Author's Note: I like to call this a quasi-sequel. With that said, having read Duérmete is not mandatory, however you'll be puzzled for a while about what Jeff's "secret" is for the first few chapters (which have been written in advance). This story will go along with season three, b-tee-dubs.
A quick thank you to Doug who is oh-so amazing and without him I would've given up on this story. He's my cheerleader and I am forever grateful. And not to mention he's fabulous/amazing/brilliant etc.
Disclaimer: Me own Glee? Puh-lease.
A Land of Nowhere
See her come down, through the clouds
I feel like a fool
There were three weeks left of summer before senior year would begin for Nick. After a dark winter and spring, summer had finally made it's appearance and things would change—they had to. At least, this was how Nick saw it. Summer equaled fresh starts and life altering goals that were for the better. But sadly enough, summer wasn't how Nick planned.
It was silly of him to think that he and Jeff would be skipping off into the sunset, but since that night of Jeff's birthday when all the cards were laid out on the table, things had been severely different—yet unchanged. The two were once again careless young best friends who were nearly attached at the hip, but that was all. Though both had admitted their feelings, they did nothing about them. Nick had wanted to pursue a relationship of some sort but he knew he couldn't add that stress on Jeff. He thought maybe after Jeff dealt with the incident they'd both be able to move on and live happily ever after. Jeff had seemed to have moved on. He managed to be ninety-eight percent less depressed but the two percent remaining were powerful. Jeff was there like he used to be, but something was missing.
It wasn't until the two of them had ventured to a Warbler party at Thad's that things started to piece together. It was a sort of going away party for the college-bound and a brothers' meeting for those who were to stay. Only nine would be off at some big time University while the rest got to enjoy more time at Dalton. A round of Rock Band was going on in the front room as Nick, Jeff, Blaine, Wes, Trent and David found themselves in Thad's basement. Wes and Blaine were playing darts as Jeff poured shots of a half-full bottle of vodka. He'd snuck the alcohol in since Thad had a 'no drinking' policy. Whether it was formed by his parents or a personal stance, it was lame and the boys needed some stress relief. Not to mention fun.
"I still can't believe you're leaving us," Trent said right before taking his shot. He pouted at Wes and soon grimaced as soon as his the alcohol left his tiny glass and made it's way into his mouth.
Wes threw his last dart, missing the bulls-eye. He grabbed his shot from Jeff and quickly emptied it. "Sorry. Can't help that my education is growing."
"So that's what you call it?" David joked. "I'm pretty positive that you've got a case of Benjamin Button and your brain is getting more and more childish."
"And I'm pretty positive that your jokes are far too lame and seem impossible to make sense of for you to have graduated," Wes said back.
"Hey, this is supposed to be happy hour," Jeff scolded, finally taking his own shot after serving everyone else.
Trent continued to pout in misery. "How can it be happy hour when I'm so sad? David and Wes, our favorite duo, are parting from us. Hell, even from each other. It's like we're all in a relationship and we've been dumped."
"And someone is a light-weight," sounded Nick, pouring himself another shot because he sure as hell would not be able to handle Trent's dramatics sober.
Just then Blaine's cellphone went off, a signature Katy Perry ring-tone causing all to roll their eyes. Blaine smiled to himself and looked at the screen.
"It's Kurt," he said, blushing.
"We know," all of them said in sync.
"I'll just take this..." He went into the basement bathroom and shut the door behind him.
"We should have invited him," Nick said then.
Jeff nodded. "Probably. But you know how serious Thad is about this being a Warblers' party only."
"If you think about it, us that won't be returning this year are no longer Warblers. Technically we shouldn't be here either," explained Wes.
"It's also a goodbye party, remember?" chipped in David.
"Kurt never got one," retorted Wes.
David shrugged. "Well, we all did go to his school just to sing to him. That seems like a pretty decent goodbye to me."
Trent frowned. "I'm sad again."
"And you all suck donkey dick," Jeff said to himself. Nick overheard him and chuckled.
Blaine came out of the bathroom then, that same "I'm in love with Kurt" smile taking place on his face as he stared blissfully at his phone and stuck it back in his pocket.
"How's are favorite divo doing?" Jeff asked him, bored.
"Busy planning his wardrobe for the rest of his life," Blaine answered, still smiling.
Jeff nodded his approval while saying, "Sounds like him."
