misqueue: Blaine smiling at Kurt on stage after apologizing in 3x05 "The First Time" (glee - kurt/blaine - shared smile)
misqueue ([personal profile] misqueue) wrote2014-10-13 12:25 pm

[Fic] Don't Bend, Don't Break

Kurt/Adam, Kurt/Blaine | T | Drama | Set between 4x18 & 4x19, the morning after “No Need to Be Without” | warnings for Adam pressuring Kurt to have sex & the break up of a non-serious relationship | klaineadvent Prompt #15 overture | Title from Seal’s “Love’s Divine” | Kurt wants so much more than nice. (In which Adam is nice guy, but it may come with scare quotes after all.) | ~3,600 words

A grateful shout-out to the-multicorn for so patiently helping me fix up this story. <3 Any remaining flaws are not due to her diligence.

An extra note: This story isn’t super friendly to Adam, and I have been sitting on it for a while, nervous of committing myself to this version of his character, because honestly? I both enjoy and prefer the fic interpretations of Adam as wiser, kinder, sweeter, and more generous. I actually feel pretty protective of them! But, in this ‘verse, I wanted to try a different take on Adam, exploring some of the reservations I had about his character in canon. So, this is a less shiny Adam, but, I hope, still a plausible one.

And an extra warning: The story is, by design, rather uncomfortable. So if you’re worried about being triggered by it, I’m happy to address any questions or concerns.



Early Spring 2013


The hollow clang of someone knocking on the loft door wakes Kurt. His head feels like someone's injected expanding foam insulation into his skull, and his eyelids feel glued shut. With a groan, he pulls his duvet over his head. Rachel will be up; she can deal with it. Then there's the muffled rumble-clank of the door and the low murmur of voices. He tucks his face into Bruce's shoulder and folds his spare pillow over his ear with his arm.

He's determinedly slipping down the deep, dark drift into unconsciousness again when a touch rouses him. His heart's in his throat before he's able to check himself. Someone pulls his pillow away. "Kurt?" It's Rachel. She doesn't sound anxious, more tentative. Not bad news, then. Kurt peeks out from under his duvet, blinking blearily at her as she comes into focus.

"What?" he rasps. "Who is it?"

"Adam's here," she says softly. Her lips are pulled askew into an apologetic grimace. "I told him you had a late night, but he said he wanted to see you."

"Oh god," Kurt mumbles into Bruce's chest. "He didn't call," he says. His phone's been on since the shooting Monday, as he’d promised Blaine it would be. Even after their conversation last night, he’s kept it on in case Blaine's needed to talk more, so Kurt wouldn't have missed a call or a text from Adam. "He didn't call," Kurt says again as if that can undo the fact Adam is standing in his living room and Kurt is in no way ready to see him.

"I think he was hoping to surprise you," Rachel says. "He has flowers."

"Flowers?" Kurt sighs; he'll have to get up. "Can you keep him company for a little while? I need to shower and get dressed."

Kurt pulls on his robe and finger combs his hair, but it's still an awkward trip across the loft to the bathroom so he can shower. Adam's brought him daisies that seem far too cheerful given the past week—as is Adam's smile, which Kurt does his best to return. (And isn't it too soon for daisies between them, anyway?) But Adam keeps smiling so very kindly, and Kurt had said they'd catch up on the weekend. Adam thought it might be nice to take him out to brunch this morning.

"Thank you," Kurt says of the flowers and to the brunch offer, but he also says, "I wished you'd called first. I'm not at my best."

"I don't mind," says Adam, as if that makes it all right. Kurt still minds though. It's not the most auspicious start to an impromptu date, but Adam keeps smiling, more indulgently now, as if Kurt's discomfort is the most endearing thing about him.

#

"Everything all right?" Adam asks him as they walk to the subway. The morning is sunny but an uncomfortable chill remains in the shadows of the buildings.

Kurt stops himself from a derisive snort or eye roll—and he really needs to get a handle on his bad mood, because Adam didn't come for the purpose of intruding or irritating. He came to cheer up his... Kurt can't bring himself to even think the word boyfriend. He likes Adam, but what they have doesn't feel remotely like boyfriend. "I was up late," Kurt says. "My Dad was on Fox news to talk about the new gun legislation he's proposing in the House, and—" Kurt slides a look at Adam, who's listening intently but who Kurt also knows tends to be disinterested in the minutiae of American politics. "It wasn't a great interview," Kurt finishes sourly.

"That's too bad," Adam says. "Honestly, I'll never understand your American obsession with guns."

"Not mine," Kurt says, resenting the generalization, but he forces himself to smile and aims for some levity: "Given that we had to violently overthrow your imperialistic tyranny, don't pretend like it isn't at least partially your fault." He bumps his shoulder against Adam's.

