A/N: I apologize for the long wait! Things became crazy with school and the holidays. Hope that this is worth it! Thank you all for the reviews and I apologize for not responding to some of them. I hope to be able to respond to any new ones. I also wanted to thank the guest reviewers! You were so kind. And to the one who basically cussed me out for still liking Blaine, sorry you feel that way but this is how I saw Blaine in the fic.
Kurt stared with wide eyes, his mouth hanging agape and his hands shaking at his side. He had shoved himself as close to the edge of the bed as he could without falling over. He could tell Burt was still talking behind him, but he couldn't make out the words. His focus remained on Blaine, who was curled up on the other side of the bed still gasping through the pain; everything else was blurry in comparison.
It wasn't until Burt placed a firm but gentle hand on his shoulder that Kurt finally turned away from Blaine. One look at his father's face was all it took for Kurt to completely lose it.
"What the hell is going on, Dad? What—"
"Come on," Burt prodded, pulling Kurt from the bed.
"No! Tell me what's going on!"
"I will," Burt replied. "But not here. Come on!"
Kurt glanced once more at Blaine, who was now surrounded by Sam and Carole. When did they get here?
"Kurt, now," Burt instructed, once again gently pulling on Kurt's arm.
Kurt bit his lip and slipped off the bed, allowing Burt to tug him out into the hallway. Once away from his bedroom, he nearly exploded once more.
"Why is Blaine h-here? Why didn't you tell me you were harboring my ex? Dad? What's going on? I—"
"Woah, bud! Can I get a word in to explain? I—"
"Why didn't you tell me Blaine was here? Why did you keep that from me? I don't understand. I thought—"
"Let's go downstairs and I'll explain everything, ok?"
Kurt sent Burt a seething look but shuffled off toward the kitchen nonetheless.
"You want coffee or tea? Anything?" Burt asked once they were in the kitchen.
"Just want answers, Dad," Kurt sighed, plopping down in the nearest chair and crossing his arms over his chest.
"Hey, I know this looks bad but—"
"It looks really bad," Kurt agreed with a bit of a glare. "Why didn't you tell me he was staying here?"
"Honestly?" Burt replied with a weary sigh. "Because everything was crazy making sure he was all right after his surgery and making sure he kept up with his prescriptions. The kid apparently has a thing about not telling ya when he's in pain."
"He thinks he's a burden," Kurt mumbled absently before shaking his head to get the thought out of his mind. He was still mad at Blaine. He was supposed to be mad at Blaine.
"Found that out the hard way," Burt huffed.
"That still doesn't answer my question of why he's here and why you didn't take all of two seconds to send me a text or have Finn call me, for god's sake!"
"Blaine's here because there was no way I was letting him go home by himself after he'd had surgery and everything. His parents are…somewhere." Burt tiredly leaned against the kitchen counter, running a hand over his scruffy chin. He rarely went without shaving and it showed just how exhausting the past few days must have been.
With another sigh, he started speaking once again. "I still haven't figured out what's going on there, but they've apparently been on some second honeymoon slash business trip thing since the beginning of school. And Cooper couldn't get out of filming to come here. He didn't really have a lot of options."
Kurt's glare softened a little, but he was still frustrated and hurt. "You should have called me."
"I know, Kurt." Burt pushed away from the counter and pulled out the chair across from Kurt at the table. "And I'm so sorry I didn't. But I didn't know you were coming home for Thanksgiving. Last I had talked to you, you were staying in New York to watch the parade and do the whole New York thing."
"So you were just planning on never telling me?" Kurt huffed. "Really, Dad?"
"Now I never said that!" Burt's chair scratched roughly against the floor where he had pushed back in his frustration. "You know I wouldn't do that to you! I was planning on telling you. I'm sorry you found out this way, Kurt. I really am. I was just trying to deal with one boy at a time. And in the moment, that meant Blaine first. I never wanted you to get upset. But I couldn't just leave him without help either. You know you would've been just as pissed at me if I had."
Kurt's lips twitched in a glimpse of a smile before he cleared his throat and shifted in his chair. "Maybe," he muttered softly after a few minutes.
"Kurt," Burt continued cautiously, reaching across the table and taking Kurt's hand in his. "Look, the last thing I wanted to do is hurt you. I'm not choosing Blaine's side over yours or anything like that."
"It just looks it," Kurt sighed, rubbing a hand over his face tiredly, just as Burt had done moments ago.
"I'm not. I love both of you boys, but I'd never try to do something like that to you. I just wanted to help him. He screwed up, Kurt. I get that. I'm not happy with him for it either. But that doesn't mean I'm going to quit caring about him either—that I can just quit worrying about him." Burt squeezed Kurt's hand. "I think you can understand that because I'm pretty sure you're feeling exactly the same way."
Kurt bit his lip and stared down at the table; he didn't want Burt to see the tears in his eyes that were threatening to spill. He was sick of caring. He knew he shouldn't care at this point. But he couldn't help it…it was still Blaine.
"Kurt?" Carole said from the doorway. "Your room's all yours, sweetheart."
"Wh-what about Blaine?" he asked, cursing himself for letting his worry show.
Carole smiled knowingly, and he hated it. "Sam and I set him up in Finn's bed. Finn is staying over at Artie's to work on some last minute details for the play. They're trying to figure out what to do for 'Beauty School Dropout' now that Blaine's out of commission for a little while."
"Oh, ok," Kurt mumbled. "I'm going to bed then."
"Kurt I—" Burt started before Kurt interrupted.
