Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Glee; it all belongs to 20th Century Fox, Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, et al. I write these stories purely for enjoyment; no copyright infringement is intended. The songs, of course, are not mine either, and all due credit goes to the wonderful writers and performers of those songs.
Author's Note: This story idea wouldn't leave me alone. I wrote the first bit of it in a PM reply to bjaarcy, who told me that I absolutely had to finish it, and apparently my muse thought so, too.
Yet again, for my own head canon sanity, Blaine and Kurt were in the same year in school. Both juniors when they met, both seniors in S3 when Blaine transfers to McKinley. For the purposes of this fic, I'm also making life easier and pretending that Wes was in the same class as Blaine. Also, RADA does have a two-term foundation course in acting, though not one that lasts an entire calendar year.
Can anyone give me the reference for Neil Perry? Where did I borrow him from? :)
My deepest thanks to WickedforGood13, who as usual has been a lovely advance reader for this tale.
A Warblers' Reunion
Blaine leaned back in his desk chair and groaned, pressing the heels of his hands to his forehead.
"I'm going to kill them," he moaned.
"Kill who?" Kurt inquired, appearing behind him with a spoonful of cookie batter.
"Wes and David," Blaine answered through gritted teeth, his frustration evident.
"What have the Tweedles done to earn your annoyance this time?" Kurt inquired. "You really should be used to it after so long."
"They're planning a Warblers' reunion," Blaine explained, his face now buried in his palms. "A ten-year Warblers' reunion."
Kurt's eyes lit up. "Really? When? Where?"
"At Dalton, of course," Blaine retorted. "Next month, and they want us to sing. I swear Wes just wants another chance to wield his gavel."
"Of course we'll sing!" Kurt exclaimed. "It will be fantastic. We still have all the old arrangements in the filing cabinet. I just have to dig them out."
Blaine shook his head. "No, Kurt, they want us to sing. You and me. With the Warblers, true, but they want the pair of us to sing."
Kurt looked puzzled. "What's wrong with that? We sing together all the time, Blaine. Onstage and off," he added with a wink.
Blaine gave him a pointed stare before answering. "This is Wes and David we're talking about. They're scheming. You've met my two other best friends, right? Planners extraordinaire?"
Comprehension dawned. "Oooh," Kurt said slowly, a look of fond exasperation on his face. "The anniversary."
"Exactly," Blaine nodded. "Our eleventh anniversary together – although that was in April, not June - and the tenth year after our graduation." His eyes narrowed as he thought of the many, many choice things he would like to say to his supposed best friends the next time they were on the phone.
Kurt, meanwhile, stood thinking, and gradually a devious smirk worked its way onto his face. "So we outscheme them. Beat them at their own game."
"How?" Blaine asked, his face lighting up. Kurt was almost always unstoppable when that particular look showed itself.
"How would you feel about moving up our plans a little bit?" Kurt asked, a softer smile appearing as he asked the question.
Blaine's eyes warmed as he looked at Kurt, but he raised an eyebrow. "You're not suggesting –"
"No!" Kurt refuted quickly. "That would be going too far, even in the name of besting Wes and David. No, just . . . announcing a bit sooner?"
Blaine grinned. "What did you have in mind?"
"Four songs, Wes. Two duets and two solos. Oh, and I'm going to need a piano," Blaine added as an afterthought.
"And you're not going to tell me what these songs are?" Wes said crossly, giving Blaine his best Head Warbler stare through their Skype connection.
"No," Blaine said firmly. "Absolutely not. In this case you're going to have to live with it. Kurt and I want them to be a surprise."
Wes's expression became even more dissatisfied. "We're a choir, Blaine. We need actual songs to practice, even if we're practicing as individuals. I know this isn't the ideal setup, but if two of our lead singers refuse to tell us what they're singing, this moves from 'less than ideal' to 'seriously problematic.'"
