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.
Summary: "This is cheating, Kurt." Blaine finds Kurt's phone with the Chandler texts. His reactions during the fight scene. 3x17.
I trust Kurt.
I am not the type of boyfriend to go snooping through his phone or drawers looking for something unexpected. Kurt tends to surprise me no matter what he does; looking for anything extra is unnecessary. Not to mention a breach of the trust that he already gives me.
But he's been gone for seven minutes. His phone has buzzed sixteen times.
My fingers twitch with the compulsion to answer it on the tenth vibration, if only to tell the person on the other end that no, Kurt's house is not on fire and he's not in any danger. The urgency, the frequency of the texts is astounding. Even Rachel doesn't send this many unless she's just found out a new role that she can try out for which doesn't involve Mr. Schue's tutelage.
As text number twelve lights up Kurt's iPhone, the itch becomes unbearable. Maybe it is Rachel, maybe it's someone else. Either way, the fact that whoever it is is texting this much is wrong. Clearly worried about Kurt, or in danger themselves, and simply needing someone to respond. I hesitate with my finger over the keypad, the word traitor chasing itself through my thoughts before I slide my thumb smoothly across the unlock button.
With one breathless pause in between, my fingers slip and another text lights up the screen. Chandler. :)
I swallow because I don't know any Chandlers. Kurt has never mentioned any Chandlers, and I'm positive that if he was famous Kurt would at least have thrown him out in an ecstatic rant about how he's somehow on first-name basis with a celebrity.
No, I don't know any Chandlers, but Kurt does.
My fingers skid across the screen as I try and open the text message discretely. I don't want to invade anyone's privacy. If it's personal – maybe a distant relative or something – I don't want to intrude on that. If it's an emergency, I don't want to see the full-blown hysteria: I just want the details needed to make a phone call to nine-one-one without being called insane afterward.
I open the texts and my stomach drops.
It's nothing – raunchy, thank God. I'm not sure if I could sit here and pretend I'm not skimming through Kurt's phone calmly if they were. But they're – oddly complimentary. (Kurt, your smile outshines the sun; minimal stage lighting will get you far. Your pitch is perfect – I feel in the presence of a masterpiece in the making. We should practice together some time – I could get you some exposure to other New York college talent-searchers.)
I don't even notice how engrossed in them I am until Kurt opens the door, his cheerful proclamation about his prized cheese tray and our movie night falling on deaf ears. It seems unreal, reading the texts and knowing that Kurt's been responding to them: using smileys generously, even flirtatiously alongside his usual witty dialogue. I know without looking how many texts Kurt has sent me over the same period of time.
From the past three days, there are exactly fourteen words logged on my phone that belong to Kurt Hummel.
I swallow hard. It doesn't feel right, like someone's choking me or about to choke me. Kurt has paused at the foot of the bed and words spring to my lips before I can stop them.
And it crumples. Kurt's expression loses the bright edge of almost forced cheerfulness that it had acquired since my arrival – and God, it hurts to see how artificial it was, how easily it folds into a more neutral, more distressed one now – as he steps back, bracing himself.
I know, even before he starts speaking, that I will lose the argument. Hurting Kurt is like ripping a part of my soul into pieces: it's not enough to cripple me but it's more than enough to keep me from ever, ever doing it consciously.
"Why are you going through my phone?"
I'm not sure if it's more upsetting to hear the eerily calm note in his voice or the rising alarm underneath it. Part of me wants to believe that he is calm, that it is all a misunderstanding and he's not concerned that I've stumbled upon them. That he's unconcerned that I've found the texts stored lovingly for hours after they've been sent, responded to meticulously in my absence.
"I'm not going through your phone," I say, because it's the only thing I can think of when Kurt's here, looking at me like I've somehow stumbled upon his darkest secret. "It's just that it—" I stamp down the sudden urge to drop the phone, turn to Kurt, and beg him to tell me why he hasn't told me about this, any of it. I don't understand, am speechless and helpless to confront him like this, but manage to force out the next words carefully. ". . . keeps buzzing, because Chandler won't stop texting you."
I let the emphasis lie on the word, half-daring him to pick up the bait, to admit to this – this before I have to force it out of him.
Because there's no way around this. Even as I speak, the phone silenced by my fingers, it lights up again.
No friend texts this much. Let alone one that I've never even heard of that Kurt clearly responds to.
