A/N: Hello :) Another one-shot... It's AU this time, set some time during 2x05, and, well, hopefully you'll enjoy it! Just for the record, I know nothing about cars, so I'm sorry if I'm spewing nonsense here and there. If you feel obliged to point it out, don't hesitate to do so. And... I hope I kept the characters somewhat in character. Not sure if I succeeded. Anyway, happy reading :)
Disclaimer: This is a fanfiction site. Of course I do not own Glee or its characters.
Blaine cursed inwardly as his car started making weird noises all of a sudden. Smoke seemed to erupt from underneath the front hood and he just knew that he should've seen a mechanic as soon as his parents had pointed out to him that it had been quite some time since the car had been checked over. Now he was still a couple of hours away from Columbus, where his parents lived, and his car probably wouldn't make it until there. Why had his parents forced him to visit his grandparents in Evansport this weekend, on his own nonetheless?
He quickly took the nearest exit, but then it hit him. Where in the world was he even? He really should have paid better attention to the road. Flicking on the navigation in the car, he slowed down a bit – he didn't dare drive too fast if he was going to be peering at the small screen, and who knew what would happen if he just shut the engine down entirely. It would be just his luck if he would be unable to start the car again.
He appeared to be in Lima – just fantastic, Blaine thought. Sure, he knew of the place, but he'd never been there. Well, there's a first time for everything. With great pain, he managed to find the nearest car repair shop around – just a few blocks down, by the looks of it. Hopefully he'd get there successfully.
"Come on, come on," he muttered to the car – and himself – as he drove through the deserted streets. He was glad that they were deserted, actually – that way, it was less of a hassle for him to get to the garage. He hoped that it was open, though – it was a Saturday, after all.
As he arrived on what looked like a small parking lot, his car promptly gave up. Barely having the time to pull the handbrake, Blaine yelped – oh, he was so happy no one was around to actually witness him doing so.
Climbing out of the car, he looked at the garage he had reached. It wasn't as fancy as Blaine was used to, but it could've been much worse. This one actually looked pretty decent, and open as well.
A tall man with a cap on his head walked out to greet him. "What seems to be the problem?" he asked once he reached Blaine, who could only gesture at the car helplessly.
"It uh… just suddenly broke down," he replied lamely. "There was a sputtering noise and smoke and… I guess that if this place had been fifty feet down the street, I wouldn't have made it."
The man – obviously not a talker – just nodded and opened the hood. More smoke came out, and Blaine tried (but failed) to hold back a cough. He should never become a mechanic, that was for sure.
After studying what was inside carefully for about half a minute, the man sighed. "How long has it been since anyone's taken a look at this?" he asked in a tone that indicated that he suspected to already know the answer anyway.
"Uh…" Blaine stammered, feeling like a little boy who'd done something he shouldn't have (which was probably the case, but whatever). "I don't know. A few years?"
Shaking his head, the man told him, "I was just working on some other cars, actually. Do you mind if – "
"No, that's fine," Blaine said hastily. "Take your time, I'm not going anywhere."
The man just blinked. "I was actually going to ask you if you would mind if someone else helped you out here. It's nothing that can't be repaired, by the looks of it, but it definitely needs to be fixed."
"Oh, sure," Blaine replied. "That's fine with me."
The man nodded again and walked back inside. Blaine just hoped it wasn't going to rain anytime soon. It would probably have been better if his car could be taken inside, but that wasn't going to happen, he thought. He could hear the man shout something to someone, and a minute later, Blaine heard footsteps.
Turning around, he was pretty surprised, to say the least. The boy – who couldn't be much older than Blaine himself, if he was even older than him in the first place – did not look like your average mechanic. When he started to speak, Blaine realised that he didn't sound like an average mechanic either.
"Sorry, what?" Blaine asked, having completely zoned out for a moment.
"I said, there's a coffee machine and some magazines inside, if you want to wait there," the boy repeated, passing Blaine and taking a peek at the car. "Yikes. What did you do?"
Blaine cringed. "I have no idea," he admitted, and the boy nodded, as if he'd heard that story at least a thousand times before. Given the fact that most people wouldn't know how to fix a car, that was probably the case. "And thanks, but I guess I'll just stay here."
Shrugging, but not looking up, the boy replied, "Suit yourself, then. Just so you know, there's no way I could make this any worse, so if you're concerned about your car – well, you should've thought of that before."
