Title: take all the courage you have left
Characters/Pairings: Blaine-centric, with lots of Kurt, Blaine's family, the Hudmels, the New Directions and the Warblers. Kurt/Blaine, first and foremost, with mentions of Finn/Rachel and a smidge of onesided Puck/Quinn if you squint and turn your head to the side.
Rating: PG-13 at most, mainly for some boykisses. There is a fair bit of both angst/fluff in this. Plus Kluddles, which are always fun. If there's anything you think should be mentioned here please don't hesitate to let me know.
Summary: Blaine has never told anyone how scared he truly is.
Author's Note: This is a lot of my headcanons in fic form. This is also my version of the Blainetransfer!fic. Like I said, this is my first Glee/Klaine fic, but I really enjoyed writing this! I got into this fandom very late and I'm excited to finally contribute something in my favourite form of fanwork! :D Title is from Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons, a song I associate with Blaine a lot. I had this on repeat when I was writing it and the bridge coming on when I was writing the last few sections? akjshfs tears. I have lots of Blaine feelings. Comments/reviews are always lovely, if you'd like to leave your thoughts.
Summer stretches like a dusty road behind them, the air rippling and blurring the memories of heat and New Directions-plus-Blaine parties and long, bright days of nothing.
Kurt and Blaine had spent a lot of their summer nestled into the nooks and crannies of each other’s bodies, despite it often being too hot to be so close to each other. They had learnt a little bit more about how much skin they were comfortable with showing each other, and where on Kurt’s waist Blaine could settle his hand, and where on Blaine’s neck Kurt should kiss to get that low, breathy moan.
Blaine got the Six Flags gig, but it was a horrible commute and there were girls who batted their eyelashes at him on his lunch break and he just wanted Kurt to be there so that he could have fixed them with his best icy glare while holding Blaine’s hand on top of the blue plastic table.
The girl at the food stand who scrawled her number on his receipt didn’t take the hint until Kurt came to his last show and tucked his hand into the crease of Blaine’s elbow just as they passed her on the way out.
Plus the set-list was kind of crappy and it wasn’t anything like the playlist labeled “summer” on his iPod.
Last summer he had spent a lot of the time lying on his back in the garden, headphones in and a bottle of SPF 30 within arms’ reach. He got a tan and the bruises from the Sadie Hawkins Dance faded completely.
(But even now he still has that scar on his right shoulder from the corner of an open locker somebody pushed him into)
This summer he slept over at Kurt’s house (on the couch, most of the time, but occasionally in a blanket fort they made in the living room) and Kurt taught him how to bake and he tried to teach Kurt how to play the guitar but that didn’t work out so well- and even so, he himself can only play chords after scrutinizing sheet music printed off the internet.
He went to a football game with Burt and Finn, and went shopping with Kurt, and got dragged along to a sleepover with all the female members of New Directions, which was slightly terrifying at the beginning (who wouldn’t be, if they were threatened by Rachel Berry brandishing a curling iron?) but then they watched A Walk To Remember and he didn’t feel too embarrassed about crying for once, and it got better after that.
He did convince Kurt to come swimming with him once (he did have to drive into Westerville and buy him special after-swim moisturizer, but he got a kiss in the end), and the pool was almost deserted and they kissed underwater and making out in swimsuits? Awesome. Kurt is beautiful under the surface of the water, especially when the sun streaks through and reflects off the pale lines of his chest.
He shines. Exactly like he should.
Dalton starts two days later than McKinley, so he drives to Lima and picks Kurt up for coffee on September 4th. Kurt is rifling through his pencil case, checking for his favourite fountain pen and another ballpoint that he uses for AP Calculus, and checking his hair in the fold-down mirror while chattering to Blaine about his classes and Glee club and oh, Mercedes came back from California yesterday and he can’t wait to see her. Blaine smiles and nods where appropriate, soaking up the sound of Kurt’s voice that he won’t be hearing as much after today.
“Blaine,” Kurt remarks, pursing his lips at his reflection. “I have to ask – it’s sort of endearing –did you really think that cardigan went with anything?”
Blaine mock-pouts. “It looks like one of the Gucci pieces featured in last month’s Vogue!”
“What, the faux-military style one?” Kurt shakes his head. “Honey, that’s got five percent angora threaded into the organic cotton. That’s polyester. It just doesn’t look right.”
“Would you enjoy planning out every single outfit I ever wear?”
