Fic: Two Ducks in Love (1/?)
Rating: PG now, eventually PG-13/R
Pairing: *eventual* Kurt/Blaine (with other pairings intwined)
Word Count: 2300ish
Summary: When Kurt’s thirteen, his father sits him down at the kitchen table and stares at him. Looks at him and looks through him until Kurt’s shifting uncomfortably because he’s pretty sure this means he did something wrong and is going to get punished, but for the life of him he doesn’t know *what* he did. He knows his dad’s kind of freaked out because he broke his arm, but he’d told his dad that he fell (doesn’t mention being pushed, doesn’t mention being called queer) and he’s pretty sure his dad had believed him.
When Kurt’s thirteen, his father sits him down at the kitchen table and stares at him. Looks at him and looks through him until Kurt’s shifting uncomfortably because he’s pretty sure this means he did something wrong and is going to get punished, but for the life of him he doesn’t know *what* he did. He knows his dad’s kind of freaked out because he broke his arm, but he’d told his dad that he fell (doesn’t mention being pushed, doesn’t mention being called queer) and he’s pretty sure his dad had believed him.
Then his dad starts talking about love, and acceptance, and how being different is okay because if everybody was the same the world would be a much more boring place. Kurt nods because he thinks he’s supposed to, but he’s really not sure what his dad is trying to say. His arm still hurts and he’s a little loopy because of the painkillers.
But then Kurt hears: “I love you, kiddo. And I want you to be happy. And I don’t think you can be happy here.” and he thinks he might have missed out on something *important*. But his dad hugs him and kisses his forehead (and Kurt pretends to wipe it away because seriously? SERIOUSLY? He’s 13 and he’s pretty sure he’s supposed to be embarrassed by his dad.
And then time speeds up and before Kurt really understands what’s happening the house is boxed up and the garage is sold, and the two of them are driving away from Ohio with a u-haul attached to the back of his father’s truck. Kurt isn’t sorry to say goodbye to Lima, but he’s kind of scared to say hello to someplace new. He has a book to read during the car-ride and a game boy that he doesn’t really like playing but it had been a *gift* and his dad had ruffled his hair when he handed it over, so Kurt pretends to enjoy it.
Kurt isn’t sure what to think about California--Santa Cruz--because all he really knows about it is that there’s a boardwalk there where Lost Boys was filmed, and he kind of loves Lost Boys a little because he thinks the blond vampire was kind of cute. And he knows his father doesn’t know this because Kurt’s never said a word about it--just watched the tape over and over again. And when his dad asks why Kurt had just blushed a little and mumbled something about how cool it would be to be a vampire because then he wouldn’t take shit from anybody.
Kurt’s quiet as they drive away, and he cries a little when he sees the Ohio state line because it’s real, they’re really leaving. He really never has to go to class and see the kids that teased him every day, the kid that pushed him and called him names. But part of him is sad because it feels a little like they’re leaving his mom behind, even though she’s dead and he doesn’t believe in heaven so she’s really just a body in the ground. They’re leaving the house that she bought with Kurt’s dad; leaving the bedroom where Kurt remembers snuggling up to her and reading “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Giving Tree”.
Kurt sees his dad look at him so he sits up straighter and reaches for his backpack. “We can always visit.” His dad says, and he takes a hand off the steering wheel and ruffles Kurt’s hair, and Kurt nods because he’s supposed to, but he knows they never will. Lima is behind them now, the memories are behind them, and he knows he needs to learn to look forward instead.
Kurt’s asleep when they arrive in Santa Cruz. He doesn’t wake up until he feels his dad shaking his shoulder, saying: “Kiddo, we’re here.” and when he opens his eyes its dark and he can’t really see anything, but he can hear the ocean and the air feels different from Lima air. It feels cool and pleasant and it almost tastes salty, but Kurt’s pretty sure that’s just his imagination.
