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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.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: No Son Of Mine

“There’s something I need to tell you. Mom. Dad.”

Pam, who’d just opened the door to Blaine’s bedroom without knocking, backed away before Blaine could see her.

Blaine was addressing his reflection in the mirror, rehearsing a speech he clearly meant to give his parents. Pam had heard the same intro several times already - while Blaine was clearing the table after dinner, while he was fixing his hair in the hall downstairs and while he was helping Pam bring the groceries in.

Pam smiled at Blaine’s earnest expression, and closed the door to his room softly so as not to disturb him. She’d come to summon him to dinner, but that could wait five more minutes.

Blaine had been restless for about a week now. Evidently, he had something to get off his chest. Pam wondered what it would be this time. Blaine’s speeches, earnest and eloquent, had been his way of communicating with his parents ever since he was five and announced over dinner that he planned on becoming an astronaut. Pam had studiously avoided her husband’s gaze to keep from laughing.

After the astronaut phase, Blaine decided he wanted to be a superhero. That was a phase he still hadn’t grown out of. Every year, when Halloween rolled around, Blaine roped Pam into helping him design and make a superhero costume, each one more detailed than the last, and unlike Edna Mode, Blaine still very much believed in capes.

The next craze had been music, and Pam had been very impressed when Blaine summed up the twelve benefits of music education as a way to get his father to buy him a piano. He embroidered on the same theme later on to get a violin, and then a guitar.

Blaine had never been this antsy about a speech, though, nor had he rehearsed it so often beforehand. Whatever it was, it would be important. Maybe he’d found himself a girlfriend? There was this girl’s choice dance on Friday, and Blaine certainly seemed to look forward to it.

As Pam arrived back in the kitchen, she shrugged it off and peeked through the glass door of the oven to check on the meatloaf. Yes, an extra five minutes wouldn’t hurt.

K&B

That Friday night, Pam woke up to the shrill blaring of the house phone and hurried to answer the call. Her insides turned to ice once she understood what was happening, and she was quick to shake her husband awake.

“Eddie! Eddie! We need to get to the hospital! Blaine is hurt!”

Edward Anderson slept like a rock, and it took some time to fully wake him up, but once he did, he dressed faster than she did and made them both a cup of coffee before they left for the hospital.

Pam wrung her hands anxiously all the way there, and hurried to the reception desk while Edward parked the car. They’d been sitting in the emergency department’s waiting room for several hours when a young doctor came in asking for the relatives of Blaine Anderson.

“That’s us,” Pam said. “How is he?”

The doctor shook her hand and Edward’s. “He’s stable now. Quite the little fighter, that one! It was touch and go for a while, but he pulled through. He’s still in a coma, though. Nasty head wound.”

Pam gasped.

“So how did this happen?” Edward asked, his hand rubbing soothing circles on her back.

“The police suspect it was gay-bashing. Your son wasn’t the only one beaten up. There was a second boy, who didn’t even make it to the hospital because of his extensive injuries. Your son was trying to shield him when the police arrived on the scene, and their attackers were shouting homophobic slurs at him.”

Edward’s jaw set. “My son is not a fag!”

The doctor looked taken aback by his vehemence, but didn’t argue.

“Can we see him, please?” Pam pleaded.

The doctor smiled at her. “Of course. Right this way, ma’am.”

K&B

Two weeks later, Blaine woke up from his coma. After another month, he left the hospital.

Edward had been weird the whole time. He’d refused to visit Blaine, so Pam had brought Cooper with her instead, whenever her eldest son was home for the weekend. He’d also taken to hiding himself in his study as soon as he came home from work, and had to be coaxed to eat dinner, which he then did without saying two words to Pam, disappearing again the moment he’d cleared his plate. And he’d ordered all sorts of stuff online. Nearly every day, a package arrived for him. His study was full of cardboard boxes and foam peanuts at this point. Their contents remained a mystery.

Now that Blaine was home again, Pam hoped that things would be getting back to normal. She really hoped so.

Blaine hobbled to the sofa on his crutches and sat down with a sigh.

“Now I get to try them, right?” Cooper asked. “I’ve never walked with crutches before.”

“Be my guest,” Blaine laughed, and then he laughed some more as Cooper really hammed it up, pulling the most ridiculous faces, mock-fighting and even trying to dance with the crutches.

K&B

When Edward came home from work that Saturday, he froze when he came into the living room and saw his two sons watching television and snacking on popcorn.

“Hey, Dad!” Blaine beamed at him. “I’m back home.”

Edward nodded curtly. “So I see. I need to speak with you, Blaine. In private. Come into my study.”

Blaine raised an eyebrow, but obediently got up and hobbled towards his father’s study. Edward followed, and so did Cooper, but Edward only let Blaine in, closing the door in his eldest son’s face and locking it for good measure. Cooper, undeterred, looked through the keyhole and listened intently.

“Cooper…” Pam said hesitantly.

“I need to hear this, and so do you,” Cooper retorted. “If I’m not mistaken, our dear father is a big homophobe and is planning on throwing Blaine out of the house for being gay.”

Pam sighed. She’d very much feared that would be the case, and now she found herself mentally going through her stock funds and other money investments to decide which ones she could liquidate to help her youngest son out if Edward proved unreasonable.

“Son of a…” Cooper hissed.

“What?” Pam whispered back.

“He’s changed the visitor’s chair in his study. He’s just pushed a button and Blaine is now shackled to the chair. His arms and his neck. Looks like an execution chair now. What the hell?”

Cooper took a run-up and smashed his shoulder into the door to the office. It didn’t budge. He tried again, and again, but the solid oak door wouldn’t give.

Pam ran to the tiny glass cabinet at the front door holding the spare keys, and took the key to the study out with trembling hands.

Cooper grabbed it from her and rammed the key into the keyhole. The door opened, and Cooper and Pam hurried inside.

Pam gasped, because yes, it did look like an execution chair. And Edward was force-feeding Blaine a purplish liquid that looked like poison and made Blaine go pale as death.

Cooper stormed towards Edward and decked him with one punch, making the rest of the liquid spill onto the carpet. The damage had been done, however. Pam and Cooper could only watch in horror as Blaine went from pale to translucent, and then there seemed to be nothing left of him but dust particles swirling around.

“Blaine!” Pam sobbed.

She heard a dark chuckle. Edward got up from the floor, smirking, and gloated, “Well, that’s Blaine done for. That fag is no son of mine. Now all we need to do is fetch the vacuum cleaner to get rid of him forever. I never thought that erasing potion would actually work, but it’s been worth every penny.”

Cooper let out a strangled cry and threw himself onto his father, punching him until he was unconscious.

Then Cooper turned towards Pam, who stood there frozen in horror. “Quick, there must be a manual here somewhere. Maybe there’s some way to undo this.”

Pam rummaged through the papers on the desk and found a booklet every bit as purple as the potion had been, with gold lettering on the cover. She rifled through it, and found a chapter on reversing the spell. “Okay, we need to find things that have some of Blaine’s essence in them and siphon these dust particles into them, saying these incantations as we do so. We only have half an hour, though.”

Edward groaned, and Cooper glared at his father’s prone body, and then grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and took him to the cupboard under the stairs, where he locked him up.

With Edward out of the equation, Pam and Cooper hurried to Blaine’s room to fetch his favourite bow tie, his first guitar, his diary, his Nightbird costume and his copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Pam took a detour by the kitchen, where she snatched the magnet Blaine had made her in pre-kindergarten off the fridge and grabbed the cookie tin she always kept filled with Blaine’s favourite cookies.

Cooper contributed the photos of Blaine he’d been keeping in his wallet and a video of Blaine and him singing and dancing to Hungry Like A Wolf/Rio.

They worked together to imbue these items with what remained of Blaine, and managed to finish with five minutes to spare.

“It says here that the only one who can bring Blaine back to life is his soulmate,” Cooper frowned. “But how will we ever find that person?”

Pam snatched the booklet out of Cooper’s hands and read the passage he’d just referred to.

“Hmm, apparently, there’s a way to find out who it is.”

A loud clanging sound came from the cupboard under the stairs, and then loud swearing.

“First things first, though,” Pam said. “We need to take all of this someplace Edward won’t find it, and I need to call my lawyer to start the divorce proceedings.

K&B

Nearly four years later, Pam met with her realtor to discuss an offer for the house.

“It’s quite a bit lower than the asking price, I’m afraid.”

The realtor sounded apologetic, but Pam waved that away. “I just want the house to go to a nice family. You know I don’t care about the price, Paul.”

Pam heard Paul grumble “I care!” under his breath, but didn’t let on she’d heard him. “So, tell me about the people who made the offer.”

Paul fidgeted a little. “Well, they’re… not well-to-do. Which explains the low offer. Mr Hummel told me he really couldn’t go any higher without bankrupting himself. He’s a small businessman. Owns a garage in Lima. His wife is a nurse at the hospital there. They have two sons, both sixteen years old.”

Pam quirked an eyebrow. “Twins?”

“No, no. It’s a… what’s the term again… a blended family. Mr Hummel’s first wife died, and he remarried. Both he and his wife have one son, so… They’re stepbrothers.”

“I see. Can I ask why they want to buy my house, though? It seems rather far away when their jobs are in Lima. Quite a commute.”

Paul sighed. “Well, they’ve been looking for a house for quite a while now, but nothing ever seemed to fit. Mr and Mrs Hummel are easy enough to please, but their son Kurt finds fault with every house he visits. Until yours, that is. Seems like he took quite the liking to your house. Raved over the kitchen.”

The kitchen? That reminded Pam of when they’d used the divination potion to see who Blaine’s soulmate was.

Smoke swirled up from the clear liquid they’d just poured into a bowl, and when it cleared, Pam and Cooper saw their kitchen, only, it was strangely empty, and a boy they didn’t know was looking around with an awestruck, delighted expression on his face. The vision melted into another: the same boy reaching behind the refrigerator to catch the magnet and photo hidden there, and then smiling down at his find.

Pam had put the house on the market that very same day, but until now, the only people interested had been a couple of rich baby-boomers and developers who wanted to demolish the house and build a bigger one.

Could this be…? Would it finally be…? I must go check the kitchen. See if the magnet’s still there.

Pam smiled. “It’s a very nice kitchen. I must say I like the sound of this family. Let me think about it, and I’ll let you know my decision before the day is out.”

Paul, looking a little stunned, nodded eagerly. “Brilliant. Yes. Brilliant.”

K&B

The magnet was gone. Pam had checked the other hiding places, and the bowtie was gone, too. The manual to Edward’s erasing potion had explained that a soulmate would be drawn to the remnants of his other half, and would cherish them without really knowing why at first.

So this Kurt was Blaine’s soulmate, was he?

Pam, who’d scarcely allowed herself to hope, all this time, now felt a spark of confidence settle inside of her.

