Blaine looks up from the only slightly lopsided foam heart when he hears Santana’s low whistle; it usually means either an extremely attractive woman or a particularly hideous haircut has entered the shop, and while he doesn’t have much interest in the former, the latter is always good for entertainment, especially once they leave and Santana lets loose. All he sees is a girl though - short with dark hair and wearing a pretty tragic sweater (is that a sequined tabby cat?) - and she’s cute, sure, but not remotely Santana’s usual type. Santana isn’t turning on the charm, either, so Blaine shrugs it off, focusing instead on the complicated drink the girl starts rattling off after asking for a nonfat mocha, because he’s sure San isn’t even trying to catch all of it and this girl looks like the type to hand her drink back if it isn’t perfect.
“Whoa, Heidi, slow down,” Santana says, and Blaine covers his snort with a cough as he starts on the mocha because yeah, the braids are kind of weird, but they’re not bad enough to warrant the whistle warning. “This isn’t Starbucks, cut the jargon and just tell me what you want.”
“I don’t see what’s so difficult,” Heidi (no, don’t call her Heidi, you’re going to accidentally call her Heidi to her face if you keep thinking it) - the girl - huffs, and when she speaks again it’s slowly, in an exaggeratedly polite voice like she’s talking to a child. “I would like a medium latte with soy milk and an extra shot of espresso. I would like for it to be heated only to 130 degrees so I can drink it quickly without burning my throat. Is that better, or do you need a visual aid?”
“I’ve got a visual aid for you,” Santana grumbles, and Blaine can see her finger extended at her side as she rattles off the total before turning to Blaine and unnecessarily calling out, “double tall nonfat, triple tall soy for...” she looks back at the girl, raising an eyebrow expectantly.
“Rachel. But you didn’t say what kind--”
“Rachel!” Santana calls out, cutting her off. She’s clearly not in the mood to explain the process to the new customer, which is probably best for everyone. The last time she did, railing on how the owner thinks calling out drinks is productive and sounds “neat,” she was talking to a secret shopper and he thought she would get fired. Instead she got a raise. Blaine still tries not to think about it too hard.
“Nonfat mocha and soy latte for Rachel,” Blaine announces, unnecessarily since she’s the only one there and really, the entire counter is maybe 10 feet long, there’s no pretending that he hasn’t heard every word that’s been said since she approached.
“Thank - oh - thank you,” Rachel says, voice turning into what is probably her best attempt at a seductive purr when Blaine looks up and smiles politely. Blaine does not roll his eyes (Santana does), instead nodding and turning to rinse the milk pitcher in the small sink behind him.
He doesn’t mean to stare as she turns toward the door, but he’s trying to figure out if the back of her sweater seriously has a puff ball for the cat’s tail on it. It’s not until she turns left instead of continuing through the door that Blaine sees him, or at least his back - a very nice back and also an excellent arm - as she hands off the mocha.
“Finally catching up, Bambi?” Santana smirks as she leans against the counter next to him. “Capital H Hottie over there.”
“Cat sweater? Really?” Blaine asks, stunned. “Didn’t strike me as your type. And your game needs work; being a bitch isn’t really a productive flirting technique.”
“It is when I do it. But no, dumbass, not your long lost hobbit twin. The guy.”
“Even less your type.”
“Oh my god, are you trying to be this dense or is it just a natural talent?” She grabs his shoulders, turning him until he’s facing her. “For. You. You. Moron.”
“Whatever.” Blaine rolls out of her grip, reaching for a rag to wipe down the already clean counter.
“I’m serious. Get on that.” Santana grabs him again, trying to physically move him toward the lobby, but he shakes her arm off.
“What is your problem?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, god forbid I send you after the hottie that wandered in at the ass crack of 8am. How dare I assist you in getting laid?”
“Getting - San, you don’t know if he’s single. You don’t know if he’s gay.”
“Oh, I know.”
“I don’t even know what he looks li-- oh.”
