I don't know anything, accept for the fact that I literally cannot stop watching Downton Abbey. So please excuse what I'm sure is extreme historical inaccuracy.
Early 20th century Klaine. Valet!Blaine and Master!Kurt. Rates PG-13 (mostly for safety).
The fact that Blaine could lay out the tools for washing and shaving in his sleep was typically a good thing. Though he had been rising before day break for most of his life, he never became more of a morning person, and the fact that he could do his morning chores while extremely drowsy was a blessing. Lately, however, Blaine wished that the menial tasks that made up his morning could serve as a distraction from the dull, aching loneliness that had taken over ever since he had returned from the army.
Blaine would be the first to say how grateful he was that the Great War had come to an end with him remaining relatively unscathed. He had always been a peaceful young boy, preferring to stay close to his mother's hip rather than joining the village children in their often rough and tumble playing. He liked to sing and go for long strolls on his family's farm, but he had never been into the muddy games that his peers seemed to be fond of.
His brother often teased him for his gentle habits, but they turned out to be quite handy when at the age of sixteen he was hired as a servant in the manor house in his village. The teasing didn't stop there though. He was promoted to footman after about a year and a half, and the other men liked to say that he wasn't athletic enough to be a footman and he certainly wasn't tall enough.
Lord Hummel of the manor was a kindly man, though, and when he noticed one afternoon that Blaine was being picked on by the others he taught him some calisthenics he had learned when he was in the army. There was no hope for his height, but Blaine was soon just as strong and muscular as the others.
Blaine remembered the day fondly.
Blaine noticed Lord Hummel approaching and he quickly snapped up from where he was shaking a pebble out of his shoe. It had gotten lodged there after one of his peers shoved him to the ground with a nasty name, "My Lord, I'm sorry!" Blaine said quickly, "I didn't see you coming," he said bowing his head slightly in respect.
"No trouble, Blaine," he replied kindly, "I was merely meeting with the chauffeur about some trouble we were having with the car the other day. Fascinating machines, aren't they?" he asked, looking out onto the property and basking in the sunshine.
It was Blaine's understanding that it was highly unusual for the master of a house to engage with the servants in the way the Lord Hummel always did. Most employers preferred that their servants went about their jobs as invisibly as possible, only being seen if called for a specific task or serving at dinner, but Blaine had learned quickly that Lord Hummel was a different sort of employer entirely.
He had come to be the lord of the manor due to a complicated list of heirs passing away. Blaine wasn't sure of the details, but he did know the he had been a solicitor in London before moving into the manor, and Lord Hummel had never quite lost his preference for a simpler lifestyle.
Blaine nodded, and smiled slightly, "very much so, my Lord," he agreed.
Lord Hummel was quiet for a few minutes, and Blaine was about to make a respectful retreat, but the man began talking again, "You know, Blaine, I'm a man that cares little for what others think of me, but if you wanted to improve upon your physical strength, there are some exercises I can show you."
Blaine was embarrassed that the older man had noticed the shoving, but he gratefully accepted, and the rest was history.
Blaine had done Lord Hummel's exercises every day since he'd learned them, and it was a good thing, too because not a year later Blaine was being called up to defend his country in the biggest, most gruesome war the world had ever seen.
Lord Hummel had favored him since that day, so much so that he pulled the necessary strings to make Blaine his son's personal servant soldier. The young Lord Hummel ha been away at Oxford for most of the time that Blaine had been in the manor's employ, but when it finally come time to meet the man who he would shadow through the entire war, well, he took Blaine's breath away..
Blaine would be false if he said that he hadn't known himself to be different already. He had never noticed the young ladies in the village where he grew up the way the other young boys had, and he was certainly never as interested in chasing the kitchen maids's skirts as the other footmen seemed to be. But, before he saw the young Master Hummel—Kurt as he'd gown to call him in the long days of war—he had never been able to put so fine a point on it.
Kurt had taught him the word "homosexual" after the third time they had found themselves panting and flushed after frantically rutting together in the privacy of Kurt's tent, but Blaine didn't need fancy words to know that he preferred the company of men—of one man in particular.
For weeks, their connection remained purely physical, almost silently relying on each other to relieve the stress and tensions of war, and only in the dark of night, but over time it became clear that their hearts were as entwined as their bodies. Together, they made it through.
Blaine was grateful and relieved, but not all together surprised when Kurt asked his father if he could bring Blaine on as his Valet once they returned from the continent. After spending every waking moment together for their time abroad, Blaine couldn't imagine a life without Kurt in it.
Of course the transition was hard on both of them. He ceased to be Kurt—his companion and lover, and returned to being the young Master Hummel. Blaine was nothing but his loyal valet. The only intimacy they were able to enjoy was the gentle brush of his fingers when he helped Kurt dress, or a lingering hand on his shoulders as he took too long to brush him free of lint. They no longer had the time to take part in the physical closeness and pleasure they had grown used to, let alone the freedom to speak at any length or as equals.
Still, Blaine reminded himself, it was better than the alternative. At least he still got to see Kurt every day, even if it was hard to remember how lucky he was in the small hours of the morning as he laid out Kurt's grooming tools. There was nothing to distract him but the sadness in his heart. Blaine wasn't sure how long they could keep up the charade.
"Blaine?" Kurt called out to him from the inner chambers of his bedroom.
The young valet tucked the last item in place on the vanity, and hurried into his employer's room with the tea tray, "good morning, my Lord," he said quietly, setting the tray down and making to open the curtains, ignoring the pained look on Kurt's face at the formality of the title. They has spent many a night with their naked bodies pressed together, and now Blaine wasn't even using his name.
"Wait!" Kurt called out, halting Blaine hasty retreat to the window. "Blaine, I..."
Kurt trailed off not knowing how to continue, "is there something you need, Sir?" Blaine asked timidly, trying not to meet his eye. He pretended it was out of respect, but they both knew that if they allowed themselves moment to into the other's eyes it would cause the careful facade they had built around themselves to crumble.
"I need...," Kurt started again, wishing that Blaine would just look at him, "you. I need you, Blaine."
Blaine couldn't help it. His head snapped up at that, "my Lord, I—,"
"And I need you to stop calling me that," he cut Blaine off. "I'm begging you." Blaine just nodded dumbly, unsure of what to say, "what time is it?" Kurt broke the silence again.
"It's just past seven," Blaine said, deciding not to call Kurt anything, for now.
"So, an hour before I'm expected at breakfast?" Kurt asked rhetorically, "and you've finished all of your chores?" he asked, hope filling his eyes.
"I've only left to dress you..." Blaine thought carefully about what to say next, but the look in Kurt's eyes made him think that it may be okay, "...Kurt."
Kurt's entire body visibly relaxed when he heard his name on Blaine's lips, "please, Blaine," Kurt said, lifting up his sheet and gesturing to the space next to him on the bed, "won't you hold me? Just for a little while?"