"Wes," Blaine said soothingly, recognizing the signs of a maniacal Wes-tantrum and giving his best friend a charming smile. "Have you forgotten who you're talking to? Blaine Anderson, musical star of stage and screen? And let's not forget that we're also talking about Kurt Hummel, the current darling of Broadway. We'll be fine. You can trust us to pull it off. You can do other group numbers, and Kurt and I will just be in the background for those. We can pick them up fairly quickly, I'm sure."
It was due to the many years of knowing Wes that Blaine was able to sound simultaneously reassuring and slightly mocking. Wes heard the affectionate ridicule as well as the sincerity, and rolled his eyes in resignation. They could do it, even if he wasn't at all happy about it.
"Yeah, yeah, rub it in," Wes grumbled, scowling darkly. "So help me, Blaine, if the two of you – if either of you – freak out the day of the reunion and decide that you can't sing or you won't sing, or if you have a fight the day before and refuse to sing, I will have your heads. Both of them. Mounted. On. My. Wall."
"I know," Blaine said, still calming his friend's agitation. "It will be fine, Wes."
"It has to be fine. There are many Warbler alumni coming to this reunion, Blaine, people who expect us to give an incredible performance. There are also a significant number of other wealthy alumni, at Headmaster Davis's request. Additional alumni mean potential donations; you know that as well as I do. I will not have two of my soloists and most famous performers spoiling what should be a perfect Warblers show."
"It will be fine. It will be brilliant. We will make you cry," Blaine promised. "You have my word, Wes."
Wes snorted. "You have made me do many things in our years together, Blaine Anderson, but cry is not one of them."
Blaine smiled wickedly. "Consider this an advance warning. It will be a first."
"Ri-ight," Wes drawled sarcastically. "Can't wait."
Blaine laughed. "How many Warblers are coming to this thing, anyway?"
"Somewhere between eighty and one hundred, I think," Wes said, rubbing his face tiredly. "A good number of them are also bringing spouses. I'm never doing this again. I don't know what possessed David and I to start this."
"You missed us and our perpetual craziness?" Blaine guessed, teasing again. "It does get us all back to Dalton again."
"I'll never admit it," Wes said firmly, though he was smiling.
"What was the plan behind who was invited?" Blaine asked, his mind still on logistics. "Eighty to one hundred – that's what, about five classes of Warblers?"
"Right in one," Wes affirmed. "I started with the roster from our junior year, and then went two classes back and two classes forward. All the Warblers from when we were freshman through to the Warblers who were there the year after we graduated. Of course, that also encompasses a few random members of outlying classes, like the Warblers who were seniors our first year."
Blaine frowned, puzzled. "Why our junior year, Wes? I mean, you planned this so that it coincided with the tenth anniversary of graduation. Wouldn't it have made more sense to use the senior roster and work from that?"
Wes gave him a long-suffering look over the webcam. "Blaine. Your tendency to be utterly oblivious has caused me more than a few headaches in the past, but – really?"
"It's a perfectly fair question," Blaine said defensively.
"Yes, coming from anyone else," Wes shot back. "What happened at the end of junior year, Mr. I'm-still-so-in-love-with-my-partner-it's-sickening-to-behold?"
The reference to Kurt made everything click into place in Blaine's head, and his jaw dropped.
"Kurt transferred back to McKinley," he said slowly, still trying to process that Wes, with his obsessive need for organization and order, would choose such an utterly sentimental starting point for an event this big.
"Yes," Wes said with exaggerated patience. "And what happened a few months after that?"
"I transferred to McKinley for our last year."
"So neither of you are on the senior roster," Wes quietly finished for him. "I wasn't having that. Our group of Warblers was not complete without you and Kurt. We did well senior year, but it wasn't the same."
Blaine smiled again, and this smile was pure fondness, without any teasing, irony, or sarcasm. "Thank you. That's . . . it's a beautiful thought, Wes. Thank you. Do you mind if I tell Kurt?"
"No," Wes shook his head. "Tell anyone else and I will deny this conversation ever happened."
"And the authoritarian Wes is back, just like that," Blaine chuckled. "I always knew you were a softie underneath, Wes Montgomery."
