Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, but the property of Ryan Murphy and the wonderful folks at Fox. I'm just playing in the sandbox for awhile. The title is also not mine, but taken from next to normal. :)

A/N: So. First foray into the Glee fandom. But this little bunny bit me, and wouldn't let go. I see a lot of myself in Blaine, and that's where this was born. His desire to act like he has it all together, when he's really falling apart. His apparent insecurity, everything he does seems to me to have a basis in some deep-seated issue from the past. This is my version of Blaine's struggle

'Tis a past fic, set in a main frame of future-Klaine. Klaine is still together, obviously, and living together in this after college. Blaine is a Biochemist, for some reason , don't ask, and Kurt is a rising actor-cum-fashionista.

This is very personal for me, and largely based off a lot of my own experiences with similar issues of self-harm, depression and bullying. I'm a recovering cutter, and I've suffered from depression and OCD. As such, it is likely colored by my own emotions, my own experiences, both my own actions, and the reactions of those around me.

I do not agree with any of the homophobic or hateful sentiments some of the characters here express, though I shouldn't have to say that. The M-rating is for the explicit imagery.

Warning: MAJOR TRIGGER WARNINGS for self-harm, depression, multiple suicide attempts and thoughts; PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. Homophobic slurs/actions; general humanity-being-awfulness; explicit images of self-harm; strong language


Twenty-three year old Blaine Anderson sighed audibly in relief, lifting the red-tipped razor from its place on his left forearm, leaving in its wake a thin, bloody line. Reaching for a tissue, he wiped the blade clean, setting it back in its zippered case, next to the bandages, Neosporin, and assorted sharp objects. Blaine closed the case, sliding it back into its place in the closet he shared with his boyfriend, Kurt Hummel. The case fit easily behind Blaine's collection of blazers and cardigans, a seemingly harmless CD case that wouldn't even catch Kurt's eye if he were to notice it. Blaine finished by quickly bandaging the newest cut, rolling his sleeve down and re-composing his mask.

The deed done, Blaine shut his closet door, returning to the living room, where he'd left the latest evidence of his failure: another rejection letter from another graduate program, added to the slowly growing pile in their "to-shred" recycling bin.

Columbia had been the fifth program to reject Blaine for their graduate biochemistry program. Kurt was making his way in the theater world, currently understudying the lead in an off-off Broadway production of King Lear. The pair had been living in New York since Kurt graduated from McKinley, Blaine working on a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry at NYU while Kurt auditioned, worked, and attended classes at nights.

While Kurt was working on attaining his goals, shining when he got his chance, Blaine was spinning his wheels as a lab tech in the local hospital, applying again and again to various graduate programs. He'd chosen Chemistry as an undergrad because it had just made sense in high school-the atoms, chemicals, states of matter, everything that made up life and the human body. Blaine'd once harbored a secret desire for medical school, quickly stamped out by the first D he'd received in Organic Chemistry, which he'd retaken the summer after his sophomore year.

Now, Kurt was a star, barely home as he ran from audition to rehearsal to show, and Blaine was in a rut.

Kurt knew about Blaine's secrets-had known since the first time they were intimate in high school, when Blaine had removed his shirt, offered Kurt his wrists as a silent plea for acceptance. But Kurt didn't know that it went on-didn't know that Blaine refused sex recently because he was afraid to show Kurt what he'd done, didn't know that Blaine slept in a thermal top to hide his mistakes, that he showered when Kurt was at work to avoid the questions and the revelations. After all, Blaine didn't need to worry Kurt-the younger man had more than enough on his plate.

Didn't need Kurt to realize how deeply his hurt ran, how tightly he was married to the razors he hid in his closet, no matter how long he'd been trying to overcome his addiction. That the years of therapy, the medications, the psychiatrists weren't helping, even though Blaine pretended they were.


"Do you remember the first time you cut yourself, Blaine? Do you remember what you were feeling, why you did it?"

Blaine blinked owlishly from the bed, eyeing the doctor sitting at his feet. She held a small notebook in her hands, looking intently at him in a way that made him distinctly uncomfortable.

"Yeah, I mean-yeah."

"How old were you, Blaine?"

"Thirteen."


"Look at the little fag," the harsh voice rang out in the hallway, freezing Blaine at his locker, where he was hurriedly changing into his gym clothes, twenty minutes early for class, as always. Michael Rosen, resident eighth-grade bully and Blaine's main tormentor, was standing in the doorway to the locker room, flanked on either side by his best friends, practically his cronies. Since Blaine had come out to his family earlier in the year, the news had quickly spread throughout the school, courtesy of Blaine's older brother, and Michael and his friends had made it their mission to "fix" Blaine, as they often said.

"Aw, he looks scared," Andrew Marks laughed, stepping closer to Blaine, smirking when the smaller boy flinched. Kyle Lee followed, the two invading Blaine's personal space.

"What's the matter, fairy boy? Scared cause we caught you checking out other guys' dicks?"

"I wasn't-I mean-please, leave me alone," Blaine whispered, trying to pull his shirt on quickly, only to be stopped when Andrew and Kyle grabbed his upper arms, holding him in place.

"I think we need to teach fairy-Blaine here a lesson, huh? That we won't just sit back and let him stare at us, right?" Michael stepped forward, pulling a pink Sharpie from his back pocket. "Hold him still."

"No! Please, Michael, please-please don't, please leave me alone, please!" Blaine begged, over and over as Michael stepped forward, laughing cruelly. The larger boy began to draw on Blaine's still-bare chest, ignoring his cries of fear. Andrew and Kyle gripped Blaine's arms tightly, their fingers certainly leaving bruises as the younger boy squirmed, trying to get away.

"There we go. Now everyone will know what a fag he is," Michael laughed, stepping back and capping the marker. Andrew and Kyle let go of Blaine's arms, and the smaller boy slumped bonelessly to the floor, shoulders shaking with sobs.

