Title: Born Right In The Doorway
Word Count: ~7300
Warnings: Very AU. Angst.
Summary: It had started six years ago on a perfectly average day in the spring of 2013. There was no explanation for it—or at least not one that made any marginal amount of sense to a person with an actually functioning brain—and no reason. It had just begun and that was that. The people in charge, the ones who made the decisions and figured things out, called it The Traveling Period. Kurt Hummel called it Hell.
A/N: Title comes from the magnificent song 'First Day of My Life' by Bright Eyes. The song is unintentionally an excellent companion to the fic.
It had started six years ago on a perfectly average day in the spring of 2013. There was no explanation for it—or at least not one that made any marginal amount of sense to a person with an actually functioning brain—and no reason. It had just begun and that was that.
The people in charge, the ones who made the decisions and figured things out, called it The Traveling Period
Kurt Hummel called it Hell.
Few things were known, but those that were had been quickly recognized and never wavered. First, the travels started at age fifteen unless a child was born to a mother who hadn’t found her match, in which case they traveled with her until the age of fifteen when they began to travel on their own. This was rare because most women would do absolutely anything to prevent having to endure the uncertain nature of traveling while pregnant. Secondly, at midnight every night, a person’s location changed. This was always true unless one very important thing happened, which led to the third and final truth. The only way to make the traveling stop was to find one’s match.
Only then would you wake up in the same place you went to sleep. Would you stop being dumped onto some arbitrary spot on the planet without warning with one sole purpose: to find your match.
Until a person did this, they didn’t work. They didn’t go to school past the age of fourteen. They couldn’t
. People weren’t contactable until they were matched. Lists were available in an online database along with contact information of those who had once they found a place to live with their match.
That was how Kurt had found his dad again just one month earlier, after six years of traveling. He’d woken up in bed with a three-hundred pound Russian man named Fyodor who had to have been pushing forty. Kurt had taken one look at the man, utterly unable to mask the horror on his face before he had promptly grabbed the laptop and cell phone he saw on the desk and had locked himself in the bathroom for the rest of the day. His dad’s information had just been added and he’d spent the hours until midnight talking to him and crying and ignoring the knocks on the door, hoping with everything in himself that he’d wake up somewhere, anywhere
else the next morning.
His dad had met a woman named Carole Hudson in Florida a week earlier. They’d hit it off right away and when they’d woken up the next morning, they’d been delighted to find themselves still wrapped up in each other’s arms in the small hotel room they’d fallen asleep in. They’d been married the next day, after it had been confirmed by the authorities that they were indeed a match.
According to Burt, Kurt had a stepbrother named Finn who had met his match in an apparently lovely girl named Beth when the two had bumped into each other on the street in New York City. An ache spread through Kurt’s chest, burning even fiercer than the one that always sat there, knowing that he very well might never meet his stepmother or stepbrother, that he might never see his father’s face in person again.
He had no idea where he’d been that day he spent in the bathroom, though the day before that he’d been in Rome. The day before that
he’d awoken in a small village along the Nile River. It was always somewhere different, somewhere foreign, somewhere without a single recognizable face. Everything felt desperate
, everyone looking around, hoping they’d feel a spark, hoping that they weren’t walking past their match only to never see them again.
Because that was the worst part of all. The whole thing was so new to the world that much was still unknown. The Traveling Period
had started only six years ago, jumpstarting everyone over the age of fifteen into a state of unrest, into purgatory on Earth. No one knew if there would be a second chance if someone missed their match, if they were guaranteed to find one another eventually or if they’d simply continue on that way until they turned old and died without ever having a sense of home
At first, everyone had been in a panic. But then more people had started finding their matches and order had been able to be restored to a certain degree. That sense of hysteria had died away when it became clear that no amount of eager searching would bring anyone any closer to finding their match.
For close to two years, Kurt had slept through his days. Had merely gotten up, gone to the local check-in office to get his daily allotment of money and a fresh change of clothes—never to his taste, not even close
—and had then found lodgings and curled up under the covers. He had been lonely and scared and so incredibly tired
His dad had been single when it had started, so he’d been forced into traveling as well. Kurt had been nineteen, finishing off his freshman year of college and living with his roommate and best friend Rachel. After he’d found his dad in the database, he’d looked for Rachel. Apparently she hadn’t found her match yet, either. He didn’t know whether to feel relieved or even more depressed at that bit of information.
