A/N: Last chapter! Can you believe it? I know I can't. This chapter fast forwards us pretty fast through the spring and summer months and onward to bigger, brighter things for the boys! If you're a little baffled over such a big time shift, go check out my tumblr for a neat little explanation post. I'll give my big thank yous and sobs in the A/N at the end of the chapter as well as a little "what comes next" blurb. Title is taken from everybody's favorite Richard Siken poem, Scheherazade. Without further ado, here is the final chapter!
Tell Me We'll Never Get Used to It
Blaine slept for another two days after the first time he opened his eyes.
Kurt worked himself into a paranoid wreck despite the doctors telling him Blaine was just recovering.
Blaine woke again, though, as promised, this time blinking hazily and mumbling something about the ocean.
Kurt cried all over again and then Blaine cried too purely out of confusion.
He spent four more weeks in the hospital.
The weeks were long and nerve wracking, but slowly, progress came.
Wobbly knees turned stable for short walks down the hallway outside his room.
Slow, muddled speech turned steadier; surer.
Kurt agreed to sleep at home the fifth night after Blaine woke the second time, and, after a little coaxing and promises of tri-daily text reports, he started up his classes again.
Some things fell into place, others didn't.
Kurt's internship request for the fall was rejected, his application for the New School—filled out back in November only after Reese spent an entire day pestering him into it—came back with a 'Congratulations' letter and a host of shiny brochures.
Blaine had been more excited than Kurt was—he spent an entire day researching the school and by the time Kurt was back in the hospital, Blaine was so full of information, he'd fallen asleep.
Snow melted; grass grew.
Kurt went to class; Blaine went to treatment.
Trip spent the days running between the apartment and Warblers practice. On a rare, slow Saturday, he pushed a letter across the counter to Kurt, his cheeks red and his eyes on his coffee. He'd been accepted at Columbia.
He'd looked up again, his cheeks still pink, "Looking for another roommate?"
Days turned into a countdown toward summer and The Big Appointment.
When the day came—sunny and unseasonably hot for April—Blaine sat quietly in his doctor's office between his parents. His mother squeezed his hand so hard he thought it might break; his father kept a hand clasped tight around the back of his neck.
When the doctor delivered the news, Elizabeth had squeezed his hand even tighter; his father's hand went slack with shock. Blaine sat perfectly still while his parents laughed and cried and hugged him.
In shock, the doctor had whispered quietly to Elizabeth when Blaine had only politely smiled at the news.
I want to go home, Blaine had said, I want to see Kurt.
He delivered the news to Kurt in the kitchen, his parents having quietly excused themselves to run an unspecified errand.
"It's gone. All gone. I'm in remission."
"Gone?" Kurt had echoed; blinked.
"Gone." Blaine repeated.
They'd rushed to one another, collapsed in each other's arms and sobbed.
"Shh, it's over now. It's okay, it's over," Kurt held on tight, crying and kissing and petting Blaine's head.
"I'm alive. Oh God, I lived; I'm alive." Blaine sobbed back.
Kurt had imagined them dancing and laughing and kissing when this moment finally arrived—a bigger, brighter, better celebration than the one they'd had over his acceptance letter to the internship the previous year.
Instead, once the initial tears had dried, they sat quietly together and then cried again.
More time passed, and things got easier…and harder.
The Warblers placed second at Nationals.
Trip graduated—blushed furiously when his parents fawned over him after the ceremony and called him 'Skip' (an old pet name, his mother explained to Kurt with a smile). Kurt stowed the information away to save for good blackmail later.
People came home for the summer—demanded parties for their reunion; for Blaine's recovery; for the sake of alcohol and warm summer nights.
Trip and Santana were introduced to one another. No one knew if it was a good thing or a bad thing when they became inseparable.
In June, Quinn announced she was in at NYU. She and Blaine got close; spent hours pouring over the course catalog together.
Blaine, a little more cautious than before; a little more tentative in his actions, didn't know if he wanted to declare himself a drama major just yet. His father responded with a stack of printed Internet pages about Tisch School of the Arts and a quiet promise to be supportive of whatever he decided on.
Apartment hunts for the upcoming fall began immediately. Kurt spent hours on the phone with Rachel—still in the city—while they perused apartment listings.
At the beginning of July, Trip and David got into a fight complete with shouting and slamming doors—Kurt caught the tail end of it. Something about long distance relationships and Sebastian Smythe (a name Kurt hadn't heard brought up in months).
There was a miraculous day when Rachel called and told Kurt there was an apartment opening up across the hall from hers and Quinn's. Kurt had rejoiced with her—shrieked over their good luck and promised her a free lunch if she could secure the space by the end of the day.
