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Something Better

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2013

“I think,” Adam says, taking Kurt’s hand as they step out onto the sidewalk on a late spring evening that feels more like early summer, “we make excellent friends.”

“We do,” says Kurt, not looking at Adam because there’s an ice cream cone in the hand that’s not being held, and he’s trying to get the ginormous scoop of vanilla-cardamom down to a manageable size before it melts all over his hand.

Adam gives Kurt’s palm a light squeeze. “Good.”

They walk toward the park in near-silence, both focused on the task of eating. It’s not until Kurt’s scoop has been reduced to a nub that it dawns on him. He stops in his tracks, and Adam almost trips from the suddenness of it.

“Adam?”

Adam recovers his balance and turns to look at Kurt, their hands still linked. “Yes?”

“Did you just break up with me?”

Adam looks down at his half-eaten strawberry cone, back up at Kurt, back down at the cone again. He stares at it for what seems like five minutes, but is probably only five seconds, before letting go of Kurt’s hand to walk to the nearest trash can and toss the remains in.

Kurt follows him, nibbling at his cone nervously and not saying anything. He tosses his cone in, too. He suddenly doesn’t have much of an appetite.

Adam takes both of Kurt’s hands and gives him a small, lopsided smile. “There’s never been much to break up, has there?”

Kurt’s heart flips sideways. “No. I guess not.” His throat is so tight that his words barely reach the level of a whisper. “I’m sorry.”

“Me, too,” says Adam, his eponymous apple bobbing as he swallows. “But it is what it is.”

They don’t end up going to the park. They go back to Kurt’s apartment and sit on the couch in the dark, Adam resting his head on Kurt’s shoulder.

“Are you gonna be okay?” Kurt says quietly.

“I’m the one who just broke up with you,” Adam answers teasingly. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?”

Kurt squeezes his hand. “I’m sad.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Mostly because I hurt you.”

Adam squeezes back.

Kurt sighs. “And because I don’t want this to be goodbye.”

Adam nuzzles deeper into Kurt’s shoulder. “It’s not,” he says. “It’s just … the precursor to something better.”

Kurt kisses the top of Adam’s head. “Okay.”

They’re silent again. The windows are open; Kurt listens to the sound of Adam’s breathing and the soothing sounds of the neighborhood – the patter of feet on the pavement, the echo of voices against the bricks, the whoosh of cars passing by on the street below.

“Kurt?”

“Yeah?”

“Promise me something?”

Kurt swallows. “Probably. But you’ll have to tell me what, first.”

“Promise me you’ll tell him that you still love him.”

Tears press against Kurt’s eyes; he surrenders to them. “Okay,” he sniffles. He’s pretty sure he’s getting Adam’s hair wet. “I promise.”

---

The next couple of weeks are a tottering mess of sadness and relief; every time he feels relief, he starts to feel sad again, because he shouldn’t feel okay when he's broken the heart of someone so utterly good.

Kurt was never supposed to be that guy.

They decide to take a break from their coffee dates, but not to avoid each other, because they’re still friends; nonetheless, Kurt’s pretty sure he looks like death warmed over every time he sees Adam at school.

“Kurt, can I talk to you?” Adam says after the final Adam’s Apples rehearsal of the year.

They’re the only two left in the room. Kurt’s been loitering at the back of the stage, repacking his satchel much more slowly than necessary, hoping that he might figure out something to say that will make everything better and make himself not such a bad guy. “Of course,” he says.

Adam cocks his head and looks at Kurt with the same sweet affection he did the first time they met.

Kurt hates himself.

Which apparently shows on his face, because Adam immediately frowns. “You’re punishing yourself, aren’t you?”

Kurt doesn’t answer.

“Look, Kurt.” Adam steps closer to Kurt – not as close as he used to, but still close. “I did this because I wanted us both to be happier. I meant it when I said this can be a step towards something better. For both of us.”

Kurt sighs. “Then why do I feel like shit?”

