastily muffled moan coming from the bathroom ten minutes later, when Kurt is getting water from the kitchen, he’s not the only one with this idea.
Blaine comes back to Kurt’s bedroom wearing the pajama pants he left there the last time – and nothing else. His chest is more defined than Kurt remembers it, with a new dusting of soft-looking dark hair, and Kurt’s jaw drops.
“It this okay?” Blaine asks, moving closer to the bed Kurt’s sitting on and cupping his face to lean into a sweet, soft kiss. “I don’t want us to rush, but… I want you close, skin on skin. I want to feel you. We never had enough time when we were together and I’ve been dreaming so long of just holding you close without any barriers and nothing to tear us apart.”
Kurt slips off his t-shirt before Blaine is even done talking, and god it feels good to see the way Blaine’s eyes darken, his jaw going slack before he scrambles onto the bed.
It’s just as narrow and uncomfortable as ever, but now it almost feels like a bonus: there’s skin everywhere, and even when Blaine switches off the little bedside lamp and Kurt loses the amazing visual, he can still feel the warm satin of Blaine’s skin under his fingertips, the firmness of his muscles as they hold each other close.
But being so close, Kurt can’t miss the way Blaine starts shaking in his arms, tiny tremors that soon turn into full-body trembling as Blaine’s breath hitches once, then again and again. Kurt can’t see in the darkness, but he’s not surprised to feel moisture under his lips when he kisses Blaine’s cheek. He pulls him closer into the tight embrace, envelops him.
“Shh, hey, what’s wrong?”
It seems to be too much for Blaine. A broken sob rips out of his throat as he presses his face into Kurt’s bare chest, his wet lashes tickling Kurt’s collarbone. His voice sounds raw when he finally speaks.
“You came back to me, and I almost lost you again. A miracle happened, an impossible dream, and I almost pushed it away because I’m a coward. God, Kurt. Don’t ever let me lose you again. Please. I love you so much.” He’s crying, out of control, as if everything has just hit him all at once, and Kurt just holds him and strokes his heaving back, whispering words of love and reassurance, promises to stay, to never leave again, words like yours and us and together, sweet visions of the future. And Blaine listens and cries and kisses Kurt’s lips, his neck, the place over his heart. It’s sweet and sad and exhausting, and Kurt keeps vigil until Blaine’s breathing evens out and he falls asleep, a warm boneless weight on Kurt’s chest. Only then does he allow himself to kiss Blaine’s forehead and with the last whispered I love you, close his eyes and drift off.
The bubble doesn’t burst in the morning. Kurt opens his eyes to a mid-morning light, only to be greeted with a kiss and a realization that this happened. This all happened.
Blaine kisses his neck. “Can I bite you instead?”
“Anything, just… I think I’m still dreaming.”
“I thought so, too,” Blaine smiles, but dutifully nips at Kurt’s collarbone. It hurts in a delicious, definitely-not-dreaming way. “Except then I realized that I need to pee, and that doesn’t happen in my dreams, so, no. This is reality. A wonderful reality.”
“So the Haunt was really here last night.”
“And you really declared you were my boyfriend and held my hand and then spent the night with me here and didn’t freak out in the morning.”
“Yes.” Blaine sounds amused.
Kurt rolls their bodies so he’s leaning over Blaine with a perfect view of his eyes, still puffy after all the tears but bright golden in the morning light. “And we’re really together?”
“Yes.” Blaine is beaming. Kurt doesn’t remember when he last saw him so happy. “We’re together, and I love you, and I want to say it to you every day. I want to show the whole world what an amazing, beautiful boyfriend I have. I want to go on dates with you everywhere in New York. I want to kiss you in the streets and over coffee and at the movies and in bed and I want to sing with you, sleep with you, dance with you, see you in every light, at every time of day, in every mood– God, Kurt. We can finally have it all.“ His eyes are wide, awed, and Kurt tears up.
Chapter songs: Wires by The Neighbourhood
On Your Side by Thriving Ivory
The last two chapters will be posted on Wednesday (Oct 23) and Thursday (Oct 24).