Anger rises to mingle with frustration; I rise slowly off the bed, the words already springing to my lips as I scroll systematically through the list.
"When we go to New York, let's go to the front of the Plaza and re-enact the end of The Way We Were."
"Give me that." The plaintive, almost annoyed tone in Kurt's voice doesn't faze me. Nothing could at this point.
The lump in my throat increases as Kurt reaches for his phone, the gesture enough to tell me that he's afraid. Suddenly, I'm terrified because if there was nothing wrong, why would Kurt be so desperate to hide it?
"Can you sing into my voice mail, I want to make your voice my ring tone?" My own voice rises with disbelief, but Kurt doesn't snap, doesn't say anything to counteract it.
Everyone thinks that Kurt is this vocal, expressive person, and he is, but sometimes the most distressing thing about him is the way he gets when he's genuinely upset. He closes down and closes off, trying to cover up the evidence of his hurt before it can alert anyone else.
"Give me my phone."
Only this time it isn't hurt. This time it's shame, disbelief, and suddenly I'm backing away and clutching the phone, because the only leverage I have with him – the only thing I haveleft with him, it seems – is this one connection. As soon as he gets it away, he won't speak to me.
As soon as he gets it away, we're done.
I don't know what I'm doing – I'm convinced my mind has temporarily locked the portion devoted to sanity away to spare it from this impossibility – but words tumble over each other even as I stare at Kurt, imploring him to stop me.
Never before have I wanted him to say it's not right.
Please, contradict me. Please, tell me I'm wrong. Please, say it's a lie.
Kurt doesn't say anything. He stares at me with the sort of exasperated impatience characterized by someone who sees nothing wrong in a situation.
The absolute disconnect he has from my uncertainty – from my upset, if I'm being honest – hurts more than anything he could have screamed or thrown at me.
"Why are you getting so upset?"
The words are stuttered, but the breach in calm doesn't reassure me. If anything, it terrifies me more. Kurt's never discomposed like this, not when he knows he's on sure footing. Even when he's exhausted and upset and emotionally drained, he's not this discomposed, this detached.
It hurts to watch him lift his hands, making placating gestures. It's almost sickeningly alike the time when he had been trying to express himself in front of the Warblers, to sing his heart out for his solo audition and use his entire soul to show that, and I gave him a hands-down gesture.
Every part of me wants to grab those hands and hold them. Anything to stop the look of vague bewilderment on his face, as though a trusted friend has suddenly turned feral.
And I can't help it. I can't stop it; the inexplicable rise of emotions breaks over me, every dull, emotionless hour spent waiting for Kurt to text, to ask why I haven't been calling and texting him all the time like I used to, crashes over me. Every minute spent staring at my quiet phone hoping that it will light up, only to be bitterly disappointed when I realize that it'snot Kurt.
All of it comes together – the hurt, the pain, the frustration – and I can't stop my next words.
"This," I say, and my strength is gone, the tears almost choking me as I finish, "is cheating, Kurt."
"This is texting," he snaps, but without the same heat that he uses in the presence of others. It's cold, icy without the sharp edges. My throat tightens and my vision blurs as the screen lights up again even as Kurt stares at me, edging closer. "Look, he is just a guy that I met at the music store. Nothing happened. You used to text Sebastian all the time –"
I want to be angry. In some rational corner of my mind, I am, because what Sebastian and I did was never voluntary. He texted me and I responded. Not willingly, at first, but slowly when the texts became more incessant. Answering one here and there to make him stop. Letting him know something to get him to back off, only to find out that it was useless in the end.
He still tried to hurt Kurt. And he got the Warblers to help him.
Kurt knows it's a low blow – and for one fleeting moment I see the recognition in his eyes – before they harden and the moment is gone.
I can't stand still as the accusation rolls off his tongue – "You would call him"— and my own hands are rising, desperate to push this all down, to stop this from actually happening.
"But I didn't like him," I say. Kurt's face loses its sympathetic edge, hardening even further even as I watch. "Those texts were . . . family-friendly." It's not entirely a lie. Those that I responded to were; the rest I deleted before I could finish reading.
Kurt gives this sigh and I know that he's not hearing me. It's like we stand on opposite sides of an ocean: there he is, signaling some cryptic message at me, trying to justify himself, while I stand on the opposite end of the world trying not to drown.
The tears come hot and unabated but I resist, pushing them back even as my voice turns watery with regret.
"You like this guy."
