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Graceless Heart { Klaine }

Chapter Text

Blaine and I had been together for a good few months, we'd shared 'I love you's, been on countless cheesy but romantic dates and yet, I still wasn't happy.

I would never say that I was unhappy with him, Blaine was perfect. He was everything I'd ever wanted and more. I shall start with the shallow observations and go from there; he is so terrifically handsome. Everything single feature makes my eyes sing, from his golden eyes to the weird way his face scrunches up when he's flirting or being cheeky. This leads nicely into his glorious personality, charming, dapper and driven. Just ask anyone who knows him and those three words immediately spring to mind. Yes, he's also gullible, he's impulsive, he's naïve, but those factors only make him so much more real. In conclusion, Blaine Anderson is lovely, and I've made a terrible mistake.


We sat, cuddled together on the sofa at Blaine's house since his parents were out of town and Cooper was never home anyway. It was difficult to find time at the Hummel residence when no one was home so it was easier to just meet at Blaine's house since it was always empty. I often pitied him, spending countless nights alone in such a big house. Of course, I'd always offered for him to stay with us until his parents returned but he refused every time, saying that he didn't want to be a bother.

I could feel it, things had been getting uncomfortable between us for weeks.

"Kurt?" Blaine looked down at me from his position on the sofa, he looked worried and almost regretful when I made a small noise that told him to continue, "We need to talk about some things."

At this, I glanced up at him properly, pulling myself upright and away from him to pause the 'Wizard of Oz' movie that we were watching on the TV. Turning my body to face him, I immediately regretted it when I noticed just how serious he looked. This wasn't going to end well, he was going to mention how distant I'd been getting, how disinterested I seemed to be with everything, how little I actually seemed to want to even be alive anymore.

What actually happened was so much worse.

He swiped his tongue across his bottom lip cautiously before delivering the news, "Kurt, I- I want to move back to Dalton." Admittedly, this came as a huge surprise to me as I'd honestly always thought that Blaine was perfectly happy at McKinley, I'd never seen any reason to doubt that fact but it seemed as though the previous head Warbler had been having doubts for a long time.

I wanted to voice my own concerns, that we'd only drift farther apart, that he'd forget me. I didn't though, I couldn't. I replied only with a mere, "Okay."

"It's just that I, well, I never really liked McKinley all that much anyway and I don't feel safe there. I miss my friends, I miss my old life as head Warbler and honestly? I really miss that blazer." Who was I to stand between Blaine and his happiness, I should understand this better than anyone considering the fact that I ran to Dalton when I felt unsafe at McKinley.

I didn't though, or at least, I didn't want to understand.

I couldn't admit it to anyone, let alone Blaine, but things had been getting bad for a while. I was getting sad, well, I was getting sad again. Blaine meant everything to me, I was only hoping that having him around everyday would make the dark go away. He was so light, so happy, I couldn't tell him, but I could hope he helped me.

"Of course." My voice had fallen, it was small and weak and if Blaine had never noticed how I'd been feeling before then he certainly should have in that moment.

He didn't though, or at least, he didn't realise how he was hurting me.

Silent for a moment as I leaned back into him, Blaine let out a deep sigh and pushed me upright again, obviously with something else on his mind, "And Kurt, I also think we should break up." His words stung like knives hitting my skin, like a bullet wound, like an arrow protruding from my chest. Blaine wanted to break up with me.

I wasn't good enough.

I wasn't handsome enough.

I wasn't dapper enough.

I wasn't masculine enough.

I wasn't Dalton enough.

Another moment of silence fell over us as my thoughts chased each other around my head, trying to form some kind of coherent line. After a few moments of my head bowed and Blaine nervously awaiting an answer to his statement, I composed myself, reined the tears in. I couldn't cry in front of him, not because I didn't want to show him I cared, but because I worried that if I started then I'd never stop. It wouldn't only be about Blaine leaving, about Blaine leaving me, it would be about everything. I couldn't dump that on him.

Eventually, I forced myself to say something, "Okay."

Blaine's irritation with my reply was evident as a frustrated sigh escaped his lips, "See, Kurt? This is why! You don't even care, you're not even trying in this relationship anymore!" He pushed me further away from him and stood up, beginning to pace around the room with his hands knotted in his hair. Blaine had always had a short temper but it had never really displayed itself to me. "You hang out with your stupid friends more than with me! You don't even make an attempt to meet up with me anymore. If it weren't for me, aside from school, we'd never see each other! Do you know how that feels? To have your boyfriend prefer to hang out with his other gay mates instead of you? They don't actually like you Kurt, the Glitter Rock Vampire, Mr Between-The-Sheets and Doctor Who, they're just attracted to you!"

My voice was nothing more than a whimper as he screamed at me, coming inches from my face to spit the last few words, "I know, I- I'm sorry." Gulping quietly, I attempted to reach a hand up to caress his cheek gently but he slapped it away almost immediately, "I love you, Blaine! I love you."

"Save it, Kurt. You're not interested, don't lead me on. It's not fair." Blaine sneered softly and turned away, gathering my jacket and phone from the table, "See, Kurt? You've received twelve texts from them since you last checked your phone five minutes ago! You're with me, you're meant to tell them you're too busy to talk, even turn your phone off, I don't know!" He threw my things at me and I caught them clumsily, almost dropping my phone down the partition between the cushions. "Get out of here, Kurt."

My heart stopped, he was kicking me out. This didn't feel at all like something we could come back from. Reaching for him as I stood once more, I tried to make him see that I needed him, "Blaine?"

"Don't." He only slapped my hand away again, refusing to even look at me as he gestured towards the door. From what I could see of his face, it was wet with tears but they didn't look like the kind he would shed if this hurt him. These were tears of frustration, at me. Frustration that I didn't care as much as he did. Frustration that he was having to let me go, not sadness. This shattered my heart as my ribs cracked open and I practically watched the pumping, vital organ hit the ground with such a thud, in so many broken fragments that I didn't think I could remain standing for much longer.

Blaine Anderson didn't want me.

And so, with that, I left.

God, how I wished to just disappear and wake up somewhere that troubles melted like lemon drops with Judy Garland and the Cowardly Lion.

Chapter Text

Everything felt meaningless.

Within a week, Blaine had returned to Dalton and my entire life had turned upside down when I found that my glee friends didn't want to be around my constant negativity anymore. Apparently, Blaine had made me happier, even if only slightly. Now that he was gone, they couldn't stand to even look at me. I 'brought down the mood', to quote Rachel, and if they were ready to ditch me like that then I wasn't sure I even cared too much about leaving them behind.

So I spent glee club sitting at the very back, I spent lunches in the same spot in the choir room and I spent evenings in my bathroom. Let's just say that it involved sharp things and tears.


Eventually, after a few weeks of sulking in my room, my dad called an intervention and brought in the three people who'd tried to stick by me in school. Elliott, Chandler and Adam (otherwise known as the Glitter Rock Vampire, Mr Between-The-Sheets and Doctor Who) burst into my bedroom whilst I was in the middle of one of my 'sad moments' bearing gifts of ice cream and Elliott's laptop (he had Netflix).

"Get up and get happy, Kurtie! I have the spoons!" Chandler was the first to literally leap through the door, a proud expression on his face as he landed the grand jeté in such a small space (Chandler was a ballet dancer and a grand jeté was basically the splits in the air, it's actually quite endearing because he's always so happy after dancing). He grinned as he bowed gracefully, presenting me with the four spoons and a cheeky wink.

I turned to the door to await the other boys entrances. I was expecting grand after Chandler, I got exhausted and panting. "Chandler, never run ahead of us like that again, I swear to god, man!" Adam huffed as he collapsed onto the bed beside me, his face planted in the duvet as he struggled to breathe.

Chandler merely laughed and turned to Elliott, who'd chosen to simply glare at him in his exhausted stupor. Elliott eventually launched at Chandler and gave out an arrogant battle cry as the smaller boy squealed in terror when the taller friend bowelled into him and sent him flying onto the ground. This resulted in laughter all around as Elliott stood and fixed his quiff in my mirror casually before offering Chandler his hand to help him up with a wide grin.

They'd been there for less than two minutes and already I was laughing like nothing had happened. My dad was right every time he said it, they really were good for me.

Although their intentions were pure, when we sat down to watch a movie I couldn't help but wince at the choice of 'Moulin Rouge'. This simply pushed me over the edge when I was practically forced to sit through it, told that the only reason I didn't want to watch it was because I'd cry at the sappy parts.

I would cry at the sappy parts, but for different reasons.


When it came to the duet of 'Come What May' by Christian and Satine I simply couldn't stand it any longer. I broke down into tears right in front of the only friends I had left, only wishing that they wouldn't think me a freak and walk away. If I'd lost them too, I don't think I'd have been able to survive.

I just wanted Blaine back, I wanted back to the time when he made me feel like every time we were together, it was like I'd never seen the sky in all of it's true beauty before. Back to the time when I felt like I could vanish inside his kiss as I poured my heart and soul into our relationship. Back to the time when the world was such a perfect place and everything moved with such a perfect grace. Back to the time when my life didn't seem such a waste and when we touched, the stars collided. I wanted to love him until my dying day because nothing would ever break us. We'd always said we'd dance to this at our wedding and now, hearing the lyrics that related so strongly to my feelings broke me.

"Kurt? Are you crying?" Elliott looked over as soon as the sniffles began, a soft smile lingering on his lips as he must have thought that I was crying at the movie, "Oh my god, Kurt, what's wrong?" When he saw my face it was quite obvious that he'd read a different story as my features practically shattered, collapsing in on themselves when I attempted to take a steady breath. This only resulted in more tears and such jagged breathing that if the others hadn't been paying attention, they certainly were at that point.

Chandler paused the movie immediately and practically threw the laptop aside, gaining a silent glare from Elliott in the process as he watched his precious Apple Mac almost hit the floor.

I stood from the bed to get away, just for a moment, I backed into the corner of the room, too scared to let them see me cry properly in fear of being called a wimp. Of course, I trusted these boys, I'd known them for years. We'd always been a team, ever since Adam moved from England and brought us together on the playground. It had always been the four of us, for years before the Warbler came into the picture. So, yes, I trusted them completely, but I'd thought I'd trusted the Warbler completely and look where that got me.

After a moment of silence, broken only by quiet sobs from me, a pair of strong arms wrapped themselves around my waist and turned me around slowly. I came face to face with Elliott, who stared at me for a moment as I turned away shyly before pity washed over his face and he brushed stray strands of hair from my forehead. "Oh, Kurt. It's your song, isn't it? You and him?"

I nodded.

I'd always been closest with Elliott, I hadn't known him the longest, in fact it was Chandler's mum who'd been friends with mine and Chandler whom I'd apparently met days after leaping from the womb with a tea party set and my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck (I like to think that that's where my love of scarves stems from).

Anyway, I'd met Elliott years later, but he practically became my best friend immediately, Chandler had already drifted away before then but was brought back when Adam had appeared. Since then, as I've said, the four of us had become such a close knit group that even though I was the only one in the glee club, they sat with me at their table. They'd been willing to risk social suicide just to sit with me at lunch.

Elliott pulled me into a tight hug straight away and gestured for the others to follow. When he pulled away, I was suddenly surrounded by the three people that had always meant the world to me.

A mischievous smirk flashed across Adam's face before he grabbed my hands and pulled me to the bed, pinning me down and tickling me mercilessly. "Guys! He's smiling!" Adam grinned as he pulled me up by the wrists, though dropped me immediately when a loud yelp escaped my once smiling lips.

I hit the bed again with a slight "oof," a frown quickly began plastering itself across my face as I watched Adam backing away, shock dripping from his features.

In less than two seconds, Chandler had taken his place and sat cross-legged on the bed opposite me. His expression was one of sadness when I allowed him to take my arms and lift my shirt sleeves. What was the point? If I refused to let them see then it would only confirm it further.

