It started in Shepherd's Grove.

He had always come up here – it was a place to think, to read without anything in the house distracting him. But that Saturday in April, at 15:23, there was someone else.

The boy looked up with large hazel eyes at him. "I'm sorry, am I intruding? I- apologies – I'll- it's fine, I can go?"

But Kurt shook his head and sat down next to him, leaning against the trees. "Kurt Hummel," he said, offering his hand.

"Blaine Anderson," the stranger said, shaking it.

The friendship was a quick developing one, seeing them constantly returning to Shepherd's Grove, spending entire weekends at a time among the trees. It was an escape from the public high schools they went to, something to take their mind off of everything else. And it soon became one of the most sacred things in both of their lives.

It was a hard decision, at first. He knew Blaine practically inside and out, but he was straight. He had to be. It wasn't really something you said on the first meeting, though – "Hi, I'm Kurt, I'm gay! What's your name?"

But time had ticked on, and there had been no good opportunity to tell him. It was almost shaming, to think that his best friend – because that was what Blaine had become to Kurt – didn't know something his entire school did. So, on a Sunday, at 5:19. Blaine had started to cry silently, before nodding slightly and rasping out, "Me too."

'Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.' – Ann Landers

Neither had realised that they really, truly liked each other until they both realised they were in love with the other. It was slow – a steady flame, instead of a roaring inferno that consumed all their other friends. But, at the same time, it was strong.

Strong enough so that when Blaine ran up to Kurt, waiting for him at Shepherd's Grove, on Thursday evening at 7:49, the first kiss was all they needed to join their hearts.

Kurt's head was leaning on Blaine's chest and Blaine's arms wrapped securely around Kurt's waist when, on Monday at 4:21, Kurt finally asked him, "Do you believe in God? Or heaven, or any of that?"

"…Yes," Blaine said after a moment. "But it sits in the background. My faith is the last thing I think of. Why?"

"When you die – "


"Blaine. Give me this… When you die, do you want to be buried? Or…?"

"No. I want to be cremated."

"Burned? Not buried?"

"No – if I'm cremated, at least some part of me is free. In a coffin, none of me is. You?"

"Buried. There's an open grave for both my father and me, next to my mother."

Blaine didn't say anything to that – instead he leant down and pressed a soft kiss to the top of Kurt's head. And really, nothing else was needed.

He had proposed in Shepherd's Grove on Wednesday at 11:38 in the morning, when they'd returned to Ohio for Kurt's school's ten year reunion. And now, here they were, in the reception. They didn't get married in Shepherd's Grove. The clump of trees was private, something they didn't want anybody to steal from them. When they invited wedding guests to it, it stopped being private and gained an impersonal nature. If they had gotten married in Shepherd's Grove, it would mean that they didn't care about the sanctity of the place.

Kurt leant his head on Blaine's shoulder as Cooper fumbled his speech – the third of their kind in the evening – and smiled to himself. Nothing got better than this.

Her name was Connie, and she was two years, four months and one day old when they finally adopted her at 3:56 on Monday. Her light brown hair fell in ringlets that barely went past her eyes, and her green eyes shone with wonder as she took in the house.

They had long since moved away from Shepherd's Grove, but there was no doubt Connie would find her own when she was older. After all, they'd adopted her after her parents Cooper and Annie Anderson were killed in a vicious drive-by.

It was in her blood.

Connie was only 8 years old when the worst happened. She had, as an oblivious and innocent child, slept the night through in Kurt's lap while he watched the doors to surgery frantically, waiting for someone to come and tell him it was fine, his husband was critical but he survived. That they could go back to living.

The fire that had consumed the studio was horrendous. Kurt could see the black tops of the smoke from his house, and there was no chance that any part of the building will have survived. All of Blaine's work – gone. He was almost done with that album, as well.

Connie woke up at the quiet sobs of her father. She sat up and looped her arms around his neck, hugging him. "Daddy? What's wrong?" she whispered.

"I'm sorry, Connie, darling," he said, carding a gentle hand through her curls. She was just a child. "Papa's dead. I'm so sorry. The doctors tried to save him, but… he was too hurt."

Her high keens were something he would never be able to forget.

Going back to Shepherd's Grove was bittersweet. Blaine was everywhere here, although they hadn't been for a good long while. Kurt couldn't help smiling through his tears. Blaine had tackle-hugged him to the ground here more times to count, or rocked him and wiped away his tears with such care when he thought he was beyond consolation.

And Blaine was the most selfless person he'd ever known. It had rubbed off so much on Connie, and although he saw Blaine in her every single day, it was comforting to know he was still here, in some form.

Kurt kissed the top of the urn. "I'll never stop loving you. I promise. Please be happy, wherever you are," he whispered, too quiet for anyone else to hear, then, grasping Connie's hand tightly, scattered the ashes around the first tree that he saw Blaine sitting against. He was back to where they began.

A/N: So. This… broke me. Thoughts?

Imogen xx