A/N: Thanks for all the lovely feedback for the last chapter. I'm kind of glad I managed to put you all through the emotional shredder; as it means I must have gotten it right! I definitely felt it while writing it! Not that this chapter will be much easier to read. I just hope I managed to wrap the story up believably.


Chapter 15

The first thing Kurt noticed when he woke up was the obvious absence of a big warm body next to his. Well, in absolute terms the very first thing he felt as he came round and shifted was how sore he was and that immediately had sent his thoughts flying to Dave and how he was not in bed with him. Kurt sighed and let his hand brush over the vacant spot next to him, the sheets still had a residual warmness to them so it couldn't have been long that Dave had gotten up. As if on cue Kurt could hear the shower being turned on and his first instinct was to go after Dave and join him in the shower, to be wrapped up in those strong arms again. But of course he knew he couldn't. He had promised Dave that last night would be their goodbye. Dave had said in no uncertain terms that he would find today hard enough to handle as it was. And probably it would be for the best. For one thing they would not be able to act as anything other than friends around their parents anyway. And Kurt knew he would not be able to hold light banter with Dave while having this pain of separation hanging over him. So this resetting their relationship to zero was probably the best way of handling today. It would be like ripping off a band aid, best done quickly as otherwise the pain would just be immeasurably worse.

Still the longing was there and of course he could go in and quite possibly Dave would cave and they could spent some more precious minutes together but would that make it any easier or just put salt onto an already gaping wound? No, it would have to be mind over matter today, no matter was his emotions and his body were trying to tell him, he had to act like everything was ok. And he could do that or at least he would die trying! This whole crazy week had inevitably let up to this, and as he had said on numerous occasions he knew what he let himself in for. Just that knowing and feeling were two completely different kettle of fish. He knew it in his head but he didn't know it would hurt this much in his heart!

Kurt took in a deep breath. He just needed to focus on other things to keep himself occupied. Like right now, what he should do was start tidying up the room which frankly was a complete mess and it would only take one look by anyone (read his dad or Finn) to figure out what had happened here last night. And although the door was locked Kurt knew that should anyone come knocking he better open that door real fast as to avoid any more issues, so the faster this room could go back to resemble some kind of normality the faster he could unlock the door and start the 'nothing has ever happened' charade.

He sighed as he took in the state of the room. Their clothes were still strewn across the floor, the bottle of lube on the ground in the middle of the room, no doubt kicked off the bed at one point. Sheets that were in desperate need of changing as they were stained rather extensively. Burned out candles and wax on the surfaces, petals on the bed that needed picking up and discarding and the unopened bottle of fizzy still sitting on the table. Gosh, he really had gone to town with this set-up but he didn't regret any of it. It really had been the first time he had always dreamed of and a memory to cherish for the rest of his life. Once the overpowering feeling of sadness and loss would be gone that was.

Kurt exhaled noisily and winced as he flung his legs across the bed and pulled himself up to sitting. He stood up quickly as clearly sitting would proof a challenge for a few days and it was just one more thing that would be a constant reminder of Dave and how Dave had felt inside him as they were making love. How they had been moving as one as they literally bared their soul to each other. Not that he would need any extra reminders, his mind was quite capable of providing ample images of Dave smiling at him with that cute warm smirk, the frown when he was confused or didn't agree with something or his face, eyes closed in bliss, as he came, without any physical reminder to jog his memories.

No, no, no he had to push those thoughts away. He could do this. He just needed to focus. He grabbed a bag and started to pick up all the rubbish, trying to clear his mind as he let the repetitiveness of the task at hand clear his brain. He was desperately trying not to zoom in on the sound of the shower from the next room and the way the sound of the water falling changed along with how the body under the stream moved. Images of Dave standing under that stream were flooding Kurt's head. How his back muscles would flex as he lathered himself up and how sexy he would look, hair wet and plastered to his head and shit, who was he kidding, this would be hell and the best he could do was stay as far away from Dave as possible. His defences were non existent and it would only take one look to make him crumble he was sure of that.

Everybody always assumed Kurt was tough and in some way he was but this was new and different. Dealing with bullies and being treated like shit, yes, he had learned to let that bounce right off of him but how could he let what he felt for Dave just roll off his back as though it was nothing? He had no point of reference for this. The only guy Kurt really had ever openly talked relationship stuff with, and in his case mainly hypothetically, had been Blaine and well, he never had advised him on anything to do with heartbreak.

