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Etched Into My Skin - chapter 1


Across the world, names start appearing on people's bodies; it hasn't become a big news item yet, and no one really knows what they mean. Some time after Kurt transfers to Dalton, while he and Blaine are still platonic, they both wake up with their best friend's name written somewhere on their body in the other's handwriting. Soulmates AU.


Author's Note: Okay, here's a thing: I usually don't post WIPs. But here's a WIP.

It's a side project I've been working on lately, and I decided to share as I go. The story is based on a prompt from the glee-kink-meme, and it will be long. "It's Not Babysitting" kind of long, maybe. It's fluff and romance and angst and smut all mixed together, and it's sort of canon-compliant with added twists, starting in the middle of season 2. Basically, boys in love who also happen to be soulmates, in a world that's only just starting to discover and understand the whole "name on your skin" thing.  

I plan to update at least once a week, but I can't promise I won't slip every now and then. It's a side project, after all. If you decide to join the ride, I hope you have as much fun reading as I have writing it :)
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CHAPTER 1

The first time Kurt Hummel noticed anything strange about his left collarbone, it was the day after that memorable afternoon in the Dalton common room when he and Blaine had sung the most perfect version of Baby It's Cold Outside that could ever exist.

He was sitting at his vanity, finishing his evening moisturizing routine, when something unfamiliar drew his attention to the open collar of his black pajama shirt. A light brown spot was only really visible because of the good lighting and the contrast with his fair skin, and he could have easily dismissed it as a new freckle or a mole he hadn't noticed before, if he hadn't moved the fabric aside to have a closer look.

There, next to the first innocent-looking spot, were at least a dozen others – just as light, ranging from small to tiny and neatly spaced within a spread of skin.

They could be freckles – if it was summer and Kurt hadn't been so conscientious about applying sunblock. Or if they weren't grouped so tightly together in one particular area. To be certain, Kurt slid off his pajamas and scanned the rest of his body, looking for similar occurrences anywhere else, but there were none, just that one place right under the ridge of his left collarbone. That was definitely unusual; probably something to consult with a doctor, and soon. Suspicious brown spots on the skin that appeared all of a sudden were no laughing matter.

Kurt's mind was filled with anxious thoughts that night, and his fingers wandered to the collarbone again and again as he was trying to fall asleep. The skin there wasn't any different to touch than the surrounding area, and it wasn't sore or itching. Still, the freckles – or whatever it was – were there, while just last night there was nothing but smooth skin. He'd seen them with his own eyes.

Unless...

He jumped out of bed and flicked on his vanity lamp. Of course, why hadn't he thought of this? Grabbing a moist toilette, he rubbed at the affected bit of flesh. But the spots didn't disappear – if anything, they only looked more pronounced against the skin that turned pink from his ministrations.

Resigned and slightly scared, Kurt returned to bed. He'd have to show the problem to Carole in the morning. Ever since the wedding, she'd taken over the health department in their household. She'd probably set a doctor's appointment for him, and whatever it turned out to be, they'd take things from there. For now, all he could do was try to sleep.

Kurt's dreams that night were filled with visions of hospitals and surgeries, scars and fear, the words skin cancer hanging overhead, threatening. He woke up at dawn, exhausted, and lay in bed for a moment longer, huffing with annoyance. He was probably overreacting, and the fact that he had more reasons than many, after seeing his mom wither away all those years ago, didn't make it any more reasonable. Now, in the light of day, it seemed stupid to worry quite so much. They were just a bunch of stupid spots, probably some allergic reaction or a weird rash. Nothing serious.

Kurt rolled out of bed and strode right to the mirror, determined to confirm his newfound conviction. He pushed aside the shirt – and froze, his jaw dropping.

There were no spots on his skin anymore.

Instead, light brown lines traced neat letters under his collarbone – letters that spelled one very, very familiar name, in handwriting that he recognized instantly, even in its mirrored reflection.

Blaine Anderson

***

The first time Blaine Anderson noticed the faint letters curving around his left hipbone, it was two days after Christmas and he was just wiping come off his skin.

