A/N: I've been working on this for several months, and I've decided to post the first chapter of it to celebrate the end of my exams. Roll on ten weeks of uninterupted writing time!
Warnings: This is lot darker than anything I've written before, and includes: Homophobia, Dub-Con, Alcoholism, Depression, Self Harm and Prostitution.
Wine and Cheap Perfume
Chapter One – Don't Ever Look Back
Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…
Kurt can pinpoint the exact moment he snapped, the exact moment he knew he had to leave Lima and not come back. It had been a Sunday afternoon, walking through town on his way to buy some more saffron from that odd little deli that was the only place to sell it. He remembers the guys coming up behind him, grabbing his arms and punching him repeatedly in the stomach and chest. Curling into a ball to protect his head and face while insults fell down on him, acid rain burning his skin. Faggot. Fairy. Queer. Harsh, cruel words that tore at his mind even as they tore at his body.
When they left him, crying and in agony on the sidewalk, not one person stopped to help. It was like McKinley all over again, people observing but never standing up. Because they were scared, because they agreed with the bullies. Because they couldn't be bothered. Kurt finds the strength to stand, limp home and dodge all of Burt's questions, avoid all of Carole's hugs and Finn's confused stares.
School is the same the next morning, bullies pushing him into lockers and Karofsky's stares making the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. He sits through French class, tense and unhappy, in pain from the bruises that layer his skin. And it's while he's sitting there, staring around at the vacant expressions of his peers, that he realises; this is all his life is ever going to be. Pain and lies and taunts, every day for another two years. And Kurt doesn't think he can take that. When the bell goes for the end of school, he runs.
He took the midnight train going anywhere…
He leaves a note, his usually beautiful handwriting smudged and smeared by tears he hadn't even realised were falling. It's midnight when he sneaks out of the house, silver moonlight emphasizing his face, the dips and shadows of it laid out. He stops at his father's bedroom, slipping open the door and resting his eyes on the mound on the bed that he knows is his father. He stares at him for what feels like hours but is only in fact a few minutes. He wants to believe so badly that this is for the best, that Burt would want this. That his father has a new family now, a wife and a son who likes football and girls, just like he always wanted. Kurt can't quite do it, can't quite suppress the part of his mind that screams otherwise but he ignores it.
The house is silent as he creeps through it, as he unlocks the front door and slips outside. He runs all the way to the train station, light footsteps like cat leaps. He doesn't even look at the board; he just chooses a train and gets on it, buying the ticket with the little money he had taken. Burt and Carole need it more than him, after all.
In his pocket, Kurt can feel his phone vibrate and he pulls it out. His heart aches a little when he sees that it's from Blaine, and then it hardens. He's let down Blaine, running away like he said he never would. The phone in his hand suddenly seems red hot; the cool metal burning as it almost seems to brand his skin. Liar. Fraud. Acid rises in Kurt's throat, threatening to overcome him even as he pulls the phone from his pocket and hurls it out of the train window. It hits the ground, and all Kurt can see as he is whisked away is a burst of blue from the flowers it lands in.
Back in his room at Dalton, Blaine smiles to himself, lifting his features and giving him an almost luminous glow. The phone in his hand displays the message that was just sent: Need to see you tomorrow. Great news! – Blaine x
Blaine imagines how it will go. He'll sit down with Kurt in that little coffee shop they both love so well and explain to him what Blaine's done… what all the Warblers have done. A full scholarship, based on his good grades and the desperate desire the Warblers have to win Regionals (with Kurt's voice among them.) Kurt's face will light up, Blaine thinks, as he realises the implications. He can come back to Dalton. Dalton, where they may be straight jacketed, but there are no bullies or slurs or freezing slushies to the face.
Blaine imagines how Kurt will throw his arms around Blaine's neck and he will finally have an excuse to hold the boy close, savour his touch. If it goes well enough, Blaine thinks, he might even give into the urge he's been fighting for weeks and kiss Kurt. With that thought in mind, he turns over and quickly falls asleep, unaware of the pain that is to come the following morning.
A singer in a smoky room… the smell of wine and cheap perfume…
At first, it was enough. A gig every night in a seedy bar, singing songs with his high clear voice trembling as men raked his body with their eyes. And then custom started to drop. Why not dress you as a girl? Kurt's boss had suggested, and Kurt had been too lost in his own dark world of humiliation and infamy to notice. Which is how he ends up on a wobbly stage, make up smeared inexpertly over his face, body laced into a short dress and thigh high boots.
There is a pole in the middle of the stage and Kurt uses it, Cheerio's training giving him the flexibility to perform tricks and stunts until the crowd is screaming for more. If a few drunken lechers can be called a crowd. Kurt can feel the lights on him; feel his make up slipping and his hair become wild. Sweat drips down his neck, mingling with the cheap perfume he sprayed there earlier, all part of the sordid illusion. Wine is spilled on the floor, and Kurt can smell it, the rancid stench reminding him of the bambi fiasco, so many years ago. Or was it months? Kurt can't remember anymore.
Catcalls come from the crowd, but Kurt barely hears them. He's busy concentrating on the song, trying to get his voice to soar and dip with passion the way it used to. It won't do it. It sounds coarse and flat to his own ears, and it's not a surprise when he's fired.
Let you put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans…
Kurt tries to get another job, he really does. But he's seventeen, with no prospects, barely any qualifications and an aura of neglect about him. He starts to sell off his clothes, one designer piece at a time until he's dressed in cheap garments he scavenged from a charity shop. He has nowhere to live, the small flat he rented a corner in long gone. The streets are cold at night, ice biting into his bones and gnawing at his flesh. Some days he dreams of home, of his family… of Blaine. And then he remembers how he ran away and his resolve will strengthen.
