City Of Glass
Kurt sits in the window seat and watches the ground fall away beneath the plane, the hull rattling underneath him as it climbs into the air. He's squished between the wall and a chubby woman marking numbers down in a beaten Su Doku booklet, but he doesn't mind all that much because he's going to New York.
His heart is pounding and he has no idea what he's going to do when he gets there, but he's going.
No more Lima, Ohio. No more being tossed in dumpsters and shoved in the hallways. No more working long weekend hours in the tire shop (though if he's honest with himself, he'll be missing mechanic work by October). No more eating the crap they serve at Breadstix. No more small town life.
Kurt leans back in his seat, letting out a long breath and trying to calm his nerves.
"Afraid of flying, sweetie?" says the woman next to him.
He forces an uncertain smile. "You could say that."
"Burt, he's going to be fine," Carole chuckles as Burt fidgets on the couch beside her. The football game on TV isn't keeping his attention, and he keeps glancing at the clock. "Relax," Carole says, patting Burt's shoulder and standing up. "Do you want some tea? Might calm your nerves."
"Sure," Burt says with a grateful smile. He and Carole had been through this once already this year, when Finn had gone off to boot camp and Carole had been a mess. Burt had learned a lot about the massive range of medicinal properties that a single brew of tea could hold during those first few days after Finn's departure.
Burt leans his head on his fist as he listens to Carole setting up the electric kettle in the kitchen, then glances at the clock out of the corner of his eye. Kurt isn't supposed to arrive in New York for another hour and a half; he should be suspended somewhere over Pennsylvania now. It's only been a few hours but it already feels like… Burt doesn't even know how long.
God, he just wants Kurt to be okay.
He just wants to have Kurt come back at Thanksgiving with a gigantic grin on his face because he's been living his life in New York and he doesn't have to lie to Burt to cover up anything bad. Burt doesn't think that's too much to ask.
The phone rings on the bookshelf by the TV, and Carole calls "Honey, can you get that?" from the kitchen.
Grateful for the distraction from his parental anxiety, Burt stands up and grabs the receiver on the second ring. "Hello?"
Burt frowns, stealing another look at the clock. "Are you in New York already?"
"N-no, Dad— Listen—"
In half an instant, everything inside Burt freezes. His heart stops. There's something wrong with Kurt's voice.
"Kurt, what's going on? Where are you?" he demands.
"I-I'm on the plane, Dad— You… you have to listen to me—" Kurt's voice is hitching and what he's saying isn't very clear through the static on the line, but Burt's pretty sure he's crying. "—something wrong— fire— don't think—"
Carole's come back into the living room now and she's watching Burt with an expression that terrifies him. She's holding the other phone to her ear and her hand is over her mouth.
"K-Kurt, you're breaking up," Burt says loudly. "What's wrong?"
"—engine's on fire—"
The blood in Burt's veins stretching through every inch of his body runs cold. He can hear screaming in the background. Hundreds of voices, all screaming. Except for Kurt.
"Dad, I'm sor— I'm so sorry—"
"No," Burt cuts him off, shaking his head. "Kurt, you're going to be fine. Just… just keep talking to me."
"Dad, please sto—"
The phone connection is terrible and Kurt's voice keeps cutting out and Burt wants to scream. Because even though his brain and his heart and all of his other vital organs have come to a complete halt, even though everything feels like it's under water and there's suddenly so much pressure, he knows what's happening.
Even though it can't be happening, shouldn't be happening, couldn't.
"J-just keep talking," Burt says, his hands shaking.
Burt's having a hard time breathing. "No, Kurt, you'll be fine, just keep— keep talking to me—"
Burt hears screeching, groaning metal that's louder than anything he's ever heard, but he hears it for only half a second before the deadpanned dial tone cuts through.
In the kitchen, the electric kettle begins to wail, but neither Burt nor Carole go to turn it off.
A/N: Oh, God, I'm so sorry.