Title: already there
Spoilers: HA HA. ...no. This is way AU.
Warnings (if any): I guess talk about war? And the fact that this isn't like anything I normally write.
Word Count: ~4400
Summary: Kurt and Blaine have been attached at the hip since they were kids but now Blaine's been drafted and Kurt hasn't.
A/N: Forever forever grateful to kattyerin for the existence of this story. It started out as a weird-ass dream I had wherein Blaine was in the trenches writing love letters to Kurt in code while I was some inadvertent cock-block commanding officer (and what the hell is wrong with my subconscious??) then that ridiculous dream turned into a series of ridiculous text-fic and then THAT turned into this. AKA: this is all her fault.
"Can miles truly separate you from friends? If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?" --Richard Bach
Blaine hugs Kurt goodbye in the middle of the airport, hands fisted in Kurt's sweater. Letting go is the hardest thing he's ever done.
: : :
Wow, they're not lying when they talk about how hard boot camp is. It's difficult, Kurt. Every morning, I wake up even more bone-tired than the day I did before. But that's not why I'm writing you -- I'm writing to say hi! Feels like it's been much more than a week since I said goodbye to everyone. Feels like a month, really. It's so different here. I wish I could describe it to you but you were always so much better with words than I ever was. I'll try, though.
Boys smell, Kurt. Being surrounded by them in close quarters day in and day out, sheesh. They're always all muddy and sweaty. I solemnly swear to never ever tease you about those scented facial lotions you're always using. If everyone here smelled the way you do, well. It would be a lot more pleasant. And your brother's feet, I can't even begin to describe that odor. Although you live with him so I probably don't have to. And the food, Kurt. The food is painful. I miss your quiches and that chicken noodle soup and the upside down pineapple cake you make... Just thinking about it now makes my stomach rumble. I go to bed thinking about your cooking. I'm not making that up.
Finn says hi, by the way. He's half asleep but he made a point of asking me to tell you that. He said he'd write you a letter himself but he's too tired all of the time. And he's not wrong, we are tired all of the time. But you and I have always made time for each other so I don't see why now should be any different. I really should get to bed if I want to function in the morning, though. I know you have a lot going on over at your house and at the garage right now but if you get a chance to write back, I really wouldn't mind a letter from home. I mean, don't feel obligated. I just miss you and I miss Ohio. (And whoever thought I'd say that?) So hopefully I'll hear from you. Tell your dad and Carole I said hi and wish them my best. I hope your dad's doing better.
Until next time,
: : :
Firstly, I use nutrient-infused facial creams, Blaine. Not scented lotions. I mean, honestly.
I'm glad everything is going okay there. I know it's not a day at a private spa but at least you're safe. That's all I can ask for. It's actually all I ask for nowadays. For my dad to get better and for my best friend to be safe. Dad's doing better, though. Still in the hospital and on a very low-sodium diet which he's being completely awful about. The way he goes on and on about the hospital's dining deficiencies (or as he says, “the hospital's piss-poor excuse for a meal”), I won't be surprised if one of the nurses spits in his drink or tampers with his Jell-O cup. (Which, by the way, he's always complaining about since they never give him red Jell-O, it's only “the damn orange and green ones”.) He's doing better, though, and so is Carole. She's been through so much lately. Losing her job and then having to deal with Dad's health... she was barely hanging on for awhile.
But enough about me! Boot camp sounds miserable. I don't envy you at all. And since my dad's not totally on the mend, I don't think the government's going to be shipping me off quite yet. Ohio misses you, Blaine. So do I. I don't know how busy you'll be but hopefully I'll hear from you soon. When I get letters from you, I know it means you're safe.
: : :
Don't say things like that, don't even joke about it. I don't want the government shipping you off, not now and not ever. It makes me queasy just writing it out in this letter. That's why I'm here, that's what keeps me going, Kurt. Knowing that I'm protecting my family and everyone I care about it. Knowing that I'm protecting you. That's what motivates me everyday to give everything I have and push myself even harder. You make me brave, Kurt.
I'm glad your family is doing better. (Finn says hi again, by the way.) Any idea when they'll release him from the hospital? Who knows, maybe he'll even be home by the time you get this letter. I worry about you. I hope you're not working yourself to the bone between staying with your dad at the hospital, helping Carole around the house, and working yourself to the bone at the garage. I hope you go out and do something for yourself for a change. Promise me you'll do that? I wish I could be there to make you take a break from everything, even if just for an hour.
They're shipping us out in three days. I'm ready for it, I suppose, but it's still kind of daunting. It's not like I'm going to be on the front lines or anything but they still teach us how to use a gun and how to protect ourselves and I guess it's really starting to hit me that we're at war. And that I'm going to be fighting in it. It's weird the things I think about, though. Instead of being nervous about all of that, I think about how you and I have never even been in different cities until now but in three days, we'll be on different continents. For some reason, that's what I get nervous about. Thank you for writing me, Kurt. Hope you can write again ...