Because he stands up and turns and Blaine does know what he looks like, now, almost loses his breath with the knowledge. Tall and lean and toned and wearing clothes that look tailored for his body, a short-sleeved black button-down that showcases strong biceps and a broad chest that tapers down to a narrow waist and long, long legs wrapped in tight jeans that make Blaine’s palms itch with the urge to feel the grain of the denim under them. And on top of all of this there’s his face, strong jaw and pink lips, slightly upturned nose and blue eyes that pierce even across the room, all framed by chestnut hair, thick and brushed back and high off his forehead. He’s beautiful. He’s gorgeous. He’s...
Staring directly at Blaine.
It’s only then that Blaine hears Santana’s not at all subtle snickering, realizes he’s been standing halfway behind the counter and, judging by the way he’s suddenly aware of the way his jaw is hanging open, apparently gaping at this boy for god knows how long.
He watches the boy’s (broad, firm) chest expand as he opens his mouth, like he’s going to say something, but then Rachel’s voice interrupts, shrill when she leans back through the door.
“Are you coming?”
Blaine probably imagines the frown the boy shoots at Rachel before he meets Blaine’s eyes again, a small smile turning up the corners of his mouth as he backs through the door and disappears onto the sidewalk.
Blaine finally closes his mouth, rubbing his lips together and swallowing against the dryness as he blinks heavily. He feels like there’s wool in his brain, everything’s muffled and fuzzy and wow his eyes were blue. Well, something better and more interesting than blue; Blaine can’t even describe it. He lets his breath out in a long sigh, turning to head back to the espresso machine as a guy in a suit barrels through the door, talking a mile a minute into the bluetooth hooked over his ear.
“Wanky,” Santana grins, showing far too many teeth as she blocks his attempt to pass, but Blaine just rolls his eyes. That boy was beautiful and he smiled at Blaine and today is already better than yesterday and it’s not even 8:30.
He’s back in the administrative building rearranging his schedule (because his diction professor called him remarkable and suggested he move up a level) when he sees Marcia walking toward her office. He debates it for a moment, weighs her expression (relatively neutral, which is practically a smile from Marcia) against his turn of good luck today, before quickly crossing the lobby.
Blaine isn’t scared of Marcia like everyone else is, because despite her freshman orientation proclamation that she "hates actors, especially the needy baby ones," she seems to like him. Well, as much as she likes anyone. He would say it's his naturally winsome personality, but he thinks it's because he stopped on his way into the first day of orientation to help her gather the armful of brochures she'd dropped before they could blow into the street. And that he's not constantly in her office trying to weasel his way into already full classes. Regardless, when they pass in halls and offices she usually lifts her chin in greeting, which is much more than anyone else gets. He's not entirely sure she knows his name, but she's also never called him Tim. Blaine likes Marcia.
He confirms his continued goodwill when he sidles up to her and is met with only a slight eyeroll.
"Any idea when the list will go up?"
"A week, maybe. Two weeks tops," Marcia says, turning suddenly and nodding to the front door. "It'd be decided if he'd started when I told him to. It's close to done, either way."
"Can you give me a hint?" Blaine asks, widening his eyes in his best pleading expression.
"No. Stop puppy eyeing me and go home," Marcia scowls, but Blaine knows he can see just the faint hint of a smile tugging at her lips. He gives her a short bow, grinning when she narrows her eyes in response, and he's halfway down the sidewalk when she calls out, "Hey, kid!"
"Dance-heavy shows. Auditions before Halloween. Up your cardio."
Blaine blows her a kiss, laughing as she shakes her head and turns back into the building.
He’s got this.
Blaine doesn’t have to work Wednesday morning. But he does have an 8am character dance class, and he’s not sure having the day off is that great if this is the alternative. He works hard, though, answering questions and asking for pointers during breaks.
It isn’t until he stumbles into Jitters and collapses into a chair by the counter that he lets himself dissolve into yawns. Sure, he’s up earlier than this when he has to work, but he doesn’t have to dance at work (He’s tried. Santana gets mad) and he’d taken Marcia’s advice maybe too literally and gone for a jog that had turned into a 7 mile run the night before and his character shoes are new and they hurt and he’s tired.
“Well, it’s a good thing you’ve got connections here then, isn’t it, Whiny the missing 8th dwarf?” Santana says, and Blaine realizes he may have said that last part out loud. He lifts his head from the table when he smells coffee, making grabby hands at the cup Santana holds until she gives it to him with a roll of her eyes.
