|Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
Author: admiller PM
It's 1943 and World War II is in full swing, but Kurt Hummel's got other things on his mind. He's made himself a promise to get out of Lima and into Hollywood. There's nothing to tie him down. Until Blaine Anderson shows up, that is.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Angst - Kurt H. & Blaine A. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 70,012 - Reviews: 1,114 - Favs: 772 - Follows: 1,082 - Updated: 06-12-12 - Published: 10-09-11 - id: 7450140
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: So there's a manip going around Tumblr of Blaine as a soldier and my imagination started running away with me again so...*sigh* I couldn't resist.
My mind is completely out of control.
Oh, I did a lot of research on the slang so I hope it's accurate! :D
Also, the title is from the song...not the Buffy episode. :|
It wasn't an exciting time in Lima, Ohio. At least, not for Kurt Hummel.
Apart from the Tank Plant, the place had no draw to it. And Kurt most definitely didn't find the Plant interesting. Nor did he plan on working there now that he was finally finished school. He'd thought about going to college but they didn't have the money. Besides, he had much bigger dreams than college and small-town life.
"Just you wait," he'd tell anyone who sat in his father's diner long enough to listen. "Once the War's over, I'm getting out of this bum town. I'm going to California and get into movies."
His father had always found his dreams of stardom naïve, but Kurt knew that it was what he wanted. Nothing was going to stop him; nothing would tie him to Lima. One day, he'd be on the big screen, like Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper. One day, he'd be famous.
But for now, with the War in full swing and half the town being drafted, Kurt was stuck waiting tables for his father, who reminded him every day how lucky he was not to be old enough to be registered for the draft for another two months.
Unlike everyone else, Kurt had no interest in the War. Unfortunately, unlike Kurt, it was all anyone ever wanted to talk about. The War, FDR, and the Plant. Those were the only things anyone in Lima cared about anymore and Kurt was through with it all.
He'd spent the summer, like he had all the others, cooped up at the diner, listening to idle gossip and daydreaming, picturing himself alongside Bette Davis in the next big picture to come out of Hollywood, his name in lights and his face hot beneath the camera flashes as he put his handprints in the concrete outside Grauman's.
The afternoon had been just like the rest of them, unbearably hot as the last week had been, making Kurt long for the chill of fall, which brought with it changing leaves, hot cider, and the Harvest Social, a dance held for all the young inhabitants of Lima and something Kurt had started to look forward to each year.
Not that he danced much, but it gave him a chance to socialize without have to listen to people drone on about the War, when they could all forget about the world outside of Lima and just enjoy themselves.
But that was a full month away and Kurt was currently busy absently fiddling with the jukebox, flicking through the records without paying any real attention, bored out of his mind.
Kurt snapped out of his trance at the sound of his father's voice, turning to look back over his shoulder. His father was peering out through the window in the wall between the kitchen and the area behind the counter where Kurt usually stood. He tapped the tiny bell with a mildly impatient look, holding up a plate and shaking his head as Kurt sighed heavily and slumped over to carry it to the diner's only customer.
"You need to get your head on straight, Kurt," he father said when Kurt had returned to the narrow space behind the bar.
Kurt rolled his eyes, plopping himself down on his stool and turning slowly on the spot, staring at the ceiling.
"I'm serious," his father said, pointing the spoon he was holding at Kurt. "You spend too much time daydreaming. You're going to be eighteen in two months and then…you could get drafted any time, you know that? Finn's been lucky enough not to be yet but he could go any day."
"I know, Dad," Kurt said. He'd heard it all a thousand times before and was frankly getting sick of it.
Burt shook his head before disappearing behind the grill again. Kurt released slow puff of air, adjusting his black bowtie fastened snugly around the collar of his crisp white shirt, a folded over apron cinched at his hips over a pair of denim jeans. He wasn't a huge fan of the new style but they were easier to work in than his usual knickers and knee-high socks so he put up with them.
The War had been surprisingly good for business with the way it had pulled the country out of the Depression, but during the day everyone was busy working at the Plant. Occasionally there would be soldiers stopping in on their way between the Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Columbus and Fort Wayne, but as the next closest institution was Camp Atterbury—a four hour bus ride or two-and-a-half hour train ride—it was a rare occurrence.