“A misplaced sense of responsibility for other people’s happiness?” There’s a mischievous sparkle to Adam’s eyes; and at the same time, he looks deadly serious.

“Ow.”

“Sorry.”

Kurt tightens his hands around his shoulder strap. “You don’t have to apologize. You’re right. I’ve been flagellating myself. Well, metaphorically.”

“I’m glad you cleared up that the self-flagellation is purely metaphorical.” The smile that blooms on Adam’s face is small but true.

Kurt can’t help but smile back.

“Ah, there. That’s a sight for sore eyes. I like to see my friends happy.”

Kurt swallows. “I like to see my friends happy, too.”

---

When Kurt goes to visit Lima in July, Adam walks him to the train station. 

“You still haven’t told Blaine yet, have you?” Adam says. They’re standing in front of the ticket kiosk, getting ready to say goodbye.

“Of course he knows I’m going to Lima. I talk to him every day. He’s picking me up when I get there.”

Adam rolls his eyes. Kurt wonders if Adam picked up that look from him, because he doesn’t remember it being part of Adam’s repertoire when they first met. “Don’t be stupid,” Adam says, with the “stupid” coming out like “styoopid,” which Kurt always finds utterly charming. “You know that’s not what I meant.”

“I know.” Kurt looks down at his hands, twisting at the handle of his suitcase.

“Well, I don’t suppose it’s any of my business, anyway.”

Kurt bites his bottom lip. “I don’t know. You’re my friend. You’re just trying to keep me from being, you know, styoopid.”

“If you’re making fun of my accent –”

Kurt shakes his head. “I’m not. It’s adorable.”

“Good. Write me a reference I can show new potential boyfriends, will you?”

“Gladly.”

---

Kurt’s a little too overwhelmed to say anything when Blaine picks him up at the train station. Because Blaine is –

Well, it’s like Kurt has never seen the sky before.

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

That’s how beautiful Blaine is.

“Are you okay?” Blaine says when they pull up to Kurt’s house. “You’re a little more quiet than usual.”

“Yeah,” Kurt says. He reaches for Blaine’s hand and squeezes it. “It’s just been … kind of a long journey.”

“Okay,” Blaine says. “You want to rest and I’ll see you tomorrow?”

No. I want to start the rest of my life with you yesterday, Kurt thinks. Instead, he says, “Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow,” and kisses Blaine on the cheek.

---

Kurt shows up at Blaine’s house the next day with a bouquet of pink dahlias behind his back and the certainty that his heart is going to beat right out of his chest and make a horrible, embarrassing mess on the Andersons' front porch.

Blaine opens the door, and he’s smiling, and how Kurt has survived a single day without seeing his smile is suddenly and absolutely unfathomable.

He never wants to go another day without seeing it again.

So instead of saying, I’m ready, if you’ll still have me, as he’s rehearsed to himself the whole way over here, the words that come out of his mouth when he whips the flowers out from behind his back are, “Marry me.”

Blaine’s mouth drops open, as one might expect. “Kurt?”

Maybe Kurt should be panicking right now, but he’s … absolutely calm. For the first time in –

Honestly? He can’t remember.

Blaine starts to tear up. “This is a little unexpected.” His voice is cracking.

“Yeah,” Kurt says. “I probably should have told you I’m still in love with you first.”

“I’m still in love with you, too.” Blaine reaches out and takes the flowers in one hand, running the palm of the other over the tufted blooms.

“I’m glad,” Kurt says.

Blaine lowers the hand holding the bouquet, letting it dangle next to his thigh. He reaches his free hand out for Kurt and pulls him through the front door until they’re chest to chest. “As much as I’d like to say yes, we should probably try dating first.”

Kurt kisses Blaine lightly on the mouth. “Okay. If you insist. But I’m pretty sure the offer’s still gonna stand.”

“Have it your way,” Blaine says, and kisses Kurt back, not lightly at all.

---

2015

It’s the first time Kurt’s ever been on an overseas flight. “Wow,” he says, eyeing the packet of pretzels the flight attendant just handed him. “For some reason I thought the snacks on international flights would be more exotic.”

