Author's Note: Okay, here's a thing: I usually don't post WIPs. But here's a WIP.
It's a side project I've been working on lately, and I decided to share as I go. The story is based on a prompt from the glee-kink-meme, and it will be long. "It's Not Babysitting" kind of long, maybe. It's fluff and romance and angst and smut all mixed together, and it's sort of canon-compliant with added twists, starting in the middle of season 2. Basically, boys in love who also happen to be soulmates, in a world that's only just starting to discover and understand the whole "name on your skin" thing.
I plan to update at least once a week, but I can't promise I won't slip every now and then. It's a side project, after all. If you decide to join the ride, I hope you have as much fun reading as I have writing it :)
The first time Kurt Hummel noticed anything strange about his left collarbone, it was the day after that memorable afternoon in the Dalton common room when he and Blaine had sung the most perfect version of Baby It's Cold Outside that could ever exist.
He was sitting at his vanity, finishing his evening moisturizing routine, when something unfamiliar drew his attention to the open collar of his black pajama shirt. A light brown spot was only really visible because of the good lighting and the contrast with his fair skin, and he could have easily dismissed it as a new freckle or a mole he hadn't noticed before, if he hadn't moved the fabric aside to have a closer look.
There, next to the first innocent-looking spot, were at least a dozen others – just as light, ranging from small to tiny and neatly spaced within a spread of skin.
They could be freckles – if it was summer and Kurt hadn't been so conscientious about applying sunblock. Or if they weren't grouped so tightly together in one particular area. To be certain, Kurt slid off his pajamas and scanned the rest of his body, looking for similar occurrences anywhere else, but there were none, just that one place right under the ridge of his left collarbone. That was definitely unusual; probably something to consult with a doctor, and soon. Suspicious brown spots on the skin that appeared all of a sudden were no laughing matter.
Kurt's mind was filled with anxious thoughts that night, and his fingers wandered to the collarbone again and again as he was trying to fall asleep. The skin there wasn't any different to touch than the surrounding area, and it wasn't sore or itching. Still, the freckles – or whatever it was – were there, while just last night there was nothing but smooth skin. He'd seen them with his own eyes.
He jumped out of bed and flicked on his vanity lamp. Of course, why hadn't he thought of this? Grabbing a moist toilette, he rubbed at the affected bit of flesh. But the spots didn't disappear – if anything, they only looked more pronounced against the skin that turned pink from his ministrations.
Resigned and slightly scared, Kurt returned to bed. He'd have to show the problem to Carole in the morning. Ever since the wedding, she'd taken over the health department in their household. She'd probably set a doctor's appointment for him, and whatever it turned out to be, they'd take things from there. For now, all he could do was try to sleep.
Kurt's dreams that night were filled with visions of hospitals and surgeries, scars and fear, the words skin cancer hanging overhead, threatening. He woke up at dawn, exhausted, and lay in bed for a moment longer, huffing with annoyance. He was probably overreacting, and the fact that he had more reasons than many, after seeing his mom wither away all those years ago, didn't make it any more reasonable. Now, in the light of day, it seemed stupid to worry quite so much. They were just a bunch of stupid spots, probably some allergic reaction or a weird rash. Nothing serious.
Kurt rolled out of bed and strode right to the mirror, determined to confirm his newfound conviction. He pushed aside the shirt – and froze, his jaw dropping.
There were no spots on his skin anymore.
Instead, light brown lines traced neat letters under his collarbone – letters that spelled one very, very familiar name, in handwriting that he recognized instantly, even in its mirrored reflection.
The first time Blaine Anderson noticed the faint letters curving around his left hipbone, it was two days after Christmas and he was just wiping come off his skin.
He was still dazed and breathless from the intensity of his orgasm, so when he saw what the letters spelled, he just shook his head and closed his eyes, wondering if it was possible he was hallucinating as a result of coming his brains out. Because let's be honest, what was the chance of the name of his best friend randomly appearing on his body right after he finally surrendered to the temptation and let his mind wander where it probably shouldn't – to said friend's pink lips and his slender fingers, to the perfect lines of his long legs and the way his shoulders filled the regulatory white uniform shirts?
Another moment passed with sleep softening the edges of his consciousness, but then Blaine frowned. Wait, what was the chance of any writing randomly appearing on his skin when he – or anyone else – didn't put it there?
He opened his eyes and raised on his elbows to look at his hipbone. Sure enough, the letters were still there, sepia-colored and curling neatly along the upper half of his hipbone.
What was even more curious, they were in Kurt's own handwriting – it looked as if Kurt simply signed his name on Blaine's skin. Except in the last week the nearest Kurt had been to Blaine was in his very vivid imagination. And even if he was right here, his hands would be nowhere near Blaine's bare hips. They were just friends, after all.
What the hell was going on?
Google was a man's best friend.
It was merely an hour since Kurt had discovered the name – Blaine's name – on his skin, and already he was more grateful for the miracle of the internet than ever before. A quick, rather desperate search of "names on skin" didn't provide him with a definitive answer about what was going on with him or why, but it gave him something almost as good: the knowledge that he wasn't alone. Apparently, there were people all over the globe suddenly sprouting names in different areas of their bodies, and their numbers were steadily growing.
The few serious articles Kurt managed to find among dozens of blog posts and discussion threads claimed that the phenomenon started about five months ago. At first it was only a few dozen reported cases, not just in the United States, but in other countries, too. Doctors and scientists got interested and soon research started, aimed to discover the cause and consequences of the unusual marks.
But the only thing that had been determined so far was that the writing didn't seem to affect people's skin or their overall health in any detrimental way. The letters weren't formed by any kind of growth, either malicious or benign, but by a simple change of pigmentation, very similar to freckles. The writing tended to grow slightly darker within days of first appearing, but only by a tone or two, which made it clearly visible against skin, but much lighter than a tattoo. No one knew how or why the marks formed, or what made a body produce the shape of a particular name. It was all one big mystery.
As for the meaning of the names, the scientists were drawing a blank. It was more a question for philosophers, it seemed. What could be the reason of random names appearing on people's skin? Theories abounded, each less believable than the previous one. Some believed it was a name you held in your previous incarnation. Others stated the name signified a person who could play important role in your life. Many people thought it was a completely random occurrence, an annoying skin condition that had no significance whatsoever.
Except the names weren't always random. As the number of those affected kept growing (it was currently estimated to be well into the thousands), there were some who, just like Kurt, were developing names of people they knew. It could be a life partner or a friend, or someone known just casually. This fact bred other theories, stating that the name on your body belonged to a person who was somehow closest to you – either in your thoughts or physical proximity – when the mark formation started. Or it may signify someone you had or could have deep a emotional connection with.
This theory spoke to Kurt the most. He did have a connection with Blaine, after all – and deeper than his friend knew. Because while he admitted it to himself, he was nowhere near ready to tell Blaine, or show him, for that matter, that he was falling in love with him – and had been from the moment they first met.
Kurt switched off his computer and went back to the mirror. Now that the mark was no longer filling him with dread, he had to admit it was almost... pretty. The warm shade of brown looked good against his fair skin and knowing that he bore the name of the boy he really, really liked mere inches above his heart filled Kurt with warm affection.
Whatever the reason and meaning of the mark, one thing was certain: he wouldn't be showing it to anyone, or even talking about it anytime soon. Not even to his family or his friends. There would be too many questions and the last thing he needed was for Blaine to learn about it and freak out. He was the closest friend Kurt had ever had, the only person in his life who really, truly understood him. Losing that just because Kurt's body decided to pick up some weird new trend was too big a risk.
No, he'd just wait and see what happened next.