It’s the last class before spring break (French, to be exact), so Blaine allows himself to daydream.
Today he’s thinking about soulmates, wondering when he’ll meet his soulmate (if he meets him at all). Upon seeing the man — he’s sure it’ll be a man, even if his parents are still skeptical — he knows that his initials will appear on his skin somewhere, coupled with an intense burning sensation. He also knows that this person could be anywhere, which is frightening.
The class ends, his thoughts interrupted as he stands to leave, waving to classmates that he won’t see for a week.
"Monsieur Anderson, can I see you for a minute?"
Blaine turns around confusedly just before he steps through the door; he has no idea what his professor, Mme. Bellamy, could possibly need. His grade is decent enough despite the language being his academic weak spot.
"Is something wrong?" he asks once he reaches the front of the room, brows furrowed. "Am I missing an assignment?"
She shakes her head with a small smile. “No, I actually wanted to make a suggestion. Do you have any interest in the different historical periods of France?”
Blaine nods — it’s not his passion or anything, but history in general has always intrigued him. And besides, he’s curious to know what the suggestion is.
"Well, I’ve found that it sometimes helps students to read more of the language outside of textbooks. That way, language connects to culture and history, which increases overall understanding. Does that make sense?"
"It does," Blaine says hesitantly, "but why am I the only one you’re suggesting this to?"
"Don’t think it’s because you’re a bad student," Madame Bellamy says quickly. "You’re one of my best, actually, but I can tell you’re getting frustrated."
Blaine shrugs because, well, he is frustrated. He likes clarity, and the French language is just not clicking. “What kinds of things should I read?”
"Whatever interests you," she says. "I’m not monitoring you or anything. Though if you like history, maybe try looking for written works from different time periods."
"Okay." Blaine thanks her and waves as he leaves the room at last, thinking. He has so much to do, but he really does want to improve.
So that’s how he ends up in the university’s library the same night, hunting through endless French titles to find something interesting. An unmarked black book catches his eye, and he asks the head librarian about it.
"It’s a diary from 17th-century France," she says, not looking up from her laptop. "A copy, of course. I’d never let a student take the real thing anywhere."
It’s strange; the book feels heavy in Blaine’s hands despite being relatively small. On a whim he checks it out, smiles brightly at the librarian who seems to lighten up at least a little bit at that, and heads back to his dorm.
The dorm is empty — his roommate, James, had left early for spring break, so Blaine has the place to himself for the next week. He could have gone home, but the trip from New York to Ohio just exceeds his current budget. Not that he’d been particularly excited to listen to Cooper wax poetic about his new commercial (Bam-Pow!).
Blaine yawns as he lies down, a whole week free of class ahead of him and plenty of opportunities to sleep for once. But the diary, now sitting meekly on a cluttered desk, draws his eyes even as he starts to close them. It’s practically instinctual. He groans, mumbles, “Leave me alone,” — which obviously doesn’t do a damn thing — and sits up again to glare at the book.
Before he knows what he’s doing, Blaine’s getting up to grab the book and opening it to the first page as he settles back onto the bed. The writing is difficult to read — not only is the copied handwriting loopy and true to 17th-century style, it’s broken up and a few phrases are scribbled out here and there.
"Bonjour, mon ami," Blaine reads quietly to himself, squinting.
Hello, my friend.
If you are of the same mind as those around me, you are likely wondering how I came upon the skills to read and write. It’s simple, a close family friend is tutoring me. I won’t disclose his name for his own protection, or my own, for that matter.
I dearly hope you who are reading this do not know my name already, or that if you do, I am long gone, perhaps to Paris.
I am writing to document my life, but most of all my frustrations. Being a blacksmith’s son is hardly favorable, particularly for myself. I see those of higher class and wonder, who has decided my life for me? I would much rather dress in the finest fabrics and converse with near-royalty than learn my father’s trade.
Don’t be mistaken. I love and respect him deeply and he is the single most important person in my life. But I can’t help feeling that I am worth more than what this world has given me.
I need to find a secret place to put this book before my father comes to find me.
