Yellow Brick Road
Portions of this written will under the influence of a "Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040" marathon. I'm not a huge Kurt fan but hopefully he's not too unsympathetic in this little ficlet.Ficlet Summary:
Kurt's life takes a path he never expected.Word Count:
1,540 (5 of 5)
Kurt knew he was different when he was ten, and during a class trip to see The Wizard of Oz, he wanted Dorothy's ruby slippers. Other boys in his class fought over who would be the Lion, or the Tin Man, or in Puck's case one of the Flying Monkeys. But the shoes were what caught his eye as he watched the action on the large screen. And the glorious dress Glinda wore, not Dorothy and her plain gingham dress. Much later he would cringe at being such a cliche, but back then he just knew what he liked.
From that revelation at ten, he'd eventually accepted being different, even if it took him a little longer to realize what the difference was. What set him apart from his classmates. And what other people would label him for being visibly different, though they didn't realize the truth of their cruelty as they threw him in the dumpster.
He hadn't been publicly out for long, but he'd never tried to hide who he was, which was why Mercedes' crush the year before had been such a surprise.
Kurt, in his more introspective non-diva moments, knew that he could be petty. Jealous even. Life wasn't simple and things still weren't easy for him, even after coming out to his father. There were moments he wasn't especially proud of, though he didn't beat himself up about them. Moments when he did something that might be seen as cruel by someone not in his shoes.
Rachel Berry was the occasional target of opportunity of those jealous moments. He didn't hate her but she wasn't a friend and, before Glee became such an important part of his life, only occasionally the competition. If not for Glee she would have just been one of those high school fashion eyesores he laughed at with Mercedes. But all's fair in love and war, and getting solos in Glee? That was war. Vying for Finn's attention? A skirmish in another undeclared war.
A war he tried his damnedest to win, against Rachel Berry, the girl with all the advantages. Parents who were always there for her, supporting her. If she were gay, he knew, just knew, that she would have their support. He loved his father, and desperately missed his mother, but why did that loud, obnoxious, pushy fashion disaster get the gay dads, he often wondered. So he didn't feel too bad for spreading rumors about her.
But Berry wasn't the only opponent who drew his ire, though she was the only one he actively engaged. Berry might have the potential gay support system but Santana and Brittany were the real thing. He wasn't sure who they thought they were fooling. They didn't need to pretend to date boys. Lesbians like them had it a whole lot easier in school. Teenage boys, himself excepted of course, were shallow. Boys like Puck thought lesbian cheerleaders like those two were hot, though the attraction escaped him. Everyone pretended they were just girls being girls being friends.
If he was honest, and wasn't he always? He would admit to some small amount of jealousy. Santana and Brittany were untouchable. Even Quinn Fabray, a closet case if he ever saw one, so deep Bette Middler, Lady Gaga, and Ellen combined couldn't drag her out, left them alone, unlike her favorite Berry shaped UST target. Not that he would ever say anything to any of them himself, priding himself on his well developed sense of self preservation.
He did wonder what the new assistant Cheerios coach, and her girlfriend, would do to the twisted social dynamic. Anything that took a little of the pressure off of him to represent the model gay teen was a good thing, in his opinion. Let the slushie bearers find other targets.
He found it one day, not long after his revelation, just after his eleventh birthday, playing in his grandfather's attic while his father and Grandpop, as he called him, watched OSU make mincemeat of another, less worthy team. He wasn't quite sure why anyone would watch football until his Finn-crush years later. A lot of large, ugly, alien looking creatures crashing into each other for a strangely shaped ball didn't interest him. And the cheerleaders? Dozens of girls and boys looking like they jumped out of the same Ken and Barbie molds.
Buried in a dust covered box was a small collection of slim, leather bound journals and a large heavy book. Leafing through the first one, he noticed it looked like someone's diary, written in a light, delicate hand. Quickly looking through the others he decided they were all written by the same person. The large book, on the other hand, was filled with scary looking monsters, written in a language he couldn't read.
