Warning: Triggers for self-harm present in a big way. Don't read this if they will affect you in any negative way.
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee.
Blaine Anderson has a secret. It isn't a big one, at least not according to him, but he would never dream of telling anyone. It isn't a big deal. It's not like it could kill him. He just likes the way it feels. Whereas other people get pleasure from exercise or getting an A on a paper or being with someone speical, he gets his from being alone in the bathroom with the door locked. He loves the thrill he gets. He loves how the tiles are so beautiful, so white. It's the best when the moon is full. The whole room is white, bathed in the soft light. It makes for the perfect contrast to the scarlet red.
He pulls out the sharp edge, feeling an irrational thrill. He should get used to the sensation, but he never does. Every time he does it gets better and better. Slowly and carefully, he pulls up his sleeve, ignoring the thin, pale lines that snake up his forearms. The metal is pressed against his skin now, and the coolness feels almost soothing. With gentle pressure, he coaxes just a few drops of blood, and relishes in the way they well up on his pale arm. When they finally drop to the floor, he almost smiles at how bright they look. When he finishes, he will rinse the new cut, watching the water turn crimson as it slides down the drain.
It's like they all say. Beauty hurts.
He just takes it literally.
He hates the scars. They are the worst part of the process. He is careful to keep them high, high enough to be hidden by the carefully pressed blazer he wears every day. But he is running out of space. He read that the wrists bleed the best, but he is too scared to try it. Every time the blazer rides up even the slightest bit, he holds his breath. If someone finds out, everything will be over. His reputation, his friendships, his pleasure. They will all be gone.
Is it too late to change his mind? The fear is the worst part. The scars are annoying. An inconvenience. But the fear is the worst. The fear of being discovered consumes him every day.
He jumps about a foot into the air when he feels Wes clap him on the back. "Hey man, how are you?"
"Tired," he replies, and it isn't even a lie. Wes is oblivious, as usual. They chat amicably, Blaine acting like he does so well, and soon arrive at Warblers practice. He pretends not to notice that he's the only one still in his blazer. The others are used to it by now, and even as they stand around in their undershirts they say they get it. It's really not that hot.
A chorus of hellos greets him and Wes and they settle in with the group easily. They begin to practice, and Blaine smiles to himself. The routine is perfect. They'll win for sure. But even as he thinks this, he is also dreaming of tonight. He can't wait for the feel of the cool metal as it glides along his skin, hurting in just the right way. He is already planning the exact positioning, and he wants to do more research tonight. He doesn't want the scars, doesn't want the fear. Maybe he can get rid of them, or stop causing more in the future. He knows he won't be stopping anytime soon.
He usually doesn't cut too often, maybe once or twice a week at the most, but this week has been stressful. He can't control the amount of papers due this week, and he can't control the way Wes runs Warblers like a boot camp. He can't even control the way his heart pounds whenever he is around Kurt. Because who would ever love the kid with issues? Who could ever look past the scars?
He can control the pain, though. And control is something he needs. He doesn't want it, he craves it. And if the pain is the only thing that can be controlled he isn't giving it up because he got hot.
"Blaine?" he is shocked out of his reverie by a high voice, soft and hesitant. "Are you all right? You zoned out for a minute there." The laugh that follows this is awkward.
"Yeah, of course. What's up?" he asks, flashing a smile that he hopes is charming.
"Oh, nothing. I was just wondering why you weren't taking off your blazer. It's burning in here."
And there it is again, the fear that consumes everything. He can't take off his blazer for fear of the scars showing. It would ruin everything he's worked so hard for. He is well practiced though, and none of the fear surfaces. Instead he simply says, "I'm not hot, actually. Thanks for asking, though."
But something isn't right. Any other Warbler would accept this and walk away. Anybody else would just leave. Kurt was still standing there, looking at Blaine with concern in his eyes.
"Can I talk to you?" With one question Blaine is flailing, trying to find a way out of this situation. This isn't right, it can't be. No one ever looks past the façade, past the walls. His eyes desperately scan the room for help, but to no avail. He feels himself being gently guided to the hall and away from any chance at escape.
He knows he is a good actor.
He just hopes he is good enough.
"Blaine," Kurt begins softly, "I need you to take off your blazer."
Panic. He can't do that, not right here, right now. Not in the middle of a hallway where any teacher or student could just walk right by.