Kurt heard the water being shut off and his body went rigid. What was he supposed to do? His breathing sped up and he could feel himself get clammy despite still being naked and actually rather cold. He was so overwrought he could feel his heart beating hard against his chest. Would Dave even want to see him? Look at him? Talk to him? Before he could decide what he should do he heard the door open and turned around, gulping and having problems keeping his composure as he looked at Dave, towel wrapped around his waist and staring at Kurt.

They just looked at each other, the tension tangible as both were trying to figure out what to do. This whole 'we said goodbye last night' business was easy in theory but in reality how were they going to do this? Kurt could hear Dave heave a sigh and looked at him more closely. Dave's eyes were red and Kurt was sure that he must have been crying and that alone was enough for him to want to rush to Dave's side and say 'fuck it' to this act like nothing happened business but of course he didn't move.

Dave was still staring at Kurt and had to try really hard to keep his breathing even and not to do anything stupid like go over and kiss him. He of course had expected to run into Kurt this morning but not like this, not standing so close to him, still naked and looking at him like he did, like a kicked puppy but strong and almost regal at the same time.

Dave had had to leave the bed as soon as he had woken up because of exactly that. Of knowing he would not be able to act all tough and in control being in close proximity of Kurt. For one he had woken up with the obligatory morning wood and obviously there was no way he was going to involve Kurt in getting rid of it, not after what they had come to agree on last night. So the only logical course of action in his mind had been to head to the showers as quickly as humanly possible, letting a long cold shower take care of his issue as there was no way in hell Dave would have even considered jerking off after what they had shared. It would have just seemed wrong somehow. Also he really didn't want to tarnish that memory. It would be the one thing that he could hang on to over these next couple of months. The perfect moments him and Kurt shared would be his anker in the shitstorm ahead. At that thought a small flicker of hope was alighting inside him that one day, just like Kurt had said, Dave might be confident enough, out enough and put together enough to actually come looking for Kurt. Then he could give Kurt everything he deserved, if Kurt still wanted him. But for now the best he could do was to stay away from Kurt as to not make this worse for either of them.

Dave gulped as Kurt's intense gaze was burning straight through to his soul but he had already shed all his tears in the shower earlier, had had his freak out moment, so despite his feelings whirling inside him like a hurricane on the outside he was looking calm and collected. If only he could make himself turn around and walk away from Kurt.

Kurt couldn't stand it anymore. He didn't want to cry, he really didn't but his eyes were betraying him as they started to fill as he stared at Dave whose face was hard and gave nothing away, and if it hadn't been for his red rimmed eyes Dave would have gotten away with it. But as it was Kurt knew that this was all a façade. A well practices exterior Dave had had years to perfect and he was sure that on the inside he must feel the same as him. After everything they said and shared last night there was just no way this was the real Dave he was currently looking at but that didn't make it hurt any less. He hadn't seen this face in days and he detested that it was back. Despite being about to cry Kurt could feel anger coil inside him. At what precisely he didn't quite know, probably at the world in general and at the too collected expression of Dave in particular. Wasn't he feeling his pain? He wanted to go over there and slap it off Dave's face and have the warm smile back that he had so come to love. And he was actually sure that he was going to do it as he took a step towards Dave and without realising it brought his hand up, but that was as far as he got. Without warning and despite his best efforts Kurt felt chocked and started to cry, letting his sadness, frustration, anger and rage all come out drumming his fists against Dave's chest.

If there was one thing Dave couldn't handle it was seeing Kurt cry. Kurt's tears were like his kryptonite. He didn't even think as he without saying a word pulled Kurt close against him and just held him, fighting with his own tears but because he had let go of his pain already he managed to keep them at bay. After Kurt fought Dave's embrace for a second he let himself melt into it and flung his arms around Dave's waist. Dave held Kurt for what felt like forever until eventually Kurt had stopped crying and was catching his breath with big gulps of air. He really had needed this. Dave didn't need to say anything. This one simple gesture had been enough and Kurt knew it was time to let Dave go. He gave Dave one last squeeze before detaching himself reluctantly, immediately feeling cold from the lack of Dave's body heat. He smiled sadly up at Dave and mouthed a 'thank you' at him. Dave for a split second let his mask drop as a smile ghosted across his face before he nodded at Kurt and put his practiced face back on as he turned around to get dressed.

