Author's notes: Okay, guys. So we're finally at the end. Thanks to all of you who have stuck through with this, even through my terribly slow updates. Hopefully my next project won't take me as long to finish.
Silence fell over them like a shroud, and Kurt could feel the edges of his frayed nerves giving way the longer it stretched out between them. He looked at Blaine's face, trying to read his reaction. There was nothing. He was a blank slate of shock. That didn't bode well. "Blaine?" Say something. Oh god, please say something.
Blaine stared dumbly at Kurt as the information finally set in. "Wait, you…at your old school?"
Kurt shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His hands were curled into tight little fists atop his lap, and his eyes had trained themselves back on the floor. "I really don't want to talk about it," he whispered before pulling in a deep breath to steady himself. "It's not something I want to revisit." This wasn't working out at all. He groped for his bag and hoisted the strap onto his shoulder, shooting Blaine a quick smile as he stood to leave.
"I can't be with you that way, Blaine. Not right now, in any case. But I do still want to be your friend. I mean, if that's all right with you, of course. I know things can get kind of awkward when friendships and romance coincide—I had a friend crushing on me last year for a while, and she's one of my best friends now, but if you don't think you can do that it's okay too. I know I'd find things kind of awkward if I were in your position, and I won't hold it against you if you decided not to stick with me." Kurt was babbling and he knew it, but he was running out of ideas for what to do. Blaine was just sitting there, staring at the ground like he'd been hit with a ten ton sack of bricks. Kurt glanced at the door, his panic rising. "Blaine?"
The shorter boy suddenly choked out a laugh of disbelief, and Kurt flinched at the sound, adding in a nervous chuckle of his own after a short while. His eyes darted back to the door as he slowly inched away from his chair. "Okay, so maybe I'd hold it against you a little, but that's just me," Kurt joked, trying to break the tension.
Blaine refused to look at Kurt. He could barely see anything anyway past the red haze now coating his vision. Every gulp of air he took felt far too heavy in his lungs, and his breath was sitting inside his chest like a weight. He couldn't breathe. It was like he was drowning without water. "I—" He swallowed, his voice catching in his throat. "I'll think about it."
"Okay." Blaine could see Kurt's shoes at the edge of his vision, shuffling about like he was getting ready to run. He couldn't blame him, but couldn't get his throat to work. "Okay," Kurt tried again, moving out of Blaine's reach. "I'll, um, you have my number and stuff if you want to reach me, and I guess I'll see you in math class." Blaine didn't respond. He had nothing to say. Kurt quietly slipped out into the hall, shutting the door behind him with a soft click. Blaine still couldn't move.
Kurt, who didn't like to be touched. Kurt, who had suddenly transferred into a private school with one of the strictest anti-bullying policies in the county for reasons unknown. Kurt, who couldn't stand be alone in a room with a boy if the door wasn't open. Kurt, who refused to sing because it probably reminded him of everything that had been taken from him. Kurt, who had finally opened up and trusted him with this.
He was a rape victim.
And Blaine had been trying to humiliate him through sex.
He felt something twist up in his gut, and he felt the sudden urge to claw at his hair. He'd been trying to seduce and manipulate a rape victim because of a stupid bet with his teammates. What the hell kind of person did that make him?
A desperate one, a little voice in the back of his mind sang. You have everything to lose if this thing doesn't pan out. Your friends, your security, your music. His throat tightened. With the exception of the threats and outright hostility, it would be exactly like his old school. Completely isolated. No one to turn to. He felt his hands begin to shake, and he desperately wanted to throw up. Maybe then he wouldn't feel quite so sick, and he could figure out what to do.
He could always lie; say that Kurt had gone along with it, and he was successful in breaking his heart. That might work. Except that a lot of the guys were nothing if not thorough. They'd see through him eventually, and then things would really go to shit.
He could forfeit the bet, quit the Warblers because there was no way he could seriously go through with this now. But then there'd be nowhere left for him to go. He wasn't really athletic, not enough to consider joining one of the teams. It was a little late for that anyway. And his music. He'd be completely without his music unless he convinced Mr. Yamada that he was good enough to play backup piano for the orchestra kids for competitions. He wouldn't be able to sing at school anymore unless he wanted to get shoved around in the showers. Oh god, what was he going to do?
