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"God, Kurt," Blaine gasps out, still dizzy from his orgasm, and he flops back on the firm hotel bed, not too far but enough that he isn't crowding Kurt. Blaine knows he doesn't like feeling smothered after sex, and as much as Blaine adores that closeness he wants Kurt to like everything they're doing.

He’s still stunned that he’s had the chance to have sex with Kurt again, but he isn’t so far lost in that wonder that he’s going to squander a second of the opportunity. He wants Kurt and has missed him desperately, and he’s so utterly thrilled to have him. He doesn’t want Kurt to be able to be unhappy with any of what’s happened between them, even the position of their post-coital cuddles.

Kurt lets out a soft laugh and shifts a little, stretching out so that he's comfortable. "Mmm," he agrees and rubs his knuckles against Blaine's arm. The gentle touch makes Blaine shiver.

From a few inches away, Blaine happily watches Kurt's eyes close and his kiss-plumped lips drift into an easy smile. Kurt's always been slow to pull himself together afterwards, preferring in the past for them to bask a bit before cleaning up, and it's comforting to Blaine that Kurt's not immediately pulling his defenses back around himself now. He’s been so distant and guarded, even since they’ve renewed their friendship, but he's not getting dressed or pushing away. He's staying beside Blaine, all gorgeously rumpled and sated, naked and seemingly unworried for the moment.

It’s such an encouraging sign, and Blaine is certain he knows how to read it.

Blaine dares to roll a little closer, sliding his arm over Kurt's chest and pressing his mouth against his shoulder. He doesn't want to push his luck for a proper kiss, those lazy, happy, achingly sweet ones they used to trade for as long as they could afterwards, but he can still be close. He wants to be close. He wants it so much.

Kurt tips his head against the top of Blaine's, his cheek against Blaine's hair. It feels tender and affectionate. Blaine nuzzles against him in gratitude, his chest tight with the effort of containing the promises of love that want to spill out but need to be held back to be sure Kurt won’t close up again, and Kurt makes a contented sound in return.

Blaine's heart is racing from more than just having had sex, and he can't stop smiling against Kurt's skin. He doesn't want to. He can feel the imprint of Kurt's mouth on his throat and Kurt's hands on his hips. He can see the flushed marks he's left on Kurt's chest and stomach. He can smell the scents of sweat and sex and Kurt all around him. He can still taste them on his tongue. He can still hear the desperate, eager way Kurt moaned his name just a few minutes before. He can feel the way both of their bodies are leaning into each other, weak from all they’ve shared with each other, given to each other.

Blaine lets out a shaking breath and shuts his eyes to hold it all in, because as precious as everything with Kurt is this night is all the more precious for Kurt giving it to him at all.

God, it is so good to get to touch him again.

It would be nice to think that this round of very satisfying and passionate sex would be enough to erase all of their problems. It should, Blaine thinks, but he's still pretty sure Kurt's going to pull away when their bodies return to normal. He knows Kurt is going to try to repeat the refrain of them being friends and nothing more. He knows Kurt is going to want to retreat back into himself, and he knows it's going to hurt them both.

But Blaine can't stop smiling because he knows other things, too. For once, he knows them better than Kurt does. He doesn't just hope that this night means something more than them still being attracted to each other, he knows it does. He is absolutely sure of it.

He kisses Kurt's shoulder again while he still can, hoping the love he feels can seep into Kurt's heart through his skin if it isn't all that welcome in Kurt's ears.

He knows Kurt is hurt. He knows Kurt is finding a new strength in New York. He knows Kurt's finding new boys who admire him, and why wouldn't he? He's Kurt. Blaine thinks guys must be falling at his feet. He knows it’s good for Kurt, even if it makes him even less interested in Blaine, who is younger, who is in high school in Ohio, who broke Kurt’s heart.

The thing is, though, the thing that is making Blaine's heart race instead of shatter with despair is that Kurt could live in New York for six years instead of six months and still isn't going to change who he fundamentally is. He can guard his heart, but he can't change it even if he tries. He's Kurt Hummel. He's who he is. Blaine knows no one more sure of himself in the world, and Blaine knows him.

And Blaine knows something that Kurt does not. Kurt might be convinced that this was a relatively empty show of passion between former boyfriends, but Blaine has done empty. He's done it.

Blaine slides his leg a few inches closer, and when his foot touches Kurt's, Kurt draws his toes along Blaine's ankle and hums out his pleasure. Blaine presses his smile against Kurt’s warm skin.