Yes, she was going to sell her house to the Hummels. Yes. She really didn’t care about the lower price if it would bring back her youngest son in the end.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Moving

Kurt had kept his fingers crossed, and that must have helped, because a few days later, Burt and Carole announced that they would be moving to the house with the amazing kitchen and the hidden treasures. The magnet was now decorating the Hudmel’s fridge, and the black fabric with silver stars had proved to be a truly magnificent bow tie that had gotten pride of place in Kurt’s bow tie collection. He’d kept the photograph of the adorable little boy, too, though he couldn’t really have explained why.

“They accepted your offer?” Kurt gasped, overjoyed.

We’re really going to live there? Oh wow! I can’t WAIT! And I’m going to check every nook and cranny for more delightful surprises.

Burt grinned from ear to ear. “They did. We’re signing the deal tomorrow. Oh, and the owner wants to meet all of us, so we’ll go together.”

Kurt quirked an eyebrow. “That’s kind of weird.”

“Yep,” Burt agreed. “Apparently, she wants to make sure the house goes to a nice family.”

“Hmm. Okay, I’m dressing all of you tomorrow. We need to look presentable.”

Burt rolled his eyes.

“I’m serious!” Kurt insisted. “You never get a second chance at a first impression. You and Finn can both wear the outfits you had on for the wedding, and Carole, sweetie, for you I’m thinking of your teal blouse… Oh, and I have the perfect brooch to go with it!”

Kurt spent the rest of the evening planning his own outfit. At long last, he found a combination he was happy with, only it still seemed to lack a finishing touch, so Kurt looked for a scarf or a brooch or a tie to give it that extra pizzazz. When he came to his bow ties, his eyes lingered on the most recent addition - the black one with silver stars he’d found in the house they were now going to live in. He’d been thrilled when he realised it was a bow tie, and so obviously a high quality one. Would it be weird for him to wear it when they met the house owner? It complemented his outfit to a T.

Kurt fingered the bow tie reverently, and then suddenly his head was full of images - memories? - that weren’t his own. He saw a curly-headed boy in a tux and in this bow tie playing the piano and then bowing to loud applause. He saw the same boy filling in what seemed to be a test, frowning and then tugging at his bow tie while he thought hard. He saw the boy walk a dog to the park, laughing when the dog picked up its speed and he had to jog instead of walk to keep up.

Kurt sucked in a surprised breath and took his hand off the bow tie. At once, the images vanished. All he could see now was dust particles swirling through the air in front of him.

Huh… That was… interesting. Is everything in that house magic? The magnet and the photo made me see things, too. I think I’ll wear this tie tomorrow. If the house owner notices, I’ll explain that I found it. Maybe I shouldn’t mention the visions, though, if I don’t want to be committed to a mental institution.

K&B

“Finn, stop fidgeting,” Kurt admonished his brother. “Hands off that tie. And don’t you dare spill ketchup on your jacket or shirt.”

Finn had gotten hungry on the way to their appointment at the notary public’s office, and was now happily munching on a burger, and less happily yanking at his tie, which was too tight, he said, and itchy.

Kurt rolled his eyes, and handed Finn another napkin to wipe his chin. “Seriously, Finn, I know you’re five years old on the inside, but just this once, could you pretend to be at least slightly more mature than that? Just until the house is ours?”

“Stop bickering, boys,” Carole said, changing lanes to catch her exit. “Finn, as soon as we’ve signed and are back in the car, you can ditch the tie. Kurt, relax. We’re not visiting the queen of England.”

Ten minutes later, Carole parked the car in front of the notary public’s office. Finn had finished his burger, but had spilled ketchup on his shirt, and the stain wouldn’t come out whatever Kurt tried, so Finn had to button up his jacket.

“And don’t you dare open it! I don’t care if it’s hot in there! You’ll wait until we’re back in the car, got it?”

“Do I really have to come?” Finn whined.

“Yes!” The three others answered in unison.

In the office, the notary public and the house owner were already waiting for them.

“Mr and Mrs Hummel, nice to meet you. This is Mrs Anderson.”

Mrs Anderson’s hands fluttered in protest. “Oh, call me Pam, please.”

Burt shook hands with her. “I’m Burt, this is my wife, Carole, and our sons, Finn and Kurt.”

“Nice to meet you all,” Pam smiled, looking at each of them in turn. Her eyes lingered on Kurt. More specifically on the bow tie he was wearing.

Uh-oh… I shouldn’t have worn it today, should I? Though… I might have bought this. It’s not one of a kind. Pam has no proof that I found this in her house.

“My youngest son used to wear bow ties too,” Pam said softly, now addressing only Kurt.

Kurt smiled politely. “I wear ascots more often, but this outfit seemed to call for a bow tie.”

“It looks perfect,” Pam agreed. “Blaine’s favourite bow tie had silver stars on it, too.”

“But then he got teased about his bow ties and stopped wearing them?” Kurt surmised, and it was hard to keep the bitterness out of his tone.

Pam swallowed. “No. He was gay-bashed, and we lost him.”

That made Carole gasp and grab Pam’s hands. “I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know what I’d do if…”

Pam nodded. “It’s been four years, and it still hurts as much as the first day. And the house… The house is full of memories. I… I couldn’t bear living in it anymore, but I don’t want it demolished, either.”

“Of course not!” Carole agreed. “It’s a lovely house.”

“It is, so I’m glad it’s finally going to be lived in again,” Pam said. “By a family.”

Kurt couldn’t help but grin happily at the thought of living in the house, and Pam, catching his elated expression, gave him another smile.

“Okay, I have the papers right here,” the notary public said. “You’re to sign here… and here… and here.”

Once the formalities were taken care of, Pam shook Burt’s and Carole’s hands again. “Here are the keys to the house. I live quite close by, in an apartment four blocks away, so if you have any questions or concerns, you can always call me. Here’s my card.”

“Feel free to drop in,” Carole said. “I know what it’s like to lose someone and then move house. Every time I drive past the house where I used to live with my late husband, the memories hit me. Even Finn misses our old house sometimes. So… If you find yourself really missing your son and want to talk about it, come over for a cup of coffee and a chat.”

Pam nodded. “I… I might take you up on that.”

The Hudmels filed out of the office, Kurt mentally planning the move already and grinning from ear to ear.

A week later, they moved to the house they’d bought, and Kurt was busy opening boxes and putting their contents in the right spot when the doorbell rang.

Carole opened the door, and it proved to be Pam.

“I saw you were moving in, and wanted to bring you this as a housewarming gift,” Pam beamed, holding out a cookie tin. “Peanut butter cookies, my sons’ favourite.”

“Thank you,” Carole said. “That’s so thoughtful of you. Come on in, and please don’t mind the mess!”

Carole proposed a coffee break, and soon the whole family plus Pam were munching on the peanut butter cookies.

When Finn kept grabbing more, Kurt said, “That’s enough, Finn, leave some for the rest of us!” and took the tin away from his brother. As soon as he touched it, though, he found himself having another vision, a slideshow of pictures flashing through his head. It was the curly-headed boy again, from a tiny toddler to a teenage boy, enjoying cookies from this very same tin. Was it the son Pam lost? And why did Kurt keep seeing him?

Kurt saw Pam look at him quizzically, and he flushed. He must have spaced out for a minute there, and Pam had noticed. He held out the tin for her to take another cookie and then placed it on the table again.

“So I meant to ask you,” Pam said. “I have a gardener who comes twice a week to keep this garden in order. Do you want him to keep coming, or do you plan on taking care of the garden yourselves?”

Burt laughed. “Buying this house set us back a pretty penny. We’ll do it ourselves. Carole likes to putter in the garden, and Kurt and Finn will help.”

“Okay,” Pam nodded. “The trees need pruning, though, and Mark was planning on doing that tomorrow, so if you don’t mind, I’ll send him here one last time. Don’t worry, I’ll pay for it. I wanted the garden to be in tip-top shape when I sold the house, but Mark hasn’t gotten round to the pruning yet, and it needs to be done.”

K&B

The next day, the gardener arrived, tall and dark and handsome and full of compliments, charming Carole thoroughly before heading to the garden to prune the trees. When he was done, Carole offered him a cup of coffee and told Finn and Kurt to go pick up the pruned branches and put them on the pile for the wood stove.

“Hey, look!”

Finn pointed to one of the bigger trees.

“There’s a tree house in there!”

Kurt and Finn looked at each other, grinned and climbed the tree in a flash.

The tree house seemed in great shape. It wasn’t damp or creaky at all, and whoever had come here last had left their things there without a care in the world. Kurt spotted a half-empty two-litre bottle of Seven-Up, an unopened bag of Red Vines, a well-thumbed paperback from the Harry Potter series and a black notebook.

Finn pounced on the Red Vines with a gleeful shout, but Kurt paid him no mind. He’d picked up the Harry Potter book, and now another onslaught of memories not his own assailed him.

He saw the curly-headed boy waiting in front of a bookshop dressed in Gryffindor colours, with even a red lightning bolt on his forehead, bouncing up and down excitedly. He saw the boy watch one of the Harry Potter films, cuddled up to Pam and a much older boy - his brother? The last vision showed him the boy lying on his stomach in the tree house, reading this very same book and chuckling.

A hand on his shoulder startled Kurt, and he whipped his head around with a squeak, but it was only Finn.

“Hey, you okay, dude? You kinda… spaced out for a moment there.”

Kurt nodded. “Yep. Sure. Let’s go back inside. It’s cold here.”

They climbed down again with their loot - Finn with his bag of Red Vines, and Kurt with the Harry Potter book and the notebook, which he’d carefully wrapped a handkerchief around before taking it. If there were any memories attached to the notebook, he’d rather find out in the privacy of his own room.

After dinner that evening, Kurt excused himself to his room, under the pretext that he was going to unpack some more. Well, maybe he would, but more than anything, he wanted to check out the notebook.

He sat down on his bed cross-legged and took the handkerchief off the notebook. There was nothing written on the cover, but he had a feeling it belonged to the curly-headed boy. He opened the notebook, and then gasped as a swirl of golden dust particles swept out of it. For a moment, they formed a silhouette that had become very familiar to Kurt by now, and then they dispersed, leaving Kurt gaping. What was it with this boy that Kurt kept seeing? Was he haunting the house?

Kurt looked down at the notebook and smiled at the neat handwriting on the first page, proclaiming that this was the property of Blaine Devon Anderson and not to be read by anyone else. Especially Cooper, the notice specified.

Kurt felt a bit guilty when he turned the page, but figured that Blaine was now gone anyway, so this wouldn’t really violate his privacy anymore.

Before long, Kurt was fully immersed in the diary. Blaine had a knack for describing anecdotes in a funny, pithy way that had Kurt in stitches. Often, they involved his brother Cooper and the pranks they played on each other, and Kurt, who’d been an only child for nearly sixteen years, found himself envying the close bond the Anderson brothers seemed to have.

Towards the end of the diary, the tone of Blaine’s musings changed, however. He confessed that he was bullied at school. “And that’s with me keeping as low a profile as I possibly can. I wonder what they’d do if they knew the real me.”

Kurt’s throat burnt with unshed tears. That sounded very familiar. He’d been terrified to come out himself, even though everyone already seemed to have guessed, due to his voice and his looks.

