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Young Volcanoes

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According to a few people with sticks shoved so far up their asses you could knock ‘em over and have yourself a spit roast, Kurt is quite the bad seed. Screw them. As far as Kurt’s concerned, personalities like that – people who herald their opinions as immutable fact – are toxic. To each their own, but take it elsewhere.

Most adults look at the metal looped through his lip and ask him if it hurt, most kids ask to touch it and he lets them, and the majority of the rest refrain from commenting. Then there are the assholes. Kurt hates when someone’s first words to him are “What did your mother say about that?” placidly spoken, but clearly judgmental. Confrontational is practically tattooed on his forehead, so he never fails to fire back with an equally intrusive line of questioning – mostly pertaining to what led them to ask, and the generally unanswerable query of why it matters what his mother would think. Of course, all this is accompanied by his own sickly sweet smile. He doesn’t see any harm in demanding people to ask better of themselves than treating strangers like gum stuck on their shoe.

On some level, he gets it. He wears his boots like he’s ready to kick ass at any moment. Wears his hair like he took a swim in the Kool-Aid jar. Loads his face and ears with silver and spikes. Pays homage to the bad boy cliché with the occasional leather jacket. Patterns his pale skin with dark ink. Does a pretty good raccoon imitation on bad mornings after, when yesterday’s makeup has smeared around his eyes.

He sees all the reasons the world sits ever-ready to dismiss him; he just wishes the world were different. His appearance is not a suit of armor for all it’s believed to be one. He’s not impenetrable.

Fuck it.

A single thought and Kurt’s able to purge his mind of the negativity, to let it all just roll off his back. Sometimes a slur or a sneer lingers longer in his memory than he should let it, but what good does it do to dwell?

It is, however, hard not to dwell on his own reception when he’s being stared at by a bunch of boys in uniform like a new exhibit at the zoo.

The Dalton crowd could use a little work on warm welcomings.

They flock together, avoiding Kurt like a stone in their pathway as they exit their school building, eyes hanging back until their feet carry them too far to gawk. It’s all he can do not to lash out and traumatize the little pricks, but he likes to think he’s got a strong enough constitution to withstand a few stares. If he sticks his pierced tongue out at the occasional boy-in-blazer, well – so be it. No one’s ever accused him of being a role model.

Waiting would be a less onerous affair if he hadn’t left his phone in his car. The car currently parked too far away to run back to if he doesn’t want to miss his own boy-in-blazer coming outside in the flood of students.

Standing around fiddling nervously with the rips in his jeans, shifting under the heavy weight of abundant stares, is not conducive to the impression Kurt wants to leave at the moment. But life’s not fair, and we can’t always get what we want.

They lock eyes seconds after Blaine comes outside. Kurt smiles even when Blaine’s eyes dart around to catch the reactions of those around him. Polite mask in place, Blaine steps into Kurt’s Dalton-appointed bubble.

“Surprise.”

No response.

“No kiss hello?”

Blaine moves in to kiss him then, and Kurt kind of hates him for the tiny peck left on his cheek.

“What are you doing here?” Blaine asks softly. Around them, clusters of students are stopped to chat with one another. Kurt knows, and is sure Blaine does too, that they’ve all snuck at least a few glances at the Kurt and Blaine show.

“Can’t I come visit my boyfriend?” his mouth twists up into a wry smile when Blaine all but flinches at the term.

“Did you cut school just to come here?”

“It’s my last day. I hardly needed to be there.” Kurt kicks at the ground. Blaine looks disappointed.

By this time next week, a diploma will certify Kurt Hummel as a bona fide high school graduate. He’s undecided whether this is his ticket to freedom or the shackles of impending conformity, but at the very least his McKinley dues will be paid in full and that’s reason enough to celebrate. If he can get Baby Blainers to quit being such a Debby Downer, they might actually make it to round two of summer love before autumn comes and huffs and puffs and blows their house of cards down.

Kurt can’t help but ask, “Do you not want me here?”