"I know," Blaine just responded, hoping that the issue could be dropped. He wasn't sure what to make of the superior tone the boy used, but it was a little unsettling. Besides, it was strange as well that the man from earlier had assured him that nothing too bad had happened to his car, and this boy made it sound like some enormous disaster.
Without him noticing, the boy had left, but soon, he was back, carrying a whole assortment of tools. As he started to work, Blaine just stood there, not quite knowing what to do. So he decided to just make some small talk. He didn't know if that was a smart idea – talking to a guy who was trying to fix your car – but something about this boy made him curious.
"You don't look like a mechanic," he started in a lame attempt to strike up a conversation, and the boy huffed. He didn't look up, though.
"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked, the air of superiority not having left his voice.
"Well…," Blaine started eloquently before drifting off. "I mean, the man that came out earlier… he looked like how I would describe a mechanic. But you… you're not really…"
"Manly?" the boy offered, sounding annoyed now.
"No!" Blaine said quickly. "That was not what I meant. You're not really big and burly and rough looking and stuff like that." God, he really was making a fool out of himself.
"Maybe that's because I'm not technically a mechanic," the boy told him, shrugging. Blaine did a double take.
"Wait… so they're just letting you fool around with my car?" Maybe he was wrong about this garage after all.
Now, the boy turned towards him and put his hands on his hips, glaring furiously. "Look, I've been helping out my dad here since I was four feet tall. So while I'm not officially a mechanic, that doesn't mean I'm going to break down your car even more. Not that that's even possible, but that's not the principle of the thing here."
"Oh." Blaine was lost for words for a moment. "That was your dad?" he asked, gesturing towards the shop. "Sorry, I didn't – "
"As do most people," the boy interrupted him, turning back to the car again. "I just help him out here in weekends, when there's no school."
"You're still in high school, then?" Blaine couldn't say he was very surprised, actually.
"Yes," the boy replied stiffly. Then, he sighed, and muttered, mostly to himself. "It could've been worse. At least you didn't ask if I was in middle school. That's happened far too often." As Blaine smiled at this, the boy added, "And don't you dare laugh. It's not funny."
"Sorry," Blaine apologised. "So do you go to school here in Lima?"
"What is this, a police interrogation?" the boy shot back. Before Blaine could reply, they were interrupted. By a phone.
The boy peeled off his gloves and fished his phone out of the overall he was wearing. As he turned around, Blaine couldn't help but marvel over the fact that this boy had really nice hands. No wonder he wore gloves while working on cars. Then again, his face had the same colour. Smiling slightly, Blaine decided that he might have found a new favourite skin colour.
Where did that come from?
"I'm sorry, Mercedes," the boy was now saying, "I can't go to the mall with you today." A brief pause, and then – "I'm helping my dad out at the garage." Another pause. "No, it's actually busy today."
Feeling a little guilty, Blaine stared at his shoes. Since that wasn't interesting in the least, he looked back up, and found that the boy was now facing him again. He was still on the phone, though.
"Oh, you'll do great," he told whomever was on the other end. "Besides, it's your first solo this year." Solo? Now that definitely caught Blaine's attention. "No, Mercedes," the boy continued, "she won't. Rachel's not going to steal it away from you." Then, more sullenly – "Yeah, I know. But I doubt Rachel will suddenly want to play a transvestite just so she can have that solo. I mean, she's crazy, but I don't think that'll happen. Mr Schuester won't let her."
Suddenly, the boy looked at Blaine, as if remembering only now that he was still there. Realising that he'd been staring quite blatantly at the other boy's face, Blaine reddened. He almost felt ashamed at having been caught, but on the other hand, what should he be ashamed of? He'd never seen quite a face like this boy's, which was, in one word, flawless. He could admire it, couldn't he?
Then, the boy spoke up again. "No, Mercedes, he won't rewrite the script so that Janet gets to sing all the songs, not even if Rachel would threaten to quit. That would be absurd." With a small grin, he added a few seconds later, "Of course you can go ballistic on him if he does."
The phone call lasted another minute or two, but Blaine wasn't listening anymore. Well, he was listening – to the boy's voice. Not to the conversation.
"So, what was that about?" he asked as the boy turned back to the car.
"Are you always this nosy?" the boy retorted, and Blaine felt offended for a moment, before realising that he wasn't exactly being polite.
He therefore decided against throwing in some cheesy pick-up line – that would be severely out of character for him anyway; besides, the boy's father was probably within hearing distance if the boy decided to call him, and Blaine had no car.