“Yes,” Kurt clasps his hands neatly in his lap. “I would love it. You’d be my own personal mannequin. Didn’t you like shopping in the summer?”
“When you weren’t throwing clothes at me,” Blaine turns the radio down slightly. “I did, actually.”
“We were in Target,” Kurt dismisses with a wave of his hand.
“That jacket hit me in the face and I needed ice,” Blaine pulls up to the coffee shop. “The buttons were really big.”
“And thanks to that jacket you have a fashionable and also practical winter coat,” Kurt is silent while Blaine parks and then hops out of the car, swinging his bag gracefully over his shoulder and waiting for Blaine to step closer before heading towards the door.
The Lima Bean is fairly busy this time of day, with adults in business suits snatching their coffee from the barista as they bark something into the phones pressed to their cheeks. Some are tapping away at laptops with pastries on a plate next to them. An elderly woman is murmuring to her husband quietly over bucket-sized mugs of tea.
Kurt orders, handing over a crisp five dollar note and smiling cordially at the familiar brunette woman behind the counter. While they wait for their coffee Blaine touches his fingertips to the back of Kurt’s hand, feeling the softness of his skin.
(Blaine had kissed Kurt nearly everywhere above the waist during the summer and his skin was all breathtakingly soft)
They take their coffees (marked with their names and a smiley-face) and find their table (where Blaine said I love you and Kurt said I love you, too and oh they were in love, weren’t they?). Kurt sips absentmindedly at his mocha, his hand more concentrated on patting the back of his head.
“Kurt,” Blaine reaches over and tugs it away, entwining their fingers on the table. “You look wonderful. Stop it.”
Kurt’s mouth quirks upwards slightly at the corners and his head tilts to the side. His eyes are warm, shining a bright baby blue today.
“Fine. But the only reason you’re not touching your hair is because of the copious amounts of product.”
His smile turns smug at Blaine’s scowl until he brings the coffee cup to his mouth again. Blaine watches his lips fold over the lid and his palms start sweating, something hot coiling in his stomach. He raises his usual medium drip and drinks deeply. His tongue burns.
“What are you doing today?” Kurt asks, crossing his legs and leaning forward.
“I’m meeting up with Wes and David,” Blaine says. “They’re heading off to UCLA next month and they want to hang out as much as possible before they go.”
Kurt’s smile is sad, now. “How long have you been friends with them?”
“They pretty much adopted me my second week at Dalton,” Blaine plays with Kurt’s fingers. “I was really, really quiet that first semester. I didn’t really talk to anybody. I had just finished physiotherapy for my broken ankle and arm that I got after the Sadie Hawkins dance and I flinched every time somebody brushed arms with me or closed their locker.”
“Me too,” Kurt murmurs. “When I first got there I was always expecting somebody to push me over, or trip me, or call me a foul name. And they never did.”
Blaine nods. “Um, Wes and David found me in this music room that nobody ever seemed to use. I was feeling really homesick that day and I found a piano and just started to sing. I was halfway through Thinking of You-“
“Oh, so you’ve always been obsessed with her.”
Blaine sticks his tongue out at Kurt. “I’m not obsessed, I just like her a lot. Anyway, they came in and dragged me along to Warblers’ practice and had me join.”
He bites his lip and looks down at his lap. “I didn’t have a Glee club at my old school. It helped me break out of this state of…fear. I stopped feeling like running away when someone called my name, or when somebody laughed, or bumped in to me accidentally.”
Kurt’s hand tightens in his. He doesn’t reply, but Blaine knows he understands completely.
Dalton is lonely without Kurt.
He constantly finds himself looking for his boyfriend; expecting him to sweep into History and English or for his face to pop up next to him in Warblers’ practice or for his tall, lithe figure to be slotting books neatly into his locker just across the hallway from Blaine’s.
Blaine now receives help in French from Nick, but he misses the effortless roll of Kurt’s tongue over the words and later, tentatively, his mouth. Kurt’s roommate – loud, tall Jack who used to waggle his eyebrows at Blaine whenever they appeared, ruffled, from a classroom – had found one of Kurt’s scarves in the closet in their room and Blaine now keeps it in the top drawer of his bedside table.
