Everything He Never Knew He Wanted
Summary: Kurt finds a friend in Puck just as everything else in his life seems to be falling apart. SPOILERS for Season 3 Finale. Puck/Kurt with some Kurt/Blaine angst.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: So, it seems that every time I write a Klaine story, I have to counter it with Puckurt. I just finished Ours, my Klaine response to the end of season three, and as soon as that story was finished, this one began niggling at me to be written. Again, this is set post season three finale, so there are spoilers. There are 5 parts to the story and I'll post one part each day. Hope you enjoy. Jules
Since finding out that he wouldn't be going to NYADA, Kurt had been a bit down. No, that was an understatement; he was downright depressed. He had pinned all his hopes on that one school and now… Now Kurt simply didn't know what to do with himself. He and Blaine had talked long and hard about Kurt's options, he could wait a year and see if he could get in next year. He could try to get late admissions to another school in New York to study drama and music. But the truth was that despite his single-mindedness of the past three years, he wasn't sure anymore if that was what he really wanted.
And so, Blaine went off for his summer job singing at Six Flags again, leaving a very confused boyfriend at home to figure out who he was and what he really wanted from life.
Kurt took long walks beside the reservoir when he wasn't working at his father's garage or the part-time job he'd found at a local bakery. Those walks gave him time and peace to really think. What was it about his Broadway dreams that attracted him most? Was it the music or was it some need to finally be accepted? He somehow suspected that it was the latter. He'd always accepted that he was different from everyone in Lima Ohio, but that didn't make it any easier to live there. Somewhere along the way, his dreams of leaving that town had morphed into dreams of being a famous Broadway star, despite the fact that he had always known there would be few roles for a man like him. Because he wasn't just different from the people in Lima; he was just plain different.
Since Blaine had gotten the part of Tony in West Side Story, Kurt had doubted how realistic his goals were, but he had allowed Blaine and Rachel and his father to encourage him to pursue those goals anyway. When Rachel had accused him of self-sabotage, perhaps she had been right, but not in the way she believed at the time. No matter how talented he was, he had known that he would never make it on Broadway. So why had he pushed it? Why had he not considered any other options?
Kurt took a seat on the grassy ridge of the reservoir and stared out at the glassy water as the sunlight danced across the surface. He tossed in a pebble to see the ripples it made.
What did New York offer that was so tempting?
Even in New York, there was bigotry, though not as prominent as it was in Lima. He'd seen that for himself during their trip to Nationals. And while the cultural offerings were great there, other cities had shows and museums too. Since he had outgrown his girly phase, where he felt the need to wear women's fashion on a regular basis, he didn't stand out quite as badly as he once had, though he still prided himself on his progressive fashion sense. But there were other cities where he would be just as well received.
In truth, there were two reasons against going to New York. One was Blaine, and one was his father. He didn't want to be that far from either of them. Blaine, of course, would be going to New York next fall, but his father… Unless he was reelected and made the move to DC more permanent, he would probably always live in Ohio. And Burt Hummel's health was a very real concern for Kurt. He didn't want to look back and regret not spending enough time with his father. He had already lost one parent and though he knew that Carole now looked on him like another son, he didn't want to miss any time with his father.
But where did that leave him? He couldn't stay in Lima. He just couldn't. But he didn't want to be far away either. Columbus or Cleveland were options. So were Cincinnati and Indianapolis. All four were major metropolitan areas, but all were less than half a day driving distance. He could go to school in any of those cities and find some sort of gay community and still be close enough to come home on weekends.
But what would he study? What did he want to do for the rest of his life? What was he really good at besides singing?
He was good with fashion, but he didn't really have any interest in designing. Same with interior decorating. It was fun to do it for himself or his friends and family, but he didn't really want to make a living at that. He was good with languages—in fact, he was already pretty fluent with French and Spanish and was learning Italian for fun— but he didn't want to be a translator.
And then it hit him. He loved to cook and bake more than almost anything. He loved seeing other people appreciate his hard work. And he was damned good at it too. Even though it was just his summer job, the owner of the bakery was already letting him make some of the pastries and cakes. He could go to culinary school and become a pastry chef. And if he was meant to be famous, he could have a cooking show on cable someday. If not, he'd just open his own bakery or something.
"Hey Hummel," a voice called out from much closer than Kurt would have preferred, considering his thinking process was being interrupted.
Kurt turned to find Noah Puckerman approaching. "Noah? What are you doing here? I thought you were leaving for California?"
Puck shrugged. "Didn't work out. I tried to get a permit for my company and found out a few things. Did you know that there are more than 3000 pool cleaning companies in the Los Angeles area alone? And the taxes there are crazy. I'd end up giving almost half my money back to the state. On top of that, the guy I talked to in the government said that most businesses have their own equipment so most people with pools don't bother to buy anything. It would cost me a fortune to get all the stuff I'd need to do the job."
