Birds Of A Feather
Disclaimer: In case you wondered, no, Glee's not mine.
A/N: Joining the million plus Klaine stories already out there, I thought one more was definitely in order. Seriously, though, after 'Special Education' made me love Blaine even more, I decided I had to try my hand at Klaine. You can tell Blaine really cares about Kurt and feels badly about all the stuff that happened in that episode…besides, they're just so cute together!
Also - this is my first attmept at writing Blaine, or Klaine for that matter, so please be nice!
A/N2: As you'll figure from the first lines, this story begins in the middle of the last Klaine scene of 'Special Education' – the chemistry there was undeniable and I thought it would be a good point to start with this, and go from there.
Chapter 1 – The Gilded Cage
Looking at the caged Pavarotti and the uniformed boy sitting before it, Blaine couldn't help but wonder if the similarity was just his imagination. Beautiful yet sad, safe yet imprisoned, gifted with a beautiful voice yet not using it. He knew Kurt and his school better than to assume everything would be rainbows and unicorns once he moved to Westerville but Kurt's face when his ideas got shot down one by one during his first Warbler meeting still left him feeling really bad. Even more so since he was the one to encourage Kurt to transfer here. What he didn't take into consideration was that Kurt wasn't your run-of-the-mill private school material. He had the smarts and the looks all right but there was a streak of distinctive individuality to him that Blaine both admired and feared. Kurt stood out wherever he went. He was exceptional. Which was a good thing…but not necessarily at Dalton.
At that moment Kurt looked up at him with those big, troubled eyes and Blaine knew he would do anything to make him feel good and accepted here, even if it meant being harsh from time to time because eventually, it would be for Kurt's own good. Seeing how seriously Kurt took his care of Pavarotti, Blaine knew Kurt also wanted this to work. He smiled at him reassuringly.
"Oh, he's just molting. He's growing a new coat of feathers, so his body has to shut down a little. But don't worry about it—he's got food, water, he seems to like his cage. Just give it a little while. He'll be singing again in no time."
The metaphor turned out to be more of an anvil, really, but Blaine desperately wanted his point to get through to Kurt, and by the look the countertenor gave him, he figured Kurt understood all he was saying as well as all that he wasn't because that's how Kurt was. And it was driving Blaine insane. As was his voice, his smile…Blaine had always prided himself on his self-restraint and calm but every time he was with Kurt, he lost it. Now he found himself leaning into those lucid blue eyes like a moth to a flame…until his brain reluctantly took over and he mumbled something about the Warblers rehearsal.
He stood up quickly and left, his hand brushing the other boy's knee and his mind in haze and full of Kurt's eyes and smile. Kurt was new here, and however strong he was, Blaine knew he was also vulnerable. Blaine didn't want to take advantage of that, especially since he knew Kurt looked up to him and sought his advice, not advances. Kurt needed a friend right now, someone to have his back, not new romantic troubles, especially after what he'd gone through lately. Blaine decided if he repeated this about a thousand times more, maybe he'd convince himself.
"Warblers, we got through Sectionals but we shouldn't rest on our laurels," Wes announced in an aloof manner inaugurating the Warbler rehearsal. "The tie with the New Directions was a warning. There are no ties in the Regionals, people, and if we want to win, we've got to step up our game."
A murmur of approval was heard throughout the room.
"After conferring, the council agreed we need to have killer classic repertoire," Wes continued. "Something the judges will know and respond to."
"How about choreography?"
Everyone turned to where the question came from, their eyes landing on Kurt, who standing near the window.
"Choreography, Kurt?" Wes asked raising his eyebrows.
"You know, it's the part when we all dance to the music and…" Kurt let his voice trail seeing his sarcastic voice wasn't exactly garnering him any brownie points with his teammates. "I couldn't help but notice this isn't our strongest point."
"What do you mean?"
Kurt took a look around considering how far he could go. He had already learned that speaking his mind wasn't exactly the smartest thing to do around here. While it would be the most natural thing at McKinley and no one would hold his individual views against him, here the rules were different. Kurt reminded himself that was exactly why he had transferred here. Because maybe having these rules wasn't that bad after all if it protected you from bullying and violence. Even if it meant having to tone down his temperament. So while he desperately wanted to suggest that swaying to music and walking left to right weren't exactly show-stopping moves, he dropped it and decided to do it the Dalton way.
"I…simply mean that we might have to work on something with more…glamour for the Regionals. I've been there, I know. And New Directions will have their biggest guns out."
"It's a choir contest, which means we sing," David enunciated. "We leave theatricality for those who can't actually sing and have to use cheap tricks to turn the judges' attention away from that."
Kurt looked at the Warbler council incredulously, not able to hold back any longer.
"But it's show choir, which means there has to be at least a bit of show in it! And it's so much more than just singing! It's…"
"I'm sure the council will take your remarks under consideration, Kurt," Blaine cut Kurt off pointedly seeing the looks on the faces of the other Warblers, who were looking at their newest member with a mixture of shock and incredulity.
"Thank you, Blaine," David said in a leveled tone. "And thank you for your contribution, Kurt. We appreciate your…unorthodox point of view but for now I think we should focus on the songs."
