Hi, everyone! I'm sorry it took me so long to get this chapter up! It was the hardest for me to write so far, but I think I finally have it where I want it. Or at least as good as I can make it. Please enjoy, and leave a review. Tell me what you think!
Also, just a little note. I've never experienced PTSD, nor have I known anyone to experience it. I did my research of course, but I'm sorry if something doesn't seem accurate. I tried my best, so I hope you all like it!
Disclaimer: I don't own glee, or the song Beyond the Pale by Ed Sheeran.
Blaine is literally just crawling into bed with Kurt, again, when his phone rings. They've spent all day together, in bed, alone—making-out, having sex, talking, cuddling—and sometimes just smiling and starting, content with just being in each other's presence. Blaine can't remember the last time he was this happy. Well, besides last night, when Kurt said "yes" to marrying him. It's only noon, but Blaine can already feel the day slipping away. He wishes it wouldn't.
"Blaine, your phone," Kurt mumbles around Blaine's hair. Blaine shakes his head where it's pillowed in the crook of Kurt's neck, and plants a wet, warm kiss there.
"Ignore it," Blaine grumbles. "I'm with you. Whoever else is calling me can wait." Blaine mouths up Kurt's jaw, trailing kisses along his chin and down his Adam's apple. Kurt's swallows thickly.
"But what if it's Cooper? He wants to see you, too, Blaine." Blaine grumbles and huffs something that sounds like "don't care," but he groans and lifts himself into a sitting position on the bed. He hears his phone trilling from the kitchen, and groans louder.
Kurt laughs fondly at his fiancée as he heaves himself off their bed, trudging dramatically into the kitchen.
Blaine grabs his phone, and is about to snap out a "what?" into the person's ear, but then he sees the name on his screen. He swipes his index finger across it, and presses the phone to his ear.
"Hello?" he asks, surprised and happy.
"Jake! How are you?" Blaine can hear the smile in Jake's voice, and he smiles back. It's honestly really weird to hear Jake's voice over the phone, or to hear his voice when he's home at all. Blaine's whole life in the marines seems like a separate reality almost, and it's strange when his two lives mix together. When he's home with Kurt, Blaine forgets about everything else.
"I'm good," Jake assures him. "I'm sorry, I hope I'm not interrupting anything. I know you're probably with Kurt."
"Oh, it's alright," Blaine says, even though he had been angry at the interruption a minute ago. "I'm glad you called." There's silence for a second, it's not awkward, but still strange.
"This is weird," Jake says. "Just…it feels like you're not real, almost. Same with everything else." Blaine shakes his head.
"There you go again with the reading my mind thing," he teases. "God, seriously, it's starting to get really creepy." Blaine turns his head and smiles at Kurt when he pokes his head out of their bedroom curiously.
"So, what are you doing?" Jake says. "No, don't answer that. I mean, what are you doing tomorrow night?" Blaine chuckles. He gazes at his fiancée, and almost misses what Jake says next because of it. Kurt's hair is a mess, and he just has on Blaine's shirt, pulled over his head. He looks mussed and flushed, his lips swollen, and Blaine just wants to devour him.
"What do you mean?" Blaine questions, a little breathless. "Nothing, being with Kurt." Blaine presses a sweet kiss to Kurt's lips when he's close enough. "Why?"
"Well," Jake says, grinning. "My family and I are going to be in the city tomorrow to visit Abbie's cousin. I was wondering if you and Kurt wanted to have dinner somewhere?"
"Really?" Blaine asks, shocked. "I didn't know you had family here!"
"I didn't either," Jake admitted with a laugh. "But I do. What do you say? I mean, if you're busy—"
Blaine rolls his eyes, twirling a lock of Kurt's hair around his finger. Kurt's mouth quirks up in a smile, and he leans forward to nuzzle into Blaine's neck. Blaine sighs happily. He remembers Kurt's "problem" with Jake a couple months ago, so he tilts his head questioningly at him.
"Well, I don't know…" Blaine teases Jake. "I'll have to check with my…ahem…fiancée, to make sure we can make it." Jake inhales sharply, and Blaine laughs, kissing Kurt again.
"Oh, man! You finally asked him? That's amazing, Blaine, congrats!"
"Thanks," Blaine beams. "Hold on, one second." Blaine cradles the phone between his shoulder and neck, so that he can wrap his arms around Kurt's waist. Kurt smiles lazily and rubs their noses together. Blaine wrinkles his adorably, kissing the tip of Kurt's. "Do you want to have dinner with Jake and his family tomorrow, babe?" Kurt blinks.
"I'm invited?" he asks, confused. "Are you sure?" Blaine gapes at him, rolling his eyes fondly.
"Of course you are! Jake's wife will be there too, and maybe his daughter."