“Red eye,” she explains when Blaine grimaces a little at the unexpected bitterness of the first gulp. “You look like you need it.”
“You’re the best,” Blaine says around his next sip, managing to dribble a little down his chin.
“And you’re disgusting. Good thing your boyfriend didn’t see you like this.” Blaine sputters this time, coughing harshly as Santana thwacks him on the back once before muttering something about “sweaty” and wiping her hand on her apron.
“B-boyfriend?” Blaine finally asks when he’s stopped coughing.
“Captain Tightpants,” Santana says. “The Legolas to your Frodo.”
“He came back?” Blaine tries not to sound too interested, but clearly fails if the way Santana is looking at him is any indication.
“Yep. Didn’t have the shrill one with him this time. Spent a little while not so subtly sneaking peeks behind the counter and then left with his tail between his legs.” Blaine stops paying attention after that, barely catches Santana’s continued mumbling (“Literally. He was wearing a tail. That is some kinky shit”), because he’s too busy thinking about what this might mean.
He came back. He came back alone and kept looking behind the counter. Maybe he was looking for Blaine.
Maybe he’ll come back tomorrow, too, when Blaine’s actually here. And Blaine will be ready this time, ready to look him in the eye. To talk to him. Maybe more.
Blaine looks up when the familiar bell jingles as the door opens, and there he is. He’s alone, dressed more casually (but still impeccably) today. He’s wearing a white henley with red and blue stripes that hugs every curve and line of his torso, but Blaine can’t blame it; he’d stay close too. His jeans are looser, lighter, and his hair isn’t quite as styled, a few rogue pieces falling forward over his forehead.
His voice is deep, rich and smooth as he orders his nonfat mocha, and he gives his name before Santana can ask for it, though when Blaine looks up the boy - no, man - is looking directly at him.
The name isn’t what Blaine was expecting; it’s dark, almost. Mysterious. But it fits his sophistication, the unaffected ease with which he moves through the coffee shop, and probably his entire life.
Blaine meets his gaze evenly, gesturing him toward the end of the counter with an easy tilt of his head. “It’s on me,” he says to Santana, though his eyes never leave Drake’s. They break contact only when the machine obscures their view but then he’s back, now right in front of Blaine and leaning on the counter in a way that makes his arms flex, visible even through the clingy fabric of his shirt.
“You know my name now; it hardly seems fair that I don’t know yours.”
“All in good time,” Blaine murmurs, keeping his eyes on the milk and letting the rhythmic ripple of the surface slow his pulse because he can feel Drake’s eyes on him, can feel his own spine vibrate with the man’s voice. Everything around them fades out when he finally looks up, the room dark except for Drake’s face, the angles of his collarbone where it peeks out of his shirt, his hands where they grip the countertop. Blaine assembles the drink on instinct, refusing or maybe unable to look away.
He passes the cup over, watching the broad smile spread across Drake’s face as he spots the name and phone number scribbled across the side.
“Have a nice day,” Blaine says, winking when their eyes meet again. Drake’s eyes lower and then slowly, slowly rake back up his body, his stare so intense Blaine can feel it like hands, wishes it was his hands instead of just his eyes.
“Oh, I will,” Drake purrs (he’s much better at it than Rachel), his eyes making one last circuit over Blaine’s face, down to where the counter obscures him from the waist down. “Very, very nice.” He turns to leave, and Blaine’s eyes travel over broad shoulders, down his back to--
Blaine sputters as the wet rag hits him in the face. He pulls it away to see Santana staring incredulously at him from behind the cash register.
“Jesus, Anderson. If you could maybe not have an orgasm when I have a line full of customers all side-eyeing the shit out of you, I would really appreciate it.”
“I - I wasn’t -” Blaine starts, then pauses. He’s breathing heavily, his hand is still clenched on the edge of the table and, though a surreptitious glance confirms it’s not visible, he’s definitely half-hard in his sweatpants, and wow, that is really not something that needs to happen in public. He doesn’t even remember hearing anyone come in, though the mess of cups and milk jugs on the counter points to a mid-morning rush. How long was he daydreaming?
