Chapter title is from the song Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt.
This is the final chapter of this story.
Artie didn't see Kurt again until several weeks later, when Mercedes invited all the New Directions members and Kurt to her place for dinner.
After dinner, Artie got out on the patio, alone with his thoughts. He couldn't stand having to watch, again, how Brittany acted more like a couple with Santana than with himself, so he left while everybody was busy doing the dishes, and he didn't think anyone noticed.
He heard the door open and close behind him, and Kurt sat in the stairs in front of him. They kept silent for a while, and finally Kurt spoke:
"You're not happy, are you?"
"Are you?" he answered.
"The guy I had a huge crush on is now dating my step-brother, who was also my first love and always said he was straight. Your girlfriend is clearly in love with her best friend, who hates your guts because you're the only obstacle standing in her way. Do you think we're happy?" he asked in his usual sarcastic tone.
"You're right. I do think I was happy that night, though," he added after a long pause.
"You were drunk." You probably don't even remember exactly what happened." Kurt crossed his arms and looked away, avoiding Artie's eyes.
"Sure I do," he sounded more hurt than he intended to let out. "I think about it all the time – about you – and it's the only thing that keeps me going when – "
He stopped talking, feeling his voice breaking. Kurt stood up and closed the gap between them, kneeling before his chair, and took his hands, a worried look on his face.
"When…?" Kurt sad smile encouraged him to continue.
"When it gets too hard with Brit. When she's… like this." He motioned towards the house, and Kurt nodded understandingly.
"Do you love her?"
"I did – I do. And I can tell she loves me too. She's just in love with Santana too."
Kurt looked him straight in the eye.
"She can't have both, you know."
Artie shook his head.
"She won't make a choice because she's afraid to hurt me."
"She already does."
Artie looked away. He knew it was the truth, he even knew what he had to do, but he didn't want to admit it. Kurt stood up, giving a small squeeze to his shoulder.
"Think about it," he said softly before getting inside.
Artie found himself three days later, dialing Kurt's number nervously. He needed to tell someone, but most of all, he needed to hear his voice.
Kurt answered at the third ring, sounding surprised – Artie had never called him before.
"Artie? Are you okay?"
"I – I broke up with Brittany."
"Want me to come over?" Kurt immediately offered.
Artie nodded, before remembering Kurt couldn't see him, so he managed to utter a feeble "yes".
"I'll be right there," Kurt said before hanging up.
Fifteen minutes later, Kurt was knocking on his half-closed bedroom door, peeking inside. Artie, lying on his bed, motioned him to come in.
"Your mom let me in."
Artie gave a small nod and resumed his staring at the ceiling. He saw Kurt sit on the bed out of the corner of his eye.
"It was the right thing to do."
"Doesn't feel like it," Artie croaked.
"I know it doesn't. But you couldn't stay in a relationship like that. You weren't happy."
"And now I am?" Artie snapped.
He cursed himself for taking it out on Kurt, the only person he knew could make him feel better. He gave him a sorry look.
"You will be."
Kurt lied by his side on the bed and pulled him into a warm embrace. Artie could feel a wave of calmness wash over him, and after a long time breathing in Kurt's presence, he fell asleep.
Artie woke up a few hours later, and it all came back to him, hitting him like a truck. He'd managed to forget the breakup and how much hurt he felt for a couple of hours, but now that he was awake, even Kurt's arms couldn't help him numb the hollow feeling inside of him. He felt tears coming to his eyes and he couldn't stop his shoulders from shaking with his sobbing. Beside him, he felt Kurt waking up. When he noticed Artie crying, he pulled him closer and kissed the top of his head to comfort him.
Artie pulled away quickly; it was too much at once. Kurt looked at him confusedly.
"It – it's too soon," Artie tried to explain. "I don't know how I feel about this – about us, and –" He felt his voice break at this point and he looked away from Kurt, unable to say anything more.
"It's alright," Kurt said softly. "I'm not trying to replace her. I'm not asking anything from you. I just want to be there for you if you need me."
Artie nodded and let himself lean into Kurt's embrace again. They lay there a long time, just looking at each other, thinking about how it was going to go, holding each other not to fall or get lost, and maybe crying a little.
It would take some time, he'd have to let his heart heal, but he knew they'd be okay.
They'd be together.