I will preface this by saying that I am incapable of writing stories in which Kurt and Blaine do not end up together.

This story began as a scene with a song. I loved how the beginning lyrics fit Kurt and Blaine and their story, and then I realized that to make it work, I wanted the last stanza to apply, as well. This story grew around that. So I give you a fair amount of angst that turns into a fair amount of happiness at the end.

Oh, also, I developed this before Glee held Blaine back one year for being popular, so it assumes that they are the same age. This would get too complicated if they weren't.

I hope you enjoy.

Emily

Kurt and Blaine were that relationship in high school. The one that was going to last through high school and college and, everyone assumed, result in marriage and children and a forever together.

They were wrong.

Blaine went to NYU in August. Kurt stayed in Ohio.

It wasn't supposed to happen that way, of course.

But it did.

Burt got sick in May. He had been doing well all year-improving, eating well, staying healthy. But then, three weeks before McKinley High's graduation, he had another heart attack. For two weeks, Blaine drove Kurt to the hospital and they prayed that he would still be alive when they got there.

They didn't discuss college or money. Those weeks were about waiting and watching and worrying.

But a few days after Burt came home from the hospital, when he was all settled and doing passably well, Kurt brought it up.

"I can't go to New York," he said firmly. They were on the couch at Kurt's house-Blaine had been trying to get him to sleep while Burt slept in the room behind them. "I won't."

Blaine tightened his arms around Kurt. "Okay."

Kurt shot him a look. "Okay," he repeated, "We're not going to New York."

Kurt wrestled himself off of Blaine's chest and turned to face him. "What?"

"I'm not leaving you here."

"But-"

"No." Blaine kissed his forehead. "I love you. You need me. I'm staying here."

"Blaine, you've always wanted to go to New York, and you have a school there, and you've already made all the arrangements and put the deposit down...," he protested.

Blaine ran a comforting hand down his arm and shook his head. "Don't worry about that right now. Just relax. You haven't slept in several days, okay? We'll talk about this later."

Kurt deflated at the reminder of his exhaustion and agreed. "I'm going to go up to my bed." He stood and straightened his jacket.

Blaine's brow furrowed for a second. Kurt always preferred a nap on the couch with him. And he was far too stubborn to let that go so quickly. He chalked it up to exhaustion and stress and covered his reaction before Kurt could notice.

Kurt tensed suddenly. "I forgot, I still need to clean up from making Dad soup earlier, I was just so tired-I'll go do it now."

"I'll take care of it," Blaine offered. He grasped his boyfriend's hands for a second. "Go rest."

Kurt's eyes searched his for a moment, a tear glistening briefly as it fell down his cheek. Blaine brushed it away. "I'll be here when you wake up." He ran the back of his hand tenderly along Kurt's cheek. "Go sleep."

When Blaine was finished in the kitchen, he went to check on Kurt. He was sleeping, at least. His hair was uncharacteristically rumpled and his face distorted, uneasy. Blaine smoothed a hand over the tense muscles and kissed his forehead. Don't push me away he wished.

At graduation two days later, Kurt pulled Blaine to the side and asked him to wait.

"Kurt, don't you want to come back with us?" Carol looked concerned.

"I'll drive myself," he replied, squeezing her hand briefly, "I have to talk to Blaine."

Carol's tone became warning. "Kurt, honey..."

"I'll be fine, I promise. We just need to talk for a minute."

The worry didn't leave her face. "Call me if you need anything, okay?"

Kurt nodded distractedly, his eyes already searching Blaine's.

He pulled him behind the outdoor stage and out of the slowly dispersing crowd. Blaine stared at him expectantly, his eyes full of confusion.

"Do you want to go to dinner tonight? I think it'd be good to get you out of the house, and Carol doesn't have work, so she can watch your dad, and...What? What is it?"

"I don't think dinner's a good idea."

Blaine softened. "Okay, that's fine...I mean, I'm sorry I suggested it, I'm sure you don't feel like going out. What if I bring some food over later?" Kurt shook his head tearfully. "I don't understand, I..." Blaine trailed off at Kurt's expression.

"I don't think it's a good idea," Kurt finally said.

Blaine took his hand and turned their bodies a little so they were closer. "Don't think what's a good idea?"

