His hands are pale, the long digits sculpted and tapered – they are the hands of an artist, strong and lithe. Kurt has always been proud of them, of how elegantly he can wield them.

But now they are shaking, tremors wracking their lengths in uncontrollable bursts that have taken any sense of grace and thrown it to the wayside. Kurt thinks this is oddly appropriate – like this unusual lack of control in the most finely-tuned part of his physical body is a sign of what has happened.

He has always dealt with the disapproval and down-right hate of society. Years of being thrown into dumpsters and shoved into lockers, of being told that he is wrong and disgusting, have all taken their toll. Until today he had always thought that striving to live despite it all had made him stronger.

Now he sees that the strength that he thought he had gained was only an illusion. It was a mask that he used to fool the world; what he had never anticipated was how it had fooled him, too.

He has been dreaming of bright lights and happy cheers for so long that the idea, no, the fantasy, has engraved itself into his mind and kept pace with his struggle. But now that is gone there is nothing but a barren landscape, rough and unpalatable, remaining.

Since he had started high school and had become the punching bag of the bigoted population he had created a kind of hierarchy in his mind. There were those who would tolerate him, those who ignored him, those who whispered words behind his back, and those who acted on their hate physically. At the pinnacle was David Karofsky – the hulking hockey and football player whose only mission in life had been to ruin his.

In his mind Karofsky was a kind of barrier, the worst of the worst. The kind of person that if he could overcome, he could find victory.

And then he discovered why Karofsky tormented him, why the other boy seemed to hate him with an obsessive passion, and the months and years of pain made a sick kind of sense. Then it stopped.

It wasn't 'just like that' or anything simple, but it stopped, and Kurt understands why. For the short time afterward he felt a kind of triumph, felt like if he had beat the worst, most dangerous and hateful person that he has ever encountered, then he will be able to defeat them all.

Kurt clenches his hands into fists and focuses his gaze on his slowly whitening knuckles. His hands are cold, lack of circulation leaving them pale and stiff.

It was all a lie, an elaborate fabrication by his mind that gave him false hope.

Karofsky is not at the top of the mountain of hate, he isn't the worst that the world can give, and he certainly is not the largest adversary that Kurt will ever face.

Enough people voted for him, enough people hate him so much, that they sabotaged their own prom to humiliate him. If that many people can carry so much hatred in their hearts, how many more of them will he face for the rest of his life?

Will he suffer like Blaine did, become the victim of a violent bashing? Will he have to live the rest of his life knowing that one day soon he will be in tremendous pain because someone else thinks the way he loves is wrong?

Reaching out one trembling and cold hand, Kurt picks up the cheap plastic sceptre. It is a symbol of everything that is wrong in the world; a symbol of how much people will do to make him know that he disgusts them.

"Hey," a voice whispers, a warm hand covering his. Blaine sits next to him on the couch, eyes warm and tender. "Are you okay?"

Kurt licks his lips and nods, even though his eyes show a different answer. "Yeah," he says as he puts the sceptre back on the coffee table. "What about you?"

Blaine's brows pull together in question.

"I just mean – this was about you as much as it was about me. Sure, I was the one in a kilt, and sure I've always had to deal with people disliking me for my voice, but at the base of this, at the core, this was about being gay." Kurt looks away from his boyfriend and shrugs.

Blaine wraps him in a hug, the carnation on his lapel pressing into Kurt's chest, and sighs into Kurt's neck. "I'm fine," he says, confidence in his voice, "we will both be fine." He shifts so that he is pressed even closer to Kurt. "Why don't we just try and enjoy what is left of the evening?"

Kurt smiles into Blaine's shoulder and nods. "Okay. That sounds good."

Blaine pulls back and smiles at him, his hair still styled immaculately. "After all, we have the entire house to ourselves for the night." He winks at Kurt, who can't help but laugh, and stands, holding out a hand to the other boy. "Shall we?"

Taking the offered hand and standing, Kurt allows himself to be tugged upstairs toward Blaine's room. They had talked about this, decided that they would plan a night alone so they could have some privacy. They didn't have some grand scheme of going all the way, or of doing anything more than cuddling in bed together and having the whole night to do so.

But as he is lead up the stairs, Blaine's warm hand cradling his, Kurt wants to do more. Wants to give himself to this boy and receive the same in return. He wants to feels as close as humanly possible to Blaine, and he hopes Blaine wants the same of him.

Ten minutes later finds Kurt pressed into Blaine's pillow, the other boy straddling his waist and plundering his mouth with his tongue. Kurt's hands are gliding anywhere he can reach, unbuttoning Blaine's shirt and exploring the hard expanse of his torso.