"So I take it there's no trouble in paradise?" Wes wondered as he handed Blaine his darts for a second round.
"Not a single sign. Though, he's still dropping hints about me transferring to McKinley."
"Are you going to?" asked Nick, slightly nervous about the whole idea.
Blaine shrugged and sent a dart flying straight into the middle. "I don't know."
"Relationships. Fun," said Jeff rather condescendingly. "I'm going to go upstairs and see if I can convince Thad to let me swim in his neighbor's pool."
"Good luck with that," snorted Wes.
Nick watched as Jeff took a sneaky shot before he made his way upstairs. Naturally Nick followed him, only because he knew Jeff had been lying about his reasoning for leaving the group. Relationship talk was starting to sprout and Jeff wasn't very fond of it as of lately. Instead of making his way to Thad, Jeff went straight out the front door and took a seat on the porch steps. He didn't even look back when Nick opened the door and took a seat beside him.
"I bought a goldfish last week," Jeff said out of the blue. "It died today."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"And why is that?"
Jeff shrugged. "If I was all alone in a fishbowl full of fake colored rocks and a treasure chest with no treasure at all, I'd want to die too."
"And God said 'Let There Be Depression', and so there was."
Nick had thought that all of this was really something light and not at all dramatic, but as soon as he looked over and saw the hard eyes of his best friend, he knew that something was up.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Nothing," replied Jeff. He grabbed a small pebble from in between the two and sent it flying into the grass.
"That fact that you're even attempting to lie to me shows how much of a moron you are."
"Would you just, I'dunno, fuck off?"
Nick felt sudden anger flare up. "What's your problem? Seriously. We're all supposed to be having a good time and you're being a total dick."
"I want to have a good time but everywhere I go there's Blaine with his stupid boyfriend and his stupid boyfriend problems and love and all that shit that I could really care less about."
"Whoa. Since when did you have a problem with Blaine and Kurt? You do realize that they're our best friends, correct?"
"We all make misjudgments from time-to-time."
"Whoa. Just. Whoa." Nick felt completely and utterly shocked. Where had this come from? Just yesterday Jeff had been telling him about how he and Kurt had had a duet over skype. Now suddenly Jeff hated Kurt? "I thought Kurt was the macaroni to your cheese. The peanut butter to your jelly. The Sonny to your Cher...or the other way around, I forget."
Jeff scoffed and rolled his eyes. "I don't hate Kurt, if that's what you're getting at. I just hate 'Kurt and Blaine'."
"I thought it was the heteros you hated. Have you suddenly joined the dark side?" Nick questioned humorously.
"Would you stop that!" hissed Jeff.
"Just...stop. Stop trying to make me make sense of my feelings."
"I don't want you to make sense. I just want to understand."
"And I'd rather not explain," stated Jeff. "You know how I feel about this "talking it out" shit."
"And you know how persuasive I can be," threatened Nick, suddenly no longer wanting to make this into a laughing matter.
Jeff couldn't match that. With a sigh he said, "I'm just sick of this whole lovely-dovey stage."
"Of Kurt and Blaine?"
"Of everyone. The only single Warbler is you, me, Nate, James and Trent. Thad's even in a relationship. Thad."
"If you want a boyfriend so bad, go get one." Nick didn't offer himself. He wanted to, but he didn't.
"I don't want a boyfriend," muttered Jeff in a single breath.
Nick ignored the pang in his heart and pulled at loose thread on the knee of his jeans. "Then what do you want?"
There was nothing else Nick could say that would cheer up his best friend. In fact it was himself that needed cheering up.
"I really wish I was going off to college," Jeff said. "I don't know if I can do another year of all this bullshit." A beat. "I'm ready to move on."
"Life outside of high school isn't much better."
"Neither is life inside."
"What about me?" Nick suddenly said, unknown courage finding him.
Jeff crinkled his nose and looked at Nick. "What about you?"
"Maybe I should rephrase that: what about us?"
"Us? What are you getting at?" Jeff was honestly confused.
Just then the front door opened, causing both boys to look over their shoulders and cock their heads to the side as a shirtless Thad appeared.
"Wow. The party out here is really great. Wish I'd thought of it," he said with a sarcastic slur. Nick glanced at Jeff and narrowed his eyes.