Kurt's hand fell out of Blaine's. "Yours."

Blaine recoiled. "Okay, I mean, that's fine...I-I can just eat at home tonight. We can do something tomorrow."

"Not that idea," Kurt choked out.

Blaine's heart started to pound. "What idea?"

"You, staying here, with me. I mean, I've thought about it, and..."

Blaine's hands started to shake. "I don't understand. I thought you wanted to be with me."

"I don't know anymore."

Blaine's voice was panicked. "Don't know what?"

"I don't know if…"

Blaine's eyes widened. "No—" he began.

"I'll stay here, and you," Kurt took a slow, shaky breath, "you'll go to New York."

Blaine gasped. "Kurt, please, don't…don't do this. Don't let all the pain you've gone through push people away."

Kurt seemed to hesitate for a moment, and for a second, wild hope coursed through Blaine. "I…Kurt, I love you. You love me. We need each other. You can't do this to us."

"I'm not so sure."

Blaine sounded lost. "That's the second time you've said that, Kurt…did you, do you…do you even love me?"

Kurt opened his mouth, the truth in his heart, but the lie that would make this so much easier on the tip of his tongue.

Blaine took the pause as confirmation of his fears. "That changes things," he whispered to the ground.

Kurt opened his mouth to reply. "Don't," Blaine cut him off firmly. "Don't say anything." He backed around the stage, and was gone.

Kurt rang to doorbell to Blaine's house at three the next afternoon.

For the first time in weeks, they matched-their faces were both pale and red from crying, their hair a mess.

"I just wanted to…I wanted to apologize for yesterday." Blaine's eyes stayed open, attentive, but emotionally dead. "I…Blaine, I…if this is what we do under stress, I think this is the right decision."

Blaine looked close to tears as he dropped his gaze toward the ground. Kurt lifted Blaine's chin with one hand. "I loved you. I always loved you. Don't doubt that." He wiped a tear off Blaine's cheek. "I just can't bear to keep you here. To hold you back. I won't do it. Go, live in New York. Enjoy it for me. I'm sure you'll love it." It cost him dearly to say the words.

Blaine blinked and took in a shaky breath, anything to fight the urge to cry. "It won't be-it's not what I want. Not without you."

Kurt shook his head. Blaine's eyes widened. "Please?" His voice sounded inhuman.

Kurt pulled away a little. "I can't." His voice broke on the second syllable.

"You won't..." Kurt shook his head again. His heart simultaneously sank and sped up.

Blaine's eyes were suddenly full of unexpected passion. "If something changes, if anything changes, and you think...I'll be there in a heartbeat." His voice was deep, soft, strong, broken. "I promise."

"They won't change, Blaine." Kurt whispered."They can't."

With a final, lingering kiss to Blaine's forehead, he backed away.

Blaine stared after him for a second, then sank to the ground, his head falling into his hands, and cried. He didn't hear the quiet sobs that followed Kurt out the door, nor note the amount of time between when the car door opened and the engine started. He was too lost.

Kurt was just going to stop into the choir room for a second. High school had been over for a week. He'd survived, and now he wanted to bid farewell to the embodiment of the reason why. Well, one of the reasons. The other…

He froze at the door. Because sitting at the piano, leaned over the keys in apparent deep thought, was Blaine.

Kurt took a sharp breath. He backed away from the doorway in panic. God, seeing him was even more impossible than he had thought it would be. It made his heart pound and his hands shake and his breath stutter. It made him, for the first time in the six days and three hours since graduation, feel alive. He couldn't stay. He couldn't look. Because if he looked, he would run to Blaine and grip him until the blood left his arms and beg him to stay.

But he couldn't make himself leave, either.

Kurt tilted his head back into the doorway, in time to see Blaine's hands hover over the keys as he reached to play a chord.

Adrenaline made Kurt's shoulders shake as he stood in place. Somehow, he argued to himself that hearing that singing voice again would be not be a bad idea, would not make it worse than it already was. But the intro was over, and Blaine was beginning to sing, and it was far too late to back away.

She was morning

And I was night time

I one day woke up

To find her lying

Beside my bed

I softly said

"Come take me"

Oh, God, he was singing that song. The one that could have been written about them. About Blaine waking up and finding Kurt and bringing them together. Blaine's face was heartbreaking, somewhere between tenderness and pure pain.

