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Armistice

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ARMISTICE

if you be weak, then i’ll be strong,




when the night is long.


trust all the years you’ll wait to find


this man who’s loved you your whole life


so come closer, closer to where we belong


"Are you okay?"


Blaine stares up at the boy standing over him and finds he's not entirely sure how to answer. There are a bunch of reasons for this, but only two that are probably important in the grand scheme of things.


Firstly, the boy standing over him has a sawn-off shotgun in one hand and a packet of salt in the other and that's threatening and weird all at the same time. And well, secondly, this boy has just used that gun to blast away a ghost before shoving Blaine down against the wall and running a salt line across the floor, cutting them off into a slice of the kitchen.


There's other stuff, too, like how this stranger has stunning blue eyes and how Blaine is almost positive that's an Alexander McQueen sweater that he's wearing with those really, really, oh, really tight black pants.


But it's mostly the first two reasons.


The boy waves the salt packet in front of Blaine's face. "Hello? Are you okay? Spirit didn't get you or anything?"


Blaine blinks twice, slowly, and says faintly, "Oh, no. I'm fine. Just fine. Why have you put salt everywhere?" He reaches a trembling hand up and says, "I'm Blaine, by the way."


The stranger raises an eyebrow and tucks the salt under his arm to shake Blaine's hand before pulling him to his feet with surprising strength. "It wards off spirits and demons. They can't cross it. And - Kurt," he responds, lips quirking into a smile.


 

~***~

 


Blaine hasn't been this worried since - well, since ever. He dials Kurt's number again; he's had it on speed dial for years but right now, in this moment, he physically punches it in from memory, hoping that his phone is just malfunctioning and it's like, dialing the number incorrectly or something, anything along those lines.


It goes to voice mail, just as it has for the past sixteen days. The message was recorded forever ago, so long ago that Blaine remembers being there for it, remembers that it was a new voicemail that Kurt recorded after a werewolf crushed his old phone with dead weight after being shot down. Kurt's voice drawls, "You've reached Kurt. Obviously, I can't get to the phone right now. You know what to do."


The long bleep sounds. Blaine contemplates leaving another message similar to the thirty or so he's left already, begging Kurt to please, please call, that Blaine is worried sick about him. He takes a deep breath after a second of silence, but he can't bring himself to talk to the phone again, not when he's sure now that nobody is going to listen any time soon. He hangs up, slamming his cell down on the table, and shuts his eyes.


Perhaps Blaine shouldn't be so concerned, but the thing is that long ago they made a pact. Blaine and Kurt made a pact that no matter what happened between them, they'd call each other at least three times a week, to make sure that they were both okay, alive at least. They've had their share of scares. A shape shifter in New York put Blaine into the hospital for half a week. A werewolf down in Texas held Kurt hostage for three days. Things like that. But it's never, ever been longer than a week, never been longer than two, never been sixteen days of silence.


They've never broken their promise and Blaine doesn't see why Kurt would now. Blaine's gut had jumped at five days, every instinct telling him something was amiss, but he knew that he had to listen to his head, listen to rational thought and bide his time. He couldn't tear apart the country trying to find Kurt when there might be nothing wrong.


Blaine stares at his phone on the table and makes the decision then and there. Sixteen days. It's time to tear the country apart. Perhaps maybe he's even left it too long, but he doesn't let that thought fester. He rings Kurt again on the speed dial and the voicemail tells him yet again, "You've reached Kurt. Obviously, I can't get to the phone right now. You know what to do."


He takes in a deep breath and talks after the bleep, telling Kurt, trying to keep his voice as steady as he can, "I don't know if you're okay. I don't know if you're even able to get this message, but... Kurt, you hold on, please. I'm coming to get you. I'm gonna find you." Blaine almost adds the I love you that's on the tip of his tongue, the words that are always on the tip of his tongue, but he doesn't. The fear that he's talking to something less than a ghost won't let him. He exhales shakily and hangs up, gives himself approximately three minutes to compose himself, fingers curled tightly around his cell phone and eyes shut to hold back tears, before he pushes away from the table and heads to the bedroom of his small flat.


The thing is, Blaine doesn't really hunt anymore. Not for a year or so now, but he still has everything hidden away behind panels in his closet and beneath his bed: guns, salt, stashes of holy water, silver knives, a magic-imbued knife that can kill demons, spray paint for Devil's Traps and magic sigils, stacks of bandages and first aid kits, fake IDs and cards stretching from simply fake names and credit cards to FBI identity badges. Blaine has done some very illegal things with Kurt over the course of his hunting career.


Blaine sighs and drags out his travelling bag from the depths of his belongings and begins to pack. He needs to hit the road as soon as possible. He's going to find Kurt if it's the last thing he does, and with Kurt having been missing for sixteen days, it occurs to Blaine that something might have taken him - and if something bad has taken Kurt, finding him may well be the last thing Blaine does.


Blaine calls all the authorities that he can when he's packed and dropping his bags (two of them - one with clothes, the other with all his supplies) in the trunk of his car. It's a crappy, small thing, only enough room inside to breathe really, but it gets the job done, and it's pretty good at not eating up fuel. Blaine can't say the same for Kurt's car, a '67 Chevy Impala passed on from his father. It downs fuel quicker than Blaine downs food, and well, when Blaine's hungry, it can get disgusting to watch.


He asks for John Does who match Kurt's description; he asks specifically for a Kurt Hummel, for his aliases Kirk Anderson and Cameron St Andrew but nothing comes back. Not from hospitals. Not from morgues. Not from the police. Nobody has seen or heard of Kurt or anybody like him.


Blaine hangs up as he climbs in the car and sighs deeply, tucking his cell into the glove box before resting his hands firmly on the wheel. He does his best to clear his head; there's no point in driving aimlessly, no point in just driving town to town and asking "Hey, have you seen my friend? He's about yay-high, amazing blue-green eyes, probably looking way too fabulous for this town?" to every person he meets. He thinks, looks back seventeen days in his memory to the last call he got from Kurt.


"I'm working on something in Salem," Kurt had said. Now that Blaine thinks of it, Kurt had seemed a little distant, edgy. He hadn't talked about what he was hunting, if he was hunting at all, in Salem. A spark of worry hits him. This could be something big, bigger than the idea of Kurt being dead, and Blaine suddenly can't get the engine on fast enough. He pulls out of the drive and hits the road way, way faster than he should. It's nearly two days drive to Oregon, and that's if Blaine doesn't hit traffic or take too long of a rest stop.


He'd take a plane, but how's he supposed to get guns on a plane? Instead, he just shifts the car into gear and breaks the speed limit at every chance he can.


If Kurt is alive, he's probably not in Salem anymore. But, he thinks, it's a start.</i>


 

~***~

 


Blaine squeezes the trigger one, two, three, and cheers himself when he dares to look and sees that he's successfully hit the dirty old road sign that Kurt had set up for target practice. Kurt laughs from behind him, pure and clear, clapping, and Blaine turns to him with a smile.


"I hope that's not beginner's luck and that I'm actually decent at his," he says breathlessly as Kurt comes closer, shoes crunching across the ground.


"Practice makes perfect, as they say," Kurt tells him, and his smile fades a little from his face as he reaches across and smoothes the lapel of Blaine's coat. "Are you sure you want to do this?"


Blaine wrinkles his nose and pauses before he answers. "Yes and no." Kurt raises an eyebrow, posture stiffening, hands dropping fast to his sides. Blaine clicks the safety on the gun, as he's been taught, and explains, "I want to. I do. But I'm just scared that it isn't the right choice."


"Of course it isn't the right choice," Kurt deadpans, and Blaine blanches. "We're seventeen. We've known each other what, two years now? Ever since I saved you from the spirit of that girl. In those two years I've come to your house with more black eyes and scrapes and cuts than I can count. I mean," Kurt swallows, uneasy, and his eyes well up. "I've just lost - you know what I've lost, and you're offering to let me teach you stuff so that you can abandon this safe, normal life in favour of running around nearly getting killed with me." He blinks away the tears, his tone taking on something of a reprimanding edge. "Of course it's not the right choice."


"But I want to," Blaine murmurs, brushing his fingers up against Kurt's, hooking his index finger around the taller boy's pinky. Kurt swallows and looks away. "I do, okay, I really do. You're not - you're not alone, Kurt, I'm never gonna let you be alone." He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth and says, "Not ever again."


Kurt looks up, and Blaine takes it as an opportunity; he leans in and kisses him softly on the mouth, like he has a thousand times before.


 

~***~

 


Blaine is exhausted by the time he pulls into the outskirts of Salem, but he has to, at the very least, track down the last motel Kurt was in before he can collapse to sleep. He avoids the more obvious motels; he knows Kurt's modus operandi, and it's low key, crappy motels. Nothing big or fancy that he could be easily traced back to. The sort of thing where he can dole out some extra cash and quietly ask them to leave him be for a week, for them not to send maids in.


He goes from motel to motel, exhaustion making his legs heavier every time he's required to step out of the car and trudge indoors to inquire about who could possibly be staying here. Blaine's eyes get more difficult to keep open with every no, every rejection, every odd look. He's surprised he doesn't crash his car at any point.


He's ready to fall over when he goes into the seventh motel of the night and asks, "Has anyone called Kirk Anderson, or maybe Cameron St Andrew, come through? Just over two weeks ago maybe?" Kurt never uses his real name at motels. He just doesn't. At first Blaine could never see the issue, but Kurt never liked to have anything traceable back to his own identity. I don't want that on my family, he would say. What's left of it. Plus, in the end, as a hunter you tend to leave bodies and destruction behind you and it's best not to wind up with the law on your tail.


The woman behind the counter is a skinny peroxide blonde in her late thirties, rich blue eyes watching him cautiously. Blaine blinks earnestly and eventually she responds with a flippant sigh, "Lemme take a look." She flips through the large, old book, and says, "Uh-huh. I wasn't on shift when he signed in but we've got a Kirk Anderson. He paid through the roof to book a room out for three weeks and not get disturbed. Normally don't let that sorta thing happen, but..."


A bribe is a bribe, Blaine thinks, and he breathes a heavy sigh of relief. That's part of a weight off his shoulders, at least. He meets her eye and makes the most passionate plea he can, "Can I have his room number? He's my cousin and he told me to find him here."


She's reluctant and shifts to defensive, suspicious even, folding her arms and squinting at him, asking, "Who's the Cameron fellow if Kirk is your cousin?"


Blaine swallows. He can't blame her caution. He quickly bullshits off the top of his head, "Kirk ran away. A while ago. From a bad home situation. Took all the money he could and fled. Sometimes he uses Cameron because he doesn't wanna be found." Blaine gestures and sighs, "I'm the only person he trusts enough to know this stuff." She nods slowly, acceptance gracing her face much to his internal relief. Blaine taps the countertop and asks, "What kind of room did he get out?"


"Two bed room," she answers, her voice laced with calculated disinterest now that nothing suspicious seems to be afoot.


This is so much easier than I anticipated, Blaine thinks and asks, "Can you put me down to share the room with him for the rest of his stay? I'm Everett Hummel." It had been a sort of inside joke with Kurt and Blaine, to use each other's last names. It kind of kept them grounded with each other, kept the notion that they were all they had even when separated.


The lady looks dubious for a moment then consents, scribbling in the book and reaching under the counter before handing Blaine a key. "He's in room seventeen. Go out the front and down the lane and it's across the courtyard."


Blaine dares to ask, "Know if he's actually there right now?"


She shrugs. "Told us not to disturb him, didn't he? I don't know. Me personally, I don't even know what he looks like."


Blaine nods, frowning. He hadn't expected her to know, but it would've been helpful. He turns the key in his hand and says, "Thank you, ma'am. I didn't catch your name - ?" He glances at her. It pays to be polite.


"S'cause I didn't tell you my name, sweetie. It's Holly, though. Holly Holiday."


Blaine raises an eyebrow as she flips her hair over her shoulder. Holly Holiday, running a motel. There's a bad joke in there somewhere, and it's probably one that she's heard before. He just says quietly, "Thank you, Ms. Holiday."


"Let me know if ya need anything," she says, and he nods graciously before turning and walking out. He climbs back into his car and drives it down to the courtyard, eyeing everything there carefully. He can't stop the moan of surprise and hopeful relief when he sees it: Kurt's Impala, parked neatly out the front of his room.


He pulls up next to it, parking as fast as he can, and nearly falling on his ass from scrambling out the car so quickly. He peers in through the windows of the Impala just in case there's something to be seen, but it's immaculately clean as always, and bare as far as he can see. He pats it softly, and expresses out loud to it, "It's so good to see you, you beautiful monster. Where's your daddy, huh?"


Blaine leaves a little time for the pretend response from the car, gazing over the glossy black surface before he turns and approaches the room, casting his eyes over the faded, peeling, yellow paint of the door and the black letters on the bronze-colored plaque saying "17".


Blaine rests his hand on the door knob, nervous. He takes a deep breath and tries the door, just in case. It's locked, unsurprisingly, so he puts the key in the lock and exhales quickly as he turns it, then turns the knob and pushes the door, letting it swing open.


The first thing that hits him is the smell, rotten and sending his head reeling, and before he can see beyond that, he turns tail and runs to his car, scrambling across the ground to the trunk and grabbing a bottle of holy water and the magic, demon-killing knife from within. What he can smell is the single most alarming thing, the thing that tells him something is very, very wrong.


He can smell sulfur.


 

~***~

 


Blaine has been on the road with Kurt a couple of weeks now, and okay, he didn't expect it to be easy by any stretch, but he didn't actually anticipate it being this hard. He's out of breath as he drives the iron rod into the chest of the demon; there's the sound of flesh sizzling and burning around the entry wound and Blaine staggers back as she screeches in pain, clasping the rod and then dropping away as blisters rise and burn the palms of her hands. Ghosts and demons are similar in a lot of respects - both can't cross or touch salt or iron, but the latter is a lot more solid and frankly a lot more dangerous. As she flails around in pain, Blaine takes the opportunity to shove it into the Devil's trap, painted in red on the floor of the room.


It had come in through the window, shattering through like it was nothing. The element of surprise, born from a simple mistake on Blaine's part: he didn't salt the window. As Kurt, bleeding from a cut on his forehead from the demon blasting him across the room, stands up, Blaine mouths sorry, panicking a little that he's going to get hollered at, but Kurt just shakes his head professionally.


Kurt clears his throat and stands over the demon as it yanks the rod from its chest, casting it aside. The creature is possessing a young Asian woman with blue streaks through black hair. It blinks and its eyes fill from corner to corner with black and it snarls, "Let me go."


Kurt shakes his head. He begins to recite, pronunciation perfect, "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii..." It's the Latin exorcism ritual, and as he talks, Blaine gingerly rolls up his shredded cardigan sleeve. The demon had scratched him with its damn nails when it came in, slicing his arm open cleanly. He's bleeding, but the edges of his wounds are touched with something yellow, a paste or powder, and it stinks to high heaven. Stings, too.


He turns his attention back to the exorcism when the demon begins to scream. Kurt continues to talk, "...inventor et magister omnis fallaciae, hostis humanae salutis. Humiliare sub potenti mana dei, contremisce..."


The demon howls in pain, but Kurt just shouts above it. It writhes and snarls and snaps its head to look at Blaine and says, panting, eyes still black, "You get rid of me, you kill her. This innocent little girl - " It throws its head back to shriek in agony again, and Blaine panics because the demon is right. He'd grabbed the iron rod from by the fireplace of this old house, thought only of his and Kurt's safety, thought nothing of the life this demon had taken over. When the demon goes, the girl is going to die from her wounds.


The guilt sets in. The demon preys on it. "Her name is Tina. She's got a boyfriend in a wheel chair and he's expecting her at home right now. You're killing his only family."


Blaine can't help it when the tears well up. He blinks them back and focuses in on the ritual; Kurt chants the final words - "Ut ecclesiam tuam secura tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos!" - and the demon howls again, screeching as black smoke expels from the woman's mouth and drains, vanishing, into the trap on the floor.


The woman, Tina, coughs blood and clutches at herself before she goes limp, eyes no longer black but going empty with death. Blaine closes his eyes and hopes Kurt doesn't notice how upset he is.


He opens his eyes at the feel of Kurt touching his injured arm. "I'll fix this up for you at the motel," Kurt says, inspecting it and wiping away a little of the yellow substance with the tip of his finger, wrinkling his nose. "I cannot tell you the amount of beautiful, expensive clothes I've lost as casualties of war." Blaine winces when Kurt dabs some more at the yellow stuff.


"What is that? The paste thing," he inquires. His voice is unexpectedly strained.


Kurt looks up sharply at him. "It's sulfur. Where demons go, sulfur is left behind - and this demon, well, it manipulated its host's body and attacked you. I've not seen this kind of body manipulation before, but my... my dad did."


Blaine nods and looks past Kurt to Tina's body on the floor. Kurt looks over his shoulder then back at Blaine and he stresses, firmly but softly, "You know we can't save everyone. It’s enough that we got the demon."


"But if I didn't stab her," Blaine begins, and Kurt hushes him with a finger.


"Nuh-Uh. Don't think like that. It’s a doorway to too much unpleasant thinking, to doubt. Not many people survive what demons put them through anyway. And if she didn't die, if we let the demon live..." Kurt looks at Blaine expectantly.


Blaine closes his eyes and nods sadly, sighing. Of course. "It would have killed other people and she wouldn't have been living much of a life anyway."


"Exactly," Kurt confirms, then links fingers with Blaine on the arm that isn't injured. "Come on. Let's get out of here. We need to clean up. Your arm and my - " he points at the bloody swelling on his forehead.


Blaine frowns at it, then says, "Yeah. Let's go."


"Do you know why demons leave sulfur behind?" Kurt says, sounding surprisingly chipper as they make their way down to the car. Blaine shakes his head, and Kurt opens the car door for him and says, "It's brimstone. As in fire and brimstone. Born straight from the pit of Hell, and they can't ever shake off where they came from..."


 

~***~

 


The room turns out to be empty - of people, at least - and with a half-full packet of salt that Blaine finds discarded on the bed he quickly lines the window and door, even kneeling to shake a line of salt down in front of a low-lying wall vent. There are remnants of old salt lines in here, but they're broken, presumably by something or someone that wasn't Kurt. When he's lined the room, he forces himself to stop freaking out and flicks a light on; it shudders and threatens to blow, but soon steadies, casting the room in a yellowish light and revealing what there is to see.


And oh boy, there's a lot. It's paper, mostly. Sheets of A4 and smaller cuttings plaster the far wall. Some have been ripped down and litter the floor, crumpled and messy. The beds have been dragged forward, shoved together in the middle of the room. The sheets are clean, rumpled but spotless otherwise. They don't look like they've been slept in; slept on, maybe, had things on, but not pulled back and slept under. Blaine frowns. The end tables are turned over on their sides, drawers pulled open, one entirely disentangled from the rest of the cabinet and all the way on the other side of the room. The T.V. is smashed, tipped on the floor.


Blaine runs a hand through his hair, lost for words or thought, and that's when he sees the phone, peeking out from under one of the end tables. He dives for that first and curses when he picks it up. He doesn’t immediately recognise it, but it’s not likely to be a demon’s or something. They don’t exactly need to carry phones (demons have far more sinister ways of keeping in touch with each other). Just beyond where that was laying are the keys to the Impala; Blaine swears and stuffs them away in his pocket and instead turns to the phone.


Blaine stabs at the buttons until light flickers up and the phone turns on. Ignoring the situation being as weird as it already is, with the trashed room and the papers across the walls that Blaine hasn't so much as glanced at yet, it seems strange that the phone was just off and didn't have a drained battery or something like that. After a browse of the contents, looking over the contacts and messages, it’s definitely Kurt’s. His own number is in there, and text messages are signed off with his typical “xx K” that he offers to his friends. The phone is not what Kurt last had, though, and after investigating, it’s not registered with a number that Kurt has ever called Blaine from. A spare, perhaps?


It seems strange that the phone is even here. Kurt is the sort of person who has his phone - or, as it seems, phones - surgically attached, and with good reason considering some of the situations they can get themselves into as hunters.


Blaine chews his lip and pockets the phone, finding nothing of worth on it for the moment, turning his attention to the notes pinned and plastered to the wall. His forehead creases and his eyes widen, suddenly, as one newspaper headline circled in red marker catches his gaze.


4TH FOUND STABBED OUTSIDE OF HOME


And then another story, dated a month earlier. MAN FOUND DEAD IN DRIVEWAY. Then more articles, later and earlier, articles titled POLICE CONFIRM BELIEVED CONNECTION IN SALEM STABBINGS and NO LEADS IN HUNT FOR SALEM STABBER. Blaine feels the bubble of worry, the panic burning low in his stomach, threatening to turn to nausea as he puts it together, stepping closer to inspect the small text.


He only has to catch one line in an article about the police connecting the stabbings to understand: Traces of yellow sulfur were found at all scenes.


Blaine looks around the room and takes in the acrid stench and whispers to the air, "Kurt. What did you find?"


 

~***~

 


They drive to Lima on the eve of Kurt's 18th birthday, and they visit his mother’s grave. It must be just gone ten in the morning when they stand in front of the white marble marker, her name engraved in black. Kurt kneels and lays white roses across it, and Blaine stands at a distance, feeling like he's intruding as Kurt closes his eyes and touches the headstone.


Kurt looks up after a minute, maybe two, and just turns his head enough to make it clear he's acknowledging Blaine but not enough to look at him. "Did I ever tell you what happened to her?"


