Spoilers (if any): None.
Warnings (if any): None.
Word Count: ~2,800
Summary: College is a big hot mess of an issue. Kurt thinks he's probably stuck in Ohio. Blaine's set on the East coast. Along the way there's a scholarship, a ridiculous solution, awkward conversations and some really crap parental behavior.
Notes: Not high art; First fic in FOREVER, banged out due to the fact that I'm in Boston on biz, and I've been awake since Monday morning. So, you know, you get what you pay for and all that.
When Blaine heads off with his father to visit prospective colleges, neither he nor Kurt is particularly happy about it. Kurt figures he, himself will just be going to Ohio State; it's what he can afford, especially after the Dalton debacle. And Blaine, Blaine's just not thinking that far ahead. He's thinking great, another father-son bonding experience that's about my utter lack of heterosexuality. He's not expecting to go well.
And then he falls in love with Boston. Which means texting Kurt about it constantly. There are a million schools here, he writes with his thumbs. You should audition for all of them.
Kurt would be resentful of having his future planned out for him – he's never been the future anyone ever quite thought they were going to have so it doesn't seem fair – if he weren't so grateful that Blaine was thinking about this college thing at all; not how they're going to do it, but that they're going to do it, together, at all.
Burt, meanwhile, doesn't make a single noise of protest when, a couple of months later, he has to drive Kurt all the way to Boston and back just for a simple audition. Fourteen hours in a car for just a few minutes of singing, a vocal class and interview, before they turn right around and go back the other way, pausing for sleep, finally, at a motel somewhere in Pennsylvania. Kurt is beyond grateful to his father, and full of hope, even though he knows that even with a scholarship he's probably not likely to get neither of them have any idea of how to make this thing work.
So Kurt resolutely tries not to hope that all of the great wide world outside Ohio will turn Blaine down. He just wants a little longer for not having to share.
When it's time to check the acceptance websites, Carol tells Kurt that he's so lucky. When she was applying to colleges everything came in the mail, and you could sort of tell from the size of the envelope what had happened, but not always, and if you were hoping to stay with your friends, or a special someone, days of waiting would pass where no one knew whether to be happy.
“Are you ready?” Blaine asks into the phone, calling Kurt so they can check together, even as they haven't even applied to most of the same schools.
Kurt just nods.
Blaine looks first. So silent and intent on the phone that it scares Kurt. He tries to ask Blaine to say something and can't even get the question out.
“I have a lot of options,” Blaine says, slowly, quiet and humble, but Kurt can hear the smile in his voice.
“That's... that's good.”
“Have you looked yet?”
“Scared,” Kurt says, and maybe it's a little like laughing and a bit like crying, but mostly, Blaine thinks, it just sounds like the sorrow of hope. It's one of those things that seems to happen to Kurt a lot.
“I'm right here,” Blaine says.
Kurt nods again, clicks, and reads the screen three times before he's screaming and jumping up and down. “I got it I got it I got it I got it!” he manages, before he drops the phone and Burt and Carol run upstairs to hug him and Blaine smiles, knowing Kurt will get back to him eventually and glad just to be in the room in his own way.
“Full scholarship, and I still can't afford it,” Kurt is explaining. There's books and housing and food and he shouldn't be so far away from his dad, and the terms of the scholarship forbid him from working as much as he'd need, and Boston's expensive, and he can't believe Blaine found them a way to do this and he still can't.
“My dad's thinking of getting me an apartment, off-campus,” Blaine says, like it's a question.
Maybe he thinks Kurt won't approve of the luxury, under the circumstances; Kurt's not sure. So he just nods. “That'll be nice. I could visit?”
“Idiot,” Blaine says. “Live with me.”
“How is your dad going to --”
“It's not a reward. It's an investment property. So just... come with me.”
“My dad will freak.”
“You got a full scholarship to one of the best vocal programs in the country. You have to go. He knows that. You know that.”
Kurt bites his lip, nods, and works very hard not to say I do.
Kurt's dad freaks. There's a great deal of yelling about sex and charity and sex and charity and what do Blaine's parents think about this anyway.
Kurt confesses he has no idea, but that it's a chance, a chance to get out of Ohio, a chance to be somewhere safer, a chance to do something with this voice of his that maybe isn't the most important thing about him – it's actually probably not – but is the thing that's given him everything he's ever had to hold on to when he's had nothing.
His father just says he knows Columbus is pretty friendly for gays and looks defeated.
