Disclaimer: I do not own Glee, any non canon Glee characters in this fic belong to CP Coulter.
Morning sun glinted off serpentine coils of barbed wire and fell softly on the overgrown grass highlighted blond from weeks of summer sun. The breeze that swirled around the roof top was still cool and the shingles beneath them were just beginning to absorb the heat of the budding day.
This was Blaine's favorite time, the early hours of what promised to be a warm summer day when the sun was sending its first glowing rays on their little safe haven.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was moments like these more than any other when he truly appreciated being alive. He reveled in sensation, feeling the rough shingles beneath him, the breeze tousling his now too long hair, the smooth guitar in his hands, and most of all the warmth of the body pressed to his side.
He turned slightly to look at Kurt. The boy's eyes were the same breath-taking shade as the sky, and as Kurt smiled the soft skin at their corners crinkled up in a way that Blaine had always found irresistibly adorable.
"Are you going to play me a song?" Kurt asked resting his head on Blaine's shoulder.
Blaine smiled, readjusting his guitar so that he could still play with Kurt snuggling into his side. "Any requests?"
"No… besides you made me choose yesterday."
Blaine laughed, "Fine, but don't blame me if you don't like the song."
He could feel Kurt's body shake as the boy giggled, "Let's be really honest right now Blaine, if your voice is involved I'm going to like it."
Blaine bit his lip as he involuntarily smiled even wider. "Oh really? What about that time I sang 'Friday'?"
A jestingly put upon sigh escaped Kurt's lips, "I never said I wouldn't make fun of you for atrocious taste."
Blaine scanned through song titles in his head. He definitely wasn't in a 'Friday' mood. A title jumped out at him. It was a little melancholy, he thought, but a beautiful song.
He stretched his fingers trying to rid them of the dull soreness that seemed to have settled into his bones. Kurt's hands were on his in a second, gently rubbing and massaging, banishing the ache.
This has been one of the side effects left over from that blank period in Blaine's memory when he had become undead. When he had first come to, the weakness in his muscles had been crippling. Despite the fact that when he was transformed (that was the word they had adopted for Blaine's brief stint as a zombie, anything harsher brought tears to Kurt's eyes and an intense feeling of nausea to Blaine's stomach) he had been able to test the strength of the Tweedles' best knots, when he awoke he could hardly lift his head.
He had spent days in bed, the still feeble and recovering Kurt beside him. Even in his weakened, anemic state Kurt tended to Blaine. He spooned warm broth into his mouth, ensured he stayed hydrated, and often sang to him.
There was a day when Kurt was again strong enough to walk from their room of his own accord and spend hours out and about, but even then he never stayed away from Blaine for more than a few minutes.
They spent hours talking, Blaine propped up against a pile of pillows while Kurt kept his hands busy with small tasks. The content of their conversations in these days would be enough to fill a multivolume encyclopedia many times over. If there had ever been a doubt in either boy's mind that they were meant for each other it was snuffed out by the endless hours of soul cleansing talk that transpired in those endless hours.
Blaine's muscles had strengthened as the days went by, and Kurt and Shane were there to help him down stairs for the first time. Once he was again capable of regular movement all that was left was a deep rooted soreness and occasional stiffness. Even this was fading, albeit gradually. It was now about two months since the whole fiasco and he couldn't take a step without feeling the ache in his bones.
Kurt released his hand, and Blaine leaned over to give his boyfriend a grateful, chaste kiss.
He strummed the guitar gently, taking a moment to just feel the cold metal strings beneath his calloused fingers and listen to the harmonic sounds they produced.
His strumming found a steady rhythm as he added perfectly placed notes of discord.
Kurt's head was warm on Blaine's shoulder as the boy began to sing.
What if I can't be all that you need me to be?
We've got a good thing going, we have some promises to keep.
His voice was low and melancholy, its full tones resonated in his chest. Blaine's voice was the only thing that had survived his death and subsequent revival truly unscathed. Sometimes his memory seemed blurry and convoluted, sometimes his muscles felt weak and stiff, but his voice was always strong and steady.
But my diction, it can be such a detriment.
Please believe in this my dear, I am more than penitent.
What if everything's just the way that it will be?
Could it be that I am meant to cause you all this grief?
My warship's a-lying off the coast of your delicate heart,
And my aim is steady and true as it's been right from the start.
Blaine had always loved this song, the irresistible sorrow of the subtle melody, the beautifully crafted lyrics…
There's a degree of difficulty in dealing with me.