Elliott stepped forward to peer over Chandler's shoulder and winced as he saw the countless red lines littering my forearms, his hand flying to cover his mouth and to stop a pained whimper escaping at the sight of his best friend's pain. He turned away and squeezed his eyes tightly shut, almost as if he were trying to wish this away. I'm afraid, that's just not how it works.

"Kurt, uhm, some of these are older than, than that day with the Warbler. You said that- you said that you got sad when he left you." Chandler was trying so hard to stay composed though it was obvious that he was struggling as his face twitched. He was breaking, and I was causing it.

I'd made them sad with my own sadness, this was the exact reason why no one would sit near me in glee club. I was depressed, I was depressing and I pushed everyone away with my own aura of negativity.

"I don't want to talk about it." My voice remained flat, emotionless, meaningless. I refused to look up and I refused to acknowledge it properly. I couldn't. I felt emotionally incapable of talking about why I decided to do it because if we were being honest, I had no idea. I just knew that it helped and that was all that really mattered.

Elliott gulped slowly, taking one of my hands and sitting beside me, he carefully pulled my sleeve down and rubbed the back of my hand with his thumb soothingly, "That's okay, Kurt. Just know that you can always talk to us. Why don't we go shopping tomorrow?" I loved Elliott, I loved how he could dismiss things immediately if you didn't feel like talking about them. He would distract you with something else and draw your attention away from it for a while, but he always came back to it eventually. He would never just leave something like that, but he made sure that you were comfortable before telling him. He was always so gentle, so caring. So, maybe he called himself Starchild sometimes, but it had started as a joke and stuck. Maybe he wore eyeliner and maybe he was a little different but I would never wish to change anything about him.

I pulled the other sleeve down as well and smiled at him gently, my eyes still held the remains of tears but after being accepted into a warm embrace I could hardly remember why I'd started crying. "That sounds fun."

I just wanted to leave the house and get away from the temptations of my coping methods.

Chapter Text

"Alright boys! Where are we hitting first?" Chandler had run ahead, as per usual, and was bouncing on the balls of his feet anxiously. It wasn't exactly a warm day in Ohio and all he wanted was to get inside the heated building that made up the Westerville shopping centre. Lima was far too small a town for such luxuries.

I'd been rather hesitant at first when Elliott mentioned the Westerville centre as I knew there was quite a significant chance that I'd bump into, at best, a few Warblers, at worst, the Warbler. I'd only agreed once they promised to set Elliott to beating him up whilst Chandler and Adam hurried me away. Elliott certainly wasn't a violent person, in fact he was probably the one who most resembled a teddy bear, he was just the biggest in the group. Chandler being the tiny little shit that he is and although Adam is only an inch shorter, Elliott just had bigger muscles if we're getting down to it.

"I say the Gap!" Adam took Chandler's hand as he tried to lead him on further, though the boy with the glasses demanded on waiting for us as he motioned to abort the mission. He not only knew that the Gap was a popular Warbler shop but also that he was sick of Adam's addiction with the place.

When Elliott couldn't come up with an excuse, Chandler simply sighed before allowing himself to be led away, "Adam, you're a piece of shit," could be heard from up ahead as Elliott and I trailed behind almost sullenly, nothing was quite the same after that night and we were both still a little awkward around each other. He was probably a little confused as to why I hadn't told him sooner but it had never felt necessary.

Adam simply grinned mischievously in response and shrugged, letting the insult slide from his broad shoulders as he powered on towards his favourite store, "I know!"

 

"Kurt!" David's voice rang out over the floor as our eyes met awkwardly.

Catching sight of David before he could make his way over with Jeff and Wes, Adam clapped to gather the attention of Elliott and Chandler, "Dalton blazers. Boys! Formation!" He and Chandler flanked my sides as Elliott finished the triangle by standing in front of me and folding his arms to the Warblers' advances.

Jeff faltered slightly when the boys blocked their path, trying to peer past my wall of bodyguards, he allowed confusion to cloud his features, "Kurt?"

I cleared my throat, pushing through the gap at the corner when I saw that a certain Warbler wasn't with them, "Sorry, Jeff, ignore those idiots. How are you?" Straightening my shirt, I offered the boys in front of me a bright smile. These were still my friends too, after all.

"I think the real question is, how are you? Blaine told us everything." David looked at me, pity dripping from his irises as I practically folded under his gaze. My face crumpled,  my knees almost buckled, my breath stopped. I had no idea what to say. How do you answer that when your entire world is falling down around you.

This had thrown me further than I'd expected it to, causing me to grab Elliott's hand for reassurance; it was something we'd always done, and Elliott squeezed back naturally. "Oh, uh, I'm- I'm okay." I barely managed to stammer my way through the sentence by the time Wes had stepped forward to hug me.

He eventually pushed my body back slightly to look over my face and watch for signs of distress, "Look, Kurt, I know the Warblers are meant to be loyal and Blaine is our lead soloist but we want you to know that we will always stand with you on this issue. Blaine was completely out of line to scream at you like that and we're truly sorry for everything that went on between the two of you." Wes offered me a small smile as he continued, glaring at Jeff when his name was mentioned, "We are aware that you weren't in the best state of mind when you joined us at Dalton and so if you ever feel that way again, please tell us. I can assure you, Jeff's phone is always on, even in important Warbler meetings." He patted my shoulder one last time before stepping all the way back.

Elliott looked as though he was processing something before the answer finally hit him, "Wait, he screamed at you?" Concern plastered across his features as he reached towards my hand once again,  tugging me into his side protectively.

Watching almost awkwardly, it was quite obvious that the Warblers didn't think handholding was platonic, "Well, we'd better be off, Nick's waiting for us." Jeff smiled as he spoke his boyfriend's name and turned away to leave before I quickly remembered to ask about him. The blonde had always worshipped that boy.

"How are you two?" It was obviously the right question as Jeff's face lit up.

Wes and David groaned audibly as soon as their friend started talking but fond smiles still danced on their lips, "Great, actually. We're here getting anniversary presents." A soft giggle escaped the blonde as he remembered that it was coming up to their first year anniversary though it died when he continued, "I was going to get a bowtie but I'd need Blaine for that and we're trying to boycott him slightly to show our distaste. Even Sebastian thinks he's been a dick."

"And Jeff felt like dragging us to join him shopping for anniversary presents." David looked to Wes as he complained though the pair of them also shot daggers at the blonde Warbler for revealing quite how divided the Warblers currently were. I may be a friend but I was also a member of the enemy.

A delicate chuckle rose and bubbled over as my eyes softened, "That's so cute, and don't worry, I won't tell the New Directions. They all hate me for sending their best tenor back to Dalton, anyway."

"Yeah, well, they're obviously not your real friends and we're adorable!" Jeff tackled me with a hug, pulling me away from Elliott's arms and wrapping his around my waist tightly. This simply caused me to laugh as I extracted myself from the grip and hugged Wes and David quickly before waving goodbye to the boys.

Watching them go, Adam furrowed his eyebrows in confusion, "They were nice. I thought all Warblers were devil spawn."

"Warblers aren't devil spawn. Most Warblers are lovely and charming and dapper. I don't even think of the Warbler as anything other than wonderful." I smiled at them quickly before turning away and giving my full attention to a pair of bright pink sunglasses on sale.

 

After finding a table, Elliott roped Adam into helping him bring the drinks over and Chandler darted away to the loo, "Okay so, you stay here whilst we get the coffee. Grande non-fat mocha, right Kurt?"

Of course he knew my coffee order, what else should I expect from my best friend? "Yep."

I pulled my phone out as soon as I had been left alone, not wanting to look like some lonely teenager taking up a four-seat table. My face fell.

My thoughts were disturbed as a shadow fell over me and I quickly locked the device, not wanting the boys to know what was happening. Looking up, instead of seeing my three best friends, I saw a rather attractive young man sliding into the seat across from me, "Hello, Handsome."

"Oh, um, hi." Not knowing what to do, my mouth and brain stopped working in that instant. I wasn't used to this, boys didn't approach me, that wasn't how it had ever worked before. Usually, I had to moon over them for months before either accepting that they're straight or them realising they like me . . . But both of those options had only ever happened once.

He smirked, of all the facial expressions, he chose to smirk, "I'm Cody, what's your name?"

"Kurt." I literally couldn't get any other words out of my mouth. It's not that I wanted to date him, I just didn't know what to do in these situations.

Cody's face was still painted by a smirk as he spoke my name slowly, "Well, Kurt, I thought you looked lonely so I came to join you." Exactly what I'd been trying to not do, look lonely. Isn't that lovely? My mind fogged with clouds of grey as coherent words attempted to escape.

Eventually, I managed to spit out what I was thinking, "Oh, um, thanks but my friends will be back in a minute." In other words: please leave me alone.

"I'm happy to sit with you until they get back?" He didn't get it.

I couldn't think of another way to make him leave and so carefully returned my phone to my pocket as I evaded eye contact as if religiously, "Uhh, thanks?" Hoping that lilting the last syllable would show I wasn't comfortable, I shuffled awkwardly under his gaze and struggled to evade his watchful eyes.

"Oh, it's no problem." He still didn't get it.

A sullen silence fell over the table as my eyes remained strictly gazing towards my lap and his seemed as though glued to my face. Eventually, I glanced upwards to see that he was still staring thoughtfully back at me before reaching to his pocket and offering me his phone.

"Can I get your number?" Oh god.

Clearing my throat in order to diffuse the awkward tension, I asked him to repeat himself in the hopes that I'd maybe heard wrong, "Excuse me?"

Cody shuffled in his seat uncomfortably at that moment, and a small part of me was glad of it. It meant that he wasn't just arrogant, there was someone else under that mask. I knew the feeling of hiding all too well. "Did I read this wrong? I'm really sorry, you're just the most homosexual looking straight boy I've ever seen." Now, if I was straight, that would have been a damaging blow to my masculinity. As a homosexual male who's constantly called 'Lady Hummel', that was a critical blow to my masculinity though I chose to say nothing of it.

"No, I am gay, I just didn't expect that." I didn't really know what to say, I'd never been in this situation before and I wasn't used to it. What are you supposed to do when that happens?

He wasn't going to stop though, simply allowing a grin to break out across his face as he thrust his phone forwards again, "Oh, well, can I get your number? You're cute and I don't like to let chances like these fly away from me."

I didn't want to say that I completely wasn't interested, even though I really wasn't, and struggled to find something to say to carefully turn him down, "Um, look, Cody?" He nodded when he noticed that I was struggling remembering his name, just making me feel worse that I was about to say no, "You're sweet and well, attractive, but I'm really not looking for a boyfriend at the moment."

"That's cool, totally fine," It was far easier than expected . . . Until he continued, "Can I have your number?"

I didn't know what to do, and so I simply repeated myself, "Excuse me?"

"This time I'm asking as a potential friend." There was something off about Cody's smile though I couldn't really see a way out of this and decided it would just be easier to give it to him.

My own smile was anything but genuine, though an expression of relief filled my features when I saw Elliott and Adam walking over with four take-out cups, "Oh, well, sure." He'd already opened a contact for me and I saw that he'd put a heart emoji next to my name though chose to say nothing of it. I didn't want to embarrass him or mention it so I simply deleted it when I entered the phone number.

I should have said no.

--------------

 

We returned to Elliott's house after they'd interrogated me about the boy sitting with me in the cafeteria, we didn't even need to put a movie on, we were just comfortable in each other's presence. The night felt like it would never end.

We talked for hours about plenty of things that matter but in the same breath, acted like we were ten again.

