Hey, you guys! How are you? I've missed you.
My new story is finally here, yay! I'm gonna go with weekly updates on Sunday for the moment. I've got a lot written already, so I should be good for a few weeks. I hope you enjoy it!
Many, many, many thanks to Themuse19, for being an awesome beta. She's the best! Go read her stories if you aren't already. (especially Model Behavior).
Also, Many thanks to Tomoyosita, for being my muse and a critic eye. I love you!
WARNINGS: It's a fill prompt for the GKM. Klaine AU (what else). Past Blaine/Rachel, and Past Kurt/Chandler (well, present for the first chapter, you'll see.), will contain adult content in future chapters. Kurt is 25 in the first chapter, Blaine (even if you don't see him) is 17. From the second chapter, Kurt is 32, Blaine 25. Kurt and Blaine never met, Kurt and Rachel neither. Emma has Spina Bifida, which means she'll never be able to walk. The rest will be explained in the story.
"I'm just not sure, Kurt. It's… a lot."
"Chandler, you can't just… back out!" Kurt exclaimed, shocked. "She's not a piece of clothing you can return."
"I know, but the adoption agent did give us the option," Chandler pointed out. "She's not here, yet. We have to think this through, Kurt."
Kurt shook his head. "No, there's nothing to think about. That's my daughter, and she might not have a perfect body, but I won't give her up for the world!" With that Kurt stormed out of the living room and into their bedroom. He couldn't believe his husband. He couldn't believe Chandler would give up their baby girl! He opened his closet door brutally and grabbed a pair of pajamas, and stomped to the bathroom. He threw the door closed behind him, leaned against it and sank to the floor, wrapping his arms around his knees to pull them close to his chest. He tried to take a deep breath without giving the sob that was threatening to escape from his throat free range. He and Chandler had decided this together. It might have been Kurt's idea to expand their family, but Chandler had agreed.
They had been so excited when this young couple from Ohio had picked them to raise their baby, a baby girl, as they had discovered a few weeks later. This morning their social worker had called them because she needed to talk to them, urgently. She had told them the doctor had discovered their baby girl had Spina Bifida, a rare medical condition. It basically meant her spine wasn't fully formed, which would make her paralyzed from below the navel, along with a whole lot of other potential medical complications, like malfunctioning kidneys and intestines. It had taken them both by shock, but Kurt's initial reaction was that it was going to be okay; they could do it. It would require a lot of changes, but it was for their daughter. He might have only seen e few blurry pictures and a short video of her, but he loved her already, and he had assumed Chandler did as well, but now he wasn't so sure anymore.
He took a deep breath to gather himself and stood up so he could turn on the hot water for the shower before he slowly got undressed. As he stepped in the shower he let his tears flew freely. He didn't know what to do, what to expect. He didn't want to do this alone. He loved his husband deeply, but he also didn't want to give up his daughter.
After his shower he got into bed, facing the wall, so he wouldn't have to look at his husband when he came in. He closed his eyes, but his mind wouldn't slow down. Different scenarios passed his eyes, until he felt the mattress dip. Chandler was crawling in behind him, so Kurt shifted closer to the edge of the bed, shying away from Chandler's touch. "Kurt?" He could hear Chandler's voice break. "Kurt, baby, please, don't do this. Don't shut me out." Kurt sighed and rolled on his back, staring at the ceiling.
"What do you want me to say?" He sniffed. "You don't want our daughter."
"I do, Kurt. Of course I want a daughter with you… it's just," He could hear Chandler take a deep breath. "It's not gonna be easy. You know that, right? She's gonna need special care, extra attention, maybe someone else will be able to give that to her better than we could."
"And what if there's no one else? What if she ends up in foster care? Or worse, what if the couple decides to abort her? I've researched it; they make exceptions for cases like this."
"We're both so young, though. We're at the start of our careers. Maybe-"
"Don't!" Kurt cut him off. "I don't even want to hear you suggest it."
"Kurt… I'm just trying to be reasonable here. She's gonna need full-time care."
"And I'll do it," Kurt answered, stubborn. "I'll quit my job to take care of her; maybe they'll let me do some freestyle articles. You make enough money for the both of us."
"I do… but are you sure you want to give up your dream job at Vogue?" Chandler asked, timidly.
"Dreams change," Kurt answered resolutely.
Kurt was softly stroking his daughter's cheek. She looked so vulnerable, a small bundle in the big hospital bed. They got lucky, the doctors said. She was recovering extremely well, and with a bit of luck they'd get to take her home in a week or two. The open wound on her back was almost completely healed, and the shunt brain pump they'd inserted to drain cerebrospinal fluid was working unexpectedly well. In a lot of cases the body rejected the unknown object, causing infections and fevers, where they would have to remove the shunt, get the child back to full health, and try it again. It could take up to six tries over several months, the doctor had warned them, but not with their daughter. Emma's body had accepted the shunt without complications, to her fathers' great delight. She had even been allowed to leave the Neonatal ICU after six weeks, and was transferred to the regular children's ward the day before.