For I've been lonely

In need of someone

As though I'd done

Someone wrong somewhere

But I don't know where

I don't know where

Come lately

Kurt's mind wandered to his surroundings, though his eyes remained fixed on Blaine. Film roles of things that had happened in this hallway passed through the back of his head: Kurt, staring longingly at the photo of Blaine in his locker, pathetically in love; Blaine, pushing Karofsky out of the way and calling him out; Blaine, arriving for his surprise first day at McKinley, his eyes so warm and genuine that the memory physically hurt; the two of them, walking down the deserted hallway a few weeks ago hand-in-hand, laughing and joking about nothing in particular. These two people who had so often been told they were wrong finally getting what they wanted.

You are the sun

I am the moon

You are the words

I am the tune

Play me

Kurt smiled tearfully as Blaine sang the refrain, his warm voice gliding over the words with emotion, though Kurt could not tell if it was with love of what they had had or regret at what they would not. Blaine's shoulders were tensed, as if protecting him from the outside world, cocooning him in this place where, if only for a moment, he could forget.

Song she sang to me

Song she brang to me

Words that rang in me

Rhyme that sprang from me

Warmed the night

And what was right

Became me

The last words echoed in Kurt's mind. We were right…so right, and perfect, and in love. Because they weren't just boyfriends…they were best friends, and they had learned so, so much from each other, every day since the day they met.

You are the sun

I am the moon

You are the words

I am the tune

Play me

Kurt lost himself in listening to Blaine during the refrain, as he tried to store the warmth of that voice in his memory, tried to save every tremor and volume and timber. The absence of that voice went unnoticed for a moment as Kurt stared at the fingers flying across the piano keys in a lovely interlude. But then Kurt remembered, too late to turn away, how this song ended.

And so it was

That I came to travel

Upon a road

That was thorned and narrow

Another place

Another grace

Would save me

Tears began to slip down Kurt's face. He wiped them away angrily and bit his lip to keep a sob from escaping.

You are the sun

I am the moon

You are the words

I am the tune

Play me

You are the sun

I am the moon

You are the words

I am the tune

Play me

This time, the refrain wasn't warm. It was dead.

Blaine's voice was still beautiful.

Kurt stared wide-eyed as he finished and dropped his face into his hands, the sobbing audible even from the doorway. He backed away, not bothering to try and hide the tears.

Kurt had really hoped Blaine wasn't going to be at the Christmas Party. Which was, on some level, silly, because Blaine was definitely going to be at Mike and Tina's Christmas Party. In fact, Blaine was the first person he saw, because they had the phenomenal luck of arriving at exactly the same time.

Neither of them spoke as they walked to the door. The silence physically hurt. They had never been so sullen and awkward around each other.

They both reached for the doorbell at the same time and gestured that the other should go ahead. They laughed a little, though both noted that the other didn't sound genuine. A bit of the tension dissipated. "So, how-how have you been?" Blaine asked, turning to face Kurt, forgetting that they were standing outside a door, waiting to go in.

"Fine," Kurt mumbled. "You?"

"Fine." Blaine's answer was a little choked. "How's Burt. Is he doing okay?"

"A little better. They've still got him on lots of meds and things, but...he's stable. That's all we can ask for, I suppose."

Blaine nodded dumbly.

Their eyes were fixed together, bright blue shining across from warm hazel. Blaine began to lift one hand from his side.

"Kurt! Blaine! You're here!" Rachel called as she walked up the snowy driveway. They tore their gazes apart quickly. "What are you waiting for?" she asked. "Let's go in!"

Kurt didn't know if he was grateful for the interruption or not.

Kurt slipped away from the celebration once he could. The closest room was a small den that he'd always loved. He walked silently across it without turning on the lights, his fingers trailing over framed photos of Tina and her family until they came across the group photo from Glee's senior year. This one was from the plane ride to nationals; Mr. Schue had insisted on a group shot at the gate. He remembered the moment well. Blaine's arms were resting gently around his waist, his chin on Kurt's shoulder. Everyone was smiling. Kurt sniffled once and ran a hand over the image. His gaze turned to the bright snow sparkling under streetlights, the only illumination in the room.

