AN- *peeks head out cautiously* Um, so I'm still here :) Gosh you guys have been patient! I apologize profusely for your insanely long wait.
Long ass author's note, so thanks in advance for putting up with it :)
I'll answer two questions that were asked by many of you:
1. The story is not over. RL just called for a while. I have multiple loose ends to tie up and another twist or two for our family yet ;)
2. My Tumblr... Everything's peachy, me and the kiddos :) I'm just not going to be on there for the time being. I'm not going anywhere. I'm not leaving the fandom and I'm definitely still writing! My lovely beta, gottriplets, has graciously agreed to post all my updates with the fic tags and the 'violetwrites' tag, so those of you who follow updates there can still do so. Feel free to PM me here anytime!
I struggled with this chap for a bit, because beginning to resolve this particular issue was a bit of a pickle for me (let me reiterate the word 'begin', because such healing is a long, long road).
Three key pieces of inspiration are to thank for finally kicking my ass into gear. Firstly, thank you, Layla, for putting the idea of fairy tales in my head :) Secondly, thanks to my beta, for kick-starting the idea for Kurt and Blaine's little 'presentation' at the end. Finally, as I was out running the other day, a song came across my shuffle and kinda smacked me across the face as the perfect theme for this chap. "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers. Give it a listen if you like. I think it rather apt.
This has yet to be beta'd completely, but I'll post the corrections after the holiday weekend. All current mistakes are mine!
I've missed you all! Many sloppy cyber kisses coming your way :)
2am, Saturday, December 25th
Blaine lifted his head sleepily from the pillow to glance over at his husband.
A muffled grumble came from under the comforter next to him.
"Kurt, Gres is crying. It's your turn and you told me to make sure I made you get up. You said you're scared that he'll say daddy to me first because I'm always up with him in the night."
He chuckled when all he heard was deep breathing. Kurt was such a deep sleeper that it usually took one of the kids crying right next to his ear for him to wake up. He leaned over to kiss the top of his husband's head, reminding himself to tease him mercilessly about this in the morning. He quickly flipped off the baby monitor and slipped out of bed, heading next door to the nursery.
Brandi shot up in bed, heart pounding, pulse echoing in her ears, gasping for air. She clutched at the covers anxiously, looking around the room in a panic.
With shaking hands she pushed back sweaty strands of hair from her face. She struggled to swallow the hard lump that had formed in her throat as her breathing gradually slowed down and her panic faded. She tensed her jaw as hot tears began to prick the corners of her eyes and her bottom lip started to tremble.
She slowly drew her knees up to her chin and wrapped her thin arms around her legs. Resting her cheek on top of her knees, she struggled to take deep, calming breaths. After a few moments, she knew it was no good. Some nights she could push through. Some nights she would wake up from the dreams feeling merely unsettled, and taking a few steadying breaths were all she needed to get back to sleep.
Tonight was not one of those nights.
She turned so that her face was buried into her knees, and let go. Her thin shoulders shook as she sobbed quietly. Frustration swelled up within her as she cried softly. Life was so good now. She knew this. Deep down she knew that she was safe and loved, and that as long as her new fathers had any say in the matter she would never want for anything again.
She knew this, but no matter how much time passed, or how good her life was during the day, the dreams wouldn't stop coming, and with them every fear and feeling associated with her childhood.
The frustration and overwhelming fears churned inside her, and she slowly began to rock, trying desperately to keep her sobs quiet and contained. She didn't want anyone to hear. Goodness knows her fathers worried about her enough. They always seemed to be watching, looking for any sign that she needed something. She wasn't one to ask for help and they realized this, leading to at least one of them always being on guard, prepared to offer her anything she might need. It had been exacerbated during the month that Tia and Liam had been gone, for obvious reasons. Her siblings were home again though. Everything was perfect. Everything was as it should be. She had watched their dads tuck them all in that night, completely happy and relaxed again for the first time in the last three nightmarish weeks.
The last thing they needed was one more reason to worry about her. She would manage this on her own.
"Hey, baby boy."
