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Title: Keeping Courageous & Carrying On - Part 24
Rating (overall): NC-17
Pairings: Blaine/Kurt. Blaine centric.
Spoilers: Aired episodes.
Warnings: Abuse, Violence, PTSD.
Word Count: 6, 680
Notes: Inspired by this angst meme prompt. As always, this is for YOU. <3
Summary: Blaine’s father is abusive but he refuses to be brought down by it all. He knows that one day he’s going to make something of his life. He can cope as long as he believes in himself.

Previous:
|| Part 01 || Part 02 || Part 03 || Part 04 || Part 05 || Part 06 || Part 07 || Part 08 || Part 09 || Part 10 || Part 11 ||
||Part 12 || Part 13 || Part 14 || Part 15 || Part 16 || Part 17 || Part 18|| Part 19|| Part 20 ||Part 21|| Part 22 || Part 23






Note: Wow, look, an update. Is anyone still reading this? :P



o~o~o



Kurt looks completely mortified as he leads me away from the living room - his hand clutching mine so tightly as he tugs me across the entire length of hallway - away from the mischievous glint in Puck’s eyes and away from the lopsided grin on his brother’s face. It’s as if he’s suddenly terrified that they’ll tell me something awful about his former life as a cheerio - something akin to pulling out a bunch of embarrassing baby pictures or making him relive the times he’s done something horrifically un-Kurt. And while there’s certainly a part of me that’s incredibly amused by his genuinely horrified reaction, there’s a much larger part of me that feels incredibly guilty about it all. Especially when I notice the violent blush that’s flooding across his face and rushing down, over the tight tendons of his long neck.

His normally porcelain skin now tinted with bold smears of warm pink and smattered with vibrant dashes of hot red. All of which seem to accumulate and appear most vibrantly when dashed about his cheekbones. Making him look like a mocking caricature of those old German figurines. I’m sure you know the ones, the ones that little old ladies seem to have lined up on their shelves and on their window sills and on their fireplaces and on any available, flat surface. Stoically staring back at the women all day, with their little umbrellas and their wrinkled aprons, and those bewildering expression on their little faces that are neither here nor there. They just stare and stare and stare - either at each other or just out at the world - with their wide, doe eyes and obvious red cheeks.

Only seconds later I’m pulled away from my drifting thoughts of antique figurines, when Kurt juts an arm out in front of himself and pushes the bedroom door open with so much force that it hits the wall behind it with a loud, deep thud. Kurt and I flinch out of instinct, of course we do, because the sound of it resonating around us is so unexpectedly shocking. Though, that alone tells me that Kurt hadn’t meant to push it quite so hard. It had obviously been an accident brought about by his hast to herd me away from our friends and our - if you’d prefer - peculiar family. Where blood ties don’t seem to carry too much weight when compared to the individual needs of a person to belong to something beyond his means. Here, it’s our shared experiences and our love for one another which bonds us, keeps us together, and makes us brothers.

Kurt looks right at me then, just for a moment, despite his fiery blush, and I know it’s because of the unexpected bang. That’s why he’s letting his wide, perceptive eyes fall over my face like he is. That’s why he’s taking me in so damn carefully as he goes. It’s because, despite the fact that I’ve embarrassed him terribly, he’s still incredibly worried about me. He’s my family.

He frowns just a little then, before he offers me a silent, tight lipped smile that says ‘sorry’ all by itself. And, in a way, that makes everything seem so much worse because I can see his flushed face properly now and I think that, really, I’m the one who needs to say sorry because I never meant for him to feel so obviously uncomfortable. But before I can even begin to form the right words in my head, Kurt’s ushering us both over the threshold of his - our - bedroom and flicking the lock on the door closed. Plunging us into darkness.

I start walking down the stairs then, before Kurt even has time to turn on the light, but I’m taking it carefully - one step at a time. My palm pressed flat against the cold wall in a bid to steady myself, focusing intently on the placement of my feet so that I don’t take a nasty tumble into the darkness and down the stairs. Because I’ve done that before and it hurts. A lot. I wonder then, if Kurt’s ever fallen down the stairs - if it had been a accident or if he’d been pushed, just like he feared Karofsky might do. And it’s then that I suddenly realise that I can’t hear him following behind me.

I spin around cautiously, high on the balls of my feet - just as Kurt flicks the light on - and I’m looking up at him as he appears before me, an apology already forming on my lips. But he’s standing so tall and so resolute on that top step - his hands planted so firmly on his hips and his disposition completely changing before me - that it stops any thought of apology dead. And I’m left feeling like I’m watching a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a strong, colourful butterfly, stage by stage, in fast-forward. And even though he hasn’t looked down to see me watching him, I know that he must feel my gaze because he looks right at me too then - the shock in his eyes melting away and transforming into something else entirely - a subtle blend of curiosity with perhaps a hint of amusement and suspicion. My heart skips a beat. He looks so determined; so alive.