"Sorry," he said quietly. "I'm just…" He trailed off, unable to quickly come up with something.
"Bored?" the boy offered, and Blaine shrugged. That was part of the reason, at the very least.
"Yes, bored," he affirmed. "And… I don't know. I guess you're right. I'm curious." The boy just nodded, and Blaine figured that he'd better shut up. Although, one more question couldn't hurt, right? "Can you at least tell me your name?" He didn't think he'd ever asked for a mechanic's name, but this could be the exception on the rule, right? Especially since they had come to the conclusion earlier on that this boy wasn't really a mechanic.
The boy pushed himself away from the car and pulled off one of his gloves again. Holding out his right hand for Blaine to shake, he said, "I'm Kurt. And you are?"
"Blaine," he replied simply, feeling a smile coming up. Kurt eyed him oddly for a moment before giving him a small smile in return and then further inspecting the car.
"That was my best friend," he suddenly told Blaine, deciding that now was, apparently, a perfect time to respond to the earlier question. "She was in the middle of a fashion crisis and needed my help. I'm sure she'll be fine. And if not, we'll just hit the mall next week after school sometime."
"Hmhm." Blaine didn't know what else he could say to that. As he noticed Kurt scrutinising him closely for a second, he asked, "What?"
"Nothing," the other boy said quickly. "Just – nothing." After another minute, he added, "And she was worried about her solo. Our Glee club's trying to put together a performance of the Rocky Horror Show."
"Seriously?" Blaine didn't know what he was more excited about – the fact that there was actually a Glee club doing the Rocky Horror Show or the fact that Kurt was in a Glee club. "I don't think we could ever pull that off. No, I know we couldn't. Downside of an all boys school, you see."
"You're in a Glee club?" Kurt sounded just as surprised as Blaine had felt a minute before.
"I sure am," he replied confidently. "We're called the Warblers."
Kurt gave him another small smile and shook his head. "Never heard of it, sorry."
Blaine shrugged as Kurt grabbed another tool to work on his car. "That's alright. We haven't been able to get through Sectionals in years. For some reason, we're always up against Vocal Adrenaline." A second later, he added, "Wait. You're not in Vocal Adrenaline, are you?"
Kurt snorted. "No, of course not. I'm not a soulless automaton, thank you very much."
"That's a relief," Blaine told him, grinning widely. "So what group are you in?"
"New Directions," Kurt replied, and now it was Blaine's turn to look confused. Thankfully, Kurt didn't notice that. "But I suppose you haven't heard of us. We're pretty new, actually. The club was formed last school year, and when we came in third at Regionals in the spring, we thought we were done for. Somehow, we got another year to prove ourselves."
New Directions. Blaine had to remember that for whenever he was bored and didn't know what sort of stuff to watch on YouTube.
"But you're doing Rocky Horror?" Blaine asked. "That's pretty cool."
"Hmhm," was Kurt's only response.
"Are there any tickets available for that performance?" Blaine asked eagerly. He definitely wanted to hear Kurt sing now.
"If we can actually go through with it, I guess there will be," Kurt stated vaguely. "Unless this is some ploy of you wanting to spy on us just in case we'll have to face each other at Sectionals."
"I would never dream of doing such a thing," Blaine told him earnestly, but Kurt didn't seem to believe him. "Nobody at Dalton would. We're honourable like that." Well, that might have been an exaggeration, but Kurt didn't need to know.
"Dalton?" Kurt questioned, his voice muffled by the fact that he was speaking straight at Blaine's engine or whatever he was working on.
"My school," Blaine clarified. "A classic all boys boarding school."
"Sounds very honourable," Kurt remarked, and it took Blaine a couple of seconds to figure out that he was being (very) sarcastic.
"We are!" he protested. "Everyone is equal and gets treated the same."
"As wonderful as that sounds," Kurt retorted, "I don't see what it has to do with spying on potential competition."
Huh, that was a good one. "I suppose it's just not in our natures," Blaine said after a few seconds.
"So, let me get this straight," Kurt said, standing upright and stretching. "You go to an all boys boarding school where everyone is nice and honourable and equal? Because that sounds pretty surreal to me."
As if on cue, a car halted in front of the garage. The driver didn't pull into the parking lot, but left the car at the street. Four boys came out – tall, big, intimidating and gross, Blaine summarised for himself – and approached the two of them. Although, by the looks of it, they were approaching Kurt, who narrowed his eyes at them, but stayed where he was.