As Kurt walked into the bathroom and closed the door, he felt strangely calm, almost numb but at the moment he would take this over the pain he had felt a minute ago. He was just so tired but he needed to carry on so he turned his attention to the more mundane things of life, like reminding himself to breathe. Still this surreal feeling of calmness didn't stop more tears from falling as he stood under the hot shower stream. They were not the big messy kind of tears but more the small silently falling trails of water than ran down the side of your face as your eyes were just that little bit too moist and every time you blink a tear would detach itself and make its way down your cheek. In his case these small streaks of salty liquid were washed away almost as soon as they were formed by the hot pounding water of the shower but Kurt knew they were there.

Kurt stood under the stream of water until it had gone completely cold and he started to shiver. As if on autopilot he went through his skin care routine and by the time he left the bathroom he was not even really aware that he had actually done it.

He stood in the middle of his room and took a few steadying breaths. Dave of course had left the room already and if Kurt strained his ears he could here people shuffling around and talking upstairs. Dave's bag was resting packed on top of Finn's bed, which Dave had stripped and Kurt noticed as he looked around further that Dave had finished the tidying up of the room and a big black bag was sitting next to the door ready to be disposed of and his sheets were lying in a ball next to his bed ready to go in the wash. Kurt let a tiny smile flash across his face. It was exactly small gestures like that which would make him miss Dave even more. Physical attraction was all well and good and they had plenty of it, but there had always been more between him and Dave and Kurt had had glimpses of this real Dave, funny and caring and dorky while at the same time still tough and stereotypical jockyish. Kurt had to chuckle at that expression, he knew it wasn't even a word but to him it described that part of Dave perfectly.

Kurt walked over to his wardrobe and flung the double door open. He stared at his clothes but not with the same amount of enthusiasm as he normally did. Getting dressed would just be another one of those mundane tasks that would help him stay sane today. He was torn between not bothering with his appearance or to go all out. In the end Kurt decided to dress up. It was his shield, his mask, his safety net. As much as Dave was using his letterman jacket and jock image to give him security, Kurt used his clothes and the cockiness that came with it for the same purpose. And he definitely needed something to keep him grounded today. So he pulled out some of his most expensive designer items, according to his mood all in varying shades of dark colours. He put on his favourite lace up boots over his skin tight black jeans and pulled out a blue scarf, in colour matching his eyes, to accentuate just enough with a splash of colour and also to hide the multiple hickeys Dave had left on him last night. He finished off with his hair, which he blow dried up with a side parting and then fixed with some hairspray, before tying his scarf and looking himself over in the mirror and meeting with his own approval. He tried smiling at his reflection but it was a futile effort so he ended up glaring at himself as he mentally prepared himself to go upstairs.

###

Dave was sitting at the kitchen table clinging to his mug of coffee as though he would die if he let go. Around him the parents were chatting and digging into pancakes, sausages and toast which Carole had lovingly prepared for them. Dave had to decline the generous offer of food; he was already feeling sick and was sure he would be unable to keep anything down. It had earned him a confused look from his parents. Dave was not generally known for turning food down, no matter what time of day but he just shrugged it off and mumbled something about 'just not being hungry yet but some coffee would be lovely thanks.' Thankfully everybody seemed too absorbed in their conversations too bug him about it in detail. Or maybe the parents finally had had enough of his weird behaviour and just didn't want to bother with him anymore. Either would be fine by Dave. He found it hard enough just trying to get this coffee down. His ears were straining for any noise from downstairs, any indication that Kurt was on his way up. He tensed as he heard Kurt's thin voice behind him wishing everybody a good morning. He almost sounded normal, although his pitch was off, and Dave thought it was funny how he was able to tell Kurt's moods apart just by the pitch of his voice after only knowing him for a week. He quickly took a sip of his coffee to keep himself busy.

Kurt's eyes fell on the back of Dave as he walked into the kitchen and as predicted he had his letterman on and had it wrapped tightly around himself, just like the wall of protection Kurt had predicted it to be. Kurt like Dave declined the offer of breakfast and just stuck with some black coffee. He sat down at the other end of the table and let his eyes wander everywhere but Dave. Again he had to give himself the internal 'I can do this' pep talk as he sweetly smiled at Paul who had asked him a question, Kurt had no idea what it was but nodded regardless. He must have given him the answer he expected as Paul was smiling warmly at him and turned to Burt in conversation. The moms joined them at the table and soon all parents were back at animated chitchat.

