bethynycfics2: (Kurt Blaine Kiss)
[personal profile] bethynycfics2
Title: On The Road
Other Pairing(s)/Character(s): OCs
Rating: PG
Summary: Just what it says on the tin. A summer road trip through the Midwest and West.
Warnings (if any): Mention of violence. Unrealistic depiction of travel adventures.
Total word count: 4542
Original prompt number: #29
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Ryan Murphy and FOX Broadcasting Company. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's/artist's notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] klaine_endgame, original post found here. Masterlist here!
Thanks to: Accountability Experts [livejournal.com profile] kayre and [livejournal.com profile] fiddledragon for keeping me on track with my word count and Cheerleader [livejournal.com profile] helenkacan for pointing out when things weren't working. Props also to Google Maps and the State and National Park Service for their many informative websites. Set during the summer before their final year of college. (Blaine caught up!)
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] rocza who is a goddess and a National Treasure.



Summer, 2016

Summer stretched before them, endlessly open.

Blaine looked over at Kurt after their celebratory end-of-semester round of mind-blowing sex. “What would you say to a camping road trip this summer?”

“I would say that you waited until now to ask me so I would say yes.” Kurt light bit Blaine's shoulder. “Why, all that Kerouac you read this semester had an effect?”

“You could say that.” Blaine rolled over and pulled Kurt closer. “I'd just like to see more of the country than Ohio and New York and the highways in between. We could take the Prius. Camp in our beautiful national parks. Take pictures of scenery and bore our friends. Visit the World's Largest Ball of String.”

Kurt smiled. “I still think you were inspired by On The Road.”

“More like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”

“Does that mean we get to paint the Prius purple?” Kurt traced a finger along Blaine's arm.

Blaine laughed and shook his head. “No, we are not painting the Prius purple. My mom would kill me, since she's the one who uses it when she's in Ohio.”

“Hmph.” Kurt tried to pout, but Blaine kissed his neck and he couldn't keep it up. “Hotel rooms every third day so we can get proper showers.”

“Deal.” Blaine rolled over on top of Kurt and whispered in his ear. “Just so you know, I would have compromised on every other day.”

Kurt's mock-angry growls were muffled by Blaine's kisses.

~*~*~*~

It actually didn't take that long to plot a route, sublet the apartment, and borrow camping equipment from the combined Hummel and Anderson families. They decided against taking a laptop, though their phones were smart enough; and the GPS, iPods, and digital cameras took care of their technology needs for the trip.

Both families insisted on a quick text when they stopped for each night, which earned eye rolls and sighs and grudging acceptance. “Hey, that way they'll know if we get kidnapped by an axe murderer or a hookman or something.” Blaine joked.

Kurt looked at him in horror. “Shush! You'll jinx the trip and we'll get eaten by cannibals in the mountains of Utah or something!”

“Does Utah even have mountains?”

“I guess we'll find out.”

~*~*~*~

Kurt persuaded Blaine that they should skip Chicago entirely, despite Blaine's desire to track down that perfect little pizza place they found after Nationals again. They headed directly to Palisades-Kepler State Park in Iowa, known for beautiful scenery and trails running along the Cedar River.

Once in the park, they set up the tent easily, with tarps underneath and above the tent. As they cooked dinner over the camp stove—Kurt had precut and packed stir-frys and easily steamed vegetables—a van parked in the campsite next door. The Oberlin and 'Coexist' stickers made them relax, and when three girls tumbled out of the van to stretch their legs, they waved from their site.

Quickly, the five of them got acquainted, and the boys helped set up their campsite. They shared dinner and tales of traveling, as the Oberlin girls were on their way back from three weeks of criss-crossing the country.

“We're planning on staying on the campsite, just veg for a day tomorrow. So if you two want to hike or something, we can keep an eye on your car.” offered Annalise, the philosophy major-slash-volleyball team captain.

“Thank you for that.” Kurt replied. “I think we should take advantage of the park while we can.”

Blaine looked at him sideways. “I never knew you were such a fan of nature.”

“I am a man of mystery.” Kurt replied loftily. The girls laughed and sent them off to their tent.

The zipped together sleeping bags on the air mattress were surprisingly comfortable, and only squeaked a little bit.

~*~*~*~

The hike the next morning was beautiful, even though Kurt grumbled a little about skipping his morning routine. Blaine reassured him that he could make it up after their walk, and the two enjoyed the scenery along the gorge and the river. The rock formations were striking in the early morning sun, and they both managed to get pictures of the deer nibbling on leaves just off the trail.

“I...had a suggestion for our next stop.” Kurt said, a little hesitantly.

