Well, "Goodbye" was sufficiently disappointing.
At least Rachel and Finn broke up. Just goes to show every cloud has a silver lining.
Further notes and apologies are below.
Stop that, now.
Because you and I were never meant to be.
I think you better leave.
It's not safe in here.
I feel a weakness coming on.
New York looked different.
The heavy clouds had sunk and the icy sun had thawed, leaving drips of sunlight crawling around skyscrapers and corners. Kurt relaxed back into the seat of the taxi, watching as Brooklyn flew into view through sparse trees and red-bricks. The world was still tinted the strange grey that came with January, icy patches catching sunlight like fish in nets as they glazed over pavement. Winter was drawing to it's close now. February was close. Kurt turned his back on the cold months, stale and pregnant with the ghosts of all that had happened. The view of streets he had once walked as a promised man. He missed the scent of cut-grass and beer. The smell of Ohio. Home.
He let himself quirk his lips at the thought, tugging up like a bow on a present. Who ever thought he, Kurt Hummel, would miss Ohio?
Ohio, of all places.
The taxi turned up the familiar block and Kurt felt the heavy dread settle in his stomach, weighing him down into the seat. He pushed a stray hair back into his quoif when the corner of his building towered over the small Brooklyn street, a great, gleaming giant, threatening to swallow Kurt whole- a bitter pill. He leaned back, trying to seem smaller and hide from the neighbourhood trees, as though they were watching him, accusing him. Everything felt like a judgement. Kurt let out a shaky breath that was so full and dense it felt like another presence in the taxi with him. The shade of someone Kurt had to stop crying over.
It was getting ridiculous now.
But the hurt was just so bloody stubborn. And Blaine was so incredibly hard to forget. He was electric, and hard. A glinting bullet that had buried it's way into Kurt's skin, under muscle, into bone. Tearing his soul to pieces.
Kurt closed his eyes as his thoughts wandered to Blaine. He had to stop doing this to himself. Pasting memories up in his mind like childrens' paintings on fridges. It was easier in Ohio. The bed there had never known Kurt and Blaine together. It had not felt the difference. Kurt had. He could still remember reaching out in that murky place between sleep and dreams, reaching for the body that wasn't there. That terrible disappointment that ripped through him every time, tearing down the middle like paper, crippled edges- frayed, tattered.
He'd been KurtandBlaine for so long. Kurt didn't know how to even start being Kurt again.
Where was that boy? The one who dressed in Gaga wigs, sang Wicked like a girl and picked fights with footballers? Certainly not with the man in the taxi. Certainly not close to the man who had nothing to show for all those years but empty fingers and an unfinished degree. Maybe Kurt had buried him too long ago. Blaine drifted through Kurt's head and he sighed miserably, closing his eyes the world of New York. The grief was so heavy and the love, (that terrible, uncontrollable love), was so wasteful. Tied across his chest in criss-crossing wires, a cage that wouldn't let his heart out.
All too soon, the taxi started coming to a slow halt. Kurt could feel the plastic and metal around him shudder, tired after it's long journey and hungry for it's tip. Kurt opened his eyes and stared resolutely ahead, refusing to let being back here scare him. He watched the back of the taxi-driver's head as he pulled out his wallet, (black, emblemed, a gift- he'd need a new one), retrieving the sufficient fund. He slid it through the window mutely. The driver gruffed dully at this less-than-warm gratitude, and did not offer to help Kurt with his suitcase as he bundled out of the car.
The sky was grey and full of lint-like clouds, framing the dark buildings and their melting snow in frazzled mist. The air of Brooklyn wrapped itself around Kurt like a lover, so beautifully familiar. But cold. Freezing cold and striking Kurt right to the bone. It was warmer in Ohio. This coat was too thin for such weather. But his winter one was still in the apartment, abandoned where Blaine had left it. Hopefully, Mercedes had moved it in the month or so Kurt had been gone. Slipping on the icy pavement, Kurt mumbled a quick "thank you" as he closed the car door.
Kurt pulled his suitcase onto the cerb and watched the taxi take-off. He took a deep breath and turned, so unwilling to even start...
The man was standing in the alcove, worriedly abusing the buzzer Kurt knew to be his. Irritation and shame flooded through Kurt in equal measure, both competing too eagerly. Kurt pushed the shame away, the wounds still too fresh and settled with the easier option. Anger was easy. (If Blaine has taught me anything, Kurt thought bitterly, it's that). Kurt straightened himself to his full height and adjusted his light, black coat. His high-boots clumped on the snowy concrete as he stormed up the steps towards the figure.