From my haunted past comes a daunting task of living through memories.
If we could just hang a mirror on the bedroom wall
Stare into the past, and forget it all...
As he lost himself in the rhythm of his strumming, he began to realize how fitting this song was; not for him and Kurt of course, because even when their lives had been shattered to pieces and snuffed out they had been the only thing that was still alright, but for their whole situation in general; their present existence of cautionary survival had been preceded by a past of horror that no one would ever be able to fully recover from.
The nightmares were some of the most obvious signs of the trauma they dealt with. Of course everyone in Windsor dealt with horrific nightmares, but none quite matched Kurt and Blaine's. Blaine wasn't sure how many times he had seen Kurt's body lifeless and bloody and his own pale hands covered in blood, only to wake up screaming to Kurt pulling him close and petting his hair until he could calm down enough to realize it had all been a dream.
Then there were the nights where he woke up to Kurt thrashing violently, whimpering, and trying to scratch something off his skin. Often the paniced boy howled about a fire as he tried to tear the virus from his skin. On these occasions Blaine usually had to pin Kurt to the bed for his own safety and whisper comfort until the boy either woke or passed into a more restful slumber.
Then there was the one night when Blaine had gone to get a glass of water and came back to find Kurt huddled against the wall pleading desperately with an invisible specter.
"No, please don't, please…" he whimpered. "I tried, to save you Blaine, I tried so hard, I couldn't. Please don't, I love you." Then he let out a world shattering scream. Blaine raced across the room to shake him awake. Kurt's eyes flew open but they filled with terror as they beheld Blaine and he struck out with a fist, hitting Blaine squarely in the chest. Kurt's eyes suddenly cleared and widened. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry Blaine, I—"
"Shhh, it's alright, you were dreaming." There were tears running down Blaine's cheeks, not from the impact of the blow, but from the heartbreaking realization of what Kurt's dream had been.
Kurt was clinging to his chest pressing salty kisses to his jaw line, "Don't ever leave me Blaine," he murmured. Blaine kissed his boyfriend back softly, knowing he never would.
Blaine pulled himself out of his reverie, they would deal with the nightmares when they came, now was the time to revel in the fact that he and Kurt were miraculously alive pressed together in the warming summer sunlight.
So when we leave it'll be a quick midnight escape.
We'll disconnect ourselves from all of yesterday.
I'll dig for water and fashion our very own wishing well.
Then, we'll throw our coins down hoping to rid us of this little hell.
A door opened below them and Blaine watched his brother and Reed walk onto the grass, hand in hand. They circled around the lawn, following the path of the barbed wire defense that, after weeks of struggling to defend Windsor, the Twins and Puck had found on an excursion outside the boundaries of Dalton. If anything had improved their quality of life it had been this finally successful form of defense; if any zombie actually got through the barrier they were so torn apart that they were very little threat.
But Blaine wasn't thinking of that. He was watching the way Shane bounced around with the childlike excitement he had never out grown. Reed's musical laugh reached their ears and Blaine couldn't help but smile.
There's a degree of difficulty in dealing with me.
From my haunted past comes a daunting task of living through memories.
He felt Kurt move next to him, sitting up so that he could harmonize with Blaine, as always his voice sweet and pure.
If we could just hang a mirror on the bedroom wall
Stare into the past, and forget it all...
Memories and conflicting emotions filled Blaine's mind…
Will we get out of this little hell?
He saw Pav diving toward Mr. Schue, then he saw the rhythmically dancing bodies that had filled the Windsor common room with lively frivolity.
Will we get out of this little hell?
He saw Sam's face as the zombie's teeth sank into his neck, then he saw the look of utter ecstasy on his brother's face when Reed reached for his hand without encouragement.
Will we get out of this little hell?
He saw the naked fear in Kurt's eyes as he showed Blaine the small cut where Pav's beak had pierced his skin, then he saw Kurt smiling tiredly at him as they lay in bed, his cerulean eyes sparkling and lips beautifully swollen.
Will we get out of this little hell?
He felt Kurt's lips press softly to his cheek as he strummed the last few chords.
"That was beautiful, thank you," Kurt murmured slipping an arm around Blaine's waist.
They allowed themselves to bask in the summer sun for a few more moments before Kurt sighed and stood up.
"We should go back down, we don't want to be late for breakfast and song."