Blaine smiles. “When we get to England, you can have all the exotic cuisine you want.”

“Oh, yes. Pie and mash, eggs and rashers, toad-in-the-hole, blood pudding, kidney pie –”

“Please don’t tell me that’s what they’re serving at the wedding.”

Kurt shakes his head. “Yeah, no. Adam told me Saleem is a vegetarian, so I don’t think so.”

“Thank god.”

Kurt rips open his packet of pretzels. “I choose to thank the celestial teapot. Or maybe I'll thank Saleem.”

“That works, too.”

---

The wedding is a quiet affair, and not the kind that Kurt would have chosen for himself, but it’s lovely all the same. It’s in the unassuming Quaker meeting house where Adam spent his Sunday mornings as a boy. There is no music, no officiant, no walk down the aisle – there’s not even an aisle to walk down.  There are benches set in rows, all facing toward the center of the room.

Adam is already sitting at one of the benches when Kurt and Blaine walk in and seat themselves; he’s holding hands with Saleem and smiling quietly, and sometimes he closes his eyes and takes the kind of deep breaths that Blaine does when he’s doing yoga.

Adam told Kurt what to expect: Silence, silence, more silence; Adam and Saleem marrying each other; silence; people standing up spontaneously, if they feel so moved, and saying unscripted things about marriage and the meaning of life (which some people call “God” but Adam prefers to call “Love”), with more silence interspersed among these messages; and the meeting ending quietly with everyone shaking hands.

Still, Kurt wasn’t quite prepared for this amount of silence, or the glaring absence of tuxedos; Saleem wears a dark gray suit that Kurt recognizes as an Armani, and Adam wears khakis and a tweed jacket. (If anyone had told Kurt about that in advance, he would have lodged an intervention; but he’s glad no one did, because Adam looks so Adam.)

It’s a lot of silence, but not too much. It’s like the comfortable silence of lovers sitting on the couch, or sipping morning coffee, or driving a long distance together. Kurt looks down at his hand intertwined with Blaine’s and wonders if it’s entirely accurate to call himself an atheist when he believes so strongly in Adam’s god, Love.

There’s the sound of movement; Kurt looks up. Adam and Saleem are standing now, hands entwined, and Adam is –

The simplest way to put it is this: Back when Kurt and Adam were dating, Adam’s eyes would light up like twinkling Christmas lights when Kurt walked into the room.

But for Saleem, they’re as bright as the sun.

“Friends, I take this my friend, Saleem, to be my partner in marriage –” and that’s about all Kurt hears, because he’s crying with silent happiness onto Blaine’s shoulder, and Blaine is squeezing his hand and kissing his hair, and everything is as it should be.

---

“Honey?” Kurt whispers against Blaine’s chest in the dark of the hotel room that night.

“Yeah?”

“Remember when I asked you to marry me?”

Blaine runs a warm finger along the jut of Kurt’s shoulder blade. “Actually, I think it was more of a demand than a question."

Kurt snickers. "How typical. I'm pretty presumptuous, aren't I?"

Blaine hums happily. "Sometimes. But it's usually endearing. And when it's not – well, you've gotten better at listening."

"Good," he says. "I try."

Blaine kisses Kurt's forehead. "It means a lot to me."

Kurt listens to Blaine's heart – its steadying beat and the soft whir of blood flowing through its valves. “So ... have we dated long enough now?”

“I don’t know,” Blaine says, and Kurt can practically hear his teasing smirk through the darkness. “Why don’t you try asking me again?”

Kurt sits up on the bed and takes both of Blaine’s hands in his. “Blaine Devon Anderson, will you be my partner in marriage?”

Blaine doesn't say anything for a few moments, just holds onto Kurt's hands steadily. They sit with the silence, let it ripen the way it did in the meeting earlier today. “Yeah,” Blaine finally says with a shaky breath. “I will.”

---the end---