'What are you doing here?' There was no kindness in the question.
Jasper jumped and turned violently, falling back a bit into the glass doors, which rattled from the contact. Like expensive wind-chimes. Kurt folded his arms and tapped his foot, trying desperately to appear the very epitome of impatience. Jasper's eyes gleamed like grass, blinking in the watery sun and his hair was uncombed. Dressed in plain jeans and a brown hoodie, he looked like he had just rolled out of bed. Kurt flinched as his mind betrayed him, bringing him the images of a drunken dream and painful morning. Kurt didn't want Jasper here. He was like a part of a different picture. He did not fit correctly into this particular frame. This alcove was for someone else.
Kurt tried not to wince as Blaine's face flashed like lightning through him.
'Kurt!' Jasper cried, the name escaping him in a billowy breath that hung between them. A white balloon of sound. 'You're home!' The obvious delight that started to envelop across Jasper's face made Kurt's stomach roil with what felt like marbles. He could feel their cold glass and weight pound inside him as though falling down stairs.
It was terribly electric to see Jasper again. A horrible, cruel kind of energy that poured into Kurt like a stiff drink. Dry and bitter, but bringing such a glorious kind of intoxication. The hazy and not-altogether-there memories of sex drifted through Kurt's mind. Lumpy and clumsy, upsetting the current, but so dreadfully present. Kurt swallowed as he watched Jasper's arms flex and move, reaching out for him. Their ghosts moved across Kurt's shoulders, down his back, across his thigh... The recollection of something that should never have happened. Something he was punished for before he had even committed it.
Kurt's head throbbed. Guilt was a funny thing. With a quick determination, Kurt took the memories of Jasper and his bed and tied them up in string, casting them aside in favour of something much more satisfying.
The immediate irritation was quickly falling into a frighteningly more galvanic emotion. Anger was clawing it's way out of the water, pulling up to it's full height and threatening to overpower everything that was swelling in Kurt. Kurt was so blisteringly angry. How could Jasper think he could just show up here? At their home? After what he did?
Kurt threw Jasper what he hoped was a very dirty look. He reached down and grabbed his suitcase, shoving Jasper out of the way with a stern hand, making the effort to hit him with the case while he passed. The anger inside him purred, satisfied, at the resounding oof that Jasper emitted. Kurt held the suitcase a little behind him to try and create some space between himself and Jasper in the small alcove. Jasper was close, far too close and the intimacy was too much for Kurt. He fumbled with his key in the door. In the reflection of the glass, a blurry spectre of Jasper reached forward as Kurt swung the door open.
With a quick snap of the elbow, Kurt jerked the case out of Jasper's grip, pushing himself half in the door. 'I don't need help,' Kurt said scathingly, still caught in the volatile state between complete fury and devastating shame, lost in the free-fall. Tumbling, down, down, down...
Jaspers eyes were so beautifully green. Big and swaying like leaves, and Kurt's heart cried desperately for something earthy and the colour of soil. Something to bury himself in.
There was just too much. Kurt was just so angry and the terrifying blackness that was the cocktail of grief, guilt, shame and longing threatened to pull him down from the rafters, collapsing in on himself in a crumpled heap of flesh and bone.
'Kurt, please,' Jasper sighed in a placating tone that only served to irk Kurt further. Jasper had no right to stand there, appeasing Kurt like he was the one being unreasonable. Kurt turned haughtily and stormed away, into the gleaming white walls and black marble floor. A singular beacon of wealth in the Brooklyn suburb. Blaine always had such expensive taste. He listened for the satisfying slap that would come with the door closing behind him.
It didn't come.
The sound of Jasper catching the door and running to catch up with him almost pushed Kurt to the point of throwing the damn suitcase back at him. Kurt pointedly ignored Jasper, standing in front of the shining elevator and bouncing on the balls of his feet in vexation. Up, down. Up, down. His heart drumming the beat. It felt like being suffocated. Wrapped up and tied tightly in something skin-tight and hot. Choked. Kurt had never felt so uncomfortable, so furious, so ashamed in his life. He felt like the entire building, every brick, slab and door-knob was whispering behind his back. He just wanted Jasper to turn around, walk away and take the memories of the last few months with him. Pull them over his shoulders like a rucksack and walk out of Kurt's life.