Ever since then he’d been trying, though. He knew what he was supposed to do, what his dad had reminded him of on that first day they’d talked in over half a decade.Do the things you like to do, you’ll have a better chance of finding your match that way.
Try not to ignore the people who approach you without giving them a chance. You never know.
Be ready to find your match. Look. Try.
So when Kurt woke up in a place that actually had some culture, he tried. He went to see shows if his daily allowance enabled him to do so. He sat in coffee shops sipping his favorite and looking around. Some days he was consumed with thoughts of ‘Is it him? Or him? Will I feel something when I see him? Will I have any idea at all?’
His dad had told him that when he saw Carole, he felt like a teenager all over again. But wasn’t that just a normal feeling when you saw someone you were attracted to? Kurt had felt that. There were beautiful men everywhere and there had been times when he had wished that one of them would be his.
Before The Traveling Period had started, people had gone through life with the wrong people, or maybe with no one at all. People had allowed themselves to be in terrible relationships. Kurt had been in one himself. Well, not bad but not good and both of them had put up with the okay of it all for far too long. But now there were two options: remain in a state of endless stasis or find his match. Honestly, Kurt wouldn’t have minded the uncertainty so much if he could have awoken each morning in the same place, if he didn’t have to go to bed each night terrified that he was going to wake up in the middle of the desert again or in an alley curled up against a dumpster or, worst of all, like he had the one time he’d woken up in a small unremarkable town inhabited by residents who hated gay people more than they hated Liberals.
He woke up on a sunny day in the summer of 2019 in a warm bed. He wasn’t alone.
This didn’t happen often, but it was almost always awkward. The girl in the bed next to him was pretty. Long blonde hair, delicate features, creamy skin. He slid from beneath the covers and rolled his shoulders. The fabric was stretched tight across his chest, the selections at yesterday’s check-in office even more pathetic than usual. She stirred and sat up abruptly, looking at Kurt with wide, terrified eyes before softening.
“Hi,” she said, her voice a little lower than he had been expecting.
“Hi,” he replied, his surely not meeting her expectations either. He smoothed a hand over his hair, fidgeting a little at how she was staring so intently at him. “I’m going to take a shower and then I’m going to go.” She nodded, her eyes glassy and the corners of her mouth tugging down as she looked at her fingers twisting in the bedspread.
“It’s me, isn’t it?” Kurt frowned and shook his head.
“No. It isn’t,” he said softly. “I’m gay, so this just won’t-"
“Right,” she said, laying back down and pulling the covers under her chin. “Try not to wake me when you leave.”
Kurt tried, but as he left, he was certain that she was awake. Her muffled sobs told him that much.
As soon as Kurt stepped out of the apartment building and onto the street, he knew where he was. His heart throbbed. His breath caught. He was home.
The city buzzed with life around him, but it was so much different than it had been when he’d lived there. People wandered aimlessly, shifting through the streets with no real sense of purpose. A man grabbed onto his arm and stared him in the eyes for a few moments before slumping and walking away. A woman sat on the steps of a brownstone, her face in her hands and her shoulders shaking from the ferocity of her tears. And then there were the real residents. The people who had found their matches.
They tended to ignore them, the ones who were still searching. They were an inconvenience. Kurt felt like one. He had liked school, had liked working, had liked having a real sense of purpose.
But now he was home again. For one day, he could pretend like everything was normal. It made him want to cry, to yell, to scream from the rooftop of his old apartment building that Kurt Hummel had found his way back and was never leaving again.
But he would. Tomorrow he would probably wake up in Antarctica with his limbs wrapped around a penguin for warmth. But for today, he could pretend to be normal.
The first place he went was his building. It, like so many others, had been abandoned. It just wasn’t needed most of the time. Sometimes, people traveled there, but it wasn’t fancy enough for anyone who had found their match to want to stay in. So it was just there. Kurt had never before felt grateful to have lived in such modest accommodations.
