Kurt wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes as he sat wedged between Cooper and Blaine on the sofa in the Anderson living room. In his lap was the family photo album, which Coop had dug up in the hopes of embarrassing his baby brother. Judging by Blaine's red face and death glare, it was working.
"This was the year Blaine insisted we dress up as X-Men for Halloween. He wanted to be Cyclops because he wanted to wear the cool visor, but honestly I think he had a little crush on James Marsden, who played Scott Summers in the movies, and wanted to emulate him."
Kurt was giggling as he ran a gentle finger along the photo – Blaine in his Cyclops costume, and Cooper dressed as Wolverine. They were adorable and he wanted to coo and aw over the photos, but he could tell Blaine would only put up with this for a very short time longer. Judging by his wry smirk, Cooper knew this as well.
"Did I ever tell you of Blaine's first baby crush on a boy his age? He had a little friend in his Head Start class." Cooper said, turning pages until he came across a picture of adorably chubby toddler Blaine, decked out in a 'stylish' pair of Osh Kosh overalls, one of his baby Keds untied, dark curly hair a wild mop falling into his face, cheeks flushed as he stared adoringly at another little boy, who unfortunately was mostly out of the shot, just a blur of brown-ish hair and waving arms.
Kurt looked over to Blaine and raised a perfectly arched eyebrow. "Should I be jealous?"
Blaine nudged his boyfriend's shoulder and rested his face in the curve of Kurt's neck as he smiled fondly. "You know you're the only one for me."
Cooper grinned watching the couple have their warm fuzzy moment, and then jumped back into the story of Eli, the boy who was the first to capture Blaine's wee heart, and gave Cooper his first clue that his brother was gay.
Cooper strode down the hall towards the "classroom" where Blaine's Head Start class was meeting. At 16, spending time with his baby brother wasn't necessarily considered cool, but Coop didn't mind so much. Their parents were pretty distant, even when they were around, and Coop wanted Blaine to know without a doubt that someone in his family adored him and considered him a priority.
Peeking his head around the corner, he saw that the lessons were done for the day, and the kids were all playing in their little groups while waiting for parents and family to pick them up. Cooper's infectious grin took over his face upon spotting his little brother coloring with another little boy. The teacher, a really lovely woman with chestnut hair and stormy blue/grey eyes, saw him and approached.
"Hello Cooper! How are you doing this fine day?"
"I'm good Ms. Lizzie. How's my little Bumblebee doing?"
She laughed, "Blaine is good. I brought my son over for a visit with the class this week, since the chicken pox has been making rounds at his school and I didn't want him to catch it. He and Blaine seem to be getting along very well. They've been playing together all day. My little man even showed Blaine how to properly spell his name in cursive."
"Wow, he writes in cursive already? He's only what – six?"
"He's five, and our pride and joy. More for his sweet nature than his bright mind, but we are proud both of those traits. And you should feel proud as well. Blaine has an exceptional mind. He picked up the basics of cursive fairly quickly, and could have lovely penmanship later in life if he keeps working on it."
Cooper quirked his mouth but said nothing. He and Lizzie both knew that the skill of good penmanship was already considered a fairly useless ability, and people were more interested nowadays in how quickly you can type or master new computer programs, then how easily they can read your handwriting. He nodded his head towards the two boys, and she shooed him over towards them.
Cooper crept up behind Blaine and quickly scooped his brother up out of his chair, spinning him around a couple times. Blaine squealed in surprise and delight, and flung his arms around his brother.
"Coop! Coop! You have to meet my new best friend! This is Eli and he has the bestest ideas and ALL the Power Rangers and we played house and we gotted married and we're both the Daddy because girls are icky and Eli showed me how to do a CARTWHEEL!" Blaine shouted at his brother in a rush.
Cooper laughed and looked over to the other boy, who was watching them with a small smile. He looked a lot like Lizzie, with the same hair and eye color, and her fair skin, but there were some little traits that Coop figured came from his father. Still, Eli definitely was different from most other boys his age, with his clean, pressed clothes, neatly tied little oxford shoes, and adorable bow tie.
