Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit. All recognizable dialogue belongs to Ryan Murphy and Co.

Kurt opens his locker to pull out his books before shutting it, sighing deeply.

Part of him can't believe that Christmas is less than a week away. Surely it hasn't already been three weeks since the first snowfall (Blaine bursting through his front door, dragging him outside as he squeals about not having the right coat and 'Blaine Anderson, don't you dare!'), two since he finished the last of his Christmas shopping ("Scarves? Really, Kurt?" "Everyone loves scarves, Blaine; besides, Carole needs to broaden her wardrobe!") and one since Burt announced that Blaine was welcome to stay at the Hummel-Hudson house for Christmas' Eve and Christmas day. The passage of time seems indifferent to his feelings on the matter, however, as it continues its merry way along, oblivious to his own chagrin.

He spent hours bidding on those Elizabeth Taylor collectibles, carefully pooling his money and portioning it out among the various items being offered in order to have the greatest chance at winning at least one of them. In the end, his efforts were in vain as more affluent members of the Elizabeth Taylor fanbase gathered to sweep the floor. His frustration was short-lived but intense, and now he can't help but feel robbed as he steps away from his locker. He's rarely been so passionate about winning something, and now that he's been soundly defeated, it feels even more demeaning to stand on the other side and know that he won't have anything from the esteemed Elizabeth Taylor collection.

He's not petty enough to think that he won't get a single present that he'll enjoy, but he knows in his heart-of-hearts that most of the presents he'll receive are loving but misguided attempts at finding something that will make him happy. Over the years, he's taken many an unusual present and turned it into a unique fashion statement, yet the resentment he feels over losing something he genuinely wanted aches more than the fond exasperation that he knows he'll have after opening most of his gifts.

"Kurt, smile!" Blaine urges, beaming, as he sidles up to his locker. Kurt's lips twitch slightly in spite of himself at his expression; at least one of them is completely unaffected by the Elizabeth Taylor disaster. "Christmas break is only hours away - !"

Kurt sighs a little, his good mood deflating instantly at the reminder. "I know," he says, hitching his satchel up a little higher on his shoulder. He wants to just crawl back under his covers and pretend that the auction never happened, that there was never an opportunity in the first place. Maybe then his disappointment wouldn't be so clear. "And I feel really good about the special and what we did at the shelter," he adds, taking in Blaine's slightly crestfallen expression. "It's just . . . " He waves a hand airily, searching for words as a pair of hockey jocks walks by, wrapped up in their own conversation. For once, he's almost disappointed at the refusal to acknowledge his existence; it seems all too fitting. "The holidays always make me a little melancholy," he finishes, only partially true.

Blaine tilts his head slightly to one side, watching him closely, a barely contained smile quirking the corners of his lips. "Really? So it's not 'cause the Liz Taylor jewelry auction ended at midnight last night - "

" - and I was outbid on everything?" Kurt bursts out, peeved.

"Kurt, those things sold for, like, millions of dollars," Blaine points out, almost gently. "I mean, how were you supposed to afford - "

" - the Edith Head ivory disc necklace?"

" - any of that stuff?" Blaine interjects firmly. His eyes soften a little as he looks at Kurt, undoubtedly reading the resignation there, before he keeps speaking, reaching out with one hand to intertwine their fingers. Kurt lets him, casting a single wary look around the hallway, bracing himself for a surprise holiday slushy. It doesn't come and he relaxes slightly, looking up from their intertwined fingers to meet Blaine's gaze. "Granted, no one can figure out how you pay for your outfits," he points out, a slightly wry tone to his voice.

"I have an amazing eye for bargains," Kurt sniffs defensively, "and I'm a member of the online site Rue La La." He pauses, waiting for the bait to be caught and believed. Blaine looks back at him without speaking and he sighs, defeated. "I know. It was auction porn - just a fantasy, but it was so hot."

Blaine laughs and after a moment Kurt realizes that he's laughing, too, relief easing some of the tension from his shoulders and back. It was a long shot, and he knows that the chances of him winning anything were astronomically slim, but some things merit mourning over and that auction was one of them.

"I think this year we should be thankful for what we have, not what we don't have," Blaine says once he's calmed down. Kurt gives his hand a squeeze, tugging him slightly so they're not in the way of a passerby attempting to reach her locker. It places them conspicuously in the center of the hallway but he doesn't mind. Most of the students cleared out already to reach their next classes, eager to finish the day and begin winter break. Kurt's gaze doesn't leave Blaine's even as his darts to the floor briefly, one hand sliding down towards a pocket. Kurt's heart rate accelerates involuntarily and he crushes the momentary hope that roars in his chest.

