1. November 2010
They haven’t known each other long at all in mid-November, but already they’re best friends, quite literally the best best friend that either one of them has ever had, and when Kurt ends up transferring to Dalton at the start of December it’s not at all because of Blaine but he certainly helps. They keep on talking to each other practically all of the time, because the relief still hasn’t worn off that finally, there’s someone in my life who’s like me, who understands. Everything, not just being gay, but musicals and fashion and the strange little jokes they make, everything in the world -
But still, it’s kind of early to talk about marriage, okay. To be fair to Blaine, he wasn’t meaning to.
They’re studying together in the Dalton lounge. It’s a bit of an early start for finals, but Kurt’s new here and desparately trying to catch up, and Blaine’s happy to be even more conscientious than normal when it means getting to spend time with Kurt. Then it’s time for a break, so Blaine’s ranting into thin air as he sometimes does, and Kurt’s watching, hands together on his crossed knees, adoring smile on his face.
(And Blaine has always, always adored an adoring public.)
He’s on fire right now about the injustice of the anti-marriage amendments - and of course Kurt agrees with his indignation, there’s no question, but honestly at the moment he’s still more interested in just Blaine, so he might be paying more attention to the tone of his voice than the words he’s using, whatever, it’s not like they’re anything new -
So when Blaine says, “for example, would you marry me,” Kurt’s brain comes to complete attention and then jerks to a stop.
“Like, hypothetically. For the sake of argument, alright? We don’t even really know each other, but if we were straight we’d be allowed to do it, no problem. But since we’re gay, there are all these people who want to forbid it, just because they hate us, no other reason.”
And Kurt must, somehow, make his mouth say something agreeable, because Blaine continues, but mostly he’s drowning alive. When the most amazing boy that you’ve ever met goes ahead and asks you that, even in a purely rhetorical fashion, you can’t think, it’s not fair. He doesn’t even want to marry Blaine, not really, but for Blaine to come so close to asking? The list of the best things in his life keeps getting filled up these days, again and again and again.
(It’s months yet before Blaine feels the need to tell Kurt, of a curly-haired Gap manager, “if he and I got married the Gap would give me a fifty percent discount,” and Kurt’s already moved it off the list anyway. Because wonderful things just keep piling up when he’s around Blaine, somehow even closer and more personal than that. But he never forgets.)
2. March 2011
The few days after they get together are filled with impossible sweetness; spending time in their rooms together, every moment they can, kissing and touching oh so carefully, murmuring secrets and hopes and dreams close together and most of all endearments that might sound foolish but mean so much simply from the act of being shared. Three days, and it’s dangerous to spend all their free time in their rooms, because their fingertips are so cautious but their bodies are hungry, and it’s wearing to fight all the time. So they go for a walk.
It’s almost the end of March, but still freezing, with snowy patches all over the ground. They walk in circles around the grounds, till the path turns to mud, and play ‘what do you wish will come true.’
Elaborate fantasies of possible futures, and Blaine’s listening to Kurt rhapsodize about apartments. In Manhattan, of course, or maybe a townhouse in Brooklyn instead, what he could do with the walls and the floors, how close it would be to everything and all the places they could go. Blaine’s letting their hands swing together, letting Kurt’s voice weave a spell around him, because he doesn’t, honestly, care so much about Manhattan, but he loves to hear the way Kurt sounds when he’s in love.
“Your turn?” Kurt asks, and nudges his shoulder.
And what does he want, really? Now that he has the best thing right here? He loves to sing. He loves to make people smile and get up and dance, he loves to connect and know that he’s making someone happy. Most of all he loves to spend time with Kurt, and if they’re talking crazy things now, he doesn’t want a Grammy or an Emmy or a Tony or a castle with a dragon, he wants his prince at the end of the tale.
“I want to marry you,” he says quietly, daring, throwing the secrets of his heart out there in the open air. It’s not impossible only because because Kurt’s caught him every time so far.
“Do tell,” says Kurt lightly, squeezing his hand. “In a park? In a courthouse? Not in a church, unless you really insist, but what season do you want? Spring, summer?”
“I don’t know,” Blaine says, “I hadn’t thought that far ahead yet. Because it’s not about the trappings, it’s about - I want to marry you.“ And he blushes so hot, because he hadn’t meant to say this, and it sounds so much crazier out loud than it had in his head, he’s not proposing. “I mean, I’m not asking now,” he rushes to clarify. “I don’t - we haven’t known each other that long, and I don’t know if I’ll want to, when - later, for real. But you were just asking what I wish for, what I think - ” and he stumbles to a stop, mixed up in his own words. “Say something?”
