In Reverie, I Felt You Holding Me

Rating: PG-13

Word count: ~12k

A/N: Written for the Kurt/Blaine Reversebang. Thank you to flipflopsforlife for her awesome beta skills and the people that gave this a final read-through and offered additional suggestions. Artwork by youarethegirl.

Title is from Pollen and Salt by Daphne Loves Derby

Summary: Blaine's a college graduate living in New York with the love of his life. Or so he thinks. When he wakes up in the hospital one day, his entire world is turned upside-down. He's back in high school, the star of the football team, and nothing is how it should be. The one person he needs to help get him through this isn't even his friend. AU, reverse amnesia fic.

...

At first, it feels a little like floating. It's peaceful.

And then he's falling, spinning, tumbling into the darkness of the unknown. Just when he thinks he'll surely hit the bottom, he jerks himself awake.

Pain blooms in his head and the bright lights make it hard to focus. His mouth is so dry and he fights the urge to vomit. It's hard to form words, but he at least manages to squeak out something he's fairly certain sounds like a question.

"It's okay Mr. Anderson. I'm going to sit you up and get you some water and then your visitors can come in."

He blinks repeatedly to clear the hazy film from his vision and finds himself in a hospital room, a smiling nurse holding out a cup for him. He takes it with a shaking hand and tries to drink slowly.

The scene before him is still being processed when a small group of guys come through the door, their rowdiness already increasing the pounding in Blaine's head.

"Dude, it's about time. You were out for a few hours – they were about to kick us out and make us come back tomorrow."

Finn.

Another hazy layer cleared.

"What…"

Part of his brain doesn't know exactly what he wants to ask, another part still trying to make sense of what is happening. He sits up more, rubs the sleep from his eyes, and focuses back on the group before him. "Finn?"

"It's okay. You did awesome and we won. Jefferson did a number on you though. He had it out for you from the first play."

"What?"

"Yeah, man. He hit you so hard your helmet came off and you went flying. I know you're a little dude, but you caught some serious air. Coach Beiste flipped her shit. After they got you in the ambulance, she tore into the kid so bad I thought she was going to punch him right there in front of everyone."

"Puck?"

"Dude, are you still all like space cadet-y? The doc said you'd be okay, but you don't look so good."

"I just…" His hand came up to feel the bandage. "My head."

"Yeah, that's what you landed on, Anderson. Hopefully your hair cushioned the blow," Puck laughed at his own joke.

Blaine looked around the room at each of the boys, he didn't recognize the other two. "Where is…'

"Oh, your mom went down to get coffee with Coach. They'll be back soon."

"No. I… where is Kurt?"

"Why do you care about Hummel?"

"Can I see him?"

Finn and Puck exchange a look and then shrug. "Whatever you want, dude. He's down with the rest of the team. We'll send him up."

They each clap him on the shoulder, a little harder than Blaine is expecting, and he curls in on himself as the allover ache makes its presence known. He didn't know what the guys were talking about. Team? What team? And were they wearing their old Letterman jackets? Nothing was really making sense and it hurt just trying to think.

The door opens slightly and a familiar face peeks around. Blaine can't help but smile and release the breath he didn't realize he was holding.

"Kurt."

Kurt walks in, eyes focused on the ground, and hands nervously twisting in front of him.

"Hey. Uh, the guys said you wanted to see me."

Blaine smiles wider and reaches his hand out, but Kurt stops his advance. Hiding the disappointment on his face is difficult, but Blaine knows how much Kurt withdraws when bad things happen.

"I'm so glad you're here. Everything is so… weird. I don't really know what happened, I'm just glad I'm okay. And you're here with me and I just… I'm better now that you're here."

Kurt looks more confused than anything. "I'm glad you're okay too, but what does me being here matter?"

"What? I always want you with me. Are you mad? Did I do something?"

"You didn't do anything. You're just acting weird."

"Come sit down." He motions to the chair next to his bed, but Kurt just shakes his head.

"I'm fine standing, thanks."

"I don't even know how long I've been here. Did you have to miss a lot of work? I know you're under deadline. And is Rachel taking care of Gracie?"

"Who is Gracie?"

"Our dog."

Kurt laughs and starts pacing around the little room. "Look, Blaine. I know you hit your head and you're obviously not all with it. I don't have a job and we definitely don't have a dog. And who is Rachel?"

"Rachel Berry. She's your best friend."

Kurt looks as if he was just told that Rachel was an alien.

"Seriously? I tolerate her because I have to, but I'd hardly call us friends."

Blaine reaches out again. "Kurt, honey, I'm so confused. I don't understand why you're saying all of this."

"I agree. You are confused, so I'm just going to go get your mother and pretend like this was a drug-induced hallucination that we will never speak of again."

"You can't leave – you're my husband!" Blaine can't help the words that fly out of his mouth. He's scared and the one person he can always rely on is keeping his distance.

Kurt's body goes rigid, hand gripping the door. "Blaine, this is going too far. I don't know if the guys put you up to this or what. But it's not funny."

"I know it's not! And I'm not the one acting weird here."

"I'm going to get a nurse for you." Blaine watches the door close behind Kurt and clutches his head as the pounding increases.

...

When his mother walks in, Blaine is still caught up in his own thoughts.

Confusion and fear simmer just under the surface for him, but his mother looks like she's seconds away from losing it. They'd been through this before – the whole waiting game in the hospital. Blaine just wishes his mind would clear so he could think straight.

"Oh, thank goodness."

Tears start forming in her eyes as she rushes to his side and holds on to him like a lifeline.

Blaine looks at her, an odd expression on his face. "Mom? You look… different."

She huffs out a laugh. "Since this morning?"

"What? No. You… your hair. The last time we visited, it was different."

"Honey, I always wear my hair like this. You know that. And what do you mean 'visited'? I made you breakfast this morning before you rushed off to school."

He closes his eyes to the world, shaking his head, and feels genuinely upset.

"Blainey, what's wrong?"

He can't look up, refusing to meet her eyes even as she squeezes his hand. The sound of the door opening quickly has them both turning towards it. His mother lets out a sigh of relief at the sight of the man in the doorway, but Blaine almost can't comprehend it.

"I'm so sorry it took me so long, but I got lucky and got on one of the last flights out of Chicago. Is everything okay? Blaine?"

All of the air seemed to be sucked from the room in that moment. "Dad?"

The tremble in his voice has to be obvious, but no one comments on it.

"You doing okay, son? I heard you threw the winning pass before you got hit."

Blaine doesn't respond and his mother continues to watch him closely. The tears in his eyes slowly start to slide down his cheek as he stares silently.

"Son?"

When his fathers gets close enough, Blaine latches on to him and lets out a heartbreaking sob. His father awkwardly wraps his arms around him and pats his back in what seems to be an effort of reassurance. He never could read his dad.

"It's okay, Blaine."

His shaky breaths are the only sound in the room and before long, Blaine finds himself drifting off, still wrapped in his father's arms.

...

As Blaine comes back to the surface of consciousness, he wants to cry at the memory of what he'd dreamt. It was not going to be a good day. When he opens his eyes and realizes it hadn't been a dream, he actually does start to cry. The sound must wake his mother because she reaches for his hand, the move only making him recoil. His head still hurts and he feels like he can't quite catch his breath.

"Blaine? Calm down, sweetie. You're okay now."

"No. I don't understand. I want to wake up."

