Title: We Were Young Together
Disclaimer: Not owned by me, because Glee would be a lot different if it was. A looot different
Warnings: Angst, non-explicit mentions of/references to sex, profanity, mild physical and moderate emotional abuse
Spoilers: References to up-to current canon, except let's Retcon Blaine and make him the same year as Kurt.
Summary: New York isn't how Kurt expected it to be - university teaching instead of Broadway stardom, which is fine if a little less glamorous. But that's not what Kurt's worried about. Because Kurt might have been happy with Ohio if only Blaine had been how he'd expected Blaine to be.
Author's Notes: This will probably be a two, three or four-shot. Suggestions? Also, seeing as this is my first fic, please don't judge too harshly :3
Kurt runs as fast as he can in skinny jeans and boots that pinch at his feet in a way they definitely hadn't when he'd tried them on in-store.
It's not fast enough.
You're not going to be late, he thinks over and over, averting his eyes from the curious stares of the idiots walking by him. Not going to be late, not going to be late, can't be late – the words run through his head on a continuous loop, surreally like when he hears the latest Lady Gaga song for the first time. He's trying, trying to reassure himself even as he knows all too well exactly what is going to happen.
"Damnit!" he curses under his breath, key fumbling in the lock; his hands shake too much, and he has to stop, breathing deeply and hoarsely, before he is finally able to open the door. He raises his hand to wrap his fingers around the smooth wood of the doorknob; but he doesn't turn it for a long moment, trying to swallow some moisture into his mouth.
But his mouth stays dry as parchment. When he looks down to his hand, he sees that his fingers are turning even paler than normal as they clutch the knob like a life-line.
Finally, Kurt does it; he pushes open the door as softly as possible, stepping into the darkness of the large, spacious apartment that he shouldn't be able to afford.
"Hello?" he says quietly. When no one replies (please don't reply) he takes another step forwards.
"Hello?" Kurt tries again, a little louder.
The relief wells up inside of him, making his knees tremble as it wars with the disgust he feels – a sort of sickly sweet, vomit-inducing self-loathing that is becoming more and more familiar for him. He shouldn't feel like this, he knows; shouldn't want to escape from what is (isn't) the comfort of his own home.
Home. When he thinks that word now, all he can see is a never-too-big house, the smell of burning cheese and bread wafting down the stairs to his bedroom and a clash of Finn's apologies and Carole's admonishments breaking his concentration as he leans back against his pillow, smiling at…
He bites his lip.
It's cold in here, he thinks randomly, shivering slightly even though it's summer outside.
The lights turn on one by one as Kurt flicks the master switch, the delay infuriating. Unconsciously, his eyes flicker shut, as he counts down the predictable seconds till the whole place is illuminated.
You don't need to be this scared, he tells himself, as his eyes open slowly (like he's too terrified to face whatever might have waited in the darkness front-on).
There's nothing there, however; just the normalcy of a living room, sparsely but artistically furnished. His own work, and he must be more tired (or terrified) than usual because this is the first time he hasn't felt the slightest bit of pride, looking at the interior decorations he'd lavished countless hours and too much money on.
Sighing, he drops his bag by the door, for once uncaring of the fact that it might, by some freak chance of nature, accumulate half a particle of nonexistent dust from the soft carpet that covers the floor. I'll deal with it later, he tells himself, flopping down onto the closest chair – bare and almost uncomfortable but like I can be bothered going to the couch! – and slouching in a way he can't do at work.
(In a way he never used to do before, and when did he stop caring about his posture...?)
It's relief that exhausts him at the moment; relief that maybe he was wrong to panic, wrong to hurry through the streets with no thought other than…
"You're late, dearest."
He hears the whisper, and feels the cool breath against his ear. And, too late, he sees the shadow reflected on the coffee table in front of him.
Kurt is paralysed by something more than fright, something more than terror, as he feels a cold, smooth finger trace the side of his neck slowly, almost languorously. Despite himself, he can't stop the shiver that runs through his spine and sends tremors through his body.