“Whatever, just keep it in your pants. Actually,” Santana smiles, though it’s more a baring of teeth than an actual sign of joy or happiness. “Please don’t. I’ve been trying to get a look at the goods for months but accidentally walking in on you changing in the bathroom has yet to produce anything. Just keep it out of the lobby.”
“Fuck off, San,” Blaine mumbles as he pulls himself up, muscles already tightening from sitting too still for too long after dancing. When she wolf whistles as he heads for the door he flips her off without looking back, then wiggles his butt just to hear her laugh before the door closes behind him.
Blaine looks up when the familiar bell jingles as the door opens, and there he is. He isn’t dressed casually though; if anything he’s even more formal than before, a gunmetal button-down with a black waistcoat and pinstripe pants with a slight sheen. His hair is as coiffed as ever, clearly sprayed into place yet somehow still looking so soft (How does he do that? Blaine’s hair has two options: gelled within an inch of its life or Medusa). He sets his bag at the table by the window, on top of the chair that Blaine is already beginning to think of his even though he’s seen him sit there once. He’s just turning to approach the counter when Heidi - Rachel - storms through the door in a flurry of what appears to be sheet music.
“No, no, I’ve got it,” she says loudly, and from the corner of his eye, Blaine sees Drake walk back to the table, leaning on the back of his chair and looking skeptically at Rachel and her pile of papers. “I owe you for helping me.” Drake shrugs and Blaine scowls at the counter as Rachel approaches Santana at the register. She’s ruining his ‘meet cute.’
“Tall nonfat mocha please,” a lilting voice says, and Blaine’s head jerks up because that’s not Rachel’s voice and he didn’t hear anyone else come in, so...
He meets blue eyes over the display of chocolate covered espresso beans, and he can already tell he’s gaping again, but despite every signal he can get his brain to form, nothing remotely resembling close your mouth, idiot seems to be able to get through when this boy is around. His voice is so much higher than Blaine imagined, but of course it suits him perfectly, unique and unexpected and bright like the bells over the door.
“And whatever tea you like best for that one,” he calls down the counter to Blaine, tipping his head back and to the side to indicate Rachel. “Decaf, please, for all of our sake.” Blaine barks out a laugh, a short, weird, oh god that was so weird sound that’s more reminiscent of his aunt’s cat hacking something up than anything like laughter, but the boy’s face when he’d asked for decaf, he’s funny, and San must think so too because she’s laughing behind her hand but - oh. No. No, she’s definitely laughing at Blaine because he’s being so, so weird right now oh god why didn’t they ever install that trap door they’d joked about last month he just wants to fall through the floor.
“Double tall for Kurt,” Santana calls, and Blaine balks when she knows his name without having to ask for it, because she never told him and this is important information (She must have gotten his name on Blaine’s day off; he very resolutely does not think of what else she may have asked him). He spent an entire day thinking it was Drake, for god’s sake, that’s like something out of a bad soap opera.
Kurt. He likes how it sounds in his head, wonders how it would feel to say it out loud. Kurt is so much better than Drake. Kurt is...
Staring at him again from his new perch right in front of Blaine’s station. That seems to keep happening. There’s an insistent pressure against his right hip, and Blaine looks down to see Santana jabbing him with the Sharpie they use to mark cups during a rush; he briefly wonders if he said anything from his daydream out loud yesterday morning, or maybe if she can read his mind (he wouldn’t be surprised) because he’s been thinking about that moment, the moment where Drake - Kurt - sees his phone number on the cup and smiles.
He swats Santana’s hand away, letting the Sharpie fall to the floor as he pours the milk for Kurt’s mocha. He keeps the cup out of view because he made great progress on his latte art this morning and it seems like a waste not to use it. Santana snorts when she sees him finish off the (perfectly symmetrical, thank you) heart on the top of the mocha and he quickly pops a lid into place, jiggling the cup a little to obscure the evidence before he sets it down, just in case Kurt takes the lid off immediately.
Blaine slides the coffee and tea across the counter, opens his mouth to say something, anything, but nothing comes out, so he smiles instead.