Kurt was somewhat impressed that Puck had actually taken the time to figure all that out before he got out to California. "So what are you going to do?"
Puck grabbed a backpack that Kurt hadn't noticed before and pulled some papers out. "This."
Kurt took the stack of papers and looked them over. "These are college applications."
Puck shrugged. "Yeah. I know I got crap grades, but I did pretty good on my SATs. And if that doesn't work, I'll go to community college instead. I gotta get the hell out of this town, Hummel."
Kurt sniffed. "I know what you mean. I was just thinking about schools that I could apply to for late admissions. UC, Ohio State, Kent State, Dayton… Anything not in Lima."
"Dayton's kinda expensive since it isn't a state school," Puck said. "I've got applications for the others, though. I brought a couple of each, since I thought I might mess them up. I was gonna work out my answers and then put them online later. Maybe we could do that together."
Kurt smiled. "Sure."
"So, what have you been up to since I left?" Blaine asked over Skype a couple days later. They had texted a few times, but Blaine's busy rehearsal and performance schedule didn't leave him much time to spend with Kurt on the phone or Skype. This was his first day off since going to Six Flags, so he finally had the chance to catch up with his boyfriend.
"Puck and I have been filling out college applications together," Kurt said. "We're hoping some schools will take pity on our lack of preparation. I helped him write his essay, and it turned out pretty good. He's got quite the story to tell."
"Colleges?" Blaine asked with a frown. "Where?" Kurt listed the schools he had applied to and Blaine's frown deepened. "But I thought… What about New York?"
Kurt sighed. "I've thought about it, Blaine and I really don't think I need to go to New York to get a good education. Besides, none of the schools would accept late applications. Anyway, I kind of want to be closer to my dad."
"But Kurt…" Blaine didn't get to finish his thought because someone came knocking at his door.
"You ready to go?"
Kurt could see a rather good looking young man smiling at Blaine in a way that was anything but platonic. Blaine smiled back at him. "Sure, just give me a minute." Blaine came back over to the computer and said, "Listen, I promised Chad that I would help him find some clothes that fit him better. We definitely need to talk about this some more. You can't just make decisions like that without me."
Kurt frowned. "I'm pretty sure that this is my decision to make, Blaine."
"Not when it affects both of us," Blaine said with a hint of frustration.
Kurt glanced over Blaine's shoulder and saw the blond menace named Chad smirking at him. "Fine, we'll talk later. Call me when you get back. And tell your friend that chartreuse is definitely not his color. In fact, it isn't anyone's color. It makes him look like a jaundiced corpse."
Kurt signed off without waiting for a response.
Blaine didn't call Kurt back. In fact he didn't bother to text him for three days, and there was no apology for keeping Kurt waiting. In that same time, Kurt had sent several texts and tried to call or Skype Blaine six times. Blaine's texted reply, when it finally came, was short and simple: "Really busy. Can't call right now, but we still need to talk."
The more Kurt considered Blaine's words, and his lack of consideration, the angrier Kurt got. A week after their aborted conversation, he still had not heard a word from Blaine other than that single text.
"…so I got Mr. Schue, Miss Pillsbury, Coach Beiste, and Mr. Preminger to write letters of recommendation like you said I should," Puck was saying when Kurt realized he had spaced out once again. "Dude, you listening?"
"Yeah," Kurt said and then sighed. "Sorry, my mind has been stuck on repeat for a while. You said you got a letter from Mr. Preminger? Why him? He's the art teacher."
Puck shrugged. "I kinda thought I might apply for either the art department or music department. I thought maybe I could get my teaching certification in one of the two."
"You draw?" Kurt asked with surprise.
Puck shrugged again. "Yeah. I'm not great or anything, but it's something I like to do. I don't think I'll ever be a famous artist or anything like that, but I can make a decent likeness. And I like kids, so I thought I could teach that or music to little kids."
"That's actually really noble," Kurt said. "I could definitely see you teaching little kids. You're so great with your sister."
Puck grinned at him. "She's pretty great, isn't she?"
Kurt had never met Sarah Puckerman until recently, but working on their college applications, Kurt had spent a bit of time over at Puck's house.
"Hey, isn't that your phone?" Puck asked.
Sure enough, Kurt's iphone was playing the ringtone that was assigned to Blaine. Kurt sighed and picked it up. "So glad you could finally fit me into your busy schedule." Puck looked curiously at Kurt but didn't try to see who it was.
"I have been busy," Blaine said a little defensively. "I have six shows a day and rehearsals on top of that."
"And you don't get two minutes to just shoot me a simple text to let me know you're alive?" Kurt asked snidely. "How was your shopping date with the worst dressed man in Ohio? That takes some work, you know, considering the sheer number of males wearing plaid in this state."
"Stop being such a bitch," Blaine said.
"I'm being a bitch?" Kurt asked. "I'm not the one who said we need to talk and then didn't answer any of my texts or calls for more than a week."
"Dude, maybe I should go," Puck said quietly but not quietly enough.
