Not A Destination
I got sappy about Klaine going to estate sales.
Summer: Brownie Box Camera
“I hate everyone in this line. As soon as I can walk under my own power I’m taking them all down.”
“It’s too early to be mutinous, Kurt.”
“It’s too early to be anything, Blaine.”
Blaine just bounces on his toes and grins, then turns away to crane around the people lined up in front of them and Kurt can only hope that Blaine can feel the full wrath of his irritation boring into the back of his chipper, shiny head.
“Six-thirty am. On a Saturday. On the first week of summer vacation,” Kurt grumbles. Just in case Blaine is still not getting the memo.
It would appear he is willfully avoiding the memo, given how he then bops Kurt on the nose and enthuses, “Early bird gets the worm!”
“I will break your finger.”
“Aw, come on. Finish your coffee,” Blaine bumps his shoulder, keeps it there a moment, but not too long, given most of their company is older and this being an upscale old money neighborhood and still, sadly, Ohio. “You’re gonna love it.”
The next several numbers are called and the line shuffles forward; Blaine pulls Kurt by the elbow, slips of paper clutched in his hand like lottery tickets. Kurt hides a grin behind the lid of his mocha with extra whip. Blaine’s excitement is kind of infectious. And adorable.
But this is his first estate sale, and as much as he loves a bargain, loves sharing in the things that Blaine loves even more, he does kind of find the whole thing, well- Starkly morbid.
It’s not any better once they get inside despite the caffeine pumping through his blood, thank god.
“Isn’t this just a tad creepy?” He has to ask, keeping close to Blaine’s side as they stroll around a heavy oak dining room table covered with silverware and platters, a set of delicate bone china.
The whole house is displayed in this way, items set out where they once would have been tucked away or artfully displayed. Or else gathering dust in closets and shelves and attics. An entire house full of all the things that made up someone’s life. Someone who was, up until recently, living that life. Hopes and dreams and sorrows and maybe they were planning on using that bone china for their sixtieth wedding anniversary and now- Now they never will.
They move out of the dining room and Blaine shrugs, leads them upstairs.
“I don’t know, I guess- I guess I like to think of it as a way of honoring them. Like, we never met and maybe we wouldn’t have even liked each other, but.” He shrugs again, a little self-effacing that way he sometimes does, hunching himself just a bit smaller. “Now I’m someone else who knew them, in a way. So they’re gone but every time I wear this bow tie it’s like they aren’t gone. Not really.”
Kurt’s lungs feel shaky, the air trembling out of them and sometimes he just doesn’t understand how Blaine exists. Just walking around in the world like a normal, everyday boy only he really, really isn’t.
“Well I certainly hope not that bow tie,” Kurt says, because everything feels too tremulous, too fragile, so he has to deflect it away if only be able to bear it.
Blaine grins, purses his lips and holds the clip-on polyester purple monstrosity up to the dip of his throat. Kurt stares too long, then blushes, laughs and turns away to sift through a jewelry box.
It’s a lot of thick gold chains, over-sized dangly earrings, turquoise stones and cubic zirconia. He wonders what their story was, this couple they’ll never know. How long were they married? What did they love most about each other? Who died first? How did the one that was left cope? But most importantly, why did they did stop updating their wardrobes and accessories sometime around 1991?
“Hey, Kurt look!” Blaine stretches to reach around a cluster of items on top of the wardrobe and comes down with a old camera, little more than a box with a viewfinder on one end and a lens on the other.
He holds it over his face, squints one eye. “Give me…sensual.”
“Do not,” Kurt warns, tilts his head and an eyebrow.
“Too soon?” Blaine grins from behind the camera, presses a button that does nothing.
“Do you think you fix it?”
“If I can’t I’ll just add it to my collection. And if I can…” He lowers it away, his eyes gone soft and round in that way that makes Kurt want to look over his shoulder to see if he somehow missed Prince Charming galloping in on a white stallion. Can’t quite figure out how that look is meant for him. “If it does work, then I can take cool retro pictures of the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen.”
“Sometimes I think I dreamed you up,” he blurts in reply. Because it’s true.