“Santana.” he says then; a faded hint of triumph present in his ever curious voice, “Blaine, did she tell you that? Wait. You don’t even have to answer that question because I know her, she’s a Latina version of Eve Harrington. I bet she slipped that right into your conversation, didn’t she? ‘Oh, by the way, Blaine. Did you know that Kurt used to be a cheerleader?’ No. God, no, we’re not even talking about this. No way. Not a chance. That’s what she wants. In fact, we‘re going to pretend you never, ever heard her say that.” Kurt rambles rather adorably, his blush fading much more noticeably as he talks, “It was a dark time in my life, Blaine. I was very confused - I mean, I must have been, right? That uniform wasn’t even a pure blend. Ugh. No. Let’s just try and forget about this altogether, shall we? Let’s just pack it away in a box, in a box, in a box, in another box, at the bottom of the ocean and leave it there. Yes? I think so.” Kurt finishes casually, trying to sound so firm and fixed, even though his wide eyes and his flustered voice betray him horrifically. I just smile up at him.

“Kurt,” I begin gravely, his breath audibly catching in his throat as I build the anticipation teasingly, leaving a sufficiently lengthy gap before I continue, “I promise. I wont mention it again. My lips are sealed, look. Scout’s honour.” I offer in surrender, running my pressed fingertips across my mouth in a swift zipping motion. He just rolls his eyes at that and huffs dramatically, wiping his brow like he’s centre stage in a one-man play in the middle of a desert, before he smiles warmly at me - a wide, honest, toothy grin - the kind that comes so naturally from him. And then he sighs a little, in relief.

“Good. Good. Now,” Kurt starts; trying desperately to change the topic, “Why don’t you tell me all about your first day at school? That is the reason I came home early, after all. Oh, and don’t leave the important things out, I know McKinley, remember? If you paint an idyllic picture of a perfect day I’ll know you’re lying through you teeth, Blaine Anderson. Especially if you mention capable teachers, caring quarterbacks, rays of sunshine and double rainbows.” Kurt instructs as we descend the stairs together. Practically arm in arm before we fall onto the sofa and sink into the soft cushions that Kurt re-scatters habitually every morning.

“Well,” I begin, trying to keep my tone light - trying not to worry him, “Aside from the butterflies and the guy with the harp that kept following me around at day, there’s really not that much to tell you. Although, the unicorn that served me lunch was a little touchy.” I laugh lightly, but it’s nowhere near as convincing as I’d hoped for, so I shift a little instead. Kurt just arches one of his perfect eyebrows in response.

“Okay, so something did happen?” he asks quietly. His smile slipping a little.

“Kurt.” I start pointlessly.

“Blaine, come on. This is me you’re talking to.” he offers, almost shyly.

“Look, Kurt, I did get a little upset today. But it’s nothing to worry about. Really. Puck handled it. It’s over.” I offer weakly. Hoping he’ll just leave it alone, but he wont, of course he wont, I wouldn’t either. So, I look on rather helplessly as his face falls into a heavy set frown. And I wonder if he knows how many creases that expression draws on his face and if he’d even care - but I don’t think he would. Not now. So I watch, with my own frown, as his mouth opens and closes and he tries to get his words to come out.

“Blaine, did they hurt you?” he asks eventually, his tone so careful, as his hand reaches out towards me, “You can tell me if they did. It‘ll be okay, I promise.” He reassures me.

I can feel a lump forming in my throat then. As I look into the tempest that lies just behind his eyes. The storm of emotions that’s trapped just below the surface.

“No, no. God, Kurt, no, it’s nothing like that.” I say quickly and I feel him press his palm against my thigh regardless, before he shuffles a little closer to me.

“Then what happened, sweetheart?” He continues cautiously, and oh-so-carefully, and my heart starts to pound so hard inside of my chest as he whispers, “Because something did happen, Blaine. I know you. You‘re a part of me; I can feel it.”

“Kurt.” I start desperately, “They were just.. saying things. About me, about you. I got a little upset about it but I’m okay now, I promise. And I really did have a wonderful afternoon.” I offer, something like darkness stirring in the pit of my stomach as I remember my encounter with Karofsky. Because I really had been having a wonderful afternoon until Kurt’s old tormenter had tried to apologise to me. No.