A crisp breeze blows by, sending shivers up Blaine's spine, and he quietly clears his throat and says, "I - no. Just that her - that she was the reason that your father started hunting. That he taught you to hunt."


Kurt swallows and Blaine dares to step closer. Kurt pats the ground next to him and Blaine kneels beside him as Kurt begins to talk, voice strained with grief. "I was seven. She was driving home from work. Back then, dad used to mostly look after me and she went out and earned the money." He laughs weakly, a sad fondness to his voice, "Dad wasn't ever the vastly intelligent sort, not the intelligence you need to hold for a job anyway. Too grumpy, too."


He clears his throat and continues, "She pulled into the driveway and... All I remember of it was her screaming. The rest is everything he told me. Dad ran out but by then it was too late. These men, with...black eyes, black like marbles, they were...stabbing her, holding her down. And they vanished by the time that dad was close enough. Just vanished. She died in his arms. And all Dad could smell was this peculiar stench, like rotten eggs. Like sulfur."


Blaine nods and says softly, "I'm sorry."


Kurt closes his eyes and leans against Blaine. He wraps his arm around Kurt's shoulders and listens as he continues, "Dad never believed it could be human. He spent all his time trying to hunt down the things that got her. She wasn't the only one stabbed at the time, so he thought it would be easy. But we never even found a trace. He didn't even get the names of the creatures. So him, and me when I got old enough, we hunted everything evil we came across."


He turns his head to face Blaine and says, "It's never been enough to just take out revenge on miscellaneous beasts. I don't remember her that well, you know, and that's what hurts the most. They didn't just steal my mother from me. They stole my childhood, my innocence, my father's heart, they stole my entire life." His voice trembles with growing anger. "I could have been normal. Happy. Safe."


Blaine rubs a hand down Kurt's back as the boy spits, "That's why I'm gonna get those things one day, Blaine. If it’s the very last thing I do before I die, I'll kill them."


 

~***~

It takes Blaine an hour or so, but he pulls down every last piece of paper and organizes it. Every newspaper clipping he orders by date. There are pages of books strewn up on the wall too, so he picks them apart and puts them in something of what he thinks is an order. The last thing he comes to is Kurt's notes: handwritten in a swirly cursive. He stares up at them, stuck and tacked and pinned to the wall. Even in notes about death and demons, Kurt has to look impeccable. It makes Blaine smile despite the situation, but partway through the smile he has to stop himself from choking up when the full force of how scary this is hits him.


Kurt is missing. There is a dangerous, dangerous demon, maybe more than one, that Kurt was hunting. This room is upended and stinking with the trace of something evil. All that's left are notes and Kurt's phone.


Blaine pauses. Kurt's phone.


His phone. Of course. Blaine pulls it out and swears at himself for being so damned stupid. What if Blaine wasn't the last person Kurt had called? Someone might have information. He can't believe it didn't occur to him sooner. He flicks through the menus and gets to the recently called list and there - two days after he called Blaine, he had called someone listed as Cas.


Blaine blinks, not recognizing the name or number, but presses the call button anyway, bringing it to his ear, and he just hopes that whoever is on the other end picks up and isn't too hostile.


It takes three, four, five rings, but they do, and a gravelly monotone says, "Kurt?"


Blaine swallows. "I - no, this is Blaine, I -”


The voice cuts him off, saying in the most serious voice that Blaine has ever heard, "We'll be right there." They hang up, and Blaine stares at the phone in confusion. Out of nowhere, the lights spark and burst, going out, and the voice talks again, saying darkly, "Where's Kurt Hummel?" Blaine spins around, yells and stumbles back against the beds, grabbing his gun and aiming it.


There are two people standing there. The tallest is a man in his thirties with a mess of dark hair and blue eyes, the shorter is a delicately-featured blonde. Blaine rests his finger on the trigger, flicks the safety off, and demands, "Who the hell are you two?" He glances frantically beyond them. The salt lines are all intact. How did they get in?


The man begins to talk, but the blonde steps forward and cuts him off, speaking in a soft, ever so slightly rasping voice, "His name is Castiel. My name is Quinn. We're angels, Blaine."


Blaine has seen a lot. But he hasn't seen angels. Kurt never talked about angels. He shakes his head. They're shape shifters, or demons, or something, they have to be. "I don't believe you. What do you want? How did you get over the salt lines?"


Quinn glances back at Castiel, who narrows his eyes and steps forward and repeats himself, "Where is Kurt Hummel?"


Blaine swallows. "I could ask you the same thing." He steps back from the strangers. He hesitates though and lowers the gun on a realization. He points at Castiel. "You were on the phone. You're Cas? What do you have to do with Kurt?"


Castiel frowns. Quinn speaks up again. "He helped us last year. He's our...friend." She smiles softly, reassuringly and says, "We can't see him in our vision and so we must call him, or he must call us. He made himself unpopular with other angels when he helped us. We obscured him from our gaze, from the gaze of all angels, to protect him."


Castiel contributes, "We carved Enochian sigils into his ribs."


Blaine stares, taking a minute before he processes it. Enochian. The angelic language recorded in the 16th century, though rumoured to predate Latin. The men who recorded it claimed angels had passed the knowledge to them. Blaine had always assumed it was more likely to be demons, but if these people are telling the truth...perhaps not. "Oh. That's normal." He shakes himself, pulling himself together, telling them, "I don't believe you're who you say you are. Tell me who you are, or prove it, and," he bluffs, desperate, "I'll consider telling you where Kurt is."


Quinn smiles very sweetly and says, "I think you already gave away that you don't know where he is." She tips her chin down and shit, Blaine has no idea where it comes from, but light illuminates them, bright white and glowing. He winces back from it but then sees something and gasps: wings, cast in shadow on the walls, huge and unfurling from them both, spreading only as far as the restrained space will allow them.


Blaine can't back away much further and oh, he wishes he could. Somehow the knowledge that he is, in fact, faced with two angels is less comforting than he imagined. It's more soul crushingly terrifying, actually, because firstly that means God probably exists and is an unhelpful son of a bitch but more importantly, how do you kill an angel? Does he even need to kill them?


The light vanishes, and the shadows are gone. "Are you convinced now?" Quinn remarks, and Blaine nods frantically, swallowing dryly.


Castiel steps around the room, nudging the overturned television with his foot and asking, "What happened here?"


"I don't know. I only got here a while ago," Blaine breathes, following the angel with his eyes. "Demons, probably."


Castiel growls a little, quietly, a curious little crinkle appearing along the sides of his nose as he does. He says, "That much is obvious."


Blaine shivers a little. This guy’s voice goes right through him. "When - when I came in there were broken salt lines," he offers, stuttering a little. "And all the papers organised on the bed, they were pinned to the walls with the rest. I found his phone and car keys. Apart from that and, and the smell of sulfur, there's nothing."


Quinn walks over to the papers and shuffles through them, lips pursed just so. She pauses on a torn out page from a book and breathes out slowly, visibly, and says, "Castiel. Xibalba demons. He was looking for two of the Xibalba demons."


Blaine straightens his spine and looks to Castiel's face; a brief emotion flashes across it, lips tightening and brow furrowing. Worry. It's gone as quickly as it comes, but it's there alright. Castiel pushes over and takes the sheet of paper that is offered to him, and grunts in what could be frustration.


"What's going on?" Blaine speaks up, then clears his throat when the angels ignore him, trying to sound more demanding. "Someone tell me what the hell is going on."


Quinn flicks her hair and turns to him. "Xibalba. It's a part of Hell, distinct from the rest. Your Mayans believed it was the sole underworld. It has twelve lords and...Kurt was looking for two of them."


Castiel says, peering through the sheets, "It seems they've been making trips above ground." He sniffs deeply and looks around the room, blue eyes wide, almost as though he can see things that Blaine can't. Blaine just stares between the two of them in confusion, about to ask for hello, elaboration when Castiel continues, "They're not what was here though."


Blaine gestures wildly with his hands and says desperately, "How do you know this? What lords was Kurt looking for...?"


Castiel looks down, head tipped to the side, gripping the sheet of paper Quinn had given him tightly in one hand. He angles his body towards Blaine and says, sounding as if he's reciting, "All the lords had been assigned their duties. Each one was given his own authority by Hun-Came and Vucub-Came. They were, then, Xiquiripat and Cuchumaquic, lords of these names. Others were called Ahalpuh and Ahalgana, also lords. Others were Lord Chamiabac and Chamiaholom, constables of Xibalba, whose staffs were of bone."


He pauses and turns his eyes to Blaine and finished, "Others were called Lord Ahalmez and Lord Ahaltocob; their work was to bring disaster upon men, as they were going home, or in front of it, and they would be found wounded, stretched out, face up, on the ground, dead. This was the work of Ahalmez and Ahaltocob, as they were called."


He grumbles and seemingly as an afterthought adds, "Immediately after them were other lords named Xic and Patan."


Blaine turns to Quinn in search of less cryptic answers. She brushes her fingers over the papers and asks softly, "Those two, Ahalmez and Ahaltocob. Sound familiar?"


His eyes widen. "The stabbings." Then, the full force of realization hits Blaine in the chest and sinks down into stomach and he exclaims, "His mother! Kurt's mother was stabbed by two demons. He's been searching for what killed her his whole life."


Blaine spins to Castiel and said, "But you said they aren't what was here."


"No," The angel muses, then admits gravely, "I think he stumbled onto something much darker. Something bigger."

 

~***~

Blaine has known Kurt for a year. In that year, he's gone from having a mild mannered crush on this brave, beautiful, amazing boy, to simply cutting himself off from all other opportunities for romance. Single, but my heart is taken, he sees it as, although he doesn't really have any other options waiting for him. He doesn't even know how Kurt feels about him. It doesn't really matter. Kurt swings by every few weeks and they stay in contact over the phone otherwise. Kurt is Blaine's best friend, one of his few actually - his school has a zero tolerance policy, but that doesn't mean it’s impossible to be bullied there. Kids are more than happy to lay on the silent treatment, and Blaine, he just doesn't fit in.


He always feels like he fits in when he's with Kurt, though. It's a sweet feeling, warm and enjoyable.


He welcomes Kurt up to his room one Sunday afternoon, and they lay out on Blaine's bed, not even talking or looking at one another. Kurt falls asleep nestled into the pillows on the left side of the bed, the sun through the window bathing him in warm yellow light. Blaine lies on the other side of the bed and watches him.


Kurt's wearing a plain t-shirt, without a label, just soft, deep grey cotton. It's rare. It suits him, in an odd way. Blaine wonders if the plain clothes equates to Kurt letting his guard down around him, but then washes away the idea because it sounds stupid and egotistical.


Kurt has beautiful lines to his body; long legs, stretched out in black jeans and ending in pale, bare feet. His socks and shoes, along with his jacket and bag, are dumped by Blaine's door. Blaine admires the fine definition of Kurt's arms, draped across his chest in his sleep.


There's a hum and Kurt stirs awake, so Blaine rolls away quickly and stares at the ceiling instead. "Hey," Kurt says, voice sleep-thick.


Blaine turns his head, trying to stay casual but he breaks out in a smile. Kurt's hair is all messed up; it looks adorable. His smile drops when he observes the reddish bruise beneath his eye, and unthinkingly reaches out but halts when Kurt tenses up. "I - Can I?" he asks quietly, terrified of being told no.


Kurt nods his head hesitantly after a moment and leans his head forward towards the touch. Blaine presses the bruise gingerly, feeling it with his thumb. He's sure it must hurt a lot, but Kurt doesn't so much as blink in reaction.


Kurt has all this courage, all this stuff to deal with in his life: a mother who passed away, a father who drags him up and down the country, fights and battles and injuries to deal with. But he takes it all like it's nothing.


He admires it. He loves it. God, Blaine loves Kurt. "I really could kiss you right now," Blaine whispers without thinking, and Kurt reacts then, eyes flickering in surprise and lifting to meet Blaine's.


He shifts closer, and says, "Not if I kiss you first" and presses their lips together.


 

~***~

 


"The last time we spoke to Kurt, he said he was close to being finished here," Quinn explains as the three of them exit the motel room. Blaine nods, the papers all tucked up under his arm. "He implied there was nothing more he could do here. He didn't say where he was heading but for now, you might want to find demonic omens and follow them, and see if there have been any more groups of stabbings."


Blaine pulls out Kurt's keys and opens the Impala, placing the papers on the passenger seat. He questions Quinn, "If this wasn't the Xibalba demons, what was it? It broke the salt lines. What's powerful enough to do that?"


"Next to nothing," Quinn responds. "Unless the demon that came for him had Hellhounds."


Blaine pales. He’s never had the misfortune of meeting Hellhounds, but Kurt had worked a case a year ago with a man who’d made a deal with a devil - he had sold his soul in exchange for his brother to be cured of terminal cancer.


See, when a demon comes for your soul, they literally come for your soul, with huge, demonic black dogs straight from the pit, that only the unfortunate victim - and demons - can see.


"Right." He frowns and pats the roof of the car as he moves to his own and begins to transfer his belongings over. He can feel Quinn and Castiel watching him, and though they don't ask, he explains quietly, "Kurt is going to want his car. When I get him back. And when I get him back, I'm not leaving him again. So I don't care what happens to mine."


The angels glance at each other but stay silent.


"Do you think he's alive?" Blaine finally asks, once he's loaded all his things over to Kurt's car. He has an arsenal of weaponry and supplies now; the Impala is fully stocked, missing nothing. He glances up.


Quinn looks apprehensive. Castiel's expression is unreadable.


Blaine swallows thickly and says quietly, locking his car and getting into the Impala, "Fuck you guys. I'm going to find him alive and bring him home."


"He doesn't have a home," Castiel says, a slight frown creasing his brow. Quinn sighs audibly.


Without looking up, Blaine retorts, "I'm his home." He goes to shut the door but Castiel approaches and stops him. Blaine glares up at him.


"What kind of protection do you have from demons?" Castiel questions.


Blaine shrugs. "Salt. Paint for Devil's Traps. Holy water. The exorcism ritual..."


Castiel grumbles low in his throat and says, "Not enough" and without warning, shoves a hand against Blaine's chest, over his heart. Searing pain rips through him and he howls, grabbing at Cas's arm and trying to pull him off, screaming and swearing.


As suddenly as it started, it's gone, and Blaine collapses against the wheel, eyes weeping from the pain. He forces himself to look at Castiel, whose expression is entirely devoid of sympathy, and hisses, clutching his chest, "You son of a - what the hell?"


Castiel blinks and explains, "Warding symbols. To protect you from demonic possession. I put them on your heart."


Blaine stares up at him. Damned if he's ever going to understand these creatures. "Would it kill you to ask first? To give a little warning?"


Castiel tips his head to the side. "Would you have let me do that if you knew it was going to hurt that much?"


"I -” Blaine frowns and rubs his chest and admits, "No." He sighs and finally says, "I'm going to find a different motel and track omens and...things. I don't want to risk whatever came for Kurt coming back and finding me. What are you two going to do?"


"We're going to keep a weather eye on the horizon," Quinn quips, with something of a smile. Castiel frowns at her. Blaine does, too. Was that a pop culture reference from anangel? She shakes her head slightly and drops the expression. "Take care, Blaine."


He hesitates, then says, "You too."


"We'll be in touch," Castiel says, and with a stirring of wind, the angels vanish.


Blaine takes a second to collect himself, then shuts the car door, and pulls away from the motel. He lets himself drift away in music and radio whilst he drives, speeding along a little aimlessly; he's tired, and he knows he won't be able to do anything until he's rested, so for now, he's just...taking a moment. When he finds a new place to stay, all he's going to do is catch a few hours and then get back on Kurt's trail.


He finds another motel about an hour away; the woman behind the counter here is another blonde, but much younger, not far off Blaine's age. "Room for the night, please."


She blinks, smiling at him, and asks, "Just one of you?" with her ponytail bobbing behind her head enthusiastically.


Blaine stares and glances behind him, confused before he says, "I. Uh. Yeah?"


"Name?" She has such a big, innocent face that Blaine can't help but smile through all the fear, the pain, and confusion coursing through him.


"Everett Hummel. With two T's," he adds helpfully.


She snorts and says, "I know. I'm not stupid." She scribbles then looks at him, tongue peeking out of her mouth, "How many ‘m's’ are there in Hummel? Is it three, or - ?"


Blaine swallows and takes a moment before he politely spells out the last name. She beams and hands over a room key and says, "Room six." Blaine nods a thank you and heads out there, walking faster once he's sighted his room.


He lets himself in, and it's like the weight of how tired he is, of how much driving he's done the past few days, hits him in one. Blaine manages to stumble in a haze to the bed, and collapses face-down on the pillow.


He drifts away almost instantly, the exhausting load of everything sending him to sleep.


 

~***~

 


Three months after he turns twenty-one, Kurt’s got a bruise on the line of his jaw and a split lip, but it's the first night in a few months that they've not had a case, not had serious wounds to stitch up, not been aching from a previous hunt (aside from the wounds to Kurt’s face, their last meeting with the unnatural was relatively easy to deal with) - so they're in a bar. It's a tiny place, wood panels and dim lighting, but a good atmosphere. It's the sort of thing where the owner is the only person behind the counter at all times and the music is personal selection from their collection. A glass of wine for each, red for Kurt and white for Blaine, and they're just nestled comfortably against each other in a booth.


Kurt seems off, though. Weary in a way that is odd for him. Blaine wonders, as the songs shuffle continuously through tunes that he doesn't know, if it's because they haven't had fun in a long time now. Real fun, not a take-out and a hot night in a semi-decent motel.


The next song has a sweet beat to it, so Blaine slides out of the booth and says, "Come here." He holds his hand out to Kurt. His eyebrows go up. He knows that face, the are you fucking kidding me? face. He's seen it way too often as of late, actually. He ignores it and grabs Kurt's hand and pulls him out of the booth. Blaine grabs him close, hand on Kurt's lower back.


"Dance with me, okay?" Blaine insists, and he pulls Kurt around ridiculously, just twirling and spinning and shuffling his feet in time to the music because he can't actually dance, not really. They're the only people up, and Blaine's sure that if he cared to look, he'd find they're being stared at.


He's not sure the song is entirely positive, but it's enough to dance to, with a good beat, and he pulls Kurt in close at the last minute to sing along (badly, a second out of time because he's never heard this song before), "Me, I'm gonna live forever - "


"Idiot," Kurt murmurs, but he clasps Blaine's hand that little bit tighter, holds their bodies a little bit closer, and Blaine kisses Kurt firmly on the cheek.


"And for the first time," he sings down Kurt's ear, "in a long time, I feel alive - I feel alive."


Kurt smiles, laughs and buries his head in Blaine's neck.


 

~***~

 


Blaine takes his time when he wakes up, moving with a quiet reluctance through the morning routine. The faster he showers, he shaves, the faster he brushes his teeth and changes into clean clothes, the faster he has to get back to reality, to this search for Kurt.


He wants to find Kurt. He wouldn't have set out on this if he didn't. He has every intention of finding Kurt no matter what it takes, but it's just...so much, and it scares him to death. He's barely scraped the surface of this hunt and he feels in deep.


Still, when he's clean and fresh and considerably more awake, he gets right down to business, setting up his laptop. It takes ten minutes for him to find a place in his motel room that actually has a good reception for the motel's shitty Wi-Fi, but eventually Blaine pulls it off and starts Google-ing for stabbings first.


It takes an hour - and a lot of narrowing down and various, odd Google searches - before he finds the first cluster of stabbings outside of Salem. There were two deaths, same MO, in Carson City, Nevada. The first was ten days ago, the second was only two days ago.


A fresh trail, Blaine considers, and licks then bites his lip as he makes a note of it. He begins to search for demonic omens next: cattle mutilations, clusters of lightning storms, extreme temperature fluctuations -


Blaine nearly hits something when he finds groupings of those omens.


Cheyenne, Wyoming. In a completely different direction to the deaths. Blaine's not sure why it shocks him so much; the Angels did say that the things doing the stabbings were not what took Kurt. Still, it hits him like a punch in the stomach, and he slams the laptop lid shut and has to stop and just, just breathe.


Blaine braces his arms and elbows on the table and the emotions just crash over him, and he breaks, sobbing heavily and slumping, crying into the crook of his elbow, hunched over the table. He tries to steady his breathing, sucking in sharp, shallow breaths between blubbering cries, but soon gives in and presses harder into his arm.


When he can lift his head, he's still crying, eyes red and his forehead pounding, and he chokes when the thought he's been trying to avoid all along runs through his mind: I never should have left you.


"I'm so sorry, Kurt," Blaine whispers, and he presses the heels of his palms against his eyes and screams from the frustration.


When his own yell stops ringing in his ears, Blaine breathes in and out to the count of four, slowly, calmly, until he can take his hands from his eyes and think clearly again.


So now he has a choice: Cheyenne or Carson City. The demon that could have taken Kurt, or the demons that Kurt was hunting. Kurt could be in either place. It's a risk and a chance Blaine has to take - he hasn't got anyone else who can help him. Kurt was the one with all the hunting connections. Blaine was just along for the ride because he loved Kurt.


Blaine closes his eyes, slumps back in the seat and, eventually, he makes his choice: Wyoming. If Kurt was taken, reason says he should follow the demonic omens and hope that demon is the one who took him.


Blaine packs his things and is out of the motel in record time; he stops for breakfast at a cafe but then he's on his way, driving north towards Portland, then east to head out of the state.


He doesn't slow down until he reaches the Idaho border - where he then pulls over to stop entirely just as he's crossed it, just as he's realised where he is.


