Story Summary: A myriad of personal and financial issues lead to Kurt transferring back to McKinley, joined by Blaine who has his own reasons. Together they deal with the challenges that come with being the only outed couple at a public school.
Chapter 2 Summary: Finn spills a secret that divides Kurt and Blaine.
Chapter 2 Rating: PG-13
Chapter 2 Spoilers: Up to AVGC, to be safe.
Chapter 2 Word Count: 4,757
Chapter 2 Characters: Kurt/Blaine, Finn, Burt Hummel
Disclaimer: Living in Ohio and understanding Glee's Ohio-isms doesn't grant me any rights, I'm afraid.
"So, what's new at McKinley?" Kurt asked as he blotted his slice of pizza with a napkin. He still wasn't sure how or why he had ended up sitting on the floor with a pizza box. Finn must have texted in an order. He was rather sneaky when it came to food.
"You're almost as bad as Sam," Finn noted, ignoring the question and watching Kurt. "Do you hate yourself after eating hotdogs, too?"
Kurt threw him a disgusted look, nose wrinkled. "I don't eat mystery meat."
Finn threw his hands up in the air, defeated. Blaine nearly had to dodge his lengthy limbs.
"Maybe you wouldn't have such terrible body image if you actually minded your health," Kurt offered. "A fast metabolism won't take care of you forever."
"McKinley's awesome," Finn said, quickly changing the subject. "I mean, nothing's really changed. Brittany thinks you transferred to Hogwarts. Rachel wanted me to bug your choir room. Schue wants us to do a mash-up of 'Separate Ways' and 'Don't Stop Believing.' Santana cried all day. I thought we were going to have to call in a grief counselor."
"It was only a matter of time," Kurt mused. "And how's football?"
Finn shrugged. "Karofsky's off the team, like, for good. Beiste gave him a shot when he came back after you left, but he's like … pissed. All the time."
Kurt visibly shrunk and Blaine placed a hand on his knee.
"…Not at you!" Finn quickly added. He reconsidered this for a moment. "I mean, I don't think so, because he's just angry at everyone. Like, isolating himself. Lashing out for no reason."
Blaine moved his hand from Kurt's knee and intertwined their fingers.
"It's hard for me to be sympathetic after everything he did to Kurt," Blaine sighed. "But I understand what he's going through."
Kurt paled and glared at Blaine, shaking his head slightly. Blaine's eyes widened in realization, but it was too late.
"…Am I missing something here?" Finn pressed, eyes narrowing.
Kurt probably could've convinced Finn that he knew everything there was to know about the Karofsky situation, but his eyes were already beginning to water and his lips were trembling. It was pointless now.
"I thought you would've told your family," Blaine explained softly, regretfully.
Now it was really pointless. Finn looked like he was about to burst. He had to tell him, or else his clueless stepbrother would be left guessing and Kurt really didn't want any rumors flying around.
Blaine, damn him, took away the opportunity of backtracking by all but reading Kurt's mind.
"You have to let him know," he prodded gently, stealing a glance at Finn who was now red in the face with anticipation. "Kurt…"
Kurt pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers and closed his eyes, sighing.
"Finn, this is really personal. And it's not my secret to tell, so I need your word. You can't mention this to anyone at McKinley or even our parents. I wouldn't even be telling you if I didn't have to."
Blaine fidgeted at his side, but Kurt couldn't find it in his heart to actually be mad at him. In a way, Kurt thought he might feel better after telling someone else.
"Karofsky and I …we got in a fight in the locker room. He grabbed me and … he kissed me." Kurt's voice shuddered dangerously and Blaine visibly tensed at the words, his eyes briefly flashing with rage. "I didn't know what to do or who to tell. I didn't even know if I should tell anyone. But I couldn't just keep it to myself, so I told Blaine." Kurt threw a quick, loving glance at his boyfriend. Blaine immediately relaxed and smiled easily.
"When Karofsky found out, he said if I told anyone else he was going to kill me," Kurt continued at after a brief pause. "But you knew about the threat."