“Blaine..” Kurt breathes out then, in a tone so soft it could get lost in a soft summer breeze.

“Kurt?” I reply in confusion and out of the blue he looks so, so sad.

“I’m so sorry.” He mutters and I frown at him again.

“Kurt, don’t be silly.” I say quickly, laying my hand over his and giving his fingers a squeeze, “Whatever you’re thinking you need to stop it.”

“No, Blaine. If they hadn’t known that you’re my friend they would’ve--”

“What, Kurt? Insulted me a little less. Really, it was going to happen anyway, look at me. But it’s done now. I’m still alive. I’m still breathing. No one’s dead. It’s over.” I say with a fake smile.

“You shouldn‘t trivialise this.” Kurt says then, like he has a bad taste in his mouth, “You shouldn’t make fun of it.”

“I’m not making… God, no. Kurt, I didn’t mean it like that.” I offer, suddenly feeling incredibly guilty, “I’m sorry.”

“I just want you to be okay.” He whispers then, into the silent room that surrounds us.

“I know you do. I know. But I’m fine, I promise. And I made a whole bunch of new friends that I‘d rather talk about.” I offer and I let that linger between us for a while but Kurt looks so unsure about what to say next that I add, “Kurt, I love you, you know that I do, but I can’t have this conversation with you. Not tonight. You know?” I try honestly and then he pauses for a moment, searching my eyes before he tilts his head a little and starts to talk again.

“I knew they’d love you.” he starts quietly, “But you really ought to know that I love you so much more than all of them put together.” Kurt says, his smile growing, he’s visibly casting away his fears and trusting that I know what I need right now and I’m so grateful for that. For his unwavering belief in me and for empowering me like he always does; by doing something as simple as giving me a choice.

“There is something.” I say then, “I could use your help on it actually.”

“Of course. Anything.” he says, a genuine smile tugging at the soft corners of his loving mouth. Oh, God, that beautiful, giving mouth of his.

“I’m auditioning for glee club tomorrow afternoon,” I say, “Your Latina Eve Harrington’s idea, of course, and I think I have the perfect song but I’d like to play it for you first, just in case it’s too much. It’s about us, Kurt, it’s about what we are, and I don’t want to completely embarrass myself in front of our friends.” I confess in a hurry. My cheeks warming suddenly.

Our friends.” Kurt repeats quietly. A knowing smile on his face.

“Yeah.” I grin and nothing can tarnish the warm feeling that floats into my chest and makes itself at home.


o~o~o



It’s almost an hour later when I finally turn Kurt’s iPod off, gather the pieces of paper that I’ve scattered haphazardly around me and rise up from the floor - clutching the pencil that I’ve been using firmly between my teeth. Then tucking the aforementioned papers securely under my arm as I use my hands to wrap the cord tightly around the iPod and push it into my back pocket. Sauntering over to the keyboard that sits majestically at the foot of our bed - Kurt’s dresser chair already pulled up to it - and I begin to lay the handwritten sheets of music across the top. Carefully overlapping the pieces of paper to make sure that I can see everything that I’ll need to. Then, when I’m satisfied, I finally look up and I notice that Kurt’s watching me from behind his History textbook.

“You’re ready?” he asks rhetorically. Pushing a blank piece of paper in between the pages of the textbook before he abandons it altogether on my pillow and scoots towards the edge of the bed. Folding his legs underneath his body. Excited anticipation covering his features. And I wonder if it’s possible for someone to have as much enthusiasm for something that somebody else loves, just because they love them. I think it must be, judging by the look on Kurt’s face.

“Yes, I‘m ready. No laughing though, okay?” I urge earnestly as I take a seat and he smiles.

“Why would I laugh? It’s in my collection, Blaine. It’s obviously wonderful.” he reasons playfully.

“I sure hope it is!” I laugh, “So, anyway, here’s to us.. and to less than perfect days.” I toast as I turn the keyboard on.

“Like today?” Kurt asks then as the display screen lights up.

“Exactly like today.” I finish and then I flex my fingers outwards and ghost them over the keys, pressing them down lightly and letting the soft notes hit me. It’s then that a very specific feeling washes over me. I imagine it’s the same feeling that artists get when they’re staring at a blank canvas with a head full of ideas and a studio filled with the aroma of new paint, or the rush that nurses and doctors and paramedics must feel when they manage to save the life of a person who’s already given up on and considered as good as dead, or that warm feeling that a writer must have when they pick up a pen and write down a simple idea which they just know will blossom into a masterful story that’s theirs alone to tell. This is all of that to me and so much more, this is that one thing that I’m just meant to do.

