"I don’t think we’re supposed to be here," Blaine whispers urgently. But, of course, Blaine knows that they’re not supposed to be here. There’s just a part of him that hopes repeating it, again and again, will actually make Kurt listen to him. So far, it isn’t working.
"Shh," Kurt hushes him, peering out through the holes of the electrical socket. It’s dark—of course it’s dark, it’s only ever dark—and very, very quiet. It’s the time of night when their families and friends go borrowing, when they should be borrowing, but they aren’t. They aren’t, because Kurt had seen the flash of something (bright, happy, magical, unlike anything Kurt had ever seen, or so he’d told Blaine), and sometimes Blaine wonders if Kurt is far too curious for his own good.
Then again, Blaine is certainly far too smitten for his own good—there’s nothing making him tag along with Kurt other than innocent, unfiltered adoration. Blaine goes where Kurt goes, it’s as simple as that.
Even if Kurt does want to wander out into a part of the house that they don’t go to. It’s too open, with no good hiding places, and, as Mr. Hummel puts it, nothing that needs borrowing. And if there’s nothing they need, they have no business being there.
And yet Kurt is pushing on the plastic covering until the bottom comes loose, swinging it open like a door and slipping through. Blaine sighs, defeatedly, and is thankful that the Beans don’t have a cat.
Blaine slides down the wall no-doubt less gracefully than Kurt had, landing with an oomph in a tangle of limbs along the baseboards. He groans, rubbing at his knees and dusting off the seat of his pants as he stands up and looks around.
"Kurt?" He hisses into the silence—where did he go?
"Blaine!" Kurt calls quietly, his voice pitched with excitement, and Blaine can see his arm beckoning him around the corner of an armchair enthusiastically. Blaine glances around, feeling uneasy leaving the wall and the safety of all the hiding places, but he braces himself, rolling his shoulders and then jogging after Kurt.
"What did you…" Blaine trails off, coming shoulder to shoulder with Kurt and staring. Blaine knows what a tree is, and that is most certainly a tree, but it’s inside. It’s growing up out of a jumble of squares—bricks, or boxes—and towering high, high above anything else in the room, higher even than a Bean if a Bean was there.
It’s dark, like it always is when they go out to borrow, but the tree is alive with light—tiny, pinpricks of light, like sunshine cutting through leaves or floorboards, but coming from the tree.
"What do you think those are?" Blaine asks, already taking a step forward, mesmerized by the sight.
"Fireflies," Kurt says back, and Blaine doesn’t know how he didn’t think of that. They do look like the fireflies that Blaine has sometimes seen in the summer from a distance, blinking, floating lights in the darkness. But it’s winter now, and rain and snow keep them from going outside too often—Blaine never would have thought of it, but of course Kurt did. Kurt always knows these sorts of things.
It isn’t even just the lights, but… Everything. The tree is covered in brightly colored orbs, winking light at them and hanging from the tree branches like they grew there. Fruit grows on trees, doesn’t it? It’s the strangest fruit that Blaine has ever seen.
"Wh—" But Blaine stops as he looks to his side, because Kurt is no longer there. He’s running eagerly towards the tree, nearly to the first brightly colored box. "Kurt!" Blaine calls, looking around uneasily again, but there’s no Beans—the house, as always, is silent. Blaine curses underneath his breath and then runs after Kurt, just reaching him as Kurt clambers onto a sparkling, striped square. He bounces on it, and then nods, turning and holding out a hand for Blaine to take.
He does—he always does.
"What are we doing?" He asks quietly, and Kurt reaches out to brush his fingers against the thick needles of the tree. They shudder, and Kurt watches as the closest piece of fruit bobs up and down.
"Isn’t this amazing?" Kurt asks, wonder coloring his voice. He leans forward and pokes the fruit, eyes opening wide, and then he reaches back, blindly, to grab Blaine’s hand and bring it forward. The box beneath them crackles when they move on it, but Blaine is distracted as his palm spreads against the fruit—no, it can’t be fruit. The surface is cool, and smooth, and Kurt flicks his nail against it and it echoes.