Blaine leaned over the crib with a sleepy smile. Greyson's eyes were screwed shut and his chubby cheeks were flushed bright red as he let out another sharp cry. Blaine knew this cry well. He picked up the pacifier lying next to Greyson's tiny, clutching hand and popped it into the baby's mouth. With a greedy, gulping sound the baby let out a shuddering little breath as he sucked on the plastic soother. Blaine watched with a smile as Greyson's face slowly relaxed and the short, whimpering breaths quieted into small sighs. Tiny fingers twitched and clutched at the air and Blaine couldn't help reaching down to place a finger against the minute palm. His breath caught in his chest when Greyson held tightly to his finger. He knew that he would never get tired of things like this, no matter how many times it happened.
His heart skipped a beat and he couldn't help but jump when he suddenly felt a hand on his waist and a chin rest on his shoulder.
"I thought you were gonna wake me up."
"I tried," Blaine rolled his eyes, turning his face to give Kurt a light kiss. "You just grumbled at me."
Kurt buried his face against the nurse's shoulder, groaning quietly.
"I'm sorry! I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't have any trouble waking up when I'm on call and have to crash at the hospital."
Blaine snorted a little too loudly, causing Greyson to startle in his sleep.
"Actually, you're just as bad there."
"How do you know?" Kurt asked defensively. "You don't work with me when I do those shifts."
"Lisa told me. She pinches you to wake you up. Lucky for you, I'm much nicer than that."
"Wow. You're right, you are nicer. Another good reason to be married to a man. Women are mean and wake you by abusing you."
"You're making some pretty broad generalizations there, babe," Blaine laughed.
"Yes, well, I'm still half-asleep."
Kurt sleepily snuggled down onto Blaine's shoulder, wrapping his arms around the nurse's waist. Blaine leaned back against him with a sigh and they both stared down at Greyson contentedly.
"He's so beautiful," Kurt whispered in Blaine's ear.
Blaine nodded slowly, running his fingers up and down Kurt's arms, ending with threading their fingers together.
"Have you noticed that his eyes look like Cara's?"
He felt Kurt nod slowly against his cheek, and the doctor's grip around his waist tightened.
"Yeah. I was just noticing that the other day."
Blaine sighed again, squeezing Kurt's hand before stepping forward to tuck the blanket in around the baby a little more snugly.
"Night, nugget. Daddies love you."
As Blaine moved away, Kurt stepped forward to stroke the chubby cheek lightly. He looked up when he saw Blaine waiting for him at the door. With one last glance at his sleeping son, he stepped to his husband's side and they moved into the hall.
"Hey!" Kurt whispered quietly, stopping Blaine and pulling him into his arms. "Guess what!"
"What?" Blaine chuckled, loving the childishly excited expression that was gracing his husband's face, one that he and he alone got to see.
"It's officially Christmas!"
"No, it's not!" He grinned, reaching his hands up to link around Kurt's neck. "We go through this every year. It's not Christmas until we wake up in the morning."
"Yes, it is," Kurt gently squeezed his waist. "It's Christmas the moment it turns midnight."
"Fine," Blaine responded cheekily. "Let me just go wake up the kids right now then. They'll want to open their presents if it's Christmas."
He pulled from Kurt's arms and was skipping toward Liam's bedroom door, when the doctor grabbed his hand, yanking him back.
"You're such a brat," Kurt pulled him close again with a laugh. "Fine. It may not be Christmas for the kids..." he gripped Blaine's waist, leaning in for a kiss, "but it can be Christmas for us."
"Hmmm," Blaine kissed him back, gripping the front of his shirt and rubbing his hips up against Kurt's. "I do happen to have a package for you."
Kurt snorted against his mouth, shaking his head.
"God, you're such a boy."
Blaine just winked, grabbing his hand to pull him to their room. Kurt bumped into him though when he stopped suddenly, just short of their door.
Blaine waved a hand, motioning for Kurt to stop talking. He cocked his head, listening. Kurt was about to sigh impatiently when something caught his attention too. He looked at Blaine in surprise. They both heard it now. A muffled crying.
They knew it wasn't Tia or Liam, it didn't sound like a toddler. They were pretty sure it wasn't Elly or Addy, neither of their first graders would have hesitated to just come and get their fathers had they been that upset. They glanced at each other with pained expressions and moved quickly to Brandi's door.
Blaine got there first but hesitated for a moment. No matter how comfortable they had grown they were still dealing with a teenage girl, and this was uncharted territory for both of them. He knew he couldn't just walk in like he would with any of other kids, but neither was he about to leave her crying. He felt Kurt nudge him impatiently in the shoulder and knocked lightly.
