There is a moment when you say to yourself, Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you forever.
When you are looking for something and you find it, all is well.
But just because you've found something, doesn't mean you can't lose it.
It wasn't as if this scenario hadn't crossed his mind. It was natural, wasn't it?
We're preconditioned that way; when things are going well, really well, you start to think about what the future holds. At first it's all about buying your first home together, pets and holidays. Then you get a bit serious and there's rings and promises and maybe kids. But there's also a dark side to your brain. One that wonders what might happen if things don't work out. What would happen then?
This has played out in their minds a dozen different ways. They've been variations on a theme; crying and shouting and accusations and begging and whispered apologies. They alternated who left who, who came back and when. (Because they always came back.)
Neither of them expected this.
Kurt was out (he always was, that was the problem) so Blaine had no one to cry with or shout at. There was no one to beg him to stay or ask him to unpack the bag he was zipping up. There was no hand to hold at arm's length, fingers slipping across the other's as he took that final step away. No one to suggest he keep his keys (just in case) as he dropped them on the kitchenette counter.
Just Blaine, wondering how long it would be before Kurt realised he'd gone.
It wasn't supposed to have gone like this.
It takes Blaine a whole month to figure out where it started. A whole month in his new, smaller, darker, shoebox apartment which adds three transfers to his journey to work and four to school. But he's spent that month deconstructing their whole relationship to figure out what happened. How they ended up like this.
(It took two days, by the way, for Kurt to realise. And all he did was send a text. Be happy. K x)
The obvious answer is when Kurt finally, finally got that role he wanted in some little independent theatre musical. His first proper lead role, that first chance to really get noticed. Once that happened he had a whole plan about where he was going – well, several plans. The current one ended up with him running a little workshop school for up and coming talent, giving kids coming from a background like his a chance to get out there and shine.
He'd worked so hard for it, Blaine had lost count of the number of nights where he'd come home after studying all day, working all evening, and then he'd run lines or listen to Kurt singing the same lines over and over and over to get them just right.
And he really hadn't cared.
Watching Kurt perform in the privacy of their small apartment had given him such a thrill. He knew he'd go and see his boyfriend on his opening night. He knew that Kurt would find him, his face in the audience and sing a line or two directly at him. But the rehearsals? They were just for him. Every line, every note, every move Kurt made was just for him. Blaine had never felt so close, so intimate with him.
But it might have been the obvious answer, but it wasn't the right one.
They had such plans for New York. A small apartment well within their budget (location relatively unimportant, they had romantic ideas of walking hand in hand or arm in arm around the city), Blaine would study for his law degree and the two of them would work whatever jobs they needed to in order to survive.
They would make sure that once a week they did something together – a date night which was non-negotiable. They knew they would be busy and they would make time for each other.
But there was that week when he was struggling with an assignment and Kurt had to work late and they missed their first date night. It was just one week they told themselves, they'd make up for it the next week. (They did by the way. Then there were two dates the next week to really make up for it.) But it was the start of it.
Blaine had realised that Kurt was slipping away from him, bit by bit. Rehearsals and cast meetings and various other things crept into their free time and Blaine couldn't begrudge him a minute of it.
It's late when Kurt comes home, dropping his bag on the floor in exhaustion.
He stumbled to the couch and crawled onto it, wanting nothing more than to just sleep now but his habits dragged him into the bedroom. He undressed, completed his night time skin care routine, and fell into bed.
In the minutes between exhaustion and unconsciousness he realised that he'd fallen onto Blaine's side of the bed. Well, what had been Blaine's side. Now he guessed both sides were his.
It had been a long month since he'd come home to find Blaine's keys on the side. There was no note but Blaine didn't need to leave one. The keys were enough. And if he were honest, Kurt hadn't been that surprised. In fact he'd been expecting it and had just avoided having that conversation. He didn't want to be fronted up with the reality that his boyfriend was slipping away from him.