The first few days pass really quickly. Kurt and his dad wander around town, looking at different apartments and debating which one they want, and in the end they decide on a town house that’s cozy and quiet, with a garage big enough for his father and a skylight that Kurt falls in love with at first sight. It’s smaller then what they had before, and it doesn’t feel like home yet, but its painted a bright cheery yellow and every time Kurt sees it he’s reminded that this isn’t Lima, it’s someplace new, and he smiles.
They unpack and settle in and its summer, so Kurt doesn’t have start school right away and he’s happy about that. He wants the time to get used to being someplace so different. Kurt spends a lot of time exploring the neighborhood. He gets a bus pass at a neighbor’s recommendation and soon he’s exploring downtown, too. There’s thrift shops and book stores and stores that he can’t go in because they say “18 and Over” in the blacked-out window and it’s smaller then Lima, prettier and cleaner. Kurt likes it more then he ever thought he would.
The first time Kurt and his dad go out to eat they go to a diner called The Saturn Cafe and Kurt falls kind of in love with it. It’s loud and bright and happy, and vegetarian (which neither of them knew at first but his dad is willing to try it once and Kurt is amazed at that). Lima hadn’t had any vegetarian restaurants. The tables are shadowboxes and people slide things into them as a reminder that they were there, and the advertisements on the wall say that on Tuesday’s you get a discount if you wear a wig. And when Kurt gets up to go the bathroom he’s even more surprised, because they’re not normal. There isn’t a boys room and a girls room but instead a sign that says to use the one you feel most comfortable in and Kurt knows this means something but he isn’t sure what. He uses the one with the urinals and is careful to wash his hands before going back to the table.
He doesn’t say anything about the bathrooms and later, when his dad has to go, Kurt sits at the table and studies the movie theater tickets in the shadow box before him. He wishes he had something to slide between the glass but after looking through his pockets he knows he doesn’t. His dad comes back to the table and doesn’t say anything about the bathrooms and Kurt lets out a breath he didn’t even know he’d been holding. He takes a bite of his fake-chicken sandwich and smiles when his dad asks if it’s good.
When they’re leaving the restaurant his dad stops and looks at the building next door. It says ‘Teen Center’ in the window and there’s a rainbow underneath that says “Queer Spoken Here”. Kurt shifts uncomfortably because he isn’t sure what his dad is going to say, but all Burt says it: “Looks nice. You should check it out sometime.” And in that moment Kurt has never loved his dad more.
It takes him a few days, but Kurt does go back to the teen center. He walks in and looks around because its nothing like what he thought it would be (empty, sterile, quiet) and instead it’s colorful and loud and there are kids doing things everywhere. There’s a group of boys about his age playing video games in the corner, the dancing one; there’s a pool table and air hockey game in the back, and Kurt’s kind of staring and not sure what he wants to do when somebody taps his shoulder.
“Hey, you new?” It’s a boy about Kurt’s age and Kurt nods because he isn’t sure he trusts himself to actually say anything. “Cool--wanna come play DDR with us?”
And Kurt does a double take because he’s being invited over but he doesn’t know what DDR is. “Um, DDR?” and he hates that his voice shakes a little, but he’s pretty sure the other boy doesn’t hear it.
“Oh, sorry. Dance, Dance, Revolution.” the boy explains. “It’s kind of hard to explain but when you see it you’ll understand.”
“Oh.” Kurt says. Then he takes a breath and says: “Okay.”
“I’m Jonathan. Well, my friends call me JD.” JD says as he guides Kurt over to the crowd of boys in the corner.
“Cool.” And then they’re there and Kurt isn’t sure what to do. “Just watch for now and when you want to try let me know.” JD says and Kurt nods.
Kurt goes home that night tired and sweaty. He’d joined in on the DDR game after awhile and it turned out he was kind of good at it, enough so that JD had laughed and asked if he was sure he’d never played before. The other boys had laughed along with JD, but it wasn’t the mean laughter that Kurt was used to hearing in Lima. He thinks that he and JD might be friends now, because JD had made him promise to come hang out the next day, and Kurt had every intention of doing so.
