“Do you think we’d still be together if we weren’t hunters?”
“What? Blaine, that’s a stupid question.”
“Hey, no, no it isn’t. Imagine if - what if we’d met some other way, do you think we’d still - ?”
“I think fate would’ve done something about us not being together, if we weren’t.”
“You believe in fate?”
“Sometimes, I have to. Fate is as real as you and me... When she wants to be, anyway.”
“That bitch can get selective about what she interferes with. Some things are just meant to be, though.”
“You think we’re meant to be?”
“I think we’re built to last forever. Don’t you?”
“No, I do. I really do.”
Dalton Academy has barely changed on the outside since Blaine first walked through the tall, iron-wrought gates as a child. The pathway up to the main doors is a little worn, the flagpole rusty, the windows a little dirtier. The car park is still filled with student vehicles, the red and blue parking permits visible in each front window. The sign just outside the gates is a little faded, but still legible, clearly reading, Welcome to the Dalton Academy School for Boys, Day and Board.
It’s dark when he walks - gun and flask and the knife tucked against various parts of his body in his clothing - up the pathway and cautiously tests a hand on the main doors. The term is still in, judging by all the cars, and honestly, that makes Blaine nervous. He pushes. The door rattles, but doesn’t give, and Blaine feels a jolt before he realises stupidly that it’s a pull door.
He wraps his fingers around the handle, and hopes that again it doesn’t give, that the school is locked up and normal as it should be on a typical night. He pulls. His stomach lurches when the door opens, and Blaine reluctantly slips inside.
It’s as he remembered it - the indoors have changed as little as the outdoors. The same tiles, the same wood panels, the same murals, all a little worse for wear but nothing actually different. He looks around, wary of every step that he takes, going slow and quiet along the main entrance hall. Nothing suspect.
The hall splits off into three corridors at the end: The first leading dead ahead through rows of classrooms, down to the main dormitories and student areas such as the library and common rooms; The doors to the left directing someone in the direction of the gym, swimming pool, and field; The doors to the right leading to yet more classrooms, to the teacher’s lounge, and to the mess hall and kitchens.
Something tells Blaine he should just stay straight, so that’s what he does, pushing through the swinging doors and making sure they close quietly behind him. There are now doors on every side of the hall, some labeled with numbers on plaques and others with proper names given after rich benefactors, some that aren’t classrooms at all. Blaine passes The Cooler, the place that students get shunted off to when they’re being uncooperative. Blaine considers himself lucky to have only visited The Cooler once or twice in his school days at Dalton.
Blaine makes a beeline for the doors directly at the end, the ones marked Students & Staff Only. As a day student, Blaine didn’t spend all that much time behind these doors; he never had many friends and once Kurt came into his life, Blaine had no reason at all to dwell at school after hours. He preferred to get home and call or text with him whilst studying in the privacy of his bedroom.
Blaine misses Dalton a little bit, if only for the fact that he never actually finished his schooling. He simply took off with Kurt after the death of Kurt’s father. He never even said goodbye to his own family, not a real goodbye - he so considered (still considers, even after all this time, all the water and separation that’s come between them) Kurt to be his world and family, that it didn’t seem important.
He strokes the panels of the doors, suddenly hesitant. Blaine feels that he’s not going to like what lay beyond these doors. It’s a gut instinct. Don’t go in there, a terrified voice says in the back of his head, and it sounds rather like a scared little boy - a scared little fifteen year old Blaine, to be exact, bringing back memories of the fear he felt when the ghost in his house came at him.
Come on, he tells himself, trying to get in touch with his hunter’s resolve, to push away the little boy in his mind. He’s twenty-four. He’s nine years away from the boy who had to be rescued. He needs to do the rescuing, this time.
Blaine takes a deep breath and opens the doors and immediately realises he was right about not liking what lay beyond them.