Kurt looks away. He looks away, breathes in, and sits on the edge of the bed.
It's all I need. I close my own eyes – briefly; I don't even think he notices – before staring at him in disbelief.
You didn't deny it.
The platitudes that he offers are even worse. I try not to listen as he says that the way Chandler makes him feel is better than the way I do is. That some stranger has managed to make him feel more loved and appreciated and respected and cherished than I have, just through these repetitive messages.
That my validation has not been enough – never enough, his expression screams – to satisfy him. That he needs more than just me to be happy, because I don't give enough.
The anger comes even as the tears force their way to the edge, ready to break over.
"I transferred schools to be with you." The burn worsens as I remember Kurt's ecstasy when he first realized what had happened, the momentary panic attack that ensued before instant, beautiful relief.
Wait, you didn't do this for me, did you? a younger, brighter Kurt asked, his expression warring between worry and euphoria. Because if you did this for me, it would be very romantic, but it could lead to resentment which could lead to horrible, horrible, nasty break-up. . . .
This is the break-up, I think, something cold, heavy, and sharp settling in my chest as the realization sinks in.
"I changed my whole life. That doesn't make you feel loved?"
My voice breaks, but I don't care. I don't care because Kurt's face, Kurt's face reads the same level of disbelief and unconcern that I dreaded from the start of this conversation.
If he spoke it, the words could not be clearer.
Something twists inside me and for a moment I'm afraid that I'm going to be sick on his carpet. My hand still has its grip on his phone but it's lax now; it would be easy for him to stand up and take it. I don't even know if I could defend it if I wanted to at this point. The numbness feels all powerful, consuming, and I can't breathe, I can't speak as he does.
"You don't know what it's like being your boyfriend."
As though it's a punishment to be with me. As though it's torment for him to be seen with me, to be paired with me, to be around me.
"You are the alpha gay. Even Rachel wanted to make out with you."
The sheer resentment in his voice makes my chest tighten, my jaw run slack as I desperately fight the breakdown that I know is coming.
This is what he thinks of me. When there isn't the same pressure of politeness to persuade him to speak otherwise, this is what he feels. About me. About himself.
"I used to get solos every week. And do you know how many times I've-I've had to sit on a stool and-and watch you perform?"
Your solos are amazing, Blaine.
But they're also numerous.
It hurt when he told me back then.
Now the pain is unfathomable. Even my mind seems to go numb, but my face crumples as I smother the other emotions clamoring to be set free.
"Then talk to me," I beg. "Tell me that you're unhappy, but don't cheat on me."
The transformation from calm and resentful to almost hysterical with outrage is almost stunning to behold.
"I feel like I have taken crazy pills," Kurt raves, closing in and snatching the phone away. "I didn't cheat on you. I'm-I'm really sorry if-if this made you upset."
Of course it made me upset, Kurt, why can't you see that?
"But uh, it's – it's okay."
And that's when I know.
You don't get it at all, do you, Kurt?
You really don't understand what's happening?
I'm losing you, Kurt.
You're running away already.
I'm not even aware of saying anything else, just making some excuse to leave and hurrying out the door without bothering to grab my jacket. It's freezing outside but the frigid air feels good. It makes my skin tingle and my hands ache by the time I fumble my keys into the car ignition and manage to pull out of the driveway. I'm barely aware of the drive home, my ears ringing as I try to imagine what tomorrow will be like, what the day after that will be like, what the rest of my life will be like without Kurt in it.
Somehow, I don't crash into a tree or go off-road and kill myself. It's a near feat as I yank the car into park in the driveway to my own home, grateful that my parents are out of town. Cooper looks up as I open the door, a "Hey, Blaine," already on his lips before I storm past him.
I don't cross stairs or open a door or collapse on my bed, face buried in a pillow. I don't hear the sound of Cooper knocking tentatively on the door before coming in, sitting on the edge of my bed and hauling me into a semblance of a hug. I don't know when it becomes dark and we doze off, or how my phone comes to rest beside me when I finally regain control.
One word flashes back at me as I reach for the phone carefully, my fingers shaking slightly.
I wordlessly delete the text without opening it, the little Kurt disappearing from the screen.
Twenty minutes later, another one. Twenty-two seconds after that, it's gone, unread.
I turn off my phone, toss it under my pillow, and desperately try to remember what it's like to move on after you've had a piece of your heart broken.
Author's Notes: Immediate reaction fic to the Klaine fight scene.