Author's Note: This story was slightly inspired by the movie TiMER (though I wouldn't recommend watching it, it's really sad), but I tweaked the idea of the TiMERs a bit, so you'll notice some differences if you have seen the movie. Takes place in present day.
Warnings: Character death
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or TiMER. If I did, Blaine would be the same age as Kurt so they didn't have to be apart when Kurt went off to college.
Getting a Chrono is something as trivial as getting your first haircut. Usually done within the first two years of life, Chronos were something that nearly everyone under the age of twenty had. It was a simple device, small and unnoticeable unless you knew what to look for. It was a nearly flat, rectangular metal plate about an inch and a half in length, attached to the inside of the person's left wrist. When applied it supposedly hurt as much as getting your ears pierced, but no one remembered because they were so young. The whole point of a Chrono was worth the initial pain it caused, though. You see, Chronos help you find your soul mate.
Studies done in the late eighties had shown that nearly everyone in successful marriages had a common chemical in their blood, unique to each couple. The Chrono, once affixed, would tap into the veins and run a scan to see which unique chemical the person carried. It would communicate with every other Chrono on the planet and find the person with the same chemical, and that would be their soul mate.
Of course, there was another thing that Chronos could do that was operated in a way that only the makers of the device understood. They were able to tell when you will meet your soul mate, indicating the time by glowing different colors. If it was a dull red, it would be a very long time. Bright yellow meant you were halfway there, and completely green meant you had mere days to go. When it flashed bright white and beeped, you had met.
No matter what, the inventors would not reveal how the devices knew when your soul mate would arrive. They said it was because of marketing, so that no one could steal their idea, and it worked well considering there were no other timer companies on the planet.
Chronos were slight cause for worry though, when they were first sold. When you got your Chrono, if the screen was black it meant that your soul mate hadn't gotten one yet and it would light up when they did. However, if it started out light and suddenly shut off, this meant that your soul mate had died, thus stopping blood flow and, consequentially, communication between the devices.
On December thirteenth, 2007, Kurt Hummel's Chrono shut off. That's when our story begins.
It happened so suddenly that he had to do a double take. Kurt was sitting at the dinner table with his dad when Burt asked him to pass the basket of garlic bread, and when Kurt reached out my left arm to grab it, he saw the small screen on his wrist turn from lime green, almost yellow, to black.
Kurt froze with his arm hovering over the table, staring at the little device, his mind stuck. At first he just waited, waited for it to blink back to life, refusing to think of what it might actually mean. In the back of his mind Kurt remembered the only other time he'd seen this happen in real life, when his mother and father's Chronos flickered out together as he sat beside her hospital bed. But, that couldn't happen to him, he was only thirteen…his soul mate couldn't be dead…he couldn't…
Kurt had tears in my eyes before he even realized what was happening, his eyes still fixed on the electronic. It was like watching a heart monitor flat line, like seeing his mother die all over again, and he knew his dad had seen it too when he got up and pulled Kurt into his arms. He buried my face in Burt's shoulder and cried harder than he'd since he was eight, taking in the familiar smells of car oil and home.
It was a rough night. Burt offered to let Kurt sleep with him in his bed like he'd done the night Elizabeth died, but Kurt declined. Mom had belonged to both of them and it was their pain to share, but this was different. This was Kurt's soul mate, his other half, and his alone.
Kurt cried and cried, staring at his wrist in the dark, missing the warm glow that used to lull him to sleep. Sometimes it was the only comfort when he was being bullied, that light, because it told him that there was someone out there waiting to find him. Kurt knew it would be a boy, he'd known that since age five. Maybe he'd faced the same hardships as Kurt, and when they were older and had met they'd be able to talk about them.
But now he was gone. Dead. Kurt would never know what he looked like or if he liked musicals like himself or sports like his dad; he would never know if his soul mate was teased for being gay, and he would never know the feel of his arms around him. If he pretended, though, Kurt could imagine he was holding him right now, whispering nothings in his ear as he rocked him to sleep.