Adam laughs, Kurt relaxes, and they take the train to the restaurant.

#

Brunch is nice, except for the mangled fly corpse he finds lurking in his freshly squeezed orange juice. Kurt's head clears after several bitter refills of his bottomless coffee along with a plate of fried eggs, syrup drenched pancakes, and crispy bacon. His stomach settles, and his background sense of irritation smooths into enjoyment of the food, the warmth of the sunbeams reaching in the front window of the diner to angle across his shoulders, and Adam's company.

Adam doesn't ask anything more about the terrible events of the week. He seems receptive enough to it, leaves openings in the conversation (which is largely focused on catching Kurt up on the latest NYADA and Apples gossip) for Kurt to fill, but Kurt doesn't want to, and he appreciates that Adam isn't pushing him to talk. That's nice, too.

After their table is cleared and they've both contributed cash to paying the bill (Kurt has to insist that Adam not pay for him), Adam holds Kurt's coat for him to slip into. Somehow it strikes Kurt as more patronizing than polite, but he accepts Adam's attention. He's not sure why he so often resists it at first.

"So I was thinking," Adam says. "My place isn't far from here and my flatmates are gone for the day. My mum sent a care package with my Blackadder box set, a couple packets of custard creams, and a tin of her ginger biscuits." He runs his palm down the lapel of Kurt's coat and gives Kurt a cajoling head tilt and hopeful smile. "Would you like to come over? Share them with me?"

It's tempting, but Kurt's first impulse is to decline. Last night—the sleepy and overly emotional blur that it is—intrudes. Not the interview from the television, but the later phone conversation with Blaine. Going to Adam's apartment with the understanding that Adam is still wanting their relationship to grow into a full-fledged romance when Kurt's even more unsure of what he wants here— Is he being dishonest? Even if it's true that he'll never feel about Adam the way he does about Blaine. Is that a reason to decline? Blaine and Adam are different people, and he's only known Adam a matter of months. Years he's shared with Blaine, and a plan for all the years to come. It was never not going to be different.

And so, maybe love is irrevocably different every time. Maybe he needs to give this thing with Adam a real chance. Maybe falling in love as an adult is a different process. Maybe he can choose it? Maybe he can't. But how is he supposed to know if he doesn't try? And Adam's friendship alone is valuable. Even if they never fall in love, he wants this connection, wants to find how he belongs in this city, in this life he’s building, with new friends and community. He's been so preoccupied with Blaine, he hasn't really been present with Adam, who—Kurt is determined—isn't a rebound. Adam is Adam: sweet, handsome, funny—and he has biscuits and Britcoms.

In his silence, Adam speaks again, "Look, I won't be offended if you fall asleep on the sofa. My flat's sunny and quiet. I just thought you could use a break from your own four walls."

Kurt shakes off his ambivalence and nods. "Yeah, yeah, you're right. That sounds really nice."

"Fantastic!" Adam says, and he offers Kurt his bent elbow to take.

#

"So would you like the grand tour?" Adam asks as he unlocks his apartment door. Five flights of stairs have Kurt's legs feeling leaden, and his full stomach has absconded with all the blood that might benefit his brain.

"Okay," Kurt says, and shrugs off his coat. He's warm from exertion, but his face is still cold from the wind.

Inside, Adam's apartment is cramped, full of mismatched furniture. A couch and loveseat are squeezed into a tiny living area, draped in colorful crocheted throws and assorted accent cushions. A card table with three seventies-vintage chairs straddles the carpet and linoleum divide between the compact living room and the even tinier kitchen. But it smells clean and it's bright and warm. Framed classic film posters hang on an exposed brick wall.

"So, as you can see, this is the grand foyer, parlor, conservatory, kitchen, dining room, ball room, and study all in one. You have to appreciate the efficiency of the design." Adam says, gesturing grandly. "To find an apartment with all of these features."

Kurt laughs.

"And here's the coat check," Adam says, taking Kurt's coat and hanging from a hook on the back of the door. "Because we're very fancy here."

"Do I get a claim ticket?" Kurt asks.

"Yes, you do," Adam says with a grin. He leans in to kiss Kurt briefly on the lips; his lips are smooth and cool. "Just return that when it's time to go."

"All right then," Kurt whispers, and Adam steps back.

"Let me show you the rest."

The rest is nothing more than the blue-tiled bathroom and Adam's bedroom. His roommates' bedroom door is closed. At the door of Adam's room, Kurt hesitates to enter, but Adam beckons to him. Kurt steps in and Adam reaches for his hand.

"You know, we could always have a nap together if you're tired?" Adam says, inclining his head toward the bed. It's made neatly, two pillows, two shams, and a soft looking quilt. A fluffy fleece blanket is folded in a loose rectangle at the foot of it. Kurt's gaze slips to the nightstand, imagines there's a box of condoms in its top drawer.

