fic: the one at Costco
ANYWAYS. The whole point of this is that you WIN and I LOSE. Your birthday is better than mine. IT'S SUBTLE BUT IT'S THERE, LOOK FOR IT. (PS, this thing was impossible to post. Took me over two hours. Apparently I now fail at posting?)
The first time Blaine sees Kurt after almost two years of radio silence, well, he looks like shit. (Not Kurt; he looks fantastic as per usual. Blaine, however, looks like he just woke up, lost his razor, and forgot to brush his teeth, all of which are true.) His thoughts are battling for control, things along the lines of: Holy shit, is that seriously Kurt Hummel? and then Dammit, I'm still in love with him, aren't I? followed by Oh god did I forget to brush my teeth? and then I wonder if he's alone, please let him be alone and then finally This is the boy I fell in love with when I was seventeen and oh my god, this is the worst day ever. Kurt, however, does not seem to be having any kind of internal struggle whatsoever because as soon as his eyes meet Blaine's, he says, "Oh my god, seriously, Blaine? You shop at Costco?"
Blaine blinks at him, totally not sure what to say to that because hello, two years and that's the kind of welcome he gets? A disdainful, judgey insult? Kurt stares back at him unapologetically and apparently doesn't find anything wrong with his shitty version of Why hello, Blaine, nice to see you and hope all is well. He's silent for a minute.
"I didn't really have a choice," Blaine says finally, mostly just to break the awkward staring.
Kurt raises an eyebrow.
"I needed condoms," Blaine tells him. And when Kurt's jaw drops, he quickly adds, "For my roommate! They're for my roommate!"
"Your roommate," Kurt echoes.
"Yes," he answers. "My roommate."
Kurt gives him a thoughtful look and tilts his head. "You're either the world's best roommate or the world's worst liar."
"Neither," he says. "I just owed him a favor so he was cashing in."
Kurt eyes him. "Good god, Blaine. Costco at nine a.m. on a Monday morning buying Trojans in bulk? What kind of favor did you owe him?"
Blaine sighs. "I sort of … set fire to our kitchen once." It was actually three times but he's not admitting that to Kurt. And really, it's more of a kitchenette than an actual full-blown kitchen so it shouldn't be as big of a deal as everyone's making it.
They watch each other and as Blaine stares at him for the first time in two years he thinks, Dammit. Because yes, he still totally has a thing for his high school boyfriend and could he be more cliché? He's had a bad week and he just does not have the time or energy right now to be pathetically in love with his high school sweet heart. He has class in the morning and an exam on Wednesday that he hasn't spent a minute preparing for and it's just such bad timing for a mini freak out.
Kurt pretends to rearrange some items in his cart and as Blaine watches his faux casualness, he slowly realizes that he's not the only one trying not to have a mini freakout and maybe not the only one with a thing for his ex. Because that fake nonchalance? Totally fake. He's a little surprised to learn that even after all this time, he can read Kurt just as easily as he used to. Awesome.
"So what are you doing here?" Blaine asks. "Because you're in a Costco, too, you know."
"Yes, thank you," Kurt says with an eyeroll. "How astute."
Blaine's quiet. He can tell Kurt really doesn't want to answer, hence the deflection, but he waits him out.
He sighs. "I'm -- with someone," he answers finally.
And yeah, Blaine kind of feels like a jackass because apparently he can't read Kurt as well as he used to.
"Oh?" Blaine asks after a minute. He keeps his smile firmly in place.
"Yes," Kurt says, looking away. "I'm here -- with someone."
"Right," Blaine says, feeling totally lame for being marginally jealous after two years. "Well, I can let you go, then. It was -- uh. It was nice seeing you."
He looks at Blaine suddenly with wide eyes but doesn't say anything. He opens his mouth but before he gets a word out --
"Blaine? Is that you?"
He turns to find Finn standing behind him, as looming as ever.
"It is! I can't believe you're here!"
He's pulled into a tight hug and Blaine pats his back, mostly just for something to do because what the hell. Finn squeezes and he remembers that this kid played like, every sport ever back in high school because after ten seconds, he can barely breathe. While he's trying to maintain consciousness, it occurs to him that Finn is Kurt's 'someone' which means that he was totally trying to make Blaine jealous so score, he totally is still into Blaine and he totally can still read Kurt like he used to.