This is who I am. This is how I can define myself. ‘Blaine Anderson, lover and creator of music.’ ‘Blaine Anderson, composer.’ ‘Blaine Anderson, who feels at home when melodies rush out of his body and pour out of his fingertips.’ ‘Blaine Anderson, the boy who can give music to the world.’ And that feels so, so good. That feels so much better than ‘Blaine Anderson, the boy who was smothered by fear.’ and ‘Blaine Anderson, trapped.’ Because now I’m almost certainly, ‘Blaine Anderson, who has discovered his self worth.’ and ‘Blaine Anderson, alive.’

I smile softly to myself then, and reach out to the keyboard with a brand new sense of self and purpose.

“Wait.“ Kurt says suddenly, stopping me, his hand touching my arm ever so lightly, his soft fingertips almost dancing across my skin, “Can I join in?”

“Of course you can.” I say, like him not joining in would be a higher treason than high treason.

He takes his hand back then, nods once and closes his eyes. Listening as I begin to play the opening melody that I know he knows oh so well. His brow creased up tightly in concentration. He’s so beautiful. And I’m barely a few bars into it when he gasps rather loudly and opens his eyes. Which is very convenient, I think, because now he’s just in time to watch me sing to him. So, I open my mouth and I let it come out…

When the rain is blowing in your face,
and the whole world is on your case,
I could offer you a warm embrace
to make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear,
and there is no one there to dry your tears,
I could hold you for a million years
to make you feel my love.

I chance a glance up at him then and there’s an expression on Kurt’s face that I’ve never ever seen before. Overwhelmed. That’s how he looks. So, I offer him a shy smile and he smiles right back at me and then suddenly it’s written all over his face. Everything that he feels. His beautiful eyes so alive and so bright under the artificial light. And then he opens his mouth and he sings it out with me…

I know you haven't made your mind up yet,
but I would never do you wrong.
I've known it from the moment that we met,
no doubt in my mind where you belong.


Our eyes are still fixed firmly as I continue on alone. Kurt’s heart-melting smile almost dragging my eyes downwards but I’m too lost for that. I’m far too lost in his eyes to get distracted by anything else. Besides, his eyes are smiling enough. Shining enough. Telling me enough. So, I offer him a bashful smile, then I fill my lungs and I sing. I sing. I sing. I sing. To him. For him. Always for him..


Kurt, I'd go hungry; I'd go black and blue,
I'd go crawling down the avenue.
No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do
to make you feel my love.


Then, I play the melody that I’ve laid out before me and I look up at Kurt when I can. He’s wiping at his eyes with back of his hand. A watery smile plastered on his face. And when he catches my gaze once more, he just shakes his head in something a kin to wonder and whispers, “Blaine.” Like it’s everything that he’s ever wanted to say to me and in a way it is.

I shrug innocently in reply, with an honest-to-God smile on my face, and I nod for him to join in and finish the song with me. We should end this together. My fingers still pressing rhythmically against the cold keys as he nods back at me. I take a moment then, to glance over the last sheet of paper. Determined to remember everything so I can look at him. So I can sing to him. Only him. Always him. And I do. Our voices carrying the weight of the words together. Loud and harmonious and so, so perfect.


The storms are raging on the rolling sea
and on the highway of regret.
Though winds of change are blowing wild and free,
you ain't seen nothing like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true.
Nothing that I wouldn't do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you,
to make you feel my love.


I finish with a fluttering flourish and my fingers slide off the keyboard and into my lap. Then, when I look over at him, shyness suddenly possesses me. Kurt holds my gaze in silence for a while and then his brow furrows a little and he says, “That was absolutely perfect, Blaine.”

“It’s not too much?” I ask quietly, because I can almost hear the notes still echoing around the room and I don‘t want to displace them. Not yet. It’s so peaceful. Kurt just shakes his head.

“New Directions don’t know the meaning of ‘too much’, Blaine.” He smiles supportively, “You’ll be fine.”

“And it wasn’t too much.. for you?” I ask cautiously.

“You made me cry, Blaine. It was perfectly too much.” He smiles, reaching a hand out across the keyboard, the base of his wrist pressing against the keys and releasing a small burst of sound. I lift my hand up to meet his and I lace our fingers together.

“I never want to let you go, Kurt.” I offer then, the sincerity of it making my heart pound.

“Blaine, I’m never saying goodbye to you.” He whispers back in reply, his index finger brushing gently over the top of my hand.

“Just a little while longer.” I mutter and he nods. Words unspoken, passing between us.

“I’m not going anywhere, Blaine. There’s no need to rush yourself. Not for me.” He smiles kindly and I smile right back at him because he understands and that in itself brings me a step closer to feeling okay, to feeling like the person I’ve lost and the person I want to be.

