"The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails...you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love...There is only one thing for it then — to learn...That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting." ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Kurt and Rachel split almost as soon as they'd reunited in the hallways of McKinley. Both of them were sad, heartbroken, and neither one wanted to talk about it at the moment, so they both agreed that they'd see their families, and then get on the next plane back to New York. Kurt knew that, when they got back to the safety of their apartment, they'd tell each other everything, but for now they had their own problems to deal with.
Kurt waited for Finn the car park who gave him a smile and asked him what he'd thought of the musical. Kurt didn't know how Finn could stand being at McKinley day in day out, but he told him, honestly, that it was really good and that he'd done a good job of organising it. Finn had briefly tried to talk about Blaine, but Kurt shut down the conversation because not talking about Blaine meant that he didn't have to think about Blaine which meant he didn't have to pay attention to his feelings, and so asked how hard it had been to cast someone as Sandy.
He listened to Finn talk about the rivalry between Marley and Kitty as well as Ryder and Jake – which sounded so much like Rachel/Quinn/Finn/Puck in Sophomore year, minus baby-gate, it was impossible to not feel a pang of sadness – in silence, occasionally nodding and making noises of assent. Kurt could tell that Finn was much happier back at McKinley, somewhere that had given him power and confidence, than he had been out of it – but only because he'd found what he'd wanted there; a purpose. Finn was good at what he did there.
When they pulled up before their house – Kurt's old home – Kurt felt a rush of something that was a mixture between nostalgia, relief and worry because what if this place wasn't home either? What if leaving had severed all his ties? His dad had wanted him to go and chase his dreams, but Kurt didn't want to lose him too. Kurt couldn't lose his dad.
"Kurt," said Finn, touching his shoulder gently. "you gonna be alright?" Kurt shook his head slightly, trying to get rid of all his irrational panic, because his dad would always be there no matter what, and gave Finn a tight smile and a nod.
"Yeah…It's just- coming back's been different than I thought…" Finn gave him a sympathetic look, like he understood how Kurt felt, and maybe he did – maybe beneath all that new found confidence, Finn also felt misplaced, like McKinley had moved on and left them behind, like he shouldn't really still be there.
"Come on, I know Burt'll be thrilled to see you, my mum too." Kurt nodded, taking a deep breath to instil some strength in him, shot Finn a grateful smile, before climbing out of the car. The front door opened before they got to it and Carole came dashing out, her face alight with happiness.
"Kurt!" she exclaimed, smiling so widely that Kurt had to smile too. "It's so good to see you again!" Kurt embraced Carole warmly as Finn, shooting him a pleased and knowing look, stepped into the house. It was a nice feeling to be so warmly welcomed back in a familiar manner when things had become so harsh, cold and different. "You have to tell me all about your job," she said as they walked into the house, and Kurt nodded because he could do that, and smiled up at his dad.
"Kurt," he said, and Kurt knew that he was scrutinising his appearance.
"Dad," he said in greeting as he gave his dad a smile, and then a hug to try and assure him that he was some sort of "okay". His dad nodded at him, saying that they would talk about it at some point in time, and Kurt smiled back – glad that he would get a little bit of time when he didn't have to think about Blaine.
"Come on, Kurt," said Carole, hooking an arm through his. "you can give me a hand in the kitchen while you tell me all about your job…"
Kurt let himself be led into the kitchen of their house and fall into an easy conversation about working for Vogue, his life in New York and everything that had happened to him, and Rachel, since he'd left – excepting the break ups naturally.
Carole was interested in everything he had to say, smiling constantly and laughing in all the right moments, and Kurt felt the tension that was stored up inside of him begin to unfurl as he was finally able to relax. There was no expectation or pressure here. He didn't have to be anything more than who he was, nor did he have to talk about anything that he may want to avoid. He could feel like nothing had changed in life; like he wasn't displaced, lonely and missing Blaine with all his heart.
With the sound of Burt and Finn's conversation about sport, accompanied by the sounds of the TV, floating through the wall it just made everything steady and safe. It was like his home was enclosed inside a wonderful, little, bubble where the past and the future and everything else didn't matter. What mattered was that the people in there cared about each other; they were interested in each other's lives, they were there to offer support without question, and there was no atmosphere of judgement for mistakes, failures or choices.
