The bus journey to Regionals was much better for Kurt than his ride to Sectionals. He joined in with the last minute rehearsals while sat next to his boyfriend and surrounded by the best and most accepting friends he could ever ask for. They arrived in plenty of time and headed backstage to their dressing room to go over the choreography for their performance once or twice more, to ensure it was perfect. After their fourth run through, Wes let everyone have a short break before they moved through to the auditorium to watch their competition. Kurt went over to his bag to check his phone and saw that he not only had a good luck message from his dad, but also a text from Mercedes informing him of the New Direction rehearsal room number. Kurt slipped out of his own dressing room and made sure to knock loudly before letting himself in to wish the New Directions luck.
“Kurt!” Mercedes saw her friend first and ran over to smother him in a bear hug. Brittany, Tina, Artie, Mike and Finn also walked over to catch up with Kurt and fill him in on any McKinley drama that he had missed. Because Kurt was distracted, he didn’t see the meaningful glance that Santana sent Rachel, or the look of understanding she got in return.
“Kurt, you really should be getting back to your own dressing room, I’m sure the Warblers will be looking for you.” Rachel said loudly. “Here, Santana and I will walk you back.” Kurt knew that he was about to be faced with the dilemma that had plagued him for the past couple of weeks but couldn’t think of any way to get out of the conversation he was about to be a part of.
“Look Hummel, I know Karofsky is gayer than the fourth of July and I am willing to strike a deal with him to get you back to Lima.” Santana wasted no time in informing Kurt of her plans. “He’s told me that if I become his big gay beard, he would leave you alone when you transfer back where you belong.”
“And just what do you gain from that little arrangement Santana?” Kurt asked because he knew that there was no way that Santana would ever do anything out of the goodness of her heart.
“Well I get to be forever remembered as the super-hot girl that brought Kurt Hummel back from the hell-hole that is Dalton Academy.”
“But Dalton isn’t a hell-hole. I have felt safer there than I ever have in my life –”
“Anyway, as I was saying, I would be remembered and I would also get an exceptionally high number of votes for prom queen due to my sudden act of kindness.” Both Rachel and Kurt rolled their eyes before Kurt turned to Rachel.
“And Karofsky has actually agreed to that?” Rachel nodded and could see the look of excitement that flooded Kurt’s eyes. “I don’t want to get my hopes up, or yours for that matter, but I need time to think about it as well as some kind of proof that he will definitely leave me alone if I did move back.” Kurt turned around at the sound of Wes calling his name from the doorway to the auditorium. He waved at the older boy to acknowledge the call and said a last goodbye to his friends before sprinting up the hallway and into the big open room where the competition was being held.
All throughout the opening performance, Kurt couldn’t concentrate on the singing and dancing that was in front of him, his mind was completely focused on the decision he had to make. The only thing that managed to bring him out of his almost meditative state was the feeling of Blaine’s hand slipping into his when it was time for the Warblers to move backstage before their performance. It was at this moment that Kurt realised that because of the potentially heart-breaking decision that had been occupying his mind, he had forgotten that this was the first time he had ever had a solo for a competition. His sub consciousness was releasing all of the pent up nervous energy by causing Kurt to jump up and down and wring his hands together while he was waiting in the wings of the stage. Blaine could see that there was something wrong with his boyfriend and the only other time that Kurt had acted like this was when he was scared about telling the truth about his past.
“Hey Kurt, are you alright?” Blaine asked with a look of compassion on his face.
“Has anyone ever collapsed and died an embarrassing death on stage in front of an audience?” Kurt looked distressed and Blaine wrapped his arms around the older boy’s waist and pulled him into a hug.
“Is this your first time performing a solo for a competition audience?” Kurt nodded and buried his head into Blaine’s shoulder to stop himself from crying. “Well, don’t be scared Kurt. The Warblers and I will be right up there next to you, in fact, just look at me. Sing the song to me. Or find the New Directions in the audience and sing to one of them, I bet Mercedes would love that!” Kurt nodded again tried to move away from his boyfriend, but Blaine had him trapped in a tight embrace. “I know you are going to be amazing Kurt.” Blaine said in a hushed tone and leant in to give Kurt a light kiss. Just as their lips touched, they were interrupted by a rather indignant sounding Wes.
“If you two have just about finished, we really need to be getting on stage now!” Blaine and Kurt both blushed furiously and the heat that they had felt when their lips were connected did not fade due to the intensity of the bright stage lights. The curtain rose and the Warblers began the opening notes of ‘Candles’. Kurt took a deep breath and walked forwards onto centre stage to sing the opening lines.
Before Kurt knew it, Blaine was standing beside him and Kurt was wondering why he was so nervous only seconds earlier. Kurt and Blaine sang the entire song to one another and their gaze hardly wavered from the other’s eyes as they moved seamlessly around one another. The entire song was pulled off without a hitch and after it was over, it was as if Kurt had awoken from a daze. He could barely remember what had happened in the actual number but he could see the audience giving the two boys a standing ovation and could have sworn that when he looked over towards the New Directions, he saw Puck swipe at his misty eyes. He would have to ask him about that later. Blaine tugged him into the spotlight and in a moment of panic, Kurt bobbed into a curtsey before running back to his place in the formation of Warblers.
Suddenly the beginning of ‘Raise your Glass’ was belted out by Blaine who had remained at the front of the stage and Kurt was jolted out of his daze so he could keep up with the complex choreography that was a vital part of this performance. Kurt did his part and sang background vocals alongside his friends while every now and again glancing over towards Blaine to give him a proud smile or to receive an encouraging wink from the boy himself. The crowd had returned to their feet before the end of the number and once Blaine had sung the final note of the Warbler’s setlist, the room burst out into rowdy applause. Kurt and Blaine waited until the curtain had fell and the Warblers had moved off stage before practically running into each other’s arms, laughing with happiness.