Finn could only stare at Kurt, mouth open and eyes wide. Kurt saw every relevant emotion flicker across his stepbrother's face – shock, wrath, disgust, distress. Kurt bit down hard on his lip and looked down at the forgotten, half-eaten slice of pizza on his napkin.
"I should have been there for you," Finn snapped, making Kurt jump. The taller boy got to his feet and began pacing the room. Kurt stood and Blaine followed in fear of being trampled.
"Finn, it's OK – "
"No. No, it's not," Finn muttered, his face falling in his hands. "I suck. I mean, you don't think I didn't hear from other kids about Karofsky cornering you at your locker or giving you a hard time? Of course I did! But when I saw you and you were all in one piece I didn't give it a second thought! I didn't even think … too worried about stupid football – Kurt, from now on I've got your back. No matter what."
Kurt took a second to digest Finn's words, nodding slowly. "Yeah, OK. I think you're having a memory relapse because I've heard this before and it's great and everything, Finn, but I'm not at McKinley anymore."
Finn suddenly looked very guilty. Guiltier than before. His face scrunched up and he shrugged a shoulder before turning to stare at Kurt's bookcase.
Blaine exchanged a look with Kurt and reached out, tapping Finn's elbow to get his attention. Finn flinched. He took in Kurt's baffled expression and groaned, shaking his head.
"OK. Christmas gifts aren't the only reason I drove here today," Finn admitted slowly, gesturing at Kurt's bed which was now overrun with unwrapped gifts from New Directions. Finn had stashed them in his backpack. A half-unwrapped plaid wallet from Puck was resting on the floor, abandoned. It had taken Kurt seconds to spot the Burberry knockoff.
"There's something I wanted to tell you," Finn continued. "Something that I thought you should hear from me instead of our parents."
Blaine's hand immediately grabbed Kurt's again. It wasn't until Kurt glanced over at his boyfriend that he realized he was being more protective than supportive. His eyes had darkened slightly and the way he was glaring at Finn was making Kurt more than a little uncomfortable.
"Finn, maybe this is something you shouldn't be talking about," Blaine warned, eyes still fierce. "Whatever this is, maybe you should just wait until Mr. Hummel – "
"Blaine, it's fine!" Kurt snapped, pulling his hand away and crossing his arms huffily. Blaine just stepped closer and placed a hand on the small of his back. Kurt looked as though he was going to swat him away, but Finn was pretty certain he saw his stepbrother lean against Blaine after sighing in resignation.
Finn held up both hands to signify he was about to begin his story. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He just stared at Kurt.
Kurt arched an expectant eyebrow.
"OK," Finn sighed, wiping his palms on the fronts of his jeans. He had intended on asking Blaine to step out, but by the way Kurt was now pressed up against his side he didn't think either of them would budge. So he screwed his eyes closed and spilled.
"I overheard our parents talking about your tuition here or something and they, like, weren't expecting that at all. So, um, you could commute I guess but it's a long drive and the snow …they just don't think it's affordable right now."
Blaine, so focused on Kurt's reaction, didn't have time to respond himself. To Blaine's surprise, Kurt's face didn't fall. He didn't throw himself into Blaine's arms and cry onto his shoulder. He didn't even tear up. He just frowned slightly. Almost curiously.
"I don't understand," Kurt said evenly, looking at Blaine as if he would have an explanation. "They've been paying the tuition. Or else I wouldn't be here."
Blaine eyed Kurt cautiously, still wondering why he wasn't currently having a panic attack. Finally, he cleared his throat.
"Month by month, sure. You haven't been here that long and you're a transfer student, so they didn't have to pay fall semester's full tuition. But the payment for spring semester will be one lump sum." Blaine chose his next words carefully in fear of offending Kurt. "They might be feeling a little intimidated by it."
Blaine braced himself for Kurt's hysterics or at least a 'but they knew about Dalton's tuition!'
But Kurt only shrugged a shoulder lazily.