Three years later, Kurt had never removed his Chrono. Doing so would only raise questions, and he had grown accustomed to its feel. Besides, he'd heard it hurt like hell to get it taken off.
He was still teased, but it was so much worse now. Not only because of his sexuality, but also because of his dead Chrono. The jocks liked to say that the guy Kurt was destined to be with killed himself so that he wouldn't have to be with him, and no matter how many times it was yelled in his face, it always made Kurt cry more than any other taunt.
Kurt was completely focused on his career now, considering it was the only thing in his future he really had to look forward to. He'd joined Glee Club the previous year and was already looking at colleges despite the fact that he was only a junior, not looking back at the incidents in his past.
At least, that's what he tried to fool himself into thinking.
Of course Kurt hadn't moved on. It was nearly impossible to when he had to look at all the perfectly matched couples in Glee every single day, Rachel on Finn's arm, Santana's pinky linked with Brittany's, Sam and Mercedes making googly eyes at each other, Tina and Mike holding hands. Even his dad had found someone else in Carole. Every time Kurt saw a white Chrono, pain shot straight from his heart down to his wrist, where he used to be connected with his soul mate, who was no doubt buried under the earth by now.
It was that combined with the bullying that made Kurt switch to Dalton Academy. They had a zero-tolerance for bullying and it was an all boys' school, so he wouldn't have to see any more couples. If he did they'd be gay, and at least that would be an improvement.
It was his first day there and everyone seemed to be rushing in one direction, thoroughly confusing Kurt because his French class was the opposite way. Maybe he'd misread my schedule and it was really lunch…
Not wanting to make a fool of himself on my first day, Kurt tapped the first person he saw on the shoulder, causing him to turn.
"Excuse me, could I ask you a question, I'm new here," Kurt said quickly, examining his schedule again before he got a good look at the student's face.
"Sure!" the stranger said eagerly. "My name's Blaine."
Kurt's eyes snapped up, because honestly, he had the most amazing voice Kurt had ever heard. It was low and textured, very expressive, and he immediately wondered if he sang.
What Kurt saw when he looked up, however, completely rivaled his voice.
The boy in front of him had dark curls plastered down with gel, matching his strangely triangular eyebrows. Kurt couldn't decide if his eyes were gold or green, but he did know they were beautiful and made my mind go fuzzy because they were staring into his. Blaine's smile was formal and polite, but also held genuine happiness and excitement, his energy making up for the fact that he was a couple of inches shorter than Kurt. His hand was held out to shake and Kurt returned the gesture.
It was like the universe was trying to break my heart.
Surely this boy had a ticking, if not already out of time Chrono, and waiting on the other end of it would be a female ten times better looking than Kurt. Still, he couldn't help the way his heart fluttered, actually fluttered when Blaine spoke and took his hand to lead him to an impromptu performance by the Warblers in the senior commons. Kurt's earlier question of whether or not he sang was soon answered when he turned out to be the lead singer of the group, his voice more amazing in song, if that was possible.
The best part was that he was looking directly into Kurt's eyes through the whole song.
"So, Kurt, how are you liking Dalton so far?"
It was about twenty minutes after the Teenage Dream performance and Kurt was sitting in a new coffee shop, The Lima Bean, at a table with Blaine and two Warblers that had introduced themselves as Wes and David. They had invited Kurt out to welcome him to the school. It was Wes who had spoken.
"It's nice," Kurt said honestly. "Different, but nice." His eyes wandered to Wes and David's left wrists, the former boy's Chrono white and the latter's yellow-green. He wanted to see Blaine's, but his hands were folded in his lap, eyeing Kurt from across the table with an expression he couldn't quite place.
"Well, you're welcome to try out for the Warblers," David said good-naturedly. "What's your range?"
Wes choked on his coffee.
"Are you serious?" he sputtered. "Please try out, please, I'm begging you-!"
"This may be a little obvious, but we really need a countertenor," David said, eyeing Wes with a slightly worried expression.
