Everything's Made To Be Broken
Warnings: Theme of terminal illness (purposely left ambiguous), language, sex, allusion to an incident of alcohol abuse
Please note that I am in no way knowledgeable as far as medicine goes, thus I have left everything fairly ambiguous as far as those sorts of details concern.
Kurt Hummel laughs, much to his own shock.
The sound is not a pleasant one. It's high and cold and unfeeling and impassive, short, sharp, clear-cut like glass.
It's to his horror that he does this a second time. And a third. Until each outburst is strung together.
Then he becomes hysterical. Breaks down and cries with no abandonment.
"I'm sorry," is all the doctor can say.
I can't tell you how awful I feel, not being able to say this to your face. Courage, you told me when we first met. Well, I'm going to need a lot of it now.
I'm ill, Blaine. Really, really ill.
They say they're going to try everything they can. The prognosis is good, right now. But they have no idea, really. I could see it in the man's eyes when he told me.
I love you, Blaine. I always have done, and always will. Remember that.
Kurt leaves the letter lying on the kitchen table, ready for Blaine to find.
It's written with a shaking hand and tear-stained.
It's in the early hours of the morning when Blaine enters the bedroom to find Kurt asleep, but not really, even though Kurt had heard him come in hours ago, hearing the regular calls of his name as he did every other evening.
He presses a kiss to the back of Kurt's neck, and simply whispers, "We'll get through this together," his voice full of a dreadful, monotone devastation.
He then wraps an arm over Kurt, holding to him desperately for safety, just wanting to pretend everything's normal for a little while longer.
Blaine leaves for work early the next morning.
He doesn't know how he could even look Kurt in the eye without his own filling with tears.
Kurt rolls over, arms reaching out blindly as he searches for Blaine. There's nothing there.
He sighs, then quickly falls back into the fractured oblivion of sleep, wishing it could last forever, not wanting to face the world.
Kurt's still in bed when Blaine arrives home again.
He walks, rhythm-familiar, up the stairs to the bedroom.
Kurt looks broken.
Blaine wordlessly kicks off his shoes, discards his blazer, climbs onto the mattress and pulls Kurt into an embrace.
"I'm scared, Blaine. Oh God, I'm so scared –," Kurt whispers into the comfort of Blaine's skin.
"Shh, shh, Kurt, shh," Blaine replies, voice equally hushed, as he cradles Kurt backwards and forwards in his arms, his grip too tight.
Blaine promises it will be okay, but both of them know it won't be.
Kurt's shaking visibly when he returns home after his first treatment.
He takes two steps towards Blaine, whose arms are outstretched, then ducks sideways into the bathroom.
Blaine knows how much Kurt would hate him seeing him like this, and gives him the respect of waiting until the retching sounds stop before going to check on him.
He hates the fact that a solitary tear creeps into the corner of his eye upon seeing Kurt, utterly useless, fingers clinging to the edge of the bowl, sweaty and slipping away.
Blaine lays a hand on Kurt's back, running in careful, calculated lines, soothing him while he cries openly, mortified and humiliated more than anything because fuck this, fuck life, fuck everything and everyone, fuck why he feels like this after only his first treatment, fuck how there's going to be more and more and fuck how he doesn't know what he's going to.
Kurt wants to scream.
Instead, he just collapses hopelessly into Blaine's arms.
They try to establish a sense of normality over the course of the next few months. Blaine goes out to his office three days a week, spending the rest of his time at home with Kurt and working on his laptop while Kurt is otherwise occupied.
Kurt goes in and out of hospital, routines becoming quickly ingrained into his brain.
Some days he'll continue life as normal. Mercedes and Finn both visit regularly, with Brittany, Santana and Artie also coming when they can. Even Rachel manages to come and see them on her days off, not that she gets many while a show is in full swing. He doesn't talk a lot; mainly, he listens to their stories of the world outside his cycle of daily life. It makes him happy, knowing the others are.
He speaks to his father and Carole on the phone nearly every day.
He's careful in what he tells them. Not one of those people knows the full story.
Only Blaine knows about the days when Kurt refuses to get out of bed, the days where he won't eat, won't sleep, can't even bring himself to speak to Blaine. Only Blaine is there when he's sick, his body racked by tremors, so fragile it feels like it will fall apart at any moment.