Eli was perfectly nice and generous enough in bed, and what they'd done had felt good - at least physically - but it had been nothing like this. There was plenty of fire but no tenderness at all. There was no laughter amidst eagerness. There was no care, no special attention, no real interest in stoking the other's arousal to a fever pitch through listening to the specific preferences of each other's bodies. There was no playing or intense meetings of eyes. There was no pulling close, no breathing of each other's names, no stroking of Blaine's hair or smiling through kisses. There was no caressing, no cuddling, no nuzzling together afterwards. There was none of that.

And that's been everything between Kurt and Blaine tonight. Every touch, every kiss, every cascade of breathless laughter, every deliberate, perfect touch has been about the two of them.

It's like a different language, a whole different universe.

It's been all about them, not a goodbye but a welcome reuniting of two people who care for each other. It's been Kurt's fingers on Blaine's face, his mouth seeking out that spot under Blaine's ear that drives him wild, his movements slowing down and speeding up at the pitch of Blaine's voice. It’s been their eyes locked on each other, their bodies straining to get closer. It's been Kurt watching Blaine, smiling wickedly at him, letting him kiss him through the spasms of his orgasm. It's been Kurt holding him close for a few minutes after they both came, his hands gentle and tender on Blaine's skin. It’s been Kurt saying his name, whispering it, moaning it, laughing it, over and over, “Blaine, Blaine, Blaine.” It's Kurt right now pressing his mouth in Blaine's hair in an almost kiss, his fingertips trailing up Blaine's arm.

This isn't empty. This is the furthest thing from empty. This is everything.

“Mmm,” Kurt breathes out and nuzzles against him.

Blaine knows Kurt. Blaine knows Kurt is hurt, is wary, is determined to be strong and independent, and is trying to prove to himself that he has grown beyond Blaine. It hurts, it makes Blaine ache from the inside out, it makes him want to fall on his knees and beg Kurt to stop rejecting him and give him his heart again because Blaine's never wanted anything in the world but him.

It's hard, but he doesn't, because it's not what Kurt thinks he wants from Blaine. Kurt wants something simple, their renewed close friendship with maybe a physical component on Kurt's terms. Kurt wants everything on his own terms. Blaine knows Kurt is guarding his heart and is sure that he can do it.

It should leave Blaine hopeless, because Kurt is strong and so sure of what he feels. It should leave Blaine crushed and feeling unwanted by the love of his life. And it does a little bit when he thinks about it.

He takes an unsteady breath in and focuses on the smell of sex and Kurt so close to him. He reminds himself what it means until it eases the pain in his chest.

In this rare case, Blaine knows more than Kurt does, even more about Kurt than Kurt does. Blaine knows without a whisper of doubt that Kurt Hummel can only act from his heart. Kurt might be able to hold himself back and control what he is saying, but he still had sex with Blaine. He still touched him like he was precious. He still gave of himself so fully to Blaine, not at all hesitant but playful, happy, and in control. He still is letting Blaine twine their fingers together this very minute on top of his chest.

Kurt might not want to face it yet, but it means something.

Kurt is thawing, Blaine knows with his heart leaping in his throat. Kurt's opening. Kurt's still in love with him. The high, thick walls that Kurt erected around himself in the fall, the ones that kept him from even talking to Blaine, from barely wanting to look at him when they came face to face, have cracks, big ones. They’re big enough now that Kurt can make love with him, and they’re only getting bigger. At some point that wall has to fall entirely.

Blaine might have to wait for Kurt to be ready, but now he knows it won't be forever.

Because this night between them wasn't empty. The tight hugs when they saw each other, the dry, shared jokes just for them, the giddy kissing in the car, the slow dancing, the way they touched each other in this hotel room, none of it was empty. It was all full of meaning. It was all full of love between them. It was love from Kurt, too. Blaine knows Kurt couldn’t have done any of it, not like that, if it weren’t love.

Blaine kisses Kurt's shoulder, and he gets another pleased sound from Kurt and a gentle squeeze of his hand.

"I'm sticky," Kurt murmurs with a soft sigh.

"I'll go get a washcloth," Blaine tells him, and this time he dares lean in for a quick kiss before he rolls off of the bed. Kurt might not draw him down for one more long, heartfelt embrace the way he has in the past, but he turns his head to meet Blaine’s mouth, anyway.

As Blaine walks to the bathroom, his smile grows even more.

No matter what Kurt may or may not be ready to admit to himself, Blaine knows the difference that Kurt does not, he knows what empty feels like, and he knows as surely as he knows his own heart that this all was love.