"The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven" – John Milton, Paradise Lost
Kurt swung his legs off the sofa with a sigh. Ever since Blaine he felt lethargic and lazy – like there was no point bothering to do anything now that Blaine was gone – and he only went to work because it took his mind from it on occasion. He pulled the door open and froze. There, hands in pockets, and looking overly casual, stood Wes.
"Wes," he said, not entirely sure what to think or say to him.
"Hey Kurt," he said, smiling. "Do you have a minute?" Kurt nodded, dumbly, because he still couldn't work out why Wes was here or even how he was there. "Great!" he said, clapping his hands together. "Can you let me in?" Kurt nodded again, stepping aside and let them in.
"Kurt, who is it?" asked Rachel, walking in with her hair damp from the shower. Kurt gestured, mutely, to the old Warbler standing in the entrance to their home. Rachel's face became one of suspicion. "What are you doing here?" she asked, narrowing her eyes. Wes held up his hands, a small smile playing on his face.
"Hold your fire, I was in the nice version of the Warblers, remember?" Kurt rolled his eyes and let Wes come in and drop down on one of the sofas.
"What do you want?" asked Rachel, glancing nervously at Kurt, clearly trying to assess how the reminder of Blaine was affecting him. In all honesty, Kurt was now filled with bitter-sweet nostalgia of all Blaine's dapper smiles, the kisses they'd stolen in corridors, of holding hands down hallways, but reminded, as well, of Blaine's flirtatious nature with all the Warblers that made him insanely jealous.
"I want to talk about Blaine," Kurt folded his arms immediately, feeling a defensive barrier drop down inside him because he wasn't interested in what Blaine was up to now that he'd decided to break Kurt's heart.
"What about him?" he asked, shortly. Wes sighed, looking troubled and running his hands down the fabric of his jeans.
"I know this is going to sound really awkward and stupid, and I apologise in advance, but…do you know who Blaine hooked up with?" Kurt stared at him in disbelief, silently enraged that Wes had the audacity to saunter into his apartment like they were friends and demand to know who the love of his life had hooked up with when Kurt was clearly distraught and did not want to talk about it.
"No, how do you know where I live?" Wes blinked, narrowing his eyes a little at the snappish tone of Kurt's voice, before shrugging.
"Blaine," he said, casually, and Kurt felt even more rage flare up inside of him. Wes looked at him knowingly. "I spoke to Blaine via Facebook and, because I was in the area, I offered to check up on you because, according to the Warblers, Blaine is doing shit." Kurt swallowed at that, not sure what to focus on; the fact that Blaine had sent someone to check up on him, the fact that he was back in with the Warblers or the fact that he was doing "shit". He decided the last one wasn't going to get him anywhere.
"But that was just a ruse to get him to give you my address?" Wes shrugged.
"Well, I figured you probably needed checking up on because if Blaine was doing crap than I couldn't quite imagine what you were like – though you're not tearing yourself to pieces via guilt like Blaine is." Kurt glared at him, telling him to move away from that subject of conversation as quickly as possible. "Look, did he mention anyone called Eli?" Kurt shook his head again.
"Why?" Wes shrugged, suddenly looking a little bit uncomfortable.
"Because it came up, very briefly, when Blaine was talking to the Warblers – he diverted the conversation so David and Sebastian couldn't get a full answer out of him, but if it is that Eli then that could spell big trouble." Kurt frowned, angry that Blaine was talking to Sebastian, but concerned by the serious tone of Wes' voice and the troubled look on his face.
"What kind of trouble?" asked Rachel, taking a couple of steps forward with obvious concern in her voice; Blaine was a good friend of hers after all. Wes shifted in his seat, looking even more uncomfortable.
"I can't really tell you, but I really need to know because I'm concerned – not just for Blaine, but also someone else in the Warblers." And he certainly looked concerned to Kurt, but Kurt wasn't sure what was going on, although worry for Blaine was building inside of him uncontrollably.
"Who in the Warblers?" asked Rachel with a frown. Wes shook his head firmly.