(He doesn’t sleep well anymore and most nights he pulls it into his arms and just breathes)
Trent and Jack pat his shoulders and tell him to stop moping (he isn’t, and even if he was he’s allowed to miss his boyfriend, right?). He finds that familiar spot at the back of the library and studies there, not enthused by the other boys who name one person the quiz master and yell out answers as quickly as possible. He stares at books and writes down his answers mechanically, mind wandering to what Kurt might be doing or singing, or what outfit he’s wearing, or if he’s thinking about Blaine, too. He keeps his phone in the right breast inner pocket of his blazer, waiting for something, anything. When it buzzes cheerfully he drops his pen and scrambles for the zipper of the pocket, nearly ripping the fabric in his haste to wrench his phone from it.
Sometimes Kurt will have made a scathing remark about somebody’s clothing, or will be happy at the prospect of a song they’re doing in glee club.
Sometimes Kurt will say I wish you were here, Rachel’s freaking out about something and stress just isn’t good for my skin or I missed you today :( and his stomach will clench in an entirely unpleasant way.
Nick and Jeff find him asleep in that armchair one Thursday afternoon, the corners of his mouth turned down and his phone clutched tightly in his left hand. They wake him up and he realizes it’s difficult to open his eyes because his eyelashes are wet and stuck together.
Maybe he is moping.
October descends gradually along with the gloom of clouds and rain. Sectionals are set for late November and Blaine has been elected to the Warbler council, along with Trent and Nick. The freshmen slip into the places at the back of the group after auditioning for solos eagerly but not receiving them. Blaine, of course, leads both of their numbers.
He memorizes the notes and the choreography until he dreams about performing Love Lockdown to elderly people who meow back and then are suddenly transported to a planet in outer space. He distracts himself by practicing (thinking of what that word had meant just six months ago leaves him listless and too quiet) and finally, finally throws himself into his work.
Wes calls him in the middle of October and, after hearing Blaine describe what their setlist is for sectionals, asks Blaine if he and Kurt have broken up.
“What?!” Blaine’s voice breaks a little from it’s now dull tone. “No – no, of course not. Where the hell did you get that from?”
“Your voice,” Wes replies simply. There is rustling on the other end. “You sound really sad, Blaine.”
“Oh,” Blaine fidgets, squirming on top of his bed. “Oh, no. I just really miss him, is all.”
“Don’t you see him every weekend?”
“I used to see him every day,” Blaine counters quietly. “And now everything feels weird. And I can’t stop thinking about him.”
“That’s normal,” Wes says kindly. “Do you remember when Lou moved to Georgia?”
“Oh, yeah,” Blaine recalls Wes cradling his gavel after a drunken Warblers party, crooning and weeping. “You were miserable for weeks.”
“I know how you feel,” Wes says. “I know exactly how you feel, Blaine. And I promise you, this gets easier. And Lou and I – we’re fine. We’re just fine.”
“I still miss her a lot,” Wes admits. “That won’t change. How much you want them closer to you. When you stop missing them; that’s when you need to start worrying. But you breathe easier eventually. And I’m sure Kurt misses you just as much. Plus you guys aren’t separated by more than one state. It’s a long drive, but it’s not a plane journey.”
Blaine smiles slightly. “I’m seeing him tomorrow.”
“That’s great, Blaine,” Wes says warmly. “What are you doing?”
“I’m just spending the night at his house and then some of Saturday,” Blaine can practically hear Wes’ smirk and jumps in quickly. “On the couch! I sleep on the couch; his dad insists.”
“I should think so. We wouldn’t want our dear little spy’s virtue to be ruined, would we?”
“I hate you.”
“You love me, actually. Once you drunk dialed me and told me so.”
There is a moment of silence where Blaine flushes and twists his hands in the quilt.
“Thanks, Wes,” he says finally, and very softly. “I - I needed to hear that.”
“Any time, Blaine,” Wes sighs. “Sorry, man, I’ve got a paper due and it’s killing me but I really need to finish it.”
“I won’t keep you. Good luck with it.”
“No! I’m so proud! How much?”
“That’s pitiful, Anderson.”
“Shut up. Bye, Wes.”
“Bye, Blaine. It’ll be fine.”
Blaine still fishes out Kurt’s scarf from the drawer, but tonight he merely wraps his fingers around it and lets his hand fall onto the mattress next to his slumbering body.
