Well, this is it. I've been writing this story for almost two years now, and I think its time has come. I truly appreciate all the wonderful support from you faithful readers, because that's what motivated me to keep writing for so long (that, and the fact that it usually took me forever to update...sorry about that). This is shorter than all the other chapters, and it still took me forever because I swear I'm getting busier and busier lately. I just got promoted to editor at one of the on-campus publications that I work for, I'm doing TV reporting for one of our local news stations, my class schedule is insane, and I also have to get a ton of crap together for studying abroad this summer (anyone here from Germany? I'll be in Leipzig from the middle of May til the middle-ish of June, yay). So that's what I've been up to lately in case you're like "God, why does she take so long to update?" :P
HOWEVER, the story isn't completely over yet. For those of you who are interested, I'm starting a series of oneshots that take place in this same 'verse and I'll be updating that every so often. The first one is already published, and I'm just going to keep adding them as part of the same story. It's called "Lessons Unwritten" if you feel so inclined to go check it out/favorite it/subscribe to it/review it/whatever floats your boat.
But even with that new little series (which I hope you all enjoy), this is the end of the story that started it all. Thank you all so much again for everything. If I could hug you all, I would, but I can't do that so please accept these virtual internet hugs as my own personal form of gratitude. *virtually hugs everyone*
A lot can happen in a decade. I've learned that lesson twice over the past 20 years of my life. 20 years ago I was almost 18, about a month away from graduating from high school, and I'd unknowingly just entered a relationship with a man who would start to brutally abuse me a couple of years down the road. 20 years ago, Blaine Anderson was nothing more than my best friend in the entire world, and despite the fact that I'd hopelessly fallen head-over-heels in love with his beautiful hazel eyes and dreamy smile, I thought that was all he'd ever be. If only the Kurt Hummel who existed two decades ago could meet the Kurt Hummel-Anderson who I am today. I think he'd be dumbstruck and highly impressed with the person he was destined to become. I can honestly say that I've learned to love myself in the ten years I've been married to Blaine. But I know I will never be able to see myself through his eyes, just as he will also never be able to see his own perfection in the same way I do. Both of us are extremely busy (married life certainly isn't as fairy tale-like as it may seem, believe it or not) but that doesn't change the fact that I love him more and more with each passing second. And now that we are finally alone together in the most romantic city on earth, I couldn't be more thankful for that one day back in 2010, when I decided to pop into Dalton Academy for a visit.
If only the Kurt Hummel who existed two decades ago could meet the Kurt Hummel-Anderson who I am today. I think he'd be dumbstruck and highly impressed with the person he was destined to become.
I can honestly say that I've learned to love myself in the ten years I've been married to Blaine. But I know I will never be able to see myself through his eyes, just as he will also never be able to see his own perfection in the same way I do. Both of us are extremely busy (married life certainly isn't as fairy tale-like as it may seem, believe it or not) but that doesn't change the fact that I love him more and more with each passing second. And now that we are finally alone together in the most romantic city on earth, I couldn't be more thankful for that one day back in 2010, when I decided to pop into Dalton Academy for a visit."Qu'est-ce que tu écris, mon amour?"
Kurt immediately dropped his pen in between the pages of his journal and flipped the book shut when he heard his husband's voice. He looked up, and sure enough, there was Blaine – soaking wet from the shower he'd just taken, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, and looking unfairly hot.
Kurt rolled his eyes but smiled as he turned to set the journal on the bedside table.
"That's the worst French accent I've ever heard," he pointed out with a giggle. "I was writing in my journal."
"Since when do you keep a journal?" Blaine asked in response. He sauntered over to the bed, dropped his towel casually to the floor, and crawled under the covers beside Kurt, who was also naked. They'd arrived in Paris late last night, and despite the fact that both of them were completely exhausted from traveling, neither could pass up the opportunity to make love just once when they first arrived at the hotel. They'd both fallen asleep almost immediately after they'd finished, but neither of them regretted the decision. After all, it was their ten-year anniversary, they were both in their late thirties, and they were finally taking the honeymoon of their dreams. If that wasn't a cause for some kind of sexual celebration, nothing was.
"Since today," Kurt explained. "I thought it would be neat to keep something like a travel diary, but I kind of started writing about something…someone else instead." He turned to give Blaine a satisfied little smile.