Blaine grinds downward, pressing their clothed erections together in a way that has Kurt moaning loudly into the other boy's mouth. He wants more. He wants to feel their naked bodies pressed together, wants to see all of Blaine and hold him tight.

Kurt gasps as Blaine lays a trail of fiery kisses along the length of his neck, nipping and suck until he meets the edges of Kurt's shirt. He looks up, eyes framed by his thick, dark lashes, and asks, "May I?"

Kurt nods, and brings his hands up to help Blaine remove his shirt, shrugging it from his shoulders when he is done and laying back down. Blaine is biting his lip and staring at him, causing a coil of discomfort to build in Kurt chest, before he reaches out a tentative hand and smoothes it over Kurt's chest, rubbing over one of Kurt's nipples with his thumb.

Kurt arches into the touch, groaning in delight. Noting his reaction, Blaine does the same with his other hand.

"You're – oh my God, Kurt." He is perusing Kurt's torso with hungry eyes, hands trailing with the gaze to explore the pale, smooth skin. "You're perfect."

Smiling slightly at Blaine, Kurt cups a hand under Blaine's chin and directs the boy into a kiss, tongue darting out to play at Blaine's lips. He can feel the beginning of stubble at the edges of Blaine's lips, and he uses his tongue to trace them, snakes a hand up to tweak Blaine's nipple and dives into his mouth when it opens on a gasp.

Kurt wishes he could spend forever exploring Blaine, testing his reactions and having his own tested in return. But he knows that won't happen, so he takes the opportunity to make the best of what he has.

As Blaine's hands find their way to the button of Kurt's pants, kilt having been discarded earlier, Kurt starts to lose track of time. Everything is going slow and fast, every move a blur of unthinking motion that carries Kurt along. He can remember, can feel, everything as though in high definition, but it is also hazy and unclear, like looking at the world through a warped piece of glass.

When there is finally no clothing between them, nothing to separate their bodies, Kurt's ears are filled with the sound of his own soft sighs and moans, Blaine's deeper groans flowing out of his mouth as they explore one another's bodies.

Kurt's hands shake when he first trails down Blaine's abdomen and grasps at his erection, stroking and enjoying the sounds it chokes from Blaine's throat. When Blaine kisses him hard and settles between his thighs, rubbing their groins together in sweet, sweet pleasure, Kurt wants to cry from the wonderfulness of it all.

A whispered, "May I? Please, Kurt, I want –" ghosts over the skin of his neck even as a hand with strong, blunt fingers, slides under him and caresses at his body.

Lifting his hips willingly, Kurt pants as he answers with a, "Yes. Yes."

There are moments of fumbling where Blaine reaches for the drawer beside his bed and leans across Kurt's chest, his hardness pressing into Kurt's thigh, and there are moments of sweetness, such as when Blaine has slid fully inside of Kurt and pants wetly into his neck.

The movement of their bodies when Blaine has set a steady pace, thrusting forward and back, Kurt straining to move with him, rocks the solid bed slightly, old springs creaking. The sound, and that of their pants and moans and sighs, fills the room, a soundtrack to one of the best, most intimate moments of Kurt's life.

They lay tangled together afterward, Kurt's head resting on Blaine's chest, one hand idly trailing through the hair before him.

There is sweat cooling on Kurt, chilling him, so he cuddles closer to Blaine's warm body, enjoying the ease and closeness. Blaine notices his movement and leans to his side, grabbing the edge of the blanket and pulling it across both of their bodies.

Kurt sighs in thanks and rubs his cheek against Blaine's skin. Blaine reaches a hand over and pulls his fingers through Kurt's damp hair, caressing his scalp and tresses gently.

They are silent for a few minutes, soaking in the afterglow, when Kurt shifts so that he is looking into Blaine's face. Feeling his movement, Blaine angles his head down and bestows him with a smile, the crinkles at the corners of his eyes telling Kurt just how genuine it is.

"I love you," Kurt whispers, eyes never leaving Blaine's, and watches as the other boy's expression shifts to one of wonder.

Kurt doesn't have time to contemplate if he has made a mistake by confessing his feelings, because Blaine is pulling him up with surprisingly strong arms until their faces are level. The dark-haired boy stares into his eyes, searching, and then nods, saying, "I love you, too."

The words hit Kurt like a bullet, piercing him and filling him with emotion. Giving his own smile, Kurt leans forward and kisses Blaine, dragging his lips against Blaine's in a closed-mouth expression of his love.

Blaine kisses back, never deepening it, but giving passion into the movement like he never wants to stop.

When they finally pull away, Kurt slides back down until he can comfortably rest curled into Blaine's side, head pillowed on a defined shoulder. He doesn't know how long he lays there, Blaine's arm wrapped tight around his shoulders and Kurt's own leg twined between Blaine's, when the fog clears from his mind.