"Sorry, no can do, but let's just say this; I got Sebastian ringing me in a panic, that's how loud these fucking alarm bells are." Kurt sat in stunned silence for a moment because the idea of Sebastian panicking over anything was about as alien as E – frickin' – T, and left him in an even more worried state over Blaine.
"What can we do?" asked Rachel, picking up on Kurt's silent state of fear for Blaine. Wes shrugged.
"In all honesty, I just need a pretence to go down there and bump into him. Then I can talk to him and work everything out; David and Sebastian have tried, but they've not got anywhere with him, and he's currently ignoring them because they pushed too hard." Kurt swallowed, looking at Rachel who pulled out a show smile.
"Well, there's the musical…We were thinking of going and see their performance of Grease. I'm sure you could come too." Wes nodded, smiling a little bit at that.
"That's great! I'll invite the Warblers too because we might need them." Kurt arched an eyebrow.
"And that won't make Blaine suspicious at all," and Wes shook his head.
"We can pass it off as David and Sebastian trying to apologise for asking too many questions and pushing him to talk to them when he didn't want to." Kurt bit on his lip, remembering the last time the Warblers had come and watched their musical before shrugging it off; as long as Sebastian didn't make a move on Blaine he supposed that it was alright.
"Okay," he agreed, and Wes' face split into a grin.
"That's great, Kurt, thanks. Don't worry about the tickets or anything – I'll sort out flights." He got to his feet. "Seeing as I'm going to have to tell Blaine something, what should I say?" Kurt shrugged, shaking his head and pursing his lips because, though he was worried and concerned for Blaine, he hadn't forgiven him either.
"Say that I'm holding up." Wes nodded, and then cast him a pitying look.
"I know this must have been hard for you; me coming here and asking all these questions, but, trust me, you are going to be very happy if he didn't hook up with Eli." Wes shook his head. "I know it doesn't change anything right now, but it might later." Kurt frowned at him in annoyance and confusion.
"What does that even mean?" Wes shrugged.
"We'll see." He let out a long sigh and gave Kurt a smile. "Get some sleep, and message me on Facebook about the time of the musical." Kurt nodded, and Wes walked to the door, drawing it open. "I'll see you soon." He said with a final wave before leaving.
The moment he was gone, Kurt could feel something sink down inside of him. Wes' visit – so short and unexpected – had thrown up so many questions and feelings that Kurt wasn't sure he was ready to deal with yet. He didn't like the idea that Blaine was best buddies with the Warblers again – with Sebastian – because he was afraid of losing him, but hadn't he already done that? Blaine had lost him the moment he'd gone to seek comfort in the form of sex with someone else, but Kurt couldn't let him go. It didn't change the fact that Kurt still loved him.
"Kurt," said Rachel, cautiously as he flopped down onto sofa and put a hand over his face. "Kurt, I'm…" Kurt shook his head.
"I still can't bear to think about losing him, Rach, but he just-" he broke off, feeling overwhelmed by anger, sadness and loss. Rachel sat down next to him, putting a comforting arm around his shoulder.
"Maybe Wes is right, this could change things…"
"Does it matter though? He'd still have rather been with someone else because he was lonely. It doesn't change the fact that I don't trust him."
"We don't know what it is yet," she reasoned. "Maybe it will make a difference and maybe it won't, but it also doesn't change the fact that you still love him and want to be with him." Kurt sighed, dropping his head backwards, letting his eyes flutter closed.
"I'm not looking forward to going back."
Kurt found the journey to Ohio with Wes near impossible. Wes was happily sitting next to him, tapping away on his laptop, but his presence was enough to remind him of the Warblers, of Blaine; about the day they'd met and Teenage Dream which made him think of how they'd broken up, Sebastian and how Blaine had leapt in front of a slushee for him and their first time, and it was unbearable!
He knew that Rachel was having a similar experience – though probably more to do with where they were going as opposed to Wes' position in the aisle seat next to Kurt – and Wes seemed to have picked up on the fact and kept shooting them apologetic looks, but that didn't change anything because he was still there. They barely attempted to make conversation because Kurt was tired, Rachel was tired and Wes had other things to do, like typing ridiculously fast on his laptop and making a constant, annoying, noise! – and his iPod headphones in.