Dave was keeping his eyes glued to the wall, inspecting it closely, not trusting his eyes to move from the spot he was staring at just in case he would come to look at Kurt. He could feel the old familiar feelings of anger and rage starting to slowly build up inside him, no doubt a side effect of going back to his former persona of closeted jock and already he felt like he couldn't breathe. Images of what life would be like back home were starting to haunt him. Being in school, in the locker rooms, listening to his friends' hateful and stupid conversations. The homophobic slurs which were everyday language for them. The way they would expect him to join in with the derogatory remarks and go and harass the so called losers. The questions about girls and parties and why he never seemed to get laid at any of these events. The not being able to tell anyone about this awesome person he had met who had changed his life. Dave almost snorted at that. No doubt his friends would only accuse Kurt of having turned one of their own gay. They were that stupid. Hell, he had repeated the same rubbish constantly until recently although he knew better really. He could feel his hands starting to get clammy and his pulse speeding up. Shit, he needed some air before he would punch the table.

Without a word he got up and left the kitchen to be bewildered looks of the parents and Kurt's resigned staring into his coffee mug.

"Is everything ok?" his dad asked turning to Kurt and of course Kurt should have seen that questions coming as soon as Dave had jumped off the chair.

Yeah, everything is peachy," Kurt replied tight-lipped and hoped his dad would leave it at that.

"Well, things certainly don't look peachy too me." Burt replied not letting go of the issue.

"What's wrong between you two guys?" Paul interjected.

"Nothing." Kurt huffed out.

"Kurt. You really think we were born yesterday? You could cut the tension in here with a knife and after you both were being all best mates … you know disregarding curfews together and stuff like that…" Burt replied almost mockingly, "…today you're not even able to look at one another? It just makes us wonder!"

"Nothing to wonder about, just got nothing to say to each other I suppose … you know that happens sometimes!" Kurt frowned and gosh all the cool and collectedness he had worked so hard to put on earlier was crumbling fast. He wanted to throw himself at his dad and cry and be comforted by him but knew he couldn't so in a split second he decided to opt for the next best thing and he excused himself pulling out his phone as he was quickly making his way downstairs, feeling his emotions cracking through to the surface.

"Hey Kurt, you're ok?" he heard a tired sounding Blaine answering the phone after a few rings.

"No…" was all that Kurt was able to say before he started to sob.

"Shit, Kurt…" Blaine suddenly sounded wide awake.

"Give me a second," Blaine said before shifting his voice away from the receiver and Kurt could hear a muffled "sorry Seb, it's Kurt and I really need to take this, you know it's THURSDAY" to which Sebastian gave a mumbled hum and an "of course, take all the time you need."

"Back again," Blaine's voice was back to full strength. "Oh gosh Kurt, I wished there was something I could do to make you…"

"Blaine… it …I never expected this to be this hard …" Kurt gasped between sobs.

"I mean … I never expected to really feel something for him, I mean … something real … how can I after a week? Please tell me that you can't just … after knowing someone for that amount … but … I … and last night … I know he feels the same and he was going to say it but … I didn't let him … and today he won't even look at me and … I knew it would happen … we agreed to go back this morning to how things used to be and… he is just doing what he thinks would hurt least but… and I was trying really, but then my dad …" Kurt was taking in quick panicky breaths and was starting to feel dizzy.

"Kurt, slow down, you're going to hyperventilate. Listen to my voice … just take some deep breaths for me … can you do that Kurt?"

"Yes," Kurt croaked out between sobs and made a conscious effort to focus on his breathing as Blaine continued to talk to him.

"Kurt, shit, if there is one thing I'm not good at it's giving advice on real deep emotions, remember who you're talking to here…" Kurt let a snort escape through the sobs at Blaine's words.

"But … you know since I've met Seb … I mean the second night we went out for a date, it just felt different, I knew it would be something more than just my usual having fun and … so … I guess what I'm trying to say in a not very eloquent way is that it's probably quite possible to feel what you feel after just a few days but … I suppose that doesn't help you much at them moment." Blaine sighed clearly trying hard to find the right words to say.

"You know … I wish you two would find a way to make it work but I can see because of where you're both at in your lives and his own issues … man, maybe it would be too much to take on now, I don't know … I mean would you even want to try?"

"I … I think I would but only if it was the best for both of us … Dave said he wouldn't be able to have me in his life while not really having me around … while he has to deal with this all … and I kind of get it and I do have to respect that don't I?"