"I'm glad you had a good time Buzzy, but we need to be heading home," Cooper said as he set his brother back down on the ground. Blaine pouted but started gathering up his crayons into the box again, while Eli stood up to help him clean up. Cooper admired the drawings they had been coloring – Blaine working from a Care Bears coloring book and Eli looked to be nearly done designing a beautiful dress for Aurora in his Disney Princess Coloring Book.
"Will you be back tomorrow, Eli?" Cooper asked his brother's new friend.
"Yes, Mama says I am coming with her all week so I don't get sick and itchy," Eli said in a surprisingly high voice. Cooper just grinned and wondered if the boy sang, as a voice like that would make him well sought after in a Boy's Choir.
Blaine finished cleaning up and dashed off to get his bag from his cubby, but made sure to come back and wrap Eli up in a big hug before he took his big brother's hand and headed home. The week that followed carried on in a similar manner, with Cooper or his parents picking up a smiling and exceedingly happy Blaine from his class. Blaine would gush to his brother about all the things he and Eli did over the course of the week. But Thursday night Blaine was unusually subdued.
"What's wrong, Blaine?" Cooper questioned his brother after dinner. Blaine was sat on his bed looking glum.
"Eli goes back to his Kindergarten school on Monday," Blaine said with a pout. He looked miserable.
Coop sighed and nodded in understanding. "Well that sucks. But just because you guys go to different schools doesn't mean you can't stay friends. Do you have his phone number or email address?" Cooper asked kindly.
Blaine nodded but sniffed as he tried not to start crying at the thought of not being able to play with Eli every day. Cooper watched his brother try to stay strong, and decided they needed to do something about this.
"Come on Bumblebee," Coop said, standing up and grabbing Blaine's hand, "let's get a farewell present ready for Eli, what do you say?"
Blaine looked up at his big brother and hero with wide, hopeful eyes, and cracked a smile as he took his hand.
The next day, Cooper was with Blaine when he presented Eli with the small bouquet of origami daisies (they agreed paper flowers were better than live ones since they'd never die). Blaine told Eli the flowers would represent their friendship – undying and always perfect. Eli burst into tears and flung his arms around Blaine, giving him a huge hug. He kissed Blaine's cheek and dashed off to show off his flowers to his mother and get her help finding a safe place to keep them. Blaine stood rooted to his spot, little hand pressed to his red cheek in shock. Then a smile broke out on his face, growing bigger by the second as he stared after Eli with heart eyes, and Cooper knew. He whipped out his phone and snapped a photo, knowing he need to capture this moment - for future blackmail material, of course.
Cooper and Blaine chuckled at the memory, not noticing Kurt's shocked face at first.
"Whatever happened to Eli anyway, Blaine?" Cooper leaned past Kurt to ask his brother.
"We emailed each other, but when I was maybe 7 or 8 we lost touch. He just stopped writing suddenly," Blaine replied with a small but somewhat sad smile. "If I could remember his last name I'd look him up, but it was so long ago he's probably forgotten all about me."
"No," Kurt whispered, "No he hasn't. "
Kurt didn't answer; he just reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his wallet. He unfolded the bill fold and pulled out a laminated card. It was a red origami daisy, pressed perfectly into the plastic, preserved safely from harm. He raised his eyes to Blaine's shocked gaze.
"But," Cooper cut in, confused, "his name was Eli."
Kurt smiled gently, a single tear falling down his cheek. "My middle name is Elizabeth, after my mother. Her nickname for me was Eli."
Blaine still looked stunned as he took the flower from Kurt, examining it thoughtfully. He smiled and looked up into his love's beautiful blue eyes.
"I can't believe you kept this. I can't believe you remembered me for so long," Blaine said, choking up. He reached out to stroke away the second tear as it slid down Kurt's face.
Kurt laughed gently. "How could I ever forget my first love?"
Blaine's eyes widened and he grinned so widely Coop thought the smile would split his face. As Blaine pulled Kurt into a passionate kiss, Coop slipped out of the room quietly, deciding that Blaine and his soul mate could entertain themselves for a while.