There was no response at first. He knocked again, a little more firmly. When they got no response for a second time Kurt reached around and turned the knob. He pushed the door open just a crack, leaning forward.
"Brandi? Honey? It's daddies. Are you okay? Can we come in?"
They glanced at each other nervously when they still got no response, and the muffled cries actually seemed to grow.
"We're coming in, punkin," Blaine pushed the door open the rest of the way, peering into the dark.
"Honey!" He gasped, rushing to her bed. He heard Kurt breathe out in dismay, right on his heels.
Brandi was huddled at the head of her bed, looking small and terrified. She was visibly shaking as she bit lightly at her hand to try and muffle her cries. Bright green eyes that were filled with tears watched her fathers in anguish, and she clapped her hand over her mouth, shaking her head.
Blaine didn't hesitate, sitting right in front of her and scooping her up into his lap. Even with the weight she had managed to gain she was still incredibly thin, and he lifted her easily. Kurt sat down against Blaine, wrapping his arms around the both of them.
"What's wrong, Brandi?" Blaine asked in troubled voice. "What is it? You're not hurt are you?"
When she frantically shook her head without saying a word, only clinging to him, he decided not to push.
For several long moments they simply rocked her between them. Her crying had only increased, and she was now sobbing desperately against Blaine's chest, gasping for air.
"Shhhh, baby," Kurt whispered against her hair. "It's okay. Whatever it is, it'll be okay. We've got you."
"I-I'm sorry," Brandi sobbed.
"Sorry for what?" Blaine asked in astonishment, kissing her hair.
"For... for b-bothering you," she stammered against his chest.
They glanced at each other over her head, both feeling as if they had been punched in the gut.
"You are never, ever bothering us Brandi," Kurt responded firmly, hugging her firmly between them. "We WANT to be here for you. This is what dads do."
To their dismay, his statement seemed to ignite her for some reason, and she started to sob even harder. Kurt pulled back for a moment, seeing how desperately she was gasping for air and not wanting to smother her. He watched Blaine hold and comfort her, feeling broken and helpless.
"It's okay," Blaine breathed, rocking her back and forth. "It's gonna be okay."
He repeated this over and over, softly kissing her hair every time he spoke.
She didn't say anything in response, but eventually seemed to settle a bit. Her heart-wrenching cries slowly turned into muffled sniffles and hiccuped breaths. They didn't say anything further for a while, just rocked her slowly, clasping hands around her.
They both felt a huge wave of relief when she started to speak in a wavering voice.
"I keep... having..."
They didn't react at all when she hesitated and paused, only waited patiently for her speak again.
"I k-keep h-having these dreams," she whispered.
"They're bad dreams I'm guessing? Is that what's you upset?" Kurt asked softly.
When Brandi only swallowed and let out a shuddering breath, he patiently ran a hand over her hair.
"I d-don't know," she sobbed again, closing her eyes as she rested on Blaine's shoulder.
Kurt looked anxiously at Blaine over her head. They both knew that she needed to calm down before she started hyperventilating.
"It always helps me to talk about it when I have bad dreams," Blaine stated quietly, still rocking her slowly in his arms, not letting go. "Just ask daddy. I had an awful dream the other night where a giant muffin was trying to eat me. It was horrible. I woke him up and made him reassure me that there weren't any muffins in the house before I could go back to sleep."
It was quiet for a moment, before Blaine pulled back to look at her, not even trying to hide his smile. She watched him uncertainly, before snorting a tiny laugh, wiping at her watery eyes. Kurt rolled his eyes, wrapping an arm around both of them.
"Oh, honey. You're such a dork. I wish I could tell you that he made that up to make you laugh, Brandi, but it really did happen."
She giggled a little bit more, leaning her head back down. Her laughter quickly turned into more tears, but Blaine's little story had the desired affect, and she was no longer hysterical.
"Talk to us, sweetie," Blaine sighed. "We can't help you if you don't."
"It... It's okay. I don't want to bo-"
"Brandi Elizabeth Hummel," Kurt took her face in his hands, pulling her to face him, and looked into her eyes. She hiccuped lightly and stared at him with a shocked expression.
