Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
This was going to be the best summer ever.
Kurt lounged in the front passenger seat of Blaine's red jeep, his feet propped up on the dashboard. Blaine drove with one hand lazily turning the steering wheel and the other clasped firmly around Kurt's. Wind ruffled their hair through the open windows and the radio pumped out the first top 40 hit of the summer and the sun shone just bright enough to merit sunglasses.
If this was any indication of how summer was going to be, summer was going to be phenomenal.
"What was that for?" Blaine asked, sounding amused.
"What was what?"
"You just sighed," Blaine grinned, his sunglasses sliding on his cheekbones. "Why'd you sigh?"
"Just happy, I guess," Kurt said.
Blaine squeezed his hand. "Happy about what?"
"Happy that's school's out," Kurt said, stretching his legs on the dash. "Happy that it's summer. Happy that we're dating." He sighed in contentment, leaning over to rest his head on Blaine's shoulder. "Now we get to spend the whole summer together."
"Oh," said Blaine.
Kurt sat up. "You said 'oh'," he said. "That didn't sound like a good 'oh.' That sounded like a bad 'oh.'"
"It's, uh, it's not a bad 'oh'," Blaine said, squirming a little. "But it's not really a good 'oh', either."
"Then what?" Kurt said. "What is it? What's wrong?"
Blaine took a deep breath. "I'm going to summer camp," he said.
"Oh," Kurt said. "Well, that's not so bad, that's-"
"For eight weeks."
Kurt dropped his hand from Blaine's. "Eight weeks?" he shrilled. "Blaine, that's…that's almost the whole summer! We'll have…we'll have like…like six days to spend together! That's not fair! That's…"
His voice trailed off and he slumped down in his seat, arms folded across his chest. All of his happy summer plans- going shopping with Blaine, inviting Blaine to the annual Fourth of July cookout, going to see Blaine perform at Six Flags, meeting Blaine at the pool, snuggling with Blaine in the back of an air-conditioned movie theater- drifted away from him like soap bubbles.
"Hey, it's really not that bad," Blaine offered.
"You are going away to summer camp for eight weeks," Kurt grumbled. "How is that not bad? And why didn't you tell me?"
Blaine sighed and changed lanes. "I was going to tell you tomorrow night," he said. "My acceptance letter just came today. I wanted to have a little time to prepare for this."
"Acceptance letter?" Kurt said, still slouching in the passenger seat with his eyes fixed firmly ahead. "What is this, Harvard camp?"
"No, I'm not going to Harvard camp," Blaine said. He glanced at Kurt over the rims of his sunglasses. "Babe, that was a joke."
"Don't 'babe' me," Kurt muttered.
Blaine sighed and pulled the jeep into a small shopping plaza. "See, this is why I needed time to prepare," he said. He parked in front of a shop and got out of the car. "Come on. We're going to talk about this."
"I would rather not," Kurt said. "Right now I would just prefer sulking."
Blaine held out his hand. "You can multitask," he said. "You can sulk over some frozen yogurt."
Kurt sat up. "And you won't judge about how many toppings I pick?" he said.
"Not a bit," Blaine promised. He opened and closed his hand. "Come on."
Kurt slid out of the jeep and walked into the shop, pointedly ignoring Blaine's outstretched hand. He continued to ignore Blaine until he had filled his cup with Hershey's Kisses chocolate, York peppermint patty, and French vanilla frozen yogurt, then dumped two kinds of sprinkles, M&Ms, strawberries, and a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Blaine waited from him at the register, his sunglasses pushed up to the top of his head. "Are you going to add anything else?" he asked nonchalantly.
"You promised no judging, Anderson," Kurt said, dropping his full cup on the scale. "I am eating my feelings, and it is all your fault."
Blaine kept his mouth shut while he paid and followed Kurt to a table in the corner, his own cup of yogurt in his hands. Kurt plunked down into a seat, still scowling, and took a large bite.