Blaine had listened quietly as Kurt talked to Rachel over the phone and then to him directly—too fast and with too many details—about the apartments. He'd finished in a rush, asked Blaine why he didn't look more excited.
Blaine had stared at him for another minute and suddenly he was sobbing. He'd had a headache for three days. He couldn't remember what he ate for breakfast.
There was another tense day of testing and doctors appointments and then another day after that of relieved tears. It was nothing, just a migraine and too much anxiety.
Trip and Dave made up.
Santana and Brittany announced they were moving to California together.
The lease on the apartment in Columbus ended. Kurt and Dave spent a night eating pizza on the family room floor surrounded by boxes.
"Remember the day we moved in?" Kurt smiled, leaned back on his hands.
"I remember thinking it was never gonna work." David confessed.
"I think we did okay." Kurt smiled.
"Better than okay. "
They cheers'd plastic cups of Diet Coke and laughed.
David moved home. He was going to do a year at Ohio State and then (he and Trip would exchange a weak smile when people asked; squeeze one another's hands) who knew…he kind of was thinking a move might be nice.
Blaine sat his parents down in late July, told them he wanted to live with Kurt.
"We agreed you'd live in the dorms your first year," They said gently.
"That was last year." Blaine had replied just as calmly.
"It's a good life experience," They'd insisted.
"I've had a lot of life experiences in the past year," Blaine had said quietly, "If you want me to have a good life experience, please support me when I say I want to live with my boyfriend."
They'd given in.
And suddenly—the summer that had moved in ebbs and flows of good and bad—was over.
Suddenly Ohio was over—a year later than planned and not quite how they'd imagined, but over all the same.
The Andersons both cried and repeated to Blaine over and over again the address of his new doctor in the city. Made him repeat it back and show them where he'd written it down and then hugged him like they might never see him again.
Burt was calmer. He hugged Kurt fiercely, and looked near tears, but managed a smile. I've seen what you can do, Kurt, he said, you'll be more than okay.
Trip held onto David for so long outside the car, that they began to wonder if he'd change his mind about leaving. In the end, he did let go though, scrubbing at his eyes and staring up at David for a long minute before tucking himself into the backseat beside Blaine. He was quiet for most of the drive.
Once the skyline came into view, though, the mood shifted.
They were in New York.
They were home.
They had known the apartments were small. But somehow they seemed even smaller than Kurt had imagined—tight little boxes with low ceilings and dingy carpet.
Blaine walked into the family room, kicked his heel against the carpet, "No wood floor dancing for us."
Since they couldn't dance, Kurt settled for wrapping his arms around Blaine's middle; resting his chin on his shoulder to look out the window through a torn screen.
Blaine smiled a little, "We'll have to do something about that screen…and that front door so we don't have to body check it every time we want to get in."
Trip laughed, clearly delighted with their new space, "It's a total dive."
"Hush, it's like new shoes," Kurt sniffed, "We just need to break it in properly."
"Or like a new boyfriend." Trip added, grinning.
Trips were taken up and down the elevator; boxes were shoved up against the walls, the couch donated by Trip's parents maneuvered into the middle of the family room.
Blaine unpacked his things into a dresser that was nearly flush with the side of the bed, humming the whole time, leaning back to kiss Kurt's neck while he took over the closet.
Trip turned on music somewhere in the family room.
Blaine sat back on the bed to study himself in the mirror propped against the wall. He scrubbed a hand across his forehead, turned his fingers into his hair.
Kurt pivoted around and smacked them away, "Leave it."
Blaine jerked his chin up to look at him, surprised at the sudden intervention, but then put off, "It's laying funny."
"It is not," Kurt tucked (shoved and forced would probably be more appropriate verbs) the last of his hangers into the closet.
Blaine let out a long breath, tilted his head one way then the other to look at himself in the mirror hanging off the door. He lifted a hand again, dragged his fingers through the short waves of his hair.
Kurt grabbed hold of his wrist, "Shall I define 'leave it' for you?"
"It looks weird," Blaine huffed, motioning his free hand over the top of his head in a way that was both vague and a full explanation.
Kurt leaned forward; pressed a kiss to the place where the short hair (longer every day, already curling again) curved off in the wrong direction, revealing a faint pink line of scar tissue, "I love it."
"Hm," Blaine grumbled, pried his hand free of Kurt's hold.
Kurt cupped his hands around Blaine's face, kissed the spot again, "I do."
Blaine tipped his head up, smiled a little, momentarily mollified, "What's left to unpack?"
"Trip is supposed to be responsible for unpacking the kitchen, so I'm assuming the entire kitchen," Kurt rolled his eyes, but then smiled, "are you done with your things?"
"For over an hour now," the corners of Blaine's mouth curved up into a teasing smile.
"Don't you dare comment on my wardrobe," Kurt picked the tape off the seam of the last of his empty boxes.