“I wouldn’t dare.” I offer playfully and then, “Kurt, will you lie with me for a while?”

“Of course I will.” He says, like it’s nothing. Not letting go of my hand as I stand and walk around the bed. Only releasing his hold on me to move his textbook so I can lie down. While he puts it on the floor I slide down onto my side. Feeling cold until he slips closer behind me and wraps one of his arms around my waist. His body matching the shape of mine perfectly, his head sharing my pillow, his cheek nuzzled against my cheek. I reach up and thread my fingers through the hand which lays against my stomach and at some point, not so far away, I fall asleep half-wrapped in Kurt Hummel.


o~o~o



After that, Friday passes by in a blur. It’s an inevitable mix of gracious conversation, encouraged laughter and optimistic smiles. And all of it is wrapped up so neatly by my audition for glee club. An audition which leaves me half crying when I turn around at the end of my performance and look at my peers. They’re all looking right at me - my fingers still half-pressed against the smooth keys - and that’s when I realise that their faces are nothing but kind, welcoming smiles and damp, teary eyes and I know then that the choir room is a safe place too.

So, I smile over at Puck and Finn and they’re both looking at me so damn proudly that I can actually feel my insides flood with warmth. Then Puck starts wolf-whistling, of course he does, and I roll my eyes because only Puck. And Mike has this look on his face that’s filled with so much delight that my eyes actually start to fill and Tina smiles so brightly at me from her spot next to him. And then I look over at Santana, who has her arm wrapped tightly around a smiling Brittany and I follow her gaze to Rachel - who has mascara absolutely running down her face and her mouth hanging half-open. And then, finally, I look at Quinn and Mercedes and Artie and Sam and it’s clear that they want me to stay too. They even ask me to stay. And I will stay, of course I will, because these people understand me and the importance of music and, well, it feels a lot like living is supposed to.

When we get home, after celebratory hot chocolates - courtesy of Finn - my Friday night with Kurt is just as perfect as my audition for Glee Club. Puck and Finn come downstairs for a while to play video games. While I help Kurt with his latest Fashion and Textiles project - both of us sat with crossed legs on the bed. I stitch and hem to the best of my abilities, the constant sound of video game gunfire providing a rather interesting soundtrack, and when I sew something wrong Kurt doesn’t say anything about it, he just smiles and unpicks my stitches when he thinks I‘m not paying attention. In fact, he’s been smiling at me all night, especially since Puck told him that I’d rendered Rachel Berry speechless. Because apparently that’s something to be particularly proud of. I’m honestly not too sure about that but Kurt’s proud of me anyway and that feels wonderful. I want him to be proud of me - it makes me feel like less of an idiot for feeling so proud of myself.

We exist that way for a few hours more, stitching and talking, before we move over to the sofa. Where we sink into Kurt’s scattered cushions and we watch Finn and Puck’s virtual egos take on digital war veterans. Kurt’s arm automatically linking through mine. They must notice the movement but they don’t say anything about it. And when they eventually tire of fighting their wars they leave us alone. So, Kurt and I talk for a while, about everything and nothing at all, until we get ready for bed. And it’s then that the night dissolves into pyjama clad hand-holding and a marathon of old MGM musical movies. Both Kurt and I drifting soundly to sleep somewhere near the end of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, our heads pressed together, just like our hands.


o~o~o



There are a great number of things that I notice when I wake up on the sofa, feeling a little stiff but otherwise content. Firstly, I notice that one of Kurt’s warm arms is slung across my waist and that his head is propped up, incredibly precariously, on my shoulder. Secondly, I notice that the pure cotton sheet that we pulled from Kurt’s bed in a hurry last night - we were halfway through Anchors Aweigh when we started feeling cold - is tangled loosely around my legs and feet. And, thirdly, I notice that the deep, sumptuous scent that Kurt wears by day is now nothing more than a faded fragrance - lost somewhere in the passing of time. I miss the subtle strength of it at first, because it’s so him, but I don’t miss it for long. Once I’ve managed to squeeze myself from under Kurt without waking him - quite the feat, I assure you - I realise that my pyjama shirt smells just like him. I smell like Kurt. I walk to the bathroom with the biggest smile on my face.

While I’m brushing my teeth I decide that it’d be a nice gesture if I made Kurt breakfast for a change. I know he likes to do it; that he likes to cook for people. But just this once, just on this one, cold Saturday morning, I’m going to make him breakfast instead. I’m not the greatest chef in the world - I can usually be found chopping vegetables or laying plates or helping out with general tasks such as washing up - but I’ve watched Kurt make his pancakes enough times to know what to do and how to do it. Vaguely.

