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Hindsight

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Kurt had always known certain things were going to happen. Not like in a fortune teller kind of way or sixth sense. But in that same clarity way that he'd always known he was gay.

He knew so many things.

He was going to New York. Blaine was going to join him. They would graduate from college and they would get married. They would probably adopt a couple of kids (an offhand comment about Blaine wishing they could have a kid had prompted Kurt to realise it wouldn't be fair for one of them to have that through a surrogate) and then they would grow old together.

Kurt Hummel knew these things with varying degrees of certainty.

 

 

Nine, one, one, what is your emergency?

 

 

He knew about Blaine one hundred percent. He knew so early on. This was it, he was The One. He didn't care that Blaine was his first boyfriend; he was his first love, his first lover. He knew.

And once he'd got over that initial panic he found that he didn't mind.

 

 

My husband... He collapsed... I don't think he's breathing...

 

 

Kurt Hummel was always almost right, especially when it came to Blaine.

He left for New York in the Fall but they were engaged by Christmas (not the following summer) unable to bear the wait any longer. They knew within days of their enforced separation by education and States that the other was it for them. There would never be another, the distance and the absence was felt so acutely that had there been any moments of doubt, of hesitation, they were gone.

Blaine went to New York as soon as he graduated High School, the pair of them moving into the small apartment they could just afford to rent between them. As a present Burt and Carole covered the cost of the wedding because they knew their boys couldn't wait, couldn't stand it. So they married with very little fuss and very little circumstance and they didn't care.

 

 

I need you to stay calm for me, sir...

 

 

Kurt had graduated last year and was loving his internship; Blaine's graduation ceremony was in two weeks' time before he started his first placement. They were sticking to their plan and the forms for adoption were on the kitchen work unit. Filled, signed, awaiting one of them to go out and mail them off when they remembered. They were finally going to be a family but they were still young, both still twenty three.

Kurt knew there was no rush, they had all the time of forever.

 

 

I don't know, I just don't know, they need to come now...

 

 

It was like any other evening. They had plans with friends, were changing and laughing and talking about random things when Blaine just stopped mid-sentence. Kurt turned, a joke about him getting forgetful in his old age on his mouth, when he saw the look on his husband's face.

He'd been at his side just as Blaine's legs had given way and lowered him to the ground.

 

 

They are almost there, sir, you need to stay calm. Can you let them in?

 

 

The door was open, the EMTs walked in to find Kurt sitting on the bedroom floor, Blaine still wrapped up in his arms. There was no wailing, no crying, no noise at all.

Just Kurt, holding on to the body of his husband, trying to figure out how he'd not seen this coming at all.

 

 

~~

 

 

They had married on a Thursday. There was nothing special about the day or the date; it was simply the first available date they could all make. For all their dreams about significant dates in November or March, long weekends that huge numbers of people could travel on, it was a random Thursday.

They buried Blaine on a Thursday.

Kurt wrapped his coat around him to at least pretend he wanted to ward off the Ohio cold but in truth he barely noticed it. The sun was bright but low in the sky as it moved from summer to winter, taking every last hope and dream Kurt had with it.

 

*

 

He stayed with his parents for a few weeks after the funeral, visiting the grave every day. None of them talking about Kurt going back to New York, about leaving Blaine behind in a way that was final. Burt watched him with the gaze of a worried parent, reminding him of all those times when Kurt was growing up. Small, fragile, seemingly insignificant in the big world.

Burt was scared. Terrified. There had been pockets of moments during Kurt's childhood and teenage years when he thought that it would all get too much and he'd be one of those parents you saw on the news. Come home to find Kurt in the bathroom or in his closet. Another statistic.

But then there was Blaine and suddenly there was life and love and hope. Kurt grew (figuratively and literally) and he became strong. Stronger. He took on McKinley and won. He took on New York City and thrived. He married the love of his life and was happy.

Now he was small and broken and lost.

And Burt wouldn't be around to find him in the bathroom or the closet or quietly replace pills with sugar ones just in case. He would get a call from the hospital or an officer would come to the shop. He could still be that statistic.

 

*

 

Kurt zipped up his bag and turned to see his father looking at him. "I'll be fine," he lied.

"I worry."

"I know."

"No, Kurt. I worry."

"I know, Dad," Kurt said. "And I... I won't, I promise."

"It's OK to feel... lost," Burt settled on. "God knows when I lost your mom..."

"You survived. I will too."

"If you need to talk..."

"I promise. I won't..." He gave a small shrug. "Blaine wouldn't... He would want..." The memory stuck in his throat and he struggled to clear it. "We did talk about this, y'know? Once. After the car crash."

Burt remembered it well. On the way home from Senior prom a drunk driver had jumped the light and slammed into the side of their car. Blaine, Kurt, Finn and Rachel had ended up in hospital where Carole had stopped panicking long enough to call him. They were fine, eventually.

Kurt had panicked when Blaine wasn't left with them in the Emergency Room, wheeled off for tests and x-rays and examinations. When the police turned up Kurt had defended his boyfriend; none of them had been drinking, they'd tossed a coin for who was driving back (Blaine beating Rachel – Kurt wasn't sure if it would be called winning now). But in the end he'd been fine.

"We talked about this," Kurt said. "About what we'd do if we lost the other. And we knew... We'd be fine. It'd hurt like... It hurts like hell. I wake in the middle of the night and I can't breathe. I keep waiting to forget because people say that, don't they? That they forget for one moment. But I don't. I don't ever forget that I caught him, I held him, and he died in my arms."

"I never forgot either," Burt said. "I never once forgot about your mom."

"I can't decide if I want to."

"What?"

"Forget. I can't decide if I actually want it to happen."

"Why would you want to forget him?"

"To see if I can get on with my life. To see if it's possible. Blaine said he could see me getting on with my life a bit easier than he would be able to get on with his. He said I was the stronger one, I was the more determined. He saw it; me meeting someone else, maybe even remarrying? If we had kids then I'd find someone... Someone to share my life with."

"You never know what's going to happen," Burt said.

Kurt looked at him as if to silently say I've realised that part already.

"I'd kinda made my peace with being alone. I was alright with your mom being my lot in life. But I love Carole and I'm so glad I met her. Now I can't imagine my life without her, same as I felt before."

"I know. I know, Dad. I'm twenty three years old. I'm a widower at twenty three. Blaine is... was my first love. We had so many plans, so many dreams. And I'd still like to do a lot of them. I still want to have a family. One day. I'll meet someone on the top of the Empire State Building for a date.

"And I'll do things I did with Blaine. I'll kiss someone in Central Park at midnight at New Year's. I'll go for coffee in the Village... I know it, I do. Same way I knew when I was a kid that I would meet a Prince Charming, not a Princess. Same way I knew about Blaine...