It was here, in Idaho, that everything changed for them, that everything fell into place. Blaine breathes to try and get by with the funny feeling in his stomach, and pulls back onto the road. He drives the roads he's gone before in this same car, turns on the radio and tunes it to the station that he and Kurt always used to listen to. He drives towards Lake Lowell.


 

~***~

 


They've been on the road together almost a year. Not quite, but almost. They're bruise-free, for once. They're still aching because they always do ache. Kurt sits on the bank of the lake, rolling up the legs of his favourite Armani jeans, his shoes off and socks tucked neatly inside them. He’s sitting on Blaine's old hoodie, something Kurt's had forever at this point, that's stained with so much blood and dirt and grime that Kurt doesn't care to keep it clean anymore but he still wears it at night, still keeps it close.


Blaine watches from a few feet behind with a smile and his hands in his pockets. "Are you coming into the water with me?" Kurt asks, and he looks back over his shoulder. A blast of wind messes up his hair, and Kurt frowns and runs his fingers through it, pushing it back.


"Do I have to?" Blaine asks, and he eyes the water warily. Truth is, this is one of the maddest things he thinks Kurt has ever done. It's freezing. Kurt is going to get so cold in that water and Blaine doesn't really want to listen to him bitch, and he lets Kurt know this.


Kurt snorts. "I'm not going to bitch, Blaine. We take beatings daily without so much as a complaint. And yes, you have to. I want you to." He stands up, picking up Blaine's hoodie as he goes, shaking it out and folding it before placing it back down on top of his shoes.


Blaine observes as Kurt walks his way down the bank and toes into the water. He laughs roughly, covering his mouth as Kurt's shoulders stiffen in reaction. He looks over his shoulder and glares at Blaine, who holds his hands up and does his best to hold in the laughter.


Kurt strides in until it's just below his knees, not touching his jeans, and turns and faces Blaine and says, "Come on then. What are you waiting for? Are you afraid of a bit of cold water?" Blaine raises an eyebrow. Kurt's teeth are chattering already; he has no room to say anything.


He's coming up with a wonderfully witty and cocky response when a particularly hard lap of water combined with a gust of wind hits the back of Kurt's knees. Not expecting it, the young man yelps and topples over backwards into the water.


Blaine doesn't think twice. He runs for the water and dives in fully clothed, shoes and all, and grabs at Kurt and pulls him sat upright, holding him. "Jesus! Are you okay?"


Kurt's drenched and spluttering and shivering, but he just slaps Blaine lightly across the face and says, "It's knee-depth water, I wasn't going to drown! The shit we survive every day and you try and save me from this? Get off me!"


Blaine starts laughing despite himself, but he refuses to let Kurt go no matter how hard he squirms. He splashes Kurt and pushes him down on the silt of slightly shallower water and kisses him hard, tangling his fingers in Kurt's hair.


"Jesus, I love you," he whispers, and it's the first time he's said it aloud. A tiny fear sparks through him that this is going to go terribly wrong, but Kurt doesn't even skip a beat when he responds.


"Now you know I don't believe in Jesus," he says, looking faux offended, but then he smiles. "I love you too, Blaine." He rolls them over, straddling Blaine's hips. Blaine stares up at him, the silt and water dripping off him, his shirt clinging to his chest. Kurt bends and kisses Blaine possessively, needy, grabbing at his neck and shoulders and arms and anything in reach, curling his fingertips so his nails leave crescent-shaped indents.


"I don't know where I'd be without you," Kurt admits.


Blaine doesn't know how to respond to that. He covers Kurt's hand with his own, and says, "Let's go back to the car. Yeah?" Kurt nods.


They clamber up, collecting Kurt's things from the bank, and they walk back to the car, fingers intertwined, unable to stop themselves from stealing kisses. They throw their things in the front seat and get a blanket from the trunk. They make love in the back seat of the car, hot and heavy and slow.


Kurt looks beautiful when they're doing this. His cheeks flushed, eyes fluctuating between squeezed shut and blown wide open. He digs his nails into Blaine's back and throws his head back, neck exposed so Blaine kisses it.


They come together, and Blaine knows how it's every cliché in the book but he swears he sees stars when he calls out Kurt's name. When they've come down, they wrap themselves in the blanket and giggle at how dirty they are, covered in debris from the water and stinking from the sweat and mess between them, but neither of them care, and Blaine knows this is the most complete he's ever felt.


 

~***~

 


Blaine can't find the exact part of the shore that he and Kurt were on that day, but it doesn't matter. It's more the feel of it than anything, the emotion of being back here. He sits himself down on the banks and he looks out over the water. It's too dark to see anything except the reflections and the moon, hung up high and shining full in the deep sky.


If he closes his eyes, he can remember the feel of rolling around in the water with Kurt. If he squeezes them tighter he can see Kurt's smile, the silt and water clinging to his hair, the late afternoon sun glowing distantly behind them.


But it's not real; just a memory, a far too distant memory. Blaine hates it when memories are so far away like this, like an old photo fallen down the back of a cabinet. You remember the photo was great, but it's out of reach now. You can't get to it. The newer photos - fresher memories, they're still at the fore front. Touchable.


Blaine purses his lips and tucks his knees up to his chest. Touchable, but not changeable. He can taste the blood in his mouth and the bitter tears but he can't change them.


Blaine pulls his phone from his pocket and he calls Kurt. As he expects, it goes to voicemail. He talks away. He has to talk.


"Hey. I'm in Idaho right now. I'm looking for you, I promise, but I just stopped here for a little bit. I'm at Lake Lowell. I remember how everything was so perfect and then the next day you were pissed because your jeans were ruined, and we argued a little bit, and then ignored each other for an hour whilst driving, but then you pulled over and you said sorry for getting so bitchy, that it didn't matter because we'd had such a nice day. And you were sorry for tainting that when they were so few and far between.


"You never tainted that day for me. We made plenty of tainted memories later on, real ones that still really hurt, honestly, and - I never apologised for the things I said. We sort of made up, made that pact about phoning, but we never said sorry. I'm so, so sorry, Kurt. I messed everything up. But when I find you, I want to fix it. If you'd like to."


He hesitates and then swallows firmly and says, "I love you." The phone blips warning him he's running out of time on the voicemail and Blaine adds, "I've got to wrap this up. I'll see you soon, Kurt, as soon as I can."


Blaine hangs up and puts his phone away again, resting his arms on his knees and gazing out over the water a while longer. He has to sleep soon. It's dark and he's been driving all day.


When he can feel his eyelids slipping, Blaine pushes himself up and wanders back to the car. He pulls out the blanket from the trunk of the car and curls up on the back seat. It's not the same without Kurt wrapped around him.


Blaine says his goodbyes to Lake Lowell at six-thirty the next morning. He tells the waters, I'm gonna come back here with him, you know. He hopes he will, anyway. Blaine wants to believe he's going to find Kurt, he does, but there's that doubt, always. That fear.


He slides behind the wheel of the car and drives five hours before he makes a pit stop; he visits the toilet, washes his face, and stocks up on food to have in the seat next to him (complete with energy drinks, although he starts off by having a hot coffee from a machine). Then it's onwards again, and he's getting sore from all the driving but what's he to do?


I can rest when Kurt is safe, he reminds himself. He probably shouldn't have driven out to Lake Lowell - it took time off driving. He could've kept driving if he'd just kept going, could've driven into the night then stopped and rested, but hindsight is twenty-twenty for a reason, he supposes. Besides, he doesn't think he could have really resisted the pull of a place that had once been the source of so much happiness.


The next four hours are easy enough. The final two hours of the drive to Cheyenne are a push; Blaine drifts off at the wheel and has to jerk himself awake a couple of times, pulling over once to re-orientate himself so that he doesn't veer off the road and crash.


He doesn't even get a motel once he hits the city limits. He finds the first available car park and just curls up on the front seat and drifts away.


Blaine doesn't sleep easy. He's slept in hundreds of dodgy places easier than this. Nightmares come to him for the first time in a long time, possibly ever; he might have had nightmares when he was a small child, but if he did, he doesn't really remember.


They plague him now, though. At first they start out nicely. They start out with Blaine finding Kurt. That's when the visions turn - to Kurt's eyes twisting, flooding black, to him surging on Blaine, attacking until Blaine has to fight back and kill him.


Blaine startles awake after that one, and breathes deeply before he lies back again. Kurt finds him in the next nightmare. The nightmare after that, Kurt's dead before Blaine can reach him.


Blaine's exhausted when he wakes for good. Exhausted and terrified. His dreams have taken him through a thousand ways this whole journey could end - none of them good. He decides to take the morning to orientate himself in the city; he drives a little further in and stops off at a cafe.


It's a small, well lit sort of place by the name of Harlington's. The smell of bacon hits his nose as soon as he walks in. It brings a much-needed smile to his face, and when a curvy, dark-skinned young woman (with a smile that could lower the defences of anyone, Blaine's sure) tells him that the full, all-day breakfast is on special offer today, he can't resist ordering exactly what she suggests.


Her nametag says Mercedes, and when she tells him to go take a seat and that she'll bring his breakfast and coffee over to him, Blaine makes sure to thank her by name. He takes the seat by

the window and gazes out through the blinds, squinting in the face of the afternoon light but finding himself unable to do anything else.


The day feels like it's looking up already, although this day is slipping away already. He feels a little guilty that since the drive from Salem he's lost so much time, but equally he knows he can't entirely run himself into the ground. That would be counter productiveness at its finest.


Mercedes brings the coffee within five minutes; she tucks a newspaper onto the table next to him and tells him, "Your food is gonna be a good twenty minutes, and I don't think anybody can just stare out of the window for quite that long." From most people it would be a backwards comment that could be a little irritating - from this girl, with her pearly white smile and beautiful nature, it's Blaine's favourite thing he's seen in oh, twenty-one days, since Kurt's name last flashed up on his cell.


He settles back and opens the paper before he sips his coffee; it's sharp and strong and bitter, and he has the option to put milk and sweetener in it, but somehow he can't be bothered to. He doesn't really pay attention when the bell on the door rings and he hears it open and shut - it's a public cafe after all, and in the later hours of the day there are plenty of patrons flitting in and out.


He does, however, pay attention when he hears a quiet clatter followed by a string of curses. Blaine flickers his glance in the direction of the noise. A dark haired, slightly heavy-set man is standing with a lean, bleach-blond companion, and the dark haired man looks bothered as all hell and is wiping something off the side whilst the man beside him glowers.


"Don't fucking spill salt near me," the blond spits, and that catches Blaine's attention.


Who gets angry about a bit of salt?


"You're a useless dick, Karofsky."


The man - Karofsky - bristles and points a finger sharply at the blond. "Don't fucking embarrass me in public, Sam. It's just a bit of salt. Something far worse could've happened." None the less, Blaine observes as Karofsky uprights a salt cellar he'd knocked over, sweeping aside the offending spilt material.


They're talking in relatively hushed voices, for all the anger and venom between them, so Blaine feels a little bad for listening in, but...his gut is telling him something is weird.


Sam snorts, huffing out and smoothing his hair down before just smacking Karofsky's arm and saying, "Order something."


"Don't touch me out here," Karofsky mutters back, and he hails Mercedes over, who serves the snappy men with a little less of a smile than she offered Blaine.


He can't keep his eyes off Sam. Really, who does get that angry over some salt? It's just salt, after all. But if you were a demon, salt would be a problem indeed. He keeps watching, and as the two men settle onto stools at the counter, Sam's shirt sleeve rides up a little and Blaine sees it: a symbol of some sort, simple enough, a circle with a line through it. It looks like it's been scarred into his flesh.


It looks familiar for a reason he can't place. Blaine frowns. He commits it to memory, though, and as his breakfast arrives, he makes a mental note to call the Angels and ask.

 

~***~

They have Terri Schuester tied to a chair in the center of a Devil's Trap, and Will Schuester crying on the outside of it.


Admittedly, this isn't a situation Kurt and Blaine have ever been in before. They've had demons who've taken hold of married humans, certainly. Demons don't care what body they get into as long as it's capable of movement. They've even encountered demons that have attacked the significant other of whoever they're possessing - which has happened here, too.


But they've not had this. They can't exorcise Terri and they don't know why. The black-eyed bitch just laughed, flicking her dirty blonde hair as the exorcism ritual simply washed over her. It was just words to her.


Blaine has no idea what to do. They've been sitting there for the better part of an hour, in near silence apart from the demon in Terri taunting her husband over everything and anything, from how Terri is the only woman he's ever been with to the miscarriage of their baby.


Eventually, Kurt stands up. "I've heard enough from you," he tuts softly, talking stony-faced to the demon. He turns to Will and says, "Mr. Schuester. I need to talk to you." Blaine sits up and frowns at him, but Kurt shakes his head. "It won't take a minute. Keep an eye on that," he says, scowling at Terri.


Will hesitates then climbs to his feet, following Kurt out of the room.


Blaine eyes Terri. She beams sickly-sweet at him and wriggles her wrists under the bonds. "How you doing, sweetie? Blaine, isn't it?"


"Shut up," Blaine retorts sharply, tightening his fists.


She widens her eyes at him. "Baby, you kiss your momma with that mouth...?" She tilts her head and coos, "No, I suppose you don't, huh honey? Since you abandoned your whole family to go gallivanting about killing monsters with Kurtsie? Do they even know where you are, what you left them to do?”


Blaine swallows. “Shut. Your. Mouth.”


“It’s pretty sad that you sacrificed safety, normality,” she pauses and pouts and adds, “your whole life, really, to be with this boy. Do you really think he needs you that much?”


Blaine rises to it. He knows he shouldn’t, but he snaps and says, “He needs me. I’m all he has. I’m all he’s ever had apart from his father.”


“He has plenty of friends,” Terri tsks. “I can see inside your pretty little heads, you know. He has plenty of memories of people who aren’t you.”


Shut up,” Blaine snarls, and he’s about to do something real stupid like punch the lady when Kurt comes back in, purpose etched into his face.


And his demon-killing knife in hand.


“Kurt?” Blaine asks, anger draining and turning to worry. Kurt ignores him, stepping into the Devil’s Trap. Blaine yells as Kurt drives the knife home into Terri’s torso, beneath her ribcage.


“What the hell?!” Blaine shouts, and Kurt tears the knife from her body as Terri goes limp in the chair.


Kurt shuts his eyes, turns to Blaine, and explains quietly, “We couldn’t exorcise her. We couldn’t tie her up in the chair and let her verbally torture her husband forever. She certainly couldn’t go free. I talked to Schuester, and he agreed. It was best to put the real Terri her out of her misery and kill the son of a bitch possessing her.”


Blaine frowns. This feels cold.


But then, he supposes later, as they’re watching Will pace his kitchen trying to build up the courage to call 911, this job has to be cold sometimes.


“You know, we’ve probably ruined his life,” Blaine tells Kurt.


Kurt shrugs and swallows. “His life was ruined the second his wife got taken over by a demon.”


Blaine’s forehead creases and he looks back at where they’ve laid out Terri’s body on the couch. He sighs and purses his lips, then pauses as he notices something. Her shirt has ridden up just a little, just showing a bit of skin between it and the waistline of her jeans.


He approaches and gingerly moves the shirt up a little more, peering at the mark on her skin. It’s a funny, circular scar with a line through. He’s about to call to the kitchen and ask Will what it is when he speaks first, voice tight with grief as he comes in and tells Kurt and Blaine, “I’ve called the police. You guys should probably scram.”


Kurt nods and shakes Will’s hand apologetically, and then jerks his head at Blaine for them to leave. Blaine forgets about the mark, offers his condolences to Will, and just follows Kurt out.


 

~***~

 


“Hey, Castiel,” Blaine starts awkwardly when he calls the angel from Kurt’s phone. He feels more than slightly ridiculous as he gets comfortable on his hotel bed, preparing for a night of sleep. He was expecting the angel to pick up immediately but it’s gone to voicemail, and so, he clears his throat as he lies back and says, “I don’t really have any contacts in the hunting world apart from Kurt. I was wondering if you could help me. I saw this guy and his friend at a cafe today and basically, he had this weird symbol carved into his arm. It was fairly simple, could be nothing, but he got pretty pissed when salt was spilt near him. It was just a circle with a line through. Could you get back to me if it rings a bell at all?”


He hums and sighs and places Kurt’s phone with his on the bedside, taking the time and effort to actually undress before he clambers under the sheets. It feels a little like another day wasted as he lies back on the sheets. The longer he delays with crap like this, the longer it’ll take him to find Kurt, and the longer Kurt is missing...


It doesn’t bear thinking about. He stares up at the ceiling for a good long while, trying to avoid thinking about just that. He doesn’t even notice when he falls asleep - it only comes to his attention that he’s been sleeping when someone touches his shoulder, and he blinks blearily awake, scowls at himself for drooling on the pillow then realises:someone is in the room with him.


He startles and rolls over, preparing to roll away and find something to hit the intruder with, but then in the darkness he squints at the shape stood over him and realises it’s Castiel. “What the - “


“I’ve been standing here waiting for you to awake,” Castiel says quietly, his voice cutting through the thick dark. “But I have more important things to do. I apologise for waking you.”


Blaine rubs his eyes blearily and squints at him. “How long have you been standing there?”


Castiel tilts his head and says, “A friend of mine told me that humans need at least four hours of sleep. I was uncertain how long you had been sleeping when I arrived.”


“...You’ve been standing there for four hours?”


“The symbol,” Castiel moves on, looking around the room. “Your description was inadequate, but I believe you may be talking about a...brand, a binding link. A demon who has carved it into their host cannot be exorcised unless the link is broken.”


Blaine frowns and sits up in his bed, rubbing at his eyes. He reaches over and turns on the bedside lamp. “Cas, why didn’t you just ring me back like I said?”


Castiel sways slightly, his eyes flutter like he’s trying to focus, and that catches Blaine’s attention. The angel admits, “I didn’t think of that. I came straight from...a problem.” His hands shift, like they want to move and do something, but Castiel chooses instead to just flex them.


Blaine recognises this sort of behavior. The actions of a man trying to stay upright, usually. He hesitates before he asks, “Are you hurt? Were you in a fight or something?”


“It’s not of your concern. And it’s nothing that won’t heal soon,” Castiel brushes it off. Blaine scowls. Angels are a pain in the ass. “Do you believe this is something that you can handle alone, or should I stay to assist you...?”


His voice makes it sound like he really doesn’t want to stay. Blaine would love to ask the angel to help him, but he just shakes his head softly. With a blink, the angel is gone again. Blaine grumbles and buries himself back under the sheets to curl up for another few hours of rest.


When he next wakes up, it takes him a minute to remember that Castiel had even visited. The room is in a foggy, orange haze from the daylight filtering through the thick burgundy curtains, and he’s so tired. He feels like he’s barely slept at all. He sighs as he toes out of the bed and winces at the cold linoleum. This has to be one of the cheapest motels he’s ever stayed at. Lino floors, curtains that are more than perfect for keeping nosy people out, not a hint of somebody actually trying to make the room look nice.


Blaine dresses as quickly as his sleep-heavy limbs will allow him before he heads to the bathroom, taking his toothbrush and paste with him. He frowns at the rust edging around the taps and quickly changes his mind, looking around the state of the place. He doesn’t dare to look in the shower. This is clearly not the sort of place people come to when they’re genuinely looking for a place to stay.


Blaine ends up swirling a chug of mouthwash instead. He doesn’t really feel like touching the taps to turn them on. He’s been in plenty of dirty motels in his time and it never fails to gross him out. He’ll brush his teeth and clean up when he’s somewhere less appalling.


He makes it out of the motel as fast as he can. He’s sure as hell not staying there again.


He winds up in the same cafe he’d gone to yesterday. He recalls a Free Wi-Fi sign inside the window. It was a nice place that served nice food - and hey, if he’s lucky, maybe those guys will drop by again. It’s unlikely, but well. Unlikely doesn’t factor into Blaine’s mind much. With this job, it often isn’t a word at all.


Blaine heads for the bathroom first - shamelessly brushes his teeth and splashes water on his face. A couple of people wander in and stare before going about their business and walking back out, but it’s not something that fazes him. He remembers all the times he and Kurt had done something like this together - stood in public toilets, brushing teeth with fingers linked thoughtlessly.


Blaine looks down at his hand and flexes it carefully. Absence makes the heart hurt harder.


The door swings open and clatters closed loudly, making him jump from his thoughts. Blaine glances, just a fleeting acknowledgement before he can pick up his things, but he freezes. The blonde man heads to a urinal but pauses, staring right back at Blaine. “Getting an eyeful?”


No way is he this lucky, but that’s definitely Sam.


Blaine shakes his head apologetically as he grabs his things. “Uh, no, sorry. I thought you were someone I know. It’s a funny story, actually.”


Sam snorts and turns to the urinal. Blaine hears the tell-tale noise of the zipper going down as Sam says, “Yeah, well, save it for someone who gives a crap.”


“I’ll do that,” Blaine murmurs, checking in his bag for the small, clear bottle of liquid. Yep. He smiles at the back of Sam’s head before he exits the bathroom, ordering a large glass of water. The waitress who brings it to him at the counter is different from who was here yesterday - she’s older, a nervous red-headed woman who is strangely wearing plastic gloves to do everything.


Blaine shakes his head a little in confusion but then reaches down into his bag to produce the bottle - he tips it into the glass of water as fast as he can so that nobody sees, and takes a light sip as he watches Sam come out from the bathroom.


Sam sits a few seats down at the counter, pulling out his phone. Blaine eyes an empty table not too far past Sam, and decides to make a beeline for it, carrying the glass precariously with one hand, bag in the other.