It’s a massacre, a tapestry of blood and bones and bits of the blue-red uniform, of hair and limbs and through the haze that fills his mind at the sight of the wet red that encompasses everything, that’s smeared across the walls, covers the furniture and floods the floor and spatters the ceiling, through it all, Blaine hears a voice, a terrible voice if only because it’s so familiar -
“You made it.”
Blaine tears his eyes from the disaster that surrounds him, brings them to the source of the voice.
It’s Kurt. He’s standing on a table, feet bare, dressed in his best tailored suit, his hair unkempt around his face. He has a dark smile gracing his lips that widens when he sees Blaine’s attention centered on him, his tongue peeking out between his teeth. He’s drenched in blood. Blaine’s stomach lurches as Kurt walks across the table, squelching his toes in flesh and guts, and of course, he remembers, it’s not Kurt at all.
Balaam walks with a different manner, with a pronounced swagger to his steps. The smile is not Kurt’s, it’s too twisted. The human flesh between his teeth is not something Kurt’s responsible for, the red gunk under fingernails that are longer than Kurt would like them. Blaine takes a step back as Balaam reaches the edge of the table, wiggling his toes in human goo.
And of course, the most distinguishing feature: the black eyes, dark and filled so much so, that there’s no white at all.
There's snarling and something invisible paws in human remains not even two feet away from Blaine. He freezes. "Down, boy," the demon coos, and the invisible mass walks away, huffing and grunting and leaving paw prints in the muck. A hell hound, Blaine surmises when his muscles stop being quite so tense.
Voice shaking, Blaine addresses Balaam, “You killed everyone.”
He dearly wishes it had come out something brave, or at least disgusted, but he’s just terrified. Balaam laughs, and it’s like he took Kurt’s laugh and ruined it. He jumps down from the table and says, “Your powers of observation are sharp as ever. Mr. Blaine Anderson, isn’t it?” He taps the side of Kurt’s head with one long fingernail and says without waiting for a reply, “Of course it is. Kurt’s screaming in here. He wants you to leave.” He closes his eyes and inhales, long and deep through his nose with a smile before he steps towards Blaine. “I can see everything he’s ever seen, you know. Oh, his memory of you is a funny one. He’s got all these blurry ones that he tries not to let me look at.”
Balaam giggles, and it sends a shiver down Blaine’s spine. “I think they’re sexy ones.”
Blaine does his utmost to ignore the demon’s words, the use of Kurt’s voice that still isn’t really Kurt, and says, “Kurt, if you’re in there - I’m sorry, I’m so sorry that I didn’t get here sooner.”
Balaam laughs again and then gestures with a hand - Blaine yells as he’s lifted off his feet, thrown into the wall to his left. He hits the ground hard, face-first into something wet and mushy that Blaine doesn’t even dare to open his eyes to look at. He blindly hauls himself to his feet and spits blood - thankfully his own - from his mouth, and opens his eyes to face Balaam, who’s walking almost casually towards him.
Blaine does the only thing he can think of. There are stairs along this wall, and he glances desperately. It’s maybe ten, fifteen feet away. If he can’t make it, it’s better than dying in a corner.
He dashes away, manages to sprint up the stairs, and he realises, by how easy it is, that he’s made a mistake: Balaam is letting him get away. He doesn’t know what that could lead to, but it can’t be anything good.
“Oh, god,” Blaine moans when he reaches the corridor at the top. It’s as bad as downstairs, but the enclosed space makes it seem all that much worse. He takes deep breaths not to gag; this is certainly much, much worse than the nightclub. There is nothing living here, not anymore.
Just Blaine, a demon, and a whole lot of corpses.
He steps forward, then stops. Or maybe he’s mistaken, because there’s something moving up ahead, down the corridor. He reaches and produces his knife, holding it at the ready - blade pointing up, primed for shanking whatever it might be.
One of the school boys crawls to his feet, swaying on the spot, and Blaine tenses. The boy is slashed to pieces, bleeding, left arm missing from the elbow down - he’s not alive. He can’t be alive. He thinks it’s a demon, at first, but the boy’s eyes are dull and dead.