Only Blaine knows, but won't tell.
It breaks Blaine's heart.
Somehow, somewhere, Kurt goes into remission.
The celebrations are a haze, but in the morning, Kurt wakes up hot and sticky, lying skin-on-skin to Blaine whose arms are held around him, just letting him know he's safe. Just letting him know he's alive, and they're together, and when the world contracts to the two of them, nothing else matters.
Kurt suggests they go to New York on a celebratory whim.
Blaine agrees. He doesn't hesitate.
Their week goes by in a spiral of dizzying colours and lights and swirls and sounds and spectacles and everything seems like fireworks.
They get tickets to see Rachel in Wicked. She's dazzling in lead.
Critics said this performance rivalled both her Cosette and her Eva. Maybe even her Maureen.
And perhaps Kurt's biased, because, well, it is Wicked, but all her other performances pale in comparison to the sparkling emerald that is her Elphaba. Kurt hates that he's thinking in clichés, but he's so overwhelmed by the power and sincerity in each one of her notes that all rational thought is blocked.
When Rachel sings For Good, she cries. Blaine's in tears too, floating on her voice as it soars above the melody. Kurt's weeping, both for the two women about to leave each other forever, and for the days gone by, for New Directions and show choir and original songs and bitch fights and Cheerios and Prom King and Queen and Le Jazz Hot and graduation and a swirl of red gowns and blue blazers and Seasons of Love. His tears ache of the vignettes of the past, flashing through his mind, adrenaline-fuelled.
And when Glinda sings, despite the fact that her voice is beautiful, the perfect counterpoint to Rachel's, he can't help but imagine it's his seventeen-year-old self up there.
They climb up the Statue of Liberty together, and just stand there, the slow silence surrounding them as they hold hands, looking out over the harbour.
The windows are slightly dirty, the sunlight diffusing dully into the sheltered space, slightly distorting each other's faces.
Blaine places a hand gently on Kurt's cheek, smiling. "You're amazing, Kurt."
And then Blaine and Kurt are kissing, and the sun comes out fully from behind a cloud and casts an achingly beautiful glow over them, and at that moment, both of them feel more alive than they have done in years.
They do the same at the top of the Empire State Building, as the sun sets behind the silhouetted skyline, as the mosaic of lights just start to flare up, sparking the life for another night.
Hands are tangled in each other's hair, their bodied pressed close against the night, neither wanting to slip away.
Afterwards, Kurt rests his head onto Blaine's shoulder, and both look out into the nothingness of night, at the stars blinded by artificiality, trying to see past them into the universe itself.
But all they really need is each other.
It takes a while for everything to fall back into normality when they get home.
Then again, neither are really sure what normality is anymore.
They just drift between the days, and they love it.
Something in Kurt's voice makes Blaine's heart flutter for a second.
"Blaine! Come here, please. Oh, fuck - ,"
Kurt's voice breaks, then cuts off. Blaine promptly runs downstairs, drawn to him.
If Blaine's heart had fluttered a moment ago, it stops completely when he sets eyes on Kurt, bent double on his hands and knees, retching and sobbing uncontrollably over a pool on the floor.
Blaine walks slowly, tentatively, towards him, each moment drawn out into a thread as long as possible, then kneels behind him, rubbing easy circles on his back while he shakes like each movement will break him once again.
"I'm sorry, Blaine, I'm so, so sorry - ,"
"Hey, hey, it's okay," Blaine tries to smile, "it's okay, Kurt. Don't worry, you're okay, shh, shh."
Blaine lifts Kurt into his arms as gently as he can, laying him along the sofa, a blanket over him. He sits at his knees, stroking his hair as he falls away into sleep, before cleaning up.
Both think they know what it means, but neither will say.
It's too much, to hope everything will be perfect.
It's not going to be.
Blaine goes with Kurt next time, the result inevitable.
It doesn't stop them from breaking down anyway.
Just as their lives return to normal, it's torn away again.
This time it's hopeless, trying to help.
It's not going to go away.
All they can do it try and prolong everything as much as possible. They could still have months, maybe even years.
They're walking in the park.
It's grey, overcast, three weeks since they found out.
Kurt's wrapped carefully in a coat, a black silk scarf draped around his neck, looking like a complete mismatch to Blaine's faithful red. They've got coffee clutched in their hands, the heat warm and welcoming.