Suddenly, Finn releases him and walks up to Kurt. "I told you," he says, finger pointed accusingly. "I told you!"
Kurt narrows his eyes. "Drop it."
"I told you," Finn repeats. "I knew it."
Blaine's beyond confused and asks, "Knew what?"
Finn looks at Kurt like maybe he's outweighing the consequences of what he's about to do.
"Finn," he hisses. "I swear to god."
"What?" he says defensively. "It's just a fortune cookie."
Blaine blinks. "Okay, I think I'm missing something here."
"Finn," Kurt warns.
Finn rolls his eyes. "Whatever, Kurt."
"Don't do it, Finn; I'm serious."
He considers Kurt for a minute while Blaine watches the two of them. "Why are you making such a big deal out of it? It's totally not," Finn says.
Kurt narrows his eyes and doesn't answer.
"Big deal out of what?" Blaine asks finally.
They both turn to look at him and he shifts awkwardly under their stare. He's standing in the middle of a Costco, two aisles away from bulk condom packaging, while he watches his high school boyfriend and his high school boyfriend's brother get into some ridiculous argument about the magnitude of a cookie. It's sort of surreal but it's also sort of exactly like high school. Minus the bulk condom packaging.
Blaine clears his throat. "Kurt?"
"It's nothing," he answers with a dismissive wave.
"It's a fortune cookie," Finn says at the same time.
Kurt turns to glare at him. "You are the worst brother ever. Ever."
"A … fortune cookie?" Blaine asks, confused.
"A fortune cookie," Finn repeats. "We ordered take out on Friday and Kurt's fortune said --"
"It's a cookie," Kurt interrupts, "so this is stupid. I don't know why we're even having this conversation." He glances quickly at Blaine but then looks away to shuffle some yogurt containers around in the cart.
Finn ignores him. "It said 'Be prepared to reconnect with a lost loved one.' And I knew it. I told Kurt it would be you. I told him all weekend to keep an eye out for you."
"Oh," Blaine says, not really sure what the proper response is to a story like that.
"Because who else could it be, you know? A 'lost loved one'? There's only one person that could mean."
Blaine tilts his head. "Only one?" Interesting.
Kurt scoffs and looks up. Blaine notices the tips of his ears have gone slightly pink. "Not one, no. Way more than one. Maybe like, seven. Or ten."
"Ten," Finn laughs. "You haven't even been on ten dates let alone had ten loved ones."
Kurt's eyes narrow again. "Shut up, Finn."
He laughs some more, oblivious. "When was the last date you even had? I bet you can't remember his name."
"I'm setting fire to your room. As soon as we get back."
He ignores Kurt and reaches out to give Blaine a friendly pat on the shoulder. "I'm going to look for the frozen chicken nuggets. You two … reconnect."
They both watch Finn's retreating form for a minute until Blaine clears his throat. Before he can say anything, Kurt looks at him very seriously. "I've been on dates, okay. Several. At least seven."
"Okay," Blaine says. "I've been on dates, too. I think two of them."
"Two?" Kurt chokes out. "This whole time you've been on two dates?"
He shrugs. "Maybe. They weren't exactly all that memorable."
Kurt gapes at him.
"What?" he says defensively. "I've been busy."
"Right," Kurt says slowly. "Me too. Busy."
He nods and they watch each other. "Well, you weren't that busy," Blaine points out. "Seven dates. That's -- yeah. Well done. Anything serious?" And he totally does not want the answer to that unless it's hell no. It's been almost two years and Blaine honestly has no idea what's going on in Kurt's dating life and he's pretty sure he doesn't want to know. It could go either way, really: Kurt could be perpetually single or god, he could be like, engaged for all Blaine knows. (It's a definite downside of living in New York where the gays can get married because it means that your ex-boyfriend can like, get married.) Kurt better not be married, Blaine thinks as he quickly glances at Kurt's left hand. And yeah, they're only twenty but whatever, it's always a possibility.
"Not serious per se, no," Kurt answers noncommittally, looking away. "It wasn't exactly seven dates. Maybe not that many."
Blaine nods again, not really sure what to say. It's sort of awkward talking about their love lives but he kind of wants to keep the conversation going so he'll take what he can get. He doesn't want to say goodbye just yet even though his roommate is going to be ridiculously pissed because his girlfriend is only in town for a couple of days and he's pretty desperate for these condoms. Whatever, though, Blaine thinks. Talking to Kurt in the middle of a Costco outranks his sex-starved roommate, no contest.