"It's fine. I just…I'm tired, Dad. We'll figure it out tomorrow."
Burt nodded with a sigh. "Ok, love you buddy."
"Love you, too." He tried to send him dad a real smile, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. He bid Carole goodnight and quickly headed toward the stairs. He was bone tired between traveling and the surprise of finding Blaine in his bed.
He still didn't know what he was going to do with Blaine in the house. He understood why his dad had taken his ex-boyfriend in; of course he did. Hell, Burt was right! Kurt would have been a little mad if they had left Blaine on his own while he was hurt. But that didn't make things any easier. Things weren't going to be easy—Blaine's mistake had made sure of that. And now it seemed that Kurt just had to live with it.
When he reached top of the stairs, Kurt could hear voices coming from Finn's bedroom. He paused near the ajar door so that he could sneak a quick peek. He bit his lip when he saw Blaine laying in Finn's bed with Sam hovering over him. He was extremely pale and, from what Kurt could see, trembling rather violently under the blankets.
Kurt's hands twitched in his desire to pull the door open wide, barge into the room, and take Sam's place at Blaine's bedside. But he couldn't. He shouldn't.
With a sigh, Kurt shuffled toward his bedroom across the hall. It didn't look as if Carole had had the chance to pick up the mess they had caused earlier. Kurt's bags were knocked over and for once he didn't care about the clothes inside of them getting wrinkled. His sheets were a tangled mess on his bed and it took him a moment to get them sorted enough for him to be able to climb under them. His foot collided with something soft and squishy, making him jump once again.
"What the hell?" He pushed himself back up in the bed and reached down to find whatever he had kicked. His hand came back with Blaine's stuffed Margaret Thatcher dog. The fur was a little more matted than what it had been back when he'd first confiscated it from Finn, but it otherwise looked exactly the same as it had when he had shown up at Blaine's locker in an attempt to cheer him up. Just like Blaine had always tried to cheer him up before…well before everything had gone to hell.
Part of Kurt wanted to throw the dog across the room. Out of sight out of mind. Except nothing about Blaine seemed to work that way. Even when they were thousands of miles apart and not talking, Kurt's mind would drift back to the boy who had stolen his heart on a staircase.
Instead, Kurt tucked the dog against his chest, breathing in Blaine's lingering scent, and fell into a fitful sleep.
Blaine didn't want to move. Everything hurt and moving only made it worse. But not being able to move meant that he was forced to lie as still as possible while his mind raced with thoughts of Kurt—Kurt who had come home after all and had found him in his bedroom. Kurt, who was still mad and wanted nothing to do with him.
"Dude? You ok?"
Blaine tilted his head as he felt the bed dip beside him. Sam sat as far from Blaine as possible on the bed, biting his lip and looking at Blaine worriedly.
"I'm fine," Blaine croaked. He tried to push himself up in the bed so that he wasn't as slumped over the pillows, but he ended up falling back against them with a wince. The night's events had taken quite the toll and even his good arm felt weak at this point.
"Can you please not lie to me?" Sam sighed. He reached over to take Blaine's hand and placed a few pills into his palm. "Take those so you'll stop hurting. And please quit lying about when you're in pain. Burt warned me you'd do that. So can you please stop?"
Blaine bit his lip but took the pills nonetheless. He leaned back against the pillows again and tried to ignore the continued worried glances that Sam, who was still on the bed, was sending him. After a few minutes, the medicine still hadn't kicked in and Sam was still staring at him. "Sam," Blaine huffed, "what?"
"Dude, are you ever going to tell me what's going on? I mean, I thought we were friends now and all that."
"Sam I'm fine. I—"
"No, you're not!" Sam all but snapped. "And you haven't been since you and Kurt broke up!"
Blaine jerked at the outburst, wincing as his ribs twinged with pain.
"Sorry," Sam apologized sheepishly. "I'm just worried and tired of you hiding whatever is wrong, man. "
"What makes you think something is wrong?" Blaine mumbled in one final attempt to deflect.
Sam shifted on the bed, pulling his legs up but never looking away from Blaine. "Dude, I'm not blind."
Blaine scoffed. "Well, you're the only one then." He spoke softly, hoping Sam wouldn't hear.
Sam continued on as if he hadn't heard the slip, much to Blaine's relief. "It's just, it's obvious that something is wrong. I know that break ups are hard but you can't keep beating yourself up!"
"Sam, please just—"
"It happens and it sucks. But you can't keep doing this. What could you have done that is making you want to punish yourself like this?" Sam waved his arms around frantically, nearly falling off the bed in the process. "And don't say that you're not because you are! Don't think I forgot you saying you haven't been sleeping and eating much. I can also see you distancing yourself. I mean, you turned down the lead in the play, man! This needs to stop."
"It isn't that easy, Sam," Blaine murmered, rubbing at his eyes tiredly with his good hand. "I screwed up and I can't just—"
"Dude, what could make you think putting yourself through hell was ok?"
"I cheated on Kurt!" Blaine snapped. As soon as he realized what he had said, he sagged against the pillows and covered his face with his good arm. He could feel Sam shifting anxiously on the bed beside him.
"Go on, say it; I know you have something to say. Kurt told me all about what happened with you and Quinn last year, so just say it. I know I'm an awful person for doing it. And I—"
"No, you're not," Sam interrupted. Blaine heard him sigh and felt the bed move once again. He assumed Sam was getting up to leave, but then he felt his friend bump shoulders with him as he lay against the spare pillows.
"No, seriously!" Sam cut him off. "I mean, cheating is wrong. But, like, there isn't just one type of cheating."
