Not the Only Brew
Disclaimer: This is my first time completing and sharing fanfiction with the world, so try not to judge me too harshly. (Constructive criticism is, of course, always welcome.) I may have bent the rules of Hogwarts a bit to make this work, but I can’t say for sure because it’s been a while since I read the books so I don’t remember some of the details of how classes are run, etc. Also, I suck at titles.
Kurt hated potions. It wasn’t the subject itself, really—he always got a good mark, after all (it wasn’t as if brewing elixirs was all that difficult), and he knew his command of the subject would serve him well later in life—but rather the company involved. The trouble with potions, Kurt thought, was that it meant spending time with the Gryffindors.
It wasn’t that there was anything intrinsically wrong with the Gryffindors per se. Kurt knew, deep down, that they couldn’t really be as awful as his housemates liked to pretend they were—even if saying so would’ve been tantamount to treachery. He knew that they had given rise to such notable people as Albus Dumbledore and Selina Sapworthy, that they’d led the charge against Voldemort and protected the muggles and mudbloods from almost certain doom, so even if he didn’t like them all that much, he was grateful.
The trouble with the Gryffindors, unfortunately, was that all the heroics had gone to their heads. Most of them had never even done anything, and yet here they were, acting like they owned the place. As Kurt sat against the far wall, glowering at the backs of their heads, he couldn’t help but think they were all too aware of their own position in the world—and Anderson was no exception. Of course, he was also rather disgustingly popular, and as much as Kurt would’ve liked to claim otherwise, he wasn’t entirely immune to the boy’s charms. So when Kurt was called, one day in late October, to partner with the curly-haired Gryffindor, his first instinct was to smack himself with his own rather weighty copy of Arsenius Jigger’s Magical Drafts and Potions. Of course it would be him, of all people.
”Hummel?” Anderson repeated, with what Kurt could only imagine was a blank stare—it was difficult to judge facial expressions from the back of a person’s head. ”But he’s a Slytherin.”
Brains, as Kurt’s housemates often reminded him, weren’t required for entry into Gryffindor—but he couldn’t help but wonder if Anderson’s fellows were at all embarrassed by his sudden need to state the obvious.
"Yes, Anderson, I’m quite aware of that fact, thank you," the professor replied, unamused. "His partner is absent, and since Makin is also apparently unable to attend class today, it’s only fitting that you should work together."
The Gryffindors all seemed to shift uncomfortably, glancing at one another in obvious distress. Heaven forbid that one of their own should have to work with a Slytherin! But there was nothing for it—clearly the professor was not about to change his mind, so Kurt fiddled with the knife he was supposed to be using to cut up fluxweed, watching out of the corner of his eye as Anderson gathered his things and shot his cronies a reassuring smile before trudging back to take the empty seat beside him.
"You’re not going to stab me with that, are you?" he asked, bright hazel eyes flickering to the knife in Kurt’s hand, and Kurt had to fight the urge to roll his eyes. He couldn’t help but notice that the boy’s smile had vanished as soon as he was out of sight of the other Gryffindors.
"Yes, Anderson, of course I’m going to stab you in front of an entire class of witnesses, that would be such a brilliant idea,” he drawled.
"Ah," Anderson replied, and coloured slightly. Perhaps he wasn’t totally oblivious to his own foolishness after all. "Right. So, um…why are you on your own today?"
"Berry’s in the Hospital Wing with mumblemumps," Kurt replied, his eyes focused on the text before him. Rachel was an extremely aggravating personality at times, but at least she wasn’t scared of him—and if the way Anderson was fidgeting with his collar was any indication, he was. The situation was made all the more frustrating by the fact that he’d never seen the boy even look anything akin to nervous before in his life.
"Oh. I’m sorry to hear that."
"No you’re not," Kurt replied dryly. "But I suppose it’s nice of you to say so anyway."
"Yes, well," Anderson cleared his throat, clearly uncomfortable with being called out on his bullshit—it probably didn’t happen often. "In the interests of full disclosure, David’s taking a mental health day."
Kurt looked up from the text then, ignoring the strange flash of triumph he thought he saw in Anderson’s eyes to raise one skeptical eyebrow. ”A mental health day? Wizards have those?”
"Well, David’s a half-blood, technically, so he may’ve picked the habit up from his muggle friends—I’m really not sure."