"Guilty," said Jeff once he caught Nick looking at him. He got up and entered the house, all the while Thad was drinking soda from a plastic cup, which Jeff had obviously spiked. Nick just wondered when Jeff had gotten the time to do that. Thad was attached to things that belonged to him, never trusting anyone to be alone with what was his.
Thad took Jeff's spot next to Nick and threw an arm around his shoulders.
"How ya doin', buddy?" Nick asked him, trying to keep in a laugh.
"I feel really good. Like, really good." Thad blinked twice and pursed his lips. "I'm drunk, aren't I?"
Nick allowed himself to laugh. "I'm afraid so."
"I guess I'll go kill him now."
Thad got up, surprisingly sober-like, and made his way inside. Nick stared at the house across the street and listened as best as he could for the sound of supposed death inside Thad's house. He heard a girlish scream and then a mass laugh from nearly all the boys that were there. Nick smiled to himself, imaging some sort of hilarious brawl going on between the two boys. A moment later the door opened and instead of expecting it to be Jeff Nick knew who it would be. And he was right.
"The greatest thing just happened," said Blaine, still breathless from laughing. "Thad tried to punch Jeff, screaming something like "you spike me, I'll spike you!" and when he went in for the dive, Jeff depantsed him. Thad tried to run away but his ankles were trapped and he fell face first into a door. There's blood everywhere." Blaine stifled a giggle.
Nick raised an eyebrow. "Blaine Anderson laughing at someone else's pain? It must have been the greatest thing in the world."
Blaine nodded and looked at the sky with guilt. "We got it on video. It's being uploaded to YouTube as we speak."
"I'll have to make sure I get that thing to go viral," stated Nick, who didn't sound all that enthused.
Blaine noticed Nick's mood and leaned against the banister. He stuck his hands in his pockets and crossed one foot over the other.
"Why the long face?" he asked.
"Oh, he's fine. Thad didn't stand a chance."
Nick shook his head. "Not that."
Blaine grinned. "I know."
"Of course you do."
"Did you two talk?"
"Not really. I tried to get him to open up but he's being stubborn."
"He'll talk when he's ready."
"Story of my life," Nick stated.
"Why don't you come inside? Thad's sister's karaoke machine has been found in the basement thanks to Trent, aka Indiana Jones, and I need a duet partner," suggested Blaine.
"Save me a song?"
Blaine nodded and headed for the door. As soon as he opened it Thad's voice carried out.
"Look at all the blood! It's like Shark Week! Is this what it's like to menstruate?"
Blaine and Nick shared a laugh. A moment passed before Blaine spoke.
"Don't give up on him, Nick."
Nick looked taken aback. "Who said I was giving up on him?"
"I can see you two drifting apart. As much as you want more form him you need to give it time."
"Blaine, would you not give me a lecture? Please?" he begged.
"Alright," Blaine agreed. "Just listen to what I said."
As soon as Blaine closed the door behind him Nick let out an audible breath of air. He knew that Blaine was right and in reality he was giving Jeff time. Hell, it had been five months since everything. Nick was being fair to Jeff but Jeff wasn't being fair to Nick. It wasn't like the two of them had anything to lose. It was obvious both had an attraction to each other and Nick was starting to get impatient with his best friend. He wanted to ask "are we going to do this or what?" but was afraid that the answer would be no.
Actually, that was a lie. Nick wasn't scared of rejection. He didn't care if Jeff and him started a relationship or not, he just wanted an answer. He was tired of walking on eggshells. Though maybe it was all Nick's fault. He was so busy trying to make their friendship okay again that he really pushed the whole relationship option out the window. Jeff was busy trying to restore his mental and emotional state that he probably didn't even have room for something more.
But no, that couldn't be it. Jeff was doing well. Occasionally he'd grieve, but that was justifiable. He still hung out with the boys, spent time with his family and held a job while taking summer courses at the community college. Of course Nick had protested him going there but Jeff wasn't going to let what happened to him hold him back from life. Jeff went to concerts and football games. He ventured to open mic nights and even managed to make it to every party he was invited to. Jeff was living life with a ferocity that he hadn't once before. The only thing he managed not to take part of was romance.
And that's when Nick realized what was missing. There was a reason why Jeff was starting to lash out and begin to turn into the depressed being that took of hold him during the Spring.
Jeff refused to fall in love.
He refused to date or even consider being with another.
He refused to even be around anyone who was in a relationship, which reasoned his sudden dislike for Kurt and Blaine and any relationship talk.