Kurt isn't sure whose heart is breaking. Or even why. But on the phone that night, it sounds like it's Blaine's and that it's because of him.
Two days later Kurt's father knocks on his son's bedroom door and stands there awkwardly as he explains he's just worried and doesn't want Kurt to get hurt if Blaine's dad isn't okay with this or if Blaine and Kurt break up later. He doesn't want Kurt to start school and have to leave later if something goes wrong. He hates the thought of his son having anything taken away from him.
Kurt smiles weakly and says he's already had a lot of practice at that.
“You and Blaine --”
“I gotta think of you two as marrying or something, or else this whole thing goes to a real bad not okay place for me.”
“We're kind of young for that,” Kurt says, freaked out by how completely easy this utterly bizarre conversation suddenly seems.
His father nods. “I know. But... do you want to? Him? Some day?”
“Maybe after we finish school?” Kurt half asks, trying to find the right answer. “We haven't even gotten there yet. I mean, he really wants to go to grad school too. But yeah, I want to. Get there, I mean. Does that help?”
“You sleep with him yet?”
So much for easy. Kurt can't believe how suddenly things went from so cool to so awkward. “That would sort of depend on how you count it. Um, I'm guessing not like you mean, but you probably still don't want to know.”
Burt nods, seemingly satisfied. “Why?” he asks.
“Why?” Kurt's incredulous.
“Because I don't like the back seat of cars. Or sneaking around. Or pretending like it didn't happen. Or not being able to sleep, just sleep, next to him, Dad. It's not romantic. It's not our due. Like that.”
Burt nods again. “You still want to go to Boston? Live with him?”
Kurt nods, biting his lip and scared to hope.
“Okay. If his dad agrees, you can go. How long 'til you have to sign the thing for the scholarship?”
Blaine's father agrees in some weird way that really only involves Kurt looking at photos Blaine sends via his mobile, but that's all right, Kurt trusts Blaine's taste and can't be choosy anyway, although he has told Blaine how very much he really needs space for his vanity by a window because without his morning and evening rituals he is nothing. Blaine laughs, in an indulgent way that Kurt knows means he's being ridiculous, but yet all the photos Blaine sends him somehow are always full of bedroom windows.
Eventually, Kurt and his dad, and Blaine and his father, wind up in Boston together for the closing on the little two bedroom (they'll be using one bedroom as an office, thank you very much, Kurt, officious and over-dressed, lets the lawyers know almost immediately) with the too-small kitchen, good light in the bedroom, and a 30 minute commute to Blaine's school and near twice that for Kurt's.
It's all going to be just fine, until Blaine's father, after staring a Kurt for far too long (Kurt's always tried to steer clear of that situation for everyone's benefit), murmurs to his son, “With a face like that, I don't know why it's always been so hard for you to be interested in girls.”
Blaine makes a noise and waives his hand, unwilling to do or say anything apparently until everything is signed and solved; he and Kurt have some lease agreement thing from his father they're going to put their names to too and then everyone can feel like they're all protected or something.
“Thank you,” Kurt says, loudly, his posture perfect as he smiles like a knife. A sort of cute, innocent knife, but still.
“Pardon?” Blaine's father says, as if he's forgotten he spoke aloud or that Kurt is in the room at all.
“My skincare routine is quite time consuming. To have a soft, girlish, complexion was actually the height of masculine beauty for hundreds of years. It's quite difficult to achieve. I appreciate that you notice it.”
“Kurt --” His own dad says, his voice warning. Kurt ignores him.
“But I'm not a girl, Mr. Anderson. And your son doesn't like me because he thinks I look like one. Or sound like this, which you probably think is girlish and weak too. You wouldn't be any happier if you thought I was more masculine, more heterosexual; you'd just be terrified that somehow that would make your son seem weak. What you don't understand is that your son is the way he is because of who you are, not because of who I am. I'm just the beneficiary. He's remarkable. And you must be, in some way that I can't see, for him to be yours. I am ashamed at how grateful I am for your help today, but the price of it can't be that you get to say anything you want about me to goad him. So I'm going to sign whatever it is I'm supposed to sign now, and then I'm going to go take a very long walk. You can all do whatever it is you're going to do, and Blaine and I will deal with it, but not like this.”
Everyone is silent as Kurt scrawls across the appropriate copies of the lease agreement, tosses them on the desk, and turns on his heel and leaves. Blaine jumps to his feet, but his father grabs him by the wrist, while Kurt just prays he makes it out the front door and down on to the street before he faints. Because maybe everything is going to be gone now, because Blaine's stupid father wishes he was straight.