: : :
I will always always have time to write to you. I will always have time for you. Please never doubt that.
By the time you get this letter, you'll already be doing god-knows-what over in god-knows-where. I get so afraid all of the time. I just want you to be safe. Promise me you'll keep yourself safe? Back in the airport, you promised me you'd come home. You've never lied to me yet so don't you dare start now.
Everything is still the same here. One day to the next, one week to the next, it's unchanging. I started volunteering at the hospital. I needed to keep myself distracted because now that you're not here loitering around the garage like a delinquent while I'm trying to work, now time seems to drag on. The hospital helps me keep my mind off things and it makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile now that you're off changing the world. The people that I see there, Blaine -- there are already soldiers back from the war and every single one I see, I think, 'that could have been Blaine, thank God it's not Blaine'. I don't know what you're doing or where you are but I hope this letter finds you safely. I hope you're still safe.
I still miss you.
: : :
Yes, I'm still safe. I made a promise, remember?
We're not on the front lines so just remember that when you see stuff on the news. We're a ways off and not in hand-to-hand combat or anything. We work more behind the scenes trying to detect IEDs (road bombs) and disable them to keep the troops safe. So when you see things on the news, try and remember that I'm not usually in the midst of it all. Finn and I mostly have different shifts since I work nights and he works during the days but when I do see him, he asks about you. I tell him what I know but nowadays, I feel like that's not a whole lot. Being this far from you... it's strange. I don't like feeling this disconnected from the rest of the word, from my family, from you.
It's the middle of the day now and I'm trying to get to sleep but it's so hot that sometimes I feel like I can't even breathe. There's no calming breeze or shade, either. It's just a piercing sun over miles and miles of desert. The air conditioner in our CHU is broken again and it's so miserable that I can't even sleep. Imagine a metal shipping container in the middle of the desert during the hottest time of the day with a broken air conditioner (that I'm pretty sure is actually just blowing in more heat) and sleeping in between two people that snore even louder than your dad does. All I keep thinking about is how nice and cool your room is during the summer and how much I love lying on your bed while we watch Sunset Boulevard and drink one of you fruit smoothies. I've moved past your quiches and pineapple cakes -- now I fall asleep thinking about your climate controlled bedroom with its Tempur-Pedic bed. Times like these, though, when I can't fall asleep? I'm doing what I always do. Talking to you.
Say hello to everyone.
: : :
When you talk about it like that, about what you do and where you sleep, it somehow makes me tense and relieved at the same time. I hate that you're doing it and that you are where you are but at the same time, I'm so grateful to know it. We're not totally cut off from each other if we know some of these things, right? At least that's what I'm trying to tell myself.
Things are still the same here as they were the last time I wrote to you. Dad had some trouble breathing again so they've got him back at the hospital. It's scary but I think it's going to be okay. No one seems to be as worried this time around and Dad seems pretty comfortable. He's back to irritating the nurses and I have a feeling they draw straws to decide who has to come help him. Carole's still having a hard time finding a job but we're pulling through. I hired someone new to help at the garage because business is picking up and I can't handle it all on my own. If we want to pay the mortgage then we have to have money and to have money I need to fix more cars and to fix more cars I need someone to help. Having Sam around makes the day not as unbearably long as it used to be because at least it's some social interaction. I'm still helping out at the hospital when I can, too. It's scary sometimes but I don't ever want to avoid terrible things just because they're terrible. If my best friend can't ignore these things then I never want to, either. It wouldn't be fair.
Tell Finn to write his mom, would you? She gave birth to him, for crying out loud. Tell him that she was probably tired during her eighteen hours of labor but she went through with it anyway.
: : :
Who is this Sam character? Please tell me you're not replacing me while I'm gone! I hope I'm not best friendless when I come home. Tell this Sam fellow that he can't possibly deprive a veteran from his best friend, it just wouldn't be right. Maybe this Sam is old? Hunchbacked? A puppy dog?
It's mostly the same here, too. Still hot. Still in the desert. Still surrounded by soldiers that decided to leave personal hygiene by the wayside as soon as we left the country. (And sadly, yes, I do include your brother in that category. Send him a bar of soap and maybe some 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner? I'll pay you back when I get home.) The air-conditioner is working again so that's a nice change. And I scored a couple of extra bags of Skittles during a card game last night so that's a plus, too. Too bad you won't be around for my sugar induced high. I'm sure you remember that Halloween when we were thirteen, the one where I ate most of my candy in one sitting and didn't sleep for two days? My mom was so mad at your dad for not monitoring us closer and your dad was so mad at you for letting me do it and you were so mad at me for eating all of your Twizzlers. I was too hyper to be mad at anyone. I don't care how old we are, we should go out for Halloween when I get back. I'll even let you pick the costumes. Bet you I'm going to fall asleep thinking about your Twizzlers tonight.