"You are awake. You had a rough night, but the doctor says you'll be fine."

"I'm not. This isn't happening."

"I know you're scared. Being here must bring back all those memories from the last time you were in the hospital."

"Stop talking to me like I'm a child!"

The commotion causes his father to stir, drawing Blaine's attention to the other side of the room.

"What's going on?"

"William, Blaine is just a little upset. Can you go get the doctor?"

His father is up and out before Blaine can even form the words he wants to say.

"Blaine, I'm not trying to talk to you like a child, I just want you to take a deep breath."

The doctor comes in, Blaine's father in tow, and barely even looks at Blaine. He flips through the pages of Blaine's chart and makes notations as he goes.

"Mr. Anderson, it's good to see you awake. The past few times I've checked on you, I wanted to let you rest. How are you feeling this morning?"

The disbelieving laugh is out before he can even think to stop it. "This isn't happening. I'm dreaming. I'm not here."

The doctor continues reading, all the while Blaine just chuckles to himself about the joke that these figments of his imagination are obviously missing.

"With an injury like this, it's very common to have some disorientation, confusion, and some minor comprehension difficulties that will clear in the next day or two."

"It doesn't matter. You're not real."

"Of course I'm real, Mr. Anderson. You know where you are, correct?"

"In my bed. At home."

The doctor exchanges a look with his parents before returning his attention to Blaine.

"You're in the hospital. That's why I'm here and your parents are here. Do you remember your accident?"

"Stop. I want it to stop now."

"Mr. Anderson, where exactly do you think you are?'

"I'm asleep. At home. This is a dream."

His breathing quickens again. Normally when he has such lucid dreams, he can will himself awake.

"Where is home?"

"New York. My apartment. It's tiny, but so perfect. We just… it's perfect. Mom's seen it, though she worries about the neighborhood." He smiles at his mother, but she only looks sad.

"And you think you're there? Now? And you're just dreaming us."

Blaine nods, almost grateful that the doctor seems to finally understand.

"How do you know you're dreaming?"

"Because I know my life and this isn't it."

"Mr. Anderson… Blaine. I can assure you, you're not dreaming. You can pinch yourself or we can walk outside or whatever else you need to do. I understand things may still be a little foggy for you, but that's going to clear and then you'll be able to go home and get back to school also."

The agitation slowly starts to creep back in. His head hurts and the doctor's words only make it worse. A trapped feeling comes over him with the three of them standing so close. He's not sure what's happening, but he knows it makes no sense to argue with someone his mind has created.

"I want to go back to sleep."

The doctor nods and pushes a button above Blaine's bed. "That's fine. The nurse will bring you something to help you relax. We can talk again this afternoon."

Blaine turns onto his side and listens as the doctor speaks softly to his parents. A young woman brings him a pill and a cup of water that he takes without hesitation. He'll sleep. And then he'll wake up. Home.

...

He wakes again, but the same beige wall fills his vision.

The room is empty except for an older woman sitting on the couch flipping through his chart. The rustling of sheets catches her attention and she takes her glasses off as she greets him with a smile.

"Hello, Blaine. I'm Dr. Weir. I was just catching up on your case, but now that you're awake I would love to talk to you if you're up to it."

He clears his throat, looking away from her. When she's next to the bed with a fresh jug of water, it's harder to avoid eye contact.

"What do you want?"

"To chat. I want to help you."

"What kind of doctor are you?"

"A psychiatrist."

"I'm not crazy."

"I'm not here to call you crazy. I just want you to talk to me."

"What does it matter?"

"Well, you think this isn't real, correct?"

Blaine rolls his eyes and shrugs a shoulder.

"So, let's explore that thought. If I'm not real and none of this is actually happening, you can be completely honest with me and nothing will come of it."

He thinks about her words, but there's the tiniest doubt in the back of his mind. "What if this is real?"

She smiles as if that was the response she was hoping for. "Then I'll help you in any way that I can."

"So, what am I supposed to say?"

"Let's start with an introduction." She looks back at his chart. "You're Blaine Anderson – obviously – 18 years old, McKinley High School senior and you're here because of a concussion that happened during your latest football game."

"No…"

"What of that do I have wrong?"

"I'm not… I'm 24. I live in New York and I graduated from college for god's sake! I got out of Lima right after high school and only come back to see family."

"If you're 24, what's the date?"

"It's…" He has to think about it, details like this still blocked by the haze. "February, I think. 2018. It's almost Valentine's and I was just saying to someone that I hadn't bought anything yet."

"For whom?"

"My husband."

The doctor looks surprised. "You're married?"

"Yes. Kurt was here yesterday, but he hasn't been back. I don't know if they won't let him see me or what. Lima's always been a little less than gay-friendly."

"I'll see if I can find out."

"Thank you."

"And you and Kurt live together in New York?"

"Most married couples do live together."

"No need to get defensive. I just want to make sure I get everything correct."

"Whatever, I don't even know why I'm saying any of this. Do you want the address or something now too?"

"Sure."

"21 Berkeley Place in Brooklyn. Stop by next time you're in the area and we'll show you the brickwork and crown molding that Kurt fell in love with." Blaine brought his arms around himself, sarcasm dripping off every word though the doctor seemed unfazed.

"So, Kurt is originally from Lima also? You come back together to visit both of your families?"

"No, just his family and my mom."

"Just your mom? What about your dad?"

Blaine narrows his eyes at her, taking his time before speaking again. "This is stupid. I don't want to talk anymore."

"But if you're just dreaming, you're obviously dreaming me up for a reason. Wouldn't that make sense?"

Her point seems valid enough, but Blaine is still wary. He thinks about what he wants to say and how those words will be interpreted.

"My dad is… he died."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I would think seeing him now must be difficult for you then."

"It is. But it's good. I never thought I'd see him again."

"What happened?"

"Last year. He flies a lot for work and one trip home his plane didn't make it."

The memory is heavy in his mind and on his heart. He only realizes he's crying when Dr. Weir holds out a tissue for him.

"So what would it mean now if this all was real? Your dad is here, he's alive."

"We weren't close."

"You could be now."

"No."

"Blaine-"

"I said no. I want you to leave."

He curls back onto his side and pulls the covers around him. He hears footsteps retreating, leaving him in silence. His mind races and he feels anger and guilt for allowing his emotions to be manipulated so easily. Sleep doesn't come easy now, his mind trying to make sense of what's happening to him.

...

When he wakes again, it's dark. He can hear his parents and the doctor whispering, but he can't bring himself to listen.

He closes his eyes and wonders why he can't wake from this nightmare.

...

The next morning, he's jolted awake by the door being shut. When he can finally focus, he sees Kurt and can't help the smile that spreads across his face. Kurt rushes to his side, grabbing Blaine's hands where they are outstretched. Finally, Blaine feels relief.

"Kurt, you won't believe what—"

"Shh, just listen."

"I love you so much, Kurt. I had this dream and there were all these people and I was younger and I—"

"Blaine!"

He sees a look in Kurt's eyes that he doesn't recognize. It's concern mixed with something else… detachment.

"I don't care what you think is going on or where you think you are. They are going to come in here and move you to the psych ward if you keep telling people all of this!"

Kurt withdraws his hands and stands awkwardly with his arms crossed, a determined look on his face.

"But it's true."