It moves, jerky and slow, shoulders sagging until it suddenly straightens as though somebody was controlling it, pulling a puppet string right on the top of its head.
As the boy’s corpse lifts a sagging hand, the fingers slowly stretching out towards him, Balaam’s laughter rings through the halls - the direction not discernible - and the corpse opens its jaws in a cruel imitation of a laugh, and Blaine realises that the corpse is being controlled.
Maybe he should’ve listened to Castiel.
The puppet-corpse is slow, but it moves deliberately, and Blaine’s sure in his mind that if he ran for the stairs again the corpse would suddenly speed up an awful lot and then manage to boot him down the stairs. All the same, he backs away from it, gripping his knife very tightly. How do you defeat something that’s already dead?
When it’s too close to avoid, Blaine manages to shove it, and stab out. Then the creature comes truly alive, chasing madly as Blaine sprints straight down the corridor, ignoring turns. There are more stairs leading up, to the library. Don’t wanna fight in a corridor like this one, Blaine thinks, as little as you’d wanna fight in a basement.
So yes, he heads straight up, down another corridor, bursting into the library. It’s blissfully clean, empty of blood and corpses and completely free of puppet-corpses. Blaine takes a breather in here, to collect his thoughts if only for a moment as he slips among the stacks, concealing himself behind the non-fiction volumes.
It’s silent. He can hear everything. Which means anything that comes in can hear everything, too. He freezes on the spot and counts in his head, matches the heave of his chest to the counts until he’s positively calm. He scopes his exits. The door he’d just come in. Another down near the computers. There’s another in the center of the far wall from the entrance, an emergency one that opens onto a rooftop, with the only exit from there another flight of stairs to the main roof or ladders down.
The emergency exit isn’t an option, Blaine knows. That’s, well, an emergency exit - going through it would be as good as admitting defeat. He’s not leaving this building without Kurt, and that’s that.
He makes his decision when he hears a loud bang from the halls downstairs; he expects it’s probably Balaam destroying something before he makes his pursuit. Blaine peers at the door he came through, peeking through the shelves to make sure nobody’s coming, before he ducks and dashes into the open, across the gangway and into the next row of stacks, creeping firm but steady towards his intended exit - the doors past the computers. It leads directly into the study room, which links through to the recreation room, which then drops back down stairs, and winds into the corridors that make up the dormitories.
A shudder overcomes Blaine thinking of the bodies down there - of the puppet, which so far doesn’t seem to have followed him up here. He shakes it off and darts down through the rows of computers on desks, heading for the doors, praying they’re not locked at all. It’s bliss when he can run right through the study room, ignoring whatever potential carnage lies there, and bursting right into the recreation room.
He slows down here, because the stairs are steep in this place and god knows he doesn’t want to fall. He doesn’t even want to go down, not really, but he hasn’t got many options. So Blaine pauses and takes in the room, and makes a face at the one corpse that’s in the room - it’s laid out on the pool table towards the corner of the room, headless.
Blaine can’t see the head. He tries not to think about it.
It’s only now that he realises he’s still fiercely gripping onto the knife. He relaxes his fingers around the handle whilst he can, and tucks it into his belt at the back. He flexes that hand; it’s sore from unconsciously gripping the hilt so hard.
Blaine wants to smile at the parts of the room that don’t happen to have the dead body on it, but he can’t quite make his mouth form the shape. Still, he lingers fondly. It’s not changed much, aside from technology updates - it’s the television and game consoles, the pinball machines and the football table, the bean bags and the huge comfy chairs and couch, the things that are all very familiar.
He stops and recalls that he’s here to do something. He rolls his shoulders, his spine popping loudly, and he takes the first steps necessary to reach the door when, suddenly, he’s lifted off his feet, flying hard through the doors as he’s thrown against the wall of the stairwell.