Blaine played dumb. "And just who might that 'someone else' be?" he murmured, taking Kurt completely into his arms and holding him close. Ten years later, he still hadn't gotten used to how amazing it felt to hold Kurt in his arms. He would never, ever take this for granted.
"Oh, just this guy," Kurt answered, purposely nonchalant. He tried to keep his tone as casual as possible despite the fact that he was suddenly feeling all warm and tingly inside – an entire decade had passed, and Blaine could still make him feel like that. "His name is Blaine Hummel-Anderson and he's perfect."
Then, because he couldn't help himself, he tilted his head up and closed his eyes. Blaine immediately understood and was more than happy to close the small distance between them with a gentle kiss on his lips.
"Perfect, huh?" Blaine asked once they broke away. "I think you're giving this Blaine guy too much credit."
Kurt shook his head. "Oh, no, that's not true. He's the most amazing man who ever lived and somehow I got lucky enough to marry him."
He smiled up at Blaine and looked so adorable that Blaine couldn't help kissing him again.
"I don't know what's more incredible," Blaine commented after he'd successfully kissed an even bigger smile onto Kurt's mouth. "The fact that we've been married for ten years or the fact that we've known each other for twenty."
"Actually, that's just what I was writing about before you got out here," Kurt told him. He moved to rest his head on Blaine's chest and absentmindedly ran his fingers over his husband's tanned skin. "How I can't believe everything that's happened between us these past two decades. I don't know if I'll ever be able to believe it."
And a lot had happened indeed. A few years after getting married, they'd moved from their trendy waterfront apartment on Lake Shore Drive to a larger, cozier house in the suburbs – the better to accommodate their larger family. They'd had another child together – a little girl, eight years old now, who was biologically Blaine's and whose surrogate mother had been their friend Savannah. As for their other children, Ellie was now seventeen and just finishing up her junior year of high school, and Michael was twenty-four and living his dream of playing ball: he'd been drafted professionally right out of college and was just beginning his second season at shortstop for the White Sox. In doing so, he'd also assured himself a place in the history books as one of the first openly gay men ever to set foot on a major league field.
As Blaine took a few seconds to think back and reflect on all this, it suddenly seemed as if the past ten years had flown by, but his husband was absolutely right. Their lives had changed in so many ways after they'd gotten married, and he was grateful for each and every single one of those changes.
He turned and placed a soft kiss on the corner of Kurt's mouth. "You want to know how else we change our lives and kick off our second decade together as a married couple?"
"How's that?" Kurt asked in response.
"We can get up, get ready, and go explore the most romantic city on earth."
Kurt smiled up at him. "I like the way you think."
When Blaine had first started planning this honeymoon years ago, he'd envisioned bright springtime warmth and sunshine. And for the first twenty minutes or so that they spent exploring the city, that's exactly what he got. They managed to make it to the Love Bridge over the Seine and completed the tradition of attaching a padlock inscribed with both of their names to the chain-link sides before ceremoniously tossing the key into the river. After catching a ride on the metro to the Eiffel Tower, they stepped off the train and were just making their way toward the famous monument when suddenly Kurt felt a raindrop.
He glanced up at the sky, which was darkening with clouds, before turning to Blaine. "Is it…?"
Before he could finish his thought, he felt another drop. Then another. Suddenly it seemed as if the sky had completely opened up and let everything go. It wasn't completely pouring, but it was no light shower, either.
Blaine returned Kurt's gaze for a second longer before turning away and clamping a hand over his mouth. His shoulders were shaking and it took Kurt a few seconds to realize that he was trying to hold back a massive giggle fit.
"Why are you laughing?" Kurt asked, despite the fact that a huge smile was spreading across his own face. He had to admit, there was something humorous about the irony of the whole situation. They'd waited ten years to come here, and now that they'd finally arrived, the weather wasn't going to cooperate (and, of course, they hadn't thought to bring umbrellas). "We're getting soaked."
"Look on the bright side," Blaine pointed out, gesturing toward the tower. "At least now, we won't have to wait in such a long line. C'mon."