"So," Blaine said. "I'm going to summer camp for eight weeks."
"I know," Kurt groused, digging around for the blue M&Ms.
Blaine scooped up a bite of his strawberry frozen yogurt. "It's the Pinnacle Heights Performing Arts Camp," he said. "Have you heard of it?"
"No," Kurt mumbled.
"It's a really exclusive camp. It's only open to students in Ohio, you have to be recommended by a teacher or a professional, you only get in by audition, and they only allow so many people in," Blaine said. "It's a big deal to have it on a resume."
"Really?" Kurt said. Jealousy was beginning to seep into his already simmering collection of emotions.
"I got to go last year, and it was amazing," Blaine said. "It really did a lot for me as a performer. And I'd really like to go back."
Kurt pouted into his frozen yogurt. "You'd rather spend the summer at camp than with me?" he said.
"Hey, now, don't do that to me," Blaine said gently. "It's not about you. I put my application in back in December. I was still subconsciously flirting with you through duets about date rape. I had no clue I was going to fall in love with you."
Kurt half smiled at that. Blaine scooted a little closer and squeezed his hand under the table. "Listen, Kurt, I would to spend the summer with you," he said softly. "Believe me. It would be amazing. But my parents really want me to go to Pinnacle this summer, and I'd kind of like to go."
Kurt stuck his spoon in his frozen yogurt and scooted towards Blaine. "But it's our first summer as boyfriends," he said.
Blaine slid his arm around his waist. "I'll write to you every day," he promised.
Kurt perked up. "You mean old fashioned handwritten letters?" he said.
"The very same," Blaine said. "I'll tell you about everything I do, and ask you about what you're up to without me, and wax poetic about how much I painfully miss you." He kissed Kurt lightly on the temple. "Does that smooth things over a little?"
"A little," Kurt admitted. "I'm still not happy about it, though."
"I understand," Blaine said. He squeezed Kurt's waist. "Will it help if I let you take me on a pre-camp shopping trip?"
"That helps," Kurt said. He picked up his spoon. "And so will this. Don't judge me, Anderson."
Blaine raised his hands in mock surrender. "I won't, I won't," he said. "It looks delicious." He took a bite of his yogurt. "So what will you do all summer without me, besides working on your musical?"
Kurt sighed, resting his chin on his hand. "The same thing I do every summer, I guess," he said. "Helping Dad in the garage. Trying out new recipes. Auditioning half-heartedly for local theater productions and praying I don't run into Rachel. Nothing puts Rachel in her over-the-top obnoxious diva mode like an audition."
Blaine laughed. "Does that happen often?" he asked.
"You don't even know," Kurt said, rolling his eyes. "I just…I like performing, but you know how community theater is. You're either in or you're not. They keep picking the same four people over and over again to be the leads. They'll never pick me for anything more than a one-line solo. Believe me. I've tried."
"Ouch," Blaine said. He elbowed Kurt lightly. "Hey, I could always get you a job at King's Island if you wanted."
Kurt shot him a glare. "No, thank you," he said. "If I must work in a theme park, it'll be a classy theme park. Like…Walt Disney World. Not King's Island."
"Point taken," Blaine said. He leaned forward and put his hand over Kurt's. "So…are you still mad at me?"
Kurt sighed heavily. "I guess not," he said. "Well, not mad. Put out, I would say."
"I deserve that," Blaine said. He squeezed Kurt's hand. "But I promise, I'll spend every waking minute with you until I leave. You can even take me shopping for everything on my packing list, and you can dress me in whatever you want."
"Ooh, that does sweeten the deal a little," Kurt teased.
Blaine brushed a drop of frozen yogurt off the tip of Kurt's nose. "So what are you doing tonight?" he asked. "We can go see Pirates of the Caribbean again and make out in the back row."
"I'd love to, but I have to take a rain check," Kurt said. "We're having an end-of-the-year party at Mr. Schue's house tonight."
"Then I will take you out tomorrow night," Blaine promised.
