anonymous prompted: Ooooh! Do you think you could maybe do like another army!Blaine since it your other one was so good, but like not in the same ‘verse? Blaine getting back and not telling Kurt and surprising him in a college lecture. Outsider reactions (or POV, actually) would be lovely *u*
Louis Decker isn’t sure if he could tell you anything he learned in Stats 101. Besides being unfairly confusing and a complete waste of his time—the class he’d actually needed for his major had been full, so he’d had to get a filler class that he didn’t care about instead—most of Louis’s time in the lecture hall has been spent paying more attention to the guy sitting next to him.
For the first few weeks in January, they don’t really talk. They’d chosen their seats the very first day, and, like the creatures of habit that humans are, have stayed in them every class period since. By the tail-end of the month Louis learns that the guy’s name is Kurt Hummel (looking discreetly at his papers) and that he’s a Vocal Performance major (he’d actually talked to Kurt one day for that).
He learns as January stretches into the early days of February that they’ve both come from small towns in the Midwest, they both like the same movies, and that Kurt has a boyfriend he hasn’t seen in over eight months. Louis doesn’t ask why, but he finally finds out when he sits down at his seat one day and sees Kurt hunched over a piece of paper, pen moving fluidly line after line.
He says nothing, just sits back and gets his notebook out. He sneaks glances at Kurt, sees the determined line between his brows, the determined way he keeps writing, endless words flowing out onto the paper, black and bleeding and cramped. He watches Kurt drop his pen, flex his fingers, and pick it back up again.
Two minutes before class is set to begin, Louis finally caves.
“What’s that?” he asks, as casually as he can without seeing too nosy.
Kurt looks up, cocking his head. He looks back down, like he’d forgotten he was writing, and Louis watches a slow rose blush spread out over Kurt’s cheeks. Kurt ducks his head, his lips twitching into a smile, and says, “I’m writing to Blaine. My boyfriend.”
“The one you haven’t seen in eight months?” Louis asks. He knows it’s a stupid question, but it’s better than just saying oh, okay. He hasn’t heard much about Kurt’s boyfriend, and he’s curious.
Kurt rolls his eyes. “Of course the one I haven’t seen in eight months.”
Louis grins, an easy smile, and is happy when Kurt grins back. He nods towards the paper, asks, “So why the snail mail? Can’t you just call him?”
Something appears in the lines of Kurt’s forehead, then, despair and fright and something else Louis can’t really place. Kurt fiddles with a corner of the paper, crinkling it up before flattening it back down. He hopes he hasn’t overstepped, and he’ll gladly take none of your business for an answer if Kurt doesn’t want to talk about it.
The silence stretches on, intermingled with the sounds of zippers and binders and murmured whispers from the other people in the classroom. Louis opens his mouth to rescind, to apologize, and before he can speak Kurt does. “He’s in the army.”
Louis’s eyes widen, and his heart clenches in sympathy. “Oh, that’s rough, man. I’m so sorry.”
Kurt shrugs, runs a hand through his hair, something Louis has never seen him do. “He has a bit of a God complex,” Kurt replies, looking at the empty podium in the front of the room. His voice holds nothing but fondness, though, devoid of bitterness or anger like Louis had expected. “He likes to think that he’s doing some good in the world. And I mean—I am proud of him. I just wish that he could have done some good closer to home.”
Louis nods. “I know what you mean. Well, not quite, because I’ve never known anyone in the army, but, well…you get what I mean, right?” He rubs the back of his neck nervously, wishing that he knew when to shut the hell up.
To his relief Kurt laughs, rolling his eyes. “I think somewhere in that mass of incoherency was something I could agree with.”
Valentine’s Day goes by, and Louis notices how despondent Kurt seems in class, chin on his hand and eyes flat. He mechanically writes down everything their professor talks about, doesn’t say much to Louis or anyone else around them.
On the days when Kurt receives letters, or had just Skyped with Blaine the night before, there’s a noticeable change in his demeanor. Louis wonders if it’s just the distance, missing someone so familiar and so close to you, or if it’s something else.
The only way Louis can think to describe the way Kurt talks about Blaine is the way his grandpa had always talked about his grandmother. When Louis was sixteen his grandmother had died just a few days shy of her and his grandpa’s sixtieth wedding anniversary, and before then he had never noticed just how lovingly his grandpa had talked about his grandmother.