Over time the group had developed its own schedule and traditions. Breakfast was a big deal now. Everyone came. Afterwards they sat around for an hour while people took turns playing guitar and singing, most of the songs ended up as group numbers.
So much of their days now centered around music, or more broadly, the arts. They had plenty of work to do, keeping the house clean and functional, burning bits of zombie flesh off the barbed wire barrier, and expeditions to grocery stores to restock the food supply every few weeks. However, they still found plenty of time to devote to art.
The transition in lifestyle happened while Blaine was recovering, and by the time he was capable of joining the rest of the house on a daily bases a good portion of the day was already devoted to song and painting. The people who could sing did, those who couldn't learned. Guitar and music lessons were taught by the instrumentally knowledgeable members of the house. Everyone tried painting or sketching at some point, and many tested their hand at writing. Every once and a while, Artie hosted poetry slams which the whole house enjoyed.
The new style of living worked, art had saved them from the psychological dangers of being trapped in a single location with no foreseeable escape. Sure they got down sometimes, but being able to create together was a big enough incentive for them to keep going.
Blaine took Kurt's hand and allowed Kurt to help him up, his muscles aching a bit and shaking as he stood.
They really shouldn't be late to breakfast again. Rachel gave them a stern talking to last time they were late. Blaine smirked as he remembered that morning. Kurt, who had improved his drawing ability greatly, was complaining about how he was tired of drawing clothes, he then asked if he could draw Blaine, and well the morning went from there.
Blaine was just steadying himself on the gradually sloping roof when he heard it, the distant hum of a motor.
"Blaine!" Kurt whispered urgently clutching at his arm. "Blaine do you hear that?"
"Yeah," he spotted the irregular shape against the clear summer sky, "it's a—"
They were frozen with overwhelming emotion as the aircraft hovered closer. Finally it was almost directly above then and was low enough that they could feel the wind from its blades ruffle their hair.
A voice, amplified by speakers called down to them, "Are you companions of Han Westwood? We got your message. We've come to save you."
Fist wrapped lightly on the door to their flat.
"It's about time!" Finn said, reaching for a cookie from the sheet Kurt had just removed from the oven.
Kurt swatted his hand away, "No cookies until everyone is here Finn, if I let you start eating now there aren't going to be any left." Finn pouted his lips looking hurt and returned to leaning against the counter.
Right on cue Blaine stepped into the kitchen, grinning with good cheer. "Do I need to get the door?"
"No, I think Evan and Ethan have got it." Kurt laughed as he heard two sets of feet racing across the flat and sliding on the wood floor.
Blaine smiled and kissed his boyfriend on the temple as he swiped a cookie.
"Not fair!" Finn shouted as Blaine tested the hot cookie against his lips.
The curly haired man smiled mischievously, "Chef's fiancé gets special privileges."
Finn looked indignantly at Kurt who just shrugged.
"That's so not fair!"
"Dude, are you just figuring that out? I realized that ages ago." Wes declared, not bothering to look up from his newspaper.
No one seemed to hear him. Blaine had taken a bite of the cookie and was now feeding bits to Kurt.
"These are amazing Kurt," he gushed, kissing a crumb away from the corner of his fiancé's mouth.
Wes looked over the top of his paper, "How are you guys still so revoltingly cute after all these years?"
Kurt and Blaine laughed and Kurt was about to come up with a witty retort but was interrupted by exuberant greetings coming from the entryway.
They had hardly had time to get out of the kitchen before they were converged upon and the world suddenly became a tangle of grabbing arms and excited smiles.
"Reed!" Kurt squealed wrapping the man in a tight hug even though he had seen him only the day before.
Reed returned the hug and beamed at his best friend. He wasn't much below Kurt's eye level anymore, after he had gotten that growth spurt freshman year of college and became roughly the same height as Blaine.
"How's the new kitten? Thought of a name yet?"
Reed rolled his eyes but the smile didn't leave his face, "I don't know why I let Shane talk me into getting a cat. She was meowing all night! And as far as names go I want to name her Chiffon, but Shane is stuck on Muffin."
Kurt laughed and patted his friend's shoulder sympathetically, "I'm sorry but I thing a love for cheesy names just runs in that family, "Blaine told me he wants a puppy named Bobo."
Reed shivered in mock disgust. Sometimes Kurt marveled at how Reed was no longer that timid insecure boy he had known at Dalton. Reed Van Kamp was now a confident and very handsom young man with an internship at Vogue. Before Kurt could ask him how said internship was going, Reed was suddenly attacked by two very tall blond figures.
