Disclaimer: I still don't own any of this. Seriously. I'm getting sick of writing these, but I just don't want to get sued.
Note: Sorry for the delay, guys! I had some massive writer's block, but I got over it. Things I did get done in the last few weeks: Season 4 and the start of season 5 of Criminal Minds. Season 2 of NYPD: Blue (this was my favorite show as a kid). Half a season of Black Butler. Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Alice: Madness Returns. Two out of the three Sly Cooper games. You'd think all this stuff would have given me something to think about for this fanfic, lol.
WARNING: Now this borderlines M rated. I don't know what came over me this chapter. I just needed something at least a little… dirty. You've been warned.
READ & REVIEW ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
RoseBelikov'at' – Hahaha, you got it square on the nose. X3 I couldn't help it, I thought a little comparative rhetoric was called for. That and I love all the references I'm throwing into these things. Seriously, I'm a total pop culture whore.
LizzyPoodle – Haha, indeed, fellow shipmate. And you're welcome, expect a lot more kisses. I love writing make out scenes, so I'm making up for lost time, lol.
Amazanda – "Dave's just one big teddy bear." Now I can't get that image out of my head. XD I want a teddy bear with a McKinley jacket so I can name it Dave now.
White Replica – LOL I don't mind the all-caps abuse, really. If you're that excited about a Glee/Criminal Minds thing, I don't know if I even want to mention that my best guy friend and I have been bouncing ideas for a crossover that may or may not ever get written involving the BAU getting called to Lima over the disappearance of show choir students from other schools.
, M, the pink post-it, MissBMarie, The Raisin Girl, KurtofskyoverKlaine, PlayElli, ShevyLikeTheCar, and darrenlover95 – Thanks for all your reviews, as usual! Welcome to all my new readers, and thanks to everyone who helped confirm my T rating, I was just a bit nervous as I'm used to writing M rated fanfics and sometimes can't tell if I've gone too far. I might have this chapter, lol. Please continue reading and reviewing, guys! Sorry again for the lateness!
"I don't get it."
Kurt started awake. No, not awake. He started into the nightmare.
"You're together. You're working it out. Why isn't this working?"
The teenager blinked across the cage where his dream entity, the version of him still in that baffling skirt, paced the middle. "I've been trying to figure that out for the last two weeks," he muttered, laying his head back upon his knees.
"You're with Dave, albeit secretly but one step at a time would be preferable. You broke up with Blaine…"
At that Kurt cringed, looking guilty.
The Dream-Kurt slowed down. "You have broken up with Blaine, haven't you?"
The real deal kept his eyes on the floor of the cage, not looking at the accusing glare of his dream self.
"You haven't broken up with him yet?"
"It's just a… a fling!" Kurt snapped back at him. "It's not going anywhere; we're just… just together, not together!"
Dream-Kurt stared at him, open mouthed. He looked around the cage, as if afraid of something appearing. When nothing happened and Pavarotti remained quietly vigilant in his guard, he strode over to Kurt angrily. "Don't you say that, Kurt. Don't you dare say that," he hissed, grabbing his shoulders.
The real one flinched back against the bars at the assault, trying not to look into the reflected emeralds across from his own eyes. "What do you think is going to happen?" he asked defensively. "You think we're going to be able to be some kind of happy, loving couple? That he's going to magically jump out of the closet for me, that we'll be able to have some kind of normal relationship? It's not going to work between us! This is just to… to make him comfortable with being with someone of his own gender until he finds someone he can really be with!"
The dream boy's teeth ground together. How was it that the one hardest to help was the one who didn't have the closet wall blocking him? "Don't you dare even think that, Kurt! How could you even suggest that you're just playing with him?"
"I have to be with Blaine!"
"Why? Why is it so important that you remain in your safe little bubble with your safe little boyfriend? Why can't you just admit that you feel something for Dave?"
Kurt squeezed his eyes shut, but Dream-Kurt wasn't making it that easy. He squeezed Kurt's shoulders harder. For a dream, it sure felt real. He finally blurted out, "Because he is safe!"
Dream-Kurt loosened his grip, relaxing. He reached up and wiped a tear from the other boy's cheek. He felt ashamed of himself. He lost his temper with someone he knew was scared and lost and trapped. "I'm sorry, Kurt. I didn't mean to scare you."
