AN: This is it. The final chapter. My first completed story. This is a huge step for me, and I have all of you to thank!
Thank you so much to Lauren and Kim, my two betas. Thank you to all the people on this site who reviewed and let me know that there were people out there who cared. Thank you to all the people who encouraged me on Tumblr! Especially the anons who got on my ass whenever I started getting lazy. And thank you to all the people who may have only started reading chapter one today! Every single one of you has given me the motivation to complete this project and it's been incredible to be able to write this story from start to finish.
I struggled for a long time with the ending, and it had many incarnations before now. I hope most of you will be satisfied with what I chose. I only ask that you help me keep the ending a secret from those who might read this fanfic and want the same surprise that you all got.
Thank you again! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
WEST SIDE KLAINE
Kurt slumped in Blaine's arms, starting to slip out of his grasp.
"Kurt," he said again. Blaine collapsed to his knees and arranged Kurt carefully so he was lying face up in his arms. His face was scrunched with pain and he moaned low on each exhale of breath. When Blaine bought his hand up to hold Kurt's cheek, it was stained red. "Kurt." He stroked Kurt's cheek lovingly with his thumb, trying to get some kind of response. "Hey, Kurt. Kurt, please."
A stampede of footsteps sounded on the pavement as people began to gather around. But Blaine only cared for the man in his arms. The second man he had held this way tonight. "Kurt," he repeated.
"Blaine," Kurt finally breathed. Blaine had to blink furiously to keep his eyesight clear of tears. "Blaine." Kurt began to fidget, his hand reaching out and clutching Blaine's jacket.
"I'm right here, Kurt," said Blaine. "I've got you." More footsteps. Had Blaine looked up he'd have seen both Titans and Hawks standing around the two of them staring in silence at the lovers on the ground. Something about the scene before them held them in place.
"Blaine, it burns," whimpered Kurt. Blaine quickly removed his hand from Kurt's face. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and reached behind Kurt to find the injury. He finally found it high on Kurt's back where his shoulder blade was. So close to Kurt's heart. Blaine dared to hope the bullet had missed. He couldn't bring himself to believe anything else. He pressed against the hole to stop the bleeding. Kurt flinched and cried out.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Kurt. I'll take care of you. You're going to be alright, Kurt." Kurt stilled and looked up at Blaine.
"Blaine, I love you."
"I love you, Kurt." He placed a trembling kiss on Kurt's lips. Kurt kissed back weakly.
"Blaine, I'm sorry."
"Shhh," said Blaine, "Kurt, there's nothing to be sorry for."
"I wanted to do those things with you."
"Travel. Make music. Just you and I."
"Shh, Kurt. It's alright. We can still do that. We're going to." Kurt shook his head slowly.
"Blaine, I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
"No," Blaine was really crying now. He kissed Kurt again his tears splashing onto Kurt's face. "No. No. Please, Kurt. Please."
All of a sudden a voice came from the surrounding crowd.
"What the hell are you waiting for? Shoot him!" Jesse screamed at a horrified Artie. Artie still held the smoking gun in his hands from before, but when Jesse spoke he just shook his head. Jesse reached for the gun. The Hawks all moved as one to defend Blaine, but before they could take more than a step, Mike strode to Jesse and socked him clean across the face. Jesse fell to the ground and looked up at Mike, livid. He found himself being stared down by all the Titans now and from the looks on their faces quickly realized he'd gone too far.
Jesse scrambled to his feet. "Fine. You can all be cocksuckers, just like them!" Mike moved forward to attack again, joined by Sam, Puck, and Artie, but then Jesse was running away as fast as he could. They started after him but halted when they heard Blaine cry out.
"Please help him! Please! Don't let him die!" He was looking around now into the faces of both gangs, begging them. "Please. I love him. Please don't let him die."
Jesse was suddenly the last thing on anyone's mind. The men on both sides looked at each other locking eyes with those they had counted as enemies for years. Wes seemed to struggle with himself for a moment looking down at Kurt, a man he'd hated for so long. He looked back into Blaine's eyes.
"How long?" asked Wes.
"Wes, please," pleaded Blaine.
"How long?" Blaine shook his head.
"What does it matter?" blurted Puck. Everyone looked at him. "He's dying. Your own man is begging for your help. "
Wes swallowed then made his decision. He looked over at his gang and nodded at them, giving the okay to help. A couple of them knelt down beside Blaine. David and Thad ran off to find help. Puck began tearing off pieces of his shirt and he and Sam started wrapping it around Kurt to hold Blaine's handkerchief in place. Kurt breathing was becoming shallow and Blaine kept speaking to him softly trying to calm him down. Everyone else stood ready to help. All conflict and hatred seemed to evaporate into the night.
Seconds later David and Thad returned with a cop. Everyone helped Blaine carry Kurt into the backseat of the car where he laid on top of Blaine's lap. Puck and Wes got in as well and they headed off to the nearest hospital.
"Kurt, please hold on," said Blaine caressing Kurt's face and pressing more kisses to his nose and forehead. Kurt was still breathing in short little pants.
"Love me…" said Kurt.
"I love you, Kurt," replied Blaine. "I love you so much.
"Tender," Kurt continued.