Since moving to New York things had been good. They did all the things they said they were going to do and made up for the times when they couldn't. Kurt made sure that he spent time with Blaine, even if that meant rehearsing in front of him because of deadlines.
Blaine was smart and hard working, but Law had its own challenges and there were times when he had to stay late for research or group projects. During the first round of exams Blaine had been so stressed that it had led to one hell of an argument about the stupidest of things.
Kurt knew he wasn't easy to live with and his life had its own pressures. It was just about give and take, right? They just needed to work out how to exist together, living together for the first time. It had been fairly ordinary for the most part, brilliant in others and absolute hell in some. But he loved it all.
Then there was this role. This dream role. Blaine had helped him rehearse and for a little while things had never been so good between them. Once he got the part they had gone out to celebrate. Dinner at this little restaurant they loved, walked around the city, found somewhere they could dance until the sun came up.
When rehearsals started he tried his hardest to be home to spend time with Blaine but when he managed it Blaine was busy. They started living separate lives and it had been a shock to Kurt to find that he was still happy.
To a degree.
Since Blaine had left Kurt had given his all to the play and so rarely came home. He was trying not to think about how he could continue to afford this place by himself. His final thought before falling asleep was maybe he could ask Finn to spot him some cash so he wouldn't have to think about it for another month.
For the first month the boys got on with their lives in a numb fashion. They got up, got dressed, went out of their apartments, went to where they needed to go. They shopped and cleaned and did all the things that normal, everyday people did.
Well, they weren't starving. This isn't that kind of story. They loved each other and missed each other but they were still human beings who craved food for survival. But that was it.
Each ate when the ache became unbearable, food was thrown out untouched.
There is a moment when you say to yourself, I just can't be bothered with this anymore.
Blaine had never been considered fat or big but he was able to conceal the weight loss for a while. Two months, three weeks and four days after he left his keys behind in his old apartment his study group couldn't hide their suspicions about his health and wellbeing and so arranged an end of year night out for the whole course. Blaine wasn't allowed any of his usual excuses as Katie kept asking him to let her know when he was free so she could book the restaurant for that night. Henry polled everyone about budgets so no one (Blaine included) could cry poor, and Andie's birthday present from her father was a series of limos which picked everyone up from their apartments or homes or dorms.
In short, Blaine had a group of friends who cared too much to see him throwing everything away.
He didn't want to go but they hadn't left him much choice so he pulled on a clean pair of jeans and a tee, pulled on a light jacket, grabbed his wallet and phone, and when Katie called to say their ride was outside he locked the door behind him and went out.
It was just one night – what harm could it do?
He'd picked at the dinner but under Katie's stare had eaten most of it. She allowed him to pass on dessert but shoved a forkful of cheesecake in his direction and then kicked him under the table when he'd tried to ignore it.
The rest of the course made plans to kick on and Blaine almost allowed himself to be talked into it. But then Helen said something about dancing until the sun came up and suddenly Blaine remembered what he and Kurt had done once and then he didn't feel like it any more. So he made his excuses and collected his jacket.
"Lightweight," came a voice from behind him.
Blaine turned around in time to see Katie emerging from the restaurant behind him. She pulled on her jacket, cigarette already hanging from her lips.
"Thanks for tonight, Kate," Blaine said, the beginnings of a relatively sincere smile on his face.
"It was a start," she mumbled around the filter, shielding the end from the New York wind as she flicked the lighter. She inhaled deeply then tilted her head to blow the offending smoke away from her friend. " You don't suit the role of tragic lover, Blaine. It's lame."
For a second they both laughed at the stupid rhyme. Then Blaine's faded and he shoved his hands into his pockets.
"Listen, love," Katie said, sidling over to him and curling in as close as she dared while she was still smoking, "I get that it sucks. I'm not about to tell you to get over him, that it's been nearly three months and you should be moving on.
"Although if you want to, my roommate's cousin is gay and he's damn cute."
