Fic summary: An unlikely friendship forms. Dave learns to love himself, Blaine learns to trust love, and Kurt learns that love is both simpler and a lot more complicated than he expected. AU from 3.05 with canon elements.
Chapter summary: ~2,750 words.
Chapter notes: This is the last chapter. Thanks to judearaya, nachochang, gingerandfair, and anxiousquirrel for the hours and hours of betaing and cheerleading. I could not have done it without you. And to likearumchocolatesouffle, who gave me the kernel that grew into this story. And to those of you who left encouraging comments on the way.
The journey is not completely over. There are deleted scenes to follow, and one-shots I am entertaining, and I welcome prompts in this ‘verse.
Note: Chapters on AO3 are numbered differently due to factors beyond my control.
Chapter 31: Defying Gravity
“What are we going to do next year?” Blaine says out of the blue one late July evening at the river. The three of them are lying on their backs on Kurt’s picnic blanket, hands linked, watching the sky for shooting stars.
Dave has watched for the Perseid meteor shower every summer since before he moved away from Arizona. Back then he’d camp out in the backyard of his great aunt, the aeronautical engineer, and she’d wake him up before dawn to see the Perseids at their heaviest. They wished on each one they spotted; they both knew it was silly superstition, but it was fun to dream, anyway.
The boys haven’t seen a shooting star yet tonight. Dave doesn’t mind though. The Perseids never get really good until August; he mostly suggested coming to the river because it’s a beautiful clear night and he likes being out here with Kurt and Blaine.
“What do you mean?” Dave says, even though he knows what Blaine means. It’s just that Dave would rather pretend he doesn’t. He likes where they are right now; the future will come whether they plan for it or not. He’ll go to college and the magic of the summer will fade. He doubts it will be an easy adjustment, but he’s survived worse things. The things he knows now will make this transition less hard to bear: he has two friends who love him for who he is, not who they want him to be; they will keep loving him and he’ll keep loving them, even if the form of the love changes; and (perhaps most important of all) he’s worth being loved.
Kurt, who’s been uncharacteristically quiet most of the evening, pipes in. “Do you think you’ll date people when you get to college?”
Dave’s heart clenches. “You mean, people other than you?”
“Well, yeah. Of course that’s what I mean.”
Dave turns his face on the blanket to look at Kurt. Kurt doesn’t look back. He keeps staring at the sky, face expressionless. His hand starts to grow clammy in Dave’s. “I don’t know,” Dave says. “Do you think I should?”
Kurt swallows hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing against the night shadows. “Probably,” he says. It’s almost inaudible.
“Do you want me to?”
Kurt withdraws his hands from Dave and Blaine, folding his arms tight across his chest. He closes his eyes. “I’m not sure how that’s relevant.”
Dave watches Blaine turn on his side toward them. His eyes manage to still look so warm in the steely blues and grays of Dave’s night vision. Blaine lifts a hand and lays it gently on Kurt’s shoulder.
But Dave doesn’t dare touch. All he can manage is a sad, pleading, “Kurt.”
Kurt blinks his eyes open and glares at the stars. “No. I don’t want you to. But I should probably learn … how to be okay with it.” Finally, he glances toward Dave, holding his eyes for a brief second before looking away again. “You’ll want a boyfriend of your own one day,” he whispers to the sky.
“And I don’t already have one?” Dave says.
“You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. But I’m in love with you, Kurt.”
Kurt inhales sharply. Maybe it was the wrong thing to say, but it’s true.
Or maybe it wasn’t the wrong thing at all, Dave thinks, as Kurt unfolds his arms and reaches again for Dave’s hand. “That doesn’t mean you won’t find someone else you care about, too.”
“Maybe,” Dave says. “But I don’t know that I want to go looking right now.”
Blaine sits up, leaning on on hand and looking down at both of them. “I want to say something.”
They both look at him.
“I want to tell you what I want,” he says.
Blaine shifts a little on the blanket, tugs nervously at the collar of his polo shirt. “I love you both a lot, and that’s not going to change. And I want both of you to be happy. I don’t want you guys to make choices out of fear. I’ve made a lot of stupid choices out of fear in my lifetime, and it never works out too well.” He buttons the top of his shirt placket, which has been open all night until now. “I love you both like crazy, and if I know you guys like I think I do – I think you guys love each other like crazy, and I don’t think we should run away from that just because we’ve never done this before. There’s a lot of things we’ve never done before. This is just – this is just another chance to learn.”
Dave looks at Kurt, who’s blinking back tears. “I just –” Kurt shrugs. “I worry, sometimes.”
“About what?” Blaine says.
“About everything?” Kurt half-smiles through his sniffles.
Dave laughs. “Me, too.”
Kurt laughs, then, and Blaine, too, and the three of them fall on each other, kissing each other’s cheeks and foreheads, whispering words of reassurance – things that are provably true, and things that could become reality if they stick with this. By the time they untangle, they’re huddled on the blanket, all three linked with each of the others by their hands.
