A/N: happy duets day. may all your creys be absolutely horrible.
The night Sam leaves, Kurt arrives at the same time he always does. Sam doesn't explain and Kurt doesn't ask, but holds up an old sweater all the same, like nothing's changed at all. Sam bites his tongue and tastes blood and nostalgia and something else, but he can't quite put his finger on it.
"This one was always a bit big," Kurt says, and his voice is shaking the way it sometimes does when he's not saying everything he wants to say, "so I thought, you know, you could take it with you."
The last words trail off as Sam smiles nervously, the way he sometimes does when he wants to say something but can't. "Th-Thanks." The metal taste of blood is still on the inside of his cheek.
"You're leaving — tonight, right?"
Two hours from now, Sam thinks, he'll be packed into the back of his parents' Volvo, embarking on their journey back to Tennessee. Everything will change, but he'll still be waiting for Stevie and Stacey to fall asleep, and he'll still be wearing Kurt's old jacket, the faint smell of his cologne sticking to the fabric, and he'll still wish Kurt was there to sing a lullaby to them to ease their fitful rests.
And Sam wants so badly to tell him this. He wants to tell him that he doesn't want to go back, that the past few weeks with Kurt have meant more to him than anything —
But Sam swallows the metallic taste in his mouth and just nods instead. The warm summer air is starting to make him sweat, but Kurt makes no move to go inside, so Sam steps out into the humidity and takes the jacket in his hands. From the tag he knows Kurt was lying, that the jacket always fit him just fine, and anyways, it's July and who needs a jacket in July? The sentimentality of the moment hits him all at once. He feels like crying.
"Must be nice to be going home," Kurt says, nonchalantly, in that voice that means he's lying again.
No, Sam wants to say. Home is returning from school and finding Kurt waiting for him, perched on the railing on the porch, beaming like he has a secret and swinging his heel. Home is watching Kurt doze off far past midnight to the sound of Sam's guitar. Home is wherever Kurt is, and there's no one like Kurt in Tennessee. There's no one like Kurt anywhere.
"It is," Sam says instead, and berates himself for not telling even half of the truth. "My grandparents — they're going to, ah — take care of us."
Kurt's grin in response is a heartbeat too late and Sam wonders why it's so hard to say what you mean. Maybe it's rationality, or maybe it's fear, like they're both too scared to speak. Even in the July air, his lips tremble with the weight of his secrets.
"We're going to miss you." Kurt's voice cracks and Sam knows he's saying something else, something more personal, something like, but I'll miss you most.
Sam looks up from the sweater and blinks once, twice, thrice. "I'll miss them too." You, most of all.
Kurt makes that smile that he sometimes makes, the one with the bleary eyes and the grin stretched taut across his lips. Sam loves this smile best — the way the skin around Kurt's eyes crinkles and the way his cheeks flush red. It makes him look happy, so happy he could cry, and that's how Sam feels, almost all the time, almost always. So happy, he could just start crying right there, big fat tears and words he doesn't say.
It's not so late, Sam notes vaguely, it must be only half past 8, but the reality that this is the last time he'll see Kurt makes the night seem heavy and endless. "I don't really want to say goodbye." He laughs then, fake and hollow and loud.
"I have to be home by 9," Kurt says in reply, and then looks down. They're so close, leaning against the brick, that their shoulders are touching and Kurt feels so warm that Sam wants to hold him and never let go. "Tennessee isn't that far away, you know."
Sam looks at him but Kurt doesn't look back; in the darkness he watches the rise-and-fall of Kurt's breath and doesn't look away. "Kurt —"
"There are buses, and planes, hell, even car rides, it's not so far —"
Kurt's voice cuts short and Sam says I love you but doesn't really say it, not out loud, not like he should.
"We'll find a way." Sam surprises himself by saying it and Kurt gives him that smile again, eyes crinkly and cheeks blooming with color. Like it's a promise he can keep. They don't talk about how it sounds like a lie.
Sam watches Kurt go, watches him as he takes those slow steps to his car, fumbling with the keys in the darkness. Sam watches him until the car disappears down the road, disappearing past the trees and the roar of the engine fading into the hum of the night.
He doesn't realize he's crying until he tastes the salt on his lips.