"I won't so long as you tell me again how wonderful I am for letting you have ninety percent of the closet space." Blaine folded his legs up on the bed; tucked his hands into his lap.
Kurt collapsed the box; stuffed it in beside the rest, "I negotiated that closet space with you back in Ohio, I earned it."
Blaine's smile turned crooked, his eyes bright, "Yeah, you did."
Kurt rolled his eyes and turned his attention to the final box. He sat down awkwardly on the bed, shuffled the box onto the middle of the mattress where both he and Blaine could get at it.
Blaine twisted around to face it, his smile suddenly softer, "About time, huh?"
Kurt leaned across the box, pressed a kiss to Blaine's mouth, "Finally."
They stared at one another for a moment, smiled.
Blaine had wanted to open the New York Box first.
Christen the apartment! He'd insisted.
But Kurt held firm. The New York Box would be last. After everything else had its place, they'd add the final touches that would make their too small apartment home.
Blaine had given in without another argument.
"You open it," Blaine plucked a box cutter up from beside him, offered it to Kurt.
"Are you sure?" Kurt took the blade, but his eyes stayed warily on Blaine's face, "I'll be honest—you're getting lucky tonight regardless of how nice you are to me, so…"
Blaine let out a breathy laugh, "No, I just—I'm tired, I don't trust myself with a sharp knife right now."
Blaine's hands were still nested his lap, but Kurt didn't need to see them to know the tremor in the right one was bad right now—he'd kept careful track of Blaine while they hauled boxes and furniture around the apartment; watched fatigue in his eyes and the particular way he set his jaw when he had a headache, and of course the hand. Something cut out by a scalpel or chewed up by cancer, as Trip liked to say—whatever the cause, Blaine's thumb still twitched in little jerks; like motion caught in a strobe light.
If it bothered Blaine, he never mentioned it.
Kurt slid the knife down the center seam and pried the lid open.
They both hunched forward to look inside.
Kurt pulled out the piggy bank; shook it, "Can we break into this in like half an hour please?"
"You read my mind," Blaine pulled out Kurt's prom crown; settled it on his head, "If I wear this, do you think the barista will buy that I'm royalty and give us our drinks for free?"
"Absolutely," Kurt giggled. He pulled out the jar of Lima Bean receipts; set it on their single nightstand. He leaned forward again, rifled through the contents, "I have no idea where we're going to put ninety percent of this stuff, we don't exactly have room in here for sentimental—what's this?"
Blaine looked up from the photo album in his lap, his brow knit as Kurt waved an envelope at him, "More music programs?"
Kurt turned the envelope over in his hands, felt something silvery, cold prickle at his spine, "This… this is your handwriting from when you were sick."
Blaine's head jerked back up from the pictures, his face suddenly pale, "Oh God."
Kurt was sliding a thumb down the seam of the envelope; shaking the pages loose, "What?"
"I…" Blaine closed his eyes, "I wrote it for you—right after I found out about the surgery, I—"
Kurt stared at him, "You wrote me a letter."
Blaine was pinching the bridge of his nose, "Yeah, I mean, I wrote a lot of them, but—"
Kurt swallowed hard, "…oh."
"Oh," Blaine echoed, his voice quiet, "Kurt, you don't have to read it, it's not like it matters anymore or—"
Kurt looked up, tried to keep the tremor out of his voice, "What if I want to read it?"
Blaine met his eyes, dropped his gaze again; gave a one shouldered shrug, "I don't even remember what it says, but…I wrote it for you. It's yours to read."
Kurt gave a small nod, turned his eyes back down to the paper. At first he was painfully aware of Blaine across from his—his skin prickled with Blaine's eyes focused on him hard and anxious, but soon the feeling slipped away as he began to read a shaky, too familiar scrawl of words.
You are perfect. You are amazing. You are my everything. Is that an okay way to start a letter? I don't really know, I don't think I've ever really written a love letter—nothing more than a couple sentences anyway. Words have never been my strong suit, and they're especially troublesome for me now, so I wanted to put out the important ones first lest they escape me later. I'll say it again: you're beautiful; you're my inspiration to be braver, to push harder; you're the most spectacular person I've ever met. I can't sing your praises enough, and there aren't enough words out there to describe what you mean to me, but I'll do my best.
You have always been so strong, Kurt. With losing your mother; holding your head high when people were cruel; getting back up every single time someone pushed you down. You never deserved to be hurt like that—to feel that kind of heartbreak and hatred directed at you. You deserve the very best the world has to offer, and it had always been my intention to give that to you as much as I could, but I'm afraid I only added to the ugliness.