Kurt and Blaine are both teenage boys, and being teenage boys they glue themselves together at the mouth whenever possible. This Friday night is no different; Kurt straddles Blaine’s lap and loops his arms around his boyfriend’s neck, pushing him backwards into Kurt’s pillows. Blaine happily complies, moving his hands to Kurt’s hips and sliding his tongue lazily into Kurt’s mouth. They kiss slowly, languidly, not needing to hastily touch each other. Blaine savours the taste of Kurt that lingers every time they draw away for air– coffee and freshly baked bread and something delightfully sharp – because he’s leaving the next morning and he doesn’t want to forget it (even though he wouldn’t say no to being reminded next weekend).
Kurt eventually pulls back, flushed, and brushes Blaine’s now very mussed hair back from his forehead. Blaine drinks him in; the sharp lines and angles of his nose and chin, the red, swollen mouth and his beautiful eyes that are blue rings around hugely dilated pupils.
“I missed you this week,” Kurt breathes, settling his head in the crook of Blaine’s neck. Blaine tightens his arms around him. “I can’t believe I forgot to call you. There was just this huge math test I needed to get an A plus on, and then Finn and Rachel had a fight and-“
“Hey,” Blaine presses his mouth to Kurt’s hair. “It’s fine. I know how stressed you were.”
Kurt kisses his neck. “You’re the best boyfriend ever.”
Blaine’s ears turn pink, and he squeezes Kurt’s waist. They lie quietly, their breathing even and the only noise Blaine can make out besides
Finn knocking something over in his bedroom and the murmur of Burt and Carole talking as they set the table for dinner (shepherd’s pie, Kurt had told him with a slight frown at the high-fat content). Kurt’s fingers pull slightly at the fabric of his white uniform shirt under his collar, fiddling, while Blaine’s find the small of Kurt’s back where his (designer, thank you) hoody has ridden up.
Kurt is so still and silent Blaine wonders if he’s fallen asleep. His own eyelids are drooping, drowsiness settling over him in their warm cocoon. Kurt makes a content little noise and raises his head, then, moving his hands and resting his chin on them. Blaine frowns sleepily down at him, his fingers on Kurt’s skin moving slightly in a familiar, absent-minded pattern.
“Don’t fall asleep,” Kurt raises an eyebrow at him. “Dinner’s soon.”
“You’re so warm,” Blaine whines. “And your bed is ridiculously comfy. My sleepiness isn’t my fault at all.”
Kurt leans up and kisses his nose. “Mm. And I suppose I did instigate the cuddling.”
“Cuddling always leads to sleeping,” Blaine says solemnly, trying to follow Kurt’s mouth but ultimately failing. “I think we should remember that.”
Kurt opens his mouth to reply but then Burt is calling them down for dinner, and they have to avoid being trampled by Finn when he races out of his bedroom, yelling something that sounds like “FOOD!”
Carole is berating her son when they appear downstairs, holding a steaming dish in one hand and pointing to a bowl of broccoli with the other.
“No pie until you take some vegetables, honey,” she says, smiling at Kurt and patting Blaine’s cheek when he greets her.
“Mom,” Finn complains loudly, eyes still trained hungrily on the shepherd’s pie. “You always say broccoli helps you grow and I clearly don’t need to grow anymore. Blaine needs them more than I do.”
“Finn,” Kurt snaps, plopping gracefully into the chair Blaine has pulled out for him and spreading his napkin over his lap. “You constantly moan about not having enough muscles. Broccoli would help you with that.”
“Really?” Finn looks skeptical and glares at the bowl of greens. “They’re little trees. How do little trees give you muscles?”
“They look like little trees,” Kurt says exasperatedly. “Their trunks are green. You don’t get trees with green trunks, Finn. And they have vitamins.”
Finn’s nose wrinkles and he looks even more unimpressed. Carole sighs, setting down the dish on a cork mat and spooning some onto Burt’s plate.
“Finn,” Blaine offers. “Girls really dig muscles. I mean, some of them like more muscles and some of them don’t like muscles at all, but I’m pretty sure Rachel would dig some more definition.”
Finn chews on his lip but doesn’t protest when his mother tips the last broccoli trees onto his plate.
Blaine loves visiting Kurt’s house.
It’s so very different from the cold, distant atmosphere he finds in his own home, where his mother makes small talk about his week at school and his father doesn’t speak to him at all. In the Anderson household dinner is quiet and awkward and each family member escapes to a separate part of the house; Blaine to his bedroom, his father to his study and his mother to the living room.
In the Hummel-Hudson house dinner is loud and everybody talks over each other and then helps with clearing up, and sometimes Carole brings out a battered Monopoly box or a pack of worn playing cards – normally Finn cheats and Kurt shrieks in outrage when he wins. Burt grumbles about the healthiness of his food, Carole checks that they’re all happy and presses the back of her hand to their foreheads, Kurt laughs, Finn chatters enthusiastically about football and glee club.