A few pages later, Blaine was agonising about whether or not to come out to his parents. “I don’t think they’ll take it well. They’re so traditional, about everything. Should I keep this to myself until I no longer depend on them for everything? If Dad throws me out, there’s nowhere I could go. It’s not like I have friends. I’ll die homeless in a ditch somewhere.”

Kurt sighed. “Well, at least you avoided that. I’m not sure a gay-bashing was the better way to go, though. You must have been in so much pain.”

On the last page where Blaine had written something, it was about new neighbours across the street, one of them a boy his age and very friendly. “I think I’m going to ask Thomas to come to the Sadie Hawkins dance with me. Just as friends. I know he doesn’t go to my school, but it would be nice to have one friendly face there. Just for once.”

Kurt swallowed with difficulty, and wondered what had happened to the other kid. Was he dead too? There was no family with children his age living in the house just opposite. Just a retired couple, who’d complained about the moving van waking them up and loudly and rhetorically asked what the world was coming to if just about anyone could buy a house in their neighbourhood these days. “This used to be such a nice classy street to live.”

Kurt put the notebook on his nightstand and put a cardboard box labelled “Scarves” on his bed. He and Carole had been unpacking for two days now, and the living room, kitchen and bathrooms were fully furnished by now. Burt and Finn had teamed up to assemble the furniture and had occasionally called on Kurt to help out. Everything was slowly coming together, but Kurt hadn’t found the time yet to arrange his clothes in the walk-in closet. They were still all in boxes - sacrilege, but it couldn’t be helped.

A few hours later, he heard a knock, and Burt stuck his head in. “You still unpacking, bud? It’s late! Get into bed. You can do the rest tomorrow after school.”

K&B

Kurt had taken such a liking to the bow tie that he wore it to school, too, that Monday. He quickly found out that it was slushie-resistant. Azimio and Karofsky had each thrown a slushie at him, but the red dye left no traces on the bow tie, and that made Kurt beam happily.

For lunch, he sat with the other glee club members, and was discussing Beyonce’s new single with Mercedes when Santana and Brittany arrived at the glee club table, too. Brittany sat down next to Kurt, but left an open space between them.

“Who’s your new friend?” she inquired.

Kurt gaped at her. “What are you talking about?”

“Who’s the boy sitting next to you?” Brittany clarified. “He looks nice. I like his curls. And his smile. Is he your boyfriend? He looks at you like you’re his boyfriend.”

Kurt opened and closed his mouth a few times with all the grace of a fish. Then, he hopped off the bench, grabbed Brittany by the arm, ignoring Santana’s “Hey, watch it, Lady Lips!”, and tugged her to a quiet spot a bit further away.

Brittany, bless her, didn’t seem at all surprised or disgruntled at being hauled around like a bag of potatoes, and smiled at Kurt.

“Britt, tell me, who do you see with me?” Kurt asked her. “Can you describe him for me?”

Brittany described Blaine to a T, and Kurt’s head whirled. Did that mean Blaine was a ghost? And how was it that Brittany could see him and Kurt couldn’t? Then, an idea hit Kurt.

“Britt, can you talk to him?”

“Well, no, he’s still erased,” Brittany explained. “You first have to bring him all the way back to life.”

“Erased?” Kurt frowned.

“Yep. It’s one the potions my aunt makes. Makes people disappear. But sometimes, they’re not completely gone. And then you can bring them back when you’re their true love.”

Kurt’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head now. Was Brittany making fun of him? Potions? Making people disappear?

Brittany smiled at him again. “Come over after glee club. I’ll show you my aunt’s website. There’s a lot more info there if you want to rescue your true love.”

“True… True love?” Kurt sputtered. “Britt, you can’t seriously believe…”

But Brittany was already walking back to the glee kids’ table to eat her lunch, with just a wave and a “You’ll see!”

Kurt watched her go and then looked around him. Though it made him feel ridiculous and completely out of his depth, he whispered, “Blaine? Are you really here?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Erased

Blaine was… drifting. His mind empty, his body non-existing, he floated in space, feeling at one with the earth and the sun and the sky. Then, all of a sudden, he felt a tug. It pulled him down, down, down, to a house he recognised and a room he knew as his own. Once. Long ago.

There was a boy in his room. A boy who’d found Blaine’s star bow tie and now hastily put it in his pocket. Before he hurried out of the room, though, he looked straight at Blaine and smiled, and oh… What a smile it was! And those eyes!

Blaine hadn’t felt human in a long time, but he knew that if he’d still had his body, his heart would have been racing now.

Oh… There you are! I’ve been looking for you forever.

Blaine was still coming to terms with being brought to the Anderson house all of a sudden, and seeing the most beautiful boy he’d ever laid eyes on, when he felt another tug. This time, Blaine was transported to the kitchen, where the very same boy was examining a magnet Blaine had made for his mom when he was little, looking straight at Blaine again for a moment and blinking owlishly. Then he looked at a picture of Blaine as a tiny tot, and his mouth curved into a smile again.

Moments later, though, the boy looked around him warily and then shivered.

Does that mean… Does he sense me, somehow? Do I scare him? He probably thinks I’m a ghost.

Blaine didn’t like the idea of the beautiful boy being afraid of him, but what could he do? Nothing. Nothing but watch the boy leave.

Blaine drifted through the Anderson house, noticing absently that it was empty, except for – ha! His Nightbird costume on the highest shelf of his closet! Who on earth put that there?

And in the attic, in a dark corner, stood his first guitar, though Blaine was sure he’d seen it standing against the wall in his bedroom the day he came home from hospital.

In the hall, on the hat shelf, lay a home video of him and Cooper, and there were photographs of Blaine scattered around the house, carefully hidden.

What WAS this? An Easter egg hunt?

Blaine put it from his mind and left the house. There was nothing to keep him there.

K&B

The next time Blaine felt the by now familiar tug, he ended up in the beautiful boy’s bedroom. The boy was touching Blaine’s star bow tie, his eyes unfocused and his mouth hanging open. After a while, he took his hand off the bow tie and looked up, staring right through Blaine, deep in thought.

He doesn’t look scared, though. I call that progress.

Blaine decided to hang around for a while. Only when the beautiful boy was deeply asleep did he drift off, and he didn’t venture far.

The next morning, he saw the boy put on his bow tie, torn between admiration at how good he looked in it and resentment because that was HIS bow tie, and his favourite, too. Then, the boy bossed the rest of his family around until they were all wearing outfits he approved of, and after breakfast, they all set out for an appointment to buy a house. Was it the Anderson house?

Blaine wanted to know, so he drifted into the car with the boy’s family and accompanied them to the notary public’s office. When he saw his mother there, looking older and sadder now, he knew that his hunch had been right. He wondered where his father was, though. At work, probably, but shouldn’t he have been there for something as momentous as selling a house?

The family was introduced as the Hummels: Burt, Carole, Finn, and the beautiful boy was called Kurt.

Pam noticed the accessory Kurt had chosen, and mentioned how fond Blaine had been of bow ties, until the Andersons had ‘lost’ him.

If Blaine could have snorted, he would have.

Very diplomatic, Mom. Lost. Yeah, right. Dad lost me like the wood cutter lost Hansel and Gretel.

The Hummels bought it, though, and offered their condolences, even telling Pam she was welcome to drop in at her old house when she missed Blaine too much.

K&B

Blaine hadn’t expected to ever see his mom again after that. He’d drifted off absently, thinking of Kurt and his beautiful eyes and smile. It was weird that he could remember everything about Kurt with such startling clarity when the rest of the time he’d spent bodiless was a blur.

Well, I guess that’s because it’s the first interesting thing that has happened to me since I lost my body. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s so gorgeous…

The tug, when it came, brought him to the Anderson kitchen – well, he guessed it was the Hummel kitchen now. Kurt was holding a cookie tin that looked very familiar, his eyes unfocused, and Pam was sitting at the table opposite Kurt, staring at him intently. Kurt snapped out of his reverie, blushing, and offered Pam a cookie. Pam accepted politely, with a satisfied grin.

Blaine heard his mother arrange for the trees to be pruned, her eyes scheming and still focussed on Kurt, so when she left, Blaine followed.

After stepping into her car, Pam didn’t drive away immediately. Instead, she made a phone call. And not to the gardener.

“Hey, sweetie. It’s Mom. I told the Hummels you’d be stopping by tomorrow to prune the trees. You can set up things in the tree house then.”

Pam cocked her head to the side. “What name did I call you? Uhm… Mark, I think I said.”

Pam snorted. “Yes, I know that’s generic and your beautiful face deserves better. That would be why your real name is Cooper, not Mark. Think of this as an acting exercise, and try not to overdo it, okay?”

Now Blaine was intrigued. What was this about the tree house? Why was Cooper coming here, pretending to be a gardener? He decided to hang around until Cooper came.

The next day, when Cooper came, Blaine almost didn’t recognise him. Cooper had gone all-out disguising himself, wearing coloured contacts, a wig, fake moustaches and a fake beard, and tanning his skin. He introduced himself as Marco and spoke with a bad Spanish accent.

Mrs Hummel didn’t seem to mind, though, blushing when Cooper flirted with her and sighing with a dreamy expression when he went into the garden to do the pruning.

Blaine followed, and saw Cooper climb into the tree house, where he opened his backpack and got out a bottle of soda, a bag of sweets and two books, all of which he put on the floor. Then he hastily climbed down, put on gardener’s gloves and got out all the equipment needed to prune the trees.

When the work was done, Cooper went back inside, and accepted a cup of coffee from Mrs Hummel, who sent her sons to pick up all the loose branches. That made Cooper flash her a content grin, and he settled more comfortably in his chair and took a cookie to dunk into his coffee.

And then Blaine felt a tug again, and in a split second, he found himself in the tree house again, staring at Kurt, who had a book in his hand and a faraway look in his eyes.

The other book was still on the floor, and Blaine recognised it as his diary.

Uh-oh… I don’t want anyone to find that and read it. Why didn’t Mom throw that away? I hope Kurt doesn’t notice or want it?

No such luck, though. Kurt took a handkerchief out of his pocket and picked up the diary, without touching it with his hands.

What’s that all about?

When both boys went back into the kitchen, Finn held up the bag of sweets and yelled, “Look what I found, Mom!”

Kurt didn’t say anything, but he glanced down at the books he was holding and smiled. Cooper, who was still there, nursing his coffee, saw what Kurt was holding and fist-pumped with a triumphant grin. He drained his coffee cup, thanked Mrs Hummel and said his goodbyes.

Blaine followed Cooper to his car, and sure enough, as soon as Cooper was sitting down, he reached for his cell phone and called his mom. “Hey, Mom. Mission accomplished. Kurt found the books.”

There was a pause, and then Cooper rolled his eyes. “Mo-om… They don’t know me at all. To them, I’m just a gardener. Why would they think anything was wrong? I pruned the trees, didn’t I? Yes, I was careful. I disguised myself and everything.”