"Don't forget your place, fairy," Michael finished with a kick to Blaine's exposed flank. The three boys left the locker room, leaving curled on his side, sobbing quietly. It was only ten minutes later, still alone in the room, that Blaine gathered the courage to look down at his chest, at the damage done. Above the blossoming bruise on his side, Michael had written the words "Burn in hell, FAG ," in pink Sharpie, the huge letters taunting Blaine even has he grabbed his shirt, forcing it over his head.

Tears streaming down his face, he grabbed up his books and backpack, running from school as fast as his legs would carry him, not even caring that it was only fourth period, and lunch would be ending soon, that the gym teacher would be looking for him when the other boys showed up to the locker room. That he was skipping class, and would surely be written up for this.

Blaine ran until he felt out of breath, until he reached the park around the corner from his house. He slid the ground beneath an oak tree, hugging his knees to his chest and crying openly, in earnest. Nothing had hurt as badly as the shame he felt, the heartache of knowing he was hated because of something he couldn't control-something he didn't even know if he wanted, truth be told.

Blaine's backpack slid off his shoulders, the hastily zipped front pouch releasing the contents of his hard-shell pencil case. Wiping at his eyes, Blaine hastily shoved his pens and pencils back into his bag, when his eyes caught on the plastic handled scissors he'd bought for art class. Gingerly picking them up, Blaine opened and closed the blades a few times, his tears slowing as he fingered the sharp inside edge of the utensil.


"How did you feel, Blaine? When you were cutting? After?"

"I felt-I felt fucking great, to be honest. For once, I had control over something. I couldn't stop the bastards from doing anything, but they couldn't take this away from me."

"So it's always been about control?"

"Yeah, I guess. I mean, the pain helps too, you know? Seeing the blood-when I first started, it made me feel alive. Now I'm so fucked up I don't even remember what it's like to feel. So maybe it's not so much control anymore, and more about just being able to feel anything, maybe."

"Did you continue to cut after that first time?"

"Yeah, I mean-it felt good. It helped, it focused me. I mean, for the first time since I'd come out, I was able to do something about it, you know?"

"How often would you say, on average, Blaine?"

"Every fucking day."


"Blaine, sweetie, wash up for dinner! Your father's on his way home with your brother!" Maria Anderson's voice floated upstairs to her son from the kitchen,

"Coming, Mom!"

Blaine quickly slid his X-acto knife back into its plastic casing, wiping all evidence of blood from his wrist. He grabbed a few band-aids from his CD case, bandaging his latest cuts quickly before packing everything-the three blades, the cotton balls, alcohol, peroxide, and bandages-into their spots and zipping the case. Sliding it back under his bed, he double-checked that his sleeves were in position, before running down the stairs two at a time, up to his mother.

"What's cooking, Mom?" he asked, kissing her on the cheek. He'd been up in his room since getting home from school, and his mom had come in a few hours afterwards, calling up her hello while beginning dinner preparations. Blaine's older brother, Will, was at football practice with their father, the assistant coach of the high school team.

"Chicken parm and salad. How was your day, Blainey?"

Blaine smiled at his mom's nickname for him, shrugging. Of his parents, his mother was the more accepting of his coming out, Blaine's father either refusing to accept or acknowledge it. On occasion, Drew Anderson would make disparaging comments about his younger son's sexuality, most of which were ignored by Maria, but cut Blaine to his core.

"The usual. It sucked."

Maria frowned, transferring the salad to the kitchen table and handing Blaine a stack of plates to set out.

"Are those boys still giving you trouble, sweetie?"

"Yeah, mom, but it's not a big deal. I mean, they haven't done anything that bad lately, just the usually insults and stuff. It's okay."

"Blaine, honey, I wish-"

"We're home!" Drew's voice rang out from the foyer, accompanied by the sound of Will dropping his football gear in the hall.

"Smells great, Mom," Will complimented, kissing his mother on the cheek. "Sup, loser?"

"William, do not speak to your brother like that. Shoes in the laundry room, how many times have I told you? Hi, honey, how was practice?" Maria cycled through her typical lines with practiced ease, ignoring the tension that immediately sprang up between her husband and youngest son.

"Team looks good for the championship. Will's really shaping up at corner, I knew putting him on D was the right move," Drew praised, smiling at his older son as Will returned to the kitchen, taking his customary seat at the table. Drew took the head, waiting for Maria to sit down before beginning to serve. Turning to his younger son with the chicken, he frowned.

"Blaine, one day you'll realize that this is what you want. You'll join football, like your brother, and you'll be damn good at it. Probably knock you straight, if the coach has anything to say about it."

"Dad, how many-"

"Blaine, I'm not finished. This weekend, you and me are going to fix up that old car in the driveway. Maybe some good hard work will knock sense into you, yeah? Now eat your chicken."


"And how's your relationship with your father now, Blaine?"

"He's still a bastard, if that's what you mean."

"How often do you talk to him?"

"Maybe once a month. Maybe. After he left Mom, I just-he didn't care, he disowned me when he realized he couldn't knock the gay out of me."

"Let's look at that, then, Blaine. What did you feel when your dad left? How old were you?"

"Fourteen. I'd just gotten beat to hell by the same kids who made my life miserable."


"Blaine Anderson, please, he's our son. The police called us, said we needed to be here, please, tell us what is wrong," Maria pleaded with the nurse at the admit desk of the ER, terrified tears tracking down her cheeks as she grasped Drew's forearm.

"Ma'am, the doctor is still in with your son. I will let you know as soon as-"

"You're Blaine Anderson's family?"

"Yes, I'm his mother, this is my husband. Please, can you tell us-"

"My name is Doctor Lynd. I'm treating your son. You can follow me back to see him, I'll brief you on what happened as we walk."

