Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.
They were going to suspend him. Suspend him. Kurt Hummel, whose record was flawless aside from that minor altercation back when Mr. Schue had refused to let them perform Britney Spears. (In retrospect, it wasn't his finest moment and certainly hadn't been worth the visit to Principal Figgins' office, even though he had felt somewhat vindicated to finally make Mr. Schue realize that everything wasn't about his opinions.)
But this. This was so much more. So much worse. He couldn't believe it. He had listened to Figgins talk and stared because for one heart stopping moment, he had actually thought that he had won. By some impossible collaboration of the fates, he may have won the senior class presidency. Losing Tony in West Side Story had admittedly brought him down from his original high that he could make it into NYADA regardless of how good the other candidates seemed, but he had picked himself up after the loss and moved on with gusto to campaigning for the class presidency.
He had managed to come so far, from standing on the side lines campaigning about obesity to attacking real issues: harassment and bullying. He had wanted people to realize that McKinley was not a safe place, especially for people who were different and even those that did fit into the stereotypes of jocks and cheerleaders. There was no special haven for those few that seemed above it all to retreat to, only the brutal hierarchy eager to rip down even the slightest success as soon as it appeared.
Kurt had stared at Mr. Schue first, dazed, confused, looking at Blaine for guidance because he had no idea what was going on and Blaine always seemed to have something to say, some helpful piece of advice. No matter how optimistically he replayed the words in his head, they just weren't, there was something ominous about them that said that he wasn't about to be congratulated for winning the presidency. Surely, surely they hadn't called him down to rub his failure in his face, but that was exactly what it seemed like from his vantage point. Blaine had simply looked back at him in bewilderment, his questions falling on deaf ears as Kurt rose numbly to his feet, alone, terrified.
The terror had only worsened when he realized that they had called his dad in and now they were both standing in Principal Figgins' office and Kurt couldn't speak, couldn't breathe, because this couldn't be happening.
They couldn't suspend him. He had done nothing wrong. He hadn't tampered with the ballots, and as he tried to say that his voice shook because they were going to suspend him. It was going on his permanent record. He wouldn't be participating in the sectionals competition, and he could kiss any chances at NYADA goodbye.
This couldn't be happening. Yet it was, and Kurt was terrified and horrified and awestruck all at once, and now his dad was upset with him because he accidentally let slip that yes, he had thought about rigging the ballots to win. But he had wanted to win so so bad that he couldn't justify sitting back and letting failure run its course, even if he had known the consequences. Ultimately, he had chosen his course and not strayed from the path of honesty and integrity that he had followed since the beginning of the campaign.
Yet there they were, all one hundred and ninety ballots that had been cast by invisible hands, and Kurt felt numb, frozen, because those weren't his. He'd never touched them before, hadn't penned the neat little checks in the 'Kurt Hummel' slot at the top.
His throat tight, his arms wrapped around himself, he listened to the verdict and stared, disbelieving, because they didn't believe him and he had no proof that he hadn't done it and what was he supposed to do now? His dad knew. His dad was ashamed of him because he thought that he had done it and Kurt couldn't even form coherent words to correct him.
Stumbling out of the office blindly as soon as he was dismissed, he fled, running into Rachel and Finn as he desperately fought back tears. Now was not the time to collapse into a pathetic heap of misery, he reminded himself, even though that was exactly how he felt as he stood before the two of them and looked up, aching, pleading for some explanation that they couldn't give. Finn gaped at him, completely in awe, and Kurt felt a hysterical urge to laugh at how shocked he was, as though he couldn't possibly fathom that Kurt would do such a thing. And he was right: think it Kurt may, but do it . . . that was different. So, so much different, and now that Kurt was facing the consequences for something he hadn't even done. . . .
'Blind terror' came closest to the mark.
Looking at Rachel, whose eyes were sad, so sad for him, and Finn, lost and confused and dazed and wanting to be helpful but not able to do anything to fix it, Kurt swallowed back the sudden urge to scream or sob, because this wasn't fair.
