A/N: Well, this is it. The final chapter and I'm sorry I kept you all waiting for it. Real life and other projects got in the way, but that is no excuse.
Thank you to everyone who has favourited, subscribed, and reviewed this story. In particular, Kironomi and Abbylabby for their wonderful reviews - I really appreciate them, and they always put a smile on my face.
Sam, Summer – you two have been awesome betas, and even better friends. Thank you.
And so – onto the final chapter! I really hope you all like it, and thank you for still reading.
Prince Blaine and the Quest
Chapter Nine – Welcome Home, Sire
When Wes, David and Mercedes returned to the clearing some time later, it was to find Kurt and Blaine spooned up against each other, fast asleep by the fire. Kurt's long body curved around Blaine's back, arms thrown protectively around the other prince's stomach and chest, holding him close. Blaine's face was relaxed as he slept; a smile on his face. David shushed Mercedes as she made to squeal with happiness, and Wes made a move towards the two princes. Kurt's grip tightened slightly at Wes's approach, his mouth falling open in a silent moan of protest.
Wes just smirked, and gently laid a hand on Blaine's arm, trying to rouse his sleeping friend. Blaine's eyes fluttered open, cloudy with drowsiness and squinting against the light. Heat came to his cheeks as he realised just how closely he and Kurt were pressed together. He shifted slightly, body pulling away from Kurt. The other boy whimpered slightly in distress, and Blaine looked at Wes in warning.
"Not one word," he muttered, pulling away from Kurt properly and placing one hand on the prince's cheek, stroking the soft skin gently until Kurt too began to wake.
"Hey," he murmured, smiling when Kurt sat abruptly upright and flushed as he took in the grin on Mercedes's face.
"We should get going," he said, getting to his feet in a rush and attempting to flatten down his hair with one hand. Blaine stayed where he was, staring up at the boy above him until Kurt rolled his eyes and offered a hand to pull the other prince up. Kurt's grasp was strong and when Blaine was on his feet, he refused to let go.
"Come on, then," he said, grinning when Kurt blushed even deeper. Still holding Kurt's hand, he pulled them over to where the horses were waiting and helped Kurt into the saddle.
Now that Blaine knew the route, he estimated that the journey home would not take more than a few days to complete, something that seemed to excite Wes greatly and depress David. As soon as Blaine mentioned the short ride, the knight's shoulders had seemed to drop in defeat. His horse hung back behind the others, walking where the others were cantering or in Wes's case, galloping in a vain attempt to beat Kurt. Mercedes watched from her horse, head thrown back in excited laughter, urging Kurt on. Usually, Blaine would have been watching Kurt, his eyes draw to the sweat dripping down Kurt's graceful neck or his high, elated laughter as he slowly but surely overtook Wes.
Blaine, however, had eyes only for one man and it wasn't Kurt. David's shoulders were drooping forward, his head hung and eyes firmly glued to the horse's neck in front of him. Blaine slowed Summer down to a walk, riding up beside his friend. David seemed to flinch a little at his presence, but otherwise ignored Blaine, eyes still looking down. Trusting his steed to keep on track, Blaine took one hand off his reins and reached across the gap between them, touching David lightly on his arm.
"What's wrong?" Blaine asked in concern, waiting for an answer. David stayed silent however, only the flick of his eyes towards the laughing girl up ahead betraying his true feelings.
"Mercedes?" Blaine asked in surprise, looking again to the girl in front, now comforting Wes at his epic defeat. For a moment, Blaine got caught up in staring at Kurt, skin flushed and eyes wide in excitement. Their gazes met for half a second, stealing Blaine of his breath before he realised he was meant to be comforting his friend.
"When we get back to Daltonia, she's going to find someone better. She's probably only been flirting with me to pass the time and I…" David muttered in a low voice, hurt clearly colouring his tone. Blaine just looked at his friend in disbelief, and then over at Mercedes. Feeling his gaze, she glanced over, a blush coming to her dark cheeks at the sight of David. Blaine watched as she looked away quickly, starting a conversation with Wes to cover how flustered she was.
"David, it's obvious she likes you," he said gently, smiling a little when David's head jerked up in shock.
"Really?" he asked, clearly still disbelieving. Blaine resisted the urge to roll his eyes, feeling that this was perhaps not the most appropriate moment to be doing so.
"Yes, idiot," Blaine persisted, smiling properly when David's whole face lit up.
"Well, I'll… I'll just go and talk to her then," David replied, spurring his horse forward while Blaine watched, fond smile still on his face.
Blaine, desperate to avoid Slushie valley and the bad memories that accompanied it had chosen to take a slight detour into a different part of the Cheerio Kingdom. The route he had chosen took them deep into the heart of the land, where families of cannons ran among the trees and pom-pom goats grazed in the meadows. Kurt took all of it in with wide-eyed wonderment etched on his face, as Blaine pointed out everything he thought might be of interest. During the day, Summer and Emma walked side by side, docile as their riders flirted and laughed above them. Blaine had taken to holding Kurt's hand as they rode; stroking his thumb along the back of it, still amazed that Kurt would even let him.
