A/N: Same warnings, disclosures, etc. from chapter 1 apply.
I am starting with a long-ass author's note. Skip it if you like, but I would be very touched if you decided to read it.
Sigh. Is this really happening? Are we really at the end?
Let me start here. Just let me do it. When I first turned to fanfic, I was desperate in my Klaine deprivation after Original Songs aired. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I broke down and wrote Shiftings, which was the first thing I wrote after an eight-year bout of writers' block. Eight years, people, for serious.
Nervously, VERY nervously, I posted it to see what people thought. And from there, I slowly worked up the resolve to get back to writing fantasy, which is my first and forever love. And it had to be Klaine, and Kurt had to be an elf, and that was just that. I wasn't sure if anyone would like it, and I was pretty sure I was doing something completely insane by even writing it at all. But then the reviews, from the very start, were so mind-blowingly sweet and heartfelt and supportive and exuberant that I just had to keep going. And then I kept going some more. And then the fan art began...
I am not exaggerating or pandering in the slightest when I say that it wouldn't have happened without the crazy outpouring of enthusiasm and creativity and general awesomeness from you all. I was going to keep it simple. I was going to skim over the political stuff because I thought no one would care. I expected far fewer readers than my modern-day Klaine fics have gotten.
But then shit just exploded. And as you all helped me to feel more confident about what I was writing, I realized that the little 12-chapter story I had originally planned on just wasn't happening, and I decided to just let myself run with it.
So. Thank you.
Thank you so much to those of you who have been with me from the very beginning. I really wasn't sure about this at all when I started, and your kind and beautiful reviews kept me going.
Thank you to everyone who blogged the hell out of The Sidhe before anyone else knew what crazy-ass fic they were even talking about.
Thank you to everyone who gave this a chance even though it isn't their usual thing.
Thank you to everyone who told me beautiful, moving and sometimes painful personal stories about why this meant so much to them. I can't tell you how much that has meant to me.
Thank you to everyone who made gorgeous art, wrote and performed beautiful songs and offered to translate this fic into other languages.
And thank you thank you THANK YOU to everyone who reviewed. You people are far too sweet and kind.
I haven't even posted this chapter yet and this story already has well over 300,000 hits and over 2,000 reviews. I don't even know what to do with this information, except to say thank you. This is bigger than a piece of fanfiction for me. This is the kick in the ass I needed to let myself start to be a writer again.
The Sidhe: Epilogue
Blaine loved kissing Kurt's tattoo. It was one of his favorite things in the entire world.
They argued over the design for months, and finally, after "that sounds too much like the marriage tattoos you and Firae were going to get," and "For the last time, Blaine, I am not allowing a wedge of cheese to be tattooed onto my body," they found something that clicked for both of them.
Kurt loved tracing the lines of Blaine's tattoo with his fingertips. Every time he did it it felt like pure love.
At the heart of the design was a dark indigo spiral, and woven through the spiral was a deep green vine. On one end of the vine, pointed skyward, was a lily.
The other end of the vine touched the outer edge of the spiral, the two merging together into one.
When Kurt had initially suggested the red flower growing from that joined point, Blaine had snorted with laughter.
"It's to symbolize our connection to the Mother of All," Kurt said, sounding almost prim, and that had just made Blaine laugh harder.
"Um, Kurt, I think we both know what it symbolizes."
Kurt frowned at him. Blaine cleared his throat and stopped laughing.
"It's just...I don't know, isn't it a bit lewd for our marriage tattoos? Those are supposed to be sacred."
"But Blaine, sex is sacred," Kurt said, sounding surprised that it even needed to be said. "I mean, it can be. Sex between us most definitely is. You know, making love with you was so much of what healed me after I was a slave. When I look at our flowers I don't just think about pleasure. I remember feeling safe and loved in a way I thought was lost to me. I remember falling in love with you."
Needless to say, the final tattoos had red flowers in them.
Each tattoo featured a tightly furled red flower growing from the junction of spiral and vine. Though the flower was closed, a tiny drop of moisture, visible only upon close scrutiny, quivered at the end of the tip.
They both loved the way it felt when their bodies pressed close and they could feel their tattoos touching. It felt like more than skin-on-skin. It felt like soul-on-soul.
After the wedding they walked into their house, hand in hand, and did sacred things for a week straight.
