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Title: Equilibrium (a physics experiment)
Author: Caroline-Shea
Rating: I'm saying PG-13 due to subject matter, but if anyone thinks I should up it, please let me know.
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine
Word Count: ~1,900
Spoilers:  Through 2.16 
Warnings: Non-graphic BDSM experimentation (specifically, striking with a belt). Also, I feel I should warn for what is probably only somewhat trustworthy wikipedia science.
Summary: Inspired by (although it definitely deviates from) this angst meme prompt. Blaine and Kurt try out an experiment (see Warnings); Kurt is nervous from the start and ends up having to use his safe word.
 A/N: A huge thank-you to  colfer for her feedback and general awesomeness and tohazyjayne for the amazing, quick-and-dirty beta! 


Equilibrium (a physics experiment)


"I really want to try this,” says Blaine softly, eyes wide and earnest. “Will you let me?”




The steady ticking of the classroom clock matches the pounding of Kurt’s heart.

The breeze from the open window flutters the pages of his notebook; the paper rustles and flips to an earlier entry, a page covered in practice equations and the results of a lab experiment.

He tries to find the page he’d been on and encounters a different sort of experiment; a few cautiously-scripted attempts at a name: Kurt Hummel Anderson, he’d written. And then: Kurt E. H. Anderson. Kurt E. Hummel-Anderson. Kurt Elizabeth Hummel-Anderson.

Kurt looks up at the clock again and swallows, throat dry, when he notices that it’s now past 2:30. Class ends at 2:47 and Blaine is meeting him at his house at 4:00.

There is a faint flutter of unease in his stomach that he’d been unable to shake; twisting tendrils of uncertainty that had first crept into him on Sunday, when Blaine had suggested it ... and Kurt had agreed to it.

He’d agreed to it, he reminds himself as his physics teacher, Ms. Hautz, begins writing on the whiteboard.

“You’ll want to copy down these definitions,” she tells the class.

Kurt curls his fingers around his pen. The slight sheen of sweat on his palm makes it slide right of his grasp and he has to reach for it again, fingers tapping against the desk nervously.

Her voice floats out over them. “This information will be on the test.”




The dark leather belt sits on the bed; curled in on itself, snakelike, and contrasting sharply with the white of the bedspread.

“Just five strokes to start with,” murmurs Blaine. “Just five. You can handle that, Kurt, I promise. It’ll be so hot”-

Kurt reaches for Blaine's hand, interlacing their fingers. This simple action still sends shivers up Kurt's spine, even after all this time.  

“I trust you,” he says automatically.

He’s so close to meaning it that he can let himself believe it.

Potential energy, Ms. Hautz had written. The stored energy of an object at rest.

Kurt drops his eyes to the belt again.  




Despite the sickening hiss-snap of the belt as it shoves aside the air molecules in its path, there isn’t a lot of force behind the first blow.

They had discussed this ahead of time; they had agreed that the act was supposed to be about trust and intimacy, about submission and surrender. Pain is not the objective, although a little of it is unavoidable.

Kurt winces; closing his eyes. You can do this, he says, steeling himself. You can do this for Blaine.

Kinetic energy, she’d written beneath the first definition. The energy of an object in motion.

The belt is drawn back again and Kurt tenses, preparing himself. 




Kurt bites back a whimper as the second blow strikes.

Every part of him seems to flood with heat; a sick-red swath of it climbing across his skin. This isn’t right; this doesn’t feel good.

But he hears Blaine let out a low, unmistakably sexual groan – evidence that at least one of them is enjoying this.

It’s enough to make Kurt brace himself, to keep himself silent, and to focus solely on his boyfriend's pleasure.

Thermal energy, she had written. Thermal energy in transit is called heat.

He bends his head down and feels warmth flood his face. 



The next time the belt snaps forward, whip-sharp, against rapidly-reddening skin, it’s followed by the sound of a high, pained cry.




Elastic energy, she writes, the energy stored in objects that are bent, compressed, stretched, or twisted.

When force is applied to elastic materials,” she explains, “they’re generally capable of recovering their original shape.”

She pauses.

“But all materials have a maximum amount of distortion they can endure without breaking. And if broken, their structure is irreversibly altered.”

Kurt watches the slow drag of the second hand on its endless orbit around the edge of the clock.

“The term for that,” she says, turning to write on the board, “is elastic limit.”




The cry permeates the room; it claws outward from the throat of the boy kneeling over the bed and seeps into the mattress, the walls, and the floors.