"But thinking about that feels... wrong. Like I shouldn't be thinking about this now."

"There's no rush, kid," Burt said. "There's also no rule book for this."

"My head is just... filled with stuff. Thoughts and ideas and dreams and nightmares and that night... holding him... I felt him... go. I just held him and he went and I... I don't know what I'm doing anymore."

"You'll figure it out."

"Yeah."

"You sure about going back?"

"I need to, Dad. It's my home. And if I stay here then I'll just go and see him every day and I won't be able to let him go. I need to... leave him."

"You're not leaving him," Burt said. "Not really. He's always going to be with you, be a part of you. And you are never going to stop loving him."

"Never?"

Burt gave a small smile. "Never."

Kurt seemed to be a little relieved at this. "Time to go home."

"OK."

 

*

 

Home was as he'd left it before the funeral. Finn and Rachel had helped him to make a start on packing away Blaine's things, boxed up for charity or into storage but aside from a few bits and pieces Kurt hadn't been ready to let go just yet.

It took six months for the apartment to feel like it was his rather than theirs. A few pieces were hidden away, looked over on bad days or important days. On birthdays and anniversaries he was never alone for long; well-meaning friends and family always hapened to be nearby for a drink or a meal or a chat.

On the first anniversary he went to a party thrown in Blaine's honour. An actual party. A way of celebrating our lost loved ones. There was music and dancing and stories that made you laugh and cry. They celebrated every one Blaine's twenty three years in this life, every moment that they were thankful for. Cooper told the same stories they'd all heard before about Blaine's childhood; the Dalton boys spoke of a boy who grew in confidence and the McKinley crew spoke of a man, a friend and a brother. All of them family in a way.

And when Kurt sang Teenage Dream quietly to himself everyone listened.

He refused to stay at Rachel and Finn's that night, knowing that he'd never sleep with the baby crying all night. Christopher Blaine Hudson, born five weeks after the funeral. Named for two men who would have loved and protected him but couldn't because their time was cut short.

 

*

 

For a while he sat on the floor in the same place the EMTs had found him in. He closed his eyes and remembered, putting together the pieces in his head. How he'd felt nothing, just hollow, when he knew Blaine was gone. How he'd said nothing on the ride to the hospital and the nurse had left him the forms to fill in because he couldn't tell her the answers. His voice had stilled; he couldn't sing alone.

Texting Finn and Rachel. Them calling his parents. Then Blaine's parents. Then starting the New Directions phone tree to let others know. And all the while Kurt's voice was silent.

It was a couple of days before he said something. As was procedure there was an investigation. Twenty three year old healthy men do not just die on their bedroom floors.
But they did when they had an aortic aneurysm. A small defect in Blaine's heart, something that just, over time, ticked away seconds to that moment when it was all too much.

There was no history in the family, no biological defect from bad genes. Most likely damage from the car crash, they said. Blaine shrugging off pain as bruised ribs, they said. He never complained, they said. We had no way of knowing without tests, they said.

We're sorry, they said.

It wasn't as if it meant something to Kurt, not really. But sitting there, on his bedroom floor (his floor, not their floor) he realised that he'd managed a year. He'd survived a year.

"A whole year," he said out loud. "A whole year without you."

He heard the soft laugh, quiet as if it were in another room, and felt the air shift beside him. "This is cheating."

"I don't care."

"Kurt..."

"I don't care, Blaine. I don't."

 

*

 

At first he'd thought he was going mad. Your dead husband doesn't turn up when you come home from burying him. He would be embarrassed to admit that he'd actually screamed and bolted from the room when he'd first turned and saw Blaine standing before him.

(He'd not admitted any of this to anyone. Last thing he needed was for people to think he was losing it.)

But it was real, or as real as it could be. Blaine was most certainly dead and he was most certainly gone. But he was almost most certainly here as well.

I can't explain it, Blaine had said. I just didn't... go. It's like you held onto me, kept me here.

Once Kurt had stopped freaking out and experimentally prodded Blaine a few times (and then a few more times) they'd sat and talked about this.

Blaine was dead.

Blaine was here.

Blaine was solid. Well, at least to Kurt he was.

Blaine wasn't always visible.

Blaine couldn't be seen by anyone else.

After trying to get his head around this Kurt just gave up and curled up in bed with his husband like everything was normal.

 

*

 

"How was the party?"

"Good fun actually. I'm glad I went."

"Celebrating a whole year, Blaine-free."

"Don't," Kurt breathed, leaning over to rest his head on the shoulder beside him. "I miss you."

"I'm still here. Sort of."

"It's not the same."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry. Please don't be sorry. I'd rather this than not have you at all."

"It can't be helping though. Kurt, I've been thinking..."

"A dangerous pastime," Kurt half-sang.

"I know," Blaine finished before laughing. "When I'm not here you get on with your life. You do normal things like work and shop and see people. And then when you're down I can't stand it and I'm here..."

"And you make it better," Kurt interrupted. "You not being here..."

"Is how things are," Blaine replied. "I'm d—"

"Don't," Kurt snapped. "That word is banned, you know it. I can't... I won't... I know I've lost you but I can't lose you, Blaine. Dad said you were always going to be with me and now you are and I wouldn't have got this far without you."

"Yes you would have," Blaine whispered, pressing a kiss onto the top of Kurt's head. "You're stronger than you know, love. I see it every day. I watch you and I see it."

"See what?" Kurt asked. "See me falling apart?"

"See you trying. That guy in the coffee shop is cute. And he likes you."

"You are not trying to set me up," Kurt said with a half laugh. He sat up to look at Blaine. "My husband is trying to set me up on a date."

"I'm giving my widower my blessing," Blaine corrected. "And I'm not going to be around as much."

"No, Blaine, please don't," Kurt panicked. "You can't leave me, you can't go..."

"Hey, hey..."

Blaine took Kurt's face in his hands and pressed his lips against his mouth. The kiss, like all their kisses, felt like the ghost of one. The pressure was there, a hint of warmth, but Kurt remembered what it was like and so his memory filled in the gaps.

 

*

 

Kurt allowed himself to be held, trying to drown in the half sensation. It was all they had, all they could have. Once, on a very very bad day, Blaine had tried to comfort Kurt. They'd found that things were too different now, that... that was out of the question. So they held on to each other and kissed each other and were just together.

It was enough. It had to be enough.

"I can't stay like this, it won't help you in the long run," Blaine soothed. "But I am always going to be here. I won't ever leave you."

"Promise?"

"I already did," Blaine laughed. "In our vows."

I will love you for the rest of our lives together.

"I held you," Kurt whispered. "I went with you to the hospital and I sat by your side until Finn and Rachel came to get me. I stayed at the funeral home all night with some of the Warblers and up until they lowered the coffin into the ground you were never out of my sight. Then I come back and you're here. Apparently I can't say goodbye to you even when I should. When it's actually OK for me to let you go. When I should."