"Oh," Kurt says, smiling. "Yeah, okay. I'd like that." Blaine's relieved that Kurt actually seems to mean it. He's obviously gotten over his fears that there's something between Blaine and Jake, because, come on, that's just ridiculous.
"We'd love to," Blaine tells Jake. "Just tell us where and when."
"How about Bonnie's on 5th Avenue? At seven?"
"Sounds good," Blaine says. "We'll see you then!"
Blaine chucks his phone onto the couch once he hangs up, pulling Kurt further into his arms. He wants to say something cheesy, like "now, where were we" just to see Kurt roll his eyes, even though his eyes would sparkle and his lips would curl into a barely-there smile. But he doesn't get the chance, because Kurt's immediately pressing his mouth against Blaine's.
It feels wonderful. Obviously. But really, Blaine's had the taste of Kurt in his mouth all day—sweet, vanilla body wash Kurt—and he will never get tired of just pressing a little harder, swiping his tongue a little deeper, pulling Kurt just that much closer so that their bodies slant perfectly together. God, he even sounds cheesy in his own head. He's beyond caring at this point, though. He's allowed to be cheesy when he only gets to see his boyfriend a couple months out of the year.
The reality hits him hard, like it has so many times before. That's months he'll miss spending with Kurt sleeping next to him, with Kurt tucked under his arm while he reads a book, dancing in the kitchen while he cooks dinner, and walking with him through Central Park. And what about…what about when they want to start a family? He'll miss so much of their children's lives.
It's not the first time Blaine shakes his head and wonders what the fuck he was thinking when he gave all this up.
Blaine ducks his head into the crook of Kurt's neck, swallowing the golf-ball sized lump in his throat. He breathes deeply, and Kurt catches the shakiness of it.
"I'm just…I'm just so happy I have you," Blaine whispers, not without truth. "I'm so sorry, Kurt." And this is why he's marrying Kurt (at least part of the reason)—because Kurt just rubs circles into the small of his back, shushing him instantly and kissing his hair. There's no need to say anything. "I love you so much."
"I love you, too, baby," Kurt sighs. "And I know you love me. That's why we're tying the knot, isn't it?" Blaine chuckles weakly and wipes a tear where it trails out of his eye with the heel of his hand. He can't even think of the joke he would usually make at Kurt's question. Kurt's smile softens.
"Don't worry," he says, stroking the pads of his thumbs over Blaine's cheeks. "You always worry too much, B. I'm right here. You're okay."
"I'm okay," Blaine repeats. "I'm okay." Like a mantra. He'll be okay. Kurt's here. It's times like these, where Blaine can feel himself slowly slipping out of control, the person he knows, that he's terrified he'll lose everything.
Kurt senses Blaine's anxiety. And just like that, their peaceful, lazy day is ruined. At least, that's what Blaine's telling himself, gritting his teeth and silently beating himself up over it. Kurt wraps his arm around Blaine's shoulders and leads him towards the bathroom. Kurt knows exactly how to calm Blaine down.
"I'll start you a bath," he says quietly.
"With bubbles?" Blaine asks hopefully.
"Of course. Always."
"Blaine, darling, you look fine. You look fantastic, actually." Kurt steps up behind Blaine in their closet full-length mirror and wraps both his arms around his fiancée's waist. And Blaine does look fantastic—absolutely breathtaking, in Kurt's opinion. He's wearing a light suit jacket ("you want to look fabulous, but not too fancy," Kurt had advised) with a silver button down and a skinny black tie. Blaine smiles gratefully at Kurt's reflection, but he's still tense. His shoulders are hard knots digging into Kurt's cheek. "What's got you so nervous, baby?"
"I'm not nervous." Blaine sighs when Kurt lifts an eyebrow at him, pressing a sweet, long kiss to the side of his face. "Okay. I don't know. It's just…I'm completely comfortable around Jake, obviously, but…what if I don't know what to say?"
"Like…" Blaine makes a frustrated noise. "This is our normal lives, you know? When we're on duty we talk about how bad it is, how badly we want to get out of there…but now…what?"
"You've got to talk about something other than the war, Blaine," Kurt prods gently. Blaine rolls his eyes and blushes. Kurt grins—he's missed Blaine's blushes, the way his cheeks flood with just enough color to make his eyes look gold, and sometimes, when he's really embarrassed, the color paints the tips of his ears, too.
"You." Blaine admits, meeting Kurt's eyes with a sheepish smile. "I talk about you."
"Well, there you go," Kurt laughs. "You can talk about me at dinner." He's obviously joking, but Kurt can feel his chest ache a little, a good ache. An ache that reminds him Blaine's still right here, and he still loves him. Of course he does. "But, really, Blaine, you'll be fine. I'm sure we'll have plenty of stories to tell, and when all else fails, ask about his daughter. Men love talking about their kids." Kurt unwinds his arms from around Blaine, kissing his cheek, and bustles around the room, getting his own clothes ready for the dinner that night.