"I think I'll pass," Blaine muttered.
"Love, it will get better. I'm not saying that's going to happen tonight or tomorrow or even this year."
"Think that's what I'm actually worried about," Blaine said before he could stop himself. He took a deep breath before continuing. "If I get over him then there's a chance that one day there will be someone else. I'll kiss someone else, say 'I love you' to someone else. Kurt won't be my boyfriend or my best friend... he'll be my first boyfriend, my first love. Like he's part of some queue that'll form through my life."
"For the record, love," Katie said, exhaling a lungful of smoke into the cool New York night, "there's been a queue all year. And most of them have been girls who are just hoping."
He gave a short laugh. "Bet you were first in line."
"Oh you wish," she smirked back.
"He was all I ever wanted," Blaine added quietly, sadly. "No other guy... anyone... makes me feel like he does."
"Have you heard from him?"
Blaine shook his head.
"Why don't you call him?"
"He'll be busy," Blaine said with a mixture of pride and annoyance in his voice. The play would have opened weeks ago but he'd avoided any mention of it. He didn't want to see evidence of his right choice in rave reviews.
"So? Everyone gets some time off. Text him, ask him out for coffee or something."
"What'd you do? Delete his number off your cell? Like you don't have it memorised." Katie finished her cigarette and after stubbing it out put the butt into the waiting receptacle. "You're scared."
"Of what?" Blaine asked, meaning it as a challenge.
Katie was ready for him. "You're scared that he's moved on. You're scared that he won't want to see you. You're scared that he'll hate you for leaving him. You're scared that he doesn't want anything more to do with you and that rejection will kill you."
"I thought the whole point of tonight was to cheer me up," he pointed out.
"Yeah, you weren't supposed to know that."
"I know you, Katie."
"And I know you, Blaine. You don't care anymore and it scares me. Last week, why'd you think I asked you wait and walk out with me after school?" When Blaine stared blankly at her she continued. "Two weeks after you and Kurt broke up I saw you walking to school. You had your head down, iPod in... and you stepped right out into the road without looking."
The memory jumped to the fore of Blaine's mind and he remembered stepping quickly back out of the way of the taxi, whose driver yelled a stream of expletives at the distracted young man.
"You don't eat, you walk around like you're not even here. You nearly picked a fight with Neanderthal Nick a week ago and if you'd seen it through then you'd still be in the hospital today and we both know it."
"Kate..." he began but he knew she was right. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Promise?" she asked, her eyes wide in the moonlight.
"Always," he smiled, leaning in to kiss her on the cheek. "Thank you for tonight."
"Please take care of yourself."
"You mean that?" She threw her arms around his neck and held on tightly. "Love you, Blaine, you know that right?"
"Love you too," he whispered.
"If only," she laughed softly in his ear.
"If indeed," he replied, pulling back and placing a chaste kiss on her lips.
She tasted of wine and cigarettes and for a brief second there was the thought that he should go out with the group tonight, he should go and get drunk and share a smoke with Katie, maybe crash at hers. He should meet her roommate's cousin and he should get on with his life. He should at least try.
"Kurt was so lucky," Katie was saying now, smoothing down his tee with her hands. "A guy who loved him enough to walk away. Mine just do the walking."
"You'll find him," Blaine said, stepping back and wrapping his jacket around him. "I..." found mine, he silently finished. "I'm sure of it."
"Here's hoping," she grinned. "Go on, go. I'll call you tomorrow so you can take me out to lunch."
"Oh I can, can I?"
"Yes you can. Night, Blaine."
"Night, love," he replied, turning on his heel and starting the walk to the bus stop.
It was a clear night and Blaine decided to give the bus a miss. He loved walking in the city, made him feel a part of it. When he'd first announced his plans to move to New York his father had lectured him on how dangerous it was, that his son would be mugged or murdered within months. It had been years and the worst thing that had happened to either of them was losing his travel card.
