I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
This is the epilogue. Please read the author's note at the end.
I own nothing.
Taking a deep breath, Kurt opened his eyes and stared at his reflection. He scanned his outfit, his hair, his face, looking for anything that needed to be fixed. His hands went to the top buttons on his shirt, and undid the first two, then closed the second one again.
He was nervous.
A pair of hands settled on his shoulders from behind and his father's gentle face appeared in the mirror next to his. Burt Hummel smiled at his son. "Are you ready?"
"Yeah, I am…" Kurt nodded. He took another deep breath – he had honestly lost count of how many of those he had needed since he had woken up this morning.
"You look a little terrified," Burt said teasingly and Kurt rolled his eyes as he turned to face him.
"I am, a little… I just want today to be perfect," Kurt muttered, biting his lip before chastising himself internally for that. He didn't need his lips to be cherry red and bruised right now.
Burt arched an eyebrow, feigning confusion. "I thought the only way a wedding could be perfect was if the venue was the most exclusive hotel in New York, or the wine was the most expensive, or the food was…"
"I get it, I get it," Kurt cut him off impatiently. "You were right. I was wrong. I was planning a wedding I could be excited about because I always knew deep down inside that the marriage that would come afterwards wasn't what I truly wanted. You're very clever, Dad."
Burt's expression softened, smiling fondly. "The only thing I've ever wanted was for you to be happy, Kurt. You've never been a man who settled for less than what he wanted. That's why I was concerned about you marrying Alex, because he was a nice guy, but he was never the love of your life…"
"I know," Kurt admitted quietly, before a bright smile took over his face. "I can't believe I'm going to marry Blaine."
"Well, technically, you've been married to Blaine for a while, buddy…" Burt snorted mockingly.
"Oh shut up. You know what I mean," Kurt retorted. He instinctively reached for his ring, the one that hadn't been there for long but that he had gotten so used to wearing that he couldn't imagine feeling complete without it. But it wasn't there. Rachel had insisted they exchange their rings in the ceremony, in spite of the fact that it wasn't actually a real wedding. But Rachel had been adamant, and overrode his protests, already fearful for his life, after he'd told her she wouldn't be his groomsmaid after all. Taking a role from Rachel Berry-Hudson was never a clever thing to do.
Burt watched him for a minute, silently. Kurt hadn't been a little boy in a very long time, but it always seemed to surprise him just how much he had grown. He sighed and patted his son on the shoulder. "I'm gonna go out and find my place. I love you, Kurt."
Kurt's eyes filled with tears. Damn it, he couldn't have red-rimmed eyes in the wedding pictures. He would look blotchy. "I love you too, Dad."
Burt kissed his forehead and cleared his throat, clearly fighting tears of his own, before walking out of the room. Kurt turned back to the mirror to look at himself, knowing there wasn't anything he needed to fix, but still feeling like he had to do something. The sight of the two small duffel bags on top of the bed caught his eyes on the reflection – since their family was staying at the house, they had rented a nice room in a beautiful hotel for their wedding night. The honeymoon would need to wait, but neither of them really cared. There would be time for trips when they were properly settled in their new home. Kurt hadn't been back in Los Angeles for more than three days. There were still boxes to unpack, and he would start as Fashion Editor of Vogue on Monday.
Life was a honeymoon no matter where you were, when you loved someone as much as Kurt loved Blaine.
He glanced at the clock and took the millionth deep breath. Showtime.
Kurt stepped out of the master bedroom and walked down the hallways that he knew so well already. He had never felt more comfortable anywhere, but this house was their home now. They knew they would have to move to a new place eventually – and the house they would be moving to was just as perfect as this one – but Kurt wasn't sad about that. He would always have a home as long as Blaine was with him.
He opened the French doors in the living room and went out into the deck. He smiled as he looked at all their loved ones sitting in a semicircle in the white foldable chairs that they had borrowed from Cooper. It was a very small audience, but they didn't need a big crowd.
Rachel was already crying, sitting next to Finn, who was holding Chester. Next to them, Carole had Burt's hand in hers, squeezing tightly and smiling so widely that Kurt was sure it had to be painful. Burt had his lips pressed tightly together, and Kurt knew he was still fighting those tears. Cooper and Madison were next to them, holding hands. The girls were kneeling on the chairs and looking back at the house, impatient to see their uncles coming out. Sam was the last guest – Blaine's family had been reduced so abruptly over the years, but Sam had always been a brother to him, and they had to invite him.