Thankfully Kurt had remembered to arrange for someone to feed the horses.
Blaine quite liked Sanya.
He also thanked the gods (yes, he most certainly was picking up on some of Kurt's mannerisms) that he hadn't tried to simply roll up his sleeves and pull together a dairy farm on his own. He had an incredibly large amount to learn.
Sanya was a good teacher, though, and it was nice having another human to talk to. Especially another human with a Sidhe lifemate. They became friends very quickly.
"They're so passionate," Blaine murmured, referring to the Sidhe as a people and his Sidhe in particular.
Sanya smiled. "Yes. And possessive."
"Kurt isn't possessive," Blaine said with a frown.
And all right, maybe there was that time when Kurt had finally had enough of that gorgeous young Sidhe at the supply store flirting with Blaine all the time and perhaps cracks in the earth had been summoned, and maybe the young man had sobbed and begged for Kurt to let him down from a tangle of writhing vines, only gaining his freedom when he swore never to look at Blaine like that again.
"That was one time, Sanya," Blaine said, rolling his eyes. Sanya smirked at him.
It was years before they properly got back at Puck. They wanted to wait until he couldn't possibly be expecting it.
During one of his regular visits, they plied him with nectar and talked about politics until he passed out from boredom. Later, once they had contained their giddiness, they crept into the guest chamber where he slept heavily.
Getting the bracelet off without damaging it was the hard part. Applying the false tattoo was easy.
It looked real enough, but was only a stain.
The type of stain that wore off quickly.
Really. At most, it took a month or two.
Well, maybe three.
Scrubbing only made the pigment settle, causing it to last longer. They neglected to mention that, even after his initial horror wore off and he realized that it wasn't a real marriage tattoo.
Puck swore that he would destroy them both.
Clutching one another with laughter, they fell in love just a little bit more.
Most weeks, Blaine attended at least some of Kurt's lessons with him. There was quite a bit of travelling, especially in those early years, mostly between Khryslee and Cloudlen, but also throughout Faerie country. Blaine was an asset, and would become even more of one when they were finally organized enough to venture into Villalu and demand talks with Drayez. Retreating to the farm was a lovely way to escape the stress and insanity of politics. It wasn't that Blaine didn't care, he just needed a counter-balance of placidity. Kurt, on the other hand, was all passion. The more he began to understand, the more fervent he became.
When Kurt became too intense, Blaine would soothe him down. And when Blaine became too placid, Kurt would rile him up.
It never stopped working, and they never got bored.
Their first real fight scared the hell out of them both.
It was years before it happened, which allowed the tiny, swallowed remnants of distant hurts to flare up fresh, having never been properly laid to rest the first time.
Kurt had an important audience with the Queen of the Western Isles, a small but powerful Island community that had resisted overturning the non-interference doctrine for many years. He wanted Blaine to go with them, as the Queen had never met an actual human before. Kurt thought it was important that she see that Blaine was truly a person, and one with a pure heart and a noble soul. He wanted to show her that the love between them was real. It was important.
Blaine agreed that it was important. But it was also calving season, and Sanya had lost three of her best farm hands. Without Blaine's help some of the animals, both mother and child, would certainly die unnecessary deaths. Also, Blaine had promised her that he would be in Khryslee for calving season and that he would help her. He couldn't break a promise to his friend and mentor. Promises were important too.
At first they just argued, but it quickly devolved into something much uglier than that.
Frustrated beyond belief that Blaine would not come with him, Kurt had called him selfish, and accused him of caring more about profit – which they didn't even need, by the way – than saving lives and changing the world.
Stung, Blaine had snapped that the people he loved were more important than abstract causes, and that even though Kurt may be willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good, Blaine would never abandon someone he loved.
"Maybe if you offer to marry her she'll get on board," Blaine sneered, "and all you'd be losing is me, which you were willing enough to do the last time."
As soon as he said it he felt sick to his stomach.
Kurt had just stared at him, tears of hurt and rage welling up in his eyes, and when Blaine had reached for him, had tried to take it back, Kurt stormed out of the house and didn't come back for hours.
It had absolutely terrified them.
What if that is how he really sees me? What if that is how he's seen me all along? Does he really think...does he understand...could he actually believe that I...
What if he's never really loved me as much as I love him?
