It feels strange, to sleep with his back to Blaine. They haven’t shared a bed often, much less in an apartment that’s his, in a place where they’ll be left alone without having to keep one ear on the door, but the few times that they have, it’s never felt like this.

Kurt’s never felt like this, never felt like a shell, a ghost of a brightly-lit past suddenly gone dark like someone’s pulled the plug on the department store Christmas display.

There’s a foot or so of space between their backs, but it may as well be a canyon, an ocean. Kurt keeps his back stiff, straight, one hand under the pillow and the other carefully curled to his torso. He focuses on his breathing, on the sounds of city life far below them. He doesn’t focus on the way the sheets tremble slightly where they’re pulled over his side, tries not to notice how Blaine’s curled in on himself, hunched like a frightened armadillo. He tries not to hear Blaine’s quiet, muffled sobs.

He doesn’t want to forgive, or maybe he does. His brain is too muddled now, confused and overwhelmed at hearing those four simple words he never, ever thought he’d hear out of Blaine’s mouth. He’s still stuck in the aftermath of a staticky, numb feeling, cold like he’d been doused with ice water, all the sound sucked from his world except for those words and Blaine’s I’m really sorry.

(He recalls a memory of long ago, of two scared, fumbling teenagers with a house to themselves and the knowledge that they can go further, that they’re ready now—he remembers the warmth of those sheets then, Blaine’s breath and smile on his neck and their arms and legs entangled. They’d had their whole lives ahead of them, then, had countless hours to sleep together and love together and be together.)

He doesn’t want to go to bed without speaking. He doesn’t want to feel empty, like he’s going to burst open from the pain and betrayal and anger, like the stitches at his seams are beginning to fray and loosen. He wants to kiss his boyfriend, enjoy his early trip to New York and just be in love again. He wants to touch him, to make love and make up for all those stupid missed and declined phone calls because he’s been too worried about what may be a potential career, too afraid to miss out and mess up so early into his internship.

(He’s stupid, so stupid. Kurt Hummel is a selfish, self-centered asshole and look where it’s got him—but no, he’s not, and if he could Blaine would reassure him right now, remind him of ambition and drive and why he’s here and not stuck in Lima.)

A sob catches in his throat and he forces it down, loosens the rigidity of his back and curls slightly in. He squeezes his eyes shut, grits his teeth and lets a tear dampen his pillow. He just wants to stop aching. He wants to go back and do it all again, be the boyfriend he’s always been and promised to always be.

Most of all, he wants to roll over and pull Blaine to his chest, wants to kiss away his tears and let him cry. But he can’t. He can’t because there’s someone else now, and Kurt doesn’t know who he is or what Blaine even did. He can’t because in just a few short hours his life changed and he doesn’t know what to do. He’s forgotten how to be without knowing Blaine’s just a phone call away, or now, just a short reach away. And he’d taken advantage of that, hit that little red button because there’ll always be next time, Blaine will always be there for me, he said he’d always pick up the phone, but I—

And he doesn’t know why he’s doing it, isn’t exactly sure when his arm started moving, but his fingertips are feeling out across the sheets, skimming until they come to rest on the familiar curve of Blaine’s torso, just over his hip. The angle’s awkward and the reach is a bit of a stretch, but there’s a shaky inhale from Blaine, a ripped-out sounding sob, and his fingers are squeezing Kurt’s, shaking and trembling and feeling like they’re itching to do more.

They don’t say anything, and Blaine’s still sniffling, and once or twice Kurt can hear him swallowing hard, opening his mouth like he wants to but stops. Kurt’s glad for that. He doesn’t want to talk. He just wants to not die anymore.

He returns Blaine’s squeeze. It says everything they can’t.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I don’t know what we’re going to do, but no matter what, you’ll always be my greatest love.

Please don’t say you’re sorry anymore. It hurts too much. The words sound as hollow as your voice.

He wasn’t you. I tried, and he wasn’t you.

Oh, take me back to the start…


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