So I know this epilogue has been a long time coming. It's taken me a while for a number of reasons. I've been working on summer repertory theatre at college where we only have a few weeks to put two entire shows together, one of them being a musical. It's hectic and chaotic and super busy with huge blocks of 4 hours of rehearsals and working in the costume shop (at least for me it is). So, I apologize for taking so long!

I also may have been putting it off because I'm so sad to see this 'verse escape my fingers. This story has been very near and dear to my heart since I started it on Christmas day and I'm sad to see it go.

But, all good things must come to an end. So without further adu…the EPIClogue! :D

December 31, 2012

First Time Having Sex

Blaine lay in bed at 10:17pm holding onto a sobbing Kurt, waiting patiently for the crying to subside. It was his doing, after all.

No. He didn't think like that anymore. That was the Old Blaine talking. New Blaine was more focused on his boyfriend than his own personal issues. Sure, he'd done things and made mistakes and hurt people—hurt Kurt—but they were moving past that now. The only thing that mattered was making sure this residual hurt that Kurt was experiencing would go away.

"Tell me about them," Blaine murmured.

He'd known it was a bad idea to take a nap but Kurt insisted in preparation for staying up late that night in celebration of the New Year. Burt and Carole were off at their own New Years' party with friends, and Finn was at Rachel's party, so they had the house to themselves. Finn tried to get Blaine and Kurt to go to Rachel's party with him, but they both decided that their first New Years' together would be better spent alone, reflecting on their previous time together and thinking about the new leaf they'd turn with the new year.

It was their fresh start. A clean slate.

Kurt nestled further into Blaine's chest and sniffled. "I don't want to make you feel bad."

He was definitely lucid again if he was worried about hurting Blaine's feelings. "I'm fine, Kurt. Tell me about the nightmares."

After a moment, Kurt spoke in a small voice. "They're the same as before. With us and our spot and the lake and the alcohol and you leaving me…drowning yourself…they're always the same."

"Sleeping with me doesn't help them at all?"

"Sometimes. Lately you've started looking back at me and hesitating before going and drowning. Tonight you took one step back toward me like you changed your mind, but then you…you went back. To the lake."

"To the alcohol," Blaine muttered, squeezing his eyes shut and clutching the back of Kurt's head even tighter.

Kurt nodded against his chest. "To the alcohol," he repeated.

"They'll get better," Blaine promised. "In your nightmares, I've already started to look back at you, to start back towards you. They'll get better. I'll come back to you. I will."

His hand fell down to Kurt's neck as Kurt pulled away, looking up into his eyes. "I know."

Blaine gently laid them both back down on their sides so they were facing each other. He had one hand pillowing his head and one hand stroking Kurt's face, caressing his cheekbone, tracing his jawline.

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

Who said it first didn't matter because the sentiment was the same.

It was always the same.

The finger Blaine was using to trace Kurt's lips was somehow sucked into Kurt's mouth; Blaine watched in part-shock and part-excitement as Kurt closed his eyes and worked his mouth over the finger, swirling his tongue around it inside his mouth. Without a second thought Blaine shut his eyes and shuddered.

"Kurt."

As if that was a command in itself, Kurt pulled his lips off and kissed the tip of Blaine's finger, then kissed down the length of it. "Blaine," he countered, voice steady and sure but so throaty and low.

"You…You can't just…do that."

Kurt took Blaine's hand in both of his and began kissing the top of it, each of his knuckles, then to the palm and the wrist and gingerly making his way up Blaine's arm.

"Mmm," Kurt murmured against his skin. "Why not?" He looked up at Blaine with wide innocent eyes that, if Blaine didn't know any better, he'd almost fall for.

"Because…Because of your nightmares."

"Which are gone now that I'm awake and I see you."

"That doesn't make them any less real to you when you're asleep."

Kurt paused in his kissing. "And then I wake up and I'm wrapped in your arms and I have your voice in my ear telling me it's alright and that you love me. Blaine, they're nightmares. Nothing more. They'll go away eventually, you said so yourself. The best thing for me is to just be with you, feel you, kiss you, hold you. All of those things go to my subconscious and stock up for when I do fall asleep again and it's even more ammo to use against the evil nightmares. Okay?"

He wasn't convinced; the dark circles and worry lines on Kurt's face proved otherwise. But if what Kurt wanted was to be touched and felt and held and kissed, Blaine could do that.

"Okay," he whispered, tipping Kurt's chin up and bringing their lips together.

And then everything was perfect. When they were kissing each other, when they were connected like that, everything was fine. The nightmares and the alcohol and the worrying and everything just faded away and it was just Kurt and Blaine. That's it. The universe was only them and they were all that mattered.

Slowly, Kurt rolled on top of Blaine and deepened the kiss, grinding his hips down.

Blaine immediately pulled back.

"Kurt," he warned, trying to sound stern but failing miserably under the circumstances.

Kurt only leaned down and kissed the side of Blaine's head by his ear. "I want to have sex with you." In the moment of complete incoherent thought that wrought upon Blaine, Kurt kissed his way up and down the side of Blaine's head, saying into his skin. "I want you to make love to me. I want to feel you in me. I want to feel full and whole because of you; because you're the one filling me up and making me complete."

"Kurt."

At this point, Blaine was absolutely wound up. Kurt was talking about Blaine being inside of him and shit if that wasn't all Blaine had been thinking about for months and months now. Even before their break-up, his mind had been on that track. Their separation hadn't derailed that. In fact, it was images of the two of them doing exactly what Kurt had described that helped bring him through those rough times when he found himself in…hard situations.

"Please," Kurt begged, licking and nipping at Blaine's top lip before just sucking it into his mouth.

Blaine whimpered. His breath went into Kurt's mouth. "You don't have to say please for that, Kurt."

"So you'll do it?"

"We'll do it. Now shut up and keep kissing me."

January 1, 2013

First Time Kurt Went A Full Sleep With No Nightmares

Blaine shivered and snuggled his chest closer against Kurt's back, squeezing that arm around Kurt's waist tighter. He rubbed his nose against the back of Kurt's neck as he awoke. Without opening his eyes yet, he reached blindly for the blanket, patting his naked hip and Kurt's before finding the covers and pulling them back up and over them.

"Mmm. Stop tryin' ta feel me up. 'S too early. 'M sleepy."

Blaine chuckled low against Kurt's neck. "I was going for the blanket, Kurt, not your ass."

"Well it was the opp'site last night. How was I s'pposed to know?"

"Because when I want your ass I'll do this."

"Blaine!"

"What?"

"Don't squeeze my ass! I'm still sore!"

"I was showing you the difference between me wanting your ass and me covering your ass."

"I hate you in the morning."

"You loved me last night."

"I don't care. I hate you now."

"You just broke Relationship Rule Number One."

Kurt turned over in Blaine's arms to face him; seeing Kurt's trademark smirk back reminded Blaine of the day they first met and sent butterflies in his stomache. He loved that he could fall in love with Kurt all over again every day. "What's my punishment?"

"A little cheeky for someone complaining about how sore they are from the previous night's sex, don't you think?"

"Hmph."

Blaine laughed again as Kurt nestled his head into Blaine's chest, snaking both of his arms around Blaine's body and holding tight. Their legs were a tangled mess beneath the sheets; their limbs were so completely entwined it was like they were holding hands with their entire bodies.

The position reminded him of everything from last night. Not just the sex, but the part preceding that. The part where he and Kurt had taken a nap and had both woken up due to Kurt's nightmares.

Kurt's nightmares.

Which hadn't woken them up after that.

"Kurt."

"Hmm?"

"What did you dream about last night?"

"You."

"What about me?"

"Us. In our spot. Kissing."

"What else?"

"There wasn't anything else. It was just us kissing. It was nice."

It was obvious to Blaine that Kurt was still half-asleep because if he was fully awake he would fully understand the weight of that statement. Kurt's nightmares were gone. Well, maybe not gone for good. But for the first time in months, he'd gone a full night's sleep without a single nightmare. In fact, there wasn't even the hint of a nightmare. It started as a good dream and ended as a good dream with nothing but good in between.

"Mmm. Yeah. It was nice," Kurt repeated, snuggling into Blaine's bare chest. His head came to a sudden stop and then he pulled away, eyes wide, staring at Blaine. "Oh, my God. It was nice. Blaine, my dream was nice. I had a nice dream."

Blaine smiled. "You had a nice dream."

Kurt's eyes teared up and he smiled back, much softer. "I had a nice dream. You cured me."

"I didn't do anything."

"Yes, you did. Last night, when we—…I felt the most…complete I ever have in my entire life. I felt real and just so…so…right. For the first time in my life."

"That's good," Blaine said. He pressed a kiss to Kurt's forehead and tried not to let it show how overwhelmingly happy he was.

But when he pulled away he figured the hell with it. He was happy, damn it. And it was because of Soulmate. If he grinned a little too wide and his breath smelled a little too gross, who cares? He was in the arms of the man he loved and they'd come together last night in a way they never had before.

Nothing else mattered.

January 19, 2013

First Drunk Relapse

Blaine officially hated himself.

He made a promise that he wouldn't do this again. He made a promise to Kurt, to Laurel, to himself. Yet here he was, drunk and wandering the streets of New York, trailing after Jonathan.

"How did you even get in?" Jonathan asked, turning around and scowling at Blaine like he'd never seen something so disgusting in his entire life.

He probably hadn't. Blaine sure hadn't. He disgusted even himself at this point.

He shrugged. "I snuck in while you were distracted. I know Carter has you on Blaine Watch for alcohol at your frat parties so I waited until some hot girls showed up and snuck in while you were too preoccupied staring at their breasts."

"You're a real piece of work, you know that?"

"So I've been told."

The worst part of it was that there was no reason. Blaine's life had been going great. Once he and Kurt had gotten back together and finally come together in a way they never had before, the rest of his winter break was amazing. He got to know Bryan a bit better and spent time with Laurel and Burt and just hung out with his family. His relationship with Kurt was wiped clean with the New Year and even though they couldn't erase the past, they could learn from it to better build their future.

Or at least that was their plan, before Blaine just couldn't resist the urge anymore. That itching desire had been making his mouth water for months. An alcoholic doesn't just stop drinking cold turkey; he and Kurt both knew that. And tonight, when he stumbled upon a picture of him and Alex in the hospital that had been taken on his cell phone, he couldn't help it. That urge was just too great. His mouth was watering and his throat was already burning in anticipation of the liquor's sting and all he could think about was just getting drunk and forgetting about the fact that he could only see his brother for a few hours twice a year because he was a fucking fag.

Why was it so hard for him to meet people's expectations? He couldn't meet his parents' and now he couldn't meet Kurt's. Right now, in this very moment, he was failing once again. Even just thinking of his failure was—in itself—failing.

He just couldn't get it right.

"Pick up the pace," Jonathan snapped, reaching out and grabbing Blaine's wrist to tug him forward. "Kurt and Carter are already waiting for you outside the dorm."

Blaine ripped his hand away and fought very hard against the urge to punch his friend in the face.

Were they friends?

They probably wouldn't be if Blaine gave him a black eye.

It was frustrating beyond belief not to be able to hit something, but Blaine had already given into one unhealthy urge tonight and he couldn't afford to succumb to another one. Not with him and Jonathan approaching his dorm building and Kurt and Carter in his line of sight.

Kurt's shoulders were visibly tensed and up around his neck. Carter had his arms folded over his chest and was stomping his shoe in the snow.

"Hurry up!" Carter shouted. "It's fucking freezing out here and I'm not going to stand here forever waiting for your drunk ass!"

Fuck that.

Blaine sat down right where he was in the snow.

Carter threw his hands up in the air and turned around and headed back inside.

Jonathan rolled his eyes before stomping past Blaine and back to his frat house, mumbling something about, "I did my job and brought him back. They can deal with him now."

Kurt just stood in front of the door to the dorm, watching Blaine from afar.

"You're going to get frostbite," he called out.

"So?" Blaine shrugged. "Why do you even care? I broke Relationship Rules One and Two. No lying and no drinking. That's grounds for dumping my sorry ass again, right? So what are you waiting for? I couldn't even make it 3 whole months without drinking so how am I going to make it a year, or two years, or a lifetime? Might as well just get out now and save yourself the trouble."

"We tried that, remember? It didn't exactly work well for either of us. Come inside and we can talk about it where we're not both shivering." Even from afar, Blaine could see Kurt's eyes soften and his shoulders drop. "Please."

The Love Look.

How was it possible that even when Blaine was crumpled in the snow, drunk, refusing to cooperate, that Kurt could still look at him with love in his eyes? How could Kurt possibly love him in this moment?

It didn't make sense.

"Stop looking at me like that," he muttered under his breath, standing up and brushing the snow off of his now numb butt.

When Blaine reached Kurt, Kurt asked, "What did you say? I couldn't hear you from all the way over here."

"Nothing. It doesn't matter."

"Obviously it matters if you said it," Kurt insisted, trailing after him to his dorm.

"Just drop it, Kurt."

"But if you cared enough to say it in the first place—."

Blaine spun around and cut him off. "Drop it already! If it fucking mattered I would have said it to your face not to the fucking air. Back off."

The hurt flashed across Kurt's face so fast Blaine wasn't even sure if it had really been there or if he'd just imagined it. Then again, he knew Kurt was a good actor, and even in his drunken stupor he knew Kurt's poker face when he saw it. For some reason unfathomable to Blaine, Kurt was masking his own pain to deal with Blaine's.

"Let's just go to your room, Blaine. I don't feel like having a fight in the hallway."

"Why? Am I embarrassing? Is my alcoholism embarrassing you?" Blaine rolled his eyes and turned around in a circle, calling out, "Hey, assholes! My boyfriend and I are about to have a fight! Who wants to come and listen?"

Kurt grabbed his upper arm and tugged, "Okay, that's enough. We're going to your room."

"I'm not going anywhere," Blaine spat, ripping his arm away much like he'd done with Jonathan.

Again, he had to restrain himself from swinging; he had to restrain himself from hitting Kurt.

And that frightened the hell out of him.