Occasionally, they dismounted, letting the horses drink from the small slushie streams that spider webbed across the landscape. Kurt would jump down easily, scouting through the undergrowth and every now and then letting out sighs of happiness. After a while, he came back with a small bunch of purple and gold flowers, held behind his back and then presented with the flourish to Blaine. Blaine, who had never been given flowers before, shyly took them and then glared over at Wes when the knight snorted in amusement.
At night, he would help Kurt dismount from Emma, secretly admiring the other prince and the way he looked in the flickering firelight, shadows dancing over his features. Their lips had still not touched, and yet Blaine made a habit of grazing his lips over the back of Kurt's hand before they parted for bed, pressing a gentle kiss there. Kurt would blush in that manner that Blaine found so adorable, and say goodnight softly. Blaine would watch him go, see him bed down next to Mercedes and hear the hum of their murmured conversations until he was lulled to sleep.
When they reached the border of Daltonia, Blaine pulled Summer up short and halted everyone else, much to Wes's chagrin. Turning to the prince next to him, Blaine smiled.
"Welcome to your new home, sire," he murmured, squeezing Kurt's hand in his. Kurt's face, upturned to his, smile stretching and wide, was all he needed to see. When he spurred Summer onwards again, feeling the wind rush past him, he genuinely felt he was home at last.
Before too long, Blaine's castle came into view, it's magnificent navy blue and red walls stretching up towards the sun. Kurt smiled at Blaine as they rode closer and closer, seeing peasants come out of their dwellings to welcome their prince home again. Many stared at Kurt in shock, but many more cheered and waved, happy to see their prince happy, whoever it was with.
Blaine felt a surge of pride in his chest as he watched Kurt interact with every single one of them; a smile, a wave, sometimes even a kiss blown to a swooning maiden. By the time they had reached the gates, there was a huge crowd gathered behind them, watching to see what would happen next.
The hoof beats echoed loudly off the cobblestones as Kurt and Blaine rode into the Daltonian castle. Courtiers stood to one side for them, even as a stable hand rushed forward to help Mercedes dismount. Kurt slid off Summer's back by himself, jumping down lightly to the ground before turning to Blaine and offering his hand. Blushing slightly, Blaine accepted and let Kurt help him down. He slipped as he landed on the cobblestones, losing his footing and almost falling over. Kurt's arms went to his waist, holding him up and pulling them close together… closer than they had ever been.
Uncaring of the watching courtiers and peasants alike, Blaine placed one hand tenderly on Kurt's cheek, cupping it and pulling the other boy closer so that their foreheads lent against each other's. Blaine breathed in deeply, shaking slightly at the intensity of just looking into Kurt's grey eyes. Slowly, Blaine raised his other hand to Kurt's chest, holding it over where he fancied the prince's heart would be. Blaine stroked Kurt's cheek for a second, before pressing soft kisses to the boy's cheeks, his nose, the curve of one ear. Blaine could hear Kurt's breathing speed up, could feel the heartbeat beneath his palm increase to an almost frightening pace.
And then, deliberately, Blaine leaned forwards and pressed his lips against Kurt's for a few seconds, before pulling back to gauge the other prince's reaction. Kurt's eyes fluttered open, butterfly wings against his usually pale cheeks.
"More?" Blaine asked softly, breath whispering lightly over Kurt's lips. In a daze, Kurt nodded.
"More," he murmured, before leaning forward and closing the gap between their lips properly. At once, Blaine could feel minute sparks shooting through his limbs, an electric current of happiness and warmth. Without thinking, he pulled Kurt closer, hands slipping around Kurt's neck as he tilted his head upwards.
Kurt seemed surprised, but he quickly responded, placing his hands on Blaine's hips and tugging until they were pressed all the way against each other. Trembling slightly, Blaine pulled back, placing one last kiss on Kurt's swollen lips.
"I love you," he sighed, a smile just beginning to break onto his face. Still smiling, Blaine threaded his hand through Kurt's and pulled him towards the castle.
Over the years, Daltonia came to be known throughout all of the kingdoms as the most fairly governed, most prosperous, most bountiful place to live. The Cheerio Kingdom was their closest ally, ruled by King Sam and Queen Quinn. And although Kurt spent many years regretting the loss of Hummelton to his step-brother, King Finn, in time his older brother learned how to rule and all was well.
Sir Wes and Lady Leila were wed almost as soon as he returned, as were Sir David and Lady Mercedes. Summer settled comfortably into the stables and despite the teasing he received from every knight loyal to him, Blaine continued to ride her on a regular basis. Emma too was happy, and very taken with a young stable hand named Will, who would often bring her carrots from the kitchen and spend hours patting her glossy red mane.
And as for King Kurt and King Blaine? They got married, ruled the kingdom together and were generally totally awesome. In short… they lived happily ever after.