"So," he says awkwardly. "Chinese. Do you still go to that place right around the corner from your apartment?"
"China Garden," Kurt tells him. "And yes. I'm pretty sure it's the only Chinese place in a ten mile radius that doesn't use cats as a main ingredient."
Blaine grimaces because yeah he hates cats but still, gross. "I haven't been to that place for, god, two years." He thinks for a minute. "Actually, I haven't been there since the night you broke up with me."
Kurt's eyes widen. "Since I broke up with you?" he asks. "You broke up with me!"
"Are you serious?" Blaine asks. "Tell me you're not serious."
"Okay fine, maybe not exactly but you agreed to it!"
"Yes," he agrees, exasperated. "I agreed to a breakup. Which inherently means that I was not the one doing the breaking up."
Kurt's still watching him with wide, incredulous eyes. "God, Blaine. Whatever. A person doesn't agree to a breakup unless they want to break up."
"Of course I agreed!" Blaine says and he can kind of hear his voice rising a little. Not enough to draw attention but it's still probably tacky to be as loud as he is while standing in the middle of the condiment aisle of a bulk food store. "What was I supposed to say? 'No, you can't break up with me'? People can't say no to a breakup, Kurt. That's how all bad Lifetime Original movies begin." And really, it's how all the good ones start, too.
He rolls his eyes. "You could have said something about it being a bad idea. You didn't have to be so supportive of it."
"Supportive," Blaine repeats. "Are you insane? Your exact words were 'How do you feel about a breakup? I think we should break up.' And my immediate response was 'Uh, what? You can't be serious.' That's not called supportive, Kurt. I'd classify that more along the lines of decidedly unsupportive." He's suddenly frustrated because he can remember that conversation verbatim just like it was yesterday because he replays it in his head every few weeks or so. And every time that he does, he gets irritated and all kinds of confused because it came out of nowhere and Blaine was sort of blindsided, too blindsided to ask Kurt why he was suggesting a breakup like a crazy person. He mostly spent the conversation just staring while Kurt tried to convince him that it was a good idea. Blaine, however, was pretty convinced that it was not a good idea but when your boyfriend is trying to break up with you, it's not exactly the best time to like, start a debate or whip out a persuasive essay.
Kurt narrows his eyes. "You agreed eventually."
"Yes," Blaine sighs. "After like, twenty minutes of you suggesting we breaking up. That seemed to be the response you were looking for."
"It was not," he says irritably. "Apparently you don't remember that night at all."
Blaine sort of gapes at him. "Don't remember?" he scoffs. "It was October thirteenth. A Saturday night, roughly 7:25 p.m., right in the middle of that creepy thunderstorm. You were scooping some of the white rice from the container onto your plate and then bam, 'Breaking up will be totally awesome, Blaine, so we should totally do it'."
"Yes, that exactly how I phrased it," he says with an eyeroll. "Clearly you remember it very well."
They're silent for a few minutes and Blaine briefly wonders how long it takes Finn to find frozen chicken nuggets.
"Why did you do it, anyway?" Blaine asks suddenly. "I've spent two years wondering that."
"Because it's what you wanted," Kurt sighs.
"What I wanted?" Blaine asks skeptically. "Are you serious?"
"Yes," he says defensively, sounding mildly annoyed. "Every time you came over to the apartment for the weekend, you just seemed so unhappy. I assumed you wanted to be single for your freshman year but were too nice to actually do the breaking up."
He blinks at him. "I was unhappy because you and I were going to school hours away from each other, Kurt. It was you and Rachel and Finn all living together like grownups in an off campus apartment and I was miles and miles away sharing a dorm room with my tool of a roommate, the one that didn't shower. I was unhappy because I knew the weekend would end and I'd have to leave you to head back to my school."
Kurt stares at him. "Oh."
Blaine stares back. "So wait," he says. "Are you actually saying that you didn't want to break up with me?"
Kurt shrugs and look away. "That's possibly what I'm saying."
Blaine clenches his hands by his side. "Oh my god, are you kidding me? Jesus, you drive me crazy, Kurt Hummel; do you know that? Absolutely insane. I don't get you or your logic or like, anything that you do ever. You broke up with me because you assumed? It's almost alarming how insane you make me. You just -- God, you -- you drive me crazy," he repeats. "You are crazy."
