Then

Blaine had always liked baseball. He liked the simplicity of the game. It was something he and his dad had always watched together on TV and when Blaine started his freshman year at Vale high school he tried out for the team.

He was moderately popular, had a few friends, not one of the jocks bur he was well liked. Then in his sophomore year it all changed when he came out of the closet. It became a daily occurrence for Blaine to be pushed into lockers, called names and even on one occasion had his head shoved into a toilet bowl so that his so-called friends could "scare the gay out of him".

He quit the baseball team. It had become another place where he wasn't wanted and his home life wasn't much easier. His parents never spoke about him being gay in fact they didn't really speak at all any more. His father's disgust and his mothers tears.

"What do we do?" was what he could hear them saying most often. He felt numb, but mostly he was just tired. He came close once to ending it but as he held the bottle of sleeping pills he was angry at himself for being a coward.

He tried harder at school. Tried to ignore them. It was then he noticed the schools show choir. A bullied person takes more notice of the other misfits and Blaine had always liked music as much as sport, so he tried out. Finally he had friends again and his confidence began to grow.

Despite no longer playing baseball, Blaine still loved the sport. Until the night of the Sadie Hawkins dance.

Now

Transferring to Dalton was the best thing Blaine had ever done. Being a Warbler was amazing and he had great friends and an amazing new boyfriend. Kurt was a year younger and Blaine's complete opposite. Plus his old glee club the New Directions were hilarious and really great friends. They had no problem hanging out with Blaine, after they were no longer competitors anyway.

On a Saturday afternoon Blaine sat in a coffee shop and Kurt took his hand and asked him to prom. Blaine felt like his whole world was about to crumble and he blinked back the tears he didn't want to be seen. He wanted to do anything but go to another dance ever again. When Kurt asked why he didn't want to go he told him part of the truth.

"They beat the crap out of us" is what he says to Kurt while he grips the coffee table and forces himself not to think about it. Part of Blaine aches that he can't tell him the whole story but mostly he's happy not to be asked for the details.

Sadly he wasn't lucky enough to escape forever.

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"Hurry up Blaine!" Rachel called to him as he walked towards her and the rest of New Directions in the shopping mall. The girls and Kurt had forced him and the other boys to come with them as they looked for clothes to wear in New York. Even though shopping wasn't his favourite thing to do Blaine spent a few happy hours with his new friends. He had a lazy debate with Finn on the unfairness of a football game as they walked back home afterwards.

And then they walked through the park and Blaine heard it. The sharp crack of bat against ball. He froze mid-sentence and Sam walked into him. He couldn't breathe and the concerned voices of everyone around him were blurred. He backed away from his friends fear taking control of his actions. Somewhere in a dark corner of his mind said they wouldn't have hurt him but Blaine was trapped in the past, a scared fifteen year old again.

It took an hour for them to get Blaine to snap out of it. Quinn asked if he wanted her to call his parents but he said no. They took him to Kurt's house instead and Burt took one look at Blaine and ordered him to sit and tell him what happened.

"Nothing sir I was just feeling dizzy" Blaine told him.

"Don't insult my intelligence lad, I've seen panic attacks before" was the response.

Blaine put his face in his hands and took a few deep breaths.

"Do you remember what I told you about what happened at that dance at my old school" he asked Kurt.

"You said they beat you and your friend up for being gay" Kurt said as he took his boyfriends hand.

"I didn't tell you all of it." Blaine took a look at his worried friends before continuing. "Me and Nate were sitting on the curb waiting for his dad when the resident Neanderthals came over. They knocked me off my feet pretty quickly and started kicking me. I couldn't see Nate but I could hear screaming and I'm still not sure if it was me or him doing it. One of them had a baseball bat and kept hitting me with it. They just wouldn't stop and I was so cold and bleeding and I can still hear what my ankle sounded like when it snapped..." Blaine's voice broke and the tears began to fall.

"I woke up in hospital I'm not sure how much later. I had a concussion, two fractured ribs, a punctured lung, a broken ankle and more cuts and bruises than you could count. All my dad would do is arrange to have me sent to another school, because I was enough of an embarrassment for being gay and he didn't want to ruin his reputation more by pressing for a lawsuit. His words not mine" Blaine added quietly as Mercedes opened her mouth.

"They got away with it. They could have killed me and he let them get away with it. I was just another problem he could sweep under the rug by throwing money at it. That was what hurt the most, the fact he didn't care and to be honest probably hoped that it knocked some sense into me and I would become interested in girls. I think they were more angry that my older brother was in trouble with the police because he went after them. We haven't spoken since. Nate got off more lightly but he still fractured his skull and his parents moved them to Michigan. I was sent to Dalton."

There was complete silence besides Blaine's choked out sobbing against Kurt's shoulder. Everyone crowded around and hugged him sharing comfort through their arms. That was all they could do, now though Burt, Finn, Sam, Puck, Artie and Mike all exchanged glances about having a word with Blaine's dad.

But that would come later and eventually Blaine would move in with Rachel and her understanding dads, because even though Burt loved Blaine he wouldn't be comfortable having his son's boyfriend live in the same house and there really wasn't room anyway. And one day Blaine would be okay to watch baseball without flinching.

As for now all we can do is watch as a broken little boy is held by people who love him and told that everything will be okay over and over again because that's what he's been waiting so long to hear.

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