Which was totally Kurt's fault. He had jumped him as soon as he walked through the door (not complaining) and proceeded to strip him down (again, not complaining) and then do all kinds of things they both loved (really not complaining) for the rest of the night. He had lost his travel card, about two dollars in change, and a sock.
He'd been working on auto-pilot and now found himself heading in the direction of his old apartment. His and Kurt's. Katie had planted the idea of Kurt and home and all the good times in his head and so his feet had followed his heart and wanted to take him back there.
Which wasn't the best idea. Turning up and your ex's door at some stupid hour of the night, begging for forgiveness? Stuff of stupid clichéd movies. Besides, chances are Kurt wouldn't be home. Plays ran late, right? And there would be after-show drinks and fans and probably some guy waiting in the dressing room to whisk Kurt away for a late night intimate dinner, after which they would go to bed and...
Snapping himself free of his thoughts, Blaine took the next left and started the loop back round to the shoebox he now called home when a loud clatter nearly made him jump out of his skin.
On instinct he looked to cross the road, away from the noise. It had come from a nearby alley and when he noticed there were people there he was very keen to get away.
At first it looked like a couple getting very up close and personal, but then Blaine saw the woman trying to push him away. The larger guy came back and Blaine's sense of duty and right kicked in. You stayed safe in New York by keeping out of other people's business but some things you didn't walk away from.
So he turned on his heel and headed for the alley.
Katie had made him promise to stay safe, and his father had said that anything like this should be walked away from and the cops called. But he couldn't do it. At the back of his mind he knew that he could easily be hurt – or killed – because of this but still he kept walking. Because what if something like this happened to someone he knew? Someone he cared about? How would he feel knowing that a stranger just walked by because they were scared of getting involved, getting hurt?
As Blaine came closer he realised his first mistake; it wasn't a woman but a guy. Not that it made a difference, no still meant no.
Then he heard a muttered, "Just take them," and the smaller guy offered up what looked to be a wallet and mobile phone. So a mugging then.
Muggings were safer. Hand it over and chances are you'd be fine. Blaine decided that he could put aside his white knight routine and was about to go when the voice spoke again.
"Just take them and go you Neanderthal."
That word, that voice made Blaine stop.
It also made the attacker stop. "What did you call me?" he growled.
"Oh just get on with it," came that voice, that sweet and melodic voice that Blaine would know if it were one in a thousand voices speaking at the same time.
The attacker growled and Blaine opened his mouth to speak. He closed it again when he saw the Neanderthal pull out a blade and hold it aloft. Then he said nothing, just ran – full pelt – body slamming the attacker to the ground. The knife skittered across the alley as they both stumbled to their feet. Blaine was a few inches shorter than the man but his blood was boiling and he grabbed the stranger, pushing him against the wall, holding him there.
"Walk, now," Blaine said, his voice low and full of meaning. "Take what you got and go while you still can. Because I swear to whatever god you might believe in that if you so much as try anything you won't be awake long enough to regret it."
The man looked as if he was about to challenge Blaine but the shorter man's hazel eyes were dark and his face full of rage and passion and outright defiance. So he took the hint and left, taking off at a run in the opposite direction.
Only then did Blaine turn around.
He was still on the ground, curled up protectively as if his rescuer was about to become his next attacker. Blaine walked over, crouched down next to him, and gently touched his arm.
"Kurt," he whispered.
Kurt's head snapped up and Blaine's anger flushed again when he saw the state of Kurt's face. The cut over his eye was bleeding and his lip was split.
There is a moment when you say to yourself, - - - - - - - - - -
The thoughts don't come. The brain seems to forget how to process logical thought and all you can do is look – no, stare – and do nothing. It's as if your body is waiting for instructions from the brain and when they don't come because it is just so overwhelmed by what it's seeing and feeling, the body gives its own exasperated sigh and acts of its own accord.
Whenever Blaine remembered this night, whenever he went over each and every detail, he still can't for the life of him recall how Kurt ended up sobbing in his arms.