"Blaine, listen to me. You shouldn't still be here. They should have already discharged you since you just had a concussion. Your mom came up to the school and was talking to Beiste about how you may be out for a while. With a psychiatrist involved, I'm telling you that they are going to take you to a padded room where no one can visit you if you keep telling these stories."

"They're not stories. They're real and this is just a dream."

"Well it's about to become a nightmare if you don't act like the golden boy that you are."

"What does it matter?"

"Just think about it. If this is all a dream, just play your part and wait until they beam you back to whatever reality you came from. But if it's not a dream, do you really want to spend the next however many weeks being psychoanalyzed and drugged up? Has this been fun for you?"

Kurt is right. He's never lead Blaine wrong. He knows he'll do anything that Kurt tells him. Kurt rambles off info and Blaine's head spins. Lies and more lies and this is not how his life was in high school. None of it happened like this.

The frantic sharing of information is interrupted by a soft knock and then Dr. Weir peering around the door.

"Oh, excuse me, but you'll need to leave, sir. Mr. Anderson's parents don't want him having visitors right now."

"My mistake – there wasn't a nurse at the desk so I just came in." Blaine can tell when Kurt lies. Part of it makes him smile knowing that Kurt snuck in here to see him. Another part is angry that he even had to.

Kurt's smile looks completely genuine and Dr. Weir just smiles back. There's an awkward silence in the room and then Kurt turns and waves.

"Alright, Blaine. I'll see you when you get back to school."

Blaine just nods, a thousands thoughts trying to settle in his head.

Dr. Weir sits beside his bed, watching carefully as Kurt leaves the room. She greets Blaine with a small smile and then opens up her notes.

"I thought we'd talk a bit more today if you feel up to it." Blaine gives her a quick nod. "Excellent. Let's start with how you're feeling today."

He thinks about the question and then answers honestly. "I feel better."

His head doesn't hurt as much, he feels like he slept well, and Kurt came for him.

"That's good. Would you like to talk about some of the things we talked about yesterday? Perhaps about your relationship with Kurt?"

"Oh, wow. Okay, I guess we're just jumping right into it then. Kurt is… amazing. He's very important to—to the football team. We probably would have lost a lot of games without his kicking skills."

"You seemed to be under the impression yesterday that you were married to him, correct?"

Blaine barks out a laugh, more nervous than anything. "Just because we're the only two gay kids at McKinley doesn't mean we're together and certainly not married. I don't even know why I said that. Kurt's my friend. I mean… maybe there's a crush there."

Dr. Weir watches him closely, looking for a crack in the façade. "And your father?"

"What about him? He travels a lot so it's just me and mom most of the time."

She sets her notebook down and takes off her glasses. "You've said a lot of outrageous things the past couple of days. To me, your parents, the doctor. Are you saying none of that was true?"

Blaine stares at her, mentally arranging the words, trying to convincingly phrase this. "I was confused. I had a dream and with my concussion everything was very mixed up in my mind. I guess now that my head is clearer, I'm a little embarrassed by the things I said."

She gives a slight nod, still scrutinizing him.

"Blaine, you know you can be completely honest with me. I'm concerned with some of the things you said yesterday and how drastically the story has changed today."

"I appreciate you trying to help me. I'm not a doctor, but I just think everything was jumbled in my head and I honestly was a little out of it. But getting a good night's sleep really helped."

"Okay, so, tell me about yourself."

Blaine fidgets and then begins to recite the words Kurt had told him. "Well, I'm 18. I'm a senior at McKinley High. Uhh, I play football, so hopefully this concussion won't keep me out for too many games since I'm trying to get a football scholarship for college."

"What's the date?"

"The end of September, 2011, but I don't know the exact day. I think it's the 27th? Details are still fuzzy."

Dr. Weir stares until Blaine is sure she's going to call him a liar. She makes a note in his chart as she speaks. "Well your doctor says you're doing well and can be discharged. I'm going to make sure your parents have my information just in case you need to talk, okay?"

"Thank you. I'll keep that in mind."

When Blaine is alone again, he takes a few steadying breaths and walks to the bathroom. He stares at his reflection. The boy that stares back is like a long lost friend. He entertains the thought that maybe he should be locked in a padded room. How could this all be real? Maybe his accident caused brain damage. He splashes water on his face and tries to put on a convincing smile. For whatever reason, he's here now.

He's an actor; he can play this part.

...

He counts the minutes until his doctor comes in to sign off on his discharge papers. With every tick of the clock, Blaine counts the seconds until his freedom. When the nurse comes to wheel him down to the lobby, he almost leaps into the chair.

They're almost outside to his father's car when they hear someone calling out to them.

"Mrs. Anderson! Blaine!"

He tenses in the chair as the nurse stops pushing him.

Dr. Weir approaches them looking calm and collected as ever.

"I'm glad I didn't miss you. Here's my information in case you need to get ahold of me."

Blaine's eyes are fixed on the glass doors in front of them as his mother takes the card.

"Oh, and Blaine?"

He looks up reluctantly.

"You were right about that building in Brooklyn. Beautiful exposed brick and crown molding."

He doesn't let his expression fall, but he's sure Dr. Weir can see the sweat on his brow.

She smiles at him warmly and then turns back to the direction she came.

"What was that about?"

His mom looks worried and he can't look her in the eye.

"Nothing. Just some random stuff I talked to the doctor about."

She seems satisfied enough with the answer not to probe further. Blaine's quickened breathing doesn't calm until he's in the car and they're pulling out of the parking lot.

...

It's an awkward drive home. Blaine can't help but stare at his father's reflection in the rearview mirror. It feels odd to catch his father staring back. When they finally arrive home, Blaine runs straight to his room to help pull himself together.

Blaine goes through every nook, cranny, and drawer in his room. Laughing at forgotten treasures either sold or lost over the years. He listens to music for hours (god, he missed his vinyl collection) and actually relaxes a bit being in such a familiar place.

But just as quickly as he let himself get lost in it all, he brings himself back with what he thought were his real memories. There's a ratty brown teddy bear in the back of his closet that makes him think of Margaret Thatcher dog and the place she still occupies on their dresser. A navy blazer reminds him of his Dalton uniform and the fact that they still have them in their closet for reasons that make him blush.

They.

He and Kurt.

How could he dream all of that up? He couldn't. It's impossible.

But now he's here. And if it's a dream, he can't wake up for whatever reason.

He pulls a blank notebook out of his backpack and writes. Everything he can think of – good memories, bad memories, mundane things like Kurt bitching at him for forgetting to buy toothpaste last week. Some pages he just writes one line and moves on – I miss waking up next to you. He writes until his hand cramps and then he writes some more. In the morning, he wakes up slumped awkwardly, pen still in his hand.

His mom dotes on him, asks him a dozen times if he needs anything. It makes him feel loved, so he doesn't tell her to stop even though he's annoyed after the third time. His father is at work, but has promised to be home for dinner every night this week. Blaine gets an email from Cooper that asks him how he is and then spends the next two paragraphs talking about himself. His Cooper and this Cooper are obviously similar.

Blaine spends almost all of his time in his room. He writes in his notebook, looks up stuff about himself on the internet and in old yearbooks, and sleeps. He only goes downstairs to have dinner where he basically just stares at his dad and pushes the food around the plate. If his parents notice, they don't call him on it.

On Tuesday afternoon, Blaine's torn from his writing mid-sentence by a soft knock on the door.