“I think about it too,” says Kurt, shyly, and looks down at the ground. “I know I don’t know yet, but,” and he shrugs, just a little, and looks up with a smile, and Blaine’s so relieved he swears his heart could burst.
“Exactly,” he says. “It’s just a fantasy, but - I’m glad you don’t think I’m crazy for having it.”
“I think you’re amazing for daring to say it,” says Kurt, honestly, and now he’s blushing, too. “It’s not a promise for either of us, right?” he says, and Blaine nods, of course, and Kurt raises his hand to his lips and brushes the gentlest kiss, courtly, over his knuckles. “Thank you for telling me.”
3. July 2011
The summer before Blaine’s junior year is hot, and sticky, and the best summer so far of his life. The thoughts inside his head are working undergound like tectonic plates, moving and pushing and grinding against each other, slowly remaking his world without notice, and the shape of his future is shifting right under his feet.
He had been headed west. It wasn’t that he cared about anything besides a real city, not here, but Cooper had said there were opportunities for him there in L.A., that it would be so good to see him again soon and that he’d always have a place on his couch - and that’s just right now, by the time you graduate, you can have a whole suite in my mansion when I make it big! And, sure, so they’d barely talked and only seen each other once in years, but they were still brothers. Blaine still remembers following him around and singing for the neighbors together when he was a kid, and he’s maybe a tiny bit bitter and hurt to admit that he misses it, but not ashamed.
But his plans, such as they were, have been knocked out of alignment now. Because somehow in only a few short months Kurt’s become his new North Star, and Kurt’s headed east. They talk about their future sometimes, because there’s time to talk about everything that summer, with no school and parents at work and no glee clubs to fill up their afternoons, and so even between Kurt’s part-time job at the tire shop and Blaine’s gig singing at King’s Island, there’s more than enough time to sit on the floor in one or other of their bedrooms and plot out ten whole lifetimes ahead. That’s when they come up with the artists’ colony idea - it’s Blaine’s idea first, reading about Provincetown and frustrated with Ohio, but Kurt thinks it’s brilliant - and it’s when they first talk about kids. They both want them, but they go back and forth on when and how many. It doesn’t matter anyway, there’s plenty of time, lots of nothing but that for the next two years, as far as the eye can see.
They’re making plans right now for New York, for next year and the year after and the year after that. Kurt’s picking out color palettes and making lists of Broadway shows, and Blaine’s pretending to fight with him just for fun, and losing every single argument that he starts - not because he lacks confidence in his tastes, of course, but because he loves far too much the way Kurt kisses him when he wins - and they’re both having the time of their lives.
Kurt looks up from his list of apartments (none of which will be available by the time they move, but it’s the spirit of the thing) when he’s finished making it, kneeling by the side of the bed on the floor. He says, careful and solemn and soft, because they’ve been planning together but they’ve never formally agreed on this, “will you live with me?”
“Yes,” Blaine says, and rolls over and off the bed to kiss him, “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.” He breaks the kiss, breathless, and falls back to the bed. “Will you marry me? One day?”
They trade it back and forth, in whispers from then on, like a secret dangerous enough to kill them both if it somehow gets into enemy hands. Like a hot potato, the kind that burns your hands if you hold onto it for too long, but warms them to just the right temperature if you pass it quickly along.
They share the words like talismans, over and over again, You’ll live with me, you’ll marry me, one day, and the promise moves slowly from scary to playful, the sharp edges wear off as it’s passed from hand to hand. Still a little dangerous, because if they did anything for real right now, it could change their lives beyond taking back, but it’s a danger they trust each other with, and that knowledge makes them nearly as giddy as the plan itself. Not yet, but one day,this.
4. December 2011
The summer’s delightful in every way, but in the fall Blaine transfers to McKinley, and from there it gets hard. With every time that he’s snubbed in Glee club, with Kurt’s every lost lead in the school play and failed run for senior class president, he can feel his boyfriend’s focus shifting harder and harder towards the phantom bright lights of the city, and Blaine’s afraid that they’re fading away.
They still love each other - he still loves Kurt, at least, as much as he ever did, and more every day more even than he ever knew that he could. But he wants to say, even though he keeps stopping himself, stay with me. By the time the school play is over and done he’s starting to feel like he’s grasping a ghost, and he aches for something real, something solid, physical like a ring or a chain to pull them together and hold them still.
He can’t give Kurt a ring yet. He kind of wants to, to say you’re mine and I’m yours in a language the rest of the world can’t even pretend not to understand, would see every day in the stairways and coffee shops to speak for all the rest that they keep hidden. But it’s too much right now. Too much to offer, and he doesn’t really care about that, doesn’t think there is any such thing as too much for him when it comes to Kurt. But it’s too much to ask, also, from a boyfriend who already has one foot out of the state and hovering over a doorstep so far away.