He'd never had to restrain himself from hitting Kurt before. He'd always known it was a possibility, but it had never been a reality until tonight.

Fuck.

This was bad. This was so much worse than he'd originally thought. And this was all for what? Because he'd seen a picture of him and Alex on his phone? His brother almost died; he almost didn't get to see Alex at all. Now he was lucky enough to see him twice a year. That made him lucky. Alex could have died—God knows a hundred other kids in that fucking cancer center did—so what the fuck kind of right did he have to complain?

A few heads stuck out of the doors up and down the hall.

"Um…Is everything okay out here?" A girl with long black hair and olive skin asked.

"How about you mind your own fucking business?"

Kurt sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry. He's drunk. I'll get him back to his room as soon as he'll let me, I swear."

The girl eyed Blaine then shot Kurt a sympathetic look. "I get the feeling you've dealt with him like this before."

Kurt hesitated before saying, "Once or twice."

"My mom's an alcoholic," she explained.

"Fan-fucking-tastic but this isn't some Sharing Circle where we all go around and discuss our feelings so how about you go back to whatever the fuck it was you were doing and leave me and my boyfriend the hell alone?" Blaine barked out.

The other people watching in the hallway gasped and their eyes bugged out of their heads. Kurt and the girl who was talking to them didn't even flinch.

It made Blaine sick. What made them deserving of having to be used to being treated this way? Kurt was this amazing person, and this girl seemed nice enough if she was reaching out like that. Why were they the ones that had to suffer this kind of treatment? And if good people like them had to be treated like dirt, why did Blaine get Kurt? Why did someone like Blaine get to be loved and cared for so deeply and gently by Kurt?

Nothing was making any sense tonight.

"What's his room number?" she asked Kurt.

"211."

"Do you want help getting him there?"

"I'm right fucking here," Blaine pointed out. "No, I don't need help walking up a flight of stairs. But gee, thanks. I bet you feel like a great citizen now, helping out the community trash."

"You're not trash, Blaine," Kurt said softly, looking at him with sad eyes. "Can we please just go to your room and talk?"

"What are we going to talk about, huh? What is there to talk about? You wanna go upstairs and play therapist and lay me down and talk about my feelings and why I wanted to go get drunk? I got drunk so I wouldn't have to talk to you, Kurt. That was the whole point. I was avoiding the therapy session. I don't wanna fucking talk about it. I just want you to leave me alone."

"If you wanted me to leave you alone you would have gone to your room and locked the door and shut me out. Yet here you stand, still talking to me, however inappropriately. Obviously you don't want me to leave you alone."

He wanted to hit something. Fuck, he wanted to hit something so bad. All he wanted to do was punch and kick and grab and pull and attack. He just wanted to hurt something so badly. He had all of this energy buzzing through him and if he didn't do something about it, it was going to explode.

If he hit Kurt, he'd never forgive himself.

Then he remembered once upon a time, he'd been drunk, and he'd felt this same insatiable need to punchkickhitthrowgrabattack and he unleashed it on the furniture in his room. Nothing broke. If it was okay then, maybe it would be okay now. Maybe he could give into that urge without hurting Kurt.

Without another word or second glance, Blaine headed for the staircase and flew up the stairs, taking them two at a time, stalking to his room. He threw open the door and wasn't even surprised to find Carter on his bed, reading a gaming magazine.

Carter didn't even look up. So, Blaine slammed the door and went to work.

He kicked the dresser.

He swiped all of his stuff off of his desk.

He threw his chair down.

He ripped all of his clothes off the hangers from the closet and tossed them onto the ground.

He punched the wall. Repeatedly. Again and again, blindly punching. Quite frankly, he would have been surprised it didn't break, but then he heard a crack.

The searing pain in his hand told him that it wasn't the wall he'd just broken.

Shit, the walls were made of concrete. They lived in a room with concrete walls. What part of him thought it was smart to punch a concrete wall?

"Fuck," he groaned, holding his hand to his chest. "Oh, fuck fuck fuck. Oh, damn it. Fuck me. Fuck my life. Fuck the world."

"Way to go, idiot, you broke your hand. I hope you're satisfied. I hope you also know you're cleaning up that mess you made tomorrow."

"Shut up, Carter," Kurt said, coming fully into the room from where he'd been standing in the doorway and making his way over to Blaine where he stood by the closet. "Blaine probably just broke his hand. Save your shit for tomorrow." He reached out to Blaine and tried to pry his hand from his chest. "Here, let me see it."

"Get the fuck away from me!" Blaine growled, raising his uninjured arm.

He almost swung.

He almost swung and hit Kurt.

He almost hit Kurt.

What the fuck was he doing?

Blaine staggered backwards until he hit the bedframe and slid down the side, his good hand covering his mouth and his bad one still cradled against his chest. Kurt simply stood and stared at him, eyes wide and full of fear and hurt.

"You almost hit me," Kurt whispered.

Blaine just stared up at him. "I almost hit you."

Time seemed to freeze. This was unfamiliar territory. They'd all known it was a possibility—Kurt, Carter, Blaine—they all knew it was something that could happen if Blaine got drunk enough. But never, until tonight, had it become a reality. In all of his drunkenness before today, Blaine had always been very careful to stay as far away from people as possible so this wouldn't happen. Maybe it was the pain from his broken hand, or maybe it was the adrenaline from taking his room apart, but whatever it was, it led him to almost hit someone again. It led him to almost hit Kurt.

That was unacceptable.

No more. No more relapses. No more getting drunk. No more letting this control his life. He'd thought he was determined before, but that was nothing compared to now. Just the image of his hand colliding with Kurt's face…he'd been so close…a few more inches and…

"I'm so sorry," Blaine whispered, pulling his knees up to his chest and wrapping his good arm around them. He ducked his head and kept his hurt hand stowed away in the middle of his body ball.

Kurt didn't say anything, but Blaine heard the soft footsteps on the carpet signaling Kurt walking towards him. The air shifted around him and he felt Kurt kneel beside him. "I'm going to put my hand on your back. Okay?"

Blaine thought he might throw up simply because Kurt felt the need to warn him that he was going to touch him; like Blaine was a wild horse that would be spooked into kicking and fighting if he wasn't properly alerted to a touch.

He managed to rasp out an, "Okay," and wasn't even aware that he'd begun crying until he spoke.

As stated, he felt the gentle warmth of a palm being pressed to his back, rubbing circles.

Carter broke in and said, "Kurt, maybe you should—."

"Don't say it, Carter. I'm not leaving."

"He could hit you."

"I've known that was a possibility for half a year now. It didn't make me leave then and it's not making me leave now."

There was silence, and then the sound of the door opening and closing softly. Blaine knew it hadn't been Kurt that left, not only because of how he'd just stated as much but because he was still rubbing soothing circles. Something in Kurt's tone must have made Carter see that arguing with him would have been pointless at this point, so Carter gave up and headed elsewhere. Blaine didn't blame him.

He wouldn't blame Kurt for leaving either. "He's right, you know."

"I know," Kurt said gently, his circular hand motion stuttering on Blaine's back for a moment before becoming regular again. "You told me about The Trevor Incident months ago, Blaine. I meant every word of what I said that night. You're a beautiful person and you're someone worth loving, even when you don't see it."

Tentatively, Blaine lifted his head to meet Kurt's eyes. How could Kurt possibly look so sad for him when he was the villain here? "I wasn't like this that night. I wasn't a violent alcoholic."

"People change…They change and they grow and there are times when…when that growth is rapid and times when we kind of coast for a while, content to just be in that place for that time in our lives…Sometimes the change is for the better, and sometimes it's for the worse." Kurt gave a little shrug, like this was something everyone just thought about on a daily basis and not the truest and wisest thing Blaine had ever heard. "Last fall, you changed for the worse. You became an alcoholic. This winter, you've changed for the better and become the man I saw in you on the day we first met."

Kurt paused again, reaching his other hand up to cup Blaine's cheek. The touch ignited Blaine's body and dulled the pain in his hand. "I still believe in that man. I still believe that he's in there right now." Slowly, Kurt leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on Blaine's forehead. When he pulled back, he continued, "You're a recovering alcoholic, Blaine. Of course you're going to relapse. But that's all this is; a relapse. It's just one night. Tomorrow you'll wake up with a pounding headache and, if you're not too stubborn to let me take you to the hospital, a cast. You'll feel like shit and you'll remember this night and it will be more incentive for you to continue in your struggle to quit drinking."

"What if I can't do it?" Blaine whispered. His fear was too great in his mind to even speak out loud. This was what he'd been dreading all along; what if he tried to stop drinking and couldn't do it? What if he was forever doomed to be a disappointment? "What if I'm not strong enough?"

"Then it's a good thing I'm not going anywhere so that when you feel too weak, I'll be there to hold you up and show you that you have so much more strength than you know." Kurt offered a light smile. "Because Blaine, you are the strongest person I have ever met."

Blaine wanted to scoff. He wanted to scoff and refute that and tell Kurt that if he was a strong person, he wouldn't have just given into the urge to drink tonight. He would have fought harder. He would have used that strength and resisted like the good recovering alcoholics. But he didn't. He didn't say anything.

Because that was the old Blaine. That was the Blaine that he'd gotten rid of last month after weeks and weeks of trying. He'd come so far and made so much more progress and he refused to let his setback reverse that. He was a new Blaine now. He was different. When Kurt told him something, he listened; he didn't just dismiss it because it was a compliment, he really listened and tried to see in himself what Kurt saw in him.

So out of respect for himself and for Kurt, he really thought about it. He looked into those blue eyes that had been his anchors through his toughest times recently, and he tried to understand. He really willed himself to turn the image around and see what his boyfriend saw.

Strength. Where did his boyfriend see strength? Yeah, sure, when he got kicked out of his parents' house, that could have been strength. He had the strength to endure that and come out on the other side. Then again, he did wallow in Laurel's bedroom for a week after the fact. But only a week? After he'd had broken ribs and a broken heart? After he'd been disowned by his own flesh and blood, the people that were supposed to love him no matter what? Only a week could be pretty strong, he supposed.

Then there was The Trevor Incident. That wasn't his most shining moment, though. Definitely not one of his strongest. He'd skip over that and rule it as being just as much Trevor's fault as it was Blaine's. He did come out the other side of that, too, and got his shit together—and after only 11 days! That wasn't too bad at all considering everything he'd gone through.

He could go on and think about Alex's time at the hospital and his break up with Kurt and dissect each of the big, tragic moments in his life and figure out how the hell he could be seen as strong, but the point was moot. Blaine had already reflected on all that he needed to. He was a strong person. At the end of the day, no matter how long it took him, Blaine came out on the other side of his tragedies. He didn't let them keep him down.

"You seem to always know what to say to me," Blaine murmured, laughing a little despite the situation. "I don't know how, but you always do. You have exactly the right words that I need to hear."

"Maybe that's because we were made for each other."

"I thought you didn't believe in God."

"I don't. But I believe in us."

Blaine gave a soft smile and took a deep breath. What he was about to say wasn't going to be easy. It was the hardest thing for him to admit that he needed help; but at this point he didn't have a choice. "I think maybe I should start taking this 'recovering alcoholic' thing more seriously. I could…go to AA meetings or—or join a twelve-step program…something like that."

For a moment, Kurt didn't say anything, and Blaine was afraid that maybe the mention of AA and twelve-step programs was too much for him and he'd realized what a mistake he'd made in staying with Blaine through this. But then, the second he opened his mouth, all of those doubts dissipated. "I already looked into it. There's a group for college kids who struggle with alcohol that meets every Friday night at that campus café I know you love. The twelve-step program I'm not sure you'd be as big of a fan of since it's religion-based."

"Really?"

Blaine hadn't known that. Not that he'd be entirely opposed, he liked to believe in something bigger than himself, but it was probably stronger than that.

"Yeah," Kurt nodded. "Step Two is about believing that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity. Step Three is about handing your life and decisions over to 'god' to take care of. It's all very Christian."

"Hmm." Blaine took a moment to think. It wasn't so bad, the basic ideas. If you took the specific Christian God out of it, he didn't think it would be too bad. The more he thought about it, though, the more he realized something. "You're my god," he mused aloud.

Kurt tilted his head in confusion. "What?"

"God is…I mean, according to most religions, God is someone who loves you no matter what, right? He's someone that's by your side through the good times and bad. He takes care of you in your darkest times of need, knowing when you need it before even you do. Despite all your faults, he loves you exactly the way you are. In theory, god loves me, alcoholism and all. If I have to believe in a power greater in myself that can restore me to sanity, it's you, Kurt. You're all of those things for me. In a really vague and ambiguous sense of the word, you're my god; you're my saviour."

"I don't think it's supposed to work that way."

"When have we ever done things the normal way, Kurt? I mean, look at us. We're sitting on the floor of my dorm because I'm drunk as fuck and broke my hand and almost hit you and by some miracle, you're still here. If it were anyone else, they would have left me by now. Carter did."

"Carter's bitter because he and Amanda are still fighting about him wanting to drop out of school to live with her and help her out at home with her siblings."

"That's not my point and you know it," Blaine sighed, carding his good hand through his hair.

"I know," Kurt responded. He leaned forward and kissed Blaine's forehead. "Now let's get you to a hospital and have your hand x-rayed and wrapped up in a cast." Kurt stood up and helped Blaine to do the same. "It was sweet, by the way; what you said, it was sweet. Confusing, and probably offensive to a religious person, but very sweet. Even your drunk persona is changing."

Blaine scoffed as they headed towards the door and Kurt took Blaine's keys to lock the door behind them. "Yeah, well, this will be the last you see of him so I hope you're okay with the progress he's made thus far before he falls off the face of the planet."

"I don't think it's possible for me to be proud of the drunk version of you, but I will be more than happy to see him fall off the face of the planet."

"Sounds like a plan."

January 25, 2013

First AA Meeting/Open Mic Night

Blaine had been scoping out open mic nights for weeks. Prior to his drunken relapse, prior to having his broken hand put in a cast, prior to all of that mess, he'd been planning to perform at an open mic night. He'd missed performing. It had been far too long since he'd just gotten out his guitar and played songs. Granted, with the cast now it would be a little harder, but he'd been practicing and his fingers were still usable from the middle to the tips so he had something.