And whoops, as he’s walking past Sam, he slips, and somehow his glass of water ends up all over Sam’s shoulders and back. Sam yells and jumps away, lashing out as smoke rises from his back, hissing in pain and squishing his eyes shut. It makes everyone in the cafe stare.


Blaine gasps and places his glass down and says, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry!”


It comes out entirely false, which it is, of course. He touches Sam’s back sympathetically saying, “Wow, it’s just water, what a strange reaction.” He leans in closer and says, “Holy water, you demonic son of a bitch.”


Sam’s eyes flood black and he snarls at Blaine. The waitress stares wide-eyed then holds out a brown bag. “Here’s - here’s your take-out.”


Sam shuts his eyes tightly and when he opens them to turn to the waitress, they’re a bright, normal human green again. “Thanks.” He takes it from her.


“Are you okay, sir?” She adds, her voice a little terrified squeak.


Sam smiles kindly then shoots Blaine a glare. “I’m just fine. It was an accident.” He exits the cafe, and Blaine follows, as he’s sure Sam is expecting him to.


When they’ve rounded a corner, Sam turns on Blaine and snaps, “Look, I’m not hurting anybody, but if you don’t leave me alone, I’ll hurt you. You’re a hunter, I’m guessing.”


Blaine nods. “You’re possessing someone. Do you really think I’m gonna let that go? That guy you were with yesterday - you didn’t exactly seem like you’re the calm, non-violent type when you were chewing him out for spilling salt.”


Sam rolls his eyes. “Dave is a lumbering, closeted, pathetic human being. Unfortunately, I’m bound to him, which means I can’t kill him, and no doubt he’d go all upset if I vented my anger on someone else.” Sam leans in. “And this is the body of a corporate sucker who hated his life anyway. I think he’s got it pretty good now.”


Blaine frowns. “You’re bound to him?”


Sam claps. “Oh, we’ve got a slow one.” Blaine scowls, but then before he can retort, Sam’s swinging back and punching him in the face.


 

~***~

 


“Can I just say goodbye to him before I gather up the ridiculous bail you’ve set?” Kurt’s snapping loudly enough that even inside the interview room, Blaine can hear him. There’s a much quieter exchange and then, finally, the door is opened.


The officer who’d arrested him stands in the doorway with his arms folded, and Kurt sighs as he steps forward and leans down to Blaine. “You’re an idiot,” Kurt says softly, then winks at Blaine and leans in and kisses him hard.


His tongue swipes across Blaine’s and Blaine can taste metal in his mouth before Kurt pulls away. He instinctively shifts it below his tongue in his mouth. “See you soon,” Kurt sighs dramatically, then waves his fingers at the officer before he leaves.


The instant Blaine is left alone, he spits out the paperclip and uses it to pick the lock on his handcuffs.


He meets up with Kurt in the motel after he’s escaped, and Kurt already has the car packed. “You need to be more careful next time you’re digging up a grave,” Kurt chides, and Blaine rolls his eyes as they climb into the Impala and leave the town in their dust.


 

~***~

 


This has to be the most embarrassing situation that Blaine has been put into in a very long time. He’s shaken awake by a heavy brunette woman who looks at him from behind huge glasses like he’s totally pathetic.


Which, as he stands up and catches sight of his eye, sore and quickly bruising, in a window reflection, he finds out that she’s right, he does look pathetic. When she walks off without a word, Blaine curses and runs after her, asking, “Ma’am! Did you see the guy who hit me?”


“The blond pansy?” She answers, reluctantly turning to him.


Blaine frowns at the description but none the less nods.


“Drove off that way and turned left,” she points, then turns to start to walk again. Blaine starts to trail her to ask more questions, but she turns on him with fire in her eyes and says, “Look, he was driving a blue car and it was only two minutes ago. Go find him so he can punch you again so I don’t have to.”


Blaine beams awkwardly, wincing a little bit when the muscles around his eye pull and thanks her before he makes a run for the Impala, clambering in and pulling away as fast as he can without killing himself or someone else. He drives in the direction the woman had told him, veering around the corner and peering through the other cars. He finally catches sight of a blue car taking a right, so he settles in to trail that.


If it’s the wrong car, he’ll be pissed at himself, but he’ll just go find somewhere to sit down and do what he’d initially wanted to do, which is do some serious research on the laptop for males in the area with the last name Karofsky.


This is already a pain in the ass to deal with, so no matter how he has to wind up dealing with it, it’s not like it could be any more difficult.


He trails the blue car to a small house on a street littered with similarly small houses - an ordinary place, with ordinary people. That’s always the way. Blaine actually wishes there were more creepy huge houses than there are in this line of work - it would make his job a whole lot easier when they’re trying to track people down.


He parks way down the street to watch with bated breath. The door opens. He leans a little forward and narrows his eyes, biting his tongue, hoping that he’s followed the right person...


Sam climbs out of the car and strides up the porch, bag of food in hand. Blaine breathes out thankfully and settles back in the car. He watches as the demon unlocks the front door and goes in, closing it behind him. With any luck, Sam will still be wound up after what Blaine did. He might be so wound up that he has to leave the house again. He might take a drive somewhere and Blaine can corner him and get this over with.


An hour passes. Two hours. Nothing happens, nobody comes out. Four hours go by and Blaine’s getting tired. After five hours he dozes off.


He comes to because someone is knocking on the window. Blaine jerks awake and wipes his mouth automatically before he even looks at the person rapping their knuckles on his window. He frowns. It’s Karofsky.


Blaine rolls the window down and says, “Can I help you...?”


“You’ve been sitting outside my house for seven hours,” Karofsky says with an eyebrow quirked, “Two of which you’ve been asleep. Sam says you followed him here. He wanted to give you another black eye.”


Blaine clears his throat. Awkward. “I guess I wasn’t as subtle as I thought I was.” He rolls his neck, popping the bones, then relaxes a little and straightens up, sitting properly. “You know he’s a demon, right?”


Karofsky looks around nervously then walks away, and Blaine narrows his eyes, following him with his gaze. Instead of just leaving, Karofsky goes around to the passenger side and climbs in, shutting the door and saying, “I summoned him.”


Blaine chokes a little. “You did what? Do you realise how stupid that is?”


Karofsky folds his arms defensively, curling in on himself and not meeting Blaine’s eyes. “It’s not stupid. I knew what I was doing and he’s kind of snappish but he does what I summoned him for, so.”


He raises an eyebrow. “What did you summon him for anyway...?”


“Dude, none of your business.”


“Dude, you summoned a demon. I hunt demons. Totally my business,” Blaine retorts, shifting and watching Karofsky, who glances at him nervously.


“You can’t...hunt Sam or whatever,” he mutters.


Blaine sighs. “Give me a reason not to. Seriously.”


Karofsky swallows and Blaine reels a little when the guy’s eyes well up and he admits, voice scratchy and frightened, “I - I’m gay, but I’m not out, and - I just, I wanted - “


Blaine blanches and then screws his face up. “Hold on, hold on.” Karofsky snuffles and wipes his eyes and Blaine narrows his own. “Is Sam a sex demon?” Karofsky looks away, shame written all over his face, and Blaine’s jaw drops. “Je-sus.”


Karofsky smacks a frustrated fist against the dashboard and Blaine jumps, then glares at him. “Don’t hit my car. I can’t believe you summoned a sex demon. You do realise you could just come out and get a real boyfriend?” He leans in, “Sam’s a demon. That demon isn’t even Sam; actually, it’s possessing him.” Karofsky’s eyes widen. “Didn’t think about that, huh? Some poor guy’s body is bound to that demon that you’ve been fucking for god-knows-how-long. He has a life, friends, and because of you - “


Karofsky cuts him off. “No. I didn’t know.”


“Do you think that makes it okay? Because it doesn’t.” Blaine purses his lips. “You have to let me exorcise Sam,” he tells him, trying a gentler approach in his tone of voice. “It’s not fair. Sam might be awake inside there. How long have you had him...?”


“Six months, maybe,” Karofsky mutters, and Blaine sighs heavily.


“Six months. Sam’s probably been awake for some, if not all, of that,” Blaine tells him, laying it on thick. “When a demon possesses you, it simply takes hold of your body and mind. It doesn’t remove you or your soul. It just sits in there like a parasite. Somebody who’s possessed,” he pauses and touches Karofsky’s arm, making the man look at him. “Somebody who’s possessed can often feel and see the things going on. They still have their own thought process. They just don’t have control over it because the demon has taken hold. It’s not fair to make somebody live through that.”


Karofsky’s eyes flicker down, guilty. “I didn’t know. I didn’t think.” He snuffles. “You don’t know what it’s like to be me, man, you don’t know what it’s like to... hate yourself... I just wanted...” He trails off and presses the heels of his palms to his eyes, groaning unhappily.


“I know,” Blaine tells him softly. “I’m gay too, okay? And I don’t know what it’s like to be you or be in the closet, but I know this is not the solution to helping yourself. I mean, come on. A sex demon. I expect…” He pauses for thought. He’s bullshitting at this point. He has no idea what was going through Karofsky’s head when he summoned this demon. “You probably just wanted a companion, right? Someone to love who loved you back.” Karofsky’s bottom lip trembles. “A demon is never going to love you. They don’t know how to love. He’ll fuck you and play around with like, shells of true emotions, but he’s never going to love you.”


Karofsky nods silently then looks to Blaine sincerely. Blaine smiles at him. “Are we gonna give the guy this demon is in his life back? Or do you really want to have that on your conscience forever?”


Blaine watches him carefully as he chews his lip then hesitantly nods. “What do we have to do?”


 

~***~

 


It’s been almost a month since Blaine has had any contact from Kurt. Blaine knows that the job he and his dad do takes them to strange places and Kurt can’t always call Blaine, but something about it feels wrong. Ever since they started dating, Kurt usually makes a special effort to stay in contact.


The sense of dread is extra gut-churning this particular morning. “You need to eat something,” his mother tells him, putting down a plate in front of him. He stares at the toast. “Blaine, please. You know that if you don’t eat properly, you’ll have a terrible day.” She rubs his shoulder.


“I’m going to have an awful day anyway,” Blaine murmurs picking up a slice of toast and staring at it before putting it back down. He looks up at his mother, standing beside him at the table. “I haven’t heard from Kurt in ages.”


Her hand drops. “Not this again.” Blaine frowns up at her, and she brushes her fingers over Blaine’s curls. “That boy almost never comes around and from what I hear he’s not exactly treated well by his family. I have half a mind to report him and his father - or I would, but you refuse to tell me his last name!”


“He’s fine,” Blaine promises, frowning, “His dad home-schools him, that’s all. They just move around a lot.” He reluctantly picks back up the toast and takes a bite, gesturing at her as if to say are you happy now?


She tuts and walks away. Blaine calls after her, “I love you, mom.” He sighs and puts the toast down once she’s out of sight. He’s too torn up on the inside to eat. He’s sure that if he ate, he’d only be bringing it back up somewhere around lunch time, and then he’d spend the rest of the day feeling totally miserable.


He brushes crumbs off the front of his uniform slacks and makes sure he has all the things that he needs for school - or most of them, anyway, because he can’t find his French textbook and he doesn’t like that class all that much anyway.


Blaine sniffs unhappily as he pulls on a thick hooded jacket on before his blazer. He doesn’t like the uniform. Kurt doesn’t either, he thinks absently as he pulls up the hood and hooks his bag onto his shoulder. Kurt loves the blue and red, thinks the blazer is a beautiful little thing, but the grey slacks are too boring and on the whole the uniform, although not ugly, isn’t exactly charming, either.


It’s a cold day, Blaine observes as he peers out of the window. It’s grey and looks like it’s probably going to rain at some point - but whatever, he’s going to be indoors all day, so it’s not like it matters. “I’m heading off now,” he calls through the house to his parents - his mother yells something back but he can’t quite hear it.


His father is silent as ever.


Blaine and his father don’t really get along. Not since Blaine came out to him. It isn’t that his father doesn’t love him, he just doesn’t love that he’s gay. Or that’s what Blaine hopes it is anyway.


He shakes his head and steps out of the front door, shivering when a blast of wind greets him. He tucks his hands into his pockets and keeps his head down until the wind dies. He has to walk about a half-hour to get to the bus station so he can get a ride to school. He doesn’t see why he isn’t allowed a car, but hey, Blaine’s given up on fighting for more freedom.


Blaine slows to a halt when he reaches the end of the street, because parked on the corner is a familiar Chevrolet. He frowns, and then shakes his head. It could just be another black ’67 Chevrolet Impala, right?


Blaine chews his lip and then walks towards the car because it probably isn’t just another car that happens to be exactly the same. That kind of thing doesn’t happen to anyone, really, unless they’re really unlucky - or extremely lucky, depending on who you are.


He peers into the windows and sees Kurt, curled up asleep in his clothes on the back seat. Blaine’s forehead creases and he raps his knuckles on the window lightly. Kurt jerks awake with a yell, then scrambles up against the opposite window, as far from Blaine as possible. He watches nervously, and then Kurt’s wide, panicked eyes calm down and he appears to realise it’s just Blaine at the window. Nothing bad.


Kurt wipes his eyes - they’re red and puffy, Blaine realises, and not in the sleepy kind of way - and then scoots closer to open the door, not getting out but swinging his feet down so he’s still sitting half-in the car. “Hi,” Kurt mumbles, blearily, looking at the ground.


“Kurt,” Blaine starts, then frowns, dropping to his knees on the pavement and resting his palms on his boyfriend’s knees. “Kurt, look at me.” He brings a hand up to touch his cheek, and make them have eye contact. Blaine’s staggered to see that he’s just silently crying. “What’s wrong?” He shuffles and wipes away a tear from his face, then scans Kurt up and down, and freezes, eyes on his midsection.


“Kurt, Kurt,” he chants, pushing his hands out of the way and pressing at his stomach. His fingers come away bloody, and Blaine panics, then looks up, “Kurt, is that your blood?” He doesn’t think about it when he presses his hand to Kurt’s face again, smearing blood on his cheek, “Kurt, talk to me!”


Kurt’s bottom lip wobbles and he can’t seem to bring himself to speak, but he shakes his head, a clear no.


“Who’s blood is it?” Blaine asks warily, leaning back to get a good look. His shirt is drenched, though drying in places. It must be relatively fresh. He glances around the car then frowns and says, “Where’s your father?”


Kurt sobs audibly and Blaine blanches, clambering up and immediately bundling his boyfriend into his arms.


It takes fifteen minutes for Kurt to stop crying. A full hour before he’s ready to talk, by which time he and Blaine are sitting side by side in the back seat of the Impala, with Kurt’s bloody shirt in the footwell, now wearing Blaine’s hoodie instead.


Kurt has his head tipped against Blaine’s shoulder, their fingers laced, and he says, voice hoarse and sad, “We were trying to take on a vampire’s nest in Dayton. They - they got my dad. I managed to get him out of sight but he bled out on me. He yelled at me to go. He made me go.” Kurt’s voice shudders as he whispers, “I left him behind. I couldn’t - I came here. I didn’t know where to go.”


Blaine shuts his eyes and tries to keep his own breathing steady. He has to be strong for Kurt. He squeezes Kurt’s hand in his own, covering it with his other hand, and looks to him slowly. “Do you need somewhere to stay?” Kurt’s forehead knits and Blaine adds, “You can’t go back to hunting. Not yet. You need time, Kurt.”


Kurt sighs deeply then nods and sits up, looking at Blaine. “Would your parents...?”


“They won’t mind,” Blaine assures him. “I’ll explain - sort of. I’ll tell them that your dad had to go away on a trip for a week. And then,” without even thinking about it, without hesitating, he says, “when you’re ready, you and I can go together. If you’d like.”


Kurt’s eyes widen and he opens his mouth to argue but Blaine cuts him off, “You can’t do this alone. And I don’t want you to. And I know you don’t want to just sit down and be some normal kid. That’s not you.” He brings Kurt’s hand to his mouth and kisses the back of his palm and murmurs, “So let me go with you.”


 

~***~

 


“This is a Devil’s Trap,” Blaine explains softly, leaning over the dashboard, drawing in thick marker on the back of an old map. Karofsky frowns and glances at him then focuses on the drawing. Blaine elaborates, “They keep demons inside them. A demon can get in, but it can’t get out. It can only leave the trap if the line is broken, which they can’t do themselves as a general rule.”


He’s lying, kind of. If a demon has enough power they can smash the flooring to bits but he’s not going to tell Karofsky that. He continues, “What we do is we paint these. It doesn’t matter where. On the underside of a rug, on the floor, on the ceiling - it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s somewhere that the demon can walk over or under. Once they’re in they can’t get out, no matter what.”


Karofsky’s forehead knits together.


“So what you do is you tell Sam to go out. To do something that’ll take an hour or so,” Blaine shrugs. “You paint a trap.” He pushes the map towards Karofsky. “I’ll give you spray paints. And basically...” He pauses and leans over, scribbling his number on the paper, “You call me once you’ve got Sam stuck in the trap.”


Karofsky’s eyes widen, “What? No! I can’t do this by myself!”


“All you’re doing is getting Sam in the trap,” Blaine tries to assure him, resting a hand on his shoulder. “Listen -” He takes a deep breath, finding the words, then explains, “I can’t help you. If I could help you, I would. But I’m not in town just for you. I’m not in town for this. I’m here looking for someone, and that means I need to focus on looking for them.” Karofsky looks away. Blaine whacks his shoulder lightly. “Come on. You can do this.”


Karofsky closes his eyes then nods and folds up the map, tucking it into his pocket. They both climb out of the car, and Blaine opens the trunk, fishing around in his things for a can of red spray paint. “Here,” he says softly, holding it out. “Call me, okay?”


Karofsky nods, looking down at the can before he starts to walk off down the street. Blaine watches him retreat for a few steps, then goes back to his side of the car and opens it. He’s about to climb in when he hears Karofsky call back to him - so he looks ahead and blinks expectantly.


Karofsky hesitates then says, “That friend you’re looking for...are they - “


“He’s the love of my life,” Blaine tells him, honestly, and Karofsky nods, then even offers a small smile.


“I hope you find him.”


Blaine smiles back then climbs into the car and calls, “Talk later.” He watches Karofsky tuck the can inside his jacket and walk away, his head bowed and shoulders bunched. As he gets closer to his home, Sam appears on the steps, arms folded.


Blaine sucks on his lower lip then breathes out heavily before he turns on the engine and pulls away from the house, going as fast he can. He can only hope this goes the way it needs to. He’s wasted so long in this city already though - he needs to track down the source of the demonic omens and get on Kurt’s trail.


That’s kind of a problem with being a hunter: once a hunter, always a hunter. Once the ways of demons and ghosts and ghouls and vampires have been seared, slashed, and burnt into the soul, they don’t leave. It means there’s always a pull to help someone, or to banish something bad. It means there’s always a distraction.


Blaine hopes Kurt would understand that.


He winds up in a different cafe when he finally pulls the car to a stop. More free Wi-Fi - just what he’s after. He shacks up in the corner in a booth with a cup of rotten-smelling coffee that he drinks anyway after he’s de-polluted it with three or five packets of sugar.


Then he gets searching. He looks for specific farms suffering cattle mutilations, crop failure. Blaine’s honestly not quite sure what his plan is, other than to talk to the owners of the land, ask them if they happen to have seen anything of interest...


And I can ask them whilst posing, he thinks as he puts down the addresses of the places into his phone, as a not-for-profit journalist looking into the increasing cattle mutilations in the city and surrounding area.


“Let’s go,” Blaine mutters out loud to himself and then dumps a five dollar note on the table, shutting his laptop, getting out of the cafe, going back to the car, and finding the first address on the map.


He forces his fingers, as a makeshift comb, through his hair when he pulls up outside the address - it stretches his curls out and he licks his palm, smoothing it just enough to look reasonable. He then climbs out of the car, dusting creases from his clothes, before he strides up the path. He sees a tall man, not much older than himself, leaning on a fence, head tipped back and soaking up the afternoon warmth.


“Excuse me,” Blaine calls out, and the man’s head snaps forward and his eyes go wide, his face riddled with guilt. Blaine quirks an eyebrow and laughs as he approaches and says, “Hi.”


The guy swallows. “Please don’t tell anyone I was slacking off. It’s just such - like, it’s kind of a nice afternoon, and I was, like - “


Blaine raises a hand and smiles, good natured. “My lips are sealed.” He then extends that hand, “Hi, I’m Everett.”


The guy shakes it and answers, “Hudson, uh, Finn Hudson.” Finn kind of blinks stupidly and then says, suspiciously, “Can I help you?”


“Oh!” Blaine laughs, as though he’s forgotten himself, and says, “Uhm, I’m a not-for-profit journalist. I like to investigate strange events and post about them on my e-zine.”


Finn’s eyes narrow. “What’s an e-zine? Is that something to do with porn? Dude, we don’t - “


“It’s an online magazine about the supernatural and otherwise strange,” Blaine cuts him off, putting up his hands defensively before sliding them into his pockets. “I’ve been hearing about all the cattle deaths around here. I was hoping you could tell me something about them, or lead me to someone who does know. It’s a strange phenomenon and I just want to,” he gestures enthusiastically, pausing as he searches for a good word whilst feigning the excitement he imagines you’d need to actually care about this kind of thing and finishes, “document it.”


Finn wrinkles his face like he’s got a bad taste in his mouth. “People are actually interested in that?”


Blaine nods, very seriously. “Oh yeah.”


Finn sticks out his bottom lip, then sniffs and says, “Well, it’s nothing that weird, like, they just die, everything dies...”


Blaine laughs disbelievingly and probes, “But they’ve been found, you know...split in two, practically.”


