Title: Speak the Truth
Characters: Kurt Hummel, with appearances by Finn and Blaine
Summary: Five things Kurt had to practise saying, and one that only had to be said once.
Spoilers: assumed through 4x07 "Dynamic Duets", but specific references only to 2x16 "Original Song" and 4x04 "The Break-Up."
Warning(s): some brief Klaine break-up angst and one swear word that Finn let slip
Word Count: about 2000
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Ryan Murphy, FOX, et al. I make no profit from their use.
Author's Note: I've always wanted to write one of those "five (plus one)" stories but could never think of a subject worth that many little parts (not one that hadn't already been done at least). And then a week and a half ago, this hit me and I was like, "Yeeeessss!" Especially because it gave me an excuse to write more Klaine fic. So I've been working on this every morning for almost two weeks, on the train on my way to work. Given my habit of mumbling dialogue and making frustrated scoffing noises when I cross out whole paragraphs that aren't good enough, I'm sure my fellow commuters will be glad it's over. Enjoy.
- o – o – o -
The day after Kurt's mom died, he woke up and didn't know what to do.
He could tell by the position of the hands on his Power Rangers clock that his dad should have been up and making breakfast by now, but the usual sounds of plates and cutlery, and the news on the TV, were absent that morning.
Kurt lay there for a little while longer, covers pulled up to his chin, and then finally slipped out of bed. Poking his head around his door, he looked down the hall to his parents' room, but the door was shut tight.
He tiptoed passed the bathroom, into the lounge, through into the kitchen. He could hear the muffled roar of cars going by on the street and the steady slap of joggers on the footpath, but something told him not to disturb the silence. Outside life went on as normal, but inside it was like the world had stopped.
"Mom is dead," Kurt whispered, and there was a painful twist in the pit of his stomach.
So he said it again and again.
"Mom is dead. Mom is dead."
The more you did something the easier it became, like when he was learning to tie his shoes, or plait hair. Maybe this would be the same. Maybe, the more he said it, the easier it would be.
- o – o – o -
When Kurt was little he used to marry off his toys and action figures in whichever combination he felt like that week. It took as long as a week because weddings didn't just happen and he took them very seriously. A lot of time was spent preparing for the occasion.
Still, in all that, gender was never something he considered. Sure, boys and girls got married, but so did girls and girls, and boys and boys. Nothing complicated about it.
And then he got older and things became less abstract, and suddenly the idea of boys marrying boys was less easy.
Kurt looked at his dad and saw a man's man. Burt Hummel wore flannel shirts and baseball caps; he watched just about every sport that got shown on TV and he had poker nights with his buddies. He drank beer and listened to Mellencamp songs.
When Kurt looked at himself he didn't see any of that. He was small and slight; he took care of his skin and hair. He wouldn't be caught dead in flannel and he followed the world of musical theatre like his dad followed the football scores.
Those boys from school, Finn Hudson and Noah Puckerman, they had more in common with his dad than he did.
But he didn't let himself think about the biggest difference because once he did there was no going back. He already got called names and tossed into dumpsters every day. He just wanted to cling to what sliver of normalcy he could for as long as possible. Was that so bad?
It happened while he was in the shower. One minute he was washing his hair, the next he had soap in his eyes and was blinking back tears as he tried to wash it out.
Under the spray he whispered, "I'm gay," and the water flooded his mouth.
He stepped back, choked and coughed, gasped in a huge breath, and said it again.
He didn't feel lighter or more at peace with himself or any of those things. Really, he just felt more alone than he had before.
- o – o – o –
Kissing, Kurt had decided, was the best thing ever. Better than blowing everyone away with his above-average cooking skills, better than making everyone gasp in awe when he hit a note male voices shouldn't be able to. Better even than finding the perfect scarf in a bargain bin.
Kurt could kiss Blaine for the rest of his life and never once complain.
Honestly, he wasn't sure he should be driving in this state. He felt floaty and woozy, and freer than he could ever remember feeling. But he'd promised his dad he'd be home and wasn't sure he'd be able to explain his lateness over the phone. Even if he could, his dad might think it an even better reason for Kurt to be home on time.
"I have a boyfriend."
Even with music playing, his voice sounded loud in the car.
"I have a boyfriend." He bounced in his seat and didn't care that he was probably grinning like a lunatic.
He repeated the words all the way home.
- o – o – o -
For the first week all Kurt could think was "Why?" and "How?"