"Oh gosh … I don't know Kurt, I honestly don't, I … I don't want to lie to you and say this will all work out somehow … sorry Kurt … I couldn't do that to you and…"

Kurt sobbed but smiled through his tears. "I know … and that's why you are my best friend … because you never give me any bullshit about anything and just say it as it is … It just sucks, life sucks … just imagining him not here with me anymore sucks…"

"I think I get the picture," Blaine chuckled quietly. "Kurt, come over to my place after Dave left ok? I can't promise to cheer you up but at least I have a shoulder to cry on."

"I … oh gosh, I don't know if I can. I think I'm still grounded and I really don't want to have to think about the talk my dad still has outstanding with me."

"Oh … how about I come to yours then and … if all else fails I can always sneak in through the backdoor or window and into your room … and give your dad something else to worry about." Blaine said trying to sound seductive but failing as he clearly held back a snort.

"Oh gosh … you totally would, wouldn't you?" Kurt for the first time today let a heartfelt small laugh escape him as he imagined Blaine climbing in through the back window or tiptoeing his way through the kitchen trying hard not to be found out.

"Yep, and without boasting I have plenty of experience in that department…" Blaine let a warm chuckle seep down the line.

"I love you Blaine, you're the best friend ever…" Kurt laughed, while wiping his eyes with his free hand.

"I know you do … I'm just that amazing."

"Shut uuuup!" Kurt whined giggling and letting out another sob.

"You know it's true…" Blaine sniggered in reply. "… so let me know what you want to do later but don't forget, I'll be here for you whenever you need me, ok?"

"Thanks, that means a lot; I just wished Dave could have someone like that in his life right now. I can only imagine how lonely he must feel."

"Oh … maybe Sebastian could give him a call … just an idea … you think Dave would be up for that? They did get on well at the party and I assume Dave wouldn't talk to me … Seb still got his number. Just something to consider, I suppose."

"I don't know … I guess it might be worth a try … should Sebastian want to that is…"

"Hold on, I'm just going to ask him," Blaine said and then Kurt could hear mumbled voices in the background.

"He's fine with it should Dave want to talk to him," Blaine said after a moment.

"Great. I might slip a note into Dave's bag, saying that Sebastian would want to talk to him and leave it up to him to call Sebastian if he wants to. I wanted to put some notes with some helpline numbers in there for him anyway." Kurt sounded tentatively hopeful.

Kurt could hear some noises coming from above which sounded conspicuously like Finn entering the house and that could only mean that it must be close to 10am and time for the Karofsky's to leave.

"I think I will have to go … sounds like something is going on upstairs."

"Ok, call me later! I promise I'll answer no matter what time of day or where I am or what I'm doing." Blaine said with a low raspy chuckle.

"Ok, will do …" Kurt snorted. No matter what, Blaine just couldn't stop being Blaine, and Kurt had probably never appreciated it more.

"Blaine?"

"Yes?"

"Thanks and say hi to Sebastian."

"Will do, see you later Kurt."

Kurt hung up the phone and sighed. He would just need five minutes to collect himself, give his face and eyes some attention and put those numbers in Dave's bag and then he would be ready to face the music.

###

Dave was sitting on the couch in the living room where he had escaped to after his little walk. He was in no condition to enjoy any kind of human company, let alone the possibility of being drawn into a conversation. He was staring into nothingness while his thoughts ran rampage. Acting as though nothing ever happened between him and Kurt, what a fucked up idea had that been? It was obviously working very well for him as all he wanted to do was scream, hit something or run away or preferably all of the above simultaneously.

One feeling had asserted itself very dominantly during the last hour or so. He did not want to leave here (didn't want to leave Kurt). He did not want to go back to lying and empty friendships and living in fear. He had felt so alive in the last week, despite the lies to his parents. And while he knew college was only a few months off, it was in the here and now that he was choking. How was he even supposed to act normal? Eat and breathe while he felt like he was dying inside. But he also knew he had to go back, try to become that person he had had a glimpse of while being here. And he couldn't subject Kurt to months of uncertainty and misery. Whichever angle Dave had tried to look at the situation, the outcome in his mind had always been the same, Kurt would be better of without him and didn't the saying go 'if you love somebody set them free?' Kurt needed to get on with his own life and Dave needed to try to sort out his.