McKinley looked the same as always, and Kurt officially felt sick because these were hallways where he and Blaine had walked hand in hand. There was the choir room where they'd sat side by side day in day out and sung all about their feelings for each other; where Kurt had told him that he had nothing without Blaine when Blaine had accused him of cheating for texting. There was the gym where they'd danced at Prom. There was the corridor where Blaine had given him the promise ring. Miss Pillsbury's office where Blaine's fears had first come out, and they'd said how much the loved each other. The stage where they'd kissed after Kurt had said that he'd been proud to be Blaine's boyfriend…
"It's hard coming back, huh," said Wes, looking at both his and Rachel's struck faces. Kurt shot him a glare from marginally watery eyes. Wes shot him a smile and held up his hands. "Sorry, but you guys sure know how to make awkward silences." Before Kurt could snap back anything in retort there was a shout of "Wes!", and they spun around to see the Warblers – minus the ones that hadn't known him – charging at Wes.
Wes let out a delighted cry and embraced David, Nick and Jeff in one huge hug. Sebastian, trailed by the younger Warblers, came strolling towards them, and Sebastian shot Kurt and Rachel a nod that acknowledged their presence.
"Might want some make-up, Hummel," he said, casually. "you look a vampire – and not a hot one." Kurt glared at him as David kicked out at him. Sebastian scowled at him, but closed his mouth. Nick and Jeff rolled their eyes as Kurt obligingly hugged the other Warblers.
"Ignore Bastian, here, we've tried teaching him decorum, but…"
"We began to fear for our lives."
"You should always fear for your lives; remember the comprehensive plan I showed you about how I was going to kill Jedward?" The two boys shuddered.
"Yeah, but Jedward aren't fucking each other," pointed out Trent and causing the majority of the Warblers to screw up their faces in disgust, most likely at the mental images that conjured up. Kurt found that his face fell, being instantly reminded of Blaine's cheating, and looked away.
"Are we going in or what?" demanded Sebastian, finally, glaring – for whatever reason –at Kurt.
"Course we are, let's go and wish Blaine and the others luck like people do, lead the way!" Under Wes' enthusiastic gaze Kurt and Rachel took the lead of the group as they walked into McKinley. There were a lot of people hanging around, but they almost instantly walked into Mercedes. Kurt felt something inside him brighten, something lighting up inside at the sight of his friend, and he hugged her warmly as she laughed out loud at seeing them and hugged him back tightly.
"What the hell are you doing to yourself?" she demanded, examining his appearance after hugging Rachel. "You look even more thin and pale, and what the hell are they doing here?" Kurt rolled his eyes, ignoring the first question.
"They're here to the see the show."
"Ma'am," said Wes, bowing, and Kurt rolled his eyes, having forgotten that, under his proper exterior, Wes was just as big of a joker as the rest of the Warblers. Mercedes shot Kurt a look that asked what the hell was going on, but Kurt just shook his head.
"Fair maiden, lead us to the cast!" proclaimed David, and Kurt should have known that reuniting Wes and David wasn't a good idea. He groaned, sinking a head into his hand as Mercedes raised an eyebrow and waggled her head.
"Do I look like a fair maiden to you?" she demanded, gesturing to her face with one finger whilst her left hand planted itself firmly on her hip. "Does any part of this look light to you?"
"Fair doesn't have to mean light," pointed out Thad, whist the other Warblers just dissolved into laughter, and Sebastian crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. "It can mean just or…well done or-"
"Oh, so now I look like a piece of meat." Thad's eyes went to the ceiling as he exhaled heavily and looked at Wes, who was bent double laughing, for some support by default. Kurt rolled his eyes too.
"I don't think that's what he meant," said Rachel, finally. "I think he meant well done as in done right." Everyone rolled their eyes at that.
"Well, obviously," said Sebastian, scathingly. "Now are we going to anywhere or do you have a TARDIS for a stage?" Kurt rolled his eyes in annoyance, wondering why he had agreed to this torture. Rachel shot them all a disapproving look whilst Mercedes beckoned for them to follow her.