Sound energy, she’d written. The energy produced by auditory vibrations, measured in both pressure and intensity-

“December,” says Kurt, shaking and terrified. “December, December. Blaine, please, it hurts too much”-




Blaine twists around, blinking up at Kurt uncertainly. “Kurt, I’m fine; it feels good. I couldn’t help making noise. It was just a reflex"-

Kurt drops the belt.

He forces his fingers to unclench. He can feel the sweat trickling down his palm; until now he'd had no idea that he'd been gripping the leather that tightly.

“It hurts,” he repeats in a quavering voice, and Blaine moves off the bed as quickly as he can, wincing in pain and hissing as the sheets brush against his struck skin.

“Kurt?” he says hesitantly, approaching him.

“Blaine,” he whispers, as if reassuring himself that the boy next to him is real and intact.

“I’m fine,” says Blaine emphatically. “Kurt, come on, it’s okay, you didn’t hurt me”-

“I’m not fine,” says Kurt. “Me. I’m not fine, Blaine.”


“I felt like… god, I felt like one of the kids at school who used to”-

“It was nothing like that.”

“It was exactly like that,” he insists, his face crumpling. “You made the same sounds I made when they’d kick me or shove me. I - I felt like it was happening to me all over again, and at the same time I felt like I was doing those things to you. I felt like a monster.”

The expression in Blaine’s eyes is one of dawning comprehension and dismay.

“Oh, Kurt,” he says, sounding horrified, reaching out gently to touch his shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

He shakes his head, shoulders trembling beneath Blaine’s touch. “I can’t hurt you,” he says, sounding panicked. “God, please don’t ever ask me to hurt you, Blaine. You just can't ask that of me; it's too - god, I still feel so"-

Kurt’s voice breaks, the sentence ending abruptly, and Blaine gathers a now-crying Kurt into his arms.

“Don’t let go of me,” begs Kurt.

“Never,” says Blaine, trying to cover as much of Kurt’s skin as he can with his own; trying to bind their bodies as tightly as possible. “I’ll never.”

Gravitational energy, she had written towards the bottom of the whiteboard. The energy by which objects or masses are drawn together.

They stand there, pressed chest-to-chest, until Kurt feels his racing heartbeat slow to match Blaine's steady rhythm. They stand there until he can breathe again. 



They lie next to one another on the bed; Kurt resting comfortably on his back and Blaine lying semi-comfortably on his stomach.

Kurt looks over at Blaine, willing his eyes not to linger on the raised, red marks he'd carved into his boyfriend's skin.

Luminous energy, she had written. The perceived energy of light.

He focuses instead on the sight of the setting sun coming in through the window and painting broad, blossoming brush-strokes across Blaine's back and shoulders. Blaine smiles wanly at him and Kurt's heart clenches at the realization that, in the millions of years of human history, there has never been anyone more beautiful. 





“Why – why did you want to be…?”

Kurt shifts restlessly and Blaine follows Kurt with his eyes; angles himself toward him like a sunflower seeking out the sun’s rays.

“Why did I want to be… what?” asks Blaine, his tone gentle and encouraging as he moves in closer, tracing gentle patterns on Kurt's stomach with his hand.

“Hit,” replies Kurt flatly, eyes averted.

Blaine shakes his head. “Kurt, it was such a stupid idea. I never should have asked you to do that.”

Kurt shrugs. “I don’t know if that’s true. I mean, I want you to be able to talk to me about anything. If there are things that… excite you, I want to know about them.”

Blaine gives Kurt a long, measuring look. “Okay, but can I ask you something?”

“Yes,” answers Kurt somewhat warily.

“Did you know before we started that you wouldn’t like it? Or – I should clarify – did you have a pretty good idea?”

Kurt fidgets slightly, and after a moment’s pause replies: “Yes.”

Blaine removes his hand from Kurt’s abdomen and props himself up on his elbows. “So then why would you - ?”

“Well, I – I thought I should give it a try before rejecting it outright.”

Blaine continues to gaze at him curiously, as though he knows there’s more to the story.

“And…” admits Kurt reluctantly. “I suppose there was a part of me that thought that if I didn’t like it, you’d…”

“I’d what?”

“…find someone who would, maybe?”

Blaine shakes his head. “Kurt, no. And I have to say, I’m pretty offended that you even thought that.”

Kurt squirms guiltily. “I’m sorry.”

“Look, it’s perfectly fine that you don’t like spanking. It’s just – it’s a kink I have that you don’t have, simple as that. I’m sure there’s something you think is sexy that I think is absolute lunacy.”