The leaves snap beneath their feet, the sound light and bright in the air. Some children are playing ahead of them, pulling as many as they can into a pile beneath the tree. Their only worry is when it will start to rain, and they have to decide whether to wear their uncomfortable Macs or to go home as fast as they can. Kurt smiles as he watches them.
They both take a seat on the bench, worn and weathered, intricately knotted, and just sit together, taking in the morning through the mist, sipping their drinks every so often, until they go cold. Kurt offers to take Blaine's still quarter-full cup to the bin, and Blaine hands it to him, not really feeling thirsty.
Kurt smirks to himself as he walks over, places the cups into the bin and begins to walk back over, taking longer than Blaine expects.
And then Blaine is greeted by a cold pile of leaves falling over his head, followed by Kurt's laugh.
Blaine gives Kurt a mock-death glare, gathers some from around him, and throws them back.
In the heavy mist of the morning, two grown men are throwing leaves at each other, giggling, aching of their pasts, running along the path and not caring about the few others around who stare at them, incredulously, because this is what being alive really means.
It's just a shame that when they both finally collapse on the large pile, now abandoned by the children, laughing madly, Blaine knows that Kurt's not going to know this feeling for much longer and he stops laughing and puts a hand to his mouth to stifle a choked sob.
Kurt gets weaker.
Some days, he needs a wheelchair to move around.
Then there are the days he can't bring himself physically to leave his bed.
Last time, it was only because he mentally couldn't face the world.
Now, he truly physically cannot do it.
Blaine tries to remain strong for him. Feeding him, helping him wash, reading to him, taking care when he gets sick or ill, holding him at night, protecting him from the nightmares.
Both of them know it breaks Blaine's heart.
And because Blaine's heart breaks, Kurt's does too.
"I want us to get married," Kurt tells Blaine one day, like it's the most normal thing in the world to say.
"Is that a proposal?" Blaine fails to suppress the laugh of shock that rises in his throat.
"Maybe," says Kurt, a sly little smile on his face.
They bribe the registry office a little to let them have their ceremony as soon as they can.
It's planned for a Monday, because there's no way they're having a wedding without Rachel Berry.
It's not legally a marriage, only a civil ceremony, but to all intents and purposes it's the same thing.
" – Yes, Mum. If he wants to. I know what he's like about these things."
Kurt can hear Blaine's voice, low, as he's talking on the phone, the moment he wakes up.
" – Please, Mum. It would mean a lot to me, to both of us, if you both could come."
Blaine pokes his head around the door to find Kurt awake.
"My parents are coming to the wedding. They're actually coming!"
And yes, this is a cause for celebration.
Burt comes over to the house the evening before the ceremony, Finn and Rachel in tow.
Kurt's face brightens instantly on seeing them.
"I'll see you tomorrow, at the registry office," Blaine reassures Kurt. "I love you."
Blaine turns to go, walking past Burt on the way out.
"We'll take care of him, don't you worry," Burt reassures him, patting him affectionately on the shoulder.
Blaine hates having to leave Kurt's side, but it's the thought of the next day that keeps him going through the night, even if his sleep is a jigsaw of dreams and reality, as the flow of imagination is punctuated by terrible reality.
In the morning, Rachel helps Kurt to wash, Burt helps him to dress, and Finn helps him to shave and get himself looking as good as he can.
He looks almost normal when he looks into the mirror in the bedroom.
Blaine dresses alone.
He'll meet his family at the registry office.
Kurt gets there first, even though they'd agreed he'd enter second. He's in his wheelchair.
All four of them know how desperate Kurt is to walk down the aisle, however.
Rachel clings to his hand.
Blaine arrives five minutes before the ceremony is due to start.
His parents are there. His mother is smiling. His father looks blank.
Blaine bestows a hug to his mother, whispers, "Go inside, we're almost ready," and she does so, leaving him alone with his father.
"I'm happy for you, Blaine," he says, simply, and then smiles.
A wave of tension passes through Blaine's body and away, as his father takes his arm, ready to make an entrance.
As Blaine walks in, the crowd stands. Blaine can't pick out any of their faces properly, not really seeing anything at all.
He reaches the end of the room, standing before the clerk, then turns and waits for Kurt, his father's hand in his.