"Pretty sure cheating is cheating. Doesn't matter what you actually do with the other person." Blaine felt his face redden but he moved his arm so that he could finally look toward Sam.
The other boy rolled his eyes at Blaine before speaking once more. "That's not what I meant." He squeezed Blaine's knee and pulled the blankets that had slipped down earlier around him, obviously being mindful of Blaine's injuries. "What I mean is…" He paused, visibly searching for the right words. "Why did you do it? Why did you cheat?"
"I don't know…"
"No," Sam cut in, shaking his head. "There had to be something that made you do it. So what was it? Did you want to feel good? Have a good time with someone else since Kurt was away? Need to have someone-"
"God, no! It wasn't anything like that!"
"Then what was it?" Sam asked patiently.
Blaine squeezed his eyes shut as memories of that night started to hit him one by one. Seeing Eli's flirty message on Facebook. Going to his apartment. Undressing. The feeling of hands all over him…the feeling of wrongness.
"I just wanted to not be alone." He sagged against the pillows, swallowing thickly. "It felt like Kurt was moving on with this perfect new life and that I just didn't fit into it. Why would I?" He squeezed his eyes tightly, trying to stop the tears from slipping out. "He was in the greatest city ever with all these amazing people and I'm just some kid from Ohio."
"Blaine, you know that's not what Kurt was doing."
Blaine shook his head. "It felt it. I know he wasn't trying to make me feel like that. But he was just so busy and I hated it. So I started talking with this guy on Facebook and things got so out of control." Once he had started talking, Blaine couldn't stop. He'd kept everything bottled up for far too long. "Then I hated that too! And you know why?"
Sam blinked at the sudden onslaught of confessions but remained silent.
"Because the second I did it, I knew Kurt was it for me and that I had probably ruined the greatest thing I had in my life. He's my soul mate and I cheated on him! If that doesn't make me an awful person, Sam, I'm not sure what does."
Sam bit his lip and he reached for Blaine's good hand, stopping him from rolling onto his injured side. He squeezed it once. "I still don't think you're an awful person."
Blaine shot him a disbelieving look.
"Dude, you know I have experience with cheating. I'm like a freaking expert by now." He smiled sadly. "Quinn cheated on me because she wanted to feel good and wanted to still have the perfect image she thought she had with me. Mercedes cheated on her boyfriend with me because she wasn't completely happy and didn't know how to tell him."
Blaine was sick of all the talk of cheating. He knew it happened and that most of his classmates had done it. He just never thought he'd be one of them. It made him sick. "Sam…"
"And Santana?" Sam continued as thought Blaine hadn't spoken. "She kind of cheated on me with Brittany a couple of times. And that was because she couldn't be honest with herself or me. I had an old girlfriend cheat on me because I had chosen to go out with the boys instead of her and she was pissed off at me."
"Sam, I don't understand."
"I'm saying, not everyone cheats for the same reason. And sometimes the reasons actually matter. Should you have gone out with that guy? No! I'm not saying that. But, I mean, you weren't with him because you wanted to just sleep with someone to feel good or because you were pissed at Kurt. You were lonely and didn't know how to react."
Blaine shook his head sadly. "That still doesn't change what I did."
"Nah, it doesn't. But I think it can help. If you, like, talk to Kurt about it." Sam tilted his head a little and smiled sadly.
"You don't think I've tried?"
Sam held up his hands in surrender. "Blaine—"
"Because I have!"
"Blaine, calm down."
"I've texted, called, Facebooked. Hell, I even wrote letters! But he ignored everything. I can't tell him any of that if he won't accept any of that," Blaine continued, wincing as he jarred his injuries.
"Seriously, calm down before you hurt yourself."
Blaine sighed and tried to listen to Sam. His outburst had hurt, but he needed to let it out. "I don't know what else I can do. I've tried everything."
Sam nudged Blaine's shoulder gently. "Then you wait him out. Give him time to stop hurting and let him come to you." Sam ran a hand through his messy hair. "But in the mean time I think you should maybe start finding a way to forgive yourself. It might help things if you did, man."
Blaine bit his lip and carefully shifted against the pillows and Sam's shoulder. "But what if he never comes to me?" he whispered, his eyes filling with tears once more at the thought.
"He will. Trust me." Sam sent Blaine a wink and hopped off the bed. He walked across the room and started to mess with the TV and DVD player.
"You don't know that he will," Blaine sighed, waving his good arm around tiredly.
"I do," Sam disagreed, glancing back from the TV. "Like you said, you two are soul mates. I may not know much, but pretty sure that means you two are supposed to be together for the long haul." Sam shrugged, put a DVD in, and climbed back onto Finn's bed with the remote in hand. "So it will happen. Don't know when, but it will."
Blaine stared up at Sam, blinking at his friend. He opened his mouth as if to speak but closed it again as he tried to find the right words. He felt utterly drained and his medicine was finally started to kick in, making the words resonate more than usual. "That's…incredibly insightful."
Sam knit his brows in confusion. "That's good, right?"
"Yeah," Blaine replied with a genuine, if tired, smile. "It's perfect. Thanks, Sam."
Sam returned the smile with his own broad goofy grin. "Awesome!" Sam clicked the menu button on the remote and the Avengers logo popped up on the screen. "Figured we could watch some of this while you waited for your meds to kick in so you can go back to sleep. It's not like you'll miss anything; know for a fact you had to have seen this like a million times already."
Blaine snorted, eyes already starting to droop. "And you haven't?"