"Don't you have anything better to do? It's the weekend," he told them, and Blaine was surprised to hear the superior tone in his voice again. He didn't think he could pull something like that off.
"What's up, homo?" one of the boys sneered at him, moving closer and closer and then pushing Kurt backwards. He stumbled, but remained on his feet, fortunately not giving the other boys another reason to laugh at him.
"Is the little fag playing with cars again?" another boy mocked him, casting one glance at Blaine's car. "And who's this?" Apparently, Blaine wasn't doing quite enough to just blend in with the background. He didn't even know these kids, but they really reminded him of the bullies he'd had to face a few years ago. Why wasn't he doing something now? He could tell them to back off, or scream for help, or – anything. But he was just standing there, like a frightened little boy.
"A customer," Kurt said defiantly, his hands on his hips as he glared up at the four boys who surrounded him and were looking down at him as if he was some sort of prey.
"And does he know what you are?" the first boy asked. He must've been spitting at Kurt, for the smaller boy made quite a show of wiping off his face. "Does he know that you're a freak of nature? Fag," he spit again.
Blaine was still rooted to the spot. It was as if he was watching himself, all those years ago.
"Hey!" All six boys whipped around to see Kurt's father storming outside, a murderous glare on his face. "Get away from him!" The four boys hastily made their exits, climbing back into the car and speeding off.
"Thanks, dad," Kurt said in a small voice, staring at his hands. "I'm sorry. I didn't think – "
"You have nothing to be sorry about, Kurt," his father told him sternly. "It's those kids who should be sorry. They should be ashamed of themselves." He sighed. "Are you okay, kiddo?"
"I'm fine, dad," Kurt replied quietly. "Honestly. It's not as if they haven't done this before."
"Well, they shouldn't," his father said firmly. If anything, Blaine was even more surprised now. He knew he shouldn't stereotype, but he hadn't expected a man like this to be so… accepting towards people who were gay. He seemed so intimidating. But looks could really deceive, it appeared. "And you – " Now, the man turned to Blaine, and he quickly rethought that statement. The man was pretty intimidating, after all. "You just stood there, letting that all happen, like it's normal?"
"Dad," Kurt quickly interrupted. "It's alright. It's not like anyone at school ever does anything. Besides, he's – he's even shorter than I am, what could he do?"
"I'm sorry," Blaine said, for what had to be at least the third time today. "I just – all the bullying, it all came back. I thought I'd gotten over it, but… apparently, I haven't."
Kurt's gaze – he had such marvellous eyes, Blaine realised – was filled with wonder, but the man didn't look very convinced. "Bullying?" the man asked. "What bullying?"
Blaine took a deep breath. He wasn't used to talking about this, especially to total strangers. "The name-calling and such. It started in middle school, and it just continued to be like that in high school." He let out a brief snort. "Not that I lasted there for longer than a month anyway… It wasn't ever physical, but the mind games they play… they're just as bad."
"Why were you bullied?" the man asked him, and Blaine had to repress another snort. He thought he'd made it clear enough, but he knew he didn't completely fit the gay stereotype, so it wasn't overly clear.
With a quick glance at Kurt, he answered, "I – I'm gay."
Kurt seemed surprised, but his father just blinked, obviously not quite knowing how to react to that. "Right," he said in the end. "I'm – sorry, kid. Shouldn't have judged so quickly."
"That's alright," Blaine replied, shrugging – he knew that he himself had done the same thing. Besides, this had only shown him that there were really fathers who reacted well to the news that their son – or anyone else – was gay. Sure, his own father hadn't thrown him out or anything, but Blaine just knew that he wasn't exactly comfortable or happy with him.
While he'd been thinking, the man must've gone back inside, as he was nowhere to be seen. Kurt was still standing where he'd been standing before, but now he started to move again, offering Blaine a small smile.
"You don't… seem gay," he remarked tentatively. There were no traces of superiority in his voice anymore, only slight curiosity, and Blaine smirked.
"Well, and I, for one, never met a gay guy before who was so good at fixing cars."
Grinning a bit, Kurt turned his head towards the car. "Yes, well, it's not as if I've accomplished that much just yet. I really need to take a look at this from underneath."
As Kurt walked indoors to fetch some more tools to work with, Blaine stared at his car. He really hoped he could get out of this town before nightfall, but on the other hand – he kind of enjoyed talking to the other boy. Looking back, he wondered why he hadn't realised before that Kurt was gay. He didn't look or sound like average boys – not that that was a bad thing, far from it, actually – and his best friend – who was a girl – called him for fashion advice and –
"You okay?" It appeared that Kurt had returned; he was now watching Blaine with a vague hint of concern. "I repeat, if you're bored – there's a bunch of magazines inside."
