Put Me Back Together
Chapter 1: Kiss Me Goodbye
"Here, it's clear, that I'm not getting better.
When I fall down, you put me back together." – Put Me Back Together (Weezer)
Safely tucked into the table before his vanity mirror, Kurt heaved a very tired sigh. And as he looked at his reflection, he couldn't help but thank whoever was listening that the Buckeye Civic Auditorium was only thirty minutes from Lima. If it had been much farther, they might have had to stay in a hotel overnight.
And after the day he'd had, after everything that had happened, Kurt didn't know if he'd have been able to handle being stuck in a hotel room with some randomly chosen roommate.
As it was, even the ride home had been tense.
Once they'd boarded the bus to head back home, Kurt had settled into a window seat with Mercedes on the other side of him. He'd crossed his arms over his chest and pressed his forehead against the cool window. It hadn't been five minutes into the drive that he'd felt a bone deep tiredness overtake his slender body.
Up till that point, he'd been running on an intoxicating mixture of nerves and adrenaline. But once it had worn off, Kurt had wanted nothing more than to be home with his father, safely ensconced in the safe haven that was his basement bedroom.
And now that he was there, all Kurt could do was look at himself in the mirror as the day's events replayed in his mind. But no matter how many times he went over everything, there was one thing, one moment that was more important than all of the rest.
Surprisingly enough though, it wasn't the five minutes he'd spent on the stage singing or the ten-minute trophy presentation ceremony that was haunting his thoughts.
No, it was something, someone else altogether.
It was something that had left a mark on his soul, even if he could see no evidence of it in the mirror.
Staring into the smooth surface, a soft cloth band pushing back his bangs, Kurt turned his face from side to side. He didn't know why, but for some reason, Kurt expected to look different. But his eyes were still clear blue and his skin porcelain white.
Still unable to believe that he looked the exact same way he had that morning, Kurt pressed his fingers to his lips. As he did, his eyes locked on his own in the glass. And as he searched his gaze for something, anything that was different, his thoughts flickered back to what had happened after their performance for the millionth time that day…
When they'd originally thrown together their last minute rendition of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," they'd decided to split down the middle and exit through the right and left wings of the stage. But when the time had come, everyone had been so pumped up and excited that they'd all rushed towards the right wing.
Everyone except for Artie and Brittany that was. Artie had gone left so that he could use the handicap ramp. Brittany had gone left because… well, just because.
Once they'd been all off stage and hidden in the darkness of the corridor, they'd all begun to jump up and down. The euphoria had even turned into hooting and hollering as they'd hugged and patted one another on the back. They'd knocked it out of the park, and they'd known it. Win or lose, they'd put on an amazing performance that had caused New Directions to become a dangerous tangle of limbs that never seemed to end.
And in the midst of everything, all of the hugging and cheering, a strong hand had wrapped around Kurt's wrist.
At first, he'd thought it was Mercedes trying to get his attention. But as the hand had begun to insistently tug at his arm, Kurt had realized that he was wrong. The mystery hand had been too large to be his best friend's, the grip too tight as well. And as the fingers had tightened, he'd realized that it could only be a boy.
The second he'd realized that, Kurt had thought of Finn. After Kurt had fallen for him, he'd started studying the other boy's hands. He'd watched as Finn tried to copy Rachel's ballet fingers or worked to perfect his grip on a football. His hands were large with wide palms and long fingers, and Kurt loved them.
And he'd often thought about twining his own slender fingers through Finn's, of how wonderful it would feel to have their palms pressed tightly together. And no matter what scenario he'd envisioned for them, whenever they held hands, Finn would always stroke his thumb over the back of Kurt's hand.
Even though it had seemed so completely impossible that the person holding his wrist was Finn, Kurt hadn't been able to stop himself from hoping, wishing that it was him. And the second Kurt had allowed a tiny drop of that hope to seep into his veins, his heart had sped up, beating uncontrollably at the thought.
The faster his heart had raced, the more desperate he'd become to find out if Finn were the one holding onto him. He'd squinted his eyes, trying to see through the darkness of the corridor and the tangled sea of limbs.
But it had been of no use. The hallway had been too small, too crowded.
And more importantly, too dark.
And so, the next time the hand had tugged at his wrist, he'd gone with it willingly.
Allowing himself to be pulled, Kurt had squeezed through the crowd, unable to tell who was patting him on the back or squeezing his shoulders. Some had even dared to mess up his perfect bangs. And for the first time in his life, Kurt hadn't cared that people were rumpling his ever-perfect coif.