Kurt checked the clock that was hanging above the door and smiled. Chandler should be here any minute now. Kurt had quit his job, as he had said, so he spent his days at his daughter's side. He'd had some visitors, but when they were in the NICU, they would only be allowed to stay 10 minutes, so he'd gotten lonely a lot. Not that he'd change it, he wouldn't move from his daughter's side unless he had to, but some company never hurt.
"Hey, Sweetie," the nurse said as she came into the room. "How are you doing?"
"Fine," Kurt smiled at her. Except for his husband, the nurses were often the only people he. these days. He was almost convinced he was going to miss them once he got to take his daughter home.
"And how's our little girl?"
"She's been sleeping soundly since her last meal."
The nurse nodded. "That's great. You know we're decreasing her pain medication, so she should be more awake and alert soon. After her next feeding, we're gonna lay her on her back for an hour. So far she's always been on her side or her stomach to relieve her back, but she needs to practice lying on her back, so she can sit in a carriage when you take her home. Her wound is almost fully healed, so we're going to start with an hour after every mealtime, and slowly increase it."
Kurt nodded. He had been worried about that. At the hospital Emma was under constant surveillance, so if she moved too much, and her breathing was restricted there would be someone instantly, but at home that wouldn't be the case. If she was asleep in her own crib, there wouldn't a constant monitoring.
"Also, your husband just called. He's going to be a bit later. He says he needs to stay late at work, but he'll be here as soon as he can."
Since Kurt wasn't allowed to have his cell phone at the hospital, Chandler called the desk when his plans changed, which happened a lot, lately, or maybe Kurt was just noticing more because he was stuck in the hospital all day.
"It's time for the urinary catheterization. Do you want to do it?" The nurse looked at Kurt encouragingly.
"Yes," Kurt nodded enthusiastically. They had taught him how to do it a few days before, and ever since he had been practicing under the nurses' supervision. He had to perfect his technique before he could take Emma home. He was gaining confidence, and it barely took him 15 minutes to complete the whole process.
As nurse left, somebody else walked in, surprising Kurt. "Susan!" The man jumped up and gave the women a quick hug. "How are you? What a surprise to see you." Susan was their social worker, the one that had helped them with the adoption of their daughter.
"Hi, Kurt! I'm so happy I found you here," she said. "I hope everything is going well?"
Kurt nodded. "It's good. We can probably take her home next week or the week after that."
"I'm glad to hear that. I have some questions for you regarding the adoption."
"Everything is okay, right?" Kurt asked worriedly.
"Everything is fine. It's just… well, I have something for you and your husband."
"Oh?" Kurt looked curiously.
"Yes. Well, I know you have a closed adoption, so the biological parents can't contact you and vice versa."
Kurt nodded. That's what was agreed upon, and neither he nor Chandler had objected. Kurt hadn't cared much if it had been an open adoption, but Chandler had seemed relieved at the request.
"I made a last visit to the biological parents last week, and the boy, he asked something from me."
"Oh?" Kurt cocked his head; he was intrigued. He knew his daughter's biological parents were very young, a high school couple, at least he assumed they were a couple. The agency hadn't told them more than their ages and their medical backgrounds.
"I know it's a closed adoption, but I also know it was at request of the girl, not yours or the boy, so I don't feel too guilty for this." She opened her purse and gave Kurt a letter.
Kurt accepted it and looked at it with wide eyes. He turned the envelope, but it was blank.
"The boy asked me to give this to you. He said he wanted to leave something for his daughter. He also said there were no strings attached, and he expected nothing, but he wanted you to have it."
"It's… a letter?"
Susan nodded. "I have no idea what it says, and if it asks for contact, you are free to refuse it, obviously, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it to you."
"Thanks," Kurt swallowed. A letter from the biological father from his daughter - that was unexpected.
"I wish I could stay longer, but I can't. When you have her home I'll come for a final visit, okay?"
Kurt agreed and waved goodbye, absentmindedly. He turned the letter around in his hands a few more times, but nothing magically appeared on it. He pondered if he should wait to open it until Chandler got there, but decided against it. He was too curious to wait, so he tore it open, and two letters fell out. One was addressed to 'the parents' and the other to 'my daughter'. He opened the first one.
I want to apologize. I know it's a closed adoption, and I'm not supposed to contact you at all, but I just can't help myself. I just, I need to let this out.
First, thank you! Thank you for giving my daughter the home she deserves and a set of parents who can take care of her, and accept her, despite her condition. You can't believe how glad I am that you decided to go through with the adoption, even after we discovered her condition. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't.
Secondly, I'm sorry, I'm gonna overstep my boundaries, but I can't help but try. Rachel (that's the biological mother) insisted on a closed adoption, and I agreed, but not whole-heartedly. I want to know my daughter is okay. I want to know she turns out okay. I want to know she's as healthy, and happy as she can possibly be. I know I have no right whatsoever to ask this, but if you only agreed to a closed adoption per our request, I'd like to ask you to keep me informed. I've included my address at the bottom, and I'll be happy with whatever you can give me: a letter, a photo, or even just a sentence 'she's okay, she made it'. I just, I need to know she's doing okay.
I promise to never contact you again, unless you specifically ask. If you do decide to send me something, you don't even need to put a return address on the envelope, if that makes you more comfortable.