Kurt misses the way Blaine's eyes trail after him, the way they widened when he mentioned kids, and the look of dismay and longing that flashes across his face.
As soon as Kurt and Blaine enter Bonnie's, Blaine is lifted off his feet in a huge bear hug. He just laughs and hugs Jake back—he should've known. He can't picture his platoon mate giving him a handshake or something instead.
"Blaine! How have you been, man?" Blaine just grins, and Jake rolls his eyes. "Right, right. Fantastic! You're engaged! Damn!" Jake's rambling a little, and it's sort of endearing. Blaine tugs Kurt forward to introduce him, twining their hands together.
"Jake, this is Kurt." Blaine beams. "My fiancée."
"He just likes saying that word," Kurt sighs by way of greeting. He smiles at Jake and holds out his hand, which Jake of course ignores, and hugs him, too.
"We've met before," Jake reminds him, laughing. "Hmm, you look much better without the puffy eyes." Jake winks at him to let him know he's kidding, but Kurt blushes anyway.
"Of course," Kurt says. "Nice to meet you…again." Jake leads them to a table they've already saved, where a petite, brunette woman is sitting. She's very pretty, even though for some reason Blaine's always pictured her blond. She looks up when they approach, smiling warmly. She stands and pulls both Blaine and Kurt into a hug.
"Hi, I'm Abbie," she says brightly. "Oh, I've heard so much about you!"
"Nice too meet you, Abbie," Blaine smiles. Kurt echoes him, and looks to the woman's right. Seated in a booster seat is one of the most adorable little girls that Kurt and Blaine have ever seen. "This must be Sable," Blaine grins at the little girl, who looks back at him warily.
"Yes," Abbie says. "I'm sorry, my cousin was going out tonight too, and we had no babysitter—" Kurt waves her off immediately.
"It's fine," he assures her. "We like kids. Especially cute ones." Jake smirks at Blaine, but Blaine just scowls playfully back. Inside he's thinking.
Dinner goes exactly as Kurt had said it would—wonderfully. They never seem to run out of things to talk about. Blaine lets Kurt retell their proposal story, that has Abbie cooing and Kurt practically in tears. Blaine stares adoringly at him, and smacks Jake's arm when he laughs. They talk about Kurt's fashion design, Broadway, Abbie's job as an English teacher, and yes, some stories about Sable as well. The little girl perks up her name and laughs along with everyone else. The brunette curls fall around her face and she smoothes out her pink dress—she really is adorable. And she looks a lot like her father.
Around the end of dinner, Blaine clears his throat.
"Actually, Jake there's something I want to ask you." Blaine glances nervously at Kurt—he hadn't actually talked to his fiancée about this, because honestly it had just occurred to him a few minutes ago, but he just needs to ask Jake this in person. He hopes Kurt won't mind. Jake looks up expectantly at him through a mouthful of fries. Abbie gives him a stern look. "Our wedding is in February…well, 'cause Kurt and I really don't want to wait. And I was hoping you could come up for it…and be the best man, too."
Jake stares at him for a second, before letting the wide, happy smile take over his face.
"Well, duh," he says. "Don't think you're going to get out of inviting me to your wedding! And I'd love to be the best man." Blaine smiles and glances at Kurt again with an apologetic look. Kurt's just smiling though, and nods at Blaine as if to say 'of course it's okay.'
They keep talking long after the waitress brings their check, but finally Sable starts to get restless, and Jake and Abbie apologize and get up to leave. Sable's been the 'cute little-girl shy' the whole way through dinner, but before they leave, she smiles an adorable toothy smile.
"Bye," she says softly. Blaine kneels down to her level, his eyes crinkling up with his grin.
"Bye, sweetie. I'm so glad I got to meet you." Sable beams and leans forward, giving Blaine a kiss on his right cheek, with an exaggerated "mwah!" Blaine thinks his insides have probably turned to goo by now. "Thank you," he laughs. Abbie smiles at him when he stands, and hugs him tightly. Jake hugs him next, and Blaine watches Kurt and Abbie over his shoulder, exchanging phone numbers and promising to keep in touch. Blaine had thought they had hit it off, and he was right.
"Maybe I'll see you again soon, even after the wedding," Abbie says happily. "Who knows? I love New York, I would love to move here."
"Yeah, Michigan is boring anyway," Jake jokes. He hugs Kurt too, ruffling his hair to Kurt's squawk of protest. He grins, but there's something serious in his eyes when speaks next. "You take care of him, alright?" he says. Blaine's about to roll his eyes and insist that he doesn't need Kurt to take care of him (even though he loves it when he does), but Kurt smiles grimly, knowingly, and looks just as seriously back at him.