"They wanted to get me out of McKinley so fast. Maybe they just didn't think it all the way through."
Finn and Blaine both stared at each other. Was this the same emotionally fragile Kurt they both knew?
"Kurt, you might have to go back to McKinley," Finn finally said, unsure if Kurt fully understood his message. "I mean, I don't think our parents – "
"It's fine, Kurt," Blaine snapped, intentionally cutting off Finn as he snaked an arm around Kurt's waist. "We can figure this out. Maybe talk to your parents about it? I can go with you back to Lima."
"Excuse me?" Finn fumed, causing both Blaine and Kurt to turn and stare. "I'm his stepbrother and this is a family thing."
Kurt shook his head wildly and put a hand flat on Blaine's chest, pushing him back in order to keep the two at a safe distance. "Guys."
"I'm his boyfriend!" Blaine replied as he brushed Kurt's hand away. He didn't move from his spot, though. Even in a rage, Blaine still managed to keep himself in check. But Kurt couldn't be sure how long that would last. "And I care about his happiness and his safety and I know he won't have either if he goes back to that school."
"Now wait – !"
"Guys!" Kurt all but screamed, covering his face with both hands and groaning irritably. Finn immediately silenced and Blaine prepared himself for the inevitable.
But the hysterics didn't come.
"If you guys think I'm going to have a nervous breakdown, I'm sorry to say you're both sadly mistaken," Kurt spat, glaring at both of them. "…Don't give me that look, Blaine. You don't have to hide all the sharp objects."
Blaine felt a laugh flutter in his chest, but he couldn't get it out. Finn groaned and shook his head, taking a deep breath.
"Blaine, I'm sorry, man," he apologized, face reddened with embarrassment.
Blaine just threw him a half-smile and nodded, but he could feel a panic attack of his own brewing in the pit of his stomach.
It took Kurt another half hour to convince Finn that he was fine and would deal with the situation as it developed and another fifteen minutes to actually get him out the door. Blaine had fallen silent during this time, sitting at Kurt's desk and mindlessly organizing his mechanical pencils by color.
He was doodling on a notepad when Kurt walked in after escorting Finn to Dalton's parking lot. Glancing up briefly, he flashed a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes before turning back to the task at hand. Moments later, Kurt's arms wrapped around him from behind. He felt Kurt's hair tickle his ear and warm breath coast across his neck before soft, perfectly moisturized lips pressed against his nape.
Kurt responded by pinching his skin between his teeth gently.
Blaine tensed and rolled his shoulders back sharply, forcing Kurt to back away. Kurt let out a small squeak of surprise and stormed over to the bed, grabbing their melted desserts off of the nightstand and tossing them into the trash.
Blaine immediately regretted his reaction. Kurt's face was flushed with embarrassment and his eyes were already blurred. As comfortable as they were with each other, Blaine had to remind himself they had only been together for a little over a month. Kurt was still recovering from not only Karofsky's aggression, but also from being denied by everyone he had ever developed feelings for. Blaine was not oblivious to Kurt's brief interest in Sam or his past adoration for the boy who was now his stepbrother. Even for a second, Blaine could not allow himself to fall into the category of people who had pushed him away.
"I'm sorry," Blaine blurted, standing up from the desk and following Kurt with his eyes. When Kurt sniffed lightly and didn't respond he crossed over and pulled him into a hug, kissing the tip of his nose followed by a light brush of the lips. "It's not your fault this is happening. I just … don't want you to go back there."
Kurt grabbed Blaine's hand and brought it up to his lips, kissing his palm. "It's not like we would have to break up." Alarm suddenly flashed in his eyes and he took a step back. "Right?"
"Of course we're not going to breakup," Blaine said, placing his hands on either side of Kurt's face and pressing their foreheads together. "Our relationship is probably the least of my worries. I'll miss you, yes, but distance isn't going to hinder my feelings for you in any way."
Kurt blushed and ducked his head down. "I want to hate you for being so cheesy right now."