Dave was pulled out of his stupor by the force of nature also known as Finn who came storming in through the front door making his presence known to everyone and banging on about the fact that he made it back in time just like he had promised. Finn's head appeared at the door, checking if anyone was in the living room and his eyes landed on Dave. Finn was taken aback as he took in Dave's facial expression and his state.

"Hi Dave, you're ok?" Finn asked as he stepped up to Dave and sat down next to him.

Dave didn't reply but staring down at his shoes he gulped before shaking his head. He didn't want to look at Finn. Didn't want to see any possible pity in his face. He kept his eyes glued to the ground and wished for Finn to just go away, to leave him alone. He knew he was close to breaking yet again and he hated it. He loathed that his whole defence system was so obviously in tatters that he couldn't even stand someone looking at him without the threat of falling to pieces. How was he ever going to survive one day at school with this new lack of ability to let things just wash over him? He really, really hoped it had more to do with Kurt than with the whole not being out and being yourself thing in general because he would be dog food if he wouldn't be able to keep it together.

Finn was still looking at him and Dave was getting more and more uncomfortable. He should just get up and leave but he couldn't even do that for fear of running straight into someone else. He knew all it would take would be a gesture, a pat on the back or a kind word to set him off.

Of course Finn did what he thought would be the guy thing to do and gave Dave a pat on the back, "ah come on dude, I know it must suck now but it's going to be ok," Finn had always had a child like naiveté about him, assuming a few words could fix any ills in the world but all it did was punch Dave in the gut.

Dave just shook his head again and Finn could see his jaw clenching as Dave was desperately trying to stay in control but already his eyes were watering up.

"Please … just don't go there…" Dave begged through gritted teeth, still not looking at Finn.

"Oh …" Finn really didn't know what to do or say. He awkwardly wrung his hands as he glanced over at Dave again hunched over and not meeting his gaze. Dave really seemed to struggle with this whole situation. Clearly being Kurt's brother Finn had primarily been concerned about Kurt's wellbeing to the point where he had completely disregarded the fact that Dave would quite possibly be as affected, if not more, based on his situation as a whole. Finn could tell Dave was in agony and he didn't even know him that well.

"Dude … man … I …shit … anything I can do to cheer you up?" Finn asked as he patted Dave on the back again in what he thought was a supporting gesture.

"Just … don't talk about it," Dave said tight lipped, swallowing past the lump that was forming in his throat.

Finn nodded by now also staring at his feet. "Yeah … so … you know … we should totally stay in contact, I still totally have to pay you back for the way you annihilated me on the Xbox last time. Maybe be can arrange a rematch one of these days."

Dave smiled slightly, although he was still not looking at Finn. He was very grateful that Finn not so subtly had changed the subject. Talking about gaming, that he could do. "Yeah, that'd be cool. I'll let you know my details once I'm back."

"Cool," Finn said. "You know I will practice so I can kick your ass next time."

"In your dreams you will." Dave replied with a short chuckle before falling silent again.

Finn was about to say something else when they heard Paul walking into the room, looking for Dave. They both looked up at him and Paul gave them a smile before informing Dave that he could do with his help getting everything in the car. They were just walking out of the living room when Dave almost bumped into Kurt who was making his way to the kitchen. Dave stomped past Kurt without as much as looking at him, his fight or flight instinct kicking in as he could feel his chest tightening. He quickly made his ways down the stairs to collect his bag.

Kurt gulped and bit his bottom lip as he kept on walking, pulling himself up a bit straighter and staring straight ahead, not wanting to stop, not wanting to look back. In a few minutes Dave would be gone and he could start picking up the pieces. He really hoped he would be able to see Blaine and avoid his dad at least until tomorrow.

After putting his own bag in the boot, Dave helped his dad carrying the rest of the luggage to the car. This would be it! Now all that was left to do was to say goodbye. He had dragged his feet back up the driveway walking behind his dad who was making some snide comment about the luggage to his mom and Dave could hear everybody chuckle at his dad's joke. It was weird, he could hear them laugh, he was sure of that but it all sounded kind of distorted and far away, almost like an out of body experience. In his attempt to keep his emotions under control he really had done a great job of shutting every other of his senses down as well. He felt numb from the outside in, and everything seemed muffled, warped, twisted in some way. Not even his breathing seemed to be wanting to cooperate anymore as he found it hard to take in air, and he pulled his letterman jacket closer around him as he walked up towards the Hudmels. A cold had gripped his heart and he knew that not even a hundred letterman's would be able to get rid of that kind of cold but he still tried.

