Title: History Repeating
Summary: Kurt Hummel's Senior Prom feels a little bit like history repeating itself. Post-episode fic exploring Kurt's thoughts when he realizes the winning Prom Queen candidate is a write in.
Kurt stood on the stage. He willed himself to look through, rather than at, the expectant crowd of faces in front of him.
Prom King Finn Hudson. It was petulant of him, but Kurt frowned a little. Fraternal loyalty be damned; he'd voted for Brittany. The thought of Rachel belting out Kelly Clarkson's Never Again, trails of mascara running down her cheeks as Finn awkwardly wheeled Quinn around the room, was too horrifying to contemplate.
Speaking of Quinn, it was time for the Queen. A rather inevitable conclusion, if the polls carried any weight. Figgins needed to hurry up, because Kurt was itching to run off the stage so he could finally feel the spring and softness of his boyfriend's untamed curls under his fingertips. Kurt glanced at his inept principal, watching him fumble with the gold envelope and sighed, tapping his foot. Was it too gauche to file one's nails on stage?
Deciding Brittany would probably yell at him because, "they didn't have nail files in the Mesolithic!", Kurt glanced at Finn instead. Finn yawned so deeply Kurt could see his tonsils, then scratched his leg. Kurt considered his brother's ensemble: dark gray suit that dripped from his gangly frame and a striped blue tie. He looked like a traveling salesman; what a waste of good genetics. Still, Kurt couldn't blame him. Finn was so apathetic about Prom that Kurt had forcibly tucked his shirt in for him before they'd entered the hall.
Figgins raised his eyebrows as he opened the envelope. Finally.
Then Kurt's heart stilled, then pounded in his chest as he was met with the two most dreaded words in the English language after decaffeinated coffee.
Not again. No, not again, not again. The words echoed around his head in circles, and he felt the pool of sweat collect under the brim of his hat. A bead of sweat slid down his cheekbone and dripped below his collar. Scanning the crowd, he searched for Blaine's kind eyes, but couldn't find them in the blur of faces. Instead, his own eyes so wide he could feel them drying out, he sought out Finn.
If Finn's angry squint was any indication, several innocent chairs were about to meet their demise.
Wouldn't that be the cherry on top of this humiliation sundae?
Well. Screw them. Screw this gin-less joint. He'd be starting at NYADA in the fall. He'd be on billboards, on playbills, signing his name with a flourish as his agent held an umbrella over his head. Suited, and booted, while the people responsible for this were cleaning septic tanks; bagging groceries; pumping gas.
Kurt Hummel would never be the boy next door.
Who was he kidding? His reputation as a laughing stock would probably follow him all the way to New York, always everyone's favorite punchline.
When he looked at his brother again, who met everyone's definition of boy next door, Finn's expression had changed. He looked conflicted, terrified wide eyes and fists tightly clenched.
Oh. Silly him for actually congratulating Finn on his maturity this year. In a split second, he'd reverted from a grown man with grand dreams to the 16 year-old who dried his socks in the microwave and showered in a shirt and shorts when Kurt had had the temerity to enter the boys' locker room.
Finn would leave him there. Finn would walk away and leave him there for the stage to swallow him whole.
Kurt's eyes began to sting as he blinked, willing the tears away. He forced himself to plan how he'd deal with the situation; at least this year he had time to prepare. He'd give his tiara to Tina, let her be queen for the day, tell her she looked beautiful. Then, he'd walk outside, letting the cold air sting the tears he'd allow himself to release. Blaine would follow him, let him cry into his soft brown cloud of hair, and they'd go back to their awful hotel room and eat squished pillow chocolates.
Kurt bit his lip tightly as Figgins' mouth creaked open in slow motion.
No. No, they couldn't do this to Rachel. Kurt shifted his eyes to the ceiling, wondering what sort of awful prank the Neanderthals had in store for his best friend. After what had happened at her NYADA audition, this would break her. When he met her expression, her eyes took up most of her face.
She was clearly as stunned as the silence in the room.
Weren't Santana and Quinn supposed to be Rachel's friends? He looked to the two vote-counters, worried that they could read him, see his hypocrisy because if he was honest, his indignity was barely masked by the relief of not having to endure a humiliation of his own.
Santana's smile wasn't malicious, though. It was humble, one he'd only ever seen her direct towards Brittany. Exhaling, Kurt smiled at the pair. Thank you, he hoped his smile would say, as he swallowed the lump in his throat, Quinn smiling back with her eyes.
The crowd began to clap, and Kurt watched Rachel stare at the ground and slowly walk to the stage as the applause increased in intensity. Suddenly, everything sped up again, everything blurring as Kurt stretched up on tiptoes to place the gaudy crown on Finn's head and patted him gently on his back - urgh, that was a mistake, his suit jacket was drenched with sweat - then wiped his palms on his pants before gently placing the tiara on Rachel's head.