"Is Blaine-"

"Your son was brought in by ambulance approximately forty-five minutes ago. The paramedics discovered him unconscious in the school parking lot while responding to a 9-1-1 call from the principal. From what we've managed to piece together, Blaine suffered a rather severe beating. I'm sure the police will have more information for you, and will want to speak to Blaine as well."

Dr. Lynd paused outside a glass door, turning to face the parents.

"Blaine's in here. His injuries, while painful and certainly disconcerting, are not life-threatening. Blaine suffered a mild concussion, and needed forty-five stitches to a laceration on his temple. His left wrist was fractured, and we've casted it and fitted him in a sling. He's got three cracked ribs, and two broken, as well as multiple contusions and lacerations. All in all, I'd say he faired pretty well, given the apparent extent and severity of the beating."

"Oh my God," Maria whispered, holding a hand to her mouth. Her husband set his jaw, looking the doctor squarely in the eye.

"This is because he's queer, isn't it? That's why they beat him. They did what I can't."

"Andrew!"

"Mr. Anderson, I do not know why your son was beaten, and I would appreciate that you not approach him with such a negative attitude. Blaine needs support in order to heal, and I will not allow you to hamper his recovery while he is in my care. With that said, I have a final matter to discuss with you both, concerning Blaine's general welfare."

"Doctor?"

"Were you aware that Blaine has been self-harming?"

"I'm sorry?" Maria asked, her confusion evident on her face.

"Cutting. Were you aware that Blaine has been cutting himself? Extensively and for awhile, judging by the number and healing state of his scars."

"Excuse me?" Drew's voice rose in anger, his fists clenched at his sides.

"But I don't understand. Cutting himself? Why? Why would he do that, I don't-"

"Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, I think you have a lot to discuss with your son. I need to let you know that I've consulted with Psychiatry for Blaine. In cases where we suspect a patient may be a danger to himself, it's standard procedure. I think it would be in Blaine's best interest for you to set something up for him."

"Wait, Doctor, I don't-I don't understand, please-"

"Mrs. Anderson, talk to your son. It's clear that he's been falling through the cracks for a while now. He needs your support, not your judgment right now." Doctor Lynd grasped Maria on the shoulder, gently steering her into the room, where her son was sitting up in bed, a haunted look on his face, his left arm in a sling and his pale skin marred by deep purple bruising.

"Oh, Blainey," Maria whispered, crossing quickly to the bed, wrapping him in a delicate hug.

"You know?" Blaine asked, his voice barely louder than a whisper, his eyes glued to the floor, avoiding both the stares of his parents and the sight of his scars. Maria turned her son's arm in her hands in response, gently running her fingers along the scars.

"Oh, Blaine. Honey. Blaine."

"Mom, it's not your fault."

"No, Maria, it's not your fault. It's his, for being such a fuck-up."

"Andrew!"

"Mr. Anderson, I must ask you to keep your voice down, or leave my Emergency Room. Now."

"I can't stay in this room with him any longer. You encouraged this, Maria, you let him carry on, you treated him like he was normal. That's why he did this, that's why he's such a mess, that's-"

"Drew, honey, please, listen to yourself, Blaine is your son, please-"

"Maria, I can no longer put up with this. It's me or him. I cannot have a son who is-who is so queer. I can't."

"Drew, please-"

Drew Anderson walked out the door, leaving his sobbing wife and shell-shocked son in his wake.

Blaine was released the following morning, and sent home to a house emptied of everything belonging to his father. Drew had moved to a hotel downtown, leaving a note for Maria that he'd return if and when she came to her senses. Blaine spent the day curled in bed, sobbing around his aching ribs while his mother cried herself to sleep on the couch, while Will threw things at the wall adjoining their rooms, blaming Blaine for everything that had happened.

It was later that night, listening to Maria's broken sobs and Will's raging, that Blaine picked up the orange prescription bottle given to him at the hospital, and took it into the bathroom with him.


"Will found me. Couple hours later."

"How did you do it, Blaine?"

"Took a handful of the Vicodin they'd given me for my ribs. Almost worked, too, if I hadn't made so much noise when I hit the floor. Woke Will up. Think that was the only time I've seen him show emotion towards me."

"Then what happened, Blaine?"

"They took me back to the ER. Pumped my stomach, charcoal, all of it. Stuck me in the psych ward, strapped me to the bed for three days. Kept me there for three months after. Weekly counseling, whatever."

"Were you still cutting, Blaine?"

"Well, yeah, I mean, when I could get something that I could use, you know? They kept most of it away from me-it was like I had a fucking sign around my neck, 'Keep sharp objects away, crazy kid will try to off himself again.' I used my IV needle a few times, or my fingernails."

"Was the therapy helping, Blaine?"

"Not really. I mean, it's fine to talk about, but she didn't know shit, you know? She wasn't gay. She'd never been called a fag, a queer, a fairy. Had words spray painted on her chest, been beaten because of who she was. None of them had any fucking idea."

"Did you want to get better, Blaine?"

"Not really. They wanted to take away the only thing I did right, the only thing I had. So I lied, and another month later, they let me out. I transferred to Dalton the next week."


"You're new here, right? My name's Wes, you are?"

"Uh, Blaine. Blaine Anderson. Nice to meet you, Wes."

"Don't look so terrified, kid. You'll get used to it."

"Does everyone here always look so-so-"

"Put together?" Wes laughed, clapping Blaine on the shoulder. "We're all only human, man. But it's part of Dalton's charm. We all act like we're perfect, but half of us don't know which way is up."

Blaine chuckled appreciatively, absently gripping the sleeves of his blazer in clenched fists, ensuring they hid his secrets, even while he wondered what secrets hid behind other black-and-red blazers, behind closed doors and smiles.

"Listen, Blaine, do you sing? I've gotta run, I've got Warblers practice, but you should come along, if you do. We're looking for some new junior members, you should think about trying out."

