Lima, Ohio – December 8, 2011

A little over a year had passed since Artie discovered the photos and made the realization that Kurt was the boy who he had met in the hospital so many years ago. The boys, already good friends due to Glee, had grown even closer over the year, depending on each other and sharing experiences. They had done some analyzing, and finally came to the conclusion that they had met on the eighth of that month; almost halfway between the accident and the death of Kurt's mom. And despite the frigid weather that day, they headed out on a mission. It was a Thursday, so it had to wait until after school and Glee club, and it was already getting dark out but the boys were determined. Instead of going home, Artie got into Kurt's Navigator and they headed off.

Out of respect for their son, Artie's parents had avoided the intersection where the accident had occurred and since Artie didn't really know anyone in that part of town, he didn't have to normally be anywhere near it. However, he decided that it had been long enough, and he and Kurt were going to drive through it. As they waited for the light to turn green, Artie stared around out at the surrounding area. The shops that had been on the corners ten years ago were still, and nothing looked much different from what he could remember. As the light turned green and Kurt pressed his foot on the accelerator, Artie tensed automatically as they started moving. They passed through without incident though, and for the first time it was like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He would always be more cautious than usual in any intersection but he had finally proven to himself that this one wasn't evil; it had just been bad luck.

They continued on in silence, the only noise being a Christmas song playing quietly on the radio. They were heading towards the cemetery where Kurt's mother was buried. He would be coming up there on the actual date of her death with his dad, but the boys had decided to stop there as well. Kurt had been strangely relieved that at least one of his friends had met his mother. Everyone knew his dad seeing as how it was such a small town and it was the best car shop around. No one knew Karen Hummel though, and he was glad that someone knew her, albeit as brief as it was.

They slowly pulled into the drive that led into the cemetery, the path still covered in the snow that had fallen the night before. Kurt eased the car over to the side near where his mother's grave was and set to helping Artie get out of the car and into his chair. The other boy had insisted coming along, saying that he didn't care if his feet and ankles got wet because he couldn't feel them anyways. Kurt was going to say something about frostbite, but decided that he would appreciate the company.

The boys struggled through the snow, Kurt pushing and Artie helping as much as he could. Soon enough though, they reached the tombstone that marked where Karen Hummel lay. Kurt gently brushed the snow aside to reveal the words: Karen Hummel. Jan 7, 1965 – Dec 18, 2001. Beloved daughter, sister, wife, and mother.

The boys sat in a calm silence for a few minutes, before Kurt spoke up.

"Mom," he began, trying to keep his emotions hidden for the time being. "I came by to say hi again. I know that I'm going to be back here soon again with Dad, but this is a little different." He took a deep breath before continuing.

"You remember Artie right? I brought him up to see you that one day. He's the one I was hanging out with all the time when we were at the hospital. After…after you died I didn't get to see him again for awhile. I didn't know how to contact him and you know Dad. He's terrible at getting information and stuff like that." Kurt gave a watery chuckle. "We met again because of Glee club. You remember me telling you about that right? I've made so many great friends there."

"I guess I just wanted to let you know this. I'm not really sure why. Maybe because you actually met him. I always have wanted you to meet my friends. You'd love Mercedes and you'd think Brittany is adorable. I guess you've met Puck before, because you yelled at him that time on the playground when you came to pick me up, and he threw a ball at me. We're actually kind of friends now, which is so weird." Kurt took another deep breath which came out shaky this time. Artie reached up and patted his arm comfortingly. "I guess I just wanted you to know…that I'm happy now. Life's not perfect, but when is it ever? I know you've told me to never change, to be true to who I am. Well I've done that for sure. Got a bunch of slushy facials and dumpster tossings for it. But it has made me stronger as a person, and I wanted to thank you for that." After this, Kurt had to bow his head to hide his tears. He knew Artie, of all people, wouldn't judge him, but he was so used to hiding from other people.

Artie's voice startled him out of his thoughts. He was now talking to his mother, something Kurt hadn't expected at all.

"Mrs. Hummel," he began quietly. "I know I only met you once, but I could tell I liked you. You were the only person in that entire hospital that didn't give me some sad, pitying look. You treated me normally which is more than most people do even now. I don't know what you told Kurt or how you brought him up, but whatever you did, it made him incredibly stubborn." Out of the corner of his eye, Artie could see a small smile tugging at the corner of Kurt's mouth. "I'm incredibly blessed to have someone like him as my friend. Someone who gets what it's like to be different and has to deal with the same things. Even though he does make fun of my clothes sometimes," he added almost as an afterthought. "He is always a great friend though." Having said his bit, Artie settled back in his chair and lapsed into silence.

After a few minutes, Kurt managed to get himself gathered back together and without a word they made the struggle back to the car. Once they were situated, Kurt made sure to turn the heat on and direct it at their feet so Artie's would be able to dry quicker. As they headed back in the direction of Artie's house, Kurt turned to him and said,

"Thanks again Artie. For everything." Artie gave him a smile and replied,

"No problem. Thank you too."


And it's done! Wow that was an incredible ride. My first multi-chaptered story with an actual plot! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those of you who reviewed, followed, and favorited this story. It means so much to me. I've really enjoyed writing these two and exploring their friendship. Now, a couple of people mentioned a sequel. I don't think I'm going to write an actual story, but if you had ideas for situations or something that you'd like to see, I'm considering doing a collection of one-shots surrounding their friendship. (Ex. the boys tell their parents about finding out about the other.) If you have ideas of things you'd like to see, leave a comment and I'll try to include it. Thank you again for so much support and for reading.

-Stephanie