Over their late meal they talked about the show, briefly, before Finn said that he was going to be taking over the New Directions whilst Will was gone. Both Burt and Carole were supportive, and Kurt thought that it would be good for Finn too, but he couldn't help but feel that that proved his theory about the universe; as Will went Finn came…How much longer? Maybe it was already happened. Maybe something was happening between Sebastian and Blaine – Blaine obviously trusted Sebastian more than Kurt right now.
Kurt pulled himself away from those thoughts as they moved onto safer topics than McKinley and New York to listen to his dad talk about his work and politics – Obama for president in their house, naturally – and soon they were all talking about the television debates, the polls and the news, like there really were four adults sitting around the table, and not two adults that worked all day, but always stayed up late because that was the only time they got to kick back, and two kids that had to be in bed by eleven or they'd be knackered and late for school the next day.
"Alright son," said Burt, sitting down next to Kurt on his bed, and Kurt yawned and nodded because it had been a long day.
"Yeah dad, I'm okay." Burt frowned at him, and Kurt wondered why he was playing the cat-and-mouse game, skirting the answers his dad pressed for when it was all so obvious, but didn't feel like he could stop.
"Kurt, come on, I thought were getting better at this sharing thing. We tell each other how we feel; just like two real men." Kurt gave his dad a tired smile, sighing slightly because that would be so few men's description of what "real men" did with their feelings.
"I don't know, dad, I'm just really tired." He watched as he dad gave him an assessing look.
"I was surprised you came down," he said, finally, and Kurt shrugged again before pausing. What harm would it do to tell his dad everything? He'd already heard the worst from Finn and the subsequent phone call he'd made to Kurt. It wouldn't hurt to tell him about Wes and his strange questions and what he'd seen at McKinley. He shook his head.
"It was really weird," he said, finally. "Wes turned up at our apartment, and-"
"Wes?" questioned Burt, his brow furrowing up into a frown, and Kurt rolled his eyes to ceiling because he'd forgotten that Blaine was the only Warbler his dad had actually met – well, he'd seen Wes when he dropped Kurt off at Dalton, but he'd never met him.
"He was at Dalton; he graduated the year before I did. Anyway, he turned up, he got my address from Blaine, and asked if I knew who Blaine had…hooked-up with." Burt's eyebrows sky-rocketed, clearly thinking the same things that Kurt had; just who turned up at someone's apartment and asked them – not if they were okay – but if they knew who their ex had cheated on them with.
"Is this kid insane?" grated out his dad, and Kurt felt himself smile, and he shook his head.
"No, like I said it was very weird. He wanted to know if Blaine had mentioned anyone called Eli because if he had that was really bad and, apparently, I'd be much happier if Blaine had slept with anyone other than Eli, but no," he said, pre-empting his dad's next question. "I have no idea who Eli is or if Blaine slept with him or why it would be so terrible. I just know was that it upset Wes, David and Sebastian, and they were worried about Blaine and this other Warbler…He said that he needed a pretext to go to McKinley so Rachel told him about the musical so we all agreed to go." Burt's brow was pulled down into a frown.
"You didn't get any answers off him though?" Kurt shook his head.
"I didn't – Wes, David and Sebastian did." He sighed at his father's confused expression. "All the Warblers turned up to watch, and afterwards Wes, David and Sebastian must have cornered Blaine because I heard Blaine telling them to leave him alone and that it was all his fault, and they said that they could help him because they knew what was going on and that it had happened to someone else…and then Blaine had a break down, and they told him it wasn't his fault, and he made them promise not to tell me anything. I haven't heard a word from Wes since."
Kurt let out a frustrated sigh, still angry over the injustice of the whole situation because he – more than anyone else – deserved to know, but no one was telling him a thing, and watched his dad think it over carefully. He knew that his dad was weighing it all up in his mind and seeing if he could pull anything out of it that Kurt might have missed in his overemotional state. Kurt appreciated him doing that because if there was something in there – anything – that took away the pain of knowing that Blaine had cheated on him and could restore his faith in it, then Kurt might just sink down on his knees and pray to a God in relief.
"What did Blaine say to you, Kurt, when he told you?" Kurt sent his dad a glare for making him remember that moment in the park. His dad held up his hands. "There might be something that helps make this make sense." Kurt sighed, thinking back to what Blaine had said.