"I've never tried before, so I don't-"

"Come anyway. I like you, kid. You seem fun. You'll love the Warblers, trust me."

"Okay."

Blaine followed Wes to the Senior Commons, awed by the number of boys in the Warblers, the seemingly carefree and at ease students lounging in their Dalton blazers, chattering away. Blaine paused at the door, unsure of his place, before Wes grabbed his hand, pulling him over to a small cluster of guys.

"Guys, this is Blaine. He's the new kid, just transferred. Blaine, this is David, Thad, and Jeff. We're all sophomores, junior Warblers."

"Where'd you go to school, before, Blaine?"

"Uh-just my public school. There were some issues with bullies, I-I transferred here because of that."

"Well, we're happy to have you. You're trying out for the Warblers?"

"I don't-"

"Of course he is, why do you think I dragged him here?"

"I don't even know if I can sing."

"Everyone can sing, Blaine. Have you ever even tried?"

Later that night, safely ensconced in his room with his new Warblers sheet music, Blaine took out his CD case, unzipping it and making his choice for the night. The cutting hadn't gotten better since his stay in the hospital-it had almost gotten worse. He no longer cut on his arms, where his mother knew to look, but on his hips, where she'd never find them.

Taking out a new blade, Blaine quickly sterilized the edge, snapping it into the holder and slicing five new cuts on his right hip, one for each mistake he'd made that day-going to the wrong classroom, letting himself daydream during class, unconsciously flinching every time someone came near him with a raised hand.

Blaine cut with almost clinical efficiency now, having boiled it down to an art form. The blade was sterilized, the cuts were clean, the blood was wiped up and the slices were bandaged, all in less time than it took to watch a sitcom on television. His collection had grown over the past few years, encompassing several sizes of blades, varying levels of sharpness, as well as enough first-aid supplies to stem the bleeding and hide the evidence when he was done.


"Were you proud of yourself, Blaine? That you could hide so well?"

"I guess I was, yeah. I mean, they proved they could take everything else from me-they locked me up in the psych ward, they made me transfer, they made my mom check my arms every day. So yeah, I guess I was proud I could keep it."

"Why did you hide from your mom, Blaine?"

"Because, I loved her, but she couldn't-I couldn't stop, but I couldn't hurt her, either. Not like Dad."

"But she loves you, doesn't she? She kept bringing you to therapy, checking your arms, trying to help you?"

"She meant well, but that therapist-she didn't do anything for me. Anything."

"Tell me about Dalton, Blaine. Did you like it there? Were you comfortable, safe?"

"Yeah, Dalton was great. I really felt like I fit in, with the Warblers, with Wes and David. I mean, I was really the only truly out kid in our group, but it didn't even matter. No one called me-no one called me a fag anymore, no one hit me, shoved me. I wasn't afraid to walk down the hallway anymore."

"But you still felt like cutting?"

"I couldn't stop. I didn't want to stop. I knew it was wrong, knew it was crazy. But it felt so good. It was-I think it was the only way I could cope, with a bad grade, missed solo, anything. It was the only way I wanted to cope."

"What changed?"

"Wes found me, caught me in the Dalton bathrooms."


"Anderson, Christ, hurry up! You left practice twenty minutes ago, we're hungry! If you're taking a dump-"

Wes's statement died on his lips as he fully appreciated what he was seeing. Blaine was huddled over the sink at the far end of the row, one white-knuckled hand gripping the porcelain edge, the other hovering, shaking over the basin. A black CD case sat open on the counter next to the sink, bright drops of blood dripping into the sink. The blade had fallen from Blaine's hand to rest over the drain, and Blaine had hastily tried to pull his sleeve back down, even though he knew it was pointless.

"Blaine?"

Wes's voice was quiet, desperate, almost fearful. He stepped toward his friend, his own hands shaking as he stared at the blood still dripping from Blaine's left arm, seeping through the hastily fixed uniform shirt.

"Hey, Wes, uh-I hit my arm on the door, yeah, I was just trying to-just trying to-"

Wes had reached him by that point, his shaking fingers reaching toward Blaine's arm. The brunette jerked back, hastily shutting his case and trying to escape Wes's stare.

"Come on, man, everyone's waiting, they-"

"Blaine, show me your arm."

"What? Wes, come on, I told you, I just hit it on a door, it'll be fine, I just need a band-aid and I'm good, I swear-"

"Blaine Anderson, roll up your goddamn sleeve. Now." Blaine froze at Wes's sudden change in tone, dropping his case on the floor. Blades skittered out across the floor, a bottle of peroxide rolling to stop at Wes's feet. "Blaine, please, show me your arm."

"Wes, you don't want to see this. I swear, you don't."

"Blaine, I just-Blaine, please. I want to-Jesus Christ, Blaine, I don't even know-I just want to help you."

"Wes, you can't help this. They've tried, everyone tri-"

"Blaine, show me your arm."

Wes closed the distance, kicking aside the rolling bottle and stepping over the blades, reaching for his friend's arm again. He didn't miss the way Blaine flinched as Wes's fingers closed over his wrist, as he, shaking, began to roll back Blaine's sleeve.

"Wes, please-"

"Oh my, God, Blaine," Wes breathed, trailing along the lines, some flat, faded and white, some pink and raised, and a few brand new, still leaking bright red drops. "Oh, God."

"Wes-"

"Blaine, this is-Blaine this is bad. Really bad."

"Jesus, Wes, you think I don't know that? My mother sends me to a fucking shrink twice a week, checks my arms every morning. This is the first time I've done it at school, the first time in months on my arms, the-"

"Why?"

"Wes, I'm so fucked up I couldn't even-"

"Then tell me, Blaine. Let me help you. Jesus Christ, please. You're-you're killing yourself."

"I'm not, not really, Wes. At least, not anymore."

"Not any-Christ, Blaine, how many times?"

