Well here it is finally is, the final chapter. Announcements at the end. I hope you enjoy!
Three months later, Blaine and his Dad went to court with James to dismiss the State's custody and return it to his father, who had gotten sole custody in probate court. Blaine didn't need to go and John tried to get him to go to school just like it was a normal day, but it wasn't a normal day in Blaine's mind, this was important and he insisted. And John had been learning not to argue with Blaine about the things he thought were important.
Like having a relationship with his mother.
John hadn't wanted him to be disappointed and though she said she was clean and doing well in Indiana, he didn't know how to trust her. But Blaine insisted on contacting her. They started with phone calls and texting and moved on to Skype calls. They would talk for hours about books Blaine had read for class or just on his own. He'd found a new interest in Medieval Poetry and when he wrote his English term paper on Chaucer, they were on the phone for hours as he typed and she helped him through his analysis. John had to admit she looked well and sounded well and she'd gotten an adjunct professorship at Ball State University in Muncie. Blaine had been right to keep trying with her and John took a step in learning how to accept what was hard for him but important to Blaine.
Like his relationship with Kurt.
In the beginning things had been going so well. John had insisted on spending Blaine's first week home together, just the two of them learning to live with one another again 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Blaine hadn't been thrilled that he'd only see Kurt at school. But he understood and accepted where his dad was coming from. At the end of the week John invited Kurt over to dinner to discuss his rules and expectations. After that the boys were allowed to start seeing each other again outside of school with the understanding that they were to "behave respectfully" in the Anderson home. They both knew what that meant and Blaine couldn't help but think it was an act of judgment rather than respect until Kurt reminded him the rules were the same at Burt's. It still felt different to Blaine though and Kurt understood his trepidation and defensiveness. Burt had always accepted them. Mr. Anderson was just starting to. It would take time to trust but they would follow the rules and behave in the home.
So they kissed whenever home, keeping hands above the waist and clothes tightly in place when they both desperately wanted them off. They took stolen moments in the car or in the auditorium at school or in the back of the movie theater whenever they had a chance. And they counted down the days to Prom. Many months ago they'd promised to wait until Blaine went home and had done the work he needed to do, but they both felt it was time to stop waiting. They were ready.
Prom was only a week after court and if all went well then the only person Blaine would have to answer to about after prom plans would be his father. He knew it would be a tall order, but if he could convince his dad that he and his friends were all staying together in the hotel after the dance then he stood a chance.
John told him no. But his mother said yes and somehow eventually managed to convince his father that Blaine had earned the night. After all, she told him, if they were expecting Blaine to trust them then it was only right that they trusted Blaine too. As much as he hated it, John admitted she had a point and the next day after school he found his son curled up on the couch doing homework.
"So your Mom and I talked, and we agreed that you can stay with your friends at the hotel after prom," he told him.
Blaine looked up, excitement and disbelief dancing in his eyes. "Really?!"
"Really Blaine," John nodded. "But you and Kurt stay with your friends, no alone time, and no funny business."
"I promise," Blaine told him with absolutely every intention of breaking every rule. His father owed him a few broken promises after all he reasoned.
"One more thing," John said and Blaine's heart clenched waiting for the shoe to drop. He knew it had been too good to be true, there was no way his father was going to take any chances that he and Kurt would have time together. He was probably going to have Burt chaperone or have James check in or stop by the hotel himself to make sure they weren't doing anything a normal teenager would do. He probably would… "Your mother and I think it would be a good idea for you to go visit her over the summer," John continued.
Blaine startled, not quite sure what this had to do with Kurt and prom, but the idea wasn't a bad one. "Yeah sure," he answered suspiciously. "It would be nice to go see her for a week or so."
"No, Blaine, we were thinking maybe for a month. Or even longer if you wanted," he explained.
Blaine sat silently, the words not coming right away as suddenly it made sense. A month without Kurt. That was their plan. Give him an inch and then take a mile. "No," he barked angrily.
His father reached a hand out to him but he stood from the couch and backed away. "It's all lies, isn't it? Pretending to be okay with me and Kurt, pretending to accept us. Giving us a last moment together at Prom and then sending me away so I can't see him all summer?" Blaine's voice was rising as he felt the betrayal deep within him.
"Blaine, that's not what your Mom and I were-"
"You're lying!" Blaine shouted, his heart pounding with remembrances of the past. "All you two do is lie and try to ruin my life!"
"Blaine, you're being ridiculous, settle down," John ordered through gritted teeth, frustrated that in that moment all their months of hard work seemed completely forgotten.