"I will. I always do."
"Bye, Blaine," Jake hugs him again. "We'll see you in February. Take care until then, okay?"
"I will, apparently," Blaine grins. "Thanks, though. You too."
They finally leave the restaurant, Abbie and Jake going one way, and Kurt and Blaine going another. Kurt slings his an arm around Blaine's waist, bringing Blaine's hand up to his hip so he can knot their fingers together.
"Did you have fun, baby?" he asks.
"Uh-huh," Blaine says softly, distractedly. "I want kids, Kurt." Kurt blinks at the sudden statement, taken aback. He knows this already, of course, but they haven't talked about it in a long time. Years, really.
"Me too, babe," Kurt says softly. Blaine sighs, squeezing Kurt's fingers hard in frustration.
"It's not fair," he says. "I'm stupid."
"You're not stupid, Blaine." Kurt chastises, kissing his fingertips. "Don't, honey. I'm so proud of you. You know that, right? I'm so proud of you, you have no idea. I'm so proud of what you do for our country," he swallows. "I'm so proud to be able to call you my husband." Blaine's breath hitches on the word, and he sniffs, laughing shakily.
"You can't call me your husband yet, though." he protests, no fight in his voice. He loves when Kurt uses that word so much that it's almost embarrassing. "Not until February twenty-first."
"Can too," Kurt argues. "You can't stop me. You're my husband, Blaine. Husband, husband, husband, ha!"
"You are such a kid," Blaine laughs, but he's crying a little now, too. He wipes a few tears off his face with the heel of his hand while Kurt kisses one away. "I love you."
"I love you," Kurt murmurs in return, tightening his arm around Blaine's middle.
The weeks before the wedding are hectic, to say the least. More like chaotic. Kurt's trying to plan everything, one, because he refuses to hire a wedding planner ("They make everything look so tacky, Blaine, seriously!"), and two because he doubts there's a wedding planner who can plan as well as he can with only a few weeks to go. At least he has Rachel and Mercedes helping him, and even Carole gets excited and wants to join in the fun, too. If it can be called fun (Kurt tends to actually call it that when he's not buried to his shoulder in stress).
Kurt tries to let Blaine in on it too, of course. Blaine loves some of it—he loves picking the bridesmaids' dresses (a pale, wintery blue), the color scheme, the flowers, but once Kurt starts going on about the chairs and the dishware for the reception, Blaine tends to space out. Kurt called him out on it at first, but now he just finds it sort of endearing, in thatway.
Of course, Kurt starts to notice the little…changes in Blaine. He knows it's to be expected, Blaine's probably literally been through hell (although Kurt really doesn't know, Blaine hates talking about it), but it's still strange to finally see them surfacing. He's not different personality wise, at least not too much. He's still the loving, affectionate, sometimes too-excitable Blaine that Kurt fell in love with. But there are other things, things that scare Blaine that never used to scare him before. Kurt first notices it when they go over to Rachel and Finn's for dinner one night. Carole and Burt have flown in for the weekend, and it's supposed to be a big family dinner.
Kurt and Blaine enter with one of Kurt's famous cherry pies, and they are immediately hustled into the kitchen by an excited Carole.
"Oh, boys, we missed you so much! We really need to get up here more often—"
"You get up here plenty, Carole," Blaine assures her with a roll of his eyes. "You're here at least twice a month."
"Yeah, we really appreciate, Mom," Kurt says guiltily. "We're the ones who should get down to Lima once in a while." Carole smiles, but waves him off like he's being ridiculous. Blaine laughs and kisses her cheek.
"Blaine, man, come play with us!" Finn calls from the living room. "I'm kicking Dad's ass, it's hilarious!"
"Finn," Rachel chastises from the stove. "God." Kurt and Blaine crack up, but they try to be quiet about it.
Then, Everything changes so fast that Kurt almost gets whiplash—a loud, booming gunshot sounds from the living room, and Finn lets out a victory holler. Kurt tenses—he almost feels all the breath whoosh straight out of Blaine.
Kurt snaps his head around to look at him. Blaine's face his almost a sickly pale, his eyes are wide and dazed like he's in another place (oh god, he probably is, Kurt thinks in horror), and his head whips widely from side to side—looking for his enemy. He's shaking so bad that Kurt's afraid he'll hurt himself. Kurt gasps and he bites his bottom lip so hard he tastes blood. Blaine sways dangerously on his feet, like he's about to pass out, and Kurt's arms flail for a second, reaching towards him. Is he supposed to touch him, or will that just scare Blaine more? He doesn't know, but Blaine's shaking all over and his eyes are clamped shut, and Kurt's really, really nervous now.