Sam replied by shushing him as the action started. Blaine sighed but couldn't help but smile as he settled more comfortably into the bed. Despite the gun fire and destruction going on with the superheroes, and Sam's incessant quoting, Blaine found himself drifting off, his body slumping against Sam's side in his exhaustion. He couldn't remember the last time he'd voluntarily been this close to another person.
He barely registered Sam tugging the blankets around him and adjusting the pillow near his bad arm before he gave in to the exhaustion.
The front door creaking open and slamming shut woke Kurt from his restless sleep the following morning. He groaned as he heard movement downstairs, the unmistakable sound of his clumsy stepbrother rooting around in the kitchen while Carole chastised him. There were other sounds from the Finn's bedroom where Sam and Blaine were no doubt waking as well.
After everything that had happened, Kurt had no desire to join anyone. Not yet.
Instead, he pulled the blankets tighter around himself and curled into his fluffy pillows. The sun was streaming through the cracks in the blinds; he turned away from the ligh as much as possible, but there was no way he could go back to sleep now…not with the noises, the light, and all the thoughts already forming in his mind. But that didn't mean he planned on getting out of bed just yet.
He wasn't sure what he would say to his dad at this point or how in the hell he'd react to Blaine. While Burt had good intentions, and Kurt was glad he was able to help Blaine when he needed it, it still stung to have been kept in the dark while it all happened. And Blaine… Well he still didn't know how he felt about him right now.
Blaine had hurt him—something he hadn't expected by a long shot. It would take time to deal with and move past. Yet he still loved Blaine. He still saw the other boy as his best friend and it killed him to ignore the phone calls every time his cell rang. They were so much more than two teenagers hooking up, and it stung so much to know that Blaine had done that with someone other random boy.
Lost in thought once again, Kurt didn't notice the knock on his door or the creaking of the old hinges. In fact, he wasn't even aware someone had come into his room until his arm was being rubbed.
Kurt kept his eyes closed, hoping Carole would think he was still asleep and leave.
"Kurt, I know you're awake. You may be a great actor, but I've dealt with people faking sleep for quite a while between Finn and the hospital."
Kurt groaned and opened his eyes with a frown. "How'd you know?"
"Can't give away my secrets," she replied with a wink. She resumed rubbing at his arm, turning more serious. "How are you this morning? And be honest. You're allowed to be upset."
"That's good, because I still am," Kurt sighed.
"I know your dad messed up but—"
"No, it isn't really that. I mean, I'm still mad that he didn't tell me, but I'm not mad that he helped Blaine. It's…complicated."
"Love always seems to be." Kurt instantly tensed under her hand. "Sorry! I shouldn't have said that," Carole apologized, squeezing him arm.
Kurt sighed once more and pushed himself up in the bed, pulling his knees towards his chest as he sat. "Am I that obvious?"
Carole smiled sadly. "I wouldn't say that you were too obvious. But I know it's hard to throw away love for someone, even when they hurt you terribly. I've been there. Sometimes there is no coming back from it. Other times, you can work through it."
"I don't know that we can," Kurt all but whispered, looking down at his blanket.
"And you may not be able to." Carole reached over to Kurt and pushed a stray strand of hair back into place. "You two will figure it out. And your dad and I will be there no matter what you decide. I hope you know that."
Kurt smiled a little, despite the warring feelings their conversation brought back. "I know. Thank you, Carole."
Carole pulled him into a hug, holding him tightly for a few minutes. "Now," she said, releasing him, "why don't you come down and eat breakfast before your dad starts panicking even more than he already has."
Kurt raised an eyebrow at that.
"He's convinced himself that you are going to stay up in your room for your entire visit and refuse to talk to him."
"I'm really not that mad."
"I know, honey, but he feels really bad that he didn't talk to you before."
Kurt nodded. "I'll come down. But, I can't promise that I'll stay long."
"That's perfectly fine." Carole patted his shoulder and stood up from the bed. "Did I mention I made those crepes you adore?"
"Isn't allowed to have any. I know. That's why he's eating cereal and the crepes are for you boys." She winked at him and headed out of the room.
Kurt continued to sit on his bed in the same position. He knew he couldn't avoid everyone the whole week, even if it was tempting. He huffed to himself but finally threw the covers off his legs and climbed out of bed. His body felt tired and stiff from the tense sleep and stress. Not even stretching helped.
He glanced in the mirror. His face was still splotchy and red, so he did a shortened version of his normal skin care regimen in the hope of masking the fact that he had been an emotional wreck once he'd made it to his bedroom the night before. He then grabbed a hoodie and walked downstairs toward the kitchen.
Once there, he sent another thankful smile toward Carole. She pointed at the plate between Burt and Finn, indicating for him to head over and eat. He was happy she had moved his place at the table away from Blaine's normal spot. On the way to his seat, he rubbed his dad's back, hoping to show that they were still on good terms.
Just as Kurt had started to relax and enjoy his food, Blaine appeared in the hall across from the kitchen, moving slowly and stiffly. Sam was at his side, keeping his arm around Blaine to ensure that he didn't fall if he stumbled. He was muttering something to Blaine that Kurt couldn't hear, but whatever it was seemed to put the boy more at ease as he walked. Blaine fumbled a bit on the step down into the kitchen. Kurt started to stand to rush towards him, but Sam was right there steadying him and helping him into a chair.
"You ok, man?" Sam asked, rubbing Blaine's back soothingly as he caught his breath and relaxed into the wooden chair.
