Rating: PG 13
Spoilers: 3x08 (Hold on to Sixteen)
Warnings: Blaine’s got a potty mouth…
Word Count: ~3.2k
Characters/Pairings: Blaine, Kurt/Blaine, OC's
Summary: And something inside him snaps. Days, weeks, months of built up hurt and anger and aggression all spilling out into six words. It means I’m not for sale.
Disclaimer: I do not claim any ownership rights to Glee as it belongs to FOX network and the show’s producers. Title credit goes to I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth by Fall Out Boy.
Author’s Note: I really liked everything that happened in this episode, but the Blainer in me still need more so I wrote this a reaction fic. It was supposed to a little 1k fic about Blaine punching a bag. And then it turned into this monster of internal struggle and Blangst. I’m sorry I can’t help it. Everything I ever write ends up making Blaine sad.
Unbeta’d so please forgive my errors. And if you do find any, please point them out kindly. I don’t well with harsh words ;)
McKinley is harder than Blaine expects it to be. Definitely, it’s harder than Dalton ever was. Not academically – because hi, Blaine can sleep through most of his classes and still pull a 4.0 GPA here – but just making it through the school day is starting to feel like a chore. It’s not quite East Westerville, which is where he was before Dalton, because he has more than just the one friend and he hasn’t been cut, hit, or bruised yet, but it’s not quite the comfort and safety of Dalton either.
At Dalton, Blaine held Kurt’s hand and walked him to class. They kissed in the common rooms and sang duets during Warblers practice. At Dalton, they went on double dates with Jeff and Nick, and Wes and David asked him about his day and made sure that he was OK.
He doesn’t have that here at McKinley. Instead, he has the ongoing saga that is The Drama of Rachel Barbra Berry’s Life: The Musical; he has Santana’s snide remarks and Finn’s digs at Blaine’s expense. But at least he’s got Kurt – sweet, beautiful, wonderful, magical, brave Kurt who gives Blaine courage and strength to pull through.
Contrary to popular belief, Blaine transferred to McKinley because of Kurt, not for Kurt. Yes, there is a difference, and that difference is that Blaine never felt a burden to follow Kurt. He never thought being two hours away from each other would ever put a strain on their relationship because they’re both the kings of time management and he never thought that trust would be an issue either. He transferred because there were fears he had to face and experiences he had to gain. He transferred because Dalton was home – it was safe – but McKinley was the real world and he was starting to forget what that was like.
Blaine transferred because he needed Kurt, not the other way around.
He loves Kurt; so much that it hurts sometimes to even think about it. Every fibre of Blaine’s being aches with want and need for the boy because Kurt is everything Blaine has any right to ask for. Sure, his friends and the glee club and hell, even Burt and Carole tease him about the way looks at Kurt – adoringly, like nothing else in the world could be so perfect – but Blaine doesn’t know of any other way to look at him; doesn’t understand how someone could look at him and find anything but beauty and perfection.
So yes, Blaine is at McKinley because of Kurt – because he can’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be but with the love of his life, being as close as possible for two gay men to be in the halls of WMHS for one last year before they’re in different states, on different coasts.
It’s hard, sure, but Blaine makes do with what he’s got – he always has and he’s never really had the option not to. He goes to his ridiculously easy classes and thinks about how good 4.0 GPA and valedictorian will look on applications to Columbia and Pace and NYU next year. He sings like his life depends on (because sometimes – and Blaine hasn’t admitted this to anyone but Wes yet – it really, really does) and he tries to appease many people as he possibly can.
It’s the last bit that’s the most difficult.
It seems like no matter what, nothing he does is ever right or good enough. None of the guys in glee except for Mike ever really talk to him, Kurt’s closer with the girls than he ever will be, every bitchy remark Santana makes about his appearance reminds him of his grandmother’s subtle remarks about his weight and height and everything wrong with him and Finn is just turning into one of the Neanderthals from East Westerville who used to lock him inside broom closets and lockers. Not to mention the fact that he can’t even open his mouth without being told to sit down and shut up.
Blaine is just angry. He came here to face up to his demons, not let people who were supposed to be his friends become new ones. He’s mad at himself for letting it get so far, for not standing up for himself, but he’s also mad at them for thinking that they have any right to do this to him.
He vents to Kurt, and Kurt listens and he comforts, but Blaine’s still bitter. He hates the taste of the resentment lingering on his tongue and that nauseous feeling that builds up in the pit of his stomach and slowly churns in red hot anger until he can’t hold it down anymore. It gets harder and harder every day to keep everything bottled up – especially because the man he sees in the mirror isn’t the one everyone else seems to think he is.
He knows that he’s more than just a singer, or an academic, or a rich kid. He’s more than just gay; just the new kid that tries too hard and dresses weird and puts too much product in his hair. Blaine knows that – sure, it’s taken him years to accept it, but now that he has, it kills him a little bit each time someone who is supposed to care doesn’t recognize it.
Blaine’s glad that Sam comes back because that means they might actually have a chance at winning Sectionals. He and Blaine also got to be pretty OK friends back when Kurt was helping Sam out and before the his family had to move four hours away, so Blaine thinks that he might finally have someone on his side.