“Kurt, this is our vacation. Other than making it back to New York in time for classes, I'm not that picky about where to go.” Blaine took Kurt's hand. “So. Your suggestion?”

Kurt smiled. “We're not really far from Omaha, and they have an amazing art museum that I would love to check out. And for you, my forever-a-kid-at-heart boyfriend, they have a zoo with amazing exhibits.”

“You made good use of your WiFi, didn't you?”

Kurt tilted his head a little. “Well, yes. And Sara, the art history major with the Munch tattoo, mentioned the Joslyn Art Museum. It sounded really interesting.”

Blaine pulled Kurt close and gave him a little kiss. “You can take the boy out of the city...”

“Hey!” Kurt pulled away for a moment before catching Blaine's hands up in his own. “I just think we should have some variety.”

“I think those are good ideas. We can stay in a hotel in Omaha.” Blaine swung their hands as they entered the camping area.

“I like the way you think.”

~*~*~*~

Omaha was only five hours away, and they found the Comfort Inn had vacancies and no problems with renting them a room with a king sized bed. Rather than rush to either the museum or the zoo, they planned to stay for two days. That evening, they went to explore the historic Old Market district for dinner. Blaine found an Asian Fusion place named O Casual that satisfied their desire for something different from travel food and not steak, which seemed to be everywhere in the Midwest.

They made good use of the king-size bed, and Blaine woke up to hear Kurt singing through his morning routine.

The first day they spent at the Henry Dooly Zoo, with Kurt taking pictures of Blaine enraptured with every animal he saw. They also had someone take their picture next to the entrance of the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Pavilion, and every time there was a hands-on exhibit, Blaine was in the middle of it. Kurt also got some wonderful shots of Blaine next to a giraffe and near the otters, and he made sure that Blaine saw him with butterflies alighting on his hair and shoulders. “They must like my styling products.” he said to the attendant, who was surprised at how many butterflies flocked to Kurt.

After an exhausting day at the zoo, they spent the evening with room service and a quick check-in with both sets of parents.

The second day was at the art museum, and both young men found much to enjoy. Though there was still quite a bit of walking, the pace felt slower than at the zoo. They brushed hands occasionally as they strolled through the museum. Blaine loved to see the enraptured expression on Kurt's face when he was fascinated by a particular painting or piece of sculpture.

They picked up sushi for dinner, and decided that their next step was the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City Kansas, and from there they would go on to Mount Rushmore in North Dakota and Devils Tower in Wyoming. “If we get captured by aliens at Devils Tower, I'm never speaking to you again.” Kurt threatened with a smile.

“If we get captured by aliens at Devils Tower, we are having them take us directly to Spielberg.”

~*~*~*~

The World's Largest Ball of Twine was exactly as tacky as Kurt thought it would be, but they made sure to get photos of them in front of the twine and the weather sign, and they sent off postcards to friends and family that they thought would appreciate it. “Cooper, definitely, and possibly Sam.” Blaine said.

“Carole, and Uncle Andy. He's a big fan of Americana.” Kurt wrote out his postcards, including one to himself and Blaine at their apartment. “Tina will get a kick out of these.”

“Are you sending postcards to yourself?” asked Blaine.

“Yeah, I thought it would be a neat way to document the trip. You know, in addition to the pictures and the occasional souvenir.” Kurt said absently. “Is there a mailbox we can drop these off before the next exciting state park?”

“I'm sure the nice lady in the gift shop will know.”

The nice lady in the gift shop did know, and had suggestions for inexpensive food before they set up at the Glen Elder State Park campground. She sent them to a decent supermarket where they bought some chicken breasts and peppers. Kurt drizzled lime juice on them and wrapped them in tortillas to bake in the fire. Chips and salsa on the side made for a nice dinner.

“How did you know how to cook so well for camping?”

Kurt smirked. “You can find anything on the Internet.”

~*~*~*~

The drive towards Mount Rushmore was going to be a long one, so they decided to take it in shorter steps. “We can stop in Bridgeport for the night and camp at the state park there. Kurt, just so you know, there may be more camping along this stretch than we originally intended.”

“That's fine. I'm with you, and camping...isn't the horror I thought it would be.”

“Well, we've had good weather so...”

“SHUT UP!”

“But...?”

“No! I will not have you jinx the rest of this trip so we end up sleeping in soggy sleeping bags that refuse to dry out, unable to find laundromats with extra large washers and dryers so we can clean the mold out of the sleeping bags, and end up with us getting some weird fungal infection from moldy soggy sleeping bags!”

After a long pause, Blaine spoke. “Wow. You've really thought this through, haven't you.”

