Blaine tugs the blanket up even higher and wonders how his life manages to fall apart over and over again. Each time he starts to rebuild it, the neatly stacked bricks turn into paper and swish to the ground on the next gust of wind. It doesn’t even take much—a breeze is enough to destroy the balance—and he yet he continues to pretend that this is the time he’ll somehow turn it into bricks and mortar. The hardest part is that he’s always just starting to appreciate the delicate beauty of the paper formation, the visual aesthetic of it, right before it crashes down again, dragging him with it. Then, he lies right back where he started, ensconced in mocking whiteness.
He’s fed up of expending energy on something so futile. This time, he had even managed to convince himself that Kurt wanted him back, that somehow, despite it all, Kurt needed him in the same way he needs Kurt. And he tries to be mad at Kurt, he really does, but Blaine’s a shoddy piece of paper-mâché and that isn’t Kurt’s fault.
Besides, anger is closely linked to regret and he refuses to regret believing what he did. He’s glad that the delusion was a part of him for a while, that he pursued it even if it was transient—because it was the only light at the end of the tunnel for such a long time when he desperately needed some. He doesn’t care if it was a torch giving out the illusion of daylight—a torch that got switched off the second he reached it—what matters is that it got him through a section of tunnel that he wouldn’t have otherwise. He’s so, so grateful for that; without it, he would still be sat five-hundred metres back on the tunnel floor.
It is laughable that he pretended to understand Dr Marissa’s instructions, though. He convinced himself that he was no longer using Kurt as his lynchpin, but now that everything has come unpegged, it’s abundantly clear that he made that up too. God, he’s good at making stuff up.
But he can’t hide from reality forever. He’s a bad person who clings too tightly and hurts the people he loves—that’s always going come out in the end. It’s evidenced in his decision to encroach on Kurt’s Christmas, in his unjustified jealousy at Adam and his heart-eyes, in his stupid self-pity when all Kurt did was tell his dad the truth. Kurt has no obligation to so much as look at Blaine and yet he did—he always did. He had even flown back to Ohio because Blaine is so fantastic at fucking up other people’s lives in tandem with his own.
He did it again tonight. If he hadn’t shown up uninvited, Kurt and Adam would have had a wonderful evening with Burt, all getting to know each other and bonding over the holidays. Why had Blaine felt entitled to come along and mar it all? Apparently he’s not content to ruin Kurt’s past; he wants to derail his attempts to move forwards, too. He’s like Kurt’s shadow—always, unshakeably there, but too insubstantial to get rid of.
The pillow is cold from tears he didn’t know he was still shedding as he realises that he’s going to have to go back to Ohio and carry on without Kurt. What will he do without his universal panacea, connecting his guts to the world around him? Surely he will float away, up and up into nothingness; that used to be what he wanted, why he took those damn sleeping pills in the first place, but now—now he doesn’t know anymore. He just wants to stop being in this state, caught between flying and falling. It’s not even tearing him apart, it’s just pulling his muscles over and over again, never giving them time to heal properly in between.
He doesn’t hear anyone approach, his own heartbeat too annoyingly loud in his ears, until the blanket is peeled back just slightly from his face so that his eyes are visible over the top.
“Blaine?” Kurt’s voice sounds worried and Blaine adds it to the list of things to feel guilty about. There aren’t enough hours in a lifetime to make up for everything on that list. “Are you….Don’t cry, please…”
The thing is, Blaine’s still not properly aware that he’s crying. He doesn’t even feel like crying, but apparently his body acts without his permission nowadays. He wonders what he is in control of; it feels terrifyingly like nothing.
“Blaine, please…” Kurt sounds so scared again, but he doesn’t seem to understand that Blaine can’t control the moisture filtering from his stupid eyes. He shuts them, tries hard to make it stop; he doesn’t want Kurt to be scared. It’s not Kurt’s fault that Blaine invested so much in their relationship, even though, logically, he knew that Kurt could never take him back. Even without the whole cheating thing, he’s broken beyond repair and there is no reason Kurt would want anything to do with that.
Kurt sighs and reaches out to run his thumb under Blaine’s eyes, catching the liquid and letting it sink into his own skin. He holds his hand there on Blaine’s cheek—not stroking, just lightly touching—and Blaine wonders if he’s not the only one drifting. Maybe they’re anchored to each other, floating off into the darkness intertwined. Or, he thinks with a jolt, maybe Kurt’s only being tugged along by Blaine, desperately trying to rid himself of the massless weight, but unable to twist free of Blaine’s ensnaring string.
The thought is jarring and he pulls away, leaving Kurt’s hand to flop uselessly onto the couch.
“I didn’t mean it.”
Blaine refuses to look into Kurt’s eyes as he speaks; he doesn’t want to see the lie etched on his beautiful features.
“I swear I didn’t mean any of it. I was just—scared.” Kurt’s hand drifts back to rest on Blaine’s covered arm and suddenly it feels too warm in the cold apartment. Kurt is always warm; he’s fire.