When he gets back to the hotel, four hours later and well after dark, Blaine and Kurt's dad are in the lobby, talking in hushed tones. Blaine stands and wraps his arms around Kurt immediately, saying nothing, just rocking him back and forth and humming tonelessly.
Eventually, Kurt manages to untangle himself so that someone will tell him the apparently bad news.
“What happened?” he asks both men.
“Everything's fine,” Blaine says.
Kurt gives him a skeptical look.
“Everything's signed,” his dad adds from the ugly armchair he's still sitting in.
Kurt lets out the breath he was trying not to be obvious about holding. But then Blaine closes his eyes for a long moment, and Kurt makes himself memorize this face of the other shoe dropping.
“My dad's gone home,” Blaine says in a quiet rush. “I'm going to go back with you guys and then get my stuff together, and come out here. You can join me at the end of the summer.”
“Wait... what happened?” Kurt asks again, confused and frustrated now.
Blaine takes a deep breath and looks at the ceiling for a moment. “My father just finally realized that he doesn't really like me, although, you know, is still honorable or something. So he did this for me. Us, I guess. But, I don't really get to go home again, either. Not to him, anyway. That's the price.”
Kurt covers his mouth with his hand. “Oh my god.”
“It's okay,” Blaine says.
“But – ”
“I – ”
“Not you. Speechifying aside.”
“Okay?” Kurt says nervously. He has no idea what to do. For one thing, they're supposed to be celebrating. For another, his own dad's in the middle of this mess too. He looks around nervously.
“Kurt, stay with Blaine tonight,” his dad says, as if knowing it's time for the remaining adult to do something. It had been father and son in each of the rooms. More appropriate, or something. A bonding experience. And seemingly irrelevant now.
“Thank you,” Blaine says, twining his fingers with Kurt's.
Kurt's just really glad people are talking and none of them have to be him right now.
“Welcome to grown-up time,” his dad says. “Stuff's going to happen. And you're not going to know what the hell to do. And it'll be hard, and it won't even be about you, and you're going to need to put aside how scared you are in order to do the right thing. It's hard. For anyone. The two of you should probably go upstairs and start figuring out how to do that. While I have a much needed beer in the bar and call Carole. Okay?”
Kurt nods, smiling in spite of himself. “Okay. Thanks,” he says, a little annoyed at quite how breathless and nervous he sounds.
“Call me if you need anything,” Burt hollers after them as Kurt leads Blaine to the elevator.
They're lying on one of the double beds together side by side, fully dressed and staring at the ceiling. Well, sort of. Blaine has an arm thrown over his face, while Kurt clutches at his other hand.
“This is not how I thought this was going to go,” Blaine says.
“I'm really sorry.”
“It's not your fault.”
“I know. But it's what you say. Like when someone dies.”
“This is going to be okay eventually. With you and your dad I mean. You know that, right?”
Blaine lowers his arm a bit and peers over it at Kurt. “Not your place to say, but yeah, I know.”
“Okay. Good. Just making sure.”
Blaine smiles a little. “You never told me why your dad said yes.”
Kurt rolls his eyes. “I told him we hadn't had sex yet because I thought we deserved a bed.”
Blaine covers his eyes with his arm again and chuckles. “Wanna know why my dad signed the papers despite your spectacular speech?”
“If you want to tell me,” Kurt says, refraining from noting that Mr. Anderson totally started it.
“Because you were man enough to stand up to him.”
“You know, anything I say right now is probably going to be pretty uncomplimentary,” Kurt says.
“I know. And I'm sorry the summer's going to be like this --”
“Your poor mom.”
“Right? God. I don't even know if she knows yet.”
Kurt bites his lip, thinking about his own mother and then putting it aside. “What do you need from me right now?” he ask, taking his own father's advice as best he can.
“Yup, boyfriend that I am about to be living with at the end of the summer. How can I help?”
Blaine chuckles. “Talk to me of this bed we deserve.”
“In an interior design way or a --”
“Interior design. For now anyway.”
“Okay,” he says, curling on his side and putting an arm around Blaine's waist. “I can do that.”
All things, Kurt thinks, as he tells Blaine that the bed shouldn't be too big, lest it becomes hard to find each other in dreams, happen in their time. Some too early. And maybe some too late. But none of them ever really wrong in the end.
Next: These Thousand Names for Gratitude