“Thanks...” Kurt trails off, and this is where Blaine is supposed to tell Kurt his name, maybe ask if Kurt’s interested in going halfsies on a last name, but it’s like the closer Kurt gets the more striking he is and Blaine doesn’t remember how words work anymore. He smiles again and nods, and he can practically hear Santana roll her eyes when Kurt just keeps looking at him.
“Blaine,” she supplies, smiling at Kurt but stepping on Blaine’s foot. Hard.
“Blaine,” Kurt nods, taking a sip and closing his eyes. “Thanks, Blaine,” he says again, softly, when his eyes open. Blaine almost chokes out “You’re welcome” before Kurt gets back to his table. Almost.
Everything continues this way for the next week and the week after. That’s all Blaine can say about life; it continues.
His A&D professor still calls him Tim. Or Braveheart. He’s not sure which one is more annoying, because Braveheart is more of a dig but at least it’s a joke and not just a refusal to recognize him as NOT TIM. There have been no more incidents in stage combat but it’s still not as awesome as he was hoping. The rest of his classes are exactly as he expected them to be, just continuations of last year’s intro courses.
The production list still isn’t posted; he knows this because he has been not so casually hanging out in Marcia’s office often enough that he’s pretty sure the rest of the administrative staff thinks he has some kind of crush on her. She shoots down his attempts to ferret out more information but she still shakes her head fondly when she shoos him away from her desk so he keeps coming back, usually with coffee.
One day soon he will wear her down and then he will know all of the innermost secrets of Tisch and it will lead to his inevitable conquering of the program. Maybe his coronation as its prince.
Kurt still comes in every morning Blaine is working, sometimes with Rachel but often alone. He’s always perfectly coiffed and pressed, sleek shirts and slim pants and structured vests and jackets. He sits at the same table, facing the window when Rachel is there but otherwise on the side, so he has a clear view of both the lobby and the window and Blaine has a clear view of his rather regal profile. He writes usually, maybe draws - Blaine can’t quite see the pages of the notebook but sometimes his hand moves in broad sweeps that don’t seem apt to produce words - when he’s alone, pausing to look out at the sidewalk traffic or around the lobby or, occasionally, behind the counter, right at Blaine.
Santana still shoves the Sharpie at Blaine and then steps on his foot when he refuses it as Kurt stands on the other side of the counter, glancing curiously between them; he can’t be completely oblivious to Blaine and Santana’s silent standoff because neither of them are very silent. It’s more like a grunting and scoffing standoff. Blaine starts wearing his hiking boots to work because whatever these mystery musicals are, he won’t even get through the dancing portion of the auditions if all his metatarsals are broken.
Kurt seems to have taken over ordering the drinks, even when Rachel is there and clearly paying (Blaine sees her hand off money more than once). Blaine’s pretty sure it’s because Rachel is scared of Santana, but Kurt doesn’t seem phased. He orders efficiently and in proper Jitters lingo, throwing in a apologetic grimace on the days Rachel wants something especially complicated.
Blaine considers talking to him; he gets close more than once but always backs off, instead pouring a heart in the foam on top of Kurt’s mocha and sliding it, carefully jostled and lidded, across the counter with a smile.
It’s not like Kurt tries to get him to talk though, doesn’t ask him anything that requires an answer. He just takes a sip like he did that first time, offering a smile and a quiet “Thanks, Blaine” before he retreats to his table.
By the end of the second week of term Kurt starts coming by earlier, staying longer, his eyes more intent on his surroundings. He’s been drawing, not writing, in that notebook, Blaine confirms when he starts also toting a large leather portfolio with him. Kurt orders a quad shot one morning and starts drawing immediately, and Blaine wonders what he’s drawing, what has him so deeply interested in everyone around him and, lately, especially today, the little art gallery across the street - the only thing really visible through his patch of window.
He has to spend the morning in the kitchen prepping a catering order, but he can just see Kurt from where he stands organizing a tray of muffins, watching as Kurt stares out the window, gaze so intensely focused, like he’s planning something.
There’s an exhibit opening next week; it’s causing buzz all around the Village, this little independent art gallery snagging such a high profile showing, but the artist is eccentric, notorious for shying away from larger galleries.