"Which is why," Blaine continues, pawing through his pocket until he slips a small, red velvet box into his palm. Kurt's breath hitches in surprise, all thoughts of Elizabeth Taylor collections forgotten as he stares at it. He tries to form words, opens his mouth to say something, but he can't find a single thing to say and Blaine's already speaking, anyway, his hand giving Kurt's a gentle squeeze. "I know we've taken things to a new level recently, so - "

Kurt's heart stops. Somehow his brain-to-mouth filters continues unimpeded, babbling nonsensically, "If this is an engagement ring, yes!" He doesn't wait for a response, hardly waits for his own mental processes to catch up with him as he continues. "What's better than Christmas in New York? Eloping and getting married in Central Park, on Christmas!"

He waits for the quiet chuckle, the fond look, the gentle squeeze of his hand and confirmation.

Instead, Blaine only says softly, "Just - open the box, Kurt."

His heart beating frantically in his chest, Kurt obliges, his fingers sliding carefully out of Blaine's grasp as he reaches for the box itself. His hands are shaky but he still manages to pop the lid without difficulty. Inside, a small conglomeration of bubble gum wrappers are artfully glued to a ring, a tiny red bowtie sticking out from the center.

"It's a promise ring," Blaine says, his voice soft and warm as he watches Kurt examine the ring between his thumb and forefinger carefully. The paper crinkles underneath his fingers slightly and he wonders absentmindedly how many hours Blaine put into making this ring perfect. "I made it out of gum-wrappers," he admits, confirming Kurt's suspicions as he picks gently at one of the edges. "Juicy Fruit."

"My favorite's Wrigley's," Kurt confesses, his voice small and a little choked as he stares at the ring. "And is that a little bow-tie?"

Because of course Blaine included one - it's such a Blaine thing to do - and the mere thought that he made this is already making Kurt's heart ache.

"But what are you promising?" he asks, soft and thoughtful.

There is silence for a moment and Kurt braces himself for a million empty promises and instead is enraptured by Blaine's response.

"To always love you," Blaine responds. "To defend you even if I know you're wrong."

Kurt's smile broadens a tiny bit at that; Blaine's mirrors it as he reaches out for Kurt's hand, balancing the ring delicately between them.

"To surprise you," he continues. "To always pick up your call no matter what I'm doing."

Then, unexpectedly: "To bake you cookies at least twice a year and to kiss you whenever and wherever you want."

Kurt wants to pull him in for a kiss now, to cup his face and hold him close and never let him go. He doesn't, captivated by his speech, his eyes misty and yet somehow clear enough that all he can see is Blaine, Blaine, Blaine.

"Mostly to make sure that you always remember how perfectly imperfect you are," he finishes softly, sliding the ring gently onto Kurt's ring finger. "I know it's not something Elizabeth Taylor would've worn," he says, his trepidation rising back to the surface even as Kurt watches, smiling broadly enough that he wonders if it's possible for his expression to simply stay like that forever.

"I love it," he insists, reaching out to squeeze Blaine's waist with one hand. "I love you." He leans forward and, hesitating only slightly at the crowd still milling around them, presses the briefest of kisses to Blaine's lips, pulling back so a breath's span separates them, an even softer smile on his face.

"Merry Christmas, Kurt," Blaine whispers. "Our first Christmas together," he adds, closing his eyes and reveling.

"First of many," Kurt assures, cupping his cheeks and pulling him in for a proper kiss. Blaine leans into it, relaxing and squeezing his waist before pulling away with a reluctant little noise. Kurt laughs quietly, kissing the tip of his nose as he loops his arm properly around Blaine's waist, pulling him close so they can walk down the hall together. Blaine beams at him, his right arm wrapping around Kurt's waist.

It might not be Christmas yet, and it's not the Elizabeth Taylor collectibles he initially craved, but it's more, infinitely better, and something that cannot be replaced: Blaine's love, simple, real, unadorned.

Author's Notes: So this is obviously a reaction fic to the newly released dialogue to the missing box scene!

I want to re-emphasize the fact that all dialogue is from the scene and does not belong to me. It's simply used here as a descriptive version of the scene. No copyright infringement is intended.

And with that cleared out of the way: thoughts? Comments?