I know what hurt looks like on your face. I know the color of your eyes when you cry and the way your jaw works when you're trying to keep all of that pain inside and the way you tip your chin up so you look angry instead of broken. And it kills me (I'm sorry for the word choice, I really am) to think I might cause that look on your face; maybe I already did cause it if you're reading this letter. But I'm not leaving you, Kurt; I won't. I know you don't believe in Heaven or an Afterlife or whatever, and I'm not asking you to. I'm just asking you to find the few good bits and pieces I left for you.
Never forget someone loved you; someone laid awake in bed at night and thought of your smile; someone saw you as their greatest hero. Maybe you're scoffing at the notion of a few memories replacing my presence, and I won't pretend I blame you for your cynicism. I know this won't be easy for you, and I hope that doesn't sound conceited—to say I know it'll be hard on you to lose me—but I know I am as much your best friend as you are mine and it takes my breath away (don't worry, they checked my breathing at my appointment, it's fine) to think about ever having to go a day knowing you weren't somewhere in my world. But I know something else, too. Like I said before, you are so strong Kurt, stronger than anyone knows, stronger than even you know—the fact that you're reading this proves that.
Sitting here now, imagining you in the city—whether it's next month or next year or whenever you've decided to go—I'm so ridiculously proud of you. I don't know if you'll stay there forever (I can hear Paris calling your name) and I don't know what you'll do (music? Fashion? Socialite?Political Activist Extraordinaire?), but, whatever it is, wherever it is, I do know one thing for sure: you will shine brighter than anyone else. You are so special, Kurt; you know that, right? You walk into a room and the whole place feels more alive; more…magical; electric. You are bound for greatness.
There's something else I need you to know, too. I love you, and I know you love me, but someone as wonderful as you isn't meant to be alone. I don't know how you feel right now sitting here reading this, but I want you to know that I am positive that you will not be lonely forever. You are going to meet someone, Kurt. Someone amazing who sees how you glow; who is as blown away by your integrity and courage as much as I am every single day. Don't be afraid to love him, Kurt, and don't assume it means you're doing me some injustice by letting me go. Do you remember when you promised to never say goodbye to me? It feels like we were so young, looking back on it now, but, I know you and I know you are a man of your word, but loving someone else does not mean saying goodbye—we've been through too much together for you to simply forget me. To forget us. So know you can carry me with you and still love someone else. I am insanely jealous of whoever gets to spend their forever with you, but I want nothing more than to know you're happy; to know you are still sharing your warmth and love with someone and feeling his love in return. Promise me you'll try. Promise you'll be brave and give the poor schmuck a chance.
I wish I could say that's all I have left to say to you, but there are so many things I want to tell you but it won't all fit in a letter…Most of it can't even be confined to paper; it's just so much bigger than that, and I just wish there was more time… I hope you don't think I consider myself unlucky, because that could not be further from the truth. I have been so ridiculously blessed with all my life has offered me, and there are those out there who will live to be one hundred and never be able to claim they had even a fraction of what I did; in that regard, I have no regrets. So I'm going to end this letter here, because time really has nothing to do with it, does it? In the end, regardless of time or distance between us, the constants in my life are what have made it worthwhile. You have made me worthwhile, and I can never thank you enough for that. I can only hope this letter offers you something... Closure maybe? I'm not sure.
You will always be my first love; my greatest confidant, and my very, very best friend.
Like you for always and love you forever,
Kurt blinked hard. Read the whole thing again.
"Kurt, hey, come on," Blaine's voice was strained; nervous.
Kurt's hands shook; his shoulders shook; his everything shook and suddenly he realized he was sobbing—silent tears rolling down his cheeks hot and fast while he clutched the letter too tight in his hands.
"Kurt, please," Blaine offered a hand helplessly, "Please don't cry. This is a happy day, I hate seeing you cry like this."
Kurt looked up at him, but didn't touch him; couldn't touch him because for a moment he was prickling and stinging and angry, "W-w-why did you h-h-hide this?"
Blaine's hand was still extended out like maybe Kurt would change his mind and hold it, "Please, Kurt, it doesn't matter anymore."
"It does! It matters to me!" Kurt snapped. He rubbed an arm hard across one cheek, but the tears kept coming, "You almost died, Blaine, you almost—"
"You think I don't know that?" Blaine snapped back, his hand finally falling down to his lap, "Of course I know that, Kurt, I—"
"You weren't there Blaine, you don't—" Kurt clamped his mouth shut; worked his jaw for a moment. He didn't want to be angry—he wasn't angry, not really.
The feelings were old ones for that day back in December. For that awful day in the family room with the shredded flowers when Blaine didn't die but something small and bright inside Kurt did, or he thought it did at least. He wasn't so sure.
He took a deep breath; let it out, and when he spoke again, his voice was soft, "You left me a notebook full of letters for everyone but me. You said goodbye to everyone and I got a journal with old memories and blank pages. I want to know why you'd want to hide something like this. I need to know why you'd try to trick me into believing you weren't going to say goodbye to me."
Blaine's expression softened. He looked down at his lap, "It…that day was a bad day and I had a lot of things to think about…I wrote your letter first. I made Trip hide it in the box while you were at work and made him swear not to mention it to you."
Blaine was still staring at his lap, "I guess I just…I couldn't do it. Even if it was just a stupid letter and I couldn't actually know you'd read it—fuck, Kurt, I thought I was going to die, and I couldn't—I could accept that, and I could let go of so much, but…not you. I wasn't ready to let go of you yet, and I just wanted to put some piece of me into your life. It was stupid—"
"That's not stupid," Kurt whispered.
Blaine offered a hand again, and this time, Kurt took it and squeezed it hard. He wrapped his other hand around the back of Blaine's neck; pressed their foreheads together.
They stared at each other, blurred and half-hidden beneath the curtain of their eyelashes.
There had been a gap between them since that week in the hospital.
They had always understood everything about each other—known about mood swings and fears and secrets; quirks and guilty pleasures and nightmares. But that week had changed things; made a jagged line of scar tissue form on their relationship that hadn't been there before.
They'd learned to work around the new discontinuity, though; figured out how to turn it less thick; how to smooth it soft and pink and almost invisible.
When Blaine got quiet and moody, his eyes focused somewhere dark and far off, Kurt would pet his hair; sing to him; talk about anything at all until Blaine could voice his fears—creeping and twisting and nightmarish.
When Kurt panicked seemingly out of nowhere—making frantic phone calls in the middle of the night just to make sure Blaine would answer; catching his breath at sudden moments when the memories hit him seemingly out of the blue; hard and brutish—Blaine offered an arm or a wrist or an open hand; let Kurt hold on; murmured quiet, sweet things until the fear passed and they could continue on.
When they both felt it, that was when things were easiest. Blaine didn't know what waiting felt like and Kurt didn't know what it was to accept that he was going to die, but they both knew fear. And they both knew the almost primal need to hold onto someone.
Kurt lingered long after his heart steadied; focused in on Blaine beneath his hands. Blaine made of skin and bones all touchable and warm and present.
Blaine's body changed everyday—got stronger, sturdier, more and less tangible.
Today the hair at the back of his neck felt longer. New curls brushing the edge of Kurt's index finger in a way he couldn't remember every feeling before and it was nice and new. And he'd never felt Blaine's hair in a cramped New York apartment where traffic noise was loud even nine floors up and the room was barely big enough to hold the bed and that was nice, too. His heart ached and twisted inexplicably.
He pressed his fingers in a little harder to make sure the moment didn't slip away before he could remember it was already sliding, evolving, fading, coming closer to ending.
Blaine held still, let Kurt hold on because he knew he needed this. He knew Kurt had scars, too.
They stared at one another, Kurt's hand curved around Blaine's neck and Blaine's thumb pressed to the line of Kurt's hip. And Blaine was there. Even if Kurt never found this particular feeling ever again, there were more feelings to be had about Blaine, more lingering touches and kisses in the too small apartment.
Kurt gave a tiny nod, and Blaine finally pushed in even closer, wrapped both arms around Kurt's middle and nested his face into his shoulder where "I love you" got muffled, hot and damp against Kurt's shirt.
Kurt's hand found a new perch at the back of Blaine's head, the other on his shoulder, "Your hair is getting so long."
Blaine tipped his head up, his chin digging into Kurt's collarbone and a smile pulling at his mouth, "It's still short."
"But it keeps growing," Kurt smiled. He couldn't quite get his fingers to tangle in it, but he could get a few locks to curl around his fingers.
"It keeps growing." Blaine agreed, but then his face was hidden back in the curve of Kurt's neck.
Kurt teased the curls softly; rubbed his free hand down Blaine's back, "And you're getting so strong again—I know you probably think it's from gym time with the boys, but I am holding to the belief that it's from going to those yoga classes with me. Especially your back and shoulders, do you have any idea how good yoga is for that?"
"Can we throw away the letter?" Blaine's voice was muffled in Kurt's shirt.
Kurt's hands stilled, "Why?"
Blaine let out a long breath and finally pulled his face back away from Kurt's body, but he remained stoic; silent.
"Blaine," Kurt pressed his fingers in a little harder against his scalp, "why?"
Blaine stared down at his hand. He flexed it. Opened, closed, opened, closed, "I know I'm supposed to feel like I learned some big lesson about how precious life is, and I should be extra grateful…but mostly it just pisses me off because I don't want that. I want to be reckless. I want to make stupid mistakes and fight with you over stupid things. I want to completely take life for granted and…and be stupid."
Kurt watched his face. Watched his shoulders hunch in a little closer, watched the tension lines on his forehead and around his mouth draw a little tighter; twitch, "You want to pretend it never happened."
"No," Blaine shook his head, raised his eyes to meet Kurt's. They were still too big in his too thin face and it stirred something painful in Kurt's stomach, "No, I don't want that—it happened, there's no pretending it didn't—I just don't want it to define me. To define us. I want us to be the same stupid kids we were last summer…I thought we were so experienced, too, ya know? We had demons and this… this stuff in our pasts. But none of that—it hurt and it was awful—but it didn't almost kill us."
Kurt's hand slipped down to Blaine's knee, "This didn't kill you either."
"What if it comes back?" Blaine closed his hand around Kurt's, "What then?"
It was a question they kept asking like maybe one of them might suddenly know how to respond. It was a question they both knew they'd keep asking each other.
There hadn't been an answer in Ohio.
There still wasn't an answer in New York.
"Then we deal with it," Kurt squeezed Blaine's knee a little tighter.
It was the settled upon standard answer to end the conversation.
They would let it go for awhile; worry it like a sore in their mouths until it was painful enough to come up again.
They were getting better though, fussing over it less; letting it heal a little more before prodding at it once more.
They both fell silent for a beat, lost to their own thoughts.
Blaine let out a long breath and finally broke the quiet, "I'm sorry. I know this isn't how you imagined move in day going."
"It's fine," Kurt shrugged; smiled a little, "I doubt you planned for it to go this way either."
Blaine wrapped Kurt's hand between both of his, "Can I rewind and put the letter back in the notebook?"
Kurt closed his eyes; shoved himself closer until Blaine's arms were wrapped around him, "Please don't ever make me relive that week."
Blaine pressed a kiss to the top of his head; squeezed him tight, "I'll do my best."
Once again, they lapsed into silence, both listening to the music on the other side of the door and quiet footsteps from the floor above them.
"What're you thinking about?" Kurt murmured.
"That your hair is sweaty and how to best negotiate a shower with you right now."
Kurt smacked his hand against Blaine's arm, "Rude!"
"You asked," Blaine laughed quietly; squeezed Kurt in even closer, "What were you thinking about?"
Kurt's mouth curved into a smile. He pushed his way out of Blaine's embrace, "Wait here, okay?"
Blaine flopped back on the bed, "Where are you going?"
Kurt offered a coy smile as he slipped out the door, "You'll see."
Trip was seated cross-legged on the kitchen table, a chopstick tucked behind one ear, "I think everything grew on the drive here…or multiplied. The plates fucked like bunnies for the whole ride and now there are so many that they don't fit in the cabinets."
"It's a smaller space, we'll adjust," Kurt breezed past him to the fridge and peered inside, sighing when he remembered they didn't have groceries yet.
"Barbra has food," Trip fished a newspaper wrapped something out of the box in front of him, worked at freeing it from the covering.
"Who?" Kurt blinked.
Trip nodded toward the open front door, "Jewish friend, little body, big voice—you know the one."
Kurt snorted, "Don't call her that to her face, her ego will take up the entire family room."
"Not that impressive considering the size of the family room." Trip grinned, finally freeing a coffee mug from the newspaper.
Kurt ignored him and breezed across the hall, "I'm stealing something from you."
Rachel swatted wordlessly at him when he stuck his head in the fridge.
Kurt pulled what he was looking for off of a shelf and ducked out of the way of her still flailing hand, "I'll replace it, I promise."
Her phone was tucked between her shoulder and ear. She gave a wordless shooing gesture and swatted at Kurt again.
"New York Rachel is a new brand of crazy," Kurt muttered, loud enough for her to hear as he made his way back across the hall.
She slammed the door behind him in response.
"Food play?" Trip called, raising an eyebrow as Kurt strode purposefully back toward the bedroom.
"Mind your own business, Skip," Kurt laughed even when a crumpled piece of newspaper hit him hard between the shoulder blades.
Blaine was still stretched out on the bed; the letter folded neatly in his hands. He pushed himself up on his elbows to frown at Kurt, "What's that?"
"Orange juice," Kurt unscrewed the lid and took a drink from the carton.
It was acidic and pulpy against his tongue, but he swallowed it down anyway.
Blaine watched him, his expression suddenly soft.
Kurt transferred the carton over to Blaine's lap; pulled the letter from his hands and set to work molding it into intricate little folds, "I want to study all night for exams with you."
Blaine's mouth curved into a smile, recognizing the game. He took a drink from the carton; winced and recapped it to drop down beside the bed, "I want to eat cold take out with you when we have no groceries."
Kurt smoothed a crease in the paper, "I want to fight with you over whose turn it is to kill spiders."
"I want to try out ten thousand coffee shops with you."
"I want to yell at you to get a haircut when your hair is longer than Trip's."
"I want to find a way to insulate our walls before David comes to visit."
"I want to find out how loud we can be before the neighbors get upset." Kurt giggled.
Blaine slotted himself a little closer to Kurt's side, "I want to cross off our entire bucket list and start a whole new one."
Kurt held up the finished paper crane in his hands to Blaine's mouth, "Blow in that little hole on the bottom."
Kurt snorted, "Pick your favorite 'I want' to wish for then blow in the damn crane. It's good luck."
"I just decided it was, now do it," Kurt insisted.
Blaine did as he was told until the body of the crane crinkled and inflated.
"Thank you," Kurt leaned over him to deposit it on the nightstand beside the jar of receipts.
Blaine wrapped an arm around him; stroked a hand down his spine, "I want to live in this bed."
Kurt smiled and rolled back off of Blaine to stare up at the ceiling, "I'll see if we can get takeout delivered straight to the bedroom door."
Blaine twisted onto his side, "Ya know what?"
"What?" Kurt turned his head toward the closet; surveyed the too full closet and wondered if maybe he should part with a few of his older items of clothes.
"From now on it won't be me sleeping your bed or you sleeping my bed…it'll be us sleeping in our bed."
Kurt looked back at Blaine, his heart suddenly aching.
Blaine was looking at him in that particular way; his eyes impossibly warm, his smile almost shy.
Kurt couldn't have resisted kissed him if he tried. Not that he was trying. Not that he would ever try.
They were in New York. Their whole life was starting. He could kiss Blaine whenever he wanted, and dammit, he was going to kiss him all the time.
Blaine pulled away first but only to press another kiss to each corner of Kurt's mouth; his nose; his forehead.
Kurt hummed contentedly, "Our bed."
"Our bed," Blaine echoed, nuzzled his forehead against Kurt's.
"You better be willing to have a loose definition of our," Trip strode through the doorway and wormed his way between them, a bottle of champagne hugged tight to his chest, "I'm lonely already, and Blaine implied a threesome once upon a time that I still think we should consider."
Kurt elbowed him hard in the side, but slid over another inch to make room, "Negotiate the threesome with your boyfriend."
"We'll turn on Skype so he can play, too."
"Would that be a foursome or a threesome with a voyeuristic twist?" Blaine frowned.
"It's disgusting and something we're no longer discussing, now drop it." Kurt lashed out at Trip again, this time smacking a hand down on his chest.
Trip recoiled toward Blaine, "Do you see how he treats me? This is abuse, this is a hate crime."
"You're right, I hate you." Kurt grumbled, shoving himself up until he could lean back against the wall
"You love me," Trip grinned and pushed himself up, too.
"He loves me more," Blaine added.
Kurt sighed, tilted his head down onto Trip's shoulder, "Unfortunately, you're both right."
"Call your women in here," Trip lifted the bottle in his hands toward Kurt, "I have something for us a hell of a lot better than the orange juice you guys are nursing."
"QUINN! RACHEL! COME OVER HERE!" Blaine shouted.
Trip knocked the bottle against the side of Blaine's head, "Jesus Christ, Blaine, you're going to make us all deaf."
Blaine yelped; glowered, "Watch it! You're messing with the skull of a medical miracle."
"If you remind us again about your 'minor medical miracle' status, The only thing miraculous about you will be the fact that your death looked like an accident," Trip rolled his eyes but patted the wounded spot on the side of Blaine's head.
"Lets kick him out, can we still do that?" Blaine shoved himself upright to glare at Trip.
"We need him; his parents contributed most of our furniture and half of our rent," Kurt sighed.
Trip grinned at Blaine, "You're stuck with me."
Blaine opened his mouth to reply, but then his attention was on fast footsteps pounding across the hall.
Rachel and Quinn were suddenly in the doorway, flushed and breathless, "What? What's wrong? Blaine if you're not feeling well, your parents gave me the address and phone number for that doctor and I've already looked up where the nearest emergency—"
"What? No! I'm fine!" Blaine blinked at Rachel in alarm, "Healthy, remember? Jeez."
Rachel closed her eyes for a moment; opened them again, "Thank God, I thought…Never mind, it doesn't matter."
Quinn looked irritated, "If none of you are dying, then what do you want?"
Trip shook the bottle, "A toast, ladies, to christen the new place."
Quinn smiled and smoothed her skirt to take a seat at the end of the bed, but Rachel looked upset, "I was going to plan a speech! There hasn't been time though, I've been prepping for a new audition and I just didn't want to be in the headspace of a nostalgic, personal place for that kind of speech writing while I was—"
"Relax, you can do the speech another day," Blaine stretched out a foot and nudged her leg, "Sit down."