"I want you to move on."

"With Coffee Boy."

"Maybe. Or maybe there's someone else out there who's meant for you."

"I was meant for you," Kurt said. "It was only ever you."

"Our ever has been and gone, love. And you have a whole life ahead of you. A good life."

"You can't know that," Kurt said.

He had known and loved this man for six years. He knew every twitch, every move. He could read them now as well as he could read them thirteen months ago and he knew.

"You do know that," Kurt said.

"I know."

"Coffee Boy?"

"Maybe. You won't know until you try."

"I don't want to."

"Kurt... You have a great life ahead of you. I know. You will be happy and you will be in love and I will still be with you."

"But not like this?"

"Not always."

Kurt said nothing, closing his eyes and drifting off in his husband's embrace. He woke in the small hours of the morning, climbed up into bed, and fell asleep to finally dream of a life that existed without Blaine in it.

 

*

 

Kurt wasn't living his own version of Ghost or The Sixth Sense. Blaine wasn't always there. Well he was, just Kurt didn't know about it.

After the funeral he was around a lot, just there, and Kurt took some macabre comfort in it. They never used the terms ghost or spirit, they never referred to him being dead. He was, they both knew it, but he was still there. When Kurt did think about it in any great detail he thought of him as Blaine's soul. Holding on to Blaine as he died meant that he held on to his soul. Kept it here, with him, tied to him in some fashion.

He never asked about it, never did any research. He didn't want to find out that this wasn't special and unique to them, nor did he want to find out that losing Blaine had broken something in his mind and he was incapable of being normal and moving on.

Because a part of him never wanted to move on.

 

*

 

The first time they'd filled out forms after the wedding there was a small rush and thrill at the idea of checking the "married" box. They were married, they were more than a couple. They had sworn themselves to each other, pledged a lifetime of love and faithfulness and honesty and conversation. Still Kurt and Blaine, always Kurt and Blaine, but now it was... more.

They didn't feel like their relationship needed justification, they didn't feel like a gay couple getting married in some statement about equal rights. They wanted to be married, they needed to be married, the same way they wanted and needed to be together. Because the idea of being apart from the other, not being with the other? Hurt somewhere deep.

Now Kurt had no idea what to check. There wasn't an option for widower on most forms. Single, married, divorced. Occasionally there was a "living with partner" one.

He didn't feel single. Legally his marriage was over but not through divorce. In the end he just gave up and scrawled WIDOWER on any form that didn't offer that option. Let them see, let them share his pain.

Twenty three, twenty four, twenty five years old and he would still be a widower. Still a husband without a mate, still alone but not single.

 

*

 

"I don't want to cause you more pain," Blaine whispered one night as he curled around Kurt's still shaking form. "If this is making it harder..."

"No, please," Kurt begged. "Please don't leave me."

"You need to move on..."

"Not tonight."

Those nights when it was worse, when the pain came up out of nowhere, they were the nights when Blaine was there. It was like he knew when they were coming as well. One day Blaine walked Kurt home from work and there was a message on the machine from some company for Blaine. Just hearing that snapped something in Kurt and he grieved as if it were all new.

But the letters grew more infrequent and the calls eventually stopped and so those days seemed to come less often. The obvious ones weren't as bad as Kurt was expecting, mainly because no one let him be alone on those days. But Blaine would be there, on those seemingly insignificant days and moments when someone or something prompted a memory which prompted the tears.

Then there would be a change in the air, a shift as if someone had opened a door, and Blaine would be there.

Kurt realised quickly that if he walked down the street seemingly talking to no one then concerns about his state of mind would rise sharply. So he bought a Bluetooth earpiece and after that people just thought he was mid-call. He couldn't hold Blaine's hand out in public so they agreed to link arms instead – Kurt's hands in his pockets, the pressure of Blaine's arm across the crook of his elbow.

 

*

 

They didn't talk about what Blaine was now or why he never left. Kurt didn't have to say goodbye and that was all he wanted to focus on.

 

*

 

Kurt agreed to meet Coffee Boy for coffee one afternoon and was surprised to find that he didn't hate it. There was an awkward moment early on when Coffee Boy ventured about the break up with Blaine, that "guy you always came in here with".

"He died," Kurt said, voicing it for the first time in a long while. "There was... something wrong with his heart. Result of an accident we had years ago."

Coffee Boy had sworn loudly under his breath and offered to end the date there and then. But Kurt had smiled and said he needed to move on.

Blaine had been waiting for him when Kurt got home that night, eager for all the details. Kurt raised an eyebrow, he knew by now that Blaine was with him at all times and so had seen and heard everything on the date, but he played the game and talked about Coffee Boy (whose name was Darryl but he liked Kurt's nickname for him and so had stored his number in Kurt's cell as "CB") and how much he'd actually enjoyed the day.

 

*

 

Coffee Boy lasted for less than three months. The relationship never progressed beyond kisses but the purpose was served. Kurt Hummel-Anderson was moving on with his life.

 

*

 

After the last date Blaine sat with him as he ate half a tub of ice cream. (The other half was Blaine's. Figuratively anyway.) Kurt mused on what this meant for the rest of his life. He was twenty three years old and he was not against the idea of there being someone else in his life.

He curled up on the couch with his husband, finished off his share of the ice cream, and fell asleep before the credits could roll on When Harry Met Sally.

 

*

 

After Darryl there was Jack, then there was one date with a guy whose name Kurt always struggled to remember. After One Date made a comment about Kurt not being able to fully let go of his "ex" until he'd slept with someone else Kurt had gone and not bothered trying to remember him.

Rachel set him up on dates with Bob, then the pretentiously named Paris who was actually pretty sweet but was far too much like Blaine for Kurt's liking and instead of being a comfort and an attraction it actually put him off. Finn managed to be more successful, inadvertently, when he asked Kurt to pick Christopher up from day-care one afternoon. It was there Kurt met single (gay) parent Henry and entered his first long term relationship since Blaine.

 

*

 

"I don't always have to be around," Blaine said one night after Henry had left. "I mean, I don't have to be here."

"You mean... go?" Kurt asked quietly, worriedly.

"No, not for good. Just... to give you some privacy. I know you think about it when you're with him. You're worried about me."

"It's..."

"I won't be here. When you're with Henry I won't be here. Privacy. You need to move on."

"With him?"

"You like him, Kurt. That's OK. It's fine to move on, it's fine to want to be with someone else. It's been almost two years."

"I never thought I'd be thinking about someone else. I never thought I'd even think about being with someone else. You really were it for me, Blaine. I thought I was going to grow old with you, spend the rest of my life with you."

