Word count: 3,200+
Summary: Kurt finds the camera on the subway one morning, surprised to see photos of a handsome man holding a white board with words on it. This was a prompt requested by amazinglybelle - who asked for Kurt finding a camera with this on it (but of Blaine, of course!) Check out that post - it's hilarious!
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Kurt pushed his way pass the other New York commuters as he usually did, eyes straight ahead and hands buried deep in his coat pockets. He tapped his foot impatiently when waiting for the train to show up, though it wasn't late and neither was he (it was a nervous habit he picked up when he'd first moved to the city three years ago) and then walked onto the train when it arrived. He was happy to see an empty chair near the door and grabbed it before a middle aged woman got any ideas.
He sighed as he sat down, able to sit and relax for another three stops. Then it was a hectic day at work - though Kurt relished and loved it. Though the fashion world wasn't where Kurt Hummel had imagined himself his senior year of high school, it was where he was now and it was the best decision he had ever made with his life.
Kurt sat up a bit straighter on the seat and in the process, felt his hip bump against something solid. He looked down, surprised to see a sleek black camera sandwiched between his hip and the chair. Kurt looked around, but no one was looking - New Yorkers minded their own business for the most part on subways, of course. He looked to the person beside him, a little old man reading a newspaper. It obviously wasn't his camera.
Kurt picked up the camera and examined it. It was a pretty high end camera, one a photographer of some type would use. Kurt thought for a few moments what to do with it - should he leave it? But it was expensive. Someone could just grab it and sell it or something. He could stop off and turn it into an office here at the subway, maybe. He didn't really have time for that, but in the back of his head Kurt heard his father, telling him to do the right thing and turn in a gold watch he had found at 8 years old in the park.
Kurt continued to turn the camera over in his hand. The train made a stop but Kurt was used to the sudden stop and subtly moved his body with the motion. Curiosity got the better of him as he was deciding what to do with the camera and he found the power button - bracing himself for any type of inappropriate photos he may find.
Instead the first photo on the preview display was one of central park. Kurt clicked the forward arrow button, going to the next photo. It was still in central park, but this one was of an older couple sitting on a bench and holding hands. It was pretty good photography from the looks of it, though it was a copy that hadn't undergone the magic of photoshop yet. Being in the fashion industry, Kurt knew about that quite well.
Interest piqued, Kurt continued to look through the photos. There were a few more of the park, then a few of the street, the shutter slowed down drastically. It appeared to be just before dawn in the photos, up until the sun rose (maybe today?) There were a handful of photos that were focus on people and others were of the New York lifestyle. It was rather interesting, Kurt thought.
Then Kurt clicked the next button, going from a photo of a business man holding a bagel to a man in a completely different location holding a white dry erase board with the word "Hello" on it.
Kurt looked at it for a long moment in surprise. It was a man around his own age, perhaps, with dark hair that was gelled back in a stylish manner. He had a quiet, carefree smile on his face and was staring right at the camera. From what Kurt could see (that wasn't hidden behind the white board) he was wearing a light pink shirt with a black and white bowtie.
Kurt clicked the next button, even more surprised to see the same man, same white board, with a different message:
"You must have found my camera!"
Kurt almost jumped in surprise. He looked up once more, surveying everyone around him. Nothing was out of the ordinary, of course. Why would it be?
He looked back down and hesitantly clicked the next button.
The man's facial expression changed with the white board's writing. "Thank you."
A small smile curved onto Kurt's face. Next button.
An overly exaggerated angry face was on the man's face now and the white board read: "Unless you stole it."
Kurt laughed out loud at that, probably earning a few strange looks. But this was New York City - people had seen worse and crazier on the subway. Kurt continued to look through these pictures, sensing a trend.
"But I'll assume you just found it."
Kurt rolled his eyes and continued, noting again the nice smile on the man's face.
The next expression had his eyes looking off to the side. "I probably left it somewhere really dumb."
You got that right, thought Kurt.
"Like on a train."
Kurt snorted at this photo. Well, he got that right as well. The man was probably always losing things - no wonder he made this safety precaution on his camera.
"Or at the post office."
"Or in my dog."
Kurt laughed again - the man's face looked stupidly dreamy, if that made sense.
The next photo the man was bent over slightly in an exaggerated laugh. His eyes were squinty and his teeth were perfectly straight. "Well, probably not in my dog." Kurt rolled his eyes.
The next photo his eyes were completely closed and he was laughing even more by the looks of it - "I don't even have a dog."
"Oh my god," whispered Kurt under his breath. This man - he was ridiculous.
In the photo after this the white board was completely blank and the man had a straight face, eyes wide, as he looked at the camera.
Kurt went to the next photo, this of the man holding out one arm and looking thankful. "Anyway, thanks for finding it."
"We had such a good time, my camera and I." The man in this photo was looking to the other side of the frame thoughtfully.
"One time we took a photo of me in the bath."
"Seriously?" whispered Kurt, reaching up to cover his mouth. He pushed the next photo and - well, almost dropped it.