The apartment that had once been his and Rachel’s had been ransacked. All of his carefully chosen clothes were gone except for a few items that he quickly shook the dust from and wrapped around his body. They were musty and old and surely out of style, but he welcomed their presence like that of an old friend. The material was familiar against his skin, so much better than the simple t-shirts or sweaters and blue jeans he’d been forced into for the last six years.
There was money hidden behind an air vent that he carefully removed using the screwdriver from the toolbox his dad had sent him to the city with. It was only a hundred dollars, but it was so much more than he usually got for the day. He still needed to check-in. That was required by law that was enforced as surely as were the borders to each city and taxi cabs and airports and train stations. Once you traveled to a place for the day, you didn’t get to leave. Things would have become too complicated if people were always on the run. It would have clogged up the transportation systems and it was something that Kurt logically understood but hated on principle. It was why he hadn’t seen his father in six years. Why he wasn’t sure if he ever would again.
On the streets, signs were posted clearly on streetlight and crosswalk poles letting people know where local check-in offices were located. He took care of business quickly, explaining away his wardrobe with a lie about how the clothes had been in the place where he’d awoken. It was a lie, but one they heard all the time, so they believed him and within minutes he was on his way with a stamp on his hand and thirty more dollars in his pocket.
There wasn’t a question in his mind as to where he was headed. It was drawing him in like a beacon, a lighthouse calling in a ship lost at sea. And that was what Kurt was—a tugboat fighting against the current, trying to make it back to port.
It was the reason why he and Rachel had moved to the city after graduation. It was what he’d been studying to do in school. It was home as much as his dad’s house in Lima had been, as much as the tiny ruined apartment had been.
His feet traversed street after street as his mind focused on nothing other than reaching his destination. Today, he didn’t care about trying to do the thing he was supposed to do. Today, he just wanted to be Kurt again for a few fleeting hours, to absorb the city that he’d fallen in love with, to just be a person again. One without a purpose outside of his control.
It took much longer than he liked to get there, but soon enough he was standing on the sidewalk, neck craned and eyes wide and watery as he looked up.
The Gershwin Theater.
Home. He was home.
“I never thought I’d be here again,” a voice said to his left. Kurt started and was frankly a little annoyed at being shaken out of his reverent stare. All feelings of irritation vanished when he turned and looked at the interrupter, though.
The man’s eyes were shining and golden and just as wet as Kurt knew his own were. He was a little shorter than Kurt with neatly gelled curly hair and a smile so broad Kurt couldn’t help but return it. That grin was catching and Kurt couldn’t have fought it off even if he’d wanted to. Something twisted in his stomach, just a little tug that he tried to ignore.
“I know,” is all Kurt could say. Anything else would have been too much. Too revealing. And even though all he wanted to do was tell this stranger everything for some reason, he turned back toward the building.
“When did you meet your match?” the man asked. Kurt froze, then remembered.
“I haven’t,” he admitted. “I… I used to live here, back before it started. I went back to my old apartment and there were actually some of my clothes left.”
The man wasn’t looking at the theater anymore. Kurt could feel those captivating eyes on him and fought against the urge to look. It was too much. He could already feel himself falling, wanting to lose himself in those pools of caramel he would surely drown in if he stayed too long.
“Is this the first time you’ve been here since?” the man asked. Kurt nodded, his throat feeling tight. He wrapped his arms around himself, pulling his jacket closer, feeling his bottom lip quiver, his cheeks tighten.
“It feels so good to be home, even if it’s not forever,” Kurt said, and he wasn’t entirely certain why he had. He could have let it go, could have just stood there in silence beside the man and then left, both of them still searching, Kurt still experiencing his city again, the man off to his own devices before they both blinked out of New York and into some other city as soon as the day finished. But he didn’t want to, for some reason. He liked standing beside the man, looking up at the theater like it was work of art. And really, it was.
“Someday it will be again,” the man said. Kurt turned to look at him.
“Maybe,” he said. They just looked at each other for a moment and Kurt’s dad’s words shifted through his mind.
Try not to ignore the people who approach you without giving them a chance. You never know.
“Do you want to go get a cup of coffee?” the guy asked. Kurt’s mouth opened and closed, every inch of his body capable of feeling nervous prickling. This was what he was supposed to do. It was what they were told every day when they checked it. They were supposed to talk to people, make an impression, make a connection, something that would ensure to whatever force was driving the entire situation that the matches had indeed bonded so they could wake up the next day in the same place that they’d fallen asleep.