"Just once. Right before-right before I transferred. Wes, you're the only-you're the only one at Dalton, please, please don't tell the others, please keep it to yourself, plea-"

"Blaine, you need to get help. You need-I don't know what, I don't know what to do, but whatever you're doing isn't working. Blaine, I'm-I'm worried about you."


"So Wes found out. Did he tell-"

"He kept his promise. Didn't tell the others. But he walked me to the Dalton counselor's office every afternoon, waited for me. Checked my arms, like my mom. Checked my hip, every morning. It was awkward, it was embarrassing-"

"But you don't sound upset."

"I think, in a way, Wes was the first person who really cared about why I was doing it. He didn't want me to just stop, he wanted me to get better. He wanted me to get help."

"How was your new counselor?"

"He sent me to a psychiatrist. They put me on drugs for the first time. Officially diagnosed me with clinical depression, or so they said."

"You hadn't had a diagnosis while you were in the hospital?"

"They told my mom I was acutely suicidal following the stress of my attack and my father's leaving. They said the cutting was just a coping mechanism, not a sign of anything deeper."

"What medications were you taking?"

"They tried me on Zoloft, pulled that for Prozac and then Lexapro. Then back to Zoloft."

"Did the medications work?"

"Did they stop me from being depressed? Sure. Did they help? Not really."

"What do you mean, Blaine?"

"I felt numb. I mean, I couldn't feel anything. It was like I was happy, but empty at the same time. I went through the motions, I woke up, went to school, went to Warblers practice, went to the counselor, went home. Rinse, repeat."

"When did you stop feeling numb?"

"Probably when I tried to kill myself a second time."


"Blaine, how are you? Really. You seem-more off than usual."

"Wes, I'm fine. I promise."

"Did you take your meds today?"

"Yes, mom, I took them."

"Blaine-"

"I swear, Wes. You want to check the bottle, count my pills?"

"Blaine, you know I'm only trying-I only want you to get better, I care about you."

"I know, Wes," Blaine sighed, turning to face his friend. "I'm doing better, I'm just-I'm having a rough day, you know? They still happen, even with the meds. It's not like a miracle drug."

"I know, Blaine. I just-you're still seeing your therapist, yeah? Working on it all?"

"I'm trying, Wes, I just-this is hard. I've been with this for three years now, been struggling even longer. It's not easy to be gay, not in this state, this community. I'm just-I'm tired. Tired of fighting, tired of struggling, tired of being who I am."

"I get it, Blaine. I know I'm straight, but I get how hard it is for you."

"Do you, Wes? Do you really? You say that, hell, everyone says that, but I don't know how much you really get. Do you wake up and wish you were someone else? Do you pray for God to make you normal, to make you what everyone else says you should be?"

"No, Blaine. I don't. I don't know-"

"Wes, I just need to be alone, okay? I'm tired of you breathing down my neck, tired of my mom walking on eggshells around me, tired of teachers looking at me with pity, the poor depressed gay kid, his life must suck."

"Blaine, you know that I don't pity you. You know that-"

"Wes, please. I'm not going to do anything. I swear to you I will not cut tonight."

"Blaine, please, please call me. Anytime, midnight, two, whenever. If you're thinking of cutting, of-of killing yourself, please Blaine."

When his phone startled him awake at three that morning, Wes wasn't as surprised as he felt he should've been to hear a crying Blaine on the other end, begging him to help.

"Blaine, Blaine, what did you do? Blaine?"

"Wes, please, Wes, I-I"

"Blaine, come on, buddy, talk to me, what did you do? Where are you?"

"I'm at Dalton, Wes, in the parking lot. I never-I never left, I'm still, oh, God, Wes-"

"Blaine! Blaine, I'm on my way, fifteen minutes, okay? Blaine, talk to me, what did you do, what's going on? Blaine?"

"There's so much blood."

Those words dropped like a rock in Wes's stomach, making him press the gas even harder, speeding towards Dalton.

"Blaine, why is there blood? Blaine, buddy, come on. Talk to me. Blaine!"

"I couldn't stop, Wes. I couldn't-I'm just tired, Wes, I'm so tired."

"Blaine!"

The conversation ended, and five minutes later Wes pulled into the Dalton student lot in record time, having run five red lights and broken every speed limit to get there. He easily found Blaine's car-the only one left in the parking lot. Screeching to a halt beside the small black car, Wes threw his door open before he was even in park, holding his cell phone to his ear, on the line with 9-1-1even as he ran to Blaine's door.

"Jesus Christ," Wes exclaimed aloud, finally seeing his friend. Blaine was slumped in the driver's seat, his CD case beside him. A bottle of Tylenol lay on the floor, several white pills scattered on the seat, the lid nowhere to be found. A bloody blade had fallen from Blaine's hand, bright red blood cascading down Blaine's left wrist from four identical slashes, one so deep Wes thought he might even be able to see bone. Freezing, Wes turned away from the car, took four steps, and promptly vomited everything he had eaten that day.

"Sir, I repeat, do you need an ambulance? Sir?"

"Jesus fucking Christ. He tried again. God dammit, Blaine, how could you do this?"

"Sir?"

"He slit his wrists. Christ, I think he took a bunch of pills, too. Please-please hurry."


"Did you want to die that day, Blaine?"

"I just wanted to stop hurting. I wanted-I was so tired, tired of everything."

"What happened then, Blaine?"

"Wes rode with me to the ER. They pumped my stomach, stitched me up. Five hundred and forty six stitches, eight units of blood. Seventy-two more hours on a psych hold."

"And then?"

"Then my mom sent me to an in-patient rehab out in Chicago. I took a leave of absence for the rest of the semester, finished my coursework with a tutor."

"How was rehab?"

"Shitty. I spent every day of my summer talking with other crazy people, with doctors, with therapists."

"And then?"

"And then something clicked. I felt-I finally felt, I think."

"What do you mean?"