Instead he stays up all night the last week of school before Christmas, folding gum wrappers into a ring, redoing it over and over again when the slips of paper bend wrong and tear under his fingers, and going over promises that he really could make in his head. Because the hopes and dreams they share are one thing, and he loves them, he does, but he needs to know what he’s going to do too, in the face of the future that looms ever closer to take everything he has away. In the end he comes up with a list of the most romantic things that he can think of, things that he loves to do for Kurt (to surprise you), and things that he wants to get the chance for (I’ll defend you from anything, even if I haven’t yet, I swear), things that make him melt when Kurt does them for him (not just cookies, but souffles and cheese plates and all sorts of things - but he knows where his own culinary strengths lie), and the things that he hopes Kurt always keeps doing (pick up your phone, don’t forget me, I need you).
He gives Kurt the ring in a little red box - and he almost forgets his eloquent speech in the thrill of excitement he feels when Kurt says, “if that’s an engagement ring, my answer is yes!” He knows they’ve been saying that for a while now, but -
If he’d really asked, if he had bought an engagement ring, just knowing that might’ve made Kurt say no. He might’ve seen how crazy Blaine is, how crazy he’s getting, because he knows he is. That would be - not something he should do in these circumstances. That’s the advice he’d know to tell anyone else.
(And this caution is affirmed, later, just a little bit on in the spring, when Finn and Rachel get engaged and Kurt can’t talk about anything but how crazy they are. Even though he does help Rachel look through wedding magazines - she’ll do it with me or without me, and if she’s going to get married anyway it should be in a beautiful dress, he says, and Blaine supposes that’s fair enough. We have all the time in the world, he says, we can wait until we’re ready, and of course Blaine smiles and says yes, because what else is there, while Kurt talks about getting married in New York.)
Still - seeing the ring that he made on Kurt’s finger gives him a thrill of assurance, something more and different than all the words they’ve traded, because it’s something that’s there even when he’s not.
Kurt only wears it for a few days, of course - it’s paper, and Blaine’s honestly surprised he wore it as long as that - before he puts it away in its box in a drawer. “To keep safe forever,” he says, and his voice and his smile are so sweet, and - Blaine’s not so hurt that it’s hidden, really, because he knows Kurt stil has it somewhere.
Mostly he kind of wishes he had one too.
5. April 2013
Senior year is - really bad. He tells Kurt to go off to New York without him, because he kind of has to, and then they fall apart, like he’d always feared they would - and then he falls apart, completely. For a while.
Eventually, with Sam’s help and Brittany’s touch and the songs and company of the new New Directions, he somehow pulls himself back to the surface. He’s - okay again, kind of. Then mostly, then he can’t really remember what not being okay was like (it surely wasn’t so bad). His relationship with Kurt, though…
He’s somehow fucked up, he sometimes thinks irrepably, the relationship that’s still the most important thing in his life. They’re friends again, then Kurt’s distant when he visits; friends and more-than-friends, at the wedding, and then a connection over the phone that dwindles to near nothing after a while. He still loves Kurt when he gets the chance, and he really does think (it’s not just hope) that Kurt loves him too.
But just because Kurt loves him now, doesn’t mean that he will forever.
Blaine needs do to something to get him back. They’re meant to be together, he knows it, but he can’t just wait. After the wedding he’d thought Kurt was coming back to him, but he hasn’t, and now Blaine can’t allow their love to disappear down the drain without one last fight. He has to make Kurt see how much he still means to him, he has to - it’s a mess of confused thoughts in his head really, tumbled over with wanting to belong to the moment where they finally can -
He wants to give himself to Kurt, completely. He needs to try.
After Mr. Schue’s and Miss Pillsbury’s wedding, after seeing Jan propose and Liz accept, he’s aching with want of that surety of forever. The edges of the ring box cut into his hand, and it’s close enough for him to taste.
He pulls Kurt aside when the wedding party breaks up - into the Astronomy room, because he remembers Kurt told him that Burt and Carole got engaged there, and he could certainly use the good luck.
“What is it?” Kurt asks, though he doesn’t object, “are you taking me in here to make out with me? Because we’re not doing that this time, not that I don’t see the appeal, but, um,” Blaine closes the door behind them and turns to see Kurt staring, lips parted. “You could probably convince me if you wanted, actually.”
Blaine laughs, free and easy somehow despite the nerves coiling in his stomach, and says, “I have a question to ask you.”
“Oh?” Kurt asks, so playfully, his face all alight, and Blaine’s barley seen it that way in way too long… and he must get stuck, between staring and nervousness, because Kurt prods him again. “What is it?”