"Yeah," Blaine mumbled. "I'm fine." He glanced towards Kurt. Their gaze met for a moment before both quickly looked down at their plates. Blaine pushed his food around on his plate and sloppily cut into the crepes. It was obvious that it was hard for him to do and Sam kept offering to help. After his plate slid and he nearly knocked his food onto the table, Blaine relented and allowed Sam to help cut the food more neatly. Kurt tried to appear as if he wasn't watching, but it was hard .
Kurt felt uneasy yet couldn't look away. He knew he should be glad that Blaine was allowing Sam to help him, but he didn't like seeing it. He couldn't help but wish he was the one there. He didn't know how to feel about that.
When Kurt did look back up at Blaine, his ex's face was blood red with embarrassment. After that, Kurt simply excused himself from the table, not caring that he had only eaten half of his breakfast. He wasn't hungry anyway and he hated seeing Blaine like that. He needed to get out.
But he didn't find solace in the house. With Finn having returned from Artie's, Blaine had relocated once more to the family room couch, despite Burt's protests that he would hurt himself on the thing. And Sam was never far from his friend. He seemed comforting and sweet, yet it still grated on Kurt's last nerve. He couldn't stand seeing Sam fuss over his ex, checking that he took his medicine, fluffing pillows every few minutes, and tugging up blankets. It caused his chest to ache and he couldn't take it for very long.
For that reason, he ended up mentally going through nearly every friend he had left in Lima trying to find a way out of the house. The guys were all out of the question; most were closer to Blaine and it would just remind him all the more of his problems. Rachel had already left with her dads to go visit her grandmother for the holiday. Mercedes flight from L.A. had been delayed thanks to some storm. And while he loved Brittany to death, he just wasn't sure he could handle her at the moment.
So that left Tina, who thankfully wanted something to occupy her time so she wouldn't obsess over the fact that Mike was also in town to visit his parents. They agreed to meet up at the mall for some retail therapy and deliciously unhealthy soft pretzels. It was great at first. The two fell into old habits of compliments and critiques like they had never been separated by so many of mile. They talked about Kurt's new internship and what schools Tina was interested in applying to. It was great.
Then Tina had to go and ask about Blaine…
"I know you probably don't want to talk about him, but he hasn't been returning any of my texts and I just want to know how he's doing?"
Kurt paused mid bite and blinked up at her.
"I'm sorry! But I just wanted—"
"He's fine," Kurt mumbled before returning to his pretzel.
"Really?" Tina asked unsurely. "Because he really didn't look like he'd be fine for awhile. Not after the way he fell. It was pretty bad. He was in so much pain."
"I said he was fine." Kurt ripped a few pieces off of his napkin, avoiding Tina's gaze. He didn't want to talk about Blaine and how he was doing. He had left the house to avoid. That was the whole point of this.
Tina sighed loudly and reached across the table to pull Kurt's hand away from his mutilating his napkin and into hers. "You know I get it. It's hard being around your ex. When Mike was at McKinley I—"
"No you don't know," Kurt snapped, pulling his hand away from hers and crossing his arms over his chest. He sunk back against the hard plastic of the chair and tried not to meet her gaze.
"Kurt, I'm sorry that I brought it up! But he's my friend and I just wanted to know if he was ok."
"Well I answered you," Kurt muttered, biting his lip and shrinking into himself even more.
Tina furrowed her brow. "Look, you don't have to get mad! I didn't bite your head off every time you or Rachel asked about Mike."
"Well Mike didn't cheat on you," Kurt hissed. His eyes widened as soon as the words were out of his mouth. He hadn't planned on telling anyone that.
"What?" Tina gasped, eyes wide. "Kurt? Did Blaine…did he…" She waved her hand to get her point across, not quite able to actually say the words.
Kurt bit his lip once more and nodded ever so slightly.
"Just don't," Kurt interrupted, bolting up in his seat. "You don't know what it's like and I don't want to hear it." Kurt grabbed the remains of his pretzel and shredded napkins, standing hastily and going over to the nearby trashcan. He didn't want to talk about this anymore!. Rachel had tried it already back in New York, much to his dismay. All he wanted was to be home and not think about Blaine…and that was turning out to be impossible.
Kurt startled when Tina came up behind him and squeezed his shoulder. "Come on," she said softly, pulling him off toward one of the more deserted halls. She pushed him onto a bench then sat down beside him.
Kurt shook his head frustrated. "Tina this isn't going to help. I—"
"You know, I may not have been cheated on but I have cheated."
"Tina, please," Kurt begged. He ran a hand through his usually perfect hair, mussing some of the strands.
She reached over and smoothed it back down, letting her hand fall against his neck afterwards. "I would never say that what Blaine did was ok. But that doesn't mean that you have to hate him for the rest of your life. Because trust me, no one could hate him more than he hates himself."
Kurt squirmed in his seat but didn't respond. It was more than obvious that all of this was making him anxious and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, Tina pressed on.
"Kurt, I cheated on Artie and I felt horrible. And you know what?" She smiled sadly at him. "We didn't have anywhere near the same relationship as you and Blaine."
"So what? I'm supposed to just forgive and forget? I've tried and—"
"I'm not saying that." Tina held her hands up in surrender.
"But I am," Kurt continued, twisting so that he faced her. "He was with someone else! I can't just move on from that."
"But didn't Blaine?"
"Excuse me?" Kurt gasped, eyes narrowed in confusion. "I never cheated on Blaine!"
Tina sighed and turned on the bench as well. She squeezed Kurt's knee, but he would not calm. "That song last year during Whitney week and what Mike said when he talked to Blaine back then say different."