"My room," he manages to choke out, and Kurt follows him wordlessly, eyebrows rising in surprise. Kurt doesn't seem to have suspected the worst and this makes Blaine want to smack himself for being so paranoid. If Kurt finds out anything tonight, it'll be all his fault. He pulls open the door and almost sighs in relief when he hears the click behind them. Safe. But at the same time, this is the least safe he's ever felt.
"Can you take off your blazer for me?" Blaine doesn't want to. It's the last thing he wants to do, actually, but he's backed into a corner. He has no choice. Slowly he pulls on the sleeves, all the time feeling like he's signing his death sentence.
When the blazer is on the floor, he stares at his feet, ashamed. His dress shirt today is short-sleeved, and there is no doubt that the scars are easy to see. His worries are reaffirmed when he hears a gasp from Kurt.
"Blaine," he begins, shocked. This definitely is worse than he expected. He probably thought Blaine was a little weird at first, but this- this was beyond weird. Blaine could almost feel the stare boring into his eyes.
"It was supposed to be a secret," Blaine whispers to his feet. They won't judge him. They won't ridicule him, or pity him.
Kurt doesn't speak, just reaches for Blaine's right arm and tugs it up, turning it over. Blaine risks looking, and knows what he will see before he even looks up. The scars are faint but defined, crossing over each other like a spider web. He can see the deeper ones, where he got more carried away.
He remembers the final day at his old school before he left, where he and his 'date' got assaulted, and he remembers trying to end his life. Those scars are the worst. But he also remembers the way he was afraid, and he remembers stopping at the last second. He remembers almost being caught. He remembers bandaging them up and running to get a jacket before someone could see, could accuse him of the truth. Now they are only angry, puckered lines.
He sees his first cut, so faint and uncertain, and remembers the day. He remembers the tears and the pain and the escape in the end. He remembers the harsh, hurtful words that he will never forget. He remembers being fifteen and feeling like there was nothing to live for. He remembers the secret thrill of the sharp razor blade and the sudden fear at the blood. He remembers when he got addicted.
Blaine isn't dumb. He is, in fact, highly intelligent, and he's known he had a problem from the first cut. He also knows the exact ways to justify his actions. And he knew how to keep it a secret until now.
Because now he is terrified. Kurt's quiet examination is making him want to run far away and never come back. He never wants to have to face this.
"Why?" The question is almost rhetorical, but Blaine feels a sudden need to answer.
"Because I can't stop." Blaine isn't stupid. He never has been. He knows the answers. He just never asks the questions.
Kurt runs a finger over the newest one, the red line that has barely healed. He looks up questioningly, and Blaine feels his stomach drop at the emotion in his eyes. The hurt, the pity, the disappointment. He wants to see none of it.
After a pause, Blaine collects himself enough to whisper hoarsely, "Last night," before he wants to break down. He wants to run to the bathroom and lock the door and relish in the solitude and the pain that he can control when nothing else goes his way. He is so lost in his thoughts that he almost doesn't notice when Kurt wraps his arms around him.
Blaine is too shocked to respond. He remembers the look of fear, the pity, and realizes that there was no repulsion. There was no disgust. But why? The scars are horrible. No one can understand the feeling, but the scars? Those are easy to see. They're easy to judge.
"You need to stop," Kurt murmurs while quietly rubbing soothing circles into Blaine's back.
"It's not that easy." Blaine knows from experience. He's tried in the past, of course. He tried when he moved to Dalton. He made friends, albeit tentative ones, and everything seemed to be working out. He still couldn't stop.
"I never said it was. But you need help, you can't-"
"I don't need help," he says blackly, "I know I have a problem. But I'm fine. It's really not that bad." The protests come easily, as if rehearsed.
Because Blaine knows that cutting is supposed to be wrong. It's called self-harm for a reason. But wouldn't that make drinking self-harm? And skipping school? And lying? Wouldn't that make anything that could hurt you self-harm? Cutting is the least of anybody's worries as far as Blaine is concerned.
"You don't need to do this to yourself," Kurt says, a desperate tone creeping into his voice when he realizes that Blaine won't be persuaded easily. Because Blaine has had this conversation with himself numerous times before. He always wins.
"Please, Blaine, please. You have friends and school, and Warblers. You're always so happy. You don't need this."
"I don't do it because I'm not happy. I do it because I like it. It feels good. I can control it. And it's not like I'm going to die. Think of me as someone who is really accident-prone. I fall and get a few scratches every so often. Is that really so bad?" He is confident that he has this argument won. Checkmate. Because it really isn't as bad as people make it out to be. It isn't as bad as the scars.