He just needed to perform.

So, he finally found an open mic night that worked for him. It was perfect, actually. Kurt told him about the college AA group that met at his favorite campus café, so he looked them up and contacted them the day following his relapse. They encouraged him to come to the next meeting, that very Friday, which just happened to be open mic night at the café. Usually, the group got together and just enjoyed music and coffee and the company of others who understood their struggle.

Without hesitation, Blaine not only signed up for the meeting, but also the open mic night. Of course, he also made it clear that Kurt's attendance to both was mandatory. Kurt was certainly not an alcoholic, but his boyfriend was, and Blaine needed him for moral support.

There was also the part where he needed Kurt to hear him play. His set list was specifically designed for Kurt. After that awful Saturday night, he had a lot of making up to do, and he knew music was the best way to do it. Or at least it was a good start.

Everyone had 3 songs, and Blaine requested to be the last performer so he'd have time for his meeting and time to gather his nerves. Since he was ending the night, they were a little more lax with him and allotted him 4 songs, which was perfect for him.

He'd been excited all week, ready to apologize to Kurt in the best way he knew how, but now as he sat in the café, he was nervous.

They'd just sat down to the meeting, Kurt so close to him that they were holding hands on top of Blaine's thigh. No one went around in a circle and said, "Hi, I'm John, and I'm an alcoholic," which Blaine was grateful for. That would have been awkward.

The leader of the group, Casey, smiled at each of them and said, "Welcome back, guys. I know it's not always easy to come to a café on a Friday night when we all know what we'd rather be doing, and I'm proud to see everyone from last week here again. We have a new guy, Blaine. His boyfriend Kurt is here for moral support."

Everyone greeted them and gave a little wave and to Blaine's pleasant surprise, no one gave them an evil eye for being together. It was probably stupid, but absence of homophobia still surprised him. He spent so much of his life being judged and looked down upon for being gay that it was still a new feeling to be so readily accepted.

"He's also playing open mic night tonight so we're all going to give him the support and encouragement he needs to get up on that stage and perform for us."

"What are you going to sing?" One of the guys asked. He was blonde with square, plastic hipster glasses and a fedora.

Blaine ducked his head and sneaked a glance at Kurt. "That's a surprise, actually."

"And don't bother trying to force it out of him," Kurt added, "I've been trying to get him to tell me all week and he's kept his lips sealed. There's no way we'll know until he starts singing."

"I'm sure whatever he sings, he'll do great," Casey enthused, flashing a wide grin.

Casey had soft chestnut hair that was to her shoulders, cut perfectly straight with no layers. Her enthusiasm and positivity actually reminded Blaine of a character on Grey's Anatomy, Arizona Robbins. Not that he watched Grey's Anatomy all that much. It was more of a, if-there-are-reruns-on-lifetime kind of thing.

At least that's what he told Kurt to avoid ridicule.

The rest of the meeting went about the same pace. He learned some names, and he knew he'd forget half of them by the next meeting, but the people there all seemed really friendly. They were there as a support system for each other and it was nice. They didn't try to hide the real reason they were there, but it wasn't all somber and dark. It was a light meeting of laughter and joy, with a hint of a therapy vibe thrown in.

Blaine was laughing at a joke somebody had told when the same blonde hipster from before—Lawrence, if Blaine remembered correctly—asked, "So what happened to your hand?"

He looked down at his hand, the one that wasn't holding Kurt's, and his face fell. Kurt squeezed the hand he was holding so Blaine would know he was there for him. They had both decided beforehand that Blaine would answer any and all questions honestly because if he lied, what was the point of even going to the meetings?

"I, uh…I punched a wall. Repeatedly."

Casey nodded slowly. "Were you drunk?"

"Yes." Blaine cringed at the memory. "It was Saturday night. I…I'd been sober for 80 days before I just snapped. It was a bad idea and I knew it. Kurt was there for me, like always, but I get violent when I'm drunk and I just had to hit something. So I tore my room apart."

"Did you hit Kurt?" Lawrence asked.

Out of all of the people at the meeting, Lawrence was starting to become Blaine's least favorite. The guy was just way too nosey.

Blaine floundered for a second. He didn't want to lie, that wasn't something he wanted to do, but to admit to a circle full of virtual strangers that he'd almost hit his boyfriend wasn't something he wanted to do either.

Thankfully, Kurt stepped in for him. "No, he didn't."

"But he tried to, didn't he?" Lawrence pressed.

Kurt squeezed Blaine's hand again, but this time it was probably more for himself than for Blaine. "You know, I don't think that's really any of your—."

"Lawrence," Casey broke in smoothly, "remember what we talked about. Don't push people to talk about things they're not comfortable with sharing."

"If he wasn't comfortable with sharing he shouldn't have come with a cast on."

"Everyone is welcome no matter where they are in their recovery. You know that. We took you in when you were still showing up drunk. It's not your place to judge anyone."

Officially put in his place, Lawrence sat back in his chair and crossed his arms, looking both angry and ashamed.

"Blaine, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. We've all been there," Casey continued, focusing on Blaine now.

He gave a single nod of his head, looking down at the ground, before sneaking a glance at Kurt on his right side. Kurt was giving him a soft look that held nothing more than love and comfort. With Kurt's help, he raised his head to scan the group again and spoke. "I did almost hit him. But I didn't. I stopped myself. That's a good thing, right?"

"A very good thing. You should be proud of yourself. Blaine, this is your first attempt at quitting, right? This is the first time you've made the conscious decision to stop?"

"Yeah. Last Halloween, Kurt broke up with me while I was drunk and just…I was awful to him. I'd gotten drunk every night for over a week and he kept taking care of me but I was always so mean to him. We had a huge fight and in the end Kurt said that he couldn't keep watching me do that to myself—drink myself into oblivion. That was the last time I had a drop of alcohol until Saturday."

"Your first try and you made it a whole 80 days before your first relapse. That's impressive," Casey said. When Blaine scoffed, she continued, "It really is, Blaine. This isn't easy. Admitting that you need help and that you have a problem and then trying to stop it isn't an easy thing. We all know firsthand just how hard it is not to just lose yourself; to let yourself go and not have to worry about anything but that numbness, that feeling of utter bliss that takes over. Yet here you are, making the decision to come here and spend your Friday night in a coffee shop. This is a big thing. You should be as proud of yourself as I'm sure Kurt is of you for doing this."

Kurt unlaced their fingers so he could rub Blaine's back. "He's really self-deprecating. We're working on it."

Blaine just let what Casey said sink in and listened for the rest of the meeting. Others talked about their struggles so that Blaine wouldn't feel so different. As it turns out, Casey was only sober for 23 days before she gave in and had her first relapse. Lawrence had stopped being obnoxious enough to share his own story, which included him being sober for only 11 days before he gave in. Compared to the others, Blaine was doing really great in his recovery, and that was encouraging to hear.

Eventually, the hand Kurt was using to rub circles slowed and just rested on his back, occasionally running up and down his spine but other than that remaining still. But for Blaine, even just that palm resting there was a steady reassurance that Kurt was there for him, and that's all he needed to make it through the evening.

Finally, the night was winding down. Coffee cups had been emptied and refilled and emptied again. Many pee breaks had been taken due to the consumption of so much coffee. Performer after performer had gone up and played their songs, all varying in styles and genres. Before he knew it, the emcee was announcing Blaine.

"You're going to do great," Kurt smiled, kissing Blaine's cheek before Blaine stood up, guitar case in hand.

"Because I have you to sing to," Blaine replied with a wink before heading up onstage.

He set his guitar case down and opened it up, lifting his guitar out and wrapping the strap across his shoulder and torso. He perched himself on the edge of the stool that was up there and leaned into the microphone with a smile. "Hey, everybody. I know it's late so thanks for sticking around long enough to listen to me do my thing up here."

The crowd gave a soft laugh and Blaine grinned before he arranged the fingers of his right hands on the guitar strings to form the opening cord, managing to hold a guitar pick in his left hand despite the cast. He laughed into the mic, "And don't worry about the cast. I've been practicing and I promise it won't make me suck any more than I already do." He winked again and when the crowd laughed a little louder he knew he had them hooked. For it being almost 11 o'clock at night, there was still a good group of people. Probably because it was a college café and students tended to live a nocturnal life.

He inhaled deeply, shutting his eyes for a moment and just letting himself melt into his guitar, then exhaled. Then, he began to play.

The storm is coming but I don't mind

People are dying

I close my blinds

All that I know is I'm breathing now

This song was everything to him at that moment. When he first discovered this song in high school, it was a life saver. It was when he still lived with his parents and he just hated everything about his life. This song…all he could do was keep breathing. He couldn't control his parents or the way they treated him or the fact that he was dealing with trying to accept the fact that he was gay before he even had the chance to see how his parents would react. His world was falling apart but he was the only one who could see it and he didn't know what to do. But then this song came along and that line, All we can do is keep breathing, became his mantra.

I want to change the world

Instead I sleep

I want to believe

In more than you and me

All that I know is I'm breathing

All I can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing now

Now, with his situation with the alcoholism and Kurt, this song was relevant once again. This first year was going to be a struggle. Everything was going to feel like it was falling apart again but this time he had Kurt. It wouldn't be easy, but if they just kept breathing, it would be fine. They just had to remember that some things were outside of their control and the only thing they could do was go on and keep breathing.

All that I know is I'm breathing

All I can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing

Now

The song drew to a soft close and he smiled slightly before looking to Kurt to make sure that Kurt understood. Judging by the Love Look, he took that as a yes.

Patrons clapped and Blaine bowed his head gratefully. "Thank you." He moved into the next song smoothly, knowing that he needed to keep going before he lost his nerve. Other people might not notice because they didn't know him, but he was basically laying his heart and soul out in the open, leaving nothing hidden, for Kurt to take. He had to if he wanted to do this right.

Heart beats fast

Colors and promises

How to be brave

How can I love when I'm afraid to fall

But watching you stand alone

All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

When Blaine glanced up he saw the way Kurt's eyes sparkled and knew that he was on the verge of tears. This song…It went way back with them. It went back to a time when they were so happy. It was also the song that he sang softly to Kurt as they lay in bed the morning of the first night Blaine would get drunk in front of Kurt. Essentially, that day had been the snowball that started the avalanche. But in that moment, on that morning, in that bed with Kurt, with this song, everything was perfect.

I have died everyday waiting for you

Darling don't be afraid I have loved you

For a thousand years

I'll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you

Time has brought your heart to me

I have loved you for a thousand years

I'll love you for a thousand more

By the time he finished that song, he had tears in his own eyes. He wiped them away, though. He knew he needed to make it through his set list. To everyone in the shop, it probably seemed like the most random set list ever. And most open mic night performers played their own original stuff, not covers. But Blaine didn't care. These songs were important and crucial to his apology to Kurt.

Blaine could tell by the look in Kurt's eyes that he knew now that this was an apology.

The next song was actually really random for him. Carter had been playing it in the background while he was studying one day after the break up but before the reunion. At the time, it broke Blaine's heart, but now it was perfect.

I'm not a perfect person

There's many things I wish I didn't do

But I continue learning

I never meant to do those things to you

And so I have to say before I go

That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me

To change who I used to be

A reason to start over new

And the reason is you

This one was probably the most important. This song…it was everything. If Kurt took away nothing else from this, it had to be this song.

I'm sorry that I hurt you

It's something I must live with everyday

And all the pain I put you through

I wish that I could take it all away

And be the one who catches all your tears

That's why I need you to hear

I've found a reason for me

To change who I used to be

A reason to start over new

And the reason is you

Most of the song he played with his eyes closed because it just hit so close to home. Even singing it, his heart was breaking. It was everything. It was them. It was the way Blaine felt about Kurt and Kurt needed to understand. He had to know because Kurt was always the one showing affection, showing how much he cared, making sure Blaine knew how much he was loved.

But how often did Blaine do that in return for Kurt? After the way his alcoholism affected Kurt's self-esteem, he should have known that it would take more than an occasional "I love you" to know he was loved and every bit as beautiful—more so, even, than Blaine.

Once that song came to a close, he sought out Kurt's eyes and his heart broke even more. Kurt had a hand pressed to his mouth and obvious tears rolling down his face. It wasn't ugly crying; Kurt's face wasn't red and there wasn't snot and he wasn't making whimpers or other noises. It was just a few tears that were an outward sign of the way Kurt felt on the inside. It was an expression of the way Blaine's gesture affected him.

Blaine fought the urge to let his own tears go and smiled, leaning into the microphone as the applause died down. "Normally, I'd be done and they'd kick me off the stage, but through much coaxing and mostly because I'm the last performer, they've agreed to let me sing one more song. But if it's alright with you guys, I'm going to relocate to their piano, and I'm going to ask for some help on singing this song."

He stood up and came to the edge of the stage, smiling out at Kurt. "My amazing boyfriend Kurt is here for me tonight and he's…he's everything to me. And I can't sing this last song without him. So, Kurt, if you could just come help your loving boyfriend out?"

Kurt's face as he hesitantly rose from his chair and headed toward the stage was why Blaine turned on the puppy eyes and put the begging tone in his voice. It was the last thing Kurt wanted to do, especially since he'd been crying, and Blaine had predicted both reactions beforehand. When Kurt reached him, he whispered, "What are you doing?"

"Come sit at the piano with me and you'll see," Blaine whispered back.

Before he could see Kurt's death glare with his own two eyes, Blaine strode toward the piano towards the back of the stage and positioned the attached microphone to the appropriate level for him and Kurt. Kurt sat on his left side, away from the audience, and asked, "Are you okay to play with your cast?"

"I might botch a few notes but for the most part I'm okay."

"What are we singing?"

"You're about to find out."

Blaine began playing and singing at the same time.

I should tell you I'm disaster

I forget how to begin it

He'd been going slower than the actual song called for to give Kurt a chance to clue in, but he should have known Kurt wouldn't need it. Kurt jumped in immediately.