"I am not being ridiculous and I am not going to settle down," Blaine yelled. "Maybe I should have just stayed at Sidney House. Or gone to live with Burt!"
That was it. John had heard enough and his patience was gone. "Feel free to go back to either one of them, but you can kiss your Prom night goodbye if you do!" He leapt out of his seat angrily.
"Maybe I will!" Blaine said lamely, but he stormed across the room, grabbed his jacket and slammed out the door.
John stood there shaking, wondering what on earth had just happened as he listened to Blaine peel out of the driveway. He'd felt his control slipping from his fingers and he realized it was a good thing that Blaine had left when he did. Never once had it crossed his mind that spending time with his mother would seem to Blaine like he was keeping him from Kurt and that had never been his intention. Blaine's lack of trust in him hurt. He called James, his hands trembling as he sat with his head in his hands. When James answered he told him what happened. He wasn't ashamed to admit that he was relieved Blaine had left. It hadn't gotten physical, but he confessed he'd been close.
It wasn't hard at all for James to track Blaine down, he'd gone straight to Kurt's house. James got approval for Blaine to stay there for the weekend and he put a rush on the family reunification in-home services for Blaine and John. The first meeting would be Monday afternoon when Blaine returned home again.
As much as the argument had rattled them both, that was the beginning of things really starting to work out for Blaine and John. It was three months of hard work, building trust, yelling and tears, laughter and smiles, and the resolving of issues that weren't at all apparent until they were once again back under the same roof. Mixed together with visits from James, Blaine's counseling sessions and Xavien's aftercare services, it felt to Blaine and John that all they did with their free time was meet with providers and talk about their problems. But in the end it was worth it, because it had brought them to here.
They walked up the steps of the courthouse together and through the metal detectors. They quickly found James in the lobby talking with the OFC attorney. "Hey you two," James greeted with a smile. "Big day."
"I had to see it for myself," Blaine offered in explanation, apologetic but sure.
"No need to explain," James said with a warm smile. "I think it's important for you to be here. How have things been going?"
"Good," Blaine answered and it was nice to be able to say it honestly for once. "Kurt and I go to prom next week," he added with a blush.
"Mmhmm…" James hummed knowingly, more than glad that custody was returning to Dad prior to that event. "Be safe, be careful , be sober and please don't be stupid," he said.
"I plan to do all of those things," Blaine assured him. "I'm not messing up now."
"Anderson case!" called the bailiff at the door.
Blaine took a deep breath and looked up at James. "It's time," James said.
The last time Blaine had been here they'd been called to the side of Judge Lawrence's bench, but today they sat on the hard wooden bench in the gallery. Blaine nervously tapped his leg. This was it. She'd been on his side before, saved him from the hellhole of Woodland, he should have every faith that she would listen to him today. But the fear of the unknown, of stories he'd heard from other kids, still wracked him and his heart beat strongly in his chest.
"We're here for a pre-trial hearing for the Anderson case." The court clerk rattled off the docket number before announcing who was present in the courtroom and then the room went silent as the judge read James' report.
"OFC is looking to dismiss custody today?" she asked formally.
"Yes your honor," the OFC attorney answered.
"Things are going okay at home?" Judge Lawrence turned to James.
He stood and stepped forward, his date book in his hands as he addressed the court. "Yes, things have been going very well. Mom has moved to Indiana and appears to be remaining clean, she's provided clean screens for the past three months. She and Blaine have had contact over Skype. Dad has gone to Probate court for full underlying custody with visitation by Mom at his discretion. Blaine and John have engaged in services and have agreed to continue to do so as well as to stay involved with OFC on a voluntary basis until Blaine's 18th birthday. We've only had one concerning incident since Blaine's return home and over all the family handled it well," he informed the judge with a smile in Blaine and John's direction.
The judge turned to them and Blaine held his breath. "It's good to see you again Blaine," she smiled at him and he rose from the bench where he sat.
"Thank you Your Honor," he answered nervously.
"So things are better than the last time I saw you I hope?" Blaine smiled shyly and nodded. "It's been going well at home with your Dad?" she asked and Blaine got the sense that she truly wanted to know.
"Yes, Your Honor," he said and he looked over to his Dad. "He's been doing really well actually, and we've been mostly getting along. I feel like he understands me better and I understand him and we have new strategies to use when we start feeling like we're gonna argue."
"Mr. Anderson," the judge turned her gaze expectantly to John.
