Summary: Based on this tattoo. Tattoo!Klaine. Includes canon events, like the Break Up and mentions of Adam. Spoiler spec for 4x15.
Surprisingly there was no alcohol involved in the decision to get matching tattoos.
Kurt had never been a person that considered getting a tattoo and neither had Blaine. The memories of his early experiments in watching porn and “why could you get that tattoo there” had generally turned him off to the whole idea. But the weekend the New Directions was in Chicago for Nationals, he and Blaine had been exploring the more artsy side of the city where, there seemed to be, a whole crop of tattoo shops.
Blaine slowed their pace when they came across the first one, pulling on the grip he had on Kurt’s hand. “Hey, look,” he said, pointing at a collection of photos taped on the front window. “That’s actually – sweet.”
The one Blaine pointed to was a small tattoo on someone’s wrist, still read around the edges, of the word “strength” in an eloquent script.
“It is,” Kurt agreed, his eyes, traveling down. There was a label at the front, advertising that these were some of the most recent tattoo work done in the shop. There were two of people’s backs, very elaborate looking designs, and another one of someone’s arm.
Then, Kurt eyes froze on a tattoo that wasn’t just on one person’s skin, but two.
The photo was of a pair of joint hands, fingers threaded together in an intimate hold. On one person’s ring finger, there was just half a heart – and on the other person’s hand was the other side – so when their fingers were pressed together, the sides joined and one heart was formed.
“Blaine,” Kurt breathes out, pointing out to it. “Look – how – oh my god.”
“Wow,” says Blaine, in a similarly awed tone. That…I like it.”
They stand there in a short silence, both of staring at the photo. Then, they look at each other, eyes searching. Blaine’s hand squeezes his and he has the same thoughtful expression.
“Do you think…well,” says Blaine. “Would it be completely crazy to –“
“Yes, completely crazy,” says Kurt. “But…”
They stare at each other again, silently expressing things that seem hard to verbalize, until finally, Blaine gives a nod. Kurt returns it, his heart beating quickly as he turns and pulls them to the door.
It’s simple enough to tell the tattoo artist that they want the same tattoo as the front photo – the joining hearts. It’s a small statured woman who seems to be mostly covered in ink. She seems very excited when they tell her this, because apparently she was the one to give that couple the tattoo in the first place, just yesterday.
“It’s a beautiful sentiment,” she says, leading them to a tattooing station. “They were newlyweds. It was sweet.” Both Kurt and Blaine, without having to communicate it, are happy that this woman doesn’t seem to care they are gay; their love and desire to get this tattoo is all that matters.
First off, she has them pick which hands they want it on (Kurt decides he wants it on his right and Blaine on the left, since that’s how they usually hold hands). Then she has them hold their hands naturally, so she can line them up just so.
Kurt goes first. It’s such a small tattoo, it doesn’t take very long at all. It’s very, very uncomfortable and annoying – but the pain is similar to a cat scratch, just over and over again.
Blaine holds his other hand has he gets it, exchanging silent, loving looks as they do. Then it’s Blaine’s turn. His eyes tear up a little, as Kurt’s had, but for the most part he just grips Kurt’s hand tightly.
Their tattoo done, the tattoo artist takes a photo for the window. They pay and are lectured on how to take care of their tattoo for when it’s healing and are back on the streets of Chicago. They’re giddy when they return to the hotel. No one pays attention to them, since they’re all freaking out about their performance and no one notices the bandages on their fingers until the party celebrating their win.
Everyone is surprised, mostly because they’re probably the last people in glee club that people would expect to get a tattoo, but really like it when they show it off.
Kurt’s father is a little more annoyed when he finds out, but Kurt can see the proud, sappy look in his eye when he sees the two sides create one heart.
The healing process seems longer than it actually is. But when Kurt and Blaine can finally reach out and thread their fingers together to look at the small heart they make when they do so – it seems completely worth it.
After a summer spent together, Kurt goes to New York. Blaine urges him to. He shouldn’t be stuck in Lima, miserable. But Blaine doesn’t account for how miserable he actually is when he’s alone, stuck in Lima.
More often than not, he ends up staring down at his half of their heart (as they started to call it). Kurt does, too, missing how the two halves used to create one, when they were next to each other. As time moves, Kurt finds himself looking down at his right hand less and less, too busy with phone calls and balancing Isabelle’s calendar. Blaine, however, looks at it more and more.