They had started the whole process for her adoption the moment she had legally been taken from her father's custody, although it hadn't been rushed since they had wanted to adopt all three kids at the same time. I had been a pretty important moment when they had discussed the changing of her last name to Hummel, which she had been thrilled with. Even more significant though, had been when Nick had asked for her middle name while working on the official paperwork. She had told him with a shrug that her mother hadn't given her one. That night Kurt and Blaine had asked her how she would feel about them giving her a middle name. She been ecstatic, and then incredibly moved when they had gone on to ask how she felt about being named after Kurt, and having the middle name Elizabeth.
Still, they had yet to actually use her name, as it hadn't been legally changed. She realized that until this moment they hadn't had occasion to call her by her new middle name yet either.
She smiled softly, sniffing and trying to control her trembling bottom lip.
"If you say one more time that you don't want to bother us, I will, for the first time since you've become our little girl, actually be mad at you."
All three of them started laughing softly at this, knowing very well that Kurt was nowhere near actually being mad. She gulped in a shaky breath.
"No," Kurt interrupted firmly. "I want you to hear this. We know, honey, that you have every reason to not trust the adults in your life... to think that we wouldn't care or that we wouldn't want to be bothered. God knows the ones who were supposed to take care of you just let you down, over and over. You've had to grow up and be responsible and self sufficient way before your time. It's not fair. So many things should have been different for you. You don't even know how much daddy and I wish that we could have just swooped in before any of this happened and taken you right then."
He stopped for a moment, wiping at his own eyes with the back of his hand. Brandi had settled down again in Blaine's lap, resting against his chest, and he rested his head on top of hers, holding her close and rocking her gently while Kurt spoke. She gripped Blaine's hands as they wrapped around her, and watched Kurt with wide eyes.
"We couldn't though," he shrugged, though it was clear that it was painful for him, "but... we have you now. You are who you are because of everything you've gone through. You're so used to having to be strong. Your strength is amazing, and we love you for it. We would never just expect for it to be easy for you to depend on and trust us, but what you need to know now is that being strong doesn't have to mean handling things on your own. We are your dads, sweetheart. It is our job to take care of you, and to be there for you, and worry about you and change everything within our power to make life for better for you."
She took in a stuttered breath and gave him a watery smile.
"We will spend," Blaine spoke up, kissing her cheek from behind and squeezing her in a hug, "every single day telling you this. The moment you forget, and try to handle too much on your own, we will be here to remind you that this is our job. We wouldn't have it any other way. We took you in so that we could take care of you, not so that you could keep doing it on your own."
"So," she responded with a growing smile, "every day until I grow up, huh?"
They both laughed at this.
"You won't stop being our kid once you're grown up, honey. We will always be your daddies." Kurt shot her his bossiest glance, causing her to giggle with one last watery sniff.
When he was sure she had finally calmed completely, Kurt pressed a gentle kiss to her tear-stained cheek and stood from the bed. He stepped quickly into her bathroom, grabbing a box of tissues and carrying them back to the bed. He pulled one out to wipe at his own eyes as he walked. It was nearly impossible for him to watch any of his children this upset with tearing up himself.
He leaned down to brush the hair from her face, heart clenching as he took in her red, swollen eyes. He silently offered the box of tissues, smiling gently. She took one with shaky fingers, shooting him a now genuine smile in return, albeit a tiny one.
She wiped at her eyes and blew her nose as quietly as she could, and she was suddenly overly aware of the fact that she was still huddled on Blaine's lap. Not that she minded, but she still feared that they might think she was a bit too old for that. Giving him a gentle squeeze she scooted herself down, and Kurt moved over, giving her room between them.
Blaine reached over and took her hand once she was settled.
"You said that you keep having these dreams. I'm assuming that this has been happening on a regular basis."
Brandi nodded slowly, not meeting his eyes.
"Have you been waking up like this in the night since you got here?" Kurt asked carefully.
"Most nights," she nodded again. "It was really bad at first. I came so close to coming and getting you in the night, but you had already given me so much and I was scared that you would be annoyed with me if I was too clingy, so..."
Both men had to work hard to not react in their frustration at her comment, knowing that if they did so they would just be confirming her fears in her eyes. She went on before either could respond.
"I think that's why I was so attached to you during the days at first," she shrugged, looking up at them nervously. When they both smiled and held her hands on either side she felt encouraged to continue.