"Well," Blaine smiled, "I did get to spend the rest of my life with you so it kinda worked out."

Kurt realised that the laughter was natural and real. Maybe he really was moving on with his life. With Henry.

 

*

 

Kurt started to spend a lot of time with Henry and his son Nathan. He fitted naturally into their little family and he found himself falling, fast and hard. He spent nights there, just sleeping in Henry's bed, getting used to the feel of another man's arm around his waist, another back against his chest.

Things moved at their own pace, Kurt realising how deep he was getting when Henry asked him to pick Nathan up from day care and take him back to the apartment. He was trusted with his boyfriend's son (wow – boyfriend) and after managing to feed a very active four year old Kurt tired him out with games.

"You're good with him," Blaine said quietly.

"We wanted kids. We were going to have a family of our own."

"You're a natural."

"I always thought you'd be the natural one."

"It's OK," Blaine said after a pause.

"What?" Kurt asked, looking over at where Blaine was sitting on the loveseat.

"You. Moving on. Henry is a good guy and you're great with Nathan. This is the life you're supposed to have, Kurt."

"I wanted it with you. I wanted all this with you."

"I wanted it with you too," Blaine said. "But more than all of that I only ever wanted you to be happy."

"I think..." Kurt said, looking down at Nathan's sleeping form, "I think I could be happy here." He brushed back the sweep of blond hair that had fallen over the child's face and he fell in love. "I still miss you," he said but when he looked up Blaine had gone. And Kurt knew that he wasn't here anymore.

 

*

 

Henry wasn't Blaine but that didn't mean Kurt didn't feel wanted and loved. His body responded to Henry's touches and kisses, he gave into his feelings and desires and slept with a second man, the second person who had gotten close to his heart.

In the morning the three of them went out for breakfast and then spent the day together. Kurt reluctantly went home that evening but with promises to bring overnight bags and a few bits and pieces next time.

He didn't see Blaine for two weeks. Strangely he was kinda OK with that.

 

*

 

Eight months later and Kurt was spending a rare Saturday in his apartment alone. Henry had work to catch up on and Nathan was at his papa's for the weekend (thank god for amicable splits). Normally this would mean Kurt and Henry would be spending their alternate kid-free weekend curled up in bed together but this weekend...

"I know you're here," Kurt said out loud. He waited a moment, letting his eyes drift shut and felt the air shift. "Hey."

"Hey."

"Were you there when he asked me?"

"No," Blaine said. "But I know anyway."

"I don't know what to do."

"Yes you do."

"I don't know what's right then."

"Yes you do."

"You know, I didn't like this before." Kurt glared at Blaine but his gaze held no malice. "I don't know if I can leave here."

"Yes you can. This hasn't been our space for a very long time."

"It was still our home."

"I know."

"It's a big step."

"Kurt..." Blaine moved so he was kneeling in front of Kurt's chair. He rested his hands on Kurt's knees and then placed his chin on his hands. "I know."

"Dad told me. After the funeral he said... He said he'd have been OK with Mom being it for him. And I thought you were going to be it for me."

"But..."

"I love him. I love him, I adore Nathan..."

"I know," Blaine smiled. "I've always known."

"You seem to know a lot."

"Perk of the position," Blaine grinned. "And you know what I'm going to say."

"Say it anyway? Please? I think... I think I need to hear it, to know it's OK with you."

"Kurt..." Blaine pushed up and leaned over, pressing his lips against Kurt's. "You love him and he loves you. And I know you are going to be happy. I know you are going to have a great life. You are going to be great with Nathan, you'd give your life for that boy... This is more than OK with me. This is everything I have ever wanted for you."

"I still love you," Kurt whispered against Blaine's mouth. "I'm always going to love you."

"And I am always going to love you," Blaine replied, moving back slightly so he could look at Kurt.

His hands were firm against the arms of the office chair, his body leaning over Kurt's. So close and so intimate and yet...

"What?" Blaine asked.

"You did this once before," Kurt said. "We were planning our first anniversary party and you... you stood over me like this."

"OK."

"And I wanted you so much then..." He smiled at the memory. "We had sex on this desk."

Blaine smirked. "Good times."

"Yeah, the best," Kurt said softly. "But now..."

"Hey," Blaine said, leaning back over to kiss Kurt's brow. "Things change, they move on. I knew it would come."

"I can see it all, y'know. I'm going to move in with him. He'll have proposed by Christmas. He wants to do it, I know he does. He's probably got a ring picked out already. I'll marry him, we'll probably get another kid... I can see a life with him, Blaine. Same as I saw a life with you."

Blaine said nothing, sitting back against the desk and looking at him.

"But you... You're still here, you're still with me, and we have this and there are so many times I've nearly told Henry but I'm scared that he'll think I'm crazy or that I'm not over you or that I can't handle it but..." He stopped and took a deep breath. "I think I am over you. Not completely, I'm never going to be completely over you. But this doesn't destroy me anymore. I don't feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest or there's a knife in my gut. It's just... there. You're just here. With me, right here," he said, putting a hand over his heart. "And you're always going to be."

Blaine reached out and placed his hand over Kurt's. "Henry's in there too. And Nathan. And that kid you're going to adopt. There's room for so much love, Kurt. Your dad never stopped loving your mom just because he met Carole."

"Are you... I mean, if I move in with him is that... it? For you?"

Blaine laughed softly. "Only if you want it to be. I'm here because you kept me here, Kurt."

"Am I keeping you here? Now?"

"I don't know. But if you wanted me to go then I would. You wouldn't have to see me again."

"Where do you go when you're not here?"

"Places," Blaine said in a way that told Kurt it was all Blaine would say on the matter.

"I don't want you to go, not yet."

"Then I won't."

"And Henry...?"

"It's always been your decision, Kurt. You need to do what's right for you, for your relationship and for your future."

"Maybe," Kurt mulled, picking up his cell. The wallpaper picture had been the three of them for a long time, his new little family in waiting, and he couldn't help but smile when he saw it. He opened up his contact list and pressed Henry's number. "Hey," he said when the call connected. "So I've been thinking... How about you come over here with some food and... help me pack?"

Blaine smiled and moved out of view, shifting into nothing.

Chapter Text

The ring was everything Kurt had hoped it would be. The proposal was nothing he'd thought it would be. It was Nathan who asked, Nathan who offered the ring and asked Kurt to be his "other daddy". So it was Nathan Kurt said yes to and kissed and swung up into a hug, the pair of them twirling around the living room until everything was lurching out of control. Then Henry's arms, strong and steadying were around them both and Kurt's world was solid once more.

Held against his fiancé's chest Kurt remembered the security of love and the promise of a future and he knew that he really could be happy again.

