It’s been two years, six months, and seven days since Kurt last saw Blaine in person. Since then he’s tried to remember the way Blaine’s arms had felt wrapped around him that last time, the way he’d cried into Kurt’s shoulder and whispered, so scared and broken but yet still so strong, still like that rock that Kurt has been leaning on for so long now that it’s become the solid, immovable foundation in his life, “I’m never saying goodbye to you.” Echoing Kurt’s words from years past, he’d laughed and Kurt had squeezed him tighter; he’d said, “I’m coming back home, I promise.”
And Kurt, wiping his eyes as they’d parted, smiled. It had been crooked, off-center, and somehow it hadn’t felt right; it’d been too lighthearted for the situation, for the danger both of them had known that Blaine had been going into. He’d said, swallowing hard so his voice wouldn’t wobble like a top about to fall over, “You’d better. I’ve kind of grown accustomed to calling you my husband.”
Blaine had left, and now Kurt is alone, small and shivering in an emptiness he’d long ago forgotten.
He doesn’t know if Blaine will make it through this. Blaine doesn’t know if he will, either. There is so much shifting uncertainty ahead of them that, for the first two weeks after Blaine is deployed, Kurt can’t sleep. He spends long, terrifying nights fighting off monsters, off half-asleep nightmares of getting a letter, getting those dogtags and an impersonal I’m so sorry.
Kurt doesn’t want to get any of those. He wants his husband back.
Kurt dreams of the day Blaine had told him he was going, that he’d enlisted. He relives the tears, the horribly churning fear deep in the pit of his stomach. He relives asking Blaine, clutching onto his shirt, “What if you don’t come back?”
"I’m coming back," Blaine says firmly, like there is no other conclusion. "I’m coming back to you."
Five months into Blaine facing hell every day in arid deserts and towns full of terrified civilians, their son is born to their surrogate, Pamela. After a split second’s decision, Kurt names him Devon, using the name he and Blaine had chosen, Carter, as his middle name instead. He holds him when everyone is quieted down, Pamela fallen into an exhausted sleep. Kurt strokes a finger gently over the slope of Devon’s little baby nose and watches his eyelids twitch gently in sleep.
"Someday soon you’ll see your other daddy," Kurt whispers into that still night air. He tucks the blanket tighter around Devon’s body, rocks him gently and soaks in the feeling of this tiny, warm bundle of life held in his arms. “And we’ll tell you all about how brave he is. And how much I want you to grow up just like him.”
The tears come, stinging and hot, then, and Kurt closes his eyes, sucks in a deep breath and presses a kiss to Devon’s forehead, the skin soft and silky under his lips. In the bed, Pamela stirs and rolls over. Kurt’s heart beats, but somehow it still feels like it’s splintering.
He imagines that Blaine is next to him, arms around him as he stares down at their son with more pride than Kurt’s ever seen in his eyes.
He touches his wedding band when Devon is back in his bassinet. He just wants to make sure that everything is still real.
Once a week, they try to Skype. The connection is never very good, and the calls rarely last longer than ten minutes. Every time Kurt sees Blaine, he looks a little more weary, a little more world-worn. But his smile is the same, and if he doesn’t have to abruptly end the call for an emergency he always tells Kurt, “Soon, baby. Soon. I promise. I love you.”
But Kurt doesn’t want soon. He wants now.
Blaine cries the first time Kurt Skypes with Devon sitting on his lap. It’s a few weeks after Devon comes home from the hospital; Kurt’s been running on little to no sleep since then, but he doesn’t let Blaine knows, tries to hide just how tired he is.
when Kurt tells him that he’d named him Devon, there’s a moment where Blaine stares, screen fuzzing. Like it takes a few seconds for it to sink in, Blaine asks, hoarsely, “Y-you named him after me?”
Kurt smiles. “Well, you are the bravest person that I know.”
Kurt’s always hated seeing Blaine cry, but when they’re tears of joy he’ll consider it a job well done.
Kurt holds Devon’s first birthday back in Ohio, with his family and their friends. He blows out Devon’s candle and watches proudly as his soon gleefully smashes up his cake, chocolate oozing up around his chubby little fingers as he shrieks and laughs.
Kurt tries not to think about how things are getting worse, not better, where Blaine is.
Devon’s second birthday goes the same, minus the ridiculous amount of cake wasted and clothes ruined. Kurt stays close by his father’s side and doesn’t let anyone else notice how hollow and lonely he feels.
He and Blaine haven’t Skyped for nearly two and a half weeks.
Two years, six months, and seven days.
The airport is crowded, people passing by with phones pressed to their ears, their voices harried as they drag luggage across the floor behind them. Moms corral rowdy kids all in various states of annoyance and impatience and excitement. College students are flying back home for the summer or going on vacation. There is the smell of ten different restaurants in the air, and beneath that is the smell of coffee.
Kurt waits at Gate F, holding Devon against his hip. His arms are beginning to hurt, but he doesn’t want to put his son down yet. For the tenth time in the last five minutes he checks the arrivals flashing above his head.
People begin coming in from the boarding gate and Kurt’s heart stops, pausing before speeding up, thump-thump-thumping against his ribcage. He searches desperately each face, hefting Devon higher up on his hip. He forgets how to breathe.
The name is whispered almost before Kurt realizes what he’s seeing; “Blaine,” he breathes as the last person, clad in full uniform, steps out into the terminal, a simple duffel bag slung over his shoulder and his hair carefully covered by a patrol cap.
Like he’s heard, Blaine looks over. His eyes widen, jaw dropping, and he rushes over, dropping his bag onto the ground somewhere between the gate and where Kurt is standing. Kurt sets Devon down just in time for Blaine to throw his arms around his neck, hugging him tightly before grabbing his face and kissing him, long and passionate and would-be embarrassing with everyone watching of Kurt actually gave a fuck.
Kurt hasn’t been kissed in over two years.
"God, I fucking missed you," Blaine says, choked and cracking, when they pull away. His cap had fallen off when Kurt had grabbed at the back of his head, and his eyes are shimmering as more tears streak down his face. His hair is still as short as it had been before he’d left, but there are new lines around his eyes, on his forehead and his face; the once-bright sparkle in his eyes has dimmed slightly, gone flat and dull from the things he’s seen.
"I was so scared you’d never come home," Kurt admits, voice pinched and scared. His own face is wet with tears.
Blaine shakes his head, smiling, and says, “I promised you I’d come home, Kurt.”
Kurt laughs, wipes his eyes with the back of his hand, and squats down, finding Devon staring up at Blaine wide-eyed and almost afraid. Kurt takes his hand and says, softly, “Hey, sweetie. Someone’s been waiting a long time to finally say hello to you.”
Blaine crouches down, and Kurt sees people watching, but, somehow, it still feels like no one is, like this is still just them alone, finally a family reunited.
Devon’s eyes grow even wider as Blaine reaches out a hand, and he takes it after Kurt gently prodding, “Go on, honey, it’s okay.”
Blaine sucks in a shuddery breath when Devon’s tiny fingers wrap around his, and another tear streaks down his face when he says, “Hi, little man. I’m your papa.”
Devon blinks, then says as proudly as any two-year-old with limited verbal skill can, “Brave papa!” He rushes forward and hugs Blaine tight. There are a few awws from around them, but to Kurt they’re just white noise as he laughs, choking on a cry, when Blaine scoops Devon up and holds him close, cradling the back of his son’s head for the first time.