Blaine Anderson's red string of fate leads into the upturned dirt of a fresh grave. Below his feet rots the soulmate he never met properly. He sighs, fingers trailing over the shiny new headstone, tracing the name of the most beautiful boy he'd ever seen.

He'd been so excited, the day his string had tightened suddenly, jerking him several feet backward. He skipped school and hoped his soulmate wouldn't mind him showing up in his Dalton uniform. The string twitched frantically as he drove, and he used it as a guide, instinctively knowing what jerk meant which direction. When the string burnt blazing hot around his wrist, he startled, pulling into a parking garage to rub at the seared flesh. That's when he heard the whimpers, floating in through his open window.

Not twenty feet away lay the broken body of his soulmate.

The boy's eyes were open, fingers flexing weakly, beseechingly, as Blaine knelt next to him. Blood soaked into his slacks as he laced his fingers gently with the outstretched hand, feeling shattered bones try to grip back as he fumbled for his phone.

A weak squeeze stopped him.

The boy shook his head almost imperceptibly. Blaine felt tears prick his eyes as the other boy tried to make his broken jaw cooperate. He managed to half-mouth, half-whisper "Name?"

"I'm Blaine," it took all his willpower not to choke on his own title.

The other boy gave a small, pained smile. "Kurt." He took a rattling breath. "I'm sorry, Blaine."

And with that, the light in Kurt's blue eyes dimmed, and Blaine's soulmate died with their fingers intertwined.

Blaine's brought back from his thoughts by a flashlight in the distance. The groundskeeper, a bent old man with a withered apple of a face, is coming towards him. He gives Blaine a sympathetic look as Blaine drags his himself away from the headstone, shoving both hands deeply into the pockets of his coat as he turns to leave.

He doesn't see the old man tilt his head at his retreating back. Doesn't see the twinkle in his eyes as he looks from Blaine to the grave. Doesn't see him vanish.

Blaine kicks off his shoes and falls facefirst on to the sofa, digging his phone from his pocket. He hits 'send' twice, pulling his face from the cushions and rolling over as the other person answers.

"Hey, kiddo. How you doing?"

Blaine swallows, clutching a pillow to his chest. "I went and saw him today."

Burt sighs. "I figured you would. How long did you stay this time?"

"…the groundsman kicked me out again."

"Blaine, I know it hurts. Believe me, I do." Blaine can practically see the older man rubbing at his wrist where the thread linked Burt to his own shattered past. "But you're torturing yourself."

Blaine is silent.

"He wouldn't want you to do this, Blaine. You've put your life on hold for a year for him. Kurt would kick your ass, believe you me."

Blaine licks his lips and still says nothing. Burt sighs again. "I ever tell you about the time he laid into this rat-faced guy at the shop for insulting his knowledge of cars?"

He replies in the negative and Burt launches into the story, trailing off occasionally in a way that makes Blaine aware of how badly Burt misses his son. When they say their goodbyes, Blaine lets the phone fall to the floor with a muffled thunk. He always felt a strange mixture of elation and bitterness after talking to Burt. On one hand, hearing stories about the amazing person Kurt had been filled him with contented warmth. On the other, the fact that he had not and would never be able to properly meet the truly fierce, fabulous force that was Kurt Hummel angered and saddened him. The contentedness must have been worth the pain, though, because he couldn't bring himself to put a stop to their calls.

It helped Burt cope, he knew. Knowing that someone else out there loved his son just as much as he did and being able to talk about him helped stave off the ache of loneliness that came from losing his only child.

He'd never expected Kurt's father to approach him at the funeral. But he had, scooping Blaine into a tight bear hug that had made him burst into fresh tears. He stood silently by Blaine's side as the casket was lowered into the ground, Blaine's eyes refilling as the red string linking him to Kurt finally protruded from a mound of earth. Burt knew what he was seeing, had told him later that his own red string lead to a grassy grave next to Kurt's. Burt used his own burial plot for his son.

Blaine stretches, pushing himself to his feet and towards the kitchen to make something for dinner. His vision suddenly blurs and he grabs for the countertop, gasping at the nausea that's overtaken him. His skin is all at once burning and frozen, and he slides to the floor in a heap.

He curls into himself as far as he can manage, his body shivering as the hot and cold sensations run through it. Blaine can feel cool sweat beading on his forehead, but can't manage the will or strength to wipe it away. Black dances at the edges of his vision and seems to become more prominent with every blink.

"You didn't protect me,"

Blaine's positive he's passed out because he's suddenly back in the parking garage of a year ago, frozen as faceless, burly men advance towards Kurt. But Kurt's also beside him, blue eyes burning into his, furious.

"I pulled on the string. But you didn't save me."

He's beside Kurt's broken body once more, cradling him to his chest, but Kurt's shattered arms push him away.

"You weren't weren't there." Kurt's glaring at him through blackening eyes and Blaine doesn't know how many more times his heart can shatter.


Blaine groans, his stomach roiling and his heart feeling torn to pieces.

"Seriously, you need to leave."

Blaine slowly realizes that he's no longer on his kitchen floor. There's grass beneath him and warm sunshine on his cheek. The person above him continues talking, sounding irritated. "I realize you're probably too hungover to care about whose lawn you're puking on, but I will call the police and have you escorted off my property."

Blaine opens his eyes, bright sunlight making him squint. The other boy slowly comes in to focus. Long, lean legs wrapped in tight skinny jeans. A blue peacoat threatened by wrinkles from the way the boy was crossing his arms. Pale face, brown hair swept up stylishly, burning blue eyes.

Kurt Hummel is staring at him.

Blaine can feel himself go pale. He manages a murmured "Kurt," before his world is crushed black once more.