He grabbed Kurt's hand and began pulling his giggling husband across the Champ de Mars toward the line, happy to discover that he was right – in lieu of the rain, many of their fellow tourists were quickly deserting the line and running for cover. Sure enough, they didn't have to wait for very long at all before they had reached the front and were being escorted, along with a few other brave souls who had withstood the sudden precipitation, into the elevator to the top.
"Do you think we'll be able to see much?" Kurt asked Blaine quietly once the doors had slid shut and the elevator had begun its ascent.
Blaine grasped Kurt's hand and looked him in the eyes. "It doesn't even matter if we can't see a thing. Because even on a clear day, the view from up there could never even come close to being as beautiful as you are."
Suddenly, despite the fact that they were crammed into an enclosed space with several other people, most of whom were speaking other languages, Kurt couldn't help but feel like this moment was extremely intimate.
"Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower is on everyone's bucket list," Blaine continued in a low murmur, so that Kurt was the only person in the elevator who would have been able to hear him. "And not only do I get to cross this experience off mine, but I get to share it with you. That's the best part of all."
Kurt was so overwhelmed that he couldn't even think of a response before the elevator doors swooshed open and emptied them out onto the observation deck. The rain was just as persistent as it had been when they'd first arrived, and he resorted to accept the fact that he was going to have one of the most incredible experiences of his life while soaking wet from the rain.
Even so, he managed to grin and bear it – after all, he was here with Blaine, and that was the best part about this whole experience. He gave his husband a tiny smile before gently leading him to a more secluded section of the deck so they could have as much privacy as possible.
Blaine smiled apologetically. "Sorry the weather didn't work out. I know this probably isn't how you pictured it—"
He was about to say more, but Kurt silenced him with a gentle press of his index finger against Blaine's lips. Blaine obediently shut his mouth, but he couldn't resist puckering up just a little bit to give Kurt's finger a tiny kiss.
"Blaine, what were you just saying as we were taking the elevator up here?"
"That I didn't care what the weather was doing, as long as I got to experience this with you."
"The same goes for me," Kurt told him with a smile that looked beautifully radiant even in the gray, dismal weather. "This is everything I dreamed it would be, and it's all because of you."
After the words had left his mouth, Blaine quickly realized that he had no choice but to kiss him, so that's exactly what he did. He stood on his tiptoes and took Kurt's face between his hands before crashing their lips gently but forcefully together. It was as passionate as kisses come, and from some warily conscious corner of his mind Blaine thought that it just might have been one of his favorite kisses he'd shared with Kurt (which was saying a lot, because every single kiss with Kurt had been incredible in its own way). But as he kissed his husband in the pouring rain atop one of the most famous landmarks in the world, he realized that there was a completely new sensation present this time. He soon realized that it was a sense of wholeness and satisfaction – they'd both been waiting to come here and share this moment together for so long, and now that it was finally happening, he finally felt complete.
When they returned to the base of the tower, the rain had intensified into a torrential downpour. The first crack of lightning struck across the sky just as they were approaching the metro station, and they clung to each other's hands as they waited impatiently for the train to arrive. Once inside the warm car, they stood as close together as possible, huddling for warmth.
The storm was in full swing when they finally arrived at their stop, about a block away from the hotel. Once they'd run through the rain and gotten safely inside the building, they stopped and looked at each other for a second before both of them started to laugh again.
"I can't even believe this," Kurt gasped through his laughter. "This whole day is crazy."
Blaine couldn't help but notice that he was shivering from the cold, so he wrapped an arm around Kurt's shoulder and guided him toward the elevator.
"Crazy indeed," he agreed. "Now c'mon, you're cold and I think I know the best way for us to warm up."
The second they made it to their suite, with the door shut and locked behind them, their sopping wet clothes were being peeled away and tossed unceremoniously to the floor. Once he was naked, Blaine realized he was even colder than he'd just been, and he was about to head straight for the bed and get under the covers when suddenly Kurt grabbed his wrist to stop him in his tracks.
He immediately turned to face his husband, who smiled before pulling Blaine into a kiss. Their nude bodies pressed together, slicked with rainwater and sharing warmth as they carefully made their way back through the room to the luxurious king-size bed.