Until the next,
Blaine stares at the signature, suddenly curious beyond belief. It seems so important to know who this is, which makes zero sense because whoever K is, he lived approximately 350 years ago. He has no relevance to Blaine’s life except as the author and subject of a college sort-of-not-really-assignment.
So he forgets about it in forced sleep and, later, a drink or two with friends that haven’t yet left for home. He tries not to think about the fact that, even living in New York City and seeing hundreds of people a day on the streets, he still hasn’t found his soulmate. Hasn’t even caught so much as a glimpse—
"I’ll get you another one on me," a guy with spiky, short black hair says, sidling up next to him at the bar. Blaine raises an eyebrow and nods slowly. "On one condition," the man adds carefully, and Blaine can’t bring himself to turn down the opportunity to distract himself with loud music and another body.
It’s electric, but it’s strange in a way he’s never known before. Like he’s suddenly breaching some kind of invisible boundary he didn’t have the last time he went out. He still accepts the invitation to the guy’s apartment and wakes up the next morning sore and hungover.
Blaine slips silently out of the room and back to his dorm, the trip a stinging blur until he finally flings himself back onto his own bed with a bottle of water and a pillow-muffled groan.
Lifting his head, he spots the diary exactly where he’d left it — on a chair, on top of some of James’ books that he hadn’t taken with him. Blaine hesitates for a long minute before he gets up (too quickly; his head rings).
He really shouldn’t read this right now; he should rest. But the idea of possibly learning more about the mysterious ‘K’ combined with the desire to immerse himself in the French language somehow trumps all other priorities as Blaine settles with his back against the headboard, determinedly ignoring the pounding of his brain.
On the second page, K describes his home: simple, but très belle. His mother died when he was a child, so he and his father live alone. He doesn’t dislike working in the blacksmith’s shop, but it’s not his dream.
He feels stuck, and “être coincé doit être mis en cage.” To be stuck is to be caged.
Home is a beautiful, gilded cage, but there is hardly a difference to me between the golden bars of a prized aviary and the crude ones of a prison. Sometimes, it helps to sing. I believe there is nothing more freeing or beautiful than song, especially a song sung for no reason other than to sing.
If anyone in the village heard me, I know I would be condemned. It is an unwritten law that men of our ranking don’t engage in art unless it is our trade.
We are all so stuck in our villages, our trades, that I wonder how anyone finds his soulmate. I still hold hope for discovering my own, but each passing day weakens it.
Blaine bites his lip in concentration — he has his French-English dictionary application open on his phone and the diary balanced in his lap as he reads. It’s surreal to know that, once upon a time, someone wrote these words. It’s even more surreal to realize that someone once felt the same way Blaine feels, or has felt.
He has broken out of the cage that was Ohio, but he’s no closer (or so it seems) to finding his âme soeur, his soulmate.
The next few pages are brief notes about K’s life rather than thoughts. Apparently there were a few young men around K’s age that delighted in making him miserable — not that it seems to have phased him too terribly, based on his tone. But Blaine could be wrong.
He turns the page again, thoughtful, and begins to read quietly to himself.
"Cher ami, j’ai quelque chose à avouer," he murmurs, frowning.
Dear friend, I have something to confess.
I can’t under any circumstances reveal this to anyone, but I must attempt to clear this cloud from my head. Whoever you may be, I hope you will not judge me too harshly for what I am about to say.
After some time spent mulling the subject, I’ve found that I don’t love women. They are beautiful and charming in their way, but I only hold true attraction for other men, as far as I am aware.
Homosexuality is a terrible sin punishable by the worst of trials, or so I’ve been told. It has the same status as bestiality. So you can understand why I refuse to speak any of this aloud.
Even without a royal library at my disposal, I know very well that there have been many songs and stories written about love, more than anyone can possibly read in a single lifetime. It’s the poison and the remedy, the fleeting and the everlasting. It’s where music originates and art flows.
But the moment one man loves another, it’s evil incarnate.
It’s difficult for me to accept this about myself, surrounded as I am with that belief. I would be lying if I said I don’t regularly wonder if there is something wrong with me. But, what can be wrong with love?
Forgive me. My thoughts are scattered on this matter.
Simply put, I believe that my soulmate is a man like myself, whether it’s moral or not.
