Reading the letter of refusal was not the hardest part. The hardest part was telling Blaine and his dad.
Kurt tells Blaine first. He staggers out of the choir room without saying a word, leaving Finn and Rachel behind to deal with their heartache over a separation they thought they were going to avoid. Kurt expected to cry; in all the sleepless nights he’s spent since his audition, playing and replaying it in his head, wondering whether he should have gone for that Phantom song after all, he figured he would cry if he didn’t get in. That’s his usual reaction for pretty much every emotion in the human spectrum. There’s a pack of tissues in his pocket. He planned ahead.
He’s not crying, so he concludes he must be shell-shocked. He does feel kind of hollow, and seriously, who has the capacity for self-examination when they just got rejected from their dream school?
He has to find Blaine before it catches up with him.
It’s Blaine who finds him. His grin is blinding when he spots Kurt from the other end of the hallway and he makes his way through the crowd quickly. His smile fades as he nears Kurt so that he’s frowning when he reaches him.
“I didn’t get in,” Kurt says and it’s barely above a breath.
Blaine blinks a few times, his face contorting with confusion. “What?”
Kurt shakes his head and hands Blaine the letter, the paper wrinkled after he spent the past minutes unconsciously tightening his fingers around it. Blaine’s eyes skim over the page and then he’s looking up, his face a mask of heartbreak and sorrow. Kurt doesn’t feel anything looking at it. It’s starting to worry him.
“Kurt—” Blaine begins, his voice breaking and his chin trembling as he fights back tears. He clears his throat and looks at the ceiling, taking in deep breaths. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t feel anything.” Blaine opens his mouth, but Kurt shakes his head. “Do you think I have PTSD?”
Blaine lets out a laugh which sounds more like a sob. He sniffles and wipes his eyes, his hand tightening into a fist around the letter. “It’s going to hit you, soon.”
“I know,” Kurt deadpans. He looks around, feeling disconnected from his surroundings. “I think we should leave before it does. I don’t want to cry in the hallway. Again.”
Blaine nods and bites his lip before putting his hand to the small of Kurt’s back, guiding him outside the school towards his car.
“Rachel got in,” Kurt comments dully. “But Finn didn’t.”
“Of course Rachel got in,” Blaine mutters. He sniffs sharply and shakes his head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
“You didn’t say anything.”
Blaine gives a half-smile and a shrug. “You know I did.”
Kurt hums. “Of course she got in,” he repeats.
Their eyes meet and they both know they mean the same thing. Kurt forces a smile, which Blaine returns a few seconds too late. Kurt is really scared of when it’ll hit him. It’s going to be terrible.
It does five minutes later, as they make their way to his dad’s garage to bring him the bad news. Kurt started picturing what he’s going to do over the summer and realized he wouldn’t have to pack and then he thought about all the things he already started packing and that’s when it hit him that he would not go to New York, that he’d blown his chance. He’s stuck in Lima, stuck in Ohio with absolutely no plans for the future because he was stupid enough to invest everything in this ridiculous NYADA dream.
“Stop the car,” Kurt says in a white voice. His heart is hammering and his entire body feels numb.
Blaine pulls into the parking lot of a supermarket. He hasn’t even cut the engine that Kurt is letting out a sob which shakes his entire body and seems to come from his very soul. Blaine undoes his seat belt and reaches over the central console to pull Kurt into a hug, pressing his hand to the back of Kurt’s head as he buries his face in Blaine’s shoulder. He’s probably making a mess with his tears and his snot, but Blaine keeps him there by tightening his grip when Kurt tries to pull away.
It takes Kurt a few minutes to realize Blaine is crying, too. He manages to free himself from his grip and he’s met by Blaine’s tear-stained face, his eyes red and swollen.
“What am I going to do?” Kurt asks in a thick voice.
“I don’t know, Kurt. I don’t know and it kills me.”
Blaine’s words are met by a fresh batch of tears from both boys, which eventually turns into joyless laughter as they take in what the other looks like.
“Oh my god, look at us, we’re messes.”
“I think that given the current situation, we can be forgiven.”
Kurt chuckles and wipes his nose with the tissues he kept in his pocket. Blaine grabs one and wipes his eyes before blowing his nose.
“I think I’m most upset about not going to New York,” Kurt lets out in a shaky voice.
Blaine nods, his lips pursed in a pout Kurt is eighty percent sure is unintentional. “I can’t even be selfish and say I’m relieved I get to have you here with me next year.”
Kurt laughs and then pouts. “I love you so much.”
“I love you, too. And don’t—we’ll figure something out, okay? You’re Kurt Hummel. Nothing can stop you from going to New York.”
“Well, apparently the admission board of some snotty New York school can,” Kurt mutters, balling his used tissue in his hand while he glares at the dashboard.
“They don’t deserve you. After that audition, if they can’t see how great you are, they don’t deserve you. Honestly. You’re better than them.”
Kurt forces a smile. “Thanks, but I doubt it.”
“I mean it.”
“I know you do,” Kurt says in a small voice, pulling Blaine into another hug. When he pulls out, he sighs. “I’ve got to go tell my dad.”
Burt doesn’t take it well. His initial reaction is anger and he only calms down when Kurt yells louder than him that he’ll kill himself if he doesn’t stop. Burt slumps in his chair and sighs like the weight of the past eighteen years has just caught up with him. When he looks up at Kurt, his eyes are the saddest he’s ever seen them.
“I wish I could do something, Kurt. It’s killing me to know you’ve worked so hard and get nothing in return. I—that’s hard, for a father, seeing your kid get beat up by life and knowing there’s nothing you can do.”
“I’ll be fine, Dad. I promise. Don’t worry about me.”
“I know. You’ve been able to take care of yourself without me for a long time already, buddy, but it’s my job to worry about you anyway.”
Kurt smiles sadly and shrugs. “I’ll apply again next year. And I’ll try other schools, too. It’s not over. I’m not giving up.”
“You bet you’re not. We Hummels don’t take no for an answer.”
“Oh, I know. Remember when you threatened to take a flamethrower to the school when Mr. Schue wouldn’t let me audition for Defying Gravity?”
Burt bursts out laughing, throwing his head back and shaking his head. “I thought old Figgins was going to piss his pants.” He turns serious. “You know, if you think it could change their decision, I could always—”
“It won’t be necessary, Dad. It’s fine. I haven’t said my last word.”
Burt nods, lifting his cap to rub his scalp a few times. “How’s he taking it?” He nods at the door, behind which Blaine is waiting.
“I think he’s taking it worse than I am.” When Kurt looks back to his father, their fond smiles are identical.
“Hang on to that one. That way, I’ll know you’ll be fine when I’m gone.”
“Okay, no, Dad, you are not talking about that today. I’m barely keeping it together, so don’t you dare talk about dying. You’re not allowed to die.” Kurt glares at this father for emphasis.
“Alright, alright. I promise you that I’ll never die.”
They both laugh as they get up to exchange a hug. “Now go take care of your boyfriend, I think I can hear him crying.”
Kurt nods. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll figure something out for next year. Just you wait.”