As the crowd parted, and Kurt sucked in a breath, but as Santana's silky voice reverberated around the room, he realized that there wasn't a pail of pig's blood in sight. He followed Rachel and Finn as they left the stage to seek their fairytale moment, a vapor trail of cheap aftershave and the cloying scent of Flowerbomb streaming from them and assaulting his nostrils.
Immediately, Finn tapped him on the arm. "Don't get me wrong, it would have been awesome to dance with you, but... she just. She needs this, man. You know?" he said, before he lowered his voice. "Can we swap hats? This stupid thing's digging into my eyes."
"Not a chance," Kurt said, smiling back at him. Trust his brother to be well-meaning and completely obtuse at once. He smiled wider as he felt Blaine's warm hand against the small of his back.
"Wow, it's like a chia pet." Finn reached his hand out, patting the top of Blaine's head. "Awesome!"
Kurt didn't miss Blaine's wince as Finn gave his head another pat, Finn muttering that nobody was going to mess with his bros, and if anyone even glared, it was his duty as Prom King to bust their lights out. Then, Rachel stopped thumbing her engagement ring and grabbed hold of Finn's arm, seeming to finally realize it wasn't a joke herself. They clutched each other tightly, lost in each other's eyes and arms as usual.
Kurt snickered, placing his arm around Blaine's waist. "Chia pet? I was thinking a young Bob Ross." He decided to steer them over to where Sam was currently dipping a beaming Mercedes. "Sorry. I'll cut the hair jokes."
"Cute. Did Finn just.."
"Oh god. Did he just call her sexy? Ew."
A slight flush colored Blaine's cheeks as he pulled away. "Don't take this moment away from her, Kurt. They're adorable."
"Adorable? I suppose. If you want to watch the Incredible Hulk make out with the Swan Queen."
Glancing across the room, Kurt couldn't help the unease that flitted through him as he watched Rachel and Finn kiss, Rachel's tiny body branded into his. The crowd of unattached girls surrounding her sighing happily. High school hadn't been easy for any of his friends, but his time there would have been much easier if he'd been like Finn - the hot, straight football player who was every girl's teenage dream. He wasn't sure why watching them made him so uneasy; granted, two years ago he would have pawned his collection of Kristin Lora brooches to be in Rachel's position.
Deep down, was he still jealous?
No. That wasn't it. That ship had sailed; that ship had been scrapped. If anything, he'd rather be in Finn's position.
It was the unease of all of this, Kurt realized, compared with the casual ease of Rachel and Finn's shared smile. Kurt had a similar smile, one he'd only let Blaine see, and he was still afraid to show it to him outside of their houses, or outside of the choir room. The blunt truth was that Kurt had to glance over his shoulder and rely on his friends to form a circle around him if he wanted to kiss his boyfriend at Senior Prom. Even with the support of his friends, dancing together at a distance that barely even crossed the line of platonic was as close to a crowning moment as he and Blaine would get.
"Is something wrong?" Blaine said, hands spanning the small of Kurt's back. "Are you upset that it seems so easy for them, that we'll never be in their place?"
"Well." Kurt coughed a little, trying to diffuse the tension. "It's not that easy for them. Rachel's going to need a step stool and some painkillers for the crick in her neck, and ten bucks says Finn will spill punch on her gown by the end of the night."
"You know that's not what I meant," Blaine said, concern visible on his face.
Kurt sighed. Things weren't perfect, but he was so grateful history hadn't repeated itself. Kurt knew he'd never be afforded the perfect fairytale moment that Rachel had been given, at least not during the rest of his time at McKinley, but that was no reason for him not to treat Blaine like royalty. So, he pulled Blaine closer then pressed a quick kiss against the lapels of his suit jacket, breathing in his scent. He soaked it up, focusing on his boyfriend's sparkling eyes and carded his hands through Blaine's hair. It was all he could do.
So much had changed in the past year, and so much would change in the following year, but one thing he did know was that his love for Blaine would always be a constant.
"I'm so proud of you," Blaine said, his eyes fluttering shut.
"I'm so proud of us," Kurt said, tilting Blaine's chin up with his fingertips, so close he could feel Blaine's warm breath brush against his lips. "I'm proud, Blaine," he repeated, as he closed the distance between them.
1. Blaine's "hair gel" storyline was cute enough, but I really wanted some more depth - both these boys have had very negative experiences, and I wish it hadn't been glossed over. Like many fans of Kurt and Blaine, I'm not pleased that we don't get to see them displaying the same amount of physical affection as Finn and Rachel, and I also wanted to explore Kurt's feelings about that.
2. This is my first shot at Klaine angst, and I'd be thrilled to know if people enjoyed reading it. Let me know what you think!