Blaine's shoulder was bothering him. Most days it was only a little stiff, but days like this made him feel his age. Sixty-two was no spring chicken, but he didn't feel like he could really be that old, until days like this when he could feel each year in his bones.

He sat there rubbing the new ointment into his shoulder, thankful not for the first time that it was odorless, and thought over the last forty-four years. Meeting Kurt seemed so much like fate. It wasn't perfect, never had been; but no one could deny it was love.

Over the years, they had seen so much. Kurt's continued struggle with his memories, his small fame for his art. After the gallery opening, Kurt was shocked by the number of painting he sold for at least five times the amount Puck could gather puttering around the country. From that point on he was a real working artist, painting for new collections and gallery showings, as well as commissioned pieces. He set his own schedule and continued to do what he loved, all the while making enough money to keep them comfortable in their life in Cherry Grove. They stayed in the same house, weathering each storm and change in the community, content with their small home.

Blaine's novel sold well for what it was, but he never became a household name. He was happy writing for The Cherry Grove Gazette. Later when George finally retired, he took over the newspaper completely, hiring a small staff to help him out. He did a few freelance articles, but nothing of note. It wasn't until the darkest part of their time together that anyone outside of their small community really took note of Blaine Anderson.

When their friends started getting sick in the early eighties, they didn't know what to do. They feared for themselves and each other when the name Gay Cancer began to be spread. When more was known about the disease, they couldn't help but hold on to each other saddened for their friends , their community, but relieved they just might be safe. Kurt worked diligently taking care of friends and volunteering at hospices, hoping to ease someone's pain and loneliness. Blaine tried to come to but after losing three men in one week, he just couldn't handle it anymore. Blaine marveled at Kurt's strength and compassion that he could sit next to dying men day after day, many of whom he hadn't met until they fell ill, and still keep going every day. He knew that art was an outlet, and Kurt would come home some days crying as he worked on more and more elaborate pieces.

It wasn't until the religious right began spouting about AIDS being God's way of punishing the gays that he finally knew something he could do. It was no small feat getting an article published by Time Magazine, but Blaine Anderson did. His article on the vilification and victimization of gays in the modern world was compelling, well thought, and had enough of a personal touch to grip most of America. It wasn't without consequences. After being on unsteady ground with his parents for years, even without them knowing without a doubt the true nature of his relationship with Kurt, the article was the last straw. Mr. Anderson even tried to sue Blaine for reimbursement of the trust fund he had given him years before after proof of his gainful employment. He tried to argue that it was given under false pretense. The final straw in the divide was when Cooper swore to act as Blaine's lawyer. What was surprising though was where Mrs. Anderson fell in the divide. He never would have guessed his mother would accept him with open arms.

When the AIDS quilt was laid out in the Mall at Washington DC, many squares painted by Kurt were among them. Each person he met in hospice, each friend they had lost hundreds in total, all had something painted just for them by Kurt. Some it was the only thing they had while more remembered others.

Over the years, they lost too many people, friends to AIDS, friends to cancer and other diseases. They lost Carole just last year, her health declining for many years before that. Their lives were not sad though. They had each other, and a small group of close friends in New York. They still kept in touch with their friends in Ohio, and tried to make it out at least every couple of years. Judy moved to New York after graduation, while Puck and Quinn still lived on the farm with their children bringing their grandbabies as often as possible.

Kurt refused to see any one he met in the Army, though he received many invitations to reunions and get-togethers. He closed that chapter of his life long before and could bare to revisit it. Blaine never set foot on Kent State again either, so he couldn't blame him either.

Once Blaine finished running the ointment on his shoulder, he looked at the time and knew he had to hurry if he wasn't going to be late. He looked at himself in the mirror as he dressed himself. His hair was still as curly as ever, but was cut short and was white than black anymore. His face was lined; deep wrinkles cut into the skin around his eyes and mouth a testament to his happy life. He had loved Kurt for over forty years, and while things hadn't always been perfect, they had fought like any other couple. He felt blessed in his life. He tied his tie in place and walked out of the room. Cooper stood in waiting for him, looking too old to be possible. They walked to the beach together.

Music swelled as they approached, and there, the sea lapping the shore behind him stood Kurt, just as handsome as the day they met. His hair was short, only greying at the temples, and swept up artfully off his forehead. His eyes crinkled as he smiled back at Blaine his linen suit just darker than the wet sand around his bare feet. He had a cane gripped in one hand, the aches in his bone just as deep as Blaine's but happiness was all that his features read.

After forty-four years together, they finally could be the 'old marrieds' they were teased about being. It had taken a lot for them to get here, years of struggle and fight just to be who they are and to love each other openly. The pictures of their kiss circulated the world round. Headlines declared "Couple wed after DOMA repeal: Beach Wedding for Vietnam vet to longtime lover." To Kurt and Blaine though, their wedding wasn't about winning a fight against oppression, but finally being one in the eyes of the law, like they had felt for almost fifty years. They would continue to be each other's shelter, each other's love, each other's life. They could finally live happily ever after.