"The answer is no, Bas," Kurt said sternly, "I don't care what you say, we are not getting Alex a shirt that says 'check out my Eiffel Tower'!"
It was the last day of their honeymoon in Paris, and they had agreed to use the hours between check out from their hotel and check in to their flight home with gift shopping. They had already found a few things; Kurt's dad was easy to shop for because he liked just about everything, and Kurt had found Paul an outrageously patterned shirt in a small boutique on Montmartre that he knew his father-in-law would love (and his other father-in-law would probably want to set fire to) but they had yet to find something for Jade, Carole, Marc and the Scoobs.
"Oh come on Kurt, he'll love it!" Sebastian said, holding up the dark blue t-shirt to show his husband. "This is exactly the kind of thing he'd appreciate. You got Dad that ridiculous shirt..."
He jiggled the t-shirt in front of Kurt's face. "What else are we going to get him?"
"That shirt is not ridiculous, this one is," Kurt protested half-heartedly, but Sebastian was right. What else were they going to get him? And Alex would love it- the shirt had an artfully faded print of the Eiffel Tower on the back as an alibi for the text printed on the chest, and Kurt was sure Alex was going to be making that joke for weeks after they got back.
"Okay," he conceded, "but if Steph complains about it, I am telling her it was your idea!"
Sebastian grinned in triumph and drapped it over his arm. "I can live with that. I think she'd prefer this to that mug of the Eiffel Tower that turns into a naked chick when you put hot water in it."
"Hmm," Kurt conceded, knowing Sebastian was right.
Sebastian turned towards a stand of scarves. "What about one of these for Alice?"
"Oh, those are nice! What about for me," Kurt replied, zeroing in on the scarves. He checked the price, quickly did the currency math in his head, and sighed a little. "Okay, maybe I have already gotten enough souvenirs for myself after all. But for Alice, sure. Maybe I could borrow it sometime."
He took the fabrics between his fingers and held one of them out to look at the full pattern. It would look great on her. "Maybe for Steph and Carole too, or would that make them seem less special?" he mused out loud.
Sebastian flipped through the display, checking out the different patterns.
"I don't know, it might seem a little less special...but then, they do all like scarves." He held up a deep blood orange one. "This one would look great on Steph."
Kurt smiled at him. He was glad Sebastian was genuinely helping. He nodded and continued going through the fabrics to find one for Carole. An art print from the Musée D'Orsay? Or maybe something with a Fleur-de-Lis pattern?
It still gave him a thrill to know where they were and why- after everything that had happened the past year, they'd made it through. They were married and had spent their honeymoon in the City of Love. A part of him wished they could stay; every day had been more fabulous than the one before, and it felt like there was still so much left to discover- but they would need to get back to work and school soon, he was due to start rehearsals for Wicked in just a few days time, and he did miss their family. Not to mention the dogs!
"I can't wait to see Poppy and Lola," he said, carefully taking three shawls down from the display.
"Me either," Sebastian said honestly. The past two weeks had been amazing.
Before they decided on their honeymoon destination, he'd been apprehensive to come back here, worried that he'd be overcome with homesickness if he walked the familiar streets that he'd never want to leave in the first place.
However, their time in Paris had been cathartic. Kurt's constant presence by his side, a reassuring hand in his own or on his back as they explored the city reminded him of everything that he had gained. He had a whole life in New York now; family, friends...Kurt. Coming here to visit was enough.
"I can't wait to meet Jade," he said. "I wonder what she's like."
"Yes, me too," Kurt agreed. "I hope she likes the water colours we got for her." They had also found an art book in one of the museums they visited, to hopefully give her some inspiration for her new works. Marc and Paul had already sent them pictures of the room they had set up for her; it had a large desk by the window for her homework and her hobbies.
Kurt glanced around the shop, wondering if there was anything else they could bring. What did you get someone who would be your family, but you'd never met?
"I'm nervous," he admitted.
Sebastian looked at him and smiled a little. "Me too," he admitted. "Maybe we just go with something simple?" He nodded to a little stand with keyrings dangling from it and picked up one with a 3D model of the Eiffel Tower.
Kurt looked at it, and felt something warm blossom in his chest. Yes, maybe his now grown-up self thought these things were tacky, touristy trinkets, but he remembered just how much his thirteen year old self would have loved something like this, from Paris- anything from abroad- and how he would have probably taken it off the keyring to wear as a necklace or fashioned it into a brooch for school to wear to French class.
"Yes," he agreed. "Let's take it. And I think I want one of those hats." He nodded at the embroidered baseball caps. "For my next visit at dad's shop."
Sebastian raised his eyebrow at him. "Other than when you played Wonka, I dont think I've ever seen you wear a hat..."
Kurt raised his chin defiantly. "I happen to look great in hats," he stated, and purposefully walked over to the hatstand and put the first one he could reach onto his head. It said 'Moulin Rouge'. He struck a pose and blew his husband a kiss.
Sebastian bit the corner of his lip to hide a smirk. "Mmm, very tasteful...I wonder what Tristan would say." He took his phone out of his pocket and snapped a picture. "Shall we see?"