He doesn’t look at it the afternoon he goes to Eli’s house, though. In fact, he pointedly avoids it until afterwards. Then he’s pulling his shirt on, feeling – empty and brings his hands up, tugging his fingers through his hair and down his face. He pulls his hands away, looking down at his palms. He’s shaking, but his eyes go straight to his left ring finger and his heart actually breaks at the sight of the ink there.
Part of him had thought that being close, physically, with someone – someone who seemed to pay attention to him and made him feel not so alone – would fill in the empty spots of him; he thought it would create another half to his heart. But he was so, so wrong. There was only one other person who could complete his heart: Kurt.
The break up is hard.
Both of them look down at their tattoos too much. Kurt thinks about removing it, the constant reminder of Blaine’s cheating always with him when he looks down at it, but in the end he never commits to it. He doesn’t have enough money, anyway. Mostly, it hurts. Kurt is pretty sure he’ll never feel whole again.
Then, after a lot of time, Kurt does forgive him, little by little. The talk on Thanksgiving helps. Their small conversations after that help, too. Christmas is a huge turning point back to the friendship they used to have, though both of them avoid looking at the other’s tattoo. It’s just a reminder of where they used to be and how far they have fallen since.
Adam asks Kurt what the mark is one day, around the time that Kurt is pretty sure they could be something. Kurt mumbles that it’s one half of a heart. He and his ex got it together. Adam drops it then, thankfully.
When Kurt flies out for the wedding just a day before Valentine’s day, he finds himself looking down at the tattoo a lot more than usual. He and Adam still aren’t…anything, really. Kurt feels like there are mixed signals, but really, he doesn’t have as much information or experience to go on here. But it’s Valentine’s day and suddenly, all these feelings and memories are coming back and more than anything, Kurt just wants to be with someone.
Which is probably what leads to a heated make out in the back of Blaine’s car before the wedding. And a slow dance at the reception. It’s also what drives Kurt to lead Blaine back to a hotel room and get off together. Kurt doesn’t even register when Blaine’s hand tangles with him as he drifts off to sleep. He doesn’t see Blaine’s longing, tearful look as he sees the two halves of their heart become one for the first time in months.
Kurt is back in New York a day later, without having talked to Blaine about where they stand now, because Kurt isn’t really sure himself. A snow storm hits a few days later, confining him and all his roommates indoors. It forces him to think constantly about him and Blaine, though. Every time Kurt thinks he’s figured it out – they should be back together or no, they shouldn’t be – he changes his mind.
Kurt knows he’s forgiven Blaine. It still stings, a little, sometimes, that he’s been with someone else – but Kurt understands a little bit of why it happened. They were both at fault. He loves Blaine. He always will – but is that enough to pick up where they left off?
The answer comes when he is invited to the roof by a note on the door. It’s Blaine, who starts to sing Come What May. Kurt is still torn, but he joins in to sing with Blaine because his heart must know something his mind hasn’t quite realized yet. That is that he and Blaine will always be two puzzle pieces that fit just right together; their hearts match up. The tattoos are just a physical representation of that.
Which is why, after the last notes fade, Kurt just knows. Blaine is his, and he is Blaine’s – it should always be like that. Will there be problems to work through? Of course. But when Kurt pulls him close and kisses him, all those problems seem to fade away.
They sit on the rooftop after their kiss, even though it’s too cold, and talk. Kurt reaches over and links their hands as they work through it all, his eyes drifting to the small spot of ink.
The halves have unchanged, of course, and still create the same heart. Kurt thinks of how broken his heart had been, disconnected from the other half for so long. Now, though, it’s finally one entity again. Unbroken.
“I missed this,” says Blaine, his voice thick with emotion, his own eyes trained on the heart. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too,” says Kurt. He leans, down, pressing a kiss to the joint tattoo. Above him, Blaine lets out a quiet sob. “Shh,” says Kurt, thumb rubbing a calming circle where the heart is. “I’m here. I’ll always be here.”
It’s a promise that Kurt intends to keep, as long as the ink is on his and Blaine’s skin.
And they do. They are together until they have rings on their fingers, very tip of Blaine’s half heart pointing down to the silver band. The ink fades a little, but there are touch ups throughout the years. It’s like a renewing of vows, for them. It’s the symbol of their togetherness that, even when apart, they hold the other half of the other close.