My but it has been some time! To my readers, if there are any left, I am so sorry it took so long to get this out. But here it is! The next part. There are a few more to come, and hopefully, I have the motivation back to keep it going! Thank you again.
The song this time: Let's Face the Music and Dance,written by Irving Berlin and made famous by the incomparable Fred Astaire and Steve Martin. Enjoy!
There may be trouble ahead
But while there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
Noodles and conversation and light looks of trepidation and embarrassment clouded the mind. Or maybe that was the unguarded smiles. And the tentative hope in Kurt's eyes. Or a combination there of. Regardless, Mike was fuzzy as they were shooed from the restaurant, a fond yet exasperated smile on the face of the battleaxe matriarch.
He blinked at the light and crisp air and shook his head.
"First time I've ever been kicked outta there," he murmured with a grin. Kurt just laughed, unguarded on the empty sidewalk. And Mike watched.
He had learned more about his companion dancer that night than he had in their entire history together. It wasn't entirely surprising that there would be some détente. There were still miles of walls and shields and masks, but Mike had been granted a look past them. If only just a little.
He learned of Kurt's family, his Father and Mother and the tragic circumstances surrounding that ordeal. He involuntarily shuddered lightly. It sat along with the pure anger he had felt for the boy. And the joy. And the sorrow, the depression, the defiant strength.
Kurt did nothing halfway, not even emotions.
"You're spacing," his companion murmured, nudging him with his shoulder in an extreme display of hetero-normative behavior that shocked Mike more than the voice. He blinked.
"Sorry," he said automatically, turning and grinning at the other dancer. "Just mulling over the night. Lot to process yeah?" His smile was disarming – or so he hoped – but his eyes were watching Kurt carefully. He wanted to see if it caused any movement.
And he was glad he did.
His comment made the other boy drop tempo, missing a step and scuffing the bottom of a pristine, and probably exceedingly expensive, shoe. His eyes widened slightly, a flash of something running through those light eyes. Kurt stammered lightly. And Mike stopped, turned to face him and take his hand gently.
"Hey hey, chill Tiny Dancer," he murmured eyes softening. "Don't think for a minute I'm regretting anything. I can see the gears working far too fast." He grinned and poked lightly between Kurt's eyes, making the other boy squeak ever so slightly and cross his eyes in a pout. "Just gave me a lot to think about tonight. Never knew so much Hummel Trivia." His grin faltered slightly at the look Kurt was giving him.
"Tiny Dancer huh?" the other boy replied after a while, an eyebrow arched imperiously and a ghost of a smile on his lips. Mike just grinned and blushed, turning to keep walking as he launched into his description of how that had come about.
He never dropped hands.
Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still
Have the chance
Let's face the music and dance
Friday night finished there for the dancers, and with a First Date high that left Mike elated. He practically bounded into his home that night, a phone number and a promise of a call tomorrow settled comfortably in his thoughts. His parents just watched with amusement as he spun in the kitchen, fingers dialing Brittany. He wanted to share, though somehow, he was sure that she already knew.
He settled into the night, aerobics and calisthenics bring his body up and his elation down, letting him think and reflect. The weekend would be safe. Insulating, isolating and controlled. He frowned, lapsing into his chest routine. That was where it ended however. That security was dissipated by school. Challenged by the idea of normality. He scoffed lightly, moving on to his abdominals.
Kurt was used to the ridicule. Mike had run away from that same idea. This was problematic.
He frowned, pausing in his actions to let the reality of his new found affection sink in completely. He was already bordering on the dangerous side of jock wrath. The hockey team had been looking a little more…primal recently. He'd never been slushied. It was something he'd seen, sure. Something he'd done? Never. He sat up, leaning his elbows on his knees and staring off at his wall. He licked his lips lightly, eyes narrowing in thought. This was what he had avoided.
Dating a diva meant leaving the shadows. It meant being center stage, in the limelight. And taking all that came with it. The good and the bad, the elation and the heart break. Suddenly, that happy dance was faltering drastically, teetering with uncertainty. He felt like someone on new legs, just learning how to take the complex steps that this dance in high school required. It was scary. And his hesitance, his falling off of that high, was what scared him more than the other jocks.
"Crap," he muttered to the empty room.
We'll be without the moon
Humming a different tune
It was a long night. Mike stumbled downstairs late Saturday morning. He had missed his usual run. And the usual epic breakfast his Father cooked on days when everyone was home. He rubbed at his eyes, all sense of dance missing from his movements. And it was almost as if his family could see. His siblings were away, his parents were quiet, and even Brittany was absent.
It made the dancer uneasy. He needed someone to talk to.
A frown crossed his face. It was unusual for Mike to frown on a Saturday morning. Saturdays were good. French Toast and runs and playing with his siblings and Brittany and laughing with his Dad and Mom. But now, he was brooding in the kitchen, sitting under this feeling of gloom and confusion. And no syrupy goodness. He frowned again.
Cold cereal and brooding. Yes. Mike Chang was feeling very off tempo.
He blinked as his phone vibrated on the table, the sound of Elton John's voice rising as the ringtone. He let a small smile cross his lips. Kurt. He answered quickly, trying to keep the trepidation form his voice. But his greeting was swallowed up but the rushed and upset sounds coming from the other side.
It was a blur really. Shopping at the poor excuse for a mall – Kurt's words – little blissful smiles and happy conversation in which he figured prominently. Much to the apparent delight of Mercedes and Tina. And then, in the food court, little rain clouds appeared.
