When Blaine was thirteen, he’d started figuring out that girls didn’t really do anything for him and noticed himself spending more and more time paying attention to the other boys that were on the track team with him.
Terrified of his parents’ reaction, Blaine had kept the news to himself. He didn’t want to them to know. He had, however, told a friend at school that he was gay. The news had spread all over school like wildfire. That’s when the taunts started, the insults, the pranks and shoves in the hallway. Still, Blaine had kept silent at home, his only consolation taken with the other gay guy in school. Tyler was a year older and used to dealing with the bullies.
He helped Blaine stand up for himself.
Together, the two of them decided to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance at school – just as friends.
Some of the jocks took offense to that, and when Blaine woke up in the hospital later, he’d had to explain what happened and why to his parents and the cops. It was one of his most awful memories – his mother’s tear stained face and his father’s eyes filled with betrayal because their son had dared to be gay.
His parents had talked to him, asked him if he was convinced he was gay. Told him that he was so young and his soulmate’s name hadn’t appeared yet, so how could he really be sure? Blaine had let them think what they wanted during his recovery, letting them take him home while he healed from his bashing.
He thought everything would be fine. He’d thought, foolishly, that his parents might come around eventually. He would have a few years, after all, until his soulmate name would appear.
Blaine was wrong. He was so, so wrong.
One bright and sunny morning, Blaine woke up feeling the best he’d felt since the attack. He’d scrambled downstairs in his boxers (despite his mother’s attempts to get him to wear clothes around the house) for breakfast. His mother had turned to greet him and had screamed at the site of him, dropping the carton of milk she’d been holding.
Milk had flown everywhere, splattering the surfaces of the kitchen as his mother had stared him. Blaine remembered asking her what she was staring at, and glancing down at himself.
He remembered so vividly how he’d seen the name on his chest. He was only fourteen. It was too soon. No one ever got theirs until they were older.
Blaine hadn’t known it then, but that was the beginning of the end. His parents had taken him to doctors and anyone else they could think of, but there was nothing to be done.
Blaine’s soulmate was one Kurt Hummel.
Blaine knew he wouldn’t change it, even if he could.
His parents hadn’t been able to deal with it. They could have kicked him out and left him with nothing, Blaine supposed, but they didn’t. Instead, they took him, confused and upset, to the local children’s services office. They dropped him off, signed over their rights and never looked back.
The Berrys had heard about him from a friend of a friend at the ACLU and had quietly arranged for an immediate adoption.
Rachel had not been a happy girl. She’d shrieked and raged and thrown a number of tantrums. She’d immediately set out to dislike him. When the Berrys had offered him the choice of boarding school (after what had happened at his old school and the fact that Rachel was not adjusting well), Blaine took them up on it. They visited him often and Blaine loved them. He just avoided Rachel as much as he could as a result.
On the morning of Kurt's sixteenth birthday, the first thing Kurt did when he woke up was glance down at his chest.
There it was.
Fourteen letters, etched into his skin, spelling out the name of his soulmate.
Kurt had gone on record years ago in disdain of the whole “soulmate” thing.
He didn’t want a future where he had no say in who he loved. He’d been dreading his sixteenth birthday ever since he’d figured out what it meant for him.
To most teenagers, it meant learning to drive or getting a job. It meant finally finding out the name of the person they would be with the rest of their lives.
For Kurt, it was like being sentenced to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He sighed as he slipped out of bed. He eyed himself in the mirror, trying to figure out if he looked older, avoiding the name scrawled across the left side of his chest, directly across his heart. His heart fluttered nervously as he examined his eyes, terrified for a moment that he saw a wrinkle.
“Get a move on, birthday boy!” Kurt heard his father call from downstairs. “Your breakfast is getting cold!”
Kurt took a deep breath, knowing he could put it off no longer. He glanced down and examined the name permeated into his skin. He ran a finger over the letters, tracing the slightly raised skin with the tip of his index finger.
Fourteen letters. One name. A future Kurt did not want.
“Whoever you are, Blaine Anderson…” Kurt sighed, trailing off, “You better be worth it.”
No one was sure exactly when the first recorded case of soulmates was – but suddenly it had become more and more prevalent in society. When a young man or woman turned sixteen years old, he or she would wake up with the name of their soulmate written on his or her chest, right over his or her heart.
Kurt appreciated the symbolism of it, in an ironic sort of way. About half of William McKinley high had soulmate names on their chests. Of that half, only a few had actually found their soulmates already. Kurt could count the couples on one hand.