Kurt rolls his eyes. “Oh, gee, thanks.”

“No, come on. I just meant”-

“I know what you meant,” he says, smiling a little.

“And I’ll tell you right now, Kurt,” says Blaine seriously, “that I’m not going to feel comfortable sharing these types of things with you if I think you’ll react like this; if I think you’ll go along with something out of some misguided desire to please me.”

“You think it’s misguided to want to make my boyfriend happy?”

“Of course not,” says Blaine. “But I think you’re missing the fairly crucial point that my happiness is contingent on yours.”

Kurt nods slowly. “I get it.”

Blaine shakes his head. “I don’t know if you really do.”

Kurt curls his body around Blaine’s, intertwining their limbs. “Remind me?” he asks quietly, breath fluttering gently against Blaine’s cheek.

Restoring force, Kurt had diligently copied from the whiteboard. The energy that brings a disturbed system back toward equilibrium.

Blaine tips his face up and draws Kurt down into a kiss; soft and slow and tender. 



“I’m sorry – Ms. Hautz?” asks a girl. “Did you go over how energy forms? I don’t have that in my notes.”

“It might surprise you to learn that energy can’t be created or destroyed - it just is. We don’t understand exactly how or why that works."

Kurt raises a skeptical eyebrow at his teacher. He understands that concept fairly well, actually.

He finishes copying down the last of the definitions and begins shading a beautifully drawn heart, in the center of which is scripted: BWA & KEH

He glances at the clock again and sees that it's 2:38. Blaine is in chemistry right now.

Kurt can't wait to see Blaine on Friday night, because at that point he'll have a couple of important things to tell him:

One. He'll have aced his physics test.

And two. Although they'd agreed to consider last week's experiment a failure, further analysis has revealed an unexpected result:

Kurt knows now that there isn't a force in the universe capable of destroying their system's equilibrium.




( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 26th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
I see what you did there. Like the twist that it was hurting Kurt, totally didn't see that coming.

Well written and a little haunting? I can't think of a better word right now.
May. 26th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
I actually consider 'haunting' quite a compliment for this one! Thank you so much. :)
May. 26th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
This fic had a good twist. I thought *Kurt* was the one receiving the hits at first, not Blaine. I really like how he used the safe word, even though he wasn't the one being physically handled.
May. 26th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you didn't see the twist coming (otherwise it would have been a fairly lame twist, I suppose) and I'm glad you liked that Kurt was the one to use the safe word. :)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 13th, 2015 11:57 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Okay, I really, really liked this. Normally I have sort of a BDSM squick ... but this had feelings, and I really loved the twist that you put on it there, and of course there's no way Kurt could do that, and of course it was stupid of Blaine to even ask, and ... yeah.

Really really great. And I'm totally not a physics pro or anything, but I loved your little science-y tie-ins there.
May. 26th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
I don't have a BDSM squick (shocker, I know) but I honestly *did* squick myself a little writing this.

I'm really, really glad that you gave it a shot even though it's not your thing, and I'm DELIGHTED that you enjoyed it despite that. Thank you so much! :)
May. 26th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Nicely done. I like the twist that it was Kurt in the dom position, I was honestly suprised. I liked that he was the one to break, and his reasons for soing so. Just very well written
May. 26th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I'm glad the twist caught you by surprise. :)
May. 26th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
...is it wrong that I am now stuck trying to think of what kink Kurt could discover he has that Blaine just finds insane?
May. 26th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)

I did suggest shoving broccoli up noses....

(no subject) - caroline_shea - May. 26th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caroline_shea - May. 26th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
This is glorious. Chin in my hands while Kurt draws hearts around his and Blaine's names. And the physics lesson during the spanking. I love that it's Blaine's kink. Surprised!
May. 26th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 26th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you SO much - it means a lot to me that you gave it a try even though it isn't your thing. :)

(And you already said you learned nothing in English and now SCIENCE, TOO? WHAT ARE THESE BRITISH SCHOOLS TEACHING YOU???) :)
May. 26th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
I almost didn't click on this; BDSM-fic usually aren't my thing. I'm still not sure why I did. I'm just glad that I did. The writing was beautiful, and it felt like each word was carefully chosen for full impact. The parallels between Kurt's science lecture and what happened in the bedroom was inspired. I love that this story revolving around a sexual activity was really so much about feelings. <3
May. 26th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you SO much! :)

That is just so flattering that you ended up enjoying it even though these types of things aren't your cup of tea. <3
May. 26th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)