Maybe, maybe then Kurt could learn to forget.
Jasper stepped up to stand next to Kurt, breathing heavily and hand out-stretched in a strange angle, as though he was going to take Kurt's hand. Kurt stuck it into his pocket in defiance, keeping the other tight on his suitcase. Kurt watched the dulled metal of the elevator try and recreate reflections, determined not to look at Jasper. The silence between them was gravid, but Jasper's low sigh broke through it suddenly as though it were made of nothing. Kurt turned his face a little more away, desperate to hide from the words.
'Kurt, you need to let me help you-'
'I don't need help,' Kurt spat the word as though it were poison. The sentence threw itself from his mouth with a feverish tongue. Swan dive down to the floor. 'I don't need you here. And I certainly don't want you here, so would you just be so kind as to go home and stay there?'
Jasper blinked, obviously hurt by the treatment. But Kurt didn't care, because frankly, what did the fool expect? They had made an agreement, one Jasper swore to uphold. Clearly, his words were as empty as the Blaine's. Blaine. Kurt closed his eyes, trying to block everything out. Barricade the doors, keeping all the Bad Thoughts out. Like Mom. But he could still hear them moving, tapping on the door, trying to tempt their way in...
'Look, Kurt, I know you're mad. I know, but I needed to come here and make sure you were okay,' Jasper implied in that honey-sweet voice Kurt had permitted too often. He had been too kind with Jasper, too loose. It was time to put the walls back up. Remind Jasper of his restrictions, of his barriers. Opening his eyes, Kurt forced himself to look at Jasper. Keeping his eyes narrow to convey his mood, Kurt watched Jasper take his hand back to his side.
Good, thought Kurt waspishly.
Curiosity poked it's head out from under all the stress and Kurt heard the question leave him as though someone else were asking; 'How did you even know I'd be home today?'
'I didn't,' Jasper answered, suddenly looking sheepish. His mossy eyes fell to the floor like leaves from a tree and Kurt chanced a look at the elevator counter. Two floors to go before it arrived. Moving back to Jasper, Kurt was suddenly struck by how young he looked, dwarfed in an oversized hoodie and teenage jeans. 'I've been calling here everyday. Your friend, the one who's minding the apartment, said you'd gone home for the holidays. But when you still weren't answering my calls, I decided I'd just chance my luck by stopping by.' He paused, the words apparently meaning more to himself than to Kurt.
'I've been calling everyday. I needed to make sure you were okay.'
Jasper raised his head and his mouth twitched- a crooked, slanting smile that Kurt knew only too well. Angled- like the side of stair-case. Clearly, Kurt was supposed to be impressed. Flattered that Jasper had gone through so much effort, so much time just to talk to him. And maybe, in another life, he would've been. But this was the life he was living. And this was the man who had taken him to bed, drunk, and screwed up everything. Kurt was far from flattered by Jasper's nosing.
That hevy guilt spoke out with a voice that sounded awfully like his mother's; It's not just Jasper's fault.
Kurt ignored the ghost.
'Well, as you can see, I'm in perfect form,' Kurt retorted, each syllable dripping sarcasm and leaving puddles of meaness on the floor. Jasper threw Kurt that wounded look again just as the elevator dinged merrily. Kurt moved swiftly through the sliding doors, Jasper tight on his heels like some bizarre lap-dog. Kurt groaned loudly, frustrated. 'For God's sake, Jasper. Just go.'
'No, I'm not leaving until you talk to me,' Jasper replied with a stubborn tone. 'You can't run away from me like you did everything else!'
'Excuse me?' Kurt bristled as the familiar words rolled over him, reminding him of a different voice. The elevator doors slid shut, locking him in with the man who's finger prints wound around Kurt like shackles. (God, would that hurt ever leave him?) Kurt dropped the suitcase where it made a dull thump of the flooring, turning to face Jasper head on and folding his arms across his chest in a defensive position. Their reflections mimicked them in the mirrored walls. 'I'm not running away from anything! I'm just putting an end to this-'
'No!' Jasper cut in, waving his hands in defiance and interrupting Kurt. Kurt seethed. 'I'm not going to let you just lock this away. You've been doing that for too long.'