It also meant that Nick didn't have a chance. They didn't have a chance.
"I can't believe it," Nick suddenly said aloud. He was so shocked about this. He had spent months imaging himself and Jeff together. Of course he knew it wouldn't happen until Jeff had gotten completely over what had happened to him and Nick could have sworn that he had. But he hadn't. There was a part of Jeff that was still hoarding the pain and theft. But there was still a question that sat on the surface of Nick's tongue. Had Jeff been pretending to be happy the entire time? Was he still pretending? And if so, why? Why wasn't he getting over it? He'd promised that he would, and of course it would be hard, but he promised.
Nick got up from his spot on the porch steps and made his way through the front yard. Without a single goodbye to anyone he left the party. He wouldn't be able to enjoy anything with the way he was feeling. He needed to talk this out, he needed to find someone who would listen to him. Someone who actually cared about Nick.
Jeff had driven him so he'd have no choice but to walk. Luckily for him he only lived ten blocks away. Walking would give him some time to think for a few, though thinking just made matters worse. By the time Nick had reached his house the sun was setting. Instead of going inside Nick fished his keys out of his pocket and B-lined for his car that was parked beside the curb. He wasn't entirely sure where he'd go. All he knew was that he didn't need to be alone with his constant thoughts about Jeff.
And then his phone went off in his pocket, a ring-tone of a song he no longer cared for. He looked at the screen and smiled at the name. But then he remembered that he was mad at the person and it went away.
Jeff - (5:47 pm)
Where r u?
Nick didn't even bother to reply. He tossed his phone to the passenger side and started his car. It was nearly a minute later when he got a second text, which belonged to Jeff, and then another from Blaine. By the time Nick was out of Westerville he'd gotten twelve texts, seven from Jeff, three from Blaine and the rest from other Warblers that had obviously been put up to it (all the texts were the same from them, asking him where he'd run off to and to come back).
Honestly Nick liked the attention he was getting. He also knew it wouldn't last and didn't bother to bathe in it. Instead he made his way to Kurt's house. Since Kurt's return to McKinley the two of them hadn't spent as much time together as they used to, which saddened Nick. Occasionally they'd find time to hang out with each other but it was a rarity. Plus driving to and from did start to get jarring. Then there was his wallet, which seemed to get lighter and lighter with each trip.
Nick pulled up outside the familiar house and grabbed his phone, sending a quick text to Kurt asking if it'd be alright for him to stop by for a bit. Kurt's text back was immediate, and creepy.
Kurt - (6:04 pm)
I see you. Get your ass in my house.
Nick did as told, locking his car door behind him as he forced himself not to answer the unanswered texts in his inbox. At the front door of the Hummel's he paused momentarily, unsure if whether or not he needed to knock. He decided against it and entered the home.
"Hello?" he called out.
"Hello?" another voice called back with an unsure tone. It belonged to Carole. She popped out of the kitchen and smiled when she realized it was Nick and not a burglar.
"Sorry, Mrs. Hummel," Nick started, "Kurt texted me..."
She smiled and nodded at him. "It's alright, hon."
He grinned back and headed for the stairs. Kurt's bedroom door was open and his voice was droning out, giving Nick the realization that someone else was in the room.
"...and that's when I told him I'm allergic to anything that wears supposed vintage sweaters and has a handle-bar mustache. He actually believed me. I'm serious, 'Cedes, sometimes he's dumber than Brittany, which is saying a lot."
"Give him a break, Kurt. Jockstraps and Rachel ain't good for anyone's brain," a female voice said back.
Kurt snorted. "Don't you mean his nuts?"
Nick peeked into Kurt's room, catching the attention of a dark-haired girl in a royal purple dress. She waved politely at him from the computer chair as Kurt came out of his bathroom, his face covered in a green-mint mask. He glanced over at Nick and put his hands on hips.
"Well if it isn't the infamous Warbler Drama Queen," he stated. "I got nearly a billion texts about you."
Nick rolled his eyes and took a seat on the foot of the bed. "Well if it isn't Elphaba. The Wicked Witch of the West herself..."
"If you're trying to insult me it isn't working," he said back, nose in the air.
"Ahem. Isn't anyone going to introduce me?" the girl asked sassy-like.
Kurt sighed and dropped his hands. "Mercedes, this is Nick. Nick, Mercedes."