"I'm fine, mom. You just brought me something like an hour ago."

The door creaks open and someone who is very much not his mother peeks around. "Hey."

Blaine shoves the notebook in a drawer, turns the music down, and scrambles off the bed. "Kurt. Hey. I, uh—" He looks around his disaster of a room, random items scattered everywhere. "Excuse the mess."

"It's okay. Mine is just as bad." Blaine can't help but smile at the obvious lie.

"Here – sit, please."

Blaine moves the yearbooks from the chair by his bed and gestures for Kurt to sit. He does, but awkwardly, just on the edge with his hands folded tightly over his crossed legs.

"So… you came to see me."

"Oh, yes. I brought your missed assignments, though I doubt the teachers will even care if you do them. Just write your name on them and hand them in. You've probably already been given As on everything."

"What? Why would the teachers give them to you if I don't need to do them."

Kurt stares evenly before shaking his head. "You get a pass, obviously. Come on. I know you don't abuse it like most of the football guys, but you're still everyone's golden boy."

"Do you get a pass?"

Kurt looks irritated now. "I'm not exactly 'one of the boys.'"

"What does that mean? You're on the team."

"You know exactly what it means. I've always been different and the only reason they haven't completely obliterated me from this earth is because I can kick a field goal."

"Do they bully you even though you're on the football team?"

"Okay, I'm not in the mood for this. I brought you your assignments and now I should go."

Kurt is halfway to the door before Blaine's brain catches up. "Wait! Please, I'm sorry. I just don't know how it is here."

Kurt turns around with a mocking grin. "My mistake, I forgot that this is all a dream for you. We're all just some made up characters that your brain decided to throw together."

Blaine's actually hurt by the tone of Kurt's voice. The one big fight they had (over moving in together of all things), this is the voice he used to say hurtful things.

"You're not made up. I know you. Just not… not like this."

Hands on his hips and an eyebrow raised, Kurt challenges him. "You know me, huh? Well please enlighten me to all the personal information I've shared with you since our conversations are limited to football and small talk."

Being put on the spot doesn't exactly help Blaine think of things to say. "Your favorite dessert is cheesecake!"

"Really, Blaine? Anyone with two eyes could see that since I get it every time we go to Breadstix after a game."

"Okay, wait, um… your favorite scent is your mom's perfume."

"You could have heard me talking about that to anyone. It's not like it's a secret that my mom is gone."

"Fine. You have a birthmark on your inner thigh!"

Kurt gapes at him, but the blush on his cheeks is obvious. "Have you been watching me in the locker room or something? There's a reason I wait until everyone else has left to shower."

"What? No, I'm not watching you in the showers like some pervert. Though to be honest, you've developed a bit of an exhibitionist kink since we graduated college."

Blaine isn't sure if the color Kurt has currently turned is due to anger or embarrassment, but he wishes he could take that last part back.

"Okay, good luck with your assignments and I hope you have an appointment with your doctor because you obviously do have mental health issues."

"I'm sorry, I swear. But who else would know that?" He doesn't get an answer, so Blaine follows Kurt as he rushes down the stairs and out the front door. "One more thing. Please!"

Kurt looks at him expectantly, his car door half open.

"Why did you tell me all of that in the hospital if you think I'm crazy?"

The color had gone back to normal on Kurt's face, replaced with a tinge of sadness. "Because I know you're a good guy and whatever this is that's going on with you is going to pass. And I didn't want them to lock you up."

Kurt gets in his car and pulls away, leaving Blaine confused as ever on his front porch.

...

The next morning, he spends fifteen minutes debating with his mom about going to school. He only relents when she says his only other option is to go to the doctor if he really feels "horrible."

The truth is, he was up half the night worried about it. A lot of thought went into what could possibly be going on with him. Obviously the dream theory still hovered as an option, but this was unlike any dream he'd ever had. The "crazy" theory was thrown out immediately. Blaine refused to believe he was having some sort of mental break. After texting back and forth with Cooper, he came to the conclusion that this was some sort of parallel universe that he was probably just occupying for a short time. Actually believing that made him sway back to the crazy option, but Cooper was there to reassure him that it was all possible. Of course Blaine approached it from a theoretical perspective and didn't use himself as an example. He remembered during his freshman year when Cooper made him watch the entire series of Sliders over the Christmas holiday. Cooper said Jerry O'Connell was his acting idol and actually tried to reenact some of the scenes with Blaine playing whichever character needed to be defeated. Cooper was always the hero, but Blaine didn't mind as long as he was being included in the fun.

Blaine decided that one night, he'd go back to sleep and hopefully be transported back to his own world.

He definitely didn't plan to share this with anyone else except Cooper who was completely oblivious.

It went against the core of his being, but Blaine didn't wear the cute button-up and bowtie. He didn't tame the curls into submission by soaking his hair with gel. The pictures in his phone showed a much more casual version of himself. So jeans and a t-shirt, minimal gel, and he was off.

He's on autopilot to McKinley, the path still etched in his mind. But actually being there in the parking lot, seeing all of the other students – it makes him start to panic. Before he can turn the ignition back on and drive away, Finn is knocking on his window.

"Dude, you coming? We're gonna be late."

Blaine nods and smiles, hoping he can calm his breathing before he has to say anything. Finn blathers on as they walk into the building and down the hall, but Blaine doesn't hear any of it. He's certain he is going to faint.

People he doesn't know are saying hi and welcoming him back. Guys in letterman jackets high-five him and a dozen people ask him how he's doing.

"Dude! Blaine!" He stops and realizes Finn is behind him, lingering in a doorway. "Where are you going? This is our class."

"Yeah, of course. I just wasn't thinking, everything is still kind of jumbled."

"It's alright, I'll make sure you get everywhere you're going today."

"Thanks, Finn." And he really is grateful.

Each class blurs into the next. Blaine turns in half completed assignments to some teachers and apologizes to others for not doing it at all. Every single one of them just smiles and says not to worry about it. He really does get a pass.

Lunch is a quiet roar as he sits with a group of his teammates. He only has water and chips, not really wanting anything else. Kurt is nowhere to be found in the cafeteria and Finn just shrugs when Blaine asks where he is.

When the last class finally ends, Blaine heads towards the parking lot.

"Blaine, seriously, what's up with you?"

He turns back to Finn and just stares. "Do we have glee practice?"

"Glee? What? No. We have football practice."

Blaine nods and walks back in Finn's direction. "Of course. I guess I just thought I'd get a break."

"Bieste will go easy on you, but you know she'll also hunt you down if you don't show up. And she's going to be pissed if we're late."

They're amongst the last few in the locker room and the last two to get out on the field.

"Hudson! Anderson! What's the hold up?"

"Sorry Coach, it won't happen again."

"You're right it won't. Get out there and Anderson – it's good to have you back, but you're benched until I'm confident you're 100% better."

He sits alone while the others do drills. Again, Kurt is nowhere to be seen and all that does is make Blaine worry.

Coach Bieste finally dismisses everyone, the guys gasping and sweaty. Blaine is thankful he got to sit out because he is definitely not up to that. He changes quickly, ignoring the calls of his name as he leaves the locker room. When he walks outside, he sees Kurt about to get into his car.

"Kurt! Wait!"

He does, but Blaine can't miss the way he rolls his eyes.

"Blaine, I have to get home. I have a lot to do."