Just imagine a kind of town like Lima, where the popular kids always bring you down. They always tried to get us to worship them but we were never swayed. We were never fast enough or big enough, to keep up with the jocks but we were always smart enough and quick enough to know that they'd end up useless and we'd end up shining. My three best friends stuck by me when I tried out for glee club, even for the football team for my dad when the seniors didn't want me to play. I couldn't catch or run as fast so they told me I was gay (that was one of the first times I heard the word used as an insult), though I really showed them when the coach let me try out as a kicker.

I'm the cynic and Adam's the voice of reason; and Chandler's the reason that I am a cynic. Elliott's the glue that holds us together, an observer and a soul-documenter. The day Adam brought us together was when a new era began.

We baffled those around us because we understood everything so differently than anyone our age chooses to see.

They helped me find parts of me that I wasn't aware of and if we're honest, they saved my life in freshman year. Without them, I don't think I'd have been alive at all.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Kurt, we're just going out to get some lunch. Do you want to come?"

I sat alone in the choir room at lunch as my three friends approached tentatively, I had told Elliott that I was having a particularly bad day that morning and it was evident that he had warned them to be cautious with me. Adam's voice had been quiet and gentle, his delicate English pronunciation gliding carefully across the words.

Unfortunately, I had an English essay to write and so shook my head slowly as I glanced upwards from where I was writing, "I can't, sorry, but you have fun."

It was more than obvious that they were wary about leaving me but I ushered them away, making sure that they left. I wasn't going to ruin their day because I was feeling a little shitty about myself and so asked for a muffin to make sure they would go.

Therefore, for about ten minutes, I sat alone. Silently scribbling words down in my bordering illegible scrawl.

However, it didn't last particularly long.

A large shadow loomed over me as I described the poet's intentions, only directing my gaze upwards after I'd finished my sentence to see Karofsky and Azimio smirking, "Well, well- this fairy's alone. Where are your little pixie friends, fairy?"

Karofsky's grating voice made my shudder as he leaned closer to my ear, allowing his breath to make me squirm. Snarling as he took hold of the collar of my shirt, Karofsky began dragging me out of the cafeteria with Azimio and the other jocks laughing in tow. It turned out that we'd come full circle as although he wasn't actually taking part, Puck followed with a face of steel and his hands tucked in his pockets.

Once we reached the football field, I was carted to behind the bleachers so that Coach Beiste wouldn't see anything if he decided to come out to the field.

Pushing me down, Karofsky laughed cruelly as I hit the dusty ground with a thud, immediately attempting to stand again though he kicked me down quickly. Suddenly, I felt someone grab a fistful of my hair and pull me up to face them, "Not so tough without your little posy of glitter, are ya, Hummel?"

I managed to evade his grip as I backed up against the bleachers, my voice shaking as I tried to defend myself, "What are you so afraid of? Are you scared I'll infect you? If you're likely to be infected, I'd say you were never 100% straight to begin with!"

Although initially I had thought that this was a particularly good comment, I soon regretted it as their faces turned to expressions of disgust and Azimio punched at my stomach furiously.

"Come on, man, I thought we were just going to scare him." Puck placed his hand cautiously on Azimio's shoulder as he stepped forward and stopped him from hitting me again immediately afterwards. It seemed that he, at least, still cared a little bit.

Turning towards him in a blind fury, Azimio snarled and shoved his hand off angrily, "That was until he called me gay! It's disgusting and it's slander."

Seeming to settle with this, Puck shrugged and turned to walk away. At least he wasn't willing to watch them harassing me. Karofsky gestured for one of his minions to stop him but Puck slammed his hand against the bleachers to stop them from touching him and his pursuer soon gave up. They soon returned to cutting my feelings to the bone with sharp insults and swift punches.

Eventually, after bruises had littered themselves across my stomach and my lip had split and started to bleed, a voice rang out across the football field. It was desperate and worried, shaky as the boy came closer, "Kurt!"

However, the jocks didn't move and continued hitting me until the person had turned around the corner and was able to see what was happening. I caught sight of Elliott from between the legs and could see his expression turning to fury as he rushed forward and ripped one of the outer bullies away, "Get away from him! What the fuck's wrong with you?" Elliott grabbed Karofsky by the collar and pulled him close to his face threateningly, eventually pushing him away and allowing him to stagger off with the others.

"Kurt?" His voice came tentatively as he kneeled beside me, brushing matted hair from my face and attempting to help me sit up carefully, "Kurt, can you hear me?"

Nodding slowly so as not to send pain shooting through my forehead, I groaned as I clutched at my head lightly, seeing him pull out his phone and press a few buttons before pressing it to his ear, "Chandler? I found him; we're behind the bleachers on the football field. Hurry." Hanging up and throwing the phone away, Elliott looked down to me again and a quiet sob leapt from his lips, "I'm so sorry, Kurtie."

Desperate gulps escaped me as I threw my arm around him tightly, holding him to me with as much strength as I could muster after what had just happened and wincing as pain shot through my shoulder.

After maybe five minutes, Adam and Chandler came around the bleachers and began running as soon as they saw us.

"Oh my god, Kurt! What happened?" Chandler dropped to his knees beside me as Adam stood over protectively. His small hands ran through my hair delicately as Elliott stood and turned away, needing a moment.

He bit his lip and rubbed at his face furiously, trying to hide the redness behind his eyes, "It's Karofsky and Azimio, what do you think happened?"

Chandler looked up to Elliott, seeing his furious expression, ""Adam, go to the office and tell them we're taking Kurt home." He watched our friend go for a moment before turning back to me with kind eyes, "Do you think you can walk?"

Nodding gently, I struggled up from my sitting position and, with Chandler's help, managed to balance cautiously on my feet. Elliott, however, had to take over as Chandler struggled to hold me up, he wasn't exactly the tallest and he'd been trying to lose weight for his dancing. All the diet had done had made him weak and the smaller boy was trying to put it back on quickly before his show in the next month.

They helped me towards the carpark slowly, meeting Adam there outside Elliott's car and gently sitting me in the front passenger seat.

Panic coursed through my veins as Adam told Chandler to call my dad from the back seat, "We can't go to my house." They looked at me as if I was insane; Burt was the most loving parent they knew. Why couldn't I go back to him?

"What? Kurt, why?" Elliott gave short questions as he focused on driving, glancing across briefly to check my face worriedly.

Smiling briefly, I looked back to Adam and Chandler with a pleading expression, "Please, my dad'll send me back to Dalton. I can't go back there, not now." As soon as I said this, understanding nods filled the car as they realised just why I didn't want my dad to know I was being bullied again. It made sense after all; they knew I wasn't capable of facing Blaine.

"It's okay, Kurt, don't panic. We'll go to my house." Nodding, Elliott offered a closed-mouthed smile as he reached a hand over the gearstick and took hold of my hand, squeezing my fingers gently in support as I smiled back gratefully.

Once arriving at Elliott's house, he went in to inform his parents that we'd come home early, telling them that we didn't have any classes that afternoon as Adam and Chandler helped me out of the car.

Elliott gestured to them to come quickly, getting me up the stairs before Mr and Mrs Gilbert could come through and see the state of me. We knew that if they found out, there wasn't a hope in hell that they wouldn't tell my father.

Resting me on the bed, Elliott went to his bathroom to find his first-aid kit as Chandler helped me cautiously peel off my shirt for them to see the bruises left on my body.

"Oh, Kurt." Adam's voice broke slightly as he folded my shirt carefully upon seeing my cold glare and ran his eyes over the marks left by the boys from school. Eventually, reaching over and running his fingers delicately over the bruise blossoming on my shoulder when Elliott returned with the kit, "We should have been there."

Rolling my eyes in disbelief, I shook my head at Adam immediately and pushed him away, only allowing Elliott to dab carefully at any blood, "Don't be ridiculous, you couldn't have known. Anyway, did you get my muffin?"

A fond smile graced Elliott's lips as he pressed an icepack he'd snuck from the freezer without his parents noticing on my ribs carefully, "Of course. Unfortunately, we left it with your things in the choir room when we saw you were missing. You'd never leave your things unattended like that, especially not in the current situation with the New Directions."

"Shame, I was looking forward to that muffin." Teary giggles arose from Chandler as he sat on the other side of me and took my hand into his, fiddling with my fingers absentmindedly.

Glancing up to see how I reacted, Chandler only grinned when I smiled at him though he quickly dropped his happy expression to stare at his lap, "Look, Kurt, I know you're going to hate me for saying it but- maybe you should go back to Dalton. You were safer there and you were a lot happier with the Warblers." Seeing my dubious expression, Chandler softened slightly and squeezed my fingers, "I know you don't get on with a certain Warbler but the others made you happy too; there was Nick, that lovely Jeff guy, even Sebastian."

"I know, but I missed you guys when I was there and they're all more Blaine's friends than mine- well, maybe not Sebastian but you know what I mean." A small round of nodding circled the room as Elliott finished cleaning my wounds and rested his head delicately on my good shoulder. It was quite a sight considering how tall he was, "I'm never going back to Dalton."

Chapter Text

Staring fixedly at the ceiling, I lay on Adam's bed as we impatiently waited for Elliott to finish fixing his hair before we left. It was a gloriously sunny day for the time of year and so we intended on going to the park where we could just be ourselves.

Eventually, the door to Adam's bathroom creaked open to reveal Elliott pushing an eyeliner pencil into his back pocket on the way out, "Oh, so that's what took so long." My eyes rolled naturally as he dragged me up by the elbows and shoved me away with a bark of laughter. Chandler and Adam watched with fond smiles and chuckled as they grabbed the bag of food we'd collected earlier.

"Oh, hush. We watched Rent earlier, it smudged." Picking up his hat, Elliott clipped me over the ear as we headed down the stairs behind Chandler and Adam.

Quiet tutting could be heard from Chandler as he shook his head and turned back to face us, "Honey, that's why you get waterproof." Laughter erupted from Adam as he shook his head and called out to tell his parents that we were leaving.

 

Once at the park, I stepped out of the car and stared over the green expanse of grass with a small smile. Little kids chased each other in circles around the swings and pairs of joggers and dogs passed on the trail through the trees with their headphones in. White, fluffy clouds floated overhead on the soft breeze as we found the spot below our usual oak tree. Once again, we'd had to travel to Westerville for the luxury of a nice park. Lima wasn't known for its pretty scenery.

Collapsing practically into a pile, I grunted as I pushed Elliott off of me and dramatically gasped for breath as the boys laughed and began rifling through the bag of food that we'd brought.

Chandler, however, had other ideas.

He stood, kicking off his chunky boots and wiggling his eyebrows at us before cartwheeling a little further into the grass. Beginning to pirouette, Chandler broke into the famous 'Kyle' jump from Newsies. A wide beam spread across his face as he watched us laugh at him though this subsided into a confused frown when Adam, Elliott and I became sombre, "What?"

"Hey, Kurt, I didn't recognise you. You're wearing boy clothes for once."

A sly smile crossed the tall boy's features as Chandler turned to see who was stood behind him and I debated on how to respond, "Sebastian."

Awkward silence ensued for a second before grins spread across both of our faces and I jumped up to meet him in a quick hug. If we discount Blaine, Sebastian had been my best friend in those few months at Dalton the year before. We'd hated each other initially as Sebastian resented having a roommate being forced upon him though we'd both quickly warmed to the idea, "I heard about what happened with Anderson. Not that I've ever allowed it to be easy but just say the word and I can make his life at Dalton absolute hell."

A chuckle escaped my lips as I stepped back and noticed that he wasn't wearing his Dalton blazer, "No, no; don't do anything of the sort. Though, come on, Bastian. What did we say about polos?"

Sebastian's rolled his eyes as he patted my shoulder with a smug grin, "That they look sexy on me?"

"More likely that they're the worst thing to come out of the René Lacoste's career." Chuckling softly, I turned and gestured to the three boys who now stood dumbfounded behind me, "Sebastian Smythe; meet Chandler Kiehl, Adam Crawford and Elliott 'Starchild' Gilbert."