Kurt's normally pale face reddened. "I didn't sleep with anyone else!" Kurt tried to stand from the bench but Tina grabbed his arm and pulled him back against her side. "Please, I—"
"Kurt, I was cheating on Artie the minute I started to feel that connection to Mike. It may not have been sex, but you can still cheat with all the emotional stuff too. I'm not saying it's the same or anything like that, but I'm just saying that what you did wasn't all that innocent."
Kurt didn't respond or look up at Tina. He wanted this conversation to end and to stop thinking about everything that had happened.
"I know it's hard. And I'm not saying that Blaine is innocent! But I don't think you have to hate him for the rest of your life, no matter how hard you try."
And that was the problem. Kurt had tried so hard to hate Blaine. But it never worked, not like he thought it would. He sighed and ran a hand over his face. "That's the problem," he muttered.
He leaned forward and hung his head, running his hand through his hair again. "I've tried for weeks to hate him. But I can't. He's still Blaine."
"I'm supposed to hate him."
Tina pulled his hand away from his hair and squeezed it softly. "Says who? Who says you are supposed to hate him? He made a mistake... Granted, it was a huge one. But that doesn't mean you never forgive or move on from it."
"How can I do that when I can't trust him? You can't have a healthy relationship without trust."
"No," Tina said sadly. "But you can build it back up and see what happens."
Kurt bit his lip. "What if it happens again?"
Tina squeezed his hand and pulled him against her side so she could hug him. "Then, as much as I love him, you can sic Mercedes and Rachel or one of the guys on him and let them do their worst."
Kurt huffed out a laugh and wiped at his face. He then returned the hug. "Thank you."
She smiled at him. "Now, what do you say we go see if we can't hunt down some new boots already marked down?"
Kurt nodded and allowed himself to be led towards the stores once again. He still felt weighted down by everything that had happened, but he didn't feel like he was sinking with it. Maybe things could get better…eventually.
"Ahh!" Blaine cried out as he jolted awake from his latest nightmare. He'd been having them on and off ever since his night with Eli. They involved everything from images of that night to various rejections from Kurt. Sometimes they were of the night in New York and sometimes they were more twisted versions his subconscious decided to taunt him with. Tonight was one of those nights.
Those nights always led to him twisted and turning in his bed, nearly falling over the side and sweating profusely. Tonight was no different. Only this time he thrashed to the point of tumbling over the edge. He had stubbornly refused to take anyone's bed for the night and had stayed on the couch. He now cursed that decision since he had fallen directly onto his injured arm.
Blaine sighed and pressed his forehead into the soft carpet, trying to suppress a moan of pain. He didn't want to wake the whole house up. The Hudmels had done so much for him already, and he was sick of constantly needing help. He could do this. He just had to figure out the best way to angle his upper body and push up without putting more pressure on his arm.
Blaine's good arm gave out as he startled, sending him crashing face first into the carpet once more. He groaned into the floor and wanted nothing more than for it to swallow him whole. Of course Kurt had to come downstairs. Of course it would be him. It was always him.
Blaine jumped again as he felt a hand on his shoulder and jerked away from the touch at first.
"Sorry," Kurt snapped. "I'm just trying to help you."
Blaine sighed. "No, I'm sorry." He bit his lip. "I-I could use the help."
Kurt bit his lip as well and nodded. He gently helped Blaine back onto the couch. He immediately slumped against the cushions with a slight moan as his arm protested. "Thank you," he said breathily.
Kurt nodded again, shifting nervously on his feet. He looked towards the kitchen as if he longed to be away from Blaine.
"You can go," Blaine continued softly. "I know you didn't come down to check on me. Go do whatever you needed." Blaine moved carefully on the couch, trying to lie back down but only ending up wincing as his arm flared with pain. He closed his eyes and leaned back into the couch, hoping it would lessen. When he opened them seconds later, Kurt was already gone.
"Should've expected that," he muttered to himself.
"Should've expected what?" Kurt asked, suddenly back at Blaine's side, forcing pills and a glass of water into his hands.
Blaine stared at Kurt, blinking in his confusion. "Huh?" he sputtered dumbfounded.
Kurt sighed. "Never mind. Just…here." Kurt nudged Blaine's hand. "Take those. God only knows how much damage you did just now. What were you doing on the floor anyway?" A hint of worry crept into Kurt's voice and it eased Blaine's nerves slightly.
At least until he remembered the reason he was on the floor…
"Oh," Blaine muttered, biting his lip again. It was a wonder he didn't have puncture marks in the flesh. "Um, n-nightmare. Fell over the side of the couch."
Kurt's eyes widened and his hands fluttered a little at Blaine's side as if they wanted to touch but couldn't. "M-Maybe—I think we should maybe talk," Kurt said softly.
Blaine felt panic bubble in his chest. "No, it's fine. I know you didn't come down to check on me. I'm fine. You can go back upstairs and—"
"I heard moaning." Kurt finally moved his hand away from Blaine's side and rubbed at his neck sheepishly before pointing towards the ceiling. "My bed's right above here."
Blaine blushed. "I'm sorry I woke you."
Kurt huffed. "Wasn't really sleeping anyway." He shifted and reluctantly took a seat next to Blaine. "Which is why I think we should talk."
"Kurt, I promise I'm fine. It was just a stupid dream and—"
"It was about the break up, right? Or something to do with the break up?'
"I know you. You dwell on things until they're all you think about, even when you sleep. It was always something we had in common." Kurt laughed self-deprecatingly and looked away.