Kurt turned away with a chuckle to face Brittany.
Brittany and Santana as always were attached at the hip. Brittany gave him a bright smile but Santana simply looked on with a reproving glare that he knew was an act. "How did the final performance of your show go Britt?"
"Great!" the girl beamed placidly. "I got offered another job where I have to be a cat, I've been trying to get advise from Lord Tubbington but he's been with holding."
Santana smiled at her long term… whatever undefined relationship was and whispered to Kurt, "She was hired for an off-Broadway production of Cats I've never seen her so excited in her life."
Kurt grinned at them but at that moment two more people arrived in the apartment and all hope of being heard was lost.
"It's the newlyweds!"
"How was Paris!"
A simply glowing Quinn and Chaz made their way to the center of the room accepting hugs and dodging Puck, Evan, and Ethan's more prying questions on how the honeymoon had been.
Soon after, Mercedes, Todd, and Dwight arrived, toting a large tray of lasagna they were all assembled and ready to begin the festivities. Paper plates were passed out and everyone loaded up. However, no one, not even Finn, took a bite, they had to wait until after the speech, it was tradition.
Since there were no tables big enough they settled around the living room. Plates in one hand, wine glasses in the other.
Wes looked expectantly at the Brightman twins, "You guys going to start this thing off?"
The two blond heads shook violently, "We did it the first year!"
"I did it the year after that!"
"I did the speech last year!"
"I—" he really couldn't think of a good excuse…
The Twins grinned evilly and began to chant his name, soon the whole gathering was chanting "Kurt, Kurt, Kurt!" with growing speed.
"Fine! I'll do it!" Kurt setting his plate on the floor and stepping into the middle of the living room.
Kurt stood with the thin stem of his wine glass clutched delicately in his hand. He cleared his throat, no exact speech in mind. He never had to plan what he was going to say in front of these people, they understood him far too well to worry about that. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to welcome you to our fourth annual Independence Day celebration!" His friends cheered and clapped, the Twins did a victory dance in their chairs.
"I feel like this is the point in the speech where I should tell you tell you all how much I've missed you, but the truth is, I see all of you far too much!" He adopted his best jestingly put-upon face.
The room laughed and Kurt winked at Reed and Shane whose studio apartment he had been at only yesterday. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Santana roll her eyes, she and Brittany had been over at least three times that week.
"And you know what?" he said, feigning deep thoughtfulness, "I'm alright with that."
Artie raised his hand to the heavens, "Amen!" Kurt felt warm blossoming around his heart. He had been thrilled when they found out that thanks to the excellent physical disability accommodations at the college of his choice he was able to join them in New York. It had just so happened that Bailey was also interested in that college. The two roomed together and quickly became inseparable. Together they had started working on a musical that in Kurt's opinion could seriously go places.
"When I look back on this year, I realize how far we have all come. Last year we were nothings, well I guess that's not true, we were the Dalton 25, famous for living through a tragedy none of us could control. But look at us now, finding our place in the world and many of us garnering our own fame and fortune to boot. Well except you Julian, I don't think anyone knows who you are."
The friends positively howled at that. After all, Julian Larson being saved from a zombie infestation had been the story of the decade. Not to mention, that he had just wrapped up filming what promised to be the biggest blockbuster of the year.
"But now look at us now," Kurt continued, "among our number we have award winning authors," he gestured to Todd whose semi-autobiographical zombie horror novel had taken America by storm, "college grads" he nodded in turn at Justin and Charlie, "successful commercial dancers," Brittany graced them with a celebratory fist pump, "and even a married couple!" Everyone beamed at Quinn and Chaz whose fingers were locked together as they listened to Kurt speak.
"And another marriage soon to follow!" Rachel cheered a huge smile stretching across her face as she waggled her eyebrows at Kurt and nudged Blaine in the ribs.
Kurt could feel his cheeks getting warm, but he couldn't hide his utter joy as he saw the same pleased embarrassment on his fiancé, soon to be husband's, face.
"The point is," Kurt said at little breathlessly, "that we have all come so far. Now, that's not to say we've made it, that we've reached our peak. Not at all. This is just the beginning! We have nowhere to go but up."
He smiled at Mercedes who he knew was working her butt off waitressing while trying to start her music career, then at Puck who had finally got a steady job as a bartender, but was stuck couch surfing while he tried to put some money in the bank.
