After that argument you and Kurt had – that one argument, about bisexuality, and finding yourself, and all that other stuff that you barely remember at this point – things were shaky for a while. But then one day you showed up at his dorm room with his usual nonfat mocha, and he let you inside instead of slamming the door in your face. He apologized, you apologized, and things have been back to normal since then.

Except sometimes, you think that they really, really aren't. Sometimes you catch Kurt staring at nothing, with this really sad look on his face. It's nothing like the way that he looks when you two talk about Karofsky, and harassment – it's worse than that, and even though you try really hard to tell yourself that it's not your fault he's so depressed, you think that it might be.

You only make the mistake of asking him about it once. He's staring out the window, and his hand's clutching the arm of the chair like it's the only thing keeping him together. You rest your own hand on his, and he immediately jerks away like you burnt him. You catch his eyes for a fleeting moment, and see that they're wide and filled with tears that he's trying, and trying, and trying to blink away, but his efforts are failing. For a second, you think that maybe gripping that chair really was the only thing keeping him together, and you regret (in a way that's becoming very familiar to you lately) your touchy-feely nature.

But instead, you do the mentor-like thing, and you ask him what's wrong. He laughs nervously – it's a painful sound; it's nothing like his typical, cheerful laugh – before shaking his head violently and whispering that, "Nothing – just thinking. Daydreaming. The usual." His whispering sounds more like he's being choked, and you wish that you two could go back to that time when you were honest with each other.

Then again, that honesty is partially to blame for you two being in the situation. If not for that goddamn honesty, you never would have caught on that Kurt has – had – feelings for you, and you never would have been able to pick at that open wound when provoked.

After that one time, you don't ask him what's wrong anymore. You don't ask him why he looks seriously ill during Warblers rehearsals. You don't ask him why he doesn't have time for you anymore – why his weekend plans are always with Mercedes and Tina and Brittany and Artie and Quinn and Sam and Finn and Mike and Puck and Santana and Lauren and even now David and Jeff and Flint and ? You don't ask him why he and Rachel don't talk anymore.

Maybe the reason why you don't ask is because you're afraid to find out the answer. Or maybe it's because you already know, somewhere deep down, and you don't want to hear it said aloud. Because the minute he says it, it's real. And once it's real, you can't hide from it anymore – you can't keeping pretending like you didn't go out with Rachel, Kurt's friend Rachel; you can't keep pretending like you didn't say all those things you did, that Kurt was like Karofsky, the guy who threatened to kill him; you can't keep pretending like you have absolutely no idea that you're the one who destroyed Kurt, the one who took him in and then crushed him down.

Sometimes, Kurt doesn't say goodbye to you. You can count the number of times he's done it on one hand, but that doesn't lessen the sting. Because when you ruin a perfectly good conversation by making the mistake of bringing up Love Story, you can see Kurt's face harden into that mask you're really coming to hate, and you know what's not coming when he interrupts with a quiet, "I have to go; Q and I are going to the movies later, and I'm hoping she'll let me do her hair up." You assure him that it's fine, and tell him you'll text him later. He doesn't bother trying to force a smile, and starts to say "Goodb –" only to cut himself off by the second syllable.

You want to tell yourself that Kurt's trying to avoid anything that could possibly get you two into another row about bisexuality, and that's why he doesn't ever finish that word. But you know that it would be a lie – you know that that's not even what the spat was about; it was about you, dangling what Kurt's always wanted (someone like him; a relationship without the awkwardness he still has with Finn; love) in front of his face, just to snatch it away from him.

And Kurt doesn't say that word because he doesn't want to remember the connotation. He doesn't want to remember the things he said to you, and definitely not the things you said to him.

As you stare at Kurt's abandoned coffee in front of you, you let yourself wonder how the hell you got into this mess. You wonder when you started screwing up; when you started to do more harm than good to Kurt. And while you're at it, you let yourself think back to when you started feeling as horrible as you have lately.

When it occurs to you that it was way back when you and Kurt first met – when you urged him to stand up to Karofsky, only to result in further abuse that wracked your conscience night after night, despite Kurt's assurances that he was grateful for your advice – you feel sick to your stomach, and hope to god that you haven't been hurting Kurt that whole time.

Sometimes, you see Kurt laughing with Flint and Jeff and a whole bunch of other Warblers that have suddenly taken some sort of interest in him. You insist vehemently to yourself – and to whatever unlucky soul makes the mistake of bringing it up to you – that you're not jealous of the blatantly flirtatious way that Kurt and Nick banter back and forth.

You, and those unlucky souls, might believe the words more if you didn't always say them like they physically pained you (which they actually sort of do, for christ's sake), but the glares usually do enough to keep people from asking a second time. You're more than aware of the fact that Kurt's moving on. You don't blame him – if you had to deal with what you've put him through, you know that you sure as hell would have tried to get over it. But that doesn't mean that you're not still made a little envious and disappointed when you notice Kurt and Flint sitting very close, and whispering to one another.

Kurt's allowed to have relationships, you mutter to yourself in an attempt at reasoning. The attempt fails spectacularly, and you end up feeling worse off than you did in the beginning, but on the upside – it at least gets Kurt's attention.

On the downside, he doesn't move from where he's sitting, practically in Flint's lap as the taller boy talks about something probably fascinating, and just gives you a small, tentative smile that's probably meant to reassure you.

It doesn't.

When it finally happens that you snap, you completely lose it and you just can't take this – being in this hateful limbo or whatever it is with Kurt; this stage of calling yourselves friends, even though it's so pathetically obvious that you're not – you end up making a two hour drive that you haven't in a while. The ride over actually does you some good on its own, clearing your head and whatnot as you blast the radio and sing along to whatever it is that they play, making up lyrics when you have to just because you can.

