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.
Part One of the Unfinished verse.
One moment he's standing in the middle of the choir room, the next ducking into an abandoned class room, shutting the door quietly behind himself and leaning against it, hands shaking as he tucks the box into his pocket. Closing his eyes and trying to remember how to breathe properly, he listens to the muffled roar of conversation from the auditorium, the more muted whoops and cheers from the choir room making his gut twist. He has to ask Kurt. He can't let Kurt leave again without asking. He doesn't know how he'll cope without Kurt's answer, Kurt's affirmation that what they have is real and grounding and serious, that it means as much to Kurt as it does to him -
His eyelids flutter open as he stumbles away from the door, only pausing long enough to lock it before bee-lining for the closest desk and sitting on top of it. He breathes slowly, raggedly, trying to convince himself that it will be okay, that everything will be fine, that he'll ask Kurt and he won't mess it up and Kurt will tell him yes and everything will be okay. All he needs is Kurt's approval, Kurt's confirmation. All he needs is Kurt's smile, honest, open, and genuine.
All he needs is Kurt, but he always seems out of reach.
It isn't that Kurt isn't there. It isn't that Kurt isn't even available.
Kurt is right in front of him, real and solid and warm, and if they were still dating Blaine wouldn't hesitate to intertwine their fingers and squeeze his hand. He wouldn't hesitate to slip easily into the space behind him and hook his chin over his shoulder and his arms around his waist, humming in quiet gratitude, pressing a soft, barely there kiss to his shoulder when no one else is looking. He wouldn't hesitate to tell him how much he loved having him there, how much he needed him there, to ground and focus and encourage him. He wouldn't hesitate to show him how grateful he was for Kurt's life, his presence, his everything.
He wouldn't need to, either, because Kurt would already know.
Swallowing once hard, he stares at the clock on the wall, wondering how long it will take before someone texts him and asks him where he is. Not long, the universe deems, his phone vibrating in his pocket barely a minute later, doubtless Tina or Sam or maybe even Marley asking whether he wants to join them for a post-wedding, post-regionals' victory party. He'll decline, already knowing that he doesn't have the courage to face Kurt, whether he's there or not, and not ask him. He can't be in the same room in him and not tell him how he feels about him, how much he wants to have him back in his life fully, how he's suffocating with only a portion of Kurt's love, a tiny fraction of his attention.
It's not enough, and he knows it's not enough, and in some corner of his mind he knows that Kurt knows that it's not enough. He sees it in the hesitations: his own hands grasping and Kurt's - lingering, one moment longer than they need to before they withdraw. Blaine doesn't pursue him, reigns a leash on the impulsive desire to fly out to Kurt and surprise him again. It never ends well. Christmas was different because Burt was there and the three of them were celebrating an entirely different holiday, completely unfocused on their relationship (and also keenly, bitterly aware of the rift between them, of the inches that didn't exist before separating them).
A soft knock on the door startles him, the desk scraping back a little in his haste to stand up. He waits, listens for another knock, the silence grating against his nerves. Just when he's convinced that the person has moved on he hears the weight shift, a palm pressing flat against the door.
He closes the distance between them, knowing that he can't hide forever as he opens the door, and stares in blank disbelief at Kurt.
"What are you doing here?" he tries to ask, but his mouth is dry and his throat clicks when he speaks. His fingers grasp at air, a flush stealing over his cheeks as he says, "Shouldn't you be celebrating?"
"Shouldn't you?" Kurt counters quietly, slipping into the space between them and oh.
The door shuts behind him and for a moment Blaine thinks that Kurt is going to kiss him, his heart rate stuttering up another notch as Kurt's hands snake around his waist slowly, so slowly, hooking by the wrist around his back. He holds him like that, close and warm and content, resting his cheek against Blaine's shoulder and breathing out slowly.
Blaine doesn't know what to say, barely knows what any of this means, but he knows what to do. He clasps his hands tightly around Kurt's back in return, holding him as close as he dares and resting his cheek against the side of Kurt's head.