Cooper listened to his mom’s answer again and sighed. “I know. We wait. Kurt has everything now. The ball’s in his court. Let’s hope we get Blaine back soon.”

Wait… What? That’s what all those hidden things are about? Kurt has to find them? And then somehow I get my body back? How does that work, exactly?

Blaine was full of questions, and he drifted up into the sky to empty his mind. No use in fretting about something he had no control over, or hoping for something that might never come to pass. Anyway, he didn’t deserve to get his life back, did he, seeing as it was HIS fault Thomas had died? If Blaine had never taken him to that Sadie Hawkins dance, they’d both be alive and well today.

Blaine was still mulling things over when he felt another tug and was brought to his bedroom – well, Kurt’s now, he guessed. Kurt was sitting on his bed and gaping at Blaine. Did he actually see Blaine? Feeling silly, Blaine tried to wave a phantom arm. Kurt’s eyes dropped down to Blaine’s diary and started to read.

I’ll take that as a no, then. But I guess he must sense me, somehow. Ugh, I don’t like him reading my diary, but what can I do?

Blaine stayed with Kurt as he made his way through Blaine’s diary, smiling and even outright laughing at what he read at first, and then becoming more solemn and sad as the tenor of the tales grew grim. Kurt mumbled sympathetically at a few passages, and Blaine got the feeling that he truly understood.

In another life, we might have been friends.

K&B

Blaine followed Kurt to school. Kurt was wearing Blaine’s star bow tie again, coupled with an outfit that seemed to come straight out of a fashion magazine. He looked stunning, and Blaine was glad that no-one could see him stare at Kurt and take offence.

I guess being a ghost has its perks after all. Now I can look my fill and nobody will be the wiser.

First period proved to be a history lesson. The teacher, a short woman with tired eyes and a bored expression, droned on and on about the Second World War. Kurt and a tiny but energetic brunette were the only two in the classroom who paid attention to what she said and made notes, raising their hands every now and then to ask a question. The teacher didn’t seem to like being disturbed from her monotone rambling that way, grumbling and keeping her answer as short as possible. Kurt didn’t let it get to him, though, questioning her further until her answer satisfied him.

Tenacious, huh? I like that. And he’s much more than just a pretty face. He’s got brains, too, and a mind of his own. He’s amazing.

Second period was a Spanish lesson, and the teacher, no doubt trying to be cool, taught them a Spanish song, telling his students they needed to soak in the whole culture surrounding the language because that would help them master it. Kurt rolled his eyes, but joined in with the singing.

If Blaine had felt attracted to Kurt before because of his stellar looks and his smile and his intelligence, that was nothing to the lightning bolt that went through him as soon as he heard Kurt sing. Kurt had a higher voice than most boys, Blaine had noticed that much, but he hadn’t realised that Kurt was a countertenor. He sounded like an angel, and Blaine listened spell-bound, forgetting their surroundings. He saw and heard nothing but Kurt, and it moved and overwhelmed him. Not for the first time that day, he praised himself lucky that no-one would notice his lovesick staring and pummel him back into hospital.

Blaine soon regretted being a ghost again, though, when Kurt had two slushies thrown at him and all Blaine could do was watch it happen.

The two jocks who’d slushied Kurt high-fived, laughing loudly.

Kurt shuddered and then gritted his teeth. “One day, you will all work for me.”

“What was that, faggot? Slushies not doing it for you? You’d rather have a knuckle sandwich?”

“You can't punch the gay out of me any more than I can punch the ignoramus out of you,” Kurt retorted, and then he ducked the jock’s fist and stalked off, wiping coloured ice off his face.

Kurt is gay, too? And he’s so brave, standing up for himself!

Kurt stumbled into the nearest bathroom to clean himself up and take off his wet clothes. Kurt’s vest and shirt were ruined by the slushie dye, but Blaine’s bow tie didn’t show even the slightest trace of red. Kurt perked up when he saw that, happily tying it back around his neck as soon as he’d put on another shirt.

Blaine accompanied Kurt to lunch, drinking in the quick play of emotions over Kurt’s expressive face as he talked with his friends.

And then he got a shock. Two other friends arrived at the table - cheerleaders, going by their outfits. One of them looked straight at Blaine and smiled, and then sat down next to him instead of moving right through him.

Can she… Can she see me?

Apparently, she could. She asked Kurt who his ‘new friend’ was, and when Kurt looked at her as if she’d just grown an extra head, she told him there was a boy sitting next to him, who looked at Kurt like he was his boyfriend, apparently.

Oops… I guess my crush is showing…

That galvanised Kurt into action. He took the girl by the arm and tugged her away from the table. Blaine followed, and wasn’t at all surprised when Kurt asked his friend – whom he called Britt - to describe Blaine. He was taken aback, however, when Kurt’s follow-up question was if the girl could talk to Blaine.

Is that even possible?

No, it wasn’t, Britt explained, because Blaine was “erased”, whatever that might mean. By a potion her aunt made. Were they both witches?

The next part of her explanation was more interesting. Blaine could be brought back to life by his “true love”.

Would that be Kurt? Is that why Mom and Cooper are hiding all sorts of mementoes from my life for Kurt to find?

Blaine liked that idea. Kurt, however, seemed sceptical, hardly believing Britt at all, though she promised to explain things further after school.

She left, then, with a wave, and Kurt stared after her, and then looked around, no doubt trying to see Blaine, but failing. “Blaine? Are you really here?”

How do ghosts appear to people? What do I do?

In the end, Blaine decided that, since Kurt was able to sense him, he’d concentrate on sending his feelings Kurt’s way – hope and nervousness and frustration and admiration. He felt wave after wave of it leave him, and Kurt gasped. “You are! I can’t see you, but I can feel you. I… I’m not sure what this is all about, but I’ll get to the bottom of it, I promise. And if I can help you, I will.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Making the Puzzle Complete

After school, Kurt followed Brittany to her house and said no when she offered to make out with him. “You’re with Santana now, Britt. And I’m gay, remember?”

Brittany shrugged. “You have the softest lips of any boy I’ve ever kissed, and you’re a really good kisser, too.”

Kurt smiled at her. “Thanks, I guess.”

Brittany led him into her bedroom, plopped onto her bed and patted the space next to her until Kurt sat down there. She started up her laptop, while blathering on about Lord Tubbington and how he was a mafia boss now, trafficking drugs, and she was really scared he’d end up shot one day.

The website loaded, and Kurt blinked a little at the overload of colour and the shimmering letters.

“We need the erasing potion,” Brittany mused. “Where is it? Oh, got it!”

The new page she took him to was purple, and the letters were gold. Kurt had to squint to make sense of what he was reading. It was straightforward enough, though: the promised effect of the potion was to make a person disappear. No traces of them would be left on earth if after the person had drunk the potion, their essence was destroyed by vacuuming it up.

The sales pitch sounded very matter-of-fact and cheery, but it made Kurt shudder and feel queasy. How could someone just wish another person away? Want to erase their existence? Who had done that to Blaine?

“That’s what happens when you use the potion correctly,” Brittany said. “But your true love isn’t really gone, so I guess we’d better look at the page about bringing back people that got erased by accident.”

“By accident,” Kurt repeated, rolling his eyes.

Brittany hummed in assent, still smiling happily, and clicked on the right page. “So if you want to bring back an erased person, you have to capture their essence. Store it in objects that meant something to them. Like… A picture of their girlfriend. A trophy they’ve won. Their favourite video game. And then you wait for their true love to turn up and collect all those objects to make the puzzle complete and bring the person back to life.

Kurt frowned. “You mean… Blaine is IN all of those items? Part of him?”

Brittany nodded. “Yep. I guess you have one of them with you, or Blaine wouldn’t be able to follow you around like this.”

Kurt’s hand flew to his throat. “The bow tie, I guess. I think it used to be Blaine’s. I… I saw him wearing it. I get these… flashes. I see him. The past him. Touching those items seems to trigger memories of him.”

Brittany beamed. “That’s good! Now all you have to do is make sure you find all the objects, bring them all together, and then there’s a ritual you have to complete.”

“A ritual?” Kurt’s voice went up a few octaves.

“Don’t worry, you won’t have to kill a chicken,” Brittany reassured him.

Kurt’s eyes widened. “That… That makes me feel loads better.”

Brittany gave him a radiant smile. “What you have to do is prove that Blaine is wanted. That he belongs here on earth. With you.”

“Well, of course he does,” Kurt said. “But how do I prove it?”

“You find a way to make all those objects that have a bit of Blaine in them mean something for the both of you. Blaine lost his life by drinking the potion, so the only way he can come back is if you share your life with him.”

Kurt blinked. “So if I bring him back, we’re both going to die young because I’ve given him half of my life?”

Brittany laughed. “No, no, that’s not how it works. Your life span won’t change. It’s just that Blaine will be with you for the rest of your days. His life will be tied to yours. He can’t live without you.”

“So when I die he does, too?” Kurt asked.

“Yep. But it’s more than that. You can’t break up with him, either. If you bring him back, he’ll depend on you and your bond with him. If you cheat on him or fall in love with someone else, Blaine will disappear again, and it will be for good. He’ll be lost forever.”

“Huh,” Kurt said. “So basically, it’s like being married. ‘Till death do us part and all that?”

Brittany beamed. “Exactly!”

“Right. No pressure, then.”

Kurt got up from the bed and paced the floor, thinking hard. He did feel a connection with Blaine. He obviously had an eye for fashion, he was as much of a Harry Potter nerd as Kurt himself, he’d struggled with coming out just as much as Kurt had, and he was funny and intelligent and musical. But was that enough for Kurt to tie himself to Blaine for the rest of his life?

A snide voice in the back of his head sniggered. Like you have so many other options… Cute boys queuing around the block for you, huh?

There was that, yes. The only boy who’d shown any interest in Kurt so far was a closeted jock that kept bullying him. But in little over a year, Kurt would be leaving Ohio. He had plans. Big ones. He was going to New York, and there, he would find gay guys aplenty. Was he going to give that all up for a boy that would only stick around because Kurt was his only option? Was it even fair on Blaine to bind him to Kurt that way? The choice was all up to Kurt. Blaine wasn’t able to say no. Or was he?

“Britt, is Blaine with me right now?” Kurt asked.

Brittany, who had been petting Lord Tubbington, looked up. “Hmm? Oh… Yes. Yes, he is. He’s looking a bit scared.”

A wave of protectiveness slammed through Kurt. Did Blaine think Kurt would reject him? That Kurt didn’t want him? No, no, no! He had to talk to Blaine. He had to explain.

“Okay. So. Blaine.” Kurt looked around, and then huffed in frustration. “Ugh, this is weird. All right. Blaine, would you be okay with me finding all those items and bringing you back? You’ve heard Brittany. It would mean that you’re stuck with me forever.”

Brittany giggled and clapped her hands in glee. “He says yes! And he looks so happy!”

Kurt nodded and swallowed, his throat suddenly bone-dry and his palms sweaty. “In that case, I should warn you that I’m very stubborn. And judgmental. And I have a moisturising routine that takes over half an hour every night. And I have body issues. You haven’t been watching me undress at night, have you?”

