Title: Come On and Jump
Summary: A secret moment during 'Mattress' causes Artie and Kurt's friendship to grow. one-shot.
With all the usual drama that had taken over their lives during the past few months; the most current one being the status of their spot in the yearbook this year, none of them could contain their excitement when Rachel had announced to the club that she had landed them a real live gig to perform in a mattress commercial.
They were told to meet up in the parking lot at 'Mattress Land' early Saturday morning to record the commercial. Most of the kids drove there together or rode their bikes or walked if they lived close enough.
Artie had been the first one to show up. His father liked to get an early move on things with how long it took to load and unload Artie and his wheelchair into their handicapable van and still have time to make it to his job on time. Artie had assured him that he would be okay waiting alone in the parking lot for the others.
Finn and Quinn had come next. Since Quinn was kicked out of her house and living at the Hudson's, they were constantly stuck together since Quinn's father had also taken away her car too. They were followed by Rachel on her bicycle and later by Puck and Mike on theirs. Mercedes and Kurt had driven together in Mercedes' brother's car since Kurt's father still hadn't returned his since the window busting incident. They immediately walked up to where Artie was sitting since the others had split up into their own groups and chatted away. Eventually Tina came walking from around the corner of the street to join them since her apartment complex was the closest to town. Last to come was Santana, Matt and Brittany being dropped off by Brittany's mom.
As they all stood out in the brisk air, talking amongst themselves in their own little cliques, except Rachel who was standing off to the side running through vocal practices, they were finally joined by the late coming film crew and director with his assistant. They all filed into the building and were immediately given periwinkle blue pajama sets that were fitting to each of their specific sizes to change into for the commercial.
The girls and boys huddled into the small respectively gendered bathrooms except for Kurt and Artie. Quinn and Santana had shut the girl's bathroom door in Kurt's face when he tried to sneak in with them and the boys room was already filled up enough even without Artie and his wheelchair waiting patiently outside.
Leaning up against the wall, his arm crossed over his chest and other one with his finger on the corner of his temple, Kurt glanced down at his wheel bound friend. Artie just sat there with his hands folded in his lap, resting on top of the folded blue pajamas, not looking at anything in particular.
"We always seem to be the last ones to do costume changes with this group, aren't we?"
Artie glanced up and smiled awkwardly at the sudden high pitch voice that broke the silence in the air.
"Yeah, seems that way." Another wave of silence fell over them. Neither of them knew why, but without the girls around to enhance their conversations, they always found themselves stuck in awkward silences. They were most definitely friends for sure; but mainly through their other friends.
Kurt had always had a soft spot for Artie. Ever since Artie moved to Lima back in the beginning of middle school, they've had their small interactions throughout the years; mainly due to getting bullied by the jocks for being different because of their own respective reasons. But it wasn't until they both grew close to Tina and Mercedes through Glee Club did they start to actually become more than acquaintances. But without Mercedes and Tina to conduct them, they normally found themselves unsure of what to say to one another when they were stuck alone with each other.
Kurt remembers how bad he felt during their mash-up battle a couple of months back. As much as he had complained about how he would rather be on the girl's team, he secretly felt more assured to continue sticking it out with the horrid boys because Artie was just as much of an outcast in their small group as he was. Except for those days when Kurt had to leave him behind to go with the rest of the jocks to football practice during his short stint as kicker. He had heard through the grapevine- aka Artie confided in Tina who told Mercedes who of course tells everyone- that he was really upset when he found out Kurt had joined the football team because now he was the only boy in the entire group that wasn't doing sports; as if he could if he wanted to anyways.
During a break from filming, most of the kids were still messing around and playing on the mattresses or hanging out at the snack table as most of the film crew went off for a smoke break or to readjust the lighting.