“I am glad you came, you know,” Kurt tries again when he gets no response, his fingers tracing absent patterns on Blaine’s arm and Blaine finds himself caught between the automatic comfort that Kurt touching him provides and the need to make it stop because it’s painful—for both of them if Kurt’s expression is anything to go by.
“You don’t need to do this.” Blaine wishes he could say it louder, but it’s the best he can do.
Kurt’s hand pauses. “Do what?”
“The whole obligated-comfort thing. You can go back to bed—I promise not to throw myself off the Brooklyn Bridge while you’re sleeping.” It comes out harsher than he’d intended and Kurt flinches, eyes going wide as he leans back on his knees.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I just—you can go back to bed.” He repeats, pulls the blanket back over his eyes again. Maybe it comes across as a childish gesture, but he can’t look at Kurt’s face anymore and, unless his vision is impaired, his eyes drift back to it of their own accord.
There’s a pause and then he hears Kurt stand up, his chest simultaneously easing and clenching in some sort of disorientated panic. But then something is pushing against his legs, they’re moved sideways before he can tell his muscles to resist, and Kurt is—he’s trying to lie down on the couch as well. After a moment of shuffling, Blaine being jostled without being able to see what’s going on, Kurt huffs out a laugh.
“Ok, you’re going to have to budge over ‘cause my butt is much too big to fit on this thing otherwise…”
“Your butt is perfect.” It comes out muffled as he half-heartedly shuffles sideways and he prays that Kurt didn’t decipher it, biting his lip to stop anything else coming out.
“Thank you,” Kurt says and Blaine’s stomach plummets. “So is yours.”
It’s so ridiculous—impossibly ridiculous, really—and a sob escapes him. He can’t seem to stop it then, the tears disintegrate into noisy choking sounds and he lets them because, well, he has no dignity left anyway.
There’s more movement next to him and then Kurt’s arm is somehow under the blanket, sliding very carefully over Blaine’s stomach.
Blaine’s sobs come harder. “D-don’t—please don’t do th-that…”
Kurt’s arm retreats instantly and Blaine’s stomach feels empty without the weight on top of it.
“S-sorry, just it’ll be h-harder when—and you have a b-boyfr—” He cuts himself off; he’s so pathetic he can’t even say it out loud.
Kurt pulls the blanket back from Blaine’s face again. “What did you just say?”
Blaine can’t speak. Everything aches and he’s going to pass out in a minute.
“Blaine? Did you—oh god, did you think Adam and I…?”
He will not hope. He will not. That’s what got him into this whole mess.
“Adam and I are just friends—that’s it.”
The words should soothe, but they don’t. He knows Kurt too well; he knows that Kurt is the sort of person who would lie to save him.
“Then why was he here to meet your dad on Christmas Eve? Why were you cuddling on the couch like that?” It shouldn’t be accusatory, but it is. At least the tears have subsided a bit.
“We weren’t….I mean, sure, we shared the couch, but there was no cuddling going on…?” Kurt sounds genuinely confused and Blaine starts to doubt himself. Hadn’t they been wrapped around one another all through the movie, or had he made that up too? In fairness, he had mainly been focussing on anything other than—oh. Apparently his brain had seen what it had expected to see.
He feels incredibly stupid then. He basically just wrongly accused Kurt of something that was none of his business in the first place.
“Sorry.” He says and he means it, but authenticity has sort of lost its meaning over the past few months. He asks himself over and over why he insists on ensnaring Kurt in his damn train wreck, but really he knows why; he’s too weak to resist, even if it means hurting the person he ought to protect above all else.
What he needs is for Kurt to make the move, give him the cold shoulder and the even colder truths, and then discard him on the scrapheap once and for all. Kurt is too inherently nice for that; maybe benevolence is the greatest weakness of all.
“Don’t be.” Kurt replies, nestling back against Blaine and it should feel claustrophobic, but it doesn’t. There’s something incongruously freeing about being squashed onto a couch, or maybe it’s just because he can’t see Kurt’s face. “I still sat next to him and encouraged the heart-eyes a bit. I didn’t mean to, I was just…scared.”
“It’s fine, you don’t have to explain yourself to me; we’re not together.” He’s got used to the words, said them enough times inside his head, but saying them out loud forces him to hold back a shiver.
“And that’s exactly why I do have to explain myself.”
Blaine groans. “God, you sound like my therapist.”
“Sorry,” Kurt laughs quietly, wriggles to make himself more comfortable. “I’ll take it as a compliment.” He shuffles some more, his hand ghosting over Blaine’s side. “It wasn’t your fault we broke up, you know.”
“Oh, sorry, you’re so right, it wasn’t me who slept with someone else and destroyed your trust. Nope, that wasn’t my fault at all.”
“I didn’t mean—look, it was partly your fault, but it was mine too, okay? Can you look at me for a second?”