"I'll be happy to try out," Kurt assured them. "I was in the show choir at my old school too."
"Very good," Wes smiled, having recovered.
"Do you guys mind if I talk to Kurt alone for a second?" Blaine asked suddenly, speaking for the first time since they ordered their drinks. The other two looked a little perplexed by the request but obeyed, going over to another table.
"Why did you transfer?" he asked Kurt. "I don't mean to pry, I'm just curious-"
"It's fine," he said quickly. "I was bullied at my old school, so I thought this might be the better option." Kurt felt comfortable around Blaine for some reason, telling him his troubles offhandedly, more open than he'd been in a while. He blamed those damn eyes.
"I understand that," Blaine said sincerely. "I mean, that's why I came here too, last year. Oakstone High wasn't exactly very accepting of me, or anyone gay for that matter."
It was very difficult for Kurt not to choke on his drink as Wes had just done.
It means nothing, his brain was shouting at him. Just because he's gay doesn't mean he isn't taken! I'll bet his damn Chrono is white-
"It didn't exactly help that I don't have a Chrono, either," Blaine continued.
Holy. Sweet. Hell.
"I know how that feels," Kurt said as calmly as he could. "Well, kind of."
"I saw your Chrono," Blaine said quietly, cautiously. "Has it always been like that, or…" He let the question hang, almost like he was scared to make Kurt upset by mentioning it.
"He died," he said simply, though he felt the pain shooting down his left arm. "Or, at least, the screen went black. I never got to meet him."
"Kurt, I'm so sorry," Blaine murmured gently, reaching forward to take the other boy's hand. Kurt felt a new sensation shooting up his arm at the gesture, not one of pain, but a kind of tingling that wasn't altogether unpleasant.
He could've told Blaine that it was alright – it was what he told everyone, but his brain kept yelling No, you are not alright, his death tore you apart! and he couldn't exactly ignore it. Instead he just gave Blaine a small smile as a thank you, and it was returned.
Maybe the universe wasn't trying to break Kurt's heart after all. Maybe it was finally giving him a break.
Two months passed. Kurt had joined the Warblers and they tied with the New Directions at Sectionals, and the more he got to know Blaine, the more he liked him. It turned out that he was goofy as well as gentlemanly and sweet, being a complete Disney nerd and Potterhead. They became very close, even best friends, but he never gave any indication of wanting to be more. At first that was alright, but Kurt was falling more head-over-heels for him by the day, and it was becoming increasingly painful.
There were moments, however, when Kurt hated himself for having feelings for Blaine. It felt like he was betraying his dead soul mate for wanting to be with him, like Kurt was breaking their heart, wherever they were. Sometimes he would cry, wondering if he would ever know what it was like to be truly in love, or if he would be doomed to only imagine it or fool himself into thinking he was.
"Please," Kurt whispered to his dead love, lying in bed unable to sleep. "Please don't hate me, I'm so sorry, I just want to be happy again…"
Things didn't really change much until one night when he and Blaine were watching Finding Nemo in Kurt's dorm. They tried to schedule movie nights every Friday, both of them stretched out on Kurt's bed with the computer lying across both of their laps. It wasn't until the barracuda came onscreen that Kurt remembered why he hadn't seen this movie in a while.
"Oh god…" he breathed as Marlon tried to coax Coral into the anemone. Blaine glanced over, his brow furrowed.
"What's wrong?" he asked quietly. Just then Coral darted down to the eggs and the menacing fish lurched forward, causing Kurt to jump and make the computer jerk. He shut his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the scene unfold, but he could hear Marlon's cries, and that was just as bad. Suddenly the sound cut off with a snap and the weight of the laptop was lifted away. In the next second, Kurt was being enveloped in a warm pair of arms.
"It's okay," Blaine murmured comfortingly. "I'm sorry, I should've thought of this, I feel so stupid for suggesting it…"
Kurt slowly opened his eyes to see the laptop had been transferred to the bedside table, his face against Blaine's chest, flannel pajamas soft against his cheek. He could hear Blaine's heart beating and he was very warm, the smell of laundry detergent and coffee cake filling Kurt's nose. The moment was so comfortable, so right that he nearly forgot why he was upset in the first place.
