Author's Notes: I've never had to deal with writing a story for something that was ongoing like Glee. I've had a hard time figuring out how to keep "canon" because anything can happen where Glee is concerned. I haven't delved too deeply into the Klaine fanfiction yet, so any similarities to previous works are purely coincidental, although I did use "Anderson" for Blaine's last name. This seems to have developed into something generally accepted throughout the genre and if I am wrong, I apologize for the assumption. I've been reading Glee fanfiction for all of about a week, so I am a newbie. Please don't judge me for that.
Any flames will be fed to Puck's ego.
Disclaimer: I do not own any recognizable characters or places used in this story; they belong to the Glee franchise. I also do not own the musical references used in this story. This includes Bill Wither's Lean on Me, Jonathan Larson's musical RENT, and Bob Marley's Three Little Birds.
No money is being made from this story.
Symphony in the Key of Silence
First Movement: Sonata
Blaine Anderson was a walking, talking, singing, musical encyclopedia. He didn't just know music, he collected it. He collected as much as he could, from all genres of music. If you were to ask him what his style was, he would reply with, "Talent" because there really was no other answer when you liked Lady Gaga as much as the Beatles and Bob Marley just as much as Metallica.
The result of this is that he always knew the right song for every occasion. And he always had a song in his head. The boombox in his mind had no off switch, but he was okay with that because it was the only thing that kept him company during the day.
He was in the show choir at Montpelier Academy, the all-boys boarding school he attended in Massachusetts. Blaine was what they called a "grace note," which was supposed to be an affectionate term for the back-up singers. Instead it just reminded Blaine of his inadequacies. He was there for ornamentation, inferior to those that shone brightly in the choir. His role was simply to stand there and look nice amidst a series of do-do-do's.
He stayed because, despite how small he felt in the middle row of the chorus, he wanted to be a part of something. He wanted it so badly it hurt. So he went to choir practice every evening and ate lunch with the boys who stood to his right and left in the formation. Sometimes they talked. Most of the time they didn't.
He didn't speak to his roommate, who stayed up into the late hours of the night talking on skype while Blaine tried his damnedest to sleep. Blaine would put headphones on to block out the sound, but headphones were never comfortable to sleep in. Blaine would often wake up at the slightest jerk of his head and Jack, the roommate, would still be on skype with his girlfriend.
It really wasn't a good arrangement at all.
Classes were difficult, but the teachers seemed to know who he was because he was ambitious academically and they respected that. Blaine Anderson was also gay. He'd only revealed it to his parents, but he never had to say it to anyone else. They all seemed to know somehow. This made things easier because he never felt like he had to pretend around people. He was proud of who he was and could be himself. The people who mattered wouldn't care that he was gay.
The problem was that the people who didn't care also didn't want to know him and that the people who did care managed to meet up with him every day. The bullying started a month into his freshman year. He had been fresh meat and Russell and company loved every bit of their ability to taunt the younger boy.
He was now a sophomore at Montpelier Academy. Nothing had changed. He still felt alone.
Especially in moments like these, when Russell was pummeling him outside the gymnasium.
Blaine flexed his fingers before letting his hands softly descend to the piano. He stepped on the pedal beneath the piano and removed his hands, letting the chord ring out within the music room. He closed his eyes and hummed.
He lowered his hands to the piano a second time, playing a tune he knew very well. After the basic intro he quietly began singing: Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow…
"Anderson? Off my piano." Blaine stopped suddenly, allowing the boy who'd just entered access to the instrument. Greg was one of the singers in the chorus and their resident pianist. Blaine smiled at his classmate as the he sat down. Like Blaine, he flexed his fingers before trying out a few exercise pieces. Blaine hovered behind the older boy, watching.
"You are here early, Anderson," Greg said without stopping.
"So are you," Blaine curtly replied.
"I'm always here early. Gotta' warm up. What's your excuse?"
"Oh. I just wanted to play something."
Greg halted, turned to the boy standing behind him. "You play?"