"I was so scared that this wouldn't last, that it wasn't real. To be honest I'm still scared of that. I think... I think maybe that's why I have the dreams."
"Do you want to tell us about them?" Blaine asked in a gentle voice.
She looked at them both anxiously, sucking in a shaky breath before she nodded once more.
"It... it's always the same kind of thing. Sometimes I'm really little again and I'm back with mama. Sometimes I'm a little bit older and I'm back with my dad. Other times I'm back on the streets... on my own."
Kurt and Blaine both fought to simply keep their gaze on their foster daughter, to not react. All they wanted to do was to yank her back into their arms and reassure her that she would never again be alone, that she was theirs now and always would be. They were both wise enough to realize that this wasn't what she needed right now. Even after all this time she had yet to really open up about everything she had been through, or how she was really feeling. While they had no desire to push her, content for the time being that she was simply cared for and safe, they did worry that she wouldn't truly be able to heal from her past if she was never able to talk about it.
"No matter what, whatever is going on in my dreams... the same thing happens."
She stayed silent for several moments, looking down into her lap.
"What happens, punkin?" Kurt questioned, squeezing her hand.
She looked up at him, chin quivering a little, eyes begging him not to judge her for what she was about to say.
"Something... or someone... always tells me that you guys don't really want me, that I'm not good enough... that I don't really deserve to be with you."
Kurt's mouth dropped open and he saw Blaine tighten his grip on her hand out of the corner of his eye.
"When I'm with mama or my father, they are the ones telling me. When I'm by myself, it's just a voice in my head. God, now I sound crazy!" She pulled her hands away then, sliding her knees up to her chin and wrapping her arms around her legs with a heavy sigh. "No matter what though, it's awful. I wake up feeling so alone and terrified."
She had been speaking in a low voice, not looking them in the eye, speaking to a dark corner of the room. When they didn't respond, she looked up again slowly, first at Kurt, then Blaine. What she saw surprised her.
She wasn't exactly sure what she had expected. Maybe pity. Maybe a rolling of their eyes over how irrational and sensitive she was being. Maybe frustration over the fact that they had told her countless times that they loved her, yet she was still questioning it, even if just in her dreams. She knew in her head that she had no reason to doubt these two amazing men. Unfortunately, what she knew in her head had little to do with her emotions.
She looked from man to man, and the only thing she saw was acceptance. There wasn't any judgment for what she was saying and how she was feeling. They were just listening and taking it in. It was obvious that her words were causing them pain, but it was also obvious that whatever pain they were feeling was simply because they didn't want her to hurt anymore, not that they were bothered by what she was saying.
"First of all," Kurt spoke in a quiet voice. "You're not crazy. Not even close. I deal with actual, real life crazy people all the time. Trust me. You aren't."
She laughed a little when he leaned in so that their foreheads were touching, kissing the tip of her nose.
"Secondly, you deserve everything good in life. Everything. If anything, daddy and I are the ones who don't deserve you. You're so amazing, Brandi. You're so special. We will spend every day, for the rest of your life, trying to be worthy of you. We want you, so desperately. We will never, ever, willingly give you up."
The word 'willingly' hung heavily in the air. Their experiences with Liam and Tia fresh in their minds.
Brandi glanced between them, heart racing as she tried desperately to believe that this was all true, to know deep down that she would never really be alone again.
With a loving squeeze to her arm, Blaine scooted back on her bed so that he was leaning against the wall, and Kurt quickly followed suit. Once they were settled in, side by side, the doctor held his arms out to her questioningly. She swallowed back a lump in her throat, trying to to burst into tears once again, and gratefully crawled up so that she was partially on both of their laps, their hands linking together in front of her as they held her close.
"Daddy and I are gonna tell you a story. Is that okay?" Blaine whispered into her hair. A little bit of warmth spread through her at those homey, comforting words... words that she had never once heard as a child.
"K," she whispered back, resting her head against both of their shoulders.
Kurt shot a questioning look toward Blaine, as if to say, 'I'm game, but what in the world are we doing?'
Blaine gave a minute shake of his head with a little smile, silently letting Kurt know that he would easily catch on.
"Once upon a time," he spoke, "in a magical land, far, far away, there were two princes. Both of these princes had magical powers to heal people. One prince, who's name was..."