They stayed like this for a few moments, just listening to each other breathe, Blaine's fingers running lightly up and down Kurt's left arm as if trying to soothe the pain there that he'd never mentioned to him. Kurt wanted to fall asleep; to wake up and find that Blaine had gotten a Chrono and it was blinking and beeping white in synch with his. Could someone have two soul mates?
"Kurt?" Blaine whispered after a while, his voice so quiet that it didn't feel as if the silence had been broken, his words like breathing.
"Yeah?" Kurt responded, equally soft.
"Do you ever…" he hesitated, lowering his head a little so his lips were at Kurt's ear, dropping his voice even further as if not wanting the invisible people in the room to overhear. "Do you ever want us to be something more?"
He didn't answer at first. Blaine's breaths remained steady, calm, but his hammering heart gave him away.
"Sometimes," he replied truthfully. "I like you Blaine, a lot, and I want to be with you in that way, but…" Kurt took a deep breath, trying to steady himself so he didn't start crying or something. "I just feel guilty, you know? Because I know that he was the right one for me…" Blaine nodded, understanding whom he meant. Kurt waited for him to push him away, to get up and go back to his own room, but he didn't move. He just kept brushing Kurt's arm, his pulse slowing back down.
"Can I ask you something now?" Kurt asked timidly when he was pretty sure Blaine wasn't going to leave. He nodded. "Do you ever think about getting a Chrono?"
Blaine sighed heavily, the noise louder than the conversation had been. "I have a confession to make," he murmured. "I did have a Chrono. I just don't anymore."
Kurt's eyebrows furrowed in confusion at Blaine's words; he'd only ever heard of people that had found their match getting their Chronos removed, mostly because they didn't want a sheet of metal on their wrist anymore. But…did that mean…?
"Blaine," he whispered, horrified. Had he found his match already? Did he die, like Kurt's had?
"No, no," Blaine said quickly, pulling away slightly so he could look Kurt in the eye, but still keeping him in his arms. "He's not dead, I just…" He sighed again, sinking down onto the bed so that he was lying on his back. Kurt gazed at him, perplexed.
"I was twelve," he began, his eyes closed. "I had just figured things out, with my sexuality, and I came out to my parents. My dad…" He gulped, his voice sounding slightly choked with tears. "Well, he wasn't too happy. The next day he made me get my Chrono removed, so that I would be 'less likely to marry some faggot'." Kurt could hear the quotes in his voice, a tear escaping from under Blaine's long eyelashes and sliding down his cheek. Kurt wiped it away, lying down beside him on his side. It made Kurt's insides curl with anger at the thought of someone being that mean to Blaine, this perfect boy that had done absolutely nothing wrong.
"Do you think your soul mate's Chrono still works?" Kurt asked quietly, trying to restore some hope.
He shook his head. "I did some research afterwards, the Chronos stop working if one of them is removed. Besides, mine had just started turning green when I got it taken off, I would've met him by now. I probably passed him in the damn grocery store or something."
He sounded so lost, so miserable as he spoke, and Kurt wished more than anything that he could just make everything go away. He knew down to his core that if he could, he would search the planet trying to find Blaine's soul mate for him, no matter how much it would kill him inside to see him happy with someone else. Blaine deserved better than this, better than his prejudiced father, better than a life of hopeless wandering, looking for love in the very few places it could be found now.
Kurt reached up to touch Blaine's face, his fingers ghosting over his cheek in an attempt to offer him some comfort, and Blaine reached up to take Kurt's hand in his. He brought it away from his face and opened his eyes to examine the Chrono, just a dead-looking thing clamped to Kurt's arm.
"We shouldn't have to be told what is and isn't love by a machine," he murmured, tracing his thumb around the border of the cold metal.
"Well, they've never been wrong," Kurt pointed out.