"But wherever any of us end up, I'll know it was because of the unbelievable support of all the people in this room. For that I am enormously grateful." Everyone nodded seriously and Kurt saw more than a few people clasp hands with their neighbors.
"I know that one day I will see Santana tear down the toughest opponents in court, I will vote Charles Amos for senator, I will see every show at the theater Wes's father is going to buy for him, and I will recommend Dr. Justin Bancroft to any of my friends who need a psychiatrist. And Quinn you better bet that when I adopt kids they are going to be in your class." He caught Blaine's goofy smile out of the corner of his eye.
"I promise that I will thank each and every one of you in my Tony speech, and I expect Rachel Berry to do the same." Rachel's face flushed red with excitement as she considered the prospect.
His eyes caught on Finn. Finn who was always eager to support a friend but was so lost himself. He was going to school and working at a garage but the only thing in his life that truly seemed to bring him joy were his friends and his relationship with Rachel.
"Eventually we will all find our callings, but remember if you ever feel lost you have somewhere to turn.
"Our futures are promising, but on this day, I think it is important not only to look forward with hope, but delve into our dark past.
"Four years ago today, we boarded a helicopter and were transported back into civilization. Four years ago, what I hope are the most horrific few months of our lives had just ended. We had lost four companions and one mentor, we had lived through battle, unquenchable fear, and even death. Then we were thrown back into a world that we had forgotten how to live in and were not ready for.
"I propose a moment of silence to remember the turmoil of those months, and to honor the memory of Sam, Mike, Tina, David, and Mr. Shue."
The room fell silent. Kurt bowed his head, remembering the faces of his lost friends. But the memories did not end there.
He thought of the helicopter ride where everything seemed far too good to be true as he clutched Blaine to his chest and watched the forsaken, deserted cities pass below him. Then came the inspections. He was poked and prodded, blood work was done, and he was kept in isolation for twelve hours. He remembered Blaine's frantic whisper as they wrenched the two of them apart for separate testing, "Don't tell them you're the cure." Kurt wasn't sure if he would have divulged the fact that his blood was capable of killing the zombie virus without Blaine's warning, but the absolute terror in Blaine's eyes made him keep his mouth shut. If he hadn't, Kurt was sure he probably wouldn't have been released from that lab for well over a year.
Before they were released to their parents they were subjected to interviews. It was overwhelming but at first it made them feel like heroes, their survival was indeed both heroic and miraculous. But the questions dug too deep and pried too far. They weren't ready and they felt naked sharing the horror and fear of their experiences with the American public. It wasn't until Puck started to cry that Dwight and the Tweedles flipped out, screaming at the interviewers and forcing them to leave.
These type of problems cropped up for them on an almost daily basis for the next six months. Interviewers were everywhere, and since one wrong word could set most of the survivors off and so leaving the house was often like walking into a mine field until the media finally found a new hot story. Not to mention the media loved twisting their words, creating fictional drama and schisms in the group as if facing down zombies wasn't exciting enough. One story that became a personal favorite among the group occurred when Finn opened the door to find camera men on his door step. He stood like a deer in the head lights as they bombarded him with questions about why he had allowed his choir director to die when he had the chance to save him. Kurt tried to come to his rescue but was felled when asked if he had ever come close to being bitten. Burt pulled up in the drive way then, and with ferocity to match a raging grizzly bear, chased the camera men down the street screaming "Not my sons you bastards" at the top of his lungs.
After the first disastrous interviews they were discharged and released into the arms of their overjoyed families. This was one of the few truly beautiful memories Kurt had from that time, being enveloped in his dad's warm arms and hearing his soft, "Don't worry kiddo, I got you," as his knees went weak. Next to him Finn and Carol were sobbing loudly as Carol stroked back Finn's hair and stared at his face as if looking away would make him disappear again. All around him the Dalton 25 were running into their parent's arms. Despite the overwhelming emotion, Kurt felt a twinge of hope as he watched Mr. Anderson hug both of his son's at once and kiss each on the cheek as grateful tears rolled down his face.
Walking into his house was like walking into a museum, he recognized everything inside, yet he was so out of touch. The first dinner was a painful affair, and although he had missed his father and Carol he could do little more than cry silently as he scarfed down salad and pizza.
In an effort to get their boys to open up Burt and Carol separated them. Carol escorted Finn up to his room and Burt sat with Kurt in the living room.