Blaine grinned and shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic and all of my sister's chick lit novels … well, they've given me a way with words."
Kurt rolled his eyes and punched Blaine's arm harmlessly. Blaine grabbed his wrist and pulled him forward into a kiss.
Just as Blaine was beginning to back him up against his bed, Kurt remembered they had actually been having a conversation. Blaine was OK with the distance, sure, but hadn't he said something about not wanting him to go back?
Blaine suddenly reached down and grabbed the backs of Kurt's thighs, pulling his feet out from under him so Kurt's back slammed against the mattress. Blaine, still standing, settled in between his legs and was over him in seconds, kissing the confusion off his face.
As nice as it would be to give in and talk about everything another day, Kurt knew there were quite a few things left unsaid.
"I know we teenage boys are only capable of thinking about one thing at a time, but could we perhaps revert back to what we were originally discussing?"
Blaine straightened back up, looking put out but understanding – like he had known they couldn't just abandon the topic. Kurt untangled his legs from around Blaine's waist and perched himself on the edge of the bed, staring at his boyfriend as he ran his next words through his mind.
"Look. I know you don't want me to go back because of Karofsky. But I'm not as afraid of him anymore. I mean, I'm never going to be comfortable around him. My heart isn't going to stop pounding in my chest every time I see him in the hallways. But I'm not going to let him take advantage of the fear that I do have. I need to learn to take care of myself. I did the exact opposite of what you told me to do and I ran away."
"No. You followed my advice and you were practically sexually assaulted," Blaine spat, remembering Kurt's panicked texts that eventually led to him bawling on the phone with Blaine, hiding out in McKinley's auditorium. He had never felt so guilty – so stupid; knowing that he had inadvertently caused those sobs that caught in Kurt's chest, leaving him unable to breathe for several seconds. He had never driven so fast in his life.
Kurt shook his head, unfazed. "You had the right idea, though. I should have stayed."
"He threatened to kill you!" Blaine cried, passing a hand over his face and through his disheveled curls.
"Maybe so," Kurt responded quietly. "But I shouldn't have left. Running doesn't solve anything. Not everyone like us has the same opportunities you do – the opportunity to stay here, protected. I was stupid enough to think that I could do the same. But I can't. And now I know that I need to go back. I mean, after everything I've read and learned about Matthew Shepard and Brandon Teena … and now all of those suicides this year … being here just doesn't feel right."
"Well, getting through the next year and a half of high school isn't going to bring any of them back!"
Kurt blinked up at him, manicured eyebrows furrowed. "Well, no. But if I could inspire someone … anyone. That would be enough."
Blaine scoffed and rolled his eyes. He blurted his next words without a second thought. "Who are you – who are any of us, for that matter – going to inspire from here in Ohio? The middle of nowhere?"
Kurt's face flushed red for the second time that night, but this time from anger. He stared down at Blaine's shoes, too furious to actually make eye contact. "I think you should leave."
"Kurt – "
Kurt stood up and crossed his arms tightly over his chest, now staring directly at his boyfriend. "I get that you're upset because I might be transferring back. Really, I do. And I know it's that anger speaking and not you." His voice cracked. "But that doesn't give you an excuse to be this mean to me."
Blaine sucked in a sharp breath and closed his eyes, nodding. No point in trying to fight this when he knew he was in the wrong. "I know. I'm sorry. I'll come by tomorrow, OK?" He took a step forward and placed a quick kiss on Kurt's cheek before he could pull away. "Sometimes I wonder if I love you as much as you deserve."
Kurt softened at this and his lips turned up in a slight, barely noticeable smile. "You should know that you inspire me. More than anyone else I've ever met."
"Ditto," Blaine replied, reaching out tentatively to touch the side of his face.
Kurt blushed and shooed him away with a wave of his hands. "Get out of here before I forget why I'm mad at you."
Kurt was eternally thankful for his lack of a roommate. It meant an extra wardrobe and plenty of opportunities to spend time with Blaine without fear of being interrupted during their more heated moments.