An expression of realisation flooded Sebastian's face as he passed his eyes over the three boys, "Ah, the Glitter Rock Vampire I've heard so much about over the last few weeks." He stepped forward and offered his hand to each for them to shake, winking once he'd returned to my side. It was obvious that my friends were still a little hostile to a boy who usually donned a Warbler blazer as Elliott grabbed at my hand protectively, "Do not fear, underprivileged public schoolboys, I'm a friend."

Nodding swiftly to persuade them that I was okay in the situation, I extracted my hand from Elliott's, "So, how have the halls of residence been since I left?"

"A little chaotic, actually. Since Nick and I already have new roommates, Anderson's had to go it alone and he's not too happy about being kicked out of his old place." A smug grin coated Sebastian's features as he mentioned how uncomfortable the lead Warbler was, "He's also not been allowed to just return to his position as soloist. I snatched that up as soon as he left and I have zero intentions of backing down."

Laughing sounded behind us and I turned to see Elliott struggling to contain his amusement, "Good on you, he deserved that, at least. Kurt won't let us go after him."

A snort came from Chandler, causing us to look over to where he'd begun practising his dance routine for the competition with the piece playing softly from his phone. He shook his head to disagree with Elliott as he kicked his feet up to leap through the air and caught my hand for balance on the landing; he was still learning the two-person-routine after all, "More like Kurt won't let you and Adam go after him, he may be only 5'7" but I'm 5'5" and I don't fancy getting tangled up in that."

Elliott simply shook his head as he smiled fondly at the dancing boy, watching Adam trying to join in and imitate the steps with surprising accuracy, "Of course you wouldn't."

"Right, well; as charming as this scene is, I have to be getting back to the Warblers or they'll come looking for me. There's a certain Hobbit with them that I doubt you'll want to see so I shall retreat to our spot on the other end of the field before that happens." Patting my arm gently, Sebastian dropped his usual act for a moment to give one more reassuring smile before politely nodding to the boys and backing away.

Smiling, I watched him go and waved briefly in response as I turned back to the other boys, occasionally attempting to copy Chandler as Adam was. I already knew the routine, having been there when his teacher was choreographing it; his dance partner, Eric, had been unable to show and they decided to use me as a stand in. It wasn't that I couldn't dance, I'd been doing ballet and contemporary for years with the same teacher, I just wasn't at the same level and didn't compete.

Eventually, Adam had picked up the whole routine and I was able to sit down with Elliott whilst they danced together, executing the steps and jumps almost perfectly.

 

"So, Kurt, how have things been lately?" Elliott's voice spooked me slightly as I jumped after a couple of minutes of comfortable silence. Turning towards him, my eyebrows furrowed together in confusion as I stared up into his eyes.

Taking a moment to think about my answer yet still not realising what he was asking about, "What do you mean? You've been with me everyday."

Elliott looked to me with a fond smile as he realised that I really didn't understand the question and ran his hand through his hair lazily, trying to find another way of phrasing it, "I mean, have you been particularly sad recently?"

Oh. He meant that.

My gaze immediately fell to the floor; I knew he'd be angry with me.

"Oh, Kurt." Immediately, Elliott wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me to his body. He stroked my hair as sniffles began to bubble through my body and whispered soothing things into my ear as the cold tears burned my eyes, "It'll be okay in the end."

 

We stayed at the park for hours, simply enjoying each other's company; helping Chandler with his dance routine, running through song lyrics and playing with a Frisbee that Elliott had demanded on bringing. Most people had left by the time we began to pack our things away as the sun was growing a little low in the sky. We'd watched the Dalton Academy Warblers climb into their collection of posh cars from a distance, raising a hand in greeting to Sebastian though turning away before we could be seen by any of the others.

Suddenly, the boys went silent as we'd been singing along to the Tuck Everlasting soundtrack. At first, I didn't realise anything was wrong. They often didn't want to try and allowed me to hit Carolee Carmello and Sarah Charles Lewis's high notes though this time, they didn't pick it back up for Robert Lenzi's solo in 'Live Like This'.

Looking up, I noticed the boy from the shopping centre staring down at me with an amused smirk. I have to admit, my first thought upon seeing him was, 'what the shit fuck was your name?'

"Hello, Kurt. I have to say, you have quite the voice." He chuckled gently, noticing that I was struggling to lift the over-flowing picnic of largely untouched food to get it away from the flies and quickly took it from me, "You didn't answer my text."

I glanced to him quickly as I trotted ahead to open the boot of Adam's car, "I- uh, I don't think I've seen it."

Elliott quickly saw that I was struggling with what to say and piped in with a quick, "Kurt's been with us all week, we haven't let him look at his phone because he lost a bet. Cody, wasn't it?" Thank God for my best friend.

Nodding curtly, Cody offered a close-mouthed smile and quickly turned away from Elliott, whispering, "Is this true?" into my ear.

I had to swallow nervously, gathering myself before nodding to confirm the false statement in fear.

He seemed to accept this, breaking out into a smile once more and placing the bag of food we'd brought into the boot of the car and helping me reach to shut it afterwards, "Hey, can I join you guys? I was meant to be meeting someone here but it appears I've been stood up."

Although he was mainly asking me, I turned to look at the others and watched them shuffle uncomfortably before Adam nodding quickly and offered a hand to shake, "I'm Adam. These two are Elliott and Chandler." We were a friendly bunch, sure, but we weren't exactly comfortable with new people joining us.

"Cody Tolentino."

Chapter Text

We stayed at the park for another few hours, simply singing and talking and dancing. Our throats were sore and our feet hurt by the time we got into Adam's car to head back to Lima when the sun eventually began to set. It had been decided that we'd be staying at his house for the night, even Cody as although he could be a little overbearing, it seemed that we all got on well with him.

The car drive was loud and rowdy, with screams of protest every time someone changed the musical that was being played through the AUX cord. Adam drove, it was his car after all, with Chandler sat beside him. The tiny one had only managed to get the passenger seat since he was falling asleep at the park and anyone who knew Chandler knew that he had absolutely no understanding of personal space whilst he slept. It was just easier to give him a whole seat to himself.

This left Elliott, Cody and me. Me being the smallest, an executive decision had been made to cram me in between the two bigger boys and have two buckles jabbing into my bony hips.

"Hey! Who turned off Phantom?" Adam shook his head in frustration as he heard Christine's voice stop suddenly. Trying to see who'd taken the cord without killing us by steering onto the other side of the road, Adam soon found this to be impossible and reached back to hit me on the knee. In other words, this was him tasking me with finding out.

Cody looked up from Adam's phone and smirked gently as he scrolled through the list of countless show tunes and recordings he'd made for personal projects, "You have boring taste, don't you have anything normal?"

Rage filled Adam's face for a moment before he rolled his eyes and allowed it to settle, "By normal you mean top forty, I'm assuming?"

An exclamation of laughter left Cody as he stared at the list of show tunes in amusement, "If that's what it takes then yes." He pulled his own phone from his pocket and began scrolling through the music list on that to find something he was going to deem, 'acceptable'.

"Then I'm afraid you're going to have to leave this car." Elliott and I started laughing as we looked to each other with amused smiles. Cody didn't know Adam. Insulting his music taste was just about the worst thing you could do, besides from insulting the show choir he'd started for people who didn't normally get the chance to perform.

Cody furrowed his eyebrows for a moment as it took him a little while to realise that Adam was only joking, "What, whilst it's moving?"

"Of course."

 

 

We'd arrived back at Adam's house to find that his parents had left for a business trip earlier in the day with his little sister. Chandler had immediately exclaimed what he wanted to do with a quick, "Let's get drunk!"

Cheers rose from Elliott and Cody as Adam and I laughed though Chandler quickly backed it up with, "Not with liquor, with Disney movies, you alcoholics."

However; Adam's parents were gone and we had the house to ourselves so the Disney movies lay unattended in Adam's room. We, instead, took the opportunity to have a party. I say 'party', we didn't invite anyone else.

We basically just took the opportunity to get drunk.

Standing in Adam's backyard, I lifted the plastic, red cup and allowed the liquid to flow between my lips.

I watched as Chandler jumped up onto Adam's back to steal Elliott's hat and then had Adam run around the garden, still carrying Chandler, with it positioned jauntily on his head as the taller boy chased them. Small giggles escaped my lips quickly.

It didn't exactly take much to make me smile when tipsy.

I had to admit, my vodka and coke was mostly coca cola though it took little to no time to get me drunk. For some reason, it affected me within minutes though at least I was only a happy drunk. However; I was a very compliant drunk and I'd often worried about what I'd agree to one day when tipsy so I usually remained sober around people I didn't know.

My brain became cloudy as I continued to drink from the cup in my hand, occasionally taking refills from Adam as he came around with the bottles. The evening was warm and muggy but the rational part of my brain wouldn't let me remove my jacket because of my arms. Unfortunately; the irrational part of my brain decided it would be a good idea to unbutton my shirt instead and so, I stood exposed on the porch, watching Elliott lead the group in a conga around Adam's mother's apple trees.

 

 

After a few more drinks, I felt a hand slip into mine and lead me away from the backdoor. I was only too happy to comply.

I pretty much went along with anything when like that.

Looking up at the person who had led me to the bottom of the garden, where we were alone, I saw that it was Cody. He gave his signature smirk and sat down on the lone swing, pushing back and forth occasionally as I watched him in hysterics. Reaching out to pull me closer until I was stood between his legs, Cody smiled gently as he glanced over my body, "What are you doing?" Although I was questioning his actions, I just couldn't stop laughing and Cody seemed to take this as meaning that the question had been rhetorical.

Everything seemed so hilarious.

Eventually; he reached his hand out once again and grabbed me by the waist, pulling me onto his lap. His arms snaked around my body as he held me against him, smiling almost fondly as I simply giggled through a soft, "Stop it," and sipped at my drink once again.

I noticed that Cody didn't have a cup though thought nothing of it.

He brushed a hand through my hair gently, turning me slightly so that I ended up straddling his legs on the swing with only my stupid, red cup in between our chests. I couldn't help myself and continued laughing as he took the drink from me and brought it to his own lips, eventually resting it on the floor below us as he never once dropped eye contact.

Looking back now, I wasn't in control of my actions at all.

In one quick motion, Cody had balled my shirt in his fists and pulled me closer until his lips met my neck somewhere in the middle.

I didn't know what to think yet still, I couldn't stop giggling.

Cody seemed to take this as a go-ahead, as he began nibbling at my exposed skin and guiding my arms around his neck. Grunting softly, he pulled me further onto his lap and seemed to sigh in frustration as I giggled through gentle exclamations of, "No, stop it," and, "Cody, no."

I couldn't get him to stop.

 

After far too long, he eventually became sick of my hysterics and feeble attempts to push him away and stood abruptly, causing me to stumble from his lap and drop to the floor in a cross-legged position as he stormed away from the swing set.

 

Continuing to laugh, I reached out for my abandoned cup and found very little left in it though still cradled it to my chest. Staring into it for a little while with one hand to my bruised neck, I watched a tiny droplet fall into the liquid and make a miniscule splash in the mixture; however, when I looked up to the sky, I found that there wasn't a cloud in sight.

Chapter Text

School was torture.

I sat alone in lessons after my so-called-friends had asked to be moved away from me, not really listening to what the teacher was saying and only working when I had Elliott or Adam or Chandler there to push me.

It was a Wednesday, which meant that I had glee club. I hadn't spoken in that room since they had begun ostracising me. Rachel and Mercedes had also been allowing Tina to sit with them at the front of the group and left me to find my own place at the back. In a way, I felt bad for Tina. They were only using her to make sure that I didn't come anywhere near them; I'd heard countless times how annoying they thought she was.