He'd been too engrossed in what had been happening to care. Too busy hoping that, when he finally came face to face with the person, he'd find Finn's sweet face smiling down at him in the darkness.
But even though he'd moved closer to the brightly lit stage and there was a small pool of light in the entrance to the wing, Kurt still hadn't been able to make out any more than a vague outline of a tall boy.
It had seemed too good to be true, too perfect. But Finn was single, and they'd just brought the audience to their feet, and at that moment, Kurt had felt as if absolutely anything were possible.
And desperately clinging to the hope that he was face to face with the boy of his dreams, Kurt had tried to come up with something to say. But as the hand around his wrist had pulled him closer, Kurt had stopped thinking and given himself over to feeling instead.
And the next thing Kurt knew, there had been lips pressed against his own for the first time in his life. It had been merely a feathery brush of skin against skin, but it had sent his heart racing as every nerve in his body had cried out for more.
But just as quickly as the kiss had begun, it had been over; the mystery person had pulled away. And desperate to hold onto the moment for as long as possible, Kurt had reached out and grabbed a hold of the other boy's tie, still wishing beyond hope that it really was Finn.
The effect of his move had been instantaneous. The other boy had dropped his wrist and stepped closer, placing his hands so very gently on Kurt's waist. Slowly, they'd slid around Kurt's back, stopping once to grip his belt before settling in the curve of his lower back. And when they finally did, it had felt as if they belonged there.
And very carefully, afraid that if he were to move too quickly the other boy would go running, Kurt had placed his free hand on the chest before him.
Under his palm, there had been a gently pounding heartbeat, and Kurt couldn't help but marvel at the steadiness of it as his own raced on. Finn, because it had to be Finn, had been so calm, so in control. There had been no awkwardness or shyness in the boy before him.
And as much as Kurt had loved that calm control, it had felt wrong, out of character. Finn, as much as he loved him, reminded Kurt of a hummingbird. Quick and easily distracted, the other boy was hard to pin down. But he'd tried to ignore it, to forget that Finn tended to be a little jittery and that he was never bold about his choices.
Desperate to ignore what his gut was telling him, Kurt had pushed the thought aside. He hadn't wanted to think or rationalize. He'd just wanted to feel that soft mouth on his again and that steady beating under his palm.
He'd looked up and tried to search the dark for any track of Finn's features again, and as he did, one of those strong hands had left his lower back. The loss of contact had sent a shiver through his body, and he'd wanted to protest. But before he could, before he'd known what was happening, Kurt's bangs had been brushed back softly, gently.
Kurt had leaned in to the touch, wanting more. But as soon as his hair had been straightened, the hand had returned to his waist. Once again, he'd searched the darkness for any sign of the person before him. But all Kurt had been able to make out had been a vague outline.
However, the next moment, that had no longer mattered. The hands at his waist had tightened their grip once, twice before those full lips had been on his once again.
And for one blissful moment, Kurt had been lost, caught up in a delirious wave of sensation, before reality had tried to creep back in once again. The mouth on his, so gentle and encouraging as it had pressed small, encouraging kisses to Kurt's lower lip, had been painfully soft. And Finn's mouth… his lips… were thin.
But despite what his heart had been telling him, Kurt had kissed back, praying that his nerves weren't obvious. Because for once, Kurt hadn't felt like a fierce diva. He'd no longer been oozing confidence or arrogance. Instead, he'd felt like a sixteen-year-old boy who was receiving his first kiss from someone completely hidden from him.
When the lips on his had parted ever so slightly, Kurt had let go of the necktie still clutched in his right hand. And the moment he'd been free of the thin strip of fabric, he'd trailed his hand up the other boy's chest. As his hand had slid over the soft cotton, exploring the contours beneath, Kurt's brain had fought to take over, to break through the blissful bubble of unknown sensation around him.
And even though he'd tried to fight it, his brain had begun pouring out all of the things he'd been trying to ignore…
Lips that were too full.
A chest that was too muscular.
A body that was too short.
A heartbeat that was too steady.
It had all been there, and his brain had known what his heart simply refused to believe. Kurt's mind had been screaming out that the other boy wasn't Finn, and he'd tried so hard to deny it. But he no longer could.
He'd wanted so badly to hold onto the idea that it was Finn, could be Finn, that he'd ignored his still screaming mind as he'd parted his own lips in response.
But the strangest thing had been that it had no longer mattered to Kurt that he didn't know who was holding him.
And when he'd felt the lips under his brush gently against his own again, Kurt had slid his hand up to the base of the other boy's scalp.