Brittany happily supplied Blaine’s answer. “No, he hasn’t.”

“I’ve never… I’ve never had a boyfriend,” Kurt continued.

“He’s only been with me,” Brittany added. “You’re lucky, he’s a very good kisser.”

“And to be honest, this whole ‘true love’ thing and lifetime commitment scares the hell out of me,” Kurt went on. “I mean, I’m not even seventeen yet. I’m still in high school. I’ve never so much as kissed a boy. And now I’m supposed to promise myself to you for life? How can we make that work? High school romances never last. But if we don’t last, you disappear. That’s… That’s just…”

And then, he felt Blaine. He felt Blaine envelop him with reassurance and trust and affection, and he let out a shaky breath. “Thanks. I needed that. So, you’re saying we can do this? All right, then. Better get home and look for those other items.”

K&B

Though Carole wondered why her stepson was devoting his evenings to cleaning their new house from top to bottom that week, she knew better than to mention it. The first night, the thorough cleaning only seemed to frustrate Kurt, and he grumbled under his breath when Burt told him to go to bed.

The following evenings, Kurt was happier. He walked around the house with a skip in his step, humming, and he didn’t sound mutinous when Burt went upstairs to knock on his door and tell him it was bedtime.

On Wednesday, Burt was frowning when he came back to the living room, though.

“What’s wrong?” Carole asked.

“Kurt found a guitar in the attic.”

“Oh…”

“He’s all pleased about it, but I think we should contact Pam and see if she wants it back. It looks expensive.”

“Right. Want me to call her?”

“Please.”

Carole smiled at her husband, pecked him on the cheek and went looking for her handbag, rummaging in it until she found her phone and Pam’s card.

Burt ran a hand over his head and sighed. “Kurt’s not gonna like it if Pam wants it back.”

“Let’s not borrow trouble, honey. Let’s see what she says first.”

Pam picked up the phone after the first ring, and seemed pleased to hear from Carole, wanting to know if they were settling in all right and if the gardener had come at the agreed upon time and had done his work well. It took a full five minutes before Carole could get a word in edgewise, but eventually, she managed to tell Pam about the guitar. “We’ve found a few other things lying around, but those were small things – candy in the tree house, and a magnet, I think, and a book, but Burt thought the guitar was valuable, so if you’d like it back, you can come pick it up.”

“Aww, it’s nice of you to tell me, but actually, that guitar was Blaine’s. My youngest son. He was the only one in the family who played the guitar, and now he’s gone, so it’s really no use to any of us. Are any of your children musical?”

Carole laughed. “Yes, both of them, though Finn is more of a drummer, and Kurt a singer. But Kurt seemed happy with the guitar. He’s the one who found it.”

“Well, then, by all means, let him keep it. I still have Blaine’s guitar lesson books somewhere. I could drop them off tomorrow afternoon if you’re at home?”

The next day, Carole and Pam had tea together, talking about their children, about Carole’s first husband and about Pam’s divorce.

When the front door slammed, Carole automatically called out, “Finn, don’t slam the door. And take your shoes off. And hang up your coat.”

Finn came into the kitchen, closely followed by Kurt. “Hey, Mom, I’m starving! Can I have… Oh! Hey…”

“Hello, Finn,” said Pam. “Hello, Kurt. I hear you found Blaine’s guitar yesterday?”

Kurt shot an accusatory look at Carole.

“I brought you the lesson books Blaine used when he just started out playing,” Pam continued.

“Oh… That’s… Thank you!”

“You’re very welcome, sweetie, it’s not like they’re any use to me.”

Pam helped herself to another cookie. “I love these. Tastes very much like my own recipe, but the peanuts and the chocolate chips you’ve added give it a nice crunch.”

“Thank you,” Kurt said. “I like tinkering with recipes.”

“Blaine would have loved these,” Pam sighed.

K&B

Kurt let out a happy sigh as he sat down at his desk after fetching his scrapbook and materials. Brittany had told him to carve out a space for Blaine in his life, and to use the found objects to forge a connection between him and Blaine. He’d been thinking long and hard about it, and he’d started with the cookie tin, trying out different peanut butter cookie recipes until he found the one he liked best.

He’d filled the tin telling Blaine, “I promise to bake you your favourite cookies as often as you’d like me to, though you may have to fight Finn for them.”

Kurt still couldn’t see Blaine, but he’d felt his gratitude and longing, and he’d giggled. “Yep, I know, they’re not much use to you while you’re a ghost, but I’m working on that.”

The costume he’d found high up in his closet had been easy for Kurt to sort out, too. It looked like a superhero costume, so Kurt had consulted Sam at school and had been sewing a costume of his own.

“When you’re back, you can join Sam’s superhero club,” Kurt had told Blaine. “And I can join too, if you want me to.”

The excitement that had come his way then had nearly knocked Kurt over, so he guessed Blaine liked that idea.

Likewise, Kurt had sketched and then sewn a bow tie similar to Blaine’s favourite, but with the colours flipped. The fabric was silver, and Kurt had embroidered black stars on it.

“You get to pick,” Kurt had promised. “One of them will be yours, and one of them will be mine. They belong together, like we do. Yin and yang.”

Blaine had reacted strongly to that, too. Affection had curled around Kurt like a hug.

Kurt had read and re-read the diary dozens of times to figure out what he was supposed to do about that item, and finally, it had come to him as he was chuckling at a bucket list a young Blaine had compiled. The sky had certainly NOT been the limit for Blaine, who’d listed that he wanted to be the first human on Mars, that he wanted to meet at least one alien race and that he wanted to discover a new planet or star.

“Well, I think this is a bit too ambitious, but I could make us a new bucket list, of all the things I want to do with you.”

And then Kurt had heard how that sounded and blushed furiously. “Uhm… I… I didn’t mean it like that… I meant… Just… Fun activities, like baking together, or going shopping. Or going to see a play. Visiting New York. You like New York, right? It’s my dream city. I want to live there when I’m older.”

Blaine seemed to find Kurt’s rambling explanation amusing, but made sure to send him a reassuring vibe as well.

Scouring the house from top to bottom, Kurt had found over half a dozen photographs of Blaine, so he’d started a new scrapbook, using childhood photos of himself as well. The scrapbook showed Kurt and Blaine growing up. The first two pages held baby photos, after that came the toddler stage and the kindergarten pics, all the way up to middle school. The photos of Blaine stopped there, but Kurt, undeterred, had added his own high school pictures and then drawn a portrait of Blaine as he imagined the boy would look like now on the page next to them.

The rest of the scrapbook was mapping out their future – Kurt had sketched prom tuxes and boutonnières, drawn the both of them in graduation gowns, then glued in pictures of apartments in New York and places to visit, like the Gapstow Bridge. That was where he’d gotten so far.

Next up is us getting our degrees and finding a job we love. What would we do for a job?

Kurt found himself unconsciously doodling dresses, and stopped for a moment, smiling at the designs, and then adding a sketch of himself right smack in the middle, pins in his mouth and a tape measure around his neck. Okay, that was him sorted out. What about Blaine? Something with music…

A vision of Blaine playing a grand piano flashed through Kurt’s mind, and he pictured him as a concert pianist, his hand already drawing the outlines of the piano. Yet, instead of drawing Blaine behind the piano, Kurt absent-mindedly sketched him dancing and singing as he’d seen him do in the video Finn had found when he’d knocked everything off the hat shelf in the hallway. Yes, Blaine would be a performer, one way or another. That suited him.

Kurt’s eye fell on the guitar lesson books Pam had given him, and sighed. All right, that had been enough scrapbooking for the day. He needed to teach himself how to play the guitar, and find a fitting song to serenade Blaine with. He’d tried copying what he saw on YouTube, but found it difficult. And the strings hurt his fingers, ouch! But he had to make this work. He had to prove to Blaine that he welcomed every aspect of him, even if it wasn’t Kurt’s thing at all.

“As soon as you’re back, you can take over the guitar playing,” Kurt said to Blaine. “And we can sing together. I’d love to duet with you. But for now, it’s me that will have to do it. I’ll sing to you in glee club. I’ll find a way to make the song fit into the assignment of the week.”

He looked at his desk, piled with all the hidden treasures he’d unearthed, and chewed on his lower lip. The only items left to figure out were the magnet and the Harry Potter book. But what could he do with those?

Kurt took the magnet in his hands and flipped it absent-mindedly, over and over. A heart for Mother’s Day. He could go to the cemetery and leave it on his mother’s grave, but that wouldn’t really prove his connection with Blaine. No. The shape was right, but the message on it was all wrong. Could he maybe change it?

“Blaine? Would you mind terribly if I repainted the magnet?”

Kurt took a sticky note and doodled a heart on it, and wrote K + B inside.

“Like this? Would that be okay? Yes, I know, I’m cheesy sometimes.”

Kurt didn’t feel any objection from Blaine’s part, so the next afternoon, he repainted the magnet and stuck it back onto the fridge.

Burt raised an eyebrow when he saw the revamped magnet. “Something you want to tell me, kiddo?”

Kurt grinned at him. “Nope.”

“You sure, bud? ‘Cause if you have a boyfriend, you know I want to meet him, right?”

Kurt rolled his eyes. “I’m the only out guy at school, Dad.”

“You could have met him on the internet. Or at the Lima Bean. Or at the mall, where you spend all my money.”

“Mm-hm… No. Tell you what, Dad. As soon as I have a boyfriend, you’ll be the first to know. All right?”

Kurt curled up on the sofa with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, happily losing himself in the story. When he’d read it cover to cover, though, he still didn’t have a clue what he could do to make this book significant for Blaine and himself.

He sulked all the way through his night-time moisturising regime, and got into bed still thinking hard. He tossed and turned, but couldn’t fall asleep. Bits and pieces of the story and his thoughts about them were going through his mind randomly.

Too bad those Time-Turners don’t exist for real… I’d go back in time and save Blaine…

And then Kurt sat up, his eyes shining, because no, he couldn’t do it in real life, but he COULD write the story. A self-insert fanfic. Would that work?

It took Kurt several weeks, but his Harry Potter fanfic finally took shape, and he really threw himself into it, describing everything he’d want to do if he’d end up at Hogwarts somehow, and his romance with Blaine, though they were in rivalling houses, and then Kurt saving Blaine heroically from a fate worse than death.

As he was writing the epilogue, Kurt sighed, “I really hope this will work. Oh, hang on… Blaine, tell me… I did find everything, didn’t I? This was the last item to figure out, right?”

Blaine’s excitement and happiness slammed into Kurt with so much force he almost fell over.

“I’ll take that as a yes. I’m nearly done, sweetie, and then I’ll read it to you.”

Reading out the whole story to Blaine took Kurt a few more nights, but when at last he reached the end, he heard clapping. He snapped his head up, and yes, there was Blaine, bouncing on the balls of his feet, beaming through his tears and looking at Kurt with such heart-eyes that Kurt instantly felt a lot more certain about this whole undertaking.