He paused, glancing at Kurt with a raised eyebrow. Kurt had been smiling at the story, but quickly panicked when he realized that Blaine expected him to fill in the blank.
"I think he was expecting you to come up with a made-up name," Brandi giggled, smiling up at him.
"I'm not good at thinking on my feet," Kurt shrugged with a blush.
"Says the emergency room doctor," Blaine grinned, but leaned over to kiss his husband's cheek. Kurt playfully pushed him away though with a mock glare.
"If it had been a life or death situation I would have thought of something fabulous," he sniffed, pretending to be offended. Brandi hugged him close.
"I thought it was just perfect."
"At least someone loves me," Kurt hugged her back, winking at Blaine over her head. The nurse rolled his eyes with a smile.
"Anyway, so one of the princes was named Kurt. This prince was an amazing healer, spending his life taking care of anyone he met that needed help. He was kind, compassionate, and one of the most selfless princes in all the land. There was something that set Prince Kurt apart from all of the other princes though. You see, he was also a daddy. Sometimes it was hard being a daddy all by himself, but he loved his son, so he was a very happy prince. Now, even though he loved his life, loved healing people and being a daddy, he was still missing something. He was missing another prince. Someone to love and call his own."
"What about the other prince?" Brandi asked gently when he paused for a moment.
Blaine glanced over at Kurt, nodding his head.
"Well," Kurt took in a deep breath. "Keep in mind that Daddy B is way better at this kind of stuff than me, but... the other prince, Prince Blaine, lived in a different part of the land than Prince Kurt. Prince Blaine... was full of life. He spread joy to everyone he met, just by being his amazing self. He had a way of making people feel safe, and special and loved, just by befriending them. He was also an amazing healer, helping and caring for any sick person who needed him. Now, he was also a daddy, and even though he loved being a daddy, just like Prince Kurt, he wished he had someone to share it with. Someone who loved him. Someone who wanted to be a daddy just as much as he did."
They gazed at each other steadily over Brandi's head, and Blaine mouthed 'I love you.' They stared into each other's eyes for a moment in silence, thinking back to the days of Alex, and before they had met.
"How did they meet?" Brandi asked, prodding Blaine in the chest. He shook his head, pulling himself from his reverie.
"One day, Prince Blaine knew that it was time to leave his home. It was scary, to leave everything and everyone he knew and start all over again. You see... Prince Blaine had kind of lost his way. He wasn't sure of who he was anymore, or what he meant to do in life. He only knew that he loved his little girl more than anything, and that together they deserved something better. They deserved to be happy, to have everything they ever wanted. So, one day, he plucked up the courage to leave everything he knew, and take his daughter to a new part of the land."
Brandi swallowed back some tears, the words he was speaking hitting home in a way that she wasn't even sure he intended. The fact that he had known he deserved more in life, that he deserved to be happy. Not just that but that he had recognized the same for his daughter. They were words that, before she had met this amazing family, would have seemed so foreign and distant to her. Such ideas had never applied to her life. She had always been told that she wasn't worthy of that kind of happiness, and she had believed it... until now. Slowly but surely, bit by bit, she was beginning to believe that she belonged somewhere. That she was actually worthy of being loved. That she deserved to be loved. That she was, actually, loved.
"So what happened then?" She pushed gently.
"Well," Kurt continued, biting his lip uncertainty. "One night, Prince Blaine's daughter was attacked by an evil sorcerer who cursed her with the treacherous otitis media."
Blaine's shoulders started to shake and Brandi turned other dark haired father for a translation.
"She got an ear infection," he whispered.
"Feel free to continue from here," Kurt smirked.
"I actually thought that was brilliant," Blaine grinned, "but sure, babe. So, Prince Blaine was indeed worried about his little girl, and he knew that he couldn't battle this curse on his own, so he went in search of the greatest healer in the whole land."
"Prince Kurt," Brandi supplied with a grin.
"Yes," Blaine nodded.
"Awww," Kurt leaned over for a quick kiss. "Thanks, honey!"
"I only speak the truth," Blaine smiled, returning the kiss.
Brandi sat back and watched them with a happy sigh. She was aware that most kids her age would be grossed out at the sight of their parents kissing and being mushy, but for her it stood for happiness, love, security and everything else that came along with a stable marriage and family. She couldn't get enough of watching them like this.
