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... in which I manage to actually just write for once instead of dithering (although I did have a whine a few hours ago), and in which I project my love of Oscar Wilde onto Kurt Hummel.

ETA: ... Must remember not to post things at 2:30 while slightly loopy. Rating has been changed and typos presumably fixed.

Title: Stargazing
Fandom: Glee
Characters/Pairing(s): Kurt gen, with mentions of one-sided Kurt/Finn
Word Count: ~1000
Rating: G PG for language
Summary: A boy's got to dream, and Kurt Hummel is no exception. Inspired by what is probably everyone's favourite scene in Theatricality.

Fourteen years old, his back hanging a fraction of a second from sun-warmed sacks of trash, a sentence comes to him out of a book of motivational quotes he got for Christmas three years earlier—

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

His landing is softer than he expected, gentler than the hands of the seniors who swung him into the Dumpster in the first place. He stretches his arms out and then puts his hands behind his head while he waits for them to leave, doing his best to inhale shallowly.

There are no stars out at a quarter to eight on a Tuesday morning, but he can still appreciate the metaphor. The idiots who put him here probably wouldn’t, and he feels his mouth curling involuntarily at the thought.

Later, he won’t clamber out of the Dumpster so much as gracefully descend, and despite an unsightly splotch of something he does not want to identify on the back of his right pant leg, Kurt Hummel will still be the best-dressed freshman at McKinley.

Well, best-dressed freshman boy, at least, because thanks to the splotch, he’ll be tied for first place with the girl who sits next to him in English. She’ll introduce herself as Mercedes, her bangles will jingle when she shakes his hand, and then she’ll wrinkle her nose and offer him her grapefruit-scented body spray.

The next day, he’ll know to bring his own, and to keep his vintage blazer folded away in his satchel from the moment he gets off the bus until first period.


Fifteen years old, leaning breathless against a row of lockers, fed on nothing but a kind gesture and a shrug of a smile, he becomes a martyr for love. He swoons, he sighs, he sobs into his pillow— the whole shebang. He wears love on his face and both dreads and longs for the day that someone will call him out on it.

He can go whole months without the threat of anything worse than a Dumpster-toss, long enough for him to forget that this is Lima, Ohio, where the Berrys are the talk of the town even though they’ve been living here for as long as Kurt can remember. He tunes out words like “fag” and “queer” as white noise, and catches himself saying “that’s so gay” from time to time. It’s the language of his generation, and even though he can’t stand most of what defines his generation, he’s not immune to slip-ups. He feels safe at McKinley— safe enough to wear Alexander McQueen, to audition for the annual talent show, to spend most of his time in Spanish class staring dreamily at the back of Finn Hudson’s head.

He has this fantasy: sitting back on a velvet-cushioned balcony seat in a real Broadway theatre, watching the curtain go up on opening night. The program in his lap will read—

No Lima Loser!
The marvellous musical memoir of Kurt Hummel!

He imagines the audience weeping with the young actor playing him onstage as he proclaims his undying love for the Handsome Football Star. He imagines them sitting in stunned silence as Handsome Football Star takes Not Really Kurt by the hand and singing a few delicate bars of what is undeniably a love song. He imagines them bursting into applause when Handsome Football Star dances Not Really Kurt across the stage and promises to follow him to New York, where they will live quite happily as a starving artist and— and—

(Kurt doesn’t know what high school football stars do if they don’t get hired as professional football stars after they graduate. Perhaps Handsome Football Star can get a job at a café?)

—well, a starving artist and a starving something else, and despite their poverty they will love each other madly.

There’s a reason that he can only imagine this unfolding onstage between two actors, and he’s well aware of it, but a boy’s got to dream.


Sixteen years old, there’s a sob catching in his throat, and he hates that he hasn’t put it there. He wants to be cold and aloof now, with maybe just a single tear rolling down his cheek, but his nose is wrinkling despite his best efforts.

He’s never had trouble talking to Finn before. Maybe it’s something to do with the red shower curtain. It’s throwing off the balance of their relationship.

Speaking of which…

“You made this?” Kurt pokes tentatively at one red, inflated shoulder. He hits something hard underneath that is no doubt providing the frame. Shoulder pads, probably. Clever.

“I— my mom helped. A lot.” Finn’s looking everywhere except Kurt’s eyes, slouching forward. Kurt’s a little frightened he’s going to topple right over.

“Look, man,” Finn says, “I wanted to show you how sorry I am about that— that thing— I was out of line.”

Kurt takes a moment to collect himself. He closes eyes and desperately tries to ignore the teardrops that squeeze out from between his lashes. He breathes deeply, and when he opens his eyes again, the light in the hallway seems too bright.

“You were uncomfortable,” Kurt says simply, dismissing the apology with a wave of his hand. He decides to let the hand settle on his hip, and he quirks his mouth into an ever-so condescending smile. “You’re probably still uncomfortable, judging from how you’re walking in that.”

He pauses and Finn laughs nervously like he’s supposed to.

“It’s understandable,” Kurt continues, “I know how it is when someone has feelings for you that you can’t return.” He puts the emphasis on “can’t”— it implies that it’s Finn’s shortcoming. It implies a “would but if only”.

He doesn’t mention, with a sigh, that he was never disgusted by Mercedes’s touch. He’s still a martyr for love, although that love is slowly subsiding into something less theatrical, less romantic, and less worthy of his suffering.

“So. Am I forgiven?” Finn finally looks him in the eyes. “’Cause, dude, I really am sorry.”

And oh, there’s that old ache in his chest, but he nods.

“Cool,” Finn says, as eloquent as ever.

Kurt lets his smile melt into something warmer and surprisingly natural. He holds his head high and his shoulders back.

Sixteen years old, he’s still in the gutter, but at least he has company.

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September 2010

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