Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit. All recognizable dialogue belongs to Ryan Murphy and Co.
Kurt was going to do it.
After countless attempts at talking himself out of it, he had darted out of their loft and settled on the fire staircase, shivering in the late November night air. New York was cold, his breath misting in front of him as he tucked his hands under his arms, hunching over the rail. Nights like this made him ache for the warmest scarves he had left behind. The ones that he had taken along served two purposes: impressing his superiors and, occasionally, keeping his neck warm.
Prying his phone out of his painted-on pants, he sat down hard on the staircase, the steady beat of the music behind him distant and unimportant.
Brody and Rachel had talked him into a few wine coolers to take the edge off his cynicism earlier. Insofar, it had only succeeded in making him even more sullen until Isabelle's friends arrived with some real alcohol. By the time their kiki had died off, Kurt had been feeling comfortably light, buzzed if not completely intoxicated. Breathless and exhilarated, he had surveyed the room expecting to feel satisfied, ready to move on from the heartbreak that hung perpetually over his shoulders.
It had borne down on him with brutal suddenness. Between one blink and the next, he had been transported, gazing upon a different scene entirely.
He was in his own home, his own living room, the familiar shades of white and homey brown mingling with modern comforts artfully arranged, couches, chairs, and tables. He could hear his dad in the kitchen, cursing as he burned his fingers on the edge of a large turkey tray. Oblivious to Kurt's presence, Carole hurried past him, clucking over Burt's technique as she set the turkey on top of the oven.
A lump rose in Kurt's throat as he heard Rachel laugh in the backyard as Finn picked her up, spinning her in a circle as she shrieked at him, stuffing leaves in his hair. He couldn't remember the last time he had heard her so happy; Finn's loud protests were refreshingly normal underneath her cackles.
Turning to watch his his dad and Carole banter, quietly, unobtrusively slipping closer to understand them, he felt his entire world narrow to a single soft, slightly muffled voice as a knock came at the front door.
Blinking back dazedly to the present, almost swaying on his feet as he staggered through the crowd of misfits that had invaded their living space, their home, Kurt had made his way to the stairwell and tried to remember how to breathe as he dialed Blaine's number. Fumbling as he incorrectly entered the area code, he'd jabbed at the screen until he found his contacts and without a word pressed one.
It rang twice before he picked up.
". . . Hello?"
There was a hesitation in his voice that suggested he was swallowing some terrible secret that Kurt didn't want to hear, didn't want to hear because he had already thought about it too much and why had Blaine done it. Taking a deep, calming breath, Kurt looked up at the stars and forced a smile, trying to lessen the blow of what he was about to say.
I can't do this anymore.
I can't do this anymore, it's killing me. You cheated on me. I can't trust you anymore. I'm sorry, but. This? Us? We're over. Goodbye, Blaine.
He swallowed, head throbbing as he tried to process it all, settling on a numb, almost deadened tone as he replied. "Hey. Can you hear me? It's - kind of loud out here." And it was - the traffic, the limelight that every small town kid wistfully referred to as big city life roared in his ears almost louder than the thunder threatening to wash out everything else - but he could hear the silence on Blaine's end and knew that he wouldn't be so fortunate. He could have spat it all out right there, reigned in his courage and hardened his heart and let every hateful word that he'd never spoken ignite.
He'd been so angry earlier. It seemed strange, off-putting, that one word from . . . from Blaine was enough to stop it. To tamp out the rising flame like a candle snuffed, leaving only cold, bitter emptiness in his place.
He breathed in slowly, deeply, trying to remind himself through the haze of I'm done, we're through what it even meant anymore. To continue. To go on without the love of his life in it.
Blaine's voice broke through the quiet. "Um, yeah, yeah, I - I can hear you."
And just like that, the door opened in Kurt's mind. He wasn't standing in the middle of his living room contemplating how lonely it felt to have Blaine out of town on Thanksgiving when everyone else had someone to be with. No, he was walking up to the door, tugging the handle gently until it opened and -
There he was.
And Kurt couldn't leave him. Kurt couldn't move as he sat on the frigid, rickety stairwell and tried to speak, tried not to drop his phone, tried not to cry.
"Have you guys performed yet?" he asked, the question falling naturally from his lips even as he felt every careful plan to leave, to walk away from it once and for all crumbling. It hurt, knowing that he'd put so much time, so much effort, so many dull, disconsolate nights staring out the window almost praying that something bad would happen just to break the monotony. He hated feeling that so much of what he'd worked towards didn't matter anymore, not in the long run, even while Rachel and he cheerfully talked about futures and dreams and how grand they were.
They weren't grand. Not really.
". . . Uh, no. Not yet."
Kurt nodded slightly, almost infinitesimally. Of course. If they'd already gone on, then Blaine would probably be too caught up in their post-victory celebration to notice one little phone call. As it was, Kurt was surprised that he had caught him at all. They must be close to performing, at least, and -
To always pick up your phone call, no matter what I'm doing.
"But, Kurt, I just - I want you to know that - no matter - "
"Just let me talk for a second," Kurt hurried to interject, not wanting to hear it. He knew, he knew in his heart of hearts that the battle was already lost. He couldn't just . . . say goodbye to him. Not via text, not via phone call. Maybe . . . maybe in person, he reasoned, trying to collect himself. "Look, you've . . . you've said you're sorry a million times," he said, his voice gaining some strength with his own conviction. The next words were harder, however, his throat clenching up around them before he slowly, reluctantly let go of the rage, the pain, the frustration, the fear, the betrayal, the disappointment, and allowed himself to hope.