“Yes. Now stop talking about the weather and put something we can sing on the iPod.”

“One Broadway Soundtrack playlist, coming up!”

~*~*~*~

The Bridgeport, Nebraska State Recreation Area was on the primitive side, with campsites next to the water and sparse amenities. Kurt cringed a little at the vault pit latrines. “Yes, I am definitely made to be a city boy!” he said to Blaine. “I believe in cleanliness and privacy. I'm so glad I brought cleaning products in with me.”

“Well, it is a place to sleep for the evening. And for seven dollars, it's a decent bargain.” Blaine turned to his boyfriend. “You know, we're not that far from Laramie.”

“I don't know.” Kurt replied. “Ever since I did the show, I've felt really...it affected me. A lot. Things are better now, but still not...”

“Hey.” Blaine caught Kurt's eyes and smiled gently. “I get it. We don't have to go.”

As they went to bed, Kurt turned to Blaine. “Thank you for this. I mean, we've been living together for ages, and it is so good to know that we can do something different. That we can be us, outside of New York or Ohio.”

“I've always wanted to do this, you know. Road trip across the US. I'm so glad that we're doing this together.” Blaine reached out his hand, and Kurt took it. They fell asleep holding hands.

~*~*~*~

They got on the road relatively early after a quick breakfast and hasty packing. Blaine was on the phone attempting to make a reservation at a hotel near Mount Rushmore. Kurt was driving while adamantly insisting that no, they were not going to stay at Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort, and if they couldn't stay in the historic hotel, maybe one of the chain hotels wouldn't be so bad.

As they passed a hiker on the side of the road, a loud popping noise echoed through the car. Kurt fought the wheel, which was twisting wildly. He managed to get them over to the shoulder safely. There were no other cars in sight—in fact, the only other person around was the hiker.

“What was that?” Blaine exclaimed in a shaky voice.

“I think a tire blew,” said Kurt. “We'll have to get out and check it.”

“That was terrifying.”

There was a knock at the window. Kurt and Blaine turned to see the hiker, a girl a little younger than they were with a black eye and greasy brown hair back in a scrunchy, next to the car. She was thin and tired looking, with bright blue eyes and a dimple in one cheek. Blaine rolled down the window. “Are you all right? I saw...it looks like you ran over something and the tire blew.”

Blaine took a deep breath. “We're fine. A little shaken up but...okay.”

Kurt closed his eyes for a moment; “I'd better check the damage.” He stepped out of the car, and Blaine followed a moment later.

“Hi,” said the hiker. “I'm Holly.”

Blaine shook her hand. “Hi, Holly, I'm Blaine, and this is Kurt. What happened to you?”

Holly shrugged. “Doesn't matter.” She looked down and away, and Blaine could see her eyes shining with unshed tears.

While Blaine chatted with Holly, Kurt opened the trunk and sighed in exasperation. “Blaine? Can you help me unpack so I can get to the spare?”

“Oh! Sorry!” Blaine came back.

“Can I help?” Holly followed him. “I know I'm a stranger, but, well, there isn't anyone else around.”

Kurt shook his head. “I can handle a blown tire, not a blown engine.”

“Watch it.” Blaine teased, “You'll jinx us!”

Kurt just rolled his eyes and put the packed up tent in Blaine's arms. They unpacked the trunk and got to the spare. “We should find a Prius dealership in the next big town and get a replacement, just in case.”

“Where are you headed?” asked Holly.

“Right now, Mount Rushmore, then Devils Tower.” said Blaine. “We'll decide where to go from there after that.”

Kurt jacked up the car and removed the wheel, half listening to Holly and Blaine chat.

“Do you want an ice pack...for your eye?”

“No, it's fine. I'm fine.” Holly's voice trembled “Do you have any water?”

“Of course! Sorry about that, you must have been hiking for a while.” Blaine got the water out and brought one over to Kurt. “Kurt, do you need anything?”

“What are you doing?” Kurt hissed from next to the tire. “She's a stranger! She could be an axe murderer or something!”

Blaine dropped his hand on Kurt's shoulder. “Listen, I know it's weird, but she reminds me of you.”

“Of me?”

“When you first came to Dalton. When you were being bullied so bad, and we talked.” Blaine looked earnestly into Kurt's eyes. “She is in that kind of a place. We can help.”

Kurt looked at his boyfriend for a moment, then back to the tire. “Fine. Though this will put a cramp on my hotel room plans for tonight.” He lifted the blown tire off the car and rolled the spare into place.

He smiled to himself at Blaine's sudden intake of breath. “Maybe we can get two rooms.”