He gets a glimpse - Balaam, caught up with him - before he crashes to the stairs, only just having enough time to wrap his arms protectively around his head as he slams down each step, rolling, feeling skin break and bruises form and the snap of bones as pain shoots through him until he finally slams into the floor.
Blaine groans, trying to heave himself up, gasping in pain. He’s got at least one broken rib, he surmises, if the agony shooting through his sides is anything to go by. He staggers a few feet, then slips in blood in the hallway and cries out as he falls down hard again.
He rolls onto his back to see Balaam standing before him, a sickeningly playful grin on his face. “Not enjoying yourself?” Blaine refuses to answer. Balaam takes a step forward, and Blaine wriggles backwards. The demon tells him, “You following me around is the last pain in my ass before I get to get on with what I want to do, what I do best -” there’s a pause as he sucks one of his fingers clean of blood, “ - which is create havoc and destruction and kill people.” Balaam shrugs, then beams. “Standard demon deal, really.”
“That puppet trick was neat,” Blaine huffs out between ragged breaths. He wants to keep Balaam talking. If the demon keeps talking, he’s not killing Blaine, and Blaine can try and get his pain under control.
“Wasn’t it?” Balaam marvels proudly, wiggling the fingers of one hand. He smirks, looking down on Blaine darkly, and he tells him, “I’m not going to need to use that again though, am I, hm? Because I’m just going to strip the skin off of you and then I’m gonna get one of my soldiers to take hold of what’s left and make you kill every last friend you’ve ever known.”
Balaam bends down, crouches over Blaine, and says, “Starting with your angel friend. You think angels can just go around catching my people and I won’t hear about it?” Blaine swallows and tries to slip backwards, away from the demon, but a hand swiftly catches his collar and yanks him up. The action sends pain shooting, ricocheting through his chest, and Blaine cries out weakly, squeezing his eyes shut. A tear leaks out as Balaam hisses, breath hot against Blaine’s face, “I’m gonna make you chew on his skinny little bones.”
Balaam uses one hand to stroke Blaine’s face. He flinches. It’s hard and calloused, a stark contrast to the softness that is usually characteristic of Kurt’s hands - they’re never perfect, always a little rough, but they’re always a lot softer than this. It’s somehow a huge, disturbing thing, despite all the horror around him, and Blaine swallows hard as the demon murmurs with a faux-kindness to his voice, “And I’m gonna make you look into this face, the face of this,” he tuts, thoughtfully, and finishes, “this boy you love, every damn day, and I’m gonna make sure you’re screaming inside your own skull for the rest of your life.”
A tilt of the head and Balaam says, voice turning to amusement, “And that’s only the start. You know the terrible things I’ve made him do? I let him wreak a little hell and havoc when I was dealing with some traitors. Us demons can be such scum. I found the vampires that killed his daddy and gave him the sweet revenge of watching me kill them. You know, he was screaming so loud, half sobbing with joy and fear all at once - I think he even enjoyed it a little - “
Blaine takes a deep breath and head butts the demon hard in the face.
It takes Balaam by surprise, knocking him away. Blaine falls back onto the floor and manages to scramble up, pushing the pain in his sides to the very back of his mind. Going into survival mode. Thinking, I’d rather live with broken ribs than die. as he runs.
Balaam howls and then laughs. “Oh, good! I was starting to think you’d lost all your fight.”
Blaine takes a right. He’s disorientated. He reads off numbers on doors as he flees past them, thinks he can distantly remember the layout of this veritable maze of corridors - is it left, left, right to take you back to the stairs that lead to the ground floor, or right, left, right?
A fork in the corridors confronts him near immediately - it’s a split second decision and he veers right again, skidding as he then turns left.
He’s greeted with a sturdy, numberless brown door. Blaine rushes for it and grabs at the handle - and - oh god - no no no this can’t happening!
The door is locked.