“It worked!” Kurt breathed, afraid to move or blink for fear that Blaine would disappear again.

“Yes,” Blaine smiled. “I’m visible again.”

And then Kurt suddenly had an armful of Blaine, who was hugging him tightly and whispering “Thank you!” over and over.

As a rule, Kurt didn’t take kindly to having his personal space invaded, and certainly not by strangers, but though he stiffened for a moment, he didn’t push Blaine away. He forced himself to relax, and tentatively put his arms around Blaine.

It still felt so surreal. One moment, he’d been all alone, reading out loud to an imaginary friend of his, and the next, Blaine had been there. He was real. He was alive. And he was Kurt’s. Bound to him now, for all eternity. An instant boyfriend.

How did you meet Blaine? Oh, I just dreamed him up…

A giggle escaped him, and he buried his nose in Blaine’s curls and just inhaled deeply to centre himself and calm down. Blaine smelled and felt divine, his head fitting in the crook of Kurt’s neck just right, as if he was made for it.

Kurt felt something warm trickle down his neck, and he drew back to see Blaine crying.

“Blaine, sweetie, are you okay? I know you didn’t have much of a choice in this, and I know I’m far from perfect, but I did ask you…”

“No, no, I’m not sad. They’re happy tears. I’m just… So glad to be back. And you are perfect. To me you are. I’m over the moon that it’s you I get to spend my life with.”

Blaine’s expression was so earnest and admiring that Kurt’s heart skipped a beat.

And then Kurt noticed the time, and he yelped. “It’s three in the morning! We need to sleep! It’s a school day tomorrow.”

Blaine shuffled with his feet, dropping his eyes to the floor. “Oh… Uhm…”

“I’ll lend you some pyjamas and a toothbrush, and you can kip with me, just this once. Oh, unless your parents don’t want you back? I’m sure I can convince Dad to let you stay. We’ve had other friends stay with us. Sam has lived at our place for months, because his parents were working out of state.”

“No, no… It was only my father who wanted me gone. My mom and Cooper want me back all right. That’s why they hid my stuff for you to find.”

Five minutes later, they were in Kurt’s bed, and Kurt was expecting not to get a wink of sleep, but he was out in seconds.

He woke up to a loud throat clearing.

Kurt blinked an eye open and saw his dad in the door opening, glaring at him. “Get dressed and come to the kitchen, please.”

Kurt nodded, groggy with lack of sleep.

Why is Dad so angry?

And then the blanket on top of him moved and let out a pleased hum, and Kurt’s eyes widened.

Blaine! Oh… That’s why.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Not Alone

Blaine drifted after Kurt to the choir room, more than a little intrigued. Kurt had been practising playing the guitar with dogged determination for weeks, though he seemed to hate it. He’d also been watching Cooper’s video over and over. Blaine had been surprised to find that the video not only showed Coop and himself performing Hungry Like the Wolf/Rio, as it said on the label, but also Blaine playing some of his original songs in his bedroom. Cooper must have sneaked in and filmed Blaine without him noticing.

Kurt, to Blaine’s surprise, tended to skip the Anderbros performance and to fast-forward to Blaine singing solo, even though those songs were far from polished and Blaine stopped ever so often to change the melody or try out different lyrics. But Kurt seemed to like them anyway.

The glee club members all filed in, chatting and laughing, and it took their teacher a while to quiet them down. Then he announced that Kurt would be singing, and Kurt stood up, arranged Blaine’s guitar rather clumsily over his shoulder and faced the others.

“This is a song I’ve recently discovered, and it fits this week’s theme perfectly.”

The teacher frowned, looking at the caption that was scribbled onto the whiteboard in messy block letters: “Teamwork”. The other performances that week had been duets and the occasional trio. Kurt was the only one singing alone.

“I’d like to dedicate this performance to the person who inspired it. Blaine, this is for you, and I promise this will be the last time you’ll have to hear me play the guitar. I know I’m no good.”

There was some muttering in the choir room after Kurt’s statement.

The two girls Kurt was closest with, Rachel and Mercedes, did not take it well.

Rachel looked furious at being kept out of the loop and sent Kurt a glare that made him wince.

Mercedes looked completely nonplussed. She raised an eyebrow at Kurt questioningly, her meaning all too clear: whoever this Blaine is, you’ll tell me all about him asap. Kurt nodded at her, his expression apologetic.

Of all the glee club members, only Brittany smiled at the mention of Blaine, looking in Blaine’s direction and winking at him.

Kurt held the guitar gingerly, and started strumming. The band members winced, and so did two glee clubbers, one of them sporting a mohawk and the other long blond hair. The blond guy jumped up and said in a falsely cheerful voice, “Hey, why don’t I help you out with the guitar playing?”

Kurt wavered for a moment, but then nodded. “Thanks, Sam.”

He dug into his satchel, taking out some hand-written sheet music. “Uhm… The song was originally arranged for piano, so I tried to transpose it for guitar. Do you think it will work like this?”

Sam hummed the melody under his breath. “Yep, sure.”

Kurt handed him the guitar, looking half-relieved, half-anxious.

Sam started playing, and Kurt’s glorious voice soared up and filled Blaine with joy. The music and the lyrics were more than familiar. Blaine had written this song not long before he got gay-bashed, trying to tell himself that there were many people like him waiting out there, that there was a bright future and friendship and love ahead of him if he could just hang in there until he graduated. That being one-of-a-kind was a good thing, and that whatever his bullies at school said, he was lovable. He sang this whenever his spirits were low, and it helped. It helped him believe in himself and stand up for himself.

Baby, you're not alone 'Cause you're here with me And nothing's ever gonna bring us down 'Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' you And you know it's true It don't matter what'll come to be Our love is all we need to make it through...

Hearing his words now from Kurt’s mouth, his voice clear like silver bells, his sincerity and passion ringing true in every syllable, was like a confirmation of everything he’d believed back then. No, he wouldn’t be alone. Kurt would be by his side. Wonderful Kurt, who was carving out a place for Blaine in his life, finding ways to intertwine his interests with Blaine’s.

When Kurt stopped singing, the other glee club members applauded enthusiastically, but Kurt bit his lip, accepting the guitar back from Sam and looking at it ruefully.

Kurt thinks he failed me because he didn’t play the guitar himself, doesn’t he? Oh, baby… You did more than enough by writing a guitar arrangement for the song. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Kurt put the guitar back into its case and sighed, so Blaine sent him reassuring and loving vibes until he smiled again.

I’m getting better at that…

K&B

Kurt’s lovely voice washed over Blaine, reading out the self-insert Harry Potter fanfic he’d written for Blaine, as he’d been doing for many nights now. They were at the last chapter, and Blaine was both sad that the story was almost over, and jittery with nerves because this was it - the last of Kurt’s tasks - and he could only hope with all his heart that Kurt’s efforts would pay off.

And Kurt looked at his husband cradling little Lizzy and sighed happily. “No, I don’t miss it. You are my adventure now. You and the children. And it’s the most exciting adventure I’ve ever been on.”

“Will it end with a happily ever after?” Blaine asked.

Kurt laughed. “That part of the story has already started. Let’s hope it will last a long, long time.”

The End”

Blaine, who’d been listening with baited breath – wow, Kurt was a good storyteller! – applauded, only realising he was back to normal when the clapping actually produced sound.

Kurt looked up, startled, his eyes huge and his mouth falling open. He looked adorable, dressed in his patterned flannel pyjamas, his hair sticking up where he’d been leaning against the headboard.

Before Blaine knew it, he’d moved in for a hug, and he was crying for all he was worth, years and years of frustration and anxiety and loneliness melting away in the cocoon of Kurt’s arms.

A little later, he lay in bed with Kurt spooning him, revelling in Kurt’s closeness and protective embrace. He wanted to shout with glee and giggle like mad and sing loudly, but seeing as it was the middle of the night and everyone in the house was asleep except for him, he settled for wiggling his tush a bit closer to Kurt still, sighing happily and letting sleep overtake him.

Blaine woke up gradually. The first thing he registered was that he felt toasty warm. The pillow he was lying on was radiating heat. It was also… moving? Then Blaine got a whiff of apricot, and now why did that smell so familiar? And then it hit him. He was with Kurt. In his bed. Lying on top of him, it seemed.

Blaine hummed in satisfaction, burying his nose in Kurt’s neck and inhaling deeply.

Kurt sucked in a sharp breath and then abruptly sat up. Blaine scrambled to stay on the bed.

“My dad saw us,” Kurt hissed, panic in his eyes. “Ugh, I should have set a phone alarm so that we were up before he came to check on us. Now what am I going to say?”

Blaine took Kurt’s hands and squeezed them lightly. “I’ll come with you and I’ll explain. This is all my fault, anyway.”

Kurt’s eyes softened. “Oh, sweetie, no. The only one who’s to blame is the person who erased you. Now let’s get dressed. I’ll take the bathroom and you can change here.”

Not even Kurt styling Blaine’s hair, his fingers weaving through the curls deftly, could take Blaine’s jitters away, and it was with great trepidation that he stepped into the kitchen, holding hands with Kurt.

Carole was making pancakes, her back to them, and turned around with a plateful of them in her hands. “Oh good, you’re here. I had Burt come and wake you up because it’s so late already. Do you want…?”

She fell silent when she saw Blaine next to Kurt, and Blaine was quick to catch the plate with the pancakes before it fell, handing it to Finn, who flashed him a grin. “Thanks, dude!”

“I… I didn’t know you had someone staying over,” Carole faltered. “Who’s this, sweetie?”

Blaine shot her a winning smile and held out his hand. “I’m Blaine Anderson, ma’am, pleased to meet you.”

She shook his hand absently. “I’m Carole, Kurt’s step-mom. Are you a friend of Kurt’s from school?”

“Not exactly, ma’am.”

Kurt sat down at the table and gestured for Blaine to sit down too.

“Not exactly, huh?”

The gruff voice came from behind Blaine, and he jumped up in fright.

“Then how do you know my son? And why did I find you sleeping in his bed? We have RULES here in this house, Kurt! Finn sticks to them, and so should you. I’m not going to be more lenient with you because you can’t knock up your boyfriend. I’m very disappointed in you right now!”

Kurt rolled his eyes. “Geez, Dad, take it down a few notches, okay? It’s not like that. Blaine just needed a place to stay for the night. He’ll be out of your hair after breakfast.”

“Then why didn’t you just ask me if he could stay over? We could have made up the sofa bed for him.”

Kurt sighed. “Because he didn’t turn up until… like… three in the morning. I don’t think you’d have been happy if I woke you up at that hour.”

“Three in the morning? What did he do, go to Scandals?”

Kurt bristled. “No, nothing like that. If you really must know, Blaine’s dad hates him ‘cause he’s gay, so he erased Blaine four years ago. I’ve been trying to bring him back for weeks now, and this morning, it finally paid off.”

“Erased? Bring him back? What are you talking about, Kurt?”

Kurt, who’d shovelled half a pancake into his mouth, chewed and swallowed it quickly. “If you want the whole story, come along with me when I take Blaine back to his mom. Pam can explain it better, I’m sure.”