"They're all backstage getting ready. It's gonna be pretty epic." Kurt let Mercedes talk as they walked through McKinley to the hall, the Warblers nattering between themselves behind them. Kurt tried to stop the nerves of an impending meeting with Blaine affect him too much, but he was already second-guessing the decision to come, even though Wes clearly thought it was important.
It was good walking backstage and seeing them all preparing; all the costumes and the props and his all his old friends – Santana glared at Sebastian with an intense ferocity to which he smirked at – but felt the awkwardness of just being there and having the Warblers ratchet up several notches when Finn came over. Kurt saw the smile die on his face a little bit at the sight of the Warblers.
"Hey guys, it's great that you came," he said, looking at Kurt and not really Rachel, and then he glanced at the Warblers. "What are you doing here?"
"Observing chimps," dead-panned Sebastian to which several Warblers whacked him, and Wes sent him a glare.
"You have no sense of propriety," he said, shaking his head. "Where's Blaine?"
"Wes?" came Blaine's voice and he stepped out from behind a clothes rack. Kurt felt a lump form in his throat as Blaine's sad, tired, eyes locked onto him before flitting over to Wes, who was beaming at him. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you perform – and to know whether David and Sebastian have a habit of exaggerating…" Blaine shifted from foot to foot, glancing nervously between the Warblers and Kurt.
"Right…" he said, and Wes opened up his arms.
"If you don't hug me in precisely three seconds I'm going to go Chewbacca on you." The ghost of Blaine's happy smile appeared on his face as he stepped forward to embrace the ex-Dalton boy. Kurt watched as Blaine hung onto him quite tightly and looked away sadly because he wasn't ready to look at Blaine, especially not if he was content.
"It's good to see you again," said Blaine, and Kurt could see a small smile on his face from out of the corner of his eyes.
"You too. Hope you don't mind, but I heard these jackasses upset you so I told them to come as an apology." Blaine shot David and Sebastian a small smile.
"It's okay…" he said shrugging. "It's nice to see you all again." There was an awkward pause before Jeff and Nick decided to throw themselves onto Blaine. Blaine stumbled, but Wes steadied him. Blaine let out a small laugh. "Guys…that kind of hurts…" They let go of him, but were still grinning.
"We need to introduce you to the others!" A second later Blaine disappeared into the folds of the Warblers, and Kurt saw Wes, David and Sebastian exchange a pointed, weighted, look that turned into some form of non-verbal argument which Finn, Rachel, Kurt and, the only Warbler that wasn't talking to Blaine because he was staring at Wes, David and Sebastian with a suspicious frown, Thad watched with a great deal of perplexity.
There was an awkward silence as Sebastian shook his head very fast, and David shot a look back over his shoulder whilst Wes pinched his face up into an angry frown and put his hands on his hips. The other Warblers had turned back to the group and were watching them in amusement.
"How the hell can you two communicate like that when you've never met before?" demanded Trent, looking between Sebastian and Wes in confusion.
"I met him in the summer," muttered Wes, still glaring at Sebastian who simply shrugged. "David thought it would be funny." David immediately cracked up over nothing.
"That was brilliant!" he said, doubling up and slumping over Sebastian as he laughed. Sebastian and Wes exchanged eye rolls as they sucked in huge breaths. Finn shifted from foot to foot as Kurt looked pointedly away from Blaine who was nestled back in the folds of the grinning Warblers.
"You guys should take your seats," said Finn, when no one else wanted to speak, and David just kept laughing. "I think we're nearly ready to start."
Kurt knew, the moment the musical started, that he'd made a mistake coming back. The school had moved on so effortlessly from their departure – the roles that Finn and Rachel would have filled done instead by Ryder and Marley – and it made him feel nothing short of crap. Life just filled in the blanks; where they needed to leads they had two leads, so how long would it take before life dropped another boyfriend before Blaine? Or Kurt? It was all so fluid, so transitional, that forever didn't exist in reality – in their hearts and minds they said that they were going to do something forever, but it didn't work out that way. What happened if another stray, lost and lonely gay boy wandered into Blaine's path who was good-looking, talented and could fulfil all that he wanted? It shouldn't worry him because Blaine had made his choice, but it filled him with fear that this could be it. There might not be any going back. Kurt-and-Blaine might have finally broken apart to become Kurt and Blaine; two separate individuals leading their individual lives in their individual worlds.