Blaine closes his eyes, and when he opens them, Kurt's there.
Each step is shaking, he's nervous and weak and seems about to collapse, clinging onto Burt's arm for safety, Rachel and Finn behind, just in case.
He looks almost normal.
Blaine can't believe it.
And even though Kurt has to sit for the rest of the ceremony, neither of them care.
They're lying in bed that night, still feeling heady from the events of the day.
"Can we do something?"
"What do you mean?"
"Let's – let's make love." Kurt's face crumples like paper at the disgust of having to use that phrase, but he can't think of a better way to say it.
"Are you sure?"
"This might well be the last time we can, Blaine. I haven't been able to even walk very far in a week. I don't think we've got much time left. Let's do it while we can."
"Of course, if that's what you want, but if you ever feel like you want to stop - ,"
"Blaine! Stop worrying! Let's just do it."
Blaine clambers out of the bed quickly, pulling what they need from the dresser drawers.
He takes the box of matches, lights the candles around the bedroom, then turns off the main light, setting the other items down on the table next to the bed.
Then he climbs over, straddles Kurt on all fours and kisses him, taking everything slowly and delicately. Their hands find their way into each other's hair, tangling in knots and fists and just holding on to stop them from pulling away from each other.
Their breaths are hot, sweet on each other's skin, Blaine dropping kisses like shooting stars all over Kurt's body, taking as much time and care as he can.
They take it slow, and it's a little awkward and a little painful, but sweet and tender and intimate and delicate and perfect for both of them.
It's just like their first time.
And Blaine keeps going for as long as he and Kurt can, because he knows that when he pulls out, it will all be over.
But eventually he does, and they both lie their together in the depths of the dark, under the uncertainty of the candle flames, hot and sticky and so, so close. Blaine strokes Kurt's hair with his thumb as he pants, completely lacking energy.
Soon, Blaine sits up, and pulls Kurt gently onto his lap, his face against his chest.
"Did I hurt you? Oh God, I'm so, so sorry - ,"
"No, no," Kurt shakes his head. "It was good. I liked it. It was perfect, Blaine."
Kurt pauses for a moment, tears falling over the contours of Blaine's chest as he cradles him back and forth, holding him close.
"I don't want to die, Blaine."
I love you.
They start to say it to each other every night before they go to sleep, just in case it's the last chance they get to hear each other's voices.
Kurt stops eating.
He and Blaine spend their days together.
Sometimes they talk, and sometimes they just sit in silence, just to be with each other for as long as they can.
"I want to make tapes."
"What do you mean?"
"Record tapes. My voice. For people."
Hi Dad, Hi Carole.
It's me, it's Kurt. I made this a little while before I – before I went. I wanted you to be able to hear my voice, even when I can't hear yours.
I love you. I love you both. I don't want you to ever forget that. You can be sad. You can cry, because I know it helps. Remember, Dad, when Mom died? Crying. It made us both feel better. So you can cry. But don't give up. You've got to keep on living. You've still got so much to give, both of you, and I don't want you to lose out on that.
Carole, look after Dad. He loves you.
Dad, take care of Carole. I've always considered her my parent and I really do love her just as much.
Remember me, but be happy, please.
I'll never forget you.
Goodbye. I love you.
Look after Mom and Dad. That's all I ask of you.
I'll never forget everything you did for me.
I love you. You're my brother. Your bro.
And I always will be.
Hey 'Cedes, Quinn, Artie, Britt, Santana, Puck, Sam, Mike, Tina, whoever else I've forgotten.
It's me, Kurt. Kurt, your man. Mayor of Gay Town.
You're all some of the most amazing, wonderful people I've ever met. You've done so much for me.
I went to see Rach in Wicked a few months before this, and when she sang For Good, I thought of all you guys. I thought of Glee club, everything we did, what we had.
We were like a family. And even though we've all split apart, moved on, gone our separate ways, we're still a family. I still think of you all, and I'm going to miss every single one of you. I hope you all managed to come to the funeral, to hear this, and for those who can't make it, please make sure they hear this. I want all of you to know how much I care about you.
I'm gonna miss you all.
You're a star. No matter what happens to you, I want you to remember that. You always have been, and always will be, the most talented, inspirational person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I'm never, ever going to forget how dazzling you are. You are a strong, powerful woman who deserves all the success she gets.