"I met a girl there, her name was Anna. She was anorexic, bulimic, and had been burning herself for ten years. Since she was six."

"What was it about Anna that changed you?"

"I think she showed me what I could turn into if I kept it up, but she also taught me that it was okay to be who you are. She was just-different. She had schizophrenia, I think. Maybe she was bipolar. I don't really know. All I know is, Anna told me that she never wanted to see me in therapy again. She told me she saw that I had the promise, the ability she didn't."

"And did you believe her?"

"At first, no. But then-"

"Then?"

"I started actually opening up to my doctors. I talked about coming out, about how hard it was. I talked-I finally talked about the attack, about my dad leaving. I talked about why cutting worked for me, why it felt good."

"And what happened when you left rehab?"

"I started my Junior year at Dalton. They told me, in Chicago, that cutting is like any other addiction. I'll always be fighting, that's what they told me. But they also told me I could manage. I wasn't suicidal anymore. We found a medication that worked, didn't make me feel empty, lost. Instead of cutting, I kept bracelets on my wrists, held them when I felt the need to cut. I felt good."

"And then?"

"And then I met the person who would forever change my life."


"What did you think of that kid from McKinley? Kurt?"

"Poor kid seemed so lost, I felt bad for him."

"Blaine, what-oh my, God, Blaine, you thought he was attractive, didn't you?"

"What? No, Wes, I just-he reminds me of someone."

"Who, the guy in your darkest fantasies?"

"Wes, shut up," Blaine smirked, slapping his friend on the shoulder good-naturedly. The events of the semester before were only known to their small group of friends, but aside from more careful attention to Blaine's daily routine, nothing in their dynamic had changed since Blaine's return to Dalton.

"Seriously, who?"

"Me, I think. Back when-before I-"

The group suddenly grew quiet, Wes and David becoming very interested in their lattes.

"I mean, he's so lost. He has no one to turn to, he's bullied. I know what that's like, remember? But I never dealt with it, I let it consume me, I let it-I let it control me."

"Blaine, you don't think Kurt's-"

"No, I don't think he's suicidal. He's not-he doesn't act like I did. He's not a cutter either, I can feel it. But he's hurting. I think-I need to reach out to him, help him. I can't let him fall like I did."

"Blaine, man, it's been only a few months. Are you sure you're ready-I mean, should you really be giving advice to someone else? No offense, but seven months ago I found you-"

"Wes, please. Not now. I know I'm not a perfect role model, but Kurt just needs someone, he needs-"

"Do you really think you'll be what's best for him, Blaine? That telling him what happened to you, what you've gone through-you don't think it'll give him ideas, plant the idea in his head?"

"I'm not going to tell him everything, Wes. I'm not ready to tell a stranger my darkest secrets. But I do think he needs to know he isn't alone. He needs-Wes, he needs a role model."

"Well, then, I guess we can just call you gay Yoda, then. Kurt Hummel's gay Yoda," David joked, breaking the serious tone of the conversation.

"Learn to embrace the rainbows, you will," Wes intoned, adopting Yoda's voice.

"You two really need to grow up," Blaine laughed, settling back with ease as the conversation turned away from the McKinley spy and towards the Warblers' setlist for sectionals.


"And was Kurt okay?"

"Eventually, yeah. He's so much-he's so much stronger than I ever was."

"What do you mean?"

"Kurt transferred to Dalton, and he just-he transformed. By the time he went back to McKinley, he was so-so fierce, so inspiring. I was jealous, but I was so proud of him."

"You ended up going out?"

"We're still together, so yeah. Right before Regionals. Before everything went crazy and Kurt went back and I realized I was in love."

"And when did you tell Kurt everything?"

"Right before he left for McKinley. We-well, let's just say we were a bit more intimate than we'd been till then."


"Kurt, wait. Kurt, stop."

"Blaine, what is going on? Why are you still wearing a shirt, when clearly I'm half undressed here?"

"Kurt, I can't-I don't want-"

"You don't want? Blaine, if you don't want me, then tell me, don't string me along."

"It's not that, Kurt. I swear to God, it's not that."

"Then what, Blaine? What is it? You can tell me anything, you know I'll still love you no matter-"

"I've never told you my past, Kurt. There's a reason. I'm-I'm ashamed of what's underneath my shirt, of what-of what I've done."

"Blaine?" Kurt questioned, reaching tentatively toward his boyfriend, meaning to reassure the shorter boy.

"No, Kurt. Please, let me-let me finish. I need you to listen to me, and I need you to-I need you not to judge me. Just listen."

"Blaine, I could never-"

"Please don't say that, Kurt. Not until-not until you've seen."

"Blaine, what-"

"Kurt, please."

"Okay."

Blaine sighed, slowly working off his uniform pants, hiking down the waistband of his boxers to show Kurt his hip.

"Blaine, are those-"

"Kurt, I cut myself for almost four years. That's what these are. There's more, on my other hip, on my arms, but I can't-I need to explain first.

"Oh, Blaine," Kurt whispered, his fingers unconsciously darting forward to delicately skirt the puckered flesh on Blaine's hip, the evidence of razors that had bitten into the skin.

"When I was thirteen, I came out to my parents. My mom was okay, my dad-my dad pretended like it hadn't happened. At least for awhile. I was bullied at school, these three kids. They always had it out for me, called me names, pushed me-things you've probably experienced. Except, one day, they-they held me down, drew on me. 'Burn in hell, fag,' shit like that. I broke down, Kurt. I found my scissors, and I just-it felt right, I didn't even know what I was doing, why I was doing it."

"It went on for a year, until my parents had to pick me up at the hospital. Those guys, they-they found me in the parking lot, waiting for my mom to pick me up. They had baseball bats, and-God, Kurt, it just hurt so badly. I kept screaming, crying, but no one came, and they just left me there, and when I got to the hospital I was unconscious, and the doctor found my scars, and told my parents. My dad-my dad left us that night."