When all was said and done some time later, Blaine rested his head on Kurt's chest and pulled the covers up closer around them, enveloping the two of them in pure warmth. Kurt tightened his arms around Blaine and kissed his forehead tenderly, and Blaine closed his eyes as he melted closer into the embrace. The storm was still raging outside, but he could hardly hear the rolling of the thunder and the soothing tap of the raindrops against the window over the rhythm of Kurt's heart.
"How is this possible?" Blaine asked after a while.
"How is what possible?" Kurt's responsive murmur was muffled slightly as he kissed the top of Blaine's head.
Blaine snuggled even closer into his husband's embrace. "How we've been married for ten years, and being with you like this still takes my breath away. At this point I don't think I'll ever get used to it."
Kurt smiled Blaine's favorite smile. "I adore you. Did you know that?"
Blaine picked his head up off of Kurt's chest and smiled as he inched closer to his face.
"I'm well aware," he said softly. "And I adore you as well."
Lightning crackled across the sky outside their window and both of them were still smiling as their lips fell together in a kiss.
The following day was significantly better weather-wise, so Mr. and Mr. Hummel-Anderson decided to take advantage of the beautiful spring day to continue their tour of the city that had been unexpectedly cut short by the rain the previous afternoon. They walked hand-in-hand through Montmartre; they spent a few hours marveling at the magnificent artwork inside the Louvre; they ate a romantic dinner at an upscale restaurant on an outdoor patio along the river. But no matter what they were doing, Blaine couldn't help but taking a few seconds every so often to admire the glow of joy that had brightened Kurt's face. He remembered the way Kurt had looked on that Christmas Eve so many years ago when Blaine had first mentioned the idea of honeymooning in Paris to him, and suddenly he realized that he'd never seen Kurt look quite this happy since that night. This was a completely different kind of happiness than usual – this was I'm so thrilled to be sharing the experience of a lifetime with you.
On the third day, though, they decided that they needed a private escape from the chaos that was Paris and made the somewhat last-minute decision to leave the city for a day or so. They booked a room at a quaint but beautiful little bed-and-breakfast in the mountains of southern France and caught the next train out of Paris.
The ride took a few hours, and Kurt fell asleep within the first forty-five minutes. Blaine tentatively touched his hand to see how he reacted; Kurt responded with nothing more than the deep, labored breaths he'd been taking. He was out cold. Blaine smiled tenderly, still holding Kurt's hand as he turned to look out the window at the French countryside racing by, but suddenly something else caught his eye.
In the front pocket of Kurt's messenger bag was a small hardback spiral notebook. Blaine immediately recognized it as the travel journal Kurt had been keeping over the course of their trip. He smiled as he recalled their first morning in Paris, when he'd gotten out of the shower and come back into the bedroom only to find his husband wide awake, sitting up in bed with the covers pulled up the naked lower half of his body, writing away in this same book. Kurt had been so engrossed in writing that he hadn't even noticed when Blaine had stepped into the room, so Blaine had taken advantage of that opportunity to simply watch him for a few glorious seconds. Kurt was as beautiful as ever at thirty-seven, and to this day he never failed to take Blaine's breath away even while engaged in the most ordinary of activities such as writing a journal entry.
As carefully and quietly as possible, Blaine slipped the small notebook out of its pocket and quickly flipped to the blank pages at the back. Part of him wanted to read what Kurt had written so far, but he knew he shouldn't. Instead, he took the pen that Kurt had hooked into the spiral binding of the notebook, clicked it, and began to write.
He wrote for a long time, and Kurt slept peacefully at his side for the entire time that his pen was flying across the pages. Blaine took periodic wary glances at him to make sure he was still fast asleep. When he was finished, he closed the book and slipped it right back into the pocket where it had been.
Kurt didn't wake up until the train rolled into their stop, and even then it took Blaine gently kissing his forehead and murmuring, "Kurt, mon amour, we're here," before he finally let his eyes flutter open.
"Did I sleep for the whole trip?" Kurt mumbled, sounding understandably confused.
Blaine nodded. "Yeah, you did, but you didn't miss much. Lots of scenery going by that was too fast to really see, and the conductor announcing things in French. That's about it." He smiled ruefully.
Kurt rolled his eyes playfully as he stood up from his seat to get off the train. "Oh, god, I missed so much. Why didn't you wake me up?"