Kurt faltered, his bitter retort withering on his tongue like a weed. That comment had hit a bit closer to the bone than it should've. Unwanted memories of nights spent alone and waiting for Blaine to come home, of sleeping with a foot of space between them in the bed pushed their way into Kurt's mind, blossoming like flowers. Slicing Kurt's life into neat, little sections of good and bad. And worse. Bad Thoughts, Mom's voice warned. Kurt, keep them out. When Kurt didn't say anything, Jasper continued, most likely assuming Kurt's reason for silence. Kurt mentally scolded himself for letting Jasper see how affected he was.
Jasper took a step forward, lowering his hands in a manner that clearly asked Kurt to step into them. Open palms, soft and asking like petals on a flower. Kurt stepped back and tightened his folded his arms, ignoring the invitation. Thankfully, Jasper saw the dissent and stopped where he was. Feeling considerably vulnerable and trapped, Kurt tried to put as much space between them. His back hit the handle that ran the length of the elevator wall as he reached down to retrieve his suitcase just to give himself something to do.
'Look, Kurt,' Jasper said slowly, as though if he spoke too loudly Kurt would break. Kurt felt something stir in him furiously. He was not a child, or some delicate doll in need of protecting. Blaine had been the same, Kurt suddenly realised. Treating him like he some prescious thing that would shatter if handled wrongly. Walking on egg-shells in arguments, talking over Kurt in public, escorting him everywhere with a firm hand on his back. Treating him like some woman.
The thought made Kurt think of Mercedes, and all the trouble with men she had suffered and mentally scolded himself for thinking something so cruel. But the sentiment stuck like a stain.
Kurt did not need to pacified.
'I know you're hurting,' Jasper said with careful delivery, his brilliant eyes focused on Kurt with an intesity that made Kurt feel claustrophobic. Green walls too high to climb. Out, Kurt thought desperately. I need to get out. 'And I want you to know that I understand how difficult this is for you- don't pull that face, I really do.'
Kurt bit his lip to prevent it from curling. God, that habit was becoming even worse. Jasper shook his head, a smile brief across his lips like a shadow. When Kurt looked again, it was gone and Jasper was watching him once more.
'Look, we've all had our share of shit relationships,' Jasper said, suddenly sounding very tired. Kurt squirmed, uncomfortable and slightly guilty at the implication of the sentence. Jasper had to have existed before he blasted through his and Blaine's life like a cannonball, splintering it like it was nothing. 'But you can't let it ruin you like this, Kurt! For months, I've seen you bottle everything up. Ignore what was staring at you right in the face, ignore what it was you wanted in favour of letting that jerk of an ex-boyfriend push you around!'
'He's not...' Kurt started, immediately leaping to Blaine's defence, but just as quickly biting his tongue. Something twisted like splintered glass in his heart, uneven and so very sharp. Kurt swallowed heavily as Jasper's eyes hardened, before trying again with a delicate swallow. 'It wasn't like that.'
'No, I'm sure it was all romance behind closed doors,' Jasper bit back cruelly and Kurt felt the sting. 'You deserve better, Kurt.'
'It's not about what I deserve,' Kurt replied, turning his chin back to the door to watch the counter. Nine more floors to go, and counting. Jasper made an impatient noise from Kurt's side. Kurt sighed, frustrated. 'You don't understand- you can't possibly understand.' The words faded until they were nothing.
'Then explain it to me,' Jasper said, his words like sugar and melting so sweetly. Kurt closed his eyes, and wondered if he could just shut his ears like doors the way he could shut his eyes. Suddenly, there was a warmth. A hand, too big and thin to what Kurt's skin missed. Kurt almost whimpered, a lamentful, keening sound that dug itself up from the depths of his throat, delicately shrugging his arm out Jasper's grip. He turned to look at the man, his green eyes hard like stones. Jasper's mouth was down-turned. Like metal bent the wrong way.
'Kurt, please,' Jasper pleaded softly, voice low. The kind of low found in the space between pillows. Kurt felt tears bite at the corner of his eyes. Their teeth were sharp; he started to bleed salt. The hand returned, fingers burning with a heat that was only familiar in a way a nightmare could be. Jasper's fingers grazed his skin like paint to a canvas, catching the tears that crawled down Kurt's cheeks. Kurt wanted to pull away, wanted to keep the memory of Blaine's hands on his face intact, not ready to lose it to someone else yet. But Jasper was so warm, and Kurt was so, so cold.