Kurt scraped his spoon along the bottom of his nearly empty cup. "And you might have to take me out for frozen yogurt again too," he said. "If you come back from camp and find I've gained twenty pounds, you should know I'm going to blame you."
"I will still love you," Blaine said, leaning in to kiss his cheek.
Rachel picked unhappily at her slice of pizza. Mercedes nudged her lightly. "You still upset about Nationals?" she asked.
Rachel sighed. "I really wanted to win, Mercedes," she said. "I had envisioned a summer full of talent agents knocking down my door and interviews for Show Choir Monthly." She set her slice of pizza back on her paper plate. "Now it's just another summer of teaching voice lessons to untalented elementary schoolers and auditioning desperately for every community theater in town."
"It won't be that bad, Rachel," Kurt said, industriously patting a napkin to the top of his slice of pizza. "Maybe this year I'll actually audition with you."
"Instead of pretending to ignore me?" Rachel said, a hint of a smile quirking her lips. Kurt grinned back.
Puck stretched across Mr. Schue's coffee table to grab another slice of pizza. "Aren't you going to spend the summer sucking face with your hobbit?" he asked.
Kurt scowled. "He is 5'8", which is perfectly acceptable for a man," he said. "And no, we won't be 'sucking face,' as you so elegantly put it." He smooshed his pizza slice violently between two napkins. "He's going to be at camp all summer."
Lauren gingerly extricated his pizza. "Honey, honey, you're squeezing all the good stuff out," she said.
"That bites, dude," Puck said sympathetically.
"Welcome to the Summer of 2011," Rachel said glumly, crossing her arms. "A summer of utter failure."
Someone knocked on the door. "I'll get it," Mr. Schue said as he passed by, crossing from the kitchen to the front door.
"Sorry we're late," Santana said, breezing past him. "Brittany got us lost."
"I told Lord Tubbington to print out a map from Google, but it was a recipe for tuna salad," Brittany explained, plunking down on the couch beside Quinn.
"Come on in, get some pizza," Mr. Schue said. He rubbed his hands together with an expression that could only be described as gleeful joy. "And everyone's here now, right?"
"Looks like it, Mr. Schue," Finn reported.
"Well, good," Mr. Schue said. He clapped his hands. "I've got a little announcement for all of you."
Rachel sat up eagerly. "Are we starting rehearsals for sectionals early?" she asked, beaming.
"Down, girl," Mercedes said, tugging her back.
"Not exactly, but it is something that's going to give us an edge for next year," Mr. Schue said. He surveyed them with all the pride of a father. "I took the liberty of sending in applications for a performing arts camp, and your letters came back yesterday. You've all be accepted."
Silence fell. "You did what now?" Artie said.
Mr. Schue blinked. "It's a performing arts camp," he said. "I sent in videos and applications for all of you, and you've been accepted. It's an intense eight-week course for specific fields of study within the performing arts." He took a stack of large envelopes from the drawer in the coffee table and handed them out. "Come on, guys, get excited! This is a big deal."
Rachel snatched her letter out of Mr. Schue's hands and ripped it open with shaking fingers. "Dear Miss Berry, it is our privilege to accept you to the Pinnacle Heights Performing Arts camp in the study of musical theater for the summer 2011 session," she read aloud. She looked up, her smile nearly splitting her face in half. "Oh my god! Musical theater! I'm going to study musical theater!"
"It's a pretty pricey camp, but they've got a good financial aid program, and there's some scholarships available too," Mr. Schue said, beaming proudly. "What do you think?"
"Oh my god," Kurt mumbled, staring at his letter, eyes wide.
"Kurt? Are you okay?" Quinn asked warily.
"You look like Lord Tubbington when he's about to cough up a hairball," Brittany mused.
Kurt scrambled out of his chair, fumbling for his phone. "Oh god, I'm going to summer camp with Blaine," he said. "Oh, god, summer camp with Blaine, summer camp with Blaine…Blaine! Blaine, hi! Guess what?"