~*~*~*~

While Kurt finished changing the tire, Blaine made sandwiches and offered some to Holly. He could tell she was trying not to wolf it down, but it was obvious that she was hungry. “Here, have some more water.” They sat in the camp chairs by the side of the road.

She nodded. “Sorry, just...I...”

In his gentlest tone, Blaine asked “When was the last time you ate something?”

Holly looked defeated. “Yesterday. Morning.”

Blaine nodded. “Do you have somewhere to go?”

“Sort of.” Holly replied. “My aunt in Seattle, she said I could live with her if...” Tears welled up in her eyes and trickled down her cheeks. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to...”

“No, it's okay.” Holly took a couple of gulping breaths. “Just...Kurt? Is he gay?”

“I should hope so, since he's my boyfriend.” He chuckled a little at her expression.

“I'm sorry, that was rude,” said Holly. “I'm just, I thought he might understand. And you too, I guess.”

“Understand what?” Kurt walked up, wiping grease off his hands with a towel. “I checked the dealership map in the glove compartment—there's one in Rapid City.”

Holly stood up. “This?” She pointed to her black eye. “Was from my father. He gave it to me when I told him I was a lesbian, and then he told me to get out.”

“When was that?” asked Blaine.

“Three days ago. I had my backpack stashed in the woods before I told him, but he canceled my phone before I could call Aunt Leanne.” She shook her head. “I don't know why I'm telling you this.”

“Hey, it's okay.” Blaine said.

“We get it.” Kurt chimed in. “We were planning on going to Seattle anyway, so if you don't mind hitting tourist spots with a couple of strangers...”

“That would be amazing!” Holly started crying again, and Kurt and Blaine hugged her tightly.

~*~*~*~

They checked into the Comfort Suites in Rapid City early enough to go to the dealership, but too late to go out to Mount Rushmore that day. While Kurt took care of the car, Holly took a shower and Blaine did the laundry. Kurt picked up some things for Holly, including a Go-Phone so she could call her aunt.

When Kurt returned, the three of them went out to the nearby steakhouse for dinner. When Holly tried to thank them for everything, Kurt scoffed. “We could have been in your shoes. We just lucked out.”

“Exactly!” added Blaine. “If you want to thank us, pay it forward. We have to protect our own.”

Kurt stared at his steak. “I really hoped stuff like that would get better once DOMA was repealed, but even though some things are, a lot of things still aren't.”

Blaine and Holly agreed.

~*~*~*~

The next day, after updating all social networking sites, they headed out to Mount Rushmore. Kurt wanted to take one of the ranger guided tours, and Blaine was interested in the Sculptor talk.

It turned out that Holly had never seen Mount Rushmore.

“Didn't you grow up practically next door?” Blaine asked.

“Oh, please. Like we've been to the Statue of Liberty!” said Kurt. “No one ever goes to tourist stuff in their own town.”

Holly stared at them. “You live in New York? What about those Ohio tags!”

Blaine answered quickly. “We both grew up in Ohio, but we're in New York for college.”

Mount Rushmore was stunning, with amazing views and an informative park ranger as a guide. The demonstration by the sculptor and the visit to the tribal heritage village were also educational as well as enjoyable. Kurt was amazed. “I thought it would be drive up, take the postcard picture and leave, but this is all really fascinating!”

“Toldja you'd like it.” Blaine bumped Kurt's shoulder.

“Quiet you.”

~*~*~*~

That night they plotted the trip as far as Seattle. “Okay, how does this sound? Devils Tower in the morning, leaving super early to get in a short hike and a trip to the visitors center, then a drive out to Bozeman, Montana for the night. Hit the highlights of Yellowstone National Park—Old Faithful and hopefully some bison—stay another night in Bozeman, because that will be exhausting. Then we can drive to Spokane, Washington. From there it should only be another day's drive to Seattle!” Kurt showed their revised itinerary, highlighted with post-it notes for places of interest.

“I can't believe we've been on the road for a week!” Blaine flopped back on one of the queen beds in the room. “It seems like forever!”

“I think it worked out pretty well,” said Kurt. A thought occurred to him. “Oh, crap.”

Blaine sat up on his elbows. “What is it?”

“Holly,” Kurt said, “Are we transporting a minor across state lines?”

“What?” said Holly. “No, no! I turned eighteen in February! I graduated from high school!”

Kurt sagged in relief. “Not that we wouldn't have picked you up anyway, but it is kind of nice that we won't have to re-enact any scenes from Thelma and Louise.”

“I'm totally Louise.” Blaine winked at Holly.

“You are not!”

~*~*~*~

As planned, four days later they were in Seattle, Washington, with four SD cards filled to the brim with photos, and stories about bison and an overly aggressive prairie dog.

