Title: Valentine's Day
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None
Summary: The prelude to the end.
Warning: Talk of and implied character death
Words: 850

A/N: This has been in my head for months and it's finally written and out. It's not messy or cruel but it's real, I suppose and how it might be. I don't know how to describe it but it is, I suppose, an inevitable part of finding your soulmate.

The night before they find out they go dancing. It's late in January and all the rationalizing says it probably won't be bad news. So they go dancing at the little Italian restaurant with a dance floor and they forget about everything and enjoy.

It is bad news. They don't remember the day or the weather or the trip to the specialist's office but they both remember, starkly, retroactively, the night before when they danced.

Kurt would have laughed at twenty to think they'd end up on a little faux-wood dance floor, one hand clutching Blaine's arm while he let his other hand splay over the small of Blaine's back, laughing and moving slower than ever to the classics.

Times have changed and the other couples don't pay them much notice except when Blaine leans him back into a swoop and kisses him and then there are a few chuckles and some woops from the sidelines. They're regulars but it is, in hindsight, the last time they'll come.

They're old but not old enough, had never thought…

And suddenly, inexplicably, Kurt has weeks of life in him. They go through all the stages of grief, pre-empt the death because Blaine constantly agonises over how he could possibly deal with anything without Kurt.

They argue with the doctors. Kurt gives up quickly but Blaine keeps going back. Calling specialists and demanding help, a cure, hope, something. But it's a vicious, new disease and it's progressed and no one will help. No one can.

Kurt eventually drags Blaine away from it and grabs at his face and demands a few more weeks of living rather than waiting for death. It's February and illness takes him quickly, pulls at his skin and his hair and his spirit and Blaine watches and wonders how something so strong can be broken so quickly from the inside out.

There's no hope for Christmas. When they plead with the doctors for another year they say it would be more than a miracle and shake their heads.

No hope for their birthdays, for one more milestone, both are too many months away and Kurt jokes about star-signs and staying young and Blaine sobs into his pillow in the depths of night when he thinks Kurt is asleep. Kurt tells him off in the morning as he cooks, chastises him for taking it so badly and Blaine looks at him with hollow eyes and asks him how else he's meant to take it.

Kurt cooks every breakfast and brunch they could ever imagine. He spoils them with crepes and pastries and expensive fruits until his hands shake too much and he can't see what he's doing and then he instructs Blaine from the dining room table and then from their bed, propped up and trying to call out to the kitchen.

They see the doctors again, last drips of half-hope dissipating with a sigh as big words are thrown around amid frowns and heads tilted in sympathy. Kurt asks when he should expect to check into the hospital and the doctors stare and tell him he should have been there a week ago and ask him how hard he's fighting while they scribble notes.

He doesn't know how to answer that.

He makes it to Valentine's Day. He doesn't tell Blaine that that's what makes him drag his eyes open through agony in the morning and scramble at the bedside table for the painkillers but it is.

Valentine's Day and Blaine makes it an event and sings and dances like the old days and cooks on his own. He tries desperately to make his husband laugh but the gleam of moisture in his eyes and the fact Kurt can hardly breathe make it impossible. They don't eat any of what has been cooked and Kurt can't even smell it but Blaine tells him how amazing the meal is even as he doesn't touch it and then it only takes a look from Kurt for Blaine to know he doesn't quite believe him because Kurt's always been the better of the two at that.

Blaine has two glasses of wine and doesn't start crying until Kurt's eyes are closed and he's lost whimpering in his sleep.

When Kurt wakes up it's harder than ever but Blaine rouses quickly and stares and Kurt can see him wondering if it's time yet and somehow conveys that it isn't. He can't laugh or cry or talk as much as he'd like but he manages to tell Blaine he loves him one more time and mean it and look stronger and better than he feels.

Blaine crawls into bed beside him, reaches and touches gingerly because Kurt flinches at every contact. He pulls him close anyway and kisses the cold sweat from the back of his neck and says, over and over, "I love you," until he can't find his voice. They fall asleep like that, their echoed thought simply thanks for one more Valentines Day.