"Okay… I was just wondering why you skipped football practice?"

"I didn't. I'm excused from it twice a week for glee."

"Oh, so there is a glee club?"

Kurt sighs, voice coming out like a parent talking to a small child. "Yes, Blaine. There is a glee club. We sing songs – me and all the other losers at this school."

Blaine furrows his brow. "What? Glee club isn't just for losers. And we won Nationals!"

"We haven't won anything because there are only six of us. We don't have enough to compete, so we just get together to sing twice a week."

"Oh."

"Yeah, oh. Is that all? Can I leave now?"

"What did I do to make you dislike me so much?"

"You didn't do anything. That's the point. You've talked to me more in the past several days than the entire four years of high school. Your idiot friends make fun of me all the time – even when I kick ass on the field."

"What? Do I do that stuff? Does Finn?"

"No, Blaine. You just stand by. Just like Finn stands by. Apparently he and I can share a house, but he can't be bothered to be a brother to me in front of anyone else. And speaking of…" Kurt nodded towards the building and Blaine turned to see a few guys in letterman jackets walking out. "I have to go."

"Hey Anderson! You joining the adopt-a-pussy club or are you coming to Puckerman's?"

Blaine watches Kurt pull away and then gets in his own car without looking back.

That night, he writes in his notebook until he falls asleep again. This can't be his life.

...

Thursday morning, Brittany slaps him on the ass and then pulls him until their foreheads are pressed together. He tries to talk, but she just puts her finger over his lips shushing him. She stares at him for so long that his eyes go cross-eyed from being so close. Her arms wrap tightly around his neck as she pulls him into a hug.

"He's not in there, but that's okay because you are. And you're still Blaine."

Blaine pulls back to look at her because that sounded deep and actually pretty accurate.

"Britt, come on."

Santana waits impatiently, looking just as unimpressed as always. Brittany grabs her hand and walks away.

"Brittany?" Blaine's voice sounds so small, but she hears him and comes running back.

A kiss on the cheek and a whispered 'it's all going to be okay' and then she's gone again, holding hands with Santana and swinging their arms between them. Blaine feels the tiniest bit of comfort and it's enough to propel him to class.

By third period, he's tired of listening to teachers lecture about random topics. He asks to use the bathroom and just doesn't go back, opting instead to lie on the highest bleacher, warm sun calming him. The bells ring in the distance signaling lunch, but it doesn't interest him at all. Nearing the end of the hour, someone makes their way up the steps. Blaine figures it another of the half dozen people that have chosen this as their lunch spot. There's a thud near his head and he shoots up so quickly that he gets dizzy for a moment. The last thing he expects is to see Kurt looming over him.

"Rachel said you left this in Mrs. Mitchell's room and I somehow got roped into returning it."

"Th-thanks. I, uh—"

"Whatever. Don't skip next period. You don't have to do the work, but you at least have to show up."

"Kurt—"

"Gotta go. The less we're seen together, the better."

"What does that mean?"

He's met with a dismissive wave and Kurt makes his way back down the stairs. He waits until he hears the bell ring before making himself grab the backpack and walk back to the main building.

During football practice, Kurt sits out for a few to catch his breath while they run other plays. He not so subtly sits on the far end of the bench. Blaine closes the distance and sees Kurt tense.

"Can't we just talk? If we're not friends, then at least as teammates?"

Kurt looks at him briefly and then back to the field. "Sure, Blaine. How did you like that last play?"

"That's not what I meant. I just… I want talk to you. And ask about your day."

"Really? Okay." He turns towards Blaine. "I got slushied on my way back from giving you your backpack. I've been tripped twice just in the last twenty minutes, and I have a bruise on my arm from being shoved into a locker this morning. Anything else you want to know about?"

"Who's doing all of this?"

"It doesn't matter, Blaine."

"It does matter. You have to tell Coach."

"You don't get it, Blaine!"

Kurt tears up, but composes himself when he realizes his raised voice has drawn some attention from the other players.

"Just let it go."

"Make me understand."

"They don't want me talking to you. My gayness is going to ruin you or something."

Blaine scoffs. "But I'm gay too."

Kurt finishes his cup of water and stands. "That's what you don't get, Blaine. You're the best-case scenario to them. You're gay, but you don't flaunt it. They all know, but you don't talk about it, so you get a pass. Just like the teachers. You're just one of the guys and I'm not."

"But that's not fair."

"Nobody said it was fair being a gay teen in Ohio."

Blaine doesn't know what to say to that. He watches Kurt go back and join the team. As practice continues, it's obvious a handful of the other players are purposely being a little rough with Kurt. Blaine wants to tell Coach Beiste, but as if reading his mind, Kurt makes eye contact after a particularly hard shove and shakes his head.

"What's up with you and pussy boy?"

Blaine turns to see Karofsky getting some water.

"Excuse me?"

"You and Hummel. He bothering you? Or are you just having him deliver your bags and do your homework like he's your little bitch?"

Blaine is up and on him without a thought. He pushes Karofsky down, knocking over the water cooler. But before he can get a punch in, someone is pulling him back and a group is gathered around them.

"You're turning into a loser just like him, Anderson."

"Don't fucking talk about him!"

"Boys, one more word and I'm taking you both to the principal's office!"

Blaine shakes off Finn who is only lightly holding him now. He walks back to the locker room in silence, trying to forget Kurt's words and the sad look on his face.

...

Friday morning, Blaine purposely runs late to avoid seeing anyone before class. He ignores both Finn and Puck's questions and the glares from Karofsky and crew.

For once, he doesn't look for Kurt.

At lunch he sits in his car blaring his favorite music.

Walking to his next class, he finds himself being pushed into an empty classroom. Instinct tells him to lash out, but Finn's voice and face are both pleading with him to chill out.

"Dude, what's going on with you? You've been weird ever since the hospital."

"Maybe I see things a little differently now. Maybe I don't like who I used to be."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Why don't you ever stick up for Kurt?"

Finn looks confused and then a little guilty. "You know… Kurt can stand up for himself."

"He shouldn't have to though! Not only is he your teammate, he's your brother!"

"Look, that's just how it is. One of the guys calls him a stupid name and then Kurt calls him a name back. It's not serious."

"Really? I'm pretty sure his bruises are real."

"What bruises?"

"Open your eyes, Finn."

Blaine pushes passed him and purposely walks in the opposite direction of Finn's class. He rounds the corner to see Karofsky and Azimio crowding Kurt against the lockers.

"Hey!"

Karofsky looks up before pushing Kurt and walking a few doors down into a class. The second bell rings and Kurt quickly shuts his locker and walks away.

"Kurt, please wait."

"Just stop, Blaine. This will all stop if you just stay away from me."

Blaine doesn't miss the tear fall down Kurt's cheek before he runs down the hallway. This isn't the Kurt he knew. The person who had people that supported him in high school, people who helped build his confidence. But then Blaine remembered the shy boy on a staircase. A boy whose first thought when The Warblers asked him to stay for coffee was to thank them for not beating him up.

He feels guilty – for what brought them all to this point and how things could've been instead.

Without even thinking, he goes to his car and drives straight home. His mother's on the phone when he walks in, but he must look miserable because she quickly ends the call and walks over to him.

"Blainey, are you okay? Did something happen?"

He just nods, refusing to cry no matter how much emotion builds up. She leads him to the couch and holds both of his hands safely in her own. The silence sits between them, giving Blaine time to speak when he's ready. It takes a while.