Kurt clattered down the steps to the kitchen, where he found his father and his stepmother cooking breakfast. His father was manning the stove, a spatula in hand as he whipped up Kurt’s annual birthday breakfast – pancakes.
Carole was busy cutting up fruit salad with a knife at the island, humming a cheerful tune under her breath. Finn, his stepbrother, was sitting at the table, his chin propped up by his hand, an elbow resting on the table as he blinked sleepily in Kurt’s direction.
“Happy birthday, dude,” Finn said, getting their parents’ attention.
“Oh, sweetie,” Carole rushed over, pulling him into a hug and kissing him on the forehead. “Happy birthday!”
“Thanks,” he murmured, turning to his father. Burt Hummel put the spatula down and pulled Kurt into a tight hug once Carole had let go.
“Happy birthday,” Burt told him, squeezing him lightly.
“Thanks,” Kurt said again, once his father had let him go. “Thank you for breakfast, too. Can I help?”
Carole steered him toward a chair. “No helping this morning, mister. It’s your special day. Go sit.”
Kurt sank into a chair, waiting listlessly while pancakes were plated and the fruit was put into bowls and all of them had been served. He’d just taken a bite of pancake when Carole turned to him, moving excitedly in her chair.
“Well?” she asked, looking at him with raised eyebrows. Kurt sighed. He knew this was coming and dreaded it.
“Of course I got it,” Kurt murmured.
“And?” Carole pressed. It wasn’t like his stance on the whole thing was a secret – his family knew he was not thrilled about having a soulmate’s name imprinted on him. He figured she was trying to garner some excitement for him or maybe try to get him to see the positives.
He couldn’t though, because it came down to two things and Kurt couldn’t decide which one would be worse. He would either find his soulmate and be forced into a lifetime with a person he didn’t know… or he’d never find them and most likely spend his life alone.
Rarely, people did end up with someone other than their destined soulmates – or rather… the names of their soulmates changed. It had happened to his father and Carole both. Their soulmates had died and both of them had spent years without anyone. Kurt, on a whim (because he’d been in love with Finn and he hadn’t known what would happen honestly), Kurt had introduced his dad to Carole at a parent teacher night.
It had taken a few weeks, but eventually, they’d both had new names on their chests, directly under the names of their deceased soulmates.
Kurt actually thought it was kind of cruel. After all, what if someone’s soulmate died before they met them? They’d go around with someone else’s name on their chest and never know who they were.
It was just one more thing that Kurt didn’t like about this whole thing.
Even rarer were the soulmates who didn’t like each other – the ones that couldn’t stand each other and couldn’t stand to not be with each other either.
Kurt didn’t want this. He didn’t want it at all. He wanted to go back to bed and pretend this wasn’t happening.
“I’d like to keep it to myself,” He finally spoke, answering Carole.
“It’s not a girl’s name, is it?” Finn stage whispered, looking horrified. Finn’s reaction was just a testament of how far his brother had come – last year, Finn would not have been upset on his behalf if that had been the case.
“No, Finn.” Kurt shook his head. “It’s a boy’s name.”
As far advanced as their society now was (divorce was non-existent thanks to the redefinition of marriage and cheating spouses very nearly unheard of), society was still behind when it came to homosexuals. Kurt had been terrorized because he’d come out last year. He’d known for a few years that when his name showed up, it would be a boy’s name. He’d even hoped that it would be Finn’s name at one point (he’d tried to will it to be that way, hoping that if he wished enough, it would happen – and then Finn had turned sixteen, and Rachel Berry’s name had appeared on his chest. Needless to say, Quinn – his girlfriend at the time – and Kurt had both been crushed. Rachel had been ecstatic. The two of them were just waiting for Rachel to turn sixteen to make their bond official).
Kurt hurried through his breakfast after that, wanting to get through school and get the entire day over with.
“Did you get it?” Rachel’s voice rang in his ear. Kurt turned from his open locker to find Rachel standing there expectantly.
“Is this how it’s going to be all day?” Kurt snapped. “'Cause I really can’t handle that.”
“Sorry,” Rachel looked momentarily dismayed. “But did you?”
“Yes.” Kurt sighed, taking a couple of textbooks out of his locker and dropping them in his bag. “Of course I did, Rachel. Everyone does.”
“And?” she pressed for more.
“No,” Kurt replied. “No. I’m not telling.”
“You can’t ignore this, Kurt,” Rachel replied. “One day you’re going to meet your soulmate and –"
“I don’t want to meet him, Rachel,” Kurt told her. “You know how I feel about this.”