Blaine brow knit in confusion. "Wait…you've had nightmares too?"
"Don't sound so shocked. Not like you were the only one who had bad memories to dwell on."
"I didn't mean it like that," Blaine quickly responded. "I just—"
"I know you didn't. Sorry," Kurt sighed. He leaned his head against the back of the couch.
"Kurt, you really don't have to stay down here. It's pretty obvious you'd rather not be around me. And that's fine." Blaine's voice cracked on the words and he had to pause to clear his throat. "I wouldn't want to either. And I'm sorry you have to deal with me here. I didn't want you to."
Blaine finally looked back at Kurt to see him shaking his head vigorously. "No one seems to get that that isn't the problem. I do want to be around you. It hurts to be around you so much but it hurts to not be around you. I don't…God this is so messed up!"
Blaine deflated almost instantly. "I know I've messed everything up. And I can't begin to say how sorry I am about it all. I did this. I—"
"You weren't the only one who messed up, Blaine," Kurt interrupted.
Blaine reeled from the comment, not sure how to take that. "Kurt, you didn't—"
"No, I didn't do what you did," Kurt agreed wholeheartedly. "I am just saying we both messed up. Some more than others."
Blaine snorted but Kurt shook his head.
"Stop…can we just talk?"
Blaine chewed nervously on his lower lip.
"Can we actually talk?" Kurt repeated. "Both of us. Not just you with me snapping. And not just me with you not getting your own thoughts out. We can't keep doing that."
"We're pretty good at doing that, aren't we?" Blaine finally said.
It was Kurt's turn to snort. "Seems that way."
The two fell into silence for a few minutes before Blaine got the courage to say anything. "I'm sorry."
Kurt nodded. "I know. Pretty sure I knew as soon as you told me."
Blaine's eyes watered a little at the admission. "I never meant to go through with it. It was never my intention to do anything. I don't know if that helps." Blaine didn't dare look up at Kurt while he spoke.
"It really doesn't," Kurt sighed. "It still happened."
"Yeah." Blaine ran a hand over his face with a groan. "And it never should've."
"That's something we can agree on." Kurt's knee started to bounce. "I just…I just don't understand it. Why? Why did you do it? Why do that to me?"
"I don't know," Blaine replied brokenly. He knew that wasn't completely true, yet he still wasn't sure how to voice that to Kurt. He had been able to say some of it to Sam the night before, but this was Kurt and it meant so much more.
"You have to! You have to have had a reason, Blaine! People don't just give up on a good thing and—"
"I didn't! I wasn't the one who gave up!" Blaine's eyes widened as he realized what he said and he deflated against the couch. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"No," Kurt argued. "Say what you think. I'm tired of us just keeping our mouths shut because we don't want to bring something hurtful up. We didn't used to do that, you know? Back before we dated…we said anything and everything to each other. We didn't shy away from anything. I called you out on things, and you did the same for me. When did that stop?"
Blaine swallowed down his anxiety and turned back toward Kurt. "I don't know."
"I had thought we had said we wouldn't keep doing that after last year. After the whole Chandler thing. We promised we'd talk and not do something we'd regret like that again."
"Kurt, I did try to talk to you." Kurt opened his mouth to say something in return but Blaine held up his hand. "I'm not blaming you. I'm just saying that I did try to talk to you. You were so caught up in work and your new life. And you always wanted to talk about it. But you never wanted to talk about anything else. Or when I tried you were too busy and I couldn't get the words out. It doesn't excuse what I did but…I was just so tired of everything. I always get ignored and I just never expected it to be from you."
Kurt nodded and looked Blaine up and down. He took a few minutes, apparently letting the words sink in fully. His face looked pained, and Blaine wondered if he was remembering all the missed called and cancelled Skype dates. "You were lonely." Blaine looked away. "And I didn't notice." With a shaking hand, Kurt reached over and squeezed Blaine's. "And while it doesn't excuse what you did, it explains why. Which is what I wanted."
Silence fell over them once again. Kurt's knee continued to bounce while Blaine's hands shook. But Kurt still hadn't let go of it.
"So where does that leave us?" Blaine reluctantly asked after awhile, no longer able to take the quiet. "Do we go back to where we were? Not talking? You ignoring my calls and me going on like it doesn't matter?"
"No," Kurt answered with a trembling voice. "I-I can't keep doing that either. I don't…we can't just go back to where we were. It wasn't working and we don't trust each other, not like we should. And don't argue that! You know if we jumped right back into everything you wouldn't trust me to not get caught up in everything all over again."
"And you wouldn't trust me not to jump another guy. Got it," Blaine snapped.
"I didn't say that! I just…I'm saying we still need time, but I can't do this! I can't do this. I can't not talk to you. I've been trying and I can't stand it. I miss you like crazy and I want my best friend back!"
Blaine's tightened in grip on Kurt's hand in surprise. "Best friend?"
Kurt sniffled and laughed nervously. "You never stopped being my best friend. Even when I tried to hate you. I couldn't. You're still you and I just…"
"Let me finish," Kurt choked out. "I'm still mad at you and I still need time. But I can't keep ignoring you. We need time. But that doesn't mean I'm cutting you out. I can't do that again."
Blaine let a few tears roll down his cheek. "You really mean that?" Kurt nodded, letting a few tears of his own slide down his face.
They both settled back into silence, only this time it wasn't as awkward or strained. They weren't fixed; they wouldn't be for a while. But it was a start. It was better than either could've expected and they would take it.