"Using another roster would have jinxed the whole thing," Wes retorted, waving a hand dismissively at Blaine's attempt to get a rise out of him.
"Kurt sends his love, Wes. We'll talk soon," Blaine said, still chuckling.
"We'd better," Wes threatened, but he grinned at Blaine before signing off.
The day of the reunion dawned bright and clear, sunny as only a day in mid-June could be. Wes and David had arranged an entire weekend for the reunion; since Dalton's school year was already over, the former Warblers could occupy their old dormitories.
Thankfully, Wes and David had also had the foresight to arrange for double beds; enough coupled adults stayed within the walls of Dalton at various points in the year that all it took was a request to maintenance. In this case, they had asked the attendees ahead of time, in order to ensure that the school had a correct count for both single and double rooms. Blaine and Kurt had been more than happy to avail themselves of the double option, since sharing a bed in the Dalton dorms was never technically something they had been allowed to do as students. (Of course, if they had occasionally fallen asleep next to each other during a movie viewing or sought each other out during sleepless nights, well, it was a point of honor among their roommates and friends not to report them. Warblers took care of their own.)
Blaine woke first, stretching luxuriously before rolling onto his side to gaze at Kurt, who was still sleeping soundly. Even after eleven years, Blaine never got tired of seeing Kurt so peaceful and relaxed. It was a complete contrast to the vibrant, energetic person Kurt was while awake, though both were equally beautiful.
Blaine ran his fingers gently through Kurt's hair in a little morning ritual they had established years ago. Kurt stirred slowly, sighing as he opened his eyes to look at Blaine.
"Good morning," Blaine said softly, smiling at him. "Ready for the big day?"
"Obviously not," Kurt said sleepily, his lips twitching as he looked down at his t-shirt and pajama pants. "What would Wes say?"
Blaine laughed. "I would think you would be more worried about what Wes would do, if you actually showed up to perform in pajamas."
"It would never happen," Kurt declared. "However, I'm perfectly willing to stay here if you'd rather," he smiled, his eyes bright as he pulled Blaine in for a kiss.
"Mmm . . ." Blaine murmured against his mouth, sinking happily into Kurt's embrace. The next moment, however, he was shaking his head and pulling away, evading Kurt's grasp as he sat up. "No, no, no, no, no. We can't – Wes will have our heads, and these people are our friends, Kurt! We never get to see them!"
It was Kurt's turn to laugh, both at Blaine's puppy-dog eyes and the palpable excitement rolling off of him. Kurt sat up and planted another warm kiss on Blaine's lips. "I love you, Blaine Warbler. Come on, let's go join the madness. Considering the number of favors we had to collect in order to be here, it would be a shame to miss all the fun." Kurt hopped off the bed and went over to his suitcase to hunt for clothes.
Both Kurt and Blaine had to work their way out of some major commitments when Wes had told them about the reunion. Kurt was currently starring in a revival of Victor/Victoria that had earned him all the acclaim he could have ever hoped for. The director, Neil Perry, was one of Kurt's former instructors from NYADA, and he had wanted Kurt for the lead role from the moment he had been hired to do the show. Perry had changed the usual plot so that Kurt was a man, pretending to be a woman, who was pretending to be a man. Even more importantly, he had also recruited Rachel Berry, who had jumped in with both feet when she learned that she and Kurt would be able to fulfill their old dream of doing a Broadway show together. The show's love interest character, usually a male gangster named King Marchand, had become Kimberley Marchand, and audiences had gone wild from the very first night.
The show had already been running for five months in May, and Kurt had pleaded with Neil to put in his understudy for just one weekend. Brian Thomas was a young countertenor with incredible potential, and Kurt wanted to give him a chance to shine. Six months was an incredibly long time for a show to retain both its co-stars, and neither Kurt nor Rachel had missed a performance, save one each. Neil had, in the end, acquiesced, for even he recognized the need of giving Kurt a break from their exhausting performance schedule.
