READ ME: Am I actually…updating something…ON TIME? I think I am.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Glee.
"My only advice to you," Jane says to Richard as she massages Annabel's bulging, furry stomach with both of her hands, "is to pull the hell out of this case."
"That's not happening," Richard replies tartly. "We're not pulling out of the case, Jane."
Rolling her thumbs along Annabel's fur with the confidence of a master masseuse, Jane merely shrugs and sticks another piece of gum into her mouth. "Your funeral," she says, in between definitive chomps on her gum. "It's something to think about, don't you think?"
"No, it isn't," Richard says gravely. "Blaine's staying as a witness."
"And why's that?" Jane asks, voice even and methodical. "You don't seem to care that much for…for Kurt, or for his father. Why?"
Richard eyes Annabel bitterly and laughs. "You've never had a child before, have you?"
Jane blinks rapidly and ceases in her massaging of Annabel's abdomen. "Well, excuse me, Mr. Anderson," she says piously, clasping her hand to her chest. "On how many occasions have you massaged Blaine's intestines in order to relieve him of acute constipation?"
"I just—I just normally give him some Pepto-Bismol or some laxatives, Jane—"
Jane calmly sets Annabel down at her feet and stares directly at Richard. "Oh?" she asks innocently. "So you'd rather give him stomach ulcers?"
"It's not the same thing," Richard hedges firmly, scowling when he sees Jane's bemused expression. "It's not."
"If Annabel had a broken paw, I'd be beside myself in terror," she announces. "Just saying."
"That's because she's a cat," Richard argues. "Blaine is a young man who can deal with these things."
"Look," Jane says, after some consideration. "I need you to think about what your son means to you. What makes him happy. You can masquerade around all you want—you can pretend that you're staying in this case for yourself. You can tell yourself that you're helping the Hummel family for the sake of good citizenship or pride or what the hell ever."
Richard crosses his arms over his chest. "What are you trying to suggest?"
"You love your son," Jane says, in so accusatory a tone that Richard can't find the words to respond; is loving his son a crime? "And you, through proxy, love the people that he loves." Annabel meows and scratches at Jane's feet and she gamely pulls up the cat into her arms. "Think about it."
Kurt Hummel is sure of several things:
One, he's got an eye for fashion so large that there exists no pair of spectacles that can fit over it.
Two, through some stroke of luck or entanglement of fate, he's obtained the most loving, supportive father ever to grace the planet.
Three, his condition as a hemophiliac has barred him from pursuing so many of his dreams that he's pretty much given up on trying.
Case in point? The Cheerios. National champions, cheerleading legends, the whole bit. It had broken his heart when Mercedes had joined without him in his sophomore year, never mind that Four Minutes just sounded ridiculous as a power ballad rather than as a duet. He should have been there with her, belting out, "Time is waiting!" amid her cries of, "We only got four minutes to save the world!"
Kurt's aware that he's more than capable in the realm of flexibility and talent—he can do his Russian splits and pull his ankles behind his neck just about as well as anyone, thanks to natural bendiness and biweekly yoga classes—but he also knows that cheerleading is dangerous for people like him. Too many opportunities to fall off the pyramid, both metaphorically and literally speaking, and break a limb. That being said, what a way to go—collapsing from atop a human pyramid or looping out of an aerial flip the wrong way. So much more impressive than the way his life's headed, a quiet life with a mediocre college degree under his Prada belt that ends with an unfortunate blood infusion mix-up and his own body attacking his cells.
Now, he finds himself standing in front of Coach Sylvester's office with a new sense of trepidation thrumming through his heart.
"Come on in, Porcelain, I can smell the polymers from your hairspray already," Sue says pleasantly from within her office.
Kurt steps into the office and manages to get himself in front of her desk. The room is dark and reeks of chocolate protein powder.
"I am aware," Sue says, closing the notebook that had been open in front of her, "that you were in a car crash the other day."
"You're one of the key witnesses for the ca—" Kurt starts.