He had been slushied countless times, and despite the 'zero-tolerance physical harassment' policy McKinley apparently had, none of the administration had ever stood up for him then. It didn't matter that Karofsky had shoved him into lockers so often that he had had bruises by the end of the week, that the jocks tossed him into dumpsters regularly or attempted to scare him with anonymous hate calls. None of that stirred a hair on the administration's golden head of righteousness, yet now that he was suddenly the perpetrator, the one responsible for all the wrongdoing . . . now, they couldn't be a worse enemy.
They would ruin his chances at NYADA, at his future in New York because this was going on his permanent record and he would be suspended and he couldn't participate in sectionals.
Valiantly fighting back tears, Kurt choked, feeling his emotions steadily winning the battle over his pride. If he stayed there any longer, then he knew he would break down, crumple to his knees and sob right there in the middle of the hallway because this was so damn unfair. The white noise seemed to be overwhelming his hearing as he looked between Rachel and Finn frantically. Then he said, "I have to find Blaine," and pressed a hand hard to his mouth as he ran, hoping against hope that he could at least find an empty classroom before he lost it.
Because he had lost. The election, his dad's approval, his honor, his integrity. He wouldn't cheat, and yet they didn't believe that and he had practically admitted to wanting to do it and how could he be so stupid? Self-degradation aside, he felt miserably incompetent, overwhelmed by the sudden change of events. He had been running for senior class president, wanting something to put on his NYADA application and maybe even have a position where he truly could influence the school a little. He had known that it would take time and many hard-won battles to conquer them, but he had had faith in himself that he could do it. He was Kurt Hummel. He had overcome more difficult obstacles than a stubborn school administration.
Yet here they had crushed him, crushed everything he had looked forward to about next year in three short sentences. Figgins was merely the spokesperson, the one reiterating rules that took no consideration of whether Kurt had stuffed the ballots or not. The rule books couldn't decide his innocence or guilt, and from an observer's standpoint, Kurt had to admit that innocence was not in his favor. Of course they would think he had done it. Of course.
Sobbing, unable to stop himself as he rushed past people and silently begging that they wouldn't see him, wouldn't hear him, wouldn't even notice that someone had broken Kurt Hummel, Kurt didn't bother slow down when he spotted an all too familiar white-jacketed figure pacing anxiously near his locker. Blaine looked up at the noise, barely having time to register that Kurt was there before Kurt flung himself at him hard enough that they both hit the lockers and Blaine grunted slightly in pain but wrapped his arms as tightly as he could around Kurt's back and held him because he needed to be held.
Choking and trying to catch his breath against Blaine's shoulder, Kurt barely noticed as Blaine pulled him along, his movements so gentle and light that Kurt almost didn't know they were moving except where his feet stumbled over each other. They reached an empty classroom in record time and Blaine freed one hand briefly to shut the door behind them as he tugged Kurt inside.
And then Kurt was crying in earnest, sobbing against his shoulder because he didn't do it, he didn't do it, and yes he had thought about it and maybe he had wanted to and okay, so he wasn't a good person because he really, really had wanted to win and that meant he was willing to cross the boundaries of his morality this once to maybe-sort-of-kind-of rig the vote but the ends justified the means, right? Right?
The last came out as a watery choke, Blaine shushing him in a warm croon of a voice that made him want to crawl inside whatever warm happy being made Blaine so perfect and never leave. At least then maybe the slushies wouldn't be so cold and the comments so biting. He had tried, tried so, so hard to be strong, but every time that he had chalked it up as another rough day he had realized that no one cared, because no one could have stood for it if they knew, no one, and why, why, Blaine, did it have to be like this?
"I'm so sorry," he whispered, his voice hiccuping as he spoke, Blaine cradling the back of his head in his hand and the rest of him in his arms, leaning against a wall and any other time this would have been incredibly intimate but right now it was the closeness that Kurt needed. He knew that he was ruining whatever expensive cardigan Blaine was wearing with his tears but he couldn't stop them. Blaine didn't even try to protect his clothes, half-crushing Kurt gently closer, their breaths both slightly ragged. Kurt was trembling hard as he fought for control again, blubbering nonsensical apologies that Blaine assured him wasn't his fault, wasn't his fault, I'm here for you, I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere and I believeyou, Kurt, I know you didn't do anything wrong.