Blaine had earned Broadway stardom as well, but he had also found success in film. His first big Broadway role had been as Sky Masterson in a revival of Guys and Dolls, and he had been cast for the film adaptation shortly after the show closed. He then followed up that performance with a big-screen Regency drama, and he had just returned to the musical stage in March for the happily familiar role of Tony in West Side Story. Though Kurt teased him about reprising his old part from their senior year musical, Blaine knew that his partner loved watching him perform, and Blaine cherished the role for the very memories it brought back. When the curtain went up on opening night, Kurt, Wes, David, and Mercedes were there to see him perform, with Rachel, Santana, and Brittany coming to the show the following night. Kurt had indulged in his own sentimentality by bringing Blaine an enormous bouquet of roses after the first show, one that was easily twice the size of the one he had presented to Blaine after his high school audition. Blaine was able to bring all of his subsequent experience and training into the role, and he played Tony with a zest, verve, and freshness that won him rave reviews and adoration.
However, because Blaine had not been starring in his role nearly as long as Kurt had been with his show, it had required much more persuasion, pleading, and string-pulling to be able to come to Dalton. In the end, it had taken the combined efforts of Blaine, his understudy, and Kurt to wring consent from director Kate Morgan – and that was only after they had disclosed their plans to her, with her promise that she would keep them absolutely secret. Practically the entire New York theater world knew that Kurt and Blaine were together, and the boys were taking no chances that their scheme would get back to Wes and David.
"We're not going to have any time off again for months, but I think it's worth it," Blaine said cheerfully, as Kurt sorted through outfits.
Kurt turned around at the remark and stepped back over to Blaine, his eyes soft. "It is worth it," he agreed quietly, entwining his fingers with Blaine's.
Looking up at him from his seat, Blaine could see all of the love and emotion in Kurt's eyes, the love that only seemed to grow stronger the longer they were together, and it took his breath away.
This time, he was the one to pull Kurt down to the bed, and Kurt, true to his word, did not object in the slightest.
They still made it to breakfast on time, somehow, although Kurt willingly admitted that it was only because he hadn't done a full hygiene routine. He could go through all the required steps later, before they performed, so basic showers served them both, and they ventured into Dalton's dining hall while most of the reunited Warblers were still eating and reminiscing.
Without warning, both men found themselves with armfuls of David and Wes, who had come at them at full speed.
"Ooof! David, room to breathe, please," Kurt laughed, hugging the tall Warbler who was happily smothering him.
"You can handle it, tough guy. You're almost as tall as I am," David said, hugging him even harder.
"Wes, have you been playing with octopus genes again?" Blaine asked jokingly, since Wes seemed to have permanently attached himself to Blaine's ribcage.
"Not lately. Mostly starfish," Wes grumbled good-naturedly, alluding to his work as a marine biologist and researcher. "Serves you right if I had, though, being all the way in New York while I'm in L. A."
"You knew we were going to New York before graduation," Blaine reminded him cheekily. "Moving to California was your ill-considered decision."
"All right, all right, friend swap," David demanded, releasing Kurt and holding out his arms for Blaine. Wes released his friend and was promptly hugged by Kurt, while Blaine and David exchanged hugs and hellos.
"I missed you, Wes, but the minute your gavel makes a reappearance, I will not be responsible for my actions," Kurt warned him.
"And the snark begins!" Wes crowed gleefully. "There's the Kurt Hummel I know and love. Where would we all be without that diva attitude?"
"Still two-stepping behind Blaine," Kurt said promptly, giving his partner a wink. Blaine only rolled his eyes.
"Ouch!" Wes cried, staggering back melodramatically with a hand pressed to his heart. "You wound me, Kurt, you really do – or you would, except we all knew that Blaine was going to be the star from the Warblers," Wes said, grinning impishly at Blaine.
"Cue the embarrassment," Blaine sighed, putting his face in his hands. "There will be retaliation for this, I swear."
"Ooh, Blaine," David cooed at him, mussing his hair briefly before Blaine ducked away from him. "We made you our pet, we loved you. Who better to embarrass you?"