“Oh.” Finn looks puzzled, hesitant to respond, then just looks down and says, “Well, my boss says they’re just, like, when the cows die and stuff, they sort of explode or something, and it’s really nasty but it’s nothing out of the ordinary...”


Blaine nods. Of course, that’s occasionally true, but not always. In Blaine’s experience, cattle deaths in this kind of number - four in the last week alone, he’s learned - are almost always linked to heavy demonic behaviour. Not that a dolt like this guy would know about that, but he obviously doesn’t entirely buy what he’s selling.


Blaine leans in, hushed and says, “What d’you really think, though? So many dying and all of them having the same kinda stuff happen...”


Finn swallows and leans heavily on the fence and says, “I’m not supposed to talk about it to anyone...”


Blaine shrugs, “Off the record then. Or when I write my article I’ll just pretend it’s my own speculation and theories.”


Finn hesitates, then whispers, “The cattle have been too cut up. Someone’s been killing them. My boss says it’s the competition or something, but I think it’s some gang that’s gone through town, cause like, it all started when this one guy came here... He was walking, and it was weird because he was barefoot and in really nice clothes and he didn’t look poor so why was he walkin’, and he had these friends, and...”


Finn blathers on about his paranoid theory: that a gang has been targeting the farms from out of state, paying cow assassins so that everything goes down the pan for them. Blaine stops listening, staring as though he still is but he’s too stuck on the description. The description sounded like Kurt.


Blaine waits for Finn to finish, then says, “Yeah, great, uh.” He swallows, trying not to choke up, and dares to ask, “What did the barefoot guy look like?”


“Oh, uh, a couple of inches taller than you, had this real soft looking poof of hair on his head and his face was, like, sort of pointy, and he was skinny, and stuff.”


Blaine shuts his eyes. “Did you see his face properly? What was it like?” He has to be sure.


“Pale. Green or blue eyes. He walked really close to where I was, and he looked over before he just kept walking... You know, it’s funny, ‘cause like, his eyes looked black at one point. So creepy. Trick of the light though, I know ‘cause he looked right at me. And he smiled. And when he smiled, he kind of looked like he didn’t have any teeth. It was weird.”


Blaine’s heart drops to his stomach. At this point, he feels as though he can’t even see Finn properly - everything is just a blurry mess of fear and everything coming together. He can only fight past the rush of blood pounding in his head long enough to hear, to ask, “Did he say anything?”


“I just heard something about old friends in Missouri,” Finn says, and then he’s off again, rattling off yet more about his insane conspiracy theory about cattle assassins.


Blaine walks away. He’s heard enough. He barely notices Finn yelling after him in confusion.


He’s choking up before he even gets to the car, but he refuses to let himself cry even as terror and knowledge and realisation wash over him, even as the last dredges of hope abandon him: Kurt is possessed by a demon.

Chapter Text

They’re arguing. Again. Blaine doesn’t know what about. It had started, probably, this morning when Blaine had gotten Kurt’s coffee order wrong, putting the taller man into a bad mood to begin with. Then it had just gone downhill from there - snapping at each other for no reason, yelling matches in car parks and the silent treatment in the car. Then a song that one of them hates but the other likes will come on the radio and somebody will turn it up, and then the yelling will go on in the car itself for a while.


And then they’ll just spend the entirety of the rest of the day bitching and griping and insulting each other. “You don’t even have a clue how painful it is for me to spend every second of the day with you,” Kurt snaps, and Blaine curls in on himself, arms folded, glaring at the road that’s disappearing fast under the wheels. “I don’t even get to sleep in a bed by myself. No, I have to deal with you - sweaty and hairy and snoring; it’s disgusting. Who wants to be pressed up against that all the damn time?”


“I don’t hear you complaining when we fuck,” Blaine spits back bluntly, then glances at the speedometer and says, “Would it kill you to slow down? I should drive.”


“You don’t get to fucking drive my car.” Kurt shakes his head and spitefully hits the gas harder, driving faster.


“No, but I fucking drive your car every time you’re too fucking tired,” Blaine growls. “Every time you want to eat or touch up your moisturiser or bum phone networks so you can get the latest fucking bid on your next Alexander McQueen corset, you fucking prissy bitch!”


Kurt goes on a tirade at that, screaming himself hoarse and gesturing wildly, “And what do you do with your time? You fucking eat and sleep and - and fart, and you can’t even fucking fight! I don’t know why I have you around, Blaine! I don’t even fucking - “


Kurt!” Blaine bellows and grabs the steering wheel, steering the car onto the right side of the road where it had been veering off. Kurt yells and immediately yanks the car over more, pulling it onto the side of the road and screeching to a halt.


He rests his head on the steering wheel and Blaine slumps back with a relieved sigh. The tension ebbs out of the car, and they sit in silence; not talking, but no longer so angry. Blaine breaks the silence after a few minutes. “That would’ve been an awful way for a pair of hunters to die.”


Kurt laughs weakly and sits up, running his hands through his hair. He doesn’t look at Blaine when he speaks, looking down at his lap instead as he says, “We’ve been fighting like that a lot lately, Blaine.”


He nods. They really have. They’re both twenty-one now, and they’ve never fought as badly as they have in the past six months. “It’s okay,” Blaine murmurs. “It’s the stress of the road. Close quarters and all that. We’ll be fine.”


Kurt glances to him then. “Will we really?”


Blaine frowns. “Do you not want us to be?”


Kurt averts his eyes. “No, of course I want us to be fine. Just ignore me.” He looks up again and slips a hand around the back of Blaine’s neck, resting comfortably there before he leans in and steals a soft kiss. Blaine barely gets to taste Kurt before it’s over, and the car is being pulled back out onto the road.


“I love you,” Kurt says, lips curling up in a just-convincing half-smile.


 

~***~

 


Blaine is driving aimlessly, solely to calm down, when his phone finally buzzes and he answers carelessly to hear Karofsky say, “Um - hey? It’s Karofsky, I - “


“Hey, hey,” Blaine interjects, swallowing and cradling the phone between his shoulder and ear as he finds a place to pull over. “Did you get the trap done okay? You got Sam into it?”


“Yeah - I managed. He’s - he’s really pissed, though. Can you get over here as fast as possible...?”


“I’m on my way,” Blaine promises, and hangs up, throwing his cellphone into the seat and pulling away, hitting the gas. He gets lost once or twice on the way back to Karofsky’s house, but he hopes it hasn’t taken him too long. He pulls up outside of it this time, instead of parking way down the street, and as he’s jogging up to the door (bag with a gun, holy water, salt, and the knife in hand), it opens, and Karofsky appears, looking nervous as hell.


“Hey,” he greets him, and Karofsky simply stands back to let him in. He asks, “How’d it go?” as he then follows the man down the hallway, running through the exorcism incantation in his mind.


Karofsky wrings his hands. “Dude, he’s really pissed. I just told him to go get something that was on the other side of that room, and he got stuck in the trap, and - yeah. I don’t know.” He shrugs and then nervously opens a door, and a mobile phone is hurled outwards. The pair dodges out of the way as it shatters and rebounds off the opposing wall, and then hesitantly leans in and peers at the sight of the room.


Sam’s standing in the center of the trap, eyes filled with that shiny, demonic black and his chest heaving, his entire body shaking with visible rage. “You traitor,” he howls at Karofsky, “I gave you everything you’ve ever wanted! I gave you - everything!”


“You’ve stolen someone’s life,” Blaine says quietly, stepping into the room, gathering a cool demeanour when he glances over at Karofsky and senses that his is far from cool. “That’s evil.”


Sam rolls his eyes, a gesture that’s somehow discernible even without a visible iris. “I’m a demon, idiot. Did you ever hear of a nice demon?” He pauses, then says, “Actually, I’m about as nice as they come. I don’t kill anyone. I wouldn’t. I just want to live here nicely. He,” Sam glances at Karofsky, flirty and playful, “is a bonus.”


Blaine makes a noise of wonderment. “You’ve changed your tune from the ‘pathetic, closeted thing’ you had claimed he was when we had that chat outside the café, you know, and how you only can’t kill him because you’re bound to him...?”


“Sam...” Karofsky seems surprised, hurt even, by the revelation. Blaine is sympathetic. Karofsky is stupid, but not unkind, and even with it like this, he probably loves the demon to an extent. There’s an extended pause and Blaine is about to speak when Karofsky says, “Wait, bound to me?”


Blaine glances sharply between them. Admittedly he isn’t sure why Sam is bound to Karofsky, but he has an inkling that it’s because Karofsky summoned him as a sex demon. Sam then helpfully elaborates and spits, “You raised me from Hell, not simply as a demon but a demon that walks the mortal plane solely to serve you and your body.” Sam’s eyes flicker up and down said body disdainfully. “I can’t kill you because if I did, I would be sent right back to the pit.” His eyes narrow and land on Blaine. “Although, it’s tempting right now.”


Blaine rolls his eyes and reaches into his bag and says, “Enough.” He unscrews the lid of a flask, then casts holy water over Sam’s face. The demon screeches and yowls in pain, writhing as smoke rises and his flesh sizzles.


“So this bond,” Blaine clears his throat, cocking an eyebrow at the demon. “It have anything to do with that little mark on your arm, or is that just for decoration?”


Sam shrugs and sighs, clearly aware that the game is up as he gestures with one hand and answers, “Insurance. I couldn’t have him -“ an angry glance is shot at Karofsky “ - changing his mind, or any old hunter getting rid of me.”


Karofsky interjects in a stage whisper to Blaine, “Is Sam, uhm, the real Sam, going to remember...?”


Before he can answer, the demon Sam smiles wickedly and drawls, “I hope so.”


Blaine raises the holy water but Sam just steps to the furthest edge of the trap and continues, “All those memories! His body forced to do all those things...” His voice turns whimsical, teasing, as he eyes Karofsky and baits him, “Why, it’s tantamount to rape...”


Karofsky lunges and Blaine drops the flash, grabbing at the larger man and yelling “No!” at him. He yanks Karofsky by the arms and hisses, “It’s what he’s after. If you got into that trap, he could kill you. Don’t play into his hands.”


It’s time to end this, fast, Blaine then decides, and he produces the demon killing knife. Sam’s eyes widen a little then his face goes slack, unreadable as Blaine steps over the lines of the trap with the blade raised.


“You gonna stick me with that?” Sam starts to talk, “Going to kill an innocent person? And me?”


Blaine smirks, just to torture Sam that little bit, but then shakes his head and says, “I’d like to, believe me. But I won’t kill you.”


Before Sam can register what he’s saying, Blaine grabs his arm and pulls it outward, slashing through the binding mark. Sam curses and lashes out, hooking Blaine’s jaw with a sickening crunch of his fist, but Blaine just swiftly steps out of the trap.


“I promise you, Sam, I’ll kill you if you ever come after me,” Blaine promises softly, looking the demon directly in his black eyes. “Stay in hell. You’re much safer there.”


He takes in a sharp breath. “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus,” Blaine starts, reciting from memory. Sam chokes, his body jerking. His convulsions become more violent, lurching and gagging as Blaine speaks the incantation. He glances briefly to Karofsky and feels a tug of sadness at the blatant worry in his eyes.


Fallen for a demon, despite his cruelties. Well, he’s only human, Blaine supposes, and love is the most human emotion of them all. The sort of thing built in from birth when you’re loved and love in return.


Almost reluctantly, Blaine speaks the final words. He watches Karofsky’s eyes shut, a tear fall as he turns from the sight of Sam’s head throwing back as the demon is ejected in thick black smoke that soon vanishes through all the available cracks in the room.


The body, the real Sam’s eyes turn their brilliant green and then shut as he crumples to the floor.


Blaine wants to go over and gather the unconscious man up but Karofsky beats him to it, stepping up and collecting the limp frame and exiting the room with him. Blaine gathers his things and trails behind as he watches Karofsky lay Sam on a bed, pillowing his head and lovingly, carefully manipulating him into the recovery position.


“He’s unhurt,” Blaine assesses from a distance. He gets a confused look in return. “It’s not always the case. Demons can possess anyone, living or dead,” he explains, “and as such they don’t always take care of their living... meat suits.”


Karofsky’s eyes narrow and he looks down on Sam. “Don’t call him that.”


“Sorry,” Blaine murmurs. “He should wake soon. His body is probably exhausted right now.” He gestures to the knife wound on Sam’s arm. “Need me to wrap that?”


“No, I got it,” Karofsky brushes him off, moving and opening a drawer and pulling out bandages and cleaning wipes. He looks Blaine over. “How’s your jaw?”


The mention of it makes the throbbing more noticeable. “Worse has happened,” Blaine shrugs.


“You’ve been doing this a long time, huh,” he states, looking down as he cleans the wound then awkwardly wraps it. He nervously wipes hair from Sam’s forehead.


“Too long,” Blaine answers, unable to resist smiling as he recalls his affections in tending to Kurt in Karofsky’s actions now.


“This guy you’re looking for?”


“Him too,” Blaine confirms. “Even longer than I have,” he says, watching as Sam stirs on the bed. He sniffs and says quickly, “I’m gonna go, now.”


“Already?” Karofsky turns his head then his face softens in understanding. “Yeah, alright. Find your friend. Take care.”


“Thanks. You too. Take care, that is,” Blaine tells him, “and I mean that.”


He leaves before Sam’s eyes open, but he waits outside the door to listen in for a moment. A voice similar yet way different to the demon’s, with a different accent, comes out weakly and says, “Who are you?”


There’s a pause and Blaine shuts his eyes, waiting. “I - I’m Dave,” comes the unsteady reply. “I found you. I’m gonna take you to the hospital in a bit. You’re - kind of hurt and stuff, and...yeah.”


Blaine sighs sadly and opens his eyes, leaving for good, climbing back into his car where he sits behind the wheel contemplatively, looking back up at the house. It’s best for Sam not to remember, it really is, but at the same time - Blaine really feels for Karofsky. The man made a stupid mistake in summoning a demon in the first place, but it wasn’t an act born from evil. He just wanted to be wanted.


Blaine swallows, turns on the engine and pulls away from the house.


 

~***~

 


“You are never going to be good at this,” Kurt laments, staring as Blaine focuses hard on closing a deep wound across his arm. “Your stitching’s all skewed, Blaine.”


Blaine raises an eyebrow at him. “Kurt. It’s not fashion. I’m not going to try a - double stitch in the shape of hearts or something, I don’t know. As long as the scar isn’t too horrendous, you have no room to complain.”


Kurt sighs and presses the bag of ice to his forehead with his spare hand. “I’ll remember that next time you’re crying because a claw broke off in your leg and I have to dig it out.”


“It was in my leg, Kurt,” Blaine protests, frowning, tugging the stitch a little too hard as retaliation. Kurt hisses and sticks his tongue out at Blaine. He makes a face right back, then smiles as he finishes the stitches and bandages up Kurt’s arm. “All better,” he whispers, kissing the fabric.


Kurt blushes a little and swings his feet off the edge of the table, then slides off and leans down to kiss Blaine properly.


 

~***~

 


Blaine shacks up that night in a considerably cleaner motel than the last; a dark looking place where his room lays up on the third floor.


When he walks in and flicks the light on, he stares at his feet, and when he does look up to see where he’s going, he startles and jumps at the sight of the blonde-haired angel sitting on the edge of his bed.


“Quinn,” he breathes, relieved that it’s at least someone he knows even if they are still almost literally a total stranger, “How’d you know I’d be here?” Blaine asks a little warily, looking behind him as he shuts the door.


“You know that phrase, ‘angels are watching over you’?” Quinn looks at him with a tired smile. He nods and shifts his weight from foot to foot. “It’s true.”


“That’s a lot less comforting than I’d like it to be,” Blaine muses, scratching the back of his head. He watches Quinn carefully as he approaches. She looks worn, her hands touching her stomach almost protectively. Even her hair is lackluster compared to their first meeting. “Are you alright?” He questions hesitantly.


“Hm?” Quinn blinks then folds her hands consciously in her lap, smoothing out imaginary creases in her skirt as she does. “Yes, I’m fine.” She brushes her dress off and stands up, taking on a far more official demeanour as she presents him a piece of paper with a Missouri address scrawled neatly on it.


“This is where two hunters named Rachel and Jesse St James - they’re married - are staying.” Quinn presses the paper into Blaine’s palm. “They’re experienced trackers. They’re after omens in St Louis. I believe they can help you. They can be trusted. Rachel knew Kurt years ago, and Jesse has at least met him.”


“Thanks,” Blaine murmurs, folding over the paper and stowing it in his pocket. He glances towards Quinn. She seems off, on edge, much colder than the last time they met. “Are you sure you’re alright?”


Quinn affords him a half-smile. “I’m sure,” she says, then looks away and says, “The St James’ are expecting you.” With a blink of his eyes and a gust of air around the room, Quinn is suddenly gone. Blaine sighs in frustration and reluctantly turns in for the night.


When he wakes, it’s with an odd sense of refreshment. He showers, musters up the energy to shave the thickly growing layer of stubble adorning his jaw, cleans his teeth, and is chewing an obviously hearty and healthy breakfast of two sticks of spearmint gum when everything crashes down on him - from the reason why he’s traveling in the first place to the revelation on the farm - and suddenly his shoulders sag, and it’s like he’s had no sleep at all.


“Fuck,” Blaine says bluntly as he stands in the center of the room, towel wrapped around his hips, and he stares down at the clothes he’s laid out on the bed.


He sighs and drops the towel and climbs, half wet, into the clean garments. His boxers cling to his thighs and his shirt sticks to his stomach; it’s uncomfortable but Blaine can’t bring himself to care. He finds the St James’ address and is down to the car before it even turns 8am, pouring over maps and getting his bearings before he roars the Impala to life and leaves Cheyenne, Wyoming in the dust.


He takes the drive in two large chunks, pulling into a service station car park somewhere in Nebraska and sleeping for a solid five hours, so it’s totally dark when he wakes. He inhales coffee and a burger like it’s his life force - which to be fair, it’s slowly becoming just that - before he embarks on the rest of the drive, stopping at midnight for another few hours of sleep before he completes the journey.


It leads him to a small house in St Louis with boarded up windows. If he were in any other line of work, he would swear down that he had the wrong house, but squatting is far from the unordinary as a hunter. It’s not exactly a well-paid profession. As Blaine approaches, ignoring the boarded over front door and heading down the side instead, he actually hopes they’ll let him stay tonight. Funds are getting lower all the time.


He cautiously sticks a head around and slips one hand into his jacket, wrapping his fingers loosely around the handle of the gun holstered there. “Hello?” he calls out, stepping through overgrown grass towards the back door. It looks as though it too was boarded over once, but said boards have since been torn down - there are large splinters of wood around, and nails sticking haphazardly out of the brick wall surrounding the door frame.


Someone definitely is or was here, Blaine thinks, and he pulls his gun out, keeping it low as he opens the door with the intention of stepping into the house.


There’s the low click of a gun behind him and Blaine freezes, raising his hands. He goes to look over his shoulder, but a very female voice instructs, “Stay forward.”


Blaine winces and guesses, “Rachel St James?”


A pause, then, “Who’s asking?”


“Blaine Anderson.”


“Oh!” The voice becomes considerably more cheerful, so Blaine dares to relax. “Lobquin said you’d come. Hi. You can turn around now.”


Blaine does so, slowly lowering his hands, and he blinks as he steps towards the woman, drinking in her appearance. “Lobquin?” he queries off-handedly.


Rachel is a tiny brunette thing, with a prominent nose and big brown eyes, dressed in knee high socks and a short dress, wild gold wedding band glittering next to an elaborate engagement ring on her left hand. Hardly appropriate hunter gear, but if the gun in her hands is anything to go by, she can handle herself just fine. “Oh,” she waves a hand. “Quinn. The angel. Lobquin is her true name. Going by Quinn was my idea, back when I first met her. It’s just much cuter, I think.” Rachel steps forward and extends a hand.


Blaine shakes it firmly. “Do angels appear to people often?” He feels like the only one who isn’t on speaking terms with random angels.


A new voice joins them, male and smooth and superior. “Only to a person of interest. And when that person of interest is in trouble.”


Blaine turns again as a man steps out from within the house. Taller than he or Rachel, with a curly mop of brown hair, and a shining wedding band; this must be Jesse. Blaine tilts his head. “And Kurt is a person of interest?”


“So it seems,” Jesse sighs, “Although Quinn wouldn’t say why.”


“He helped the angels once,” Blaine says, which isn’t terribly helpful, but he doesn’t know the exact circumstances himself. “They say he’s a friend.” Jesse nods as though the information is of no consequence to him and he strides past to wrap an arm around Rachel’s shoulders.


“Quinn said you can help me find Kurt,” Blaine says, watching the couple and feeling a little uncomfortable in the face of just how close they are.


“We’re tracking omens,” Jesse says cryptically.


Blaine swallows. “Have you seen or heard of a barefooted man?”


Jesse throws him a subtle, sly smile and says, “Quid pro quo, Clarice.”


Rachel intervenes, which is good because Blaine hasn’t got the time for references to movies that he hasn’t even seen and he’s a little irritated. “You - you help us, then we can help you.” She looks to Jesse and he nods. “There’s a vampire nest that’s migrated here from Dayton. They’ve been problematic to say the least.”


“Twelve innocent people in the last four days alone,” Jesse chimes in.


Rachel continues, “They need taking care of. Tonight is our best chance to strike.”


Blaine sighs, then nods reluctantly and the pair beam at him.


“It’s going to be a pleasure working with you, Mr. Anderson,” says Jesse, and he gestures for Blaine to go inside the house.


