Whoosh. The paper has decided to float apart before he has even restacked it this time, burying him just as he tries breathing again.
He doesn’t know what possessed him, all he knows is that he just crossed a boundary that should have been visible a mile off. Earlier in the evening he’d been desperate for the most innocent of touches and then his stupid brain had decided that wasn’t enough. For some reason, he’d allowed the simple goodwill gesture of a hug to intoxicate him. Sure, Kurt had forgiven him now, but that didn’t mean he wanted to get back together and that certainly didn’t mean he wanted Blaine’s mouth anywhere near him.
He’s in a sort of dazed panic as he jumps of the couch, the blanket tangling around his feet. It might as well be tangled around his heart by the way its thrashing inside his chest, trying to force its way through skin and bone. He side-eyes Kurt just to gage how angry he’ll be.
But Kurt doesn’t look angry; he just looks sort of….shell-shocked. “Um…” He doesn’t even stammer, he just frowns and meets Blaine’s gaze.
“Oh, God, I’m sorry—I didn’t mean—I don’t know why. Sorry.”
Kurt’s just staring at Blaine, really staring at him, like he’s in some kind of exhibit. It’s funny because people used to look through him and now all they do is watch him, waiting for him to screw up and then scrutinising him when he does.
He needs everyone to stop looking at him through a magnifying glass. The distorted vision is stretching him to breaking point, his fingers already broken from clutching himself together, and it just hurts so much. The ache is too far down to soothe, though, and the more they scrutinise him, the more it tears through layers of skin and warps him from the inside out. The thing is, he’s scared to destroy the magnifying glass; what if that’s the only way people can see him? What if he cracks the glass and then they go back to not looking at him at all? He can’t work out which is worse, to be honest.
He can’t believe that forty minutes ago he was completely numb and now he’s swelling with emotion, uncomfortable energy buzzing through his limbs, his lips tingling just slightly where they touched Kurt’s. He really needs Kurt to say something.
“I’m sorry.” He tries again as the silence drags on, wondering how he’s meant to make this right. Maybe if he could actually think without his pulse swaying in his ears he could figure out how to build a time machine. He can’t even quietly slip off to bed because Kurt is still sat on it.
“Ok, right, this is—” Kurt pauses and at least he’s not staring at Blaine anymore. “This is a bad idea.”
Blaine nods, though he has no idea why. He doesn’t actually know what Kurt is referring to. Blaine kissing him is a bad idea? Trying to work things out is a bad idea? Blaine remaining in this apartment is a bad idea? It could be any of them, really.
Kurt looks more certain when he continues, less like he’s figuring out a particularly hard calculus problem. “We can’t do this.”
Blaine nods along again, wishing Kurt would just clarify what ‘this’ is.
“Do you, um—do you want me to leave?” Blaine hedges and forces himself not to fidget.
“What? No, of course not; I meant it when I said I was glad you came to New York.” Kurt stands up opposite Blaine, keeping a sizeable distance between them. Probably scared you’re going to launch yourself at him again, Blaine thinks, taking a step back just to reassure Kurt.
Kurt rolls his eyes at that. “I’m not mad. You just took me by surprise—like you always do.”
“Is that meant to be a good thing?”
“Of course it’s a good thing. It’s one of the many reasons I love you.”
Blaine blinks and Kurt’s eyes narrow; someone shines a light behind the magnifying glass.
“And that is exactly why we’re not doing this now.” Kurt says, gesturing at Blaine as he squirms. “I love you, but you’re not going to believe that at the moment so this whole thing,” He gestures between them, face scrunching up. “Is a bad idea.”
Blaine thinks he’s doing that thing again where he pushes people away without meaning to. “Sorry.”
“No, you have to stop blaming yourself for things. It takes two to make a relationship—or break it for that matter. Can you see why this is a bad idea?”
“I’m not stupid.” He feels the need to assert this; he might be crazy, but he’s not dumb. “I didn’t mean to kiss you, ok? It just…happened.”
“I know, I get that. I was close to doing it too.” It should be a comforting revelation, but something about the way Kurt says it grates on Blaine.
“Great, so you have more self-control than me. Have a fucking medal, Kurt!” He hasn’t exactly missed the irrational anger, but it does feel bizarrely nice as it sluices through him.
“Oh, come on, I didn’t mean it like that and you know it.” Kurt’s using his I’m-trying-very-hard-to-stay-calm-but-I-still-sound-bitchy voice and it irritates Blaine even more.
“And here comes the self-righteousness…”
“Shut the fuck up!” There, the composure is gone; Blaine has broken through it again.
He ducks his head down, smiles humourlessly at his feet as Kurt huffs out a breath.
“Oh my God, this is—we are so ridiculous.” Kurt reaches down to pick up the fallen blanket, shoving it back on the couch in a wrinkled ball. “Plus, there is no way my dad is still asleep in there.”
Blaine realises once again that there are no actual walls in this apartment—what kind of stupid design is that?—and then he makes the mistake of catching Kurt’s eye. They both burst out laughing and it’s absurd and probably more than a little unhinged, but Blaine likes Kurt’s laugh more than he hates Kurt’s bitchy-voice so he just basks in it.
It takes a minute and several half-hearted shushing gestures on Kurt’s part, but Blaine’s mirth eventually runs out, sinking into the floorboards underneath them. He folds his arms and looks back at the messy couch. That’s when he realises it.
“Kurt, I pulled the blanket off!”
“Huh?” Kurt looks up from where he’s pretending to flick lint off his pyjama top.
“I just realised—I pulled the blanket off.”
Kurt squints, confused, and then comprehension dawns on him as he, too, remembers their earlier conversation. “Oh my god, you did—you pulled it off!”
“Bit of an anti-climax, though.”
“It’s a start.” Kurt says, twisting his hands together.
“I’m sort of cold now.” Blaine states, hoping Kurt will get the hint and let him sleep.
“Cold? As in numb…?”
For some reason, Kurt looks really concerned again and it takes Blaine longer than it probably should to work out why.
“Oh, no, not like that—not emotionally. I just meant it’s actually cold in here.”
Strangely enough, it makes him feel sort of proud that the thing making his skin crawl is an external, natural factor for once, one that he can easily do something about.
“You can share my bed, if you want. Not to—y’know, not that—just to sleep. If you want?”
Blaine hesitates, but who is he kidding? Of course the answer is yes.
So somehow they end up on either side of Kurt’s bed, facing inwards but not too close, paused as if both waiting for the other to speak. It should be awkward as hell, but when Kurt shuts off the light on his bedside table, rolling forward enough to press a shadow of a kiss to Blaine’s cheek before retracting into his own space, Blaine is only content.
He’s still a balloon, but his fraying string is no longer tied around them; if he’s going to stop himself from drifting on the next gust of wind, he needs to find something new and less destructible to anchor him. Preferably something that can’t float away, too.