Their breath evens out together as Blaine rubs Kurt's back slowly, easing them back so he can rest his weight against one of the desks. His mind leaps back to a year ago, Kurt shivering in his arms, clinging to him almost tightly enough to hurt as he insisted that he didn't cheat, he didn't cheat and he'd wanted to, he couldn't deny it he wanted to and I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. But he didn't, it wasn't him, but they were still going to suspend him and he would never get into NYADA -
They hadn't suspended him. He hadn't cheated. He'd even gotten into NYADA (albeit, not as timely as he would have liked), and he'd made groundbreaking progress with his internship at Vogue dot com. The Kurt that ran to him and needed him so much was gone, replaced by the man before him, independent and separate from Blaine.
It was a humbling thought, knowing that this extraordinary human being, this stunning individual, Kurt, was someone that didn't need him. He could walk away from Blaine any day and be no worse off. He could turn to his own passions and become someone great on his own. He'd have support, of course: his dad and Carole and Finn, for one, and Rachel and Santana on a more irregular basis. He had people like Isabelle Wright to mentor him, Anna Wintour and Carmen Tibideaux to acknowledge and validate his successes, and countless other potential friends lurking the streets of New York. Blaine knew that Kurt was lonely (lonely enough to still talk to him, at least), but he was also charming and compassionate and genuinely one of the most magnetic people Blaine had ever met.
He would be admired. He would be loved and cherished by other people, even if the road to gaining those true friendships was fraught with dishonesty and betrayal. It was remarkable that Kurt got along as well with Rachel as he did; she certainly didn't reciprocate the intensity of his compassion and understanding. Kurt forgave people. He let people that hurt him back into his life, but Blaine hadn't missed the wariness, the edginess that was always just underneath the surface, ready to retreat within his walls to avoid being hurt again.
He was fearless in the face of disappointment, but he didn't forget. He never forgot.
"I don't want to let you go," Blaine admits softly into the silence, knowing that he can't possibly hold him back but he wants to, he wants to keep him, desperately, but he can't. "I don't know how to leave you, Kurt," he says at last.
Kurt says nothing, just holding him a little closer, and it takes a moment for Blaine to realize that maybe Kurt doesn't want to let go, either.
"I don't - want to be just your friend, either," Blaine adds haltingly.
Kurt doesn't pull away immediately. Blaine breathes out quietly, and he lets him step back when Kurt eases away from his grip a moment later, looking at him seriously. There's something - dark and quiet and sad about his gaze, uncertain and doubtful and lost, and Blaine's heart twist as he realizes that this is it, this is the moment when Kurt finally says it -
"I don't think we were ever just friends," Kurt admits quietly.
Blaine steps back from him so he can meet his eyes more easily, throat tightening as he realizes just how much he wants Kurt to be in his life. "Are we - " He has to swallow and lick his lips first, unable to actually form the words for several long, aching moments as he dreads the answer almost as much as asking, gathering up his courage enough to say, "are we back together?"
"As friends?" Kurt edges closer, crowding into Blaine's personal space. "Or boyfriends?"
Blaine opens his mouth to say boyfriends reflexively before hesitating. It seems strange, to not know, but he can't bring himself to say it. Because they haven't even - they've made out in a car, they've slow danced and had sex in a hotel but they haven't -
We haven't even gone on a date, he thinks dazedly, suddenly overwhelmed at the thought that Kurt and he haven't even been on a date in seven months. They haven't gone out for the express purpose of enjoying each other's company, their thinly veiled excuses throwing emotional walls up between them, preventing hands from touching and eyes from meeting any more than necessary.
They're very careful not to make eye contact any more, not to touch too much or look to often. They smile and wave and offer perfunctory conversation, but they aren't . . . them.
We aren't a couple, Blaine thinks, deflating.
Kurt's moroseness, his silence doesn't seem as out of place, suddenly. Blaine doesn't know what to say, either, doesn't know how to assure him that they're fine, they're better than fine, they're together, of course they are -
Kurt looks at him and waits, patient and unquestioning.
For once, Blaine really doesn't know what to tell him.
Thankfully, Kurt does.