That night he held Henry's hand, made him swear to not only listen first but to also not tell a soul. He talked about Blaine, about seeing him and talking to him. About how it felt real and comforting and helped him through some of the darkest moments. Kurt talked about how he'd discussed them, the relationship, moving in and the impending proposal. How it helped him to know that Blaine wanted him to move on.

Kurt could tell that Henry thought it little more than a figment of Kurt's imagination. But then he also knew how Kurt had been destroyed by Blaine's death. So Henry said nothing, thanked Kurt for telling him, and said that he hoped that he could be Kurt's confidant now, his advisor and his comfort.

A role that Kurt was more than happy to give him.

 

*

 

"Were you this nervous?" Blaine asked. "Before our wedding?"

"...Different kind of nervous," Kurt said eventually. "We were kids, forever seems like a long time when you're nineteen."

The pair of them lay on Rachel and Finn's spare bed, staring up at the ceiling.

"How does it seem now?" Blaine asked.

"Still a long time."

"You are only twenty six years old. You know this is the age most people get married."

"Henry is thirty two."

"Positively ancient."

"You're still twenty three."

"Am I?" Blaine asked.

"I am not having a philosophical debate the night before my wedding."

"So what do you want to talk about?"

"Were you nervous? About us getting married?"

"No," Blaine said firmly. "I knew. I always knew about you."

"Which is why you kissed Rachel," Kurt said. "And serenaded another guy at the Gap."

"But I only ever loved you."

"And I only ever loved you."

"Until now."

"Until now," Kurt said quietly. "What do you think of Henry?"

"What?"

"Your opinion matters to me. It's always mattered."

"Kurt..."

"Do you like him? Henry? Am I making a mistake?"

"Do you think you're making a mistake? Some people would think marrying your High School sweetheart before you've both turned twenty is a mistake."

"It was the best thing I did. Second to stopping this really adorable boy on the Dalton stairs..."

Blaine laughed softly and reached over, grabbing Kurt's hand.

"He's good for me. I'm good for him. And Nathan."

"I like him, Kurt. I do. He's so right for you."

"He's nothing like you though. You were perfect for me."

"You're different now, Kurt. You've grown, changed, things have happened... Henry is who you need right now. And if things had been different you and I would have grown together, been what the other needed. But that's gone. I'm gone and he's here. And you need to... Let go."

"What?" Kurt asked, turning his head to look at him.

"You need to let me go. You're getting married tomorrow."

"What if I don't want to? What if I can't?"

"You can do anything you want to do. You taught me that. And you showed that it's possible to do what everyone else thinks is impossible, even you."

"What?"

"You never thought you'd find acceptance in Ohio but you did. You never thought that you'd find love but you did. You thought you'd never get to New York, get into NYADA, but you did. Once you thought you'd never be able to get married and now you're about to do it again."

"I know I can let you go. I don't want to."

"Kurt..."

"Please..."

"I never wanted you to leave Dalton," Blaine said. " I knew going back was what you wanted and I always supported that. But I didn't want it. I knew if I asked you that you'd stay though. I knew a part of you wanted to stay, wanted to be a Warbler and stay safe at Dalton. But a bigger part of you wanted, needed to go back.

"I know you, Kurt. I know that you want me to stay, that a part of you still loves me. But a bigger part of you loves Henry, wants to be with Henry. A bigger part of you needs this, needs them, more than you need me. And that's OK. It's been years, love."

"Blaine..."

"You don't need me to be around as much. And I won't be."

"Please don't..."

"I'm doing this for you, love. And I'm always with you. I'm always going to be a part of you."

"I wish we'd made more of our time together," Kurt said, turning over to curl up against Blaine. "If I'd known it was all we were going to have then..."

"I don't regret a single moment."

"Me either. Hindsight is a painful thing sometimes."

He felt Blaine kiss the top of his head, just once, and then he fell asleep. When he woke on his wedding morning he was alone.

 

*

 

It was almost three years before Kurt saw Blaine again. There were times when he caught a glimpse from the corner of his eye of someone who maybe looked a little bit like Blaine, someone who wasn't there when he looked properly.

Before long the idea of expanding their family came up and they applied for adoption. Henry guided Kurt through the process, having been there with his ex. It was a long year but soon Kurt was holding a seven month old girl in his arms and was trying not to shake too much with nerves.

"Remember to breathe," came a voice he'd never forget. "You won't drop her."

"I'm scared."

"Don't be. You're an amazing dad already."

"What if I screw this up?"

"You won't."

Kurt looked up, catching Blaine's gaze. "You know, don't you?"

"What?"

"You know. You knew about Henry, you know when I need you... You know."

Blaine nodded.

"So she's going to be OK?"

"She's going to be great," Blaine smiled.

"Blaine... Do you... do you know when...? When I'm going to…?"

"Yes," he said.

"Right."

"I can't tell you, Kurt. You know that."

"Will you be there?"

"Where else would I be?" Blaine said, moving in closer. "But I don't want you thinking about that, OK? You have this little one to worry about."

"Worry?"

"Bad choice of words," Blaine soothed. "Trust me. She's going to be fine. More than fine."

"Promise?"

"I promise," he said.

 

*

 

There were moments, fleeting ones, where Blaine would stand on the edge of the room while Kurt's emotions flew and fell. He only ever stayed long enough for Kurt to notice him, for him to register that I am still here, love. I am still here for you.

The day they buried Burt was the day he stayed longer, watched as Henry held his husband close, as Nathan and Ella held their father's hands and cried for their grandfather.

The "surprise" party for Kurt's 40th was the last time they talked properly. Kurt stepped out into the cool New York night to stare at the stars when he felt the air move beside him.

"Happy birthday, love."

"I'm old."

"You're only as old as you feel."

"Then I'm old," Kurt laughed. "Ella wears me out."

"She's worth it though."

"Oh of course," Kurt smiled.

"She's her father's daughter," Blaine said. "Got all the boys wrapped around her little finger."

"Are you suggesting that I was able to bend the will of all the boys?" Kurt mocked.

"You certainly did on me," came a soft laugh. "There I was, going about my business, headed for a Warblers performance and then there's this voice and the rest of my life changed."

"Mine too."

"Now look at you. Fashion designer in demand, your lines in all the right shops around the world. A husband who adores you, two children…"

"Seems like I have it all," Kurt said quietly.

"Don't…"

"What would this have been like? For us I mean?"

"You don't want to know, not really."

"Do you know?"

Blaine didn't answer.

"I don't think I'd be as big, that came from Henry's push. But we'd have the two kids. I always pictured you with a girl for some reason."

"I'll try not to take offence," Blaine teased.

"Big eyes, the kind I could never refuse. A smile that was contagious, a laugh of music."

"She's not here, Kurt. I'm not here."

"Evidence to the contrary."