"FINN! God, turn it off! Turn it OFF!" Kurt screams. Big mistake. Blaine falls to his knees and clamps his hands over his ears, yelling like he's in pain with endless tremors running down his spine. Kurt realizes a second later that it wasn't him who caused this—Blaine's not even there anymore. He's muttering something under his breath that sounds like "no, no, no, not again" over and over again. He continues to shake and yell out even when the video game is turned off and Finn and Burt run into the kitchen. Kurt ignores them and falls to Blaine's side, tears springing into his eyes.
"Blaine? Blaine, honey, oh god, can you hear me? You're safe, baby, nothing can hurt you, you're safe—"
"NO!" Blaine screams in panic. "NO, no, no—"
"Blaine," Kurt whimpers. God, he doesn't know what to do. Does he need to take him to the hospital? Is he having a panic attack? Blaine's breathing does sound awfully ragged and clipped, like he can't get enough air. Finn's eyes are wide in shock, Burt just looks lost, and Rachel has her hand clamped over her mouth in horror. Carole's the one who springs into action, close at Kurt's side and in front of Blaine.
"Blaine," she says softly. "Blaine, sweetheart, calm down. You're safe, honey. You're not in Afghanistan, you're in the kitchen. With Kurt and I. Blaine?" Blaine's quieted a little, but he still hasn't opened his eyes, and he's still shaking. Carole reaches out and rubs his shoulder after only a second of hesitation. Blaine gasps a little at her touch, but he doesn't recoil. Carole nods at Kurt. "Maybe you should hold him, honey. That will help." Kurt definitely doesn't need to be told twice—he immediately wraps his arms around Blaine, pulling his trembling fiancée against his chest, practically in his lap on the kitchen floor. Blaine seems to come back a little and clings to him instantly, burying his face in Kurt's neck.
"Shh," Kurt soothes. "Shh, I've got you, hun. I've got you." Kurt gnaws on his bottom lip when it quivers, but the tears manage to leak out of his eyes anyway. He kisses Blaine's temple, his cheek, his hair.
The entire Hummel-Hudson family stands around Kurt and Blaine what seems like forever, until Blaine finally starts to come back to himself. His breathing slows down, and his hands that were clenched into fists in Kurt's hair unwind and wrap more loosely around Kurt's shirt. Kurt doesn't even think of complaining. Kurt can feel when Blaine suddenly tenses again, and his hand flies to his curls and pets them anxiously, but Blaine doesn't seem to be scared. Kurt peers down at his hidden face—his cheeks are a flaming red and he's biting at his lips.
"I'm sorry," Blaine moans. "Oh god, I'm sorry."
"No," Kurt says firmly. "God, Blaine, shush. Don't apologize, this isn't your fault."
"Let's give them a minute," Burt whispers. Kurt doesn't even look up, but he hears them all pad into the living room. Kurt tilts Blaine's chin up, rubbing soothingly along the slight layer of stubble there. Blaine's blush won't go away, and he can't quite meet Kurt's eyes. His eyes are wide and watery, ashamed, and he looks like he's about to burst into tears.
"Honey," Kurt breathes, shocked. "Oh, baby, it's okay. This is…it's okay. It's not your fault, you can't help it." Blaine just shakes his head and sniffs. He looks away, working his jaw with clenched teeth, like he's angry. At himself? He starts to shake again, and clenches his fists to try and keep still. He still has the watery-eyed look that makes his eyes look ten times bigger than they actually are. "Babe…do you want to go home?"
Usually, Blaine would shake his head and tell Kurt he'd tough it out. He'd feel awful if he 'ditched' the family to go home, but this is something neither of them has dealt with before. It's new and terrifying, and Kurt knows already that Blaine hates not being in control. But to not be in control of his own body, his own mind? What must that feel like?
"Home," Blaine sighs hopefully. "Please." Kurt nods vigorously without a second thought. He kisses Blaine's head and tells him to wait out in the front hall, he'll explain things to their family. Kurt helps him to his feet and he wobbles on shaky legs towards the door. He waits patiently by it for Kurt—he can hear his fiancé whispering to the others, and Blaine feels disgusted with himself. He knows Finn's going to feel awful, and he doesn't want that, this wasn't Finn's fault. He hates being weak; he wants to call after Kurt and tell him it's okay, they can stay and have dinner and Blaine will act like a normal person. But his mouth won't work. He wants to go home, he wants to curl up in bed, under the covers, and never show his face again. Poor Finn, poor Burt, poor Rachel, poor Carole—poor Kurt. That's what gets Blaine worked up again. Poor Kurt. Poor, poor Kurt. What must he think of him?