'Let me help you,' Jasper said, hand moving to cup Kurt's face properly. His hand was too big, he could almost hold Kurt's entire face in the palm of it. It was the wrong size and the wrong fit and Blaine's ring would never fit on those fingers.
Kurt bit his lip as a sob tore itself out of him like the last page of a book.
Kurt leaned into the touch slightly, feeling his resolve starting to crack. Would it be so bad, he wondered desperately, to just let this happen? After all, Jasper loved him. This much was obvious. The truth of it was written in the touch of his skin and the tone of his voice, the way his other hand was reaching out tenatively for the suitcase like a tree-branch. Surely there was nothing wrong with wanting that? A man to love you? It was what anyone would want. Kurt tried to banish the thoughts of Blaine, and the colour of his eyes on a Tuesday morning and the scarf he wore to Pavaratti's funeral. Kurt's heart choked, the words getting stuck and suffocating it.
I love him, Kurt thought, Blaine's face so clear, and he had never wanted to cry more than then.
The ding of the elevator snapped Kurt from his thoughts. It was like the small noise and pulled Kurt the way a man would be pulled from drowning. He gasped and instantly flinched from Jasper's touch, the place where his hand had been singed like a burn. Kurt could feel the heat of it, stolen quickly by the cold air. It swallowed it up as though thirsty. Alarmed at his weakness, and still feeling the presence of temptation warm and sick in his mind, Kurt practically threw his suitcase into Jasper's arms, ignoring the other man's quizzical gaze. Kurt narrowed his eyes like blades, attempting to regain control.
'I'm giving you an hour,' Kurt said, the words ice. Jasper's eyes widened and his eyebrows rose as though on string. Kurt held up a hand as Jasper opened his mouth to speak. 'That's it. That's all I'm giving you. And any decision I make after that, you have to respect. If I tell you to get out, you get out. Got it?'
The last bit came out a bit harsher than Kurt really intended, but he couldn't help the small shiver of satisfaction he got from clearly catching Jasper unawares. He had regained his footing. Kurt moved out of the elevator, keeping his gaze determidely ahead of him, focusing on the door just down the corridor. He could hear the scrabble of Jasper behind him, and the faint rush of the doors closing. Kurt could also hear his heart pouding in his ears, a throbbing, aching drum. Warning of war. Kurt tried to control his breathing, feeling considerably less sure of himself as he approached their- his apartment, Jasper just on his heels like an old dog.
'And if you don't?' Jasper's voice came from behind, hanging like balloons in the air. Kurt paused, four feet from his front door. He turned and regarded Jasper fully, taking in the crumpled form of him. He reminded Kurt of a scrunched up ball of paper. The hope that flickered in his green eyes was like the candles that had burned in the church of his mother's funeral.
'Don't what?' Kurt asked hardly, not in the mood for games that he didn't control the pieces for. Jasper's smile twitched into place like a snapped nerve. Kurt found himself hating that smile.
'What if you don't tell me to get out?' he continued, the smile in his voice showing Kurt that he clearly felt this would be the outcome. Kurt almost scoffed at his naievity.
'Well, I guess that depends on what you say, isn't it?' Kurt said disdainfully, giving Jasper the same smile he used to give jerks back in high-school. One that was pointed at the ends were his teeth promised a fight. With that, Kurt turned and pulled the keys from his pocket, moving to open the door.
I can keep your number for a rainy day.
A minior mental breakdown, seven exams, three months of work, two weeks of college offers and two months of university intergration and I have finally updated.
You poor darlings. How on earth do you stand me? How do you manage to keep faith? I can't tell you how sorry I am. Real life did this rather annoying thing of getting in my way. Anyway...
This chapter was originally longer, but I felt it better to cut here and leave the rest stand on it's own. It proved immensely difficult, writing Kurt and Jasper interacting as such. Blaine had always been this pivotal point between them. Seems weird to have them like this, but that's how the story goes.
Anyway, what did you guys think? Some of you mentioned I used too many metaphors/similies in my previous chapters, so I toned it down in this one. Is it an improvement?
Also, as I'm Irish, Glee hasn't been released over here yet so I have not seen anything of season four! (I know!) But I have heard spoilers, so my following question is this, my prescious carrots;
Which break-up was better? The official one on the show, or my one?