Awesome AND Flawless. XD
May. 26th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
I suspect it may actually be YOU who is awesome and flawless. <3

Or wait, perhaps I'm just thinking of that gif....
Re: SORRY TOP KURT PUTS ME IN MIND OF THIS - hazyjayne - May. 27th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm the original anonymous prompter. This was really good! I liked the background of the physics lesson emphasizing each point and I really loved the twist that it was Kurt doing the hitting, not Blaine. It feels very in character that Kurt would be upset by doing that but at the same time, you wouldn't expect the one doing the spanking to be the upset party so Blaine's initial confusion when Kurt backs out feels equally right. Kurt being the one doing the spanking also helps make it believable that it happened at all, since Blaine wouldn't have been as willing to cajole an obviously reluctant Kurt into it otherwise. In this case, you can see that Blaine had figured that at worst, his boyfriend just wouldn't get off on it. He hadn't considered that Kurt could be really upset by it.

This was a really great twist on my really cliched prompt. I'm glad I got a chance to read this!
May. 26th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
*is relieved*

Oh, yay! I am SO glad you liked this!!!

And yes, that was *exactly* what I was going for - you can tell Blaine was just thinking, "Well, he may not be crazy about the idea, but what harm can it do if he's doing TO ME?"

And as it turns out, it CAN still do harm, Blaine, my boy!

Thanks for an awesome prompt - like I said, this fic just kind of sprang into my brain the second I saw it. It was made to be! <3
May. 26th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
I actually saw that twist coming, if only because a mildly-scrapped-due-to-life-being-unfortunately-more-important-than-fic-verse between myself and someone else had this sort of stuff going on but without the part where Kurt can't do it and had physics references for titles. I therefore spent the whole time clicking this story into place with my headcanon and when my headcanon was right I kind of did my "my headcanon was right" happy dance. It wasn't accompanied by the "my headcanon was right" ditty; I save the entire number for Glee, like when Klaine is canon, or Artie is on the football team, or when Mike and Tina are endgame.
May. 26th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
I think you've been the only person to guess the twist so far, so good for you and your headcanon! :)

Now please to explain to me this "life being more important than fic" concept. It's not computing properly in my brain for some reason. Hmmm...
(no subject) - sarinmorphine - May. 26th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow, I think this is the first fic I have ever read where the top used a safe word. I love it, because honestly, people seem to forget that the top has their own limits as well. And, as someone who has tried things I thought I would hate (and then loved) I don't blame Kurt in the slightest for giving Blaine's kink a shot, and I respect that he safe worded when he did. He tried it, and he couldn't handle it, and instead of forcing himself to keep on doing it, he used a safe word. It's perfect.

Also, I loved the vocabulary lesson as the backdrop for the story. One of the most interesting things about fanfic is when you can learn something new (even if it is only from wikipedia) because it's phrased in an interesting way that can just sink into your subconcious. (I am such a geek, and I am so sorry for exposing my geekiness to you, but things like this are so exciting for me.)
May. 26th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for such a lovely comment! I'm glad the idea of the top using the safe word resonated with you and YAY FOR GEEKINESS! I myself am an out-and-proud geek; I'm thrilled that my pseudo-science excited you! :)
May. 26th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
“Of course not,” says Blaine. “But I think you’re missing the fairly crucial point that my happiness is contingent on yours.”

Yes. Ugh. Yes. Just this.

Caroline, my dear sweet Caroline. I love these types of stories that weave in and out between two plot-lines tied together by a theme. They seem to be cropping up a little bit more in this pairing. And you totally had me with the twist. I love that Kurt was the one who couldn't handle it. I think that's exactly the way he'd react. I little sad but very poignant and lovely.

Kurt knows now that there isn't a force in the universe capable of destroying their system's equilibrium.

May. 26th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, my darling!

I'm so glad you didn't hate this; I know you're not remotely an angst fan, so I'm honestly delighted that you even gave this a shot!

And I'm glad the twist caught you by surprise, and that the interweaving of the classroom/bedroom worked for you.

Thank you so much! <333
(no subject) - heartsasmagnets - May. 26th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
As others have said, haunting. I just generally liked the atmosphere you created, the deliberate pacing of it and how you set the mood.
May. 26th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I worked especially hard on both the mood and the pacing, so thank you for complimenting that! <3333
May. 26th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Wow, really well-written, and I loved that little twist. Totally didn't see that coming.

Also, thought provoking, because I made the assumption.
May. 26th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
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