"I hate you both," Blaine moaned.
"We're equal opportunity tormentors, though," David laughed. He turned to Kurt. "It only got worse once you showed up, you know. First we had a lead singer who practically exhaled charisma, and then we adopted the worst spy in the world who also happened to –"
"I was not the worst spy in the world," Kurt interrupted indignantly.
" – who also happened to have one of the most amazing voices any of us had ever heard," David continued smoothly, ignoring him. "So then we had two stars who were going to outshine us all, and who made each other look even better just by being in the same room."
"You really were a terrible spy," Wes added. "Endearing, but terrible. And it took both of you –" with a pointed look at Blaine – "so long to get your acts together that we almost despaired."
"Okay, enough," Kurt commanded, his cheeks now as pink as Blaine's as he thought about several of the more awkward moments early in their friendship. "We're fabulous, we know. You have blackmail material enough to fill several filing cabinets, we know. You're lucky we love you so much, or we'd have some serious motivation to put out hits on you both."
"Ah, blackmail," Wes sighed, rubbing his palms together like a caricature of a James Bond villain.
"You would never put out hits on us," David contradicted Kurt. "You would miss us too much."
"Some days I really don't know why," Kurt responded dryly. "Don't forget that we also have quite a bit of incriminating evidence on the pair of you, Tweedles."
"We are fabulous, though. At least they're right about that," Blaine said, his eyes dancing as he slid an arm around Kurt's waist.
"We are," Kurt agreed, struggling to keep a straight face. "It should be acknowledged."
They smiled at each other, exchanging a quick kiss, and Wes made a noise of disgust.
"Oh, ew. Go be cute around Nick and Jeff," he demanded, making a shooing motion.
"Are they here, too?" Blaine said eagerly, craning his neck to look around the crowded hall.
"They're sitting at our table," David answered. "They decided to let us accost you first. And your girl is dying to see you, Kurt, but running really isn't possible for her right now."
Kurt gasped, his hand flying to his mouth. "'Cedes! I completely forgot she was coming with you, and I just talked to her last week. Oh, I clearly haven't had coffee yet this morning. We got in so late last night and were both so exhausted, I didn't even think to . . ."
"It's all right," David reassured him. "We were asleep long before you two crawled in, I know. Come on."
David led the way toward the back of the dining room, to a table near the windows that was flooded with morning sunshine. Nick and Jeff were talking quietly with Mercedes as the group approached, but they looked up with whoops of delight as they caught sight of Kurt and Blaine.
"Boo, if I didn't have another person to carry around right now, I would have cut you dead for greeting David before me," Mercedes said sharply as she stood up, but the large smile on her face took any sting out of her words. Kurt unabashedly wrapped her up in a hug, holding on tight.
"I know, 'Cedes, and I love you so much," he apologized. "You look beautiful! How's my little nephew or niece doing?" he asked, affectionately patting Mercedes' round stomach.
"I wish he or she would put in an appearance," Mercedes said emphatically. "Only two more months, thank goodness."
"Well, between you and David, that little singer is going to have one amazing set of pipes," Blaine said, hugging Mercedes in his turn and giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Kurt and I brought you gifts for the little one," he whispered in her ear before letting her go, and Mercedes beamed at him.
While Blaine and Kurt were distracted by Mercedes, David quickly pulled Wes aside.
"We're still fine," he murmured conspiratorially. "Mercedes has our other surprise well in hand."
"Good," Wes nodded. "I wish I knew what they were doing," he added in frustration, glancing at Kurt and Blaine. "Not knowing their songs completely scuttled Plan A."
"It will be all right," David reassured him. "We're just trying to give them a nudge, and hopefully the plans will help with that. Besides, there are other ways to get our point across. Watch."
David turned back to Mercedes, putting an arm around his wife's shoulders. "You are all going to have your hands full being uncles," he said to Kurt, Blaine, Nick, and Jeff, who were now all talking cheerfully together.
"Tell us about it," Nick said, rolling his eyes. "Angela can't wait; all she's been talking about is when we're going to see Uncle David and Aunt Mercedes and the new baby."
