Maybe Blaine should've seen a pattern in the fact that Jeremiah wasn't the first older guy he'd fallen for. There was just something about the allure of a more-experienced, educated, well-spoken guy that drew Blaine in. It made him feel more important, and since he'd never had luck at finding love before, setting his sights on a more unattainable goal – well, it made him feel like it was okay that he'd never had a boyfriend.

All he wants is for someone to tell them they love him back. For someone to need him like he needs people. He's never felt that way before; like if someone hadn't met him or didn't know him, their lives wouldn't have been the same. It's like he's had no affect on anyone. So maybe going to older guys isn't the greatest idea he's ever had. But he's not perfect, and he's never claimed to be. It's not like he goes around trying to sell himself to sleazy old guys, either. He just – he just doesn't always want to have to be the mature, stand-up guy everyone knows him as. It would be nice to just be… Blaine.

It doesn't matter though, because nothing's come to fruition with the guys he's pursued, so he'll have to grow out of this phase eventually. If this is the worst thing he does, he's pretty sure he can deal with it, because lusting after older guys who pay zero attention to him never hurt anyone.

That is, until he decided to transfer to McKinley with Kurt.

Because before that, his dreams of an older guy telling him he's beautiful, telling him that they love him, telling him that they need him were just that – a dream. At McKinley, they became his nightmare.

McKinley was definitely different than Dalton, he had expected that. No more restricted academics, no more uniforms, no more all-boys school. There was also no more Warblers, no more of him being a star. So he's not really surprised when Mr. Schuster asks him to stay after rehearsal just to work on some vocalizing exercises – he says that he needs to get Blaine out of 'acapella mode'.

As he watches the others file out, Kurt staying an extra few minutes so he could wave to Blaine as he walked out with Mercedes before Mr. Shue practically pushed the two of them out the door. Closing it behind him, he walks briskly over to the piano, and motions for Blaine to come over to it from his chair across the room. At first, he stands by the edge of the piano, but Mr. Shue shakes his head with a laugh.

"Come over here. To learn, you need to be up close and personal." Blaine shifts uncomfortably, because he doesn't really know what that means and any guy like Will Schuester would know that to best utilize your vocals, you need to be standing up. But he's not one to question greatness, and from what he's heard Kurt say, Mr. Schuester is one of the best.

Mr. Shue starts playing a few notes, explaining about how Blaine needs to start learning to reacting to what's around him; feeling the music like it's within him. As much as Blaine's a smart kid, the metaphors are lost on him. To him, music is about feeling and reacting, but he's never thought about it that in-depth. He splutters a bit, before shakily getting a note out.

As he continues, Mr. Shue prodding him and encouraging him, he can't help but think that it's so strange to hear his voice accompanied by a piano. It's been a long time since he's sang outside of acapella, and it's nice to have a live piano.

"You're very good, Blaine. Probably one of the best vocalists we have, if not the best. You just need to learn to respond to your surroundings better. That's what we're going to have to work on with you…" Mr. Shue says, both of his hands resting on the piano. Blaine feels himself blush, but suddenly his humility isn't the only thing on his mind, because all he can focus on at this point is the long fingers that are groping him through his jeans.

His breath catches in his throat, and he doesn't say anything, hoping that maybe it's a lapse in Shue's judgement, it's a mistake, it's a hallucination. But as the seconds tick by, feeling like minutes that stretch themselves out before him with no end in sight, it doesn't seem like that's the case. He feels his thigh squeezed, the palm rubbing itself against his dick, and all he can hear is his own heart beating his ears.

"Stop…" he says weakly, because he feels powerless suddenly. All these times he's heard about students and teacher, or people who are knowingly mistreated sexually. And every single time, he's thought to himself why don't they fight back? Why don't they just say no?

But it's so different being that position. Because Blaine's head is telling him it's wrong and he needs it to stop and it would just be so easy for him to stand up and walk away from the piano. But his body is telling him a different story: that this is good, that he wants this, that this is what he's always been looking for. He hears Will laugh softly over the sound of his blood thrumming in his ears.

"Everything's okay, Blaine. You just need to learn. And I want to help you. It's all okay…

The same long fingers undo the button of his jeans and the zipper, slipping inside of his boxers. He shuts his eyes at the contact, wondering why this is happening. Why does it have to happen now. To him. By now, it's clearly late afternoon, and the school is practically empty, so if he yelled, nothing would happen. And besides, who'd believe him? Will Schuester is a decorated teacher at the school, not to mention beloved glee club coach and mentor to all of the kids in New Directions.

And who's Blaine? Blaine's the new kid. He has no place ruining any of that.

It's a weak move, and so hypocritical of everything he's been trying to teach to Kurt, but he sits there and he takes it. He lets himself be pulled to his feet and bent forward over the piano bench, he doesn't object as Mr. Shue pushes him down onto his knees, and he simply obliges as those same long fingers thread through his dark curls, yanking him forward.