"But it's not right," he stressed, dropping Kurt's hand and turning on his side to face him. "Think about it, our ancestors found love perfectly fine without these pieces of junk! It's kind of like arranged marriage, don't you think?"
Kurt considered his words for a moment, never really having thought of the Chronos as bad things. "I guess, but at least you're always happy with the results," he said.
"Not necessarily," Blaine said slowly. "I mean, look at us. All Chronos have done for us is made us give up hope, because we know we'll never find that perfect someone. If we never had them, we wouldn't have known the difference." He took both of Kurt's hands in his, keeping them clasped between them. "I feel something for you, Kurt, something I've never felt before." His voice had dropped and his eyes were boring into Kurt's, his brow furrowing, begging Kurt to understand. "Neither of us are gonna find who we're meant for. We need to accept that and find love in the next best place. Love should come from the heart, not some damn robot implanted in our wrists. Look me in the eye and tell me you want to be alone for the rest of your life."
"Of course I don't," Kurt said quickly, squeezing Blaine's hands. "I want to be with you too, Blaine, I just…" He held Blaine's gaze for a long moment, tears blocking his throat.
"What?" Blaine prompted gently.
"I…I just don't want to get hurt, or get you hurt, if this isn't right," he said timidly. Blaine's expression softened and he reached up to cup Kurt's cheek, the gesture so welcome that Kurt could've cried.
"Kurt, this might be our only chance at love," Blaine murmured gently. "If we don't try this, we're just going to spend our entire lives thinking 'what if?'. Look at me." Kurt glanced up from their hands to meet his eyes, seeing sincerity and longing there. "I don't know what true love feels like. Maybe we never will. But what I do know is that what I feel for you is something amazing. If this is as good as it's gonna get, I will gladly take it."
Kurt felt tears welling up in his eyes at this remarkable boy in front of him, the one he had dreamed about being with so many times, the one that had given him hope after living without it for years. Kurt knew in that moment that he could never say no to him.
Blaine sighed and dropped his hand from Kurt's face, seeming suddenly tired and defeated. "Kurt…if you don't feel the same way, I completely understand. Sorry I was so straightforward."
"No, no, that's not it!" Kurt said quickly, clasping Blaine's hand tighter in his own. "You're right, we'll regret this if we don't at least try. And…what I feel for you…it's worth getting hurt over." The corners of Blaine's mouth turned up hopefully.
"Really?" he said quietly. Instead of replying, Kurt leaned in and bravely pressed his lips to Blaine's.
His lips were so incredibly warm and soft under Kurt's, so alive and real that he felt like he was going to pass out. Blaine responded eagerly but gently, slowly, making the gesture as passionate and loving as he possibly could, his arms winding around Kurt's waist and pulling him closer to his body. Their lips slid against one another's, Kurt's fingers tangling in the other boy's soft curls, and he could taste something on his skin that was just profoundly Blaine.
It didn't need to be heated to be amazing. Both of them were content with no tongues or sharp gasps, no fighting for dominance or roughness at all. They were simply familiarizing ourselves with the other person and the act of kissing in general, conveying their feelings and enjoying themselves at the same time. It was by far the most beautiful moment of Kurt's life thus far.
When they pulled away they didn't really pull away, because Kurt's face was soon nuzzled against Blaine's neck, Blaine's chin resting on his head and their arms around each other. Kurt felt filled to the brim with happiness, completion, slight fear, but also something very warm and soothing, something that made him sure that what he was doing was right.
Maybe it was love.
Everyone was ecstatic when they heard Blaine and Kurt were dating. Apparently the Warblers, namely Nick and Jeff, had been trying to get them together ever since they found out about the state of Kurt's Chrono, and the only bad thing they had to say was that they were disappointed they weren't the ones to get them together. Kurt told Mercedes and Rachel about it on one of their sleepovers, causing them to squeal with delight, and within two minutes the entire New Directions knew as well, thanks to Mercedes' ability to text at the speed of light. Needless to say Kurt's dad was very happy for him, glad to see his son happy and thrillingly close to in love, but they had decided not to tell Blaine's parents.