Kurt took a long walk through the forest before finally going home, and found Blaine sitting in the front garden with his head in his hands, looking ashen-faced.
Before they even started, they hugged each other tightly.
What it finally came down to was this:
"What I went through in Villalu still affects me, and it feels like you don't understand how much."
"It still hurts that you chose Firae. Even though you didn't want to, it still hurts that you did."
They treated one another like open wounds in the days that followed, careful and delicate and so afraid of causing more damage than had already been done.
And in the end it only made them understand one another more. It only made them kinder and more honest.
Kurt rescheduled his meeting with the Queen.
And after calving season had passed, Blaine went with him to speak to her.
They created so many moments and memories that some melted together, but there were always those particular moments that lived vivid and strong in their minds, those times when, even after years and decades and centuries, they saw one another afresh and began to fall in love all over again.
Blaine recalled a moment when they had gone for a hike through the mountains on a hot day and found a picturesque bubbling creek, sitting in a small, lush valley as if it had been waiting for them. He remembered the whole day; making love on a bed of flower petals and chasing one another through the flower-trees and never running out of things to talk about.
But the image that stood out, that would come to him and take his breath away at unexpected moments, was of Kurt standing naked and knee-deep in the stream. His hair was wet and his skin glistened with moisture, his marriage tattoo vibrant under the midday sun. His head was thrown back with laughter as water-pixies tickled his legs beneath the surface of the stream, and he looked utterly and completely carefree. He looked like no one had ever hurt him, like life was nothing but pure joy.
Blaine had looked at him and thought that is my lifemate, and he was so overwhelmed that he had sunk to the ground, his legs unable to continue supporting him, and he had to remind himself to breathe.
A moment like that had happened for Kurt in a musty cave, Blaine pulling him by the hand, his skin seeming to ripple and vibrate with excitement.
Blaine had knelt reverently before the wrapped bundles, like kneeling before a precious living thing or an ancient shrine.
It was the first batch of cheese he had made without Sanya's help, and it was finally aged properly, and Blaine just wanted Kurt with him when he checked to see how it had turned out.
He had learned a skill and he had made something that he was proud of. And even though Kurt couldn't really appreciate what he had made (cheese really just tasted of mold to him), Blaine wanted to show him. And Blaine looked so sweet and happy, so excited and proud of himself that it nearly broke Kurt's heart with joy.
The image that stayed in Kurt's mind, the one that he couldn't recall without smiling hard and pressing his hand to his own heart was of Blaine's face streaked with whey and his hair wild and bushy as he unwrapped the first bundle nervously and then looked at Kurt with pure, unbridled pride and delight.
And all Kurt could think when he remembered it was thank the gods he's mine.
Meeting Kurt's family of origin in the Western Sea Lands had been terrifying. Kurt's father was a stern and taciturn man, humming with power and presence and confidence, and everyone in that feririar seemed to instantly disapprove of Blaine.
Still, Blaine had insisted.
Because it had been almost seventy-five years since he had seen his own family, and now he knew he would never see them again.
He and Kurt had tried, but it had been the wrong time. Villalu had been in the throes of civil war, and they had had to retreat well before they were halfway there, barely escaping with their lives.
Blaine wasn't even sure if his family had survived the war.
He knew his mother must be dead. It was almost certain that his brother was too. Blaine wondered what kind of man his brother had become. He wondered if he ever had any children.
Blaine wondered if his mother had ever found happiness again.
He wondered what had become of his father in the end.
He wondered if his grandmother's grave had been disturbed.
When he looked in the mirror, he still didn't look a day over twenty.
Tash ended up settling in Cloudlen. It was more or less an accident; he didn't really care to live in Khryslee, nor was it likely that the Guardian would deem him fit to do so. He had intended to travel to various villages within a reasonable distance from Khryslee to see what he liked best, but he had to admit that Cloudlen was pleasant enough, and one feririar is as good as any other, really, and besides, he had begun to make friends already.
And well. It wasn't just that.
One night he and Kurt were sitting in the enormous dining chamber within the Great Hall in Cloudlen. Kurt and Blaine had come to visit for a few days, and Blaine had gone to bed before the end of Kurt's history lesson, but only after whispering something in his husband's ear that made Kurt look like he wanted nothing more than to follow him.