But he turned and smiled at Blaine as they disembarked, and Blaine could see that there was more to his happiness than his teasing little remark. The sparkle of excitement in his beautiful eyes made it clear to Blaine that Kurt was ready to start the next part of their adventure together.
It was midafternoon by the time they finally got settled in their room, and both of them were eager to get up and moving after spending so much time sitting on the train. Once everything was situated, they put together a small picnic lunch with some of the food they'd brought with them and headed out into the mindblowingly gorgeous, postcard-like scenery that surrounded them. They walked a good distance away from the tiny little building and found a peaceful little clearing that overlooked a sprawling valley – a perfect spot for a little picnic.
Blaine started spreading out the blanket they'd brought with them, but Kurt had another idea. He helped his husband straighten out the blanket, but turned and started walking back in the direction they'd come as Blaine started getting all the food out of the basket.
Blaine called after him, sounding confused. "Wait, where are you going?"
"I'll be right back!" was Kurt's distant reply, echoing through the mountains. Blaine was a little bit nervous – as beautiful as the region was, neither of them was familiar with it, and Kurt had just wandered off alone – but he forced himself to push his worries aside and finish setting up the picnic. Kurt was a grown man, and Blaine trusted him enough to know that he would never deliberately put himself in a dangerous situation.
He had just finished getting all the food organized when suddenly the world went black. It took him a fraction of a second of pure panic before he realized that someone had put their hands over his eyes from behind, and all his inhibitions completely melted away when he heard an all-too-familiar voice softly whispering, "Guess who?"
"I have absolutely no idea who on earth it could possibly be," Blaine deadpanned with flat sarcasm before turning around to greet his husband with a smile. When he did, though, he was pleasantly touched to see that Kurt was holding a makeshift bouquet of wildflowers, which he presented to Blaine with a smile.
"For you," he said sweetly. "I saw them when we were on our way over here and I couldn't resist being spontaneously romantic."
Blaine graciously accepted the flowers and pulled Kurt into an embrace.
"Kurt, you're so sweet. These are beautiful," he told him. "Thank you. Y'know, your spontaneous romance has always been one of the things that I love the most about you."
Kurt giggled a little bit. "You mean you're not sick of it after ten whole years?"
"No." Blaine shook his head and smiled as he inched closer to give him a kiss. "I love it. I love you."
"I love you, too," Kurt told him, as if Blaine could ever forget, before taking a seat on the blanket and patting the spot next to him. "Now won't you come join me in this delicious picnic lunch?"
After a few days of what could quite possibly be classified as pure heaven on earth, it was time to pack up and head back to the reality of everyday life. Neither of them had wanted to take too much time off of work and away from their kids, so they'd decided to keep their belated honeymoon at no longer than a week. Still, it was almost reluctantly that they began to pack up their bags and head for the airport when it was time to do so. Over the course of their entire relationship, they'd never had the luxury of spending so much time alone together, and now that they knew what it was like, they had tried their best to make it last as long as possible.
Ellie, who had gotten her driver's license a few months earlier, came to pick them up at the airport along with Natalie, their youngest (Michael was on the road at an away game, but he'd texted both Kurt and Blaine wishing them a safe flight home and promising to come see them as soon as he was back in Chicago). Both of their daughters ran up to greet them with enthusiastic hugs the second they spotted each other. Suddenly, now that they'd been reunited with their family, neither Kurt nor Blaine could imagine how they ever could have wanted more time apart.
Blaine was almost tempted to collapse on the bed and fall asleep the second they finally arrived back home, but he forced himself to stay awake for the time being and help Kurt unpack. Thankfully, it didn't take too long, and by the time they were finished he was actually feeling a little bit energized while Kurt, who had been doing pretty well after initially arriving home, was suddenly exhausted. Blaine gave him a kiss on the forehead and left him alone in case he wanted to take a nap before grabbing the gift bag he'd place on the dresser and heading out to find Ellie and Natalie so he could give them the souvenirs that he and Kurt had bought for them.
But despite how completely worn-out he was, Kurt couldn't fall asleep even after lying there with his eyes closed for several minutes. He rolled his eyes, annoyed at himself for not being able to fall asleep, and reached for his messenger bag which he'd tossed onto the floor at the foot of the bed. He decided he would read through his journal for a few minutes and relive the amazing memories of the trip before attempting to fall asleep again.