He was still dazed and breathless from the intensity of his orgasm, so when he saw what the letters spelled, he just shook his head and closed his eyes, wondering if it was possible he was hallucinating as a result of coming his brains out. Because let's be honest, what was the chance of the name of his best friend randomly appearing on his body right after he finally surrendered to the temptation and let his mind wander where it probably shouldn't – to said friend's pink lips and his slender fingers, to the perfect lines of his long legs and the way his shoulders filled the regulatory white uniform shirts?

Another moment passed with sleep softening the edges of his consciousness, but then Blaine frowned. Wait, what was the chance of any writing randomly appearing on his skin when he – or anyone else – didn't put it there?

He opened his eyes and raised on his elbows to look at his hipbone. Sure enough, the letters were still there, sepia-colored and curling neatly along the upper half of his hipbone.

Kurt Hummel

What was even more curious, they were in Kurt's own handwriting – it looked as if Kurt simply signed his name on Blaine's skin. Except in the last week the nearest Kurt had been to Blaine was in his very vivid imagination. And even if he was right here, his hands would be nowhere near Blaine's bare hips. They were just friends, after all.

What the hell was going on?

***

Google was a man's best friend.

It was merely an hour since Kurt had discovered the name – Blaine's name – on his skin, and already he was more grateful for the miracle of the internet than ever before. A quick, rather desperate search of "names on skin" didn't provide him with a definitive answer about what was going on with him or why, but it gave him something almost as good: the knowledge that he wasn't alone. Apparently, there were people all over the globe suddenly sprouting names in different areas of their bodies, and their numbers were steadily growing.

The few serious articles Kurt managed to find among dozens of blog posts and discussion threads claimed that the phenomenon started about five months ago. At first it was only a few dozen reported cases, not just in the United States, but in other countries, too. Doctors and scientists got interested and soon research started, aimed to discover the cause and consequences of the unusual marks.

But the only thing that had been determined so far was that the writing didn't seem to affect people's skin or their overall health in any detrimental way. The letters weren't formed by any kind of growth, either malicious or benign, but by a simple change of pigmentation, very similar to freckles. The writing tended to grow slightly darker within days of first appearing, but only by a tone or two, which made it clearly visible against skin, but much lighter than a tattoo. No one knew how or why the marks formed, or what made a body produce the shape of a particular name. It was all one big mystery.

As for the meaning of the names, the scientists were drawing a blank. It was more a question for philosophers, it seemed. What could be the reason of random names appearing on people's skin? Theories abounded, each less believable than the previous one. Some believed it was a name you held in your previous incarnation. Others stated the name signified a person who could play important role in your life. Many people thought it was a completely random occurrence, an annoying skin condition that had no significance whatsoever.

Except the names weren't always random. As the number of those affected kept growing (it was currently estimated to be well into the thousands), there were some who, just like Kurt, were developing names of people they knew. It could be a life partner or a friend, or someone known just casually. This fact bred other theories, stating that the name on your body belonged to a person who was somehow closest to you – either in your thoughts or physical proximity – when the mark formation started. Or it may signify someone you had or could have a deep emotional connection with.

This theory spoke to Kurt the most. He did have a connection with Blaine, after all – and deeper than his friend knew. Because while he admitted it to himself, he was nowhere near ready to tell Blaine, or show him, for that matter, that he was falling in love with him – and had been from the moment they first met.

Kurt switched off his computer and went back to the mirror. Now that the mark was no longer filling him with dread, he had to admit it was almost... pretty. The warm shade of brown looked good against his fair skin and knowing that he bore the name of the boy he really, really liked mere inches above his heart filled Kurt with warm affection.

Whatever the reason and meaning of the mark, one thing was certain: he wouldn't be showing it to anyone, or even talking about it anytime soon. Not even to his family or his friends. There would be too many questions and the last thing he needed was for Blaine to learn about it and freak out. He was the closest friend Kurt had ever had, the only person in his life who really, truly understood him. Losing that just because Kurt's body decided to pick up some weird new trend was too big a risk.