He drops to his knees - unsteady, and Kurt’s sitting on a desk, so there’s way too much of a height difference, but fuck it all - and he holds out the ring box in front of him. Heart pounding, because in just a second now, maybe, he’ll get to the yes, he asks, “Kurt Hummel. Will you marry me?”
Kurt looks shocked, mostly. Maybe distressed? Blaine can’t read him at all, not now, not when distress would mean…. He scares up a brave smile to put on his face, and says, because he can drag victory from the jaws of defeat, “is that a yes?”
Kurt picks up his legs from in front of Blaine, and curls onto the desk. “No. That’s a no. I don’t even understand…” He shakes his head. “Why are you asking?”
And this is what heartbreak in a moment feels like. This, right here - but he has to hold it together. Has to somehow dredge up the words to explain something that should be so obvious - “because I love you, and,” and, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and,” because he still can’t, after everything, there’s just no other options, “I’m not gonna give up on us now.” And I’d hoped you’d still wanted me, still loved me, I really thought you did…
“But we’re not even dating,” Kurt says, as if that’s relevant, like, at all.
“Why not?” Blaine says, and he’s up now, off his knees, one last chance and he’s going to face it head on. “I’m in love with you. Tell me you don’t love me.”
The moment stretches, and stretches, and Kurt finally says, and it’s barely a whisper, “I love you. I - I’m in love with you too.” That’s enough, and Blaine sags with relief, letting his arms come to rest around Kurt’s back and his chin on Kurt’s shoulder.
“Thank God,” he says, “it was killing me, I love you so much.” He noses into the warmth of Kurt’s neck, and Kurt holds him closer as he plants a few short kisses there. Then he stands up, eyes wet, but with a much more comfortable smile. “So the marriage propsal thing was a bad idea, got it. But you’ll still be my boyfriend again?”
Kurt shakes his head, regretfully, but it still hurts to see it. “I’m not ready.”
“So,” he says, “okay. Okay. Do you think you will be soon?”
Kurt’s hand is very still on his shoulder, his other hand still on his knee, and Blaine knows he’s considering, knows him so damn well still, and he tries to hold steady. “I can’t promise anything,” Kurt eventually says, “and I don’t want to keep you waiting like this. You shouldn’t be, it’s your life, you can do anything - “
And Blaine laughs, but there’s despair in it too, because he still doesn’t get it. “Why do you think I bought that ring? Because I’m trying to show you that I’m yours forever. I want to promise that to you. You’re not making me, Kurt, I just hope you want it - “
“I do,” Kurt breaks in, and his voice is so warm, Blaine could just wrap himself up in it forever. “I want…. I want to be with you again. I want to be ready. I just don’t know… how to get there. Or when I will.”
“Okay,” Blaine says, because he’s all in a tummult, but if Kurt still loves him, well. Everything may not be fixed quite yet, but anything’s still possible. “I want to help you, you know. However I can.”
Kurt smiles at him. A bit weak, but it’s real, he can tell. “I know. Thank you. And…” he cranes his head over Blaine’s shoulder to see behind his back, but there’s nothing there now, the ring is back in his pocket, and Blaine can see the blush blooming on his cheeks and knows exactly what he’s looking for. “I do actually want to marry you. Someday.”
“I knew it!” Blaine says, mock-exultantly, because there’s been way too much disappointment and he’s way too tired, but really, he’s still triumphant. At the end of it all, his plan had somehow worked.
“This doesn’t mean we’re back together!” Kurt says, and they collapse into giggles, from the incongruousness of it all, plans for marriage when they’re not even back together - not yet - but they will be, he hopes, they both want to be everything -
He wanted to have faith with the ring, but he can hold fast to faith without it. He can, now, with only a few words, because those are enough, and the rest is a matter of time.
Blaine doesn’t know when it is yet. It’s in the future. He could ask Kurt, or Kurt could ask him; it could happen at a fancy dinner, or a romantic retreat, or it could happen casually at home on any quiet or busy day. He’s not waiting.
He’s ready, whenever, but he has all he really needs. Right here - Kurt on the other end of the phone, and closer still when he flies out to visit colleges in a few weeks; Kurt talking to him, now, he’s promised, even when it’s hard, and they’ll be getting back together, soon, and even if it takes a bit longer, he’s not nervous. He can feel it coming closer every day.
Every song and every meal and every declaration of love, they’re together. They’ve already started forever. So it’s not that he doesn’t want the promise and the signs, because he does - but love is patient, love is kind, and maybe Kurt doesn’t believe in that but he does - I’m yours, he says, with every word and every breath, and he can feel Kurt accepting them all.