He dropped his head into his hands, grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes until he saw red, and tried to even out his breathing. He needed to calm down. Maybe then he'd wake up because this wasn't happening. This couldn't be happening. His life wasn't this messed up. It wasn't.
It only took a few days of avoiding Kurt for the other boy to start looking haggard. Blaine watched him in class and when he passed him in the halls. Kurt had always looked so put together before Blaine broke off their friendship, but now it was obvious something had rattled him. He still avoided the dining hall as he always had, but now he couldn't even be seen in the library or much of anywhere outside of his room if he wasn't on his way to or from class. It would be so easy for Blaine to lie, walk up to David and the others and say that this new behavior was entirely his fault (it was, if he really thought about it, but not in the way it was supposed to be). He could do it. Winter break was right around the corner, and there would be no time for them to verify his story. It would be so easy.
Blaine stumbled into his room, thankful for the short reprieve the end of classes left him. He had Warblers practice tonight for the first time in nearly a week. Finals were almost upon them; practices had slowed down around this time last year too.
He sighed and flopped back down onto his bed. He wondered if anyone had noticed Kurt's odd behavior, if they would want a progress report. His eyes wandered over to his phone. It was mocking him with its silence. He hadn't talked to Kurt since the practice room. Maybe it was for the best, even if it left the boy without a single friend here.
People didn't need friends.
He stared up at the ceiling and studied the cracks in the paint, trying to will away the swirling thoughts rushing through his head. Everything was so messed up. He wanted things to go back to the way they'd been before. Before Kurt. Before this stupid bet. He closed his eyes and sucked in a deep breath, his mind running over his options one last time.
Okay. He knew what he was going to do. He flung his arm out to the side and grabbed his phone from where it lay. His fingers quickly tapped out a message to Wes, and he sent it off before he lost his nerve.
It was only fitting that he was the last to show up. He pushed open the door to the practice room to find every single Warbler already there, some grinning like they'd just won the lottery, others looking more than a little put out, their voices flitting all throughout the room. Wes was counting money over by the piano. He looked up and smiled at Blaine as he walked in.
"And there's the man of the hour." He stood and threw his arms open. "Blaine, how are you?"
"Fine." His eyes went to the money still clutched in Wes's hand. "What are you doing?"
"Dividing up the spoils. Thad over there made out like a bandit, though I can't say the same for Jon."
"Oh." Blaine nervously eyed the boys scattered throughout the room. No one was looking at him funny, but it felt like they could see right down to his soul. He swallowed. "Uh, Wes, I actually—"
"Blaine!" He flinched as David's arm suddenly found itself draped around his shoulders. The taller boy hugged him tight to his side with a laugh. "I knew you had it in you. So, how was he? Was he good? I bet a frigid guy like that is a total tiger in the sack. Girls like that usually are."
Blaine unwound himself from David's grip. "I…I have something I need to tell you guys."
The chatter died down, and Blaine felt every eye on him. David was still grinning like a mad man. Blaine could hardly hear a thing over the harsh beating of his heart.
"What is it, Blaine?"
"I, ah…"His eyes swept over the gathered boys, over every excited face, and he breathed in deep to calm himself. Okay, he could do this. "Guys, I didn't do it."
The room went dead silent. Blaine had known this was going to happen. He swallowed around the hard knot that had formed in his throat.
"Wait, but that's not right. Blaine, your text said 'it's done.'"
"I know. Guys, I can't—Kurt…I couldn't do it. I can't go through with this." He looked up and locked eyes with Wes. The other boy's face was as hard as stone. "I'm sorry, but I can't do it. I'm forfeiting my status as a Warbler. I'm sorry I let you guys down."
The silence lingered. Blaine took in one last breath and turned on his heel for the door, leaving behind some of the best friends he'd ever known. It's okay, he told himself over and over. It's okay. You're gonna get through this.
People don't need friends.