Of course Dave knew what was expected of him and he would play his part as best as he could in his current state. He would have to say goodbye and shake everybody's hand, or in the case of Carole probably be pulled into a big hug, and he would try to, he really would, but one thing he couldn't do. He couldn't make himself look up just in case he would catch a glimpse of Kurt whose close proximity he was only too painfully aware off. He could walk away now as long as he wouldn't be looking at him.

He heard Paul and Burt exchange joyful banter and promises of meeting up again soon as they embraced each other in a warm goodbye hug and Carole and Miriam were doing the same, promising each other to stay in contact and making sure that their men wouldn't leave it another 10 years until they meet up again. Then Burt and Miriam hugged each other goodbye and Paul pulled in Carole and shared a warm embrace as well. Dave gulped and went rigid. Now it would no doubt be the kids' turn which was only confirmed when his mom pulled Kurt in with an accompanying "it was so nice to meet you," before she did the same with Finn. Dave noticed that Burt had walked up to him and held is hand out for him to shake. Dave's hand moved almost as if possessed by some strange power and shook Burt's hand without him really noticing. Burt was giving him a pat on his shoulder and was saying something to him which was completely lost on Dave. He just needed to go and needed to go NOW. Paul had gone to say goodbye to Kurt and Finn, and before Dave knew it Carole was there and, as anticipated, didn't bother with personal space engulfing him in an all embracing hug. And Dave couldn't breathe. Carole said something to him and he nodded just to seem polite. All he could hear was the beating of his heart and his own mind screaming 'run' at him.

Not sparing Kurt or Finn a proper look Dave huffed "I need to go, bye" before storming off in the direction of the car and getting in, placing his head in his hands between his knees and trying his best at keeping his stony exterior. He didn't really hear his dad's "Dave, what has gone into you" or notice the stupefied looks by the Hudmels or his mom and the subsequent reassurance that they would have words with David about his behaviour.

Kurt eyes had shot up at Dave's outburst and he watched him run away. Like Dave he had avoided any direct eye contact at all cost. He felt the impending explosion of emotions that were still too close to the surface to be ignored, even after his chat with Blaine earlier. But to see Dave run away like he couldn't get out of here fast enough cut straight to his heart. And it didn't matter that logic told him that he knew why Dave was acting the way he did. He felt utterly alone and rejected. He didn't know what he had expected but at least a goodbye. Oh god, he wouldn't cry now, he had been sure there were no tears left but now they were pricking at his eyes again but there was just no way he would allow himself to. But when his gaze wandered over to the car and he saw the huddled figure of Dave in the backseat, bent over like he was in physical pain, and Kurt had a feeling that most likely he was, his eyes filled and his feeling of rejection immediately changed to one of compassion and longing. He knew he probably would have to run soon as well, for fear of causing a scene otherwise.

Finn in one of his more insightful moments had picked up on this non verbal conversation and tension between the two and upon looking at Kurt and his evident struggle with his emotions took a few quick strides towards him until he was at Kurt's side and placed an arm around his shoulder in a comforting gesture.

'Breathe, just breathe, in through the nose, out through the mouth, in, out, in, out.' Kurt was telling himself. He watched the Karofsky's making their way to their car and getting in and he was feeling sick. Yes, he had Dave's number and they most likely would meet again at one point in the future but for now this was a definite goodbye and it was like a part of him was being ripped out and plainly, he didn't want this to end.

Dave still had his hands between his legs and didn't even acknowledge his dad who had started scolding him the second he had entered the car. He didn't mind, they could ground him from here to eternity and probably do him a favour. He was going back to a life in hell and really didn't care what would be in store for him. The hard assed jock who couldn't give a shit was truly back only this time tortured by the knowledge of who he really was and more so of what he would be leaving behind.

He could feel his dad start the engine and immediately his breath hitched and his chest constricted. Oh god, he needed air! He was shaking and they were really leaving. 'Kurt,' was all that was going through Dave's head and he looked up out of the window and saw the Hudmels still standing in the drive. The parents waving goodbye and Kurt looking paler than Dave had ever seen him and Finn having his arm slung around his shoulder as if to hold him upright.