It was Blaine's father that Kurt was thinking of as they sat beside each other on the couch in the senior commons one night. They were the only ones there, a warm fire burning in the grate before them, Blaine's eyes on thier hands as he played with Kurt's fingers. His arm caught on the cold metal of Kurt's Chrono and he flinched slightly, making Kurt seriously consider getting his removed as well. It wasn't like it was doing any good where it was.
"Does it hurt?" Kurt asked quietly. "To get it removed?"
Blaine nodded and let go of Kurt's hand to pull back the sleeve of his blazer on his left arm. Where his Chrono used to be there was now an oblong scar, white against his olive-toned skin, with two large white dots in the center of it from where the sensor probes penetrated his skin. Kurt brushed his fingers over it and found it was smooth.
"They said I'll always have that scar," Blaine murmured, his voice sad. They were quiet for a long moment as Kurt ran his fingers over the damaged skin, trying to sooth the ghost of pain that might linger there like it did on his own.
"I keep thinking about how much I must've hurt him," Blaine broke the silence, his voice slightly choked with tears. "I mean, his Chrono must have just gone black one day, he probably thinks his soul mate is dead…"
"Maybe he got lucky like me," Kurt smiled, kissing his jaw. Blaine smiled slightly, but it faded fast. Kurt continued kissing a path down his neck until Blaine closed his eyes and moaned quietly, letting his head fall back against the couch.
Kurt had never really considered that his own soul mate might not have died, but now that he thought about it, he could've been in a situation similar to Blaine's. Shortly after the thought entered Kurt's mind, another one followed. He froze with my lips still pressed to Blaine's collarbone, thinking.
Blaine had gotten his Chrono removed when he was twelve. Kurt's went black when he was thirteen.
Kurt was a year older than Blaine.
"Kurt, is something wrong?" Blaine asked, concerned as he pulled Kurt's face away. Kurt held up one finger to signal that he was deep in thought and Blaine waited.
Kurt vaguely remembered Blaine saying that his Chrono had just turned green when it shut off, as had his own. What if…?
"Blaine," Kurt said shakily. "The day you got your Chrono removed…was it December thirteenth?"
Kurt looked over at him to see Blaine's eyes wide with confusion, and his heart sank until he said, "How do you know that?"
A happy energy pulsed through his veins as Kurt situated himself on Blaine's lap to look him straight in the eye, a slow smile spreading across Kurt's face. "Blaine…that was the day mine went black…you said yourself that if you got your Chrono removed, your soul mate's would shut off."
Realization dawned on Blaine's face and his hand instinctively reached for Kurt's, squeezing it gently as they let this sink in.
"Was it…did it go black in the evening? Like six thirty?" Blaine asked shakily, his eyes bright and a small smile on his face. Kurt nodded and they stared into each other's eyes for a long, happy moment before they both moved forward at the same time, lips meeting.
The kiss was deep and somewhat frenzied, their tongues melting together and hands grasping at each other. Blaine let out a breathless laugh and captured Kurt's lips again, one hand in his hair and the other at his hip. They broke it off fairly quickly, words still needing to be said.
"Blaine!" Kurt gasped, mirroring his huge grin. "We…does that mean we're…?"
"I think it does," Blaine panted, kissing all over Kurt's neck. "Or, at least, there's a high likelihood of it. But I don't need a machine to tell me we're meant to be together."
"I know, but – god." Kurt broke off with a moan as Blaine's mouth reached a particularly sensitive spot on his skin, lapping his tongue at it in a way that should be illegal while trying to hold conversation. "It's just nice to know that my soul mate isn't dead and yours won't be perpetually looking for you, and…and we're going to be together forever, aren't we?"
Blaine chuckled giddily and pulled back to look Kurt in the eye, a huge puppy-dog grin on his face. "I do believe we are," he laughed breathlessly.
They drowned in each other's presence for a moment before they were kissing again, slow and passionate, because forever was a long time, and they were going to take advantage of it.