“No!” Blaine yells, rattling the handle hard, then slamming his shoulder into the door. It holds. He swears and howls and turns, yanking his knife from his belt as he presses his back flat to the door. Balaam advances around the corner not five seconds later - a wide, sinister grin on his face. His forehead has a bump on it where Blaine cracked their skulls together and he feels guilty - if (no, when, Blaine thinks) he manages to get Balaam out of Kurt, that’s going to hurt.
“No more running now, hm?” Balaam chuckles, and then in a flash he’s got his hand around Blaine’s throat. He gurgles as he’s lifted off his feet, pressed up against the door. His hands go limp and he drops the knife; it sounds so distant when it clatters to the floor.
Things start to go foggy. Balaam’s extraordinary demonic strength holds him firm, fingers pressing into his throat, cutting off his air. His vision starts to go black around the edges, and Blaine chokes on his own spit, coughing and scrabbling at the hand pressed to his neck.
“I’ve changed my mind,” comes the demon’s voice, from somewhere that sounds very far away, even though the conscious part of Blaine’s mind is very aware that the monster possessing his best friend, his lover, no, the love of his life, is right in front of him, more than likely about to kill him - or worse - “I’m going to have you possessed now.”
Blaine thinks his vision is totally gone for a minute but then he realises the black mass that’s begun obscuring his sight is moving, thick smoke that edges out from nowhere and is coming towards him.
This is it. He’s going to be lost forever; trapped inside his own head, cocooned within his mind, and forced to watch as his body carries out unspeakable things.
But then, the smoke stops, and Blaine is suddenly hitting the floor hard. His vision swims in and out as pain rockets through his body, his ribs from the force of the fall, his throat as he coughs and chokes and splutter. The smoke swims around Balaam’s legs and the demon sounds furious - what is he saying?
“You can’t possess him?”
A jolt rushes through Blaine, but not pain - a realisation, a thing that gives him real life, and he reaches for the knife and he has purpose now. It was Castiel - the angel scarred his heart - so many days ago, such an insignificant moment among everything that he’d entirely forgotten that he’s protected against this, defended by the symbols literally inside him.
With a renewed energy, Blaine reaches for the knife, and whilst Balaam is frustrated and distracted, he staggers to his feet. The demon spins to face Blaine, and Blaine says, softly, “Kurt, I need you hold on.” He pauses, only for long enough for realisation to flicker in the demon’s eyes, “And if you can’t hold on, I’m sorry.”
He barrels without thinking into Balaam and plunges the knife into his stomach. His entire body lights up brightly, yellow flashing, his skeleton shining through his skin, bright enough to make Blaine’s eyes water, and then it’s gone, the black leaving Balaam’s eyes - Kurt’s eyes, because it’s Kurt again.
Kurt gags and sags against Blaine, and as the air stills, a new urgency comes over him as he catches Kurt and lowers him to the ground, cradling him in one arm and hovering his hand uncertainly by the knife handle sticking out of him, and a panic comes over Blaine.
He holds Kurt and wails, entirely unsure what to do, and then he takes a deep breath to calm his mind only long enough to then scream a desperate prayer out loud, a call for help, and he can only hope that like last time, somebody hears.
Kurt’s in a good mood today, for once. It’s the sort of mood where he’s smiling all the time, where he’s glowing and he’s acting sweet.
It’s the sort of mood that implores Blaine to stay, but he knows it’ll change tomorrow or even later this afternoon. He knows that moods like this are never constant; a rarity now, in fact. Blaine zips up his bag as Kurt skips into their motel room and dangles the car keys playfully and says, “Ready to go?” in a saucy, teasing tone, tongue peeking out between his teeth.
Blaine would love to say yes, but instead he turns and slings his bag onto his shoulders and says, “I’m not coming with you.” He shuffles, shoving his hands into his pockets. “I can’t deal with this anymore. I can’t deal with the I hate you, I love you turnaround every day. I can’t deal...” Blaine swallows guilty and looks down. “I can’t deal with you anymore.”
Kurt’s face drops and he goes stiff, folding his arms defensively. He looks as though he’s going to tear up, but he blinks them away, and he says, “You’ve made your mind up?”