Kurt opened an eye and looked up at the dream entity. He was smiling warmly, holding his arms out comfortingly. The real boy pushed himself up into him, not caring how strange it was that he was being held and comforted by, essentially, himself.
Dream-Kurt gently pet his hair, hugging the other against him. He was supposed to fix this. He had forgotten, but it was frustrating. It took him months to get through to Dave. He simply needed a kick in the ass out of his precious closet. Sure, he still had one foot in there, but the real Kurt could help him with that no problem. But in order for that to happen, he had to help Kurt escape that which held him there. Most importantly, he had to remember that this wasn't the big, strong, hardheaded jock he could simply verbally beat into submission or seduce.
Kurt's breath hitched into his shoulder, burying his face there. "I'm so scared…"
"I know… you're not the only one, Kurt… he's afraid, too…"
The real boy nodded, understanding. He'd known that since that fated day in the locker room at the beginning of the school year. It was sometimes hard to remember that Dave was the one who was confused and scared about his sexuality, and that Kurt was the one who was supposed to be open and out and proud. Dave had pointed it out before, that Kurt wasn't supposed to be so nervous about it.
"I… I don't know what will happen with Dave… how the others would react, how hard it would be to stay with him in the closet, I know dad wouldn't approve…"
"Thus, it's just safer to stay with Blaine. I know, and I understand." Dream-Kurt gently pushed Kurt off his shoulder, looking him in the eyes again, but much softer this time. "All relationships have their ups and downs. They're all hard sometimes. But the measure of how much you care for someone is how willing you are to work through it all. That's why I'm here, to help you through it. But for me to do that I need you both to cooperate. And I think I know how…"
"Ah, man, I can't stand this. I need my girl back!"
"Puck. Lauren's been on vacation for two days now. Get over it."
"Shut up, Finn!"
The glee kids, at least the ones who were there at the time, sat around the mall fountain, snacking on what they had bought at the food court. Finn, Kurt, Rachel, Mercedes, Puck, Santana, Brittany, Artie, and Blaine laughed and chatted around it. Lauren was on vacation with her family, Sam was working over summer to help his family, Quinn was at a religious retreat to "find herself" again after her emotional breakdown during the end of the last school year, and Tina and Mike were helping at Asian Camp again.
Kurt laughed and brought up his salad fork, but Blaine beat him to it, taking the bite instead. The fashionable teen giggled, shoving him playfully. He then stabbed another piece of lettuce, sticking it in his mouth before his beau could try again. "So," he said after a moment, swallowing, "how are we going to get everyone together for a full Gleek-out if our schedules keep conflicting? The next time Tina and Mike are coming down from Asian Camp, Rachel and her dads will be in California."
"Maybe we can sneak them out at some point. I'm pretty sure no one really cares that they're there, anyway," Artie pointed out. "They never pay attention to the music lessons anyway."
"I hear all that time they spend on their cellphones is turning those little Asian kids into radioactive zombies."
"Thank you, Brittany."
"I think we should plan a back-to-school concert for next year," Rachel suggested.
"First of all, that's a terrible idea, we're already laughing stocks," Santana cut in. "And secondly, it's the start of summer, we don't care about next year yet."
"Yeah, ask again in August," Finn said.
"Could you stop being so negative for five seconds, Santana?" Rachel huffed.
Kurt opened his mouth to say something, but his phone chose that moment to buzz. He pulled it out and looked at the screen. The letter D flashed across it. He quickly stuffed the phone back into his pocket, standing up. "I have to go powder my nose," he announced, picking his up shoulder bag. "I'll be right back."
Before anyone could question the sudden proclamation he ran off. Instead of heading to the restroom, though, he ran out the back door not wanting to risk getting caught. As soon as he was there, looking around to make sure none of the others had followed him, he checked the message.
He smiled, leaning against the wall. It was amazing how those two words could lift his spirits.
Not really. Am now.
Where r u?
Was w/parents, managed to escape w/sanity
Kurt covered his mouth with a hand, chuckling, and checked behind him again, sliding down the wall to sit.
It was a long time before the next text came. Kurt almost kicked himself, thinking he'd pushed it by suggesting they see each other during the day. Sure enough, though, the text finally made it to him.
Thought u had company
Can make excuse
What will we do?
Dunno. Didn't think that far.
There was another pause. Kurt knew this couldn't be easy for him. But if he could let go of this one little fear this once, it would be a huge leap for him.