"Is that Puck?" Blaine demanded. "You two seem to be getting awfully friendly."
"There is nothing going on with me and Noah," Kurt denied. "We're helping each other and we're friends. Stop trying to put this off on me. And Noah, you don't have to go anywhere. We aren't finished and these applications and financial aid forms need to be turned in today."
"You're unbelievable," Blaine said. "We can't even have a conversation in private now?"
"Be grateful I haven't put you on speakerphone so the rest of the house can hear what an ass you're being," Kurt snarked.
"I'm being an ass?" Blaine said. "You are the one who is making decisions about our future without consulting me."
"No, I'm making decisions about my future," Kurt said in a deadly quiet voice. "Right now, I'm not sure we have a future."
"Kurt, you don't mean that," Blaine said in a voice filled with hurt.
Kurt realized that perhaps he might have taken things a little too far. "I don't know, Blaine. A month ago… But now, I have to face some pretty hard realities. One of those realities is that I'm not going to NYADA. I aced that audition. Carmen Tibideaux loved me. But I didn't get accepted. Do you want to know why?"
"You don't know why," Blaine said.
"Yes I do," Kurt argued. "I requested the notes from my audition and the school sent them. They do that, you know, so students can see where they can improve."
"What did it say?" Blaine asked softly.
"It said that I am very talented and did nearly flawlessly on my audition," Kurt said in a broken voice. "It also said that because of my vocal range and physical attributes I would never be anything more than a chorus boy. She suggested that the acceptance committee concentrate on students with the potential to succeed."
"No," Kurt said. "I'm not upset. I knew that long before I got those notes. I couldn't even get one of the leads in our school musical, and I was friends with the director. I knew then that I was fooling myself, but I wanted… I wanted to go someplace where I could be accepted. But the truth is that there are a lot of cities in this country with strong gay communities where I could live quite happily. And I realized that I don't need the approval from an audience as long as I have the approval of my friends and family. That's why I was able to get over you getting the lead so easy."
"Then why pursue NYADA?" Blaine asked.
"Because we had plans," Kurt said. "You and me and Rachel and Finn. We were all going to go to New York and have this wonderful life together. But it was just a dream, Blaine."
"So you're just giving up?" Blaine asked.
"On that dream," Kurt agreed. "But I had other dreams before Broadway and I've been rethinking those dreams lately."
"Like what?" Blaine asked.
"I want to be a pastry chef," Kurt said. "And maybe open my own bakery or cafe. But I don't have to be in New York to do that."
"What about us?" Blaine asked.
"I don't know," Kurt said honestly. "I can't… You have to do what's best for you and I have to do what's best for me. I'd like to think that we can find a way to be together and still do that, but right now, I just don't know."
"You said you'd never leave me," Blaine said quietly.
"And I'm not," Kurt denied. "But Blaine, you've been gone two weeks and we've spoken twice. I'm not saying I should be the center of your universe 24/7, but the occasional thought might be nice. You want me to plan my future with you, but you can't even text me during your busy schedule? And before you get defensive again, I've seen your schedule. I know how hard you're working. But I also know that you get breaks. You have almost 30 minutes between those six performances each day. And your rehearsals are only an hour. Plus you get meals. If you wanted to call or text me, you could."
"There's always something going on," Blaine said lamely. "My friends…"
"Like Chad?" Kurt asked and there was definitely a note of jealousy there.
"Yeah, but there are others," Blaine said lamely. In truth, both boys recognized the similarities between Chad and Sebastian but neither could bring themselves to mention it. "And it always seems like there's something they want me to do."
"I work two jobs," Kurt said. "And I have most of the glee club here for the summer. I know what it's like to be busy. But I still make time for you. Think about that, Blaine. Before you get down on my for being unsure of where we stand, consider if you really know how you feel. You want me to make you my first priority, over my own dreams and ambitions, but you can't even take time away from your friends—friends you've known for two weeks—to call me."
"Kurt, I love you," Blaine said.
"I know," Kurt sighed. "And I love you too. But do you love me enough to let me do what's right for me? I thought you'd be happy that I was applying to schools this year, but all you care about is that they don't fit into your plans. Do you love me enough to not forget me if I'm not right in your face all day every day?"
Kurt shook his head. "Think about it. And let me know what you come up with. In the meantime, I have to get these applications finished before I miss another deadline."
Kurt ended the call without waiting for Blaine's response.
"Dude, are you okay?" Puck asked. He shifted from his place by Kurt's desk to the bed and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"I don't know," Kurt said as he swiped at a tear that had escaped. "Was I… was I too harsh? Did I just blow everything out of proportion?"
"Nah," Puck said. "You were right. He can't expect you to give up on a life because it doesn't fit in with his plans. Especially if he hasn't even made time to call you since he's been gone."
Kurt swallowed thickly and nodded. He rubbed his hands down his legs and then stood up. "Well, let's get back to work. We both still have applications to submit today."