Let's just make this part go faster

I have yet to be in it

I should tell you

I should tell you

I should tell you

I should tell you

I should tell I blew the candle out

Just to get back in

I'd forgotten how to smile

Until your candle burned my skin

They sang flawlessly together, picking up the cues from each other perfectly and nudging each other's shoulders and sending flirty smiles and looks at the appropriate times. Kurt and Blaine were the perfect duet partners, as Blaine had always known.

Well, here we go, now we, oh no

I know this something is here goes

Here goes, guess so it's starting to

Who knows? Who knows?

Even since their first date, this had kind of been their song. Two people with baggage coming together and both wanting to tell each other everything but not knowing how to begin. One being braver and more self-assured and one just feeling like a complete disaster. It was Kurt and Blaine in a single song.

Trusting desire, starting to learn

Walking through fire without a burn

Clinging a shoulder a leap begins

Stinging and older, asleep on pins

Who knows where? Who goes there?

Here goes, here goes

Here goes, here goes

Here goes, here goes

As Blaine played the final notes out, and as he told Kurt missing a few, Kurt grabbed his face and kissed him. It wasn't a light, chaste kiss, either. It was a whole hearted kiss that made Blaine weak in the knees even though it couldn't have lasted more than 5 seconds.

When Kurt pulled away and offered a hand out to Blaine to tug him up, Blaine didn't even hear the crowd.

When Blaine picked up his guitar and placed it back in the case and left the stage with it in hand, he didn't even see the people still left smiling at him and giving him thumbs-up.

When Kurt and Blaine left the coffee shop together, he didn't even register saying goodbye to his new college AA group or putting on his coat.

Nothing around him even entered his brain because he had tunnel vision for Kurt. Kurt, who just had permanent Love Eyes now and was in constant contact with Blaine from the moment he had started playing their song and singing it with him. From hand-holding to looping their arms together to soft kisses to head leans, Kurt was making sure that not a second went by when they weren't touching.

"You haven't let go of me since you joined me on that stage," Blaine murmured against the cold wind whipping their hair around.

Kurt put his mouth to Blaine's ear and said, "That's because I'm trying to control myself until we get to your dorm and I won't make it if I can't touch you the whole way there."

Oh. That was a very good sign.

Blaine sped up his walk.

They made it back to his dorm in record time and were pleasantly surprised to find Carter wasn't there. The second the door closed behind them, layers were being peeled and tossed onto the floor.

Kurt crashed their lips together as soon as the coats and scarves and winter gear came off. "That was," he said in between kisses, "the sweetest…most thoughtful…most beautiful…most heartfelt thing…you have ever…done for me."

"Mmm…I needed you…to understand…just how much you mean to me." Blaine pulled away so he could look into Kurt's eyes when he said this and not have to stumble his way through his sentences because his lips were otherwise engaged. "You're always holding me and kissing me and reminding me of how much you love me. I don't do it nearly enough for you. And after Saturday night—."

"Blaine—."

"No, let me say this. After Saturday night, I needed you to know that I appreciate that. I appreciate you and everything you do for me. You help me so much and I just trashed that on Saturday night and I almost…but I love you. I love you so freaking much that I can't even function without you. We communicate better through music and I knew I could speak to you and apologize to you so much better if I found the right songs."

"You definitely did," Kurt whispered, tilting his head slightly. "I was…touched. That seems like such a light way to put it, but you touched my heart with those songs. They were everything I needed to hear. I love you, Blaine. Thank you for what you did for me tonight."

There was no need for a response, so Blaine just leaned in again and captured Kurt's lips with his own, picking up where they left off.

February 4, 2013

First Time Carter Needed Blaine's Help (Instead of the Other Way Around)

Blaine watched his roommate pace back and forth in front of the TV from where he sat cross-legged on the bottom bunk, technically Carter's bed.

"…I just want to help. How can she deny me that? She's my girlfriend—I mean she's more than that, but the official title is girlfriend. Why won't she let me help? It's so obvious that she needs it and I want to be there for her. Why is that so hard for her to understand?"

"It's not," Blaine sighed. "She understands. It's you who doesn't understand."

Carter halted in his tracks and whipped around to face Blaine. "What don't I understand, then? Explain it to me, Obi Wan."

"You hate Star Wars." Carter groaned so Blaine changed tactics. "Look, it's complicated. I can't help you. You have to figure it out for yourself."

"You're a horrible friend."

"I'm not. You're just not trying to see it from her point of view. Her life is screwed up right now and she loves you too much to drag you into that and take you down with her."

"But that's not what she'd be doing!"

"That's how she sees it, though."

They'd been at this for almost an hour, Carter pacing back and forth and Blaine trying to calm him down and explain to him why Amanda was so adamant against letting Carter drop out and move to San Francisco with her. Carter was a guy who was only capable of looking at the here and now, not the bigger picture of the future. He didn't understand why helping now would hinder him in the future. Plus, as the guy said himself once, he didn't understand women.

Suddenly, Blaine was struck with an idea. "I think I know what you need."

"I need my girlfriend, that's what I need."

"I know. Just give me a minute and we can go," Blaine said, pulling out his phone and scrolling through his contacts.

Carter eyed him suspiciously. "Go where?"

"You'll see. Just give me a second." He shot out a quick text and when he got one back just a minute later, he grinned. "Alright, grab your coat. We're going."

"Going where?"

"You're about to find out. Come on."

Blaine had his coat on and was out the door before Carter could argue further. They made the short walk in the snow and were at their destination in under 20 minutes.

The second Blaine had his hand on the door handle and was opening it, Carter grumbled. "Really? A coffee shop? That's your brilliant idea?"

"It's not just any coffee shop, Carter. This is my favorite campus coffee place. I come here all the time, specifically every Friday. But it's not about that, and it's not about the place, it's about the people who will be joining us in a matter of minutes."

Without further explanation, Blaine got in line and ordered his customary medium drip, then headed to their traditional armchair square in the corner that was empty, lucky for him. He sat down and waited for Carter to get his own coffee and sit with him and then they waited some more.

"Seriously, if we're just waiting for Kurt, I'm going to be pissed, because he could have just come downstairs not all the way—."

"Blaine!"

His eyes shot up and found the girls coming towards him. He stood with a smile and held his arms out, ready for the onslaught of hugs.

Jane was the first to hug him. Of course. She had always been the most enthusiastic of her group. Lucy stepped up next, a calm smile on her face. Nicole and Amy both wrapped him up in a hug at the same time, as if it was impossible for them to ever do anything without the other.

"We're just going to go grab our coffees and be right back," Jane told him, still smiling.

When Blaine sat back down, Carter was staring at him with his mouth open. "Who are they?"

"I call them the Ugg Girls in my head because the first time I met them all four of them were wearing Uggs but they're friends of mine. I met them here."

"What? What the hell are Uggs?"

Blaine laughed. "It's not important. They're good friends of mine and experts at relationships. You're having trouble in yours so I called in back-up."

"Blaine—."

"Trust me, Carter. They're good. They helped me out with Kurt and they can help you with Amanda, I promise. You need a female perspective; now you have four."

After a moment of thought, Carter leaned back in his chair with a sigh. "Fine."

The girls came back and took the other two open armchairs in the square. Nicole and Amy tangled together on one, Jane settled into the other with Lucy perched on her left armrest.

"So," Jane started, "we have our coffees and we're ready. Tell us everything."

Even though Carter had agreed to it, he still hesitated, so Blaine jumped in and began on Carter's story for him. He explained everything about Amanda's situation at home and what Carter's plans were and what Amanda thought about those plans. Blaine laid it all out for them while Carter just remained still, face blank, as if he was listening to someone else's story and not his own.

Finally, Lucy turned to Carter and asked, "What's in it for you? If you do drop out and move to California, what's in it for you?"

"Amanda—."

"I didn't ask about Amanda. I asked about you. What are you going to accomplish by going out there?"

"Things are hectic for her right now. She's doing the best that she can but even for a single parent with years of practice, it's tough raising 3 children. She didn't have time to think about it and get used to it and find her rhythm; she was thrown into it. She needs my help."

"You're still only talking about her."

"She's the only one that matters."

"That's not true. You matter too."

"Not when it comes to this."

"I think what Lucy is trying to say," Jane cut in, looking at Lucy and then at Carter, "is that it can't just be about her. We understand that Amanda is important to you and she's having a rough time right now. We know she needs your help—we're not denying that—but a relationship is about two people. You have to take care of yourself too. And if you drop out of school and go out there, how do you think you're going to help? You'll get a job? You don't have a college degree yet. The best you'll find is something minimum wage. You'll have to work all day every day just to scrape by. You want to provide for her, I get that, but working 3 minimum wage jobs isn't the way to do it."

"Then what would you suggest?" Carter asked, though it sounded more like he was mocking and challenging them than genuinely looking for a different solution.

"Stay here and finish your degree. You're—what—a junior? When this semester ends you'll only have one more year. You're so close to finishing, and if you just get there and graduate and get your degree, you'll be able to provide so much more for her and her siblings."

"If I wait a year it might be too late."

"For what?" Lucy questioned. "Her dad's already gone. Her mom's already gone. She's got the kids, they're not going anywhere. It sounds like they're stuck for right now, so what difference does a year make?"

"It—… If I wait a year, it might be too long and then she won't go back to college. She needs to get her degree, too. That was our plan."

Amy answered this time. "It would be much easier for her to get a degree if she has someone who already has theirs and a stable job and time to take care of the kids in the evening while she takes night classes."

"You have to look at this like a marriage," Nicole added. "You do plan on marrying her, don't you?" Carter nodded. "There you go. You have to look at this situation like her brothers and sister are your children and you have to do what's best for your family. If neither of you has a college degree, your whole family will be much worse off than if just one of you graduated."

"But that's not fair," Carter pointed out. "Why am I the one that gets to have the degree? Why can't I drop out, move out there, and take her place so that she can return to college and get her degree?"

"It's not fair that she had to sacrifice her education," Lucy agreed. "You have a valid point. But that's what she had to do for her family. You have to do what's best for the people that you love. That's why she doesn't want you to drop out, too. She's trying to do what's best for you."

"But what about her?"

"She's made her choice. There are other people in the family that could have taken on the responsibility of her siblings when their parents died. Their grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins. She chose to drop out and take care of them and assume the role of a parent. That was her decision. You can't take that away from her. You have to respect the fact that she valued her family over her education."

"Why can't I make that same choice?"

"You would be by staying here," Jane explained. "If you stay here and finish your education, that act in itself is putting your family first and thinking of what's best for them."

The Ugg Girls and Blaine all remained silent while Carter rolled that around in his brain. This was why Blaine texted Lucy and asked if they were free for about an hour to help him. He knew that they were the only ones who would put it in a way that would make Carter understand.

It wasn't easy, Blaine knew, to make a decision like that; for Carter, knowing that Amanda was on the other side of the country and struggling with her new life, desperately needing help but having no one to turn to, all he wanted to do was go be that person to help her. Blaine was hoping, though, that he was starting to see why Amanda refused to let him.

Besides, if Scotty was being honest in the times they texted occasionally, he was actually helping Amanda now. If Amanda had Scotty's help with Amelia and Thomas now, things had to be infinitely easier. It wasn't ideal, since Scotty was still just a kid too, but Blaine knew that Scotty was aware of the fact that he had to step up or what little semblance of a family that they had left would fall apart.

"I think…" Carter shook his head and furrowed his eyebrows, looking at the ground like it was trying to explain the situation to him but it was speaking in a different language. "I think I need to call Amanda."

"Go ahead. We'll keep Blaine entertained for you," Jane smiled.

Carter didn't even notice that she'd been teasing him; he was so lost and thinking so hard that all he could do was get up and go outside.

When he left, Lucy stood up and took his chair; then all four girls turned to look at him.

"So," Amy prompted, grinning at him from where she was wrapped up in Nicole, "tell us how you and Kurt are doing."

Blaine chuckled lightly and took a long drink from his coffee, which was now cool enough to drink without burning his mouth but still hot enough to not taste like shit. "We're, uh…We're doing really, really well."

Lucy cocked an eyebrow. "Really? Or are you just saying that?"

"No, we really are. I told you guys about that one night…"

"Right, that one night where you decided to throw away 80 days of sobriety and start all over again at day 1. How's that working out for you?"

"It's good. I haven't had anything to drink since then, so I'm at 16 days now, which sucks that I had to start over, but it doesn't even matter because it's not just that I haven't gotten drunk, it's that I haven't wanted to. Since that night I haven't even had the urge to go get drunk."

"You will," Jane told him. "You're still in your post-relapse phase where you're trying super hard because you know how badly you screwed up. But give it a month? It'll be just like that night. And you'll have to fight not to give in again."

"I know. But I will this time. I'll fight harder and I won't give in."

Nicole asked, "How do you know that for certain?"

"Because Kurt and I are at a really good place. I'm going to those meetings I told you guys about and Kurt is being completely supportive and I can't screw that up again. He believes in me and it's about time I do too."

"Good," Amy asserted with a nod of her head. "I like Kurt. Not that I've actually met him, since you still haven't introduced us, although now we know your roommate. When do we get to meet him?"

Blaine pondered the thought of when he could get Kurt and his Ugg Girls together. He knew they were busy with their lives and wasn't sure when they'd have the time or when he'd have the time or when Kurt would have the time. Surely, though, they could find some time for each other. Just an hour.

"How about Wednesday night?" Blaine suggested. "We can meet here and you guys can interrogate Kurt all you want."

Lucy grinned, looking a little evil—(she reminded him a lot of Santana sometimes). "That sounds perfect."

February 14, 2013

First Valentine's Day Together

"Blaine, seriously, when are you going to tell me what you have planned?"

"I told you, you'll find out tonight. Give me a kiss; I have to go to class."

Kurt scrunched up his face like this was the most unattractive thing he'd ever do and let Blaine kiss him on the lips before Blaine stood from their table in the cafeteria and headed for the doors.