The GPS brought them right to Aunt Leanne's house in the suburbs. Leanne opened the door and hugged Holly close for a long minute. She held her out at arms length and looked directly into her eyes. “I am going to kill your father,” she said solemnly.

“Please don't,” replied Holly. “He's not worth going to jail for.”

Leanne considered her words for a moment, and gave a sharp nod. “Agreed, but I can think about it.” She stepped back and ushered the three travelers inside. “Come on in before the mosquitoes attack.”

She fed them and offered Kurt and Blaine her guest room and a proper home cooked meal, which they gratefully accepted. While Holly was in the shower, she sat them down at the kitchen island. “I want to thank you both for what you did for Holly. I don't know what would have happened to her if she hadn't met you. It frightens me, what she went through, what could have happened to her.”

“I'm just glad she opened up to us,” said Blaine. “We both got lectures about picking up hitchhikers before we left. But she needed our help.”

“I'm glad we could help, and she was good company on the road.” Kurt reached for Blaine's hand. “We know what it's like, to be in a bad situation.”

Leanne shifted a little on her stool. “Well, I want to do something to thank you.”

“You're giving Holly a safe space to live. That's enough for us.” said Blaine.

Leanne closed her eyes and nodded. “Thank you. You are very fine young men. Now, what would you like for dinner? And I have a couple of days off, so we can do all the touristy Seattle things together!”

~*~*~*~

Three days later Kurt and Blaine were alone again, driving south along the coast on Route 101. “I know the interstate would be faster, but Blaine, that is the PACIFIC OCEAN out there!” Kurt bounced in his seat and stared out the window at the water. “I have now seen two oceans!”

“From sea to shining seaaaaa!” sang Blaine.

“It really is beautiful. Even with the traffic.”

They camped in state park campgrounds again, cooking with food bought from roadside stands and farmers markets. They stopped occasionally and spotted seals and all kinds of birds. They took their time, but still got to San Francisco on the evening of the third day from Seattle.

“I have a surprise for you, said Blaine as they sat in traffic just outside of San Francisco.

Kurt tilted his his head. “Is it a magic way of getting through rush hour?”

“No, I wish!” replied Blaine. “I wanted our stay in San Francisco to be particularly special. So I made a reservation for us at the Inn on Castro.”

“Really?” Kurt smiled widely. “Can we handle it?”

“Let's just say I wanted to surprise you with something special.”

The traffic started to move, so Kurt simply patted Blaine's knee. “You make everything special.”

~*~*~*~

The Inn on Castro was everything they hoped it would be, from the unique décor to the owner Jan's warm welcome. Kurt knew that these next few days would be the very best of this vacation.

Kurt wanted to visit the museums and gardens of Golden Gate Park, and Blaine was as enchanted as Kurt by the Japanese Tea Garden. Hand in hand, they strolled through the garden, enjoying the beauties of the waterfall, the pagoda, and the Zen Garden.

In a secluded spot in the Zen Garden, Kurt turned to Blaine.

“Blaine, you mean so much to me. You inspire me, you move me, every day in a thousand different ways. I love you, and you are my heart. I want to spend every day with you, and look forward to the next. You have taught me to be a better person.” Kurt put his hand in his pocket.

“Kurt, I...”

“Let me finish? Please?” At Blaine's nod, Kurt continued. “Our first Christmas together, you made me a promise, and you kept it. Now I want to make you a promise.” Kurt got down on one knee and pulled a ring box out of his pocket.

“Blaine Anderson, I promise myself to you through every today and every tomorrow. Will you marry me?” He opened the box, and Blaine gasped a little at the ring. It was in the shape of a Mobius, silver colored, with a diamond inset.

“Kurt, I...Yes, of course, yes, I will absolutely marry you!” He blinked back happy tears as Kurt slid the ring on his finger. Kurt stood, and they kissed, only to jump at the applause of two gardeners and a small gaggle of tourists.

“I love you.”

“I love you so much, Kurt! But...you kind of stole my thunder.” Blaine reached into his pocket, and got down on his knees. “I don't have a wonderful speech for you, but I love you with all of my heart and soul. Would you do me the honor of becoming my husband?” He opened the box.

A platinum colored ring with an eternity symbol encircling two blue-green stones. “I had this made—it was actually my grandfather's wedding ring along with stones from a brooch of my grandmother's that was in the middle of falling apart. I thought you would appreciate taking something old and making it new.”

“I do, and yes, yes, I will definitely marry you!” Happy tears and more kisses followed, with an offer by one of the tourists to take their picture.

That was the picture they used to announce their engagement to their friends and family.
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