|The Dalton Prison Study
Author: placethativebeendreamingof PM
Kurt and Blaine are strangers in need of some quick cash when they both sign up for two week research study on prison life. Blaine's assigned to be a guard and Kurt is his prisoner. Can they find love and each other in such a hopeless place? AU Klaine.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Kurt H. & Blaine A. - Chapters: 14 - Words: 83,275 - Reviews: 101 - Favs: 96 - Follows: 96 - Updated: 05-20-12 - Published: 01-29-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7787508
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: The Dalton Prison Study
Authors: SA Mac and Alexeidarling (our first fic collab)
Summary: Kurt and Blaine are strangers in need of some quick cash when they both sign up for two week research study on prison life. Blaine's assigned to be a guard and Kurt is his prisoner. Can they find love (and each other) in such a hopeless place? AU Klaine based on the landmark Stanford Prison study conducted in 1971.
Characters: Kurt Hummel, Blaine Anderson, Sebastian Smythe, & David Karofsky. Minor Burt Hummel, Carole Hudson, Finn Hudson, Sam Evans, Noah Puckerman, Brittany S. Pierce, & Jeff, Nick.
Pairings: Major Klaine, some one-sided Seblaine, and a tiny bit of Niff if you squint.
Rating: M for profanity, homophobia, bullying, slurs, nudity, and sexual banter. If you've read about the original Stanford Prison study, you know that shit got real there, very quickly. I'll post chapter by chapter warnings as well.
Chapter: 1/14 – Reflected Appraisal
Chapter Warnings: Homophobia and language.
Reflected appraisal: self esteem is based on how you believe others perceive you.
Author's Note: This story is based on real events, specifically the landmark Stanford prison experiment conducted in 1971. This is obviously an AU take on the Glee universe. Specifically, the fic also takes place in 1971 when cultural attitiudes towards homosexuality weren't as accepting as they are today. As a result, Blaine didn't come out to his parents or his peers in high school, so he never had to transfer to Dalton and never met Kurt. You'll see appearances from many familiar Glee characters throughout the story, but the experiment at Dalton will mark the first time that these characters are meeting one another.
"So tell me everything. How's New York? How did West Side Story go? Burt said you were amazing as Tony. I'm so upset that I had to work at the hospital and couldn't come and see you."
"New York is amazing. I never want to leave. I'm finally getting to do what I always wanted, but it is really good to be back home. It's nice to have a roommate that's not a giant cockroach for once."
Finn made a weird face at Kurt, looking confused and slightly insulted.
"I mean actual cockroaches, Finn. Not Rachel," Kurt said with a weary smile.
Burt snorted into his iced tea, getting an admonishing glance from Carole in reply. "Anyways," Burt said, sitting up straighter in the booth. "We're glad to have you home, Kurt. How long are you staying?"
"Just about three weeks. I have to be back by August 1st because we are going to start workshopping a new play. I just wanted to see everyone and hopefully find a job to make a little cash while I'm here. No one's hiring in New York, at least for jobs that don't require sacrificing the small shred of dignity I have left, so I figured while I'm in Lima I could work at a coffee shop or at the mall or something."
"Why don't you see if they are hiring here, honey?" Carole asked. "I bet you could make pretty good money in tips."
"Oh, God no, I'd rather deliver singing telegrams to old people than work here. Do you know how many carbs are in these stupid breadsticks? Not to mention I'd have to wait on everyone from McKinley. Seriously, Santana used to bring a wheelbarrow in here and demand that they fill it with breadsticks. And they actually did it."
"Fair enough. But Kurt, if you are ever low on money, you know you can call us, right? And there's always a job for you at the garage if you want it. Why don't you just help out at the shop while you're home?"
"I know, Dad, but you know how hard it is for me to get those grease stains off my hands. My cuticles were a mess last time. Besides, I'm twenty years old now and I can't live off my parents forever. I'm sure I can find a job somewhere. I just need to check out the want ads and see who's hiring.
Blaine picked uneasily at his salad, half listening to his mom and dad drone on about some upcoming charity event. He'd only been home for a weekend, and it already felt like eternity.
"Blaine? Blaine!" his father called, annoyed
"Huh? Oh, sorry. What were you saying, Dad?" Blaine asked sheepishly, his mind still wandering as he mentally mapped out the bridge to a song he was writing.
"Blaine, it is rude to daydream at the table. Surely we've taught you better conversation skills than that. Your mother was asking you a question."
Blaine flushed bright red with embarrassment. "Sorry Mom, what were you asking me again?"
"Well Blaine, your father and I were just wondering about your GPA and your courses for next semester. Did you make the Dean's List?"