"I know you've been through a lot," Burt began a little awkwardly, "and I know you may not be able to talk yet, but know that when you are ready I'll be here."
Kurt wanted to tell his dad, he wanted to talk, but when he thought of the enormity of explaining to someone the fear that pulsed through his veins when he heard the ungodly howls of the undead, he crumbled. That night he cried himself to sleep in his father's arms.
That night also held other vivid memories for Kurt. Hours later he woke up in his bed, his skin was burning with fever and images of Blaine dead but animate, a blood thirsty monster dancing before his eyes. He screamed into the darkness but the images wouldn't flee. Suddenly his father was there, but that was all wrong. Kurt had been bitten again and this time he was actually transforming. Worst of all it was Blaine who had bitten him.
He fought against his father's grasp writhing on the bed. Blaine where was Blaine, maybe if he found Blaine he could give him his blood and everything would be okay. He was vaguely aware that his screams had turned into words "Dwight", "transfusion", "blood", "please", "Blaine".
Suddenly a familiar voice broke into his mind. "Kurt! Kurt!" A large warm hand was on his arm, and it wasn't his father's. Kurt clutched at his neck where he had been bit but the hands stopped his wrists.
"Kurt it's alright. You haven't been bit. You're fine."
Kurt's vision began to clear and he saw Finn staring at him.
"With his family on their way to Colorado."
"But he's a zom—"
"No he's not Kurt, remember you saved him."
"Yeah but –"
"He's fine. You're fine. We're safe… we're home."
Kurt began to calm down and breathe as Finn's large hands rubbed his back. He could trust what Finn said, Finn knew, Finn understood. The two brothers slept in Kurt's bed that night.
As the days went by the problems appeared to disappear but underneath the surface they persisted.
The survivors had forgotten how to live in the normal world, how to go about normal business. They panicked when going outside at night, and were wary of eating all the food provided them. The hardest part though, was speaking to people who didn't understand. It was painful for Kurt to live with Burt and Carol who wanted so badly to understand yet would never be able to. Frustration at not being able to lead a normal life built within him, only exacerbating the nightmares.
One night after a tensely quiet dinner Kurt and Finn broke down. With shaking voices, they told their parent's in as much detail as they could remember. Burt and Carol rubbed their backs soothingly as the words flowed like blood. It wasn't until Kurt said he had been bit and retold his near death experience that Burt started to cry.
Outside of the house there was counseling and psychotherapy. Neither of which did any good, after all how do you treat someone who has lived for three months constantly bombarded by the living dead?
Kurt wasn't the only one who went through these things. Within hours of being separated, the survivors began to miss the people they had seen constantly for the past few months, the people that had helped them deal with the horror and find a type of peace in the chaos of fear. The first few days back in civilization each survivor tried to dedicate to their family, but soon the need for each other's companionship was too great.
The New Directions were lucky, they all lived in Lima, so it was only a few minutes' drive to each other's houses. With increasing frequency the whole group of them would meet for hours a day.
Being with each other was better than any type of therapy that could have been provided. Anxiety and frustration ebbed away and was replaced by comfort and a feeling of normalcy. It was too the point that they could bust out in full blown musical numbers which ended in fits of genuine laughter but as soon as they were parted each person began to shake with horribly uncontrollable fear and exasperation.
The Dalton boys were spread out in their homes around the country and had a much harder time, but at least Blaine and Shane found solace in each other as did Evan and Ethan. However, Blaine ached deeply for Kurt and sometimes even Shane couldn't calm him down when he woke in fits of terror.
Logan was the first to show up in Lima. He simply showed up on Kurt's door step duffle bag slung over his shoulder. At the sight of Kurt the anxiety washed from his face and he captured the boy in a bone crushing hug which Kurt returned without a second thought. Even Finn was ecstatic to see Logan and insisted that he crash there until he could find a more permanent residence.
Hearing that Logan had returned to Ohio triggered a flood of Dalton boys. Blaine and Shane showed up within twenty-four hours and the rest not much later.
Soon only Dwight, Justin, and Han were missing from their number.
Justin showed up with an escort a week later, it had taken a complete mental break down for his parents to fly him back to the "zombie infested states".
Dwight only returned to Ohio after a poorly prescribed anxiety drug almost had him jumping off the roof.