“Mostly,” Kurt says, “I worry that I won’t be enough for both of you when I’m in New York. We’ll already be far apart, and I worry that you guys will start to resent each other for the time I spend with each of you.”
Blaine kisses his forehead. “Oh, honey.”
“Kurt,” Dave says. “It’s been a long time since I resented anything about what you have with Blaine.”
Kurt hesitates. “How long?”
“Since before we were friends.” He swallows. “And when I did resent him, I think it was mostly because you guys were both out, and because having someone to love was more important to both of you than blending in.” He looks back and forth between them. “So … with the long-distance thing … yeah, stuff might come up, and feelings might get hurt sometimes. But I’m not going to resent the way you love each other.” He looks at Kurt. “I care about Blaine as much as I care about you. It makes me happy when he’s happy.”
Whatever Dave’s expecting, it’s not for Kurt to glom onto his lips with a fervor he usually reserves for the bedroom. Dave can hear Blaine giggling delightedly beside them.
“What was that for?” Dave says when Kurt pulls away. “Not that I mind, but –”
“I just –” Kurt starts, then shrugs, smiling broadly. “I’m glad that a love for Blaine is something we have in common.” Kurt pulls Blaine close and smacks a wet kiss on his cheek. “Everyone should love you, sweetheart.”
Dave’s heart feels so warm and expansive. He wonders momentarily if love is like the universe, capable of growing infinitely beyond what it was before.
“You know, Kurt,” Blaine says. “You keep talking about this being imbalanced, but the way I look at it, Dave and I have each other, too. His school’s a lot closer than New York and –” he looks at Dave now. “I’m working on having closer friends at McKinley, too, but they can’t replace you. I still want to stay a part of your life. I want to call you and text you and visit you and go to your games and I want – I want to keep being your friend.”
Dave’s experienced heartbreak before, but it’s always been the heartbreak of sadness and devastation. Right now, his heart is breaking from joy. “Of course,” Dave says. “I … I want that, too.”
Blaine turns to Kurt, who’s wiping the tears from his cheeks with the back of his wrist. “Wait. That’s okay, isn’t it, Kurt?”
“Of course it is, you dorks. I love you guys so much. It’s ridiculous.” Kurt kisses Blaine softly, looks deep into his eyes. “I love you, Blaine Anderson.”
Blaine’s eyes glimmer through the dark. “I love you, Kurt Hummel.”
And then Kurt turns to Dave. His eyes are so focused, so full of affection that Dave feels naked in front of him. Kurt clasps both his hands around Dave’s. “And I love you, David Karofsky.”
Dave sees Blaine out of the corner of his eye, beaming and pressing his hands together like he’s getting ready to clap. “But Kurt –” Dave starts to protest.
Kurt lays an index finger on Dave’s lips, shakes his head. “I love you. And I want you to be happy. That’s why – that’s why I brought it up. You dating other people, I mean.”
Pressure builds behind Dave’s eyes. “Kurt, how long have you known me?”
Kurt looks up the sky for a long time, as if it’s a calendar and he can read his past on its pages. “I think we met during freshman orientation at McKinley. So almost four years?”
“And have you ever seen me happier than I am now?”
“I haven’t,” says Blaine, leaning his head against Kurt’s shoulder.
Kurt gives a slight smile. “Well, no. Me neither.”
“That’s right. I’m happy.” Dave looks into each of their faces. “This is all I need right now.”
Kurt gives Dave’s hand a small squeeze. “OK,” he says, clearly trying to keep his smile from getting bigger than it already is. “But if it changes for you ... I want you to have everything that would make you happy, even if it’s not my first choice.”
“Kurt –” Dave says, and he’s certain of it now: that love is an ever-expanding thing, just like the universe.
“So,” Blaine whispers into the night. “Are you guys gonna kiss now? Because Kurt finally told you he loves you like two minutes ago and the tension is kind of killing me.”
The three of them fall back onto the blanket laughing. Kurt and Dave kiss, and all three of them whisper “I love you” over and again.
* * *
They finally spot a single shooting star later that night. It lasts no longer than a blink, but each of them see it streaking through the atmosphere, tracing its line of white fire through the black sky.
They each make a private wish, not telling the others what they’ve wished for.
They all wish for the same thing.
* * *
For the past month, Dave and Blaine have been taking the model airplane to an athletic field at the edge of town. Dave learned how to fly radio-controlled planes when he earned his aviation badge in Boy Scouts, and despite the years that had passed, he managed not to crash it on its maiden voyage.
Kurt has today off work, and the three of them are sitting on the loveseat in Blaine’s gazebo after their post-sex shower. It’s an unseasonably beautiful day: warm but not hot or humid, the sky clear and just enough of a breeze to give life to the air.
“Kurt,” Dave says, looking up from the book of Erik Satie piano compositions he’s been browsing.