The door opened and familiar footfalls sounded from across the room.

"I've missed you." His voice sounded far away.

He began to close the distance between them as Kurt looked up. Kurt's breath caught when their eyes met.

"I've missed you, too," he rasped out in a moment of weakness. Blaine looked at the photo with a fond smile and lifted it out of Kurt's hands. His searching eyes softened for just a second, now only ten or twelve inches away. He set the photo on the windowsill, and leaned forward.

Their lips met softly, just once.

Very suddenly, Kurt found himself pinned against the window, his shoulders pressed against it by a pair of warm, insistent hands.

He gasped as every inch of their bodies came in contact and Blaine pushed their lips together.

And then he was kissing him back, his fingers in Blaine's hair-God, how much he'd missed that feeling-, his breathing erratic, every nerve hyper-aware of the feeling of Blaine's thumb on his neck, Blaine's lips on his, Blaine's skin beneath his fingertips.

They broke apart gasping. Kurt's head hit the wall behind him with a resounding thud.

When he looked at Blaine again, his eyes were searching, hopeful, unsure. He leaned forward again. Kurt turned his head, a tear beginning to form. "I-I can't. I'm sorry."

"I love you," Blaine pleaded.

"I know," Kurt whispered."But I can't." Blaine blinked, incapable of reacting. Kurt pressed a gentle kiss to his forehead as Blaine's eyes slipped shut. Blaine shuddered as they slowly lost body contact and Kurt backed away.

As he left, he saw Blaine slouched against a chair in the room through the darkened window, his hands covering his face. He stared for a second, his heart in his throat, aching to go back and tell him. I love you too. But he couldn't. He'd made his choice.

Blaine's head began to lift. Kurt backed away hastily, his heart pounding.

Once his car door was shut and the keys hovered over the ignition he took a moment to get his heart rate and breathing under control. His forehead fell onto the steering wheel. It took several minutes for him to convince himself to start the car and back away.

The finale to Wicked played on the Broadway radio. He cried his way home.

Kate gave Blaine a scrutinizing look. "You should go see him when you get home," she observed.

Blaine's face shot to hers. "What?"

"You're obviously still in love with him."

"What?" Blaine took a swig of his coffee, only to find it ice-cold and bitter.

"Blaine, you've been staring at that coffee wishing it was Kurt sitting across from you instead of me for the last hour." His mouth fell open. "And don't even try to deny it."

Blaine stared at her, his sole friend to whom he'd told everything about Kurt. She met his gaze evenly. That was what he loved about Kate, what had drawn him to her from the beginning. She read people incredibly well, though she didn't share often, and, when she did, when she thought it was important, she didn't let it go. That sort of stubborn quality reminded him of... She'd kept him sane. He'd miss her when he left for good next week.

"You don't want this to be a coffee shop in New York City. You want this to be a coffee shop with him. You could care less where it is."

Blaine swirled the coffee cup in a slow circle. "I...yeah."

"So go tell him that."

Blaine took another sip of his coffee, seemingly having forgotten that it was inedible, and winced as the liquid hit his tongue. "I don't think he wants to hear that."

Kate placed a hand over Blaine's to stop his fidgeting. "Blaine, life is...," She searched for a proper analogy. "It's like a giant game of chess. You plan and anticipate and think ahead, and sometimes you choose right and sometimes you don't, but the thing that never changes is that you're dependent on other peoples' choices. Usually, there will be another path to choose, another way to win. But there will always be that risk you didn't take. That choice you made that makes you wonder Could this have ended differently? And unless you try it, you'll never know. You have to try."

"He didn't...he didn't call me back. It was a week ago."

Kate sighed. "Maybe he doesn't know where to start."

"Kurt always knows where to start." Kate gave him a look that said you're not being very helpful.

"I'm sorry, I just..."

"You don't know where to start, either."

He nodded.

"So tell him exactly what you just told me."

"I..."

"Blaine, you were lost. The problem with being in a relationship with your best friend is that, when he hurts you, all you want is to go to him for comfort, and yet your own feelings get in the way."

He nodded again.

"Tell him that, too," she suggested. "Just talk. The two of you need to talk. The truth's a good place to start. Think about it, okay?" She stood with her coffee in one hand and kissed his temple. "What the two of you have...it's important. You'll figure it out." She left silently.