Blaine felt the heat rise on his cheeks. "N-no. Well, not much. Not like you. Only basic stuff."
"Play something, Anderson." Greg removed himself from the piano bench, ushering the younger boy to sit down.
"I just fool around, Greg. I'm really not-"
"Play what you were playing when I walked in." Blaine sighed in submission. He lowered his hands to the piano for the third time that day. The chord was wrong; a finger had slipped. "Relax, bro."
"S-sorry. I didn't mean – I started wrong."
"Blaine. Stop talking and play." Greg placed a supportive hand on Blaine's back, and Blaine had to hold back his wince when Greg hit a fairly recent bruise. Instead, Blaine focused on stopping his hands from shaking. Tentatively, Blaine began again. He hummed with the beginning, and then he began singing again: …but if we are wise we know that there's always tomorrow.
Greg sharply withdrew his hand. "Jesus, Blaine!"
"I know I'm not that good. I just like the chords and stuff. You can have the piano back now."
"No, that's not it at all. Forget the piano. Your voice, Blaine. Why haven't you gotten a solo yet?" Blaine shrugged. "Have you even tried out?" Blaine shook his head. "You should."
At that moment, the other members of the chorus started filtering in. Blaine removed himself from the front of the room and stepped up to his spot in the chorus. The lead vocalist entered soon after, and Greg began working with him at the front. It was crunch time, as the Annual Winter concert was in a week.
A few minutes later, their chorus teacher entered and the practice began. Blaine felt Greg's gaze on him the entire time.
It was a blessing and a curse. Blaine was shaken by the fact that, for the first time, someone seemed to show interest in him. He wasn't quite sure how he was supposed to proceed, though. He'd complained about being a "grace note," but it was true that he'd never really let anyone hear his voice outside the expectations of a back-up singer.
Blaine watched Kevin, who had all the power and charm of a good lead as he danced around Greg at the piano. Blaine knew little about the Senior besides his status in the show choir, but he was awed by the boy who seemed to have so much talent.
Blaine knew he could never put himself out there like that. He wasn't made to be on a pedestal. He could barely handle Greg looking at him knowingly, let alone the entire student body!
No, he wasn't cut out for solos. Blaine was made to be a grace note and he was comfortable being on the sidelines. He couldn't be judged too harshly if he just stayed where he was.
It started with a sneeze, three days before the concert. The next day it was the full-blown flu, leaving Kevin incapable of singing his solos at the concert. He'd tried. Oh boy, had he tried to get through the first song. The coughing fit after the first verse was inevitable.
The teacher panicked. The students looked around at each other.
Greg looked at Blaine.
Blaine looked away from Greg. The kid to his left was wearing two different colored socks.
Greg spoke, "Blaine Anderson can do it."
Blaine couldn't do it. There was no way – no fucking way – he was going to get up on that stage and sing on his own in front of the student body. Everyone would be there. Parents. Teachers. Students. Russell. Not happening.
He declined respectfully and the solos went to Jason, a Junior who'd been in the choir since his freshman year. Disappointed, Greg caught Blaine's gaze and shook his head. Blaine couldn't look him in the eye, so he looked back down at the guy-to-his-left's mismatched socks.
He had O Holy Night stuck in his head. It was the song he'd almost managed to sing solo.
"Where you going, faggot?" Blaine stiffened at the unwelcome voice, clenching his fists to his sides. "Got a hot date?" Russell was suddenly in front of him, arms crossed over his chest.
"Math," He muttered.
"I missed that, Anderson. Where are you going?"
"I am going to math class," Blaine reiterated more louder, with only a small tremble in his voice.
"I don't think so."
He was late for math. He'd straightened his sweater, cleaned his face of blood, run his hand through his disheveled hair. Alone in the bathroom, he'd hummed the tune to "Three Little Birds": Don't worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.
The evidence was on his stomach and back, hidden beneath his clothes. No one would notice.
No one ever did.