Except, of course, he doesn’t, because Sam’s already close friends with Finn and Sam doesn’t seem to like Blaine quite as much as Blaine had thought he did. Whatever it is, Blaine knows that this is definitely not what he was hoping for when he first heard about the blond transferring back.
Because Sam is suggesting they use sex to their advantage and everyone seems to be on board with it and Blaine’s just not comfortable with the idea. Sure, he was all for sexyfying the Warblers last year, but the sexiest the Warblers ever got was Backstreet Boys a la Aaron Carter.
And suddenly he’s back in ninth grade in his tiny, scrawny little fourteen-year-old body surrounded by guys ten times bigger than him. They’re pushing him around in a circle and calling him things like cockslsut and whore and taunting him about how much he must beg for it and telling him that he’s nothing but a dirty pervert. But now he’s surrounded by people who are supposed to accept him and be his friends and all Blaine can hear is them accusing him of being willing to sell his body for a little action.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knows this isn’t true, but right now Sam isn’t Sam-the-nice-guy that-does-dorky-impressions anymore, he’s the ten foot tall football player that told him to go jump off a bridge because no one wants a dirty slut like you around.
Blaine has nothing against people who can market sex appeal – his love for Katy Perry and adoration for Lady Gaga are a testament to that. Only, he doesn’t feel safe putting his body out there for people – strangers – to see when he’s only just gotten used to having Kurt look at him like that. Because he doesn’t think he can handle having a crowd look at him like he’s something to have.
That’s why Sebastian makes him so uncomfortable. He knows he should be flattered, but he’s just dumbfounded by it. People – boys – don’t look at him like that. Girls, sure (at least until they realize that he’s gay and they wander off mumbling something about why is it always the good ones), but boys? No. Boys don’t really look at him like they might at people like Santana or Quinn or even Kurt.
He hates the feeling of being objectified more than he does the feeling of being victimized and it’s the one thing he can relate to most of the girls in glee club about.
Yes, Blaine has had sex – wonderful, amazing, mind blowing sex which he doesn’t regret, not even for one minute. His first time with Kurt was most probably the best decision and experience of Blaine’s life. And that’s just his point – his first time was with Kurt and Kurt is the only person in the world that he feels comfortable sharing this part of himself with.
It’s every fear Blaine has ever had about sex. And yes, Blaine is scared damn it. Maybe even more than Kurt ever was because Kurt was afraid of the mechanics of it all – of the physical parts. Blaine, however, is terrified of it all meaning nothing. He’s absolutely petrified of being used and abused because people assume that just because he’s gay, he’s easy. He doesn’t want that. He’s never, ever wanted that. Hell, Blaine could do without the sex if it meant that he could just have someone love and hold him for the rest of his life.
He can’t – he can’t cheapen something so damn important and intimate because he wants to win a fucking show choir competition.
And something inside him snaps. Days, weeks, months of built up hurt and anger and aggression all spilling out into six words.
It means I’m not for sale.
It’s meant to hurt, to stab into Sam like Finn’s words stab into Blaine. He has this petty, hostile monster in him that he works so hard to hide away, but sometimes, when the pain gets to be too much and he can feel his defences coming down, Blaine can’t hold it down anymore. It lashes out and hurts anyone in its way and it always aims for the jugular. Blaine’s just glad that Kurt didn’t get involved in any of this. Because he knows everything about Kurt and that mean he also knows exactly what to say to reduce Kurt into less than the empty shell he was back before they’d met.
He walks out as fast as he possibly can when Mr. Schuester breaks up what would have been a really nasty fight and heads straight for the gym.
Only as he’s walking towards his locker does he starts to admit that the lashing out may have been about more than feeling victimized. Maybe it had been about feeling jealous too; jealous of the fact that Sam can just waltz in be welcomed with open arms, but Blaine can’t even open his mouth without someone second guessing him. Sam can be an asshole and Finn can be an asshole too, but if Blaine says something sensible, he’s suddenly trying to run the show.
He’s ready to admit that he’s a bit more than just bitter about the whole situation.
Blaine’s been using the gym a lot lately so he’s gotten in the habit of keeping a set of workout clothes and his boxing gloves in his locker. He hasn’t needed to use the punching bag this much since he met Kurt, but in the last two weeks alone, he’s been in the weight room three out of five days a week.
He would never condone physical violence – he’s been a victim of it too many times to ever think it to be the answer to anything – but he does understand the relief one gets from just hitting something with everything you’ve got.
The boxing started after those guys jumped him and his date at the Sadie Hawkins’s dance and before he started up at Dalton. When his leg healed, and his ribs and lungs and arm and jaw and general emotional state of being reached a level of situation normal not all fucked up, Blaine attempted to beg and plead his way into a self-defence class at the learning annex.
His father, the sexist, homophobic, misogynistic asshole that he was and still is, insisted that self-defence classes were only for women and pussies and that Blaine needed to learn a real man’s sport. So Blaine took up boxing instead. Despite hating his father more than any son should, Blaine admits that it’s the first smart thing that he’s ever seen the man do from the time that Blaine came out.