A hastily constructed simple white gazebo, with the sea as a backdrop, stood at the front of the crowd. The wooden structure was constructed by Finn and Burt the day before, and Rachel, Ava and Olivia had decorated it with flowers. Maybe it might be carried away in the next strong breeze, but Kurt didn't care. It was beautiful, made with love by their family. That was all that mattered to him.
Kurt closed his eyes for a second to centre himself, and when he opened them he noticed movement from the corner of his eyes. Blaine had emerged from the kitchen and was gazing in awe just as he had, before he saw Kurt. They smiled at each other radiantly, and began to move, drawn toward each other, their feet sinking into the soft sand.
Kurt couldn't take his eyes off him. Blaine was absolutely gorgeous when he was wearing suits, but Kurt loved him like this even more – soft linen khaki pants, white cotton shirt with short sleeves, untied blue bowtie hanging from his neck. His hair was styled, but it still curled around his temples, shifting slightly in the ocean breeze.
They only stopped walking when they had meet at their homemade altar. They immediately gravitated towards each other, and Kurt pressed a hand against his chest, tears already threatening to fall down his cheeks, and he brushed the end of the bowtie with his finger, smiling.
"Something blue?" He asked playfully.
Blaine laughed, his hazel eyes crinkling adorably, and nodded. "You look beautiful," he whispered.
In any other time, place and circumstance, and with any other person, Kurt would have rolled his eyes and not believed a word. With Blaine, though, it was different. He felt beautiful, in his white linen pants and white cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The only splash of color came from the pretty orange flower he had pinned to the pocket in his chest, and Blaine grazed it with his fingertips, returning the gesture.
"Are you ready?" Kurt asked, and his voice shook a little.
"I've been ready since I was seventeen," Blaine replied bashfully.
God, Kurt knew exactly how that felt.
"Kurt," Blaine started, because they had tossed a coin to see who would go first. "I remember when I saw you in that staircase in Dalton all those years ago. I remember how wide your eyes went when I took your hand," Blaine paused and grabbed his hand, and Kurt gave it to him easily, without regrets. "I remember how hard your heart was beating when I kissed you for the first time, and how you stopped breathing when I told you I loved you at the Lima Bean. I remember how easy it was back then, how we had no doubts of where we would go and what we would do in our future." Once again, Blaine paused, and he looked down for a moment, as if finding strength. "I remember how difficult life was without you, when we went our separate ways. I remember not knowing how to breathe or how to think when you weren't there, and I remember thinking I would never get to look into your beautiful eyes again."
Kurt pressed a hand against his mouth to try to stop his sob, but he knew there was no use. He was going to be all blotchy and with red-rimmed eyes in the pictures, after all…
Blaine was also crying, but he managed to keep his voice in check. "I remember our wedding. It was rushed and stupid and so not us… but when you looked at me and said I do, I remembered what it was to be alive." Blaine wiped a few tears that had started sliding down his cheeks and took a breath before continuing. "I have made more mistakes in a handful of years than an average person does in their whole lifetime. I told myself a million times that I had to forget about you… and I'm glad I didn't, because that would have been the worst of all of my mistakes. You, Kurt, are unforgettable. You're the kind of man for whom wars are started, poems are written and songs are played. You're the strongest, most wonderful man I have ever met, and being your husband is the highest honor anyone could get."
Kurt sobbed once again, but he wasn't the only one. Rachel was blowing her nose loudly, and Burt was handing Carole a tissue, while Cooper rubbed his wife's arms soothingly, trying to stop tears of his own.
"I promise I will never stop loving you. I promise I will do everything I can so you never have to be sad again, and to be there to hold you when it's inevitable. I promise to live each and every day of the rest of my life making sure you're the happiest you've ever been. And I promise to never hurt you again," Blaine's voice cracked at that last part, and his hold on Kurt's hand tightened. "I'll do everything I can to never hurt you again, Kurt."
"I know," Kurt whispered, cupping Blaine's face in his free hand and resting their foreheads together. He closed his eyes and tried to breathe, because it wasn't easy when Blaine was saying such beautiful things. "I know."
"I love you," Blaine murmured, only for him to hear.
"I love you, too," Kurt replied, and then pulled away, needing to calm down so he could say his vows. He looked up at the afternoon sky and did his best to stop the tears.
Burt stood for a moment and handed his son a tissue, giving them both a pat on the shoulder before he went back to his place. "You guys are doing great."
That got a laugh from both of them, and Kurt blew his nose.
"Thank you, Burt," Blaine chuckled.
