misqueue: Blaine takes Kurt's hand and a shortcut in "Never Been Kissed" (glee - blaine & kurt dalton hallway NBK)
misqueue ([personal profile] misqueue) wrote2014-01-31 09:30 am

[Fic] The Search for Dry Wood (klaine advent prompt #9 Ice)

The Search for Dry Wood

Kurt/Blaine | T | Set during 4x06 “Glease” | Drama, Angst | melancholy, introspection, the actual break up | Title from Sting’s “The Hounds of Winter” | Kurt hopes to find some insight when he goes back to McKinley for the Grease production. | ~1400 words

Notes: This is less of a gap filler than it is a POV filler on scenes we did get. Kurt in “Glease” both fascinated me and broke my heart. This should be the last of the super sad break up fics. With this one, I believe I’ve exorcised the sad muse. The remaining klaineadvent prompts (as I slowly get to them) should be less dismal. :)

(So yes, this is a sad one.)



November 2012


It's the first time Kurt has set foot in William H. McKinley High School since he got on an airplane in September. Just over two months have passed since, and it feels like years have slipped by. The high school at night surrounds him with its strange after-dark energy. Without the sunlight and bustle and open doors, the quality of the evening's chilled air holds sounds differently: more quietly, more carefully. Traces of PTA nights and every other production the glee club has done linger, both in the halls and in his recollection. But specific memories remain insubstantial echoes, half-forgotten emotions that elude his focus when he tries to resolve them. He feels terribly old. It's not how he expected to feel.

Rachel has come with him, and he's grateful for that. Her determinedly cheerful chatter about limiting their autographs, about their assured local celebrity status is comforting. She's as nervous as he is. He smiles and nods and indulges the fantasy with her.

As they turn a corner, their reflection in the night blackened window at the end of the hall startles him. Rachel's kohl ringed eyes and glamorous big city hair jar with the tentative wisps of unconscious retrospection. There's himself beside her, too, just as alien to these halls now: taller, thinner, and paler; and solemn through his smile. He looks like a ghost with his white carved face floating luminous above his dark, layered clothing. A regretful spirit come to haunt the halls, seeking a final resolution to his time here.

He spots his old locker, and one memory comes into focus, sharp and irrepressible in his lungs.


("I love your jauntily placed cap, it's very Russian czar.")


The awkwardly sincere compliment, a flirtatious and bold text, an erotic proposition in a steady heated gaze—


("Come on, let's blow it off.")


The weight of time together coming to an end (and what an end it has come to), even though, at the time, Kurt had thought he and Blaine had discovered a new beginning together. Kurt struggles to breathe as loss pierces his heart. He makes himself push aside the cruel irony of hindsight, and he withdraws a cold hand from his pocket, gestures toward the locker, forces a grin to crack his frozen cheeks, and speaks to draw Rachel's attention. A silly drawl and a wry smile summon a friendly, shared nostalgia.

Then, Mercedes' voice from down the hall brings other memories, poignant still, but happier. She takes them backstage.

.

Hushed, hypo-mania surges backstage, an electric charge to the air that raises the hair on Kurt's arms. The well-rehearsed activity and coordinated motion all push on the verge of chaos without falling into it. And the scent of it, backstage at McKinley, is an undefinable and specific melange of materials, people, and props, it takes him back, effortlessly, to this time last year. It recalls the particular mental flavors of autumn and anticipation, of navigating new roles and modifying his expectations—and not just on stage. But the important moments, a lot of them were here.

The flashback comes to him, warm with the affection embedded in the memory.


("Just like the song?"

"Just like the song.")


And he remembers the trembling, tentative step he took. A step taken in faith, not surety.


("... I want to go to your house.")


Unguarded within the reminiscence, Kurt is smiling still when, dressed all in white, Blaine approaches. His sweater sparkles with motes of silver beneath the low light of backstage; Tina had told them Blaine was playing Teen Angel.

Kurt looks at Blaine—it's what he came for, to look and try to see—but it pains his eyes. His smile slips, and he casts his gaze down. The warmth of his heart grows confused and dwindles. Blaine is too bright, unreal when laid over the subdued tones of Kurt's memory.