It was Friday, concert day. The Annual Winter Concert always took place on the last Friday of classes, before the week of exams. It was mostly a celebration for students and teachers, though some students performing in the chorus, band, or orchestra managed to get their parents to visit for support.
Blaine's parents were busy with work in New York, so he knew they wouldn't be in the crowd. He hadn't even bothered to ask them to come.
The chorus members were running through their set, Greg leading them on piano. Blaine had had the shittiest week with last crunch assignments, studying for exams, and choir practices. Russell must've been having a hard time too, because he'd been taking his anger out on Blaine more often than usual.
Blaine released all this stress through meaningless syllables. He listened to Jason sing O Holy Night.
They had a 10 minute break before show time. Blaine quickly made his way to the men's bathroom. He was running behind on his date with the porcelain gods. The toilets were used to his visits. They met up whenever there was a show, so Blaine could empty his stomach of his dinner and his stage fright.
He never made it to the toilet. He dropped down to the floor out in the hallway while his stomach decided to empty itself at the feet of Russell and his cronies. Blaine, though, was too sick to notice on whose perfectly shined shoes he'd just vomited. A second wave of bile rose in Blaine's mouth. He placed his hand over his mouth.
"What the FUCK, Anderson!" Russell grabbed the smaller boy by the front of his shirt, lifting him. Blaine lost his control at the sudden movement. "That's disgusting! You're going to pay for this, you goddamn fag."
Blaine weakly lifted his head, his eyes finally focusing on the dark glare Russell was giving him. He was in deep, deep trouble.
Blaine struggled, wriggling out of Russell's tight grasp. He didn't get very far because the cronies were suddenly on either side of him, pulling his arms behind his back.
And - Oh God - they were pushing him towards the doors. They were outside in the cold of the Massachusetts winter. He shivered. The boys pushed him to his knees.
"We are missing the concert for you, Anderson. That's not quite fair. Don't you think?" Russell said. Blaine was confused. Were they going to let him go?
"N-no," he shivered.
"No I don't think so either." Russell said. "Sing for us."
Wha-? Before Blaine even had the chance to comprehend what was happening, Russell had slammed his fist into Blaine's face. He fell to the gravel, whimpering.
"That's right, Anderson. Keep going. Sing for us."
As he got the life pounded out of him, Blaine remembered a music class he had once taken. His teacher had put on a recording of John's Cages' famous piece, 4'33''. At first, he thought the CD player was broken. It was 4 minutes and 33 seconds of absolute silence.
He'd been wrong. It wasn't a piece of silence. It was a piece of confusion, whisperings, coughs, sneezes, complaints. It was about what the audience did while the 4 minutes and 33 seconds were underway.
Blaine's own 4 minutes and 33 seconds was a composition of moans and whimpers and flesh pounding on flesh. He wondered how anyone could consider that music. Russell seemed to be enjoying it. Blaine screamed out as Russell slammed his foot down on the younger boy's exposed hand.
"Sing for us again, Anderson." Another punch to the gut. Another whimper.
And then – Oh God – Russell's hands were around his throat and – Fuck – he couldn't breathe. The hands squeezed tighter. And Blaine's lungs burned. But the light dusting of snow on the ground was cold, so very cold.
"…It… killing him."
The hands were gone. He could breathe again, but he couldn't move. He ached and he burned. But the ground was cold. So very, very cold. He could feel his blood on the ground, his back sliced by the rough gravel. It was stealing his blood. He wanted it back. He wanted to be warm again. He tried to force it back into his body, but his mangled wrist wasn't letting him.
The gravel stole his blood. The cold stole his heat. Blaine reached out to the boombox in his head to find – nothing. He couldn't find anything. Nothing to sing. Nothing to keep him company as he died. And he realized with a jolt that Ru- HE had stolen his music.
He closed his eyes and cried, curled within himself on the cold ground.
"JESUS!" There were hands on his face. "Blaine, Come on, man. Wake up!"
Why? He faded into oblivion.