Kurt hustles back into the front room in no time, curling his arms around Blaine and leading them outside. He helps him into the passenger seat with another kiss to his temple.
"I'm sorry," Blaine says again. But his voice is raspy, and it sounds empty and hollow.
"Shh," Kurt replies, gently massaging his scalp with his fingers before closing the door. He knows that always helps Blaine calm down.
The ride back to their apartment is silent. Blaine can feel Kurt's eyes on him every few seconds, but he refuses to look at him. He's so mad at himself he could cry. Why did this stupid fear have to run his life now? What if something happened at the wedding—if someone dropped a plate, or even yelled too loudly? Would he freak out again and be a terrified mess on the floor?
Once Kurt locks the door behind them, he turns to embrace Blaine, but then hesitates. Blaine's across the room from him, breathing heavily and staring at the floor. Kurt should've assumed—he'd want his space. Still, Kurt's disappointed and hurt. His shoulders slump.
"I'm going to bed," Blaine grumbles. He turns on his heel and practically runs to their bedroom, shutting the door loudly behind him.
"'Night," Kurt whispers, but Blaine obviously can't hear him now. Kurt goes over to the couch and curls himself into a ball, burying his face in his knees.
He must have fallen asleep, because later that night, he jumps awake to a warm body wiggling under the arms clenched to his chest.
"Hnngh," Kurt garbles, disoriented. "B, what…what are you…"
"I'm sorry," Blaine whispers, and Kurt goes completely limp in relief. There's the Blaine he knows, there's his sweet, soft voice, that adoring voice that he uses only with Kurt. "I'm so sorry, for closing you out, I mean. I love you, Kurt." Blaine is apparently a lot more coherent than Kurt is right now. Kurt has a million things to say to him, but he can't exactly think of what they are. Instead, he tugs him closer, under the fold of his arms, and kisses sleepily all over his face.
"C'mere. S'okay. Love you," is what he manages. Blaine chuckles softly, and god, if that's not the most perfect sound Kurt's ever heard. "You're cute," Kurt mumbles. Blaine laughs again.
"I think you're the cute one right now, sweetheart. Don't you want to move to the bed?"
"No moving," Kurt decides, his face already relaxing into sleep. So Blaine tucks himself closer and throws an arm over Kurt's waist. They fall asleep on the couch together, content, with the worry lines from the day erased on their peaceful faces.
It's two weeks before the wedding that really has Kurt worried, though. He'd yelled at Finn plenty of times (Finn felt awful, and kept calling himself "stupid, stupid, god, how did I not think of that?"), so flashbacks hadn't been a problem for a while. But then, there's still the nightmares—Blaine can hardly go one night without escaping them. They also find out there are other things that trigger the memories, however.
The day's perfectly normal. Kurt's working on his latest project for the design firm, his sewing machine and drawings spread out all around him on the kitchen table. Blaine's making them lunch, grilled chicken salad, while singing some Katy Perry song under his breath.
It's one of Blaine's good days. He's all confidence and cute shakes of his hips all around the kitchen, practically radiating happiness. Kurt watches him with an adoring smile. He's missed Blaine, his Blaine, even though he knows on the bad days he's still Blaine. But all the nervousness and sorrow are gone from his eyes. Kurt laughs loudly when Blaine gives a particularly flirty jerk of his hips, winking over his shoulder at Kurt.
"You are such a dork." There's not even the usual fun teasing in Kurt's eyes, just soft warmth. "I love you." Blaine catches the serious air to his tone and turns to face him.
"I love you, too," Blaine says. "That's why we're getting married. Two weeks, Kurt, and we'll be married! Can you believe it? I feel like we've been waiting forever for this." Kurt wants to laugh, because they're so young really, they're only twenty-four, but he knows what Blaine means. He feels it, too.
"You really should start on that dress, Kurt," Blaine teases, because Kurt's been complaining all day about how much work he has to do. "It's not going to sew itself."
"I know," Kurt sighs. "Ugh, I wish it would." He plugs in the machine and leans down to hold the fabric in place, pressing down the button. The machine whirs to life, and Kurt sticks out his tongue in concentration, moving the fabric just so, so that he can get the stiches perfect. His hand jerks a little at the sound of the salad bowl hitting the bottom of the sink, cursing under his breath. He looks up to scold Blaine, and stops dead. Blaine's shoulders are hunched over the sink and he grips the sides hard, like he's going to be sick. What tips Kurt off is the tremors, the same trembling that had warned him before. Kurt's heart starts pounding, and he whimpers, god, what happened, and then, oh.