It was a gamble, though. It was always a gamble. Because you had to end the day together. Wake up together. It wasn’t enough to meet. You had to stick with each other until midnight hit and then you would know. But what if you picked the wrong person to focus on for the day? What if you missed your match spending time with someone else? What if that was your only chance and you destroyed it?
But Kurt didn’t care about all of that on this day. He was home and his favorite coffee shop was nearby.
“Sure,” he said, extending a hand until the other guy took it in a warm, firm grip.
“My name’s Blaine,” the man said, his hand lingering against Kurt’s, not relinquishing the grip, just holding on.
There was a smile threatening to widen on his lips that he tried his hardest to hold back. It didn’t work. The man—Blaine—didn’t let go, and now that Kurt was a little closer he could see that Blaine’s eyes weren’t just golden. There was green in there, too. He swallowed and took a step back, the entirety of his insides twisting and overheating to the point that he thought he was going to have to shuck his navy jacket and loosen his tie.
“Well Kurt, you’re the one who’s from here. Where should we go?” Blaine asked, eyes no longer watery, but bright and… sparkling.
“I’ll lead the way,” he said.
They walked through the streets, passing others like them. Others who were still traveling. It was different here than it had been in the thousands of other places Kurt had visited. Rome had been similar. People were taking advantage of the time in such an important city. More matched people were around. When some of those people passed himself and Blaine, they looked at them and smiled.
And that was when it hit Kurt.
He felt normal. Honest to god, completely and totally ordinary. He was walking down the street immersed in banal chatter about nothing and yet it meant everything.
Kurt stopped walking. He couldn’t any longer. The air was too tight around him, his throat too small, his legs too heavy. Slumping against the outside of an overcrowded McDonalds, Kurt closed his eyes, pressed a hand to his stomach, and just did his best to breathe.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” he admitted, feeling Blaine beside him. Feeling those eyes on him again. The ones that were gold and green and beautiful.
“Get coffee?” Blaine asked, pausing for a moment before taking a step back that shuffled enough on the pavement Kurt could hear it. “Oh, you mean get coffee with me.”
Kurt sighed and let his eyelids slowly open. He looked at Blaine, at his dark hair and his warm eyes, his inviting lips and trim build. He looked at him until he was drunk on the sight, filled to the brim with feelings that were so much he didn’t know if he could physically bear another moment of experiencing them.
“You’re beautiful,” he said, shaking his head sadly. Blaine’s eyebrows knitted together, confusion painted over every inch of his handsome face.
“You’re beautiful and I don’t know if I can…” Kurt cut himself off. It was too early to say that. There were other things he needed to say first. “I’ve never done this before. I’ve been traveling for six years and I’ve never so much as had a real conversation with someone I thought there was a chance might actually be… I mean, that might…” He couldn’t finish.
“That might be your match?” Blaine asked, voice soft and body so much closer now than it had been a few moments earlier. Kurt nodded, voice lodged sticky in his throat.
“This is just so unfair,” he finally choked out, his eyes heavy with pressure, his limbs weak, his brain so tired.
“How so?” Blaine asked, his voice steady and patient while Kurt’s wavered and grew thick.
“You’re so handsome and you seem nice and we just have this one day to figure it out. We could spend the day together and wake up on different sides of the planet and we could part now and miss our chance. It’s just… how are we supposed to know? How do people know?”
“Kurt,” Blaine said, reaching out and taking his hand, lacing their fingers until their equally damp palms were pressed together. “You’re the first person I’ve seen in the last six years who I even want to share the same air with, let alone a table in a coffee shop. I thought you had been matched, but you were so gorgeous that I had to go talk to you. We don’t know what will happen at midnight, but what I do know is that I really want to have coffee with you. I want to talk to you. I haven’t…” He broke off as his voice raised a little in pitch. He cleared his throat before continuing. “I’m so lonely, Kurt, and for some reason, I wanted to go talk to you. It doesn’t have to mean anything other than a cup of coffee. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. All I know is, I want to get to know you a little better.” There were more words on his mind. Kurt could practically see Blaine’s lips struggling not to form them, but he held back. Kurt felt a tear slip from the corner of his eye and he wiped it away quickly.