“See? What did I tell you? You were amazing!” Kurt blushed at the attention and kissed Blaine’s cheek before the group of boys was ushered back into the auditorium to watch the New Directions perform.
Kurt and Blaine were sat next to each other and were holding hands subtly when the final performance of the afternoon began. Rachel was the only one on the stage as the curtain rose. She began singing a song that none of the boys seemed to recognise, and it took Kurt until the end of the first chorus to realise that Mr Schue had finally given in to one of Rachel’s long term requests.
“Original songs. They’re performing original music.” Kurt whispered to Blaine and the younger boy’s eyes widened in shock and realisation. A few of the other girls joined Rachel on stage to finish the first song and their added harmonies sent shivers down Kurt’s spine. When the song was over, Kurt shot to his feet, closely followed by Blaine, to cheer for his old glee club. Before he had had the chance to sit down, the more up-beat intro to the second song began to play and the rest of the New Directions strutted onto the stage from the wings. This time, it didn’t take long for Kurt to realise that the group had used real life experiences to influence to lyrics for the music and many of them were actively performing straight to Sue Sylvester, who Kurt had seen cheering for the first glee club.
When Finn sang his opening line about being pushed into the lockers, he looked straight at Kurt which Kurt took as a sign that meant that he was still a part of the group even though he had transferred. Kurt in return found the foam hands underneath his chair and began throwing them to the rest of the Warblers. As the group on stage launched into the final chorus, Kurt stood up and screamed his support which caused the rest of his own glee club, and then the rest of the audience, to stand up and dance along to the music. For a moment, Kurt was surprised to see a slushy cart get pushed onto the stage by Mike but laughed in delight as the whole group covered the front few rows in red and silver confetti.
After half an hour, the judges had cast their votes and it was up to a very drunk guest speaker to announce the results.
“I have been drinking since midday and I need to go and lie down in a dark room somewhere so let’s get this over with. The winners are the New Directions from some place in Ohio.” The members of the New Directions bounced up and down in happiness because they were on their way to Regionals. Kurt was proud of his former group but felt an overwhelming sadness and slight guilt due to the fact that he thought that he might have been the reason for the team’s defeat. Blaine could once again see that something was eating away at Kurt and gave him a hug right there on the stage.
“This is not your fault.” Blaine whispered and Kurt stared at him in disbelief.
“How did you know that that’s what I was thinking?” he asked.
“Because I know you.” Blaine said and tapped the side of Kurt’s head with his fingers. “I know what goes on in that head of yours and I want to try and protect you from all those thoughts that could one day drive you crazy.” Kurt smiled at Blaine warmly and took his hand before dragging him off the stage and out of the stage door after grabbing their bags.
“I want to take you somewhere. Will you go with me?” Kurt asked hesitantly.
“I would travel to the ends of the earth with you Kurt.” Blaine replayed and brushed Kurt’s cheek with his lips.
Kurt pulls up outside the small graveyard in Lima after a long drive back to his hometown. Blaine had phoned the Warblers during the journey to let them know that he and Kurt wouldn’t be attending the second place victory party. The two boys stepped out of Kurt’s navigator and Kurt once again took Blaine’s hand and began to lead him through the maze of tombstones. Blaine had realised where they were the second they pulled up outside the cemetery and subconsciously began to smooth down his Dalton uniform because he was about to meet Kurt’s mom. After walking in seemingly random directions for a few minutes, Kurt stopped in front of a small gravestone that was sat underneath a beautiful oak tree. Kurt immediately sat down on the dirt and started talking to his mother.
“Hi mom. I know it’s been a while since I have visited but things have been kind of hectic over at Dalton. I’m sure you know this already but we just lost at our Sectionals competition and I wanted to come and talk to you about it.” During this sad one-sided conversation, Blaine stepped back respectfully and started to look around and appreciate the tranquil beauty of the place where Kurt’s mom was buried. Blaine spun around to face Kurt and the grave when he heard his name. “I have also brought my boyfriend Blaine to meet you mom. You remember that I told you about him? Of course you do, I’m sorry. Anyway, I’m rambling so,” Kurt turned to his boyfriend who was touched at the thought that Kurt had already talked to his mother about him, “Blaine, can you come over here and meet her?” Blaine walked over and sat beside Kurt in the grass.
“Hi Mrs Hummel –”
“She would want you to call her Elizabeth.” Kurt interrupted.
“Sorry, hello Elizabeth. I’m Blaine.” The two boys sat chatting to each other and Kurt’s mom, about everything from school work to how to bake the perfect chocolate cake, for almost an hour. Kurt was surprised that Blaine had taken meeting his mother so well and was talking to her like a long lost friend. When it was time to go, both boys were feeling a little morose.
“You’re not still upset about Sectionals are you?” Blaine asked as they began to walk back to the car.
“A little bit. I guess I’m jealous that the New Directions are going to New York because we lost.” Was the reply.
“I didn’t lose.” Kurt looked at Blaine with a questioning expression. “I didn’t lose and neither did you. We got each other and I see that as a pretty big win don’t you?” Kurt was overcome with so many overwhelming emotions that the only reply he could give, that wasn’t the three words that he had only uttered when he was sure that Blaine was too asleep to hear, was a tight squeeze of Blaine’s hand which had been linked with his own for most of the evening.