He flipped open to a random page and was suddenly taken aback when he realized that the handwriting scribbled across the paper was not his own. It took a moment for his tired brain to register exactly who the penmanship belonged to, and when he finally realized whose it was, his heart stopped and he eagerly began to read.
My dearest Kurt, First of all, please don't be mad at me for opening your private notebook. I promise I didn't read anything you wrote; I just flipped to the back so that I could write this. We're on the train right now and you're fast asleep, and for whatever reason I was overwhelmed with the urge to capture my feelings in this exact moment and write them down. I'm not sure when you're going to read this, but that doesn't matter because I'm sure you will eventually. When you DO read this, please bear with me as I'm sure this is going to turn into a long-winded rambling jumble of words because I'm still not exactly sure how to explain the way I feel for you. That's kind of funny, now that I think about it – we've been married for a decade and I still can't think of a way to express my love for you in words. Now that I've been trying unsuccessfully for ten years, I think it's time for me to accept the fact that I'll never be able to do it. I never thought I would ever feel this way for anyone, but you've proven me wrong, and I'm so thankful for that. I am eternally grateful that, by some miracle, you love me just as much as I love you and that we're sharing such a beautiful life together. To this day I still have no idea how I ever came to be so lucky. A few nights before we left Chicago to fly to Paris, I woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream that I can't remember. I looked at you lying beside me, sleeping like an angel just like you are now, and I was so overwhelmed with love for you that I actually shed a few tears. I think it's remarkable how you can still do that to me – how you still have that effect on me. I fall more and more in love with you every single day, and I still have moments like that where my love for you just completely overwhelms all my other senses. Thank you for giving me the best ten years of my life as your husband, and thank you for continuing to be my very best friend for the past twenty. Marrying you and raising our three wonderful children with you has been incredible so far, and I can't wait to see what the rest of our lives together has in store for us. Never forget, though, that through everything that may come our way, my love for you will only continue to grow. I love you more and more with every single beat of my heart. I can't wait to grow old with you and share the remainder of our lives together. But for now, let's take it one step at a time and enjoy our honeymoon together while we're here :) Even if you don't read this until we get home, I've had the most amazing time here with you so far, and I can't wait to see what awaits us during the rest of our trip. Je t'aime, Kurt. Love,
First of all, please don't be mad at me for opening your private notebook. I promise I didn't read anything you wrote; I just flipped to the back so that I could write this. We're on the train right now and you're fast asleep, and for whatever reason I was overwhelmed with the urge to capture my feelings in this exact moment and write them down. I'm not sure when you're going to read this, but that doesn't matter because I'm sure you will eventually. When you DO read this, please bear with me as I'm sure this is going to turn into a long-winded rambling jumble of words because I'm still not exactly sure how to explain the way I feel for you.
That's kind of funny, now that I think about it – we've been married for a decade and I still can't think of a way to express my love for you in words. Now that I've been trying unsuccessfully for ten years, I think it's time for me to accept the fact that I'll never be able to do it. I never thought I would ever feel this way for anyone, but you've proven me wrong, and I'm so thankful for that. I am eternally grateful that, by some miracle, you love me just as much as I love you and that we're sharing such a beautiful life together. To this day I still have no idea how I ever came to be so lucky.
A few nights before we left Chicago to fly to Paris, I woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream that I can't remember. I looked at you lying beside me, sleeping like an angel just like you are now, and I was so overwhelmed with love for you that I actually shed a few tears. I think it's remarkable how you can still do that to me – how you still have that effect on me. I fall more and more in love with you every single day, and I still have moments like that where my love for you just completely overwhelms all my other senses.
Thank you for giving me the best ten years of my life as your husband, and thank you for continuing to be my very best friend for the past twenty. Marrying you and raising our three wonderful children with you has been incredible so far, and I can't wait to see what the rest of our lives together has in store for us. Never forget, though, that through everything that may come our way, my love for you will only continue to grow. I love you more and more with every single beat of my heart. I can't wait to grow old with you and share the remainder of our lives together.
But for now, let's take it one step at a time and enjoy our honeymoon together while we're here :) Even if you don't read this until we get home, I've had the most amazing time here with you so far, and I can't wait to see what awaits us during the rest of our trip.
Je t'aime, Kurt.