It was their first Valentine's Day together and Blaine knew that with their track record of holidays—thinking back to Halloween and Thanksgiving—he absolutely had to get this one right. Though, with what he'd been planning, he wasn't worried. It wasn't anything elaborate, but it was them, and it was exactly what they needed after the chaos that had been their lives lately.

Carter had made the right decision and chose to stay at NYU and finish up and get his degree. He'd try to speed up the process, though, and take a full course-load in the summer to try and graduate in December. With Blaine's relapse now being 26 days behind them, things were going great, but he was still going to AA meetings and Kurt was still coming with him. Even though Kurt had said he'd forgiven him for what happened that night, Blaine still felt like he had a lot of making up to do.

He just hoped that the simplicity of the night would be appreciated by Kurt and not seen as Blaine just not putting any effort into the evening.

The day passed slowly, everyone around him in varying shades of red and pink and walking around with flowers and candies and stuffed animals in their arms. He tried his best to ignore them and stay secure in his plans for the evening.

Eventually, it was time for him to start setting up, which took an hour and a half. Then, at 8 o'clock on the dot, Kurt knocked on the door.

"Blaine?"

"Coming!" Blaine shouted, almost tripping over his feet to crack open the door. Kurt was standing there looking ridiculously adorable. "Hi."

"Hi. Are you going to tell me why the dress code was sleep-casual?"

Blaine laughed, noting Kurt's silk pajamas and fuzzy socks, and how painstakingly cute he looked in them. "Come in and see for yourself."

When Blaine opened the door further and ushered Kurt in, he expected Kurt to make some kind of noise. A gasp, or a laugh, or a scoff, or something. Instead, he got silence, and since Kurt was facing away from him, he couldn't read his boyfriend's facial expression.

He hoped that he didn't just screw this up.

Trying to better his chances of not completely ruining their relationship, he called out to Kurt, "Soulmate?" hoping that the use of the nickname would just melt Kurt on the spot so whatever he just did wouldn't seem quite as bad.

Kurt didn't turn around.

"Okay, let me explain," Blaine started. "I know that most couples go out on Valentine's Day, but because of that I knew all the restaurants would be over-crowded. And it's not that I didn't want to deal with the hassle of trying to get a reservation; it's just that Valentine's Day is supposedly a day about love and intimacy, and what's intimate about too many people all shoved into the same room talking over one another?

"So I built a fort. I got the okay from Carter beforehand, that way he wouldn't be mad that we would be on his bed, but I used all the blankets from my bed and the extra blanket I brought to make a kind of fort out of his bed and the space between his and mine above it. And let me just say right now that it took a lot of work to get all of those sheets to stay up like that and hang like that so if you think I didn't put in any effort you're wrong. Just throwing that out there.

"Anyway, yeah. We have a fort that's just for us, a special place for us to escape from the world, and I think that's much more intimate. And then I kind of—well, since our kind of theme song is 'I Should Tell You,' and one of the first things we did together as a couple was watch RENT, I figured it would be perfect for us to just snuggle in our own little fort and watch RENT together and sing along. I paid Carter $50 to give us the room for the night and let us use his bed, so it's also not like I was being cheap either, just throwing that out there as well."

After another moment of silence that had Blaine absolutely terrified, Kurt asked, "Are you done babbling now?" His voice sounded soft and scratchy, like he was…

Oh. Kurt turned around and he had tears in his eyes.

"Kurt? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry, I just wanted to—."

"Because I'm in the middle of trying to decide if this is the sweetest thing you've ever done for me, but you've been doing so many sweet things lately it's hard for me to choose."

Wait. Did that mean…? "So, this is okay?"

Kurt gave a little laugh and took the couple of steps until he was throwing himself into Blaine's arms, burying his head into the crook of Blaine's neck. "Of course this is okay," Kurt breathed into Blaine's skin. "This is beautiful. I definitely don't think this was cheap or half-assed. It's perfect for us."

Blaine let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding and brought his arms tighter around Kurt. "Oh, good. I was afraid for a minute that it wasn't what you wanted."

"It's everything I wanted before I even knew it's what I wanted."

They held each other for a couple more minutes before Blaine pulled away and suggested they go into the fort he'd so carefully constructed. He lifted one of the blanket curtains and tucked the corner up under his mattress so they had a hole to watch the TV out of, where the RENT DVD menu was already playing.

Once they found a comfortable position with Blaine lying down and Kurt lying half-beside him and half-on top of him, using Blaine's chest as a pillow, Blaine hit play. As the movie progressed, they sang along, always harmonizing perfectly. They giggled during "Light My Candle" when Mimi made the comment about her ass and Blaine slapped Kurt's and murmured, "I think she has some competition." During "Out Tonight," both of them got more lost in each other's eyes than they did in some girl shaking her ass and boobs for the camera. When "Will I" came on, it was more of a serious thing, and they both knew that it was a song they should respect. They sang along, but knew it was more than just a song. As they got older and became a bigger part of the LGBT community, they knew they'd have friends dying of AIDS too and needed to be respectful of those people.

When "I'll Cover You" came around, they sang along loudly, not caring if it disturbed the other people in the dorm rooms around them. That song was almost as important to them as their theme song, so it was mandatory that they sang it with all they had to give. Then, their theme song played and neither of them seemed able to sing. Instead, all they could do was stare at each other and just bask in the significance of it.

Angel's death in the movie had them both sniffling. "Without You" was a song that hit close to home for Blaine, and he knew it probably had the same effect on Kurt. Then the funeral…there was no way anyone could watch Collins stroke Angel's picture and sing the reprise of "I'll Cover You" without bawling like a baby. That was a song neither of them could bring themselves to sing to.

Before they knew it, the movie was over, and the credits were rolling, but neither of them could move.

"It's just such a good story," Kurt sniffled.

Blaine nodded. "I know. Deleted scenes?"

"Of course."

Blaine climbed out of their fort and switched to the other disc so they could watch the deleted scenes.

"I'm still angry that they cut the second half of 'Goodbye Love.' The second half is the best part of the song," Kurt said.

"I agree."

When "Halloween" played, it affected Blaine a lot more than he thought it would.

"Hey, Kurt?" he spoke up.

"Mmm?"

"We broke up on Halloween."

"I try not to think about it."

"No, I know, but I'm bringing it up for a reason. Angel's funeral was on Halloween. We broke up on Halloween. This song…it's kind of every bit as relevant to our relationship as 'I Should Tell You,' or even 'Without You.' Have you ever noticed how many parallels there are between our lives and this musical?"

Kurt was quiet for a moment. "I guess I never really thought about it too much."

"But now that you are…"

"…Yeah."

"It's kind of weird, isn't it?" Blaine asked, tilting his head down to really look at Kurt.

Kurt stared back up at him. He shrugged and said, "We have a musical romance. I think it's kind of fitting."

"Just don't die of AIDS in my arms and I'll be okay with it," Blaine said, smiling softly at Kurt and tucking a stray lock of hair behind his ears.

"I promise," Kurt returned, placing a kiss on Blaine's chest. Then, he sang, "The earth turns; the sun burns; but I die without you."

Blaine immediately sang back, "Life goes on but I'm gone 'cause I die without you."

The rest of their Valentine's night was spent covering each other in a thousand sweet kisses.

May 18, 2013

First Family Milestone

Blaine was eager to get back home for the summer when he'd finished his finals that Wednesday, but since Kurt's last final wasn't until Friday, they agreed he'd stay and then they'd both fly back to Ohio together on Saturday. Of course, Blaine slept the entire two-hour plane ride on Kurt's shoulder and would have slept until the rapture but Kurt woke him when their plane landed and laughingly helped a still half-asleep Blaine off of the plane.

The first thing they saw when they came through the boarding gates was Laurel and Bryan making out.

"I haven't even had a chance to hug her yet and you're already sucking face?" Blaine teased, effectively breaking them apart.

"Blaine!" Laurel maneuvered her arms in a weird way until they were close enough that she could wrap them around Blaine's body. "I missed you so much."

"I missed you too," he laughed, feeling a little more awake now but still drowsy enough to fall asleep in her arms.

He probably would have, too, if Kurt hadn't spoken from behind him. "Laurel? What is that?"

Laurel pulled away from Blaine as if Kurt had burned her and held her hands behind her back, eyes wide but a huge grin on her face.

Blaine looked back and forth between Laurel and Kurt before settling on Bryan, who looked about ready to shit himself.

"Okay, Blainers, don't be mad," Laurel cautioned.

"What am I going to be mad about?"

Bryan took a step closer to her and placed a hand on her lower back. Then…Laurel slowly moved her hands from behind her back and held her left one out to Blaine.

Her left hand with a diamond ring on it.

"Laur…is that…?"

"I take full responsibility for proposing to your cousin," Bryan interjected with a smile. "I'm unabashedly and wholeheartedly in love with her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her and I know you guys are kind of a packaged deal and you and I haven't really had the chance to get to know each other really well but I'd like to because I love your cousin and I can't imagine that I wouldn't love someone who shares her DNA."

Blaine turned his head and looked at Kurt meaningfully for only about a second before they both burst out laughing.

"Oh my god!" Kurt gasped.

"I know!"

"He just—!"

"And it was just like—!"

"I know!"

Laurel huffed and latched herself onto Bryan's arm. "Okay, is someone going to tell me what's going on here?"

The couple laughed until their abs hurt and then Kurt explained, "He totally just did the babbling thing Blaine does."

"Hey, you used to do it too, when we first met!"

"Only when I was nervous because I thought you were going to turn me down!"

"How on earth could I turn you down? I thought you were too good for me!"

"I don't understand how me babbling was funny," Bryan complained to Laurel. "I was trying to prove myself worthy of marrying you to the most important person in your life and he laughed at me. I'm not sure this is going as well as we planned."

"Trust me, this is good," Laurel reassured him.

Blaine and Kurt shared a kiss to make sure they knew they both loved each other and would never turn the other down and then Blaine turned to Laurel and Bryan with a smile. "Congratulations. Seriously, I'm happy for both of you. I can't imagine why you'd think I'd be mad."

Laurel visibly relaxed and fell further against her fiancée's side; Bryan responded by wrapping that arm around her and pulling her close. "I thought that you might think we were moving too fast."

"Me? Judge you? For moving too fast? You do know that Kurt and I knew each other for less than a month and a half before we were saying 'I love you,' right? I don't think it's moving too fast. I think that if you find that person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you know it. I knew Kurt was my Soulmate the second I laid eyes on him."

Kurt attached himself to Blaine's side in the same way Laurel was on Bryan, creating a mirror image of couples. "I knew I'd spend the rest of my life with Blaine the moment I saw him."

"Oh, yeah?" Blaine asked, glancing down at Kurt. "Please, continue. Tell the rest of the story."

"Nice try."

Blaine groaned. "You do know that eventually you're going to have to tell me, right?"

"And that day is not today. Because today is the day that we found out your dearest cousin is engaged to a wonderful man and now we're all going to leave this airport and go out somewhere to celebrate."

"Sounds like a plan," Bryan threw in with a smile.

It was funny how much Blaine liked Bryan even though he didn't know the guy that well.

"We have other news too," Laurel declared as they made their way towards baggage claim. "But we'll save that for the restaurant."

"Laurel, if you're pregnant already, I swear to god—."

"I'm not," she laughed. "I promise."

The group arrived at baggage claim and waited patiently for all of Kurt and Blaine's bags to come around, making idle chat about everything they'd missed with one another. Eventually all the bags came so Laurel and Bryan helped Kurt and Blaine to take everything out to the car, load it, and head to a restaurant. After some debate about where they'd be going for dinner, they settled on the ever-cliché Breadstix, because somehow Bryan had managed to live in Lima for 7 years now and never eat there.

Once they all sat down and made their drink orders, Blaine said, "Alright, I'm not waiting anymore. Tell me your other news."

Laurel grinned and announced, "I'm going to grad school."

"Wait, really?" he asked, jumping in his seat a little. "That's great, Laur! I'm so happy for you! That's what you've always wanted to do, right? This is amazing!"

"Thank you." She reached across the table and grabbed Blaine's hand. "Seriously. I appreciate your support in this and with Bryan. You don't know how much it means to me."

"Of course I support you, Laur. I just want you to be happy. I've always wanted to see you fall in love and finally manage to get to grad school."

"Good."

"I'm really happy for you," Kurt offered, smiling at Laurel.

"Thank you, Kurt," she smiled back.

After a moment, Blaine asked, "But, wait, how can you afford that? I thought with how much you had to spend on me—."

"It's actually kind of a funny story," Laurel said, chuckling lightly and glancing to Bryan sitting next to her. "That's how Bryan and I met. You remember how I told you he works at a bank and handles loans? He's in charge of student loans. He and I met when I was trying to take out a loan for grad school."

"And of course she came in there with those eyes and that smile and I couldn't say no," Bryan joked, smiling softly at her.

It was the same smile that graced Kurt's face when he was giving Blaine the Love Look and it made Blaine's heart positively melt with joy for his cousin.

"Anyway, that's how I'm paying for it. I got a student loan," Laurel explained, leaning up and giving Bryan a quick kiss on the lips.

Dinner passed smoothly with nice conversation between the two couples and eventually, they all clambered into the car together and headed back to the house. When they were around the block from home, Blaine was struck with a thought.

"Laurel?"

"Yes?"

"If you and Bryan are getting married now, does that mean he moved in?"

"Not yet. He'll be moving in with us at the end of the summer so you and I can have a couple more months together on our own before he shakes things up."

Blaine laughed. "Good. Not that I don't like you, Bryan, but I think I'll miss it just being me and her."

"Oh, please!" Laurel protested from the passenger seat. "Kurt is always with you at our house. That or you're at his house! It hasn't been just you and me since you met him."

"She has a point," Kurt added with a smirk. "Not that I'm exactly complaining to waking up every morning in your arms."

"Oh, my god," Laurel sighed. "Be prepared, Bryan. They're worse than us."

"I didn't think that was possible."

"Trust me. Kurt and Blaine beat out every couple on the planet for Most Nauseating."