Blaine managed a tight smile. "Yeah, I did...barely. Organic Chem was brutal, but I managed to pull out a B minus." He looked to his parents expectantly, knowing that waiting for positive reinforcement from them was a losing game, but still irrationally hoping for some sort of acknowledgment.
But Blaine's hopes were dashed when his mother simply nodded. His father looked disappointed instead of proud, frowning slightly as he addressed Blaine. "Hmm, just a B minus, you say? Sounds like someone is wasting too much time and not studying enough. You're at a state school, not an Ivy League school, after all. You should be pulling a 4.0 GPA. There's no excuse for B's. I hope you intend to do better next semester. You need to do better in your science courses if you are going to get into a respectable med school. What courses did you register for?"
Blaine felt his heart sink at his father's response. He'd learned long ago that it was nearly impossible to earn his father's respect, but that didn't change the stinging feeling he got every time his dad put him down. He felt a surge of anger, more at the situation and himself than at his dad, frustrated that after all these years, he still let his dad get to him. He knew that he shouldn't worry or care what his parents thought, but there was still an innate part of him that craved their recognition and affection. It was human nature after all, and Blaine was especially driven to please others, often at the expense of his own well- being.
Blaine knew that this needed to stop, that it had to stop. He was in college now and living on his own for the first time and the truth was that he was miserable following the path his parents had laid out for him. He'd rehearsed the conversation he wanted to have with his parents a million times over. He'd finally tell them the truth and stand up for himself. Because going to Ohio State University and majoring in pre-med had already confirmed what Blaine had known about himself all along. That he wasn't meant to be a doctor. That he would never be the perfect Anderson son that his parents wanted him to be. But no matter how many times Blaine replayed the conversation in his head, the ending was always the same. His parents did not respond well. Blaine knew that his parents knowing the real him meant that their seeming indifference would likely morph into something much worse. And those fears, time and time again, had kept Blaine from being honest with his parents about who he really was. And it was time for all the pretending to stop.
With a deep breath, Blaine dove in, starting with the most innocuous detail he could imagine. "Well, right now I'm registered for O-Chem 2, Anatomy and Anatomy Lab, Calculus, and Intro to Political Science. And my adviser said I should also register for one elective, so I decided to sign up for Introduction to Musical Theory and Composing. One of my suitemates took it last semester and said it was a really interesting class."
Mr. Anderson made a gruff noise of disapproval. "Music Theory, Blaine? You expect me to pay for a waste of time course like that? You only have four years at OSU to show the med school admissions committee that you are a well-rounded and serious candidate. Surgeons don't noodle around on the guitar. They take MCAT prep courses and study business or economics or government. Those are respectable electives. You need to pick a different elective."
Blaine's face flushed with frustration at his father's entirely unnecessary attack on the one course that Blaine might actually enjoy next semester. He'd been dreading another semester full of labs and science courses. The one bright spot had been this music course. Blaine was fairly proficient at the guitar and piano, but was entirely self-taught. He loved performing live and nothing helped him clear his head like writing music. The thought of getting to spend a semester among creative, likeminded individuals and actually learn how to write a song properly was exhilarating. So of course that would mean that it had to be soundly rejected by his parents.
Suddenly Blaine was on his feet, his frustration and anger boiling over to the surface. "Fuck this," Blaine thought darkly. He had nothing to lose. And he was just pissed off enough and exhausted from pretending to be someone he wasn't to actually say the things on his mind. "You know what?" Blaine shouted angrily, his voice echoing off the cavernous ceilings of his home's meticulous and ornate formal dining room. "I'm taking the class. You know why? Because I actually like performing. Imagine that; I've finally found something that I'm good at that doesn't make me miserable. Do you have any idea how much I hate Chemistry and Biology? Being a doctor was never my dream. It was yours. And I've gone along with it all this time in the vain hope of pleasing you. Of actually making you happy for a change. But you know what? Fuck that."
His father had risen to his feet as well by this point, his eyes dark and ominous with fury. His mother paled visibly at the rising tide of emotion in his voice, physically recoiling slightly when Blaine cursed aloud. But Blaine surged ahead, gathering momentum and steam as he let out all the words and emotions that he'd kept locked away for years. "There's no pleasing you, Dad. Nothing's good enough for you. And I'm tired of killing myself to make you proud when that's a hopeless case."
Blaine drew in a deep breath, relishing that his father's face was flushed red as well. In fact, it was nearly purple with rage. It felt so good to be getting a reaction for once. Blaine sometimes felt like he could stand up and scream and his parents would simply ignore him or pat him on the head and toss off some non-committal remark. So to have clear evidence that his words were being heard, that he was somehow getting through to his parents for once, only added fuel to the fire. Before his father had time to interject, Blaine surged ahead, wanting to get everything out before he lost his nerve.