“I’ve been thinking about this for weeks,” Blaine says softly. “I love you, Kurt, and maybe I always will, and by no means think I hate you, but I hate this. We’re too - I don’t know what’s happened, but I think maybe we’ve just been together too long.”
“Since we were sixteen,” Kurt points out. “You’re going to throw that away? You’re going to throw five years away?” He does tear up then, voice getting choked, and he says, “What did I do wrong?”
“I think that four years driving around in a car together has,” he laughs weakly at the bad pun, the joke that isn’t supposed to be a joke, “driven us apart.” He turns his face serious again. “Be real, Kurt. We keep fighting. We keep trying. We’ve been done for a long time.” Blaine looks away, unable to meet Kurt’s eyes. “It’s over.”
“Just like that?” Kurt bites his lip.
“Just like that,” Blaine answers. He shuffles on the spot. “I’ve already packed my things. Taken what’s mine of the hunting supplies, but I’ve left you most of it. I - I want to keep on hunting, for a while at least.” Quietly, he adds, “I don’t know how to do anything else.”
Kurt shifts and then walks out, and Blaine sucks in a long painful breath. He waits to hear the engine switch on, the roar and crunching gravel as Kurt leaves, but it doesn’t come. Instead, Kurt returns moments later, the magic-imbued knife firm in his grip.
Blaine stares at it, and blinks in confusion as Kurt flips it over and holds it out to him, handle-first. “Take it,” Kurt insists, gesturing with it. “You need it more than I do.”
“Thank you,” Blaine murmurs.
“Please leave now,” Kurt whispers.
Blaine abhors hospitals. He and Kurt have both spent far too much time in them for various reasons over the years. It never gets any easier to be the unharmed one, to be sitting as Blaine is now - in the hard chair beside Kurt’s bed, trying to ignore the tubes and the steady beeping from the monitor, trying instead to focus on the way that Kurt just looks as though he’s sleeping and how his hands - the hands that Blaine clutches, trying to elicit a response, holding on tightly, kissing his knuckles every now and then - are softer from a few days’ worth of sponge baths.
Castiel had heard Blaine’s prayer - his howl, his scream of anguish trying to call the only angel he knew and the only person who could possibly help - within Dalton, and arrived near instantaneously, but although the solemn angel had wanted to, he couldn’t heal Kurt with his power. He couldn't guarantee that some semblance of the demon didn't remain; if he healed Kurt then, he could heal Balaam too.
So instead he’d transported them here, two days ago now, and then stayed behind at Dalton to wait for the day students to arrive in the morning. He said something about manipulating their memories. The entire world couldn’t afford to see the carnage within the school as demonic work; they had to face that a human had done it.
“It seems all you have done recently is clean up my messes,” Blaine had croaked, but Castiel had simply smiled rather sadly and sent them away.
Blaine shifts in his chair now and squeezes Kurt’s fingers gently. He looks at the bag on the bedside table, containing his bloody suit. His two phones - the one that Blaine had found all those days ago, way back in Oregon, and his usual phone, recovered from the pocket of his suit - lay on top of the bag, and Blaine resists the urge to look at the voicemails. He can’t have been the only person to call, but he’s sure that he called the most.
“I really hope you don’t think it’s super-embarrassing when you listen to those,” Blaine tells Kurt. Even though he’s asleep, it’s soothing to talk to him like he’s conscious, like he can hear and understand - it helps in the same way that leaving Kurt voicemails kept him sane. “Maybe it’d be better for you to just delete them, actually,” Blaine laughs, scratching the back of his neck with one hand. “I said some really, like, mushy rubbish. Best to ignore it.”
He licks his lips and then nibbles on the bottom one, tugging at it with his teeth before he begins hesitantly, saying, “I’m sorry for everything. That’s kind of vague, though, I guess.” Blaine shuffles and lets go of Kurt’s hand just long enough to tug his chair closer, so he can lower his voice, talk directly to Kurt whilst holding his hand. “I’m... uh. I never should’ve left, all those years ago. I know that we’ve been good friends since we broke up, since I - since I left, but... What I’m getting at is I should’ve stuck it out, Kurt, because I love you. And when you love someone you don’t just get to give up on them. You have to go with the good and the bad.