This was of a bathroom, the man inside the bathtub (only one bare shoulder was visible, however) and a shower cap and rubber duck in frame. Kurt's eyes widened and he quickly changed it, not wanting to get caught looking at it for too long.
The man's face was scrunched up the board reading: "Sorry. I don't know why I showed you that."
You wanted to kill me, thought Kurt.
"Anyway. Can you email me at Blaine-Anderson so I can get my camera back?"
"I will be relieved to have it back."
The man - Blaine? - had a kind smile on his face as he continued to look at the camera.
"And I will probably hug you out of gratefulness."
The next photo, one hand was out and he had a cautionary expression. "Unless you have personal issues."
Kurt snorted - god, was this guy for real?
"Or you're remembering my bath photo."
Apparently, he was. God, that sort of made Kurt want to hug him more - was that weird?
"In which case I will nod graciously at you from a respectable distance."
"Ok. Go email me now."
The next photo was of the man (Blaine? - it had to be, right?) pointing to one side of the frame. "And I will go and wait by my computer for your email."
Kurt clicked the next button, but came to the beginning of the photos. He tried not to feel too disappointed. He went back to the photo with the email address quickly, then looked around. His stop was soon. He'd probably have to wait and email him at the office. So Kurt carried the camera off the train and decided against going to turn it in - after all, he knew how to contact the owner now.
And if that owner had the cutest smile Kurt had ever seen and he would get to see it in person - well, that was just a new bonus.
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Kurt was pretty much busy from the moment he walked in until just before lunch. He was in the creative design second of the fashion company now - he had started out as a intern almost two years ago now, just after his first year at design school - and had risen pretty quickly through the ladder. He knew if he did his part, he could really go somewhere in a few more years. But for now, he was very content with being able to throw ideas around a room to present to the designing heads and more often than not, help with sewing and construction.
Kurt finished the project he was working on a few minutes before lunch and slipped off to email "Blaine". He explained that he found it on the subway and was amused at his security persuasion. He typed on his iPhone as he was in line for lunch and sent it off quickly.
A few hours later, Kurt check back on a break and noticed he'd gotten a reply from Blaine.
"Oh wow! I'm so glad you found it. I noticed it was gone maybe an hour after I left the train and I thought I'd never see it again. Can we meet up later today and I can get it? There is this coffee place called Coffee+ - you heard of it? - Blaine"
Kurt replied, saying he did know the place (it was just a few blocks away actually) and said he got off work at 4:30 and would be there around 4:45.
An hour later, just after 4:30 Kurt check to see he had gotten a reply as well. Blaine said he would be there and thank you, once again, for finding his camera.
Kurt wasn't sure why he hurried to get to the coffee shop, clutching at the camera protectively as he went. He was just excited - maybe too much - to see the guy on the camera.
When Kurt walked in, he recognized Blaine instantly. He was standing in line, looking down at his phone before slipping it back into his pocket and looking up, surveying the room until his eyes landed on Kurt. Kurt went straight for Blaine and his eyes lit up as his eyes landed on his camera.
"Uh, hi, Blaine? I'm Kurt - I found your camera."
"Oh wow!" Blaine looked happier than a kid at receiving an ice cream cone. "Thank you so much!" Kurt handed the camera over and Blaine took it, his fingers sliding over the sleek device, almost gently. "God, Kurt, you have no idea how much you saved me. I work as a photographer at the newspaper for extra cash and if I had to buy a new camera - I don't know what I would have done."
Kurt smiled hesitantly, suddenly feeling very warm. "Well, my dad taught me to always return lost things - your photos made it easy. Can I just say - wow - that was. Well, unique. And hilarious."
"And effective," said Blaine smugly. "Obviously."
Kurt rolled his eyes and nodded. "Yes, certainly." Kurt looked down at his feet, then back to Blaine. "I - uh -"
"Let me buy you coffee!" said Blaine in a rush.
"Buy you a coffee - it's the least I can do, really," said Blaine.
"Well…okay," said Kurt. The coffee would certainly be welcomed. He still had to go home and it was really chilly at night. Kurt settled into line beside Blaine, a small silence settling over them. "So -" said Kurt, trying to be smooth. "Do I get that hug or -"
Blaine burst into laughter - it sounded almost musical. He looked over to Kurt, eyes scrunched up and a multitude of laugh lines around his eyes. "If you don't have personal space issues, of course!" said Blaine.
"Oh I -" Kurt's eyes widened. "I mean, I don't, but - I was - uh."
"Kidding, I know," said Blaine. They stepped up to the register and Blaine smiled at the barista. "A medium drip for me, please, and for you?"
"Grande non fat mocha," recited Kurt.
Blaine paid and they stepped to the side to get their coffee. "Would you - uh, like to sit with me?" asked Blaine, looking nervous. "Unless you have something to go do - which I understand."
"No…I mean, nothing really but going home."
They went to a nearby table, sitting down. Kurt sipped at his coffee and watched Blaine, who was looking at his camera with a fond smile.
"You're quite good," said Kurt suddenly, making Blaine look up with a curious expression. "Your photos. I - well looked through them all, actually."