“Yeah?” Kurt rubs his bare foot lazily against Dave’s, not looking up from his copy of House Beautiful.
“You’ve never gone flying with us.”
Kurt looks up. “No.”
“Would you like to? Today’s good weather for it, if both of you are up for it.”
On the other side of Kurt, Blaine suppresses a hopeful smile. He doesn’t have to suppress it for long.
Kurt’s lips stretch into a coy smile. “Are you going to teach me how to fly?”
Dave can’t help but bat his eyelashes. “If you’d like.”
“I’d like that very much, David,” Kurt says.
Blaine jumps up from the loveseat and does a little dance.
* * *
They go to a public park on the edge of town and set up at the baseball diamond. Despite the weather, hardly anyone’s around. Occasionally a couple of midday joggers run by; other than that, they have the place to themselves.
Dave does the takeoff. The plane climbs into the air with a noisy, high-pitched buzz that fades to a quiet drone as it pitches past the treetops. It rises and rises until it’s as high as some of the buildings Kurt will see in Manhattan.
Dave banks and circles it with the grace of a hawk. Kurt never thought of airplanes as beautiful, but he does now.
Dave hands the controls to Blaine, who chews his lips nervously as he moves the plane through the air. His control is a little less steady but there is still something Blaine-like about the movements, full of joy and pizzazz. He does a half barrel roll before panicking and flattening out to an unadornished flight pattern. “Awesome job!” Dave says encouragingly.
Blaine smiles bashfully, not taking his eyes off the plane above them. “I got the full roll last time,” he says to Kurt. “I guess I just have performance anxiety today.”
It’s adorable and makes Kurt want to pin him to the ground of the baseball field and kiss him senseless, but given that Blaine’s holding the airplane’s controls at the moment, that’s probably not a good idea.
Blaine turns the plane in a slow circle above the circumference of the field. “You want a turn, Kurt?”
Kurt shakes his head vehemently. “I couldn’t. I’d crash it.”
“Dave’s a good teacher,” Blaine responds in a tantalizing singsong.
“That doesn’t mean I’m a good student.”
Dave intervenes. “It’s okay if you crash it. That’s what glue and invisible tape are for.”
Kurt raises his eyebrow. “You sure?”
“Well,” Kurt says. “I always have felt a certain kindredness with Elphaba. I suppose it’s time I learned to fly.”
Dave scrunches his lovely long eyebrows into as compact a space as Kurt’s ever seen them. “Who’s Elphaba?”
“The Wicked Witch of the West, dear.”
Dave blushes like a ripe peach.
Once Kurt agrees to be shown how to fly the airplane, it’s a matter of deciding how to do it. They finally decide on the easiest method: Dave standing behind him, his arms wrapped around Kurt’s body, his hands over the back of Kurt’s, nudging them in the direction they need to go to direct the airplane’s flight.
“Are you sure?” Kurt says before Blaine hands the controls off. “It won’t bother you if someone sees us standing like this?”
“No,” says Dave, nuzzling his nose against the back of Kurt’s scalp. “Not unless it will bother you.”
Kurt pictures the entire glee club appearing from the copse of trees at the edge of the field and realizes, with startling clarity, that he wouldn’t give a flying fuck if they saw him here with Dave or what conclusions their minds jumped to. “No,” says Kurt. “It won’t bother me at all.”
Being given the controls, on the other hand, sends Kurt into a panic. “Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod,” he mumbles under his breath.
“It’s okay.” Dave nudges Kurt’s hands with an easy finesse that keeps the plane in the air, albeit shakily. “You’re doing great. Don’t forget to breathe.”
Kurt lets the air out of his body and starts anew with a clean lungful. He suddenly feels much more relaxed and in control. Maybe it’s Dave’s body around him, or maybe it’s how close Blaine is standing next to them, or the reassuring way that Blaine has his hand on the small of Dave’s back (Kurt’s not sure how he feels this last thing, but he does).
Dave starts calmly explaining what the controls do, how the right stick controls the horizontal movement of the plane, how the left stick controls its movements up and down. They fly it together over the field in long, lazy circles; dive it down toward the trees and then up toward the sun.
“We’re defying gravity,” Kurt says, his voice full of awe.
“Well, technically –” Dave starts.
Blaine butts his head against Dave’s shoulder. “Are you about to ruin the romance with physics, Dave?”
“No.” Dave smiles against Kurt’s scalp. “I was just going to add to it.”
“Yeah,” Dave says. “We’re not defying gravity. We’re just using it in a way that people used to think was impossible. You don’t think that’s kind of romantic?”
“Actually,” Blaine murmurs, “it is.”
As they circle the plane once more over the field, Dave loosens his hold on Kurt’s hands to give him more control over the plane’s movement. Kurt climbs it a tad higher toward the sky.
“In fact,” Kurt says, “It sounds a lot like our lives.”