He wants to think it's the fear, hopes that it's the cold, and knows that it's neither.
It's not fair, that even now, I can't stop…
Kurt's mouth opens, and some sort of half-baked syllable leaves his mouth (though he has no idea at all what he wants to say) – but that finger moves to his lips, and he shudders; not a shudder of disgust, but one of an excitement-fear that is coursing unbidden through his veins like wildfire.
"You're late." It's less a whisper this time, and more a murmur; one, spoken straight into his ear, which electrifies him in a way it shouldn't (can't won't does). The finger returns to his neck, and this time it's a whole hand that caresses his skin – a move that he takes as permission to speak.
"I'm sorry!" he says in a rush, his voice seeming too loud after those words that still linger in the air, a haunting echo that repeats in his mind.
"There was just something I had to do at the university," Kurt says quickly, knowing that he doesn't have much time to explain and he's got to get everything he can out or things are going to get bad, " I had to stay back for a moment, I'm really-"
"Shh…That's enough, Kurt." Now the other hand is in his hair, slowly and deliberately ruining an hour's worth of work from that morning.
Two months ago – maybe even last month – Kurt would have yelped in outrage, would have scolded the hair-ruiner till he blushed and hung his head in shame. Now, he has to fight to stop from purring at the tingling sensations that the light touches to his too-sensitive scalp induce.
Once again, Kurt isn't entirely sure when exactly he stopped caring.
"Just something at university, right?" The voice isn't so close to his ear now, and the tone is warm and light.
(Which should have been warning enough, but…)
Kurt exhales loudly, feeling all the air rush out of his lungs in a horribly wonderful sigh of relief. It's going to be alright. "Yeah. Just some reference materials for tomorrow's class; it's musical theory, and you know how bad I am at teach-"
"Kurt." He falls silent, confused and hurt by the bite in that single word.
"You aren't going to tomorrow's class," and now the tone is cold and distant, unemotional as though it's the weather they're talking about, or quantum physics or something else other than what Kurt swears he just heard.
His mind goes blank.
"Pardon?" is all he can come up with, after a long pause. The hand tightens in his hair – not enough to cause pain, but enough to be uncomfortable.
"I saw you."
"You. And him.
For a moment, Kurt's confused – and then he remembers, with a feeling of dread, how one of their earlier conversations had played out. "It's not my fault!" he protests. "It was work, I swear – just work, I was having a few problems with Napoleon chor-"
"Well, look at it this way," that voice says cheerily, full of a playful softness that's so fake Kurt wants more than anything to scream at it to shut up. "We'll have all the time in the world for me to explain that to you, and you won't have to bother explaining it to those students of yours you always complain about. Actually, you won't have to complain about them. Ever again."
Kurt bites his lip till he feels the scream subside. "But why?"
This time, the hand in his hair tightens enough that he winces.
"You know why."
He feels a chill down his spine.
"What do you mean?" Kurt asks slowly, trying to turn his head around; but the hand on his throat grasps his chin, firmly but not roughly, forcing him to keep his gaze forward.
"Don't play stupid." The anger he hears makes him bite his lip again, almost the whole way through this time (the anger, and not the fact that the breath against his ear has become harsher, not the fact that his ears are as sensitive as the rest of him and he can barely restrain from gasping).
Kurt's eyes flutter shut as he whispers, "I don't understand-" He's cut off by the hand tightening around his throat, and though he instinctively grabs at them, they don't move. It's not a strangling grip – uncomfortable but not painful, and after that momentary struggle, he slumps against the back of the chair, arms hanging limply. There will be bruises later, he knows with a resigned certainty, bruises that'll stain his porcelain skin with ugly purple-blue-black blotches that he'll have to cover up with as many scarves as are viable in summer.
He'd gone the whole day looking forward to at least one day with unmarred skin, after checking the mirror this morning to find the old ones almost faded completely.