It’s no surprise that the mysterious boy showed up right after the announcement, seamlessly integrating himself into the neighborhood. He’s known for that, as much as he’s known for anything; sticking out just enough to blend in, always turning heads but never arousing suspicion. No one knows his last name. No one knows his secret.
Blaine’s a little disappointed that it took him so long to figure out. He’s not the most observant person, sure, but now that he knows, all of the pieces slide into place and it’s so obvious. Kurt there every morning, insistent on his view of the building and always with the sketchbook. Another man, taller and a little older, always arriving just as Blaine’s shift finishes and taking the same seat; he’d never paid much attention but...
He wants to kick himself but he at least seems to be a step ahead of Kurt, which is both surprising and unsettling. He has to do something.
“Your muffin, sir,” Blaine says as he exits the kitchen and heads directly for Kurt’s table, voice booming despite the mostly empty shop. He stoops when Kurt looks up, eyes suspicious and confused, whispering a quick, “It’s not safe” before setting the plate down and straightening with an exaggerated brushing of the front of his apron.
Kurt doesn’t eat the muffin, but Blaine doesn’t expect him to. He systematically destroys it with his free hand, eyes constantly darting between the window and his notebook but no longer to where Blaine stands, watching.
Kurt brushes his hands off and tips the muffin shrapnel into the trash can before approaching.
“Thanks, Blaine,” Kurt says, like always, but his voice isn’t as soft as usual and there’s a new intensity in his gaze as he slides the plate across the counter.
By the time Blaine sees the address and time written on the bottom of the plate, Kurt’s already gone.
He expected a rundown building, something the police and squatters alike had given up on a long time ago. But this place is nice; there’s no elevator, which actually makes sense because elevators usually come with security cameras and Kurt likes to be seen but definitely not remembered.
Blaine’s sweating by the time he makes it to the roof; he’s in good shape but it’s September in Manhattan and he just walked up 14 floors.
The door to the roof is propped when he reaches the top of the final flight of stairs, and though it creaks when he pushes it open, Kurt doesn’t react, or even move. He’s standing at the edge of the roof, arms spread and braced on the low ledge as he stares out at the skyline
“Who sent you?”
“Um, you?” Blaine says, and he feels so out of place. Kurt radiates confidence and surety just standing there. Blaine’s eyes can’t stop tracing the planes of his body, the elegant curve of his spine, and he feels awkward in comparison; his specially chosen polo and bowtie suddenly seem so childish.
Kurt laughs lightly, and he finally turns. He slowly closes the distance between them as he continues speaking and Blaine feels the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Some part of him, at least, knows he should be afraid; knows what Kurt is capable of. But just like in the coffee shop, he can’t seem to tear his eyes away from Kurt’s until they’re standing toe to toe.
“Who planted you in the coffee shop?” Kurt’s tone is still light but there’s an undercurrent, something that tells Blaine the time for playing dumb is over.
Blaine wonders how to tell Kurt he’s not playing, and if Kurt will believe him.
“I...the owner’s name is Mark?” Blaine offers weakly. “I started working there at the end of last term for the summer and...No one planted - I go to--”
“NYU,” Kurt finishes, voice brisk and businesslike like he’s reading a report. “Blaine Anderson. Sophomore.”
The coffee shop is close to NYU; it’s a pretty easy guess. And Santana probably called him by his last name--
“Originally from Westerville, Ohio, where you were the lead singer of the Dalton Academy Warblers.”
“How do you know--”
“I know a lot about you, Blaine,” Kurt shrugs before leaning in a little, which Blaine wouldn’t have thought was possible when they were already standing so close. “The question is, how do you know about me?”
“I don’t - I just - I just figured it out,” Blaine stammers. Kurt’s eyebrow quirks and it isn’t a friendly look but Blaine doesn’t think he’s about to be tossed off the roof just yet, so he continues. “I watch you a lot,” he starts, can feel the color flooding his cheeks. “The way you’re always drawing and how interested you are in that gallery and how,” he swallows. “Graceful you are. Agile. And, and strong.” Wow, it’s hot up here. He tugs at his bowtie, twitching when Kurt’s hand covers his and pulls it away before straightening the fabric himself.
“But you have to be careful. There’s another guy. A cop, maybe, I can’t quite tell. Always shows up after you leave, sits at the same table you do. I think he’s on to you.”