Sitting in French with Chandler, I couldn't stop myself from panicking as I watched the minutes tick down on the clock. When that bell rang, I would have to go back to glee club and attempt to avoid the glares and snide comments alone. I could handle that in the hallways because it was fleeting and I was with friends but for a whole hour with no one to back me up?

My chances were quite minimal.

 

A hush quickly fell over the choir room as I entered, conversation stopped though they refused to even glance at me as I made my way passed my usual seat and to the back of the room. It took a few moments of awkward silence but eventually, Mr Schuester walked in. He dropped his bag on the piano, picked up the chalk and began writing on the board before turning and facing us with a wide grin, "Duets!"

For fuck's sake.

Rachel's hand shot upright immediately, waving obnoxiously in the air until Mr Schue sighed and gestured to allow her to continue.

"Will we be able to choose our own partners or will the Sorting Hat be placing us because I, as I'm sure many others agree, refuse to work with Hummel." Offering a smarmy smile in my direction, Rachel quickly turned back to the front to accept her answer.

Mr Schue glanced between his students for a moment before shaking his head in disappointment, "The Sorting Hat wasn't going to be involved but if you all have that attitude then I'll bring it tomorrow morning and we can arrange the pairs." He paused for a moment, watching the protests, "I will not have bullying within the walls of my glee club and I will not be afraid to banish any and all perpetrators."

Silence quickly seeped through the ranks of the New Directions as they looked among each other worriedly; it hadn't occurred to them that they would be punished for the taunts.

Clearing my throat tentatively caused the whole room to turn and look at me, creating panic behind my eyes though I tried to push it down, "It's alright, Mr Schue. There's an odd number anyway; I'll sort something out." My voice was meek and anxious, I sounded weak as I pulled my long sleeves further over my thin fingers.

My glee coach watched me curiously, making sure that I really was okay with that solution before carefully agreeing, "Only if you're sure, Kurt."

I gave a nod, allowing the other glee members to sigh in relief as Mr Schuester moved on.

The pairs were made clear almost immediately.
Rachel was obviously working with Finn.
Santana claimed Britney.
Tina chose Mike.
Little Puck went with Bigger Puck.
The ultimate bitch team occurred between Quinn and Kitty.
Marley and Ryder.
Sam and Mercedes.

Yeah . . . I would figure something out.

 

The phone rang once . . . and then it stopped.

Mr Schue was allowing us five minutes at the end of glee to organise the duets so I had thought it best to get on the phone and start arranging something.

It was evident that Sebastian didn't want to talk to me but I had kind of been hoping that he would pop by McKinley to sing with me for the duets. I mean, it didn't matter all that much, I could easily get one of my friends here but I also didn't want to do that. What if Mr Schue enticed them into joining glee club and then they left me to sit with the cool kids. I couldn't handle that so I'd been praying on the help of a friend who couldn't join the New Directions.

After a while, my phone started to buzz again and when I saw it, I found that it was Jeff. Accepting and holding it to my ear, I practically whispered a tentative, "Hello?"

"Hey, Kurtie! Sorry Bastian didn't answer earlier, we were with the Warblers and a certain you-know-who was there. Wes would have let him but I don't think a certain member would have appreciated it. Anyway, here's the man himself!" Before I could reply, I heard various shouts of panic and an eventual fumbling as if someone was trying not to drop the phone.

Startled, I watched some of the other New Directions glancing my way to see who I was talking to before noticing the phone and rolling their eyes, "Kurt! Hi, sorry about that. Jeff just launched his phone at me from across the room."

Almost worried to speak, my voice came out far quieter and less teasing than intended but I was far too worried to disturb my fellow glee members too much, "You rich boys are always so wasteful." A laugh sounded from across the line as I finally began to allow a smile to spread across my cheeks, "Anyway, I was wondering if you'd help me out with a little glee project?"

"Need some inspiration? I can pose nude, if need be." I could almost hear the wink flowing through his words as I struggled not to bark loudly with laughter. If I could count on anyone to make me laugh at the most inappropriate moments, it was Sebastian Smythe.

Pausing and collecting myself, I cleared my throat subtly before answering, "Uh, no. Actually, I need a singing partner."

"A duet, oh, how wonderful! We never duet at Dalton. Kurt Hummel, I would be honoured." My cheeks flamed as I heard the others coo in the background, they knew that we were just friends but Sebastian liked to push boundaries and we all knew it, "When's it due? I can come by your house tonight and we can be ready for tomorrow if need be."

Giggling almost silently, I remained aware of the other New Directions scowling that I dared disturb them, "That would be great, actually. Do you want to stay over? It's a long drive for in the evening, after Dalton."

"Oh, that would be wonderful! I have a free period first tomorrow anyway so I can drive you to school and take you home after glee, if you want?" I very rarely saw Sebastian so any chance to spend extra time together was usually snaffled by both sides. In a way, I regretted leaving Dalton but at the time, I'd thought McKinley was where the majority of my friends were. Unfortunately, I had been tragically mistaken.

I felt the smile on my cheeks widen slightly as I noticed that everyone was else was leaving. Beginning to speak louder, I started to wrap up the conversation as I packed my songbooks into my bag, "I'd appreciate that, thanks Sebastian."

A charming trill of laughter came from Sebastian, causing my grin to extend further. I loved hearing my friends happy, "Sorry, Wes and David are imitating Nick and Jeff. It is quite something, actually. Anyway! No problem, Kurtie! See you at five?" The delicate lilt of the last syllable was so graceful; it reminded me why I would never really belong at Dalton.

"Five is perfect." My eyes crinkled gently at the corners, as I couldn't wait to see my friend. It had only been a few days but when you don't see each other at school, it feels far longer, "Bye, and thanks again."

Sebastian scoffed jokingly, causing me to laugh slightly, "No worries." Before I could hang up, I heard a beep to signify that Sebastian had turned the call to FaceTime and pulled the phone away from my ear to see five grinning Warblers. Laughter bubbled within me as they waved and eventually signed off.

Having finished packing my things away, I approached my teacher who sat, delicately pressing down the piano keys in an attempt to find things that sounded nice together, "Mr Schue? I'd like to perform in the auditorium tomorrow, if that's okay?"

"That's fine Kurt, but are you giving yourself enough time?" He looked up, a little shocked that I thought I could be ready so soon but it was obvious that he was studying my face for cracks.

I nodded quickly, smiling brightly to stop him from worrying and gesturing towards the phone in my hand vaguely, "Plenty of time. I've worked with this person before and we know how we sound together."

"Okay then; did I hear that we may have some visiting Warblers?" Mr Schuester's grin confirmed that my attempt had worked as the worry dropped from his features immediately. Filtering through the sheets on the piano, it was obvious he had misplaced the next one so I offered him the one he was looking for.

My face lit up momentarily as I thought of inviting some other Warblers, nodding though also allowing worry to set in, "You did but not the one everyone wants back."

Mr Schue's face settled in one of sympathetic comfort as he reached up and tapped me on the shoulder lightly, "Give them time. Now, go and get to work; see you tomorrow, Kurt." I smiled widely before heading out of the room and to my car quickly. Thankfully, I was lucky to avoid any of the jocks coming out of the locker rooms. I really do not want to know what Sebastian would have done if I had opened the door with a bruised face.

---

 

Flicking through my music sheets, I waited for Sebastian as I glanced through musicals almost curiously. I had to admit, I really wanted to push Sebastian out of his comfort zone for this one and I had always wondered how he'd sound on a show tune.

A knock sounded at the door but before I could get up, Finn had screeched an immediate, "I'll get it!" and gone running towards the door. Flinging it open to reveal the ever-dashing Sebastian Smythe, Finn's face lit up as he asked, "Have you come to give us Blaine back?" Finn started bouncing on the balls of his feet as he watched Sebastian, waiting for an answer.

"I'm afraid not but if it were up to me, you could have him. Just give us Kurt back; we miss our counter tenor." Sebastian smiled almost grimly as he stepped around Finn awkwardly, looking to me standing behind him with a grin, "Kurt."

A smile scattered across my cheeks like freckles or watercolour paint splatters as I approached him with arms open wide, "Sebastian." We hugged tightly for a moment before separating and looking to see Finn standing there smiling. He quickly got the hint and disappeared up to his room to continue his Xbox game with Noah, leaving Sebastian and me alone in the hallway, "I've missed you."

Sebastian's face softened as he began to follow me up the stairs to my room, "I've missed you, too. I'm used to living with my friends, having another elsewhere is strange."

"As you can see, I've already begun looking and I'm pretty much certain I want to do We've Got Talent Too or Really Good from Prodigy." The expression on Sebastian's face was priceless as he realised that I was talking about songs from musicals. He was a Warbler; he was tragically top forty and the thought of anything else obviously scared him, "Would you prefer a love song or something that's a bit of a joke?"

Immediately, Sebastian gestured for the latter, sighing in relief, "Something I can joke around in. I don't want to take on a musical love song . . . Those are difficult and I'd butcher it."

Shaking my head to disagree, I chuckled at Sebastian before throwing the lyric sheets at him, "Well, I'd give you the male part which is far simpler in this case. Are you sure you don't want to give it a go? I think it could be really good."

Sebastian paused for a moment, watching my expression seriously until I broke down into childish giggles when he asked with severity, "Is that a pun?"

"Always. Do you want to invite some of the Warblers tomorrow? Show them what they're missing out on by sticking to the charts." It would only be fair to allow them to see us perform when they were so trusting as to let the New Directions borrow their soloist.

Sebastian grinned immediately, nodding as he flicked through the sheets and eventually looking upwards, "I'd love to. I'm assuming that Anderson isn't included in the invitation?"

Looking up to my friend, I allowed a delicate shrug to roll from my shoulders as I dropped onto my bed, dragging him beside me, "He can come if he wants to." My statement obviously shocked him as he stared at me for a moment, unsure whether I was joking or not.

"Really?" Sebastian's wary tone actually made me laugh and hit at him when he saw he was grinning at me.

My eyes rolled as I pulled my keyboard over to where I was sitting from where it was resting on the end of my bed precariously. Turning it on and fiddling with the volume, I saw that Sebastian was still watching me and shoved once again, my expression turning steely, "I'm not petty, Bastian!"

 

We changed after finishing learning the song and rested on my bed, simply talking for hours. Sebastian sat against the headboard, my head resting in his lap as he brushed his long fingers through my hair absentmindedly. He was thinking about what I'd been telling him about the Warbler and the other New Directions, frowning every so often and asking if I'd told anyone else.

"Well, of course I've told the other boys but they can't do anything. Elliott has nice ideas about fighting them and yes, he has the physical strength but they'd flatten him. Chandler is the least intimidating human in the world, unless you count bitchiness and I'm pretty certain that Adam's secretly a pacifist." Looking up to Sebastian, I saw that he was watching my face worriedly and gave a quick smile to reassure him before sitting up and resting my head on his shoulder beside him.

He looked down at me, obviously panicked about the situation as he started grasping at straws, "Why don't you come back to Dalton?"

"What and leave my childhood friends again?" A look of scorn was evident on my features as I huffed and scowled softly, "I'll probably end up rooming with him anyway, you said he's had to have a room by himself because there's an odd number of boarders. I can deal with it; don't worry."

Sebastian took one of my hands and raised the back of it to his lips to press a tender kiss on the skin gently, brows furrowed delicately. This caused my sleeve to slip down slightly and seeing the red lines littering my forearms, Sebastian's expression turned into one of horror as he looked to me, "You call this dealing with it?! I thought we helped you stop last time at Dalton?"

"You did!" Sniffing slightly, I snatched my arm back from him and clutched it to my chest as if wounded, "You did help, I promise, but everything got bad again."