Tonight, though, he was just happy to be alone in his room with his dad on the other end of the phone line.
Blaine had been right – they had been paying the tuition monthly and the total sum of spring semester's tuition was out of their price range.
"I couldn't just let you stay there," his dad told him. "Carole and I didn't think. We just acted. Kurt, I'm so sorry I'm putting you through this but the dean won't put us on a payment plan. There are other high schools in our area. You don't have to go back to McKinley."
His father, of course, didn't believe him for a second when he said he actually wanted to go back to his old school and would refuse to go anywhere else. Burt Hummel eventually caved, muttering something about Finn finally getting his act together so maybe things would work out.
"I'll drive home tomorrow and we'll talk more about it," Kurt promised. "If you want me to be happy it has to be McKinley, dad."
"We'll see," his dad grumbled. He could hear Carole and Finn talking in the background. "See you tomorrow. Love you, kid."
Kurt woke up to a vase of lilies on his nightstand and Blaine sitting in his armchair, a smile plastered on his face and a Venti coffee in his hand. Kurt blinked once in alarm before rolling over to muffle his laughter in his pillow.
"This is unsettling," he finally managed, sitting up and throwing the blankets back. "Are you going to turn out to be one of those manipulative boyfriends who shower their significant others with material objects just to make them forget why they're furious? Because I could get into that."
Blaine laughed out loud and shook his head, moving to sit next to Kurt on the bed. He placed the coffee cup in Kurt's hands. "I just wanted you to know how sorry I am for last night. I was being idiotic and cruel. It's like I said. You inspire me everyday I'm with you. And when you make it big and you're performing on Broadway every night and you become a household name and win a Tony … you're going to inspire everyone else, too. Guarantee it."
Kurt just rolled his eyes and delicately took a sip of his coffee before putting it on the nightstand. "Flattering and true. Let's not forget the Oscar for the film adaption of whatever musical I star in."
Blaine bumped his shoulder with his own, trying to catch his eyes. "We're good, then?"
Kurt hesitated. "As long as you're OK with me going back to McKinley."
Blaine caught his bottom lip between his teeth and nodded. "Not thrilled. But I get your reasons, I guess, and I want you to be happy, so …" He shrugged. "It's fine." It took a moment, but he managed a genuine smile. "It's fine."
Kurt smiled softly. "In that case, apology accepted." He leaned over and captured Blaine's lips in a chaste kiss. "How'd you get in my room?" he asked after pulling back.
Blaine shrugged innocently. "Being close friends with a resident adviser has its perks. Wes can't resist my charms any more than you can." He walked his fingers across the small space in the mattress between them and put his hand flat on Kurt's thigh.
He ran a finger up his side.
Blaine's face burst into a grin and he pounced, pushing Kurt back against the mattress and attacking his sides and underarms with an onslaught of tickles. With the way Kurt was screaming bloody murder, it wouldn't be long before a worried student came knocking.
Kurt started to kick and trash beneath him so Blaine eventually relented, letting his forehead fall down to rest on Kurt's shoulder as he shook with laughter.
"You know I hate that," Kurt whined, wriggling out from under him and combing a hand through his hair, correcting the part.
Blaine rolled over and threw an arm over his eyes, still sniggering. He eventually calmed down and smiled up at Kurt, face glowing from their squabble. "Can we just stay in bed all day and watch movies? Or Saturday morning cartoons?" He held his arms out to Kurt and gave him a how-can-you-resist-this? pout.
And for a moment, Kurt couldn't resist him. He crawled into Blaine's arms and rested his cheek against his chest, listening to his heartbeat. He sighed and closed his eyes, basking in the warmth and security he always felt in Blaine's embrace.
"That sounds wonderful," he admitted after a moment. "But my dad called last night and told me everything. I agreed to drive home today so we could talk. Weigh our options and whatnot. Maybe even tackle the transfer paperwork." He rolled off of Blaine and hopped out of bed. "I should get on the road."