"Look, Dad. The truth is that I'm an adult now and it's time I started acting like one. I need to live my own life. I can't keep following your plan, especially when it just isn't me. What I love, what I need to be doing more than anything in the world is performing. I like music, I like writing songs, and I love being up on stage. When I'm performing I feel like I can do anything I want. I feel like myself. I don't feel like I'm hiding in someone else's skin. I'm tired of pretending to be something, someone I'm not." Blaine took a deep breath, knowing what had to come next. Two small words that he knew would change everything. But honestly, what did he have to lose? You couldn't lose the love and support of parents who merely tolerated you at best. And so Blaine opened his mouth once more and finally gave voice to what he'd known to be true since he was thirteen.
"I'm gay," Blaine said simply. He felt a flood of relief as the words passed through his lips. All the waiting, all the agonizing over whether to come out was over. He took a breath to steady himself, steeling himself to look up at his parents, flinching already in expectation of their reaction.
The silence seemed to stretch on forever to Blaine as he waited, barely breathing, for the hostility that was to come. When his father spoke, his words were controlled but contained a biting undercurrent of hatred and disgust that hurt Blaine so much more than his anger or shouting ever could.
"Get out of my house. Now. Get your stuff and leave. I don't want to see your face in my house again," He spoke firmly, his mind clearly made up. His eyes were harsh and cold, seeming to look through Blaine rather than at him.
Blaine felt his stomach turn to ice with the chill in his father's voice. He dared to glance up just then, needing to see if there was any flicker of doubt or guilt as his dad unceremoniously kicked him out of the house. The eyes that met his were hard and determined, and Blaine's heart sank as he saw his father's lip curl slightly into a sneer of disgust. And it was only then Blaine knew that this was really happening.
Somehow, Blaine forced himself to meet his father's gaze, holding eye contact for nearly a minute, staring back resolutely and making it clear that he wasn't backing down. The room was completely silent save for Blaine's harsh breathing and the muffled tears coming from his mother. At last, the chime of an antique grandfather clock cut through the silence and Blaine broke away from his father's gaze, forcing himself to put one foot in front of the other as he walked out of the dining room and down a long hallway. He'd just stepped onto the landing, intending to head upstairs to his bedroom to gather his things when his father called out once more.
"I want you out of here in ten minutes. And as far as I'm concerned, I no longer have a son, so you can forget about me paying for college or anything you need. You're on your own."
Blaine had anticipated as much, but the words still stung, especially hearing his father say that he no longer had a son. He could hear the low murmur of his mother's voice, although it was hard to tell whether she was comforting Blaine's father or arguing with him from where Blaine stood. He glanced down at his watch, confirming that it was just after 7 pm. He needed a plan, and fast. He raced up the stairs to his bedroom, locking the door securely behind him before sinking to his knees on the floor.
Shaking hands slowly raked across Blaine's face as he angrily wiped at the tears starting to pool on his cheeks. He took a deep breath and tried to focusing on pulling himself together. Later, there would be time to process and grieve what he'd just lost. But now, he needed a plan. So Blaine began indiscriminately stuffing clothing and supplies into a large backpack, all the while his mind racing as he struggled to come up with a plan. Where could he go? Blaine needed a quiet place to gather his thoughts. It had been almost a year since he had moved from Westerville to Columbus for college and his mind was drawing a blank when it came to local hang outs.
After stuffing the last of his clothes into his now overstuffed backpack, Blaine took one final moment to survey his bedroom. His home. Correction: what was his home. He scrubbed a careful hand over his face, wiping away the last traces of his tears as he took a steeling breath. He wouldn't let his parents see him upset, adamantly refusing to give his father the satisfaction of seeing him hurt and broken by what had just happened. He flew down the stairs and headed towards the front door. As he walked by the dining room, he caught his mother's eyes. He paused for a half second, lost in her expression. She had obviously been crying, and her eyes were sad and almost...pleading. She gazed at Blaine for a second longer, looking apologetic before slowly shaking her head no. And with that nod, Blaine finally knew that he was completely and utterly alone. He slammed the door behind him, breathing hard against the tears that were already welling in his throat. Where could he go? He needed somewhere to think. Finally an idea occurred to him. The Lima Bean.
End Chapter Note: Hope you enjoyed the story so far. This is something that's been in the works since early Decemeber and the first 20,000 words are already written. We will be updating this story twice a week every Wednesday and Sunday. As a bonus, Chapter 2 will be going up later tonight. Then, I hope we'll see you all back here on Wednesday, Febraury 1st for when we post Chapter 3.
If you enjoyed the story, please let us know! You can review, send us a PM, and/or come check us out on Tumblr at place-that-ive-been-dreaming-of (dot) tumblr (dot) com and alexeidarling (dot) tumblr (dot) com. As the story progresses, we'll probably post some exclusive Tumblr only special features like playlists and commentary.