Tash quickly began to quiz Kurt before he could come up with an excuse to leave.
Kurt submitted miserably, groaning in irritation when Tash went off on the Avalon Pact, something Tash seemed to find endlessly fascinating while Kurt would frankly prefer to discuss methods for aging cheese, and that was really saying something.
Then Firae had joined them with a bottle of watered nectar, and he found the topic incredibly interesting as well, and soon he and Tash were debating passionately, and Kurt easily found an opportunity to slip away.
They barely noticed that he had left the room.
They sipped at their nectar slowly, and discussed ancient history and modern politics and philosophy in general.
And then they heard a shamelessly loud noise from Kurt and Blaine's guest chamber, and Tash made a deliciously snarky remark, and Firae laughed heartily, and then their eyes met and something shifted between them.
And then their own story began.
There were close calls.
Being human, Blaine was inherently more fragile than Kurt.
And one doesn't think about how many accidents can happen in four hundred years.
There was the time that Blaine nearly drowned.
And there was the time he fell from the back of a grimchin in flight.
And there was that time the pack of Redcaps got hold of him when they were travelling through the Northern Lowlands.
And each time, Kurt couldn't help but think will this be the time? Will this be the time when I finally can't heal him? Will this be how I lose him?
Blaine became a very good cheesemaker.
He eventually joined Sanya as a business partner, and then took over the farm completely when she died.
Even Kurt didn't have enough power to extend other humans' lives to the degree that he could extend Blaine's. Kurt could have given Sanya more years, but they would be years that Blaine would lose.
In this, Kurt allowed himself to be selfish. He withstood the pain in the eyes of Sanya's widow, withstood the guilt he felt at having what all the human-mated Sidhe around him would give absolutely anything for.
Kurt gave himself to his work. He gave himself to the betterment of society. And despite it all, he never completely believed that he was good enough to deserve Blaine, or that he deserved to be with him for this long.
But he allowed himself to have Blaine anyway, because the alternative was impossible to consider.
Kurt was glad that he and Firae had had their soul-walks early on in his relationship with Blaine. As intensely as he had loved him then, Kurt knew, years later, that he wouldn't even consider marrying Firae if the decision were in front of him again. There would have been no soul-walks. There would have been no revelation. Tash and Firae would never have found each other, and Kurt would completely ignore the world outside of Khryslee, where he would blissfully hide away in Blaine's arms.
Because somehow, somehow he just kept loving Blaine more.
And silently he knew that he had absolutely no plans to survive Blaine's death when it came.
Kurt became a brilliant political mind and speaker. In the early years, his voice shook, but that had had its value too. When he told audiences of his life as a slave in Villalu, he allowed himself to feel what he was saying, chose not to fight the raw emotion.
Because change in human society can actually happen quite fast, but in Faerie country, where a hundred years is a reasonable period of time to stretch out a debate before taking action, Kurt knew that he had to make it real. He had to make them feel, had to make them understand the urgency.
Because five years may seem like a tiny pebble of time. But five years as a slave is enough to break one utterly. Even a Sidhe.
Blaine worried about Kurt pushing himself too hard. He worried about Kurt having to relive the most horrible moments of his life over and over again every time he spoke.
It was hard when the wars began.
They were safe and untouched in Khryslee, of course, basking in the temperate climate and the clear mountain air and the glittering waterfalls, the air always dancing with flower petals.
But everywhere else it was getting ugly.
Villalu was thrown into a bitter civil war, and Faerie country was stretched almost to the brink of war in the roiling debate that rose up around The Villalu Problem.
The border had essentially become unpassable. There had never been more chaos or violence surrounding it before.
Kurt felt guilty and Blaine felt helpless.
Blaine accompanied Kurt to many of the debates, though he required a translator to grasp what was going on. He felt so small and trifling and petty and human when compared with these brilliant, powerful creatures, eyes flashing and fire crackling and the ground quaking as they argued.
Blaine clung to Kurt like a barnacle, feeling like a tiny parasite. And in moments like those, when the other ambassadors gave in to their fiery temperaments and lightning crackled across the sky, Kurt would tense and Blaine would squeeze his hand and feel Kurt relax at the pressure.
And then Kurt would reassure him, "you are my rock," and Blaine would realize that it was true, and it made him feel life-sized again.