Or rather big ones. In the form of Karofsky. And Rick Nelson. And Azimio Adams.
Mike gulped, asking what had happened.
They'd gone and taunted and picked, poking at his smile, at the sense of pride and progress. They'd seen him happy, enjoying himself, and they'd stepped on it. They grind it into the ground. Loudly. In public. And only the girls had defended him. People had watched, stared, laughed. Openly at this handsome, brave, amazing boy being torn apart in a public. And Kurt had yelled back saying –
"Wait, what did you say?" Mike interrupted, his eyes wide. He leaned forward in his seat as if the other man could see him.
"I told them that I had a boyfriend. A jock boyfriend," the voice through the phone said meekly. "I know that we had not agreed to such a label or if you were even interested. But I was just so mad. And I-"
"Did you give them my name?" he interrupted again, his voice tight. There was a cluck of a tongue. And the voice came back, also tight and with a touch of heat.
"No. I did not. But only because I had not talked to you before," came the voice. The voice huffed. "Is that a problem Mike? Because it did not seem like it last night." He paused. And it was the pause that let the voice continue, gaining strength. "For someone who talked so openly in New Directions, who held my hand in town and at dinner, you sound so shocked and strained at the idea of being associated with me as anything more than a passing acquaintance." There was a cluck of a tongue and a frustrated sigh. "I suppose I…expected better. No. I did expect better. From you." The voice was hurt. And before he could respond, the voice started again. "Figure it out Chang." And then a click. And silence.
And Mike stared. He had just stepped into the middle of this mess. He'd twisted his ankle in a waltz, sending his part off on his own as he stumbled, failing in his role, his only stride. His head hit the table before him and he groaned loudly. It was like he was new in school again. And everything was big and scary and all he wanted were the shadows. Except that wasn't true.
He wanted Kurt.
There may be teardrops to shed
So While there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance.
He could feel their eyes. Worried. And confused. And…well…intense. They were his parents after all. He could practically hear the argument raging in their head. Who would come over? Who would ask what was wrong? Who would field the question of what changed, what happened?
Mike screwed his eyes closed and stood, suddenly no longer hungry.
He padded to his room, flopped on his bed, and stared at his computer. Random pictures of his friends filtered across. Brittany showing off double jointed awesomeness. Tina and Artie before the split. Tina and him sharing a secret passion for Korean pop. Quinn looking beyond matronly and in charge. Even while glaring daggers at Rachel. And Finn and Puck going from friends to enemies. Santana always aloof. And Kurt.
He felt his breath hitch. Kurt. Tiny Dancer. The single strongest person he knew. And he'd managed to, with a single absence of comment, hurt that man. Mike groaned and turned away, throwing his pillow at the wall.
"You do realize that only helps in movies," his mother murmured, stepping calmly into the room, a soft chuckle in her voice. "Do you want to talk about it?" she asked, tilting her head. Mike swallowed, rolling over and looking up at his mother. He wished he was more like her. More analytical, more armored, more defiant of convention. She sat on the edge of his bed, arching an eyebrow in expectation. Mike swallowed. He'd never been…explicit with his parents about this. He worried. But if they let him dance…perhaps…
"So…do you remember Kurt Hummel?" Mike began, getting only a nod in reply from his mother. "Well…you know he's openly gay, right?" Another nod. "He's…gotten a lot of flak for it. Like…when we moved here? And I got made fun of for dancing?" Another nod, a flash of anger in her eyes. "Well…I…um…I really like him. A lot. And I took him out after our Sectionals win and…" he trailed off. Could he really voice this? He'd said he liked a boy and his mother had barely batted an eye.
"I'm scared Mom," the dancer whispered, pulling his knees to his chest. He waited, for a reaction, for condemnation, for something. Finally his mother made a sound. It was the sound that she made whenever someone in the house made a logical leap that missed the mark. He winced, looking up at her through the fringe of his hair.
"Well…you've never actually conformed to anything you know," she began, shooting him a look of affection. "You never let anyone stop you…until we came to this terrifying town." She made a face, rolling her eyes and Mike snickered. It was a well known fact that she desperately missed Chicago. "I suppose…what hurts is seeing you so worried…so concerned with what these people think." She reached out, brushing back some of his hair and smiled softly. "Leap, Michael. And don't look back. Because these people will always be here. And you have so far to go." She leaned forward, kissing his cheek and standing, looking at him with a wry arched eyebrow.
"Now go make up with this boy so I don't have to pay for a makeover. I hear he's rather fantastic at them. I expect him at dinner next Friday."
Mike just grinned. That was what his Mom did. Put everything in perspective. He reached for his phone, texting Kurt, asking to meet him Monday morning before school. The reply he got was terse, simply a fine. It gave him Sunday to plan and plot. Perfect.
He planned it out, begging his Father for an advance on his allowance, writing an I.O.U for extra chores. He then practically raced to Columbus, dashing into a store he knew Kurt would appreciate, Hermes. It was one of his Mom's favorites. And so he talked to the sales associate, being lead to a collection of scarves. His eyes landed on one, a red and blue blending into a soft, comfortable violet. Opposites in balance, in blended splendor. He grinned, laying down nearly a month's worth of yard work and babysitting.
Now, he was ready for Monday. Mostly.
He just had to figure out what to say.