"I really like you, Blaine, and I can't let you do this to yourself. You need to get help, or at least tell someone." That isn't what he expected. He wants to end this conversation, and to end it now. He doesn't want to have to deal with any repercussions because they make life harder. He doesn't want to deal with any of it. He just wants the pain to go away. He just wants some control. Is that too much to ask? He attempts to call Kurt's bluff.
"Or what?" Blaine retaliates. He tries not to react to the 'I really like you' part, because it's all just too much right now.
"Or I will."
And his world is crashing down over him because Kurt didn't just say that. He couldn't have. Blaine has kept this a secret for years; he can't just give it up. It's an addiction, but it's harmless. People who are addicted to drugs have problems. Gangsters, stoners, they have problems. Not Blaine. Not the honors student who is the lead in the Warblers and co-captain of the soccer team. Not the Dalton poster child. He doesn't have a problem any more than someone who plays a video game more than normal, or someone who is obsessed with being valedictorian.
"I can't," he says, his voice pleading. He's worked too hard to do this the right way for everything to just end. "I don't cut deep, and I don't do it every day. It's not a big deal. I'll try, I promise, just please don't tell anyone."
"I'm really sorry; I am," Kurt says, and Blaine is surprised to find tears in his eyes, "but I have to. I can't let you just do this to yourself. You don't get it, do you? This is dangerous, Blaine. And as careful as you say you are, it's not worth it. You're so much better than this. You don't need it. I'm going to go get the counselor, okay?"
"No, no, you can't, please," Blaine's broken begging echoes harshly in his ears as Kurt walks away, ending his charade.
He's used his charm, his acting, and his lies to fill the cracks. But the cracks were always there. And Blaine is finally falling apart.
"He's right in here," Blaine hears Kurt say as the dreaded footsteps approach his dorm. He comes so close to just hiding, running to the bathroom and locking the door like he'd done so many times in the past, but the look in Kurt's eyes makes him stop, if only for a moment.
He's never seen that before. There was something else there, enough to make Blaine pause. What if Kurt is right? What if he'd be happier if he stopped? What if they could actually make something of their awkward relationship? What if they had a chance?
When Kurt and the counselor walk in, Blaine is looking at his blazer crumpled on the floor, mocking him. It's over. No more hiding.
"Blaine?" asks a kind voice, and he looks up to see a familiar face. Blaine has seen the counselor many times about college options. He wishes this were one of those times.
"Kurt told me you were hurting yourself, is that true?" Blaine nods, but he detests the word choice. He hates the way people tiptoe around the real issue. Because for some reason he can't fathom, hurting yourself sounds so much better than cutting.
"Can I see?" Blaine wordlessly holds up his arms, both palms up. This time he doesn't look down. He knows what's there.
"How long has this been going on?"
"Since I was fifteen." The truth hurts more than he thought it would. It's been two, almost three years since he started. Of course there have been lulls, periods of less activity. Those were in the beginning. Then there were the times when he cut every night, several times, and fell asleep crying into his pillow. The bullies had been too much. His dad had tried to turn him straight. He felt like nobody cared.
"Blaine, this isn't okay. You need help, and I'm glad Kurt told me what was going on. Why are you cutting yourself?"
Blaine needs an answer that won't come. He knows what to say all the time, but the answers evade him once the questions are asked. He wants to say so many things, and before he realizes it he is talking, the words rushing out as if he can't get them out fast enough.
"I don't know what to do. It started when I was scared and alone and my parents didn't really care about me. My friends wouldn't get it; they thought I was a freak. I just needed to find a way to get rid of the pain, and if I made myself hurt on the outside, it wasn't so bad on the inside. It was something I could control, you know? It made everything kind of easier to deal with. And then I saw the- the blood on the floor and it was so bright, I was almost scared. But it was so beautiful. I never stopped." He doesn't care if it made sense, he just talks.
And for the first time in a long time, Blaine Anderson feels like someone is listening. He feels like maybe he isn't as alone as he thought. But at the same time he remembers the bullying and the hurt and the way blood looks dripping on the tiles, and suddenly it doesn't matter if he's alone. The pain is beautiful and he doesn't want to stop.
"You need help, son. I know you're going to deny it, but you need help. I'm going to call your parents."
"No!" The word is out before he can stop it. He is ashamed at his own weakness, at the desperation in his voice. But his parents can't know.
The businessman and his trophy wife already have a gay son. If he cuts himself too, they might just disown him. Or, even worse, turn him into a charity case. They'd make it public, showing that they care about the issue. He doesn't want to go the banquets where he can already feel the pitying looks from people who really don't care. He doesn't want to go to some rehab center or a summer camp that will 'reform' him. He doesn't want any of it.