What the fuck was he doing? Was he really going to walk away from the best thing that had ever happened to him? Even until a minute ago this had not felt quite real but now, as the car was starting to move reality kicked in. He was really leaving and he and Kurt would truly be over. Just like that, without even giving them a chance to fight for it? Why would he be stupid enough to let this happen? Dave's mind suddenly was reeling. Who was he kidding! Was it really the distance and the fact that he was not officially out that kept him from trying to make this work? Or was he as always just being a coward and again letting life and its obstacles and pressures dictate the course of his actions? Or should this be the time to grow up and be bold for once and do something spontaneous and worry about the consequences later? Dave started to panic as he looked back over at Kurt; no he couldn't leave like this.

"Stop the car" he yelled at his dad, who was currently backing out of the drive and giving Dave a confused "what?" in reply.

"I said stop the car," Dave's voice was thin and panicked as he felt his dad continuing to back out.

"Dave?" his dad sounded exasperated.

"Stop the frigging car," Dave shouted as he already had unbuckled the seatbelt and was about to open the door.

"David, what on earth are you doing?" his dad yelled as he hit the breaks hard. His mom was staring at him in shock but Dave was already out of the door and racing back up the driveway bee lining straight for Kurt, tears running down his face. He didn't notice the confused stares Burt and Carole were giving him or the slight smirk Finn had on his face as he removed his arm from Kurt and moved aside. All he could see was Kurt and the way he was looking at him, tears falling down his face just as freely.

Kurt was sure he was going to faint. He had trouble processing what was literally taking place in front of his eyes. He was crying so hard he was trembling. The tears had come the second he saw the door opening and Dave rushing out looking at him. A surge of hope and happiness had swamped his body and it was too much for his system to handle. And then Dave was there picking him up in his big strong wonderful arms and hugging him so tight Kurt was sure he was going to break but he hugged Dave back just as hard. Their bodies both were shuddering from their sobs and Kurt had his head buried in the curve of Dave's neck.

"Oh god Kurt," Dave managed to squeeze out between sobs and gasps of air. "I'm … so … stupid and … such a coward. Don't take … anything I said … last night … serious." He was sobbing as he gently grabbed Kurt's face with both his hands and made him look at him.

"I … I know you don't want me to say it but …" he was breathing so hard right now and his voice was breaking. "But …I love …" his voice got stuck in his throat as Kurt started to smile at him through tearstained eyes.

"I know! I do to!" Kurt rasped out.

"And you know …despite everything … if there is even a miniscule chance that this, us …" Dave continued sobbing and smiling.

"We need to at least give it a shot?" Kurt finished the sentence and smiled hopefully at Dave.

"Yes … if you want …"

"YES," Dave was cut off by Kurt's more than affirming outburst. They smiled at each other, trails of tears still making its way down their faces and then Dave leaned in and put his lips against Kurt's and Kurt's hands came up and rested in Dave's hair as he pulled Dave in more and kissed him back, in public in front of their families and neither of them couldn't care less at this point; it was just them.

After having had recovered from seeing his son basically jump out of a moving vehicle and heading straight for Kurt, Paul had put the car back onto the drive and he and Miriam had gotten out watching the scene in confusion as it was unfolding. All the parents pretty much just stood with their mouth open and gaping. Finn had to try hard to hide his grin as he didn't much fancied getting in trouble over having been in the know. As the initial shock that their son was kissing another boy was starting to fade and realisation slowly took over, they looked at Carole and Burt who looked just as shell-shocked. Burt tore his eyes away and looked at his old friend and their eyes met in a 'that explains a lot' look as a slow smirk of understanding started to grace their features.

After what Burt thought had been more than ample time for the boys to consummate their public display of affection he cleared his throat loudly, which made them pull apart and still holding each other tight they grinned sheepishly at their parents before Kurt buried his face in Dave's chest and Dave hid his face in Kurt's neck, both giggling.

"Well…" Burt said, being the first one to find his voice again. He walked over to Paul and put an arm around his friend's shoulder and gestured at everybody to follow him inside.

"I'm going to put the kettle on. It seems like we have a lot to talk about."


A/N 2: So, this is it (mostly)! I hope you all enjoyed the ending and I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who joined me on this ride and favoured, read and left feedback for this story. This little idea of mine turned into so much more than I could have imagined and I had a blast writing it.

Just one last thing, there will be an EPILOGUE. (Or if I'm even more daring a short sequel) While brainstorming for an epilogue the ideas kept piling up. It would basically be a few chapters on key moments of their lives after where AWWTH left them. It all depends on whether I can cram it all into one long chapter or if the muse keeps taking over.