It was exactly what Kurt needed to hear and he could feel some of the tension abating from his shoulders as his crying turned quiet, tear tracks imprinted on his cheeks as he kept his eyes shut tightly against Blaine's shoulder. This close, he could feel the warmth and solidarity between his fingers easily, the steady pounding of Blaine's heart close to his ear, soft and smooth and steadying. Kurt listened to it, his fingers curled on the right side of Blaine's cardigan, smoothing it apologetically as though mere want could fix it. Blaine simply stroked his back reassuringly, continuing to softly contradict every self-deprecating thing he'd said, telling him that what he had done was so, so brave and he was courageous for getting up there and speaking and that he knew he hadn't done this and that they would fix this, they would, and suddenly Kurt felt like he could breathe again because he wasn't alone.
Even if his dad, Carole and Finn and everyone else in Lima and the world turned against him, then he would still have Blaine. Even though Kurt knew that Blaine had 'run away' from his former school, he knew that Blaine would do anything for him, with him, and that was all that mattered. They could survive, they would survive, because Blaine would go through hell and beyond to ensure that Kurt had the best life possible.
Relaxing in his grasp, feeling his own heart rate and breathing finally calm to match, Kurt kept his eyes closed and said nothing, Blaine's voice drifting over him even more softly now, an elixir of hope that seemed to have no end. Kurt drank it in because no matter how many times he heard him speak he could listen to Blaine forever, because Blaine was soft and tender and intelligent and eloquent. He always knew what to say when Kurt felt like he could barely patch together monosyllables in answer. He knew how to handle things, and Kurt vaguely wondered how many times he had been the one receiving the hate, the frustration, the indifference around him.
It didn't matter, because that was the time before them, and now that there was them they need never worry about loneliness or isolation again.
Until they broke up, but Kurt closed his eyes tighter and refused to entertain the possibility. He didn't care that it was silly and childish and impossible. He wanted his boyfriend, and he had him, and he wasn't about to give in to pessimistic thoughts simply because that was what trends dictated. Blaine and he had always been an exception, a unique pair in Lima, Ohio, and Kurt had no doubts that they could do anything they wanted. Which included staying together forever and not within the preciously limited bounds of high school.
It still made Kurt's breath hitch to think that he would be going off to New York next year (not any more, he reminded himself bitterly and had to breathe in deeply several times to keep the tears at bay) and Blaine would be staying here in Lima continuing this hazardous life at McKinley. It made Kurt's heart ache to think about waking up in his college dorm and realizing that Blaine wasn't there, wouldn't be there until the following year when he graduated and even then he had to be accepted into the same colleges and then maybe they could pick up where they left off.
Blaine would still have plenty of time to date here, time to find a nice boy who didn't have such a broken past and a high voice and never berated him for listening to too much Top Forties music. Someone who would support him and care for him and love him as much as he did for Kurt, someone who would understand those parts of him that Kurt was still learning (and loving, loving so much because it seemed like no matter how much time he spent with Blaine there was always something new to learn), someone who would understand him when he went off into weird rants that Kurt could only vaguely contribute to. He would find a more suitable Jeremiah, a tamer Sebastian (or, really, maybe even Sebastian himself), and he would live his life with him and they would be happy forever because they wouldn't have left him for New York.
Kurt didn't even realize he'd started crying again until a deep, shuddering sob broke out of him and Blaine's voice ached as he spoke, sounding like he wanted to cry, too, and that was wrong because Kurt never wanted him to cry, especially over something as silly as Kurt's stupid ungrounded fears. Blaine was his boyfriend now, and that was all that he could ask of him, all he had right to ask of him, and why would he want groundless promises that would be broken anyway? It wasn't like he could put his life on hold and wait for Blaine to catch up a year, and he couldn't expect Blaine to do the same for their relationship, either. He should be allowed to date other people, to date whoever he wanted, and maybe find his soul mate elsewhere.