Closing his eyes one last time, Kurt forced his emotions to remain as calm as possible. "Blaine, I've been thinking about what I wanted to say today that I haven't told you a million times already, and it was difficult. But then I thought of that day, when we were arguing and you confessed that you had known all along that we were married…" Blaine blushed and looked down for a minute, and didn't look up again until Kurt squeezed his hand. "You told me of this life you had pictured for us – the house, the children, the dog…" Kurt looked deeply into his eyes. "And I think that at some point, while we weren't together, I convinced myself that I didn't want, that I didn't need any of those things. Those were our dreams, and I couldn't bear to see them come true with anyone that wasn't you. But as soon as you said that, I could see all those pictures in my head, too, and though I didn't want to admit it yet, not even to myself, I knew then that I was still as madly in love with you as I was when we were two boys wearing navy blazers and going for coffee dates."
Blaine's smile was watery and emotional, and Kurt wanted to kiss him and never stop, but he had to finish this first. He needed to say this.
"I'm not where I thought my life would take me. I thought I would be a Broadway star with the most luxurious apartment in New York and a bunch of Tony Awards on my shelves," Kurt rolled his eyes. "But of all the things that I wanted for my future, there is one and only one thing that remains unchanged, and that's you. It doesn't matter how crazy life gets, or where it takes us… you will always be my constant, Blaine. You will always be the love of my life, my soul mate, my husband…" He lifted Blaine's hand and dropped a kiss to his still bare finger, impatient for putting the ring back on it. "And I will dedicate the rest of my life to seeing how our dreams come true, and how those pictures we had in our heads of the future we wanted together becomes our reality."
"Kurt…" Blaine muttered, as his whole face scrunched as he tried to stop himself from crying.
"Oh, for the love of God, just kiss before this turns into a tear fest!" Cooper exclaimed, earning an elbow to his ribs from his wife.
Madison leaned closer to the girls. "Now, darlings. Go give them the rings."
Ava and Olivia jumped from their seats and hurried towards the altar. They each had a small velvet bag, and they gave it to Kurt and Blaine, who kissed the top of their heads before sending them back to their mother.
They extracted the rings from the little bags. Blaine grabbed Kurt's hand first and slid the ring onto his finger, sighing when it was in place, and then extended his hand for Kurt to do the same. The feeling of completeness washed over them both then, as the cool metal of the rings slowly warmed with the touch of their skin.
Kurt couldn't wait for another second. He wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck and stepped closer, smiling at his husband expectantly, while Blaine moved his hands to rest on his waist.
"You may now kiss your husband," Blaine whispered just before their lips touched.
They kissed passionately, with their toes digging into the sand, while their family and friends cat-called, whistled and clapped. Kurt didn't want to pull away, wanted to kiss Blaine until he ran out of oxygen and then maybe kiss him some more.
The breeze picked up a little and the gazebo did a slight cracking sound. Blaine ended their kiss and looked at it, suspiciously. "I don't think that's gonna hold up much longer."
"It held up long enough," Kurt laughed, but grabbed Blaine's hand and pulled him away just in case.
Blaine watched him with bright, happy hazel eyes. "Just the luxurious wedding you've always wanted, right?"
Kurt rested his forehead against Blaine's temple and tilted his head to look at his family. Chester was crying, probably scared from all the clapping and whistling; Ava was pulling on her mother's sundress and asking if they could eat the pigs in blankets already, and Burt was telling Finn that they needed to start the grill for the burgers.
"It's perfect," Kurt replied, and kissed his husband's lips one more time before tugging on his hand so they could go join their family.
Blaine had never known how exhausting this could be. His hand was cramping and he really needed a bathroom break, but he didn't want to stop. The smile etched onto his face wouldn't be coming off in a very long time. All these people were here to see him, to buy his book, to have him sign it.
He wasn't sure how any of this had happened.
Well, he knew how it started. Cooper had found his final draft of his journal, the one he had printed to go over it, to edit, before he decided what to do with it. He had taken it home, before Blaine noticed it was missing, then called him in the middle of the night, screaming that they needed to find a publisher. When Cooper Anderson was determined, he was pretty hard to stop.
Blaine had been overwhelmed by his brother's support, and later by the interest the publishing companies seemed to get on his book. It was such a personal story that it felt like everyone was staring at him while he stood naked on a stage, but it had been therapeutic to write it. He had asked Kurt a million times if he was okay with it being published – he was, after all, one of the main characters, even if Blaine had changed all the names and altered some situations so it wouldn't be completely autobiographical.