It’s the same way Kurt talks about Blaine, pride and love joy all in one.
“I’d better be meeting this boyfriend when he comes home,” Louis says one day in March at the end of the class.
Kurt looks at him, gathering up his books and stuffing them into his bag. He slings it over his shoulder, says, “Do you really want to meet him?”
Louis nudges Kurt’s shoulder with his own. “Of course, dude. We’re, like, class buddies.”
Kurt rolls his eyes, smiling and shaking his head as he walks away. Louis takes that as a yes.
In April, he’s surprised to sit down one day at his desk and see that Kurt’s eyes are red-rimmed, bags hanging heavy and dark against the splotched-red pale of his skin. Louis’s eyes widen in surprise, and he tentatively touches Kurt’s shoulder when he sits down. “What’s wrong?”
Kurt shakes his head, wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his cardigan. Louis has never seen it before, and it doesn’t seem like Kurt’s taste: it’s two-toned, green-and-black, and Kurt huddles in it, hunching in on himself. “It’s nothing.”
“’Nothing’ seems to have changed meanings since I was in English 101, then.”
Kurt laughs, a shaky wisp of a noise. “Fine. I just haven’t talked to Blaine in a few weeks and I’m…really scared.”
“Oh.” Louis cautiously rubs Kurt’s shoulder, unsure if that’s okay or not, but Kurt leans into the touch, and Louis says, carefully picking his words, “Well, the war front is hectic, right? Maybe things are just busy right now and Blaine’s too busy saving puppies and little kids.”
Kurt snorts. “You’re ridiculous.”
“But I did get you to smile.”
Kurt huffs, looking at Louis as his lips twitch further upward. “You’re right.”
The professor walks in as Louis puffs out his chest. “Of course. I always am.”
With May comes finals, and Louis is almost a hundred percent certain that he’s going to majorly bomb this class. He stares at the review sheet he’s handed two weeks before the final with a mixture of apprehension, horror, and absolute, utter certainty that he hasn’t learned a single thing all year.
Kurt, an unusual couple minutes late, carefully slides in behind him, grabbing the sheet off his desk and looking at it. He groans, setting it back down. “I don’t think I learned anything in this class.”
“Welcome to my world,” Louis replies sadly. “At least I didn’t need this class.”
Their professor, a portly, elderly man, steps up behind the podium. The bright light of the projector shines on him. He squints out into the classroom, a cheery smile on his face. “Good morning, class! Before we start our final chapter of the semester, I’d like to present a very special guest that’s just come a very long way to get here.”
Louis’s eyebrows furrow, and he shares a confused glance with Kurt. Stats 101 isn’t exactly the class for guest speakers, and their professor hasn’t ever mentioned bringing one in before. A rippled murmur like waves runs through the room, the hushed hiss of whispers.
The door to the right at the front of the classroom creaks open, and a man in army fatigues steps in and closes it behind him. He looks out into the classroom, and it doesn’t dawn on Louis until Kurt stiffens next to him, hands flying up to cover his mouth as he gasps, “Blaine?”
Before Louis can react Kurt is scrambling up, nearly tripping over his chair as he rushes down the aisle. His voice is choked, watery, as he says, throwing himself into the man’s arms and squealing when he’s spun around, “Blaine, oh my god, baby, you’re home. You’re home and you didn’t tell me and—”
Kurt is cut off when Blaine kisses him, hands on either side of Kurt’s face. Louis feels his throat clench up, and several of the girls around them all let out the same aww. When Kurt and Blaine break apart Louis can see the wide grin on Kurt’s face, see the shine of tears on both their cheeks. Blaine’s cap is knocked askew, showing shorn dark hair and a wide, warm smile. His hand comes up, thumb caressing Kurt’s cheek, and Kurt covers his hand with his own.
“I missed you so much,” Louis can barely hear Blaine murmur. It’s soft and secretive, just for Kurt, and he feels insanely like a voyeur when Kurt whispers it back, letting out a choked, happy sob.
“I was afraid you’d never come home.”
“And what, miss the chance to see your beautiful face again?”
Kurt’s hand curves around Blaine’s cheek. “My hero. My brave, brave hero.”
“I love you so much.”
“I love you, too, B.”
And there’s that pride and joy and love—and something more, something eternal. Something that, sixty years from now, will be as strong as ever.