Fine. Meet in back?
Sounds good. C u.
C u soon.
Kurt hung up the phone and held it a moment. He was ditching his boyfriend and friends to meet with a guy none of them, especially said boyfriend, would approve of. It was so wrong. So devious. So exciting.
He ran back to the others.
"Took you long enough," Puck announced as soon as he approached. "You musta been powderin' a lot more than your nose, as long as you took."
Kurt ignored it and said, "Sorry, guys. I forgot I promised to meet a friend. Can I give you a rain check on this get-together?"
"A friend? Who?" Finn asked, looking confused.
"It's someone you don't know," Kurt said quickly. "I really do have to go, though. I'm really sorry. Tell dad I won't be home until late. I'm helping him with something important."
"Sure…" Finn said suspiciously.
"Sorry, Blaine," Kurt bent down and kissed the Warbler on the cheek. "I'll call you later, okay?"
"Yeah, sure," Blaine replied, confused as well. Unlike Finn, though, he didn't pursue it.
"See you guys later!" Kurt waved at them, running off. He could feel their suspicious, scrutinizing gazes on his back before he disappeared back around the corner but didn't look back. He knew Finn suspected something, knew for a fact Mercedes did too. Santana, probably. He felt terrible for thinking it, but he actually hoped Blaine did too. After that big deal he made about Kurt being incapable of cheating, he hoped Blaine at least considered the possibility now.
When he reached the back this time Dave's car was waiting for him. He must have been really close. He jumped in, slamming the door shut and saying breathlessly, "Book it."
"What?" Dave raised an eyebrow.
"Quick, I might've been followed!" the fashionable boy warned.
Dave needed no other encouragement. He stepped on the gas pedal and peeled out of the parking lot. Another car honked loudly as he turned into the traffic. Kurt cringed. "I said to book it, not kill us."
Despite himself, Kurt laughed. It really felt like he was in some spy movie or something. Daniela Bianchi to Dave's Sean Connery in From Russia with Love. He glanced at Dave. Okay, so he was no James Bond, but he still remembered how snazzy he looked in his prom suit.
Dave glanced at him at the stop light. "What?" he asked.
"You're staring at me."
"I'm not allowed to smile?"
"You look weird."
Kurt's smile faded. "Are you okay with this?" he asked.
The jock thought for a moment. Was he okay with this? Of course he wasn't. What if someone saw them? But he had to do this. If he wanted to get anywhere with Kurt, he had to take some chances. Still, they had to find somewhere they could go where no one would see them together. With summer vacation in full swing, there weren't a whole lot of options. Everyone was out in the sun trying to do as much as possible before the break, which always seemed shorter than it really was, ended.
They couldn't go back to either of their homes, Dave had just narrowly escaped his own parents and he was sure Kurt's had to be around and they couldn't risk losing time and getting caught. The park was out of the question, as was the theater, any restaurants…
He drummed his thumbs on the steering wheel. Maybe this was a bad idea. He glanced at Kurt, who looked back expectantly. When Dave didn't reply to the question he sighed, looking away and leaning his forehead on the tinted window next to him.
Dave's heart sank looking at him so disappointed, so unhappy with him. He took a deep breath and came to a decision, turning the car and heading in a familiar direction, one he'd never go where he could be seen with the fashionable boy any other time of the year.
Kurt watched signs and foliage go by outside his window until he finally sat up a little straighter, face scrunching in confusion. "Dave, are we going…?"
Dave pulled the car around to a parking lot next to the closed off William McKinley High School and stopped it. "Come on," he said, turning the car off and leaving the vehicle.
Kurt stared in confusion at him but followed. Why were they at the school? It was closed for the summer, and…
His eyes went wide when he realized why they were they. No one was there. All of the teachers and students were avoiding the place like the plague now that school was out. Surely someone had to be there, though, right? Security? A teacher or two who had unfinished business they had to take care of before they could actually relax?
Dave didn't seem to be worried about any of these things and headed toward the school.
"Dave!" Kurt looked around, running after him. When he caught up he caught the jock's arm. "Are you crazy? If we get caught here we're going to be in so much trouble!"
"So we won't get caught," Dave replied as if it were the most obvious answer.
"What if someone's here?"
"We'll be careful."
"What if we're caught?"
"We won't be."