He wrinkles his nose and smiles stiffly, walking ahead of them, stepping through the door.


The house smells a little of damp upon first entering, and barely any natural light seeps through. It’s all candles, unscented at first, but as Blaine is guided through to what was once the living area - but is now home to a double camp bed and numerous bags and pieces of equipment - the candles turn pink and purple; the not unpleasant, though sickly, scent of vanilla and candy flooding his senses.


It makes him crave fudge somewhat, but he soon forgets about that as he is ushered in and Jesse lays out, languid and smiling, on the bed. Rachel directs him to a stool that she brushes off politely with a smile, then she bundles herself up on the bed in Jesse’s arms.


Blaine perches himself on the short stool - the kind one would camp with, a theme running in all the nonlethal equipment he can see around the room - and stretches his legs out, finding a balance to ensure that he doesn’t topple off. He addresses Rachel, “I’m told that you knew Kurt? Or,” he pauses, mentally chastising himself for referring to Kurt in the past tense, “Know, rather.”


“He rescued me,” Rachel says, nodding firmly, eyes dramatic and wide. She waves a hand then says, “Well, see, he joined our school and then our Glee Club. Well, my school - Jesse was still at another back then. The rival school, actually, and the rival glee club.” She smacks her lips. “Anyway, he comes in and he’s got this amazing voice, beautiful singing voice. As good as mine and I was - “


Jesse interrupts, “Almost as good.”


Rachel smiles down at her lap, then continues, “Almost as good as me and I was the star of that club, let me tell you. Naturally, I hated him. He kept stealing all my solos. However, it turned out that the club director was a ghoul - well, the real club director was dead and the man in his place was a ghoul. The real man had been killed months previously. Anyway, Kurt saved me as the thing was about to kill me!” She stops and looks to her husband and says lovingly, “Jesse helped. He got me out whilst Kurt dealt with it.”


Blaine nods numbly, barely taking in the short story that Rachel had managed to make so longwinded. He didn’t even know Kurt could sing. He wonders what it’s like. He would bet all his worldly goods that it’s a beautiful sound.


Jesse says, “When we left school we realised there was more to life than song and dance and national titles. We wanted to hunt evil the way Kurt did. Does, if he’s really still alive,” he adds, with raised eyebrows.


Blaine glowers. “Of course he’s still alive.”


Jesse nods. “Of course.”


Blaine doesn’t think he likes Jesse all that much. He talks to his wife instead and says, “Tell me about the vampire nest.”


Rachel shifts and nods, becoming much more serious. “They’ve been feeding on a lot of innocents, as Jesse already said, more than normal, and it’s been bodies that have just turned up in the open after a while. We think they’ve taken others to turn because people have gone missing too. We located their nest last night. I counted around a dozen vampires and those were just the ones awake and wandering around the outside of the nest.”


Blaine grimaces. “Great.”


Rachel nods yet again. “Which is why we need your help.”


Jesse clears his throat and says, “Tell me, Blaine, how good are you with a machete?”

 

~***~

Blaine is not good with knives, swords, whatever you’d like to call them, once they’re... big enough to kill big things with, really. He gets nervous far too easily. He’s paranoid that one wrong swing and he’ll lop off someone’s arm, Kurt’s arm since Kurt is the only one who’s ever within swinging distance anyway.


This is why he isn’t particularly looking forward to facing up against vampires. Whilst most things can be killed by cutting off their heads, vampires are the only things that literally require it. Blaine’s much more comfortable with a gun. Hell, give him a flamethrower so he can race after a Wendigo. He’ll do it, but he hates hunting vampires.


“Here you go,” Kurt says pleasantly, after cleaning the blade that he hands to Blaine. It’s a little longer than his forearm, with one sharp, smooth edge curved to one side. It’s an odd design, he thinks, not that he knows anything about swords.


“Why’s it like that?” Blaine asks, gesturing vaguely.


Kurt looks at him blankly. “Why is it like what, Blaine?”


“It’s not sharp all over or something.” He frowns. He hates that sometimes he still feels at a total loss in this hunting business when put up against Kurt’s vastly superior knowledge in everything. They’ve been hunting together two years now, and Blaine is still surprised every day.


Kurt makes a noise and then explains, taking the sword back and gesturing down the sharp edge, “It’s a type of scimitar. A backsword. They’re light and easy to use, and strong and sturdy because,” he runs his fingers along the blunt edge, “this part is the thickest, and it supports it.”


Blaine nods, drinking in the information. Scimitar. Right.


“Sharp, too,” Kurt murmurs, handing it back to Blaine. He tests it in his grip, nervous. Kurt watches him. “I know that last time we came up against a vampire, you had a heavier thing and you didn’t do too well and it almost killed you. We’re up against two this time, so you need to be better prepared. You remember how I taught you to handle it, yes?”


“I remember,” Blaine murmurs, and with that, they’re out to the car, and off to the house that they found the two vampires squatting in.


“They’re probably going to be hungry,” Kurt whispers when they pull up down the street from the house. “Pickings are slim around here. They’ll be weak, but they’ll also rip your throat open any chance they get.”


“Great,” Blaine mutters, and they climb out, weapons held close to the chest. Kurt’s sword is heavier, thicker, longer, and Blaine feels just the tiniest bit inadequate next to him, but he pushes the feeling aside. They have a job to do. He can get picky about the size of his sword later.


When they enter the house, it appears empty. These things always do, Blaine reasons, and he keeps his back close to the wall, edging through and searching. He’s about to abandon the south room of the house, declare it clean, when there - out of the shadows, lurches a vampire, eyes wide and teeth extended down.


Blaine wishes, as he yelps and swings the blade messily at the vampire - slashing open its belly - that these things were more like the vampires of movies. These beasts are something far more primal, far less sophisticated, far less beautiful.


They have normal teeth most of the time. Then they get hungry, and the second row of big, sharp, white teeth descend from the gums, and they’re suddenly animalistic.


Blaine ducks and swings the scimitar, jamming it into the neck of the vamp that then howls and yells in pain and manages to yank out of Blaine’s grasp, flailing messily before collapsing on the floor in an unpleasant heap, trying to crawl towards Blaine with a sword sticking out of its neck.


Blaine would much prefer to deal with shiny, sparkling Robert Pattinsons any day.


He dips low and retrieves his sword from the vampire’s neck, dodging the stream of blood that spurts out everywhere. He presses his foot down into the center of the vampire’s back, flattening it to the floor, and then swings high above his head and hacks messily - one, two, three, four, five -until the head finally separates from the body and drops to the floor, rolling a little.


Kurt appears, and says, “Oh, you did it” and he sounds surprised. Blaine pouts a little. He’s rather proud of himself, personally.


The second vampire appears behind Kurt, and he doesn’t so much as get to yell a warning when Kurt turns and in one swift, strong movement severs the head.


Blaine stares as the body crumples and the head bounces away.


 

~***~

 


“Remind me, why are we attacking at night?” Blaine murmurs, eyeing Jesse and Rachel and running a stone across the edge of the clunky machete they’ve given him. It’s already sharp, but honestly, this passes the time a little, steadies his nerves as they stake out the nest. “The vampires will be strong and awake. Granted, they’re not muchweaker during the day, but all the same.”


“The vampires will leave to find food,” Jesse drawls, in very much an “I’m-reminding-you” voice, and Blaine narrows his eyes a little at him as he keeps talking. “The others will be around the outside. It’s all about the element of surprise. If we can get inside, and kill those in there, we can kill the rest one by one as they come in.”


“This feels like a death trap,” Blaine moans, dropping the stone and sighing. “The aim of being a hunter is to kill, not be killed.”


“We’ll be fine,” Rachel shushes him, and they duck low as vampires slowly start to mill out of the nest; it’s in the form of an abandoned, half torn-down, old school, and the deceptively human looking creatures split off in several directions. Six or so leave, and five others come out and just bask in the night air, patrolling the grounds. Blaine wonders how they’re getting away with all this undetected, but then humans have a remarkable ability to be ignorant of the things happening under their noses. Blaine would know.


Jesse gestures silently for Blaine to go in one direction, for Rachel to go in another, and that’s what they do, stalking silently through the grass. They manage to take out the first three vampires virtually at the same time, and undetected; Rachel lops the first head off and breaks to her knees to catch the body and head and lay it still. Jesse less subtly slams them into a wall and runs his machete through their throat. Blaine punches his, gets it down, then hacks hard and fast in two strokes to get the head off.


The other two are trickier. Blaine’s ambushed when he’s spotted; a vampire is on his back all of a sudden and clawing at his skin. It takes all of his restraint to not howl in pain - and all of his energy to throw it off him, spinning and driving the machete into its chest. Jesse comes out of nowhere, swinging down and beheading it.


Blood splatters them both. “Thanks,” Blaine murmurs, looking down at how he’s drenched already. Chopping off heads is a messy business.


Jesse shrugs, “You need to be more careful.”


Jesse jogs off to find Rachel, and Blaine yanks his blade from the vampire’s chest, wondering if it would prevent Rachel from helping him if he killed her husband. He follows to see Rachel finish cutting off the last patrolling vampire’s head, dragging it up by the hair that she grips tightly in one hand. The body falls away. The head stays in Rachel’s hand until she throws it across the grass.


The tiny, bubbly girl he’d met early is rather terrifying to him now, frankly. “We’ll have to pile the bodies and burn them once we’re done here,” she says, strolling towards them and wiping her machete carefully on her tiny skirt. Blaine stares. Jesse smiles like this is a normal sight.


“Let’s go,” Jesse instructs, and with that, they head in, stepping carefully through the building. There’s a slumbering vampire in the first classroom; Jesse kills him with ease, setting the body and head down gently. They try to pad silently through, but before long, down a wide corridor that extends through the very center of the building, they’re beset with vampires, fanged teeth extended and eyes violent.


“Backs to me,” Blaine yells, without thinking, and they fall into a formation, keeping close with their shoulders touching in a triangle and warding off attacks from all angles. There is no real good way to cut off the heads of the vampires surging towards them - it’s all too fast, not good enough, can’t get the machete in the right way.


There are ten or so and it takes three minutes for the first vampire to go down, but not before it sinks its teeth into Jesse’s calf. The man bellows, though, and swings down hard, hard enough to half-sever the neck, and that’s enough to leave it twitching and bleeding on the floor so they can keep fighting without worry of it fighting back.


The vampire going for Blaine is distracted by the casualty and Blaine kicks it down and drives his blade through its neck twice, not pausing to see the head wobble when it rolls separate - he’s too busy slashing out at the next vampire, yelling with exertion when he has to use his elbows to try and keep one out of his face and its teeth away from his body.


Jesse grunts and Rachel screams to him as she cuts another down dead, “Is it bad? Jesse!”


“I’ll live,” Jesse assures her, and they smile at one another and continue to hack at the remaining vampires. Blaine would roll his eyes if there wasn’t a female vampire trying to eat him. He manages to boot her in the stomach, kicking her away long enough to get the swing right and he surprises even himself with a clean cut that kills the vampire instantly.


There’s lots and lots of slashing and hacking; the dull, wet thud of swords chopping through flesh. Blaine’s highly surprised that save for scrapes and bruises, and Jesse’s leg having been somewhat snacked on, they make it through alive. They kill all the vampires that are after them, and relax when they finally realise that no more are coming.


They’re alone, with decapitated corpses littered at their feet. Blaine squeezes his eyes shut to collect himself, because when he really thinks about how many things and people he’s killed as a result of his job, he starts to get queasy. Murder is murder, after all.


“You okay?” Rachel whispers, and Blaine nods. Jesse slides down against a wall and tends to his leg, grimacing. Blaine decides that for once, Jesse has the right idea, and joins him, simply sitting back. They can breathe for the moment. Rachel, seemingly wound up tight with energy, chooses not to sit.


“More vampires will return soon,” Rachel reasons, and Blaine nods, but all the same remains seated. He’s pretty quick at getting up onto his feet - a place like this, a lot of sounds echo, particularly once it reaches this main hallway. Even their soft steps gave them way, and when vampires return with food the last thing on their mind will be being discreet within their own nest. They’ll hear them coming from way off.


But then an hour passes, and then two, without a single sound. They split up at the two and a half hour mark, with Jesse remaining in place as Rachel prowls the inside of the building and Blaine circles the outside. He ends up dragging the vampire bodies in, simply nervous about them leaving corpses around, but it’s otherwise empty. He wipes his brow and sits, leaned up against the opposite wall to Jesse.


Rachel reports back similarly. The three of them share concerned frowns.


Four hours pass, and then a few more hours go by and the sun rises and the vampires still aren’t back. Now, the sun doesn’t turn a vampire to ash like the myths try to claim. It gives them a rather nasty sunburn, and they have light-sensitive eyes, but it doesn’t kill them. They would have, none the less, returned by now, and Jesse is the first to say factually, “They’re not coming.”


Rachel tosses her hands up in the air, still remarkably pacing. Blaine, personally, has weary, tired eyes now, drooping shut with every other word, but he strives to listen as Rachel stalks up and down. “Oh, brilliant! We’ve lost this nest of vampires. How do we lose a nest of vampires?”


Without thinking about it, Blaine pokes the head of one of the creatures with his machete and murmurs, “Well, they’re the ones who’ve been managing to lose their heads. I reckon we’re faring okay.” He stifles a grin and a snigger. Apparently he’s at that stage of tired where everything slowly becomes hilarious.


Rachel glares at him. Blaine casts his eyes down apologetically, clearing his throat, and collecting himself, becoming sensible once more. “Where have the vampires been picking up people to feed on? Has it been all within the same area?”


“All within a mile radius of a group of very particular buildings,” Jesse fills in. He shifts where he’s sitting, hauling himself to his feet, testing his leg which he barely winces in response to. These two are tough, Blaine realises, and for all that Jesse greatly irritates him, he gives them credit for that. “They’re all night clubs, shady places.”


“Perfect spots for vampires to pick up unsuspecting victims, then,” Blaine says, and he too stands to his feet. Rachel looks between them and Blaine nods at her, then glances at Jesse. “Are we going there or what?” Now that they’ve started this particular job they can’t leave it half-finished; the vampires could still come back to a mess of death and will go wild.


Jesse looks as though he’s contemplating shooting Blaine down, but he then waves a hand and says, “We need to burn these bodies first.”


“I’ll go to the car and get what we need,” Rachel says, and the two men nod in acknowledgement and Blaine starts to drag the bodies into an empty classroom. Jesse stalks down to find the vampire they’d killed upon first entering, carrying it into the classroom that Blaine is now slowly stacking the bodies in.


Rachel returns when they still have a few bodies to go, armed with a bag of salt and a can of gasoline tucked under one arm, and her machete and a box of matches balanced a little awkwardly in the hand of the other. “Ready?” She asks after a few minutes, and Jesse plants the last head ceremoniously on top of the bloody pile and nods.


She hands off the gasoline to him, and he, limping a little, wanders around the mound in a circle, pouring it across the bodies, splashing it as much as he can. Blaine takes the salt and does the same. Salt is useful for so many reasons, and when it comes to bodies, it ensures that nothing nasty comes back from beyond the grave. Salt and burn the bones. It’s a way too common practice in this line of work. Usually, though, it’s a singular grave, or a couple of bodies, and it’s not as... unsafe as this. He asks, warily, as Rachel prepares to strike a match, “Should we really be lighting up a pile of gasoline-laced bodies indoors?”


Jesse shrugs. “The building is hardly being kept safe as it is. We’re doing the town a favour.” Blaine can’t really argue that logic, in reality, so he just steps out of the room and watches as Rachel chucks three lit matches onto the pile. It catches and lights up fast, and then the three of them make a swift exit from the school and drive off into the town.


Blaine drops off asleep within a minute or two of the drive. The city lights at night are soothing, the glowing orange more comforting than a disturbance as they flicker by, and when he rests his forehead against the cool glass of the window in the back of Rachel and Jesse’s car, it’s too tempting. His eyes slip shut. He gives himself over a welcome, restful oblivion, but it doesn’t last long.


Nothing ever does, he thinks in a sleepy unexpected bought of negativity when Rachel shakes him awake. “We’re here,” she says, and he immediately rouses himself and gets out of the car, rubbing his eyes and inhaling the cold night air so sharply that it hurts his chest.


They’re parked down a wide, but nonetheless dingy and dirty alleyway, and they clean off their weapons in the shadows. The constructions around them are all long and connected, but they’re all separate establishments, and a very quick peek out along the street shows various club names. Blaine hums and, just in case, plucks his gun and the demon killing knife from a bag of his things on the back seat, tucking them into the back of his waistband. Jesse beckons for Blaine to follow as they make the walk down a right in the alley, behind the places. They’re going to enter the clubs from the back, Blaine realises as he looks around, and he’s quite glad of that. If the light hit them and there were people outside - well. The blood on their clothes would be hard to explain away.


He eyes the buildings, frowning at how graffiti-covered they are. It’s stylistic, he supposes, but all the same, he swears he’s never seen a building with quite so many markings on it. He pauses to stare at one symbol, though, in a faint green-yellow spray that glows in the dark. “Guys,” he calls, glancing at them as they keep walking down the alley. Blaine sighs and glances along the building. Some are small but numerous, others large but spaced out, and something clicks. He yells, then, “You guys!”


They finally stop, and Blaine runs to catch up with them, breathless by the time he gets there and exclaims, “They’re trying to keep something out. Or something in.”


Jesse raises an eyebrow and Rachel says in a panic, “What?!”


Blaine swallows, catching his breath before he says, “You didn’t notice, or recognise them? Those symbols in the glowing paint all over this building?” he gestures wildly, “It’s Enochian.” They look at him blankly and Blaine scowls a little. Okay, so he’s not proficient in the language, but he knows what it looks like, and he thought it was general hunter knowledge. “Angelic language. Or, that’s where it originated. I have,” he laughs a little, because it feels ludicrous to talk about, “I have an Enochian symbol carved into my heart. If someone’s put Enochian on a building, it’s to keep something out, or to keep something in. Either way, it’s not good.”


Just because it’s an angelic language, it doesn’t mean it’s just used by the angels, unfortunately. Blaine, having never encountered angels whilst he was with Kurt, doesn’t know all that much about it, but he’s studied it long enough (part of a Required-Reading-If-You-Don’t-Want-To-Die series established by Kurt back when they first began hunting together) to recognise it and to know that it’s commonly used to lock things up or hide them. The building might well be invisible or non-enterable for angels or hell, even demons, or any kind of supernatural being that the painter so wished to keep out.


“Something big and bad, then?” Rachel asks, and Blaine nods.


Jesse tuts as though he doesn’t believe anything could be big and bad enough for them not to handle. Blaine is sorely tempted to point out that out of the three of them, he’sthe only one who’s come out of tonight with a genuine injury, but then Jesse is pulling open one of the back doors, so he doesn’t.


They walk in with their weapons down, expecting to find something of an active club, but it’s deadly silent. Yes, they’re in the back rooms, but it shouldn’t be this quiet. They exchange wary glances, then head deeper inside. There’s not even music playing, but the lights are all on...


They hit the kitchen and Rachel slips in to investigate, and Blaine walks past her to get out towards the bar. There’s a gagging noise from the kitchen - and Blaine would find out why, but he doesn’t have to. He’s pretty sure, as he walks out and observes the state of the club’s main room, that he knows what Rachel’s found. “Oh, hell.”


One or more gruesome bodies if what he’s seeing is anything to go by.


There are bits of bone, flesh, and blood everywhere, as though people have literally exploded. Blaine picks up a tooth that’s still got bits of gum stuck to it from the bar surface and grimaces before he flicks it across the room. There are larger, lopped off bits of bodies, dismembered hands and arms, some people cut into messy big chunks and others cut off finer at the joints. Other people have simply been stabbed to death, or had their stomachs or throats torn open, sometimes all three.


Blaine feels sick, he won’t lie. The carnage is simply that: carnage. But he can’t afford to get really upset over it. It’s awful, god fucking awful, but now they’re here, they should definitely investigate. He steps over a pair of shoes with feet in them but no body attached, and wonders if that was the bartender. He holds back a wave of nausea as his shoes squish in goo and strips of flesh and skin. It’s practically unavoidable, though. He kneels down by the first intact head and pulls back the gums.


“We found our vampires,” Blaine calls, and Jesse emerges with a very green looking Rachel. She takes one look at the mess and covers her mouth and runs out. Jesse hesitates, then decides not to go after her, and steps further in. Blaine eyes him. “She spent half of tonight cutting off heads. Why is she squeamish now?”


Jesse shrugs, disgust written across his face as he examines the disaster. “She deals with things in different ways.” Blaine doesn’t get it, but he lets it go, and he’s moving on to examine a body with its throat torn out when Jesse says, “There’s someone alive.”


He’s leaning on the bar and pointing, so Blaine turns and indeed, someone is struggling up on the other side of the room. They’re covered in blood and wounds, and Blaine gets up and nearly slips on entrails as he dashes over and supports their body in his arms. “Hey, hey! Don’t try and move too much. What’s your name?”


They’re a very pretty, small Filipino woman, and she coughs hard and sags against Blaine before she regains strength and laughs. “Shit, I’m Sunshine, but I’m just fine, thank you.” She looks at him, and Blaine goes cold when her eyes flood black. She blinks and they’re brown again, and he drops her. She falls onto the soaked floor and scowls. “Now that’s just rude.”


“Demon,” Blaine says blankly. She lies back in the mess and claps sarcastically.


“You seem real good at pointing out the obvious.” She looks over at Jesse, who’s still stood behind the bar, and says, “Are you gonna just stand there all night?”