He could remember holding Kurt, he remembered whispering that it was OK, that Kurt was OK, that Blaine had him now.
He remembered the feel of Kurt's body in his arms, how tightly he was holding on. He remembered his shock at feeling each and every rib, how fragile Kurt felt.
He remembered promising himself that he wasn't letting go.
Kurt's things were long gone and so Blaine made the decision to bring him back to his. He hailed a cab and helped Kurt into the back seat. Kurt said nothing, just curled in on himself. Blaine paid the driver and then led Kurt up four flights to the shoebox that had been home for the last few months.
Kurt said nothing throughout this. No words of protest or gratitude. He let Blaine lead him to the couch, he sat there while Blaine filled a bowl with water, grabbed a clean cloth and set about cleaning him up as best as he could.
He didn't say anything when Blaine put a glass of water down on the table and disappeared into the bedroom to "straighten things out". He looked around the apartment, trying to work out if he liked it or not. He'd not made his mind up before Blaine came back and informed him that he was staying here tonight.
The bedroom was simple, still slightly messy and it was clear that Blaine had just shoved most things out of sight.
"I'll... sleep on the couch," Blaine said nervously. "If you need anything..."
It was the first word that Blaine had heard Kurt say to him in months and it made his heart stop for a second. In the following second he had nodded. Fifteen seconds after that the pair of them were lying on his bed, on top of the covers, facing each other and wondering what would happen next.
Fifty three seconds later Blaine's hand was tentatively placed on the soft dip in Kurt's waist.
Five seconds later Kurt had shifted over and was burying his face into the crook of Blaine's neck.
For the next one hundred and fifteen seconds, Blaine was willing his body to not be inappropriate right now. For once it seemed to agree with him and put aside the raging hormones and emotions and anger and love and outright lust and relaxed.
Four hundred and eighty seconds after getting on the bed with his ex-boyfriend, Kurt was sobbing again and Blaine held him once more, soothing him to sleep.
Kurt woke to an empty bed.
He stretched out his stiff limbs before swinging his feet over the edge. As he sat up he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror. Last night's beating had taken its toll and his cheekbones were shaded in hues of purple, yellow, tinged with black.
Getting up he opened the bedroom door and ventured out into the apartment. Blaine was sat on the couch, flicking through some magazine in a way that betrayed he wasn't really reading it.
"Hey," Kurt said softly, his throat dry and sore.
"Hi," Blaine replied.
"What time is it?"
Kurt shrugged and glanced over at the kitchenette.
"Coffee?" Blaine offered, following his gaze.
Grateful of something productive to do, Blaine jumped to his feet. He ran the tap for a moment, testing its coolness before filling a glass and holding it out.
"Thanks," Kurt said, taking it and sipping carefully at the liquid. He tried so hard not to look at Blaine but in the end he couldn't avoid it any longer.
"How are you?" Blaine asked.
He must have hesitated because suddenly Blaine clarified by gesturing to his face. "Bit sore but OK," Kurt replied.
"You need to go to hospital? See a doctor?"
"I'll live," Kurt replied.
"Want something to eat?" Blaine offered on instinct before realising there was pretty much no food in the place.
"No, thanks," Kurt mumbled.
Blaine looked at him; Kurt had always been slight but this was almost dangerously so. He'd known it last night when he'd held him but seeing him now, in the cool light of day? There was no hiding the fact that Kurt Hummel was dangerously underweight.
"We should report it. The mugging," Blaine said, almost monotone.
"Like they'll catch him."
"You need to file a report, Kurt. You need to details for..."
"I just want to go home."
"Right," Blaine said before he could stop himself, his tone betraying his hurt and disappointment.
"Thank you. For last night."
Things were suddenly painfully formal and Kurt just wanted to get out of here. He had thought about what would happen if he saw Blaine again and it hurt. Not just because of the bruises and cuts but it hurt just like it had been hurting since he came home that evening to an empty and cold apartment.