"No, I'm fine," Blaine hastily replied. Before he knew it, Kurt had disappeared underneath his car. He heard a whole variety of noises for some time, and all the while, he stayed where he was. "Everything alright down there?" he asked at some point, almost crouching down next to the car.
"Perfect," Kurt responded, his voice sounding, once again, a bit muffled. "As a matter of fact, I think I'm quite done here."
And indeed, five seconds later, he emerged from under the car. "So are you finished?" Blaine asked, looking from Kurt to the car and back. "Is my car fixed?"
"A little patience would be nice," Kurt commented, but luckily, he didn't sound too annoyed. "No, I'm not completely done. It shouldn't take too long, though."
Blaine nodded as Kurt turned back to the hood of the car. "Do those bullies bother you often?" he asked, slightly curious, but also a little afraid of what the answer would be.
Kurt looked about to give him a snappy retort, but seemed to rethink that option. Instead, his posture slumped a bit. "Usually, yes. Hardly ever during the weekends, though. That must be new."
"They go to your school?" Blaine asked, hoping that he wasn't crossing some line here.
"Hmhm," Kurt replied, not looking up from whatever he was working on, "they do. So that's where they usually target me. But it's no big deal."
"No big deal?" Blaine repeated. "Kurt – "
"It's fine," the other boy told him forcefully. "Why do you even care?"
Blaine shrugged. "As I said, it reminded me of my old school. There were some bullies there."
"But?" Kurt asked, clearly realising that that was only half the story.
"As soon as my parents realised what was going on, they pulled me out and transferred me to Dalton," Blaine said simply. He still wasn't sure whether they'd done that out of concern for him, or for their family name. "We have a zero tolerance policy there. But – I get that Dalton's not for everyone. Tuition is kind of steep."
Kurt merely nodded as he continued working on the car, but Blaine thought he could almost see his brain working overtime. After a while, Kurt announced, "I think I'm done. Just let me get my dad – he's the professional, after all."
It didn't take too long for his father to check everything another time, and then he told Blaine to try to start the car – which, he was very glad to find out, was possible again. After paying for the repair – luckily, nobody asked any questions as to why Blaine even had so much money with him – he thanked the man and made to walk out of the shop.
Kurt was just putting away the tools he'd used and he smiled vaguely as Blaine approached him. "Thanks, Kurt," he said, "for helping me out here. I don't know what I would've done if it hadn't been for you." On a second thought – that sounded very cheesy. Blaine cringed inwardly.
"That's what I'm here for, isn't it?" Kurt just replied. "And well, you'd probably have had to wait a little while longer to get your car back."
"Yeah, alright," Blaine gave in. "But I'm sorry you couldn't go shopping with your friend because of me."
Kurt grinned. "Oh, there'll be a lot of opportunities for that, trust me. No harm done."
"Okay, if you're sure…" Blaine trailed off. "Anyway, thanks." Hesitating for a moment, he soon figured that he might as well ask. "Hey, maybe we could go for lunch some time, as a thank you for fixing my car?"
"You already paid for that," Kurt reminded him, gesturing towards the small office in the back.
"Yes, I did," Blaine admitted reluctantly. Why was this so hard? "But could we still go for lunch? It was nice talking to you, actually. I'd like to do that again."
Judging from the surprised look on Kurt's face, not many people told him this. "Uh – sure, I guess. We could – do that some time."
Positively beaming, Blaine recited his phone number, and then he swiftly entered Kurt's number in his own phone. "This way, you can even give me a Rocky Horror update," he told the other boy, grinning. "You know, when your performance will take place."
"I suppose so," Kurt replied. "But I don't think we should really talk about Glee club stuff. Not with Sectionals coming up, at least."
"You're probably right." Blaine grinned again. "Anyway, I'd better get going. I'll see you soon, then?"
With a small smile, Kurt nodded. "It wouldn't surprise me. Just make sure nothing's wrong with your car when you do."
"I'll do my best," Blaine promised as he started the car. He really hoped that the next time they'd meet, it would be under better circumstances. With a final wave, he was back onto the road, continuing on his way to his parents. He could hardly wait for that next time.
A/N: So, what do you think? Was it good, bad, somewhere in between? If you have any comments/questions whatsoever, don't hesitate to leave a review :)