He stood up, looking fondly down at Blaine. "Blaine's right Your Honor, we've been working with the counselors and our family support worker and things are looking good. Blaine and I are both sober and sometimes we go to meetings together. We've come to learn that our biggest problem is that we're so much alike," he chuckled softly.
"So we all feel ready for Dad to have custody again?" she made sure with a glance to everyone.
James, Blaine and John all nodded. The OFC attorney turned to her. "Yes Your Honor," she answered formally. The family's attorneys agreed as well.
"Very well," the judge smiled. "Custody is hereby returned to the father. Congratulations you two, you've done remarkable work. It's always nice to have a happy ending."
John smiled at her and put his arm around Blaine, squeezing him close. Blaine couldn't help but smile as well. "Yes it is your honor," John said.
So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard and drown me in love.
Blaine looked around the ballroom, decorated extravagantly for Prom, completely content as he danced in Kurt's arms. The music hummed inside him in tune to the song in his heart, perfectly expressing to the world how he felt in the deepest recesses of his mind. This was it for him. This was love, and life and hope. This was the feeling of promises forever kept, unconditional love with accountability and responsibility but no fear. He closed his eyes, as he rested his head on the soft wool of Kurt's tuxedo.
"I love you so much," he whispered, clinging to him tightly so as to never let him go.
Kurt kissed his head and rested his own against it. "I love you too Blaine. When I was a child and I imagined myself at the Prince's Ball held tall only by the strength of the Prince's arms, I had absolutely no idea that someday that dream would come true."
Blaine smiled and raised his head, lifting his eyes to Kurt. Love shined between them and they kissed, soft and sure, brief but so full of love. Deeper kisses they would save for later. That and so much more.
As only someone who had spent a lifetime with heightened awareness could, Blaine felt eyes on him from across the room. He looked up, searching for the angry stare from someone offended by their affections. But instead his eyes rested on Sheila, standing in the corner looking uncomfortable in a prom dress that seemed like it was trying to be hers but just slightly missed the mark. The scowl on her face was permanent, but the hurt in her eyes was new. Usually she covered it much better than that.
"Do you mind if I share the next dance with someone else?" Blaine politely asked Kurt.
Kurt followed his eyes and smiled softly. He would love to keep Blaine all to himself the entire night, but Blaine's request was precisely everything he loved about his boyfriend. There was no way he would say no. "Of course," he breathed, giving him a kiss on the cheek before letting him go with a last squeeze of his hand.
Blaine lowered his eyes as he nonchalantly headed Sheila's way. He knew she was watching him but he also was certain she would run if she felt pursued. Instead he stopped briefly to greet a few friends, gave Rachel a kiss on the cheek and Finn a firm handshake. He twirled Mercedes around and grabbed Brittany away from Santana for a quick dip on the dance floor. All the while he kept an eye on Sheila who only seemed to shrink further away into the corner. Finally he sidled up beside her and leaned against the wall as well.
"This is a pretty good view of the dance floor," he offered his approval, avoiding her eyes, staring out at the crowd instead.
"It's a stupid dance," she growled fidgeting with the dress that was clearly unnerving for her. "I only came to get the hell out of the house and because my social worker insisted on me getting this stupid dress."
"Well you look beautiful in it," Blaine said, looking over at her as unassumingly as possible. "And since you're at this stupid dance anyway, would you care to, ya know, dance? Just so you can tell your worker you did?" He smirked as he held his hand out to her, his eyes amused and hopeful. "I know how nosy they can be."
"Yeah, fine, whatever," she sighed and rolled her eyes. But she took his hand and her soft touch betrayed her hard exterior.
Blaine led her out to the edge of the floor. He knew better than to try to take her for a spin amongst the serious couples at McKinley. She would never be comfortable in the center of things. Foster care always made a person feel on the outside looking in and while he'd needed to be welcomed into the circle, Sheila found safety on the edge.
"So I hear you went home," she said as they started to dance, Blaine guiding her with a practiced hand.
"Yeah," he shrugged. He underplayed it, not wanting to make things harder on her by seeming to brag. As tough as she pretended to be it was easy to tell that not being home killed her. "It isn't perfect, but it's been alright so far."
"You think you're gonna stay?" she asked. Many went home. And many bounced right back out again.
Blaine though nodded. "I turn 18 in about 6 months, so yeah, we can probably stick it out that long. Then I just have to finish high school and it will be off to college."