"Want me to call you a cab?" Blaine offered.
"I'll spot you, it's fine."
"I don't need your charity."
"Kurt, it's not charity..."
"I'll be fine, Blaine. I've had to be."
"Look, I'm sorry, I can't do this. You can go on playing at everything being fine but I... I just can't deal with this. With you and me. Like this."
"I should go."
"Rehearsal?" Blaine said instinctively, the bitter note in his voice again.
This stunned Blaine. "What? Why?"
"Because I couldn't do it," Kurt snapped. "The whole thing. I just... I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to. I spent days trying but it didn't sound right, it didn't feel right. My heart wasn't in it so I quit, let them find someone else to play the part."
"You worked so hard for that... Why would you do that?" Blaine was struggling to get his head around the whole concept. "We practiced those songs for hours..."
"Yes, Blaine. We did. You and me. And I couldn't sing them... I just... I couldn't..." Kurt's voice was starting to waiver but he pushed on regardless. "My big break and I couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it. You walked out on me, Blaine. No note, no nothing. Just a set of keys on the side."
"We knew it was coming..."
"We should have talked about it. You blew my whole life apart, Blaine, there were consequences to that."
"Oh, so it's all my fault you quit?"
"Actually, yeah, it is. I wasn't good for anything after you left."
"And you think I was?" Blaine asked.
"I don't know, Blaine, I really don't. You didn't reply to my text, you never got in contact... It was like I ceased to exist for you and that hurt. No, that more than hurt. It destroyed me. And I'm sorry if this upsets the little life you have going on now, sorry if this not what you want to hear. But I need to say it and I know that as soon as I walk out that door I'm probably never going to see you again and if I don't take this chance then..." Kurt stopped and took a deep breath. "I thought we finally had everything we had planned and suddenly it's not what you want..."
Then Kurt stopped.
He looked at Blaine and he knew – he knew right there and then what had happened.
There is a moment when you say to yourself, How did I not see this earlier?
Thing is – you did see it. But you didn't notice it, or pay attention to it, or you outright ignored it.
"Oh god..." Kurt breathed. "You left me because I had what I'd been working towards, didn't you?"
"Oh no, you don't get to try and explain yourself," Kurt snapped. "You walked out because you thought that I needed to... what? Give my all to the play? That it was the only thing that mattered? Did I really give you that impression, Blaine? What the hell did I do that even suggested that?"
Once again Kurt didn't let Blaine finished before he launched into his next attack. Three months of hurt and questions and anger had been uncorked and now there was nothing stopping him. "You didn't even talk to me about it. We could have sat down and talked this through but no – you make all the decisions. You threw away our whole relationship because... because you thought it was what? What I wanted?"
"No, it was what you needed," Blaine snapped back, finally finding his voice. "And how can you say I make all the decisions? I followed you here, Kurt. I ruled out so many colleges that I had considered before because they weren't in New York. Because this is where you wanted to be, this is where you needed to be, and so here we would be.
"I go to school, I worked an all-hours job to support us when you had to give up shifts for rehearsals or auditions. I gave up so much for you, to support you. And I did it willingly. I really did, Kurt. I would have followed you anywhere."
"So what changed?" Kurt asked in shock.
"First time I heard you sing, Kurt? I knew you were going to go on to great things. I love singing, I love performing, but you? It's everything for you. And being a part of your life when you get to do these great things? It's fantastic. And I know you have these dreams and plans... so when we moved here I promised myself something.
"I promised myself that if I was ever in your way, if I was holding you back..."
"And that's why you left? Because you thought you were holding me back?"
"We barely spent any time together, Kurt. You were so busy with rehearsals and costumes and every other little thing... You remember that time I asked if we could spend that Saturday in the City?" he asked. "I could tell from your reaction that you wanted to, that you would have come, but you needed to get back to the theatre for the workshop. Spending time with me was taking you away from something you had worked so hard for."