I care deeply about you, Rach. Remember that. I always have done, and always will do, wherever I am. I'll always remember what we had. Our epic mash-up, For Good? That was amazing, yeah?
Oh, and remember the Defying Gravity solo? I purposely failed to hit that note, because you deserved that.
I wanted to make this tape for you, so you can hear my voice when I'm not here anymore. It's why I've made all these tapes, really, but I know that's one of the things you fear the most, not being able to hear my voice.
Now I'm doing this, I don't know what to say to you.
You are the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me, Blaine. That day I first met you, on the Dalton staircase, I couldn't say I knew how much of an impact you'd have on me. Not until I fell in love with you.
I really can't stay
But baby, it's cold outside…
Then, somehow, you loved me back. I couldn't believe it. That kiss, that was the most wonderful moment of my life to that date. After everything.
And hey, it was great, wasn't it? Prom, you transferring to McKinley, graduation, going to college, moving in with each other.
Sometimes I think it's all a dream. I wonder what I did to deserve you. Because I don't, Blaine. You're too good for me. Be sad, okay, cry. Make sure you cry, because it will help you. Trust me. But move on. I know you'll never forget me, but move on. If you meet another guy you like, go for it. I'm not here to stop you, and I wouldn't want to. Find a man who will love you just as much as you love me, and make sure you love them back. You deserve that, Blaine, to be happy.
Everyone needs to be happy. At my funeral, because I know you'll insist on one, don't wear black. I don't want anyone wearing black. Have Rachel sing, and the rest of New Directions too, if they can be there, including you, Blaine, if you feel you can. Laugh and joke. Celebrate. I don't want one of those horrible, sad, dreary things. It's not me, is it?
I love you, Blaine. Remember how we told each other that every night before I died? Just because we wanted it to be the last thing we heard each other say. Though, when the time comes, if you're singing to me, well, I wouldn't mind that either. Just as long as it's not Ke$ha songs.
I will never stop loving you, Blaine. Of course I won't.
I don't really know what else I can say.
I'll sing for you.
Never knew I could feel like this
Like I've never seen the sky before…
…Oh, come what may, come what may
I will love you, Oh I will love you
Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Come what may
Come what may
I will love you until my dying day.
I miss you, Blaine. I do love you. I truly do.
I'll forever be yours.
Kurt places each tape inside a sealed envelope, with each recipient's name written on the front.
Then he breaks.
"Read to me, Blaine."
Kurt's voice sounds salty, like shrapnel.
"Time Traveler's Wife? Read the bit with the birthday party and the Ouija board."
Blaine obliges, taking the tattered copy from the shelf and opening it to find the right page.
"Here we go. It's Mary Christina Heppworth's birthday and all the fifth grade girls are sleeping over at her house…"
Kurt curls over on his side. He looks tiny, horribly-childlike. The little vertebrae of his spine are visible, as are the little wings of his shoulder blades. His skin is whiter than bleach. But he smiles, just to hear Blaine's voice.
"…Everyone is weirded out. I'm weirded out. Husband? Husband?"
Just as Blaine goes to close the book, Kurt whispers, "keep going. The next bit."
"Clare and I are playing chess in the fire circle in the woods…"
Blaine's voice is suited to reading, the tone velvet and luxurious.
"I just thought, maybe, you were married to me…"
As Blaine closes the book, Kurt's eyes shut simultaneously.
"I love you, Kurt."
"Love you too," he mumbles, the sound barely audible.
He's burning up with fever.
He can barely keep his eyes open.
"Sing to me, Blaine."
"the power lines went out
and i am all alone
but i don't really care at all
not answering my phone…"
Blaine takes Kurt in his arms and rocks him slowly like an infant, fingers laced through his hair as he sings.
Somewhere, Kurt falls asleep, hot and heavy in Blaine's arms.
"I love you, Kurt," Blaine says, pressing a kiss to his burning temple, despite the fact that Kurt won't say it back now, but just wanting to let him know.
In the darkness, he falls asleep, still holding on.
When Blaine wakes up, he knows something doesn't feel right.
But he just closes his eyes again, subconsciously wanting to pretend everything's normal for just a little while longer, his finger's closed around Kurt's.
He doesn't wake up for hours.