“A - a cop?” Kurt asks, and his voice is flat now, but there’s a bit of a grin turning up the corner of his mouth. “Which makes me...”
“A thief. You’re - The Shadow, aren’t you?”
“You think I’m The Shadow and you’re helping me?” Kurt takes a step back. “Are you stupid or actually insane?”
“Stupid?” Blaine answers, because it sounds like the better option. “But if you’re not, then...”
“I’m the good guy. I’m - Well, my actual title has about 15 words in it,” he preens. “But we’ll just go with spy, that’s close enough.”
“Like James Bond.”
“Yes,” Kurt sighs in a way that tells Blaine he’s heard this many, many times before. “Like James Bond.”
“I’m guessing that means you aren’t going to throw me off the roof.” Kurt shakes his head, that grin pulling at his lips again. “So how can I help?”
“No way,” Kurt says immediately. “This guy - The actual Shadow, you got that part right - is a pro. And he has a temper. You’re not getting involved.”
“Come on,” Blaine smiles, covering the distance Kurt has put between them until they’re face to face again and reaching out to unnecessarily straighten Kurt’s collar. “I can be useful. I figured you out.”
“You thought I was a criminal.”
“I wasn’t that far off.”
“That’s true. Alright,” Kurt starts, letting his head loll back for a moment and leaving Blaine helpless to do anything but stare at the long, pale column of his throat. Kurt must catch him staring because his indulgent, amused grin is more of a smirk when he continues.
“The exhibit opens tomorrow night. Three questions: Do you own a tux to go with that bowtie,” he reaches out and straightens the bowtie again, his fingers just barely brushing Blaine’s neck and making him swallow heavily. “Can you throw a punch, and what the hell are you doing to that muffin?”
“Yes, yes, and - wait, what?”
“I said, what the hell are you doing to that poor, defenseless muffin?” Santana snaps, shoving Blaine out of the way with a bump of her hip and quickly arranging the remaining muffins before covering them in cellophane. “This order was due out 10 minutes ago and when I came back to see what the holdup was you were standing there with your glazed over psycho-eyes, pulverizing that muffin.”
Blaine looks down at his hands, which are sure enough covered in crumbs and stained with smashed blueberries. He shakes his hands over the trash can to get rid of the worst of the mess before wiping them hastily on his apron.
“I’m so sorry San, I just got distracted,” Blaine says, stealing a glance out into the lobby even as he stoops to help Santana load the last tray.
“Pretty sure you’re still distracted. Boy Wonder left a few minutes ago. Yet again without your phone number, I’m sure.”
“It’s pathetic, Blaine, is what it is. Go cover the register, I’m going to run this over and listen to them bitch about it being late. It’s fine,” she continues at his stricken look, her voice softening. “I need some air and a cigar anyway. Just. Don’t drift off into la la land and let the place burn down.”
Santana is considerably less annoyed when she gets back, and Blaine catches her grin when she sees the tiny origami swan he left on the register. He also lets her keep all of the tips from their morning, partially in penance but mostly because he’s been thinking, and he needs a favor.
He tries to be casual about it, waits to bring it up until they’re ready to hand over the reins to the afternoon shift like it’s something that just popped into his head.
“Hey, Santana? Do we have any of the black polos laying around?”
Judging by Santana’s narrowed eyes, he fails.
“No way, Anderson,” she laughs as she looks up from counting down the register. “I have picked up many a fine lady wearing this monstrosity and you can suffer the same setback.”
“That’s not why I asked,” Blaine huffs, glaring down at the bright orange polo. He looked it up once and the color name is “Electric Carrot.” No one has a chance at looking suave wearing Electric Carrot. “I just want some variety.”
“Uh huh. Doesn’t matter anyway, even if I felt like helping you there’s nothing but a sea of orange back there. Besides, you’re one of those jerks that looks disgustingly good in every godawful color there is, so don’t sweat it. I’m sure he still thinks you’re dreamy.”
Blaine rolls his eyes as he shoulders his bag and heads for the door, but Santana’s voice stops him before he reaches it.
“If you’re that worried, just walk around ass-first and there’s no way he’ll notice the color of your shirt!”