The sewing machine isn't that loud, but the repeated pounds of metal into the fabric are precise and firm. Like a bunch of synchronized gunshots, Kurt thinks in shock. In a panic, Kurt practically rips the cord out of the wall and sprints to Blaine's side. Blaine relaxes once the machine is off, but his hands are gripping the counter so hard that his knuckles are white. Kurt makes a strangled sound in the back of his throat, reaching out and easing one of Blaine's hands off the counter and into his own.
"Honey? Are you okay?"
Blaine opens his eyes, swallowing loudly. It's not as bad as last time—there isn't a huge flashback this time—just little flashes of scenes that play out like a movie in his head. He winces and tries to stop shaking. He knows that's what scares Kurt. Kurt sighs in relief when he sees his eyes are just a little hazy, instead of blank and terrified. Blaine breathes deeply through his nose and tries to push the memories out of his head. He manages to give Kurt a shaky smile.
"I-I'm o-okay. Sorry, sweetie, you can turn it back o-on." Kurt stares at him like he's grown an extra head. He pulls Blaine close, rubbing up and down his arm.
"No," Kurt says. "There's no way I'm turning that back on. Are you okay, baby? Really?"
"I'm okay," Blaine repeats. "Really, Kurt, I didn't have a flashback, it's fine—"
"It's not. Blaine, I don't care. You were shaking, and you're still scared. I'm not turning it on if it makes you even the least bit uncomfortable." Kurt kisses the top of his head, moving his hand to stroke his back. "Come on, honey, you should sit down."
"I'm fine," Blaine grumbles, but he follows Kurt the couch anyway. "But what about your project, Kurt?" Kurt waves him off.
"I'll do it when you're sleeping. Blaine…Blaine, baby, maybe we should get you some help—" Blaine tenses—he shuts down immediately, glaring at the carpet and curling into himself.
"I don't need help. I'm fine."
"Blaine, I know, I just—"
"Kurt, please. I don't want to talk about this." Kurt looks at him for another few minutes before dropping his gaze. He doesn't want to argue with Blaine. He thinks Blaine should get help, but he's not going to force him into anything he doesn't want to do.
"Okay," he says quietly. "I'm sorry." Blaine instantly softens and wraps his arms around Kurt's waist. Kurt exhales and kisses the top of Blaine's head where it rests on his shoulder. He's never had a problem telling Blaine when he's wrong before—they're both very stubborn, which is why they often have little spats (even though one of them always apologizes before bed). But something about this is different. Kurt can't call Blaine out on this, because it would hurt Blaine, too. It scares Blaine to talk about his memories, or anything having to do with the war, and Kurt hates seeing Blaine in pain. He doesn't know what to do.
"Me, too," Blaine whispers, sounding defeated . "I'm sorry I'm so…difficult."
"You're not difficult, Blaine."
"Kurt. I freaked out over a video game…over a sewing machine, that you need to use in order to keep your job. I know that I'm…different. I get angry, sometimes…and…and I get really insecure and keep you up at night when I have nightmares. I'm sorry."
Kurt turns to face Blaine and climbs onto his lap so that he's straddling his waist. He cups Blaine's cheeks between his palms so that Blaine has to look him in the eyes.
"Blaine. You're not difficult. I don't blame you for anything—it's not your fault. And you're worth all that hard stuff, okay? I'd rather have you, no matter what. Okay?" Kurt doesn't know if he did a good job at explaining it, because he feels like he really can't explain everything he feels for Blaine. But Blaine's eyes tear up and he gives Kurt a shaky smile.
"Okay," he breathes. "I love you, Kurt."
"Love you." Kurt closes the distance between them and sucks Blaine's bottom lip into his mouth. Blaine groans and clings to him desperately—Kurt smiles. Sometimes they both just want to forget.
The last straw comes when Kurt comes home from the office one night a few days later. He had tried doing his work late at night when Blaine was asleep, and it worked the first few times. But one night when Kurt was sewing away, Blaine must have heard it, even while he was unconscious. He woke up and started screaming bloody murder—Kurt had never heard him scream like that. His reaction was probably a mix of his nightmare and the sewing machine, but it had scared Kurt so bad that he refused to try it again. Blaine had assured him it was "one time, it's okay, baby, I don't want you staying at the office that late," but Kurt hadn't budged on the matter. He never wants to be the reason Blaine's scared. Kurt hangs up his coat by the door, trying to feel his way to their bedroom without turning on any lights. He doesn't need to though—the light of their bedroom is on, flooding the hallway where Blaine sits against the wall, his knees pulled up to his chin.
He seems to be in a sort of daze—somewhere between awake and asleep. His eyes are unfocused, but they're open and drooping in exhaustion, fixed on the opposite wall. Kurt frowns deeply, approaching him cautiously, but trying to make a little noise so that Blaine hears him.