"First I was aroused," Sue interrupts, and she folds her hands together and holds Kurt's gaze. "Then, I was deeply offended. You don't know how lucky you are that it wasn't my vintage LeCar the hulking tank you call a motor vehicle ripped a hole through." She pauses thoughtfully. "I would have sued you. But you're already getting sued, anyway, so it's unnecessary. I have nothing to gain from you losing this case. Your sad excuse for a Glee club has already alienated you enough, Porcelain, and frankly, I could feel my serotonin levels dropping the second you walked into my office. You're miserable, aren't you?"
Kurt smiles wanly, mind percolating with thoughts of Blaine and his smile and his oddly square jaw. "It's not as bad as it used to be," he admits, waving his arm dismissively. "My life is less Les Mis than it used to be."
"Ah," Sue remarks. "Spring Awakening?"
"RENT," Kurt corrects, thinking about the hemophilia in his blood instead of the AIDS that plagued Roger, Mimi, Collins, and Angel's. "Or possibly Repo! The Genetic Opera."
A moment of companionable silence falls between the two of them until Sue finally straightens in her chair and says, "I'll be in court. Testifying. For your case."
"Are you serious?"
"Unfortunately," Sue murmurs pensively. "I haven't been in court since I testified for O.J. Simpson during his trial."
"Now get out of my office."
Kurt walks off campus and into the passenger seat of Finn's ratty truck with a new outlook on life. He doesn't say a word to Finn and doesn't complain when Finn blasts the car air conditioner so high that the smell of tepid water fills the air, and his face nearly splits in half with the size of his grin when he sees Blaine's familiar Lexus parked in the driveway of his house once they arrive. Finn can't stop him from practically running up the steps and into the kitchen, where his father and Blaine are seated, taking sips of orange juice in between bouts of decidedly awkward conversation.
"You and Kurt, huh?" Kurt can hear as he approaches them.
"Kurt and I," Blaine agrees, just as Kurt stumbles into the kitchen.
"You're good for him, kid, but I can't say I'm too thrilled about the idea," Burt says solemnly. He motions to Kurt. "We're going to talk tonight. You and me. Okay?"
"Okay, Dad," Kurt mutters his assent, eyes trained on the floor. "Can Blaine and I do our homework in my room?"
Burt presses his lips together and cocks an eyebrow dubiously. "Door open."
Kurt nods. "Door open."
"We shouldn't be doing this," Kurt says unceremoniously as he mounts his bed, Blaine at his side.
"What do you mean?" Blaine asks, reaching out to hold Kurt's hand. "I like you a lot, Kurt, I don't see why we shouldn't be—"
"Blaine," Kurt says, squeezing Blaine's hand gently. "I like you, too. And I didn't say I didn't want to be doing this."
Blaine looks down at where their hands are intertwined, eyes full of sadness. "But we shouldn't be."
Kurt shakes his head and leans up against the headboard, motioning for Blaine to join him. Blaine acquiesces, lying on his back and keeping his hand on Kurt's. "When you agreed to play a key witness in the case," Kurt says, "were you doing it for me? Or were you doing it because you thought it was…right?"
"Kurt," Blaine singsongs. "You sound like a lawyer."
Blaine sighs. "I don't want to answer that."
Kurt blinks. "Why?"
"You're going to say that I'm wrong either way," Blaine murmurs, curling in on his side. He tilts his head to the side and lifts his casted arm out of the way. "Is this okay?"
Kurt nods in assent, and Blaine presses himself closer to Kurt, who traces shapes in his cast thoughtfully.
"The short answer is that yes, I'm doing it for you," Blaine muses. "The long answer is that I'm doing it for you because doing it for you feels right. Don't you think?"
Kurt doesn't reply. Instead, he leans forward to press his lips against Blaine's, just for a fleeting moment, relishing the feeling of being close to him. When he pulls away, Blaine's face contorts into an expression that is unmistakably sorrowful. "When I first met you," Blaine begins, shifting his position so that he's lying on his back, "I thought you were unique. So…different from everyone else I'd known. You dressed so well and you carried yourself so highly, and we first met in a hospital. I don't know how you managed to win me over in a hospital gown—"
"They don't cover the ass, Blaine," Kurt remarks dryly.