I don’t bother getting dressed because I’m trying to be as quiet as possible and, well, I just assume that no one will be upstairs at 7am on a Saturday. Carole worked a night shift, so, she’ll have just gotten into bed. Finn and Puck never get up early on Saturdays - assuming Puck didn’t go home. In which case, Finn could be around. And Burt mentioned over dinner last night that he was going to work extra early so he could be done by lunch. So, really, I should be alone up there. But, say I’m not, what’s the worst that can happen. They get a glance of my curly hair? Because they’ve seen that. They see me in my pyjamas? They’ve all seen that too. Really, I have nothing to lose.

So, I creep past a sleeping Kurt, tip-toe up the darkened stairs and open the fastened lock on the door - so slowly that it must look completely ridiculous. Then I slip through the door, as soon as it’s open enough for me to fit through, and I spend a good thirty seconds slowly easing the door closed before I head straight into the kitchen.

Only stopping once, just outside the kitchen door, to listen for the television. I hear nothing though, not a sound, so, it’s pretty safe for me to assume that Finn’s still in bed and that Puck stayed over last night. And that he’s still asleep on the mattress that they store under Finn’s bed by day because Burt doesn’t like the idea of Puck sleeping on the floor night after night, after night. No matter how young and health his bones and muscles are.

I’m feeling quite optimistic about cooking breakfast, until I lay my eyes on the cooker and then I start to panic. Because, now that I’m really thinking about it, I have no idea where to start. Or about the actual measurements needed for any of the ingredients. Or even which ingredients definitely constitute as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. And I don’t want to mess this up. I want to get this right. So, I take a moment to think.

I’m standing in the middle of the kitchen, with my hands planted loosely on my hips, glancing between the pans next to the cooker and the cupboard stuffed with ingredients, when I notice it. The notebook. That little pink and gold notebook that Kurt flicks through sometimes, searching for culinary answers before he returns it to the shelf, next to the potted sunflower, and carries on with his cooking. Maybe that can help me.

So, I move forward automatically, desperate for guidance, my socked feet sliding easily over the floor as I go, reaching out to the notebook with searching fingertips. Laying it down on the counter as soon as it’s in my possession.

It’s then that I notice a small, white label in the bottom, right hand corner. The edges of it curled up. The stickiness almost gone. It’s old, but the label is still visible and harbouring handwritten letters that are both incredibly faded and incredibly neat. It takes a while longer, before I realise that it says, ‘Lizzie’s secret recipes.’

I pull my hands away from it then, like my fingertips are on fire and I take a step backwards. This is hers. This is Mrs Hummel’s old notebook. I shouldn’t be looking at this, I shouldn’t have touched it, it has absolutely nothing to do with me. But I look at it for a while anyway, from afar at least. Wondering what I can do with it. Wondering what I should do with it.

I could probably cancel my plans to make breakfast. Help might not lie in that book anyway. And then I could wait for Kurt to wake up and help him make breakfast instead. It’s not like he knows that I’d planned to make him breakfast anyway. But, at the same time, I’ve set my heart on it now. I just can’t riffle through that notebook. I just can’t. Kurt hasn’t shared enough of that part of his life with me. I’d feel like an intruder, trampling on the memories of his mother. I mean, this could be one of the very few things that Kurt has of his mothers. I know that I would give anything to have something of my mom’s and that I’d hate for people to just do what they pleased with it. I don’t quite know what to do for the best. So, I stare at it, I stare and stare and stare and I wonder. Hoping it will give me an answer and then..

“It’s pretty sure it’s not cursed, Blaine” A clear, calm voice states from somewhere behind me. I know exactly who it is, as soon as the depth of the voice startles me, but I jump anyway. And when I turn around Burt is standing in the doorway. A dark blue toolbox in his hand and a soft smile on his face.

“I-- I was-- I was just--” I stutter instinctively, trying to explain myself before my brain is ready, Burt just laughs. It’s the kind of laugh you wouldn’t imagine could come out of a man like Burt if you didn’t know him any better. But I do know him better; so, I can’t help but smile back at him. Even if it is rather timid.

“What are you doing in here, son?” he asks then and I just shrug. Feeling at little unsure, a little caught in the act. A little uncertain because this is new territory.

“I just thought I’d make breakfast for Kurt but I don’t know how to and then I saw that notebook. Kurt’s always flicking through it, so, I just assumed that maybe it was Kurt’s but it’s clearly not..” I ramble quickly and then Burt steps into the kitchen, places his toolbox on the table and walks over to the notebook. Running his thumb over the cover of it before he looks right at me. His smile is still there. He’s not mad. Not at all.