Blaine finally breathes after he finishes reading the page, struck speechless (not that there’s anyone around to speak to except himself; oh, how he wishes he could speak with this long-dead man).
His headache has cleared up enough for him to move about the dorm, gathering up an outfit suitable for the public eye so he can get a coffee or something. He briefly contemplates bringing the diary with him, but something holds him back. It feels too personal, which really doesn’t make sense, but Blaine shrugs it off and heads out the door with his key and his shoulder bag full of other assignments to work on.
He doesn’t think about K when he works on a French assignment, oddly enough. He does, however, when he sees two hands clasped tightly underneath one of the café’s tables, and when he catches a wink and a blush, and when an elderly man kisses his wife gently on the cheek as they sit down. Blaine wonders if K ever found that, and wonders if he’ll find it for himself. Not just another body, but a heart and mind and soul.
"Oh, my God!"
Blaine jumps at the sudden voice, having been deep in thought, and glances around.
"Didn’t you sing at Callbacks last week?" The speaker is a young woman with a loud voice and long, dark hair. Blaine nods, slightly terrified because is it really necessary to be that loud in a coffeeshop? "I knew it."
She sits down opposite him and Blaine blinks, moving some of his work out of the way to make room for the stranger. “Uh, hi?”
"Oh, I’m sorry, I should have introduced myself," she says. "My name is Rachel Berry and I’m a junior at NYADA."
"NYADA?" Blaine’s impressed; he’d thought about applying, but he hadn’t exactly had a lot of support. Offhandedly, he notices FH written in tiny lettering on the inside of her right wrist — so she’s found him, then.
"Mhm. What about you? I could have sworn you went to NYADA too, since you sang at Callbacks and all."
"No, no, it’s NYU for me," Blaine mumbles. "Blaine Anderson." Out of instinct he holds a hand out, and Rachel raises an eyebrow approvingly as she shakes it.
"Ooh, and a gentleman, too. He’s going to be so jealous.”
"Oh, my best friend and roommate," she says dismissively. "He was supposed to come with me to Callbacks last week and he still doesn’t believe me when I tell him he missed one of the most talented performers I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about you," she adds when Blaine frowns, confused.
"Thank you," is all he can think of to say.
"You should be thankful, that’s a serious compliment coming from me," she says, nodding. "You should look into a class or two at NYADA and think about applying for grad school! There’s an acting class that K—" Rachel stops all of a sudden to pull out her phone. "Sorry," she mouths, putting it up to her ear.
"It’s fine," Blaine assures her, then he focuses on the paper in front of him. At the moment, all this French is more foreign than usual. Figures.
"No, I’m not with Brody—" Rachel starts, and she huffs. "Finn and I aren’t together right now, so I’m perfectly at liberty to look around. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up on him, you know that. Yes, I know he’s your stepbrother, I know you’re just trying to make sure he’s happy, I want that for him too. Okay, I need to go, I’m talking to someone, I’ll talk to you at home. Uh-huh. No, I’m not buying another cheesecake for you. Bye.”
"Roommate?" Blaine asks, curious. Rachel nods.
"He’s practically my brother, but that would be weird because his stepbrother is my ex and, well." Her eyes flick momentarily to her wrist and Blaine realizes who FH must be.
"Have you known each other long?"
"Oh, since high school. We didn’t become friends until our junior year because we both tended to be divas. But we’ve grown since then. Now we’re living our dreams together."
Blaine smiles because Rachel looks so cheerful in that moment that he can’t resist simply being happy for her and her friend, whoever he may be. It’s clear they have a strong friendship, if nothing else.
"What are your plans for spring break?" Rachel asks then, and Blaine shrugs.
"Homework," he says, grimacing. "Maybe I’ll sing at a bar or two."
"You should come back to Callbacks. Monday night."
"Is that a request or an order?" Blaine asks, raising an eyebrow. Rachel smiles.
"Oh, Blaine. I would never try to force you into anything, but I think I’ll be able to get Mr. Skeptic to be there with me then. I have a point to prove."
"In that case, I’ll do my best to make it."
They make small talk for a few more minutes before Rachel checks the time and realizes she has to go.