For a second, Blaine stared at the empty seat across from him, and he could almost see a cup with the Lima Bean logo and Kurt in a cream sweater with a fiery smile, a soft blush coloring his cheeks as Blaine said "I love you". The Kurt in his memory mouthed "I love you too" before the image faded away and he was back in New York, by himself. He glanced at his watch. Two years ago, tomorrow.

He stood, tossed his wintry drink in the trash, returned to his seat, and yanked his laptop out of his bag, slightly re-energized. Maybe Kurt would read an email.

Sender: .edu Received: May 22, 2012

Re:

Hi.

I don't know if you'll read this. I hope you do. But I have to try either way. I just...I have to try to tell you this.

Life here-New York, school, everything...it's...it was what I wanted, once. I'm sure you remember. It was what we wanted. Great coffee shops every block and bustling noise and people who don't look twice at anyone they think is different.

But it's not fine, like I told you. Not at all. Everything here, my early morning coffee and my walks through the city and my classes at NYU... they are empty. I feel nothing for them. I walk from place to place and no matter where I am, something reminds me of you, and all I can think of and see and hear is you sitting across from me and you walking next to me, holding my hand, and...you. You weren't just my boyfriend, you were my best friend. And this, all of this...none of it is what it's supposed to be without you here, too.

You wanted me to try, right? You wanted me to leave and experience and see what it would be like. I have. And that's my answer. What I wanted was not for me to be in New York, but for us to be in New York. Everything, my plans here, have never not been our plans here. They were, I know, at some point. But I can't remember a time when my vision of the future didn't include you. A time when I thought I'd actually refer to Ohio as home and New York as some alien place where I go to school. I guess I always figured I'd make it home, with you, and leave my parents' pathetic excuse for one behind.

But then I suppose neither of us could predict the future as well as we thought.

I'm coming home for good. New York...it isn't what I want. Not anymore.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here. I guess it's that I miss you. A lot. Every day. But there's never a day when I wish I hadn't met you, because missing you is still a thousand times better than never having known you at all.

I still love you. I miss you.

Love,

Blaine

The first thing Blaine noticed on his escalator ride to baggage claim was an achingly familiar head of soft brown hair. The person's face came into view as Blaine fell lower on the stairs, and he was sure.

They looked at each other without any real eye contact.

When Blaine was at ground level with Kurt he walked steadily until four or five feet separated them.

"I got your email." Kurt's tone was indecipherable.

Their eyes met for the first time since December.

...none of it is what it's supposed to be without you here, too.

...missing you is still a thousand times better than never having known you at all.

I miss you.

I love you.

Blaine closed a few more feet of the distance between them.

...a risk you didn't take...that choice you made that makes you wonder Could this have ended differently? And unless you try it, you'll never know.

"Do you remember that promise I made?" He whispered. Kurt stared. If something changes, if anything changes, and you think...I'll be there in a heartbeat. I promise.

Kurt looked at his shoes. "I remember," he mumbled. "Every word." They won't change, Blaine. They can't.

When Kurt looked back up, there were tears glistening in his eyes.

He shook his head once, slowly. Blaine's breath caught. They each searched the other's eyes.

"I love you."

Kurt warily placed one hand on Blaine's cheek, eyes filled with cautious warmth. His fingertips shook as Blaine instinctively leaned into the contact. I know.

But perhaps things could change.

"I love you too," Kurt returned.

Blaine covered Kurt's hand with one of his own and gave a watery smile.

There was a charged pause. They catapulted into each other's arms.

"Oh, thank God," Blaine breathed into Kurt's shoulder.

"I'm so sorry," Kurt gasped. I don't think it's a good idea, you staying here with me. "I shouldn't have said any of those things." I don't know anymore. He tilted his chin. "I can't believe I said them. I can't. They weren't true. They aren't true." He pressed a kiss to Blaine's jaw. "I love you." He buried his shaking lips in the crook of Blaine's neck. "I always loved you." His arms tightened. "I need you to be here, with me."

Kurt felt Blaine's tears on his neck. Blaine ran a palm across his back, still shaky."Me, too."

Kurt covered the distance between their faces in less than a second and attached their lips in a searing kiss.