Blaine leaned across the seat and pulled Kurt in for a kiss. "You bet we do."

July 30, 2013

First Time Being Mistaken For a Married Couple

Blaine and Kurt were sitting at a booth at the local ice cream parlor with Alex in between them. (Kurt had wanted to go to a frozen yogurt place, but they wouldn't have time to go all the way to Columbus with the time restrictions that Mr. and Mrs. Anderson implemented on Blaine's time with Alex. So they just settled for ice cream.

They'd just been talking about Alex's adventures so far this summer when an elderly couple came up to them.

"We're sorry for interrupting," the woman said with a smile, "but you have the most beautiful family."

Kurt looked at Blaine like a deer in the headlights. "Pardon?"

"Your son is just darling. He looks just like you, dear," she stated, gesturing to Blaine.

"Thank you," Blaine managed. He offered a smile back. "That's very kind."

"Come on, Clara. You've taken enough of their time," her husband said, ushering her out the door.

Kurt and Blaine were quiet for a moment before they looked at each other over Alex's head.

"Did we just get mistaken for a married couple with a child?" Kurt asked him.

"I think we did."

"And were they just accepting of it? In Ohio?"

"I think so."

Alex looked back and forth between the boys. "B'ainey, you gotta listen to my story!"

Honestly, Blaine couldn't listen to Alex's story if he tried. He was too busy picturing exactly what the old woman had insinuated. His future with Kurt, taking their son to get ice cream for his birthday.

"I love you," Blaine said, leaning over Alex's head to give Kurt a soft kiss.

"Mmm. I love you, too," Kurt smiled as they pulled away.

"B'ainey! Kurtie! You hafta listen to my story!"

The couple laughed before Blaine said, "I'm all yours, little man."

May 8, 2016

First Day Living Together

"Blaine, I can't believe we thought it was a good idea to move in together the day before finals week. Why did we think this was a good idea?"

"Because the day after finals week would be too late. We'd already be kicked out of the dorms. Quit complaining, that was the last box."

Kurt heaved a sigh and collapsed onto their couch that they found at Goodwill. "Thank grilled cheesus."

"I will never understand what that means."

"You don't want to. Trust me."

Blaine laughed and set down the last box on the small island in their small kitchen, then made his way into their small living room and collapsing onto their big couch, leaning against Kurt. "I'm exhausted."

"You better not fail your finals, Blaine Anderson. If you fail a final and don't graduate with me less than a week from today I will murder you."

"I highly doubt that."

"Fine. But it would not be good. The cold shoulder will be a lot more effective now that we live together."

"We live together," Blaine echoed, smiling and collapsing until he was lying down with his head in Kurt's lap.

Kurt started running his fingers through Blaine's hair. "Finally. It took us a month to say 'I love you' and four years to move in together."

"Yeah, yeah. It's not my fault that someone decided to change their major and then kicked ass at it and took every internship offered. An intern doesn't get paid, Kurt. You were working for free. How does that help pay the bills?"

"It doesn't. But it'll help me pay the bills in the future when someone hires me for an actual paid position."

During the summer after their freshman year, Blaine and Kurt talked a lot about how that year had felt really unfulfilling for Kurt academic-wise. College wasn't what he thought it would be and he wasn't getting the joy from the music program that he thought he would. They made a list one night of all of the things Kurt enjoyed and essentially decided that none of them would make a suitable career for him. The next morning when they got dressed for the day, Kurt criticized Blaine's outfit choice and laid a new one out for him, and that's when Blaine knew.

Fashion.

When he pitched the idea to his boyfriend, Kurt kissed him soundly on the mouth and said it was almost perfect, but amended it a little bit. Kurt's heart was still in the theatre, regardless of whether he'd be a performer or not. So he settled on costume design. He'd still be helping to tell the story, but through the clothes, and that was more magical to Kurt than telling it with his own voice. After a few calls were made, he successfully changed his major to theatre design with a costume emphasis.

Kurt had a few internships at a few different off-Broadway theatres as a dyer and cutter and draper and other smaller jobs around the theatre, but had yet to actually help design anything. He was hopeful, though, now that he'd be getting his degree on Saturday.

Blaine couldn't be more proud of him.

"And do you really think that all of your open mic nights and random miniature gigs will be enough to pay the bills?" Kurt countered.

"Not quite. But at least I'm getting paid for them."

After his first open mic night, he'd been asked to come back and play every Friday. With that kind of response, Blaine expanded his range and began playing at other local coffee joints and family-owned restaurants around the city. The more places he played, the more people were beginning to recognize him, and the more gigs he was getting. People came up to him after shows and asked him to play birthday parties and other small things.

He was starting to get his name out there and it was thrilling. Especially since he was doing it with his own music and he was no longer just playing covers—though he threw a few in there every now and then.

"Our first night in our first apartment together and we're already arguing over bills. Blaine, I think we're becoming a normal couple."

"Shit. You're right. What can we do to get our unordinary status back?"

"Sex on the couch?"

"I'm pretty sure that's a normal couple activity."

"Hmm. Then I vote we try to get our unordinary status back tomorrow. After sex on the couch."

"I second that motion."

"I had a feeling you might."

December 24, 2016

First Christmas Together In Their Apartment

Blaine made the final touches on the mistletoe above their bedroom doorway—the very special mistletoe—before grinning.

This was it.

"I can't believe it took us until Christmas Eve to put up our Christmas decorations!" Kurt called from the living room.

"We're busy people, Kurt! You don't even believe in god so I hardly think it matters when we put up decorations celebrating Jesus' birth," Blaine yelled back.

"Jesus wasn't even born in December. I mean, theoretically, if there was a Jesus, historians say he would have been born in August or something."

Blaine couldn't help but laugh at his ridiculous boyfriend. "I'm done in here if you're done out there!"

He needed to call Kurt to him now before he lost all of his nerve. He was already shaking and he really didn't want to back out from this just because he was nervous.

"I'll come inspect in just a second!"

After two minutes, he spied Kurt headed down the hallway towards him. The second Kurt turned the corner and began walking down the hallway he looked irked. "Blaine! I told you to decorate! You didn't put up anything!"

"I did. I hung mistletoe." Blaine pointed above him.

"Really, Blaine? And in our bedroom doorway. Are you trying to seduce me every time we go to our room?"

"Maybe."

Kurt was standing right in front of him now, but not in the actual doorway. "It looks nice. The little decoration you actually did looks good, Blaine. How could I send you here and tell you to decorate and you do nothing but hang mistletoe? What have you been doing this whole time? Actually, you know what, it looks a little…" Kurt trailed off as he really saw the mistletoe—and the engagement ring attached to it. "…off-center," he finished, looking down to find Blaine down on one knee.

Blaine smiled patiently up at him. "Sorry. I was a little distracted when I was hanging it."

"Blaine…"

"I have a speech. You know how I love to ramble." The corners of Kurt's mouths turned up softly and he nodded his head wordlessly, so Blaine began. "Kurt. Soulmate. I love you. I have loved you for so many years now that it doesn't even feel like there was a time when I didn't. After my parents and Trevor and everything—which all seem so far away now—I had trouble trusting people. It was just me and Laurel and I was content with that. But then you came along and even on our first date you were letting me in and trusting me wholeheartedly—enough to take me somewhere sacred to you. You shared one of the most intimate details about your life with me that day and you barely knew me. Having someone put so much faith in me without even knowing me was definitely something different.

"You are something different. We had a lot of problems at first; I did, at least. I had a hard time finding my footing with us and I made a lot of mistakes. That Halloween I will never forget was the worst night of my life—but it was also the best. It woke me up and made me realize that I had to change if I wanted to keep you, and keeping you was never something I questioned. I knew I needed to have you forever. We had a hiccup, at first, when I was struggling to get a grip on my alcoholism. But after that first awful relapse I never had another one because I couldn't imagine ever hurting you and that's exactly what I'd done that night.

"I've been sober for 4 years because of you, Kurt. You helped me to become the person kneeling before you today, down on one knee, shaking like a dog because I'm still so afraid of losing you and I can't stand the thought of living without you. But that's why I'm doing this. Because I can't live without you, Kurt. And I know that you and I don't need a piece of paper or a ring or a ceremony to know that we'll be together forever and that we're committed, but I want to do all of those things with you.

"So here I am, on my knee before you in a non-sexual way, saying that I love you with everything I have and everything I am, Kurt Hummel. I gave you my heart a long time ago, and now I'm asking if you'd take my last name too—hyphenated, of course.

"Will you marry me?"

The tears Kurt had been holding back through Blaine's speech finally burst out along with a little cry as he pulled Blaine up and captured him in a wet, loving kiss. "Of course I'll marry you," Kurt murmured against his lips.

"You're saying yes?" Blaine asked, pulling away and trying to catch his breath. He knew Kurt would say yes, of course—his nerves were just over his speech—but hearing Kurt actually say the words aloud was very different in a very good way.

"I'm saying yes."

They continued kissing under the mistletoe for a good 5 minutes until Kurt backed away, leaned against the doorway, and gasped, "Oh, my god, Laurel and Bryan's daughter is going to make the cutest flower girl ever."

You are cordially invited to attend the non-alcoholic wedding of

Kurt Elizabeth Hummel

And

Blaine Daniel Anderson

to take place on October 31, 2017

(Non-Halloween theme; Please do not arrive in costume. Clothing is black-tie formal)

July 27, 2017

First Wedding Announcement Delivery

Blaine held the cream-colored envelope in his hands in the passenger seat and stared down at it.

Kurt laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. "It will be fine, Blaine. We'll just give it to them and then take Alex out to the zoo or something. Eight-year-old boys like the zoo, right?"

He wanted to respond but he was just too nervous. "What if they rip it up right in front of me?" Blaine whispered. "What if they open it and rip it up right in front of my face? Or throw it in the fireplace? Or give it back without a word? Or say I can't see Alex anymore?"

"None of that will happen, sweetheart. It's going to be okay. We don't have to invite them, you know."

"I know, but I want Alex to come and he won't be able to if I don't invite them."

"Then let's go inside."

Blaine sighed but nodded, opening the car door and climbing out.

As agreed upon years ago, Blaine and Kurt came to visit Alex and see him for a few hours every end-of-July for his birthday and Christmastime. This year he'd turned 8, which was so surreal for Blaine. He'd watched the boy grow up by 6-month increments for the past 4 or so years. Thankfully, Alex had been in remission the whole time with no indication that the cancer would come back any time soon.

If Blaine believed in god, this is when he would thank him.

They rang the doorbell and took a step back on the porch, waiting for the maid to let them in.

To their surprise, Alex himself answered the door. "Blaine! Kurt! I'm so excited to see you guys! Come upstairs and see all the presents that I got for my birthday!"

Blaine laughed as Alex took his hand and dragged him into the house, Kurt trailing in after him. "I'm not sure our parents want me to stay in the house for too long, buddy. Kurt suggested that we go to the zoo."

"Awesome! I love the zoo! Can we see the lions?"

"Sure."

"And the monkeys?"

"Yeah."

"And the—."

"Alex!" Blaine chuckled, "We can see all the animals you want. I just need to check with Mom and Dad to make sure they know you're coming with me."

It pained Blaine every time he had to call the Andersons "Mom" and "Dad," but he knew it would be confusing for Alex to call them Mr. and Mrs. Anderson when Alex knew they were brothers. Until Alex reached an age that was old enough to comprehend their complex family dynamic, Blaine would try to keep things as simple as possible.

"I thought I heard you," Mrs. Anderson said, eyeing Blaine and then Kurt. "Where are you taking him this time?" Her tone with him was cold and formal, like they were setting up a business transaction.

"We thought we might take him to the zoo," Blaine answered.

"Fine. Have him back by 5 o'clock."

She turned to go back to the living room where she'd come from when Blaine called out, "Hey, Mom?"

The woman stopped in her tracks at the endearment they never used. "What is it, Blaine?"

"I have something for you. I mean, it's mainly for Alex, but it's for you and…Dad…too."

Alex looked between them peculiarly. "What is it?" He asked.

Blaine held out the envelope to Charlotte who began walking and snatched it out of his hand. She opened it and frowned. "So you two are getting married."

It wasn't a question, but Blaine said, "Yes."

"Really?" Alex ran over and threw his arms around Blaine's waist. "That's awesome!"

"On Halloween. How very…" she trailed off and never inserted an adjective. "Why are you inviting us, Blaine?"

"Because I want my baby brother to be there. He can't come without you two."

Alex quickly detached himself from Blaine and stood in front of his mother, jumping up and down. "Please let me go, Mom! I really wanna go! I'll make sure to clean my room every day and help with all the chores and you can keep my allowance for the rest of the year if you let me go!"

Charlotte sighed, looking down at the invitation in her hand. "I'll discuss it with your father. Now go put your shoes on so you can go to the zoo."

The little boy rushed off to do as he was told and Charlotte disappeared.

"That went better than expected," Kurt whispered into Blaine's ear.

"She didn't even say it directly to me. She told Alex that she'd discuss it with Dad. She wouldn't even give me an answer."

"There was no ripping or burning or returning or loss of Alex privileges. She didn't even tell him flat-out 'no.' That's something."

"Yeah," Blaine agreed. "That's something."

October 31, 2017

First—(and Only)—Wedding

Blaine paced back and forth in the room he was getting ready in, trying to do his bowtie and failing every time.

"Let me do it," Carter demanded, slapping Blaine's hands away and stopping his obsessive pacing.

Scotty snorted from the corner. "Do you even know how to tie a bowtie, Carter?"

"I'm his best man. I googled it last night."

"I still think I should have been his best man," Wes argued.

"Please, Wes. You would have taken him to a female strip club for his bachelor party," David said. "I would have made a much better best man."

Laurel swept into the room, their newest baby daughter in her arms and their older daughter trailing behind in her flower girl dress with Bryan following and closing the door behind them.

"Oh, my god, Blainers, you look so handsome! I'm going to cry and ruin my make-up!"

"Dear god, please don't cry again," Bryan muttered. "I love you, honey, but enough with the tears. We're all happy for them."