"It’s metal," Blaine deduces, amazed, and Kurt’s grin is practically manic with excitement. "Metal fruit on a tree that grows inside. Beans are so strange." He taps against it, and the cling cling cling noise that sounds makes him smile.
He hadn’t even noticed Kurt moved, still fascinated by the magenta ball, and when he turns he finds that Kurt has scrambled up a few more levels of boxes and is pulling silver leaves from the tree. Blaine just watches for a moment, at the way the lights play off the silver and bounce on Kurt’s joy-filled face. He grins, and then hurries after.
"Strange leaves," Kurt whispers, pulling at the material—it makes a taught noise, like the sound tape does when it’s tugged from each end too quickly. Kurt wraps it around himself, looping it around his neck like a scarf, and Blaine can’t help but reach forward and adjust it.
"Perfect," he says, and Kurt looks up at him from under his eyelashes. It isn’t often that Blaine gets to see Kurt this way; he’s normally so composed, aware of all the eyes and ears around. But there’s no one now except for the two of them, and Kurt’s face and eyes are constantly lit with delight—it’s the sort of look that curls warm around Blaine’s heart and makes him fall more in love.
He tugs at the ends of Kurt’s new scarf—twang—until Kurt is stumbling forward and laughing, giggling straight into the kiss that’s waiting for him.
They’re both giggling then, giddy on all of the beautiful newness around them, and Kurt pulls back and takes Blaine’s hands in his.
"Do you think we can climb it?"
Blaine reaches out and pulls on one of the branches—a little flimsy, and certainly not enough to hold their weight. But, there’s nothing a borrower can’t figure out how to climb, and Blaine is certainly up to the challenge.
"Let’s find out."
Kurt grins, and Blaine moves closer to the branches, tugging Kurt along and pressing down on the branches. They get thicker and closer together, the further towards the center they move, and the strange metal leaves and fruit disappear altogether. Even the lights are behind them now, but when Blaine looks up, he can see them, winking in the darkness like stars that are close enough for him to touch.
"Wow," he breathes, and can feel Kurt’s warmth at his back, his cheek suddenly against Blaine’s shoulder as he stares up as well.
"Beans may be strange," Kurt muses, his hand curling over Blaine’s hip. "But they certainly know how to make beautiful things."
Blaine hums in acknowledgement, staring for a few more moments before continuing his search. He let’s out a pleased exclamation, stepping away from Kurt just enough that he can heave himself up onto a branch. It doesn’t feel safe, the branch dipping underneath his weight, but they’re close enough together that he can reach above him and grab another branch.
"Kurt," Blaine says, looking down at him. "Think you can get throw your line up? I’d feel better climbing if I knew we had a safety net." Or, safety rope, as it were. "You’re a better shot than I am."
Kurt smiles, flattered, and then pulls out his line-and-hook. His face furrows in concentration, and then he’s tossing it up—tiny needle leaves rain down from the branches, they break away so easily, and Blaine watches as it hooks high above their heads. Kurt gives it a pull, and, satisfied, secures it around his waist.
He climbs up beside Blaine, smiling demurely at him, and then tying the rope to Blaine, as well.
"Now you’re stuck with me," Kurt teases, tugging on the rope, and Blaine dodges in to kiss Kurt’s flushed cheek.
"You say that like it’s a bad thing."
Kurt shoves lightly at his shoulder, glancing away, and Blaine just continues to smile, eyes soft.
"Come on." Blaine drops his voice low. "I want to get you one of the stars."
"They’re fireflies," Kurt insists, watching as Blaine lifts himself up another branch.
"Maybe." He reaches down to help Kurt up, pulling him close as the tree shudders beneath them. "But from here, they look like stars to me."