Blaine was so proud of Kurt it was almost painful to bear. He loved Kurt more all the time, and he couldn't believe that Kurt was truly his. He never fully accepted it, because he never truly believed that he was worthy of Kurt.
But he knew that Kurt wanted him and no one else, he could see it in Kurt's eyes and he never felt a moment of true doubt that this was right, that this was what should be.
He never wanted to stop touching Kurt. He never wanted to stop hearing his voice and his laughter and watching him do everything. He never wanted to stop tracing the pointed tip of Kurt's ear when his head was nestled onto Blaine's chest in sleep. Every time he stroked the tip, Kurt would give a particular murmur, and it was the sweetest sound in Blaine's life.
Blaine never wanted to stop experiencing Kurt. And he knew that he would never have to. Not in this lifetime.
Blaine worried about what would happen to Kurt when he died. He tried to make Kurt promise to move on, to remarry, to find happiness again.
The first time Blaine brought it up, they had been together just shy of fifty years, and Kurt burst into tears and clutched Blaine close and begged him to stop. So Blaine did.
The next time he brought it up was after Sanya died. Blaine had been with Kurt for one hundred and eighty two years, and Kurt cried again, even harder than before.
After three hundred years, Blaine began to insist upon the promise. Finally, looking vacant and defeated, Kurt did promise, but he didn't look Blaine in the eye when he did.
In the end they had four hundred and seventeen years together.
The world had changed since they had found each other. Villalu had changed enormously, and even Faerie country had changed to some extent. The non-interference doctrine was gone, and though Khryslee remained protected, other communities modeled after it had started to coagulate.
There was even talk of dissolving the border. It was only talk. But it was talk that once would have been utterly unimaginable.
Slavery still happened, but it was outlawed everywhere. Corruption still happened, but as power became shared amongst more hands, justice began to happen too.
In the end, it was just the two of them at their home in Khryslee. Kurt hadn't wanted to accept it, but he knew that it was coming. He knew that if he continued to heal Blaine it would only prolong his suffering. He knew that it was the end.
And as he held him in his arms and felt Blaine slip away from him, Kurt sang to him. He sang a song of such clear and deep mourning that it would have broken the heart of anyone who heard it. He sang of deep love at the core of his soul, and even his tears did not obscure the beauty of the music, of his voice.
That song was the last thing that Blaine heard in this life.
And until the very end, until that last moment, he never stopped amazing Kurt. In the end his hair was gray and his face was deeply lined, but Kurt didn't even notice. Because until the very end he took Kurt's breath away.
Until the very end, he was still his Beautiful Blaine.
Kurt recalled a moment, centuries ago. It hadn't been a full week since Blaine had freed him from Dronyen.
It was the moment when he let Blaine hold him for the first time. And then he had opened himself up utterly to this strange man that he barely knew, this strange man that he couldn't help but instinctively trust on a level so deep it frightened him.
He had told Blaine that he had the power to break him.
And in all of their years together, Blaine had never used that power. He had never broken Kurt.
Kurt wasn't merely broken when Blaine died, he was shattered. He was ground into dust. He cried until he was numb, and as soon as the numbness began to wane he would cry some more.
He couldn't feel a single emotion that wasn't focused on Blaine. He could barely breathe without it reminding him of Blaine.
After Blaine was laid to rest, Kurt disappeared and Firae sent out legions of search parties.
Kurt didn't even bother to arrange for the animals to be fed when he left.
It had been months and they had all but given up hope when a winged creature swooped into Cloudlen bearing a slumped figure on its back.
The Guardian had found him living in a cave, though "living" would have been a strong word to use. Kurt wanted to die but he couldn't even summon the strength to take his own life in a proactive manner. So instead he had chosen to simply cease doing those things that would keep him alive. The Guardian had found him dirty, starving and shivering in tattered rags, but somehow still possessing the strength to cry almost continuously.
Firae and Tash took Kurt in to the Great Hall and cleaned him and fed him and forced him to stay alive.
No one had to say that Kurt would be staying with them, that he wouldn't be returning to Khryslee.
No one had to say that as miraculous as it was that Kurt had survived at all, there was simply no way that he could survive facing the home he had shared with Blaine.
Puck waited on him hand and foot, even after he had completely given up on trying to make Kurt smile.