He glanced up at the clock ticking on the wall, the sound loud and overbearing in the otherwise near-silence. Another annoyed sigh escaped him. The final shift at the plant wouldn't be letting out for another twenty minutes and Finn—three years his senior—was out playing baseball with his friends as they'd worked early shifts at the plant that morning. Most of his business had been train workers, but as depot was on the other side of town, they tended to eat at one of the diners closer to the tracks.
He was just about to complain loudly about his boredom with the bell over the door tinkled brightly, the light streaming through it blocked out momentarily as several young men crowded through it, laughing and talking loudly.
Kurt perked up at the sight of Finn and his friends. Puck, who was thickly muscled and had been shaving his head since before Kurt had met him when Finn's mother and Burt had gotten married nearly four years before, had his arm thrown around Finn's shoulders, grinning and prodding him playfully in the arm. Dave, broad-shouldered and the quietest of the group, trailed behind them. Finn himself was tall and gangly, with a crop of short brown hair and long limbs.
Out of all of Finn's old group of classmates, the three of them were the only ones to have yet escaped being drafted. The rest of them—Mike, Sam, and Artie (who'd been sent back after only two weeks in combat with a bullet in his spine) to name a few—weren't so lucky.
A man Kurt didn't recognize pushed through the door just before it closed, gazing around the diner with a look of frank curiosity. He had thick, dark hair, slicked back with a slight wave at the front. The style looked loose, as if he'd tousled it, a few greased curls hanging free around his face.
Kurt wrinkled his nose at the technique. He didn't take to the use of grease in his hair like so many of his classmates had started doing recently. The most he did was spray a small amount of hair lacquer on in the morning to hold his style in place.
He watched the stranger follow the others to a booth at the back of the tiny diner, plopping into the seat next to Finn and across from Puck. Apart from the stranger, they were all wearing their old McKinley High baseball uniforms, worn white with red trim, 'McKinley Titans' written across the front. Finn had once had a promising career playing for the Toledo Mud Hens lined up before the had War started and he'd decided to abandon his dream to stay with his mother while he had the chance now that he could be sent overseas any day.
The newcomer was dressed in a pair of dusty jeans and a tight black t-shirt, a pair of old, scuffed Chuck Taylors turned down and tied off at his ankles. He leaned back casually in the booth, chatting and laughing, his hazel eyes—an odd mix of green, grey, and gold—lighting up with his dazzling smile.
"Kurt!" Finn called, turning in his seat to look at him. "Tell Pops we're hungry!"
"Tell him yourself," Kurt said with a scowl.
"Aw, come on, Kurt," Puck cried with a pout. "Don't get bent. Throw us a bone, already, we're shot! Besides, we need to show Blaine here just how good Burt's burgers are."
The stranger flashed him a grin as Finn clapped him on the shoulder.
Kurt glared at them for a moment before pushing himself up and walking over to the window to the kitchen.
"You're a whiz, Kurt!" Puck shouted happily.
Kurt ignored him and tapped the bell a few times. His father appeared at the window a few seconds later with a questioning look.
"Finn and his friends just got here," Kurt said dully. "They want food. There's an extra one with them today."
"Who?" Burt said, frowning and leaning forward to try and peer into the dining room.
Kurt shrugged. "Blaine something or other," he said, turning and walking back to his stool as Finn leaned over the counter and tried to fish bottles of Coca Cola out of the bright red and white cooler sitting behind the counter.
"If you break it, I'm not cleaning it up," Kurt muttered as Finn fumbled with a slick bottle, nearly losing his grip from the condensation.
He grinned when he stopped it from falling, gathering it up with the others he'd gotten and carrying them back to the table where the others were waiting.
They were loud and obnoxious as usual. Well, Finn and Puck were, Dave had never talked much and while Blaine was making just as much noise as the other two, Kurt had no idea what he was usually like.
He watched them pop the caps off their bottles on the edge of the table, Puck flicking his into the air on his thumb and catching it deftly.
"All finished, Sonny."
Kurt glanced up at the man sitting at the bar who'd just drained his coffee and pushed his empty plate aside. "Oh, er, twenty-five cents," Kurt said, gathering up the dishes as the man tossed a few coins on the counter, shaking his head and muttering something about inflation.
Kurt wasn't paying him much attention as Finn and Puck had chided Blaine into picking something out on the jukebox and Night and Day was now crackling through the Wurlitzer, which his father had only added to the diner a year ago.
Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me, or far
It's no matter darling where you are
I think of you day and night
Pausing for a moment to enjoy Frank Sinatra's crooning voice, he cocked an eyebrow as Blaine stepped away from the machine, snapping his fingers and singing along, the others grinning appreciatively at his voice.
Night and day, why is it so
That this longing for you follows wherever I go
In the roaring traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you day and night
Kurt wasn't about to admit that his voice wasn't nice, nothing on Sinatra but nice, nonetheless. He forgot what he was doing for a moment as he watched Blaine slide smoothly across the floor on his worn out trainers, gliding past the booth where the others were seated with a smug sort of grin and rocking up on his toes.
Night and day, under the hide of me
There's an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
And this torment won't be through
Until you let me spend my life making love to you
Day and night, night and day
Rolling his eyes, Kurt arranged the dishes in his arms and walked through the swinging door that led to the cramped kitchen, setting the plate and mug down in the sink.
"Order's up," his father said, nodding to the plates positioned precariously on the edge of the counter beside the grill.
Kurt reluctantly balanced the four plates between his hands and pushed backwards through the door back into the dining room, carrying the food out to Finn and his friends, ignoring Puck's loud recounts of his latest conquest, Glenn Miller now floating from the jukebox.
"That Quinn Fabray," Puck said, shaking his head as Kurt set the plates down in front of them, Dave giving him a muttered thanks while the others were busy focusing on Puck. "Let me tell you, she's a real dish."
"Didn't she go with Sam before he left?" Finn said, tipping the bottle of ketchup over his hamburger, frowning.
"Yeah, but Sam's gone," Puck said as if it was a simple concept. "Broads aren't going to wait around forever, you know."
Finn looked vaguely nervous at this, squishing the bun back on his burger and taking a huge bite.
"But Rachel's not going to leave you," Puck said reassuringly. "She's a stand-up gal."
Finn looked relieved, swallowing hugely as Kurt turned to walk away.
"Kurt, wait," Finn said hastily, coughing a little and hitting himself in the chest. "You haven't met Blaine yet."
Kurt sighed and turned back to the table, settling his gaze on the new addition to his brother's group. Blaine gave him a dazzling smile, winking discretely.
"Hey," Blaine said, going over him with a curious eye, brows lifted slightly. Kurt suddenly felt exposed under his scrutiny.
"Blaine's just moved here from Dayton," Finn said around another mouthful of his hamburger. "He was in college there. What was it called again, Blaine?"
"University of Dayton," Blaine said, taking a sip of his Coke, though his eyes remained on Kurt.
"But they kicked you out," Puck quipped, sounding amused.
"Yeah," Blaine said with a look of mock confusion as he leaned back in his chair, resting his right ankle on his left thigh. "Apparently you're supposed to show up to your classes to pass them."
Finn and Puck laughed loudly, Dave smiling as Kurt rolled his eyes yet again.
"Imagine that," he mumbled.
"What's that?" Blaine said, leaning closer to him.
"Nothing," Kurt said, taking a small step back from him.
"Anyway, his pop got mad and sent him here to live with his Uncle instead of going back to school," Finn said, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth. "He's the one who owns the tire shop, you know, Anderson, the one with the bum leg? We were stopping by to check on the truck and there was Blaine, working on it!"
"So, we invited him to play ball and he's got one mean slide," Puck said, holding up his bottle to tap it against Blaine's before taking a long draught.
"I think my trousers tell the story," Blaine said, glancing down at his dust-covered jeans. The others laughed while Kurt remained stone-faced, growing steadily more annoyed. "I played ball for the Flyers at school." He looked at Kurt as it said it. "How about you, kid? Finn says you wanna be in pictures but you play sports, too?"
A flare of anger burned Kurt's skin. "No. And I'm not a kid," he snapped. "I'm seventeen."
"And I'm twenty-one," Blaine retorted without missing a beat. "Trust me, you're a kid."
Kurt glared at him for a moment, Puck and Finn going still as they watched the two of them stare each other down, Blaine smirking very faintly.
Kurt huffed angrily and turned on his heel, stalking back to his spot behind the counter and facing resolutely away from them as they started questioning Blaine about his college sports career.