"—but you did. And I thought you were amazing. But you seemed to think you were…damaged goods, or something, and the Karofsky debacle sort of solidified that belief. And I got to learn more about you. Learn about the way you interact with the world, just by watching you play with some leukemia kids or serve punch. And I didn't really want to say anything. I didn't want to mess things up." He pauses. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Because," Kurt says softly, carefully watching Blaine's face. "I can't do this."
Pulling away for a moment, Blaine scrunches his face up in consternation and angles himself away from Kurt. "What?"
"I want to get through this," Kurt says. "I want to face my fears. I want to face the consequences of my actions, and I can't do that…"
"With me constantly at your side?" Blaine asks, perplexed. "Am I overprotective? Do you want me to—"
Kurt strokes Blaine's cheek with the back of his hand. "No," he disagrees with a fond smile. "I want to be someone you deserve."
An Excerpt from Jane Haas' Video Diary: Day I
"This is ridiculous. This car crash is absolutely ridiculous. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Hi, my name is Jane Haas. Thirty-two years old, graduate of Ohio State University. I'm in Lima doing some pro-bono work because Mallory gave me a call telling me about the case of one Burt Hummel, a middle-aged Lima mechanic with a son that's gotten into a bit of hot water. Richard Anderson, she said, was well-acquainted with the family—oh dear God, well-acquainted my ass, he's only helping because of his son, Blaine—and so I took the case, and it's pretty much a death wish for any established attorney.
"So here's the logistics of the car crash that people don't want you to know, especially the plaintiff. That'd be the son of the Vassars, a wealthy family who lives on the outskirts of Westerville, Ohio, in one of those sprawling mansion-type homes with a huge garden complete with porcelain garden gnomes and miniature bird baths. The whole bit.
"Annabel! Come up here, sweetie. D'aw, isn't she cute? She's cute.
"Anyway, so yeah, the logistics of the car crash. I'm not too sure what was going through Kurt's—that's Burt Hummel's son's name—mind when this all went down, because he was just being a dumbass and he ran a red light. Typical teenage driver, and it's something that you see every day. But here's the kicker—Kurt's a bloody hemophiliac. He can't get into car accidents. He can't even get a fucking paper cut. And in the passenger seat? None other than Richard's son, Blaine Anderson. Lovely boy, good grades, lead singer at the glee club in his school. Yeah, both Kurt and Blaine are the artsy type, and out as homosexuals.
"It makes for an interesting case, especially since Kurt wasn't even the one who was really injured. Blaine Anderson came out of the crash with a broken arm—ostensibly thrown out at last minute to protect Kurt's ribcage from being pummeled by the airbags, but that's just a crazy theory of mine I've been working on. Neither of the boys seem to remember much about the details of the crash. There was some pretty notable damage done on both sides—Kurt was driving a 2009 Lincoln Navigator that got crushed up in the front and the Vassar kid was driving a 2004 Land Cruiser that got seriously scratched up. The Land Cruiser's barely running now, and the parents pressed charges.
"Here's the thing, though: as it turns out, the Vassars aren't completely clean of any wrongdoings, either. The kid was turning on a red light, and that's why Kurt ended up crashing into him so fast.
"Is this case still a death wish? Sure. But at least I have an argument now. And weak arguments aside, we've got some nice witnesses as well. Sue Sylvester, the best cheerleading coach in the nation, is joining the case, too. What can I say? I live for the thrill."
"You and Blaine?"
"Dad, the crisis is resolved. I ended it, so if you could please put away the shotgun whenever he's in the same room as me, I'd be really grateful."
"Romance is fast, dad, it's what shows like The Bachelor run on."
"I'm kind of confused, and I'd really like it if you toned down the sarcasm, kid."
"I like Blaine. He likes me. We're just putting things on hold for a while. What's there to be confused about?"
"You being mature, maybe?"