They include Blaine in their conversations, recalling things he had mentioned weeks before and asking if they worked out okay. Burt and Finn discuss the latest football scores with him, Carole always remarks that he looks peaky and slips him another spoonful of pudding with a wink, and Kurt holds his hand under the table.
Blaine’s house isn’t huge – but his family is comfortable and they probably won’t ever need to worry about money – and his mother has ordered countless items from her favourite furniture stores in his lifetime so that the space between wood paneled doors and the various expensive paintings is filled up.
(But Blaine would rather have family photos balanced precariously on the walls of his home than something by an artist he has never heard of)
His house feels empty and even in summer or wrapped up in sweaters in summer, he shivers.
Blaine first considers leaving Dalton when Kurt invites him to a “jam session” (even Kurt rolls his eyes at that – Finn had named it) with the New Directions a week before Sectionals. They congregate in Rachel’s basement (without alcohol this time) and it’s similar to Friday nights spent at the Hudmels, except for the more frequent breaking out into song.
Rachel and Kurt request Broadway classics and sulk when Puck doesn’t know the chords. Mercedes gets her R’n’B number; she asks for clapping and clicking and belts out American Boy with Artie rapping. Tina requests the same of the group, but she does You Got The Love and Blaine wishes he could have heard her finish her song at the Night of Neglect the previous year; she has a beautiful voice. Mike and Brittany make up dance moves when Santana gets up and surprises them all with some Spice Girls. Quinn watches Lauren leaning on Puck with something sad and quiet in her eyes; Blaine has only heard negative things about Quinn from Rachel’s ranting but suspects there must be something more to the blonde girl.
Blaine watches Kurt, mostly, and picks up on the way Kurt is constantly smiling, touching, laughing. His hair is coming free of its hairspray clutches, his clothes are slightly rumpled from dancing and his cheeks are flushed. He looks rather adorable and Blaine tries to stay attached to him as much as possible; unfortunately this ends up being difficult due to most of the girls cuddling up to him at some point during the evening.
He remembers Kurt’s face after they decided the solos for Sectionals and telling him he didn’t need to try so hard, and wanting Kurt to fit in and feel at home and be happy so much that he could almost fight that uncomfortable feeling in his stomach when he walked away. He had known that Kurt was tired of standing out at school for all the wrong reasons, and paired with the weird heart-racing-palms-sweating-heart-flippi
(This is how I got by and I know it sucks but you get used to it and then it’s sort of fine I promise I promise)
The freedom isn’t limited to Kurt – he himself feels like he can say anything and somebody will laugh and dance around like a maniac if he wants to. He throws his hands up and marches around the room with Kurt in tango-hold. He twirls Rachel and Brittany, dips Lauren and sings Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll all by himself into Rachel’s pink, bedazzled microphone.
He’s air-guitaring with Finn when the thought creeps into his brain – it could always be like this.
The Warblers lose Sectionals, and he’s more aware of Kurt’s huge, happy grin than the disappointed faces of his friends. He comes over to them and is soon holding an armful of a bouncing Kurt who still has Brittany latched onto his shoulders.
“You were so good!” Kurt presses his mouth to Blaine’s cheek, hard. “I’m sorry, honey.”
“It’s okay,” Blaine grins. “You guys were absolutely fantastic.”
Kurt bites his lip and hugs him again. “We’re having a party, want to come?”
“Of course,” Blaine replies automatically, keeping Kurt tightly fastened against him until the Warblers are calling his name and Kurt wriggles away.
“Blaine, we need to get back on the bus,” Nick chivvies, pushing the freshman members past the curtain in the direction of the exit.
“Oh,” Blaine gestures vaguely to the still celebrating New Directions. “Um, they’re having a party and Kurt-“
Nick grins. “Go ahead. See you on Monday, man.”
Blaine smiles back, but then Rachel tackles him and he has to focus on staying upright.
He brings up the idea of transferring to Kurt during a date at Breadstix. Kurt looks extremely surprised and asks for an elaborate explanation, but doesn’t look opposed to the idea at all.
