74, 786 Words.
More awesome readers than I imagined.
A damn good time.
I hope you enjoy this final installment of Cirque. As promised, this one will make you smile where the last one made you cry. :)
Edit: at the request of a reader I've written a short companion piece about Burt watching his son perform in the Cirque for the first time entitled "Soaring", so if you'd like please check it out! :)
Cirque de Joie
Kurt was busy making breakfast in the kitchen as his father descended the staircase, clad in a blue plaid robe and a pair of worn flannel sleep pants. It had been a month or so since Kurt had returned to Lima and school had started back. To Kurt's relief, the bullying had died down significantly. It seems the school board had caught a whiff as to why Kurt had run away in the first place and instilled stricter discipline on bullying. Kurt still faced snide comments in the halls, but there was no physical violence.
Nor was there any sign of Karofsky. Kurt had heard he and his father had moved. Kurt was just glad he didn't need to worry anymore.
"Pancakes?" Burt asked, trying to stifle a large yawn. Kurt nodded and flipped one of the cakes, the batter sizzling on the pan. Burt fixed himself a cup of coffee before settling in the living room. Kurt heard the TV click on and he sighed, looking down at the ring that adorned his middle finger on his left hand, mind straying back to events a month prior.
When Kurt had walked into the house that night, Burt had rounded the corner with a shotgun, afraid it may be a burglar. The moment he'd seen Kurt standing in the door way he'd dropped the gun and descended the steps with a speed Kurt didn't think his father possessed. In seconds Kurt was surrounded by his father's strong arms.
"Kurt," Burt said softly, holding his son in an iron grip. "You're home." Kurt had bit his lip and buried his head in his father's shoulder, letting tears slide silently down his face. They stood in silence for what seemed like eternity. Kurt breathed in that familiar scent that was his father. He'd forgotten how much he'd missed it these past months. Even though he was sure his father had showered, he could still smell the scent of gasoline and axle grease, and it was glorious. For a moment, nothing mattered except that his father was happy.
After their reunion, Burt and Kurt sat across from each other dinner table in the kitchen. Kurt explained everything to his father- his reasons for running away, the Cirque, the aerialists, Blaine. Kurt had withheld the part where he had broken his arm. He didn't want to worry his father even more and besides, he was all better now. As he relayed his story, Burt sat and listened, fascinated in what his son had gotten into over the summer.
"Kurt, I'm sorry you felt like you had to run away," Burt said, hands wrapped around a large mug of coffee. "And I'm sorry you had to leave the circus." But couldn't help but hear the deep longing and fondness that tinged Kurt's voice, the sadness when Kurt explained Blaine seeing the newscast.
Kurt sighed and took a sip from his own coffee mug. He didn't know what to feel. Blaine was now long gone from Lima and he was stuck back where he'd started.
"Dad, I love you," Kurt said, staring down into the dark liquid. He hadn't even added any sugar or cream. It was as dark and bitter as he felt. "But I'm so afraid of going back to that hell. I don't want to be terrified again." Burt stared at his son and took in his appearance. Kurt looked much healthier than he was when he'd ran away, and the way Kurt spoke of this circus he's joined made it seem like heaven. The man sighed and closed his eyes, pain slightly pulsing in his head from the overwhelming swell of emotions he's experienced in the past hour and a half. Kurt just continued to stare at his coffee, unwilling to say more.
"Let me tell you something," Burt said, adjusting himself in his chair, light eyes staring fixed at his son. "I love you, Kurt. I'll always love you no matter what and I'll be damned if I'm going to let what happened to you at school happen again. My number one goal in life is your happiness." Kurt looked up, glasz eyes inquisitive and curious. Burt cleared his throat and leaned forward in his seat.
"How long does this circus-thing run for?"
After that conversation with his dad things seemed much brighter, though Kurt still felt a pang in his chest whenever he thought of Blaine or anyone else from the Cirque. It was only September and summer seemed a million light years away. Kurt wished the days would fly by as quickly as the summer had.
The first time Blaine had contacted Kurt was two days after Kurt had been returned to his father. Blaine told Kurt that they were now getting ready to head towards towns and city much farther away than their summer circuit. Kurt's heart sank, but he was happy to hear Blaine's voice again.
"I have something to tell you, Blaine," Kurt said. Blaine listened with interest, hardly containing his excitement when Kurt told him the news.
"Are you serious?" Blaine exclaimed, clutching the pay phone tightly in his hand. Pedestrians stopped to stare at him for a moment. Blaine felt heat rush to his face and he laughed nervously.