"Good thing I just cleared off most of my memory card," said Blaine wryly. "Or else you'd be looking through it for days. I only had the photos I took this morning on there - besides my security photos, obviously. Those are always there." Blaine smiled warmly at him, setting his camera down and picking up his coffee. "And thank you, by the way. I'm glad you liked them."
"So is that what you like to photograph - when you're not doing things for the paper, I assume?" asked Kurt. "Life on a city street or park?"
"I like taking photos of most everything," said Blaine. "People are the most interesting, I think. I mean, everyone is different and there are never-ending possibilities. It's staggering, really."
"Yeah, I guess so," said Kurt. He had never quite thought about it that way, but Blaine had a point.
"What do you do, Kurt?"
"Oh - I work at the fashion magazine down a few blocks," said Kurt. "I'm a designer. Well, junior designer and that's a bit of a beefed up term, but I can really do things if I keep to it."
"That's interesting," said Blaine, looking genuinely interested.
"It's never what I thought I'd be doing when I moved to New York," said Kurt with a laugh. "Even though I always loved fashion."
"What did you think you would do?"
"Performance - Broadway - all of it," said Kurt. "I still sing, but it's just a hobby now. Something I still love, but not a career. It's…strange, but it suits me fine. When I was in high school, it's all I wanted to do."
"Wow - same here," said Blaine. He laughed. "Just one of those people who come to New York with stars in their eyes and realizes that they're not as realistic as you think. I took a photography class my first year in school and loved it - switched my major the next year. I tried some auditions, and I did okay, but they mostly casted me for looks. Nothing I wanted to do was coming my way, so I decided against it."
"Wow - that's - noble, I guess," said Kurt. He couldn't get any roles when he first tried out for things. It wasn't "leading male material" - it was a phrase he'd heard often.
"I was doing something I cared for - it's strange, how your passions can change so quickly," said Blaine.
"Yeah. I mean - really, I was just happy to be out of Ohio," admitted Kurt. "Everything worked out from there."
"Whoa - Ohio?" asked Blaine, sitting up. "I'm from Westerville!"
"Wow. I'm from Lima," said Kurt with surprise. "That's - that's like, an hour or so away."
They stared at each other for a long moment, then burst out laughing. "Wow - small world," said Blaine, shaking his head with a fond smile. "Those were the days - I think my Glee club competed against a Lima school. Let's see, the New -"
"Directions! That's me! Well - I was part of them," said Kurt. "The Warblers, right? I think - no - you weren't the lead, were you?"
"Guilty," said Blaine, looking bashful.
"Wow." Kurt was surprised - Blaine had certainly grown up since then, of course. His hair was similar, though maybe a bit more carefree than Kurt remembered. "You were good."
"Thank you," Blaine said. "And well, I have to agree with your previous statement, about being out of Ohio - it's great to be out of a town and place that is vastly homophobic, isn't it?"
"Wait - what?"
"Oh god," Blaine looked mortified. "I'm sorry, I just assumed, didn't I. I don't mean that you like, look gay or anything, I just - I'm an ass."
"No, you're not. I mean, I am gay," said Kurt. "It's pretty obvious." Kurt paused. "Are you -"
"Yeah. I am."
Blaine and Kurt shared a look over their coffees and Kurt knew he understood. He grew up in a similar town to Lima. Maybe even a school where people hated him for who he was. They shared that background - it had made them who they were today.
"Funny how things work out," said Blaine quietly. "We could have met back in high school, yet here we are almost four years later, in a coffee shop in New York City - miles and miles away from our home towns, meeting because I'm an idiot and left my camera on the subway."
"Yeah," said Kurt. "Funny."
Kurt and Blaine finished their coffee a minute later and stood up awkwardly, not sure what else to say. They walked out of the coffee shop quietly, standing just outside the door and looking at each other.
"I guess - thanks again for finding my camera, Kurt," said Blaine. "I'm glad it was you."
"I - you're welcome," said Kurt, almost breathless.
Blaine looked like he wanted to say something - instead he turned and began to walk in the opposite direction Kurt had come from.
As he was walking away, camera at his side, Kurt remember something.
Blaine turned quicker than Kurt anticipated and Kurt ran over to catch up.
"You like taking photos of people?" asked Kurt, not able to keep his smile away.
"Yeah," said Blaine.
"I think I have a way for you to do that." Kurt pulled out a business card from his pocket and handed it to Blaine. On it was the name of the fashion magazine for Kurt's work, with email and phone numbers. "I remembered - there was talk the other day of needing a new photographer for a spread a future issue of the magazine. We're pretty big on getting both well name photographers, as well as discovering new ones," said Kurt pointedly.
"Kurt - are you saying -"
"Yes," said Kurt. "I am." Kurt grinned and reached over to put his hand on Blaine's arm. "I think I want to keep you around a bit longer."
"I think I might give you that hug now," said Blaine and before Kurt could connect the words - he was. The hug was enveloping and warm, with his chin tucked just on Blaine's shoulder.
Yes, thought Kurt, he could get used to these.