Blaine scoffs and drops his head, crosses the room to brush a kiss to Kurt’s cheek. “Well, I wish you would have dreamed up better hair for me.”
Kurt laughs and kisses him full on the mouth, this perfect ridiculous boy of his. His. They leave after paying for the camera and a vase Kurt snags from the sitting room.
The camera works. They take some pretty interesting shots with it. Particularly after Blaine teaches himself how to develop the film somewhere around Valentine’s day.
Fall: Scissor Necklace
They decide to drive to Cleveland, because Blaine swears Shaker Heights is worth it. Kurt has his doubts, but he gets almost three hours of talking to Blaine and singing with Blaine and holding hands over the console with Blaine.
Kurt spends the night at the Anderson’s house so they can get an early start. Of course waking up next to Blaine is new and thrilling and so domestic that Kurt has no choice but to press him into the mattress and put his hands all over Blaine’s body until they’re panting and spent.
They don’t get there early at all.
“Wow, almost cleared out.” Kurt scans some pottery, a few mismatched tea cups. There’s some golf clubs, a fishing pole, a croquet set with an uneven number of clubs.
“Fore!” Blaine calls, swinging a club dangerously close to a fairly terrifying plaster bust of…someone.
“Wrong game, honey.” Kurt says, ducks closer to the bust to inspect it. “Is that Jesus?”
But Blaine has moved on, to an entire bookcase filled with little figurines of rosy-cheeked cherub-looking children. He snags one, beckons Kurt over and holds it up next his head.
“Blaine, I swear-” Kurt ducks away, but Blaine chases after him, into the next room; the kitchen, empty but for a single chair.
“I’m buying him. I’m buying him and naming him mini-Kurt and keeping him in my pocket.”
“You will do no such thing.” Kurt laughs and pulls the chair between their bodies. Blaine ignores him, clutching the figure to his chest and crooning nonsense to it. “I see. Okay then. Well, I don’t have to buy a mini-Blaine.”
Kurt makes a show of inspecting his cuticles, maybe a paraffin soak is in order later and really, Blaine just brings these things on himself. It’s almost too easy.
“No?” Blaine asks, light dancing in his eyes and on his upturned lips.
“Nope. Because you’re already pocket-sized.”
Blaine gasps, clutches his chest. “Low blow, Hummel.”
Kurt just grins and lets the implications stand. They kiss in every room of the house, barely stopping to look at the items left until the agent announces it’s past closing time. Kurt feels bad about taking so long, so Blaine buys a few basic ties and Kurt picks up a slightly gaudy gold necklace with a pendant shaped like a pair of scissors. He thinks he may be able to turn it into a decent pin at the very least.
Winter: Filagree Gold Wedding Band
The house is small, old, and in a part of town that was nice decades ago but has become weathered and mostly forgotten in the decades after everyone moved to split-level homes with adorable postage stamp yards in neighborhoods named for the things that are no longer actually there.
Sterling Brook. Falcon Woods. Summerfield.
They don’t expect to find much, but then hit the jackpot. A remarkable collection of ties. Bow and bolo and skinny and mod. Silk and textured wool, cotton and hand-painted twill.
Blaine finds a sailor hat. Buys it just so he can sit in the crumbling, paint-chipped hull of the boat sitting unsold in the garage.
“Are you satisfied now?” Kurt asks, stamps his feet to get the blood going and tightens his scarf over his chin.
Blaine cups his hand over his eyes against the sun, despite it being gray and overcast and likely to snow again, stares off into the great beyond. He looks good in a boat, Kurt has to admit.
“Can we buy a boat after we get married?” Blaine asks lightly.
Kurt’s pulse skitters in his throat, even though this is far from the first time that Blaine has casually mentioned marriage. Or that Kurt has thought about it.
A spring wedding, of course. Outdoors. Matching tuxes with contrasting details. Antique wedding china. They even have a song picked out.
He tells Blaine to warm up the car, wants to grab something he saw earlier. It’s probably silly and idealistic, but the intricate woven pattern of the wedding band just spoke to him. Old-fashioned and understated but with just enough whimsy to make it stand out. It’s too soon, so he doesn’t tell Blaine. But when you find something that just works you don’t wait around to see if you’ll find it again. You grab it and hold on.