"Blaine," he says, as gently as he can. "Sweetheart, what are you doing up?" Even though Kurt's voice is soft and even, Blaine jumps violently, startled. His pupils dilate in a second of fear, before he relaxes at Kurt's concerned face. He slumps further down the wall and buries his face in his knees, sucking in a sharp breath.
"I…I can't s-sleep." His voice is raspy and thick with drowsiness. He tugs helplessly at his curls—Kurt wants to cry at the look of teary frustration and hopelessness in Blaine's eyes. "I'm…so tired," he mumbles, letting his eyes slip closed. "I can't sleep without you." Blaine doesn't mean for that to slip out. Kurt tries so hard for him already, and Kurt has to work somehow, and Blaine's stupid body is making everything so difficult for him. He half expects Kurt to be angry as he risks a peek up at him, but there's just raw pain and worry in Kurt's eyes. He kneels down next to Blaine and starts to rub soothingly across his back.
Blaine's head drops forward at Kurt's touch. He can feel himself start to drift off on the spot; he finally feels safe again.
"Alright," Kurt murmurs. "Bed. You need to sleep, babe." Kurt grabs Blaine around the waist and lifts him with only a little difficulty into his arms. Blaine wraps his legs around Kurt's waist and his arms around Kurt's neck with the little strength he has left. His head lolls on Kurt's shoulder, even as he protests.
"Can't," he sighs groggily. He still tries to fight it, jerking himself awake as Kurt pushes open the door to their bedroom with his foot. He knows he'll just wake up to nightmares anyway. "Can't sleep."
"Yes, you can, sweetheart," Kurt says back. "I'm here now. I'm here, you can sleep." Kurt lays him on their bed, leaving him for only a few moments so he can get changed. Blaine struggles to lift his head to watch him, but he must have fallen asleep, because the next thing he knows Kurt's climbing into bed beside him, tugging the covers up over them both. He wraps his arms around Blaine's middle, spooning him from behind. "That's it, honey," he whispers. "Go to sleep. I'm right here." Blaine frowns with his eyes closed—there are thick tears in Kurt's voice, though he's trying to keep them hidden. Blaine groans a little as he turns over to face Kurt. He cracks open one sleepy eye.
"Kurt," he mumbles. Then, he forgets what he was going to say. He closes his eyes again and reaches out instead to stroke Kurt's cheek. He presses a sloppy kiss to his jaw and then his upper lip. "Don't…"
"Blaine," Kurt says suddenly, desperately. Blaine feels a wetness on his thumb. "Please…please will you get help? At least…at least go to the doctor's or something, honey. Please? I can't…I can't stand to see you like this. You hardly ever sleep anymore." Kurt's breath hitches, and Blaine struggles to open his eyes again. Kurt's eyes are so, so blue, even in the dark, and they're filled to the brim with tears. Blaine feels sick to his stomach at the sight—he shouldn't ever be the cause of Kurt's tears.
"I…" Blaine says, hesitating.
"Please," Kurt begs, now crying quietly. "I just want you to be okay, Blaine," he whispers. "I don't want you to be scared anymore." Blaine doesn't point out that he'll probably always have nightmares, he'll probably always be a little nervous, at least more so than he used to be. Kurt just looks so defeated and broken and sad and Blaine hates it.
"I'll…I'll try," Blaine says. "Okay." And that's all he can say, because he feels too exhausted to talk anymore. "Sleep?" he asks hopefully. Kurt starts to blur, fading in and out of Blaine's focus.
"Yeah, baby," Kurt breathes. "You can sleep. Thank you. I love you so much, Blaine. I'm going to help you too, okay? I'll do anything for you."
"Mmm. You…too." Blaine's breathing evens out, and Kurt twines their legs together, cradling Blaine's head against his chest. He strokes his hair, willing the nightmares to stay away. He wishes it so badly that he's certain they will, even just for tonight. He starts to fall asleep with his face buried in Blaine's hair, listening to his soft puffs of breath across his neck. Before he does, he kisses Blaine's cheek and sings a little under his breath. Blaine always asks Kurt to sing when he can't sleep.
Kurt voice is shaky and the too whispery-hoarse where it keeps cutting out into silence during the middle of the song, but he sings anyway. He sings to keep Blaine asleep, to keep Blaine's demons away—to keep his own demons away.
"Breathe in, exhale, to turn to move beyond the pale, flag up, set sail, to find what's there beyond the pale. I feel like I've gone to the end of the world. What do I have to do?"
Okay, so I feel like the whole sewing machine thing was really hard to explain-but hopefully you all got the gist of it. I know this chapter was a little dark, but the next one is Kurt and Blaine's wedding, so that should be plenty of fluff :) Also, I just want to check-do you lovely readers want smut in the next chapter (so I'd have to up the rating on this story), or no? Let me know, and thanks for reading! :)