“Okay,” he nodded. “I want to talk to you, too.”
The coffee shop wasn’t far from where Kurt had stopped and within minutes they were seated inside with their drinks at a table so small their knees brushed beneath the worn but clean wooden surface. Things were quiet for a moment. There were other travelers in the coffee shop, some sitting alone, others with someone, pain and loneliness and desperation radiating off of all of them in waves. It would have made Kurt nauseous had he not been able to feel the same thing in himself almost every day.
“What did you do before The Traveling Period started?” Blaine asked, sipping at his medium drip and looking at Kurt so intently it made his toes curl a bit into the soles of his boots.
“I was in my freshman year of college,” Kurt said. “I was studying musical theater. My best friend and I used to wander around the Theater District every Sunday morning and then we would come here to have coffee and scones. It was our own little version of going to church, I guess.”
“I was a senior in high school,” Blaine offered before Kurt had the chance to ask. “I was so close to graduating and then… and then I was in Australia. And then Paris and nameless little town after nameless little town.” Kurt understood. He understood completely. He had been there himself, only he had at least gotten to graduate. Had gotten to have that one little bit of normalcy to grasp onto when he was in a terrible place with nothing to comfort him but his memories. The ones that seemed all the more distant all the time. “I called my parents every day I could. Every time there was a phone. They were two of the lucky ones. They were already with their match, so on that morning, they just woke up at home.”
Now that Kurt didn’t understand.
“My dad was single. Widowed, I mean, and he was traveling, too. He didn’t find his match until a month ago. I didn’t get to talk to him until then,” Kurt said, suddenly finding the creamy depths of his mocha incredibly interesting. A warm hand closed over his and Kurt felt his heart race while his body relaxed. It was an incredibly confusing sensation but it made him feel better nonetheless.
“I… I’m so sorry you had to go through this alone for so long, Kurt,” Blaine said. God, he was so beautiful.
“I want it to be you,” Kurt blurted, the words just coming out before his brain even had the chance to process them. “I mean… I’m sorry.” He moved to leave, but Blaine held his hand firmly, not letting him.
“Kurt,” Blaine said, looking a little amused, but not in an unkind way. “I want it to be you, too. But we don’t have any control over that.”
“Six years ago we would have,” Kurt mumbled, staring back down into his coffee. It was so unfair, the way the world had become. People had no say anymore in who they spent their time with. Their match was predetermined.
“This might be crazy, but let’s just give it a try.”
“What do you mean?” Kurt asked, lifting his gaze and immediately wishing he hadn’t. Blaine looked so earnest, so excited. So perfect. Kurt knew in that moment that he would follow Blaine anywhere for as long as he had the chance.
“Let’s spend the day together. We’ll…” Blaine broke off and looked around smiling. “We’ll do everything. You can show me all of your favorite places and tonight, we’ll find a place to go. If we wake up together in the morning, we’ll know that we made the right choice.”
“But what if we don’t wake up together?”
“Then we’ll have had one perfect day,” Blaine said, scooting his chair closer and reaching for Kurt’s other hand. “What do you say?”
Kurt thought and he swallowed and he breathed and he tried very pointedly not to look at Blaine because doing so would mean the instant end of his resolve. The answer was already on the tip of his tongue, desperate to be spoken, and his brain was screaming at him just to say it because he was wasting so much precious time.
“I think that this is one of two times I’ve felt actually happy in the last six years and I would really like to drag it out for as long as I can, even if it is probably more pointless than faux pockets,” Kurt said, wanting to add ‘But if I wake up tomorrow and you’re not there, I don’t know if I can survive the disappointment.’
Blaine laughed. And then he laughed harder.
“I’m sorry,” he laughed, sputtering a little as he tried to squelch his laughter. “You’re just… you’re funny. I haven’t laughed in a long time.” Kurt stood, still holding Blaine’s hands, and started to pull him from the building. “Where are we going?”
And they did. They window shopped on Fifth Avenue. They ate hotdogs in Central Park. They bought fruit from a street vendor in Chinatown and ate it on the grass in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, just blocks from Kurt’s old apartment. It was a dizzyingly fast day, all smiles and laughs and Kurt was barely aware of anything but the feeling of Blaine’s hand in his where it had stayed clutched there, laced tight and never relenting as they moved from location to location.