He knows what he has to do, and it makes the love and closeness he feels to Blaine feel even more significant. He, in this moment, has everything he has ever wanted. And more.

He is loved and loves. The knowledge of it makes his heart glow in pride and happiness, and Kurt sighs deeply and closes his eyes, memorizing the feel of Blaine's arms around him.

It takes an hour before Blaine shifts in his sleep, pulling away just enough that Kurt can easily slip from his embrace. As he stands at the edge of the bed, he stares into the sleeping face of the boy he loves, of Blaine, who is everything he could ever want.

When he has memorized everything about this moment, Kurt turns and walks out into the hall and to the bathroom. There are stacks of fluffy white towels in a depressed set of shelves, and the cold of the tile sends his feet curling inward.

Turning the taps to fill the tub with hot water, Kurt kneels before his overnight bag and unzips the front compartment, pulling his pencil case from within. He keeps all of his art supplies with him, always ready for a moment of inspiration, and he has never been gladder for that habit. He opens the case and extracts a long silver instrument, letting his fingers slide over its smooth handle. It really is beautiful.

Placing the object on the edge of the tub, Kurt stands and moves in front of the mirror, facing his reflection with a final inspection. He doesn't think he has ever looked better; even with his hair a tussled mess and his skin dotted with marks, there is something more about how he feels, how he sees himself, right now. When he turns away he feels complete.

This is the most he will ever have, ever be, and he wants to preserve that.

Kurt climbs into the tub naked, the soreness of his muscles, and the feel of where Blaine had penetrated him soothed by the heat. Steam rises from the trembling surface, curling and dancing in obscure but beautiful patterns all around him.

He pulls the X-Acto knife from its position on the ledge of the tub into his hands, twirling its long silver length between his fingers, gaining a feel for its weight and balance. There is something wonderful, reverent, about the way he holds it, eyes caught by its gleaming edges.

He licks his lips, feeling calm and excited all at once, and traces the sharp blade over the exposed inside of his wrist. He gasps out loud as the blade easily separates his skin in a shallow line, the blood welling upward in tiny droplets along its length.

Lifting his wrist to his face, Kurt looks at the blood, admiring the deep red of it and wanting to see more.

Placing the blade at his wrist once again, Kurt presses the tip of the blade into the middle with strength. Blood starts to seep out from around the edges, pouring over his wrist and making a morbid bracelet that drips steadily into the hot water below.

Closing his eyes and leaning back until he is resting against the back of the tub, Kurt inhales deeply once. As he exhales, the breath whispering from his lungs in quiet stutters, he presses down as hard as he can and pulls the blade toward his elbow. The pain is like nothing he has felt before. Sharp and breathtaking, piercingly loud in the sea of feeling from the rest of his body.

There is a burst of warmth that floods his arm, a wetness that he can't think of the words to describe, and then a dull throbbing. He opens his eyes and looks at his work, the deep cut straighter than he thought it would be, and less gory to the sight. Blood, thick and plentiful, is pulsing from the wound to the movement of his heart, trickling and gushing like a waterfall over the edges of his arm to dye the water below.

It only takes a couple of minutes, fascinated by the sight, before Kurt starts to feel heavy, eyes unfocused and hazy.

His hands are colder than they have ever been, so he releases his grip on the knife, letting it fall to the mat in front of the tub, and then drops both arms into the water. The heat feels wonderful, even on the open and throbbing wound bisecting his left arm, and Kurt soon sinks down until only his head is not submerged.

He feels like he has been wrapped in a warm embrace and is falling into a deep, comforting sleep. In a way he is.

Any flash of guilt that he might have felt for leaving his dad, for leaving the boy he loves, is consumed by the sense of peace that he is doused by right now. He can close his eyes in this state and never have to wake up again. He can leave this life behind on his own terms with a smile on his face.

Mind nothing more than a thick stream of slowly moving thought, Kurt drifts, eyes closed and relaxed.

As the last of his thoughts are extinguished by his exhaustion, Kurt thinks that he can hear Blaine. The other boy sounds upset, and Kurt wants to smile and say "it's okay – everything will be alright now."

Kurt imagines that he can feel arms around him, holding him tight, and the voice that had whispered sweet love into his ears mere hours ago says, "I love you, oh my God, Kurt. Please, no. I love you."

Smiling at the words and the reassuring hold that he can't really feel, Kurt lets his mind slip away into oblivion, secure in the knowledge that he is happy, and will forever be so.

A/N: If you have questions/comments about motivation or anything else that you would prefer to send directly to me, I am happy to chat. There is also an attached author's note on the livejournal version of this - you can access my account through the 'Homepage' link in my profile. I hope you enjoyed, and I absolutely love feedback.