"I don't think I've been a very good friend."

"Why do you say that?"

"There's this boy at school that people bully and I think I've just always stood by and let it happen. And it's getting worse, but he doesn't want my help now. It's too late."

"It's never too late. Just give him a little time."

"It's not just that though. I don't think I'm happy. This isn't who I'm supposed to be."

"What? You've always seemed happy. You're the star of your team – you have a ton of friends."

"But that's not what I want."

His mother nods her head and sighs. "Baby, I know you worked so hard at football to have something that your father would be proud of. But he would be proud of you no matter what."

"How do you know that though?"

"Because almost every night, he gets up to check on you after you've fallen asleep."

Blaine looks at her in disbelief as she continues.

"Whenever I would catch him, he'd say he just had to go to the bathroom and went to the one down the hall so he wouldn't wake me up. But I've gotten up and watched him. He just stands in your doorway for a few seconds to make sure everything is okay and then he comes back to bed. He stopped doing it as much when you got a little older because of all the travel with his work. But then everything that happened a few years ago when you were hurt… he started doing it every night he was home. Sometimes I would find him just sitting on the floor outside your room and I'd have to convince him to come back to bed. And then this week, it's like everything came flooding back. You've been staying up so late at night that he can't check in like he wants, but he called me ten times a day from work when you were staying home after leaving the hospital. He doesn't always show it in the right ways, but he loves you."

His mom looks so sincere. In that moment, she is the perfect embodiment of motherly love. He hugs her close, wiping away the tears before they can fall.

"And you know how to be a good friend, Blaine. Don't give up."

He nods and kisses her cheek. Any words he wants to say will get stuck in his throat so he gives her the most grateful smile he can and walks up to his room. He reads through everything he's written in his notebook this week twice before the alarm on his phone goes off alerting him to head back to school for the football game. He'll still be on the bench, but everyone expects him there and he wants to be supportive.

The locker room is surprisingly quiet as they all suit up. Coach gives her best motivating speech and sends them out. Blaine sits on the bench, but doesn't see a single play. He thought the talk with his mom helped, but he still feels so defeated. Kurt's sitting two benches down and nobody except for Puck and Finn have even acknowledged Blaine's presence. So when Coach finishes her second motivational speech of the night at halftime, Blaine stays behind in the locker room as his team returns to the field. No one will miss him – he'd told his parents not to come since he wouldn't be playing anyway.

He sits on a bench, rests his head in his hands, and gets lost in a memory from before – from the place he either made up or was torn from. Either way, it makes him feel happy. He's not sure how much time passes, but he's literally shaken back to reality by someone's hand on his shoulder.

When he opens his eyes to see Kurt, Blaine smiles so wide that he must surely look crazy. That is until he sees the look on Kurt's face.

"What happened?"

Kurt deflects, like always. "I just got the wind knocked out of me when I fell. I was a little dizzy getting up, so Coach told me to come lie down since the game is almost over."

"How did you fall?"

"One of the guys got through the line and to me just after I got the ball off. Made the point though."

Kurt tries to play it off, make it a joke, but he must see the look on Blaine's face because it's obvious no one is laughing.

"One of the guys got through or one of the guys was let through?"

"What does it matter? I'm fine."

Blaine stands up and grabs Kurt's arms. "It matters, Kurt. iYou/i matter. You could get seriously hurt one day because of them. If you don't tell Coach, I will."

"Blaine—"

"No, I'm dead serious. You tell her tonight."

"Mind your own business!" Blaine's anger ebbs away as Kurt's builds. "You don't know anything. You don't know what I've been through. You don't know me at all! You want to be my friend now, but where were you for the past three years? This didn't just start!"

Blaine recoils as if struck and sinks back to the bench, considering Kurt's words.

"Maybe you're right. I've tried so hard to make this work… to pretend that I can do this, but I can't."

When he looks up, Blaine doesn't hide the tears streaming down his face.

"This isn't me. This isn't my life. And the Kurt that I know is strong and vibrant and stands up against his bullies. It made him into the person that I love."

"Blaine… please." No more anger. Sadness perhaps.

"And I try and reconcile that in my head because I look at you and you're him. One in the same. You must think I'm absolutely crazy… and maybe I am because god knows I don't feel sane right now. But I love you. And this isn't our life. I've tried and tried, but I can't fight the memories. They're all there – clear as day. We first said 'I love you' at The Lima Bean and I proposed to you on the Dalton stairs where we first met. I make you waffles every Sunday with strawberries on them. And your bacon has to be on a separate plate because you don't want it touching the syrup."

He takes a few sobbing breaths and wipes uselessly at his tears with the sleeve of his shirt.

"We got married when we were twenty-one because neither of us could think of a reason to wait. I remember the smell of orchids at our wedding and the way you took my breath away in your tux. I remember the way your dad always called me his son and after my own dad died, he wasn't sure whether to say it anymore or not until I told him I'd already lost one father and I didn't want to lose another."

Blaine puts his head in his hands, body racked with sobs, and his voice sounding more hysterical by the moment. Kurt crouches down in front of him, hands gently resting on his calves as Blaine continues.

"I remember breaking your heart and shattering the best thing in my life, but you forgave me and you helped me forgive myself. And with that forgiveness, we changed and we loved harder and knew it was forever after that. You say I don't know you, but I do – inside and out. And it feels like I can't breathe here because you're not with me and all I want to do is hold you in my arms."

Kurt gently pulls Blaine's hands from his face and immediately wraps him in a tight embrace. The sobs seem to start anew, but Blaine lets himself be held, wrapping his own arms fiercely around Kurt.

Eventually, his breathing evens out and the tears stop.

Blaine reluctantly pulls back, embarrassed and sad. No matter how good it feels to be this close to Kurt, it isn't what he truly wants. "I should… I should go."

"What? No. Don't leave."

"I'm okay. The game will be over soon anyway and I don't want to be here when all the guys come in."

"I'll leave too. Let me drive you home."

"No. Stay."

Blaine withdraws and grabs his bag from the locker, not even bothering to change out of his football uniform. He hears Kurt continue to call after him, but he can't stop.

The drive home is a blur, but he pulls himself together as much as he can before going inside. He yells a quick greeting to his mother in the kitchen and then locks himself in his room. His mind races, his body thrumming with energy he didn't know he had. All he wants is to go to sleep, but every time he closes his eyes he sees Kurt. His Kurt. And new tears come. He's so tired of crying.

Music doesn't help, organizing doesn't help, exercising only seems to make his body vibrate more – as if it were absorbing rather than burning off energy. He finally looks at his buzzing phone that he'd ignored all night. Two missed calls from Kurt, one from Finn. A text from Cooper talking about some new audition he had. A text from Puck telling him to come party. And a text from Kurt saying he was worried.

Blaine sends off a reply to Puck asking for an address. Maybe a little partying is just what he needs.

His parents are in the living room watching a movie and they look so content he hates to interrupt.

"I'm going back out to hang with the guys. I'll be back late."

"Ok, sweetie."

"Blaine, wait for just a moment."

He has the front door open by the time his father catches up to him.

"Can I talk to you for a minute?"

Blaine nods as he walks out onto the porch. His father leans against the doorframe, Blaine stands awkwardly with his hands in his pockets.

"We don't really get to talk much just you and me."