"I am," Kurt said, becoming excited all over again. "It's only for the summer months but think about it! Will you talk to Will for me?"
"Of course!" Blaine said happily. "I'll talk to him and tell everybody!"
"No, just Will," Kurt said, trying to calm his voice to normal speaking volume. "I want to keep it a surprise." Blaine sighed but agreed to keep their plan a secret.
"I have to go, Kurt," Blaine said reluctantly. "I need to go hang up fliers." Kurt couldn't help the disappointment that laced his voice, but he knew Blaine had to do his job.
"Okay, I love you."
"I love you too, Kurt," Blaine said, putting all of his feeling in his words. "I'll be in touch soon."
Months passed. Some flew by as if caught in a strong wind. Others crept along as slow as icebergs. Blaine was counting down the days until summer. He could barely keep his and Kurt's secret. Will had been positively elated when Blaine told him the news and agreed to keep the plan a secret. Blaine wanted to tell Mercedes more than anyone, but he kept his promise. Instead he kept himself busy learning new routines with the aid of Mike, Santana, and Brittany. It was hard work, but Blaine learned more and more every day.
He kept in touch with Kurt often, but he'd been unable to visit him despite his promises. Kurt understood though, as much as he hated it. Phone conversations would have to do for now.
Months passed by and the weather shifted from autumn to winter, then spring. Soon it was May, almost June, and Kurt was busy running around the house with the unstoppable force of a man on a mission. Burt watched with amusement from the living room, not daring to get in his son's way.
"Need any help?" Burt asked as Kurt ran down the stairs, carrying a large bag behind him.
"No, just get in the car," Kurt said, chest heaving. Burt chuckled and shook his head, standing up from his armchair.
"Kurt, it's eleven o'clock in the morning. At least stay and have some lunch with your old man before you go off and leave for the summer." Kurt stopped in his tracks, eyes softening.
"Of course, Dad," Kurt said, stepping towards his father. "I didn't mean-"
"I know, Kurt, no need to go on a guilt trip," Burt said, silently berating himself for his choice of words. "Make us a couple of grilled cheeses and we'll talk about a few last minute details." Kurt reluctantly smiled and nodded, turning to enter the kitchen. Burt sighed, plopping back down in his chair. He was too old for this.
"Blaine, what is with you?" Mercedes asked, unloading the last of her things from the truck. "You're acting like the sky is going to fall any minute."
"Oh, nothing Mercedes, nothing," Blaine said, eyes darting all about, as if something was going to appear out of thin air and jump him at any second. He'd been like this since early this morning and everyone in the Cirque was on edge because of it. There seldom were secrets between the Cirque members and Blaine's uneasiness was making them nervous.
"Just calm yourself," Quinn said as she walked by, carrying a large box of sequined costumes. "You're going to give yourself an ulcer." Blaine scoffed and looked around again, eyes scanning for any glint of a windshield, ears scanning for the sounds of wheels on gravel.
Will noticed Blaine's anxiousness from his seat by the large, transport trailer and walked over to the boy, patting him lightly on the shoulder.
"He'll be here soon," Will whispered in Blaine's ear. Mercedes sighed, not able to hear Will's comment. Blaine nodded and sighed, leaning against the truck. Will nodded at Blaine before walking away, twirling his cane in his hand as he whistled a merry tune.
"Okay, what is going on?" Mercedes asked, hands firmly stationed on her hips. "Secrets don't make friends, Blaine."
"I know, but bear with me. You're going to be thrilled," Blaine said with a smile. "Trust me."
Just then Blaine heard the crunch of gravel under tires.
"Blaine, what are you doing?" Mercedes asked as suddenly, Blaine launched towards the car. She grabbed him by the collar and jerked him back.
"Mercedes!" Blaine choked.
"What is up with you boy?" Mercedes asked, having not seen the Expedition that was steadily coming towards them. Blaine shook his head and looked over to the car, which had stopped right by the large trailer. Blaine froze as he saw the driver's side door open. Burt Hummel stepped out of the car, looking tired but amused, and pulled out a large bag and slung it over his shoulder. Blaine saw Will begin to walk over to Burt, no doubt seeking to discuss how the summer Cirque was going to run and how Kurt would be living for three months. Blaine bit his lip, eyes glued to the passenger's side door. He heard Mercedes ask who "the bald dude" was, but he couldn't get his mouth to work.