He hated people like Blaine, obviously too self-righteous for their own good and treating Kurt like a child even though he was going to be eighteen in a few months. They were nothing but fast talk and fast hands, and he despised it. If there was one think he didn't need, it was another doll dizzy blabbermouth hanging around the diner with Finn, who constantly referred to Kurt as his 'kid brother' despite the fact that Kurt had repeatedly told him to stop.
Impatiently, he waited for them to leave, trying to block out the sounds of their loud chatter and laughter with his usual daydreams, but Blaine's smug smirk kept popping into his head, immediately followed by another twinge of anger.
When he finally heard them standing up and getting ready to leave, the clock had just hit five and he was preparing himself for the evening rush.
"Don't be out too late, Finn!" Burt called from the kitchen and Finn and his friends moved towards the door.
"Will do, Pops!" Finn replied, raising a hand in farewell. "See you tonight, Kurt!"
Kurt ignored him, occupying himself with wiping out the pedestal glasses they used for ice-cream sodas despite the fact that he'd cleaned them earlier that morning after the breakfast rush. The door opened, bright sunlight filling the room for a few seconds before disappearing again as they left.
There was a gentle rap on the counter and Kurt glanced up to see Blaine sitting down at one of the old vinyl stools, flashing Kurt another bright smile.
"Hey, sugar," he said, leaning across the bar, arms folded casually on the counter. "Are you rationed?"
Kurt paused in the process of wiping out the glass he was holding. "Excuse me?" he said coolly, narrowing his eyes.
"Ease up, jitterbug," Blaine said, laughing and tapping his fingers on the counter. "Do you have a girl?"
"Oh," Kurt muttered, returning to wiping the glass. "No. And you know people will think you're a fruit if you keep talking to me like that. You could get in a lot of trouble, you know?"
Blaine chuckled. "Who with? Your father or you?"
"I was thinking more of the cops," Kurt said offhandedly.
"There no need to get the flatfoots involved," Blaine said with another laugh. "You know, Finn said you're a pistol but you're gonna run out of bullets if you don't calm down soon."
Kurt gave him a dead-panned look.
"You're a pill," Blaine said, smirking as he looked him over again.
Kurt narrowed his eyes at him. "Why are you even talking to me?"
"You seemed interesting. I like interesting people".
Kurt wasn't quite sure how to take the statement. He was spared the necessity of providing an answer though, as at that moment the door opened again and a small crowd of factory workers—mostly women as the majority of men were in fact already overseas—trooped in together, talking and giving off the strong scent of oil and sweat.
"I'm busy," he said, turning away from Blaine.
"Hold up, kid," Blaine said, reaching across the counter to take hold of Kurt's wrist.
Kurt glared down at his hand before giving him a hard scowl. "I have customers, you spiv, leave me alone," he said, wrenching his arm away.
"Well, shoot, don't be mean," Blaine said with a look of mock affront. "I'm just trying to say you should tag along next time we play, is all."
"No," Kurt said, ignoring him as he moved down the bar towards two men. He heard Blaine sigh.
"Think about it, ki—Kurt, you might enjoy yourself," he said. "I know I did. You need to mellow out from what Finn says."
Kurt continued to disregard him even as he felt a rush of annoyance towards Finn as well. "I'm plenty mellow," he said, pulling his notebook and pencil from his apron pocket to jot down the orders of the two Plant workers.
"Think about it," Blaine repeated, Kurt looking up in time to see him flash him another brief wink from where he was leaning against the counter. "I still have a lot to learn about Lima and I bet you know more about this place than anyone. This is where people come to gossip."
"Are you implying I eavesdrop?"
"No, I'm just saying people hear things," Blaine said, pulling away from the counter and smoothing down his shirt, which Kurt had just realized fit him rather well. Up close he could see the faint lines of muscle over his chest and stomach. And the rolled-up sleeves left his tanned, toned arms completely bare.
Kurt swallowed and forced himself to look back up at Blaine's face. He'd trained himself not to look at men like that. He'd long since known that whatever he was, it was wrong, and his best bet was to simply ignore it.
"Think about it," Blaine repeated, patting the counter before heading out into the street again, no doubt to find Finn and the others to go down to the Reservoir, where they'd smoke and drink and swim if the weather permitted.
Kurt stared after him for a moment before tearing off the slip of paper he'd just written the men's order on. He scowled when he saw he'd added Blaine's name unconsciously to the bottom of the page and hurried to scratch it out before passing the slip to his father through the window.
This was not what he needed right now.