By the time you reach Kurt's house (his new house, which you vaguely remember from that night that you really hate to think about, since you remember all too clearly the way that Kurt had looked so hurt, even when he was helping you into his bed), you're feeling strangely brave – courageous, even – as you make your way up to the front door, and knock firmly on it.

You're prepared to smile charmingly at whomever it is that answers the door, with your introductory line of, "Is Kurt home? I wanted to tell him I miss him and want to make everything up to him," waiting to be deployed, when you notice there's another car in the driveway.

Somehow, the notation of that feels ominous, but you quickly disperse the thoughts with the logic that it's probably Carole's car, or maybe Tina's or someone's.

Except then the door opens, and instead of smiling – you can only gape. Because Dave Karofsky is standing in the doorway, glowering down at you from where he stands in all his chubby glory. He greets you with an unpleasant statement of, "You're that douche," and you momentarily forget why you came here in the first place, in your blind fury at seeing him again.

When you remember why you're here, you're startled by the fact that Dave Karofsky is standing in the doorway. Dave Karofsky, who harassed Kurt for years while being in the closet himself. Dave Karofsky, who forced a kiss on Kurt and then threatened to kill him. Dave Karofsky, who you once compared Kurt to.

"Who is it?" Kurt's ever-breathtaking voice inquires curiously as it approaches the threshold, only for the lithe boy to halt very abruptly at the sight of you. You wish that he was stunned silent in a happy way by your presence, but you know that that's not the case. He's just surprised, not elated. He's confused, not hopeful. "Blaine," he says slowly, his voice dripping with the unspoken Well, this is awkward that the three of you can all feel lingering in the air. You've never hated the way that your name sounds so much – but at the same time, you still feel like you love the way that Kurt says it so much.

Kurt invites you inside, and you follow Dave towards the den. You think that the football player smirks at you as he leads the way, and you realize that he's more familiar with the house than you are. You're rendered positive that he was smirking when he makes a point of taking Kurt's hand, and Kurt gives him a warm smile in response.

You miss the days when you were the one holding Kurt's hand; when you were the one he smiled at like that. But when you take an uncomfortable seat on the edge of the sofa, while Dave drops into an armchair like he's lived in it all his life, and Kurt perches on Dave's knees, you realize that those days are long past.

And then all of the sudden, you're really angry. You're upset, and hurt, and you feel so abandoned, and forgotten, and replaced, and really, really pissed off, and you can't stop yourself from blurting out, "What the hell happened?"

The question has so many possible meanings, and you know that Kurt realizes that as he looks down at the ground. Dave seems to notice it, too, judging by the way that he wraps a comforting arm around Kurt's waist. A comforting arm that should be yours, that could have been yours, that would have been yours if you hadn't fucked everything up like you have.

When Kurt answers, he speaks evenly, and the remorse is evident in his tone. But it's not present enough to make you think that there's a chance for the two of you now – sure, you can still be friends. Maybe things can even go back to almost the way they were. Maybe you two can chat about Vogue again. Maybe you two can reconcile with Rachel and the three of you and Mercedes can go out for coffee again. But it won't ever be the same, and it won't ever be what you've finally realized you want – it won't ever be love.

"When you told me I was like Dave, I was disgusted. But then I thought about it, and…you were absolutely right. So I went to talk to him about it. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was getting a chance to play mentor – we're not dating, Blaine."

At this, Dave grins and draws Kurt closer. He mumbles something that sounds suspiciously like, "Not yet, anyway," and you resist the urge to vomit as Kurt flushes lightly, and rolls his eyes at Dave in that bitchy way that you love so much.

"It's actually not going too horribly – he came out to his parents last week. I'm so proud," Kurt teases, turning backwards to pinch Dave's cheek affectionately for a moment, before the larger boy takes his turn to blush and swat Kurt's hand away.

You just watch their intimacy with longing as you feel a sensation that can only be described as heartbreak. Because the fact that they're not together just makes it all the worse. You're seeing firsthand the type of friendship you and Kurt used to have. The kind that you lost. The kind that you really didn't want to screw up, but should have in such a different way.The kind that you didn't realize was so important to you until now, as you're watching Kurt cuddle close to a similarly-oriented male. The kind that will undoubtedly lead to love, at some point in the future, and that will return so easily even if the relationship doesn't work out. It's just friendship now, and it might be something more in the future, and it'll probably revert to friendship even later than that – but it's at least a thousand times better than the tense kinda-sorta-almost acquaintanceship you have with Kurt now.

And when Dave catches your gaze, and gives you a look that almost seems apologetic, you read him loud and clear.

He knows that you're in love with Kurt. He knows that you miss Kurt. And he's sorry for that. He's sorry that he has Kurt now. He's sorry that he's rubbing it in your face without even trying to. But he's not going to give Kurt up. He's not going to do anything stupid like break his heart or something ridiculous like that. He also knows how precious Kurt is, and the difference between you and him is that he knows how precious Kurt is when it matters.

xoxox

AN: I am wholly convinced that Kurt and Lauren would form some sort of friendship through ND, and would be pretty much the most badass hagship since Kurtana. Insert emphatic nod here.

AN (2): I hated a lot of stuff about that Kurt/Blaine scene in BIOTA, but the worst, the absolute worst for me, was that goddamn "I'd say bye, but I don't want to make you angry" line. I don't know what it is about it, but something there just pisses me off.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.