“But surely now that you’ve have your name, you’ve changed your mind?” Rachel asked, staring at him.
“No.” Kurt shook his head, shutting his locker and turning to lean his shoulder against it. “I don’t want this.”
“Are you going to be depressed all day?” Rachel wanted to know. “It’s your birthday. You should be happy.”
“How can anyone be happy knowing their entire future is out of their hands?”
“Okay,” Rachel stated, straightening her back so she reached her full height (which was still shorter than him, so he wasn’t sure what she was trying to prove). She looked determined as she continued talking. “You are coming over tonight.”
“Rachel,” he protested.
“Come on, Kurt,” she pleaded, taking his arm and heading for their first class of the day. “You need a sleepover to get rid of your doldrums. You’ll see.”
Blaine Anderson flopped down on his bed and sighed.
“Going home this weekend?” Blaine looked over at Wes, his best friend and roommate.
“My dads insisted. I’ve apparently been working too hard and they complained they’ve hardly seen me.”
“Your family seems great, Blaine. I don’t know why you never want to see them.”
“You know Rachel and I aren't that close,” Blaine replied. “She’s so driven and I’m all for that, but when I started displaying some talent, she got all offended, like I was upstaging her on purpose.”
Wes was Blaine's closest friend at Dalton. He was the only one who knew the truth – about his parents, about the Berry family and about his soulmate. He just let everyone else think that Hiram and Leroy Berry had raised him from birth.
“You better head out then,” Wes said, getting his attention. “It’s getting late.”
“Yeah, my dads wanted me home for dinner,” Blaine replied. He dragged himself off his bed and picked up his bag. He gave Wes a fist bump and then headed out the door.
Dinner was a quiet affair - just Blaine and his parents, with Rachel conspicuously absent.
“Does Rachel know that I’m here?” Blaine asked between bites of food. He didn’t even really get to enjoy the taste of it, unsure if he was annoyed with Rachel for perpetuating their stupid rift or hurt instead.
“She does,” Hiram replied. “She’s entertaining a guest upstairs and they’ve already eaten.”
“Ah,” Blaine nodded. “Sleepover. Got it. I’ll stay in my room.”
“You don’t have to do that, Blaine,” Leroy told him. “Rachel’s a big girl. She can handle you being around. This thing between the two of you really needs to stop.”
“We all know that I’m not the problem here,” Blaine muttered, getting up. “I’ll be in my room.”
He headed up the stairs, by passing Rachel’s closed bedroom door. He stared at it for a long while, hearing the TV and what sounded like two higher pitched voices singing along with whatever musical they were watching. Blaine shook his head and turned to go to his room.
After the fourth or fifth time he turned over, Blaine sighed and sat up in bed. He decided that sleeping wasn’t doing him any good so he got up and threw on his robe over his pajamas. He wandered silently through the house, finally ending up in the basement which had been converted into a performance area. Blaine rolled his eyes at the stage set up with microphones and lights, heading instead for the piano in the corner.
He’d play until he was exhausted and then maybe he could sleep.
Blaine sat down, caressing the keys lovingly. He played softly, singing quietly. He played one of his favorite songs, “Teenage Dream”, losing himself in the music. He’d been practicing the song with his fellow Warblers for their upcoming Sectionals competition but this version was stripped down and raw (kind of how he was feeling at the moment).
There was a noise behind him, and then a gasp. Blaine stopped playing and whirled around. His mouth fell open as he took in the sight before him.
Standing at the bottom of the stairs to the basement, looking embarrassed, was the most beautiful boy he’d ever seen.
Kurt hadn’t meant to spy. He’d woken up (thanks to Rachel’s snores) and had gone in search of a glass of water, thirsty from all of the popcorn they’d eaten earlier. When he’d gotten to the kitchen, pulling a bottle of water out of the fridge, that’s when he’d heard it – music - coming from the basement.
Intrigued, Kurt had crept down the stairs to see who was playing.
He didn’t expect to see a gorgeous guy hunched over the piano and crooning “Teenage Dream” sitting in front of him and as a result, had dropped his water bottle.
Now Kurt was standing there frozen, with the most amazing hazel eyes fixed on him. He could feel himself turning red. He assumed the boy was Rachel’s rarely mentioned, never seen brother. Rachel’s dads didn’t even have a current picture of the boy in the house. He wasn’t even sure Rachel had even told him her brother’s name.