Jesse seems quiet for once, unsure what to do, and looks to Blaine. He waves a hand. “Go find Rachel. Make sure she’s okay. Go back to the car. Wait for me, would you? This won’t take long.”


“What are you planning?” Jesse asks, skeptically.


“I don’t have a plan,” Blaine says, honestly. He keeps his eyes firmly on Sunshine, who just blinks up at him innocently. Once Jesse has left, doors slamming behind him, Blaine leans over her and says, “You’re dying.”


“M’not,” Sunshine responds defiantly, and scowls.


“Yes, you are.” He looks her up and down. “I don’t know how I didn’t notice right off the bat. Your body is basically dead because it’s taken so much critical damage. Is Sunshine your name or hers, by the way?”


“Hers,” Sunshine shrugs, and she scrapes her fingers through the gaping hole where her stomach used to be. “But I like it.” She sags her shoulders. “Alright, yes, I’m dying. I need a new body soon.” She eyes him.


Blaine shakes his head. “Nuh-uh. I’m protected against possession.”


She wrinkles her nose. “Fine,” then asks, “What do you want? You haven’t killed me yet, and we’re all alone, and whilst I do believe our bodies have some kind of Asian solidarity, I don’t think you’re quite into that enough to bang me when I haven’t got a stomach. So what do you want?”


“What happened in here?” Blaine asks softly.


Sunshine’s eyes go dark and angry. “Balaam. A demon. Some idiot hunter rocked the boat, performed a bad ritual, and out he swoops from hell, and he comes after us all.” She sits upright. “He’s been walking across the country. Finding his old followers. Killing the traitors who got him caged.” She giggles, but it’s violent, unhappy. “So many fucking cages in hell, you think they’d have better security.”


Blaine’s stomach lurches. Walking across the country. Old friends. “Balaam?”


“Balaam,” Sunshine murmurs, plucking at her intestines. “Oh, gross,” she grumbles, then says, “Gathered us all up in here and locked us in with warding symbols. Us and some vamps. I don’t know what he wanted the vamps for, but there he went, killing us all. Except me, it seems.”


Blaine reaches behind himself, finds what he’s looking for tucked away in his waistband, and says, “No, he killed you too.” He pulls out the knife and drives it down hard into her chest, and she gapes wide-eyed at him before she goes limp and lifeless like everything else in the room.


Blaine pulls it from her chest with a slick crunching noise as it scrapes across bone, then leaves the club, going down to the car where Rachel (who is a little pale, but far less ill looking) and Jesse are waiting in the front seats.


He climbs in and shuts the door hard, and Jesse says, “Well?”


“A demon lured them there,” Blaine murmurs, but he doesn’t reveal the name, or the possibility that it was Kurt. God, Kurt. If it was the demon inside him - he was so close and Blaine missed him. He knows it can’t be helped, but god, he’s so angry at himself. “The demon’s moved on. Old news now, I think. They were old enemies of his or something.”


Jesse nods. Rachel reaches back and hands Blaine a brown envelope. “You’ve helped us now,” she says, turning awkwardly in her seat to face him. “This is everything we have on Kurt.” Blaine stares at her then rips it open, not even caring that he’s smearing bloody fingerprints on the papers and photos he pulls out. She talks as he examines them in the dim lights. “He’s become quite the internet phenomenon. Bare footed, sharply dressed, but no single photo ever comes out right when depicting his face. It’s like it’s moving in all directions, all at once... It just becomes a black mass.”


Blaine swallows hard as he pulls at one particular photo. It’s definitely Kurt. The tall, lithe body, the suit that Blaine recognises as a favourite of Kurt’s. The face is indeed black and blurred with motion. His hands and feet are dirty and rough-looking. The hard evidence of Kurt’s fate sends a shiver down Blaine’s spine, and then the nausea of earlier returns in waves and hits him hard, and he just opens the car door in time to vomit into the alleyway.


“Jesus! Are you okay?” Rachel exclaims, and Jesse just makes an appalled noise and turns his head away.


Blaine manages to sit up, wiping his mouth on his sleeve, and shuts the car door. The moment is over and he slides the photos away into the envelope, deciding to look at them later when he’s not quite so...ill from everything. “I’m good,” he murmurs, clutching his stomach.


“If you throw up in my car, you’ll be paying for the cleaning,” Jesse warns.


Blaine waves a hand. “I won’t throw up.”


Jesse starts the engine and reverses out of the alley. “Good.”


“We’re just going to leave that building?” Blaine hears Rachel murmur.


Jesse responds, “Do you want to clean someone’s brains from the walls...?”


“Oh. Not particularly, no...” Rachel giggles, a marked sudden change in mood, and she’s animatedly talking to Jesse about what they should do with some free time in the next few days when Blaine passes out in the back seat.

 

~***~

They visit a beach one day. Blaine had thought it would be a lovely break for them. He’s in rolled up jeans and as he walks down the sand, he hasn’t bothered with shoes. He’s bruise-mottled, but regardless, he’s gone for a snugly fitting baby blue tee.


Conversely, Kurt is in all black. Heavy shoes. A tight, fashionable jacket, with a thin black hooded jacket beneath that, and the hood pulled up. It’s bright out, and warm, so Blaine can only assume he’s in a terrible mood.


He has asked. But Kurt won’t talk to him today.


Blaine’s grown far too used to long silences and dark clothing lately, and he’s at the end of his tether. They wander down to the water’s edge, Kurt trailing slowly behind him, and Blaine toes at the water and steps in up to his ankles, then turns and faces Kurt with a frank expression on his face. “This has to stop.”


Kurt looks at him wearily from beneath the hood, eyes drooped but his eyebrows pulled up. His hair is pressed down and tickling his nose. Any other day, Blaine would reach up and push it aside, but he feels as though Kurt doesn’t want Blaine to touch him. Blaine waits for a response. Eventually, Kurt says, with a defensive fold of his arms and a sharp roll of his eyes, “What has to stop?”


This. Ignoring one another. Giving the silent treatment.” He steps out of the water to get closer to Kurt, who swerves and takes a step back of his own. Blaine stops, a pang in his chest at the sight of his boyfriend stepping away from him. After all these years, all they’ve been through together, Blaine never imagined that Kurt would be putting distance between them. “Kurt...” He reaches his arms out hesitantly, grasping at air.


“Can we just be in love again?” Blaine says weakly.


He never stopped loving Kurt, of course, but he thinks that as of late, maybe that’s what they’ve done. Not stopped loving one another, but falling out of the pattern of love, out of everything that comes with it, taking a descent into bitterness instead.


Kurt turns on his heel and just walks away without an answer, and Blaine is left standing in the sand with the water lapping at the back of his ankles. He stares at Kurt’s retreating back and then he just drops to his knees and sits, defeated, in the sand, and turns out to face the ocean, doing his best not to cry.


He closes his eyes to the sea breeze, to the bright day, just inhales the smell of salt water and what he thinks is donuts from a stand down the beach. He tucks his knees to his chest and just relaxes into it, ignoring the pain in his chest and just drowning in the... in everything that isn’t Kurt.


Blaine must have sat there for the best part of an hour when he feels the sand shift behind him, the general presence of another, and then Kurt is pressed up against his back, arms circling his shoulders and chin hunkered down awkwardly against his neck. “I love you,” Kurt says, and Blaine opens his eyes, lets the sun in, lets Kurt back in. “I’ve loved you since I don’t remember when. Since always. The moment you became my friend was the moment that I started to be happy. I don’t want to lose this.”


Blaine leans back into him and says, “Are you sure?”


Kurt kisses his cheek. “I’m sure.”


“I love you,” Blaine murmurs, and covers Kurt’s hands with his own. “I love you so much. Since the first time I met you. Since the scrawny boy with a gun and a packet of salt helped me off my kitchen floor and then cleaned up the house with me before my parents got home.”


Kurt laughs a little bit. “I stashed my gun under your pillows so they wouldn’t find me with it.”


“It was a beautiful day, Kurt,” Blaine says. “The most beautiful day of my life. You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”


They are good at fighting. But they’re even better at making up. As Kurt shifts so that his knees are either side of Blaine’s waist and he’s hugging him snugly from behind, Blaine just hopes that’s enough.


 

~***~

 


Blaine wakes to find himself in an unkempt pile in the corner of the house that Jesse and Rachel have been squatting in. They’ve put blankets beneath him and over him, and given him a pillow, but he’s sore and cold none the less. When he struggles into a seated position, he peeks out between the boards of a window to see it’s still dark out, and sighs, stretching. His back snaps and crackles, bones popping and Blaine groans quietly. He sniffs and looks around him, peering into the darkness. All of the candles are out now.


He spots the envelope of information and photos stacked on his bag, and Blaine’s grateful as he glances over to see Rachel and Jesse asleep, buried under sheets on their camp bed. He crawls to his bag and gets roughly changed on the floor with the spare clothes he’d had half a mind to shove into the bag when he grabbed it from the car.


Blaine stands up and contemplates waking one of them or finding a way to leave them a note, but instead Blaine just makes sure all of his belongings - gun, knife, etc. - are in his bag before he makes a swift exit from the house. Best not to stay too long.


He inspects the papers when he gets to the car, flicking on the lights so that he can read things over. It’s all things he knows and has read before, but holds deeper information in regards to the patterns of the demonic omens. Blaine raises an eyebrow at the knowledge that the most recent findings are in Lima, of all places. The knowledge then makes his forehead crease once it sinks in. Why would the trails lead back to Ohio? What does this demon want that he’s been walking the country for, anyway?


Blaine sighs but pulls out his maps regardless, then prepares himself and pulls away from the house and sets off on the seven hour drive. After only an hour or two the sun begins to peek over the horizon, flooding pink and orange and later streaks of blue into the Impala, and Blaine finds himself more drawn by the scenery that the lighting creates. Blaine finds himself smiling, and on the empty roads, he digs around for his phone and sticks it between his ear and shoulder after dialing Kurt.


It goes to voicemail, as he’s now very, very used to. It’s good to hear Kurt’s voice. The beep sounds. “Hey babe. I figured you’d appreciate another update.” He pauses. Hey babe? Where did that come from? He brushes it off. “I think I’m getting closer to finding you. I’m trying to keep upbeat today. I don’t want this to be a - a veritable sea of depressing voicemails, that’d be terrible. I met Rachel St. James. She’s nice. I can’t say the same for her husband though, Jesse’s an asshole. I helped them. They helped me in return. More ways than they know.” He hesitates. “I can’t figure out why the demon slaughtered all those vampires, Kurt. Help me out here. I can’t help but wonder if the demon isn’t just using you as a meat suit. Are things he does somehow something to do with you? Maybe even something to do with me? ... I don’t know. Listen to me. I love you. It won’t be long now.”


He hangs up after that, tossing the phone into the passenger seat. He keeps speeding on into the growing day - not even thinking to stop, not even that tired, and it’s just getting really hot when he pulls into Lima and can’t resist coming to a stop outside the Lima Bean.


Blaine climbs out and smiles fondly up at the old cafe. He and Kurt used to come here when they could. It sort of became their place, their little connection back to the homes they both used to have in this state. Before they travelled together, they’d often come here if Kurt could only be around for a little while. Blaine would rush out of school and come to the café, waiting anxiously in the car park for the boy, and then it’d be Grande non-fat mochas and medium drip coffees all round. Blaine loved to try and persuade Kurt to eat biscotti, but Kurt would deny him every time until he’d cave and take a bite.


That didn’t change when they started travelling together, either. It was always the same when they came here, like they were playful teenage boys again.


Blaine orders a cinnamon latte. He can’t get his usual coffee in here; it’d be like cheating on Kurt, in a strange, roundabout way. He can’t even bring himself to buy some biscotti. He just shacks up in the corner with his drink and sips slowly, staring out over the cafe. It’s not changed at all, not even the table arrangements. Kurt and Blaine have sat at almost every one of them, but there is a particular table near the front of the shop that they were always somewhat fond of.


Blaine can see it from here, and he smiles sadly. A young couple is sitting there. The girl kisses her boy on the knuckles and he nudges a heart-shaped cookie towards her on a plate. She laughs and refuses, but he breaks a piece off and feeds it to her and she faux-begrudgingly accepts, meeting her eyes with his as he places it past her lips.


Blaine smiles and looks down, away, feeling as though he’s intruding on something private. When I find him, Blaine thinks, I’m going to bring him back here. It’ll be the first thing we do.


He finishes his drink quickly, not wanting to waste too much time on lingering here. He leaves the cup on the table, snatching a paper napkin from the side on the way out to dab his mouth with, and he freezes when he hits the car park.


Castiel is slumped against the Impala, a bloody pool in his clothing and cuts across the bridge of his nose and arch of his cheek. “Cas!” Blaine exclaims, ditching the napkin as he runs to the angel, dropping to his knees to support him upright and says, “What happened?”


“Quinn,” Castiel growls, and Blaine knits his forehead as the angel’s head rolls back. He leaves him on the ground long enough to open the car door and then is back, heaving Castiel into his arms, and then into the back seat, leaning over him as he lays him out. Castiel groans in pain. Sparkles of light leak from other wounds on his body, ones that aren’t bleeding blood, just...light, bright and clean.


“What do I do?” Blaine panics and Castiel just waves a hand and pulls himself upright, leaning against the opposite door. “Cas, come on, you have to let me help. You’re really badly injured.” Quinn? What has she got to do with this? And why the hell do I never seem to be able to just focus on looking for Kurt?


“Get us out,” Castiel grumbles simply, and Blaine frowns, then looks around and sees that a few people are gathering to stare. He growls in frustration and shuts the door, then gets around to the front and climbs in, driving off without a word. He needs to find a motel or something and get Castiel to lie down and rest, at least.


He looks into the back seat occasionally as he drives. Castiel’s breathing is heavy and laboured, and he looks a little as though he’s sweating, and good god he looks exhausted. “Castiel? You with me, man?”


“Unrgh,” is what Blaine can make out of the less than dignified reply, but it’s enough for him for now. Blaine focuses on getting to a motel, and when he gets there, he just chucks money at the man at the counter, asking for a room with two beds. He gets keys thrown back with no questions asked, and then Blaine is dragging an angel into their room and lying him down on the bed.


“Is there anything I can do to help you?” he asks, frowning, genuinely worried. He’s particularly worried about the spots of Castiel that are leaking light. That seems like something that really shouldn’t be happening.


“No,” Castiel answers, and it seems earnest enough, but it doesn’t exactly abate his nerves. Actually, it rather exacerbates them. It’s not comforting to have someone bleeding and being injured all over the place when you can’t help them. “I’ll heal myself in time.”


“Are you able to tell me what happened?” Blaine questions, fidgeting. He sits on the adjacent bed, watching Cas as he struggles into a slightly more upright position.


He looks Blaine dead in the eye and says, “Quinn is a whore and is carrying an abomination.”


Blaine raises his eyebrows. “Wow, okay.”


Castiel waves one hand, then returns to using it as support for himself. “Quinn has mated with a human. Noah Puckerman. She has turned her back on the rules of being an angel of the Lord and she now carries a...spawn, an abomination child.” Blaine blinks and attempts to process that. “She attacked me,” Castiel grunts, touching one of the shining wounds gently. “She intends to kill me so that I don’t return to Heaven with the news of this mess she has created.”


Blaine tries, “I don’t suppose you can just let her live her life out with this guy, right?” Castiel struggles and glares at him, piercing him with those blue eyes. “Didn’t think so. How can angels even - ?”


“The body is human,” he’s told. “We bleed human blood, we have human functions. We bring to the body our grace and strength and angelic properties... We need not eat or rest, but the body remains human.” Castiel makes something of a haughty, disgusted face. “Quinn has always been too close to humans. Noah was a charge of hers. If the child is birthed, it will be a mix of both human and angel, and stronger than both.”


“Human?” Blaine pauses. “Are you possessing someone?”


Castiel shakes his head. “We are not demons. We require permission to take host in a human body. This particular man prayed for this.”


Blaine nods. He can’t comprehend why somebody would ever want that, to be taken over, to lose all control over yourself. He changes the subject. “So what now?” Blaine questions, folding his hands in his lap.


“We kill her,” and Castiel makes it sound like such a simple thing that for a minute Blaine almost thinks it’s a reasonable idea. Of course though, it isn’t, it’s a terrible idea.


He tells Castiel so, with a sharp, protesting, “No!” but Cas just gives him a sceptical look. “She’s a - she’s a living thing, Cas, right? At the end of the day doesn’t everything happen for a reason? God makes everything that way.” Actually, he has no clue, but Blaine would like to think everything happens for a reason sometimes, just as a comfort to prove all the shit everyone goes through isn’t pointless.


“No,” Castiel says, blankly. “My Father created man and the earth and gave you freedom. The point was that he does not, and for thousands of years has not, guided you. You all create your own lives, make your own mistakes, have your own unfortunate disasters... He rarely interferes in your matters.”


“Oh.” That’s depressing. He shakes it off. “Let me talk to her, okay?” He has no idea what he would even say to Quinn on the matter, but talking to her will buy her some time, at least, perhaps. “Maybe I can persuade her to sort something out.”


“What could you possibly tell her?”


“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Blaine says dryly, raising his eyebrows. “Just...give me an hour, or something.” He pauses for a moment and asks quietly, “What’s the shining stuff?”


Castiel looks down at the wounds and says with a grimace, “Grace. It’s...energy, connected to my true form. When I’m wounded with...special tools, it acts as my blood.”


“Special tools?”


“Angels can only be killed by...a few things,” he grumbles. “Death’s sickle and an angelic blade are the main two. There are other, more...complicated ways, that require power and ancient knowledge that even I am not in possession of, but it is not of import. All angels carry blades. They are our tools, our weapons. Quinn attacked me with hers.”


Blaine stands and approaches, easing Castiel back down onto the bed. The angel, seemingly reluctantly, lies back down, and Blaine says, “How long will it take for you to heal?”


“Longer than I have.”


Blaine purses his lips. He wants to say, be less cryptic, come on but he wouldn’t be surprised if it was in an angel’s job description to be a cryptic, difficult pain. Instead, something occurs to him, and he says, “When you came to see me last time, you seemed hurt, was - was that Quinn?”


Castiel nods and his eyes flutter closed. He tries repeatedly to force them open and Blaine says, “Go to sleep. Or, meditate. Whatever you feathery guys do. I’m gonna talk to Quinn.”


Castiel’s eyes shut entirely, and he doesn’t respond, now out cold.


Blaine sighs deeply and rubs a hand over his face and then realises that he has no way to contact Quinn. He decides it would be a bad idea to wake Cas up to ask him something like that, and just opts for gritting his teeth and walking out of the room into the parking lot. He stands there, looking around, grateful that it’s empty before he shuts his eyes and tips his head skyward.


“Hey, uh, Quinn?... I have no idea if this is going to work,” Blaine says out loud, “but I’ve got in enough practice lately with talking to people who won’t answer so I’m sure I won’t be totally wounded if it doesn’t. But listen, Quinn, Lobquin, whatever you want to be called. We need to talk. You tried to kill Cas. He’d like to return the favour more successfully, but you probably already know that. Come down here, would you? Please?... Let me try and help you, since...you helped me...”


“You can’t help me,” comes Quinn’s voice from somewhere to the left of him, and Blaine jumps, spinning on his heel and nearly falling on his ass. He stares at her as she smiles weakly, hands folded neatly in front of her.


“How long have you been standing there?” Blaine asks, frowning. “Did you just get here, or - ?”


“I got here round about the time that you used my true name,” Quinn says, then pauses. “Did Rachel tell you that?” Blaine nods. “I figured as much. It was her idea to call me Quinn, but sometimes when she thinks she ought to be formal or when she tries to chastise me, she uses Lobquin.”


“Chastise you?” Blaine folds his arms. “You’re an angel and you get chastised by a human?”


“You’d be surprised.” Quinn closes the gap between them and folds her arms in a mirror pose and says, “I suppose Castiel has told you everything.”


“You’re pregnant,” Blaine says.


“Yes, I suppose I am,” she murmurs, then looks down at the gravel between them. “Castiel doesn’t understand. He is a loyal soldier, Blaine, nothing more.”


“Is that what angels are?” Blaine eyes her and side-steps, aware of how dangerous this angel suddenly is, and in truth, he is a little afraid. One wrong word, one slip of the tongue, and he could rocket onto Quinn’s list of people to kill. And Blaine’s sure as hell a lot easier to kill than Castiel is. “Just soldiers?”


“Most of us.” Quinn steps with him, and the distance grows, and suddenly they’re circling each other. “Some of us are leaders.”


“What about you?”


Quinn smiles. “If we are neither leaders nor followers, then we’re special. I’m more human than them. I have emotions, feelings.” Her expression turns serious and they stop moving. “I don’t want to fight for the causes that my brothers try to lay down. It’s not my war. I am in love and loved, and that’s the way I wish to live. If Castiel would only back down...”


Blaine’s eyebrows knit together. “You have to know how dangerous your baby is, though, right? If you weren’t pregnant, maybe, but. You’re putting the whole world and beyond in danger.”


“I’ll raise my child right,” Quinn says defensively. “My child will never know of the hate that fuels so much of this world. They will never feel a need to use their powers against it.”


“You won’t be able to shield them always,” Blaine tells her sadly, but she shakes her head. “Quinn, you have to see that. You could just - get rid of it?” She glares at him, so Blaine backs away and quickly says, “Quinn, you would be left alone. You would be free to love this guy you’ve fallen for and you would be left at peace. You could adopt a child if you want. There are so many children who need love like that. Ordinary children, who will never pose a danger to anyone.”