Kurt can take sleeping on the streets, wearing second hand clothes. It's when his bones start to poke through his skin that he realises what his problem is. He's been on the Cheerio's, knows how to deal with hunger. Kurt knows what it is to feel famine bite and twist in his gut, a ravenous beast screeching to be heard. At first, he copes, soothing the pain with water leeched from local wells and public fountains. But eventually, Kurt knows what he has to do.
His first time is nothing like he had imagined it. In his head Kurt saw candles, soft music, a proper bed. He saw a boy with dark curly hair and hazel eyes undress him slowly, lay him out on the bed while he shook, grass in a summer breeze. Fingertips would graze his skin, gentle hands would trace his body. Lips would whisper how beautiful he was, how special, how much he was wanted. The boy would love him, slowly and surely, until he peaked and Kurt's name would spill from his lips. And they would lie, enfolded in each other's embrace until the sun rose.
Kurt's first time is nothing like that. Hands grasp at him roughly, practically ripping his clothes from his body in desperate haste. Kurt can hear the bustle of the street, not too far from the shady alley they are standing in. The man strokes over his sides as he would a cat, and Kurt just tries to close his eyes and imagine he is somewhere else. The pain is overwhelming, tearing through his body and ripping away everything but the sense of it. Kurt bites his lip, warm blood filling his mouth as he waits for the man's frantic thrusting to stop. When it does, he feels the warmth spread inside him, drip down the inside of his thighs, wet and sticky and wrong. More pain as the man pulls out, muttering words like slut and whore, not the gentle endearments Kurt longs to hear.
One quick look as each of them leaves you…
The man almost throws the five dollar note at him before he hurries away, not even bothering to check if Kurt is bleeding, if he is alright. Kurt looks at the crumpled note in his hand and feels shame and bile rise within him. He retches onto the cold, stone floor of the alleyway and lies there, curled up, as he realises the bitter truth; he sold his virginity to a stranger for five dollars.
Strangers waiting up and down the boulevard…
After that, it just becomes routine, although Kurt charges more. He starts out small, just a few men every few days. Not enough to earn much money, but enough to eat. But then the days start getting shorter, the nights become colder and Kurt huddles in doorways, desperate to escape the icy chill in the air. He starts to work every night, hips swaying as he paces the street, body poised suggestively. He grows used to the eyes of men and women alike dancing appreciatively over his body, grows used to the haggle of prices and the rough sex in dark alleyways. He learns how to attract custom, how to flutter his eyelashes in just the right way to keep them interested.
Working hard to get my fill… everybody wants a thrill…
He starts to work more and more, two a night and then three. Rough men, women with track marks on their arms. Those who are clearly married, twisting their wedding rings over their fingers as they agree the price. Kurt learns how to please them all, and then some. After a while, he has enough money to rent a small flat. The walls are dark and grimy, some unidentifiable fungus growing in the corners. The floor is uncovered stone, cold and hard when Kurt walks on it. Kurt knows there are rats, knows there are fleas. He rents it anyway, and he finally has a new home. And if he ever thinks of his old home, he hides it well.
Living just to find emotion…
Kurt becomes numb to it, the days spent curled up asleep, the nights spent satisfying anyone and everyone with the coin to pay for his body. He's losing weight, he's losing sleep and his clothes are still rags. Loneliness and depression rage through his mind, twisting and taunting him the few times he ever gets a rest. He sees the drugs others like him take, sees their vacant expression and scarred arms and knows he can't turn into that. He finds his salvation another day, after a long night of hard work. A vodka bottle lying in the alley, a few dregs left in the bottom. Not caring of the danger, Kurt drains it, body screaming in ecstasy as the scorching burn of the alcohol slides down his throat and into his stomach.
Kurt can feel the warmth of it like a real heartbeat, resting in his chest cavity and keeping him safe and alive. The night after that, he goes and buys a full bottle, sipping it carefully to prolong the burn that he's only just learning to love.
Hold on to that feeling…
But soon, alcohol stops being enough. Kurt sees it happen slowly, as he needs more and more just to keep going. He looks at the drugs again, contemplation filling his eyes for a moment before he turns away. He may have sunk low, but he's not far enough gone for that. Instead, he finds another way to cope. His razor is old, and it doesn't take more than ten minutes for him to wrestle the tiny blades free, cutting his hands and fingers accidentally in the process. He pulls one out and holds it up to the light, marvelling at the way it glitters and gleams, promising an end to everything.
Kurt stares at the jagged edges for a moment before he runs it over one arm, gasping when the blood flows free. It stings at first, the pain sharpening everything and making him – for one blissful second – forget the fact that he's in a cramped bathroom, surrounded by darkness and pain, slicing into his own flesh just to feel something.
Pain slowly ebbs away, leaving a dull ache that is maddening and Kurt realises he needs more. He slices again, gasping in dull surprise at how good it feels. Blood flows in earnest now, slipping over the cuts. It's too red, too much and Kurt runs the blade through it experimentally. Not to hurt, not to maim. Just to look. He spreads the blood with the blade edge, smiling morbidly at the clashing contrast of the crimson with his porcelain skin. It looks pretty, spread out like that, and Kurt keeps going until his arm is a mess of lacerations and red liquid.
That night, he falls asleep properly for the first time in months.
Got no strings, got men attached…
Kurt keeps going with it; the tiny, dingy flat, the alcohol most nights and cutting twice a day. Months merge into seasons, seasons bleed into years. Kurt can only keep track by the cheap calendar he brought one Christmas, the one he diligently ticks off every day so that he knows the date. He doesn't talk to his old friends, doesn't have any new ones. His family are far behind him, and he can't even remember his own age anymore. He works every night, drinks himself to sleep and then starts it all up again. It's starting to be the only thing he knows.
To be continued...