His face darkening, Sebastian practically growled as he sat forwards and watched my face dedicatedly. Refusing to allow me to brush over his next question, Sebastian rested his hand on my knee worriedly and stared into my eyes, "Is this because of Blaine?"

Interrupting him quickly, I made sure he knew that, "No, it started before Blaine left."

"And he didn't notice?!" So maybe my reassurance didn't particularly work. Sebastian's fury simply grew as he swung himself onto his knees and took one of my hands in both his hands comfortingly.

Shaking my head silently, tears began to well in my eyes as I finally looked up to meet Sebastian's green eyes and saw that he already had tear tracks glistening down his cheeks.

 

---

 

Pulling his Bentley up to the McKinley gates, Sebastian Smythe could obviously feel the countless stares though didn't seem to care as he turned attention straight to me. Yes, it was a wonderful car but it was his father's old model; this had been the cheap alternative for him.

"I'm getting here as soon as possible after school with a shit-ton of Warblers, right?" Just confirming what I'd been telling him since he'd woken that morning, Sebastian chuckled with a cheeky grin as he saw my initial rage settle laughter upon seeing that he was only joking. I hadn't run through the plan fifty times for nothing, "Do I need to change?"

Now this was a question I hadn't anticipated; it was the kind of question that was useful, "You won't have time."

Nodding briefly, Sebastian pulled his phone out and made a note just to make sure that he didn't forget anything. It wasn't likely that he would but he knew I'd prefer it if he at least had an organised list to follow, "So that's a no."

Getting out of that car was one of the most nerve-wracking things I'd ever done.

 

I stood behind where Sebastian sat at the piano, playing with notes experimentally as the house lights went down and my last glimpse was of Jeff offering a bright grin, "Minimal."

Sebastian rolled his eyes, continuing to tap away at the keys, "Moody." After a short while of pretty and elegant melodies, he paused and he looked up to see me, "Like it?" His face was so hopeful.

"No!" My expression had snapped from an almost dream-like trance to closed off within seconds when noticing that he was looking at me. After he had gone back to playing, I turned away to the audience with my eyebrows furrowed, "Oh god, it's really good." Glancing back towards Sebastian for the shortest of seconds, I quickly snapped back to the front, "Oh god, it's really different; I've never heard it played in this way," Steeling another glance behind me, my tone became light and whimsical, "I can't look away." I met eyes with Sebastian and this time, he was the one to look away as I watched him, "He plays with such a drive; he plays with such a passion. He really doesn't care what I say."

It was obvious at this point that Sebastian's full attention was on the notes he was playing as I approached him slightly, "Yes, it's good." I rested a hand gently on his shoulder, almost as if entranced by the notes he was playing, "How can it be good? Who knew? Yes, it's good; I never knew he would actually be good!"

Quickly moving away from him to stand in the centre of the stage, closed off as I folded my arms across my body, I heard Sebastian call from the piano, "Come on, Kurt! Let your Pantene Pro V hair down."

When I sat beside him and started playing along, I heard Sebastian begin to sing, watching me instead of playing, "Of course he's really good; but that's to be expected." He watched for a moment, a smile gracing his features as I flicked my hands across the keys expertly, "Given he's the favourite to win; like he's always been." However, once he started to play again, I moved my hands away from the keys and sat with a steely expression, "If only he could try to be nice, it's a shame he's got a heart cold as ice . . . He should just drop the act and let someone in."

The music joined together once more as I started to play with him again, smiles spreading across the both of our faces as Sebastian sang, "Cause he's good; I knew that he'd be good, but hey," We turned to each other for a short moment before blushing and looking away, "if he could open up his mind, he'd be really good!"

Taking my hands away from the keys, I watched him for a moment before professing, "I must say I'm surprised."

Sebastian looked to me with an amused grin, abandoning the piano for a moment and allowing the band to take over the song as he turned his body to face me, "Oh, ye of little faith." Getting closer slightly, I joined in for, "There's something so intriguing about the way that you play," before allowing him to take, "You fancy a duet?" himself.

My hands returned to the keys almost on their own, "We ought to up the tempo!" Sebastian then joined me quickly with a sunny smile so unusual for him, "We may have both misunderstood but maybe we'll make something really good."

Straightening up before standing and walking a few steps away from him, I collected myself and tilted my chin until my nose was positioned almost snobbishly in the air, "I guess that wasn't bad." Sniffing softly, I turned my face from him and made a show of examining something on the other side of the stage from where I stood.

"I guess that wasn't awful." Sebastian's gaze remained on the keys for a moment before he stood.

I heard steps coming towards me and turned just in time to join Sebastian as he took my downstage hand gingerly, "I really think we could be something really good." Once the music had teetered out and the lights had risen again, Sebastian and I finally allowed the sheepish smiles to emerge as we laughed off the fact that we had just had to act in love with each other and hugged quickly.

Applause exploded from the Warblers as they all jumped up from their seats except one.

Blaine Anderson remained sat down, scowling with his arms folded as Wes and David shoved at his shoulders in an attempt to animate him, even if only slightly. It was evident that he had not volunteered to join the party of Warblers who'd come to watch Sebastian and I perform.

Storming the stage, Jeff and Nick were grinning tremendously as they attacked us with hugs, eventually settling down and standing beside us as Mr Schue walked forwards from behind the crowd of New Directions, "Kurt, that was marvellous. It's refreshing to see a Warbler perform something to different as well. Sebastian, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir." Standing to attention, Bastian brushed off Jeff and Nick as they tried to distract him. He refused to allow his smile to break whilst he was being spoken to by a teacher I respected.

Mr Schue smiled, laughing at the couple's antics before shaking his head and continuing with what he had been about to say, "Any time you feel like coming down and singing with Kurt, you do just that. You sound great together and it's nice to see him smiling lately."

A small, almost wounded sound escaped the ranks of the Warblers as Blaine's head seemed to raise slightly at this, looking passed his friends and watching me curiously for a moment. It didn't take long, however, before he was standing and going to talk to Sam and the other New Directions who were only too happy to accept him, protesting how they missed his voice.

I watched for a short time before returning my attention to the Warblers who actually wanted something to do with me and laughing with them at how uncomfortable we had looked at the end.

Sebastian and I were great friends but that was all.

Chapter Text

{ Hey, Kurt. Wanna go out for some coffee? ;) }

I'd heard nothing from Cody since the night at Adam's when we sat on the swings and to be quite honest, I remembered very little of what had happened. It wouldn't be a lie to say that I'd been a little more than worried about what we'd done but I also knew that my friends would have told me if I'd done anything wrong.

Needless to say, the message shocked me a little. It came a week or two after we'd hung out and I'd thought that he hated me for doing something wrong.

{ Yeah, sure! }

Gosh, I loved text messages. You could sound confident and sure of yourself and cheerful, even if you wanted to start screaming because you had no idea what to say. There were no interrogative inflections to worry about so they couldn't pick up on your uncertainty.

It didn't take him long to reply and we had quickly set a date for that weekend. Well, not a date. Just a day and a time. It wasn't a date.

It wasn't a date.

 

Shuffling awkwardly from foot to foot, I stood outside the Lima Bean in the pouring rain, waiting for Cody's car to pull into a parking space. I didn't want to go inside without him because I could see the New Directions crowding around a table in the back of the coffee shop, laughing and smiling as Puck stuck straws in his mouth and pretended to be a walrus.

Eventually, I saw them begin to gather their things and took the opportunity to slip through the door. Perhaps they wouldn't notice me, perhaps they would. Either way, it was better than them seeing me standing, soaking, in the rain, waiting for someone who probably wasn't going to show up. I was five minutes early but I still didn't really have much faith that Cody would arrive. For whatever reason, I'd never trusted him and no matter what he did, I still didn't know how to read him.

The New Directions passed in silence. They'd obviously spotted me but by that point, I was busying myself with blowing warm air onto my frozen fingers and scanning the overhead menu. No matter what I'd done to scare Blaine back to Dalton, I had as much right to coffee as they did so, for once, I didn't feel ashamed to be standing in their proximity.

After collecting my coffee and finding a table near the window, I shuffled my fingers anxiously around the warm cup as I waited for Cody to arrive. He was only two minutes late. What did two minutes really matter?

Soon enough, I'd finished my mocha and didn't quite know what to do. I didn't want to order another on my own and I didn't really want another drink anyway. I kind of just wanted to go home but I decided to wait a little longer, ignoring the disapproving looks from the barista.

 

Thirty minutes later and Cody still hadn't turned up. I began to stand, picking up the book that I had been reading and sliding my phone into my back pocket. For a moment, I made eye contact with the barista. Her scowl had softened, a sympathetic smile playing off her features as she dipped her head. Getting ready to put my cup in the bin, I turned at the last moment to see that Cody stood behind me with a bemused smile on his face.

"Where are ya headed, Handsome?" Using the name he'd called me on our first meeting, Cody slid into the seat opposite where I had been waiting for forty-five minutes, a coffee in his hands as he smiled up at me, "Bathroom?"

Unsure of what to do, I turned for a desperate glance at the door before deciding that it would be rude to leave and just sat down again. It wasn't like my time had just been wasted and I obviously wasn't tired after a day of dance practice. I obviously wasn't expecting an apology or at least some sort of acknowledgement that he'd turned up forty-five minutes late, "Uh, no- nowhere. Why were you late, if you don't mind me asking?"

Cody's smile dropped for a moment as he checked his watch, "I'm right on time, thank you." Although his words seemed somewhat friendly enough, I wasn't stupid. I could tell that I'd made him angry and decided to apologise profusely, checking my phone to confirm that I was wrong though said nothing when the text message still read, '1:20'.

I'd been sat with Cody for twenty minutes when he'd finished his drink and started fidgeting. It was obvious that he was bored though really had no reason to be. I was the one who'd just had to sit through countless stories of his schoolmates and teachers, "Did you walk here?" A grin spread across his face as I nodded and he stood from the table, taking me by the hand and leading me towards the door. Thankfully, the rain had cleared up whilst I was waiting so we left the coffee shop and he continued tugging me over to his car as he pulled the keys from his pocket to unlock it, "We're going to the park. It's a nice evening and I'm super bored."

The car drive was silent, besides the terrible music playing from Cody's tinny speakers. He seemed happy not to speak and I really didn't want to ask if I could put some different music on because he'd seemed volatile enough throughout the evening. I didn't want to upset him again.

Once we'd arrived at the Lima park, Cody pulled a blanket from his boot and layed it out on the grass. Slumping down into a sitting position, he began gesturing towards the spot next to him, "I've had a lot of fun tonight, Kurt." He kept his eyes cast downwards as I sat a reasonable distance from him, remaining upright as I didn't want to appear comfortable with the situation. Already, I didn't like where the conversation was going.

I'd been left waiting for forty minutes only to find that he refused to acknowledge that he had been late at all.

I'd been on edge all evening because he'd snapped at me within thirty seconds of our conversation.

I'd been uncomfortable for the past hour and a half because I had no idea what I'd done that night the week before and I was mostly waiting for him to bring it up.

It wasn't that I didn't like him, maybe I even liked him how he wanted me to, I wasn't sure, but it was safe to say that I hadn't had a lot of fun.

"Anyway, I was just wondering whether you wanted to do this more often? Maybe even be my boyfriend?" He glanced upwards at this point, his eyes watching mine dedicatedly as I struggled with all of the emotions that had swelled behind my irises in one moment. Unfortunately, my nervous, panicked face tends to involve a lot of blushing and awkward smiles. Grinning, Cody shuffled across the blanket to take my hand in his, "I know that, when we met, you said you weren't looking for a boyfriend but I really like you and I'm going to take that hopeful smile for a yes."

My panic must have been evident, yet he still leaned forward and placed his hand on my cheek roughly. His hot breath ghosted across my lips and made me shiver, battling the urge to recoil incase he began to lash out. As I tried to pull away gently, I felt his grip on my face tighten as he closed to gap between us and drowned my lips within his own.