Blaine tried to stifle the yawn that snuck up on him, not wanting to ruin the moment. But his meds had kicked in during the quiet and his exhaustion was making itself known once more. "Sorry," he mumbled around it. "You know I'm a lightweight with meds like that."
Kurt snorted. "Yes, I remember you nearly divulging our sex life to my dad after your eye surgery."
"Don't remind me!" Blaine groaned with a smile. Another yawn snuck out on him.
Kurt tugged on Blaine's hand, urging him to lie back down. "Get some sleep. I'll make sure you don't roll off again."
"Kurt you don't—"
"I'm not letting you fall and undo what the doctors did for your arm already." He tugged on Blaine again and got him to stretch out on the couch. Kurt remained on the other side, but near just in case.
"Thank you," Blaine said. It wasn't just a thanks for the moment, but for everything. The last thing Blaine saw before he finally succumbed to sleep was a soft smile from Kurt.
A few hours later, when Burt crept down the stairs to check in on Blaine, the boys had somehow curled up together on the small space, fast asleep. The blankets had been pushed down, and it was easy to see how their limbs were entwined around the others.
Burt chuckled to himself and grabbed a blanket that had fallen to the floor. He covered his boys up, smiling all the while.
And in the morning, he didn't mention it to either of them, nor did he comment on the way that they sat beside each other at breakfast. It was a striking difference compared to the previous day when the two had barely looked at each other without grimacing. He counted it as a small win. A step in the right directions for his boys.
"Finn, calm down!"
Blaine and Sam winced as Kurt's voice carried down from upstairs while Carole and Burt shook their heads fondly.
"But Kurt—" they heard Finn start only to be interrupted with a loud groan from Kurt.
"Are they going to be all night?" Sam sighed.
Burt snorted. "Kurt just wants to make sure that Finn looks good and Finn is kind of freaking out—" A loud crash echoed down the stairs. "—about everything I guess," Burt finished.
Blaine bit his lip to hide a smile as Kurt came into the room muttering about Finn. But he couldn't hide the smile that came on his face when he saw how impeccably dressed Kurt was. He tugged nervously on his sweater sleeves. His clothes paled in comparison, more so than normal, thanks to the bulky bandages that prevented him from wearing anything tight.
That didn't seem to matter much once Kurt sat next to him to wait on Finn. Blaine just relaxed into the couch once again. Since they'd talked a few nights ago, things were getting better. They'd both been able to admit their faults and say what they wanted to the other. It hadn't been easy, but it had helped. They weren't back together, and neither knew if or when that would ever happen. But it was still a possibility, something Blaine hadn't thought the week before.
Kurt still needed time, and if Blaine was brutally honest with himself, so did he. They needed to know that they would make good on their promises rather than fall back into the old habits that led them to where they were. Blaine needed to know that Kurt wouldn't allow himself to get caught up in his own things and forget to listen to Blaine. And Kurt needed to know that Blaine wouldn't bottle things up until he exploded and did something regrettable. They needed to be friends again and build back their trust. It was so much more than Blaine had expected and he would hold onto that hope for as long as possible.
Blaine was drawn out of his thoughts when Kurt's knee bumped his gently. "You sure you want to come tonight? You know everyone will understand if you don't feel up to it?"
"I know," Blaine replied, nudging Kurt's knee as well. He was reluctant to initiate any type of touching unless Kurt had already done so. "But I feel better than I did. My arm is still sore, nothing major. I promise. Besides, I really want to be there to support everybody, especially Finn. Hate that he has to do both Teen Angel and directing because of me."
"Dude, stop that," Finn chastised as he came up behind the couch, startling Blaine, who hadn't heard him come into the room. "It's not like you meant to get hurt. Don't sweat it."
Blaine sent him a small smile of thanks.
"We better head out, boys," Carole stated, standing from her chair and grabbing her coat.
"Yeah, we promised everyone we'd swing backstage before the show started," Kurt replied. He pushed himself up off the couch and turned toward Blaine. "Come on." He gently pulled Blaine up, steadying him when he lost his balance.
"Thank you," Blaine muttered. Part of him wanted nothing more than to stay there against Kurt's side, relishing the fact that they could do that without it being awkward. But Sam started bouncing around doing his Kenickie imitations and getting into character.
"We better go," Kurt said, clearing his throat and patting Blaine's shoulder.
Blaine nodded, not sure if he trusted his voice yet. He remained silent as Kurt guided him out to the car. They rode with Carole and Burt while Sam and Finn went on ahead to finish getting ready backstage. Kurt seemed much more relaxed, humming along with the radio and teasing his dad. Blaine enjoyed the comfort of it all.
It wouldn't last. He knew that. Kurt would have to leave to go back to New York in a few days and he would be heading back to his mostly empty house once his arm healed up some more. This peace wouldn't last, but that didn't mean things would all go back to the way they were before. This time would be different. He had to hope that things would be different.
It didn't seem like he was the only one who noticed the change. Everyone backstage seemed to be watching them, surprised to see them beside each other. Well, everyone except for Tina who kept sending them knowing smiles and the occasional thumbs up. It was a nice change.
Sitting in the audience, watching the lights dim, listening to the music begin, and having Kurt next to him, Blaine felt more at home than he had in weeks. And when Kurt reached over to slide his hand into Blaine's, Blaine breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn't realized he'd been holding in.
There was still a lot to work out, and it wouldn't be easy. But it was a start, and Blaine would take it.
Thank you all again! I've been blown away by the response this fic got and I love you guys so much for it!