Blaine makes eye contact with him and all he can think is 'that's probably true in every reality.'

"I just wanted to make sure you knew…"

He's never seen his father so unsure of himself, so nervous.

"I know I was hard on you growing up and I didn't always know how to connect with you. I think the summer we fixed that Chevy up was evidence of that."

They both huff out awkward laughs.

"And I pushed you so hard to go into football when I know you had other things you were more interested in. I'd like to think you stuck with it not just because I wanted it, but because you wanted it too. I want you to talk to me and tell me what I can do to bring us closer together. I'm not perfect, but I want you to be happy, son. And no matter what you choose to do or be after this, I'll still be proud of you. "

Blaine tries to wipe at his eyes discreetly. He stares at the ground and put his hands back in his pockets.

"I really needed to hear that." His voice breaks on the last word and then his father is hugging him. They don't do this – they barely have full conversations, let alone hug. But Blaine needs it. He is such a tactile person that just a week without that comfort has left him feeling deprived.

They pull away awkwardly – his dad patting him once on the shoulder and Blaine looking anywhere but straight ahead.

"Okay, well… you can go see your friends now."

His dad turns to go back in when Blaine gets a rush of courage. "Dad?"

He's met with an expectant look.

"You said to tell you what to do to bring us closer… I know your work is important, but maybe you could just have an office job instead of traveling so much. This week has been nice having you home every night for dinners instead of just every other weekend. I know both mom and I would really like to have you around more."

His dad smiles. "I'm sure I can make some changes."

"Thanks. I love you, dad."

The smile widens and Blaine thinks that might be the happiest he's ever seen his dad. "I love you, too, son."

Blaine watches as the front door shuts gently behind his father and thinks how great this life could be if he doesn't lose him in just a few years. Maybe here his father could be around to see his grandchildren someday.

The thought brings him back to Kurt and he makes himself get in the car before he can think much more other than putting the address Puck gave him in the GPS.

...

The party is in full swing when he gets there and Puck yells his name from across the room.

"What's your poison tonight, Anderson?"

"Shots."

"Damn, our little boy's all grown up! Shots it is."

Somewhere after the sixth shot and Finn telling him to slow down, Blaine wanders around. People stop him and ask questions, but he's not in the mood. He pushes through the masses, determined to find a quiet place. Finally the music ebbs away and it isn't wall-to-wall people. The numbness he feels keeps most of the thoughts away – focusing only on left, right, left, right as he walks in the peaceful night.

He finds his car and thinks about curling up in the backseat to get some much needed sleep. Instead, he starts the car and drives. It's stupid, but not all of the shots have hit him yet so he focuses on going slow and keeping the car straight. When he starts to get dizzy, he pulls over and starts to walk to rest of the way. His feet know where to go – left, right, left, right.

It's not long before he's there, sitting in the cool grass and thinking about love and fate and destiny. He wonders if Kurt would be in his life no matter what universe they were in. A quick shake of his shoulder brings him back to reality.

Kurt is kneeling before him, a look of anger mixed with concern on his face.

"What is wrong with you? I said your name like five times."

"I was thinking about you."

"You've been drinking."

"Are you mad?"

"Yes, but not nearly as mad as my father. He told me there was a boy sitting on our lawn and wanted to get his shotgun until I told him I knew you."

"Please tell him I'm sorry. I don't want Burt mad at me, too."

Kurt sighs and sits down next to him. "Why are you here?"

"Can we just lay down for a minute? My head is so heavy."

"I can't believe you came to my house drunk."

There is irritation in his voice, but he follows Blaine back until they're looking at the sky. They don't talk for several minutes. Perhaps Kurt thinks Blaine will just pass out, but even the alcohol can't turn off his brain.

"You miss the stars."

Kurt turns towards him. "What?"

"In New York. You miss seeing the stars. So whenever we come home to visit, we come out and just watch them. Your parents got one of those free-standing hammocks and we just slowly sway and watch the night sky."

Blaine scans the sky looking for constellations, his focus getting worse by the minute. He almost jumps when Kurt speaks.

"My mom used to do this with me. We'd watch the stars before bedtime and she'd tell me how when we die, we become a star. So all the millions of stars shining down on us are our loved ones making sure we're okay until the sun comes up."

"And when it was cloudy, they were still watching over you even though you couldn't see them."

Kurt turns his head again and meets Blaine's eyes. "How could you know that?"

He sounds so small, so unsure.

"Because you're the love of my life." Blaine has never been more confident in his words. They stare at each other for what seems like forever.

Kurt wipes at his eyes and stands up. "It's just a children's story anyway. Your mom probably told you that story too."

Blaine sits up, grabbing his head as the world spins.

"It's okay if you don't believe me. I'm not sure I should believe me either."

Kurt reaches his hand out. "Come on. I'll take you home."

"I have to get something from my car first."

"Wait – you drove here?"

"Yeah, but I had to pull over like five streets away. So I walked the rest."

"You are unbelievable. You could have killed yourself or someone else! You are such an idiot."

"I know, but I have something for you."

Kurt yanks him up and pushes him towards the passenger's side of the car. "Do you even remember where?"

"Of course."

Blaine guides him through the streets, finally finding his car after driving in circles. He gets out and grabs his bag from the backseat.

"Give me your keys."

"What? Why?"

"I'm going to take you home and I'll bring you your car tomorrow."

"I can—"

"Blaine, please don't say another word and just let me do this. I'm in my pajamas and should definitely be sleeping right now, but instead I have you to deal with."

Blaine hadn't thought about what Kurt would do or say when he got here, just that he had to do it. He leans his head against the window and counts streetlights until he's home. Kurt turns off the car, but neither of them say anything and Blaine makes no move to get out. The silence is deafening.

"I'm sorry."

"I know, Blaine."

"When I woke up in the hospital, I was so confused. And I'm still confused. It's like the memories in my head are fighting against the reality right in front of me. I'm always thinking – I can't turn it off. So all I could think to do was write. It helped a little, but I feel like I'm forgetting stuff already. I don't want to forget, but I also don't want you to look at me the way you do every time I tell you something. You deserve so much better, but I can't let it go yet." He pulls the notebook out of his bag and stares at it. "This is either what has kept me sane or is making me insane. I don't know yet. But I am going to be selfish and ask you to indulge me by reading it."

He places the notebook on the dash and opens the door. Kurt looks at him with confusion, but doesn't say a word. The short walk up to his front door, Blaine wants to look back with every step. When he is finally inside, he sits on the floor with his back to the door until he hears Kurt pull away. His body is heavy and tired, the bed so soft and inviting. Even with the alcohol coursing through his veins, his sleep is fitful and brief that night. His mind is still working against him.

That notebook is his heart and soul spread out and bared for Kurt. Blaine thinks this might be the most scared he's ever been.

...

A quick trip to the bathroom at dawn to grab some aspirin and rinse his mouth out with mouthwash to eliminate the still lingering taste of liquor and Blaine settles back into his blanket cocoon.

At some point his mom checks on him, but he pretends to still be asleep.

Sometime later, the sun too warm where it shines on his bed, a light knock comes at his door. With no answer, it becomes a little more insistent.

"Go away!"

"Blaine?"

He shoots up in bed, the sudden change in position making his head swim. "Kurt?"

His voice is gravelly, but the other boy obviously hears him as he pushes the door open tentatively.