He whimpered and tilted his head so that they could be even closer. Blaine slid his hands onto the sides of Kurt's neck, their lips not parting for even a second. Kurt twisted his fingers into Blaine's hair. "Let me stay with you," Blaine whispered desperately into their kiss.

Kurt rested their foreheads together briefly. "Okay."

Their lips met again and again, softly. One, two, three times... It felt perfect, comfortable, like returning home after a long journey. Kurt wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck. Blaine's head came to rest in the crook of Kurt's neck.

"God, I've missed this," Blaine mumbled into his neck.

Kurt shivered and ran a hand through Blaine's hair, his grip strengthening. "I've missed this, too."

They pulled back to look at each other only after several minutes and laughed lightly with relief.

"My car's here. You've had a long trip. How about a ride and a cup of coffee? We can catch up."

Blaine nodded and allowed Kurt to pull him to the door with their joined hands.

"Sounds perfect."

Blaine returned to their table with two cups and set the first in front of Kurt. He took a sip. Black with just a hint of milk, because it was early afternoon and he needed it to get through the day. But how had Blaine... "You know my coffee order," he observed.

Blaine smiled and twined their hands together for a moment. "It's a start." Kurt always knows where to start.

Kurt gave him a half grin before reaching out and taking Blaine's hand again. "I'll keep that, thank you."

Blaine's heart jumped a little.

"So, what are you studying in school?" Might as well start with the basics.

"Writing, actually," Kurt replied, leaving his hand in Blaine's even as he took a sip of coffee.

"Hmm."

"You sound unsurprised," Kurt observed.

"It's just...that's what I told Kate I always thought you'd be good at."
"Kate?"

"Oh, a friend of mine. She's an English lit major. You'll have to meet sometime. You'd get along."

"Yeah?" Kurt softened. "I'd like that." They smiled goofily at each other for a minute.

"And you? What are you doing?"

"I'm...not sure, actually. I was just sort of taking a variety of things. Don't know where I'll end up."

Kurt grinned, because he would get to see what Blaine ended up doing, which, whatever it was, he would be very good at, he was sure.

"Maybe you can suggest some good professors."

Kurt nodded.

"Your dad still doing okay?"

Kurt looked less tense about it than he had in December. "Much better, actually."

"Good, that's-that's great. Look, about Christmas...I'm sorry."

"You didn't do anything wrong, Blaine, I...Oh, God," Kurt said suddenly. His grip on Blaine's hand tightened.

Blaine tensed. "What? What is it?"

Kurt gestured to the air around them. Blaine's eyes widened in recognition at Neil Diamond's voice playing softly through the cafe's speakers. She was morning, and I was nighttime...

His heart jolted a little at the memory, but his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. He looked at Kurt. "But..."

"I was there," Kurt assured him. He took a steadying breath. "I came to say goodbye to the choir room, and you were there, and I just...I couldn't leave."

The same moments played before their eyes as the song continued. Tears pooled in Kurt's eyes. "I'm sorry."

Blaine stood to circle the table and bent his knees so that their faces were level. He pulled them together in a gentle hug, his palms sliding against Kurt's back and Kurt's head resting on his shoulder. He ran a gentle hand across Kurt's cheek. "It's okay. I'm okay now," he whispered into Kurt's ear.

Kurt's face split into a watery smile.

Blaine pulled him impossibly closer.

"God, I missed you so much."

"Hey, hey," Blaine soothed, pulling back only slightly so that they could look at each other. "It's okay. We're okay." Kurt pressed their foreheads together, nodding.

"We are never going to let that happen again. Ever." Blaine's eyes were so earnest that Kurt almost started sobbing again.

"Okay," he whispered.

Kurt brought Blaine home that afternoon. Carol took one look at them and enveloped them both in a bone-crushing hug.

Blaine signed transfer papers to Ohio State the following week.

Near the end of the summer, Burt's health began to improve. He absolutely insisted that Kurt should leave Ohio. It took weeks for Kurt to finally agree, but in August, Kurt transferred back from Ohio State to NYU, and Blaine did the same.

They rented an apartment together and were regulars at a nearby coffee shop and spent their Saturday mornings walking down the bustling street hand in hand.

New York City was everything they had imagined it to be. Because they were there together.