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Erased by lilyvandersteen, with cover art by @cc-graphics

Chapter 1: House-Hunting

“And this would be your room,” Burt said, opening another door. “Plenty of space, and you look straight into the garden!”

Kurt walked in and looked around. The room was certainly spacious enough, he had to give his father that. He could have a bigger bed than he had now and still have room to spare for a desk and a love seat, and the huge walk-in closet was to die for.

The view was amazing, and he instantly fell in love with the cosy-looking window-seat. He sat down on the cushion and admired the garden. So much bigger than theirs, too, and with full-grown trees and shrubs, neatly trimmed. The grass was a little higher and wilder here than the perfectly manicured lawn out front, but it was in perfect condition and seemed free of moss and weeds.

Well, that’s not going to last…

Kurt sighed, leaning back against the window frame. Yes, he could get used to this…

“Well, come on, bud,” Burt said, “There’s more to see.”

Kurt hopped up, knocking off the cushion he’d been sitting on in his haste. As he kneeled to pick it up, a glint of metal caught his eye on the lowest book shelf next to the window-seat, and he took a closer look. There, tucked into a corner, was a piece of fabric. Black, from the looks of it, with silver stars embroidered onto it.

“You coming or what?” Burt asked.

“Coming!” Kurt snatched the fabric out of its hiding place and tucked it into his shirt pocket.

I’ll look at it later…

His quick movements made dust particles swirl up in the air. Loads of them. If Kurt squinted, it almost looked like a human silhouette. That was funny.

Half an hour later, Kurt had had the full tour, and Burt was beaming at the look on his son’s face. Kurt had been fighting the move tooth and nail, not wanting to leave the house where he’d grown up and where the memories of his mom were strongest.

Since Burt and Carole had decided to join their families and move to a bigger house together, they had visited all the available houses in a forty-mile radius, but Kurt had shot them all down, pointing Burt to mould patches in the corners and on the ceiling in one house, cracks in the walls in the next, a roof beam that looked like it was rotten in yet another. Whenever there were no structural issues, Kurt complained about the lack of bathrooms - “I need my OWN, Dad! I’m sick and tired of sharing with Finn!” - or about the size of the kitchen - “I’ve seen bigger postage stamps!” - or about the lack of natural light in the rooms - “What are we, vampires? That hedge blocks out all the sunlight, it’s ridiculous!”

Getting desperate, the realtor had suggested to Burt that they start looking at houses slightly above their price range and then make a lower offer than the asking price. “Some of these have been on the market for a while, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners agreed to a lower price.”

Burt really hoped that the realtor was right about that, because this house, perfect as it was, was also the furthest from their price range they’d gone so far. There was no way Burt and Carole could afford to pay the asking price. Looking at his son’s delighted face, though, Burt knew he’d have to make the best offer he could and then cross his fingers and hope it would be accepted.

Kurt ran his hand over the kitchen counter, which was made of solid marble. The kitchen cabinets were solid honey-coloured oak, and the huge fridge could hold enough food to satisfy even Finn. He looked out of the window and smiled. A robin was sitting on the windowsill, cocking his head to the side as if to beg for some food.

Kurt patted his pockets for the cranberry cookie he’d bought at the gas station before they came here, and opened the window a crack to offer the robin a few small pieces. It didn’t hop or fly away, as if it was used to being fed by humans. Kurt watched it peck away at the crumbs.

“So what do you think?” Burt said, startling Kurt and making him drop the rest of the cookie.

“Sorry!” Burt apologised. “Look, Dean just called and he’s coming to pick me up ‘cause I’m wanted at the garage. So you can drive home by yourself. I’ll ask Carole to swing by the garage after her shift at the hospital. Here’s the key to my car, and here’s the key to this house. Could you go drop it off at the realtor’s before you head home?”

“Sure, Dad.”

With a little wave, Burt was off.

Kurt pocketed the keys and then muffled a curse as he looked at the mess on the kitchen floor. There were crumbs everywhere, even in the small gap between the fridge and the kitchen cabinets, and he crouched to pick them all up. As Kurt reached to get them out, he saw something red at the end of the gap, against the wall. It looked heart-shaped. Kurt’s arm proved just long enough catch it.

When he inspected his newly found treasure, he found that it was a magnet. A red heart that read “I Love Mom”. Underneath it was something papery, which fluttered into the palm of his hand when he turned the magnet over. The back of the magnet said, in neat white lettering, “Blaine. Mother’s Day 1999.”

Something flickered in front of Kurt’s eyes for a moment, a flash of what looked like a face smiling at him, and then it was gone again, leaving Kurt blinking into the sunlight and feeling slightly disoriented.

Kurt shook off the weird feeling and focussed on the small piece of paper in his hand. The only thing written on it, in loopy handwriting, was “Blaine. May 1999.” Kurt turned the paper over. It proved to be a photograph, dog-eared and creased, showing a tiny curly-haired boy with a radiant smile. As his brain registered that information, it somehow conjured up images of the little boy dancing and singing. He looked full of energy and so adorable that Kurt couldn’t help smiling. A moment later, the vision was gone, and Kurt stood there feeling perplexed. What on earth was happening? Was this house haunted?

Kurt shivered at the thought, but then told himself to stop being silly. First off, ghosts didn’t exist. Secondly, there was nothing whatsoever creepy about the sweet little boy. An anyway, it was just Kurt’s overactive imagination at work, he was sure.

He left the kitchen after just one more longing look, locked the house and dropped the key off at the realtor’s.

That evening, Carole asked what he’d thought of the house. “Did you like it?”

Kurt sighed rapturously. “Oh, Carole, I love it! I can totally see myself living in that house. There’s enough room for eight people, and it’s so airy and light. And the kitchen is an absolute dream!”

Carole nodded. “I know, right? A steam oven AND a real Viking!”

“We won’t have to make the pies for Thanksgiving the day before. We can fit both the turkey and two pies into that Viking.”

“I know! And have you seen the pantry? We won’t be knocking our heads against the shelves there. There’s room enough to stand up straight and even walk around, and we can stock enough groceries to feed even Finn for three weeks.”

“And there are enough bathrooms for all of us. Plus two extra bedrooms. Can we use the second one as a craft room? To put my sewing machine and my fabric?”

“That’s a great idea,” Carole enthused.

They gushed about the house and how perfect it was until Finn asked Kurt, “Hey, if you aren’t going to eat that, can I have it?”

Kurt shut up and looked at his untouched plate of food, his stomach rumbling in protest. “Oh. No, Finn, I’m going to eat it. Help yourself to some buttermilk cookies if you’re still hungry, I made a new batch this afternoon.”

“Cool,” Finn grinned. “Thanks, dude!”

Kurt started to eat, and grimaced when he found the food cold after talking for so long. He put his plate in the microwave to heat it up, and heard his father clear his throat behind him.

“Hey, bud…”

“Yes, Dad?”

“We’re going to make an offer for the house, but… I’m not sure it’s going to be accepted. We can’t afford the asking price, so our offer will be a lot lower. But our realtor says the house has been for sale for quite a while, so maybe the owners will be glad to get rid of it, even at a lower price. I don’t know. I hope so. Keep your fingers crossed, kiddo, okay?”

Kurt nodded. “I will.”