“And maybe if I’d stayed this wouldn’t have happened.” Blaine frowns.
He adjusts again, and shuts his eyes. He takes in deep breaths. They sting a little - he’s got two fractured ribs, and bruises everywhere that are only just starting to fade, but he’ll live. He’s in a lot better state than Kurt, at any rate.
He opens his eyes again. “I’ll ask this properly when you wake up, but, like, if you’ll have me, I’ll stay. I’ll never leave you again. I love you, I always have, and it’s not going to change.” Blaine nips his bottom lip. “I just hope you still love me, too.”
There’s a rustle by the door and Blaine looks up sharply to see Castiel standing there, watching intently.
“Hey,” Blaine says, leaning back, still grasping onto Kurt’s fingers. “How’s the school?”
“Being demolished,” Castiel says bluntly. “If he wakes up it would be wise to put this state behind you.”
“When,” Blaine corrects. He tenses up and says, “It’s been two days, Castiel. Lay your hands on and heal him. There can’t be any conflicting demon crap left in him now and - honestly, you healing him would be a great deal of help. I don’t know what kind of damage the blade did. You’ve seen it; it’s hardly a nice little pig-sticker. I was lucky that I didn’t get any major arteries. I wasn’t exactly careful.”
Castiel frowns and approaches the bedside, and lays a hand across Kurt’s forehead. Blaine watches him in silence, and when the angel meets his eyes, the deep blue eyes are entirely unsure.
Blaine’s chest suddenly feels like it’s tied up in a knot.
It’s misty on the very early weekend morning that Blaine leaves his home with Kurt. His boyfriend waits in the car respectfully, and Blaine wanders around his house barefoot for a while, saying goodbye, trying to figure out what he’s going to miss. It’s surprisingly little. He feels like all he needs is in the car already - Kurt.
He already has a letter prepared. The envelope is addressed to Mom and Dad with Mother and Father scribbled out above it. Blaine sets it down on the dining room table where he knows they’ll surely see it. He hesitates, staring at it like it’s going to explode. He can’t help but wonder if it’s clear enough, explains enough, stresses enough that they shouldn’t try to find him but they also shouldn’t worry.
Blaine walks to the bottom of the stairs where he’s laid his bags. He tucks shoes on, pulls on his jacket, but leaves his school blazer hanging on the stair railing.
It’s not easy to leave. It’s certainly harder than Blaine thought.
He’s about to haul open the door and walk out with his things when his father appears sleepily at the top of the stairs, grunting, “What are you doing?”
Blaine swallows hard. “I’m -” he struggles to find a lie, and then says, “I’m walking into town early. I’m gonna donate a load of old clothes to some charity shops. Clear out space in my room, y’know.”
His father nods and turns, walking away.
Blaine calls out, “Dad?” His father stops. Blaine wrings his hands together and says, “Bye.”
He can almost hear his father rolling his eyes as he responds, “Goodbye, son.”
Blaine picks up his things and all but runs out, unable to stand delaying it any longer. He throws his things into the trunk of the car, and then climbs into the passenger seat. Kurt looks at him with wide eyes. “Are you okay?”
Blaine shakes his head furiously and refuses to look back at his house, telling Kurt firmly, “Just drive.”
As they put the house, the town, and then the entire state behind them, Blaine relaxes and starts to feel better. Kurt holds his hand as they speed along, steering with the other. Blaine knows then, as a warm joy sweeps over him, that this is where he’s supposed to be. He’s made the right choice.
The sun is setting. The air is warm and clear. The graveyard smells clean and fresh, the scent of new flowers and freshly mown grass filling Blaine’s head up. He kneels in front of a particular grave and smiles, half sad and half fond nostalgia, as he lays a single, white lily in front of the headstone.