Well, you'll be happy to know that Finn is currently in the middle of writing a letter to his mother. In exchange for convincing him to do this, I would like to remind you about the bar of soap. Buy it. Send it. And we'll call it even.
: : :
I mailed a care package to Finn with both things you requested. That's how good of a friend I am. I sent you a care package, too. It's mostly Skittles and Twizzlers but I sent a few things from your mom, too. She wants to know why you send me more letters than you send to your own mother but I'm pretty sure she was kidding. I hope.
She calls me every night to let me know she hasn't gotten a visit from a military notification officer, the ones that ask if they are Blaine Anderson's next of kin. I don't know why she does it but I wait for that call everyday.
You're crazy, by the way. Like anyone could ever replace you! Sam's just a friend of Artie's. I think he's doing what I'm trying to do -- trying to take care of a family. He's right out of high school, just like you and I, and I think he's half-raising his brother and sister. From what he tells me about them, his parents have lost pretty much everything so he's helping them put their family back together. He's really nice and he's got a good heart but... well, he's about as sharp as a marble, Blaine. I think you'd like him which really isn't saying much since you seem to like everybody. When you come back, I'll introduce you two. I'm doing what you said to do, taking a break. We're going to get some coffee after we close the garage for the night. I have to head to the hospital and Sam has to put his brother and sister to bed but we're going to make a coffee stop just for a breather. I think it'll be nice.
I'm following through on my promise, now you have to follow through on yours. Come home soon.
: : :
Well, this Sam sounds charming and sweet but I think I'm going to keep pretending he has a hunchback, if it's all the same to you.
It's been getting a little … rougher out here. We can hear noises off in the distance and it's scary sometimes. Maybe not for the other guys but sometimes for me. Because I have things I should probably tell you, Kurt. I don't know if I ever would have said them back home but being over here is kind of freeing in that sense. Sometimes I don't worry about dying, sometimes I just worry about dying without you ever knowing how I feel.
Because how I feel is -- I don't even know the right words. You're always better with the words. I just know that I feel differently about you than I do about other people. Than I do about any of our friends. I like hanging out with Mike and playing video games in his room but not the same way that I like hanging out with you in your room. Everything is different with you. It always has been, ever since I can remember, anyway. I've never wanted to say anything to you because how could I? What if you don't feel that thing between us that I do? I can't lose my best friend, I just can't. I don't know of any words to tell you how much you mean to me. Maybe they haven't created those words yet.
If something -- anything -- happens to me here, I just wanted you to know that. I needed you to know that.
I miss you so much sometimes.
: : :
Of course I feel that thing between us, how could I not? It's always been there even when we were young, even when we were in high school. You would never lose me as a best friend. Stop saying things like that, though. Things about you dying or something happening to you there. Don't you remember your promise? I think about it every night, every morning. Why aren't you?
Dad's coming home (again) tomorrow. It'll help me take my mind off of you being continents away from me. He's doing so much better now and I just have to make sure to monitor his diet (which means he'll be angry at me instead of all of the nurses) and make sure he's not exerting himself too much. I'm not letting him come back to the shop for a long long time but now that Sam (the Hunchback) is there helping, it's not as stressful as it used to be. My family is coming back together again. Now if only you and Finn could find your way home, we could have a proper (low-sodium) Friday family dinner. I'll prepare the meal if you can work on finding your way home?
Please keep being safe. I watch the news but it doesn't help me most of the time. Are we winning? Are they? No one seems to know so they just say the same things over and over again. It's frustrating because all I want to know is if you're okay and none of the newscasters will tell me. So I keep watching.
I miss you, Blaine. Come back.
: : :
I'm so glad your dad's doing better, that's such a relief. I know you're watching out for him but I also know he's watching out for you, too. It's a relief because I worry about you. If I'm over here, who's looking after you? Someone needs to do it when I'm not there. And I really am working hard on my promise to come home, I really am. But if I don't …
I think you misunderstood me, Kurt. When I told you about how I felt. I don't mean that I feel stronger about you than I do my other friends. Which I do, of course, because that's what being a best friend means, but that's not what I meant. That's not what I meant at all. I have feelings for you, Kurt. Not the 'friend' kind of feelings. I wish I knew how to explain it better.
The guys here, they all talk about what happens when they go home and about how they want to find the right girl and settle down. I don't want that, Kurt. I already found my right someone.
They keep pictures of their girlfriends, their wives, their mothers, their kids. They keep them in their chest pocket. In my pocket is a picture of you.
When I tell you that I fall asleep thinking about your quiches or your mattress, it's not true. I fall asleep every night thinking about you.