Kurt had taken place in front of the vanity mirrors they had set up for them and was fixing his already perfectly formed hair. But from the reflection in the mirror, he can see Tina sitting next to Artie who was still perched on top of one of the mattresses in the back of the room since it was too difficult to move him up and down from there. Plus it had caused the more muscularly strong boys to feel uncomfortable helping Artie up their in the first place so they kept their awkward distance as usual. It had been the first time they had seen him get out of his chair to climb up onto the mattress with a lot of practiced help from Tina since it was higher up than what he was used to.
Still staring in the mirror, Kurt sees Artie smile that great white smile of his and point towards the others and Tina nods and jumps up and joins them in their merriment.
Artie watches her with his smile still plastered on his face and Kurt thinks to himself that it's nice to see those two being friendly again. He didn't know what had happened but they were quite distant for a while until recently. Something neither of them had divulged to neither him or Mercedes but they had their suspicions.
Once Tina was out of sight, he saw Artie watch the group of joyful jumping kids, his smile faltering and turning into a thin line, eyebrows furrowing. He looks from the others down to his lifeless legs and back up again. Lifting his head and glancing around to see if anyone was paying attention to him but only seeing the back of Kurt's head at the mirror, he reached his hands down to the side of his seat and scoots his butt forward as far as it can go without him falling off the front. He lifts each leg off the foot stand and they barely grace the mattress' surface. He then pushes his hands down on his knees and causes his legs to move up and down, his feet slightly "bouncing". He looks up at the group of oblivious teens still jumping away and goofing around. Kurt sees a small sad smile appear on his face and then with a heavy sigh, he quickly pulls himself upright and settles back into his original position, putting his hands back into his lap and wringing his fingers together slowly.
Kurt suddenly stands up out of the canvas chair and walks over to the two closest Glee members he first comes across.
Matt and Rachel were resting on a nearby mattress, both tired from all the jumping. Kurt walked briskly up to them and sat in between them on the mattress. They both looked at him with questioning expressions because there was obviously a whole sea of spots for him to have sat but he chose the small space between the two of them. Matt uncomfortably scooted over until Kurt looked back and forth between them and made an announcement.
"Do you want to help me with something?"
Next thing Artie knew, Matt, Kurt and Rachel were crawling up onto the mattress he was sitting on and awkwardly walked over to him with smiles on their faces.
"Uh.. hey guys. What's.." glancing around, "what's going on?"
Kurt was the first to speak.
"How would you like to come jump with us for a bit?"
Now this got a hearty burst of laughter from him.
"Ha! What? If you haven't noticed- I'm kinda paralyzed here," gesturing to his still legs. Matt moved next to his chair and put a hand on his shoulder.
"No problem, dude. We got a plan."
Rachel held his chair still as Matt and Kurt gently guided him out of the chair and onto the mattress. Once they let go of his arms he promptly fell backwards, his head hitting the soft fabric. Both boys reached down quickly but were stopped with Artie putting a hand in the air.
"I'm alright. Don't worry, I just can't keep my balance on such a squishy surface." He patted the soft fabric around him.
"Well, we still need to get you into the center if this is going to work."
They reached down for him again, Kurt pulling his arms to get him into a somewhat upright position and Matt bending down from behind and wrapping his arms under his armpits and pulling his body towards the middle of the giant mattress.
It was a very strange sensation to have someone dragging your body when you could only feel half of it. Plus, he normally never had anyone besides his family and doctors touch him this close.
Kurt jumped off the bed and walked to the other side that was closest to the chair and Rachel helped him maneuver it down as gently as they could to the ground.
All the while, none of them noticed the lone cameraman, sitting off to the side during his coffee break, suddenly start shifting one of the long cranes with the camera on top over to them. He'd been in the business a long time and he could tell this was going to be a great shot.
Rachel and Matt stood on either side of Artie's prone body. Artie just laid there, hands clutched over his chest and staring up at them with a wary smile on his face. What they did next he did not expect.
They both jumped up simultaneously and when their feet landed on the springy surface of the mattress, it caused the area that Artie was laying on to bounce up, his body flying into the air a foot or so.
Unclasping his hands and letting gravity take over he closed his eyes and opened his mouth into a grand smile.
