Title: Death in Absentia
Warning: potential assault triggers, character death
Summary: Kurt and Adam come back to Lima, hoping to find Kurt's family alive.
AN: Takes place roughly around 4.21, but completely and horrifyingly AU. I’m evil... I think those of you who read me regularly know that. When I do this 'verse for real, I probably won't try to work this bit in, but I dunno. I AM terrible, so.
Not Blaine-friendly. Apocafic.
Anxiety swelled up in Kurt’s heart. The past few weeks had been nothing but stress and sweat and strife, and now, here he was. Stepping back into Lima and riding on nothing but hope.
He shifted the strap of his bag.
Kurt really didn’t know what he would do without his father. Until now he’d been doing his best to ignore the idea of a world without his father, but now that he was here, now that he was facing this, it was all he could think of. What would he see when he came back to their house? Would his father have changed? Would his face look the same? Would Kurt, in a brief moment, fail to recognize him?
Adam put his hand on Kurt’s shoulder and motioned behind them with a slight flick of his head. Kurt looked to see them coming.
Lima had clearly been partially evacuated. Otherwise there would be more straggly, mostly decomposed creatures stumbling around. Only one seemed to notice them. A busted-looking jock in a letterman’s jacket. Kurt surmised that these were just some elder god’s abandoned minions, creeping human corpses, and not Bonetheives, which were smarter, and stronger, and much harder to kill when they burst out of their human skins. Bonetheives demanded magic to ward off.
Creepers just tended to rot, and consume.
Kurt held up one hand, then motioned to the side of the street, and they slipped past slowly. They hadn’t made it this far by not being careful. Adam followed at Kurt’s back, his sledgehammer at the ready.
It might have been a mistake to come through here. They really should have been heading for the Midwestern stronghold, and finding a way to keep this hell from becoming permanent. But part of Kurt knew he had to. He had to know what had happened to his family. And he wanted to see them all, of course. He wanted his old friends to have survived. He wanted the little coven down here to have kept their sanity. He wanted Carole and Finn to be safe. But if he was really honest, there was part of him that knew his very world depended on his father having survived.
Kurt might not ever forgive himself, if his dad had needed him, and had died while he was away, fighting a losing battle in New York.
The two of them stepped into the empty house, looking for signs. When they’d visited Jersey to check in on Adam’s father and his stepfamily, they’d left notes for where they’d headed. They’d had to evacuate very early, because of Adam’s little stepbrothers, who were both under the age of twelve. Adam’s mother had encouraged them to come, apparently. Some situations demanded reconciliation and forgetting old trespasses.
So they moved through the house slowly, scanning for signs of warding magic and signs for where to go. Kurt’s heart was on alert already. Creepers tended to wait until someone was passing by them to snap and tear at the flesh. Bonetheives were less subtle, and he could generally still sense them before they approached.
Kurt tapped Adam’s shoulder, touched his lips, and pointed up the stairs. Adam nodded and positioned himself at the bottom, waiting. Kurt drew a breath in and out, then stepped down them once more to touched Adam’s face and give him a quick kiss.
They’d lost so many of their group... He didn’t know if they’d be able to keep going without each other’s support. But luckily Adam had been in contacts with others. There was someplace to go, if the worst happened.
The upstairs was a little messy. Unsurprising, with Finn and Sam living here at different points in the year, and his father going through chemo and Carole working extra shifts to make sure they didn’t fall behind despite the medical bills. No time to pick things up.
Kurt poked his head into Finn’s room, and then the guest room that Sam had taken over. There was nothing out of the ordinary there. Except that Finn’s picture of his father was nowhere to be seen. Along with a jacket that Kurt had bought for him. Good sign.
Next was his own room. If there was a note, it would be left here, probably. He opened the door.
Frighteningly pristine. There was something wicked and unfair about the level of cleanliness in this room. Some dust had collected on the ardent white decor, but otherwise... It was like it had been waiting for him. Like they’d kept it special for him.
Kurt swallowed as he moved into his room and set down his bag. He could collect a few things here, he decided. A few, small, special things. He might lose them later, but he would like to have them. These days, keeping personal totems close sometimes paid off.
He picked up his prom queen crown and sat on the bed. Every memory was an assault here. Standing in front of the school to accept this crown. Dancing with Finn at their parents’ wedding. Downstairs, where his father had given him the sex talk. The first sleepover with Rachel and Mercedes in his new room. An old pen that had been his mother’s which he’d never thrown away, though it had run out of ink long ago.