"Kurt, baby, shh," Blaine soothed, and Kurt noticed in some rational corner of his mind that he was babbling about it, saying that Blaine wouldn't stay with him because he was leaving except now he wasn't leaving and what was he going to do? "Shh, shh, I've got you, you're okay, I'm not going anywhere, I promise." His voice held an almost teasing note to it, on the verge of sharing a joke, but Kurt sobbed harder and felt Blaine nuzzle his neck in response.
At last, after an interminably long period during which even more tears were shed, Kurt felt almost too tired to stand, knowing that he would be swaying on his feet if Blaine let go of him. He felt empty, drained, his emotions poured out on the ruined material of Blaine's cardigan. Sniffing a little, wishing that he could disappear for twenty minutes, collect himself, and reappear proper and prim and like he always usually was, Kurt settled for stepping back a little, Blaine's arms resting under his in a light, supportive hold. Blaine looked at him with bright eyes, his own cheeks dry, his smile a little wavering as he lifted one of his hands and cupped Kurt's cheek with it. Kurt leaned into it, closing his eyes and relishing the feeling of support, of safety he felt. He couldn't remember the last time he had trusted someone this much, if ever. His dad he had bared his emotions to before, but this was different, this was new and even closer and more tender and loving somehow, and when Blaine's lips brushed lightly against his cheek, kissing away the tear tracks, Kurt let out a shaky laugh of mingled relief and breathlessness.
"I love you," Blaine murmured against his collarbone before pressing a kiss there. He worked his way slowly up Kurt's neck, feather-light kisses meant to convey nothing more thanlove, overwhelming love for the person in front of him and Kurt had never felt more loved in his entire life. "I'm never going to forget about you," he said, kissing the corner of Kurt's jaw. "I don't want to ever leave you, either, even though I know that I'll have to sometimes." Around the corner, near his mouth but skirting it to once more capture the tears. "But I'll always come back, because I can't stand to be apart from the person that I love." A soft, lingering kiss to the tip of his nose, and Kurt felt a tiny smile on his lips in spite of himself.
"I don't want Jeremiah," Blaine went on, nuzzling his cheek, "or Sebastian," another soft kiss, "or anyone else. No one but you, Kurt. You are," a kiss to each closed eyelid, and now Kurt was worried that he was going to start sobbing again because he had no control over his emotions any more and Blaine had to know that, "so perfect," Blaine whispered it against his other cheek, "to me," he finished, pressing a kiss to Kurt's lips that tasted like cinnamon and I love you so much it hurts and Blaine. Kurt let himself enjoy it, wrapping his arms around the back of Blaine's neck and tugging him instinctively closer before Blaine gently disentangled himself.
"Why don't we go home," he said, rubbing his thumbs over Kurt's arms to assure that he wasn't mad, wasn't bored or tired of Kurt like Kurt thought he had to be at this point, "and we'll just cuddle on the couch and watch whatever you want?"
That sounded divine, but Kurt couldn't help adding the light quip, "Even if it's fashion?"
"Even if it's fashion," Blaine replied easily.
Kurt paused, opening his eyes to meet Blaine's soft gaze, and nodded once. "Okay," he whispered.
And maybe he would be suspended and not be able to attend sectionals. Maybe he wouldn't get into NYADA. Maybe his dad would honestly believe that he had done it, and the report would go on his permanent record.
As he laid on the couch, the pillows comfortably arranged by Blaine while Kurt had been washing his face in the bathroom to help himself feel human again (even though he wished he didn't have to wash away Blaine's kisses to get to the bittersweetness underneath), Kurt thought that that was all fine. He had his boyfriend in his arms, who was looking down at him with warm soft eyes that said everything Kurt needed to hear.
I love you.
I know you're right.
I trust you.
I believe you.
I'll help you.
We'll get through this.
We'll be okay.
And in the end, Kurt thought, listening to the TV without really hearing it, it was okay.
Because Blaine was there. And as long as Kurt had Blaine, he had everything he needed.
"Thank you," he whispered.
Blaine smiled and pressed a kiss to Kurt's heart in answer.
Author's Notes: My emotions. Guh.
Kurt. Blaine. Latest episode.
That is all.