AN: To all of you who are still reading, thank you for following me on this journey, and hopefully you've enjoyed and cried and maybe feel a little bit better. Having read many of these tribute fics, I know both the reading and the writing are therapeutic.
I wish you all strength for tonight.
One Year Later
Kurt's breathing quickens as the motor turns off, eyes distant as they gaze along the peaceful-looking field.
Blaine remains quiet for a moment, reaching over from the driver's seat to lay a hand on Kurt's long, muscled thigh. It twitches beneath his touch. He says nothing, waiting quietly for what he knows will happen.
When Kurt has gathered the strength he needs, remembering the word Blaine still always texts him, he gives a sharp nod, and they both reach over and simultaneously undo their seatbelts.
Although this is the first time he's been here for this particular heart-breaking purpose, Kurt knows exactly where to go. He and Blaine hold hands tightly as they weave through the rows upon rows of stones, eyes flicking over dates or engravings, until they reach their destination.
From the three stones sitting atop the smooth marble, it's obvious Rachel has already been here today, especially considering the four red roses that rest there, one for each other their years 'together'. Carole and Burt have also been; there's a bouquet of bright yellow carnations with a small football sticking out from it.
Kurt's breath stutters and quivers as his eyes rake across the reddish stone, across the name, catching on the dates that are far too close together. He inhales sharply, lost for a moment on the 1994-2013, and how few years are between those two numbers.
Blaine squeezes his hand briefly, and after a moment, he moves on, lower, tears springing to his eyes as he reads the names of Carole and Christopher, then of himself and his Father, and it's already getting to be too much. He can hear Blaine's own unsteady breaths beside him, and it somehow gives him courage to let his eyes' journey continue.
Don't stop believin' . . . I'll stand by you . . . faithfully
The engraving had been Kurt's idea, and as he reads it now, he loses it. He sinks to his knees, not even trying to control the tears that bubble out and flow shamelessly down his cheeks, because one year on, it still hurts so much. That gaping, Finn-shaped wreckage is still there, although the rawness of the wound is starting to ease. He knows it will never disappear though, because Finn will never disappear from his memory.
The lost teenager will always remain a vital and beloved part of Kurt's life, and because of that, the countertenor knows all too well that he will slowly become accustomed to, and even inured to, the ache, but it will never disappear.
He doesn't speak to Finn, just as he never speaks to his Mother when he visits her grave. He likes to think there's something out there, that past souls have some place to dwell, but a cemetery isn't it.
Blaine, who does believe in God and Heaven, is speaking softly to the man who would have been his brother-in-law, and Kurt tunes in as Blaine speaks about how much he is missed, how they took Nationals singing in his memory, and how there is a ring on both their fingers, even if it's going to be several years before they actually take the plunge. He too mentions something regarding the lacking brother-in-law before pausing to swallow hard, and concluding with soft "see you, Finn."
Kurt remains silent, tears streaming. He misses Finn, misses him more than he could ever have imagined, especially considering they had gone several months without speaking after graduation from high school, when Finn had enlisted. But he misses his brother every day, and it has taken him this entire difficult year to be able to visit him at his final resting place.
It hasn't been an easy year, or even much of a good one, but he's survived, just like he had realised he would that night with Blaine, after the funeral.
He's survived, his parents have survived, and coming here, he can feel a sense of peace and closure beginning to encroach on the awful pain that's been his constant companion since that horrible day one year ago. Blaine had been right; he had needed to do this.
The tears slow as he takes a few deep breaths, steadying himself. The memory springs unbidden to mind, the six of them in their red tops, singing their hearts out on that stage, to an empty auditorium, bound together by their love of music, determined to see this idea through. Opening his mouth, he hums a few bars, his voice shaky, until the words spill out. "He took the midnight train going anywhere."
Holding tightly to Blaine, they rise to their feet and head back for the car. For tomorrow.
AN 2: For Finn, who made us laugh, made us cry, made us roll our eyes, made us mad, made us love. And for Cory, who was kind and generous and honest and appreciative and funny . . . and who had so much more to give. Hopefully some good can come from this entire tragedy.