Blaine was smart and funny. He loved music and theater and football, which Kurt didn’t care as much about but hearing Blaine speak animatedly about the topic was entertaining enough that it almost broke his trance from the little drop of orange juice that was resting at the corner of his mouth. After Blaine had finished a long-winded but contagiously excited speech about how the Patriots had been robbed in the Superbowl that year, Kurt reached out, utterly unable to stop himself from gently wiping that bit of orange juice away.
Blaine froze and stared and for a moment Kurt was positive that he’d just ruined everything. That instead of having an entire perfect day they’d have had a partially perfect one and Blaine was going to run away and leave Kurt all alone on the grass. But he didn’t flee, just exhaled a little shakily and reached for Kurt’s hand.
Time stood still. Nothing existed but Blaine and the throbbing pulse in his ears and the stickiness of Blaine’s fingers against his own. They leaned in and if not for that constant throbthrob he would have been sure that his heart had stopped beating. Blaine’s lips were a hair’s-breadth away. Kurt could smell the sweetness of Blaine’s breath, could feel it ghosting warm across his lips.
“FINN!” a voice shrieked from just to their right.
Blaine laughed nervously, darkly, and cleared his throat before pulling back. Kurt opened his mouth to speak but sighed instead, his eyes darting over to the source of the noise. A tall guy with messy brown hair had a laughing, red-faced woman slung over his shoulder as he walked across the patch of grass before them. He had a silver band on the ring finger of the hand latched onto her thigh, holding her in place as she struggled to get free.
Kurt’s heart ached and he reached for Blaine’s hand without thinking.
“Finn Hudson, you put me down this instant!” she protested, the words sounding not even remotely intimidating as she laughed around them.
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen and you know it, Beth,” the guy said, his smile wide and pure. Kurt’s eyes flew open.
“What’s wrong?” Blaine asked.
“That’s…” Kurt said, watching as they walked out of sight. “They’re just really cute together, that’s all.” Part of him wanted to chase after them, to introduce himself to the person who was his family now, but he was frozen there, attached to Blaine and utterly unable and unwilling to leave his side for a second. To waste a single minute of their day. Someday, he’d meet Finn and he’d tell him about this moment, but for now, he just couldn’t.
“They are,” Blaine replied, but he wasn’t looking after them the way Kurt was. Kurt could feel those eyes on him again. The first eyes Kurt had noticed since The Traveling Period had begun. Before this day, he’d never paid close attention to the lines of someone’s face, to the slope of their noses, the fullness of their lips, the swell of biceps or the strength in fingers or anything really. Not in detail. But there Blaine was in high definition, nothing escaping Kurt’s sight.
“Let’s go,” Kurt said softly, standing instead of kissing Blaine, knowing that if he did, he would never be able to stop.
They walked in silence, not wanting to take a cab, not wanting to let a single moment zip by any faster than it needed to. They held hands and brushed thumbs over knuckles, memorized the feeling of arms bumping together, fell in sync with their steps and the whole way Kurt tried not to cry. It was so much, too much, and not enough. Part of him wanted to flee, to run away and spare himself the inevitable heartbreak, but then Blaine was singing, picking up a line blasting from the open door of a shop they passed and carrying it along with them as they moved.
Kurt knew where they needed to go.
“Kurt, we’re going to get in trouble,” Blaine said, wide-eyed and smiling despite himself.
“No we’re not,” Kurt grinned, pulling Blaine down the long aisle. “I’ve done this before and I think given the circumstances, they’ll understand.”
Broadway had been dark for several years after The Traveling Period had begun and it still wasn’t what it had once been. Not enough quality performers had found their matches and only a few shows still played, but this was one of them. Kurt hoped it would be for long enough that he’d get to see it again some day.
“You’ve broken into the Gershwin Theater before?” Blaine asked, almost scandalized. “I never would have pegged you for a delinquent.”
“Well, there’s a lot we don’t know about one another,” Kurt said.
“We might,” Blaine agreed, squeezing Kurt’s hand as they darted onto the stage. Kurt felt himself pulled into Blaine’s arms. “Sing with me.”
And so they did.
“Unforgettable, that’s what you are,” Blaine started, swaying with Kurt held so tight against him, the press of Blaine’s body intoxicating and warm.
They got through half the song before Kurt broke down in tears, clutching to Blaine’s shoulders, his wet face buried in Blaine’s neck.
“I can’t say goodbye to you,” he sobbed and Blaine’s arms tightened, holding him crushingly, perfectly tight.
“We won’t. We won’t say goodbye,” Blaine told him, his own voice tight with emotion that Kurt wished he hadn’t heard. It made the pain all the more palpable. He had to do something to make it go away.
Pulling back just enough, he pressed his lips to Blaine’s cheek, to his nose, kissed away the tears falling down his face and everywhere else he could reach before finally, finally, kissing his lips. Blaine moaned, ragged and needing, and shifted his hands to Kurt’s waist, digging fingertips into Kurt’s skin through the layers of clothing and kissing back so hard Kurt didn’t trust his knees to hold him upright much longer.
“Blaine,” Kurt whispered between kisses, trying not to whimper as Blaine directed the perfect movements of his lips over Kurt’s jaw, down his throat, pressing them over the shoulders of his jacket. “Blaine, let’s find somewhere to go.”
Blaine paused and pulled back, nodding with eyes that were dark and sad.
“Yeah, we should.” He swallowed hard and took Kurt’s hand in his again. It felt so good there, so right. Like their fingers were meant to be intertwined.
There were lots of accommodations for travelers and they went into the first one they found, ignoring the sympathetic look the clerk gave them and heading wordlessly for the room they were assigned. It was dark outside, the hours of the day having passed them by so quickly, so effortlessly that Kurt wondered briefly if it wasn’t some kind of cruel trick. That the day, this one perfect day in wonderful company, had been shortened intentionally by the god he just couldn’t believe in.
The room could have been lovely. It could have been dismal. It had a living room and small kitchenette attached by a door to a bedroom, but Kurt hardly saw any of it. All he could see was Blaine. Blaine who would only be here with him for a few more hours even though all he wanted was forever. He wanted to get to know him, to learn all of his likes and dislikes, to just have time. To not be jerked around from place to place, scared and alone and tired without anyone he cared about. And god, he did care about Blaine.
They hardly knew one another and yet it felt like they were old friends. The ease with which they had communicated all day, the perfection of their bodies pressed together, the taste of Blaine’s mouth. It was all familiar and Kurt hated it. He resented it. There was a one in a seven billion chance that this was it for him. That Blaine was his match. It was so unseemly. How did anyone find their match? How was it possible? Why did they have to go through this?
He was crying before he knew it, raw and open and vulnerable as he clutched to Blaine, collapsing onto the bed in a tangle of limbs, breaths hitching as they kissed and cried and whispered. They peeled off each other’s clothes piece by piece, touching everywhere, tasting and stroking, and doing everything in every way possible. They took turns and cried out each other’s names into the darkness of that small room and brought each other to the threshold of unchartered pleasure mores times than could be counted.
Finally, they were too exhausted to continue, were just wrapped up in each other, naked, sticky bodies as close as they could get, lips pressed lazily together as they whispered and kissed and their eyelids drooped.
“This wasn’t enough time,” Kurt whispered, throat burning, chest heavy.
“It wasn’t,” Blaine agreed. Kurt felt fingers stroking over his hair as tears flooded his eyes. “I don’t know what I’m going to do if I wake up tomorrow and you’re not with me.” Kurt sobbed and clutched Blaine tighter.
“Don’t say that,” Kurt said. Please don’t say that. Please. Please don’t. “I can’t… what am I going to do if it’s not you?” Blaine’s breaths grew harsher and he tried to pull Kurt closer yet.
“I hope we don’t have to find out,” Blaine whispered, kissing Kurt once, twice, three times before burying his face in Kurt’s neck. “I want it to be you. I want to spend forever getting to know you. I want to kiss you and hold you and wake up with you every day. Why can’t we just do that? Why don’t we get to decide?”
“I don’t know,” Kurt said. “I wish we could.” He looked at the clock and groaned. 11:35. “We should get dressed.” Blaine sighed and shuddered and clung to Kurt for a few more seconds before pulling back.