"What about you?" Kurt asked quietly, his eyes brimming with tears. "I worked hard for you. I fell in love with you and had to wait, watch you... with other people. We fought long and hard to get here, convincing our parents not to freak out about us moving in together, working all summer long to build up rent, apartment hunting... All the hate and whispers and outright bullying... I went through all that for you."
"I don't want to hold you back..."
"You left me and I was so fucking depressed that I quit the play. Which do you think held me back more?" Kurt snapped.
"Well what was I supposed to do?" Blaine retorted, his volume rising. In the back of his mind he couldn't help but think, Great. I've become one of those neighbours. "You never talked to me about it. You were so caught up in what you were doing that you forgot I was even there. No notes, no texts, forget spending any real amount of time together. I was just someone you crawled into bed next to, and that was when you came home before I had to get up.
"I felt like your roommate rather than your partner. I was your friend, not your boyfriend and I was being left behind. Being with me was holding you back and I love you too much to let that happen."
"Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe that was what was helping? I loved you so much that I was able to trust that you would take care of everything. I didn't have to worry about shopping or laundry or eating. I didn't have to worry about missing out on calls or emails because you left those stupid notes in my coffee mug.
"That text I sent... All I ever wanted was for you to be happy. Everything I did was because I wanted you, wanted us to be happy. And when you left it was like you were saying that I wasn't good enough, that you weren't happy with me. And that hurt because I tried. I really tried.
"I have never let go with anyone, Blaine. I have never trusted anyone so much as you. God, I let you wash my clothes so that alone should have given you some clues about how much I love you..."
Kurt's admission, in the present tense, hung in the air. Two confessions, in as many minutes, and neither of them knew what was going to happen next.
There is a moment when you say to yourself, How the fuck did I get here?
Not quite as poetic as the last time Blaine said it but it makes the point just as well I feel.
Take these two boys. Young men really but both will admit to have been quite childish recently so let's call them boys. All of this could have been avoided if they had just sat down and talked to each other, but they fell into the trap that so many couples have done and will do.
When you are with someone, when you love them, you know them. You really do. And we're not just talking about their coffee order. So when you know them you make the mistake that you know what they're thinking all the time. Sure, you can know what they think most of the time, but all it takes is one misconception, one mistake, and knowing what they're like means you create a whole universe in your head that is just one step to the left of reality.
And the scary thing is that it is so real that when you are given the truth you can't quite believe it.
Inception has nothing on this.
For a moment they just looked at each other, trying to work out where they had gone so wrong. So much hurt, so much damage had been done and they weren't quite sure what to do next.
Option a – kiss and just move on, putting it all behind them as if it had never happened. (Never works, sweeping stuff under the carpet means it's still there, you know it's still there, and eventually it bugs the hell out of one of you – usually the emotional "clean freak".)
Option b – accept the damage has been done and resign yourself to the life you have now. If you can think that, if you can do that much damage? Surely it's better to prevent yourself hurting someone you really do love.
Option c – try and work through it and deal with the issues and the pain and see if you can fix what you broke.
Kurt and Blaine managed to find Option d.
"Want me to come with you," Blaine asked. "To the cops?"
(Option d is apparently ignore that the last five minutes ever happened.)
"Sure I can manage," Kurt said, picking up his jacket and pulling it on. "Thank you. For last night."
"Well I wasn't going to just walk away."
"I'll have to give the cops your details. I imagine."
"Right. Do you need me to..." Blaine mimed writing something down, indicating his cell number. He presumed that at some point in the last three months Kurt had hit the "delete contact" button.
(For the record, he hadn't. Neither of them had. Hell, Kurt still had Blaine listed as his ICE.)
"See you around," Kurt said, heading for the door.
"Sure you don't want cab fare?"
"I can take care of myself..."
Blaine discarded option d, selecting e : resume the argument. "Evidence to the contrary. When was the last time you ate properly?"