"No," he repeats, his voice steadier, "They wouldn't understand. They'd just be ashamed. Please, just keep this between us. I- I'll go to therapy, I'll do whatever program you want. Just don't call them."
"They deserve to know." This time it's Kurt who speaks up, and Blaine glares at him murderously. First he ruins everything, and then he wants to break what remains?
"I have to go to the bathroom," he mumbles, walking through his dorm to the cramped space he spends so much time in. The red drops are still there from the previous night, faded to a rusty brown as they stained. The second he hears the lock click, footsteps come rushing to the door.
"Blaine! Open up! Please, just open the door!" It's Kurt's voice, and Kurt's fists pounding. Apparently Kurt isn't dumb either.
He slides the blade out of the drawer it resides in, turning on the water and rinsing it until it shines. It's all over. Without even thinking, he presses it against his wrist firmly. There is more blood than usual, but no need for concern. He knows what he is doing. He wraps a bandage around his new cut apathetically, taking only the slightest bit of pleasure at seeing the crimson next to the sink.
He has always been appreciative of the white counters.
It puts a damper on his mood to hear the desperate pleading in the background. It hurts even more when he knows what this is doing to Kurt, to him. Because as much as he hates to admit it, he likes Kurt. He likes Kurt a lot. And he hates causing him pain.
As he steps out, face blank, he feels a pain inside unlike any he has felt in a long time at seeing Kurt slumped against the bed, head in his hands. When he looks up, his face is tear-streaked.
"I'm sorry." Those are the last words Blaine expects to come out of the younger boy's mouth, but there they are. The whisper hangs in the air and Blaine feels an onslaught of shame that turns his face red.
"Why are you sorry? I did this to myself. I just can't stop."
"But you could have, with help, and I wasn't there. I just let you go. God, I didn't even think about it. I'm such an idiot."
"Where's Mr. Thomas?" he asks, mentally berating himself for avoiding the problem. If he wants to stop cutting, he needs to learn to face his issues instead of just running away to the safety of the razor blade.
He doesn't even hear Kurt's answer, though, because something stops him short.
If he wants to stop. Did he really just think that? Does he? Want to stop? He doesn't think so, but this is one of the first times that thought ever presented himself in such a setting. Before he lets go of it, he uses it in the best way he knows how.
"I think I might want to stop. Sometime in the future," he adds hastily when he sees the look of pure hope on Kurt's face. It falls a little bit, but immediately rises up again.
"Blaine, that's amazing! It's okay, I'll be here for you, we can do it together. It'll get better, I promise."
And Blaine suddenly feels eons better. At the same time, he thinks back to the beautiful red against white he's grown to love, and his heart speeds up. How will he choose? On one side is the boy he might be learning to love, the one who promises to be there for him. But promises can be broken far too easily. On the other side is the possibly damaging habit that's become an addiction. It will always be there. It will never leave. But if he leaves it, he gets the boy. He gets his dream.
"Together?" he asks, horrified at the tears that thicken his voice.
"Always," Kurt smiles back, and suddenly the decision doesn't seem too hard anymore. He stretches out his hand, waiting for Blaine to help him up.
He pauses for just a moment more, weighing his options, because this is a symbol. If he helps Kurt up, he pushes the beautiful pain back down. And if he pushes too far, it might never come back. Shaking his head resolutely, he pulls Kurt to his feet and they walk to lunch together. No one asks him if he's all right, because he is.
Blaine isn't dumb. He knows that this new found courage will only last him so long. He knows that the bathroom will be calling him. He knows that every time he enters that room he will feel the urge to cut. And he knows it will just get harder from here. He knows that he's tried to stop before, and he knows that he failed time and time again.
He also knows that this time he has something worth fighting for.
A/N: Wow. I honestly have no idea why I wrote this. The idea just consumed me, I guess. I've never done anything like this, and I don't know of anyone close to me who has, but I do know how dangerous it can be. It's my first time ever writing in third person, so I'm not sure how that turned out, but I would love to know. I've read a lot of fics where Kurt is the one with issues similar to this, but I just felt like the pressure for Blaine would be enough to make him crack. Even as a girl, I feel like I can relate to his character. But seriously, that took a lot out of me. I sat and wrote it in one sitting and am too tired to even go back to edit. Leave a review?
To anyone who has read this and suffers with the same issues, please look for help. Confiding in someone really can make things better, and it is a serious issue.