And when Puck looked at Kurt, he thanked the gods that he hadn't been cursed to love someone so much.
Kurt didn't speak a single word for over a year.
And when he finally did speak, it was barely more than a whisper. A tiny creature landed on his knee and peered up at him curiously.
Kurt smiled, ever so slightly.
"Blaine always liked pixies," he said softly, through the tears that never seemed to stop falling.
And Tash and Puck looked at one another and sighed deeply with relief.
He had promised Blaine that he would move on and remarry.
It was the one promise to his husband that he never kept.
After the customary grieving period, it was common practice to have one's marriage tattoo removed, or at least altered.
But Kurt didn't. Instead he had his tattoo retouched every twenty years.
When Firae tried to gently suggest that perhaps that wasn't the healthiest thing to be doing, Kurt simply ignored him.
Sometimes he swore that he could still feel Blaine's soft lips brushing across the design.
He was never the same. He knew that, and he didn't care.
There were nights when death beckoned so strong that Kurt screamed and writhed to resist it. He wanted nothing more than to end this life, this flat, gray world that Blaine's soul had left him in alone. But he knew how much it would have hurt Blaine to even think of Kurt doing it. He knew how much it would hurt his friends, who had given so much to try and help him heal.
He never really healed. But he did learn how to function again.
And when he got a handle on functioning, he began to care again.
About his friends. About his career. About his world.
He threw himself into his work utterly and completely, doing his best to work himself to exhaustion every night so that he wouldn't have to think about sleeping alone before he was released into dreams.
Kurt often preferred sleep to waking life, preferred sinking into a dreamworld full of hazel eyes and warm olive skin and dark curls and the scent of Blaine everywhere.
But sometimes the good dreams were worse than the nightmares.
Sometimes he woke up, his stomach trembling with excitement because they had found a way! Blaine was somehow back, and they were together and everything was going to be okay after all.
And then the realization hit him like a stab to the gut, and it was like losing him all over again.
He never forgot him.
He never stopped missing him.
If his heart were in it, Kurt probably would have lived longer than seven hundred years. Seven hundred isn't young for an average Sidhe, but those of the Spiral caste usually lived longer.
Kurt didn't look for death. But he greeted it with calm acceptance when it found him.
Memories of the soul live well below one's consciousness, especially in worlds that are far removed from the gods. But the strong memories, the important ones grip tight in ways that people rarely understand.
Because how could they understand?
Especially when it had all happened so long ago?
And perhaps it was the time he had spent mourning, the centuries of hollow aching, that caused Kurt to feel it first this time.
It certainly felt like he had been waiting centuries for Blaine to notice him, to see him as more than a friend. But Kurt had dismissed the intensity of his own feelings, because it wasn't uncommon for a few months to seem like an eternity to a twenty-first century American teenager.
And perhaps it was the lifetimes he had lived between finding Kurt this time and having him the last time that caused Blaine to misinterpret that nagging feeling he had, looking for happiness everywhere except the most obvious place possible.
But one thing was absolutely certain, though Blaine couldn't find the words to properly explain it.
When Kurt sang his song of mourning over a pet bird, a memory twisted free from deep within Blaine and washed over him.
He didn't understand, but he had heard this before. He had felt this before. The pain and the love in Kurt's beautiful voice disarmed him completely and moved him profoundly.
And when it became clear, it was the clearest thing he had ever seen in his young life. Suddenly the world and the people around him were earth tones, and Kurt was painted in primary colors.
As Blaine looked at Kurt, a thought came into his mind.
There you are. I've been looking for you forever.
It takes him only a few days to find the courage to say it to Kurt.
And soon after, hearts pounding, Blaine leans toward him and finally, finally their lips meet again, in yet another first kiss.
A/N: I have posted companion some fics to The Sidhe , which you can find posted on this site. There will not be a sequel, because I think this story ended exactly where it needed to. And yes, I cried when I wrote this chapter. Of course I did.
5/13/12: It is officially one year since I posted the first chapter of The Sidhe! To celebrate, I'm posting little Sidhe drabbles and bits of info on the Sidhe 'verse on tumblr. To check it out, visit Chazzam . tumblr . com and click on "64 days of Sidhe treats" on the sidebar! Thank you all for making this such an amazing year!