"He said that he was with someone. I asked if it was Sebastian, he said no, but he wouldn't say who it was. He said that it didn't mean anything, that it was just a hook-up. He said that he needed me, but I wasn't there. He said it was lonely and that he was sorry, and I told him- I asked him if he thought I hadn't been lonely, or if I hadn't been tempted, but I didn't act on it, dad, I didn't act on it because I knew what that would mean. He said he was sorry again." He could feel the tears welling in his eyes, and he dabbed them on his sleeves as his dad put a hand on his shoulder. "Happy dad?" he asked, sharply. Burt frowned.
"Sounds pretty black and white to me, but…There has to be something about this Eli character." Kurt shook his head.
"I don't even think that I want to know, dad…I mean, does it make a difference, dad? He still went to this guy, whoever he is, because he was lonely instead of just talking to me. He's the one that told me, when he thought I was cheating on him by texting, that I should have just talked to him and told him that I was unhappy. He's an utter hypocrite, and I don't trust him anymore. Relationships are about trust, dad." He saw his dad nod in understanding.
"Look, son, I trust your judgement, but I don't think you should give up on you and Blaine. He was your best friend, too. I've seen how happy he makes you, don't give up on that." Kurt shot him a glare that lacked its normal ferocity because it was his dad and he was tired.
"He threw it away, dad; he just threw it all away." Burt gave his son a smile and a one-armed hug.
"Hang in there, Kurt, you'll make it somehow." Kurt smiled up his dad as he got to his feet.
"You too, son." Kurt let out a long sigh as his dad closed the door and looked at his neatly made bed, feeling tired and empty.
The next day Kurt said his goodbyes to Burt, Carole and Finn, and left straight for New York with Rachel. Neither of them bothered to contact Wes, and they filled each other in on what had happened in after the show. Rachel was undoubtedly upset about what had happened between Cassandra and Brody, but she seemed to be focusing on the argument between Blaine, Wes, David and Sebastian, pointing out that – whatever Kurt's feelings for Blaine were – something in the whole situation didn't add up; the fact that they had known what had happened, that they'd dealt with it before, and that it wasn't his fault.
Kurt didn't want to think about it, though, because he just wanted to get on with his life without Blaine. He wanted to get back to work, to thinking about fashion and what he was going to do about his singing, NYADA and Broadway. He wanted to focus on his own life – or maybe he just wanted to stop thinking that his life was empty.
It was harder than he expected to fall back into a routine. He may not have had time to take Blaine's calls like he'd have wanted too, but he'd look forward to them. He felt something inside him light up when he saw Blaine's name on the screen, but he'd wanted to do his job well. He'd enjoyed his new life. That wasn't so wrong. Now he had nothing to look forward to. No Skype dates. Just work and Rachel and, whilst he loved Rachel and she was one of his closest friends, it was nothing special – just normal.
Still, the clocks kept on turning, and Kurt kept on going. He found himself inhabiting some state where he was mainly content with everything that was going on. He found himself able to keep Blaine tucked away in his mind and focus on his own day to day problems of what to wear – he had to keep everything fresh and new after all – and keeping the fridge stocked with food as well as dealing with all Rachel's practise that she sometimes felt the need to do at the worst times.
Other times, he managed to be happy. There would be exciting days at work with new ranges coming out or he got chatting with some of the other people there and found himself laughing and giggling over nothing. Then he'd go home to Rachel and listen to her bitching about the other people NYADA – though she was always tactful to remember that she had gotten in where Kurt hadn't – and they'd somehow end up singing and dancing along to whatever song was on the radio as they'd cranked it up as loud as they could.
However, for all the up days he had to endure the down ones. He had to endure waking up in bed and feeling the hole in his heart. He had to roll out of bed and make breakfast, and he'd hear a song that would remind him of Blaine, or the Glee club, and it just made him want to cry because he missed it all so much even though they'd driven him crazy. He'd get dressed and remember Blaine's view on all his different outfits, and he'd go into work and remember reading Blaine's phone calls or texts. He'd make it back home, and Rachel would be a bubble about Brody and he would just turn in early, curl in a ball and feel like he was being torn apart.
He'd get angry with Blaine because of the damage he'd caused Kurt – he was so angry for being so selfish because Kurt had missed him, but did Blaine expect him to drop everything just to speak to him? Kurt had a job – a job he loved – and he had to do it well. They weren't in High School anymore – well, Kurt wasn't – and that meant that things were important now. Kurt needed his job. He'd thought that Blaine would understand that. He'd also remembered the look on Blaine's face; how broken he had been, but what right did he have to that? He'd brought that on himself! How could they possibly say that it wasn't his fault! He'd get angry with Wes for making him go there and being put through all of it! He was angry at Sebastian for being gay and around Blaine! He was angry at David! He was angry at all the Warblers for just existing!