"This is a big day, okay? I'm allowed to be emotional."

"Please don't cry anymore, Mommy," Tessa pleaded, tugging on her mother's dress.

"I won't, baby, I promise," she smiled, wiping at her eyes with the hand that wasn't attached to an arm cradling her other baby. "See? I'm already done."

"Good."

"There," Carter said, patting Blaine on the chest when he finished tying the bowtie. "You look great, Blaine."

"Thank you." He crouched down and held out his arms to Tessa. "And so does my favorite little cousin! You are a beautiful flower girl, Tessie-Girl!"

Tessa giggled and ran into his arms. "Thanks, B'ainey."

It made Blaine's heart clench at the endearment; once upon a time, his little brother called him that.

"Do you think they'll come?" Blaine asked, picking up Tessa and settling her on his hip.

No one offered reassurances.

Blaine knew it was a longshot. His mother's face hadn't looked all that promising when he'd handed her the invitation all of those months ago, and they never sent their RSVP, but still; he couldn't help but hope.

Amanda, Rachel Berry, and Lucy poked their heads into the room. Blaine almost had to do a double take even after all these years to see Lucy without Jane, Nicole, and Amy at her side; even though he knew they were with Kurt helping him get ready.

Rachel said, "Blaine, Kurt told us to tell you that everything is going to be fine and if they show up it will be great but if not you should be happy to marry the most attractive and charming and talented man in all of New York."

"Also he said that he's ready whenever you are," Amanda added.

"And that he loves you," Lucy finished.

Carter crossed the room and planted a kiss on his wife's cheek. "He's ready."

"Are you sure?" Rachel asked again, narrowing her eyes at him. "You better be sure, Blaine. I won't have someone second-guessing their marriage to my best friend."

"He's my best friend, Rachel," Blaine pointed out.

"You don't count," Lucy stated simply. "You also give him sex. That gives you the upper hand."

"What's sex?" Tessa asked in Blaine's arms.

Laurel's eyes almost bugged out of her head. "That's something only adults can talk about, okay, honey?"

Scotty was howling with laughter in the corner along with Wes and David so Amanda charged into the room and crossed her arms in front of them. "Cut that out right now or I'll make you three sit in the chairs like every other guest."

"You can't take away our groomsmen privileges, Mandy. It's Blaine's wedding."

"Okay," Blaine said, holding up his hand to stop all of the chaos. "I love you all, but I need a minute alone. Bryan, take Holly from Laurel and go find some seats. Amanda, Rachel, Lucy, go back to Kurt. Tell him I'll be ready in 5 more minutes. Laurel, take Tessa and wait in the hall with Carter, Scotty, Wes, and David until I'm ready to start."

He took a deep breath and sat down on the chaise in the middle of the room as everyone did as they were told. After a moment of bustling, he was alone.

Finally.

He loved his family and friends dearly but they were driving him insane and he just wanted a minute to think. He wanted to think about Kurt and their day and what they were about to do. This was a big step, a big day for them, and he couldn't handle the craziness of the people in his life.

After a good few minutes, a knock sounded on Blaine's door.

"I'm almost ready," Blaine said to whoever was knocking. "Just a couple more minutes."

"It's me, kid."

Blaine immediately blew out a huge sigh of relief. "Burt, please come in."

The door opened and Burt laughed as he stepped into the room. Blaine stood and walked over to his soon-to-be father-in-law.

"Having cold feet?" Burt asked.

"Not at all. It's just a big day, you know? I'm one hundred percent certain about what I'm about to do, I just want a few minutes to digest it."

"Sounds logical to me. Why don't you sit back down and we can just relax for a second?"

"Okay."

The men sat down on the chaise and Blaine leaned against Burt's side. "I love your son."

"If I had a dime for every time you've said that to me, Blaine, I'd be a very rich man."

"I just want you to know. I know it's probably hard to give your son away."

"I lost my son to you a long time ago, kid. This is just the day you guys are making it official."

"How does he look? I bet he looks beautiful. He always looks beautiful, but I bet he looks especially beautiful today."

"My boy looks pretty sharp. Both of my boys do."

Blaine smiled. "Thank you."

They relished in silence for a couple more minutes before Burt said, "Kurt's gonna be pissed if you guys don't start right on time."

"I know."

"Don't freak yourself out, Blaine. Kurt's been waiting for this day since he first met you; he's ready. You both are. You're more in love than I've ever seen anyone and this is a good thing for you two. I always imagined the first boy my son brought home to be unworthy of him; I figured I'd have to get out my shotgun and intimidate him until he ran for the hills. But I'm glad you're the first boy he brought home. I'm glad you're the only boy he brought home. You're perfect for him and I can't imagine him marrying anyone else. I'm happy for you, for the both of you, and I'm so proud."

Blaine's heart swelled. That was exactly what he needed to hear to go out there. "Thank you, Burt. Again. I can't…I can't thank you enough—I mean for everything, not even just today but—."

"You wanna stand here and thank me a million times or go out there and marry my kid?"

He laughed and they both headed out into the hallway.

Waiting out there for him, standing next to Laurel, was Alex.

"Blaine!" Alex ran into him and attacked him with a hug. "You look awesome! Like James Bond awesome!"

"How do you even know who James Bond is?" Blaine laughed. "You're a little young for James Bond."

"Mom and Dad gave me some of your old video games. I saw Kurt too, and he looks really awesome too. You guys are gonna look awesome."

Awesome was Alex's new favorite word.

Blaine was so happy that he didn't even care how many times Alex said the word, he just hugged his little brother back as tight as he could. "You're looking pretty awesome yourself, little man."

"Thanks. Mom dressed me and Dad tied the tie."

Blaine stiffened. "Are they here?"

He was aware of all the eyes on him—Burt, Laurel, Wes, David, Carter, Scotty—but he didn't care. Let them think what they wanted; let them judge him for hoping his homophobic, asshole parents would come to his wedding.

"Yeah. They're trying to hide in the back corner of the big room you guys are gonna get married in."

He could feel Wes and David staring at him with worried eyes—the last time they'd seen him react to seeing his parents was when he had a panic attack on Kurt's kitchen floor against the refrigerator—but he was better. He saw his parents every year twice a year, this was nothing new.

Except that it was. Because he still remembered the day he and Laurel had discussed him inviting them to his wedding and them throwing the envelope in the fireplace without even opening it. He still remembered the way that had stung to even think about. Yet here he was, with his little brother hugging him, and his parents in the ballroom with the other guests.

"Then I'd better go out there and get married, huh?" Blaine asked with a little laugh, wiping little tears from his eyes.

He ushered everyone to the back hallway outside the ballroom where he and Kurt would get married (since they were both against a church wedding) and headed to his own side hallway. The way Kurt had orchestrated it had Kurt and Blaine both entering the ballroom at the same time from opposing side doors, that way they both got to see each other arrive at the altar. Their groomsmen and women still entered together from the back, though, so Blaine was alone outside his door.

The song 'A Thousand Years' played as the wedding procession came down the aisle, lining up at the altar. It was an outdated song now but important to them as a couple so that's what they used. When it ended, that meant everyone was in their places and Kurt and Blaine were ready to come in.

He took a deep breath and opened the door.

First Dance As A Married Couple

Blaine grinned at Kurt in his arms as their first dance song, 'I'll Cover You,' played and they swayed along, dancing in a circle.

"Hi, Mr. Anderson-Hummel."

"Hi, Mr. Anderson-Hummel."

If possible, their grins got wider. Blaine was absolutely positive that they were both staring at each other with the Love Look Blaine had finally grown so accustomed to over the years. Funny how at first the look was so foreign to Blaine he didn't even know what it was and now it was as natural to him as waking up in Kurt's arms every morning.

Kurt tilted their foreheads together and closed his eyes. "I love you."

"I love you," Blaine answered, closing his eyes too.

He shut everything out. The song, the people watching him, the decorations, everything, he just shut it out. In the end, this day was all about them, just him and Kurt. They had finally declared their love to everyone in a state that allowed them to.

"How are you feeling? In this moment, right now?"

Blaine remembered a time when Kurt had asked him that same thing; when they were lying in their spot at the arboretum, kissing lazily, enjoying just being together.

He smiled. "Overstimulated."

"Really?"

"No. That's just what I said the first time you asked me that and I didn't want to break pattern."

"Blaine," Kurt laughed, letting his head fall to Blaine's collarbone before pulling it up to look into Blaine's now open eyes. "I'm serious. How are you feeling?"

"There isn't a word in existence that could possibly describe how I'm feeling right now, Kurt. I'm so in love with you that I can't even form a coherent sentence to express it."

Kurt's smile softened. "I think that suffices."

First Honeymoon Night

Blaine and Kurt collapsed onto the king-size hotel room bed side by side, letting out identical sighs.

"I'm exhausted," Kurt announced.

"So am I."

"I thought planning the wedding was going to be the most hectic part."

"Please. You should have known that anything involving Wes and David would be hectic."

"Chaotic."

"Disastrous."

"Insane."

"Destructive."

"They lit a tablecloth on fire."

"Not on purpose. They knocked a candle over."

"I almost kicked them out of our wedding reception. I love you so much I didn't. I hope you know that."

They fell into silence for a couple minutes, both of them catching their breaths and going over the night in their heads.

"I still can't believe my parents came," Blaine said.

Kurt rolled his head and looked at his husband. "I can. I think they may be changing, Blaine. They changed from the people who kicked you out when you came out to them as a gay man to attending your gay wedding to another man. That's progress."

"Yeah. I think you're right."

"They might even come to our first child's christening."

A second ticked before they both just burst out laughing at the joke. They laughed until their stomaches ached and then Blaine crawled further up the bed and lay against the pillows. Kurt joined him a moment later, laying his head on Blaine's shoulder and throwing an arm over Blaine's waist while Blaine threw his arm over Kurt's.

"We're married," Kurt whispered.

"We're married."

"I mean we really finally did it. We dealt with all of the shit that we had thrown at us and we made it through and we got married. I mean, do you remember all the stuff that happened? It was years ago now. We had your alcoholism and Alex's cancer and your parents and even Trevor, regardless of the fact that he never actually physically came into our lives. We dealt with all of it together and now look at us."

"We did go through a little bit without each other. That's why we picked today to get married, remember?"

"Yes, but even a break-up couldn't keep us apart, Blaine. We're married."

"We're married."

"I still remember the day we met," Kurt said, nuzzling Blaine's neck and placing a kiss there.

Blaine sighed. "You better not be bringing that day up right now only to still hold out on me. Kurt, it's been more than 5 years. I think it's about time I heard the story."

"You know the story, silly. You were there."

"Soulmate, I swear to grilled cheesus—."

"That's another story you still don't know."

"I'm going to annul this marriage."

"You wouldn't dare. And you can't threaten annulment or divorce just to get me to tell you the story of how we met. That's not a very good way to get me to do what you way."

"Fine," Blaine smirked, flipping himself over to hover above Kurt so quickly that Kurt didn't even have a chance to fight it. He was on his hands and knees above his husband, each knee on either side of Kurt's hips and each hand on either side of Kurt's head. "I can think of a different way to coax it out of you."

He bent down and started trailing kisses from Kurt's jaw to his collarbone, giving extra attention to all the spots he knew drove Kurt mad.

"That's not fair," Kurt gasped out. "You're playing dirty."

"You've been playing dirty for 5 years."

"Mmm." Kurt pulled Blaine's head away from his neck and up so that he could attach their lips, already parting his and falling into their many kissing patterns. Blaine let his knees slide down the bed and relaxed his hips on top of Kurt's bringing his hands from the mattress to cup Kurt's face. He positively melted against Kurt's body, loving the way his husband's lips felt on his and loving the fact that he could call him his husband.

"How about this," Blaine proposed, only detaching their lips a centimeter apart so he could talk. "You tell me the story of how we met from your point of view, and after, we'll consummate our marriage."

Kurt actually whined. "You would not withhold sex from me over this."

"I would. I really, really would. And you would have to listen to me touch myself in the bathroom with thoughts of what you and I could be doing if only you hadn't been too stubborn."

Soulmate sucked in breath. "You would not."

"I so would."

"Fine. I tell the story and you fuck me until I'm limping onto that plane to Paris tomorrow."

"Only if you return the favor."

"Deal."

Blaine rolled off of Kurt and laid on his side beside him, propping his head up on his elbow and tracing Kurt's jaw with a gentle fingertip. "You do realize I've waited 5 years for this story."

"It will live up to expectations, I promise. So, I was starting my first day of college…"

June 4, 2012

First Meet—Kurt's POV

Kurt readjusted the strap of his shoulder bag one more time before he walked in.

This was his first ever college class. Granted, he was still in Ohio, but this was still a chance to reinvent himself. No one he knew was taking any summer college classes. This was his golden opportunity to try out his new persona—flirty, confident, and proudly gay. He'd been out and proud for a while now, but this was his first time to really show that without being shoved into a locker or thrown into a dumpster or bitchslapped by an iceberg.

This was his time to shine.

He was Kurt-freaking-Hummel and he was about to make every boy in the class want him—gay or straight—and every girl in the class dying to be his friend.

This was the moment.

Except for as soon as he stepped foot into the room, the wind was completely knocked out of him because the first person his eyes landed on was a—literally, apparently—breathtakingly beautiful man.

Oh, grilled cheesus, please be gay.

Crap. He could not already be losing his cool. He was supposed to be flirty and confident and here he was tripping over himself because he spied a cute boy in his class. He needed to get his act together. It's all about the character, he told himself. He needed to stay in character.

So he straightened his back and held his head up high and tried to make it up the stairs without tripping because he wasn't actually looking at where he was going because it was literally impossible for him to tear his eyes away from the stunning, raven-haired man.

The man who didn't even notice him; in fact, the guy seemed completely enthralled in whatever it was he was writing on that paper.

Of course. Why would someone like him notice someone like Kurt? Kurt was a nobody. Kurt was the kid who was invisible in the hallway. Kurt was the guy who never got picked for a solo. The guy he was drooling over was obviously some kind of demi-god and probably won every award that was given out at his high school. This guy was so clearly out of Kurt's league that it wasn't even funny. What was he thinking?