Hi Rachel, It's Blaine. Listen. Kurt died yesterday. The funeral's a week on Monday, to make sure you can come. But if you can get here before, please do. Yeah, yeah. See you soon. Okay, bye.
Hey Mercedes, It's Blaine. No, no. Kurt died yesterday. The funeral's a week on Monday. Of course you can come round here if you want to. See you soon. Bye.
Finn, it's Blaine. No, it's not. He died. Yesterday. Listen, please can you tell Burt and Carole for me? I can't face them myself. Sure, yeah. The funeral's a week on Monday. Can you all help me to organise? I don't think I can do this by myself. As soon as you can. I'll see you all then.
Puck, Puck, are you there? It's Rachel. I don't know if you've heard or not – Kurt passed away yesterday. Blaine called to tell me. A week Monday. I'm sure he'll want you there. Yes, yes, I'm fine. Don't worry about me – it's Blaine you should be concerned for. He sounded really bad on the phone. Go for it. See you soon. Bye.
Quinn, is that you? Yes, yes, I'm okay. How 'bout you? Are you doing anything a week on Monday? It just, well, Quinn, I'm not sure how to tell you this. Kurt died. It's the funeral. I'm coping right now. Don't worry about me. I'll see you there, then. Yeah, yeah. Bye, Quinn.
The news spreads around the New Directions quickly. Even the old Warblers find out as well, and those who can intend to come.
Hi Mr Schue,
I'm sorry for not writing to you for a while. Broadway schedules are tough, you know!
But I'm writing with bad news.
You remember Kurt? Who am I kidding, of course you remember Kurt. Everyone remembers Kurt.
Kurt passed away a few days ago. He was ill, had been for a long time. Blaine was with him, of course. They married about two weeks before it happened.
Anyway, the funeral is a week on Monday, back in Lima. I'm sure he'd have wanted you to attend.
I hope to see you there.
All my love and best wishes,
Blaine drifts between the days.
He'd thought the weeks following Kurt's death would be full of tears, of beating fists, of hitting heads against walls.
Instead, he feels utterly numb.
Somehow, that feels worse.
He listens to the tape at least 10 times a day.
He'll play it as he's falling asleep on the sofa. The bed reminds him too much of Kurt.
All he wants is the old, clear countertenor voice to fill his head and engulf his dreams.
Blaine tells Finn, Burt and Carole about Kurt's wishes for his funeral.
They take over the planning, because Blaine can't face it himself.
Sometimes, Blaine sees Kurt.
He'll stand behind him in the mirror, be walking outside the window. Once, he even sees his face amongst the ripples in the kitchen sink.
Sometimes, Blaine will think he sees Kurt. His heart will swell, then deflate like a punctured balloon.
It feels like the air is being drawn out of him slowly, torturously. Because that's what living does to you.
The funeral happens exactly as Kurt wants it to. He distributes Kurt's other tapes for them, and that's all he has to do.
All of New Directions are there.
Blaine also can pick out Wes, David, Jeff and Nick. It's been years. Maybe some others are there as well that he just cannot recognise.
Mr Schue has come as well.
Becky Jackson turns up, most likely at Brittany's invitation, with a man on her arm who seems to be her husband. Blaine has no idea why she's here, but he doesn't mind.
To his surprise, even Coach Sylvester is there, a tissue clutched in her hand.
And somewhere, in the back of the crowd, Blaine thinks he sees a man that looks suspiciously like David Karofsky, with his head buried in his hands.
Rachel does sing. Defying Gravity. It's beautiful, albeit emotionless. Blaine thinks she's had to shut out her true feelings to stop herself crying.
Finn takes Blaine's hand.
16th May 1994 – 14th April 2025
Loving husband, son and friend
Blaine tries to numb the pain with alcohol.
He sits, passively taking swigs from a bottle, just needing some kind of anaesthetic to take the pain away.
In the ends, he end up bent over the toilet, and as he brings up the alcohol, he also brings up the memories of Kurt, and the pain he tried to dull is more real than ever.
It's a month after that he first visits Kurt's grave.
There's a bunch of white roses clutched in his hands.
He sits on the damp grass of the graveyard, cross-legged, staring. Just staring uselessly. First at nothing, then at the name on the headstone, then at the photograph nestled amongst the flowers that surround the base, then back into nothingness again.