"Kurt!" the football player finally snapped, grasping his arms. "If you keep arguing we will get caught. Do you want to spend time with me or not?"
Kurt looked at the ground and didn't reply for a moment. Dave's heart almost plummeted. It was instantly lifted up again, though, when the glee singer looked back up at him and replied, "Let's do this."
Dave and Kurt ran down the hall quickly, keeping an eye around them for anyone who might be there. So far, the coast seemed clear. Not a security guy or teacher in sight. Being as he was the least willing to be there, the glee member got to choose where they would go. He knew one place that was, for sure, easiest to get into. The Auditorium.
Dave watched him in fascination as Kurt jiggled the handle, then slammed a hand on the top of it. The door clicked and swung open. "How'd you do that?"
Kurt chuckled and pulled him into the auditorium, closing the door behind them. "Ms. Rhodes isn't very good at remembering her key to the auditorium even though she owns it. So she rigged the door to open that way in case she ever needed it." He flipped a switch on the wall next to them and the lights came on the stage, lighting part of the audience seating as well. "Come on." Before the jock could object Kurt dragged him over to the stage and onto it. He pulled them into the middle of it, looking out at the seats before them.
Dave stared at the seats and shifted uncomfortably, imagining people in them being able to see them up there together. "Er… why did you bring me up here?" he asked unsure.
"I'm showing you something," Kurt replied, letting go of his arm and stepping forward so that he was facing their 'audience'.
"What?" the jock pursued still confused.
Kurt turned his head back toward him, smiling. "My dream." He swept a hand around the seating grandly, then stood with his arms stretched to his sides, palms up, head held high. "When I graduate, this is what I want to do. The stage, the show, the audience… I want my name in lights and everyone to look at me and say, 'That's Kurt Hummel, the big star! He's the best Broadway star in the world!' And then I'll tell them, 'No, no, I'm just another man on stage with a gorgeous singing voice and impeccable sense of fashion. But please, do go on!'" He spun around in his place and laughed.
Dave watched him and couldn't help but smile. Kurt was so comfortable being in the spotlight, practically drank up the attention he brought to himself. No matter what kind of attention, good or bad, he took it in grace and stride. He thought most people stepping into the spotlight looked pasty and far less attractive, having to wear tons of makeup so that people would look up there and see what they wanted to see. But standing in the light with no makeup, being not what everyone else wanted him to be but what he truly was, Kurt was gorgeous.
Unable to resist the magnetic personality of his would-be soul mate, Dave took three long strides to take Kurt in his arms and kissed the surprised singer with every bit of passion he could muster. Kurt reached up and buried his fingers in Dave's cropped hair, kissing back just as passionately. They stood there for a good few minutes, drowned in stage lights and locking lips as if they'd never get another chance.
After those few moments, though, Kurt let go and wrapped his arms around the young man he conducted his forbidden affair with, burying his face in his shoulder. Dave held him tightly, petting his soft, brunette hair. This was perfect. Just him and Kurt, nothing else in the world, holding each other. Nothing could ruin this moment for him.
At least, he thought nothing until Kurt spoke again. "Could you do this if those seats weren't empty?"
"What?" Dave yelped, pushing Kurt back just far enough that he could stare at him.
"If there were people in here right now, would you be able to hold me like this?"
Dave sputtered, not knowing what to say to this. What possessed Kurt to ask such a question? He knew the answer to it; Dave couldn't do such a thing. Just thinking about it made his stomach churn.
Kurt didn't have to ask again. He did know the answer. It should have made him step back, to stop Dave from holding him. But he didn't want Dave to stop holding him. It was terrible and he felt bad for continuing to lead not only him but Blaine in this circle, but he didn't have a choice. "When I become a Broadway star my life will be under a microscope. People will be scrutinizing everything I do and… who I'm with. Could you allow them to do that? To let the world know that we're together and we don't care what they think?"
Dave opened his mouth, then closed it. That question seemed far less fair than it really was. Sure, Kurt deserved to have an open relationship, one where he could go out holding hands with the one he loved, one where they could eat in a fancy restaurant with the paparazzi taking pictures of the big star and his beloved beau. But could Dave be that person? Could he ever open up that far? "Kurt, I…" was all he could manage. He didn't even know the answer to any of that.
"I want to be with you," Kurt whispered, leaning up and kissing the football player on the cheek. "But I can't do that if you can't admit the same out loud."
Dave almost couldn't get past the 'I want to be with you'. One of his hands almost automatically went up to stroke one of Kurt's cheeks, running a thumb along his soft lips. "I'm so sorry…" he muttered, pulling him back into his arms again. "I'm so sorry I'm such an ass… I'm sorry I'm scared and stupid and… and I'm working on it, I promise…"
Kurt squeezed his eyes shut, trying to melt into him. "I know…" he whispered back. "Just… work faster… I can't wait long…"
They continued to stand there a few more minutes before they finally untangled from each other, stepping back to wipe stray tears from their faces. "Well," Dave grinned sheepishly, "That's not exactly where I was expecting things to go today."
Kurt looked at the floor in embarrassment. "I'm sorry…" he muttered. "I just… I mean it. I can help you. You've come so far, but you've still got a long way to go."
The jock shrugged, nervous just thinking about it. He couldn't stand the idea of losing Kurt, though. Not when they came so far. He looked back around at the empty seats, and then nodded, deciding. He took his jacket off and laid it on the stage floor, a baffled Kurt watching him. He sat down next to the coat, gesturing Kurt to join him.
Kurt bent to sit on the floor next to him, still unsure what was happening, but then yelped in surprise when Dave took his wrist and pulled him into his lap. "Dave!" he giggled, sitting sideways in his lap. "What in the world…?"
"I want to make out."
"Yes, now, when did you think I meant?"
Kurt looked unsure, looking around the empty auditorium.
"No one else is here. We're not going to get caught."
"I know, I just…"
"Now who's nervous?"
Kurt looked at him in annoyance, but received a coy smile in response. It was confusing to Kurt how Dave could be so nervous about them one minute, but completely comfortable the next. He finally sighed. "Alright. I guess we're safe. If we get caught, though, I'm saying you seduced me."
Dave chuckled. "Nothing but the truth, right?" He then cupped the singer's face in his hands and gently kissed him. Kurt kissed back, making a small moaning noise in the back of his throat. After the first few kisses, Dave gently lowered the other boy to lie on the floor, head resting on his coat to help him feel more comfortable. His hands began exploring the singer, tongue invading his pink lips.
Kurt lay one hand on the back of Dave's head feeling the heat that built whenever they touched like this begin to pool between his legs once more. His body shuddered in delight, feeling the jock's reflected excitement poke his thigh through his jeans. The more they made out like this, the less embarrassed Kurt found himself over the idea of the act. He wasn't ready to go further than the heated grinding they had taken to, but Dave had convinced him little more than a week previous not to be bashful about the distinct physical reaction. After all, the football player had proven that he felt no embarrassment over his own excitement.
Speaking of, he felt the friction of their hips grind together through the fabric of their respective legwear, and pulled back from the invading mouth, crying out Dave's name. Said young man took the opportunity to attack his neck and nape with his mouth, kissing and nipping as he desperately ground his partner into the floor. His hands went to work unbuttoning the other boy's light, flowy shirt. As soon as it was open, they ran across his chest, pushing it the rest of the way off and touching every part of bare skin he could find.
This would usually be the point where Kurt would tell him to stop. He still wasn't used to Dave touching anything as erotic as his nipples, but this time he couldn't bring himself to stop him. While the jock touched and caressed him, licking and kissing the sensitive skin of his neck, grinding against him just short of painfully, Kurt looked out at the auditorium seats again. They were empty of course, but in his mind he saw them. His friends, the homophobic jocks of the school, and Blaine in the front seat, all watching them grind against each other. And all he could think was, 'He's mine. He's mine and I don't care what you think. I want him. I need him.'
Dave didn't notice, so concentrated he was on the boy under him. It felt more than good, it felt amazing to be with him like this. He was braced for Kurt to realize how far they were and to stop him at any moment, so he had to derive everything he could, memorize every nook and cranny of his torso before it would be goodness knows how long until he next saw it. He drank in all of the desperate, hungry noises that escaped Kurt's throat, especially every time his name managed to be moaned or panted out.
Kurt's eyes suddenly went wide as he gasped; hand flying to his mouth to muffle the strangled cry he suddenly gave. His body convulsed, eyes squeezing shut, and managing to scream out single word as a cold sweat broke out across him, "Da~ave!"
After a moment, he finally subsided, panting. When he finally opened one eye, he was gazing up at a baffled and bewildered Dave. It took him a moment to realize what just happened. When he did, though, he suddenly sat up, blushing.
Dave swallowed hard, having recognized exactly what just happened when it did. "Kurt… did you just…?"
The singer just stared at him in horror before grabbing his shirt and pulling it on as he ran out of the auditorium as quickly as possible.
Dave took a minute to be able to follow him, having to wait for his own excitement to subside. He knew Kurt would be waiting by the car. There was nowhere else for him to go from there.
"Kurt?" he inquired carefully as he approached the side of the car that wasn't facing any road. Kurt leaned on the hood, face buried in his hands.
"Don't say anything…" came the muffled response. "Please… don't…"
"Babe, it's okay," Dave reached out comfortingly to the humiliated teen, pulling him into a hug. He was aware of Kurt's conspicuous attempts to keep the front of his pants from touching anything. "Shhh, there's nothing to be ashamed of…"
"I said don't say anything," Kurt objected, pushing back away and avoiding eye-contact.
Dave stood a bit awkwardly with him a moment, not knowing what to do in this situation. Neither of them had obviously been expecting the sudden… eruption Kurt experienced. They'd never gone anywhere near that far before. They would usually make out until Kurt got uncomfortable, then both would retreat to take care of what they started by themselves. It was never talked about, never brought up that it happened. They'd simply go back to business as usual when they returned to each other. But this time… he knew Kurt was already embarrassed about exposing himself even a little, of all forms of physical reaction that came with what they did. He didn't know what possessed the singer not to stop them before it had happened.
"I can't go back home," Kurt muttered, still looking at the ground and shifting uncomfortably around. It did not feel pleasant inside his briefs at the moment. "I told them I wouldn't be home until late."
"You were really planning on spending the entire day with me?" Dave couldn't help but sound uplifted by this. He bit his bottom lip. He couldn't let this go to waste. "Well… my parents are going to dinner and a show tonight. They shouldn't be home until late. We could go back to my place if you want, we'll just have to watch the time."
Kurt looked unsure at first, but then caught the hopeful look Dave had. He resigned, nodding. "Sure. Um…" he turned red as he asked, "Do you think I could… you know… wash up?"
Dave coughed a bit, nodding as well. "Sure. You can, ah, use our washing machine if you want."
Kurt just nodded once more, opening the passenger door to the car without another word. It was embarrassing enough that he just asked that. He didn't need to pursue it.
"Well, that was quite a leap, wasn't it?"
Dave opened his eyes, sitting up quickly in his bed. He couldn't believe it. After not seeing him for weeks, Dream-Kurt stood at the foot of his bed, coy smile playing upon his lips. "You!" was all the jock could manage. He glanced at the clock, which read HE:LO. "That's not even spelled right!" he snapped at it.
Dream-Kurt chuckled, gliding forward and patting the Dream-Clock on the top of it. Its screen changed to ^:^. "I missed you too, dear," he assured it. "Is Dave still taking out his frustration on you?"
"I am not," Dave muttered. "And what are you doing here? I thought I didn't need your help anymore or something. You can't just run off like that and come back out of nowhere."
"Really? Why not?" It sounded like an honest question. One for which the jock had no real answer. "I wouldn't have come back, but you and Kurt hit a barrier. You don't need my help. I need your help."
"More specifically, the real Kurt needs your help. But for you to do so, I need you to take that one little step you're so afraid to. You two have gotten so far, I have faith in you."
"Wait, I don't get it. What are you talking about?"
"You're not the only one confused, David."
Instead of elaborating, Dream-Kurt glided to the door, opening it. It opened into nothing but pitch darkness. No, that wasn't true. There was something light gleaming in the distance beyond the blackness. "You know what step you have to take. When you're ready for it, I'll be waiting for you. I'll make sure this door is always opened for you."
Dave jumped out of his bed as the dream boy glided into the darkness, disappearing into it. He was about to rush forward into it after him, but something stopped him. He could feel something in the darkness that terrified him, something that weighed heavy on him for a long time. He knew what he was talking about, and the step he was asking him to take wasn't the biggest one… but it was a hard first step. He couldn't do it. Before closing the door, though, he looked at the golden glow in the distance. It felt warm and familiar and inviting. But… no, he couldn't risk that road to get to it. Not yet.