Disclaimer: Glee is not mine. This is based on

http:/ QuacKee. deviantart. com/art /Blaine-on- Braodway- 210288975

which is also not mine. One of these days I swear I will write something that isn't brain-breakingly angsty. XD

The record player spins soundlessly beside his head as he floats somewhere in that only-kind-of-real place between awake and asleep. Usually now would be when he packs the player away, drags himself to bed, and finishes the job of crying himself to sleep. Not tonight, he thinks as he stays silent and still as the needle spins.

Everyone thought he had what it took to make it to Broadway sooner rather than later: looks, chops, a vocal range that was impossibly wide and impossible to match. But the city had fallen on him like it was all but infamous for doing. He'd been "thank you, next"-ed out of audition after audition after audition and had learned by now to not wait by the phone anymore. He got a demeaning department store job to keep himself in the city, watching from across the bay as everyone else jetted away down the boulevard without him. He hadn't seen them in what felt like centuries; so many plays happened and vanished in a season it was hard to keep up.

Rachel had lost herself in the title of ingénue and had an agent now scheduling five-minute post-rehearsal coffees that didn't mean a thing to their shared dreams when all was said and done.

Blaine…his heart hurt when he thought of what had become of Blaine in the throes of this wide miasmic city.

The former Warbler had been a natural star from the second he walked out on the stage of his first audition. His insatiable need for attention and applause had spelled great things for his ability to command a crowd and bring all that talent and beauty years in the making all across a stage. He played the parts the city needed him for and blossomed and shone under the stage lights. But for the boyfriend who stuck to his intention to audition for every part he wanted, gender and approval be damned, it had just meant the beginning of an inevitable end.

They hadn't really "broken up"; that implied a certain level of discussion that hadn't happened. There wasn't even a drift that could be blamed. They'd just stopped. The taste of the stage had seeped into Blaine's bones and hadn't so much changed him as shown him something he'd wanted without knowing it was even there. Blaine loved Broadway and it seemed like the stage could love Blaine in ways he never could have.

That was where the record player came in, he supposes. He and Blaine bought it their first summer in the city, trying to immerse themselves in the life and play their music the way it was meant to be heard.

Some musical soundtracks still come out on vinyl, and he thanks the hipsters every day for bringing this one to the record store near his apartment. Every night he comes back from his too-long shift, opens his window, and stretches out on the braided rug in the front room without bothering to change his clothes. Like clockwork he cranks on the player, record sleeve held over his heart. He listens to the whole album; throat too tight to sing along when he hears Blaine belting for the world to hear.

The longing in his chest feels like a splitting wedge; not really sharp, just heavy and constant enough to burrow a little deeper every day.

His thumb strokes over the record's cardboard cover just above Blaine's cheek and he wonders not for the first time where he was really supposed to end up. New York was always meant to be hopes and dreams and Broadway romance and breakfast at Tiffany's. All he sees now are the jagged pieces of a person in the mirror; life dull, love gone, the scattered pages of what he'd planned his life to be now squashed into expandable files that were shoved into unopened packing boxes and a still-spinning record player in the middle of his (furniture-less) living room floor. The repetition of the record, over and over until the sun comes up, feels like a distress signal; a beacon trying to bring his old life back to where he sprawls now, tear-streaked and wrecked inside.