It ends with a whimper, really, years gone with a few tears and the sound of a door closing behind Blaine, soft and yet so loud in the empty hallways beyond. He leans there, against the wood, for just a little while, listening to the sound of Kurt's muffled sobs through the door. Upstairs in the apartment complex, a door slams, Blaine can hear Mrs. Nathanson shuffling through her recycling for pickup the next morning. There's music drifting from the Rodriguez's two doors down; probably their youngest son playing Rock Band. A siren wails through the New York Streets beyond.

Blaine, he stays there for awhile. Just for awhile.

They meet again one day on the corner of 7th and 42nd in the midst of rush hour purely by accident in October two years later. Blaine's head is down, scrolling through text messages and Kurt's walking arm in arm with a friend Blaine sort of recognizes from college. They brush elbows and it's when they both look back to half-heartedly apologize that the realization dawns on them.

They stand in the heart of Manhattan bundled up against the fall chill wide-eyed and shocked.

"Blaine," Kurt finally says, and his eyes are so wide and blue.


It ends with a bang – a slam of a door after raised voices and angry words. Kurt fights with his words maliciously, using cutting remarks where he knows it hurts the most. Blaine – he used to be able to catch the barbs before they truly stung, knew that this was Kurt's defense mechanism. He can't anymore, he just can't. Kurt's words now just burn across his skin and burrow into his head and heart and he wants to rip them out through his wrists, sometimes – bleed them out of him.

When the door slams shut behind him Blaine leans against it with a sigh and there's the sound of something impacting it on the other side – probably one of Blaine's medical texts left so carefully bookmarked on the side table.

Next door little Jamie Miller peeks out from a cracked-open door, little green eye spying on him through the opening. Blaine hears the sound of the garbage truck making it's late Thursday run outside. Jake Abrams and his collie Lello are coming in downstairs – Blaine can tell by the jingling of the dog's collar.

Blaine, he leaves very soon after, not able to stand the sounds of life happening so quickly around him when his feels like it's crumbling from right underneath his feet.

They meet again one day in the produce section of the market that's not really local to either of them, which is what makes it so weird.

Blaine's got an apple in his hand, testing it for freshness, when he sees Kurt on the other side, peering down at the selection of oranges. He's still tall and striking and unfairly beautiful, dressed down in slim jeans and a very modest button-down shirt. Blaine stares at him because he can, because he can't not, because just looking at him makes everything just stop.

Kurt, he finally feels the eyes, because he looks up and doesn't even look surprised to see Blaine standing there, apple in hand. Blaine wonders, for a moment, if Kurt would've seen him earlier and was waiting for Blaine to be so obvious first (it'd be so much like him, really), but he can't tell, nor can he inquire because he doesn't have that right anymore.

Blaine tightens his grip on the basket in his fingers, puts the apple down gently. Kurt does this little smile, this soft, heartbroken smile that's reminscent of Kurt of yesteryear, all innocent and sweet.

"Blaine," He says, shy and wide-eyed and gentle.

"Hi, Kurt." Blaine replies.

It ends without any words at all because they don't see one another nearly enough these days. Kurt's at work for long, grueling hours for very little pay. He lives, eats, breathes his fashion firm, his coworkers, his work and all it entails.

Blaine's in a similar position finishing grad school, his free time not free time at all as he sits in libraries and studies and goes to class.

They're lucky to fall in bed together at the end of the night, really, because sometimes Blaine falls asleep on the couch in the library or Kurt crashes with Maybell, his co-assistant, who lives closer to work.

One day, they don't even need to say anything, not really. There's a few tears, some salty, damp kisses. In the end, they pack silently and move out of the apartment they'd lived in together for four years, leaving it empty and dark.

Kurt's the first who pulls away, fingers wiggling at Blaine from the dusty window of the moving van, eyes glistening with tears.