He'd cry at that because he was so full of rage, and he just wanted to feel nothing anymore. He didn't want to be so full of hate at everyone. He just wanted to stop feeling angry, guilty or any other kind of emotion because what was the point of feeling if all he could feel was terrible things?
The days when he didn't feel anything weren't much better though – even if he wanted it when he was angry – because it left him feeling like there was no point in doing anything at all. What did it matter if he got up in the morning? Did it really matter how he looked? What was the point of looking good when no one appreciated – he got compliments, but it wasn't the same as when Blaine said something to him – it? What was the point of working? Coming home to curl up in his bed that could have fit two, but he'd only been able to share it with Blaine when they could not look at each other, to go through either of those two scenarios again.
Kurt got random updates on what was happening at McKinley from Finn, and he knew that Finn was doing it so that he didn't get any nasty surprises if he came back to Lima, but he didn't like it. He didn't like that, apparently, the Warblers kidnapped him almost every day after school, and Blaine didn't seem to mind.
He also wasn't pleased about the story to do with the Nationals trophy because he wanted them to be back at logger heads because still – irrationally and pointlessly because show choir and schools didn't even matter, and Blaine had broken his heart – he was worried about losing Blaine to them. He hated the fact that Wes was still there – well he'd left eventually – and was inspiring the Warblers to go back to being the boys that Blaine had known, getting David and Thad back on the council, and everything going back to the way it was before he knew Kurt!
Also, the worst thing was that Blaine had stopped trying to apologise to him through text and call. It was like he believed the others when they said it was not his fault. Blaine wasn't even trying to contact to him anymore. There was nothing, and that hurt. It hurt because it felt like Blaine didn't care about it all anymore. And how was that in anyway fair because Blaine had hurt him and betrayed him and he didn't even care anymore whilst Kurt was left stewing in a pit of worthless, hurtful, emotions?
Kurt wanted to be able to let go of all his feelings for Blaine, but how could he do that? How could he let go it all when he could not forgive him? Kurt wasn't even sure if he wanted to forgive Blaine because forgiving him meant having to move on with their separate lives and that meant he might have to hear about what happened. He didn't want to hear that it meant nothing. He didn't want to ever think about it again, but how could he open his heart and let Blaine back in after he'd violated his trust in such a manner.
Also, Thanksgiving was creeping up on him and the question arose; did he go home and face it all again, or did he stay in New York and celebrate without his family? He knew that Rachel was facing the same dilemma, and that Kurt's decision would heavily impact upon hers and vice versa. Could he face Finn with all his excitement and enthusiasm; him and Rachel had both had offers to go to Sectionals, but he doubted either could face it – even after Rachel's split with him – and pretend that he wasn't recovered?
He rubbed his forehead as he pondered over the whole thing over at his desk. He looked at the time and noticed that it was time to go home. He pulled out his headset and turned off his computer. Glancing over, he saw that Isabelle was also still sitting at her desk. He pulled a smile onto his face as he walked over to her to say his farewell for that night and say goodbye until the next day.
"Goodnight," he said, giving her a forced smile and wave. Isabelle smiled up at him, looking a little bit tired too.
"Night…" he made to walk away before she called back. "Need any leave around Thanksgiving?" Kurt turned around, walking back to her with a shrug.
"I don't know, I haven't made my plans yet." She gave him a sympathetic look – everyone knew about what had happened to him – and he smiled back politely because she was his boss.
"Can't face going back again?" he sighed, rubbing a hand over his tired eyes because he'd had an empty feeling last night where he'd lain awake for hours.
"Yeah…I'm not sure what to do. My step-brother offered me and Rachel to go back and watch Sectionals, but I don't think either of us want to do that. Still, it would be nice to see my dad again, but…" he shrugged. "I could potentially run into Blaine yet, and I'm not ready for that." She nodded.
"Can't forgive him? Have you accepted his apology?" Kurt shook his head.
"He's stopped texting me a while ago; since I went down last time when, apparently, it's not his fault that he cheated on me because something else happened." She frowned.
"What else happened?" Kurt shook his head, rolling his eyes because he was not going to get into the whole mess that Wes had made. "Maybe the best thing to do would to go down and straighten things out; find out everything." Kurt shrugged, shaking his head.
"I don't know if I want to know." Isabelle gave him a kind, understanding, smile.
