Kurt didn’t really do much these days. He found he couldn’t—not since those letters came. Not since the troop of soldiers that had left from Lima, Ohio at the beginning of the war came back two short.
Carole had cried for days. Kurt just kind of stopped talking. Then there was Burt, trying to hold everything together and simultaneously grieve. Luckily for them they didn’t have to worry about cooking for a while, as the whole community sent them a dinner every night in condolences.
Sometimes friends would try to stop by to see Kurt, but he never wanted to see anyone. Even Rachel and Mercedes got turned away when they dropped by. Burt hated turning them away because he felt like Kurt needed someone to talk to, but Kurt had actually broken his silence to tell Burt he didn’t want to see anyone. Burt respected his son’s wishes.
The one time Kurt did allow visitors was when it was Blaine’s parents. They had come to fulfill their son’s last will and testament. Kurt sobbed silently as they handed him a small velvet box which contained a simple gold band. There was also a letter, but he didn’t open that until he was alone again in his room.
I know it must seem morbid of me to prepare this much in advance in case I died in the war, but it’s just one of those unpredictable events in life, isn’t it? I’ll assume if you’re reading this, I’ve died and my parents came through and gave you this letter and the ring.
My plan was, the moment I got home, I was going to propose. The very second. And even though I didn’t get to go through with that plan, I’d still like you to have the ring. It’s your ring Kurt. I wouldn’t want anyone else to have it.
That being said, look after your parents and make sure Finn doesn’t get into too much trouble when he gets back with Puck and the rest of the boys. Check in on my parents every once in a while, will you? I know they always seemed like they didn’t like you, but that’s just how they are. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Warbler boys for me.
I’ll always love you, Kurt. Not even death can take that away from me.
Sincerely and with the greatest love,
Kurt did nothing but stare at the ring and cry that night, not even bothering to fetch another box of tissues when his ran out.
It was a couple days before the joint memorial service that Kurt started getting a multitude of phone calls from Puck. He never answered, but he always listened to the voicemails if Puck decided to leave one.
“Look, Kurt, I know you’ve told everyone else that you don’t want to see anyone, but I need to talk to you. It’s about them. We both know who I mean. Please, call me back.”
“Damnit Kurt, why won’t you at least message me back? I need to talk to you, and I would prefer to do it before the service on Friday. Please, just pick up the phone and let me talk.”
After several more messages like that, Puck finally seemed to have gotten tired of putting it off and left Kurt a long message Thursday evening:
“Okay fine, you’re not going to call me back, that’s cool. I’ll just have to tell you over the phone then if you’re going to be a stubborn asshole.
“They died thinking of you, both of them. Sure that idiot Finn thought about Rachel first, but she was his fiancé, of course he was gonna think about her. But you wanna know what he said to me before he died? Take care of Kurt, Puck. He’s gonna need a new big brother. Big dork died with a giant smile on his face even though he was bleeding in about five different places.
“Funnily enough, Blaine told me the same thing. He lasted longer than Finn, I think he mumbled something about a hobbit’s will to live when the doctors were amazed the shrapnel hadn’t gotten to his heart yet. Anyway, when it was getting to the end, he called me over and told me this: Noah, look after Kurt. He’s not going to want to talk to anyone about this, not for a long while, but you have to get him to talk to you. He’s going to need someone; he just won’t know it. And so I promised again that I would come back to Lima and take care of you.
“Now I know I’m not Finn, and God knows I’m not Blaine, but you need me Kurt and as much as my badass hates to admit it—I-I need you.” Puck paused at this point, his voice cracking a little. Kurt closed his eyes as he waited for Puck to continue, knowing that both of them were crying even if Kurt’s tears were slightly belated.
“I…I almost died over there, Kurt. Car bomb, no one saw it coming. Mike…h-he might not be able to dance again. They almost had to amputate one of my legs too, and my lungs almost gave out three times. You wanna know what kept me breathing even though it hurt like a bitch? You. Fuck, all I had to do was think of Finn’s dopey ass smile and Blaine’s little laugh when he thought of you, and I knew I couldn’t die. I had to get back to you—for them. Because damnit I was not going to break two promises from fallen comrades—from brothers.
“So…this is me telling you Kurt, that I need to help you. If not for you, then for them. I was entrusted with helping you recover from this, and hell if I’m not going to succeed.
“If you don’t reply this time, I guess I’ll see you at the memorial service tomorrow. You won’t be able to shake me there, Hummel.”
Kurt didn’t—couldn’t—delete that message. He just sat there on his bed, crying. He felt like he was always crying these days, and it was a wonder he hadn’t gotten dehydrated yet. But this time it was different, this time…he was almost happy.
He wanted to call Puck back, but he didn’t think he’d be able to stay composed long enough to hold a conversation. Instead he just texted him: ‘Thanks Noah. See you tomorrow.’
It was only a few seconds before he got a reply: ‘No problem, and see ya tomorrow Kurt.’
For the first time since before the arrival of the letters, Kurt didn’t cry himself to sleep.