"Well, I think he might be excited," Sam said dryly as Kurt ran into the dining room, shrieking into the phone.
Rachel kept staring at her acceptance letter. "This could be the beginning of everything," she breathed. "I have to go home and rewrite my five-year plan!"
"Geez, Kurt, I know you're excited, but could you maybe slow down a little?" Finn said, holding onto the door handle of the Lincoln Navigator. "You're driving like Puck. Which is scary."
"Sorry, sorry," Kurt said, bouncing up and down in the driver's seat. "I'm just so excited. You have no idea."
"No, I've got some idea," Finn grinned.
Kurt pulled into the driveway, parking crookedly, and leaped out of the car, running full-speed for the door. Finn followed him, half amused by Kurt's elation and half excited himself. He'd never been to summer camp before, just day camp at the Y. And this would be kind of cool.
"Dad! Dad! Dad!" Kurt called, flinging the front door open.
"Living room, kiddo."
Finn followed closely as Kurt ran into the living room, waving his envelope and startling both Hudson-Hummel parents. "Dad, we're going to summer camp!" he exclaimed.
"You're going to what?" Burt said.
"Honey, you look like you're about to explode," Carole said, switching off the American Choppers episode on the television. "Sit down and tell us the whole story."
Finn plunked down in the armchair, grinning as Kurt perched on the arm and launched into the tale. "…so Finn and I have both been accepted, and camp starts next month, and guess what? It's the same camp where Blaine is going!" Kurt gushed, clasping his hands as Burt flipped through the information packet.
"Oh, Finn, you got accepted?" Carole said. "In…musical theater?"
"No, no, Kurt's got musical theater, I'm in instrumental performance," Finn corrected quickly. "I guess it's for the drums."
"Well, it's nice to know that letting you bang away on that old drum kit and blast my eardrums finally paid off," Carole teased, reaching over to squeeze his knee. "I'm so proud of you, honey."
"Yeah, I'm proud of both you boys, but…I don't think it can happen this summer," Burt said reluctantly.
Kurt paled. "What? Why?" he said. "Is…is it the money? Because I know how tight money is, believe me, I know, but they have scholarships and financial aid and…"
"Scooter, listen to me," Burt said gently. "I know you want to go to this camp. I want you to go too. Sounds like you'd have fun and it'd be a big deal. But it's a couple thousand dollars, kiddo, and we've already kind of drained our bank accounts after this school year. Dalton gave us a partial refund, and if it was just one of you, we could probably manage it, but there's no way I could send two of you." Burt slid the papers back in the envelope and handed it back. "I'm real sorry, Kurt."
"It's fine," Kurt said, taking the large white envelope and folding it in half. "I know money's been tight. I'm sorry." He stuck the folder between the armrest and the cushion. "At least this gives me plenty of time to work on my musical. I think I've come up with a strong opening number. Like 'Good Morning Baltimore,' but British."
Finn frowned as he looked up at Kurt. The look on his face was making him feel slightly uncomfortable- the color had drained from his face, his lips were thin and pressed together tightly even though he was smiling, his voice has gone just the faintest bit husky. It was unsettling.
"Yeah?" Burt said gently. "You wanna give us a little sneak preview?"
"Oh, no, it's nowhere near ready yet," Kurt said, waving his hand dismissively. "But believe me, I think this could be the new Xanadu. Just without the roller skates." He paused. "Or maybe I should put the number on roller skates."
Finn frowned. Kurt sounded okay, but there was still something that wasn't quite right…
And then a vague memory filtered into his mind. He remembered Kurt acting like this a long time ago, when he and Rachel had that diva-off thing. And Kurt nailed the whole song, except for that one god-awful note, and he'd spent the rest of the day like that- pale, thin-lipped but forcing himself to smile, cracking lame attempts at jokes.
Kurt was really upset about this. Really, really upset.
And suddenly, before he could stop himself, the words just sort of spilled out.