"Hmm?" Adam prompts him, and he touches Kurt, pushes a hand into Kurt's hair, messing up the morning's efforts, and he kisses Kurt. Not chaste like the kiss at the door but warm and opening, seeking entrance to Kurt's mouth. It feels nice, the warmth of Adam's open mouth, Adam's fingertips massaging his scalp, Adam's lips moving against his. Adam's other hand comes to rest at Kurt's waist and his thumb strokes Kurt's belly. Even through the layers of clothing Kurt wears, it feels terribly intimate. Adam is warm and he smells good. A trace of vanilla always clings to him, makes him smell like he's been baking. It's cozy.

But Kurt's pretty sure that 'have a nap together' is a proposition for making out on the bed, most likely with the hope of it leading to sex.

When he's able, Kurt replies, "Not right now, I really want to watch some Blackadder and try your Mom's cookies."

"Sure," Adam says, smiling, but Kurt catches the shadow of disappointment in his eyes.

#

On the loveseat together, they watch Blackadder. Kurt's not focusing well on the story, and the comedy isn't catching him the way he likes it to. Beside him Adam is close, one arm wrapped around Kurt's shoulder, loosely holding Kurt against him. Which should be comforting and comfortable, but the flicker in Adam's gaze in the bedroom has made it hard for Kurt to relax into the notion of sharing the afternoon in an easy friendly manner. He knows Adam wants more than friendly, has been working them toward more, and today it seems like whatever hope Adam has is not for some hypothetical scenario yet to come, but for now.

"You're tense," Adam observes, and he shifts behind Kurt to get a hold on Kurt's shoulders, starts massaging his neck and shoulder with gentle pressure. It feels nice, but Kurt cannot relax. Is this foreplay? Or can he give himself over to Adam's hands and trust that he won't be asked for something more? Is the worry all in his head, ridiculous anxiety or guilt over his own behavior and doubts? Adam's been so sweet to him.

"It's been a long week," Kurt says, and he wills the tension from his body.

"I know, sweetheart, but it's over now. Your friends are okay, you're here with me. You can relax." The last is punctuated with a kiss to the side of his neck, just below his ear. It lands right in the spot that makes his spine feel like warm jelly.

But before Kurt can rally himself enough to find a way to politely ask Adam not to call him sweetheart, Kurt's phone bleeps with a text—like some kind of intercession from the universe to save him from this increasingly awkward situation. Kurt excuses himself. He sits up and pulls away from Adam, reaches into his pocket and slips out his phone.

It's from Blaine. Before he taps the text to read it, Kurt takes a deep breath and stands up. "I'll need to reply to this," Kurt says.

Adam's hand is still on his back. "That text is from Blaine," he says neutrally.

"Yes," Kurt says. "He's had a long week too. Excuse me."

#

Kurt steps into the bathroom; it seems the most private space.

"Are we OK this morning?" reads Blaine's text.

Kurt bites his lip against the pang in his chest. "Yes," he types. "Always."

"I'm glad," comes Blaine reply. "May I call you?"

"Not a good time," Kurt replies. "Out with a friend. I'll call you when I get home?"

"OK," Blaine writes. "Going to a movie this afternoon with S & T, can you call after dinner?"

"Yes. Hi to Sam and Tina. Have fun!" Kurt chews his lip and tries to think of more to say to Blaine, in case Blaine's still needing reassurance. But he can't think of anything, and he's here to spend time with Adam. He can't stay in the bathroom texting his ex.

#

"Everything all right?" Adam asks him from the kitchen as Kurt returns to the living room, pocketing his phone.

"Yeah, I think so," Kurt says. "We were up late talking last night..." Kurt trails off at the heat crawling up his neck. It makes him feel like he’s confessing a misdeed to Adam. But the time he takes for Blaine isn’t wrong, and it’s not a betrayal of Adam to still be intimate with Blaine, even if their relationship isn’t easily bound by the phrase ‘just friends’. Blaine will always be something more to Kurt. "Um, about the shooting," Kurt explains. "He just wanted to talk some more today. I’ll call him back later."

"Oh," Adam says, getting a plate and two mugs from the cupboard. "It's nice that you can still be there for him. He's very lucky." There's no sarcasm in Adam's tone, but Kurt still finds himself bristling at the words. It makes it sound like Kurt's caring for Blaine is something more than Blaine deserves. From an open tin, Adam places some cookies on the plate.

"It's not about me being nice," Kurt says. He catches the buttery sweet scent of the cookies, the hint of ginger and spice. "He's still my best friend."