Just then the passenger's door opened. Blaine's eyes widened and he took a step forward. A figure stepped out of the car and stood up, elegantly brushing back a stray bang as he did so. The figure turned and beautiful glasz eyes landed on Blaine's form. Blaine's face broke out into a wide grin.
"Kurt!" he exclaimed, launching out of Mercedes's grip. He heard her squeal in delight behind him. Blaine sprinted over to the car, rounding the door and grabbing the young aerialist by the waist.
"Blaine!" Kurt exclaimed as Blaine lifted Kurt into the air, spinning him around as if he weighed no more than air. Kurt laughed and wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck. Finally, Blaine placed him back down and grabbed Kurt's face, smashing their lips together in a bruising kiss. There was nothing else in the world at that moment, nothing but the two boys wrapped around each other and kissing like they've spent an eternity apart.
There was a commotion as everyone in the Cirque ran out to see what was going on. They all gathered in a group and watched as the two aerialists were reunited once more.
"He's back!" Mike exclaimed, looking at Tina with a bright smile. Brittany clapped in delight and Santana just gave her signature smirk. Quinn and Mercedes grinned at each other. Everyone else looked on with a smile, feeling like their family was complete once again.
Blaine finally pulled away from Kurt, not knowing whether to kiss him again or explode from the pure joy that he felt buzzing in his body, setting off synapses and shocking him through his veins.
"I've missed you," Blaine said, looking into Kurt's eyes.
"I've missed you too," Kurt said, smiling wider than he had all year. He felt complete again, like a lost puzzle piece that was finally put back into its place. Blaine took hold of Kurt's hand and grinned at him, looking down to see the ring he'd given Kurt those many months ago. Kurt just gave Blaine a knowing look and smiled.
Kurt's eyes darted to the crowd that observed their interactions and smiled at them. He could see Mercedes practically bouncing from excitement. Blaine followed Kurt's gaze and laughed to himself.
"C'mon," Blaine said, tugging at Kurt's hand. Kurt nodded and followed Blaine. He looked over to his father, who seemed to be in a deep discussion with Will. Kurt just sighed and continued on, knowing he'd get to have his goodbyes with his father soon.
They approached the group. Kurt looked over the faces he'd seen only in his dreams for months. They all stared back at him, seeming like a mirage and a tangible essence at the same time. Mercedes automatically ambushed him with a tight hug, which he returned happily. They laughed at each other and Mercedes pulled away, her bright smile like its own sun. Quinn and Brittany also gave him a hug, telling him how much they'd missed him these past few months. Mike stepped forward and shook his hand.
"So glad you're back," Mike said with a grin. "Blaine's had to deal with Brittany by himself." Kurt raised an eyebrow and looked at Blaine, who just shook his head.
"She's just more of a handful than I anticipated," Blaine said, the corners of his mouth curling upwards. "She'll be happy to have to back as a partner." Kurt chuckled and sighed, looking back to the whole cast. They all seemed so happy to see him. The thought made his heart melt.
Blaine gazed at Kurt as the boy looked over all of his friends, slightly wondering if this was all an amazing, wonderful dream. But Kurt's hand felt real, his lips felt real, and the happiness in his heart could only be a product of reality. Kurt's eyes met Blaine's and Blaine's eyes softened, gaze pointed at Kurt.
"Welcome back," Blaine said. "To the Cirque de Joie."
Every summer after that Kurt returned to be an aerialist in the Cirque de Joie. When summer ended he returned to his father and his home in Lima. He always left his heart with the Cirque though, and when Kurt graduated from high school he asked his father if he could join the Cirque de Joie full time. Burt only laughed and told Kurt that's what he'd expected him to do in the first place.
Blaine couldn't be happier to have Kurt by his side once Kurt had joined the Cirque full time. They, along with Mike, Brittany, and Santana, became one of the best aerial acts to ever grace the traveling circus circuit. Blaine finally felt like he belonged, fully and truly. Together he and the rest of the Cirque made a name for themselves and every year they had patrons flocking from all over to lay their eyes on the magic that never ceased to wow the crowd.
For years they performed with the family they held dear to their hearts. Every once in a while a new person would join the Cirque and they were always welcome with open arms.
One day will had approached Blaine, then twenty five, and asked him to take on the role of the Ringmaster. Blaine agreed only when Will agreed to stay with the Cirque as long as he could.
Kurt and Blaine never stopped loving their job or each other for all those years. And if there was one thing to be said, it would be this:
They couldn't be happier.