“It’s Elizabeth’s.” He confirms, “She used to write all of the best recipes in it - for easy use mostly. But also because Kurt loved to cook - even as a kid. It was their thing, you know? She’d leave new recipes in there, on loose scraps of paper, and if they liked it enough they’d copy it into this book. He still does it. Adds new things. Keeps it going. Carole does it too. That’s how I knew he was okay with me and Carole. One day they were baking together and they used one of her recipes and Kurt liked it so much that he let her write it in here. That’s when I knew it was okay. That we were okay.” Burt shares, a fond smile resting on his lips.

“I’m sorry. I won’t touch it again.” I apologise but Burt just rolls his eyes.

“Blaine, come on. It’s just a book. Yeah, it has special attachments to Kurt and this family. But, remember, you’re a part of this family too, kid.” he offers gently.

“I’m sure Finn hasn’t touched it and he’s actually a relative.” I offer but Burt just shakes his head. One of his large, comforting hands reaching out and rubbing reassuringly over my shoulder. The tension starts to fall out of my body.

“So are you, Blaine. You know that. You’re stuck with me for life, buddy. Best get used to that idea! And, yes, Finn has touched it. Sometimes Kurt will have him in here just flicking pages if he’s got his hands full. I mean, if you don’t want to look in here, if you’re waiting for Kurt to let you in one day, then I understand that. But I think we both know he’d probably let you look today if you wanted to. Don‘t underestimate how much you mean to us. You‘re an honorary Hummel-Hudson, Blaine.” Burt explains earnestly and my cheeks start to flush.

“I know, I know, but I still can’t look” I say eventually and then Burt just looks at the notebook for a while. Thinking, remembering, dreaming? Perhaps. But soon he’s talking again.

“Okay, how about you do all the cooking and I’ll hold onto the book? I’ll tell you exactly what to do and you can do it? That way you’ll know what to do and you haven’t looked in here at all. How does that sound?” Burt offers generously, tapping the notebook, and my eyes widen.

“You don’t have to do that. Besides, you have to work, Burt..” I state obviously and he just brushes it off. Like it’s nothing.

“So, I’ll miss an hour. So what? One of my boys needs my help, so I’m helping him. Are we doing this or what?” Burt asks enthusiastically and I just smile over at him. A huge, honest to god smile.

“Thank you.” I mutter, reaching out and hugging him quickly, he laughs, lifting the notebook up off the counter and flicking through the pages. Stopping only a few sheets in.

“You’re welcome. Now, let’s cook up a storm, kiddo.” he says before he starts to systematically list off all of the ingredients that I need and I fetch them from the cupboards. He doesn’t even seem to mind when I have to ask him to repeat his instructions sometimes and I feel like I’ve truly achieved something when - half and hour later - there’s a pile of healthy heart pancakes on one plate and a pile of chocolate non-healthy heart pancakes on another. The sweet scent of batter and chocolate absolutely filling the room. While, Burt and I have been getting to know one another much better. And I guess that’s exactly how a dad bonds with his son. They talk, they laugh, they learn, they grow together. And I’m certainly feeling much more like his son by the end of it all.

It’s only when Burt returns the notebook to the shelf and I turn to put the plates on the table that I notice Kurt standing in the doorway. Looking somewhat settled as he leans against the doorframe in his pyjamas. His head tilted to the side a fraction, a contented expression covering his face, his diamond eyes sparkling vibrantly in the light as he mouths, ‘Hi’.

He’s seen enough, that much is clear, and when Burt notices that he’s there he proudly ushers him inside, “Kurt! Come on in and try our pancakes! And don’t go easy on us, son. We can take it. What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger!”

And something happens then, something inside of me, and I’m absolutely certain that I have the greatest family in the world. It’s enough for me to call Ellen after breakfast. It’s enough for me to tell her that after our next scheduled appointment I don‘t think I‘ll need to see her again. It’s enough for me to disconnect the call, turn to Kurt and unexpectedly press a lingering kiss against his soft, warm cheek. My smile stretching out over his porcelain skin, before I pull away with an audible ‘mwah’ and a head full to the brim with possibilities. And then my story isn’t about carrying on, it isn’t about surviving, not anymore, it’s about living.


o~o~o





Note: More soon! <3

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
katiek723
Feb. 9th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
aaaaaaaargh, you're back
\sadffofzmdb gfz
this was so unexpected :D
katiek723
Feb. 9th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Aaaw, happy Blainers. My heart.