"Oh, honey, of course!" Kurt had said, cupping his face in his hands and kissing the tip of his nose in adoration. "I'm so proud of you for writing it and you know how talented you are. I love that book and I don't think it should sit there on your desk for only us to read…"
So Blaine had given Cooper permission to distribute it, and within a few months, Blaine had signed with a publisher, edited a final draft and considered options for the cover. It was surreal, but Blaine had never felt so fulfilled. Finally, he knew what he was meant to do.
He smiled at the next person in line, an older lady that immediately told him how much he reminded her of her grandson. She handed him her copy of the book and Blaine thanked her as he opened it in the title page.
He signed it with a flourish, and talked to her for another moment or two, then rescued the pen from rolling off the desk. He looked up to find a cup of Starbucks coffee in front of him.
"I…" He said, confused, and then found his husband standing there with their three year old daughter in his arms. "Kurt!"
"We thought you might need a caffeine kick," Kurt said with a bright smile. "The line is still quite long…"
"This is the best surprise," Blaine murmured with a warm smile, as Mae reached for her Papa. Kurt put her down and she ran around the desk until he pulled her onto his lap. "Hi, cutie pie."
"Hi, Papa," she said, happily, with her dark eyes fixed on him, as Blaine took a sip of his coffee.
It had taken a while for Mae to warm up to them when they had adopted her – she was a shy child who had entered the foster system when her mother died in an accident – but once she realized they loved her and she was safe with them, she became the sweetest kid they had ever met. They wanted to have more children in the future – they were thinking about adopting an older boy, and they were waiting for Mae to start with kindergarten so they would have time to sit down and talk about it properly – but for now, their little family was perfect. Kurt had even hinted they could get that golden retriever Blaine had always wanted for Christmas…
Blaine really, really loved his husband.
"Can we go look at pretty books with pictures?" Mae asked pleadingly, tugging on Blaine's sleeve. "Please, Papa?"
"Papa's working now, cutie pie. But how about we come back this weekend and we pick the prettiest book with the prettiest pictures for you, then? Would you like that?" Blaine offered instead, kissing the top of her head and taking in the floral scent of her dark, straight hair.
"Okay!" She exclaimed, excited, kicking her feet a little, with her favorite Minnie Mouse sneakers on.
"We don't want to interrupt. We just thought you might need a cup of coffee," Kurt said, looking over his shoulder at the long line of readers waiting to meet Blaine. "Come on, Mae. We have to go to the grocery store so we can get all the ingredients for Papa's favorite meal!"
"Yay!" Mae exclaimed, placing a quick kiss on Blaine's cheek before climbing off his lap to get back to her Daddy. "Can we get ice-cream too, Daddy?"
"Sure," Kurt agreed, and one day Blaine would joke about how Mae had him wrapped around her little finger, but he knew Kurt could say the exact same thing about him. Kurt leaned over the desk and gave Blaine a quick kiss on the lips. "See you tonight, New York Times Bestselling Author," he added with a wink, and then picked up their daughter back in his arms and made his way out of the book store.
Blaine watched them go before turning to the next person in line, who was telling him how much she had loved the ending.
Blaine glanced once again at where Kurt and Mae had just disappeared and smiled, overwhelmed by how happy and complete he felt. "Well," he said to the girl as he signed her book. "I've always loved happy endings."
Every time I finish posting a story, it feels surreal. It's months and months of writing, editing and planning coming to an end. Even though with fanfiction the characters remain pretty much the same, it's hard saying goodbye to them, and I feel like this particularly with The Awakening. I loved writing this story and I hope you all enjoyed reading it just as much.
I wouldn't have managed to finish writing and posting this without the help of some pretty special people. My two betas, Wutif and Christine, aren't only some of the best editors in the fandom, but also amazing friends who make my life so much brighter. Another wonderful friend is Jen, my very own cheerleader. Both Jen (thatgleekychick) and Wutif publish their own fanfiction, which you definitely need to read. So thank you so much to those three for being absolutely incredible.
With every new story, I also feel incredibly humbled by the response of those who stop by and read. I have been very lucky to be blessed with a pretty solid reader-base and I'm very grateful to those who come always back to read my new stories, who leave comments and send me messages. I've been extremely spoiled as an author, and I want you all to know I truly appreciate every second you spend reading, commenting or simply following me on twitter, tumblr or any other social media. You guys rock.
I don't know what's coming next – I have a couple of stories that I could publish, but I'm not 100% sure about what I'll be doing. Regardless of that, I hope to see you all again very soon, whether it's here for a new story, or elsewhere. You can find out about future projects by following me here, on twitter (theficwhisperer) or tumblr (heartsmadeofbooks).
Thank you for reading. Love you all,
PS: Happy 2015!