"What happened after Prince Kurt healed the little princess?"
"We never said he healed her," Kurt laughed.
"Of course he did," Brandi rolled her eyes.
"Of course he did," Blaine agreed, pulling her back against him. "What happened next is that they fell in love, got married and all four of them lived together happily."
"Easy as that?" Brandi asked quietly.
They both paused and glanced at each other over her head once more. Blaine looked into Kurt's eyes in a way that he pretty much had since they met. As if no one else existed, nothing else mattered and nothing else on the planet could make him quite so happy. He slowly nodded against Brandi's hair.
"Easy as that."
"Is that it?"
"Of course not," Kurt answered, pulling her a little closer into his own lap. "That's just the first half of the story. After they got married and became a family, they realized that something else was missing from their lives. They were so happy with their little prince and princess-"
"Prince Elliott and Princess Adelaide," Brandi jumped in.
"Yes," he smiled. "You're right. Let's be official about this. See, they lived in a big castle and had plenty of rooms to fill, and they knew in their hearts that their family wasn't complete. They knew that for their family to be complete, they would need to give Elliott and Adelaide some brothers and sisters."
"They knew that they couldn't take just any children though," Blaine began. "They had to be just the right kids."
"How would they know who was right for them?" Brandi asked against Kurt's chest.
"For one thing, the children would need them," Kurt answered, running his fingers through her hair. "More importantly though, they would need the children."
"How would they know though?" Brandi asked again.
"They would just know," Kurt kissed the top of her head. "All it would take is one, magical look."
"They started off with just two," Blaine continued, watching them both with a smile. "They took in little Prince Liam and Princess Tia, and they knew right away after that 'one magical look' that it was meant to be, that they had finally found the perfect additions to their family. Around the same time, they heard of a beautiful enchantress named Cara, who was traveling to see them from far away. She sent word ahead to the two princes that she had another baby for them to care for. One that was meant to be with the two princes, yet only she could present it to them."
"The baby came by enchantress?" Brandi laughed.
"Yes," Kurt responded pertly, "and that's the story we're sticking to."
"Okay," Brandi smiled. "Hey, can I... can I tell the story now for a minute?"
"Sure," Blaine answered in surprise. He rested his head down on Kurt's shoulder and they waited patiently for her to go on.
"In a different part of the land, not too far from where the princes lived, was a girl named Brandi. Once, when she was really, really little, she thought that she was a princess too. She would dream and dream that a handsome prince who would come and rescue her and take her away to live happily ever after. Eventually though, she started to believe that she wasn't actually a princess. She wasn't quite special enough. No one was coming to rescue her. No one even knew she was there. No one cared. She was sad and scared and alone. But just when she was giving up, just when she thought she it was the end and that no one would ever care about her, someone did come along. A brave and handsome prince rescued her after all. It was Prince Blaine."
Blaine's grip around her tightened, remembering that night so clearly. How he had almost walked past. How if he had been in more of a hurry, he might have missed how her small, pale hand had been poking out from underneath that overcoat.
"What happened next?"
Brandi smiled when it was Kurt's turn to speak up and ask the question.
"He saved her," Brandi answered simply. "He saved her life. Not just by healing her, but by telling her that she wasn't allowed to give up. That he wouldn't ever let her. She believed him, and that... is what really saved her."
Blaine just leaned in to kiss her cheek, remembering those words he'd spoken so clearly. She hadn't mentioned it since that first night they brought her home, and she had been so out of it he wasn't sure that she even remembered. He felt so overwhelmed at what she was now saying.
Kurt leaned back a bit and watched them quietly. He remembered just as clearly how he had walked into the hospital room that Saturday morning only three months ago to find his sleeping husband clinging to the hand of this young girl. He couldn't have put it into words at that time, but he had known right away that they were meant to have some part in taking care of her. Things couldn't have fallen into place in a more perfect way after that.
"So," he carried on with the story, "the two princes took that 'one magical look' at the girl, and saw what she had forgotten. She really was a princess, and she belonged with them. Princess Brandi was meant to a part of their family. They were meant to remind her every single day, just how amazing she was, and she was meant to fill that final place in their lives. To complete them."