Remember your character. You are a flirty, confident, proudly gay man. This guy is not out of your league. You are in the same league.

At least, maybe if that's what he believed, the guy would believe it too and he might be able to get at least one date out of this.

He made his decision and sat down one seat away from the guy.

The guy still didn't even notice him at first. He was more interested in…what was that…music notes? He was doodling music notes? Even music notes were more interesting than Kurt.

After a moment, the guy must have sensed him looking at him. Kurt quickly looked away so he wouldn't be caught in his staring, but then he heard a pen drop. He glanced down at the floor between them and noticed the guy had dropped his pen.

Bingo. A dropped pen is golden flirting material. The universe is doing you a solid, Kurt, don't screw it up.

Kurt picked it up and twirled it in his hand with a practiced ease that came from his many years of sai sword tricks. He held it out and said, "I think you dropped this."

He was actually quite impressed with himself because he'd managed to keep his voice at a steady and calm tone; it wasn't even doing that thing it did when he was nervous and jumped up an octave.

The guy was taking his time lifting his eyes up, which could only mean that he was gay and checking Kurt out, before he finally found Kurt's eyes. Then the guy's mouth fell open a little and he just gawked.

Was Kurt really that awful looking today? Surely not. He did his hair three times to ensure it looked its best, he'd worked on the outfit all week, there was no way it was about him looking bad. Still, even with the false confidence he'd gained being in the Cheerios, Kurt couldn't help but find the idea that the guy found any part of him attractive to be even more ridiculous.

Kurt frowned for a moment before the guy's face jogged a memory—but from what? If Kurt had seen this guy before, surely he'd know it.

The man finally reached out to retrieve his pen but Kurt held onto it and smiled; if he knew this guy already, maybe that would increase his chances of a date.

"Hey, I think I know you. Wait, hold on a sec." Kurt tapped his chin with the pen like he was so used to doing when he was trying to figure out a hard question on a test. He squinted, as if that would make him see any easier. Actually, the squinting made the guy a little blurrier, which did it because Kurt had only seen him from far away with vague features. "Aha. Imagine you in a navy blue blazer and voila!"

Confusion clouded those warm, honey eyes; Kurt liked the way he could read the emotion so clearly through the guy's eyes. "Dalton Academy Warblers. You were their lead vocalist junior year, and then I never heard one of your marvelous solos again."

Kurt paused, giving the guy a chance to respond, but it didn't look like he would. How was it possible for this guy not to talk? He was a lead vocalist in a show choir.

Well, if the guy wasn't going to talk, might as well have fun with him.

"Oh, I think I know what happened. Ursula has your voice, doesn't she? It figures. Now all you need is True Love's Kiss."

Maybe it was juvenile to use Disney to flirt, but if this was a man who couldn't appreciate classic Disney then there was no way they would work out anyway.

Which would be a shame because Kurt could already see their fall wedding clear as day in his mind.

He glanced around the room and turned back to the guy. Flirty, confident, proudly gay. Proudly gay. "Drat, where's Prince Charming when you need him, right?"

Kurt knew that line was a stretch. He knew that if this guy wasn't gay, he'd go running for the hills because that would be crossing a line that no straight man ever crossed. But for some reason, Kurt felt like it was worth the risk.

As he looked into those eyes, he saw the exhaustion of someone who had lived through a lot and knew that this guy needed someone to take a chance on him. Kurt was more than happy to be the one to do so.

"Blaine," the guy finally stammered out, snatching the pen from Kurt's hand in an almost rude way. "I'm Blaine."

Kurt chose to ignore Blaine's rude manners for the time being and just focused on the fact that this amazing guy was finally talking to him. "Oh, so you do talk? Darn, that means you must have already had True Love's Kiss." Kurt pretended to be deflated at the possibility that Blaine was in love already and looked down at his desk, a forlorn expression on his face. Sell it, Kurt. The audience won't believe it if you don't."I guess it's true what they say, all the good ones are taken."

"Or gay," came Blaine's immediate response.

Kurt was so taken off guard by Blaine's casual use of 'gay' that he whipped his head up. He searched those hazel eyes, silently begging please be gay please be gay please be gay. Blaine continued, "The expression. All the good ones are taken or gay."

He blinked to process Blaine's words and then smirked, because this definitely meant he was gay. He held his hand out to shake, because although Blaine had snatched the pen in his hand and clearly had no manners, Kurt Hummel was a gentleman. "My name's Kurt. I'm one of the good ones."

The smile that graced Blaine's face almost knocked the wind out of Kurt. This guy's smile, it was so genuine, but so worn down. The smile, though it was clear that it was his real smile at this point, didn't reach his eyes.

Oh, Blaine. What happened to you?

This thought only flitted through his mind for a moment before Blaine slipped his warm hand into Kurt's and Kurt couldn't even think.

It felt like if he had been on a gurney and dying in a hospital and they used those electric paddles to try and shock Kurt's heart into working again. The feel of Blaine's hand in his was an electric shock that restarted his heart and set his body ablaze, bringing him back to life. Kurt had been dead inside for so long that even the façade of being okay felt real at this point. But the way Blaine's hand felt changed everything.

Blaine asked him, "For which reason, the first or the second?"

"Hmm," Kurt hummed, like he was seriously considering answering even though in reality he was trying to calm down his erratic heartbeat. Flirty, confident, proudly gay. Just then, the professor walked in, so Kurt turned to face the front and said, "We're sitting next to each other for the duration of this class, so you'll have the next 4 weeks to figure that out."

The sound of Blaine laughing beside him was like music to Kurt's ears. That is, until Blaine spoke and Kurt let the words sink into his mind. "I'm not really known to be a patient person, so I'm just gonna throw it out there that I'm one of the good ones, for the second reason. And only the second reason."

Was this guy…Was Blaine actually flirting with him? Was Blaine flirting back?

Oh, praise grilled cheesus. Praise every sandwich Finn Hudson has ever made. Praise everything Finn Hudson ever touched because this amazingly beautiful and devastatingly mysterious guy was flirting back.

"Good to know. I'm glad my shameless flirting went to good use."

Kurt spent the whole introductory lecture going over his conversation with Blaine. He couldn't believe he'd actually done it; he'd been the flirty, confident, proudly gay person he wanted to be and it worked. This guy was flirting with him and it felt so good. How the hell had Kurt even said half the things that he did? It was a miracle he hadn't just passed out in the chair or turned to dust.

It was working. He was becoming the person he wanted to be.

Except, now that image was changing.

Before he walked into that room, he'd wanted to be the guy that made everyone in the room notice him.

The second he set foot in there he only cared about one person noticing him. He realized with a jolt that even if Blaine was the only person to ever notice him again, he'd be happy. And that went against everything he had set himself up for that morning, but he didn't even care. If he could just have Blaine look at him with that wonder in his eyes for the rest of his life, he'd be happy. If he could wipe away that look of permanent desperation in Blaine's eyes, he'd be happy. In that moment, Kurt realized that the only thing he wanted was for Blaine to be as happy as he was in this moment.

When class was over, Blaine immediately asked, "How'd you know?"

Kurt was caught off guard again and had no idea what Blaine was talking about.

He must have looked as confused as he felt because Blaine then elaborated his question to, "How'd you know I was in the Warblers?"

"Oh," Kurt smiled, "I went to McKinley High. I was in the New Directions. We competed against you guys a few times."

Kurt threw the strap of his shoulder bag over his shoulder and headed down the stairs of the auditorium-style classroom to the door. He felt Blaine following behind him and was confirmed in his suspicions when Blaine asked, "Really?"

He immediately stilled and whipped around. He'd known the New Directions were practically nobodies, but here he was remembering Blaine's face and Blaine didn't remember his. He would have been embarrassed but he decided it was more about his group as a whole and not just him. "You don't remember us." Blaine didn't say anything to the contrary and Kurt's eyes widened. How did we compete against them several times and he doesn't remember us? "I can't believe we are that forgettable, that you wouldn't even remember us less than a year since our last competition." He could read it in Blaine's eyes that he was trying to remember so Kurt spun around and kept walking. "If you're trying to remember my face in the group, don't bother. I was in the back all the time. Try picturing a miniature-sized brunette girl and a freakishly tall and lanky brown-haired boy."

Kurt knew that if Blaine had any chance at all at remembering the New Directions, he'd have to picture Rachel and Finn.

As predicted, Blaine said, "Ooh, I remember now."

Of course. Kurt scoffed, "Yeah, thought so."

"With a voice like yours, why didn't you ever get any solos?"

Kurt was so taken off guard again that he hesitated in his tracks. Blaine was knocking him off of his feet with every word and Kurt didn't know how to handle it. He'd never had someone surprise him so much just with their thoughts. He continued out of the building and teased, "I've known you for an hour and you're already antsing to give me solos. I like you."

It was a refreshing change from The Rachel and Finn Show, that was for sure.

That beautiful but tragic smile came across Blaine's face again. "It's what I do." Then Blaine shrugged like he just handed out solos to everyone all the time.

Wait a minute…

"That's right, I heard about that," Kurt placed a hand on Blaine's shoulder but quickly removed it when that electric current shot through him again. "That's why I never heard you sing last year. You decided that everyone deserves their chance to sing a solo and started giving them to all the guys in your group."

It was actually pretty noble, what Blaine did for his show choir. If Kurt had secured the position as lead vocalist there's no way he'd be willing to share the spotlight. Blaine obviously had a really generous and caring heart.

"How did you hear about that all the way at McKinley?" Blaine asked him.

"Our lead girl, Rachel, does extensive research on all of our competitions. When she heard about what you were doing, she was both outraged and ecstatic. She thought it was ludicrous to just hand solos out to everyone, and not just the most talented person in the group, but she was also happy because apparently that made you guys easier competition."

Blaine smirked, and Kurt realized with a pang in his heart that even his smirk didn't feel full. "And did it?"

Kurt pushed away the thoughts of Blaine's deeper life and smiled sweetly, knowing that Blaine had finally remembered their last competition and the results. "No. Although, I must say, I did miss your voice at all of those competitions. You're really good."

There we go. Flirty, confident, proudly gay. Don't get thrown off by Blaine's pleading eyes or his half-hearted smiles or his compassionate spirit. Stay focused. This is temporary. You cannot get attached. In the fall, you'll start this whole thing all over again at NYU and catch the attention of a New York guy.

"I should hope so, I'm about to leave for NYU to study music at the end of the summer."

Wait. What? No. NYU? Surely, Kurt had heard wrong. His mind was playing tricks, mixing his thoughts with the words he was hearing. Because there was no possible way…

But what if…

Kurt didn't even realize he'd stopped moving altogether until he was staring at Blaine with what he was sure was an unattractive facial expression, but he couldn't help it. He was just thinking about not getting attached and meeting someone in New York when Blaine had mentioned NYU…

What if the universe was trying to tell him something?

He had to be sure. "I'm sorry?"

Blaine just continued like Kurt was only looking for an explanation on his academics. "Yeah. I just wanted to get some basics out of the way before I went there so I could hurry up and take the classes I actually care about, the music ones."

"And you said NYU, correct?"

"Yes?" Blaine's answer ended up sounding more like a question but it was still a yes.

This is not possible. Kurt, you do not believe in god. This is not the universe. There is no higher power at play here. But if there was…

It was too coincidental. There was no possible way this could be happening without some kind of other force at play here. If there was ever a time Kurt considered a higher power, it was right now, with Blaine, who had basically just told him they would be going to New York together in the fall.

What did that mean?

The clear image of their autumn wedding came into Kurt's mind again, along with the fresh memory of the way Blaine's touch brought him back to life better than any mantra of flirty, confident, proudly gay ever could. And the way Blaine's eyes looked at him…

What if he was made for Blaine? What if this was the way it was supposed to be? What if Blaine was just this broken boy, just like Kurt, who needed someone to save him? What if that someone was Kurt?

Kurt could clearly see the man hiding underneath all of Blaine's walls. He could see the person that Blaine was all the way inside, all the way to his core. He saw the beauty of his heart and he knew that this was a boy who would become a great man.

But how could he see all of that?

Kurt shook his head to clear his thoughts away and smiled, aware that if he just stood there mute for too long he'd seem like he was mentally challenged. "What are the odds?" he said under his breath. He spoke louder, to Blaine directly, "I'm heading to NYU in the fall. I'm in the music program, too."

There. Let Blaine be blown away by the situation too. Kurt shouldn't be the only one having an existential crisis.

Blaine's face relaxed Kurt a little because he looked just as thrown off as Kurt. "What are you doing right now? Because I was going to go grab some coffee before I head off to my other class at 11am."

No.

NYU was already coincidence enough; there was just no possible way. Except…

Kurt had to know. "What class?"

"Biology 131."

That was it, then. Kurt and Blaine were made for each other. Kurt would be the one to save Blaine and they'd end up happily ever after with a wedding in the fall.

Kurt couldn't help but smile, because he'd started this day thinking he'd have to pretend to be this totally different person just to get people to like him and here he was talking to the guy he'd end up marrying.

"I have that same class," Kurt laughed. He couldn't help himself; he had to say it. "Blaine Warbler, I think we were destined to meet."

That's it! For real this time. The end. Like, I have spent hours upon hours upon hours writing this and I only hope that it lives up to your expectations after it took me so long.

I'm actually in love with it, if I'm honest with you.

Props to Shimmeh who told me that they thought of the song "The Reason" when they read this story, hence its inclusion.

I've created a soundtrack to this story, and I'll be posting it on my Tumblr with YouTube videos for each of the songs linked. It'll be tagged under "I should tell you" and "cadie wrote fanfic" if you look for it. My Tumblr URL is donthatecommiserate so head on over there. :)

I hope you all have enjoyed this story as much as I have and I hope you loved the epilogue as much as I did and I hope you're not too angry that it took me this long to write. :) But it's about 25,000 words so it took me a while! Sorry!

Anyway, I love you, stay tuned for any upcoming stories I may put out. Until next time. :)