Note: This story was originally written before the second half of season one aired.
He waits until a time when he knows for sure his dad won't be home for awhile. The last thing he needs is for the elder Hummel to find him doing this.
What he's looking for is where he knew it would be; the left corner of the top hallway closet's shelf, where his dad confined it years ago. There are many relics of her presence still in their home, serving as tiny time capsules holding evidence of those too-few years when their family consisted of more than two members. Not this though. This is too close and too painful.
Kurt pulls over a chair so he can reach the basket. He pulls it from the shelf and holds it close as he steps back to the ground. He carefully sets things back the way they were before heading down to his room. Only then does he look.
Minus the dust which has accumulated through the years, the basket still looks as he remembers. The contents are all still here, which is important. Kurt smiles a little as memories come to his mind. He remembers her sitting in her favorite chair, her fingers fast at work as the basket which he now holds sat next to her. His hands comb through the contents a moment. His smile fades as his fingers find one particular item; pink and so small, still unfinished.
He stares, fingering the item in his hands. A lump forms in the back of his throat which no amount of swallowing forces down. Maybe he can't do this. Maybe his dad was right. It is too hard…
He shoves everything into the basket then places it under his bed, in the back where it can't be seen, before heading upstairs.
It's another three days before he works up the nerve to pull out the basket again. He's spent the time contemplating if he can actually complete the mission he's set for himself. Even as he's lying on the ground, arm outstretched to grab the basket's edge, he's still wondering.
He picks up the discarded item again. His hands run along the fabric, then the wooden sticks still clutching around it. He can do this. He should, for her. He grabs the top book and flips through, the pink piece of sticky paper telling him where to stop. His eyes scan the page and its strange collection of numbers and letters.
This is going to be harder than he thought.
It takes two books from the library, a handful of how-to websites, and a bunch of YouTube video demonstrations, yet he think he finally has it down. He watches as the practice piece becomes bigger, his fingers becoming more confident as more knit stitches make their way on the needles.
He's doing it; he's knitting. Be damn those nimrods at school who would laugh their butts off if they knew.
Kurt's eyes fall down to the item laying in wait on top of the basket. This is it; now or never.
He takes a deep breath and, pulling the little half-finished project closer, begins.
It's another two weeks and four days of work and several more Google searches before he gets it done. Every movement his hands make is calculated and a little more self-assured, yet still he's taken his time. He wants it to be perfect. For the recipient, yes, but more for her.
He tucks in loose strings just as the books say to, and examines his work. A smile comes to his face as he realizes it looks pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good.
Now to clean it. Another Google search and he figures out what the symbols on the label mean. Only then does he dare throw it into the washer. He's extra careful, checking on it every once in awhile to make sure it stays together. The label says it will be okay, but one can never be too careful.
Finally it's out of the dryer. He holds it in his hand, looking it over, making sure he got it right. It doesn't seem possible, yet the small piece of fabric looks nicer now. It's softer too; soft and pink. He smiles a little about that fact. His mom always did select nothing but the best.
The wrapping paper is pink with various little pictures on it. He uses some of the extra ribbon he picked out as the finishing touch to his work and winds it around the wrapped box. He ties the bow slowly, so it looks right. He doesn't bother with a card.
Too many witnesses at school to risk dropping it off there. Instead he grabs the phonebook off its place on the shelf and searches for the p section. Puckerman is an uncommon enough name, so he figures he'll be alright. Sure enough, there's only one listed.
He makes the trip at night, parking his baby far enough away so no-one inside will see the headlights. He walks the rest of the way and slips the package into the mailbox. For a brief moment he pauses, hand still on the box. He can still turn back now; no one has to know.
He makes sure the package fits inside before shutting the mailbox door.
It's another month or so when the baby comes; another day before he manages to visit. Things are too crazy at the time for him to come sooner.
She's so pretty, he thinks to himself as his eyes fall on the chubby little girl in Quinn's arms. He just looks at her and smiles, yet inside feels a slight tug. In his head Kurt wonders if this is what he would have thought had the past been different. Had his mother been able to finish the project herself, been able to give it to the child growing inside her as intended. Had he been not an only child, but an older brother. Had the words 'systematic infection' not become part of his vocabulary when it took one-half of his family from him and his dad.
So many years, yet it still hurts.
And yet, he accepts as Quinn offers her little one for him to hold. He smiles and says sure, then carefully cradles the bundle which seems so small and precious and beautiful all at once. Kurt's fingers lightly touch the soft pink bonnet on her head; the bonnet started so long ago, begun in hope for the future.
And while it didn't reach its original owner, he knows then it was all worth it.