Blaine's angry that the rain has soaked through the photograph, making the ink run. He can't see Kurt's eyes properly.
"I love you, Kurt, I love you, I love you, I love you - ,"
There are tears coursing down Blaine's cheeks.
Then he jumps.
There's a hand on his shoulder.
Turning around, he sees a man, about the same age as him, smiling kindly down at him.
"He's beautiful, right? A friend of yours?"
"Really? Mine's here as well. Just a few away, actually."
"How did he…y'know?"
"Road traffic accident. Very sudden. Didn't feel a thing."
"Right. I'm very sorry."
"It's okay now. It was three years ago. It'll get better, you'll see." The man takes Blaine's hand, pulling him to his feet, but not letting go, just wanting to stay there for reassurance. "I know you're hurting now, but it will change. It will be better. It'll never heal completely, but it'll only hurt sometimes. You'll get that little twinge of pain in the unhealed nerve endings of your heart, but it will fade soon enough."
The man pats Blaine encouragingly on the shoulder, then walks away.
Blaine leaves and goes home.
Back at the house, Blaine steps inside, then slams the door, a little too hard.
He kicks the wall.
He punches the sofa cushions.
He screams and shouts and screams some more, not caring who hears him, hitting and pushing and barging and shoving and smashing and breaking breaking breaking.
He screams until his throat is raw and feels like sandpaper, then screams some more.
Then there's a sudden shattering of glass.
The true breaking of a heart.
and i don't want the world to see me
'cause i don't think that they'll understand
when everything's made to be broken
i just want you to know who i am
Blaine goes to the graveyard the next day.
And the next.
And the next.
The he goes home and sleeps until the next day.
"You look awful."
Blaine looks up at such a frank statement, despite the fact that it's most likely true. He hasn't bothered to shave for a while.
It's the man-whose-husband-was-killed-in-a-road-traffic-accident.
"I'm sorry. I just haven't felt like doing a lot recently."
"I know what you mean."
The man kneels down next to him, and places a hand on his knee.
"Right now, it's just hard to think everything will work out in the end. I feel lost, I feel angry, I feel – sometimes I just feel nothing. Sometimes it's just blankness. Or blackness. Or both. I can't really tell."
"What's your name?"
"Well, Blaine, it's clear that you still love Kurt very much. You always will do. There's always going to now be this big, empty space of nothing where he once was and nothing anyone can say, or do, or be, can fill it. And it never will be filled."
Blaine doesn't seem to be listening.
"What's your name?"
"I'm Lee. And what I'm going to do is to write down my phone number, and what I want you to do is to call me whenever you need advice, or someone to talk to."
Lee scribbles it down quickly on a fragment of paper, slips it into Blaine's hand, and leaves again.
Blaine pockets it out of gratitude, but doesn't intend to use it any time soon.
Whenever Blaine dreams, he dreams of Kurt.
Pasts, lost, with Kurt.
Futures, impossible, with Kurt.
Sometimes they get strange.
There's one where Kurt's a siren, sitting on a rock as Blaine sails in a boat, an Odysseus. And Kurt's singing for Blaine, who's enthralled as he teases him with what he can never have.
There's another where Blaine's in a music shop, trying to choose an instrument to play, but everything he tries – piano, guitar, flute, recorder, keyboard, viola, harp – they all sound like Kurt's voice.
Then there's the one where Kurt's at the top of a building made of glass, standing on a tower, and Blaine starts to climb the building, then just as he's about to take Kurt's hand a wind blows which somehow sounds like Lee and he falls away and awake.
A month passes.
Blaine is going out of his fucking mind.
The life buoy might be there, feet away to cling on to, but he's still drowning in the depths, and nothing can stop him.
Just when everything seems like it's getting better, things break.
There's this hole that just can't be filled.
The words of memory ring in his head.
Hello, is this Lee? It's Blaine. No, no, I haven't been down there in a while. Haven't felt like it. Listen - you don't suppose we could, y'know, meet up? For coffee or something? I could just really use a friend right now and you seem like a person I can talk to. 3 o'clock at the Lima Bean? It's an old haunt of ours – mine. It's good, anyway. So I'll see you there then? Thanks. Goodbye.
Blaine puts the phone down, and smiles, just ever-so-slightly.