“Well,” Blaine traces the sharp lines of Kurt’s hand and stares at the ketchup stains on his plate. “You remember when you spied on us last year? And I suggested confronting Karofsky and it ended awfully and I’m so, so sorry, Kurt-“
“No,” Kurt shakes his head. “I mean – yes, it was horrible, but I think if I hadn’t found out that he was a closet case he wouldn’t have stopped bullying me. He’d still be harassing me now. It wasn’t easy, getting him here. But McKinley is better for me, now.”
Kurt clasps Blaine’s hand properly. “I don’t regret confronting him, Blaine. You gave me the idea that I didn’t have to sit back and take it. That I didn’t have to just accept I was going to be treated that way.”
Blaine stares at Kurt, who smiles slightly back and then tugs their joined hands to his lips. He kisses Blaine’s palm and wraps both of his hands around Blaine’s tightly.
“But, anyway,” Kurt tilts his head and sucks briefly, daintily, at the straw in his glass of sparkling water. “Yes, I remember that day.”
“I said,” Blaine squirms slightly. “That I regret running away.”
Kurt’s eyes suddenly take in a new light. It’s similar to his expression after you move me, Kurt and his heart clenches, along with the huge relief that he doesn’t have to explain anything else.
“Blaine, you weren’t safe,” he says softly. “And neither was I. It wasn’t running away.”
“You went back,” Blaine says simply, shrugging. “My dad said I should stay. Be a man for once, he said.”
He realizes that this is the first thing he has ever told Kurt, told anyone, about his dad, and he freezes. Kurt’s hands clench around his.
“Blaine, is your dad okay with – with you?”
The question is tentative, and Blaine pulls his hands away. He curls into himself on the bench, eyes downcast.
He shakes his head, once, and there is a short intake of breath.
“Oh, Blaine,” he sounds closer, all of a sudden, and Blaine looks up to see Kurt sliding onto the bench next to him. He reaches for Blaine, who slumps on Kurt’s shoulder.
“He’s not mean, or anything,” Blaine says thickly, forehead nestled into Kurt’s pale collarbone. “He’s never shouted or hit me. It’s not like that. He just – he just doesn’t talk to me.”
He registers a kiss being placed carefully on his hairline.
“When I first came out,” he’s mumbling, now, worried that the burning in his eyes will spill over if he speaks more clearly. “He didn’t look at me for a week. He wouldn’t be in the same room as me.”
He pulls his legs up and over Kurt’s. His boyfriend doesn’t mind, despite his earlier comments about Blaine’s jeans in the car after Blaine picked him up.
“He thinks this is a phase; that I’ll wake up one day and be normal again. He tells me about these daughters of colleagues and asks me to take them out.”
Kurt huffs angrily in his ear. “Oh, for the love of-“
“I’ve tried, Kurt,” Blaine laughs humorlessly. The burning in his eyes is getting worse. “He just won’t listen. He’s too busy.”
The waitress arrives with the bill, eyeing them warily but with more concern at Blaine’s watery expression than anything else. Kurt gives her a twenty and tells her to keep the change, and when she leaves he tugs Blaine out of the booth and out to his car.
Two tears have dripped down his face by the time Kurt pulls him into a hug next to his black Navigator. He buries his face in Kurt’s jacket, feeling it grow wetter under his eyes but restraining the hitching in his chest.
“You know what the worst thing is?” he says brokenly after a minute. “Before I came out he was my best friend in the whole world.”
They eventually finish their conversation about Blaine’s potential transfer, with Blaine explaining that Kurt is the bravest person he’s ever met, and actually Blaine needs a hell of a lot more courage than Kurt does, and facing the taunting and having someone else to stand up with – that’s something he needs to do.
Kurt nods and kisses Blaine soundly.
Talking to his parents is something he desperately wants to put off, but after Kurt sends him three courage texts he walks into the dining room three Fridays after Sectionals feeling more confident than he probably should be.
His mother smiles briefly at him, dressed in her powder blue skirt and pearl necklace. His father is already cutting up his steak neatly and doesn’t look up when he walks in.
“Hi, sweetheart,” his mother indicates his seat. “Sit down, darling.”
He complies, sliding the metal ring off his napkin and setting on his lap. “Mom, can I ask you and Dad something?”
“Oh,” his mother sets her wine glass down carefully and dabs at her mouth with her own napkin. “Richard?”
His father raises his head and nods, looking wholly uninterested.
“Um,” Blaine begins, swallowing and steeling himself. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’d really appreciate it if you thought about it, too.”
“What is it?” his father says impatiently.
“I want to transfer,” Blaine says, finger tracing the points of his fork. “Schools.”