Blaine shakes his head and tells Kurt, “Of course I want you here. I just didn’t expect you.” But the tension rolling off of him in waves is roaring “get the fuck away from this place.” Blaine takes Dalton very seriously, takes the friends he’s made and places them on pretty pedestals. Dalton is Blaine’s safe haven, the place he feels most accepted. He draws fixed lines between here and home, Kurt has learned.

It knocked him on his ass like a hard kick to the nuts, at the end of last summer. Blaine’s always been uptight. Just a smidge. By the time they’d grown close and gotten to know each other in the biblical sense – with significantly less hellfire and brimstone for their sinning – Blaine was damn near laidback. Once school started up, whether it was the distance or Dalton itself, Blaine pulled away. When Kurt tugged him back, it was just different. The carefree, unbounded thrill of summer splintered and mellowed.

Weekends have been fun though – the ones Blaine comes home for. Locked in his room, or Kurt’s, for hours upon hours, rediscovering that thrill if only for a while.

Kurt’s no stranger to needing an outlet, to the ways we cope when life is unkind. He knows Dalton is special and he’d never try to take the comfort it offers away from Blaine. It’d be nice, though, if Blaine could reconcile the pieces of himself he’s compartmentalized. Kurt’s no less special. No less safe.

One of Blaine’s friends – the chatty blond, Kurt recalls from an accidental meeting – bursts their awkward bubble, patting them each on the arm in greeting. “Kurt, right?” he says, extending his hand. Kurt nods and smiles brightly enough to rival Blaine on his better days, shaking the boy’s hand too enthusiastically, holding on too long.

“You’re Jeff,” he says to an eager nod. “You’re the one who told Blaine I was – ‘bad news’ was it? Told him not to hitch his wagon to a Lima loser.” All of his fingers squeeze tightly Jeff’s hand while he ignores Blaine’s protests to quit it. He’s in a mood now, can’t be stopped. “Oh, and your advice was ‘break up with him, but maybe still try to tap that because that’s a fuckable ass’. And here I’d always thought prep school boys were such gentlemen. ‘Tap that’? Really?”

Jeff yanks his hand from Kurt’s grip, matching him glare for glare.

“I was right.”

“Thanks for the compliment,” he bites out, running his hands over his backside and his tongue over his teeth, sexual and threatening.

“All you kids from Lima peak in high school; congratulations on the best you could do,” Jeff remarks, eyes cast darkly at Kurt.

“Well, that’s not very nice.”

“Kurt, drop it.”

Kurt turns to look at Blaine then, shocked to find him seething. "Not that you and I need something new to fight about, but how are you defending him in this situation?”

Blaine steps in close for his harsh whisper to assault Kurt’s ear. “You’re embarrassing me.”

Kurt steps back, all his hurt pooled into a crooked smile. “We wouldn’t want that now would we?”

Blaine is this infuriatingly bright ball of sunshine, for all his best and worst qualities. When he shines, he dazzles, and all you wanna do is soak up the rays and bask in his glory, but hell if it isn’t loathsome to watch the world revolve around him.

He’s a people-pleaser, polite to a fault, oblivious of his own charm. He longs to fit in, sours when he doesn’t. Yet, he seems perfectly content to oust Kurt if it fucks with his reputation.

In a moment of oddly-timed domesticity, he straightens the tie looped through Blaine’s collar and somehow resists the urge to choke him with it. Brushing off imaginary dust from Blaine’s shoulders follows out of habit. Typically, this routine takes place after a Monday morning quickie before Blaine’s off to school for the week, but considering Blaine just fucked him anyway, it still kind of counts the same.

“I was your ride,” he tells Blaine as he backs away with a kiss to the hand and a clumsy bow. “But if you still want to come home this weekend, I’m sure you can figure it out.”

“Kurt,” Blaine says in that way that claws at Kurt’s stupid, useless heart, but Kurt is done and gone and Blaine can kiss his fuckable ass goodbye.

He’s a grown adult goddammit; if he wants to cry, he can do so whenever and wherever the mood strikes. Except he doesn’t want to cry now. Certainly not in front of a school chock-full of kids already looking down on him. Squaring his shoulders doesn’t stop the pressure from building behind his eyes or the few tears that escape, but it makes him feel a little better, a little less like the rug was just pulled out from under him.

Fuck it.