Quinn’s face turns soft and sad, and she looks down, fingers delicately covering her stomach, and she whispers, “I love them already. From the moment of conception I knew they were there, on their way to me, to us... I’ve grown to love them so much.”


“I know,” Blaine murmurs, and he’s reaching out to Quinn, to try and maybe hug her or something equally comforting, when suddenly her chest jerks outwards and she gasps, jaw dropping and eyes going wide.


Her face contorts painfully, and Blaine sees Castiel behind Quinn, a palm on her shoulder and his other hand out of sight. Quinn’s eyes, nostrils, and mouth fill with the bright white light, and it becomes too bright - so Blaine shields his eyes.


When he uncovers them, Quinn is dead, stretched out beautifully on her back on the ground, eyes shut. Blaine jumps when he sees what lays either side of her: her wings, imprinted in black ash across the ground. He looks to Castiel, standing there with a long, thin metallic blade, and says with a frank horror in his voice, “You fucking killed her. You said you would give me an hour.” He rounds in on Castiel, facing him, and repeats, “You fucking killed her.


Castiel is clutching his chest, weak, but he musters up enough energy to respond, “It - it was the opportune moment. It was my one chance to strike.”


Blaine kneels, shuddering as the ashen wings mush into the knees of his pants, reaching for Quinn to scoop her up and carry her body. Castiel shakes his head and kneels on one knee awkwardly, dropping the sword to the ground with a clatter as he reaches out with two fingers and touches her forehead.


In a flash, Quinn’s body is gone, and then there is only the shape of her wings. Blaine stands and points angrily at Castiel, “What if someone saw?”


“You speak as if I would not take precautions,” Cas murmurs, and then he wobbles, still kneeling, and collapses unconscious onto the gravel again.


Blaine wants to scream from the frustration bubbling inside him, but instead he simply bends to collect the angel up into his arms and gets him back into the motel room.

 

~***~

“Have you ever seen this movie before?” Kurt asks as he bounces onto Blaine’s bed to sit comfortably beside him. Blaine shakes his head as the DVD menu for Rent comes up, and Kurt looks vaguely offended. “I thought you liked musicals.”


“Yeah, but I haven’t seen or heard of many,” Blaine murmurs, “My dad doesn’t - my parents don’t like them, so.”


Kurt gives him the strangest perplexed look and says, “Is it because you’re gay? Your dad doesn’t like you watching musicals?”


Blaine looks down, averting Kurt’s gaze. “I’ve tried to explain to him that - that my being gay isn’t caused by musicals, and I don’t like them ‘cause I’m gay, but - he doesn’t get it. He’s never understood, so.”


Kurt nudges Blaine and kisses the corner of his mouth and says, “It’s okay. C’mon. Relax.”


Blaine does his best to, and smiles, settling back on the bed as a stage is illuminated on screen and the music chimes in, beginning, “Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes...


Blaine’s gaze goes from the screen, wanders down onto Kurt. On screen, they’re singing, “How do you measure a year in the life? How about love? Measure in love...” Kurt’s smiling, enthralled, and Blaine is captured as he always is by how beautiful Kurt looks when he’s happy. More beautiful than usual. Once more, Blaine is stunned that he’s got this guy for his boyfriend. His first boyfriend and he’s perfect. “...Seasons of love...


 

~***~

 


Blaine’s first action is to cross out to his car and bring in his bags, and then he showers whilst Castiel rests. He figures the angel doesn’t need it, so he takes the liberty of using up all thirty minutes of the hot water. He stays in there even as it runs cold, one hand braced on the wall as water cascades over him, getting in his eyes but he just blinks it away to refocus on the tiles.


He has an old song stuck in his head. Not terribly old in years, he thinks, not the oldest song he knows, but it’s old for him, something from when he was a teenager. It’s a peaceful sort of song. He thinks it’s from a musical. Something Kurt would’ve shown him, probably.


Blaine smiles bitterly to himself as the cold water batters the knots in his back. When he was a teenager - well, when he was fifteen, his biggest problem was homophobia. At the time, it was so very significant; his father resented his sexuality, and at his first high school he was teased and bullied. He moved from a public school to a private one when he was viciously beaten. Of course, if he were a normal guy, with a normal life, these would still be things that haunt him.


In the scheme of things now, they’re almost easy to deal with. Instead of the haunting memories of bullies teasing and hurting him, it’s all the times he’s nearly died, the times he’s nearly lost a limb, been kidnapped and maimed by some awful creature... All the times those things have happened to Kurt.


The song leaves his head, leaving him alone with his thoughts and the noise of the shower. Blaine sighs and shuts off the shower, stepping out and drying himself off, pulling back on his clothes before he steps out barefoot into the motel room.


Castiel is conscious, standing aimlessly in the center of the room. Blaine shuts the bathroom door. “You’re awake,” he remarks. “I thought you’d still be out for the count.”


“My injuries were numerous but minor,” Castiel responds, and Blaine frowns at how even his clothing no longer has holes in. Seeing his look, Castiel fingers the lapels of his trench coat and explains, “The same powers that lend me the ability to travel, to render somebody in a deep sleep, to...transport people, also give me the ability to cleanse and replenish.”


“So you’re better now?”


“Yes.”


“Good.” Blaine walks level with Castiel and faces him and asks him, directly, “Have you never loved somebody you shouldn’t?” Castiel’s eyes widen a little. “Or loved at all? Were you so truly incapable of understanding where Quinn was coming from, of understanding her emotions? Understanding emotions full stop, Cas?”


Castiel straightens his shoulders. “It is not our job to feel like that. We have a purpose, a goal. She failed.”


“That’s not what I asked,” Blaine retorts, and Castiel refuses to meet his eyes. That alone is new, and tips Blaine to the idea that something is off here. The angels are odd - they’ll either look directly at you, or they won’t at all, but they’ll never simply refuse to look you in the eye. Castiel’s eyes flicker everywhere now. “Tell me the truth, Cas.”


“There was - there is a charge of mine,” he grumbles. “A - a boy. A man who did great things for this planet, more than you could ever know. But I am an angel. He is a man. There is a line that is not to be crossed.”


Blaine blinks in disbelief. “You understood her and still you killed her.”


Castiel looks sharply at Blaine. “I could never understand why she would fall in such a manner.”


“But you understood how she felt.” Blaine folds his arms. “You understand what it’s like to love someone like that.”


“She betrayed her entire family,” Castiel says coldly. “I have made mistakes. But each time, I have come true. I know where my loyalties lie and I know that they are not with the human pleasures, with creating new life.”


“So where do your loyalties lie?” Blaine asks quietly, observing him. “With him? Your charge?”


“Him and his kin,” Castiel admits, catching Blaine’s eye. “But I know they are not my only charges. And they are not my only duty. I have responsibilities.”


Responsibilities. That reminds Blaine of what his own responsibility is, his true purpose here, and suddenly swallowing is difficult, his chest a little tight, and before he can stop himself, he’s grabbing Castiel’s coat sleeve desperately and begging, “You have to help me. I can’t find Kurt like this. Every omen that I find - every - every omen, - when I follow them, I’m still two steps behind - I can’t - I won’t be able to - please.”


He forces himself to swallow and blinks back tears. He’s cried so much as of late, too much. “Please help me find him. I don’t know what to do.”


Castiel seems startled, the expression, for once, clear on his face, and he says, “Give me a moment.” He vanishes, and Blaine is suddenly holding nothing, and oh, that’s a bit weird. He sways on the spot and steps back, flexing his fingers and shoving them into his pockets.


He’s just seating himself on the edge of the bed when Castiel re-appears, and says, “Summon the demon Ronove. I interrogated several lesser demons just now for information on Kurt’s location. They tell me that Ronove will be able to point us in the correct direction.”


Blaine falls back onto the bed and says, unable to keep the pure confusion from his voice, “What? How did - you were only gone for a minute?”


“Time isn’t as linear as you humans would like to imagine,” is all that Castiel says, and then he steps closer and says, “I trust you are capable of summoning demons with names.”


Blaine stares at him. “No, actually. Killing them is more my forte.”


Castiel looks as though he would roll his eyes if he were capable of any true expression, and says, “I will help you.”


“How gracious of you,” Blaine can’t help but mutter as Castiel clears a bedside table and drags it out, vanishing briefly then returning a few times, each time bringing different items: a black bowl, a silver knife, a small vial of oil, and a small bottle of holy water respectively. “You could’ve just asked me for the holy water and the knife. What’s the oil?”


“Myrrh. I didn’t want to inconvenience you,” Castiel says, and then he’s producing a knife, and he says, “Especially as I require something from you anyway. Your blood.”


Blaine pales.


He hates blood rituals. He hates a lot of things about hunting, really. He has no idea how this has been his profession for years.


“Seriously?” he groans.


Castiel narrows his eyes. “There is everything serious about this. You wish to find Kurt. We can find the demon this way.”


Blaine hesitates. Whilst yes, he had suddenly been overcome and distraught and begged Castiel for help and immediately gotten that help, he’s...concerned. This seems too easy. Too convenient. It couldn’t possibly work out. He swallows. “I don’t know. Are you sure?”


“The ritual works on angels and demons alike,” Castiel assures him, tipping the water and myrrh oil into the bowl, stirring them together with the tip of the knife. “It will work.” He holds out his hand and Blaine reluctantly extends his arm. Castiel drags him over the bowl, and slices fast - Blaine grits his teeth but winds up crying out anyway, flailing in an attempt to get away as Castiel squeezes his arm, drawing out as much blood as possible.


Cas finally lets him go, and Blaine grumbles as he goes to one of his bags to patch up the injury. “This best fucking work,” he curses, glaring at the angel and holding his arm protectively to his chest as he fishes out the necessary items.


“You should prepare a Devil’s Trap,” Castiel calls when Blaine is just about to wipe clean his wound. He grumbles again, drops his things to bed and just ignores the pain to instead fetch a spray can from the depths of another bag.


He hops onto the bed, using them and a chair from the corner of the room in order to get around, painting the pentacle and sigils that form it on the ceiling. Big enough, hopefully, that where ever this Ronove materialises he will be inside it and instantly trapped.


“Did Kurt know how to summon demons?” Blaine asks, hopping down from the bed and sitting himself in the chair.


“Yes,” Castiel says simply. “I taught him.”


Blaine feels a pang of jealousy that he knows he shouldn’t have. He was always the student, though, and never the teacher, never got to teach Kurt anything, but here Kurt has learned blood rituals from an angel. “Oh.” He tenses. “Was Kurt, the uh, the charge that you - ?”


Castiel looks down and Blaine thinks for a moment he looks a little sad. “No. My charge is the elder of two brothers. A righteous man who -” he pauses, then stresses, "Very different from Kurt.”


He relaxes. “What was he like?” Blaine queries softly, genuinely interested.


Castiel gives him a look that clearly displays he won't get an answer to that, then gestures at the bowl of liquid and begins chanting in Enochian.


There’s a burst of light and black smoke, and Blaine ducks back from it as the smoke slowly vanishes - no, not vanishes, Blaine realises, but is rather being inhaled through the nose and mouth, back into the body standing before them in the trap.


The demon Ronove sets the end of a thick staff down, holding it tightly in his hands and leaning on it, observing Castiel and Blaine. “Hello.”


“Ronove,” Castiel growls, and the demon looks at Cas sharply.


“Oh, angels,” he tsks, with an oddly fatherly air about him. A terrible father, mind. It gives Blaine the chills. “Such purposeless creatures. Soldiers, but not very good ones. You follow your orders so to the letter that you forsake sanity and reason.”


“That’s rich coming from a demon,” Castiel growls. Blaine looks between them.


“Very rich,” Ronove nods, “by the standards of our usual kind. Mindless, most, which is why I exist. I’m a teacher, you know.” His face hardens. It’s a rather kind face, too, tan and a little rough around the edges but handsome all the same. “And you pulled me from tutoring. Why?”


“We have questions,” Castiel starts, but Blaine cuts in.


I have questions.” He steps forward. Ronove directs his glare at him. Blaine glances at Castiel. “You can go.”


“I can help,” Castiel says, almost sternly, but Blaine shakes his head. He doesn’t particularly want Castiel to see this. He’s not going to be proud of it. “Good luck,” Castiel relents, and then vanishes.


Blaine steps from out of the Devil’s trap and then throws a chair at Ronove, who drops his staff and catches it deftly. “Take a seat,” Blaine says, and the demon glances up at the ceiling and scowls before he obeys, swinging the chair down and sitting himself onto it. Blaine produces his knife, the knife, and waves it at Ronove. He focuses for a moment, pushing away everything that he knows could stop him from going through with this (namely, morals, and a sense of heart, and a human soul), and then he says, “Now, you say you’re a teacher. So I guess that means you’re smarter than most demons, aren’t you?”


Ronove eyes the knife and nods slowly. “So that means you know what this is, right?” Blaine gestures with the knife.


Ronove nods again. “That thing can kill me.”


“So you know that you should really just sit tight and not attempt to escape that meat suit or hurt me else I’ll stick you in the throat before you can get too far, yes?” Ronove glowers and nods once more.


Blaine smiles. “I’m glad you understand.” He steps close to Ronove and swings down, driving the knife into his thigh. The demon howls and writhes, and Blaine twists it a little and says, “You’re just gonna sit here and look after my knife for a second, got it?” Ronove tenses up and goes still, and Blaine fetches from his bag a length of rope and secures him to the chair with it.


“Now,” he murmurs, clasping his hands on Ronove’s shoulders and leaning down to whisper in his ear, “I’m gonna ask you some stuff. And for every question you lie on, for everything you say wrong, I’m gonna carve a little bit more. Maybe I’ll feed you a cute concoction of holy water and salt, hm?”


“What do you want?” Ronove grumbles, and then yelps when Blaine yanks the knife from his thigh and circles around in front of him. Blaine folds his arms.


“I want the location of the demon possessing my friend.”


“Specific,” Ronove laughs, and Blaine raises his eyebrows and finds his gun.


He shoots the demon in the right kneecap; he barely gets a blink in response. “Tickles,” is the comment that Ronove makes.


“My friend is Kurt Hummel,” Blaine tells him, digging through his bags and finding a flask of holy water. “He’s possessed by someone. I hear that you probably know who that someone is.” He tucks the holy water under his arm and bends in front of Ronove and grabs his ankle, pulling it up and yanking his leg out straight. “So, do you?” He looks down on Ronove coolly.


Ronove hesitates, just long enough for Blaine to decide that’s not good enough. “Oh, man. I shot you, didn’t I? That must’ve kinda hurt, right? Best...deal with that.” He goes at the wound with the knife at the first, purposefully gouging it worse, and then sighs, “Gee. I just can’t figure out how to get that bullet out of your leg. Maybe I should clean it, huh? I should clean that nasty stab on your thigh, too.”


He smiles and tucks the knife into his waistband then tips holy water onto the wounds.


Ronove screams.


“So who did you say was possessing my friend?” Blaine asks over the sound, blinking slow and deliberate as he watches the demon.


“Balaam,” Ronove pants, screwing his eyes up. “His name is Balaam. He is...one of our Princes.”  The name matches up with the one the demon Sunshine gave him. The title, though - our Prince most definitely translates to Prince of Hell. Blaine resists frowning. Hell has an odd system. There are kings and princes and all manner of demons with titles, but it’s chaos all the same. Ronove narrows his eyes, gathering his strength back somewhat it seems, and he tells Blaine, “You’ll never defeat him. You can’t.”


“I dunno,” Blaine says, and he drops Ronove’s leg to fetch salt that he then pours onto the wounds. He gets stuck in, despite the churning in his stomach - he pushes the salt into the wounds, crams it in, and Ronove howls like a demented animal, writhing. “You should really just cooperate. I thought for a minute you actually might, you know? You seemed to recognise that I really will just...kill you.”


“I don’t know that you have the guts,” Ronove sneers through pain.


“I have plenty of guts.” Blaine tilts his head. “So do you, for that matter. Literally. I could just slice your belly open and coat it in salt. Or maybe something more subtle, like force salt and holy water down your throat... I'm sure I even have some iron nails lying around.”


Ronove glares at him.


Blaine carelessly slices down his cheek. “Who are you even wearing? He’s not very teacher-ly.”


“A dentist,” Ronove murmurs, almost conversationally, looking himself up and down. “His name was Carl, I do think.”


Blaine turns his back on Ronove to place the knife, salt, and holy water on the bed. He sighs and takes a brief moment to collect himself.


See, torture is one of the worst things, to Blaine. There are endless horrors he has encountered in his life time, but a lot of them pale in comparison to a hunter who’s riled, a hunter who’s torturing. He feels like he always knew it would get to this point, but that doesn’t mean he wanted it. He wishes he could’ve just tracked Kurt and found him, but that was proving - well, it was proving impossible.


But he’s not this cold. Not even to demons. He’s doing his best to keep up the facade, but it’s difficult to keep up a mask and pretend this isn’t bothering him. If it weren’t for the methods he’s using, the salt and the holy water and the knife, he’s sure it would be worse for him than for Ronove.


He turns back and smiles heartily at the demon, then eyes the demon’s staff at his feet. Hm. That being said, maybe it’s time for a change of tactic.


He scoops it up and tests it, heavy in his palms. “This is pretty neat.” He peers at it. It’s mostly smooth, but near one end, there are a bunch of sigils carved intricately into the wood. “Oh,” Blaine muses. “It’s magic.”


He twists it, and gives it a few test swings through the air, and says, “Does that mean this’ll work on you?”


Blaine raises it up and swings it hard, and Ronove is yelling, “No! No!” when it cracks into the side of his head. His neck then snaps back, and Blaine notes the ugly noise the staff had made once it had contact. Ronove gradually lifts his head, and looks at Blaine, and he finally sees a spark of fear there.


“Tell me about Balaam,” Blaine says, simply, and he lifts the staff threatening when Ronove looks hesitant. “Tell me what he’s doing or I will kill you.”


Ronove pauses. “Will you let me go if I tell you everything?”


Blaine, too, pauses, then nods.


Ronove takes a deep breath and says, “He’s going to Westerville.” He lets out a barking laugh, “Something to do with your friend, a significance of the location, but mostly he just plans to kill people.” Blaine blinks. Ronove quirks an eyebrow at him. “What, do you think all big demons have end-of-the-world plans? No, no. Balaam just... He just wants to body his legions and ravage the earth.” Ronove laughs. “He just wants to destroy things.”


“Where in Westerville?” Blaine demands, and he raises the staff threateningly.


Ronove answers quickly, “A school. A private school. I don’t know the name.”


Blaine freezes up, even if only for a moment. He knows where the demon is going. Oh, god, he knows, and the knowledge makes him shake. He puts the staff down and breathes in, and then he draws his knife.


Ronove eyes him, “Let me out now. You said you wouldn’t kill me. Let me out.”


Blaine bites his tongue, just lightly catching it between his teeth. Frankly, he can’t risk Ronove coming after him for revenge. “You’re dead anyway once Balaam finds out about this.” He grabs the demon by the hair, and jams the knife up - through the bottom of his jaw. It makes a sick noise, and Blaine shuts his eyes when he yanks the knife out.


It takes him an hour to clean up the room and then load his things into the car, and he does it carelessly. He has better, more important things to do than clean up the evidence of a dead body but when it comes down to it, Blaine realises that he has nowhere to go with the body. He agonises, standing over it where he’s laid it on one of the beds. Then he remembers how Castiel had just vanished Quinn’s corpse, and so he calls the angel, who - to Blaine’s surprise - appears in front of him before the phone even rings a third time.


“Hey,” Blaine mumbles gruffly, awkwardly hanging up the phone and tucking it away. Castiel looks down at the body, expectant, and Blaine says, “He gave up the information I needed.”


“What did he tell you? We should leave immediately.”


Blaine swallows. “I have to do it on my own.” Castiel narrows his eyes, and Blaine says, “Please just - if you want to help, just...clean this up.”


He makes determined strides to the room door, and Castiel follows him, reaching out to touch his shoulder, imploring in a very human way, “Blaine, Blaine.” He stops and turns his eyes to Cas reluctantly, and the angel huffs out a frustrated breath at him. “You could be killed. You have no idea what danger you might be up against.”


“It’s a demon,” Blaine says, plainly, as though that’s as simple as this whole thing is.


“You are not a fool,” Castiel hisses. “You don’t know how powerful this demon could be. You will either go in there and succeed, or you will fail miserably, and both you and Kurt will die.”


Blaine swallows, mouth suddenly dry, and he drags his tongue over his lips, trying to find the right words, and finally, what comes out without him even meaning for it to is, “That’s the idea.” Castiel narrows his eyes at him. Blaine shifts, and yes, the meaning comes to him, what everything boils down to, what he must have always known when he started out on this but never thought about.


He leans to tell Castiel very carefully, very clearly, “See, the thing about me and Kurt is that I can survive without him. I did for years before I met him, and I have done for the past couple of years, you know? We broke up. We grew apart, but we still kept in touch. I know that I can cope just fine without him being around. I'm sure if he was dead, I'd find a way to cope.” Blaine looks down, unable to meet Castiel’s eyes now, and says, “But I don’t want to have to do that, to cope, not at all. I don’t want to learn how to live my life without him. I don’t want to go week by week without any phone calls from him, without waking up next to him.”


He swallows hard and he turns, going to the door, opening it and moving to step out, but he looks back to the angel standing still in the room and says, “So if Kurt isn’t coming back, neither am I.” Blaine pauses. “Thank you for everything, Cas."


Castiel’s forehead creases and he says nothing as Blaine shuts the door behind him.

Chapter Text

“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.”


“Huh?”


“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.”