"I want to be with you, Blaine," he says, leaning back against one of the desks, facing him at an angle. "I want to . . . share my life with you, really. I miss you. And don't get me wrong, I love . . . I really like having Santana and Rachel around, and it's been great seeing Mike and Mercedes again but I just feel like . . . " He shrugs, folding his arms, vulnerable and cut off, untouchable. "I feel like I'm missing something. And try as I might . . . I can't seem to replace him." He offers Blaine a wry, almost playful smile, gesturing ambivalently with a hand.
"What about Adam?" Blaine asks, because he needs to know, because he can't compromise Kurt any more than he already has, begging, pleading for the little that he's willing to offer, the protected side of his heart that he always used to need for other people, not Blaine. He can't fight for Kurt if Kurt's already gone, though, and he can almost feel the punch coming, the admission that Kurt and Adam are together and are seriously dating looming over him.
"Adam would make an amazing boyfriend," Kurt allows, glancing over his shoulder and Blaine wonders what he sees there, who he sees. "He really would. He's . . . sweet, and charismatic, and he - he understands. That I need time." He lets his gaze slide over, stunning in its intensity, and says softly, "But I know that . . . he's just not the one for me."
Kurt smiles ruefully. "I didn't know, at first," he admits. "I thought that . . . there was something wrong with me. That I was damaged and didn't know how to re-enter a relationship with someone." He shrugs and Blaine tries not to cringe with the knowledge that he's the one who hurt Kurt, who damaged him, except - "Adam was - is - he's willing to accept compromise," Kurt says. "Which, admittedly, appealed to me. I liked that . . . I didn't have to commit to him. I didn't have to date him and only him and feel pressured if it didn't work out. I didn't have to settle for anything." Quietly, he adds, "But I knew that . . . he wanted me more than I wanted him. I wanted - I wanted someone like him: a friend and - a boyfriend and someone to talk to and someone to love, but he wanted someone to be his everything, and I just . . . I couldn't give that to him."
It takes Blaine a long time to work up the courage to say quietly, "You broke up with him."
It's not a question. Kurt doesn't answer.
"He was gracious about it," he says at last. "He didn't . . . he just looked at me and smiled and told me that it had been fun and he hoped to see me around." He smiles, but it's quiet and unrelieved, pained. Blaine aches when he thinks about Kurt regretting it, not wanting to ask if he did. "He was . . . I liked him. But I knew he wasn't the right one."
Blaine stares at him, waiting for something, some small indication that he's welcome, any indication that Kurt still wants him. It gnaws at his gut to think that he's next: that Kurt left Adam before he wasn't right and now he's leaving Blaine, except -
"I really, really miss you," Kurt says simply.
Blaine closes his eyes briefly, keenly aware of the ring in his pocket, but - Sam's right. He needs to - he has to wait. Burt's right, too: if it's gonna work out, then . . .
Patience, he reminds himself, and looks at Kurt, uncertain but not concerned, open but not afraid, and asks, almost gently, "Would you like to go out to dinner with me tonight? Just . . . you and me. We can talk about . . . " he makes an airy gesture, not sure how to phrase it, what's okay, before settling on, "us. We can talk about our plans."
"I'd like that," Kurt says, and he smiles, a soft, genuine upturn of his lips that makes his entire face lit up a bit more.
The ring weighs heavy in his pocket as he leaves, suddenly, anxiously aware of its presence and the need for Kurt to remain unaware of it, but Kurt doesn't mention it. He doesn't bring it up over dinner, doesn't ask about Blaine's skittishness or nervousness, only talks about his plans with his Vogue internship next fall - and the possibility of working during the summer as well - and NYADA courses. Blaine listens, occasionally offering his own commentary, letting Kurt fill the air with thoughts and ideas and dreams as he nibbles off his plate, unable to keep a small smile from creeping across his face.
They're not - they haven't healed yet, Blaine knows. But it's a start.
And when he looks at the ring box on his night stand that evening, he can't help but smile a little at the way Kurt leaned in for a quick kiss goodbye, a soft thank you on his lips even without a ring on his finger.
They're not perfect, but they're getting there.