"Why did he do this to me?"
"How could he do this to us?"
For the next couple of weeks he buried himself in work and tried not to think at all.
It wasn't until he hadn't spoken to Blaine for a whole month that the truth popped into his head. He forced it aside. He couldn't think it; he certainly wouldn't say it. Rachel had said once that something wasn't really true until it had been said out loud and put out into the universe. Kurt had never agreed but in this case he'd decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Finn was the one who gave him the final push.
It was fairly routine for their Tuesday nights, for Kurt to be preparing dinner while talking to Finn on speakerphone, because Rachel got home late on Tuesday's. But that night Kurt almost sliced his finger off when Finn said, "Me an' Artie offered Danny to Blaine, but he said no."
"It's because we broke up."
The words were out before Kurt had a chance to even think them, and then he had to put down his knife because his hands were shaking so badly.
"What was that, bro?" Finn's voice was slightly muffled. "I think you dropped out for a sec."
It crossed Kurt's mind to lie, say it had been nothing, nothing important. But it was too late for that. Rachel was right; now that he'd said it out loud there was no going back, no hiding from it anymore.
"He turned it down because we broke up," Kurt said.
Finn was silent for all of a second, then, "Oh, shit. Man, I'm so sorry! I wasn't supposed to talk about him. Did I upset you? Mom's gonna kill me if—"
"Finn!" He almost could have laughed at his brother's rambling. "Stop. It's okay."
And maybe it was. Sort of.
"We broke up."
It was just like the song. It wasn't right—nothing about this situation was right—but it was okay. Or it would be. One day.
- o – o – o -
It was summer, Kurt was back in Lima visiting his family, and he and Blaine were friends again. And for all that the last year had been harder than he'd ever imagined, it had been a good one. He'd learned a lot about himself and life and love. And he hadn't even had to go to college to do it.
Pulling into Blaine's driveway that morning, though, Kurt couldn't remember ever being so nervous. Not before singing "Candles" with Blaine at Regionals junior year, not before his NYADA audition, not before flying to New York on his own that first time.
Kurt had always been good at talking, and Blaine had always been good at listening, and over the last six months they'd learned how to swap and communicate properly. Still, Kurt had prepared a speech, because he needed to be able to get everything out at once and not lose his nerve if Blaine interrupted.
But somewhere between leaving home and turning off the ignition the whole speech had disappeared from his head.
Kurt panicked. There was so much he needed to say, and in exactly the right order, and all he had left now was...
"I still love you." He murmured the words into the steering wheel.
That wasn't enough. There had to be more. He couldn't let Blaine open the door and blurt into his face, "I still love you." That was one reason for the speech; being prepared prevented blurting.
"I still love you."
Was it enough? Maybe it was. Didn't the whole speech just come down to those four words anyway?
From the corner of his eye he saw Blaine open the front door and step out, probably wondering why Kurt was just sitting in the car. He was wearing a T-shirt, chino shorts and no shoes. His hair was still gelled but he'd used minimal product. This was not the Blaine he'd met on a staircase or gone to school with, but it was still Blaine. They didn't need speeches.
He took a breath, squared his shoulders and smiled.
"I still love you."
Yes, it was enough.
- o – o – o -
They were curled up on the sofa, part way through an Audrey Hepburn marathon—Professor Higgins was stuffing Eliza's mouth with marbles—when Kurt said it.
Blaine went very still under his arm and slowly turned to look up at him. His eyes were wide and his mouth slightly parted. He swallowed, licked his lower lip and said, "Kurt...are you serious?"
Kurt scoffed. "You know I never say anything I don't mean."
Blaine continued to stare and Kurt glanced away, biting his lip.
"I admit," Kurt said, "that I didn't plan to ask today. Actually, I..." He laughed lightly. "I don't even have a ring. But I've known I wanted to marry you since I was sixteen years old. So...yes. I'm completely serious."
Blaine was quiet, too quiet for Kurt's liking. How could he have let those two words slip out like that? This was why he liked to plan ahead, so he could prepare for every eventuality. What if Blaine said no? What would Kurt say and do then?
And then Blaine smiled, properly smiled, the smile that made his eyes shine, and showed all his teeth, and made his eyes crinkle at the corners. And Kurt breathed easy.
"I will." Blaine said. "Yes. I will marry you, Kurt Hummel."
Blaine surged towards him for a kiss and Kurt decided that maybe he would be spontaneous more often.