Blaine shakes his head, but then Kurt pleads and goddamnit he can’t resist that.
“Thank you,” Kurt says when Blaine’s eyes are visible again. “Look, I’m not going to deny that you hurt me because you did. But I wasn’t exactly being a good boyfriend either.”
“I don’t recall you sleeping around.” Blaine can’t help interrupting and feels sadistically satisfied when Kurt flinches.
“You didn’t sleep around—you just made a mistake that one time and—and took advantage of some attention. That’s what happened, right?”
“No,” Blaine counters, sitting up so that the blanket falls away completely. He’s higher than Kurt now, but he feels about a tenth of his size. “I couldn’t handle not speaking to you all the time because I’m needy as fuck and decided to get some from the first guy who looked in my direction.”
“Stop talking about yourself like that. And we’ve been through this before; you’re not needy.” Kurt’s teeth are clenched and his head has ducked down, like he’s caught between battle and defeat.
Blaine sighs; this is exhausting because Kurt doesn’t seem able to understand without his stupid pity clouding the view. “What part of ‘I slept with someone else’ do you not understand?”
He realises that Kurt’s crying then and he feels like even more of a jerk but he’s also sort of hoping that Kurt has finally got the message and will shove Blaine aside like he’s needed to for a very long time. Like everyone does eventually, he thinks as he pictures the look on his father’s face when he came out.
There’s a horrible silence broken only by Kurt’s quiet sniffles and then he seems to recollect himself.
“You slept with someone else and that’s disgusting and wrong and, God, it makes me feel sick, but you didn’t do it to hurt me. You weren’t deliberately trying to break us up, not really. I was already walking out the door and you just slammed it in my face. And I was too proud, or maybe too stupid, to stand there and stare at a closed door. So I kept on walking and I didn’t look behind to make sure you were okay. I should have waited until I understood, or at least knocked to let you know I was there, but I didn’t. And that makes me feel sick, too. I was so self-absorbed that I forgot I wasn’t the only one staring at a closed door; you were too. Except you couldn’t walk away like I did.”
Blaine thinks about this and it sort of makes sense, but it also makes his head ache. It feels too much like Kurt is blaming himself for Blaine’s own feebleness.
“I chose to keep staring at that door, though, didn’t I?” He counters, trying to assuage Kurt’s guilt.
“But that’s just it—you were still fighting for us and I just walked away.” Kurt sits up so that they’re level again.
“This is a beautiful analogy and all, but it doesn’t change the fact that I cheated on you instead of discussing my feelings like a sane person.”
“You are sane.” Kurt corrects automatically and it makes Blaine want to scream. “Did you enjoy it?”
“Did you enjoy sleeping with someone else?” Kurt is holding his gaze quite steadily now and it’s unnerving.
“What—No. It was—it was the worst thing I’ve ever done—worse than getting beaten up at a stupid school dance. I hated it. I didn’t even—I couldn’t—” The numbness is fading dizzyingly fast, an onslaught of feelings taking its place. It feels a lot like he has internal whiplash.
“Shhh,” Kurt soothes, his hand finding Blaine’s arm again. “It’s okay, I just wanted to hear you say it. And that’s why I forgave you ages ago, by the way. You technically cheated on me, but you didn’t really. Well, you didn’t emotionally cheat on me anyway.”
Blaine literally cannot believe he’s hearing this; maybe he is the sane one on this couch after all. “Cheating doesn’t have technicalities, Kurt.”
“There it is!” Kurt smiles happily and Blaine hasn’t the faintest idea what the cause is. “Sorry, you just haven’t said my name once throughout this entire conversation and usually you say it a lot. I was missing it, I guess, but then you just said it so…all good!”
Blaine gapes. He has actually driven Kurt insane, there is no other explanation. Kurt just seems to find Blaine’s disbelief amusing because he laughs and then pulls Blaine against him, enveloping him in a hug that smells too blissfully Kurt-like to be comforting.
“There, now it feels like Christmas,” Kurt murmurs against his cheek and Blaine’s hands clutch tighter in response, nails pulling at the fabric of Kurt’s pyjama top. “And don’t think I’m letting you off our duet this year, Warbler Blaine, because that is soooo going down.”
Blaine laughs despite himself, enjoying the warmth returning to his chest; it’s fire, but it’s restrained behind a grate, not burning him anymore. He moves to pull back, but Kurt’s eyes up close are scarily mesmerising and before he can comprehend what his body is doing, he’s closing the gap between them.
Kurt lets out a soft ‘hmmph’ sound as Blaine’s lips unexpectedly touch his. Blaine is too caught up in the feeling of kissing Kurt again to register it, just lets his mouth rediscover something he never thought he’d get to do again. Apparently, his lips had thought otherwise because it’s purely muscle memory as he captures Kurt’s top lip between his own, pulling just enough to extract that little sigh from the back of Kurt’s throat. But then Kurt is pushing him back with a hand on his chest and his mind jolts back to reality as his eyes fly open.
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.