"You've lived more years without me than I had in the first place. You've spent twice as long with Ella than you did with me. I'm not here, Kurt. I'm a footnote in your life, in your history, I'm not…"

"You are more than that!" Kurt yelled, not caring that he could be heard, that they would see him screaming at the night. He calmed and took a deep breath. "You were always more than that and you will always be more than that. You were my first love, my husband. You defined my whole life, Blaine. From those stairs to our bedroom that night… I love Henry, I do. I love him so much but… but it's different."

"Different?"

"I can't explain it," Kurt sighed. "I look back at us and I… I feel it. In every part of me. You surround the me from then. There isn't a moment I remember that isn't defined by you.

"But with Henry…"

"Don't compare us," Blaine said, his tone heavy. "You can't."

"I'm not, I don't want to. It's not fair to either of you. But we were so young and I felt so much and I don't think I fully took advantage of that. There were times when I was scared of you."

"Scared of me?" Blaine asked, his voice rising in panic.

"Of how much I loved you. I was eighteen years old and there was nothing I wouldn't do for you."

"I was the same, you know I was."

"Nearly blinded for love."

"And so much more."

"And everything more," Kurt said. "I wanted forever and I wanted it immediately and I remember leaving you at the airport telling myself that to run back, to kiss you and propose was too much, too soon."

"But Christmas wasn't?"

"By then I'd missed you too much. By then the days apart were killing me and I knew that if I didn't do something that I'd have quit NYADA and come back."

"You never told me that."

"I'm telling you now. I was so in love with you that I'd have given up everything to make sure you were in my life. And it wasn't about being needy or giving up. It was about priorities. You first, world second."

"I was always yours. Even then, I was yours."

"I was scared that the distance would break us, that we wouldn't be able to survive not seeing each other every day, that when I was busy and we went days without talking that it would chip away at us."

"Did you really think we wouldn't survive a year?"

"No. But those nights when it was all too much…"

Blaine nodded in understanding. "Those nights I imagined you out at some club or bar or café and this man would sit next to you. And he was taller and better dressed and he was charming and you'd do the right thing by me first but there would eventually be a call where you'd tactfully suggest that maybe New York wasn't for me after all."

"Blaine…"

"But we survived. We made it. We'd have made it forever, Kurt. You and me until we were old."

Kurt shot a look at Blaine. The boy next to him, still and always twenty three, who would never be old.

"Three kids, not two. A girl first then siblings, brothers. We'd not planned on it but as soon as we met them we were in love. We grew old, we gave away our daughter at her wedding. We became grandparents four times over before…"

"Who first?"

"You really are the one who can move on better," Blaine said quietly.

"Blaine…" Kurt breathed. "A lifetime together… I'd never survive that either. I still don't know how I did survive you."

"You were my life."

"And you were my heart," Kurt replied. "You were everything and coming back from you was the hardest thing I have ever done, the worst thing in my life to this day. I have buried my parents, Blaine, but burying you… Standing by your grave? That was the worst. Because I didn't feel. I shut down. I cried when Mom died, I was devastated when Dad died. But you…

"You took my heart, Blaine. You took it with you and Henry and Nathan had to give me a new one. The boy I was, the man you made me, he's gone. He died that day too. I know that now, I can see it."

"Kurt…"

"No, you don't get to turn up here and tell me about a life we could have had and then make out like you losing me in that life is worse than me losing you in this one. You don't get that, Blaine. I held you when you died. I was with you… I kept you here. You don't get to tell me that means nothing."

Blaine moved quicker than normal. Either that or Kurt didn't register it until Blaine's mouth was on his. The kiss was a strange familiar and he soon fell into it, tasting the long-buried memory of Blaine's mouth.

Their first kiss. Their many other kisses. The first time it had been more than the press of lips, hungry and dirty. Kisses in other places, mouths in other places.

This was the boy he'd wanted to kiss every day of his life, not every day of Blaine's.

"Henry's looking for you," Blaine said as they parted.

"I do still love you."

"I know."

There was a few seconds of silence before Henry's voice called out from the doorway and Kurt turned away from empty space, walking into the warm embrace of a man he loved just as deeply but very differently.

 

*

 

For years this had been a ritual. Coffee and the paper, sat at an outside table if the weather allowed it.

Semi-retirement suited Kurt. He did bespoke pieces now, clients came to him. Nathan was about to complete his doctorate in some science that Kurt tried to understand and was excitedly preparing for the birth of his first child. He'd married a wonderful woman right out of college and they were making those first steps towards creating their own lives. Ella had left for college the previous Fall, following in family footsteps destined for the boards of Broadway. Henry monitored his business but was more of a silent partner. The two of them took long holidays, spent precious time with friends and family, and lived life.

So when Blaine slid into the seat across from Kurt he knew.

"Right," Kurt said. "Any clues? Hints?"

Blaine just shook his head.

Kurt knew that he would die. Everyone knows that it will happen to them someday. But Kurt knew that Blaine would be there for him on that day. As time had stretched on from his birthday he began to realise that the next time he saw Blaine would be the last time. So there was only one logical explanation for his appearance today.

"Have I got time?" Kurt asked, picking up his cell.

"You have all the time you have always had," Blaine replied.

Kurt called Nathan first, talked at length about how Natalie was doing, if they'd caved and found out the baby's sex yet. Before he ended the call Kurt told Nathan that he loved him, a sentiment repeated wholeheartedly.

"It's a boy," Blaine said. "Harrison."

"Harrison. Harry," Kurt smiled. "My first grandchild."

Ella was in rehearsal so he left a message, telling her how proud he was of her, how he knew she had what it took to make it big.

"I don't know what to say to Henry," Kurt sighed. "I… I need to go for a walk."

The two of them walked aimlessly through the streets of New York, taking turns down blocks as the fancy took them.

"Will it be quick?" Kurt asked quietly. "With you it was… it seemed quick."

"It was," Blaine said. "And yes, it will be. Quick enough at any rate."

"And you'll stay?"

"Always," Blaine smiled.

Kurt took out his phone, thumbing through his contacts to Henry's number. He was about to dial when a girl's scream cut through his thoughts. He looked up and saw a girl, no older than three or four, screaming at (presumably) her mother in a fit of tantrum.

"I hate you!" she declared.

Mom sighed and reached out her hand, trying to get her daughter to come home with her. In a final act of defiance the girl stepped back, turning on her heels and running away.

Straight into the road.

Kurt didn't think, didn't hesitate, didn't stop until he was out there with her, shoving her roughly out of the way of the cab. He felt the searing pain throughout his body, soothed by the warmth of Blaine's touch. The only noise was Blaine's voice.

"I'm here, love. I've got you. Hold on, OK? Stay with me... It's going to be fine. I promise you it's going to be OK. I'm right here. I've got you."