By the time Blaine shakes himself out of it, weakly pulling his jeans up and hurting in places he never knew existed, it's dark outside and he's alone in the chorus room. Like always, he's alone. When he manages to make it outside to his car, sitting behind the wheel in the empty parking lot, he's waiting for tears to come. After something like that, it's only normal to cry, isn't it? A supposedly traumatizing experience like that, someone he cares about, one of his teachers… he should be a mess.

But they never do. And he's not.

As he starts the car, he wonders if this is fate's way of giving him what he'd always wanted. The older guy. The suave, well-liked, charismatic guy who's wise beyond his years. Because that's what he's been wanting for so long; maybe wishes really do come true and Blaine just can't see that yet.

Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. New Directions draws even closer to winning at Nationals. Like always, couples fall apart, new ones grow, and old ones get back together again. Sometime Blaine feels like instead of studying for a history or calc test, he should be studying the relationship history of all the members of New Directions.

And like before, his weekly lessons with Mr. Schue continue. Sometimes he adds some more into the week, sometimes he tells Blaine that he needs tutoring in Spanish and needs to stay after. Sometimes he doesn't even have an excuse.

It's gotten almost pathetic – Blaine looking at himself in the bathroom mirror and telling himself that he needs to stop this. He practices how he'd approach Mr. Shue, what he'd say, how he'd tell him that it doesn't have anything to do with him. But as he talking to himself and trying to empower himself like some Lifetime Movie Network domestic abuse victim, his eyes linger and travel to the telltale bruises littering his collarbone, scattering all the way down his chest. He knows when he takes off his t-shirt – he knows where every single mark will be. Where the bite mark on his shoulder is, where the angry scratch on his hip is, how many bruises cover his stomach.

Feeling his knees go weak underneath him, he collapses down onto the edge of the bathtub. This was nothing like he had expected, and certainly nothing that he had wanted. With every passing day, he was losing himself. He didn't know what he had been wishing for all along, and he certainly wasn't the person he thought he was. All this time, he'd been professing courage to his friends, but he was the biggest coward of them all.

He'd tried to end it at one point with Mr. Schuester, but it hadn't gone well. They had been mid-kiss when Blaine suddenly felt a swell of courage and pulled away. "I can't – I can't do this anymore," he had whispered. He had watched Mr. Shue's expression change slowly, from one of pure happiness to curiosity. When he had backed away as well, running a hand through his hair and sighing, Blaine thought that he may have gotten through to the teacher.

"You're right. I'm so sorry, Blaine. I don't – I don't know what's come over me," Mr. Shue had said, leaning back against his desk as he dragged a hand over his face. "It's just that ever since my ex-wife faked her pregnancy and I got a divorce, and then I lost Emma to Dr. Howell – I've just been so lonely, and I shouldn't have expected you to try to help with that. I'm sorry…"

A pang of guilt hit Blaine square in the gut as he paled. This wasn't what he wanted. All he had been looking for was a clean break so that none of his teammates would know about what happened. But if Mr. Shue broke as well, and if it was his fault… they wouldn't accept him anymore. He couldn't make them lose their mentor so close to Nationals. He was still new here; this wasn't his home yet. He'd had a few seconds of freedom, but he let himself fall back in, let himself be pulled back into Mr. Shue's arms.

A few weeks ago, when Mr. Shue had Blaine pressed up so hard against the wall of his classroom it left marks on the boy's face, the older man had whispered that Blaine deserved this because he had been so good to Kurt. That this was his reward.

Slowly, Blaine climbs to his feet from the bathtub, unlocking the bathroom door and standing at the counter for just a minute more. If this was his reward for the type of person he was, then maybe he did deserve this. It was starting to look like he wasn't the hero that everyone had made him out to be, so perhaps Mr. Shue was right in saying that.

It definitely wasn't a reward, but Blaine sure deserved it.

The water from the shower had been abrasively cold, leaving him shivering as he climbed out of the stall in the boys' locker room. It took a few times, but with some practice, he's gotten an after-lesson routine down. And like they say, practice definitely makes perfect – although, Blaine's still not sure if this is something he should be perfect at.

The shower sends the heavy scent of sex and sweat and aftershave down the drain, but even more than that, it wakes Blaine up. It lets him know every single time that he starts to doubt why he's still in this that he has to stick with it. If he ever wants to be accepted by New Directions, he can do it. All he needs to do is look at it as an initiation…

He dresses slowly, enjoying the quietness of it all. It's strange, how in just a few months he's gone from hating being alone to an antisocial creature. Sometimes he doesn't even know who he is anymore.

"Thought I'd find you here," a voice says quietly from around the row of lockers Blaine pulls his jeans up. When he looks up, Kurt is standing there, almost hesitantly, with an uncomfortable smile on his face. Blaine cringes internally, because through this all, he's pushed himself away from everyone. He's isolated himself, and with that, he was almost positive he had lost Kurt.

"Hey," he says quietly, running a towel through his hair.

Kurt's watching him as he takes a step closer. Blaine almost pictures him throwing his hands up in a sign of innocence, which gives him a perspective of just how bad it's gotten. With a sigh, the smaller boy frowns. "Blaine, are you unhappy here? Because ever since we decided to both transfer here, it's like I never see you, which kind of defeated the whole purpose…"

Normally, he'd laugh casually and brush off Kurt's question. But that's not him anymore. The laugh comes out sounding forced and strained, and all he can say is "What would make you think that?"