"Like I said, he's lucky," Adam says, not unkindly. He flashes Kurt a smile and unwraps a pair of teabags from their paper envelopes and puts one in each mug, and then he pours hot water from an electric kettle into them. "Will you come back to the lounge and join me?"

"Yeah," Kurt says. Somehow it feels like they avoided an argument, but he's not sure about what exactly. Adam's never been jealous of Blaine before.

But before Adam presses play on the DVD, he turns to Kurt, and he asks, "How long have we been dating?"

"Um," Kurt says. Maybe he hasn't dodged a difficult conversation after all. "Are we counting the first coffee we had together in January?"

"Let's count it."

"Almost four months," Kurt says. "But it's been casual for most of it, right?"

"And what is it now, Kurt, if it's not still casual?"

"Adam, you know I like you, but I'm just not—"

"You're not ready, I know, you always say that." Adam’s smile is too fixed for Kurt to wholly believe it. "But it's true that you slept with Blaine when you went home, isn’t it?"

"That was—"

"Look, Kurt, I'm completely sympathetic to the attraction of an ex, and I know you and Blaine had a serious relationship. But have you considered that maybe I need you too, and it's not making you happy being caught between us. I want more than this with you, you know that. I want more of you. I've been very patient. You told me you wanted to be over him, but you don't seem to be trying very hard."

"You have been...very patient, and I'm grateful. And... I have been trying," Kurt says. "I don't honestly know what more I can give you right now. Your friendship matters too much to me for me to want to risk rushing into something I'm not ready for."

Adam considers him for a long pause. "You know what I think?" Adam asks, and he doesn't wait for Kurt to answer before he continues. "I think you are ready, but you're right, you’re scared."

"I didn't say I was scared," Kurt says, "And what happened to you being okay taking things slowly? I'm not ready for serious or exclusive—or sex."

"Four months has been slow enough, don't you agree? I didn't say we had to be exclusive, but I would like this to be more than a friendship with a romantic facade."

"That’s—" Kurt frowns in confusion and starts over. "Adam, I'm..." Kurt draws a shaky breath and makes himself be as clear as he possibly can be. He closes his eyes and speaks softly. "Adam, I'm not in love with you," he says, and though he feels profoundly sad speaking the words, Kurt won't apologize for them.

"Okay," Adam says slowly; and Kurt opens his eyes to find Adam is still smiling, unfazed by Kurt's confession. "But I think that's because you're still keeping me at a distance. If you want to give us a real chance, Kurt, then we need to share more than television shows and NYADA gossip with each other. Frankly, I don't understand why you're so scared of having sex with me."

"I'm not scared," Kurt says.

"You don't need to be," Adam says. "If you'd let me take you to bed, then you'd see how good we can be together. I'll make you feel good, Kurt." Adam laughs and continues, "And what better way to recover from the stress of your week than having a good, head-clearing fuck?"

That's enough that Kurt’s cheeks warm. "It's not that I don't appreciate the value of... that. I just don't want to be intimate with someone I'm not in love with," Kurt says. (And there it is, the explicit confirmation for Adam—and for himself—as if either of them needed it: Kurt is still in love with Blaine.)

Adam shakes his head and smiles. "Sometimes I forget how young you are. If you think sex can only be valuable when you're in love? Sometimes it's part of the way we get to know each other and part of the way we fall in love. And sometimes, it's just nice to be close with another person."

"Maybe for you, and maybe for other people," Kurt says. "But that's not how I work." And he knows for sure he wants more than nice. He wants so much more than that: he wants sanctuary and connection—he wants love.

"How do you even know? You have so little experience," Adam says, and there's enough of a hint of condescension, Kurt frowns. "You've slept with one boy, whom you loved desperately, and who betrayed you and broke your heart—"

"Don't even think about trying to tell me how I should feel about any of that."

"I'm not. All I'm saying is that your previous formula clearly didn't work for you. Maybe you should try something else? Try me? Loosen up and let yourself have some fun with me, Kurt. Let's get to know each other better. Sex doesn't have to mean everything every time."

"Adam, " Kurt says, and he stands up. "One thing I'm sure of—and it's something you should understand about me by now if you genuinely care to know me. I'm not too young to know my own mind. I never have been. And I'm going to go."

"Kurt—" Adam stands as well, and he follows Kurt.

Kurt doesn't turn back to face Adam as he takes his coat off the back of the door. "If you want to be my friend, give me a call, but," Kurt has to pause to breathe and swallow the tear flavored lump that rises in his throat. He's not going to let his voice betray his emotion. And he hopes he doesn't regret the words he's about to say. All he knows for sure is that he's so tired, and this isn't how he wants things to be with Adam. "I don't think I can be your boyfriend."

"Kurt," Adam says again, more softly and with sincere sadness. "I won't say I'm not disappointed, but I promise I'll call you."


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