His handsome face is cautiously surprised, and there's an unmistakeable—if tattered—hope in his gaze. But instead of the understanding Kurt hoped to feel upon seeing Blaine again, splinters of ice crystallize in his blood. Kurt hears, reverberating in his head, all of the apologies that have vibrated his phone these past weeks, the ones he read, imagined in the same gentle timbre that's speaking to him now: "I didn't think I'd see you this weekend." Empty words spoken in a voice he used to believe; this is impossible.

In Kurt's peripheral vision, Blaine is both familiar and strange, flickering between recall and reality. Quick glances show him uncertain and afraid, and also—as they linger and Finn comes in—increasingly disappointed and hurting. It makes little sense for Blaine to be the one to fear or the one with wounds to soothe. He's the one who left Kurt, who broke faith, who violated the most sacred things between them. Kurt can't look back up or speak. And so, Blaine hesitates, and then he leaves.

It drags and pulls at Kurt's insides as Blaine goes, as if there's a loose thread from Kurt that's become snagged on Blaine, and he's unraveling Kurt as he retreats. Kurt feels it—painfully viscerally—all the careful repairs he's made to himself, to his heart; they're coming undone. He doesn't know how to cut the thread before all his seams and hems are ragged and falling apart. If he could just reach out and catch it in his hand, maybe he could hold on and not let slip anymore stitches.

Kurt clenches a fist around nothing, and locks his knees. "You were right," he tells Rachel. "It was a mistake to come." The fibers of his heart run like a fast unwinding knit.

.

From the audience, he can look with dispassion. Performing, Blaine is remote. Kurt feels nothing but the ache of cold burning his heart. There's no heat within him when he looks at Blaine, just more confusion, growing disconnection, and pain.

Blaine catches him looking. Falters. Kurt tries to understand, but he keeps wondering: 'Who are you?'

When the only answer Kurt can find for himself is, 'I don't know,' he decides, maybe, it doesn't matter any more. The question itself isn't worth asking; there's not any answer he could believe. A million more apologies wouldn't make Blaine back into the boy he once knew. There's nothing left here for him. It's time to go.

.

After the play, in the hall, as he and Rachel prepare to leave, Blaine walks right up to him. Determination strengthens his voice: "Kurt, I need to talk to you."

This time, Kurt makes himself look directly at Blaine, because he knows now there's nothing more to fear here. It's still hard to look. There's a reflexive burst of warmth, that bends his lips for an instant, before regret sinks it down into sadness and his vision blurs. Blaine is a stranger, and they are lost; there's nothing for him to say, nothing for Kurt to hear here except the old echoes.


("For someone who loves clothes so much, I can't believe you haven't noticed I'm not in my Warbler outfit.")


"I'm not interested," Kurt says, and he turns away before the tears of bitter resignation can fall.

Behind him Blaine follows. "I never told you about what happened. The guy I hooked up with, I need you to know everyth—"

Blaine's persistence rouses some clarity; a rush of icy fury turns Kurt on his heel. "What are you going to tell me?" Kurt demands. He looks Blaine full in the face and offers up every possible excuse Blaine could give him so Blaine will know: none of them could possibly matter.

Shocked into silence, Blaine stands there, wide-eyed and disbelieving. Kurt can see how his words have laid Blaine open, and Blaine's almost childlike in his vulnerability. And that—Blaine's unfailing trust—is unexpectedly, heart-breakingly familiar. It's a strong, terrifying pull on every memory that still connects them. It may not be enough to change things, but it does stay Kurt's next, harsher words. They diminish and die in Kurt's throat, and Kurt realizes, he's not the ghost here, Blaine is. Unfortunately, whatever absolution Blaine seeks, he's not getting it from Kurt. If Blaine still trusts him, then this much should be obvious: "Relationships are about trust," Kurt says.

But Blaine still looks at him with stunned incredulity, so Kurt snaps the thread. "I don't trust you anymore."

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