mulder1921
Feb. 9th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
I'm still reading! So happy Blaine is doing so well, especially after that first horrific day at school. And that song just about killed me with the love and joy they were feeling.
whosgotyou
Feb. 9th, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm defitenly still reading though I will admit skimming the last chapter for the reminder. I simply love how well they know each other. Kurt rambling bit about cheerleading was perfection. Burt was amazing I love the idea of them to making breakfast together. Blaine's so completely happy I hope it can last for a while.
shighola
Feb. 9th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
There aren't enough words to express all of the feelings I am feeling. this fic is wonderful. Just wonderful. And I'm so glad you're still working on this. Thank you!
cherucaustic
Feb. 10th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
God, I need this today. It's so perfect...just everything about it. Seeing Blaine happy like that and being a family is so sweet.
mmmcookies22
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
still reading this religiously and looking forward to every update! Great chapter as always.
thimbles71
Feb. 10th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
Still reading, duh! This chapter was so lovely! It made me smile.
frumiousme
Feb. 10th, 2012 06:15 am (UTC)
buraine? it's the best. loved this chapter x
springbay
Feb. 10th, 2012 07:08 am (UTC)
I'm still reading too! I don't know how I got behind on this but I just got caught up from chapter 15. This fic is so, so good. I'm so glad you're still writing it. And that last paragraph - perfection. What a breakthru for Blaine. For a split second I thought it was the end (and it would have been ok) but then I saw your note.

Just one question, though. Will we ever see Blaine's dad again? And will he be held accountable for his actions. So looking forward to your next update!
fara1903
Feb. 10th, 2012 09:59 am (UTC)
Blaine seems to be doing well!
citizen_bliss
Feb. 10th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
I'm still reading! :D

and aaw this was lovely!! Blaine is all better <3
eraandi
Feb. 10th, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
I'd honestly thought that once you stopped hurting Blaine, I'd stop crying over this fic.
Not true.
Still crying.
Not the best idea to read this at work.
But at least they are happy tears.
You'll never seize to amaze me, will you?
Love you!!! <3
Megan Richardson
Feb. 19th, 2012 08:58 am (UTC)
I absolutely adore this story (just by the way, you need to connect this chapter to the last one, I freaked out just a bit when I didn't see another link at the bottom of Part 23!). It hits all those spots in my heart that I didn't know were there. I love the tentativeness and the domesticity and the simplicity all rolled up together.

My one concern in terms of realistic portrayals is that aside from any financial incentives, it wouldn't be a good idea at all to discontinue therapy at this point. My experience was similar in that I felt really great for a while and stopped therapy, and then it took about two months for everything to fall back down again. I think it might be more believable if Blaine changed the schedule to every two weeks or something like that. I'm not suggesting you actually change the story, because I think the phone call has a ton of significance that would be lost if you changed it, but I just want to point that out for anyone who might be reading and is in a therapy situation.

And again, I love love love this fic. It is nearly four in the morning and I am just finishing reading it despite the fact that I said 1am was my bedtime. I haven't actually been reading this particular fic for three hours, but it will be the one I end with--it scratched my itch so to speak. Thanks so much for writing, and I really look forward to the next update. Hopefully it'll get posted on the kurt-blaine livejournal community so I won't have to manually go around and check all my WIPs for updates. :)
imgoingtodalton
Feb. 26th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
STILL READING <3 Still sobbing at like, every chapter. Still one of my favorite fics of all time. An update would be awesome. ;D
chinablues
Aug. 15th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Just a little note to let you know how important this story is to me. You go to some very dark places; but so realistically, and, if I may, so lovingly. I really appreciate the care you've taken in portraying someone who has been abused so badly for so long that they believe it to be their only choice; and then bringing them back to understand what they truly deserve. You've frightened me, then soothed me, and I hope I've learned to see a little more clearly as I go through my every day.

I haven't just marked this into my Memories file. I've also made the only LJ journal entry I've ever been brave enough to publish dedicated to this. It's a permanent reminder that there's more to everyone's story than what is on the surface, and that the smallest gesture can make a difference. Thank you for lifting a veil.
katiek723
Sep. 3rd, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
I'm going to go back and read this entire thing tonight.

Still hoping upon hope that you get back to it one day.

(Anonymous)
Mar. 14th, 2013 01:27 am (UTC)
PLEASE UPDATE!
Please, please, PLEASE update this soon!!! This is absolutely by far the best Klaine fanfic I've ever read! I really want you to finish the story with a few more chapters because I want to see Blaine and Kurt together and I'm sure others will say the same. So please write the next chapter because I just can't get enough of this!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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