Watching Blaine arrive on stage as the Teen Angel was nothing short of torture because there he was; confident, handsome, charming with his silky smooth voice and total ease, still everything that Kurt had loved – still loved – about him. Maybe he looked a little sadder than normal, but he was still the same. Cheating hadn't made him a different person, and that hurt more. Hurt more because it was the same Blaine that had held his hand and dragged him down a corridor at Dalton. Same Blaine that had stared at him throughout Teenage Dream. Same Blaine that was there to assure him and offer him courage. Same Blaine that helped him at Dalton. Same Blaine that kissed him. Same Blaine that stepped up to dance with him in front of a crowd of homophobes. Same Blaine that said he loved Kurt. Same Blaine that had been his first. Same Blaine. Same Blaine. Same Blaine.
Kurt looked at Rachel when the musical came to an end and saw that she had a faraway look in eyes, like she was lost in thoughts of them being able to go back to High School and do it all again. He'd take all the pain and the bullying and the hate for the singing and the dancing and the unity and the consistency. Long distance didn't work.
Kurt was walking through the corridors of McKinley with a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes because this was no longer his home; he didn't have a place here anymore, when he heard Blaine's raised voice shout;
"Just leave me alone!" darting to the end of the corridor and peering round cautiously, he spied Blaine storming down the hall with Wes, David and Sebastian in tow.
"Blaine, stop!" cried David, reaching forward to catch his elbow, but Blaine tore it away.
"Leave me alone!" he repeated. "I've told you everything I can! You can't help me because this is my fault!" His tone of voice was cracked and heartbroken, and Kurt felt himself tear up just a little bit because he sounded so guilty and wrecked.
"It's not your fault," said Wes softly, taking a couple of steps towards Blaine. "We can help, I promise."
"No you can't!" choked out Blaine, and Kurt knew that he was seconds away from full on sobbing, and if Kurt could he would have run over and wrapped his arms around Blaine, but he couldn't. He just stood there, rooted to the spot, unable to turn away or move to help.
"We can," said Sebastian in a voice that was surprisingly gentle but at the same time icily firm. "We know what happened, Blaine, we know everything. We've tried getting you to tell us, but I think your reaction has said it all." There was a pause in which he saw Wes and David glare at Sebastian who was staring at Blaine. Blaine shook his head, taking a step away from the three boys.
"You- you can't know…" he whispered, and, for whatever reason, that made the three of them shared resigned, saddened looks.
"We do," said Wes, simply. "because you're not the only one." He heard the sound of Blaine's gulping and felt his brow furrow in utter confusion because he had no idea where that had come from, or what was going on anymore.
"I'm- I'm what?" cried Blaine in something that sounded like shocked dismay. There was a heavy pause.
"You're not the only one," repeated Wes. "He- it happened to someone else too…Only the three of us know about this, and we're sorry, Blaine, but we can help you if you let us…We know it's not easy, but we know all of what you're feeling because we've done this before. Let us help you, for all our sake's Blaine, let us help." There was a moment of silence in the hall before Blaine burst into noisy sobs, choking and almost screaming out as he fell into Wes' arms.
"It's okay, Blaine," intoned David in a soft voice as he circled round behind him, rubbing his back soothingly. "It's alright now, you're going to be okay."
"I'm so sorry," sobbed out Blaine, and Sebastian patted the top of his head in an awkward manner.
"It's not your fault, Blaine, don't make me tattoo it into your brain…" Blaine let out a strangled laugh at that, and Wes and David threw Sebastian appreciative looks for forcing that out of him.
"Come on," said Wes, tucking Blaine under his arm. "Let's go." Blaine leant his head against Wes' shoulder as David and Sebastian flanked him.
"You- you have to promise that you won't tell anyone – especially not Kurt."
"We won't," they said as one, and Kurt spun away from the scene, clenching his jaw and feeling hate for Wes fill him up – why had he dragged them all the way just to promise not to tell him anything?