"Kurt’s going to kill me if I don’t get the groceries in time for him to make dinner," she says hastily, gathering up her purse. Blaine, for some reason, can’t breathe properly for a split-second. "See you!"
He waves farewell as she leaves, still taken aback at his reaction to… something. He’s not sure what exactly happened, but it definitely wasn’t normal. People don’t just get their breath taken away spontaneously. Maybe he’s overreacting.
"You’re overreacting," he tells himself firmly as he stands up, organizing his papers and notebooks in his bag. And he believes it.
There are only a few pages left in the diary, which he remembers once he’s home with no plans on a Saturday night (again), but he still has dinner to make. And a dorm to tidy. And job interviews to schedule. And maybe he’s putting off reading the diary, but really, it’s notthat important. Or so he reminds himself every few minutes when he starts to pick it up again.
Blaine succeeds in not reading any more pages until Sunday morning, which is usually when he goes to an amazing little breakfast restaurant down the street, but it’s closed today. So he has no reason not to take the little black book from his now-clean desk and start reading once again.
He reads the first word and it already feels like home.
My friend, you’ll never believe it.
I, unfortunately uncultured as I am, have started to paint. I’m no real artist and music is still my single greatest passion, but I’ve decided that I want to leave my own work in this book in such a way that it can be seen.
There is a traveling artist in the village for some time who has been gracious towards me. She is my mentor, so to speak, until she needs to move on. I hope that she sells enough of her work in this area that she can stay long enough to finish her teachings with me.
Perhaps I can leave a self-portrait among these pages so that you, my friend and confidant, can put an image to these words.
I apologize for the brevity of this passage, but I have a lesson in brush strokes for which I mustn’t be late.
Blaine smiles — sure, it might have happened centuries ago, but he’s still overjoyed that K finally had something good happen. He’d tried to paint, once, and it had been a complete disaster. But a happy one; unless one’s trying too hard to make a masterpiece, there’s no way not to enjoy getting paint on a canvas somehow.
Or on another person, if one so chooses. That’s even more fun.
Blaine turns the page again — it’s the second to last, he realizes, and the thought dampens his mood. He definitely has a better grasp on French since he’s no longer reaching for his phone every other line, but he’s already mourning the loss of K’s presence in his mind.
I am hopeless in a way that I’m not accustomed to. I’m not sure what has brought this on, but a certain man in the village is acting peculiar towards me. I can’t imagine what he has in mind, and I prefer not to try. The way he looks at me, I feel filthy, somehow. I don’t feel comfortable being in the village alone anymore. Father understands, but there isn’t anything he can do to change things except to try to stay with me.
Being watched so closely, I worry that these pages will be discovered soon, by Father or someone else entirely, but I have another thought to leave here before I hide them away.
To my soulmate, to my love,
I’m almost sure that I will never know your face or your name, and my heart already mourns your absence. However, I refuse to think that I cannot be happy without you. I’m leaving this village as soon as possible to find my happiness. If that leads me to you, all the better.
I have many doubts that you’ll ever read these words, but I write them in the hope that you somehow know that I am never parting ways with the idea of you, the single person meant to complete my heart.
It is said that some soulmate bonds are stronger than others. I believe ours can be one of the strongest, if we allow it. Perhaps it can even transcend time itself.
Until the day upon which we meet, I leave you, my friend, my soulmate, a crude self-portrait, and I wish you the best for eternity.
He’s not crying, but a single tear falls as Blaine takes a deep breath. The passage is stirring. Moving. The fact that it’s real (or was, at one point) makes it so, he thinks. A person with his own flaws, worries, dreams, and injuries wrote these pages in spite of everything, and Blaine is touched by it.
He turns the page and spots the portrait, badly copied but still discernible, of K himself. Painted by K himself, he remembers, and it’s beautiful. Blaine hasn’t seen a man that carries such poise or grace in his lifetime.
And then the skin of his left palm burns, sharp and painful.
"No," he says quietly, because there’s only one reason any part of him would be burning.
His soulmate couldn’t possibly have existed in the 17th century, could he? It’s a cruel joke; the tears finally break through because the fucking universe has decided to pair him up with a man that hasn’t been alive for 300-something years.