No, he'd just wait and see what happened next.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
istytehcrawk
Dec. 11th, 2012 02:34 am (UTC)
I am SO excited for this. :D
springbay
Dec. 11th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
I'm joining the ride :) I love everything you write and I can't wait for this!
spiritwild
Dec. 11th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
I should have guessed it was you when I saw this on the gkm! You always turn tropes on their heads in the most exquisite ways, and that is only one of many things I adore about your writing. Looking forward to what this one will bring!
anxioussquirrel
Dec. 13th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
*blush* thank you so much!
amordemealma
Dec. 11th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
oh wow. this is going to be so good, i can already tell. I love the fresh take on the soul mates trope.
such_a_steph
Dec. 11th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
Brilliant! I already commented over at S&C but now that you've posted here, I can start tracking your updates more effectively.

You mentioned this was a side project... Is there something you're doing elsewhere (GKM?) that I'm missing?
anxioussquirrel
Dec. 13th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Thank you:D
No, I'm just doing my usual thing of completing a long story - well, two long stories right now - before starting to post it :) I think one may be ready around Christmas.
keenoled
Dec. 11th, 2012 06:30 am (UTC)
Cooool!
autumnleaves5
Dec. 11th, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC)
oooooh, i'm intrigued! :D
unsung_song
Dec. 11th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
I just read this a few days ago on the kink meme and fell in love, but now knowing that it's yours? I'm even more excited for what's to come!
anxioussquirrel
Dec. 13th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
*blush* Thank you :)
punkkitten2113
Dec. 11th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
*hopping on the soulmate train, complete with actual moves from soul train. . . *

queenofthemambo
Dec. 11th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
So pleased to see that you're writing something new! Very excited to see where this goes.
boro_girl
Dec. 11th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
YOU ARE WRITING THIS? I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. I ALREADY LOVE THIS AND I LOVE ALL YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE.
anxioussquirrel
Dec. 13th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
:D Yup, that's me *hug*
sinkwriter
Dec. 11th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
Fascinating!

I love all the questions about it and how no one seems to know what it is or what on earth it means. With all these questions, I can see why Kurt would not be inclined to show this to Blaine right away and risk freaking out his friend. Of course, the irony is that Blaine's probably at home thinking the same thing about the mark on his hip and how he can't possibly show such a thing to Kurt and risk freaking HIM out.

I can't wait for them to get on the same page! Very interesting start. :)
harmony_lover
Dec. 11th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful already, and I'm thrilled to see that you're writing something new. I'm a sucker for soulmate fics, so I'm even more excited to see what you do with it. Thank you for sharing! :)
lovesrabbits
Dec. 12th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
Glad it's you!
I love your writing so look forward to see where you take this story.
whosgotyou
Dec. 12th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC)
I've been following this on the meme and I can't begin to tell how much I'm enjoying this.
mugglegato
Dec. 12th, 2012 04:00 am (UTC)
So excited for a new story from you! You've got me hooked already. I love soulmate fics and I love the timeframe you are using, so yay!
mardie186
Dec. 13th, 2012 01:38 pm (UTC)
Glad you are writing this. Kurt and Blaine are soulmates. I am pissed at Glee for messing with that. Blaine would never have cheated. Just can't get over that character assassination. Obviously Darren was upset by it too based on his heartfelt Facebook post the day The Break-Up aired. So, I am really looking forward to your fic to take me away from the ridiculous way glee has handled their characters...Blaine a cheater, and Kurt a self-centered prick. Just Not Right. Or OK. OK rant over. Really looking forward to the boys discovering each others names. Eventually they will be making out and see them if they don't get the guts to tell each other first. I hope they will share the info with each other. Openness and honesty are key to an intimate relationship. Looking forward to more. And at least we get a half decent Glee episode tonight. With Kurt and Blaine in the same scene together. Even if its just as friends. I am hopeful. And Burt Hummel is awesome.
curtslade
Dec. 14th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
Yay! I <3 soulmate stories! Also I love that Blaine has Kurt's name on his hipbone.=) That's very.....Blaine. =P
brighton_girl
Dec. 16th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm excited to see you start this new series. Great start!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )