Cut the Cord

Chapter 23

He feels sick with nerves on the flight to New York which is ridiculous because he’s only going to see Kurt for God’s sake—Kurt who he feels more comfortable with than anyone else on the planet. Except it could never be ‘only’ Kurt because Kurt is so much more than that; Kurt is everything.

He declines the food pack that the air hostess tries to shove under his nose, shakes his head when Burt offers him some of his own, and spends the rest of the journey staring out of the window. He doesn’t know if he likes the feeling of being suspended in so much blueness, the clouds a blanket of white below. He’s never been scared of heights or air travel, but if he focusses too hard on that stomach-swooping feeling of elevation it becomes dangerously similar to the drifting sensation he gets when his feet are firmly planted on the ground. He watches the ever-switching horizon instead, gaze flicking every now and then to the little map on the seat in front of him, watching the time countdown to landing. The little numbers move tantalisingly slow at first, but as they get closer to New York, they speed up and suddenly Blaine has the panicky urge to stop them.

Breathing as deeply as his lungs allow, he climbs over Burt and queues up for the tiny restroom, cursing the fact that everyone uses it before they land. It doesn’t help that the Christmas Eve flight is packed, everyone wanting to get home to friends and family at the last minute. He’s never been away for Christmas before and he feels like travelling should somehow undermine the holiday, make it less special, but it’s the first Christmas since he was six (and still believed in Santa Claus) that he’s looking forward to. Of course, it’s also the first Christmas that’s made him sickeningly nervous, but Blaine figures it’s still better than being stuck in his too-big house with his father’s silent opinions.

When it’s finally his turn in the restroom, he locks the door, then unlocks it and relocks it again, just to make sure. He stares at his reflection in the little mirror, leaning against the sink as the plane jolts, and takes in his palled complexion, the dark circles smeared under his eyes. He wishes he could be more attractive, just for a day, but this will have to do; he will have to do.

He uses the toilet and then splashes a bit of water on his face, ignoring the knock on the door; there are too many people for the number of toilets on board and they’ll just have to be patient. The lock on the door jams for a moment when he tries to open it and he feels that exhilarating little rush of What if I get trapped in here? What am I going to do? It opens on the second attempt, though, and he ignores the fed-up glares of the people waiting, heading back to his seat without meeting their eyes. He’s strangely disappointed that he didn’t get stuck in there, although he doesn’t know why; it would’ve been really embarrassing.

“Alright, buddy?” Burt asks, looking up from his football magazine as Blaine manages to climb back over his legs.

No, this was a bad idea and I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.

“Yeah, just tired of sitting down.” He answers, turning his attention back to the window. Burt seems to buy it, patting Blaine’s leg once before returning to his reading.

Ten minutes later, the captain tells them to prepare for landing and Blaine’s stomach jolts unpleasantly as the usual spiel starts about seats being upright and placing hand luggage in the overhead lockers. He double-checks that his seat can’t be made any straighter and wonders why his insides feel horizontal. It’s like he was lying down and left his innards behind when he sat up, although he hasn’t reclined the chair at any point during the flight.

Landing and disembarking goes by in a hazy blur, Burt reminding him to get his rucksack from the overhead locker and leading him towards baggage reclaim. He has only brought hand luggage for the two-night stay, but Burt was forced to take a suitcase in order to bring Kurt some more clothes from home. Blaine offers to carry it to the taxi for him and discovers pretty quickly that Kurt has either requested the delivery of his favourite lace-up, weighted boots, or Burt decided to bring several rocks with him. He suspects the former and for some reason the knowledge that he’s carrying Kurt’s stuff makes him feel like he’s smuggled something all the way from Lima. The NYPD officers stationed near the main doors barely look at him, but it feels like their eyes are boring through the fabric of the suitcase and he wants to drop it, admit that they’re not his with his hands in the air.

He barely registers the huge buildings flashing past as the taxi speeds them to Kurt’s apartment. He’s been to New York several times and whilst the awe at such a magnificent skyline will never leave him, it feels a lot more fragile than the last time he visited. It also seems to take a ridiculously small amount of time to fight through the traffic and get to Bushwick. Blaine’s still mentally preparing himself, wondering what the hell he’s going to say. Is he meant to just pop out from behind Burt, shouting ‘surprise!’ at the top of his voice? Is he meant to hide in the stairwell until they’ve had time to catch up? Is he meant to just walk in and see how long it takes for Kurt to realise? All three options seem absurd, but then his presence in this city, after everything that’s happened, is absurd. He shouldn’t be here.

Burt seems to notice his anxiousness because he starts talking about some pizza place down the street that’s meant to be amazing, presumably attempting to distract him. It doesn’t work, but Blaine appreciates the effort.

He takes the offending suitcase once more and lugs it up the stairs behind Burt, taking in the random graffiti on the walls. It’s definitely not the nicest neighbourhood there is, but Kurt and Rachel are students so he supposes it’s quite a good place for their budget.

When Burt raps on the door, eyebrows raised in anticipation, Blaine stops breathing. Kurt is on the other side of that door; there are literally only a few metres between them. It seems to take forever for the door to slide open, and when it finally does, it feels a lot like his senses are being overloaded. The first thing he notices is the smell of freshly-baked goodies, and Christmas excitement, and something so very Kurt-like. He barely has time to register his chest tightening and then Kurt is there, standing in front of him in an apron Blaine recognises from past baking sessions, smile crinkling his face as he sees his dad.

Then, torturously slowly, Kurt’s eyes flicker from Burt’s face to his lack of suitcase to Blaine who is stood slightly behind him, clutching it like a lifeline.

“Blaine?”

It’s the first word out of his mouth and Blaine has a split second to work out whether he’s good-surprised or bad-surprised before he’s speaking again.

“I—Dad? You didn’t tell me Blaine was coming?”

“Yeah, well, I wanted it to be a—”

“—But I didn’t realise. I didn’t know he’d be here and now—”

“Kurt, relax! I’m sure you can bake some more cookies or whatever.” Burt’s still grinning at what he perceives to be Kurt’s melodrama, but Blaine’s starting to panic. Something isn’t right.

“No, you don’t understand—”

“Kurt? Is it your dad?” The voice comes from somewhere behind Kurt and it fizzles through Blaine’s brain, forcing him to put two and two together.

Kurt looks pained as he slides the door the whole way open and they all turn to look at the man—the tall, attractive, blond man—stood in the kitchen area, holding a tray of cookies and looking slightly confused. Blaine knows without question it’s the guy he heard on the phone; the British inflection is unmistakable.

It doesn’t exactly feel like having the carpet ripped out from under his feet—it’s more like the whole world falling away, useless bits of scenery collapsing during a low-budget community theatre production, and leaving him stood on a tiny bit of floor, about to fall off at any second but unable to move. The worst part is that Kurt suddenly can’t meet his gaze and that tells Blaine all he needs to know.

You’re not wanted here.


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