Kurt silently reached for Blaine's hand, entwining his fingers with the other boy's as tears began to roll down both of their cheeks.

"The next day, after I got home from the hospital, my mom-my mom was crying all day, my brother was screaming, blaming me. I took half a bottle of Vicodin. My brother found me."

"Blaine," Kurt whispered, stroking his thumb along Blaine's hand, bringing it up to his lips. "Oh, Blaine."

"I've been in therapy for three years, Kurt. But I couldn't stop cutting, no matter what they tried. Wes found me in the Dalton bathrooms, caught me in the act. They ended up putting me on meds. And then I tried again. Last year. I almost-if I hadn't called Wes when I did, I wouldn't be sitting here now, with you."

Blaine extricated himself from Kurt, tentatively unbuttoning his shirt, sliding it from his shoulders. He offered his upturned wrists to Kurt, silently allowing his boyfriend into his most private pain, the thing he hadn't shared willingly with anyone, ever.

Kurt, to his credit, stayed quiet, gently tracing the scars, his fingers stilling over the knotted mess of white scar tissue at the joint where Blaine's left forearm met his palm.

"I haven't cut since then, Kurt. I swear to you, I haven't. But you needed to know. This is why-this is why I didn't want to show you, let you see me. I'm-Kurt, I'm ashamed."

"Blaine, babe, you do not need to be ashamed," Kurt said commandingly, surprising both himself and Blaine. "This doesn't change who you are, Blaine. It doesn't make you any less of a person. It doesn't make me love you any less."

"Kurt-"

"Blaine, if you think your past can change how I see you, you don't think as highly of me as I thought. You've survived, Blaine. You're recovering, and you survived. If that doesn't count for something, then I don't know what does."


"So it seems like things were going well."

"Fantastic, actually. We finished high school, Kurt and I were still together, we moved to New York. Kurt started working odd jobs, temping, whatever, while he auditioned during the day. I went to NYU, studied Chemistry."

"Did you like it?"

"I love Chemistry. I don't even know why. Everyone in high school thought I'd go into performing right with Kurt. But I didn't. I wanted-I used to want to be a doctor, back when things were really bad, when I was in and out of the hospital, everything. I was so impressed by the doctors, by the things they did for me."

"What changed?"

"I failed Organic Chemistry my sophomore year."


"Blaine, honey, what's wrong?"

Blaine slapped the letter down on the kitchen table in front of his boyfriend, returning his head to its place on his hands, where he was wallowing in self-pity at the moment.

"Final grades? Blaine, what-" Kurt froze, his eyes finally reaching the bottom of the page. "So you failed Orgo."

"Medical school is a bust, now."

"Blaine, don't say that. You can always retake it, you can-"

"Kurt, it doesn't work like that. A better grade won't erase this one."

"Blaine, babe, it's not the end of the world. I promise you, it's going to be okay."

"It's not okay, Kurt. This is something else I've failed at, something else I can't do. I'm fucking up everything, again. What do you even see in someone like me?"

"Blaine, hon, you can't be serious right now. You know I love you-all of you-whether you end up in medical school, or selling hot dogs on a street corner. It doesn't matter to me, Blaine, it never has. You matter to me."

"Kurt, why am I even doing this?"

"Blaine, what do you mean? This?"

"This. All of it, everything. Why?"

"Blaine, you're scaring me. What are you talking about?"

"Why am I going through all this? Why am I here, taking these classes, at this school? What am I supposed to do with my life, what is my purpose?"

"Blaine-"

"I'm not going to off myself over a grade, you can stop looking at me like that, Kurt."

"Blaine, what am I supposed to think? You fail a class, and suddenly we're back to the existential 'why do I exist?' argument?"

"I'm not suicidal, Kurt."

"Not anymore."

"It's been years. I haven't even wanted to try since the last-"

"Blaine, I need you to promise me."

"Promise you what, Kurt? That I won't lock myself in the bathroom and down a bottle of pills? Really, Kurt?"

"Blaine, you know that's not what I mean."

"Then, what, Kurt?"

"Blaine, you're not-I need you to promise you won't cut yourself over this. That you won't relapse. This is just a speed bump, Blaine. A road block. I need you to promise me."

"I can't do that, Kurt."


"So you relapsed."

"I couldn't stop myself. I was so-so lost."

"What did Kurt say, when he found out?"

"He yelled, screamed, and dragged me-bodily-to my therapist. She was more than a little shocked to see the two of us at her doorstep at ten at night."

"Was it a true relapse, or just a slip?"

"How do you mean?"

"Did you cut again after that time? Or was it once?"

"I guess-I guess it was a slip, then. I didn't cut-not again. Not until-not until a few months ago."

"Why not?"

"I went back to weekly therapy. We adjusted my medication, and I retook Orgo. Got a B+ this time."

"And medical school?"

"I realized I didn't really want it. I wanted to be behind the scenes, behind the microscope, you know?"

"What happened a few months ago, Blaine? Why did you relapse?"

"I found my old CD case, the one I kept-the one I made a kit out of."

"When?"

"Ironically, the day I got my first rejection letter. Kurt was at rehearsal, and the letter came. From NYU, of all places."

"Why did you cut, Blaine? Why not call Kurt? Your therapist? Another friend? Why cut?"

"It was almost reflexive. I saw the blade, and it was like muscle memory. The emotions were there, the ones that used to make me cut. I felt out of control, I felt scared, lonely, hurt. It was easy."

"And then?"

"And then more letters came, and I remembered how hard it was to stop."

"Tell me about last Friday."


"Blaine, baby, I'm home! How was work today? Any interesting patients?"

Kurt dropped his bag on a bar stool, hanging his coat in the hall closet. He looked around, expecting to find Blaine in his usual place, dozing on the couch. His boyfriend wasn't there, but a crumpled piece of paper was. Heart sinking, Kurt crossed to the couch, picking up the page, noting with growing dread a few drops of blood in the corner.