Blaine watched as Kurt changed from his satin pajamas into a dark pair of formfitting jeans, a tweed v-neck sweater and knitted Ugg boots. Blaine looked down at his own oversized Ohio State t-shirt and flannel pants. It was a miracle Kurt could even stand the sight of him.
"You look nice," Blaine offered.
Kurt shrugged nonchalantly as he slapped an unidentifiable white cream onto his face and rubbed it in. "Travel clothes. Could you hand me my bag? I think my keys are in there."
Blaine grabbed Kurt's satchel off the floor. Just as he began to search for the keys, he hesitated.
"Hey, let me drive you." He met Kurt's scrutinizing expression with an endearing smile. "Seriously. I need to drop a few books off at my sister's apartment and she's on the way. Then I can actually meet your dad and Carole."
"You met them when I moved in."
Blaine shrugged. "Barely. It's not like we have to tell them we're exclusive. Not if you don't want to. But maybe it would be nice for them to get to know me on a personal level before we spring the whole relationship thing onto them … I have to meet them eventually, Kurt," he added when his boyfriend still didn't look very convinced. "And from what you've told me, I'm pretty sure they're going to be OK with the idea of us."
"They will be," Kurt agreed. "Carole's going to swoon over you and my dad might be a little nervous at first, but I know he'll be happy for me. You can come, I guess, but let's wait awhile before we spring this onto them, OK? Dad already feels guilty enough for having to pull me out of Dalton. Imagine how terrible he'd feel if he found out I actually have a boyfriend here. I need them to know I'm going to be happy back at McKinkely."
Blaine mulled this over and nodded, grabbing Kurt's coffee and placing it back in his hands. "Fair enough. Drink up, finish getting ready, and I'll go change." He seized his chin gently and angled it down just enough to steal a kiss. "Be back in a few."
Blaine's traveling getup didn't hold a candle to Kurt's. They consisted of a pair of Old Navy jeans that had Kurt wrinkling his nose in distaste and a Dalton sweatshirt. He didn't take the time to smooth out his curls or put in his contacts but somehow, Kurt thought, he managed to pull off the low-maintenance look.
"Oh yeah. Dad's never going to think we're dating," Kurt praised, poking at a curl as they made their way across the snow-coated parking lot to Blaine's jeep. "I'm having flashbacks to the first time I saw you out of uniform."
Blaine grinned and hooked arms with him. "You weren't too traumatized. I took that as a good sign."
They spent the next hour and a half in the car with Blaine's iPod hooked up to the stereo system, blasting out what Kurt assumed were Billboard's top hits. Kurt was able to appreciate the song choices for the most part, but he could only take so much Rihanna. It took some convincing, but he eventually talked Blaine into switching over to his RENT playlist. Even then they couldn't decide on the film's soundtrack or the original Broadway recording. Blaine preferred Rosario Dawson as Mimi, but Kurt was a purist and wanted to listen to it 'just as Jonathan Larson had intended.' So they alternated.
Blaine was belting out Roger's part of "What You Own" when they passed an exit sign and Kurt realized they were already in Westminster.
"Wait." He reached over and turned down the volume, gaining a glare from Blaine. "I thought you said we were stopping at your sister's apartment."
Blaine turned the volume back up, keeping time with the music by tapping his hand against the steering wheel. "Yeah, she lives in Fort Shawnee. It's a little out of the way. Is that OK?"
"It's fine," Kurt answered, shocked. "I just didn't know Molly lived here."
Blaine shrugged. "She's an art teacher at Shawnee High. She got the job right after she graduated college in the spring, so she was willing to take whatever she could get."
Kurt sunk into his seat and stared out the window, uncharacteristically silent. Blaine frowned and pressed pause on his iPod before reaching out to brush Kurt's hand. The other boy jumped slightly and turned back to face him.
"You all right?" Blaine asked, eyebrow cocked.
Kurt was all smiles. "Just thinking."
And then it dawned on Blaine. Kurt's thoughts were still on school districts and transfer papers. But for a different reason this time.
To be continued.