“Pam? The Pam who sold us this house? With the kid she lost?”

“Yep. That would be Blaine.”

That shocked Burt into silence, and in the end, Finn went to school on his own, while Burt and Carole tagged along to Pam’s.

After a very tearful reunion, Pam explained the whole story to Burt and Carole, with Burt muttering throughout and frowning.

“I didn’t believe it either, Dad,” Kurt whispered. “But it’s all true. Blaine was kind of a… ghost, I guess. I couldn’t see him, but I’ve always been able to sense him. What he was feeling.”

“Your soulmate, though? You’re only sixteen, kiddo!”

Kurt swallowed and nodded, his face pale and worried. Blaine hastened to take his hand and squeeze it in silent support, and Kurt shot him a wan smile before turning to Burt again. “I know, Dad. We’re way too young for this. And the whole… forever thing… it scares me. But… But… I couldn’t let Blaine live like a ghost for who knows how many more years until I was ready for him, now, could I? He’s already lost four years, Dad! He never deserved any of this! And… Well… It’s not like we’re going to get married right this minute. I mean… This whole soulmate thing… We can work up to it, right? Start out as friends?”

Kurt looked like he was going to be sick, and Blaine felt a pang of hurt that Kurt didn’t want him that way, but tamped it down to reassure Kurt. “Of course we can.”

He mustn’t have masked his disappointment as well as he’d tried to, because Kurt’s head shot up at once, his eyes piercing right through Blaine. “Oh, honey, it’s not you. You know that, right? You’re amazing, and I promise you I want to be with you. I’m just… I just… I want to take this slow. I don’t want to mess this up by hurrying into things I’m not ready for. Since we’re in this for the long haul, I want to make sure we’re going to last. So don’t take this the wrong way, okay? I’m not rejecting you. I’m protecting something that is very precious to me. You know that, right?”

Blaine nodded, his throat too clogged up to speak.

“Oh, come here…”

Kurt drew him in, his hand rubbing comforting circles on Blaine’s back.

Blaine’s breath hitched, and once again, he let his tears flow, while Kurt whispered softly in his ear.

A loud throat clearing startled them out of their private bubble.

“I think you’ll do just fine, son.”

Burt, who’d seemed so gruff and forbidding earlier, was now smiling gently, pride in his eyes and his voice. He clapped Blaine on the shoulder.

“Welcome to the family, kiddo.”

K&B

As diligent a student as Blaine was, catching up on four years of studies in just a few months was impossible. Pam had registered Blaine as home-schooled right after he was erased, in the hopes that he’d be brought back to life soon. Since it had taken longer than foreseen, she’d sent the superintendent of the school district a written portfolio every year, claiming that it contained Blaine’s school work. Luckily, the superintendent had always accepted the portfolios as proof of Blaine’s schooling, so now all Blaine had to do was study and then take a standardised test. Based on that, he could then enrol at McKinley the following school year, probably not as a senior, like Kurt would be, but maybe as a junior, if he worked hard enough.

Cooper had come home as soon as Pam had notified him of Blaine’s return, and offered to tutor Blaine in the subjects he was struggling with. “I graduated with a 4.0 GPA, so I can help you, squirt!”

“Don’t call me squirt!”

It was nice, though, having Cooper at home, more so than Blaine had expected. The brother he remembered had been self-absorbed and vain, and had always criticised Blaine so he could look better in comparison. But Cooper had matured and become a better man. He seemed truly happy to have his little brother back, and in addition to the tutoring, he taught Blaine to drive a car, he taught him to shave, and he took him to his first ever pop concert. In spite of Blaine’s long absence and their ten-year age difference, they became really close.

In the four years Blaine had been gone, Cooper had become the big star he’d always wanted to be, scoring a main role in a TV series and modelling contracts on the side. Everybody knew his name and face these days, as Blaine found out the first time they went grocery shopping together and Cooper was accosted by giggling teens and their moms, requesting selfies and autographs. He dealt with it graciously, never losing his smile or his patience.

Blaine looked one wide-eyed, and afterwards, he Googled his brother’s name and watched the show he starred in.

“Shouldn’t you be in LA instead of here?” Blaine asked. “I don’t want you to lose your job.”

Cooper shrugged. “I’ve asked for two months leave of absence, because of an urgent family matter. They can do without me for the time being. You’re more important. It’s nearly summer, you can come with me to LA then. You can bring Kurt too, if his dad’s okay with that.”

K&B

As agreed upon, Kurt and Blaine were taking things slow. They took turns calling each other every night, sometimes talking late into the night, and they spent the weekends together, doing their homework, watching trashy television all cuddled up on the sofa, making Blaine’s favourite cookies together, going shopping with Kurt’s girlfriends or hanging out with Cooper and the New Directions boys playing video games.

The New Directions had accepted Blaine into their fold almost straightaway. It only took Kurt telling the whole story with the necessary dramatics, and assuring Rachel that no, Blaine was not a spy. With only two months left until school let out for summer, there wasn’t any point to Blaine enrolling at McKinley, but he did sit in on the glee club sessions every now and then, and Sam invited him to join the superhero club, where Blaine made more friends. Kurt, as promised, came along too, though he spent more time ogling Blaine in his Nightbird costume and day-dreaming than actually paying attention to the superhero plans the others hatched.

K&B

It took the combined forces of Pam, Cooper and Carole to convince Burt to let Kurt and Blaine go to LA with Cooper that summer.

“Honey… Please be reasonable,” Carole pleaded. “Cooper’s only just gotten his brother back, so of course he wants to spend time with him. And you can’t keep Kurt and Blaine apart all summer, they’re in love!”

“That’s exactly the point,” Burt grumbled.

“Burt, if it were Cooper at seventeen, with his girlfriend at the time, I would have said no, too,” Pam said. “But Blaine has always been so much more mature, and I can tell that Kurt is exactly the same. And Cooper will be there to keep an eye on them, won’t you, sweetie?”

Cooper nodded, his face earnest. “You can count on me. I don’t want anything bad to happen to Blaine again. And I want to show Blaine and Kurt around the city, and bring them to the set to introduce them to my co-stars. And Kurt could maybe check out all the colleges and universities in the LA area? We’ve got great schools, and it’s never too early to think about your college applications.”

Burt stared Cooper down. “Kurt’s been dreaming of New York since he was little. He’s going to apply for colleges there.”

“Actually, Dad, I’ve been looking at other options, too,” Kurt piped up. “New York isn’t going anywhere. It will still be there after I’ve gotten my degree.”

Burt clearly hadn’t been expecting that. “But… What happened to you and Rachel going to NYADA and rooming together?”

Kurt rolled his eyes. “Dreams change, Dad. In LA, I won’t have Rachel, but I’ll have Blaine and Mercedes. Anyway, you can’t expect me to apply to only one college. What if I don’t get in? It’s best to have several options. And in LA, Blaine and I can stay at Cooper’s place. We won’t have to combine three student jobs with our studies to keep afloat.”

Burt frowned. “Blaine will still be in high school the year you start college.”

“Yes, but he’ll transfer to a school in LA for his senior year,” Kurt explained. “Cooper knows the principal of a private school there, and he’s already reserved a spot for Blaine. And Blaine will be able to take some college courses during his senior year. He’s enrolled for summer classes this year and he’ll take some next year too, so that he’ll be able to start college as a sophomore.”

Burt’s eyebrows rose. “Huh. You’ve got it all planned out, huh? Well, tell me something. If you shack up together at eighteen, don’t you think you’ll be sick of each other before you even finish college?”

“That’s why this summer would be a good trial run,” Cooper insisted. “To see if it works, if the three of us can get along well enough.”

Burt grunted.

There was silence for a few beats.

“All right, all right. You can go.”

Kurt squealed and threw his arms around Burt’s neck.

Burt mumbled, “I’ll miss you when you’re away all summer.”

“I’ll miss you too, Dad.”

Chapter Text

Epilogue

“Stop fidgeting, please, Blaine, or your hems will be crooked.”

“Sorry, love. I’m just so excited.”

“Yes, yes, I know. Now stand STILL.”

Blaine obediently didn’t move a muscle for the next five minutes, while Kurt hemmed in the pants of his new suit. He’d be wearing it that night for the Broadway Backwards concert, and for the first time ever, Kurt would be up there on the stage with him, singing Take Me or Leave Me. Originally, Blaine’s singing partner had been Alan Cumming, but he’d unfortunately come down with strep throat at the last moment, and Blaine had suggested his husband as a replacement.

Kurt was well-known in Broadway circles, obviously. His costumes won him Tony awards year after year, and he’d sung at several charity concerts. But this would be the first time Blaine and Kurt would be performing together in public since the National Showchoir Championship in Kurt’s senior year, and Blaine was over the moon with happiness.

“Ouch!”

“You wouldn’t get pricked by needles if you’d just STAND STILL.”

“Yes, love.”

In spite of Blaine’s fidgeting, the pants got adjusted in time and perfectly, and the applause was warm when Kurt and Blaine stepped onto the stage.

Blaine grinned at Kurt cheekily while singing, and Kurt gave back as good as he got. The crowd lapped it up, cheering them on and clapping long and hard when the song ended.

When they’d bowed twice, Kurt’s hand slipped out of Blaine’s and he turned to go backstage, but Blaine stopped him.

“What?” Kurt hissed, shooting a panicky look at the stage director, who winked at him and motioned for him to stay on the stage.

Blaine took Kurt’s hand in his again, squeezed it, and turned to the audience. “You may not know this, but today, Kurt and I are celebrating ten years of marriage.”

The crowd aww’ed and clapped again.

“We were high school sweethearts, and it seems like we’ve known each other forever, but I still remember the dark and difficult period I was going through before we met. Kurt was just the catalyst I needed to turn that all around, and I can state without exaggerating that meeting this wonderful, amazing man brought me back to life and shaped me into the person you see before you now. I would be nowhere without him. So as a little encore, in celebration of our tin wedding anniversary, here’s our daughter and her godmother singing the Tin Man’s song from The Wiz: What Would I Do If I Could Feel? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Elizabeth Anderson-Hummel and Rachel Berry!”

Rachel came on stage with little Lizzy, both in beautiful dresses designed by Kurt. Lizzy tore away from Rachel and ran straight at Kurt and Blaine for a hug. That led to more aww’ing and clapping. Lizzy’s eyes widened as she noticed so many people watching her, and she looked at Blaine with a trembling lip. He quickly crouched, put his arms around her and whispered, “Don’t look at them. Look at daddy. Doesn’t he look handsome?”

She nodded.

“I’m sure he’d love to hear you sing the song we practised.”

Kurt smiled at Lizzy, a tear rolling down his cheek. “Yes, I would.”

“Can you sing it to him? With Auntie Rachel?”

Lizzy nodded again and skipped off to her godmother, slipping her hand in Rachel’s. Then, without even waiting for the orchestra, she started to sing, her clear, high voice silencing everyone in the room at once.

