“And this is my station, aka where the magic happens.”
Kurt rolls his eyes and erases a few lines of the sketch he’s been working on; a bit of a twist on the classic heart.
“Here’s where you’ll be, make yourself at home. Oh, and that’s Kurt. He’s prickly as hell but unfortunately he’s also crazy talented so we deal.”
Kurt’s pencil scratches over the thin paper, adding shadow and detail, not even looking up to say, “Don’t you have a tribal armband or butterfly tramp stamp to work on, Puckerman?”
Puck scoffs but walks away, and Kurt catches a gesture in his direction seeming to indicate a see what I mean? message to whoever is still standing rather annoyingly just at the edge of Kurt’s vision.
“Hello,” Kurt says with a bit of a put-upon sigh. He’d really been hoping to finish up and head home for the night before someone inevitably came in just as they tried to close wanting a complicated back piece or taking an hour to decide on a flash design.
“Hey, I’m Blaine.”
Kurt gives the guy a once over, he’s kind of small, but pleasantly so, with both arms covered in ink, a few piercings. He’s got a nice face, too, sort of classically handsome. Really he’d be pretty hot if wasn’t for the too-tight t-shirt and ratty jeans and that asinine beanie covering his hair. Not worth Kurt’s time, really. These guys never are.
He focuses back on his drawing, hears Blaine mutter okay then, to himself before he moves away to start arranging his stuff; pulling out supplies and organizing them on the workstation. Kurt is almost finished, just the last few details that he’s probably over-thinking, like usual, when he feels Blaine watching him, turned in his stool to face Kurt’s station.
“Can I help you?”
Blaine tilts his head back and forth. “Maybe.” Kurt sets his pencil down and fixes Blaine with a glare. He is really not in the mood. But Blaine holds his hands up and glances over at Puck who is engrossed in something on the computer; paperwork, Kurt hopes, but mostly likely solitaire.
“I just thought we could get to know each other a little. I mean, we will be working together for a few months.” Blaine says.
Kurt packs his pencils away, tapes the stencil up to the wall above his workstation so it’s ready to go for his first client tomorrow, and starts gathering his things to leave.
“Oh come on. I’m not so bad. Nice, even.”
“I just like to keep to myself. It’s nothing personal.” Kurt stands, watches Blaine subtly gaze down his body and finds himself swallowing thickly at the implication. “I know how you are, your type. Breeze into town like you own the place, cocky and vain and selfish. No offense.”
Blaine barks a laugh, head thrown back to reveal the line of his throat, and Kurt has to swallow again. “Wow, none taken.” He leans back, picks up his tattoo gun and buzzes it a few times in the air. “I like you, Kurt. You’re very…honest.”
Kurt shrugs, feels a smile tug his lips despite himself. “I do try.”
Blaine presses his gun again, bzzz, bzzzz. He looks at Kurt’s body more deliberately, catching Kurt’s eye and actually winking, and wow he’s even worse than Kurt thought.
“Let me ink you,” he says.
“What? No way. I haven’t even seen your portfolio. You probably suck. Puck hired you, after all.”
Puck protests loudly from the front of the shop, but Blaine just smirks and hums to himself. “Oh, I see. You’re one of those.”
Kurt knows he shouldn’t take the bait, he knows, but he can’t help it and asks, “One of what?”
“Tattoo artist who’s afraid of getting any work done on themselves,” Blaine replies mildly, turning his stool away and pushing off with his feet to skid over to the table in front of his station.
“You’re insane.” Kurt gestures to the art along his left arm, an entire sleeve covering it, Puck’s handiwork, it took forever and some days still doesn’t feel finished.
“Come on, just a little one. It won’t hurt. Much.”
Kurt takes a slow, cleansing breath through his nose. He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. He can have as much or as little ink as he wants, it doesn’t mean a thing. He moved to the New York with nothing but a suitcase and his little pack of tattooing supplies. He had no job lined up, knew no one, and in a year has become one of the most in-demand artists in the city.
He has nothing to prove. He also has no idea why Blaine is getting under his skin like this. “Fine.”
Blaine grins triumphantly and gestures to the table before turning away to get set up. Kurt stretches out on his back, hands folded over his stomach and legs crossed at the ankle. He’s beginning to realize that Blaine is not the insane one here. He waits as Blaine draws something up, snaps on gloves and turns back with alcohol wipes to sanitize Kurt’s skin.
Blaine pauses then takes a moment to lean over, Kurt’s breath catching when Blaine looks at him with wide, sincere eyes and says, “Trust me, okay?” Then pushes Kurt’s shirt up to his neck and presses the stencil to the center of his chest.
Kurt nods, but all he can think about now is the way Blaine’s hands feel on his body, solid and warm and steady. How lovely Blaine’s eyes are. He doesn’t even realize Blaine had started until the first drag of the needle presses sharp to his skin.
Blaine sings quietly as he works. Of course he does. Kurt would find it obnoxiously cheerful, only Blaine has a nice voice. It’s very soothing, actually. Kurt closes his eyes and lets the endorphins from the pain cloud his mind.
“I have a confession to make.”
Kurt forces his eyes open as Blaine turns away to dip the needle into more black ink, swivels around again and etches it into Kurt’s skin.
“Hmmm?” He manages.
“I’ve been following your career for a while now. It’s why I took the temporary position here. You’re really good, Kurt.”
“I know,” Kurt says. Blaine laughs and shakes his head, hand moving in increments across Kurt’s chest. “I mean, thank you.” Kurt says, chagrined. “I’m sure you’re very talented as well.”
“A compliment, wow. I’m honored.” Blaine pulls his lip ring into his mouth, tongue licking out to smooth over and around, and Kurt seems to be completely unable to stop staring. “You better hope I am, anyway.”
Kurt looks away to blink at the ceiling, a brief moment of panic overtaking him. What if Blaine is horrible? What if he has to get some huge and gaudy cover-up done after this? What if Blaine is marking him with the Japanese symbols for tacky and boring?
But then Blaine is setting down the gun, snapping off his gloves and scooting away. He cleans off Kurt’s skin with a damp towel and grins, “Alright, moment of truth.”
Kurt stands up, swaying and woozy for a moment before Blaine settles a hand low on his hip, then walks over to the full length mirror in the back while holding his shirt up high. Blaine bounces along behind him, his anticipation almost palpable. Kurt stops, squeezes his eyes closes, takes a breath.
“Oh,” He says, on the exhale. His hand flutters up to touch the reddened skin just under the tattoo, smiling and overwhelmed. “It’s so beautiful.”
Puck was right to hire Blaine, he’s amazing. The detailing is exquisite, particularly for a smaller piece, lines thin but clean, shading impeccable. He catches Blaine’s eye in the mirror, hand still pressed to his chest under the little black bird flying free from a gilded cage. It’s perfect.
He doesn’t understand how Blaine could have read him so well, they don’t even know each other. Kurt’s pretty sure he’s about to rectify that situation, however.
“Thank you,” Kurt says, raw honesty cracking his voice.
Blaine smiles, moves in close behind him to press his fingertips just below Kurt’s fingers and over his thundering heart to whisper in Kurt’s ear, “Take these broken wings and learn to fly.”
Kurt turns and walks away on wobbly legs to tape a bandage over the fresh ink. He tries for nonchalance as he asks, “Do you want to get out of here?”
As he follows Blaine out of the shop, glaring at Puck’s wolf-whistle as they leave together, he has only one thought.
Well, two. One: he can’t can’t wait to rip that stupid beanie off Blaine’s head, and two:
You were only waiting for this moment to arrive.
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