His dad is happy to see him, and when Kurt starts babbling about the center and DDR and JD and how great everything was, Burt’s smiling and his eyes are happy and he’s hugging Kurt close and saying: “I’m really, really glad kiddo.”
Kurt really, really loves his dad.
The rest of the summer flies by, long days filled with laughter and video games and exploring the town with JD. JD makes it a point to show Kurt all the “cool” spots like the midnight movie theater that showed a different movie every Friday night at midnight (his dad didn’t let him go yet--said it was too late to go out alone), and the mystery spot (where the water ran up hill!) and the board walk where Lost Boys had been filmed. Kurt’s less then happy when he sees the mall for the first time--it’s small and cramped, with stores horribly out of date and nothing that he would call “fashionable” there--but JD laughs when Kurt says all this.
“San Jose is only an hour away and they have huge malls, gigantic malls, and most people go there to do serious shopping.” he explains and Kurt grins because that sounds better then anything he was expecting and really, everything else in Santa Cruz is so wonderful he can forgive the town for having a crappy mall.
School starts up at the end of August, earlier then Kurt is used to but he’s excited for it because he’s starting high school and he’s always liked *learning*. It was just everything else he didn’t like. And Kurt’s seen enough of Santa Cruz by now to know that it isn’t anything like Lima, so he’s particularly worried about something happening, either.
He goes to Frosh Week and gets a tour of the campus, and picks out his classes, and sits through assembly after assembly about school rules and school pride. The amphitheater is outside, surrounded by trees and picnic tables where the students eat lunch and its nothing like Ohio. And then its Friday and he’s almost bored of the entire thing, ready for classes to start on Monday, but there’s one more assembly and this time its put on by the other students, the upperclassmen. The principal comes out and says a few words and then there’s skits about what to do and not to do at school. The seniors talk about not drop kicking dead cats in the hallways (and Kurt doesn’t even want to know what brought that on), about not showing up drunk or high, about the dress code and what not to wear.
Then they do a skit about PDA’s and how to not get caught by a teacher and Kurt’s eyes are wide open because it’s two guys that doing the skit and part of him thinks they aren’t going to act it out, but then they do, and the two guys are on stage kissing and another kid walks by acting like a teacher and the entire thing is funny because, yes, but Kurt’s mind is reeling because two guys, two guys, two guys...and nobody says anything. Nobody coughs and says fag and nobody near him shifts uncomfortably and looks away. Instead they laugh and the skits continue (something about gym class and the horrible uniforms) and Kurt’s still stuck on the two guys kissing.
He knew Santa Cruz was different from Lima, but there’s different and then there’s different. Kurt goes home that day more confused then he’d been the whole week. He makes dinner for his dad and sets the table and then just sits there, waiting. When Burt comes home he looks at the table and looks at Kurt and Burt’s smiling because he seems happier here, lighter then in Lima, and Kurt stands up and looks at his dad and bursts into tears.
Kurt rambles about the skits and the boys and Santa Cruz and Burt hugs him close and doesn’t say anything, just lets Kurt get everything out of his system. When Kurt’s calmed down enough he sits at the table and looks at his dad and takes a deep breath and says: “I’m gay.”
Burt nods. “I know. And I’m proud of you for telling me.”
“I didn’t fall back in Lima.” Kurt whispers. “They--”
Burt interrupts him. “I know, Kurt. Your principal called.”
“And here it’s--different.” Kurt says. “They did skits at the assembly today and two boys kissed as part of it and--” Kurt falls silent. “That’s why we moved, isn’t it?”
Burt is silent for a second. “Lima was too small for us. Both of us, not just you, and Santa Cruz--”
Kurt swallows. “It’s bigger.” He says. “It’s bigger then Lima could ever hope to be.” And he’s hugging his dad again and whispering “I love you.” while their dinner gets cold, but Kurt doesn’t care.