If you do not reply to this, I will accept it as well, because I know I agreed to a closed adoption, so I have no rights at all. I do however ask you to give this second letter in the envelope to her once she reaches an acceptable age, or whenever she asks about her biological parents.
Thank you, again, for giving my daughter a home.
Kurt swallowed and looked at the address at the bottom. It was Westerville, Ohio, not even a two-hour drive from the town he grew up in. He shook his head at the familiarity and opened the second letter.
My sweet, beautiful daughter,
I was barely allowed to see you after you were born, but I remember you were the most beautiful thing I ever saw. It's an image I will never forget.
Rachel and I were very young when you were born, and we were not able to take care of you, so we found you a family who would. I do hope you're happy. You deserve everything in life!
I'm writing this letter, in case you have any questions about your biological background.
I'm 17 and I've lived in Westerville my whole life (well, maybe not anymore by the time you read this; I certainly hope not). I love to sing, and I'm the lead in the show choir at school (so is Rachel, it's where we met), so there's a good chance you'll have an incredible voice as well. I dream of becoming a Broadway actor someday. If that doesn't happen (which is likely) I hope to become a music teacher. I have a brother who is 7 years older than I. If you have any siblings, I know they're annoying as hell, but after a while you'll learn to appreciate them, especially when they're there when you need them the most.
Some random facts about me you might enjoy: I love dogs, I want one as soon as I graduate and live on my own. I have at least 25 different bowties, and I wear every single one of them. I'm obsessed with Katy Perry and P!nk, but I hate rap music. I love coffee, and I blame my constant adrenaline on that. I'm tiny, but I'm convinced my growth spurt will kick in any day now.
I hope you're happy, I hope you're safe, and I hope you love your parents. You deserve the best in life, and I want it all for you.
Also, I'm sorry for the horrendous hair you apparently inherited from me. I hope you grow out of the afro curls. If not, like me, I recommend loads of gel.
Love, your father, Blaine.
Kurt smiled as he put both letters back in the envelope and softly stroked his daughter's hair. She had a head full of black curls, except for the patch where it was shaved when they had to put the shunt in. It would grow back quickly, and the rest of her wild curls hid it fairly well. Kurt was certain he would never give her gel, and shuddered at the idea of what this Blaine was apparently doing to his hair.
He knew Chandler wouldn't want them to contact Blaine, but he couldn't help but feel sympathy for the boy. A few pictures and a few words wouldn't hurt anyone, right? He would definitely appreciate them if the roles were reversed. He would only show the letter for their daughter to Chandler, and keep the other one to himself.
"You… you're what?" Kurt blinked.
"I'm sorry, Kurt. I can't do this," Chandler shook his head. "I need my life back."
"You… you need your life back?" Kurt was at loss for words. Chandler was standing in front of him, bags packed and standing at the front door. "What, I, what? I don't understand?"
"Look, I just, I can't do this anymore," Chandler repeated. "It's too much. The doctor visits, the hospitals, I have no social life outside of work, and we barely do anything anymore. We don't go out, we don't go to the movies like we used to. When's the last time we went out for a drink? Two or three years ago? Everything's changed, and I don't want that."
"But, we have a daughter, of course everything has changed," Kurt replied, stepping closer to his husband. He grabbed Chandler's hand and gave it a soft squeeze. "A wonderful two-year-old we have to take care of. We can't go out, she needs us here. We can't just hire a babysitter, she needs special care."
"And I never wanted it."
Kurt let go of Chandler and stumbled backwards.
"I never wanted this life."
"But, we wanted children, we decided it together," Kurt stuttered out. "I… we…"
"I want my life back, Kurt. I just… maybe I just need time, okay? Look the apartment is yours, you can keep it, you can keep everything, I don't care. I just need, time… alone."
"Chandler, please, no," Kurt pleaded as his husband turned around and grabbed his bags. "Don't walk through that door, please."
"I'm sorry, Kurt."
Kurt sighed as he buried his face in his hands. It had been exactly three months since Chandler had walked out of that door and out of their lives. He had come to visit a few times, and part of Kurt had hoped he'd get his act together and return home, but his last piece of hope was crushed this morning, when he had gone to the attorney's office to sign the divorce papers. Chandler had been generous, giving Kurt the apartment and everything in it. He didn't ask for joint custody, only a monthly visit at Kurt's apartment.
Kurt had seen it coming. Chandler's career had always been important for him. Kurt had stayed home with their daughter, while his husband- well, ex-husband, had kept working. He didn't expect Chandler to ask for joint custody, but he had hoped he'd want his daughter with him during the weekends at least. He couldn't deny it hurt when Chandler hadn't requested that; he even briefly wondered if Chandler cared enough to see his daughter at all.
Kurt wasn't sure what to do. He only worked freelance for Vogue, writing an article every now and then, but he didn't have a steady income. Sure he had the apartment, but he needed money for food, Emma's physiotherapist and other medical equipment for her. He'd need a steady job, because his savings were going down the drain quickly, but a job also meant he was away from home during the day, so he'd need someone to take care of Emma. He needed his family.