"Blaine, honey, where are you?" he called out again, quickly scanning the contents of the letter. Worry increasing, Kurt all but ran to their shared bedroom, hoping against hope that he wouldn't find what he knew was waiting for him behind the door.

Pushing the door fully open, Kurt ran to the bed, kicking aside the open CD case, gathering Blaine in his arms while simultaneously dialing the three numbers he dreaded most on his cell phone.

"Blaine, baby, shit, Blaine, come on, honey. Wake up, Blaine. Blaine!"

"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"

"My boyfriend tried-oh, God, there's so much blood, please hurry. Please."

"Sir, I've dispatched an ambulance to your location. Can you tell me more about the situation?"

"My boyfriend he-he's been acting weird, I knew something was wrong. Oh my, God, I didn't see this coming, how could I be so stupid?"

"Sir, please, can you tell me what happened?"

"My boyfriend slit his wrists, he-oh my, God, there's so much blood."

"Sir, have you felt for a pulse?"

"Oh my, God, no, what if-"Kurt cut himself off, shaking hand reaching for Blaine's carotid artery. He was rewarded with a tiny flutter, accompanying the barely visible rise and fall of Blaine's chest.

"Sir, is he breathing?"

"Barely. Please, how long?"

"The ambulance will be there shortly. Sir, you need to try to stop the bleeding."

"I don't know what-"

"If you have a towel, cloth, anything, wrap his wrists and press as hard as you can. It's important, sir, that you keep constant pressure, try to stem the flow as much as you can. The paramedics are five minutes away."

Kurt ripped off his shirt, the closest thing he had, and wrapped Blaine's wrists together, not even caring that he was staining the material bright red, as he pressed as hard as he could, literally feeling his boyfriend's life slip through his fingers.

"Sir, are you putting pressure on the wounds?"

"Yes, uh-yeah."

"Do you want me to stay on the line until the paramedics arrive?"

"No, I think-please tell them to hurry. Please."


"Do you still want to die, Blaine?"

"No. I don't think-I don't think I did. Not that time."

"Then why?"

"I couldn't stop. I was scaring myself. I couldn't cut deep enough, long enough. I couldn't get the same relief I used to."

"So this was an accident."

"Maybe. I mean, I don't think-I'm not really suicidal, I don't really want to die. I love-I love Kurt too much, I can't hurt him like that."

"Do you think your cutting hurts Kurt?"

"I know it does."

"Then why can't you stop?"

"I can't. I don't know-I wish I'd never started, never started again."

"Do you want to stop?"

"Honestly? I don't know."

"Why?"

"Because it feels good. It's so deeply a part of me, has been for so long."

"Does it really feel good, Blaine? In the long run? After the cuts have healed, and the blood has dried, and the pain is gone? Do you still feel relieved?"

Blaine was silent for a long while, carefully choosing his answer. He picked at the tape circling the gauze on his wrists, eyes downcast.

"No."

"Then do you want to stop, Blaine? Take control of your life again, heal? Start over with Kurt, fresh, no more pain and anger?"

"Yes."


"Blaine? Honey?"

Blaine looked up from the bed, smiling when he saw Kurt hovering in the doorway. Six days after his last suicide attempt, and one day away from his release from the hospital. The first day he'd been allowed visitors since his admission.

"Kurt."

"Oh, God, Blaine. Oh God. I thought, I mean, oh, Blaine."

"Hey, Kurt, hey. Shh. It's okay. I'm okay."

Kurt perched on the edge of Blaine's bed, wrapping himself in his boyfriend's arms, tears streaming without abandon down his cheeks.

"I thought, when I found you-Blaine, I thought you were gone. I thought I'd lost you for good."

"Kurt, I couldn't-I will not leave you. Not for a very, very long time. Okay? I promise you that."

"I need you to do something else for me, then, Blaine," Kurt said, wiping his eyes. He reached into his bag, pulling out a small black case, setting it in front of Blaine.

"I need you to choose, Blaine. This, or me. Pick. Because I can't-I can't handle finding you like that again, I can't handle worrying that every time I come home you'll be bleeding out in the bathroom, slicing at yourself with a razor."

"Christ, Kurt, I'm so-I can never apologize enough. I am so, so sorry you went through that. But I've already made my choice."

"Blaine?"

"Kurt, I choose you. I'm going to stop this, and I'm going to get better. But I can't-Kurt, I can't do this without you."

Kurt reached for the black case, sliding the zipper open, running his fingers along the things that had defined Blaine's life for so long, held him captive.

"You're sure, Blaine? You promise you will try?"

"Kurt, I can't promise it will be easy. I know it won't be. I've fought for ten years, and I probably always will. But without you, Kurt-I don't think I can go on without you."

"Okay, then," Kurt said, his voice carrying a finality. "I'm going to burn this, Blaine. This is the first step. I'm going to burn this, and then we're going to make sure you get healthy. I already talked to Angie, took time off for a family emergency. You're my life, now, Blaine, and I need you to be happy, healthy, and whole, so when I need you, you can be my knight in shining armor, my hero."

"I love you, Kurt. I could never do this without you."

"I love you, too, Blaine. I love you."


Wow. That was a marathon to writeā€¦.in like three hours.

I'm going to end with this: If you, or someone you know, are suicidal, depressed, suffering, self-harming, anything, please reach out for help. PLEASE. At the very least, tell a friend, parent, teacher, trusted adult, priest, counselor, anyone. Please do not suffer in silence.

Hope is real, and you can get better. It's hard, and long, but it's possible.

If anyone feels the need to PM me, please do. This story comes at a point in my recovery where I felt the need to express through writing what I've felt, and the things I've dealt with and watched other people deal with. If you need to talk, I'm willing to talk.

Thank you.