"And . . . I believe you."
The silence on the other end of the phone made Kurt want to pitch his own over the wall, to forget that the call had ever happened and return to the party and maybe even get drunk enough to forget Rachel and Brody basting the turkey and parties and Blaine.
He couldn't. No matter how fiercely he berated his own cowardice, he couldn't let go, because . . . because he was still Blaine. He was still his best friend, and - and he'd hurt Kurt.
The pain alone at the memory of Blaine pouring his heart out over the piano, something deeply, profoundly wrong with it all in that moment almost suffocated Kurt, cutting off his words for several long, tense moments before he breathed out and tried.
"And I'm trying to forgive you, but . . . I'm just not there yet." His words came out slightly more choked than he wanted them to, but he couldn't help it. He almost didn't want to, either, wanted Blaine to know exactly how much this was hurting him. Blaine could feel sorry and regretful all he wanted, but he didn't know the same gut-wrenching, teeth-grinding, restless agony that had plagued Kurt for weeks.
He didn't, couldn't know, and that was what made it so hard.
Composing himself with a shaky breath, Kurt continued softly, almost gently. "But it's Thanksgiving and it's sectionals and . . . I miss you like crazy." He almost lost it, then, almost pressed a fist to his mouth and hung up and sobbed helplessly in the quiet, craving the warmth and love and easy, tender trust that they could never have again. They'd always be scarred, always be a little less safe than they'd been, but. Blaine was still home.
As much as he couldn't stand to admit it aloud, Blaine was still - Blaine was still home to him.
"And . . . I can't stand not talking to you even though I'm mad at you, 'cause you're still my best friend."
All the simple hours spent studying in Blaine's dorm room with their textbooks sprawled in front of them and their bodies carefully not touching as they leaned over the bed to look at notes and scratch socked feet and occasionally, accidentally bump elbows came flooding back as Kurt bit his lip, trying to keep his own emotions more firmly under control. He wanted to seem in control, even as a dozen scenes flashed in quick succession before him, calling Blaine in the middle of the night almost hysterical about Karofsky, listening to Blaine fret over finals, talking about transferring schools over coffee, worrying and fussing and still loving each other just as much for all their flaws.
Kurt fell in love with Blaine the moment he took his hand, but they'd grown into being best friends, and that was what had mattered. In the end. Here. Now.
"You're mine, too," Blaine choked, and for a moment Kurt would have given all the internships at Vogue to know what he was thinking.
He pulled himself back together enough to say, "At - at Christmas we need . . . to have a mature heart-to-heart." Mature. He liked the sound of it, even as he knew what its implications were. We can move on from this. We can . . . we can make it past this. Maybe. . . . But those were too soon to follow closely, too soon when he hadn't even talked to Blaine face to face since . . . well. "And maybe if it's cold enough we can go ice-skating," he offered, trying to quell the rising optimism within him. He didn't want to be hopeful, he was terrified of it, actually, knowing how badly he'd been hurt the first time around. "And get a hot chocolate. Anywhere but the Lima Bean, because when I was working there I saw a mouse," he hastened to clarify.
Blaine's watery, almost squeaky laugh made something inside Kurt ease, a tension that he hadn't even known he'd been carrying loosening. He didn't know what it was, exactly, except. Relief, maybe. That . . . that this was happening. That Blaine was still there, still listening even if Kurt wasn't sure he wanted to reach out to him again.
You already have, a quiet voice pointed out.
"So we're . . . we're really going to see each other at Christmas?" Blaine asked, his voice still on the verge of that same, almost compelling sadness. For a moment Kurt wanted to cry, just let the shudders work their way out of his spine instead of locking them so deep he felt like he might scream if he listened another minute. Instead, he let a faint smile cross his own lips.
A long pause passed between them, secrets and promises and questions all left unspoken as they listened, waiting and not daring to speak. At last, Kurt said softly, "Well, don't let any of those hideous Warblers win, all right? Break a leg." Then, belatedly: "Happy Thanksgiving."
Blaine breathed out, a sharp, quick sound. "Happy Thanksgiving." For a moment, Kurt thought that he would hang up, that it would end there, when, barely audible: "Kurt, I love you so much."
Kurt swallowed, feeling almost numb as he listened to a car honk in the distance, Blaine's breathing so close and heavy that he felt like he could reach out and touch him, pull him close until they both just stopped hurting and breathe again.
Drawing in a deep breath, he said, "I love you, too," and felt some of the weight ease off his chest even when he heard the tell-tale click of the call ending on the other end.
Blaine . . . Blaine might call him later and let him know about sectionals. More likely he would receive a quick, celebratory text and move on. They weren't okay, they weren't even remotely whole, but. They were closer. Closer to being something again, to being . . . alive again, instead of this half-living state.
Kurt eased his way to his feet, blindly pocketing his phone. When he slid the door back and stepped into the room, he heard the thrum of music distantly, gaze instantly falling upon the woman standing not ten feet away. She offered him a soft, hopeful smile and he returned it, lips barely quirking upward as he walked over to her and they met and he knew that she was right.
He didn't have to forgive Blaine immediately. He didn't even have to forgive him at all.
But he had to give him the chance to be forgiven, because he couldn't live with himself if he didn't.
"I'm proud of you," was all Isabelle said, squeezing him lightly before pulling back and smiling. "Happy Thanksgiving, Kurt."
"Happy Thanksgiving," he echoed, for once agreeing with the sentiment as he smiled back.