The moment his fingertips had slid over shaved skin and his palm had pressed against an all too familiar strip of hair, the world had fallen apart around Kurt.
The cheering of the rest of the glee club had disappeared so abruptly it had been almost as if someone had hit the off button on their iPod. And in the absolute silence, the only thing Kurt could hear had been the rapid-fire pounding of his heart as his blood had rushed through his ears.
He'd frozen, terror and confusion quickly overtaking him.
Struggling to push down the dizzying array of emotion, Kurt had tried to speak, tried to say the one thing that had kept going through his brain:
It was only one word, but it had covered so many things…
But before he'd been able to say anything, Mercedes had grabbed him around the waist and pulled him back into the sea of celebrating kids. Puck had let him go, not trying to hold onto him. And as his best friend had dragged him out of the wing, Kurt had searched the darkness for Puck's face.
But it had been impossible.
The moment had been over over, swallowed up by the never-ending blackness of the stage wing.
Just as the scene finished playing out in Kurt's mind, he dropped his hand from his mouth. But instead of looking away, he continued to stare at his reflection. He continued to try and find something in his face that hadn't been there that morning.
"Hey, Kurt. I just wanted to say goodnight and congratulations again." Burt's voice pulled Kurt out of his thoughts of Puck's lips against his own. Taking his eyes away from his own reflection, he saw his dad standing on the stairs looking down at him in the mirror.
Slowly, he turned and looked up at his father. "Thanks, Dad. I wish you could have been there today." And he really did. As much as he loved having his father cheer him on at the football games, Kurt really wanted his dad to see him sing.
"Me too, Kurt. But I couldn't find anyone to take over the shop today." Burt looked down at him apologetically. Kurt knew he'd tried; they'd both tried actually. In the end, there was just no way Burt could get away for a whole day. "But you had someone tape it for me, right?" Burt's voice was sincere.
"Of course. The film club was more than happy to actually have something to do for a change." Despite the mess in his head, Kurt smiled a little before remembering something. "Oh, the party?"
"Yep, that's fine. So long as you guys don't tear up the house." Even though he was being serious about his home, Burt smiled at his son. "I'm really happy you've made some friends, Kurt."
Kurt dropped his eyes slightly, choosing to look at his dad's feet instead of his face. Not because of his father's comment about him finally having friends, because that didn't bother him at all. But as his dad looked down at him, so obviously making an effort to be supportive, Kurt wished he could tell him about what had happened with Puck and how it made him feel.
However, as much as he wanted to talk about it with his dad, he just couldn't. Because as difficult as it was for his dad to deal with things like talking about boys, it was just as hard for Kurt. After sixteen years of trying to hide who he was from the one person who meant the most to him, Kurt was having a hard time adjusting to being fully himself around his dad. Deep down, Kurt knew that eventually things would be easier, but it was going to take some time.
And so, Kurt just nodded before meeting his father's gaze once again. "We won't." Kurt tried to smile at his father, but he knew he hadn't managed much more than a grimace.
It was a detail Burt didn't miss.
"Is everything ok? You've been acting strange since you got home." He looked down at his son suspiciously, and Kurt did everything he could do not to squirm in his seat.
"Yeah, Dad. I'm fine. It's just been a very long and stressful day." Kurt forced himself not to look away from his dad. "Really, I'm fine."
"Alright." Burt nodded, though he didn't look convinced. "Well, I'm here if you want to talk, ok?"
"Yes. Thank you." Once again, Kurt tried to smile at his dad, tried to project an air of calmness. And even though Burt was still eyeing him suspiciously, he nodded before turning and walking back up the steps. "Really, thank you. I… I appreciate that."
Burt stopped and turned around once again. He didn't say anything else about the subject. Instead, he just nodded at his son before telling him goodnight once again.
When Kurt was alone, he turned back to the mirror and his own blue eyes. He'd told his father he was fine. Though really, he was anything but.
Kurt was deeply in love with Finn, but the kiss with Puck…
No. He wouldn't let his thoughts go down that road. He couldn't let his thought go down that road.
Pressing his lips together to the point of pain, Kurt tore his eyes away from his own reflection. He wasn't fine, and part of him felt chipped, cracked, as if he were broken ever so slightly.
And as he flipped off the vanity light, Kurt could only hope that the wound, whatever it was, would heal soon.
Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- The title and opening quote for this fic come from the beautiful Weezer song, "Put Me Back Together."
- Quack: Thank you so much for all of your help. From the betaing to the banner and all of the times you've listened to me rant and rave. I appreciate it all. :duck:
- Reviews are love.