“Why would you want that, darling?” his mother asks. “Is everything all right at Dalton?”
“I thought the whole point of Dalton was that no-tolerance policy,” his father adds, brow furrowed at his son.
“No, no, it’s nothing like that,” Blaine assures hurriedly.
“Then why would you transfer away?” his father asks sharply.
“I want to go back to public school,” he says. “The rest of the world isn’t like Dalton. I was lucky to find it in the first place. I’m not going to find enforced anti-bullying policies everywhere I go.”
“Blaine,” his mother looks astounded.
“There’s another solution to that, Blaine,” his father goes back to his steak. “I’m not going to sit here and be told I’ve wasted a year and a half’s worth of school fees.”
“Dad,” Blaine snaps. “Dad, this is not a phase. I am not going to wake up straight tomorrow.”
“You haven’t even tried girls, Blaine,” his father sits back in his chair and reaches for his wine. “You won’t take any of the girls I suggested out-“
“I went out with a girl, actually,” Blaine replies angrily. “I kissed her when I was drunk. And it felt good. And then I kissed her when I was sober and it was crap, no offence to her. And I have a boyfriend, Dad. I told you.”
His father sighs. “Blaine, this isn’t a relationship you are in-“
“I love him just as much as you love Mom!” Blaine stands up in his chair, fists clenched. “I am perfectly able to have a romantic relationship like any other heterosexual one with another boy.”
His father’s expression turns stony, but Blaine presses on.
“Being gay just means I’m attracted to guys rather than girls. I can still get married, I can still have kids. I can still have a career. If it affects that, it’s no fault of mine, it’s everybody else’s, because I didn’t choose this, Dad.” He can feel the tears again, hot against the back of his eyes in frustration. “I did not decide to be gay. This was not my choice and I wish you’d stop punishing me for something I can’t control.”
His father stands then, face turning red.
“What do you expect me to say to my colleagues, Blaine?” he shouts, making Blaine’s mother flinch. “When they ask me if you’ve got yourself a girlfriend yet?”
“Richard!” His mother cries.
Blaine’s lip trembles and tears slip down his face. He doesn’t bother to stop them.
“Is that what you care about?” he chokes. “How this looks? Do you care more about your reputation than me? Your son?”
His father makes to leave the room, wine glass held tightly between his fingers, but Blaine isn’t done.
“Do you remember when I was seven, Dad?” he says, voice cracking but still strong. “And you had to come into school because I got into a fight with the other kids in my class?”
His father stops, turning slowly with an eyebrow raised. “Yes. You pushed Thomas Rivers down in the playground.”
“I pushed him because he told me his dad was cooler than mine,” Blaine clutches the back of his chair, sensing his mother near him but not moving towards her. “I was telling the other kids how amazing you were. That you were the best dad ever.”
Mr Anderson blinks, stunned into silence.
“And you were,” Blaine is crying properly now, his breath catching in his throat and obstructing the words that are now his last chance. “You used to be my favourite person. I always wanted to tell you about what I did that day and I loved it when you played soccer with me or when you put me on your shoulders or when you took me fishing.”
His mother has her hand over her mouth and is staring at him, her mascara running. He swallows down a sob but it surfaces anyway, breaking past the dam that seems to be clogging up his throat.
“And then –and then I came out. And you wouldn’t look at me,” Blaine wipes blindly at his face with his sleeve. “Do you know how much that hurt, Dad? You were the one person I needed to be – to be okay with this. I was so scared, Dad. I was so scared and you wouldn’t look at me.”
He takes a step forward and hope flares in his chest when his father remains rooted to the spot.
“I’m your son, Dad. I’m Blaine. If I was straight, I’d have the same grades, I’d like the same music, I’d still sing. I’d still be a terrible cook and awful at chess. I’d still be me. I didn’t become gay. It doesn’t work like that, Dad,” he’s pleading now, holding tightly onto the hand his mother reaches out to him with. “That kid – that kid you loved – he was gay. He just didn’t know it yet.”
His father seems to struggle for something to say, but is left floundering while his son cries in front of him, trying to fix the fissure between them with his tears.
When Blaine returns from Dalton the next Friday, two weeks before the Christmas break, he finds a plastic folder on his desk.
Inside is a stack of printed off and signed transfer papers.
His father is due to arrive home hours after Blaine goes to sleep, but maybe he dreams the hand that pushes his gel-free, fluffy hair off his forehead, firm but gentle.