“I saw your name on a commemorative bench of all things, when I was at the hospital,” Blaine says. He laughs at himself. “You know, I’ve really got to get out of the habit of talking to inanimate things. But y’know...” He bites his tongue, “Ghosts are real and angels are watching over us all, so maybe you can hear me.”
He reads the headstone. It belongs to his father, his name with Loving Husband inscribed underneath. No mention of being a parent, although Blaine isn’t terribly surprised. He ran away, after already being a disappointment. “The bench had your death date on it. I knew it was you because I knew they’d do that because you were always donating to the maternity ward, helping them out when they were in need because they took such good care of Mom when she had me. ‘Benefactor and Pillar of the Community,’ the plaque on the bench said.”
Blaine sniffs a little. He’s not sad, but it’s an odd feeling. His father had died, according to the headstone, the previous year. Asking around at the hospital after finding the bench, he’d discovered it had been a heart attack. “I know you stopped donating for a while after I told you I was gay. I know I disappointed you, and I know I was never the son you wanted, but I loved you, Dad, and I hope you cared about me too. I’m sorry most of all that we’re only finally not butting heads because you’re gone.”
“Blaine?” A voice echoes out through the graveyard, and Blaine turns his head. He smiles to see Kurt approaching, winding through the headstones, making a face at a particularly unpleasant statue of an angel. “That’s definitely not how they look,” Kurt remarks, and then his face turns serious and he says, “Are you okay?”
Blaine hauls himself to his feet and says, “I’m alright.” He reaches for Kurt and the man steps happily into his arms, arms sliding around his waist. He tips their foreheads together. “How are you?” He spies the phone in Kurt's hand. "You weren't listening to the voicemails, were you?”
“Hungry,” Kurt says, then, “I’m fine. I keep telling you. I -” a kiss, “- am -” another kiss, “fine.” A final, lingering kiss, leaning into Blaine, “but I really am hungry. And yes, I listened to your voicemails." He lays a gentle hand on Blaine's cheek. "I'm sorry for what you went through finding me."
Blaine laughs, forcing aside thinking about the voicemails, and he kisses Kurt’s nose. "Alright. Let’s get out of here.”
Kurt nods happily, then looks down on the grave and says, “You know - he never liked me, I could tell, but he was always kind to me.” He meets Blaine’s eyes. “He loved you more than you knew.”
Blaine wrinkles his nose and steps away, taking Kurt’s hand and leading them back to the car. He asks, for the tenth time in the last three or four days since they left the hospital, “Are you sure you’re fine? Cas said -”
“Castiel says a lot of things,” Kurt tells Blaine. He leans against the car when they reach it, and says, “I’m going to have issues to work through. There’s stuff I don’t remember from whilst I was - y’know, and I know I’ll remember that stuff eventually and it’s probably the worst of what happened.” Kurt snags a finger through Blaine’s belt loop and drags him close, and kisses his cheek. “Just stick with me. I’ll be fine as long as I have you.”
Blaine nuzzles against his neck. “I’m never leaving you again,” he mumbles, placing kisses over Kurt’s pulse.
“I know,” Kurt says, firmly, and Blaine trembles a little. Kurt cradles his head and holds him close and says, “I know you’re not going anywhere. And neither am I.”
He grins suddenly, pushing Blaine back so he can look him in the eye, “Now, let’s go eat. And then I hear there’s a rougarou in west Texas that needs dealing with."
"You sure you don't want to find the demons who got your mom?" He asks softly, voice nearly at a whisper.
Kurt shakes his head and says, "If this has taught me anything it's that living my life angry and searching for revenge does nothing but nearly get me killed. We'll let them come to us." He pats him. "Like I said. Rougarou. And then I want us to go back up to Idaho to the lake. Okay?"
Blaine breathes out, long and relaxed, and it’s the happiest he’s been in a very, very, long time.
“Sounds like a plan.”