"When did you?" Kurt retorted.
"Last night," Blaine said, sending a prayer of thanks to Katie for unintentionally giving him a winning response.
"And before that?"
"You left me, Blaine. You don't get the high ground in this."
Kurt's hand hesitated, reaching for the handle. "Do you know how many times I came home, wondering if you'd be there? Wondering if you'd just... come back? And you know what? I wouldn't have cared. Not that first night. Just... one night when things would have been good between us, as they were. We could talk in the morning, sort it out. Because I love you so much that there is pretty much nothing I wouldn't want to at least try.
"But I never got that chance."
Blaine opened his mouth to apologise again but the door was open and Kurt was gone.
Kurt's day was lost in a blur of forms and reports and arranging a replacement cell and bank cards. Then he went shopping and bought more food than he'd done in the last three months. He caught a cab back to the apartment and gave the driver an extra twenty bucks to help him carry it all upstairs. He fumbled with his spare keys (giving a set to Rachel had helped) and unlocked the door, kicking it open. He had a bag in each hand and was pushing a third in with his foot when he stopped.
"Need a hand with those?" Blaine asked, picking up the one from the floor and lifting it onto the counter.
He stepped around the motionless Kurt and collected the remaining ones from the hallway.
"Well, this saves me having to go tomorrow," he continued, starting to unpack things.
Kurt still hadn't moved – hell he'd probably not even blinked.
Their – his – the apartment was as he'd left it yesterday, save for the still-packed bags sat on the couch and table. Blaine's bags.
He finally blinked, long and slow, wondering if when he opened his eyes reality would have resumed.
"Blaine..." he managed to say when he had opened them and everything was still there. "How...?"
"Spare key," he explained. "You gave yours to Rachel, I gave mine to Katie. Had to blow off a lunch date with her but she understood."
Blaine hesitated. "Want me to go?"
The next time Kurt blinked he became aware of the tears that were starting to prick at his eyes. "No," he whispered.
Blaine stopped unpacking and walked over to Kurt. In one fluid motion their arms were wrapped around each other, holding on tight.
"Want to talk?" Blaine whispered.
"I thought I knew what I wanted. I thought it was all about New York and being on stage and singing to a full house... But it wasn't. It was never that. Because I had that and it meant nothing because... because I didn't have you. What I wanted, what I need? You. And I'm never going to let it get to the stage where you don't know that."
Still holding on, Blaine buried his face in Kurt's shoulder and he breathed deeply.
"This time yesterday I didn't want to do anything. Then I spend the night with you and I'm calling old friends, contacts, arranging auditions..."
Blaine pulled back and caught Kurt's eyes, smiling his first honest smile for months.
"What?" Kurt asked.
"I thought I was holding you back," he admitted.
"You make me fly," Kurt corrected.
"Getting that now," Blaine smiled.
There is a moment when you say to yourself, Oh, there you are. You've been right in front of me forever.
Neither of them knew what happened. One minute they're stood there, close enough to feel the other's breath on their skin, the next they're gasping for air as lips met in a hungry kiss.
They would make out on the couch before stopping for food. Then Blaine would unpack his things, put them back where they belong and he would call his new landlord and give his notice on the shoebox. Then he and Kurt would eat some more and go for a walk in the City. They would laze in the park and come home when it was getting cold. Then they would eat some more as if their bodies were demanding back pay for three months of near-starvation.
Then they would go to bed.
It would be weird and awkward at first. Not that they didn't know how to do this, or what the other liked, but it was still weird. So they would decide that they could wait to resume that part of their relationship and then Blaine would get up for some water. Except when he goes to do that he will end up tripping on something and crashing back down onto the bed. Kurt would gasp in pain as his injuries were aggravated and Blaine's horror would turn into their giggles and that would turn into kisses and then the awkwardness would be forgotten and even though it won't be great sex they will think it is.
They would talk tomorrow. And the day after that and the day after that. And they would never stop talking.