"Maybe that's the problem; he doesn't want you to know or want to know what you think about it, and you don't want to know what happened for fear of making it all worse – you're never going to solve anything if you're not honest with each other about what happeend." Kurt paused in thought, understanding the truth and logic in her words. Even if it didn't solve things, it might help to dispel the questions and nagging doubts in his mind.
"Yeah…maybe you're right."
"Look, why don't you use my frequent flyer miles – you and your friend – and, even if things don't work out, you get to see your family, right?" Kurt smiled at his boss because how many bosses would offer their interns something like that?
"You would do that?" she nodded, shooting him a look that said "of course", and he smiled brightly, feeling happiness flare up inside of him. "Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!" He actually felt himself bounce up and down a little bit because the idea of resolution and peace was such a wonderful thing. He just wanted it to be over. She smiled at him in return as he darted from the office in a flutter.
He had no idea what Rachel's reaction would be – if she didn't want to come back to Lima then she could always spend the time with Brody – but he found that he couldn't really care because for one he's just thinking about himself. He's finally found a way to make himself feel better after so many days and nights of wallowing in unhappiness and being filled with emotions that he could not control.
The feeling of control over his life again – after the toing and froing from the various parties – gave him a sense of hope that Kurt had thought he'd never feel again. Maybe it was because Kurt finally had a feeling that good things might happen. He may not have wanted to know about it all, but at least it gave him the opportunity to put Blaine away. To draw a line under it and move on.
So he made his way home with a spring his step for the first time and when he came through the door he saw Rachel do a double take at the almost smile on his face and the way he bounded across the room. She raised her eyebrows, looking highly disturbed.
"What's happened?" she questioned cautiously, clearly wanting to know what had put him in such a good mood, but definitely baffled at the same time. Kurt shrugged, shooting her smile.
"Nothing, but…I'm going home for Thanksgiving." Her eyebrows shot even further up her eyebrows.
"That made you happy?" she demanded, and Kurt shrugged.
"It's not that so much…it's just…I got some really good advice of Isabelle; I'm going to get the truth out of Blaine. I can't put this behind me until I've cleared up all the confusion that Wes sprinkled over the situation. I don't trust him – I don't think that's going to change – but maybe I can get some peace of mind." Rachel smiled at him, looking a little bit nervous.
"I don't think that I'll be going back," she admitted. "Me and Finn agreed to keep things separate." Kurt nodded in understanding.
"I think- I might go to Sectionals and see them perform just because Finn's being telling me about how Mr Schue's going away to Washington to do work, so I thought I might as well say goodbye to him." Rachel frowned at him, looking a little bit nervous.
"Are you sure that's a good idea? I mean, the Warblers will be there." Kurt shook his head because that wasn't going to deter him. He wasn't going to let the Warblers muscle in and control his life like he'd let Wes convince him to going back to McKinley to see Grease.
"I'm not bothered by them…I'm not going to speak to them." Rachel nodded, and then gave him a tight hug.
"Well, let's prepare a meal to say good luck to that." Kurt smiled at her.
"Yes, I just need to call my dad and tell him."
Kurt took another deep breath as he sat down in his seat, waiting for Sectionals to kick off. He hadn't seen Blaine or any of the Warblers, but he had bumped into Mr Schue and they'd had a brief conversation before taking their seats.
The Warblers performance was better than anything Kurt had ever seen. Whistle had been good – Kurt found the song quite annoying, but Nick had taken the lead well – whilst Live While We're Young had been a show-stopping performance, annoyingly enough led by Sebastian. The Warblers had been full of life, leaping and dancing about with moves that would no doubt have sent Wes into a cardiac arrest, and Sebastian's smile had been enough to get smiles onto the faces of everyone around Kurt – oblivious to his true nature – and the crowd had responded enthusiastically. It was winner for sure.
Gangnam Style had been just what they needed – Tina superb lead vocals with an absolutely flawless dance routine and the crowd going wild – until Marley had fainted on the stage. Kurt just knew, took one look at the scene and knew, that it was all over. The New Directions had crowded round her with concern, but it had been enough to kill the buzz and, sure enough, the Warblers won. Kurt hadn't really been banking on that – Blaine loved performing and winning Sectionals would have put him in a great mood – and he suddenly felt like it was all coming apart in front of him. One look backstage at Blaine talking to Sebastian, David and Thad was enough to convince him that his initial plan was going to be much harder than he thought.