“Sorry!” Kurt exclaimed, finding his voice. “I’m sorry, I – don’t stop. You sounded so good,” he stammered out, cringing at how awkward he was. “I’ll just – go. Now.”
“Wait.” The guy stopped him and Kurt paused. “You could stay if you wanted.”
Kurt’s mouth fell open a little in surprise. “You don’t mind?”
“No,” he smiled. Kurt clenched his water bottle in his fist and moved a little closer to the piano. “So you’re Rachel’s friend?”
Kurt nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “I take it you’re her brother?”
“Yep,” the boy nodded, holding out his hand to shake. Kurt took it, a tingle going through his arm as he met the other boy’s gaze. “I’m Blaine Anderson.”
“Kurt Hummel,” he replied at the same time. The two of them stared at each other for a long second. Blaine’s lips were curving up into a smile and his eyes were filled with wonder. The horror of it all sank in for Kurt.
He’d just met his soulmate.
Blaine stared at Kurt in wonder. He was still holding Kurt’s hand in his, and Kurt was staring right back at him.
“It’s you,” Blaine breathed out. He could feel something swelling within him, something he’d never felt before. It swirled inside him, engulfed and swallowed him whole. He drowned it in, breathed it in, let it consume him.
Every instinct in his body was screaming for more contact with Kurt, for him to take Kurt in his arms and devour him. Blaine felt out of control of his own body. He pulled lightly on Kurt’s hand, tugging Kurt closer to him.
Kurt moved forward slowly, as if he was in some kind of shock (and he could be, for all Blaine knew). Everything inside him was screaming now and Blaine felt himself give into it. His arms moved of their own accord, and Kurt gasped as Blaine pulled him into an embrace.
Kurt held himself stiffly, looking almost like he was in pain.
“I didn’t know it would feel like this,” Blaine whispered. “No one ever said…”
“Blaine, I…” Kurt began, his voice shaking.
“Can I kiss you?” Blaine asked. “Please?”
Kurt could feel the war within him. There was something building underneath his skin, trying to take over.
Trying to control him.
Kurt fought it back. He didn’t want this, he didn’t want Blaine. He wanted to rip himself from Blaine’s grasp, run and keep running until he was far, far away.
The very thought of it caused him physical pain, like his body couldn’t comprehend his mind’s betrayal. His heart ached at never seeing Blaine again and he couldn’t make himself say anything like that while Blaine was staring at him so intently. Blaine was looking at him like Kurt was the most precious thing he’d ever seen.
“Please, Kurt?” Blaine asked again. Kurt had no idea what to say. He’d never been kissed. His brain screamed that if he kissed Blaine, he’d be lost. Kurt’s body, on the other hand, was insisting that it happen and what Kurt assumed was their bond was pushing at him to give in.
Kurt pushed back at it, shoving it away.
“I’m sorry,” Kurt gasped out, backing abruptly out of Blaine’s arms. “I can’t do this. I have to – I can’t...”
Kurt turned and fled.
Blaine was so startled, he could only turn and watch Kurt go. He wanted to follow after him, but he held himself back. Every fiber of his being demanded that he go up those stairs, but Blaine knew if he did, especially after Kurt's sudden exit, he'd lose Kurt forever. He couldn't risk that.
He'd give Kurt until the morning and then he'd pull him aside and they would talk.
That plan in mind, Blaine managed to get himself up and into his room. He did pause outside Rachel's door, pressing a hand to it (and very nearly entering) before continuing on.
The thoughts of what he would say to Kurt in the morning swirled in his head as he tossed and turned. He finally fell into a restless sleep.
When his alarm went off, Blaine shot out of bed, not even caring how early it was or how little sleep he'd had. He had to talk to Kurt before everyone else was up – everyone else specifically meaning Rachel.
He slipped across the hall, not wanting to wake his dads either – that would be utterly mortifying (Blaine could just see it now. One of them would burst into song and the other would wax poetic about how Blaine was a man now and no. Just no. He already had enough problems trying to figure out what was going on with Kurt as it was).
He cracked Rachel's door open and peered inside.
Blaine's heart sank when he saw the neatly folded blankets on the air mattress on Rachel's floor. Rachel herself was dead to the world, letting out a snore.
Kurt was gone.
Kurt was still shaking when he got home.
He'd spent the night curled up in a ball on Rachel's air mattress, listening to his friend snore while he shivered and jumped at every little noise that might mean Blaine was coming to find him. He would have gone home right then, but he didn't trust himself behind the wheel.