Sectionals are difficult to stomach for both Kurt, who blends into the background in his all-black ensemble, and Blaine, who wears his Dalton uniform just for the sake of solidarity and comes to the competition with a fat smile on his face that belongs only to Kurt, even though he's not even being featured in a solo. Sam and Quinn are lovely in their duet, selling it with all of the cutesy, blond attractiveness they can gather. Santana wears a tiny, Victorian style hat and manages to rasp through two minutes of Brittany smacking her on the ass in between "And I miss your ginger hair," and "Are you busy?"
Blaine watches and claps politely when the New Directions are finished. He tries not to be bitter about the fact that Kurt wasn't even given one sliver of a solo. That being said, he's pretty impressed by the severe lack of Rachel Berry and Mercedes Jones in the number—they're the typical New Directions breadwinners, and normally their singing is featured in songs that they're not even soloists in, but Blaine couldn't even detect Rachel's belting or Mercedes' wailing over Santana's voice.
It doesn't surprise Blaine, then, when New Directions wins, beating out the Hipsters (Blaine feels a pang of guilt at that—he's familiar with some of the Hipsters, and their set had been pleasing to listen to), the Haverbrook School for the Deaf (again, another pang—Blaine's known some of the kids in that choir from Lima Memorial), and the Jane Addams Academy (Blaine doesn't feel much for them, since the choir's comprised mainly of girls gyrating around and selling sexual appeal to the highly unimpressed judges. Also, he has no idea who any of the girls are.)
"It doesn't come as much of a shock, does it?" someone asks from behind him.
"That the New Directions won. Their camaraderie is just…such a presence."
Blaine jerks to the side in order to look at who's talking to him. "Thad?"
"Hey, Blaine," Thad Vassar says, running his hand through his hair sheepishly. "I'm glad you could make it." He gestures to his own Dalton Academy ensemble. "I like how we're both dressed for solidarity purposes."
"Your family pressed charges against Kurt Hummel," Blaine says, looking dazed.
"It wasn't my decision," Thad admits grimly.
Blaine's mouth opens exactly into the shape of a lowercase o.
"Cain took the car out that day," Thad says. "You can imagine Mom and Dad's reactions when he came back with a hole ripped through the side of the car. Mom was so angry that she wanted to pull him out of Dalton for the rest of his junior year, but I managed to convince her otherwise by playing the caring older brother role."
Blaine says, "You were adamant about us not competing today." He nudges his arm, which is still tightly bundled up in its cast. "Even without me lugging this thing around."
"I had reason to be," Thad explains. "I didn't want to go out there unprepared. You know the way the Warblers are. We can't do things without several weeks' notice; we're not like the New Directions…" Thad points toward the stage, where the New Directions are still having their pictures taken with their Sectionals trophy. "Is that him?"
Blaine nods, spotting Kurt in his peripheral vision. "That's him."
Thad smiles and says, "He seems nice. And I apologize for everything in advance." His voice falters. "And…I'm really not supposed to be talking to you right now."
"You know what?" Blaine says, grinning widely and stick out his hand for Thad to shake. "Best of luck to your brother."
Thad takes Blaine's hand and shakes firmly. "Best of luck to your friend."
Dave Karofsky walks the halls of McKinley High feeling more powerless than ever.
He fainted. He fucking fainted back at the hospital. There's no forgiveness for him shooting down from the heavens, he doesn't feel the reconciliatory hand of Jesus extending to rest upon his forehead, and he certainly doesn't see Kurt coming up to him and absolving their differences. Instead, he spots Kurt walking down the hallway, beaming, with his right arm looped around Rachel Berry's shoulders. Dave watches as Rachel extricates herself from Kurt's grasp, giggling. They're mouthing the words to some song, and Kurt looks happier than he has in a long time.
But not because of Dave. Never because of Dave.
When Kurt steps past him, boot heels clacking on the linoleum, time stops.
And Dave pushes.
End of Act I.
Next up in Bleeding Love: Things seem to be back to normal in Lima, Ohio: Kurt and Blaine are back to being bosom friends, the Glee club has assumed their role as the victors of Sectionals, and Dave Karofsky is back to his role as McKinley High's bully. As the days pass, rivalries and strains become more evident.
Question: Is everyone taking Jane and her cat seriously?
Oh, and my Tumblr, for anyone who's interested:
paundromat . tumblr . com