"It was hard for her at first," he continued. "She had spent so long believing that no one cared. The two princes didn't give up though. They just loved her every day, like she deserved. They told her as often as they could that they didn't just want her in their family, they needed her. Slowly but surely, they won her over."
"They definitely won her over," Brandi whispered with a smile.
Blaine grinned and was about to speak when he suddenly perked up and gave Kurt an excited little yelp. Both Kurt and Brandi looked at each other in confusion when he scooted away from them and shot out of the room.
"What is he doing?" Brandi asked, gazing out her open door.
"I don't..." Kurt started with a laugh, then stopped. He was suddenly quite sure what Blaine was up to, and thought his husband was a genius. A second later Blaine popped back into the room carrying a tiny box and a wearing a huge grin.
"And to show her just how much they not only wanted her, but needed her," he carried on as if he had never left the room. "They presented her with a special token of their love."
Brandi gazed up at him with her mouth hanging open when he stopped in front of her bed. She slowly scooted down from Kurt's lap and toward the edge where Blaine had knelt down on one knee. Kurt moved up behind her, wrapping his arms loosely around her waist.
"You were supposed to open this tomorrow," Blaine smiled as he opened the lid to the gray, velvet box, "but I think right now is actually perfect."
Brandi gasped a little, "Oh, my goodness," as the box was opened, but kept her hands in her lap.
It was a ring with a delicate, white gold band, with what looked like a round emerald stone in the middle. As she looked closely though, she realized that it wasn't actually a round stone. It was two half circles, pushed together to make a whole, meeting in the middle yet showing just the tiniest bit of separation to reveal that they were actually separate pieces. Surrounding the green stone were six small, clear stones.
"You can probably see that the stone in the middle is actually two pieces," Kurt said softly in her ear as Blaine took the ring out of the box and slid it on her finger. "That stands for daddy and I. Two separate people, but one. We picked an emerald because it will look so beautiful with your eyes. The diamonds around the outside stand for all you kids. Each one, equally ours, making us complete."
Blaine had slid it onto her finger completely by the time Kurt had finished speaking and all she could do was stare at her trembling hand. It was very delicate, over all. The band was thin and the stones were small. Anything else would have seemed too much on her petite hand. The stones were sparkling and clear though and it was breathtaking.
"Do you like it?" Blaine asked nervously. She looked up at him with wide eyes before diving off the bed into his arms.
"I think that's a yes," Kurt grinned, and Brandi jumped from Blaine's arms back into his. After a moment she moved back down onto the bed and gazed up at both of them, shaking her head.
"You know," she spoke softly, running a finger over the stones and looking down while she spoke. "I didn't know until just now exactly why it's been so hard for me to believe that this is real. I've never been able to put my finger on it. It just always seemed too good to be true. But... I think I know why now."
"Why is that?" Kurt asked as Blaine stood from the floor and he pulled the nurse onto his lap. They watched her curiously and she looked at them with a bright smile.
"Because," she nodded, as if seeing them for the first time. "I was so, so sure, for so long, that happy endings couldn't exist. I stopped believing in fairy tales, and heroic rescues and... just all of it. Until I met you guys, that is."
All three watched each other, sniffing happily as they wiped at their eyes. Brandi spoke again in a choked whisper, looking down once more at her ring.
"You two. You're my real life Prince Charmings."
Thirty minutes later, Kurt and Blaine were in their own room, and Brandi was just starting to drift off. A dazzling smile was on her face and she was gently fingering the ring, still unable to believe that it was actually there.
She started at a small noise, and smiled when she saw a tiny blonde head peek in from her door. She sat up and held out her arms without a word. She could make out Liam's excited grin from across the room and laughed a little when he bounded into her bed.
"Can't sleep, bear?"
He settled in on her pillow and reached out a hand to touch her cheek when she rested down next to him.
"I was sad when I was gone, sissy," he whispered. She nodded slowly, touching his hand.
"I was too, buddy."
They lay there for a moment, saying nothing, just watching each other.
"Hey, I have an idea," she said after a moment, smiling. "What if I tell you a little story to help you sleep?"
Liam nodded excitedly, and curled up against her, closing his eyes. She closed her eyes as well, and ran her fingers through his hair as she began to speak in a soothing voice.
"Once upon a time, in a magical land, far, far away, there were two princes..."