The memory suddenly crystal clear; the words the exact same ones he'd said to Blaine all those years ago.

Kurt closed his eyes and let his body relax in Blaine's embrace.

 

*

 

Noise. Loud voices. Sounds. Heels on a floor. People talking. Beep. Beep. A door opening and closing. A curtain rustling. Crying. Laughter.

Life.

 

*

 

Kurt slowly opened his eyes, taking stock of his body. He ached a little but nothing hurt. He took a deep breath, testing his ribs, his upper body. No protests, no twinges.

"Kurt?"

Finn's voice was by his bed.

"Kurt?"

"Yeah," Kurt said quietly. "I'm OK."

"Docs say you'll be fine."

"Thought I was dead."

"Think we all thought that. Although the way that Rachel is going on you'd think she was about to drop dead at any moment."

Rachel? "What?"

"She reckons the driver could have killed her. Like there weren't three others of us in the car."

Kurt pushed himself up on the bed, taking it in. This couldn't be real. It was impossible. You did not get hit by a cab and then wake up eighteen years old in the hospital after your Senior prom car crash.

But then Kurt's life hadn't exactly been the definition of normal so far.

"I want to see Blaine," Kurt demanded.

"Kurt…"

"Where is he? Finn… where is he? He is OK, isn't he?" He could feel the panic rising as he looked around for any sign of him. "Finn…"

"OK, but you gotta promise not to freak out or anything."

Which pretty much guaranteed that it was exactly what Kurt did.

 

*

 

Ignoring Finn's calls Kurt all but ran down the corridor to where Finn had said they'd taken Blaine. He'd been hysterical. He'd been crying. He'd been shouting. He'd been holding on to Kurt so tightly that it had taken two nurses to pry him off. He'd been sedated.

His heart, Kurt thought. His heart is damaged. His heart was damaged in the crash and they fucking sedated him.

His limited medical knowledge told him that this was anything but OK and he needed to find Blaine, to make them aware. He didn't care if it wasn't covered by insurance, he didn't care if he had to work five minimum wage jobs for the rest of his life to pay the bills. They were going to run every test until they found whatever it took them too long to find last time.

When Kurt finally laid eyes on Blaine he just stopped. There wasn't a sob of relief, there wasn't the sound of running feet as he threw himself onto Blaine's bed and into his waiting arms. He just stopped and watched, the memory (was it actually a memory now?) clear in his mind.

Kurt had arrived first, flanked by his family. Nervous, excited, desperate to get started, he'd turned up at the registry office a full half hour before their slot. It would have been more had Finn not been able to convince him to take a walk around the block a few times.

Blaine hadn't been quite as early but he was and Kurt remembered seeing him as soon as he walked through the doors, his parents and brother a few steps behind him.

In that moment Kurt's whole body had stilled for the first time in their relationship. Being with Blaine made his body thrum with life and energy and if he focussed enough Kurt had always been able to place some kind of reaction, attribute it to him. A racing heart beat, a slight tingle in the skin from a touch. A smile. A deeper breath.

But then, in that time, there was nothing. Just a calm, a stillness that he'd never experienced before. And an undeniable certainty that he was going to love this man for the rest of his life. He'd met the love of his life when he was seventeen years old and he just felt lucky.

Now, here, Kurt felt it for a second first time. He stilled, watching Blaine. He was awake, alive, curled up on the bed. Intimate knowledge meant he knew that Blaine had been crying to the point of exhaustion, and now he was just waiting.

It was a few more steps before Blaine lifted his head and their eyes met...

...across the wide hall of the registry office and they both stopped, lips curving up into a gentle smile...

...and Kurt was moving closer, balling his hands at his sides to stop him simply reaching out to grab and hold on...

...all they could see was the other, everyone else disappeared. They knew this feeling, this rush wouldn't last. It would dim a little from their everyday life, settling into a deep and lasting love...

 

...Kurt felt like it was his heart that was going to break and give up now, this was all too much. Whatever it was that left over fifty years of memories in his mind, whatever had caused all of this...

...Blaine's arms were strong around his waist, pulling their bodies flush in practiced intimacy. They held on tight enough to feel the soft rise of the other's breathing...

...unmistakably alive, both of them, clinging together.

 

*

 

"...I have never been so scared..."

"...I thought you were dead..."

"...I thought I'd lost you..."

"...I love you so much..."

"...don't you dare scare me like that again..."

 

*

 

"Are you OK?" Kurt asked breathless between kisses. "Please don't cover it up, if there's anything you need to say something. I don't care how minor, please Blaine..."

"I'm fine," he assured Kurt, grabbing his face for another kiss. "I swear it."

"You're sure?" Kurt asked, a hand drifting to Blaine's chest, resting over his heart. He wasn't sure if he was just imagining the feel of it under the skin and bone, beating fast and hard and alive. "Anything, Blaine. Any pain or discomfort..."

"I promise," Blaine said forcefully. "I'm sure, Kurt. I'm not... I'm fine, really."

"I'm not going to lose you," Kurt whispered, kissing along Blaine's jaw until he could easily slip into the hug. "I can't."

"Like I'd leave you," Blaine laughed softly.

"You sure you're OK?" Kurt whispered. "I'm not going to think you're overreacting or anything."

"I know," Blaine replied. "I'm still OK. I wasn't driving this—" He stopped but not before Kurt had frozen in his arms. "What?"

"What were you going to say?" Kurt asked, pulling back but staying in Blaine's arms.

"It's nothing. It's silly."

"Don't. Don't do that. Don't think it's silly or stupid or... Tell me. Please."

"You'll laugh."

"You know me better than that."

"Fine. But you laugh and you're dumped," Blaine smiled. "I was going to say... this time. I wasn't driving this time."

"Why?" Kurt asked quietly.

"Kurt..."

"Please," Kurt asked again, his voice stressing how important this was to him.

"I don't know. It's just... It's like I knew that if I'd been driving then I'd... have been hurt... That I would have..."

"I held you," Kurt whispered. "That night. I never let you go."

Blaine's eyes fixed on Kurt's and they held each other's gaze for a long time, not saying anything.

"And I was there for you," Blaine said eventually. "At the end."

Before they could talk any more about it their names were called out; Burt and Carole moving around the bed, pulling their boys into tight hugs.

 

*

 

The next few hours were a blur and it wasn't until much later that night that they were able to take time to process it all.

Rachel had been driving and what had initially been put down to a drama queen fit had paid off when a scan revealed damage to her heart, damage that could have potentially been fatal if left untreated. She was due in for surgery in the morning, Finn and her dads attached to her bedside until she was given the all clear.