Every weekend, for the next year, Kurt read the journals, following the life of a girl as she trained to be something called a slayer. Trained to fight the monsters in the book he couldn't read. It gradually occurred to him over the months, as he worked his way through the journals, that it was really a love story. Between the girl and the person training her. A story that abruptly ended.
Kurt waited until he'd read all of the journals to ask Grandpop about them, afraid he would take them away, hoping the story continued. He really wanted to know what happened to her.
"It was something your great-grandmother wrote," Grandpop told him, putting the journals away in his closet. "I'd forgotten all about them when she died," he said.
"So the monsters she wrote about weren't real?" Kurt asked, not mentioning the book of monsters he had hidden under his bed.
"No, just a story," he said, gently directing Kurt out of the room. They never talked about his great-grandmother again.
Kurt found the coffee house one afternoon his first month of high school, staking out a booth in the back for himself. Sometimes Mercedes joined him but he mostly spent time there alone, recharging his batteries from the stress of school and ignoring Brittany and Santana who seemed to have their own reserved booth in the same corner. He didn't discover until several months later that Brittany's parents owned the coffee house.
He'd just settled down with an espresso, something he was trying to develop a taste for, when he caught sight of Santana and Brittany walking in, followed by Coach Summers and her butch girlfriend. The acoustics in the corner weren't the best, but holding his copy of Vogue up in front of his face he hoped they wouldn't notice his presence, while he attempted to eavesdrop.
He couldn't help himself though when he heard Coach Summers softly ask Santana and Brittany something about slayers, remembering the word from his great-grandmother's journals. Putting away his magazine in his bag, he picked up his espresso and walked over to their booth.
"Ladies," he said, stopping at their booth, "what brings you here on such a lovely day?"
"What's it to you, Hummel," Santana said, glaring at him.
"I find this gathering of the Lima Lesbian Mafia interesting," he said, sliding into an unoccupied part of the booth. "What dastardly deeds are you contemplating? And why are you involving our coach and her girlfriend?"
"Why does everyone think I'm gay!" Coach Summers asked, turning to her girlfriend.
"It's that whole, fashionable femme look you have," her girlfriend said.
"You didn't think so when we met, did you?" she asked.
She shrugged. "I was too busy gawking at that middle class suburban hellhole you lived in. And the redhead."
"Can't forget the redhead," Coach Summers said pointedly to her girlfriend. Kurt took careful note of the girlfriend's expression. He could sense a story there, and not just typical lesbian drama.
"Hi Coach Summers, Santana, Brittany, Kurt, other person," a voice he could have done without hearing said, breaking into his thoughts. Speak of the devil, or in this case the Ice Queen, herself, Kurt thought with a grimace, looking over his shoulder at an unexpectedly nervous Quinn Fabray.
"Quinn," coach said, giving her a faint smile, though Kurt wasn't sure what there was to smile about. "Care to join us?"
"Yes, Quinn! I was just going to tell them about Brigid and how she got her super powers and started dragon hunting," Brittany said, her voice radiating a painful cheerfulness in Kurt's ears. He raised an eyebrow, in a practiced way, modeled after Quinn's devastating weapon, though he would never tell her, at Satan's groan. "You can sit right next to me!" Brittany said, making room for her.
"Now all we need is Berry and the whole gang is here," Kurt snarked, as Quinn sat down next to him.
Santana groaned, slumping back. "Why did you have to mention her?"
"San says she's just like Voldemort," Brittany said, giggling. "Say her name and she appears."
Feeling safe in the presence of Coach Summers, Kurt was just about to say something about Santana's hidden Harry Potter geekiness when he was stopped by a familiar voice.
"Hi guys! What's up?" Rachel Berry asked, appearing at their booth, cup of steaming coffee in hand.
"See?" Brittany said, clapping her hands excitedly.