It was- different. Cody was nothing like Blaine; he clung to my cheek like his life depended on it, his other hand lowering to rub my hip. Blaine was always gentle, always slow; he would never touch me somewhere if I hadn't explicitly stated that I wanted him to. Cody's greed was frantic as he jerked his head this way and that, groaning against my numb lips and hungrily pulling me closer to his body. I wanted to draw the line completely when I felt his unrelenting hand trace my crotch but couldn't push him away long enough to say anything. Feeling embarrassment burning behind my eyes as I eventually surrendered to his chilling touch, I allowed him to lower me until my back hit the blanket, the shock blinding my judgement as he eased away slowly.

Once he pulled back, however, I still found that I could say nothing. My skin flamed as I bolted upright to fiddle with the corner of the blanket furiously, refusing to meet his eyes.

Snaking an arm around my waist and pulling my back into his chest, Cody brushed a hand over my scalp as his words brushed the shell of my ear, "You're cute when you're shy." Cody cooed and coddled at me for the rest of the evening, constantly touching my hair or my face if he wasn't distracted by the idea of going lower. Thankfully, I was able to distract him from that though I had to admit, I wasn't sure how long I could keep it that way.

I could love him, though.

Chapter Text

Feeling Cody's fingers brush through my hair, a small smile tugged at the corners of my mouth as I relaxed my back into his chest. It had been a few weeks since our date at the park and my focus had been on being happy. There was nothing wrong with Cody. Okay, so maybe I hadn't been too certain to begin with but he'd been nothing but kind since that first kiss, only occasionally snapping when I irritated him. That wasn't surprising. I knew from my experience with Blaine that I was obviously a very irritating person.

So long as I didn't irritate him, everything was fine. We were fine. I was fine.

When it worked, it was wonderful. However, there is a fine line between a fairytale and a lie, between what I wanted and what I got from Cody.

It was early in the morning, I'd fallen asleep on his sofa the night before and had woken up to his thick duvet and mattress. I'd glanced upwards, seeing him watching me, and reached to pull him into a cuddle. His chest was warm against my back and I couldn't help but melt when Cody's fingers traced my cheek.

He was so sweet when he was happy, always careful to make sure that I was comfortable. I really couldn't remember why I'd ever been wary. So, he occasionally got annoyed at me and snapped but so does everyone, so did Blaine. The difference was that Blaine would apologise profusely afterwards, cradling me in his arms and kissing my forehead until I got sick of repeating my forgiveness; he would grin cheekily, knowing that I wouldn't be able to stay mad at him for long.

The sound of birds chirping filled the room as my phone went off on Cody's nightstand. I'd always liked birds and I'd especially liked Warblers since my Dalton days. I missed Pavarotti.

Rolling over lazily to fetch my phone, I noticed that I wasn't wearing my jeans. Thankfully, I still had my boxers and shirt but the thought of Cody not only carrying me upstairs to bed but removing my jeans as well caused my eyebrows to furrow and my skin to tingle with uncertainty. I would never have allowed Blaine to do anything like that.

Seeing 'Starchild's name pop up on my phone, I smiled before unlocking it to read the message. It was a Saturday and I'd been meant to stay over at Elliott's with the boys but Cody had asked me to back out last minute and spend the evening with him. He'd said that he wanted some 'quality time' but all we did was ignore movies whilst Cody roamed his hand along my thigh persistently and struggled to tempt me into somewhat compromising situations.

{ Kurtie, we're going to head out for ice cream? Wanna come? }

Ice cream sounded good but I soon felt Cody reaching around my shoulder to take the device from my hand and type a reply. I didn't really mind, he was probably saying yes for me as I'd started to untangle myself from the sheets and search the room for my jeans and cardigan.

When I eventually got the phone back, however, I saw that he'd typed something a little out of my character.

{ Can I bring my boyfriend? }

It wasn't that I minded him coming along, it was just a little obvious to me and anyone who knew me that that wasn't how I would ask. I would ask to bring Cody, they knew he was my boyfriend, they didn't need that extra detail. It was just one of those possessive touches that I occasionally noticed in him, one that my friends would pick up on instantly as something I would never say.

When the reply came through, I was just glad that Cody had gone to take a shower, as I wasn't sure how he'd react to Elliott's begrudging reply.

{ Only if you must. }

I quickly asked Elliott to try again with something more positive and deleted the previous messages. That way, Cody wouldn't get mad that my friends didn't particularly want him around or that I hadn't stood up for him or that I must be sharing everything I hate about him with Elliott behind his back whilst we went on secret dates. It wouldn't be the first time that Cody had insisted I was cheating on him with one of my friends.

The first had been Elliott. He didn't like how I walked around the shopping centre, gripping onto Elliott's hand instead of his. To be fair, I could see his point but I hadn't been allowed to talk to Elliott over the entire weekend as Cody had taken my phone and made me stay at his house so that the glitter rock vampire didn't know where to find me. I'd told my dad that I was staying with Mercedes (he didn't need to know that we weren't friendly anymore) and I'd told my friends that I was visiting my aunt, Wendla, in Westerville.

I did have an Aunt Wendla, she just hadn't lived in Westerville for three years so I was certain that at least Elliott was a little suspicious though he said nothing.

The second had been Sebastian. We were lying on my bed, watching Beauty and the Beast with my head rested on Sebastian's shoulder as we usually did when we got the chance to see other, when Cody walked in. My dad had let him in, telling him that he could just come up because I already had a friend with me. Cody hadn't met Sebastian and I suppose I can see how it might have looked but I would say that grabbing Sebastian by the collar and hauling him against the wall was a bit rash. Especially when you know how close I like to be with my friends.

My debonair friend had sported a nice black eye for a week after that.

Hearing the shower shut off, I finished smoothing down my shirt from the day before and sorting my hair with a comb I'd found on Cody's desk before he could come in, "Elliott message you back?" Cody opened the door to the bathroom, coming out with his jeans unbuttoned and shaking a towel over his hair.

"Yep, see!" I nodded quickly, clambering to unlock my phone and show him the forged message from Elliott to make sure that he was happy.

{ Sure! Can't wait to see you both! }

"Cool. Ready to go?" Watching as he grabbed two shirts from his wardrobe, I frowned when he threw one for me to catch. Noticing that I was simply stood staring at the garment after pulling his over his head, Cody's brows knitted together as he gestured towards me, "What? You can't seriously wear that, it's creased."

I shrugged shyly, shifting from foot to foot as I planned an excuse to change in the bathroom if he really made me, "It's all I have with me." I didn't want him to see my arms. I should probably have told him by then but for some reason, it seemed like something I wanted to keep to myself. I didn't tell Blaine because Blaine had helped me to stop and I didn't want him to think it was his fault but I had no real reason not to tell Cody.

"Then wear my shirt. I'm your boyfriend, it's normal. You wear Elliott's shirts all the time." Sensing Cody becoming angry, I tried to plaster on an innocent smile to stop him from turning on me before we went out. If I was rattled when we got there, my friends would know.

Noticing for the first time just how not-me the shirt was, I began grasping at straws for excuses before eventually coming up with a pitiful, "Elliott and I have a similar taste in clothes."

Pausing to sneer at me, Cody finally turned to face me from where he'd been looking in the mirror, folding his arms and tensing his shoulders, "You'd rather go out in that crumpled woman's shirt?" The question hung in the air for a moment, shocking me as Cody's expression remained steely. He'd never insulted me before. He may have been snappy and possessive but never degrading. My silence obviously meant that I agreed with him as he turned sharply on his heel, scowling into his reflection as he fixed his hair, "Good, now put it on."

I watched him for a moment, my face crumpling before running to his bathroom when he started to turn towards me again. Locking the door behind me, I sank to my knees and shuddered through disjointed breaths. Quickly, so as not to irritate him further, I removed my cardigan, unbuttoned my creased shirt and let it drop to the floor. I stared at my reflection in the mirror for a moment, running a hand over my stomach before pressing in to try and flatten it.

I needed to dance more.

Just before pulling the burgundy t-shirt over my head, I allowed my fingers to trace the thin lines on my forearms delicately. I hadn't done it for a couple of days so they obviously hadn't faded much, the raised skin causing goosebumps as my fingers travelled over it. Snapped out of my daze by Cody pounding on the bathroom door, I scrambled to pull the long shirt over my head and shove my arms through the cardigan sleeves before opening the door to find a sickly smile plastered on his face.

"Ready to go, Kurt?" He offered me a hand, reaching forward and clasping mine tightly when I made no move to go for it. It wasn't hard to tell that he was already annoyed that I was being quiet with him but I couldn't quite get over what he'd said; it niggled at the back of my mind like a dog at a door as I nodded, allowing him to lead me out of the house and into his car.

 

I still hadn't spoken a word by the time we reached the ice cream parlour, Cody's irritation only growing the closer we got. Initially, I'd been thinking about what had happened but the longer I left it, the madder he got and by the time I was ready to say something, having excused the outburst as a tactic to persuade me, I didn't want to say anything in case he flew off the handle immediately.

Slamming his door, Cody walked ahead of me into the shop, not even waiting for me to catch up as I stumbled along after him. My feet hitting the pavement quickly as I scurried to catch the door before it swung shut behind him.

When I eventually met him at the counter, Cody huffed and refused to make eye contact with me as he turned to glance at my curious friends over my shoulder, "Get me two scoops of chocolate in a bowl, I'll pay you back later. I'm going to the loo." He made a show of kissing my cheek before walking away, obviously attempting to show off and claim ownership as it seemed that his eyes never once left my friends' table.

Shaken, I ordered the chocolate ice cream and a lemon sorbet for myself. Too many calories in ice cream, better to go with something a little healthier. Cody had told me that I should start being more careful with what I ate and he was probably right.

After collecting the food, I wandered over to my friends quietly, sitting in a spare chair beside Elliott and sighing as I stared down into my sorbet.

"You alright, Kurtie?" Just from three words, I knew that Elliott was already worried about me. It was sweet but really didn't help it when I was trying to hide something. Though, I wasn't really hiding anything, I was just trying to sort things out in my head, "You hate sorbet."

I shook my head slowly, giving a soft smile as I tried not to wince through my first spoon of sorbet, blaming it on the cold, "I'm tired, Ellie, I don't want to talk about it."

Huffing from his spot across the table, Adam nudged Chandler jokingly as he gestured towards me, causing Chandler to giggle at his best friend's antics, "Trouble in paradise?" It was quite cute watching them, actually. As much as I hated what they were laughing at, I couldn't help but smile at Chandler's smitten giggle and the way his eyes focussed on Adam completely. Anyone could see that Chandler liked him. Anyone but Adam.

"Stop it." I swirled my spoon around my bowl, trying to suppress my amusement at Chandler's pining.

Chandler tutted quietly, turning to Adam and stage whispering behind his hand, "They've totally just had their first fight. Did you see Cody's face when he walked in? Gosh, Kurt, you must have done something bad!" Laughing, he grinned as Adam noticed ice cream around his mouth and wiped it for him with his thumb mockingly.

"Don't be mean, I was so upset after my first fight with Lucas." Throwing me a sympathetic expression, Adam folded the napkin slowly, frowning slightly at Chandler for digging a little further than he'd been willing to go with the joke.

Forehead creasing, Chandler seemed to be wracking his brain for mention of who Adam was talking about though quickly gave up as his nose wrinkled with confusion, "Lucas?" I watched as Elliott seemed to start paying attention, his gaze lowering with sympathy for Chandler.