Even though all Kurt wanted was to drift off to sleep with Blaine’s naked body pressed against his, they couldn’t do that. You never went to sleep unclothed because you traveled with just the clothes on your back. You didn’t know where you were going to wake up or with whom, so it was a chance one just didn’t take. So much of Kurt wanted to put faith in the fact that Blaine felt right. He felt the way Kurt imagined a match was supposed to feel. But he couldn’t risk it.
So they redressed in their clothes. They re-laced their shoes. They crawled beneath the covers and resumed their former position, not nearly as intimate but still beautiful. Still right.
“Stay awake with me,” Blaine said, glancing at the clock before hungrily kissing Kurt, capturing his lips over and over until they were both gripping fistfuls of fabric and fighting to just melt into each other.
“I will,” Kurt said, pulling Blaine close until their foreheads were pressed together on the pillow. They stared at each other and held both hands tight, slotted their legs together and even breathed in sync.
“Please be here at 12:01,” Blaine whispered. Kurt swallowed hard and nodded. Blaine was beautiful in the moonlight filtering in through the blinds, barely visible but somehow even more stunning than he had been all day.
“I don’t want to be anywhere else.”
Blaine closed his eyes, tears squeezing from between his long lashes.
They held each other, eyes shut, just feeling each other’s bodies close as the minutes slipped past. Exhaustion weighed heavy on Kurt from the rigors of the walking they had done coupled with the intensity of their lovemaking. Though he tried to stay awake, needed to know what happened when midnight hit, their breaths evened out and at the same time, sleep washed over them at precisely 11:56.
Kurt awoke in an empty bed. The sheets were cold on the side he wasn’t inhabiting, the pillow without an indent. The room around him was unfamiliar—small and lacking any kind of warmth. A sob clawed its way from his chest without warning and he stifled it in his pillow. Loss ripped at his insides until he was raw and torn, nothing left but his hurt and his ragged cries that he was trying so hard to quiet.
He had known that this would happen. The odds were too slim. No matter how good Blaine had felt beside him, no matter how much he’d loved looking into his eyes and talking to him and singing with him, it just hadn’t been enough, apparently. Whatever made the decisions didn’t think they were a match and god, Kurt had never hated The Traveling Period more in six years of loathing and anger than he did at that exact moment.
How dare fate bring Blaine to him only to rip him away. How dare it give them happiness and comfort and for once in so many years, hope without any promise of it being real. It had been one perfect day. Blaine had been right about that. But one wasn’t enough. Kurt wanted all of his days to be with Blaine, but now Blaine was gone. Just like Kurt had always known he would be.
When he finally got his tears under control, he flopped onto his back and stared at the ceiling. He closed his eyes and held his breath and hoped for one pathetic moment that this was just a dream and he would soon wake up with Blaine still pressed against him, hot and beautiful and there.
And in that moment, Kurt heard it. There was a voice coming through the door. It was soft, indefinable murmurs, but it was there. Kurt rose and walked toward the noise, pressing his ear to the wooden surface before sucking in a huge breath. He knew that voice.
He pulled open the door and all the air rushed from his lungs.
“He’s perfect, Mom. He’s… he’s absolutely perfect,” Kurt heard him whisper into the phone. He was sleep-mussed, curls going a thousand directions on his head as he sat hunched over at the tiny kitchen table, cordless phone pressed to his ear.
“Oh god,” Kurt whispered, collapsing against the doorframe and pressing a hand against his chest where his heart was trying to leap from the captivity of his ribs. Blaine spun and grinned and murmured a goodbye to his mother before hanging up.
“There you are,” he said, voice shaking but happy. Kurt couldn’t think or breathe or do anything other than just stare.
Blaine was still there.
Kurt was still there.
They were together.
Blaine came to him, held him up and kissed him and kissed him some more.
“I’m here. We’re here. We’re still here, Kurt,” Blaine said against his lips, giddy and crying and looking beautiful.
“We need to get down to the check-in office,” Kurt told him, touching Blaine everywhere he could, face, shoulders, arms, chest, stroking and petting and memorizing all over again.
“Why the rush?” Blaine asked with a smile.
“We need to stay there tonight to prove that we’re matched because I’m marrying you tomorrow,” he breathed out, voice weak and heart strong finally. “I’ve been looking for you forever.”