Hearing about this Sam makes my hands sweat and my heart rate pick up because I always wonder if you two are just friends the same way you and I are just friends. I don't think I could stand it if you were. I just couldn't.
Those are the kinds of feelings I have.
I'm in love with you.
: : :
Your letter took my breath away and I'll keep it forever. But I didn't misunderstand you. I think maybe it's the other way around.
Talking about you settling down with someone else makes my throat close up. Watching you actually do it would break my heart.
When people ask me if I know anyone fighting overseas, I say 'Yes, my best friend' but all I want to say is 'Yes, the boy I love'.
Your dad used to joke about me being the best man at your wedding someday. I don't want to be standing behind you at your wedding. I want to be standing across, right in front of you.
When you come home, I don't want it to be like at the airport. I don't want you to hug me and say goodbye. I want you to kiss me and tell me you aren't going anywhere ever again.
Those are the kinds of feelings I have, Blaine.
P.S. I am, by the way. Yours.
: : :
I'm keeping your letter forever, too, Kurt. I put it in my pocket, right along with your picture. I can feel it there and it's a constant reminder that I promised to come home to you. And I didn't know there was kissing involved. You should have said that right off the bat. Nothing could stop me from coming home now...
I think Finn knows. He sat down next to me and asked if I was writing you a letter and to say hi if I was. Then he asked why I write you so much and I told him it's because you're my best friend. He rolled his eyes and walked away with my Skittles saying, 'Oh. Right. You guys still think you're best friends.'
Maybe he's known for awhile then.
I love you, Kurt. Now that I can say it, I want to keep saying it in case something happens while I'm here. I want to say it while I can.
: : :
Stop it, Blaine. You can't say things like that. You promised! Knowing you'll be home is what helps me through my days. It's what pushes me. Everyday I think about tomorrow, how tomorrow could be the day you come back. Don't take that away from me.
I think your mom knows, too. Your family invited us over for a picnic and it was nice to get out for awhile, especially since Dad hasn't gone much of anywhere for the past few months. I was putting the veggie dip out on the table and your mother was there talking with one of your uncles or cousins, I don't know. He asked your mom if you had a girl waiting for you back home. Your mom smiled and told him that yes, Blaine is coming home to someone he loves.
Now I know why she calls me every night.
I hate this, Blaine. Come home.
I love you,
: : :
Can't write long. They've been getting closer to where our camp is set up. We can hear things in the distance only they're not as distant anymore. I just wanted to let you know I'm okay.
In case I don't come home, I love you I love you I love you.
You know what, Blaine? I'm forgetting every single thing you've told me while you've been gone. You said you didn't want to die without me knowing how you feel? Well, I'm done with you saying all these things about not coming back. So I'm ignoring every word you've written.
You want me to know how you feel? Then you better come home and say it to my face, Blaine.
Come home and say, 'Kurt, I have something very important to tell you'.
Until then, I'm going to be in Ohio sitting in Dad's garage pining for my best friend, in love with someone that isn't in love with me. That's what I'll be thinking unless you come home and tell me otherwise.
Come home, Blaine.
I love you.
: : :
Okay Blaine, I'm sorry about my last letter. I'm terrified of you not coming back, do you know that? I'm terrified. I don't know how to be me if you're not here. And I need you to help me so I'm not always so terrified. I need you to be strong so that I keep it together. I need you to come home so I can breathe, so I can be relaxed in a way I haven't been since you left. I need you to come home. I need … you.
: : :
Blaine, say something. I see these things on the news. I see explosions and hear about bombings. They keep talking about road bombs and I can't make sense of anything. Please, say something. Send me an empty envelope if you don't have time to write. Please please please.
: : :
Where are you? God, Blaine I am five seconds away from having a meltdown. I spend my days wondering where you are, if you're okay, if you get any of these letters, what you're doing.
I spend my days waiting for the phone call from your mother.
: : :
Blaine, the news says the war is over so where the hell are you?
You promised, remember?
: : :
Kurt's sitting on the living room couch, staring at his cell phone on the table. She calls by now. Blaine's mom usually calls by now. There's a knock on his door and Kurt startles. He thinks about not answering the door because he's too afraid of missing the daily call. But he grabs his phone and clutches it tightly as he answers the door.
And there is Blaine.
He's got a cut above his left eyebrow and a smile to light up all of Ohio.
"Blaine," Kurt whispers, too shocked to move.
He doesn't need to, though, because Blaine drops his bags and grabs Kurt's tie, yanking him slightly until they're pressed up against each other on the front porch. Before Kurt can even register what's happening, Blaine's mouth is on his and Kurt can barely think straight. He's been waiting months for this moment, years maybe. It's everything he knew it would be --
but Blaine pulls away too quickly. He rests his forehead against Kurt's, smiling so intensely that Kurt can't help but to smile back.
"Kurt," he whispers, "I have something very important to tell you."
: : :