He could not believe he was actually "jumping" on a bed or as close as he would ever get in his condition. The strange yet exhilarating sensations he was feeling as his body bounced up and down on the mattress' springy surface was unbelievable. He couldn't remember the last time he had moved around so freely.
Kurt leaned over onto the mattress, resting his head in his hands as he watched Matt and Rachel bounce Artie up and down, the three of them laughing whole heartedly. He glanced up and saw a camera with a blinking red light straight above them and his eyes followed it over to an elderly man on the sidelines. Smiling, he waved his fingers over to him and the man gave him a thumbs up.
Over the next few minutes, Kurt had joined them and they bounced around together until they all gave one final big jump and landed on their backs. Laying there, out of breathe, the four of them glanced over at one another and laughed.
"Wow, guys! That was.. that was amazing!" He practically yelled as he closed his eyes and spread his hands out to the sides. "Thank you!"
Rachel turned over onto her side and spoke somewhat out of breathe herself, "It was all Kurt's idea. He thought you'd feel left out if you didn't get to join in on the fun too." Matt nodded in agreement.
Artie turned his head around towards Kurt who was laying in the opposing position above him. Reaching his hand up over his head and resting it on Kurt's shoulder and cleared his throat.
"Thanks, Kurt. Really.. thank you so much for this."
Kurt patted his hand over Artie's and smiled.
"No problem. What are friends for?"
The other kids eventually made their way over to them, announcing their break was over and that the director wanted them to film the final scene before it got too late.
They helped Artie back into his chair and gave each other a knowing wink and a smile. Departing into their designated spots, they finished filming the commercial.
All of them proud of how their full musical performance had turned out they were finally done for the day when the 'Mattress Land' owner congratulated and thanked them and sent them on their way.
After changing back into their clothes, they each departed into their respective groups and made their way home.
The last one, as always, to leave was Artie who was struggling to pull his corduroy jeans up over his bottom, which was exceptionally hard when he was doing it from a sitting position in his chair. After checking himself over he makes his way out of the bathroom to go meet his dad in the parking lot but was met by an obstacle waiting outside the door.
Kurt, who had stayed behind after Tina asked Mercedes for a ride home since she was too scared to walk home alone at night, peaked around the door and held it wide open so Artie could wheel himself out.
"So, I was thinking.." shifting from one foot to another, "Do you think your dad would mind if I tagged along and hang out at your place until my dad gets home from work? You know, maybe work on our math homework together or practice some songs for Sectionals?"
Artie just stared at Kurt with his mouth agape which quickly turned into a wide grin and nodded enthusiastically. He couldn't remember the last time he had a friend other than Tina come hang out with him outside of school.
Following the wheel bound boy outside to where Mr. Abrams was patiently waiting for his son, Artie asked his dad if it was okay if Kurt came along to which he warmly agreed to.
Settling themselves in the van, they both began to excitedly retell the days events of filming a commercial to which Mr. Abrams nodded along to their excited ramblings.
Though they both decided to keep their little adventure of bouncing Artie to themselves, it didn't last long until the commercial finally premiered on television to which everyone saw a quick flash of Artie "jumping" along with the rest of his Glee Club friends with joy plastered all over their faces.
Authors Notes: Okay, so I wrote this story way back at the end of 2009 and totally forgot about it until now. It's just a crappy one-shot of some friend-shipping for my favorite boys and I thought I'd give it a quick edit and get it outta my hair.
Artie and Kurt are totally my favorite characters on the show (followed closely by Tina) and I always crave more interactions between the only two non-jock boys in the Club.
And I LOVE me some 'Jump' from the episode 'Mattress' and totally threw Kurt in there as the mastermind behind Rachel and Matt bouncing Artie during the performance (which warms my heart immensely every time I watch it).
Writing fan fiction is not really my forte (I'm more of a fan artist- check out my homepage via my profile) but I enjoy the occasional stab at it even though I kinda suck- so sorry about any bad grammar or whatever, lol.