Author's Note: This fic isn't over until I either complete it or post in the summary/my profile that it's on hiatus/discontinued. Be patient with my spaced out updates, and it will be done one way or another eventually.
Marshall flipped over in bed, pressing the pillow around his head. It'd been almost a week since the masquerade - almost a week since he'd kissed someone who turned out to be his roommate. He thought he'd left behind all the dating and romance drama at home.
It was funny, he thought, if you had asked him before, if he ended up kissing Kurt - the whole series of "ifs" on an event that he never really imagined would ever happen - what Kurt's reaction would be in such an event, he would have imagined it more along the lines of standing in the middle of the quad and proclaiming it to anyone who would listen. There would be internet postings and text messages. "Extra, extra, read all about it: I kissed Marshall Gregson!"
Kurt had been oddly quiet though in the week since then. Maybe he had told a person or two - Marshall was unsure, although if anyone knew, it was probably his friend Mercedes - but otherwise, there had been a distinct lack of response. At first it had been nice, albeit a little unnerving. It wasn't like he wanted the showiness and flashiness. But as the days progressed, he wanted some form of acknowledgment. Even a "you suck at kissing and should go back to kissing a cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson" would be better than this.
He turned his head and peered up. "Kurt?" he asked. He waited a moment for a reply, before getting out of bed. If he didn't leave now, he'd be late for class.
He was all alone in their room.
Later that evening, he came back from a psychology study session - they had a midterm coming up over the social aspects of psychology, and the part about the theory of interpersonal attraction was at the forefront of his mind. It was only fitting, of course.
They lived as close as two people could, without sharing a bed. They were similar in how they saw the world, although they approached it from different angles. They weren't super close, although they had been going down that road before the masquerade, but they had come out to each other; that was a step in the right direction. And there was no denying that Kurt was a very attractive guy.
Everything fit, at least from his side of things.
He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. The overhead light was off - the only source of light was coming from Kurt's side of the computer desk. "Marshall," Kurt's voice said, even and low, "close the door."
Marshall closed the door and eased onto his bed, throwing his messenger bag over his pillow. "What do you want?" he asked. "We haven't spoken in a week, and now you're choosing to defrost the Cold War?"
"Yes, Khrushchev. Now, do you want to talk, or do you want to continue arguing over our perceived household appliances?" Kurt asked, turning around in the chair and looking at Marshall.
"Someone's been Skype studying with Mercedes way too long."
"Says the person who's been at the library since his last class got out."
"At least I'm not talking like a psychologist because of it," he said, rifling through his bag and frowning. "I think I left my textbook in the library. I should go get it."
"It's right there," Kurt said, pointing at Marshall's pillow. "Why are you avoiding talking to me?"
"That's rich," Marshall replied with a snort. "Coming from the person who has been flat-out ignoring me since Halloween night. I might as well have been living in a single."
"Did I ever tell you about my first real kiss? With a guy?"
Marshall turned to face Kurt and propped his chin on his pillow. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"This guy - he was on the hockey team - Karofsky - he bullied me constantly. Because I was too fabulous or something, I don't know. He kissed me one day in the locker room. Without me telling him it was okay - it wasn't -" he buried his head in his hands, and his back trembled slightly. "That was two - two years ago - and - I dated a guy after that and we broke up right after I graduated - but -"
"Because I didn't ask." And it was suddenly all so clear as to why Kurt had reacted the way he did. He could understand deep-seated psychological trauma - maybe it was even a form of PTSD - after all, it wasn't like his childhood had been the quiet idyll of Leave it to Beaver, or even the Brady Bunch. Hell, even Modern Family would have been acceptable if it meant having Sofia Vergara and Eric Stonestreet for relatives. Instead, he got something that they'd probably never make a television show about. Families like his didn't fit into the mold provided by the Partridge Family very easily.
"You didn't know," Kurt said quietly. "You didn't know, and I shouldn't have expected you to know." His voice dropped lower, and Marshall had to strain to hear the next few words. "I would have said yes."
"Even with me wearing a mask?"
"It was a moment," Kurt replied. "It was something like out of one of those movies where there's a guy and a girl - except it was two guys, which is so much better - and they're dancing and - we shared a moment. I would have said yes."
Marshall frowned. "What do you mean?"
"You're not like him. You're about as malicious as a starving puppy. I - I know that you -" Kurt sighed and brushed a finger along the side of his desk. "You weren't meaning to hurt me."
"I did - didn't I?"
"You surprised me, 's all." When Marshall didn't reply, Kurt continued. "It was good. If I wouldn't -"
"Was it because it was me, or because it was anyone at all?" He skipped over the compliment couched in-between the two accusatory statements: the one that accused him, and the other that accused himself. There was nothing to it. A good kiss was one that your mother gave you, or that someone you weren't particularly attracted to - it wasn't great. Fantastic. All the words that would imply attraction and every other positive, romantic thing. Just because they're two gay guys doesn't mean they have to go out.
"Anyone? You? I don't know." He threw himself over the back of his chair and faced Marshall. "I haven't been kissed since Blaine and I - he's the only person since Karofsky - I don't know." He pursed his lips together and frowned. "I wanted it. That's the worst part."
"Because I -" He cut himself off and scooted the chair closer to Marshall's head. In the darkness of the room, Marshall could only see his silhouette and what few features he could make out with the assistance of the blue-ish computer light. "Because I -" He took his hand and placed it under Marshall's chin and propped it up. "Oh, screw this. Can I?"
A jolt of static electricity shot through Marshall's body at the movement and he looked back at Kurt. "Hmmm? Yeah, sure," he replied, a little confused at what he was saying yes to. If he woke up in the morning missing a kidney or with a biker tattoo on his bicep, this was going to be the moment he looked back on and realized where it all went askew.
And then Kurt leaned his face in and gently pressed his lips to Marshall's. It was similarly chaste to their first kiss, but Marshall felt Kurt's lips twitch into a smile. "Better than good?" Marshall asked with a laugh as they parted.
"Ask me again later." As their lips met for another kiss, and then another, Marshall realized one thing: it wasn't about him. It was about Kurt wanting all the control he rarely had before. Funny how they were alike in that way.
-to be continued-