At least if his soulmate lived in India or something, he’d still have had a slim chance. But now?
God, he needs a drink. He needs a lot of drinks.
Hours later, he’s too drunk to notice the letters KH on his palm.
Monday morning arrives a lot like Saturday morning, except fifty times worse.
"Dude, you look like shit," John-From-Next-Door says conversationally as they pass in the dorm hallway, and Blaine has to resist giving the idiot the finger. Hungover or not, heartbroken or not, he’s still a gentleman. Or at least he tries to be one.
Blaine thinks he might vomit if he takes a cab or any sort of moving transportation, so he walks to the nearest café with decent coffee. On the way he passes Callbacks and remembers Rachel’s suggestion. He’s not sure he wants to go through with it, though, if only because he’d rather wallow in his misery for another day or two before he forces himself to conquer the world without any hope of finding his soulmate.
A few days ago, if asked, Blaine would have said he wouldn’t particularly mind it if he never met his soulmate. But that was when he’d still thought there was a chance, whether he looked for it or not. Now things are different because there’s nothing he can do to change the fact that he will never so much as see the person who’s supposed to be his one and only.
He’s felt lonely before, but this kind of loneliness is almost too much to bear.
A medium drip and the walk back home clears his head somewhat, so back at the dorm, Blaine thinks. He doesn’t want to, but he opens the diary and flips to the last page with the portrait. There’s some handwriting at the bottom that he hadn’t noticed before, difficult to read because of the poor print job.
"Un jour, mon amour." One day, my love.
It hits him then that K — or KH, rather — would sure as hell not approve of his reaction. As written on the previous page, the man was also sure he’d never find his soulmate. And, as apparent from the letters on his palm, KH never did. And yet, as far as Blaine knows, he didn’t give up on himself.
Blaine finds himself hoping that KH did indeed leave the village and that he found his happiness. And then he decides he should find his own happiness, because even if they can’t possibly meet, they still have that in common.
His happiness, he concludes, should start with performing at Callbacks tonight.
The performance is a hit, once again and maybe even more so than the first time. Blaine has already spotted an apparently roommate-less Rachel Berry, but he’s not too bummed about it. He’s on stage and singing his heart out and this is his happiness right here, a piano and a microphone and a roomful of people that want to hear his voice.
"So, what did you think?" he asks Rachel once he’s finished, a massive grin on his face.
"Amazing," she says. "And I think we need to sing a duet immediately."
"Where’s your friend?" He’s not sure why he doesn’t just say his name — for some reason, it’s stuck.
"He’s running late," she answers, frowning. "He should have been here by now, though."
"He’s here," a new voice, weary and distinct, says from behind Blaine. "You don’t need to monitor my every move, Rach."
Blaine doesn’t hear the rest of Rachel’s sentence because he turns and sees him. Kurt. KH. It has to be because his palm is burning again (though not as strongly) and Kurt’s staring back at him with his lips parted and the fingers of his right hand flexing involuntarily.
"Kurt," Blaine breathes at last, and the name is as silk.
"You’re—" Kurt stops, shakes his head, and raises his right palm. "These aren’t your initials, are they?" he asks almost desperately. Blaine reads BA, and nods.
"Blaine Anderson," he says. Rachel has stopped talking and her hands are covering her mouth but neither of them pay her any attention. "I thought—"
"I didn’t—" Kurt says at the exact same time, and they both laugh, albeit nervously. "Um, it’s nice to finally meet you, Blaine."
He’s biting his lip and he looks just like the portrait of K — which makes no sense, but Blaine has long since given up on trying to make sense of things. “You too.”
"Oh, my God," Rachel says, and they turn to her. "Kurt, I told you you should have come the first time!"
"How was I expected to know that, quote, ‘Mr. Hot Piano Man,’ would be my soulmate?" Blaine smiles; hearing someone — his someone, his Kurt — say out loud that they’re soulmates gives him a pleasantly warm feeling in the pit of his stomach. And he might just be a little bit flattered by ‘Mr. Hot Piano Man,’ as odd as the name is. But he’s already starting to get an idea of Rachel Berry, and that fits right in with his assumptions so far.