Blaine's parents, still out of state, weren't able to get a return flight until the following lunchtime and so he was in residence at the Hummel house until he was collected. Not that Kurt or Blaine would have allowed the other to be out of their sight for even a moment at the moment. Not that Burt and Carole didn't understand, weren't grateful that they were all OK (or were going to be) and therefore there was no comment about Blaine sleeping on the couch, the spare bedding was ‘forgotten' and as they went off to bed, as they passed Kurt's open bedroom door, they said goodnight to the two boys curled up together on top of the covers.

Of course you can share a bed tonight. Of course you can be together. You have our permission and our blessing. Life and love is precious; celebrate it.

 

*

 

"I keep thinking it was a dream," Kurt said, running a finger down Blaine's cheek. "Or that this is the dream and I'm going to wake up there. Then. Or that I'm still dying and this is some flashback. A lifetime happening in seconds."

Blaine's hands shot out at the mention of Kurt's death, finding his warm body under the covers. His fingers danced under the hem of the shirt, finding the soft skin.

"But if that was the dream," Kurt continued, "why do you know it too?"

"I don't know," Blaine said, his nose brushing against the tip of Kurt's. "I don't think I care."

"How can you not care?" Kurt asked.

"I'm here. You're here. We're OK and I've not got some ticking time bomb in my chest any more. You're going to New York and I'm going to follow and we're going to get married. Because we can have that life, because we can have those three kids – the girl and the boys – and we can grow old together.

"Because that life isn't going to happen anymore. Things are different now."

"You know it's not a guarantee right?" Kurt laughed softly, kissing the tip of Blaine's nose as it continued to nuzzle its way across his face. "Nothing in life is."

"So we make the most of what we do have," Blaine said. "And we do our best to make sure that we have a tomorrow for as long as we can."

"I'm OK with that," Kurt sighed as his arms wrapped around Blaine's body, pulling him close. "I love you. I have always loved you."

Blaine didn't correct him, didn't point out that they had only known each other a couple of years. He knew, he understood. He felt it too. A lifetime at Kurt's side; watching, feeling, wanting everything for him.

 

*

 

Blaine woke in the middle of the night, afraid that he wasn't real, that he wasn't actually here with the solid and warm body of his husband – boyfriend – soul mate beside him. He remembered watching, being a part of Kurt's life but not in it. He had watched every moment (well, most of them. He did afford Kurt some privacy in certain respects) and while he had taken comfort in being close to him he wanted nothing more than to be a part of that life.

Twenty three years old for over forty years.

Unlike Kurt Blaine didn't have set views on religion, on God and heaven and all of that. He wasn't sure what to believe so just set out to live the best life that he could and let things bigger than himself (if there was something out there) sort it all out. He worked hard at school, developed his talents, and pledged to live his life by the ideals of the best man he'd ever known; his grandfather. A gentleman they'd called him. Polite to everyone, regardless of how they treated him. Respectful of everyone, including himself. Loved with his whole or not at all.

Blaine had not sought significant retribution against all those who had hurt him beyond what was fair and just. He looked his attackers in the eye when he next met them and made no comment, much to the confusion and annoyance of his friends. When he realised that love was Kurt and not Jeremiah then he gave it his all, willingly and without hesitation. His respect for himself meant that he was able to give Kurt everything. The first kiss that meant something. Secrets he'd kept to himself. Moments that were precious and treasured. Events that would never come again; the first ‘I love you', first sexual explorations until that moment, that night, his virginity.

Tonight, this night, with memories of loss that weren't his own, Blaine realised that he had never been giving up anything. He didn't give up his heart and soul, he didn't give up his virginity, his life, his happiness to see Kurt with Henry. He'd been gaining this whole time. He'd gained a friend, a lover, a husband. He'd gained someone he could just be with. Someone he trusted implicitly and once he stopped fighting the instinct to protect conceal hide run in a vain attempt to make himself stronger he found that having someone to share that with made him feel exactly what he'd been craving. He'd gained strength and love and life.

Blaine had been alone, surrounded by people who did care and who did love him, but never fully got him. He'd never let them in and so remained one step away. Kurt changed that, changed him, and Blaine had let him in.

He didn't know how long he lay there, Kurt curled up in the crook of his arm, just watching the ceiling. If it had been real, if in some other life he'd been here but gone, then it was because he'd let Kurt in so deeply. He knew that Kurt had done the same, felt the same for him, and so where could he go without Kurt? Where could Kurt go without him? Kurt had held him that night that never would be, whispered to him, asked him to hold on and Blaine's instinct was to do just that.

His arm shifted a little around Kurt's body, drawing him a little bit closer. Still asleep Kurt complied, his leg hooking a little more over Blaine's, the hand across his midsection tightened. Blaine took a deep breath, feeling for any pain in his chest, pain he remembered feeling, pain he remembered dismissing. When there was none he told himself (again) that he was OK, that he would be fine. That they would be fine.

Letting his eyes drift shut he drowned his senses in Kurt Kurt Kurt and remembered the one memory of that night that he was able to take some comfort from. He'd known that he was dying, he knew somehow that this was the end. But Kurt's body was warm and solid and comforting and familiar around him and as his eyes drifted shut for the final time his last sight was Kurt, the last voice was Kurt, the last smell was Kurt, the last touch was Kurt's lips pressed to his and the last thing Blaine felt in that life was the tight grip of a hand over his.

Kurt Kurt Kurt.

Life.

 

*

 

They never told another living soul about their experience.

They never wasted another moment either.

 

*

 

Kurt proposed to Blaine before he left for New York. The only surprise was that he waited that long to do it. After the crash the two of them had become inseparable; they stood up to their respective parents and asked to be treated like the adults that they were, asked for privacy and respect in their own homes and the freedom and security to responsibly be with their boyfriend, the person they loved above all else.

Kurt came home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Blaine went to New York no fewer than eight times for the rest of the year. They poured every moment, every spare cent into the wedding which was held on a beautiful summer morning at the end of Kurt's freshman year. When Blaine graduated four years later they mailed off the adoption application that same morning.

Felicity was eight years old when her fathers brought home her younger brothers. Twins, born to a teenage mom. One afternoon when they were picking the twins up from day-care they met a charming businessman called Henry who had his older son Nathan in tow. They were there for Emma, the youngest and newest addition to their family, adopted six months beforehand, six months after Henry had married Jack.

They took up running as a way of keeping fit and healthy, had annual check ups and never took anything for granted. Sunday mornings were not for lazing in bed but for getting out into the city together. When the kids came along they took them too when they were young enough to be pushed along in buggies. Once they were old enough to complain Aunt Rachel and Uncle Finn brought over Christopher John and Barbara Marie for a playdate to allow Blaine and Kurt their own play date out in the wide city.

Felicity married in the Spring, one of her brothers the following summer. Between the three of them they gave their fathers five grandchildren. And all the while there was life and love.