The English boy nodded absentmindedly, a vague smile drifting across his features as he watched his milkshake swirl in his cup, "My boyfriend." His eyes lit up as he talked about the blonde boy that he'd met back home, expression softening as a smile tugged at the corners of his lips. We'd heard enough about Lucas since he'd met him to know exactly what Adam loved about the boy. He loved his wavy fringe, his cornflower blue eyes. He loved his elegant hands and his dainty nose but most of all, he loved how compassionate and confident Lucas was.

Silence drifted over the table for a moment as Chandler seemed to be taking this information in, unsure of what to say briefly, "Boyfriend?"

"I'm sure I told you about Lucas." Glancing up in shock, Adam furrowed his brows before looking down to his phone, no doubt where he was reading their last conversation. Either that, or he was talking to him as we spoke. The latter was probably more likely as Adam had allowed his ice cream to melt in his bowl, "We got together last month when I went home to see my gran? I came back and gushed about how amazing he is?"

Grumbling softly into his ice cream, Chandler seemed desperate to appear fine. However, his face always scrunched up when he was unhappy and anyone who knew him well could have seen that he was unhappy in that moment, "He's in England?"

As he raised his eyebrows, Adam abandoned his phone for a moment to watch his smaller friend's face, "Uh, yeah."

Attempting to save Chandler from embarrassment, Elliott began speaking up, "Chandler, you must be deaf, he wouldn't stop talking about him for ages." Although what he said probably wouldn't make the boy happy, it might have given him time to divert the conversation to how forgetful he can be.

Unfortunately, Chandler didn't take the bait and simply kicked at the table leg, playing with his ice cream like a child, "I don't approve. He's on a different continent, how are we supposed to review him?"

"We didn't review Kurt's boyfriend?" Adam frowned at his friend's response, his eyebrows rising as he blanched in shock. It was obvious that he was surprised by Chandler's reaction, not knowing why the boy would be unhappy about his relationship. Adam was one of those people who look to their friends for validation in everything so for Chandler to not approve, it was a pretty harsh blow.

Snorting, Chandler quickly jumped back to his usual self as he reached across to cuff Adam across the ear, "Speak for yourself, lover-boy. I've written a whole paper on why Kurt should ditch Cody." This caused laughter to spread across the table as Elliott high-fived Chandler and Adam grunted into his milkshake in amusement.

My expression remained somewhat placid though I couldn't help but giggle slightly when Elliott slapped his hand down onto the table. I refused to laugh with them as Cody had conditioned me over the past few weeks to never say a bad word about him, but I still found what Chandler had said funny and couldn't stop myself from scoffing as the boys began poking at me teasingly.

Once again, silence fell over the table as the boys turned to look behind me, guilty expressions on their faces, "And why exactly should Kurt ditch me? I'd say that we're pretty happy together, right, Kurt? Don't slouch, Babe." As Cody's voice travelled over my shoulder, my eyes widened in fear and my posture immediately straightened to be sure that he couldn't continue to torment me for that as well. Suddenly, I was terrified that Cody would take me by the ear and drag me to his car, where he could snap at me without my friends around.

Gulping quietly, the blood ran from Chandler's face as Cody's eyes bore into his, "Shit."

 

After Chandler had managed to divert the conversation and Cody had finished his ice cream, we had decided to go on a walk around the neighbourhood. The ice cream parlour was near Adam's house and his parents were away on business again so we made it there and planned to stay for the night, drinking as we had those weeks before.

"What's the betting that Elliott's fixing his eyeliner?" Chandler spoke up from his spot on the sofa, filling the silence as he peered at us through upside down eyes. For some reason, Chandler liked to sit on sofas with his head hanging off the edge of the seat. We didn't usually question it anymore but it still seemed ridiculous as you could watch the blood rushing to his face until he had to pull himself up and get a drink.

We littered Adam's living room, subdued as we couldn't take the party out into the garden due to the heavy rain. Cody and I sat on the floor, my head resting in the crook of his neck as he wound his fingers through my hair. Opposite us, Adam was busying pouring out red, plastic cups of alcohol and distributing them throughout the room.

Accepting a cup of vodka and coke from Adam, I smiled before turning back to Chandler with a scoff, "Two dollars says he isn't. We haven't watched any sad movies and, anyway, I'm pretty certain he took your advice on waterproof after last time." Playful giggles rose from both Chandler and me, ignoring the rolling eyes of Adam and Cody as we reminisced about the day we went to the park.

At that moment, Elliott chose to exit the bathroom. Once again, he was pushing that damn eyeliner pencil into his back pocket, eliciting cheers from Chandler and groans from me.

"Pay up, bitch!" Chandler grinned as he swung himself upright, offering a hand for the money.

I scoffed as I pulled myself upwards and away from Cody to check my pockets, extending my middle finger towards Chandler, "Fuck you." When I came up with only one dollar fifty, I cleared my throat quietly to get Cody's attention, "Uhm, Cody? Could I have the money for the ice cream now? I need to pay Chandler."

Turning to me with a scowl, Cody locked his phone and narrowed his eyes at me, "I already gave you it." He dropped his phone before pulling me against his body again, locking his arm around my waist so that I couldn't move. Taking my cup from my hands, Cody raised it to my lips and left it there until I drank. A smirk crossed his face as he practically watched my willpower draining away. It was no secret to him that I was a compliant drunk.

Frowning whilst he lowered the cup, I felt the other boys' eyes on us though tried not to think about it as I struggled to form the words of disagreement, "You didn't."

His expression turning thunderous, Cody released my waist and pushed me further away from him with a scowl, "I did. You must have dropped it . . . Or are you accusing me?" He tensed his shoulders as he stiffened, daring me to continue just with his body language. I didn't need to have listened to what he said to know not to keep going.

"What? No, I- sorry. I just forgot. You're right, you did give it to me." Shivering as my chest tightened, I quickly tried to relax him by tentatively running a hand along his thigh. I didn't want to do it, but it would stop him from shouting.

The others knew full well that Cody had not paid me back.

Chapter Text

We left the boys soon after the incident. Cody didn't want to stay and I didn't want to argue with him so we went home because it was just easier. I didn't feel like getting in another fight.

We'd watched a movie but as Adam got the blankets from the cupboard to stay like we'd planned, Cody had stood and pulled me along by the wrist, saying that we were going home. I'd tried to reason with him, tried to remind him of the pouring rain and the fact that his car was still at the ice cream parlour so we'd have to walk for twenty minutes just to get to it but he wouldn't listen.

"We're leaving, Kurt, I don't care how far away the car is, you are not staying here overnight." Cody had hissed the last half of his statement in my ear, making the blood squirm in my veins, but then he took my hand like it was soft and gentle and fragile and smiled at me with his chapped lips, making my heart skitter. Suddenly, my cheeks were as red as the walls around us as Cody pressed a careful kiss to my cheek, brushing his thumb under my eye as he pulled away. My skin tingled as I called a final goodbye to the boys and we bowed out of the door, Cody's hand cradling mine into the pounding rain.

We walked quietly, though not in silence. It was comfortable. The rain hitting the roofs of cars around us and me, sniffling every so often in the cold. I felt safe and for the first time in a long time, I felt like someone loved me. So maybe Cody could be mean occasionally but couldn't everyone? People forget things, maybe he just forgot about the ice cream money?

I felt comfortable and ready so, as we were walking back through the park to get to car park, I pulled Cody into the bandstand and towards a bench at the back, "Cody, can I talk to you?" Huddling out of the rain, Cody nodded and smiled, watching as I anxiously wound my pale, bloodless fingers around the cool metal vines on the bench. When Cody simply sat looking at me, I realised that was my cue to start talking and I'd already made it weird by saying nothing, "Uhm. There's something you should probably know . . . about me, y'know?"

Laughing as he watched me squirm, Cody prised my fingers away from the vine and smothered them with his own large hands, "Spit it out." His words seemed harsh but he said them softly, making me relax into his touch.

"Right, well. Sometimes when I'm sad I . . . " Even though I knew Cody got annoyed when I paused and left him in suspense, I couldn't help myself. I couldn't just say it out loud straight away, as if it was nothing, "Uhm, I- I hurt myself."

Cody sat silently, staring at me, and I knew that he was confused but I hadn't really wanted to just spell it out. I didn't really want to have to say it because I was ashamed. I hated myself for doing it but I couldn't help it, sometimes I just needed to feel in control of my own life and usually, that wasn't the case. I always felt like someone else was running the ship, like I was just a passenger in my own body; someone else was telling me that everything about me was just terrible and controlling everything that I did. When he continued to say nothing, I furrowed my eyebrows and pulled my bottom lip between my teeth before drawing a long, shaky breath, "Like, deliberately. Cody?"

Once again, Cody was silent. This time, however, I knew that he knew what I meant. His face wasn't placid anymore, his features not calm. He tensed his jaw and he narrowed his eyes and when I repeated his name, he snapped into motion. Gripping my wrist tightly, Cody stood upright, yanking me into a standing position, as rage tugged his top lip into a snarl, "What did you say?" His voice was quiet and eerily calm compared to the look on his face.

At first, I thought he was angry at whatever had made me feel useless enough to have to resort to horrible methods to cope. When I told Blaine, he started shouting and punched the wall but he quickly made sure that I knew he wasn't angry at me. I bandaged his bleeding knuckles in his bathroom and he watched, obviously feeling sick by how good I was at it. He examined his hand, stretching the fingers and wincing as he complained that he couldn't play piano easily but was quickly quiet when I reminded him that he'd done it to himself. It was a stark parallel against what I did to myself.

When he realised that I wasn't going to repeat myself, Cody's snarl turned vicious, pulling me closer until he could spit the questions into my face, "Why the fuck do you hurt yourself? Is it about that Blaine guy? Am I not good enough for you?"

Blinking rapidly, I struggled to look him in the eye though he squeezed my wrist every time I looked away and the fresh wounds stung beneath my sleeve, "What? No! Cody, you're wonderful. I'm just sad. It's not because of anything, it just is. " I steeled my bottom lip, holding in small whimpers from his grip on my wrist incase they angered him further. If he knew he was hurting me, he'd probably hate himself for it and I didn't want him to worry.

"Everyone gets sad but they're not all weak and pathetic. They don't take it out on themselves!" Cody eventually dropped my arm, watching in scorn as I fell back onto the bench and nursed my wrist discreetly to my chest. He shook his head as he looked on, his shadow looming over me and casting the bench in darkness as he blocked the streetlight behind him, "What the fuck's wrong with you? Normal people don't slit their wrists when something upsets them!" I knew that there was a reason I kept it quiet, I knew that there was a reason that I hadn't wanted to tell anyone, let alone Cody. Now I was going to lose him and it was all my fault, "You're pathetic."

I whimpered quietly when Cody backed away, facing away from me and out to the park at the glowing path, trailing all the way to the stars in the distance. Thankfully, he didn't hear me as I quickly checked my wrist and saw that one or two of my more recent lines had opened slightly. A quiet, "shit" escaped as I winced, closing my fingers around the material of my sleeve to attempt to apply pressure and stop the bleeding.

When Cody turned back around, he saw what I was doing and stormed back towards me. He caught my wrist and thrust me upwards until I could barely feel the floor through my toes anymore, a throbbing pain surging through my arm as he held me upwards. I could feel blood trickling down my arm, towards my shoulder though said nothing as he pressed my back against one of the poles supporting the roof of the bandstand, "You'd better be fucking glad you've got me, though. Who else would love a freak like you?"

Apparently, no one. Blaine had always been the most compassionate person I'd ever known but if he couldn't deal with me when I was sad then this was all I had. This was the best I would ever get and probably more than I deserved. If Cody was it then I would be happy with Cody. I would smile and I would love him because we were in love. So, we were coming out of our 'honeymoon phase' but all couples do eventually. I would always think about him when I was talking to friends and sometimes I would stand in the middle of my room, not looking anywhere, just thinking about him. I spent sleepless nights unable to get him out of my mind, thinking about whether he actually could love me or whether he was just being kind.