"I don't know," Kurt muses with a shrug before turning back to him. "You're never around, during Glee you're always jumpy and agitated…"

It's only when he doesn't hear Kurt's voice anymore that he looks up. The other boy is all but gaping at him as he steps closer, lifting a shaking hand. At that point, Blaine realizes he's standing there in only his jeans, and it's then he knows that his cover is blown. Because as he looks down at himself before frantically pulling a towel protectively over him, he knows Kurt got an eyeful of the purpling and yellowing bruises, the old and new bite marks…

"So it's true then? You… you…" Kurt whispers, his voice somehow managing to remain at a steady level. "The girls, they told me that I should keep an eye out, that you may have gotten yourself into some trouble, but I didn't… I never…"

"Kurt… please…" he says, and he hates how faint his voice sounds, how tired he sounds. "Please don't go."

The expression on Kurt's face quickly changes from one of panic to one of fear. He bridges the gap between them, wordlessly wrapping his arms around Blaine and pulling him close despite the fact that Blaine flinches at first contact. Letting himself fall into the touch, Blaine can't help but see this as just a detour off this normal route. It's nice, feeling that there could be some hope at the end of the tunnel. But Kurt's only human, and he's got his own issues to deal with. He doesn't need Blaine's as well.

"Who?" Kurt says quietly, his voice muffled by the tears that are slowly tracking from his eyes. He wipes them away with the back of his hand, reaching back out to squeeze Blaine's. To answer, Blaine just shakes his head in response.

"You won't understand. And I can't – I can't lose you. So I just – I'd rather deal with this myself than lose all of you and your friends, especially you…" he trails off, pulling a shirt over his head. He starts zipping up his bag and grabs his car keys from inside it.

When he looks back at Kurt, he can practically see the wheels turning in the boy's head. "What does New Directions have to do with this? They couldn't have anything to do with this…" He smiles at this point before adding. "I mean, unless it's…" His voice completely drops out, and through his way of trying to lighten up the mood, Kurt has stumbled and fallen headfirst into the mess that Blaine's been living for the past three months.

"Please. Please tell me it's not…" Kurt whispers horrified, grabbing onto Blaine's arm and pulling him back before he can leave the locker room, and with that, Blaine knows that he's lost everything.

"Not what?" he sighs.

"Look me in the eye and tell me… tell me that it's not. It's not Mr. Schuester doing this to you."

Blaine sighs, and he can't understand how this boy – this boy that came out of nowhere has this affect on him. How he can make Blaine want to melt and spill out everything he's ever done. How he makes Blaine want to try to be better, just for him. How he makes Blaine feel like he's something to be proud of.

He turns his head up, meeting Kurt's gaze head on. Opening his mouth, he knows that it would only take a few words for him to be strong and stick with this situation that he's found himself in. He could easily deny the whole thing, blame it on rough sex or a car accident or anything. He could take this like a real man, and take one for the team of New Directions.

"I have to go," he sighs, falling against the door and pushing out of it before he does anything else to ruin McKinley's glee club.

He hasn't even gotten a chance to load his bag into the trunk of the car when he hears Kurt come running up behind him, the heels of his combat boots slapping against the pavement.

"If you think that I'm going to let you continue going through with whatever you're doing, you've got another thing coming…" Kurt says, his voice tinged with just a touch of venom.

Blaine sighs, turning around. "You have to. Nationals are in less than a month. If you don't –if you try to interfere, you guys won't have a coach anymore. And there's no way that I'm going to let this come between New Directions and their shot at Nationals."

"Fuck Nationals, Blaine. This is your life. The fact that you would think we would put Nationals before your safety or your happiness or your health just shows me how screwed up in the head you are right now, and I'm scared for you… If the rest of the team can't understand that, then they haven't gotten the right message from being a part of the team," Kurt exclaims. His gaze is unwavering as he crosses his arms, and if they weren't in this situation, Blaine would've thought it was almost cute – how Kurt was trying to pass himself off as threatening.

"I'm not letting you hurt yourself anymore, Blaine. You've already done so much to save me from my own monsters. Now let me be your knight in shining armor and save you from yours," Kurt proclaims, reaching out to grab onto Blaine's hand. The touch seems to be the last thing that Blaine can take, because at that contact, he cracks. Before he can say anything, he feels the tears that he thought were never coming slowly begin to track down his cheeks. He wipes at them furiously, wondering where they had been hiding this whole time. He's angry at himself, for thinking that this was okay and that he was just getting what he deserved or what he had wished for.

"I'm scared," he whispers. It's refreshing; the honesty he's been hiding away from everyone – especially himself – is nice to hear. Because he can't remember a time when he's been so scared in his life.

Kurt just smiles through his own tears, squeezing his hand.

From where he's standing at this point, the tunnel that's in front of him seems endless. But as he looks at what's in front of him, at least this time there's a glimmer of light at the end of it. And for him, that's enough right now.