Kurt nodded, feeling colour creep up his cheeks. He had never felt so offended without actually being offended. He mustered a small smile and sat down without another word as the Warblers resumed their discussion about the repertoire. He felt Blaine's eyes on him but refused to look at him. Quite frankly, he was furious at him and felt betrayed and really confused with his behaviour. It was like there were two different Blaines. When they were outside Dalton, he was this amazing guy Kurt was smitten with who sent him 'Courage' texts and enthusiastically flailed at Vogue covers with him, but the moment he put on his uniform, he turned into this automaton who told him to fit in at all costs and discard any expressions of emotions altogether as if they were a bad, shameful thing. With this thought stoking his anger, he finally looked up at the other boy to find he was no longer looking at him and was deep in conversation with Wes about doing a Sinatra number.
Great, another sway-to-the-music-because-we-have-sticks-up-our-butts number, Kurt thought.
Still, he decided to think about the bigger picture and how much better in general he felt at Dalton, and swallowed the pill, even mustering a smile when they proceeded to the warm-up exercises and then Sinatra, partly because he adored old Frank so much.
Finally the rehearsal ended and the Warblers began to disperse. Kurt was about to do the same when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Blaine looking at him with concern.
"Can we talk?" he asked.
Kurt wanted to say no, he really did, but found he couldn't. He just shrugged and followed Blaine out into one of the less frequented corridors.
When Blaine was sure they were alone, he turned to Kurt.
"Kurt, I know you feel betrayed…"
"Well, it's one of the side-effects of betrayal," Kurt snapped closing his hands around the strap of his messenger bag tighter. He looked to the side, hoping Blaine would get the point.
"Hey," Blaine said softly coming closer. "Look at me."
Kurt told himself he wouldn't but felt helpless when Blaine's fingers slid gently under his chin and moved his head upwards to face him. He looked into Blaine's dark eyes and felt himself drowning in them, his anger almost forgotten.
"Kurt, you need to understand that this school is different. The no-bullying policy comes with a price…but it's well worth it, believe me." Blaine gave him a small smile. "But you already know that or you wouldn't be here. So please, at least try. I want you to feel good in this school. You deserve it. For yourself. And for me," he added hesitantly.
"Yes, for me because I already can't imagine this school without you."
Kurt stared at him. "I…you can't?"
"I resent your surprised tone, Mr. Hummel," Blaine said wryly. "You're the best thing that happened to this school and the Warblers in a long time. Just give them some time and they'll appreciate you like…" Blaine stopped himself realizing he was on the verge of saying quite too much. "They'll appreciate you," he corrected himself lamely though he knew Kurt did notice his slip by the penetrating look he gave him.
Kurt nodded. He sensed Blaine wanted to say something different altogether but there was something holding him back. Again. Blaine seemed to be so intent on keeping everything bottled up and proper and in line with the Dalton policy that Kurt wanted to shake him in hope of waking up the relaxed, funny, football-loving boy he knew was hidden somewhere underneath that stiff uniform.
"Thank you," he finally said in a resigned tone. "You're right. But I just can't help but wonder which Blaine is giving me this advice. And I wonder if you yourself know."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about you and how I was once again reminded today that I don't know you at all."
"It's like there are two of you, and I can't figure out which one is real and which one is an act. And every time I think I'm starting to figure it out, you switch and I'm confused and alone again."
"Kurt, I think you're being a little…"
"I'm being a lot," Kurt stressed. "I'd love to get to know you, the real you, Blaine, but the problem is you won't let me in."
Blaine just looked at him wondering how was it that this boy he had met but a month ago could read his innermost soul like an open book. He took a step closer to him so that he could almost feel Kurt's rapid breath on his face. He wanted nothing more than to lose himself in those eyes, whose colour he couldn't exactly figure out but which made him want to be drawn out and exposed, and for once to be simply genuine and natural...
"I can't." He let his head drop. "I don't know how anymore. And I don't know which one's real."
"How about your voice?" Kurt asked softly. "Is that real?"
Blaine took a rapid breath and Kurt was afraid he'd said too much but then the older boy smiled at him lightly. "Kurt, I've made my choices and my compromises and I'm at peace with them. This is about you and your life."
"But you're part of my life."
"And I'll continue to be for as long as you'll have me but you've got to understand this-" He made a sweeping move to indicate the school around them and then tugged at his tie lightly. "-is something that I'm happy with. Please try to understand this."
There were so many things Kurt wanted to say right now but knew they would only hurt Blaine. How could he tell him that suppressing your true self and hiding behind this façade wasn't right, and that sacrificing your true voice for the false sense of safety was not compromise but suicide? He couldn't say that. So he just nodded.
"Ok. I will," he managed curtly. "I've got to go now. I'll see you later, ok?"
"Sure," Blaine said with a frown.
Kurt turned around and willed his legs to carry him away from Blaine because he feared if he stayed one moment longer, he would say too much after all.
Blaine looked after him, knowing that Kurt wasn't all right with this at all. But this was the way things had always been done at Dalton. Who was he, or Kurt for that matter, to change it? He remembered the caged Pavarotti and thinking how Kurt was like the bird. It occurred to him that he might have been wrong all along. Maybe it wasn't Kurt who was like the caged warbler after all. If so, how was he to get out when he didn't even think there was an exit until now? And did he really want to?
So what do you think? Interested enough to read more? Do let me know if you want this story to be continued! There's more angst and some fluff to come, as well as guest appearances by New Directions plus some brotherly Finn and the inevitable hilarity that comes with it – if you read my Furt story 'Odds and Ends', you know what I mean, if not – I'd love if you checked it out as well;)
Hope you're having a great weekend, everyone!