Kurt gasps and launches himself into Blaine’s arms when he announces that as of January 6th, he is a student at William McKinley High School. Finn slaps him (hard) on the back, asking if he’ll join the football team and snickering when Blaine looks all the way up at him, shaking his head.
Announcing his departure to the Warblers is difficult. There is a simultaneous, shocked intake of breath; Jeff looks nearly tearful and clings to an extremely pale Nick.
“But, Blaine,” Trent says. “You lead us. You’re the best singer here.”
“That’s not true,” Blaine gestures for everybody to sit down (most of them had jumped up in alarm). “Guys, we all had to audition to become a Warbler. All of you are perfectly able to lead the group.”
“You were a shoo-in, Blaine,” Nick says faintly, clutching at Wes’ gavel. “There isn’t a Warbler in history apart from you who never finished their audition. In 1981 Frances Greenberry had a panic attack during his audition and finished his song on the way to the infirmary. On a stretcher.”
“Warblers,” Blaine pinches the bridge of his nose. “This is something I need to do. For myself.”
“At public school you were harassed every day,” Thad says, puzzled. “Why are you going back to that?”
“The real world doesn’t have no-bullying policies,” Blaine explains calmly. “The real world isn’t half as accepting as Dalton is. Dalton has been wonderful, the Warblers especially, but I shouldn’t build a false optimism. I need to do this.”
“If I may,” a quiet sophomore who goes by Greg raises his hand. “Since Kurt left your performances haven’t lacked in brilliance, but you don’t get lost in them like you used to.”
Blaine nods. “It is to do with Kurt, too. But that isn’t the main thing, I promise.”
Trent stands, then, extending his hand for Blaine to shake. “It’s been an honour, to sing behind you, Blaine Anderson.”
Blaine accepts the hand. “It’s been an honour singing with you. All of you.”
Blaine spends his last week at Dalton unpinning photos from his notice board and posters from his walls. He empties the drawers of his desk and neatly packs everything away into five boxes. Two of them are full to the brim with schoolbooks.
Kurt picks him up on the last day, eyes shining. He flashes slightly guilty smiles to the Warblers he recognizes on the way to Blaine’s room with a luggage trolley (Blaine is tempted to jump on it and make Kurt push him, but he suspects his boyfriend would not be amused). They load each box carefully onto the trolley, and finally Blaine turns back to an empty room.
He remembers crying himself to sleep for most of the first week. He remembers watching movies with David, studying with Wes. He remembers Kurt sitting nervously on the edge of his bed while he searched for an old school portrait for Kurt to keep.
Kurt crops up in a lot of memories of this room, and the sadness that had washed over him ebbs away as he turns back to his boyfriend. Kurt is watching him, hand curled delicately round the luggage trolley. He smiles, opening his arms and enveloping Blaine in the hug he instinctively knows Blaine needs.
“Thanks,” Blaine mumbles, nose buried in Kurt’s neck.
His boyfriend hums, fingers delving into the hair at the back of his neck (where the gel ends, more importantly) and chin hooking over his shoulder. “You looked sad. And I always want hugs when I’m sad.”
Blaine smiles faintly. “Me too.”
Kurt doesn’t pull away. “You’re going to miss it here.”
“Of course,” Blaine closes his eyes. Kurt smells like laundry powder and his orange flower soap today. “But I need to do this.”
“You keep saying you need to,” Kurt does pull away then, bumping his forehead against Blaine’s. “Do you want to?”
Blaine licks his lips, eyes flicking away from Kurt’s momentarily.
“I – I think so,” he breathes. “I want that freedom. That you get around your friends. I want that. And I – I hate being so far away from you. I want to sit with you in glee club and sing with you and dance with you. I want to win Nationals with you. I want to hold your hand on the way to class and kiss you hello at your locker. I’m tired of being away from you. I’ve been – I’ve been moping.”
Kurt is blushing happily, lower lip caught between his teeth. “Me too. Finn kept bringing me warm milk during lunch period.”
Blaine beams. “We’re pathetic. So, yeah. I definitely want to.”
He doesn’t hesitate to kiss Kurt back when his boyfriend cups his face in his hands and presses their smiles together.
On January 6th 2012 Blaine Anderson stands in front of William McKinley High School, new schoolbag slung over his shoulder (bought by his father and containing a packed lunch made by his mother) and his boyfriend’s hand clutched tightly in his own.