The overwhelming surge of emotions was less pressing now that he and Blaine were not in the same room. Still, he knew he had to get away. So as soon as it was light, he penned a quick note to Rachel and fled.
His house was quiet, his parents and Finn still sleeping. It was funny, because everything was the same as it was the day before – same décor, same creaky third step on the stairs, and same fuzzy bedspread on his bed.
It was Kurt who had changed.
He set down his stuff and fell into his bed, burying himself among the sheets, determined to shut out the world.
Kurt wasn't stupid. He knew he couldn't hide here forever. Blaine would come for him eventually.
He just had no idea what he would do when that happened.
When Blaine pulled up in front of Kurt's house that afternoon, he could see Kurt sitting on the porch.
Blaine got out of the car and went slowly up the walk. He could see that Kurt was struggling with himself and knew that Kurt was resisting all of the same emotions that Blaine had so readily accepted. This was not what he had dreamed of when he'd thought about finding his soulmate. He'd thought that there would be a sweeping orchestra and he'd gather Kurt in his arms and they would kiss and kiss. So sue him – he'd had a long time to plan.
“Stop,” Kurt said quietly, holding out his hand. “Just stop right there.” Blaine froze in his tracks, staring into Kurt's blue eyes. “It should be pretty clear by now that I don't want this.”
“I kind of got that vibe,” Blaine replied, his voice as low as Kurt's. He ignored how much his heart ached at Kurt's words. He could worry about falling apart later. Now was about Kurt. “If that's the case, then why are you out here?” Blaine asked. He felt like he was talking to a skittish kitten, like one wrong word or tone of voice would send Kurt stumbling into the house and away from him forever.
“Rachel called,” Kurt muttered. “She had a few choice phrases for me.”
“Oh,” Blaine uttered the word on an exhale. He'd subjected Rachel to what she declared an equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition earlier, to get more information on Kurt. After getting snippy with him, she'd demanded to know why Blaine wanted information on her friend. So Blaine had taken off his shirt and shown her. He'd never shown his soulmate name to anyone until that moment. She'd shrieked and then flung herself at Blaine in excitement. It had become awkward really fast, considering they really didn't know each other and had hardly spoken over the years they'd been family. She'd agreed to help him (for Kurt, she'd insisted) and told him what he'd wanted to know. Blaine was surprised she'd taken it one step further and actually called Kurt as well. Maybe their relationship was fixable. Maybe she’d be willing now to put forth the effort of being siblings. “What did she say?”
“A bunch of stuff about how finding your soulmate is a once in a lifetime thing and how so many people never do.” Kurt waved his hand as he spoke. “I know all that.”
“Can I ask you something?” Blaine wanted to know after they'd been silent for a few moments. Kurt nodded. “Why are you fighting this?”
“Don't you want to choose who you fall in love with?” Kurt answered Blaine’s question with a question of his own.
Blaine felt at a loss for something to say. “I don't know how soulmates are picked or what all powerful being decides them or any of that. Maybe it’s some random genetic thing or fate or just something freaky,” Blaine told him, moving closer. “Here is what I do know. I'm your soulmate because I'm absolutely perfect for you in every way.”
“But what if you're not?” Kurt whispered.
“You'll never know if you don't give us a chance, Kurt.” Blaine took another step. “That's all I want.”
A tear made its way down Kurt's cheek and he wiped it away with the sleeve of his shirt, dabbing lightly.
“I can feel you struggling,” Blaine continued. “I don't want you to be unhappy. So if it's what you want, I'll go. You'll never hear from me again. You just say the word.”
Silence reigned. Blaine closed his eyes and then sighed. He turned around and took a step back to his car, his entire being protesting.
“Wait,” Kurt's soft voice reached his ears and hope sprung up in his heart. Kurt sniffled and then Blaine heard fabric rustling behind him. Kurt was moving. He held still, unsure what was happening. Gentle hands gripped Blaine's arm, tugging and turning him around. Kurt's lips were on his before he knew what was happening and it was all he could do to wrap his arms around Kurt and pull him closer.
He could feel it the moment it happened – the moment that Kurt gave into what he was feeling. The bond between them intensified and Kurt's name burned white hot on his chest for a moment. He and Kurt both made choked noises at the unexpected pain and jerked apart. Blaine searched Kurt's eyes for answers.
“Why?” he murmured, unable to look away.
“Because,” Kurt replied, his fingers tangling in the hair at the nape of Blaine's neck. “You were willing to let me go.”