"What? No!" Kurt let out, glancing at himself in a mirror and wincing. "Come on, I meant I look good in the hats I have at home, not this one! This was a random pick. Don't send him that!!" He took a step closer and made a grab for Sebastian's phone.
Sebastian laughed and held his phone out of reach as he typed out a message.
"Bas," Kurt said, trying to grab the phone from his hand.
Sebastian just laughed and hit send. He heard Kurt's phone ding in his pocket and grinned triumphantly at him. He'd sent it to their WhatsApp group with their friends.
"Don't worry, no one that you work with will see it."
Kurt's phone immediately dinged a few more times in succession. He whipped it out and opened the chat.
BRODY: voulez-vous coucher avec moi? ;-)
ALICE: No Kurt does not voulez anything, you are only doing that with me, Brody
ALEX: What does that even mean 8-)
STEPH: Great look, Kurt...
BRODY: Almost as good as the one from Niagara Falls!
ALEX: That was a classic!
"Well, great. Thanks for that, Mr Hummel," Kurt muttered, glaring at the screen. "I should really just send them the picture I took of you after we got thrown out of that cheese shop."
Sebastian grinned. The sound of his new surname still thrilled him a little. It gave him a warm sense of belonging that spread out through his body.
"Do your worst babe," he said smugly. "I have nothing to h-" He stopped talking mid-sentence as something caught his eye across the street.
Kurt looked up from his phone to check on Sebastian. The intake of breath had set his senses on alert, and instinctively, he took a step forward, placing himself between Sebastian and whatever- whoever- he had seen outside.
Kurt's eyes scanned the street, his mind already spinning. The men who had attacked Sebastian at Scandals were in jail, but they had never found the guys from Satire. Did they track him down? In another country?
Kurt didn't see anyone. A few cars, a woman with a toddler in a stroller, an old lady with an ugly purse. A bike messenger. Not exactly the types who would bash someone's head in at a club.
"Bas? Are you okay?" he asked.
Sebastian's heart beat wildly in his chest, and his breath caught in his throat. Five years- it had been five years since he'd seen her and yet he recognised her instantly.
Silver-grey hair styled into the same impeccable coif, same confident gait as she walked briskly down the road.
His chest tightened painfully and he felt tears well in the corners of his eyes.
He heard Kurt talk as if from the end of a long tunnel and allowed the sound of his voice and the touch of his hand on his arm to pull him back to the present.
"Err yeah, um...I'm fine," he lied. "Let's just get this stuff and go..."
Kurt narrowed his eyes a little and studied him. They had promised to communicate, but he wanted his husband to make the judgement call- if something had triggered him but he was working through it for now and didn't need his help, that was okay. Kurt knew not even their wedding band allowed them entry to all of the other's private thoughts.
"Let's go back to that café with the real chocolate croissants and instagram Alex into a frenzy," he offered instead, taking Sebastian's hand. "Last chance for it until we come back here..."
Sebastian licked his lip, biting it nervously and nodded. "Okay."
He let Kurt take the souvenirs from him to take to the counter and pretended to inspect the scarves again while he waited, an odd sensation moving through him as he tried to process the last few minutes.
It was difficult. Of all the things that he'd thought about as triggers when they planned to come here, bumping into one of his grandparents hadn't even been on the list. Maybe that had been naive; after all, he and Kurt had bumped into each other in New York against all odds too.
Sebastian felt conflicted, unsure whether he wanted to hide or run after her and show her what she'd missed by casting him aside. Seconds ticked away, slowly taking his choices away from him. She'd be too far down the street soon.
"Oh, we shouldn't forget Brody," Kurt said, hoping to pull Sebastian back to his world, where they were shopping together. "I need to check the luggage restrictions again. If we do end up bringing wine, I don't want it in my suitcase in case it breaks." The last was said with a little teasing lilt, hoping Sebastian would take the bait.
Sebastian let Kurt's voice pull him back from the brink, pushing his thoughts down to focus on his husband's words.
"Well, we both know nothing we've brought will fit into your suitcase anyway, babe, it was already tightly packed when we arrived, and those extra clothes you've bought while we were here had it bursting at the seams this morning."
He tried to smirk and hoped it came through.
Kurt gasped. "I wore almost all of those outfits!" he let out before rolling his eyes. He knew the teasing meant Sebastian had accepted his offer to be distracted from whatever had been troubling him.
"We still need something for Marc too," Sebastian added to show he was back on board.
"Well, if we don't find anything for him, we'll tell him the gift we got for him was not bringing matching pants for Paul's shirt," Kurt joked. He took off the Moulin Rouge cap and put it back. "If you really want to send Tristan something, send him that picture of me at the Guimard Metro exit. It doesn't get more Vogue Paris than that."
Sebastian smiled and slipped his phone back into his pocket. "How about we don't share any more pictures until we are home and can review them all together?"
Kurt's eyes glittered. They hadn't even left Paris yet, but he already looked forward to reliving it all again on their couch, cuddled up together and making their honeymoon last.
"That sounds perfect."