"Love me dear." Slowly Blaine realized what Kurt was saying. "Tell me you are mine."
"I'll be yours through all the years," said Blaine, fresh tears springing into his eyes.
"'Till the end of time," said Kurt, his voice straining. Blaine placed a gentle finger on Kurt's lips and continued the song in gentle, trembling voice. As he sang, Blaine thought he felt Kurt relax just a little bit in his arms.
Love me tender,
Love me true.
All my dreams fulfill.
For my darling,
I love you,
And I always will.
The day of Finn's funeral was ironically sunny and warm, but there was a strong breeze that heralded the coming of autumn. Though congregation was small, it was much larger than the crowd that had turned up for Trent's burial the week before.
Kurt looked around at the people gathered around the grave as the minister finished saying his piece. Not long ago he would have been astonished to see Titans and Hawks standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder, and not even split into two groups but mingled amongst each other. All displayed grief or respect, or both. Rachel cried silently next to the minister, her hands firmly over her stomach. Santana was there, to Kurt's right, dabbing her eyes. Carol was not to be seen.
As the casket was lowered into the ground Kurt started crying as well. He tried to keep it controlled but was finding it difficult to do so.
Then he felt a hand slip into his and squeeze him gently. Kurt held on tight, using Blaine's hand as a lifeline. He squeezed back to say thank you and when he looked into Blaine's eyes he seemed to understand.
Afterwards, Kurt spoke briefly to Puck. They talked about how Jesse's whereabouts were still unknown. This bothered Kurt a great deal, not just because Jesse had managed to escape any kind of retribution but also because that meant he was still out there somewhere. The only good thing to come of Jesse's disappearance was that it meant he could easily be blamed for both Finn and Trent's deaths as well as Kurt's attempted murder. Artie had already apologized to Kurt for this a thousand times and Kurt had forgiven him almost as many.
Puck seemed intent on letting Kurt know that he and Wes had talked and decided to try to dissolve both their gangs, deciding that it was time to move on to other things. Kurt wasn't sure he believed this story, especially since he'd seen Wes ordering his guys around in the same way as before, but he didn't argue. It wasn't his concern anymore. He didn't have it in him to care.
He said goodbye to Puck and then to Sam, Mike, and Artie who all gave him gentle pats on the shoulder but refrained from hugging him since they didn't want to accidently make Kurt's injury any worse. Kurt also said goodbye to Rachel, who tried to persuade Kurt to stay with her and her mother instead of heading off so soon. Kurt gently refused.
Then Kurt spoke to Santana and suddenly he found himself crying again. Santana cried too. Very carefully Kurt took her in his arms and held her for a few minutes before they could continue talking.
"That blonde girl," said Kurt. "The girl whose picture is in your room. You should find her again." Santana looked at him in surprise for a moment and then granted him a small smile.
"We'll see," she said. "Well, I'll see. You'll be miles away living the dream with Mr. Right over there." Kurt smiled too.
"Thank you, Santana."
"You just make sure my hard work doesn't go to waste. Take care of yourself."
"And hey, who knows, maybe I'll see you again. Maybe in another life."
"Yeah, maybe," said Kurt starting to walk away. "Goodbye."
Blaine was ready and waiting when Kurt finally joined him. They didn't say a word as they walked away from everyone else, down the hill to where the car was parked. It was an old model Kurt had secured from the garage. He had tried to pay for it, but the owner had insisted that it was a gift.
Kurt eased himself into the passenger seat as Blaine hopped into the driver's side. For a moment they sat in silence. Kurt's eyes remained forward but Blaine's were on Kurt as he considered whether or not he dared to speak.
"Let's just go" Kurt said.
"Can I see it first?" asked Blaine. Kurt grimaced.
"Kurt, it'll just take a moment."
Kurt glared at him, but gave in to the pleading look in Blaine's eyes. He turned away towards the car door. Blaine tugged Kurt's shirt up quickly, not wanting to make Kurt wait.
"Hold this?" he asked and Kurt silently put his hands on his shirt to hold it up. Blaine undid the bandages wrapped around Kurt's torso and examined the wound in his back.
The sight of it still made Blaine tense, but he was glad to see it was beginning to heal. Kurt had been so lucky that the bullet really had just missed his heart. Blaine placed a gentle finger on the area and Kurt flinched.
"Sorry," Blaine said.
"It's fine," said Kurt. "It's better."
Blaine leaned forward and placed a feather light kiss on Kurt's back a safe distance from the injury. He could feel Kurt relax. Then he quickly replaced the bandages and pulled Kurt's shirt back down.
"Satisfied?" asked Kurt.
"Yes. Thank you." Kurt turned back around. He cupped Blaine's cheek for a moment and when he looked at him it was with soft eyes. Then he placed a chaste kiss on his lips.
"Now drive," he whispered. "Before I kick you out of the car and go without you."
"Yeah," he said. "Let's get out of here."
He turned forward and started the car. The engine hummed as Blaine pulled them out onto the road heading who-cared-where. As he drove he took his right hand from the wheel and let it drift down blindly until his fingers discovered another set of fingers. Their hands laced together.
Blaine squeezed Kurt's hand and Kurt squeezed back.