"Kurt should go to camp."
Three heads snapped around to stare at him.. Finn shrank back a little. "Well, um, I…" he stammered. He swallowed hard. "Look, you said we could only afford for one of us to go, so why not send Kurt?"
"But that's not fair," Kurt said, shaking his head. "I shouldn't get to go if you can't."
"I think it's fair," Finn shrugged. "Sure, I want to go, but this means a lot more to you than it does to me. I don't mind staying here." He nudged Kurt lightly. "Besides, I thought you wanted to spend the summer with your boyfriend."
"Finn, are you sure about this, honey?" Carole said.
"I'm sure," Finn said. "It's cool."
He looked up to see Burt studying him with a look that could only be called fatherly pride. Finn sat up a little straighter. He'd seen Burt look at Kurt that way, but no one had ever looked at him that way before.
"Well, buddy," Burt said. "Do you want to go to camp this summer?"
Kurt was paler still, and his eyes were suspiciously red-rimmed. He opened his mouth to speak, but for a second, nothing came out. "Oh my god," he finally said. "Oh my god, Finn, I just…" He took a deep breath. "Oh my god. Thank you. Thank you, Finn. Oh my god."
He leaned forward and threw his arms around Finn's neck. "Oh my god, thank you," he said. He kissed Finn on the cheek with a loud smack. "Oh my god. I'm going to go do your laundry. Right now. Oh my god."
Kurt ran out of the living room and up the stairs. Finn settled back in the armchair, grinning a little foolishly, until he saw his mother gazing at him, her eyes suspiciously damp. "What?" he said.
"My baby is growing up," Carole sighed.
Finn shrugged awkwardly. "It just seemed like a good idea," he said.
Burt tossed the remote to Finn. "Turn that back on," he said. "I've got some ice cream hidden from Kurt in the ice maker. You want some?"
"Yeah, that'd be awesome," Finn said, turning the TV on.
Above their heads they heard the squeak of Kurt's mattress and the steady thumping of the supposedly-mature sixteen-year-old bouncing up and down. "Blaine! Blaine! I'm going to summer camp with you!" he squealed, his voice echoing through the air vents. "We're going to summer camp!"
Finn grinned at the pure joy in his brother's voice, but he couldn't help the tiny twinge of jealousy that sprang up despite himself.
And so begins my Super Awesome Summer Hiatus Extravaganza Fic! Unfortunately, I still don't know what to call it, so I'm just going to call it Extravaganza! for now.
This was born several months ago in the knowledge that OH NO THERE IS GOING TO BE A FOUR MONTH HIATUS WTF AM I GOING TO DO I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THIS OH OKAY I'LL WRITE SOMETHING.
So everyone's going to a performing arts summer camp. New Directions. Warblers. Some other people. Except Finn. OR IS HE?
I know I had a poll up on my profile asking if I should put these up in long chapters once a week or short chapters every day. I've decided to go with short daily chapters for now, just because I think that'll work better in the long run. Besides, even some of the daily chapters are going to end up really, really long. Plus, wouldn't that be a nice way to spend a hiatus? Getting a new chapter of a fic every day or every other day?
I think it'll be nice.
So yeah! I'm pretty excited. I've had the outline written up for a long time, and thankfully I predicted things well enough that I only need to do some minor tweaking! And while, yes, Kurt is my favorite character, I intend to use all of the characters we know and love- all of the New Directions kids, plus a goodly sum of Warblers. There's going to be a lot of various pairings, too.
Feel free to let me know what things you want to see- pairings, more of a particular character, songs I should use. I may or may not use them all, but I love feedback and talking to people! (Speaking of which, if you ever want to talk to me directly, the best way is through my Tumblr ask box. Totally the best way.)
So yeah! This'll be the BEST SUMMER HIATUS EVER, YOU GUYS! :D
(And also, happy 21st birthday, Chris Colfer! May you remember your drunken shenanigans in the morning, baby.