A soft, wheezing sound caught Kurt off-guard and his head whipped up. A hand was on his wrist, gripping like a vice.
Kurt pulled back sharply, but the hand wouldn’t let go, and his eyes refocused on the creature in front of him.
“Blaine!” Kurt said, struggling to be released from his grasp.
But Blaine wasn’t letting go. He grabbed Kurt’s shoulder and shoved him back on the bed. Wet, black drool hung from his battered lips and his eye sockets bare and lit only by a cold, green light.
“No, no, Blaine, it’s me! No, no, no! Stop!”
He could hear nothing but Blaine’s snarls as he tried to slip away, tried to push Blaine off of him, but Blaine wasn’t letting go. He held on so tightly that Kurt let out a whimper and felt his bones straining. He kicked Blaine in the stomach, but though there was a cracking sound in his guts, it didn’t seem to phase Blaine in the slightest.
His bloodied lips drew closer and he snapped at Kurt’s face.
“Stop! No, Blaine! No!”
The memory came at him hard and fast, and he shuddered in Blaine’s grasp. There would be no escaping from Blaine’s grasp, no yelling after this, no dramatic tears, no sweet reconciliations.
He pushed upward as hard as he could, to keep Blaine as far from him as he could manage for as long as his strength lasted. Creepers never tired, but Kurt wouldn’t give in. Not now. Not to this mockery of Blaine.
Then there was a wide arc of movement, and metal colliding with blood and bone as Blaine’s skull exploded in front of Kurt’s eyes. His remains fell by Kurt’s side, and he flailed around trying to put as much distance between himself and Blaine as possible.
He had to stop thinking of this thing as Blaine. That hadn’t been Blaine for a long time.
“Are you all right?” Adam said urgently. “Did it...? Were you...?”
Kurt swallowed and looked over his arms and chest. “No. Do you see anything?”
“No.” Adam pulled Kurt into his side and kissed his hair. He kept his sledgehammer aloft, just in case Blaine rose again. Some of them did, but no one understood how that worked any more than they understood why creepers worked to begin with.“Let’s go. Did you find any notes?”
“No. But I have some weapons here. I’ll get those and some supplies before we move on.”
“You’d be surprised what McKinley would let kids take into the school.” Kurt breathed out, forcibly not thinking about the bits of his ex that were left clinging to him. He pulled his sai swords out of the top drawer of the dresser in the closet, then fetched a pair of heavy boots.
“And this before the world ended, hm?”
“The world hasn’t ended yet. Not while your loved ones are still alive.” Kurt paused. “Not while we can still fight. The Elders are fighting each other. Until one of them wins, we have hope.”
He could just leave Blaine there. Their relationship had been degrading, even without the apocalypse, even after Kurt had tried to declare they could be friends.
Adam said nothing as Kurt first changed into his boots, then strapped on his swords and a harness to hook on other useful items. Finally, he found a long cape which he took the time to carefully wrap up Blaine’s remains. Adam waved Kurt off when he struggled to pick Blaine up and lifted his body himself.
They set him out in the backyard and lit it on fire. That would ensure whatever Elder had changed him would not be able to make his bones rise again, in spite of the damage. Kurt pressed one hand to his chest and closed his eyes, thinking of the good memories, then the bad. And the very bad. The things he’d never gotten resolution for, things he couldn’t explain.
And now never would.
They set out on their own shortly after. Any further delay would make them vulnerable to the creepers that came out in in droves at night. Then Adam reached for Kurt’s hand and Kurt took it, squeezing tightly.
Adam hadn’t asked. He was so patient.
“That was my ex,” Kurt said simply.
Kurt didn’t comment on it further. He couldn’t, at the moment. For now, they would find shelter, and he would retreat to the security of Adam’s arms, and he would let himself finish shaking over what had just happened, thanks to the rotting of the world.
And the next day, maybe they would get lucky, and they would find some clue about his father. But hopefully, not... not like this...
“Maybe we should just keep keep going,” Kurt murmured. “Maybe we should go on to the stronghold. I know they need our help.”
“Whatever you want to do, Kurt.” Adam spoke quietly, but seriously. His confidence in helping anyone had died along with the rest of the Apples in New York.
They settled in a tornado shelter, and Kurt slept with the feel of Adam’s warm, muscular body around him. Moving with him in short, frantic motions, giving the only pleasure that was left.
And Kurt knew that he could never give up on his family, no matter how the world burned..