Blaine took to boxing like a moth to a flame. He learned footwork and the advantage of being lightweight and quick on his feet. He was already very good at dodging fists so that was a no brainer and he found that he really liked hitting things.
He pretends that the punching bag is all his frustrations and fears and hurts and pains. Sometimes he likes to think that it’s the faces of those assholes the made him into – into this fucked up, hollow version of himself.
And sometimes he imagines that it’s himself – stupid, worthless, ugly, dirty Blaine. Those are the times that he’s in his darkest place and struggling to get out. It’s the scariest place Blaine has ever seen – all his skeletons and monsters staring at him, crowding his space and suffocating him until he starts to panic and lose control. Those are the times he needs Kurt to come find him and drag him, kicking and screaming and crying, out into the light.
This time is not one of those times. This times he’s picturing Sam’s face and Finn’s face and the faces of every asshole who ever hurt him on that bag and he’s throwing all of his weight into every punch. He knows that even with his hands wrapped and in his gloves, his knuckles will probably bruise tomorrow, but the ache in his bones will be better than the ache in his heart any day.
He keeps hitting, each punch reverberating back into him, sending conflicting shocks of agony and release coursing through his body. He’s got a lot of pent up aggression from the events of the last few months and he’s completely and totally focused on that, which is why he doesn’t hear Finn walk into the room.
“Is that Sam’s face?” Finn asks.
“Yep, yours too,” Blaine replies.
And Finn looks so shocked to see him punching the stuffing out of that bag that Blaine almost laughs. It’s like Finn has never seen anyone break the stereotype. It’s not like his own brother didn’t win them a football game by convincing the team to do the Single Ladies dance. Not like he didn’t spend an entire summer with Blaine bonding over Halo and COD and Ohio State football.
“Don’t act so surprised,” Blaine scoffs, “After getting bullied so much, I took up boxing.”
And god, did it help. Blaine never feels more in control than when he has his hands taped and his gloves on and he’s doing his own version of float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. In the beginning he felt absolutely disgusted with himself because of the sick sensation of pleasure and relief he got every time he hit hard enough to hurt. He started to understand just how good it could feel to hurt something and break it; Blaine began to empathize with his tormentors and he was completely terrified of himself.
But his therapist adamantly pointed out that he didn’t hurt anyone, not even if he really, really wanted to. The important part was that he found a healthy outlet for his pain and anger and you’re not one of them, Blaine.
Every thud of his fist on the leather of the bag reminds of how utterly wrong it was of him to say those things to Sam. He knows that Sam only did what he had to do in order to help his family and god, Blaine that doesn’t wish a life like that on anyone, least of all a guy as good a as Sam Evans. He knows he needs to apologize to Sam, and he will. But not now. Not when there’s still a chance that he might punch the next person who looks at him the wrong way in the guts.
Blaine hits the bag again and adds, “I also started the Dalton branch of Fight Club, which I obviously can’t talk about,” as a throwaway line because he can and it sounds funny in his head.
Finn doesn’t say anything back so Blaine stops hitting the punching bag and turns to face him.
“What is your problem with me anyway?” Blaine asks, because he has to; he can’t keep on ignoring it anymore, he has to know. “Ever since I got here, you’ve given me nothing but crap.”
“Honestly, dude, I was kind of jealous,” Finn answers.
Blaine laughs because, yeah alright there Finn.
“I felt threatened,” he continues.
Threatened of what, Blaine thinks. Of the scrawny kid wearing bow ties and high-waters trying desperately to fit in and make friends? Or of the kid that’s so needlessly insecure that he fights with himself every day trying to convince his own mind that he’s worth something. Because Blaine honestly can’t see the threat in any of that.
And then Finn is telling him about how intimidated he was by Blaine’s talent and abilities. He’s talking to Blaine in that ridiculously condescending way adults talk to kids – smile, nod and agree because they’re so damn cute, but Blaine can tell that he’s trying in the only way Finn really knows how, so he chooses to ignore it.
Instead, Blaine takes what he can get and allows himself to accept Finn’s apology and, with a half-hearted smile and an exhausted sigh, he agrees to helping the New Directions kick some Troubletone ass.
Later, Blaine know that he will go to Rachel’s house, where Sam is staying, and apologize for being the asshole he knows was. Then after that, he’ll go home to an empty house to shower and pack an overnight bag.
Even later still, Blaine will knock on the Hummel-Hudson’s door and Burt will look at him like he’s crazy for showing up on their doorstep at 11 pm on a school night, but he’ll let Blaine in anyway and Blaine will shuffle up the stairs to Kurt’s room. He’ll crawl into Kurt’s bed and wrap his arms around the only person in the he feels safe with. He’ll hold Kurt close until his boyfriend rouses from sleep and turns around to hold Blaine and surround him with all of Kurt’s limbs and love and warmth. And for a little while, Blaine will be at peace; content to lie in bed with his – his Kurt and love and be loved.
But for now, he’ll settle for putting water under the bridge and finally finding a place to belong.
Because he believes all good things have to start somewhere and if that somewhere is on the precipice of a tentative friendship in a weight room at William McKinley… well, Blaine will take it for all its worth and never let go.