What would I do
If I could suddenly feel
And know once again
That what I feel is real?”

The orchestra joined in, as did Rachel, and Lizzy sang on as if she’d been born to be on stage.

Next to Blaine, Kurt was crying silently, and Blaine took his handkerchief and gently wiped the wetness from Kurt’s cheeks before cupping his face and kissing him, right then and there.

That didn’t stop the tears from flowing, but it did make Kurt beam through them.

“I thought… you’d for-… forgotten,” Kurt hiccupped.

Blaine shook his head. “I would never. It’s fourteen years to the day you found my bow tie and woke me up. And you’ve been front and centre in my thoughts and dreams ever since.”

“That’s why I had been making you a new suit, you know. Not for this concert. For our anniversary. I wanted to take you out for dinner, both of us wearing matching suits, and then I was going to take you…”

“To the Gapstow Bridge in Central Park just in time to see the sun set?” Blaine supplied. “And then coax me into singing Come What May together and slow dance on the grass?”

Kurt pouted. “Am I that predictable?”

Blaine’s cheeks dimpled. “Only to me, because I know you inside and out. And because Rachel can’t keep a secret to save her life.”

“She didn’t tell me about this!”

“Because I had her rehearsing non-stop,” Blaine explained. “Her work ethic trumps her love for gossip.”

Kurt looked suitably impressed with Blaine’s cunning, and Blaine grinned.

The song ended, and instead of curtseying to the crowd with Rachel, Lizzy made a beeline for Kurt, jumping into his arms. “Did you like it? Did you like it, Daddy? Was it a good surprise?”

Kurt kissed her button nose. “The best, sweetie. You did so well. I’m very very proud of you.”

“I’m having a sleep-over with Auntie Rachel, and she says I can have cronuts and ice cream for breakfast tomorrow. Anything I want, Daddy!”

Kurt wrinkled his nose. “That sounds…”

“Absolutely yummy,” Blaine cut in. “I love cronuts. I’ve never eaten them with ice cream, though. You’ll have to tell me how it tasted together.”

Lizzy jumped up and down happily. “I will, Papa.”

Rachel came to fetch Lizzy, winking at Blaine and laughing out loud when Kurt sent her a disgruntled glare. “Come, princess, time for our slumber party!”

Lizzy waved at her dads and then skipped away with Rachel without even looking back.

“Well, that’s our cue to leave as well,” Blaine said.

“What? Don’t you have to stay and mingle?”

Blaine took Kurt by the hand and led him off the stage. “Not tonight, love.”

K&B

The town car weaved through traffic smoothly, and the only sounds that could be heard in the car were the classical background music and the tinkling of the champagne bottle and glasses.

“Where are you taking us?” Kurt asked, picking a piece of strawberry off his cheesecake slice and putting it into his mouth with a pleased hum.

“You’ll see.”

When they got out of the car, Kurt let out a surprised huff. “The Hamptons? It’s barely even spring yet!”

But Blaine led him to the back of the beach house they shared with the St Berry’s. There, a candle-lit path led to a large picnic blanket with a pile of blankets on top, a picnic basket and a champagne bucket.

“I thought we could do some star-gazing. It’s on our bucket list, but somehow, we haven’t gotten round to it yet.”

Kurt chuckled in disbelief. “We’ll freeze.”

“No, we won’t. It’s balmy for March, and we’ve got tons of blankets.”

“What’s in the picnic basket?” Kurt wanted to know.

“Snacks. If we just drink without eating, we’ll be too hammered to get inside the beach house once we’re done star-gazing.”

“True.”

They lay down on the toasty warm picnic blanket and covered themselves with the spares, all of which felt pleasantly warm. Blaine sent silent thanks to their wonderful housekeeper Amy, who’d agreed to set everything up at the last moment, so that the candles would still be burning, the blankets would be warm and the food would be fresh. She’d be staying over at the beach house, too, and she’d make them a gourmet breakfast tomorrow morning, just the way Kurt liked it.

For now, though, it was just the two of them. Blaine smiled at his husband, who looked even more enchanting than usual in the silvery light of the moon.

Kurt, who was lying on his back, staring at the sky, drawled, “Stop watching me and look up. I thought we were supposed to be star-gazing?”

“I am.”

Kurt rolled his eyes. “Sap. Well, if you keep looking at me instead of at the sky, you might as well feed me.”

Blaine chuckled and started unpacking the food.

“Oooh, Amy made those sweet pepper mini quiches? I love those!”.

Kurt’s eyes shone, and he wasted no time grabbing one of the little treats and shoving it into his mouth.

Blaine tutted. “We’ve got silverware and plates!”

“Yeah, yeah, Mr Country Club. Feel free to eat all prim and proper with your pinky fingers in the air, but I’m gonna use my hands!”

Blaine looked at the food Kurt was happily devouring already, then at the plates and silverware and napkins Amy had packed, and sighed.

Kurt’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “Worried about your hands getting all greasy? Did Amy forget to pack moist towelettes?”

Blaine threw one of the napkins at Kurt, and then they both cracked up.

When their laughter died down, Kurt took another of the mini quiches. “Open up now.”

Blaine obediently opened his mouth and closed his eyes in delight as the delicious flavours of the quiche hit his palate.

When all the food had gone, and they’d each drunk another glass of champagne, Blaine contentedly cuddled up to Kurt, nuzzling his neck.

“We ate dessert before dinner tonight,” Kurt giggled. “The cheesecake, in the car.”

“Yep,” Blaine said. “We’re such rebels.”

That made Kurt giggle even more. “I liked this. It was a lovely idea. Even though you haven’t done any star-gazing yet.”

Blaine tilted his head up to look. Just at that moment, a star fell and streaked through the sky.

“Oh…” Kurt said, pointing.

“Let’s make a wish,” Blaine whispered.

They were silent for a good while. Then…

“You haven’t fallen asleep, have you?” Kurt inquired.

“No. It’s just… nice. Looking at the stars and listening to the waves.”

“Mmm…”

Blaine turned to face Kurt. “Are you falling asleep on me?”

Kurt turned on his side as well. “Maybe… Let’s go inside where I can sleep in a comfy bed.”

“Let’s.”

They packed everything up and walked back to the beach house, hand in hand.

Kurt giggled again.

“What?”

“You really pulled out all the stops. Good luck topping that for all the anniversaries to come!”

Blaine smirked. “You know I’ll take that as a challenge, right?”

Kurt kissed him sloppily. “I know. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next. If I don’t surprise you first, that is…”

Blaine couldn’t keep the smugness out of his voice. “You can try.”

“I’ve learnt my lesson, hubby. Next time, I’ll confide in Amy, not Rachel. And there are plenty more activities on our bucket list.”

“There are,” Blaine agreed. “And I look forward to crossing them off our list. But, you know, the best thing…

Blaine nuzzled Kurt’s neck, sighing happily. “The best thing is getting to spend every day with you.”

“And every night,” Kurt added.

Blaine beamed at him. “That too. Let’s get to bed.”

They left the picnic stuff in the kitchen and hurried to the master bedroom.

Later that night, Kurt was spooning Blaine and leaving a trail of kisses from his ear to his shoulder, humming under his breath. Blaine, feeling warm and drowsy and secure in Kurt’s arms, his favourite place to be, sighed happily. “I love you.”

Kurt stroked his arm with a feather-light touch. “I love you too. Always have, always will.”

THE END

Chapter Text

Blaine closed his diary and sighed. He’d been working on his speech for over a month now, and he’d been practising saying it out loud for over a week, but he didn’t know if he’d have the guts to go through with it. The thought of coming out to his parents was terrifying. What would they say? More importantly, what would they do? Would they throw him out of the house? That did happen, he knew. He’d read about it on an online forum.

Maybe he’d wait until after the Sadie Hawkins dance. Yes, he would do that. He’d come out to his classmates first by taking his new friend Thomas to the dance. Then, if they reacted well at school, he’d come out to his brother, and then to his parents.

Blaine let out another shuddery sigh. Why did this have to be such a big deal? Why did he feel like he had to mention it at all? Wouldn’t it be safer to keep this to himself and wait until he was in college to come out?

He went back and forth on the matter about a dozen more times, but when Friday rolled around and he ran into Thomas, he smiled at him and blurted out, “Wanna go to the dance with me?”

“Uhm, what?” Thomas said, looking bemused.

“There’s this dance at my school,” Blaine explained, “and I don’t have anyone to take to it, so I thought maybe… ‘Cause I like you. And it would be fun. Ugh, I’m so bad at this. Sorry. Forget about it. It’s a stupid idea.”

Thomas grinned at him. “You’re cute when you ramble like that. And I’ve got no plans tonight, so yeah… Count me in!”

K&B

In hindsight, taking Thomas to the dance had been stupid. Blaine could feel everyone’s eyes on them the moment they stepped into the decorated gym together. They were given a wide berth, and every time Blaine looked around, people were glaring at him.

Thomas didn’t seem to mind, chatting happily and imitating a robot whenever a song came on that he liked.

Blaine saw a few of his bullies huddle together and whisper, throwing the occasional glance at him and Thomas.

“Let’s get out of here,” Blaine suggested.

Before they corner us.

But Blaine had already left it too late, because when he left with his friend, his bullies were right behind him, and they had murder in their eyes.

K&B

When Blaine woke up in hospital weeks later, he asked his mom how Thomas had fared. Blaine had tried to protect him, but had it paid off? Right when Blaine could see police officers and thought they were saved, he’d felt something hard hit his head and had spiralled off into unconsciousness.

Pam swallowed with difficulty when Blaine asked her. “Blaine, sweetie… Thomas didn’t make it. His parents moved away after the funeral.”

Blaine felt the hair on his arms prickle uncomfortably. “Oh no… Oh no!! This is all my fault!”

A monitor next to him started beeping loudly, and a nurse swept into the room to check on him, shooing Pam away, and that was the end of that conversation.

Blaine didn’t bring it up again, but he kept thinking about, torturing himself with what-ifs.

Four weeks later, he got the green light to go home, and though he looked at the house across from theirs with haunted eyes, still racked with guilt, he was happy to be home again.

Then Edward arrived, summoning Blaine to his study, and Blaine felt his stomach plummet at his father’s cold tone.

Edward cut right to the chase. “The doctors at the hospital said you were beaten up for being gay.”

Blaine swallowed.

“Well? Are you?”

Blaine nodded.

“Speak up, boy!”

“Yes, father. I’m gay.”

Edward’s eyes flashed. “Right. I’m glad I’ve had a few weeks to prepare for this. I will sort it out.”

Edward pushed a button, and shackles sprung out of the chair Blaine was sitting in, pinning him to it without any wriggle room.

Blaine gasped.

“That’s right, keep that mouth open, boy,” Edward said, now coming towards him with a glass holding a purple drink.

Edward poured it down Blaine’s throat until he choked on it. The drink burned going down and made Blaine feel floaty and dizzy.

The door opened, and Cooper came storming in, Pam right on his heels. The murderous look on his brother’s face was the last thing Blaine saw. After that, everything seemed to just dissolve.