"It's too bad you didn't stay in," Sheila said. "Get a free college education out of having crap parents at least. State owes us that much, I figure."
"Well, Kurt and I are planning to go to New York, so not sure I would have gotten much anyway," Blaine responded. It was certainly something they'd all talked about, but he was pretty sure they'd made the right choice for him. "You going to college?"
Sheila shrugged. "I don't know. Not sure I'm really college material. Might just get a job, live on my own for a bit."
"Well I'm sure whatever you choose to do you're gonna do great," Blaine said with a smile. "You're a survivor Sheila. Never forget that."
The music shifted and Shelia let go. One dance had been enough. Blaine though took her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing gently. "It was a pleasure," he said, his eyes twinkling with chivalry. And for the first time in as long as she could remember, Sheila blushed before turning away and rushing back to her corner.
Blaine watched her go with a grin then felt a familiar hand on his shoulder. He turned and immediately fell into step in the arms of the boy he loved.
"You're amazing Blaine Anderson," Kurt said, beaming proudly down at his boyfriend.
"Any amazing I am is because of you," Blaine assured him as he rested his head back down on Kurt's shoulder. Tonight would be the best night of his life.
Cooper may have been 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles and a less than active participant in Blaine's life, but he was more than happy to help when it came to reserving Kurt and Blaine their own hotel room for Prom. The request came from a place of safety. Their friends had adjoining rooms two floors up, but they both knew it would be overflowing with alcohol, and soon enough, drunk friends. They had no intention of going anywhere near it, though it would be easy enough for the boys to be quickly summoned upstairs if Blaine's father just happened to call the room to check in. Their own room, they told Cooper, was the only way they could guarantee a sober after-prom party. If the privacy just so happened to afford them the chance to take their relationship to a new level, well it was just a bonus.
A bonus for which they were both very ready.
Blaine swiped the key in the door, unable to wipe the grin from his face no matter how suave he was trying to be. He took Kurt's hand and led him inside, taking in a breath at the sight of the room Cooper had secured them. A king-size bed with white duvet sat in the center of the room. Dark woods and warm lighting highlighted fabrics and paintings of deep red offering a romantic feel without being too ostentatious. But what was ostentatious, or maybe it was just obnoxious, or maybe it was just brilliant, Blaine thought with a blush, was the in-room whirlpool sitting not so innocently in the corner right next to the bed.
"I swear I didn't ask for that," Blaine stammered with embarrassment, as he laid their bags on the bed and turned to Kurt. Kurt though was grinning back and took Blaine's hand in his reassuringly.
"It's perfect," he promised and proved it with a kiss, soft and sweet and full of possibilities.
"Really?" Blaine asked, nervously excited.
Kurt nodded, his forehead leaning against Blaine's and his fingertips ghosting over Blaine's hip. "Really," Kurt said lowly. "I can't wait to be with you."
They kissed again, realizing that for once they were completely alone with all the time in the world. There would be no staff, no parents, no voyeurs to watch and scowl. There was no curfew they had to meet and no rules they had to follow other than the ones they set for themselves. It was a brief tease at freedom, but it was freedom none the less and they had every intention in the world of making the most of it.
"I had an incredible time tonight," Blaine whispered as they broke apart and he just rested in Kurt's arms.
"Night's not over," Kurt purred suggestively, sliding his hands beneath the lapel of Blaine's tuxedo jacket and slipping it off and onto the floor.
"You're amazing," Blaine whispered as he closed his eyes. "I never knew I could love someone so much and yet every day I fall in love with you even more. You are the love of my life Kurt." He opened his eyes to meet Kurt's but they fell instead on a box held out to him in Kurt's shaking hand. His breath caught in his throat. "What's that?" he choked.
Kurt looked at him, a tentative smile punctuated by a nervous bite to his lip. "Open it," he urged, his voice small but hopeful.
Blaine reached out, his hand seemingly moving in slow motion as he took it from Kurt and flipped open the lid. It was simple, a sterling silver ring with the word "Promise" accented by two sparkling diamonds on either side. Blaine looked up, surprise and love in his eyes. "Kurt," he breathed.
"Gosh, I didn't think I'd be so nervous," Kurt laughed and Blaine smiled softly, at a loss for his own words. He held Kurt's gaze with warm amber eyes glowing. "Promises are so easy to make, but so difficult to keep," Kurt began. He took the ring from the box and pressed it into the palm of Blaine's hand, curling Blaine's fingers around the ring, and his own hand around Blaine's. "But this is my vow that I will keep my promises to you Blaine. There's a chain in the box for you to wear this ring around your neck, close to your heart. Because that is where my promises are kept, Blaine, not in my heart but in yours. If I break them I break your heart and that is something that I never, ever, want to do. Because I love you. You are the love of my life. And if you will someday have me then I promise that I will be yours forever."