Blaine stands in the doorway of the empty apartment staring at the last memories as they swirl in the dust left behind in the open space. He thinks hard, very hard, about those moments and he wishes hard, very hard, that things were different.

On the way out he flicks the light off for the last time, taps the molding on the door three times, as was his habit, and calls out into the emptiness beyond:

"Love you, always," As he did everytime he'd leave, even if Kurt wasn't there to hear.

They meet again one day in Central Park, and Blaine would be a liar if he hadn't walked by this spot every weekend for the past three years in hopes to catch Kurt there, in his favorite spot to sketch.

He'd never given up, not really, and it apparently paid off because there he was, pad balanced on his lap open set of colored pencils balancing precariously on the bench beside him. He's got one perched behind his ear, Blaine can see, a periwinkle one that will probably be the highlight of whatever new design he was creating (he'd always kept his most important colors at closest reach).

Blaine stands only a few feet away, fingers numb in the cool November weather, hands shoved into his jacket pockets, nose running from the cold. His eyes must be red-rimmed and ugly, his hair frizzy and unkempt, but Kurt's like a spotlight in the dreary fall weather, a very obvious winter in all of the deep auburns and reds and browns of November.

He waits for a bit, waiting, waiting, waiting for Kurt to look up – to spot him. He's engrossed, though, as he's always been known to do, so he never does. Blaine stills, watching, until he can gain his courage to speak up. His heart in his throat, he takes a step, opens his mouth – only to be beaten to the punch.

Kurt's name is being called out by someone that's not him, by someone coming from the opposite direction, by someone who's tall and dark and handsome with the slight lilt of an accent. Blaine just stands there, foolish and alone, as Kurt's eyes light up at the sight of this man.

And his heart – his heart falls straight through to his stomach when he leans in to kiss Kurt sweetly.

Blaine – he has to look away.

Minutes later, Kurt will look his way, but Blaine – he won't be there anymore, having fled feeling foolish, so so foolish.

They'll sit across from one another at a coffee shop not unlike the one they'd sat in a million times before – once upon a time in Lima, Ohio, and then on the Lower East Side of New York City. Kurt will still cross his legs right over left and lean back gently, one hand always curled around his drink (Blaine knows this is because his hands are always cold, even in the warmest of summer days).

They'll talk – talk about what's going on now, what went on then – what happened and what didn't. What led to the yelling or the screaming or the endings that were the same but very different depending on what universe you met them in. Blaine, he'll still drown in Kurt's eyes, in the lilt of his voice, in how he gives and gives and gives and takes so little. He'll still beg to push down those walls Kurt built around himself, and be so so happy when he's allowed a glimpse of the real Kurt – the one that Blaine knew so long ago.

By the end, they'll have a lot to talk about, to work out, but Kurt leans in and kisses him on the cheek and Blaine's skin feels like it's on fire where he was kissed. He's promised another coffee date and they see hope and promise in one another's eyes, much like they had so many years ago, in a senior common room at Dalton Academy.

Blaine, he won't take Kurt for granted again – he can't. He loves the touch of Kurt's hands against his skin too much – the sound of his voice as he sings in the shower – the taste of his lips against his own.

Kurt in turn – he won't take Blaine for granted either, holding him close and not letting him go, not even during the worst days.

They're in this together, really.

In another universe, in another time and place Blaine Anderson, he walks away from Kurt Hummel when he'd thought he'd found him again because there was a tall handsome boy who made Kurt's eyes light up so so bright. Blaine even doubts Kurt had ever looked at him like that, he's pretty sure he hasn't, not at all.

So he retreats and settles because that's all he can do, really.

He's sitting in a coffee shop downtown one day, book open on his lap when there's a hand on his table, a soft voice above his head.


And there's Kurt, looking down at him with those eyes, and Blaine's heart – it climbs into his throat and settles there. He sets his book down with shaking fingers and settles for smiling a little at Kurt, trying not to hope the look in Kurt's eyes is not his own hope being reflected back at him.