Kurt looks almost as bad as Blaine feels – red-rimmed eyes, hair not perfectly coifed, wrinkled clothes. And he looks like he's going to burst into tears and fall to the ground where he stands on shaky legs.

They stare at each other for several moments before Kurt fully enters the room and shuts the door behind him. He has Blaine's notebook clutched to his chest like a lifeline.

"You can sit down. If you want."

Kurt sits gently on the edge of the chair, holding the notebook in front of him and just staring. Blaine doesn't know what to say, but he can see the cogs turning in Kurt's head and waits for the words to come.

"I started reading after I took you home last night. And I just kept reading until the end and then I started over again. You wrote it like a letter to me and I just couldn't stop. It's noon and I haven't been to sleep and I wanted to come over earlier and just let myself in with your keys, but then I thought that was totally creepy. So I waited and then I talked to my dad and then—"

"Hey." Blaine reaches out and touches his knee. "Calm down. It's okay."

"It's not. I have to get this out, so just let me. Please?"

Blaine withdraws his hand and smiles reassuringly.

"You wrote all of these stories and they're so detailed and heartfelt. None of it happened, I know that logically. But the emotion in each and every page makes me somehow believe that they did happen to you. And I don't know why or how, but I do know that ever since you first saw me in the hospital, there was something different. The way you look at me with such love and affection… I feel like I can trust you and I want to believe it all."

Kurt wipes at his eyes and Blaine realizes that he too is crying.

"I'm not your Kurt and I'm sorry for that. I don't have these memories. As much as I wish I did, I just don't. I've never been kissed, let alone lived in New York or done half of the wonderful things that you wrote about. And I don't know if I'll ever be like the person in these stories. But maybe we could try talking about it? And maybe you'll realize that I'm never going to live up to how amazing your Kurt is. But maybe I'll be amazing in my own ways."

Their eyes finally meet and Blaine can only stare slack-jawed.

"Okay, please say something now."

"What did your dad tell you?"

"At first he just looked at me with that look…" Blaine knew. Kurt took an unsteady breath as another tear slid down his cheek. "And then he told me that love makes impossible things happen and I should just listen to my heart."

"Come here."

"What?"

"Just lay with me?"

Kurt sets the notebook down, kicks off his shoes, and awkwardly lies on his side. When Blaine twists back slightly, Kurt rolls forward, hand reaching out to Blaine's shoulder to steady himself. Kurt's eyes go wide and he starts to pull back, but Blaine grabs his wrist and runs his thumb across the back of Kurt's hand.

They're practically nose-to-nose and this is so familiar to Blaine – even if Kurt is not quite fully relaxed yet.

"Thank you for reading it."

"Of course. You asked me to and even though we were never really close before, I've pretty much thought you hung the moon since you transferred to McKinley halfway through our freshman year."

"And thank you for believing in me. I know it's not easy. I spent many an hour begging to 'wake up' from here. We can talk about tomorrow, next week, the future – whatever you want. If I'm here with you, I'm okay."

"Can you do something for me before any more talking?"

"Anything."

"Kiss me?"

Blaine is fairly certain his heart actually skips a beat, but then he's leaning forward ever so slightly and bringing them together with the lightest press of their lips. There's a sharp intake of breath and then Kurt is bringing a hand up to Blaine's face. Blaine misses this – when they were both so tentative and inexperienced. Before they'd explored every inch of skin between them, they had innocent kisses and sweet touches.

Kurt pulls back and the smile on his face could brighten the night sky.

The stay curled into each other, eyelids closing, and the sound of each other's breathing the only sound in the room.

They make promises of more talk later.

Sleep comes easy.

...

As he wakes, Blaine keeps his eyes closed and focuses on the way he feels. This is the most rested he's felt in days. There's a solid pressure against his side, warm breath on his neck.

He tries to turn his head, but it feels so heavy. As he twists his body to turn on his side, pain shoots through him and he lets out a loud groan, settling on his back again.

"Blaine? Shh, it's okay."

"Kurt…"

"Yeah, baby, it's me."

"Hurts…"

Why does his voice sound like that? Why does he hurt so much?

"I know. Just open your eyes, okay?"

Blaine lets out a whine because even though he feels rested, he feels like he could sleep so much more.

"Come on, B."

He opens his eyes to a thankfully dimly lit room. Everything is blurry at first, slowly coming into focus as he blinks.

And there's Kurt – still laying next to him, but looking almost afraid to touch him.

"Did you call me B?"

"Of course. I always call you that."

"I didn't think that was in the notebook."

"What notebook?"

"The one I wrote for you."

"Baby, you're not making any sense. I'm going to sit you up, okay? Real slow."

The bed moves beneath him and the pain comes back as his body starts to bend.

Blaine looks around the room and it's not his own. It's bare and smells of disinfectant.

"I'm back in the hospital?"

"Well you've never been in this one before, but yeah, you're in the hospital. You don't remember anything?"

"I just got out. And we were… we were sleeping. You came over after the football game and I told you everything and you stayed."

"B, I think you're confused. I'm going to call the nurse."

The light over his head is flipped on and he's finally able to see literally what's right in from of him.

"Kurt?" His voice cracks just saying the name and tears start to well up.

"I'm here, you're okay."

"It's really you?" Blaine could love every incarnation of Kurt, but this is his Kurt.

"Of course it's me. Who else would it be?"

"I thought I'd lost you forever."

"Blaine…" Kurt situated himself back on the bed holding Blaine's hand in both of his own. "I think that's my line. You're the one that was in a car accident."

"Car accident?"

"Yes. Some stupid tourist not paying attention. This is why people shouldn't rent cars in the city. You were so lucky to only come out of it with a couple cracked ribs and the biggest goose egg I've ever seen on your head."

"I guess it was a dream then. It felt so real… and you were there at the end. But I don't understand. Why did I wake up now? It was so horrible and then just when I thought things would be okay, I wake up."

"Maybe whatever your mind thought needed to happen in the dream finally happened. And then you woke up."

"It was you. Things could have been so different. But it was still you deep down."

Kurt curls into his side again. "I don't have any idea about what you're referring to. But I love when you dream about me."

"My dad was there too. And we got to talk. I just…"

Blaine trails off, tears streaming down his face.

Kurt wipes them away, eyebrows furrowed together in concern. "Are you okay?"

"I will be. I'm just… it felt so real."

"You'll have to tell me all about it."

Blaine nods, pulling Kurt closer even as it makes the pain worse.

"Promise me I'm really here, Kurt. Please say I'm not crazy."

Kurt leans himself up on his elbow and looks at Blaine, nothing but love radiating off of him.

"You're here. You're with me. We're in New York and as soon as we can, we'll be going home. And Rachel will bring Gracie back and dote on you like a bird with a broken wing."

Blaine lets out a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob. "I hate when she does that."

"Yeah, well. We've put up with her this long. I guess we're stuck."

Kurt lies back down, both hands holding Blaine's and twisting his ring. It's comforting and Blaine lets himself relax.

He doesn't understand what's happened. It's hard to believe that what he experienced was just a dream. The thought that it could have been more and somewhere out there is a reality so different from this one is mind-blowing. He wonders if that Kurt will wake up remembering what happened or if that Blaine will still be so different.

Blaine's almost afraid to go back to sleep.

"Hey Kurt?"

"Yeah?"

"Tell me some of your favorite memories about us."

...