Mercedes laughed. "That's probably partly my fault. You know she and I talk almost every week, and I tell her everything I'm doing for the baby. She eats it up. She's amazingly coherent and smart for a three-year-old."
"Exactly like her daddy," Nick said warmly, twining his fingers in Jeff's and giving his partner a quick kiss on the cheek. Angela had been conceived using in vitro fertilization and a surrogate, and because Nick and Jeff now lived in Connecticut, they were able to be married and both have legal parental rights to their daughter.
Jeff reddened, but smiled nonetheless. "She's amazing," he said frankly. "Exhausting, but amazing. We were glad to have a reason to get away for a weekend, but I miss her already."
"So do I," Nick admitted, grinning. "Not that we won't be overwhelmed again the minute we walk in the door."
"It would be hard not to love that little munchkin," Kurt said, thinking fondly of the blonde, green-eyed little girl he'd often talked to over Skype. "She's a doll."
"A doll who gets spoiled by her Uncle Kurt," Nick said, sending a teasing frown at his friend. "You can't tell me Blaine is responsible for those outfits that she parades around in."
Blaine laughed. "Just a willing accomplice, but the fashion sense is all Kurt's," he said.
"Have you two ever thought about it?" Wes inquired, catching David's eye for a split second before turning his full attention on Blaine and Kurt. "Having kids?"
Somewhat to his surprise, both his friends looked a little bashful at the question. "We've talked about it," Blaine said quietly. "I think we've just gotten to the point financially and professionally where we would seriously consider it. We didn't want to bring a child into a home that wasn't as stable as possible."
"We've both worked so hard to get where we are," Kurt added seriously. "There were a lot of months where we were struggling to pay the bills, there was the year Blaine was in London and I got sick, and he's been away for filming twice while I was working here. We're both getting more offers, now, and we can pick and choose what we want to do and where it is. That matters. If we had a child or adopted a child, we would both want to be home as much as possible."
"You can talk to us about it any time," Nick offered, and Jeff nodded emphatically in agreement. "We'll tell you anything you'd like to know. We thought about and researched adoption too, before we found a surrogate for Angela."
"Thank you," Blaine said, giving his friend's arm a quick squeeze of gratitude.
"It would help if you two made yourselves official," Mercedes said, poking Kurt in the ribs, and David hid a smile. Trust Mercedes to do some of the work for him. "Eleven years, boo, and you live in New York, for heaven's sake! It's all been legal there for a while."
"We know," Kurt broke in, smiling a little, rolling his eyes at the rant he had heard quite a few times before. "We have been a little busy, Mercedes. And trust me when I tell you that I don't need a ceremony to know that Blaine isn't going anywhere and neither am I," he finished, smiling and pressing a swift kiss to Blaine's temple.
David snorted. "Points to Kurt for understatement of the decade."
"If you two can find time to go to a lawyer and have all of your medical paperwork done, you can find time to go to a Justice of the Peace," Mercedes insisted, choosing to poke Blaine this time.
Blaine smiled at her, giving in to the urge to wind both arms around Kurt and nestle into his side. "We'll get around to it sometime."
As they finished the last of their eggs and English muffins, Blaine turned to Kurt and smiled, lacing their fingers together under the table. "Take a walk with me?" he asked quietly.
Kurt looked at him, surprised, but he smiled happily. "Of course."
Blaine stood eagerly. "Guys, if you'll excuse us," he said, and Mercedes rolled her eyes at him.
"I am not one of your guys, white boy," she reproved him.
"Of course you're not," Blaine corrected himself quickly, eliciting a laugh from Kurt. Blaine moved around the table to hug Mercedes from behind before taking Kurt's hand again.
"Don't forget that the reception begins at four," Wes reminded them. "Until then everyone is pretty much free to do as they will."
"We'll be there, Wes," Kurt promised, grinning at him before allowing Blaine to lead him out of the dining room.
"Blaine, where are we going?" Kurt whispered excitedly.