"Hi," Nick said, finally waving back.
"He's not lying, you know," she declared. "Everyone's calling and texting him asking about you."
Kurt cut in. "It's super annoying and I could punch you in the face."
Nick rubbed his nails against his chest in a 'I'm better than you/bored' fashion. "You're only saying that because no one's texting me about you."
"I'm not that self-centered," Kurt sniffed.
Nick shrugged. "Neither am I. And it's not nice to get accused of it, is it?"
"I'm not six either."
Mercedes butted in, which was probably a good thing. "So Nick, why did you run away?"
Nick frowned and pulled one of Kurt's pillows into his chest, hugging it tightly. "I didn't run away. I just got...bored."
"Blaine tells me it was about Jeff," Kurt said, a sort of giddy finding him. Drama and Gossip would forever be his favorite subject, at least when it came to others. He joined Nick on the bed and crossed his legs.
"Wait, hold on," Mercedes said, puzzled. "Jeff's the...?"
Kurt helped jog her memory. "The one who took me to Columbus that one week. Remember? I told you."
She nodded. "Where you encountered the streaker?"
"Exactly." He grimaced.
Her eyes suddenly flashed to the other boy in the room. "So this is Nick."
"Yes. And ironically his recent distaste for pussy has turned him into one."
Nick glared at Kurt and tossed his pillow at his face. Kurt gasped and jumped, his hands hovering over his cheek as he ran into his bathroom.
"You're lucky my mask was dry, otherwise I would have killed you!" he shouted before returning to the two.
"You would have deserved it. No, you do deserve it." Nick crossed his arms. "Why are you being so mean to me?"
Kurt sighed. "I'm sorry. Mercedes is dragging me to some church-dinner-family thing."
She smiled widely. "He owes me. I covered for him last week; he told his dad he was staying at my house for a sleepover when he was, in fact, staying over at Blaine's."
"I've learned my lesson," Kurt muttered as he walked over to his closet. "But I'm glad you came. I need another gay perspective on my choice of outfit."
"A suit," Nick threw out, not even bothering to try to give a quality opinion.
"You're not very gay, are you?" Mercedes asked.
Nick shrugged. "I like penis. That makes me pretty gay, doesn't it?"
"I like penis, too. Am I gay?" she fired back.
He nodded slow and big, almost as if she was asking about bad news. "I guess so. Welcome to the club, er, team. Want a t-shirt?"
"Naturally they're every color."
"Luckily for Mercedes she can rock the multi-colored look," Kurt muttered. He turned around and held up two tops. One sky-blue and the other gray. "Now, which one?"
"Umm..." Nick squinted to act like he was picturing Kurt in one of them.
Mercedes' head lolled to the side. "What about something yellow?"
"It makes me look like the sun," he said in a sing-song voice.
With a big smile she said, "That's because you're my sunshine!"
He gave her the deadliest look he could manage, which was rather deadly.
"Go with gray," she quickly said. She then turned her head towards Nick. "So. Tell me about you and Jeff."
Nick sighed. "What's to tell?"
She moved over to sit beside him. "Kurt's given me the whole 411 on you two."
Nick shot a glance at Kurt, who was too busy in his closet to notice. "I bet he has."
"Don't look so upset," she stated. "Relationships take time."
Now, Nick didn't have much of a rude bone in his body. Sure he would tease and occasionally mock, but all that was in good fun and he never meant to intentionally hurt. If he was truly angry he only allowed those that he cared about to see. It was against his morals to be rude to anyone he did not know. But the way Mercedes was swooping on him, trying to get him to open up, knowing about him and his life; that's enough to make anyone snap.
"And you know about relationships from what sense of experience? Crushing on gay guys? A five day stint with a boy who moved away?" Mercedes' eyes grew wide and her hand fell upon her chest. She looked at Kurt's back as he stared petrified into the abyss that was his closet, the two shirts hanging by his sides. "Yeah, Kurt tells me things too. And just like you, I don't like it when other people know about my business."
Nick got up and headed toward the door, but before he left he spoke one more time. "I know you like gossip, Kurt, but there are some things that aren't meant for sharing. I really thought you were my friend."
He was not pleased to admit it, but his summer ended with a bang and without a single trace of a whimper.
Next Time: Schools back in session, Nick's being a pain in the ass, the number of Warblers is sadly low and Sebastian Smythe is my favorite (for now at least).