Blaine blinked and swallowed, but tears escaped anyway and he wiped them away with the back of his hand, still holding the box. Kurt let his hand go and he reached inside the box, pulling out the chain. "Will you put it on me?" Blaine asked as he laughed through his tears.
"I would love to," Kurt said. He strung the ring on the chain, then wound it around Blaine's neck, latching it carefully. As soon as it was secure, his hands fell to Blaine's neck and Blaine surged forward, capturing Kurt's lips in his, pouring into the kiss every emotion that pulsed inside him; love, fear, unbelievable want, but most of all pure happiness. He swiftly rid Kurt of his tuxedo coat and it fell next to his own while he pulled Kurt's shirt free in a desperate need to feel Kurt's skin against his. "Too many clothes," he whispered as he ran his hands up the smooth lines of Kurt's back and began a beautiful assault on Kurt's neck. He began to undo Kurt's buttons, wanting more, needing more but they were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Room service," a waiter called.
Blaine dropped his head with a dramatically reluctant sigh as Kurt giggled and went to get the door. He opened it to find a cart filled with sparkling cider, chocolate covered strawberries and elegant cookies. "Wow," Kurt said as he moved aside and let the waiter roll the cart in. He dug into his pocket for a small tip and gave it to the gentleman with a broad grin. "Thank you."
"Enjoy your evening, Sirs," the waiter responded and gracefully exited the room.
Kurt grinned back at Blaine who had a sly look on his face. "Your idea or Cooper's?" Kurt asked with a smirk.
"A little bit of both maybe," Blaine answered with a roguish smile.
"The sparkling cider is a nice touch," Kurt heartily approved.
"It reminded me to give you this," Blaine said and from behind his back he pulled out his own small box that he held out to Kurt.
Kurt stopped and put his hand on his hips. "Blaine," he protested quite insincerely, but he made no move to reach for it. Blaine rolled his eyes fondly and opened the box himself. Laying inside on a bed of cotton was a blue anodized aluminum AA Token. Kurt looked up at Blaine. Blaine peered back shyly.
"6 months sober," he announced proudly. "I couldn't have done it without you Kurt. I want you to have it," Blaine urged.
But Kurt shook his head. "No Blaine, I love it and I'm so proud of you, but you worked hard for that. You earned it. It's yours." He picked it up to hand it to Blaine, but his hand froze when he saw what lay nestled in the cotton beneath the chip; a titanium ring, edged in black, with the word "forever" etched in script, accented by a small heart.
"And that is yours," Blaine said, his voice hushed as a hopeful smile peeked out from his lips. Kurt stared up at him in disbelief. "Kurt, you saved my life. Without you I would have grown up to be someone I hated. But your love has changed me. Your love that was so strong you risked it all to keep me safe, to keep you safe. Your courage inspires me every day." He took Kurt's hand and the 6-month chip in his and he felt Kurt trembling. He smiled, eyes shining as one tear trickled down Kurt's cheek. "Because of this," he squeezed the chip in their hands, "I believe that I can give you this," he glanced back down at the ring and back up at Kurt. "This is my promise of forever. I will love only you. I will be with only you. This is for the boy who changed my life and for the man who will be my life forever. If you'll let me," he finished hopefully.
Kurt swallowed and wiped away the incredibly happy tears that would not stop falling. "I believe I've already made that promise," he smiled wetly.
"Then it's a good thing for me that you keep your promises," he said. He slipped the ring on Kurt's finger then wrapped his arms around Kurt's neck, kissing him with the promise of tonight and of forever.
I want to thank each and every one of you who have read this story and gone through this journey with me. I hope it meant as much to you as it did me.
I need to thank my amazing beta, MuseInMe3 for all she has done for me. And I need to thank the original prompter of this story wherever you might be! And of course I need to thank all my inspirations out there. I love you.
Finally, I'd like to introduce Vignettes: The Stories of Promises Broken. I'll be posting a six chapter story, each one the unwritten/unfinished story of one of your favorites from PB. I plan to include Nicholas, Cass, Sebastian, Sheila, James and end with Klaine. I'm open to others if you want them. I have no timeframe. This will be in my spare time. But keep an eye out for it!