Spring: Sunburst Clock
“I’m thinking of going all vintage for my apartment in New York,” Kurt says.
“Mmmm,” Blaine replies.
“Classical meets kitsch.” Kurt explains.
“Mmhmm,” Blaine says.
Kurt roots through a box of picture frames and tin signs. “Hot rods are too obvious, right?”
“I guess,” Blaine answers. He moves on to the bedroom without Kurt, listless and brooding and distinctly not in the mood for browsing through an apartment in a retirement home. Not that anyone is ever really in the mood for that, necessarily. He’s probably just restless like Kurt, ready to begin the exciting next chapter of their lives together.
Kurt finds him the bed room, perched on the edge of a twin bed and picking at a set of flowery sheets.
“I bet New York has amazing estate sales.”
“Maybe we should get out of here. This place is kind of depressing. Wherever we end up needs to be a lot more fabulous than a beige one-bedroom cell in Marysville okay?” He takes Blaine’s hand, pulls him from the bed and coaxes a smile out of him.
He spots the clock in the narrow entryway, huge and metal, probably sharp enough to act as a security system to any misdemeanor inclined senior-citizens who might break in. If there is such a thing. Kurt buys it.
“For your collection. And because it’s a star and you’re my star.” Blaine smiles wider at that, even looks hopeful for a moment. “And when you come to New York it will fit the decor perfectly.”
Blaine’s face falls. They go home.
He sees the ad one morning as he’s reading every square inch of the paper to avoid being traumatized by whatever item of furniture Brody is currently sullying. He drives to Greenwich on a whim. Waits in line for two hours. He doesn’t buy anything. He doesn’t even make it inside.
One last Spring: Limoges Tea Cup
He’s still pretty sure that if he just looks hard enough he can find a sterling silver antique Tiffany’s Chrysanthemum tea set. Like the one they had in the White House. Blaine has his doubts.
“I love that you have high standards but this is a perfectly lovely tea set.”
They’re in Manhattan for the day, happened to stop by a lovely brownstone that smells, just a bit, like must and mothballs. It is a nice set. Classic with delicate gold patterns, all the pieces accounted for. The dinner set they’d picked out is more modern, flashy. It contrasts nicely.
“Besides,” Blaine says, pausing to wrap his arms around Kurt’s waist and kiss the nape of his neck as he passes by, “It would require us to stop paying bills and you know, eating, to afford a Tiffany’s set. Not to mention our entire wedding budget.”
Kurt sighs dejectedly. “I hate it when you’re reasonable!” he calls to Blaine’s back, then adds, “No more clocks! It looks like a Dali painting in our living room as it is.”
Blaine waves him off, his engagement ring glinting off the sunlight coming in from the windows by the stairwell. Kurt feels the same flush of warmth as he does every time he sees it, finally on Blaine’s finger instead of shoved into the back of his bottom drawer.
He twirls his own ring with his thumb; white gold, brand-new, custom made, yet somehow the rings are a perfect match anyway. Picks up a tea cup to rip off the dangling tag and buy the set before they’re chased away, so he can cross off dining set from his to-do list and finally make decision about flowers.
It’s chipped, on the frail lip of the cup, with a crack no wider than a single hair down the side. He starts to call to Blaine, who has found both a golf cap and club, swinging it with a look of studious concentration. Kurt wrinkles his nose, isn’t sure he can pull off argyle and plaid knickers, but for Blaine he’d make it work.
They buy the tea set anyway, and get to look ridiculous taking it home. Slow and gentle with both of them on either side of the box as it rattles unnervingly.
“Stop jostling it, Blaine.”
“I’m not jostling. You’re jolting, Kurt.”
They get it home safely, unbroken. But Kurt realizes it wouldn’t matter if it had. They would have fixed it, put it back together and sealed up the cracks until they couldn’t even tell it had never been less than whole. And even if they could, like the crack in the tea cup, it wouldn’t matter. It’s the flaws that make it meaningful; a remembrance of a life well-lived. Kurt hopes that whoever owned this tea set was as happy as he and Blaine are. And just as imperfect.
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