Trip waited until Rachel had finally settled down beside Quinn before raising the bottle, "Alright, kids, we all went to kindergarten once, go around the circle and offer your piece to the toast."
"To fresh paint on the walls," Blaine smiled over at Kurt.
"To medical miracles," Kurt reached across Trip to squeeze Blaine's hand.
"I'm going to vomit," Trip mumbled.
"To fresh starts," Quinn added.
"To us inevitably making a mark on this city," Rachel nudged Kurt's foot with her own.
Trip slid a thumb under the cork, "To living fast and—"
"Trip!" Blaine flinched, "Not appropriate."
"Would you let me finish, asshole?" Trip smiled at him, "To living fast and living well."
The cork ricocheted off the ceiling. The girls screamed. Kurt yelped over the champagne spilling onto the mattress. Trip and Blaine laughed.
They sat in a circle and passed the bottle around until Rachel and Quinn got worried about the apartment door they'd left standing wide open and disappeared to ensure no one had taken the opportunity to sneak in.
Trip disappeared soon after them when his phone lit up with a call and his face lit up with it. He shoved the champagne bottle into Blaine's hands and quickly disappeared out of the room, the phone already tucked between his shoulder and ear, "Hey, you, miss me yet? We were just—"
Kurt listened to Trip's door clicking shut. He smiled; shook his head, "I give it five months before David finds a way to move out here, too. It's going to get crowded in here fast."
"I don't mind crowded." Blaine smiled, slid in closer to Kurt.
Kurt glanced up at the ceiling fan and wrinkled his nose, "We really need to do some cleaning in here."
"And I know you were being cutesy about the paint, but we really should talk to the landlord about what colors we can use."
"And at some point we need to get to some sort of grocery store. Where do you even buy groceries in the city? Do we go to little corner markets or do we have to drive out to the suburbs and seek out a Copps or—"
Blaine laughed, "We can go. We can do all of that."
"And we both need to go get books for classes and my dad made me swear to get some sort of extra lock for the door, so we'll need to get to a hardware store, too, and we should probably—"
"Kurt," Blaine laughed again, "Calm down."
Kurt sighed, "We just have a lot to do before classes start."
Blaine squeezed his knee, "We have time."
We have time. It was a joke between all of them now—a bitter joke, but a joke nonetheless, said with eyes that flickered to meet for a brief moment of shared understanding, and a grim smile that doesn't reach anyone's eyes. Rachel and Quinn don't totally get it, but they recognize the rudimentary edges, they know well enough to know the words are as much a warning as they are a laugh. Because yes, they had time, but how much nobody knew.
And maybe it was a tragedy, losing that sense of a forever that was completely infinite, but they still couldn't help but tease it; taunt that inevitable end like it might some how miss them entirely. They were young, after all, and no matter how macabre the wound on their memories or how close they'd come to the murky edge of the end of the world, there was still some part—perhaps it was built into their chemistry—that refused to believe they were not in some ways invincible.
Blaine lifted the bottle in offering, "To being young forever."
Kurt took the bottle; his cool fingers tangling with Blaine's warm ones for a moment. He tipped it to his mouth before offering it back to Blaine, "To us."
Blaine didn't take the bottle.
He curved his hands around Kurt's face, pressed their lips close.
Blaine's mouth was warm and soft, a little salty with sweat and still crackling with strawberry flavored champagne.
Kurt pressed in closer; lost himself in it.
It tasted like Blaine.
It tasted like forever.
A/N: I've been planning this story since last May right around this time meaning that letting this story go is letting a year of planning and scribbling and tearing out my hair with frustration go with it. I'm thrilled to have finally come to this point, but I'm also incredibly sad to have to say goodbye to a story I've had way too much fun writing. That being said, I'm not entirely sure what comes next. I'm considering writing some freestanding pieces over on Tumblr in this verse over the course of the summer, so if that's something that potentially interests you, come on over and say hello (I'm andersquirt for those of you who don't know me there ;) ) A very special thank you to Fran (franthefirst) for loving me despite almost killing her, to Bonnie (blainegetnaked) for playing cheerleader to me and coining "Tripofsky" so early in the game, and a huge thank you to Becca (preciousmellow/andiheardeverything) for answering my endless medical questions, supporting me through writers' block, and tolerating my general insanity. I could write ten million more thank yous, but I'm terrified of forgetting someone, so to everyone else, I cannot say thank you enough for sticking with me and being so incredibly supportive. I am well aware of those of you that take the time to type out reviews to every chapter and I am equally grateful to anyone who has taken the time to write out even one, I honestly can't express how much your support has meant to me. I can truly never say it enough: thank you, thank you, thank you.