"A couple of places," Blaine smiled softly. "Come on."
Blaine hurried through the hallways, tugging Kurt with him gently, and it didn't take long before Kurt knew exactly where they were going. He laughed as they emerged into Dalton's main atrium, with its wide, curving staircase. "Really, Blaine?"
"You aren't allowed to tease me," Blaine said, the nostalgic smile never leaving his features as he moved over to the stairs. He pulled Kurt partway up, then stood two stairs below him, still holding his hands.
"There," he breathed. His eyes held so much love as he looked at Kurt that they seemed to glow with it, and Kurt felt his breath catch in his throat. "You're even more beautiful now than you were then."
Unbidden, Kurt felt tears fill his eyes, but he laughed briefly in spite of them. "Did you even notice, Mr. 'The Warblers are like rock stars'?
Blaine's lips twitched as he remembered their first conversation, but his hands tightened around Kurt's. "I always noticed. I might have taken an unforgivably long time to sort out my feelings for you, Kurt, but you were always beautiful to me – from that very first moment."
Kurt closed his eyes, the tears trickling down his cheeks, and surged forward. He stepped down, wrapped his arms around Blaine, and kissed him in one swift motion.
They stood on the stairs together for a few minutes, holding each other in silence and thinking about all of the days they had spent together in these halls, until Blaine leaned up and pressed a kiss to Kurt's nose. "Let's go."
"Where to now?" Kurt asked.
"Our other destination," Blaine answered, giving him a wink. "We need to say hello to an old friend."
Blaine led the way a second time, bringing them outside behind Dalton's impressive main hall, into the warm June sunshine. He led Kurt to a familiar copse of trees, and a much smaller smile, one tinged with sadness, crossed Kurt's features when he realized their location.
"Hello Pavarotti," he said quietly.
The trees here had grown considerably in ten years, now spreading full summer canopies overhead and filtering the sunlight into beautiful dappled patterns on the grass. A small headstone sat where they had buried Pavarotti so many years ago:
Beloved Warbler, friend, musician, and pet
Kurt had never forgotten the little bird who had been so important to him while he was at Dalton, and their first year at college he had contacted as many Warblers from their year as he could, asking them to give a small donation for a headstone. The vast majority of the Warblers from their senior year had responded, thinking it was a wonderful idea to honor their mascot, and Kurt and Blaine had chosen the stone and had it placed their first summer home. (They had also endured merciless teasing from their former choir mates about the need to memorialize their matchmaker, but they accepted the ribbing with smiles. Somehow, they thought Pavarotti would be smiling, too.)
"I miss you still, Pav," Kurt said, reaching out for Blaine's hand as he spoke. "You always loved to sing in the morning, and I miss talking to you. We could never have a bird in New York, I don't think – I don't know how the birds there survive all the toxic air."
Blaine knelt, keeping hold of Kurt's hand, and brushed small particles of dirt off the marker.
"You were the best mascot we ever had, Pavi," he said affectionately. "All the Warblers think so. There have been others after you, but none who are so remembered. I don't know where Kurt and I would have been without you, and I can never thank you enough for that. If I hadn't realized what it was I really felt for him, I might have lost the most precious person in the world to me – or he might never have forgiven me. You knew me better than I knew myself – although you picked a rather dramatic way to open my eyes," he finished, a bit wryly but still softly. He was smiling, but Kurt caught him surreptitiously brushing tears away.
Kurt tightened his fingers around Blaine's and pulled his partner to his feet, wrapping his arms around Blaine's torso.
"I love you," he murmured against Blaine's shoulder. "You have always taken my breath away – and there was nothing to forgive. I would have waited twice as long as I did if it meant you were sure and I got to keep you forever."
"I love you, too," Blaine answered, kissing him tenderly. "Once I finally saw what I was feeling for you, I was never so sure of anything in my entire life." He raised one hand, brushing his fingers through the hair at Kurt's temple. "I'm still sure."
"Mmm," Kurt hummed in agreement, his eyes sparkling happily. "So am I."