"My soulmate," he can’t help repeating, and Kurt looks back at him with a fond smile.
"You have no idea how weird this is for me," Kurt says, but he’s cheerful about it. Blaine thinks there’s hardly anything that could be weirder than the rollercoaster he’s been on the past few days, but he doesn’t say anything about it. "God, what do people usually do when they meet their soulmate?"
"Well, Finn and I—"
"I know, I know, you made out in an auditorium and then somehow had a crazy amount of drama and didn’t get together for months. Then you broke up, got back together, broke up—"
"My point is, what do normal people do when they meet their soulmates?” This earns him a well-meaning punch on the shoulder from Rachel, who then huffs and stalks off towards a group of what Blaine assumes are other NYADA students. “You learn to love her eventually,” he tells Blaine.
"I think I already do."
Kurt snorts. “In that case, you must be an uncommonly loving person.”
"Only one way to find out, isn’t there?" Kurt watches him carefully, storm-blue eyes twinkling with something that Blaine can’t quite pinpoint. He can’t wait until he can know all of Kurt from his habits to those little quirks that everyone has.
"Blaine Anderson, would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"
"Tonight?" he asks, laughing. Kurt raises an eyebrow.
"It’s not too late," he hums, looping his arm through Blaine’s and leading them both towards the door. "You should know as well as I do that there’s always something to do in New York City no matter what time it is."
"I don’t think I’d want to take part in anything that’s happening at 3 AM…" Blaine trails off, teasing and well aware that it’s only ten.
"I can’t believe whatever universal thing there is paired me up with you,” Kurt says, though he’s smiling widely. “I’m glad it did, though.”
"So, where to?"
To the stars, Blaine thinks. “Surprise me,” he says.
A few weeks later finds Blaine in Kurt and Rachel’s apartment. Blaine plans to move in after the semester ends — he might as well already live here, as Kurt comments upon regularly. But Blaine knows that he wishes he were there more often, and he himself can hardly wait until the time comes when he is.
He’s in Kurt’s ‘room’ when he spots it: a sheet of wrinkled paper sticking out of the top drawer of Kurt’s bedside table that Blaine has never seen before. It looks like it had been put away hastily, probably before he’d arrived.
Kurt and Rachel are in the kitchen arguing loudly about dinner, as per usual (Blaine, for his part, thinks that Rachel should stay away from all kitchen appliances for the rest of her life to avoid fire hazards). So he’s alone, sort of, and it’s probably an invasion of privacy but he can’t resist using a finger to carefully fold down the edge of the paper that sticks out so he can see the tail end of what appears to be a letter.
A letter written in looping Italian, and dated in 1675 based on the stamp in the bottom left corner.
He doesn’t read the end of the passage that he can see, but his eye does catch the final two lines.
"Lo aspetterò per sempre, il mio amore,” he reads, having a basic knowledge of Italian pronunciation but absolutely no idea what it means. He pulls out his trusty phone and finds a decent translator. What he discovers makes his breath catch.
I will wait forever, my love.
So he’s… It’s an insane notion, but nothing else makes sense (what does make sense anymore, really?). Maybe he did exist in the 17th century, too. Maybe they've both existed throughout time, always searching for each other whether actively doing so or not — always falling in love. And now, he hasn't just found Kurt, but it feels like he's found Kurt again, like it's something that will keep happening regardless of how the world changes, how it advances or regresses with the rise and fall of humanity, of equality, of love.
Blaine slips the paper back into the drawer and heads out to the kitchen, surprising Kurt from behind with a hug, arms tight around his waist.
"Hey," Kurt says softly, placing his hands on Blaine’s at his stomach. "What’s going on?"
"I’ve been looking for you forever," Blaine mumbles into his shoulder. And he knows, somehow, that there is nothing but truth in what he says. He thinks he hears Rachel fondly say "Boys" as she walks away, but he doesn’t think about it. All he thinks about is Kurt; his soulmate, his lover, his greatest happiness. A love that transcends time.
Kurt hums, turning his head to kiss Blaine’s temple. “I love you.”
"I love you, too. Avoir toujours et pour toujours." Always have, always will.