Han never returned. In fact Kurt had never seen him in person again. He was the only one who reacted differently to the trauma. It was as if it had all been a rather horrible computer game or a deeply scarring book that was best to simply close and forget about. Through the next few years he would skype with them from his dorm at Cal Tech but Kurt never saw him in the flesh.
Things started to settle down and by early October they were able to attend school again. Chaz and Justin had been awarded honorary diplomas by the state and began college at a nearby university. The rest of them went to McKinley. That year the glee club was run by an elected student panel and had a huge tenor section.
Their lives had a semblance of normality, and interacting with those they secretly thought of as "the others" became easier. Still, during this time some odd behaviors appeared. Rachel began eating only canned food that she kept neatly organized in her room and Dwight had to be prevented from collecting rats.
In December Julian took an offer and flew to LA for two months of filming. Kurt still remembered the headline three weeks later stating that the actor Julian Larson had had a mental breakdown. Logan flew out to LA and Julian was able to finish filming and the two returned after two months, closer than ever.
As graduation drew near heavy decisions began to weigh on their thoughts. Did they all have to go their separate ways now? Was that the smartest choice; braving the world alone and hoping that the anxiety and nervousness just needed to be waited out? Although some psychiatrists may have suggested this, the idea was unbearable. But so was the idea of staying in Lima for the rest of their lives, so they moved to New York City.
It amazed Kurt how easy it was to find housing with a group of exceedingly rich boys from well-connected families. Of course Kurt didn't even have to bother looking for housing as the Brightmans insisted he and Blaine, as well as Rachel and Finn, move with them to the flat their parents had given them for a graduation present. That flat kept a special place in Kurt's heart; after all it was the sight of he and Blaine's first real kiss.
The rest of their friends stationed themselves around the city near their respective schools in groups of three or four. All that really mattered was that no one was alone.
There was a constant stream of people in and out of each apartment. They were like one huge extended family. A quiet dinner often involved at least twelve of them and a night out on the town was often even bigger than that. Big events like birthdays or graduations called for huge riotous celebrations and often a good deal of public embarrassment.
Relationships outside of the group never seemed to last very long, likewise friendships never became too meaningful. Kurt wondered whether it was the need to have someone who understood horror of setting eyes on the undead, the lingering sadness of knowing friends who had become one, and why having a box of matches and unlit candle by your bed was a comfort. Or if it was that in those months trapped so closely together when they had all been so vulnerable they had been forced to truly get to know each other in a way that was impossible in the fast-paced outside world where one doesn't have to protect themselves from zombies, but from other people.
The only person to have a successful outside relationship was Dwight who had been seeing Justin's little sister Laura off and on for some time now.
As the moment of silence drew to a close Kurt raised his head and his eyes met with the beautiful hazel eyes that he knew so well but never tired of looking at. He loved that man with all his heart. That man who held him when the nightmares came, who let himself be held when he was in turn the victim of such visions, who still had to massage the ache out of his muscles at the end of the day, who made Kurt feel special every day without trying, and who was a music and English double major that was bound to make something of himself (Logan and Julian were already working on getting him an internship with a music producer). Kurt instinctually knew that he wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Blaine, and he instinctually knew he wouldn't want to be here without him.
Kurt forced his gaze away from Blaine, they would have time for long gazes and intimate confessions later. Kurt swallowed as he beheld the room full of broken people who somehow together made a whole, and he smiled, "Thank you, now may we drink to the memories of Sam, Tina, Mike, David, and Mr. Schuester."
They raised their wine glasses in unison and brought them down to their lips.
"One last thing," he felt a smile again trace across his lips "if there are not at least two hours of drunken karaoke tonight I am going to be extremely disappointed in all of you!"
The room erupted in applause and genuine laughter. They threw off the gloom of the past and spent the evening eating, drinking, conversing loudly, and giving into their tendency to break into song and dance.
And although they would never forget what happened in those dark months so many years ago, it didn't matter what had been or what would come to be because their love was all they needed to make it through.
So first off I did not expect the epilogue to be this long! Sometimes that just happens though...
Thank you so much for reading! And thank you to those people who left comments, you really kept me going! I appreciate each and every one of you and thank you for letting me share this with you.
This was a huge learning experience and test for me when it comes to working with the pressure of time (which I obviously failed at) so I thank anyone who stuck it out.
Sadly this will most likely be the last story I post here. If you are interested in seeing more of my writing keep your eye on the kurt_blaine livejournal forum where I will be posting Harry Potter/Glee crossovers with acerulean.