"It doesn’t seem particularly wise, does it? I mean, it’s not as if he’s particularly good at potions…”
"I thought wisdom was supposed to be the purvey of Ravenclaw?" Anderson replied, the beginnings of a cheeky smile finding their way onto his face. "Aren’t you supposed to be more the ruthless achiever type?"
"Yes, well, according to house dogma you’re supposed to be brave," Kurt shot back, "and yet I can practically see you shaking in your Allen Edmonds LaSalles right now.”
Anderson’s eyes widened at that, his lips parting as if he had something to say—but the words didn’t come, and Kurt didn’t feel like waiting. He wasn’t in the mood to explain his own familiarity with muggle designers (no, being in Slytherin did not make him a pureblood, thank you very much, he loved his dad and it really shouldn’t matter anyway), or to listen to Anderson attempt to justify his fear by spewing the usual stereotypes, or to hear—well, whatever tripe was currently attempting to tumble off the fellow’s tongue—and so, rather unceremoniously and with an abruptness he would normally have considered rather inexcusable, he stood.
"I have to get some ingredients from the supply cupboard," he said. "Stay here, why don’t you." He stalked off without waiting for a reply, shaking his head to banish the alarmingly clear image of a certain boy’s mouth which seemed to linger behind his lids.
Unfortunately, the break must’ve given Anderson time to collect his thoughts, because the moment Kurt returned he was greeted with a very determined-looking face and a sudden rush of words. ”Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot—”
"You don’t say?"
"—and I’d like to start again. Properly this time." He stuck out his hand. "Hello, I’m Blaine Anderson."
Kurt looked from his face to his hand and back. ”You do realize we’ve been at school together for the past five years, right?”
"Yes, Kurt," came the impatient response—and Kurt wasn’t sure whether to blush or bristle at the unsolicited use of his first name, "I am very much aware of that fact. I remember our brief conversation on the train in first year, and the time I actually bowled you over on the way to the quidditch match in second year, and the time I nearly spilt bubotuber pus on you last year, and quite frankly I’d love to pretend that those incidents never happened, and right now you’re sort of leaving me hanging so if you could just give me another chance—”
Kurt took his hand—only to stop the boy’s blabbering, he told himself—and tried not to let himself be distracted by the odd yet rather pleasant tingling he felt when their skin touched. ”Alright,” he said. ”What do you have in mind, Anderson?”
"I…" The boy’s eyelashes—and god, was it normal for boys to have eyelashes that long?—fluttered as his gaze slid down to stare at their conjoined hands. Frankly, Kurt thought he looked a little stunned. He’d rather not acknowledge what the expression on his face was doing to his own insides.
"Blaine," he said suddenly, seeming to tear himself out of whatever strange revere he’d been in, his eyes coming up to meet Kurt’s own, almost luminescent in the glow of the cauldron fires around them. "You can call me Blaine. I mean, I’d like it if you did."
"Oh," Kurt replied. "Um, Blaine. Yes." He was suddenly aware of the fact that he was still holding Blaine’s hand, their palms pressed close together in what was quickly becoming an abnormally long handshake, and he released his grip quickly. "Shall we get on with today’s potion, then?"
"Oh," Blaine said, blinking rapidly as if to clear his mind, "yes, right, of course." He turned and bent over his own copy of the textbook, running his index finger slowly down the list as if he were checking to ensure that they had everything they needed.
Kurt tried to focus on his own book, but it was rather difficult when he hadn’t been this close to the boy since that time he’d been stuck behind him in second year potions. He’d noticed how Blaine had changed before, of course—his recent outgrowth of a particularly unfortunate addiction to gel, which left his dark hair free to resume its natural curls, had been especially notable—but the difference was even more blatant up close. The faint shadow on his jaw definitely hadn’t been there the last time Kurt had looked, and he’d been so busy not looking at Blaine lately that he’d nearly forgotten the peculiar shape of his eyebrows, the always impeccable state of his uniform, and his lips’ rather infuriating tendency to part of their own accord when he was particularly deep in thought—as he was right then.
"You can call me Kurt." The words slipped out almost without him meaning them to, but if Kurt regretted them the thought was quickly lost when Blaine turned to face him, his hazel eyes lighting up as his face broke into dazzling smile.
"Kurt," Blaine repeated, as if he hadn’t heard the name a thousand times before. "I’ll bear that in mind."
Maybe, Kurt thought, fighting back a smile of his own as he weighed out the proper quantity of bdelium, Rachel’s sudden case of mumblemumps wasn’t such a misfortune after all.