Kurt narrows his eyes. "Yeah, well you drive me crazy."
He raises an eyebrow. "I drive you crazy?"
"Yes," he says forcefully.
"I drive you crazy," he repeats doubtfully. "I'm totally normal so that makes like, no sense."
"You do," Kurt argues. "I mean, you dress like a cross between Buddy Holly and Artie's grandfather."
Blaine narrows his eyes. "You secretly own a pair of Crocs. Don't deny it; I've seen them."
"You own every season of Vampire Dairies."
"You watch The Real Housewives of like, every trashy town that they film."
"You're spending a Monday morning buying condoms for a roommate."
"You're spending a Monday morning buying frozen chicken with your brother."
Kurt's glares at him. "You're at a Costco with what looks like a Unibomber beard. Ridiculous."
Blaine glares back (but yeah, he really needs to find his razor). "You're at a Costco trying to make me jealous. Also ridiculous."
"So?" he says, arching an eyebrow. "It worked."
"Briefly," Blaine says, rolling his eyes. "Until I saw right through it. You're still so predictable, you know that?"
"Predictable," Kurt echoes. "Look who's talking. You're so easy to read, do you know that?"
"Meaning," he says, "that you're still totally in love with me." Kurt watches him apprehensively like maybe he thinks Blaine would actually deny that which hello, not happening.
"So? You're still totally in love with me, too," he tries.
They don't say anything and seriously, where the hell is Finn? Who gets lost trying to find chicken nuggets?
"Maybe," Kurt replies slowly. And then: "That's pretty pathetic, right?"
Blaine sighs. "Pathetic? It's been almost two years, Kurt. Remember the part about me going on two dates? Sadly, I'm pretty sure one of them was just a straight frat boy looking for a free dinner. Now that's pretty pathetic."
They stare at each other for a few minutes. A woman with a cart heads down the aisle then eyes them suspiciously before changing her mind and reversing her cart. Blaine suddenly realizes that this is the most unromantic reunification ever.
"Here's the thing," he sighs. "I really need to buy these stupid condoms because my roommate's going to be pissed."
"Oh," Kurt says, blinking. "Of course. Right. You should go."
"No, I just mean -- look, I'd really like to have a lengthy conversation wherein I convince you to date me again but --"
"It doesn't really need to be all that lengthy," Kurt interrupts. "I know how my side of the conversation will go --"
"Stop, no, no, don't," Blaine says, gesturing frantically for Kurt to stop. "I'm not doing this in the middle of a bulk food store. While I look like the Unibomber."
"What?" he asks, forehead wrinkled in confusion. "I just mean --"
"Don't," Blaine says. "Don't say anything else. We can't do this here. We need it to be classy. Like at a park. By a fountain. Maybe an art gallery. Or like, a museum."
"A museum," Kurt repeats, raising an eyebrow. "What are you even talking about?"
"You really want to do this here?" Blaine asks, gesturing to the massive jars of pickles to his left and the packages of 100-count adult diapers at the end of the aisle. "This is not a good story, Kurt. I don't want to tell our kids that we got back together at a Costco."
"Ugh," Kurt says, disgusted. "I don't want our kids to even know what a Costco is."
They watch each other, waiting. Blaine makes a conscious decision to not feel awkward about having a conversation with his ex-boyfriend about their future grandkids while surrounded by oversized bottles of ketchup and mustard. He's starting to freak out, though, because he's pretty sure that Kurt's about to become his former ex-boyfriend and Blaine's suddenly remembering that gross, he still hasn't brushed his teeth.
Four hours later, after Kurt's left his cart abandoned in the middle of the aisle and left Finn stranded in the middle of the frozen food section, they're lying mostly naked on Blaine's bed and waking up from the best nap ever. Blaine still looks like shit because he hasn't found his razor yet or god, even brushed his teeth. And Kurt looks fantastic as per usual because hello, he is in Blaine's bed naked, save for the scarf that Blaine somehow managed to miss in their haste to undress. He looks a little weird, just lying there with only his scarf and one sock on, hair sticking out at weird angles, but he's smiling and they're still totally in love and the only single thought Blaine has is, This is the boy I fell in love with when I was seventeen and oh my god, this is best day ever.