Seeing Through The Dark
Characters: Blaine Anderson, with a small cameo for Kurt Hummel
Warnings: Some mild violence. Deals with themes of gender identity and features an MTF character. I understand that this isn't some people's cup of tea, so if you have any objection to things like that, I don't reccommend you read this.
This is my first little dip into the MTF!Blaine verse, which I've seen some amazing art and fics for all over the internet and became very interested in. This is in no way a permanent change for me, but I may well try some more, because I really enjoyed researching and writing this.
It's two weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine will discover make-up.
He'll lean over the dresser into his parents' mirror, inspect the petals of the bruise forming on the side of his face, trace the marks of bone with his fingertips and recoil at the pain he causes himself. His elbow will knock the bag over, and a mosaic of contents will spill over onto the carpet.
In his haste to put away his mother's powders and bottles and tubes, his fingers will close around a container of foundation. He'll rub a little onto his hand out of sheer curiosity, find that it matches his skin tone. Then he'll squeeze a little more out, apply a streak over his temple and realise that it will help him to look normal again until the swelling and blooms recede.
He'll take note of the brand, the colour, replace it hastily in the bag and resolve to buy some the next time he passes the convenience store, just in case he needs it again. Something at the back of his mind will tell him that he will.
It's four weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine will experiment further.
There'll be a cut, torn between healing and splitting open across the side of his jaw, and a further bruise blushing at his hairline. He'll inspect them as he usually does, explore each tiny universe, then run to his bedroom, find the foundation hidden beneath his bed and unscrew the lid.
He will take care to apply it, his fingers floating feather-light across his face, brushing gently over the battle marks, until they seem only ghosts from a distance. Then a flash of neon pink will capture his attention, and he'll reach for it. He'll unscrew the tube, take a look at the brush, close one eye, then the other, then slowly roll it upwards, feeling the grip on his eyelashes. It feels wet, a little clumped, but when he looks into the mirror, the effect is pleasant.
He'll start to search more, find a clear gloss, dab a small amount onto his fingertip and run it across his lower lip, smiling a little as he does so. Then he'll add a little more, build up the effect, step back, survey himself.
Blaine Anderson will feel more like himself than he ever has done in his entire life.
It's seven weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine dares to wear any make-up to school.
He'll stay discreet; foundation over the usual injuries, a little eyeliner he's been practising with for a few weeks, mascara, a soft slick of gloss.
It won't stop him from getting beaten up anyway. They'll corner him in the lockers just after lunch, find a new insult or five, touch him with sickly-sweet hands before the familiar contact of knuckles on skull knocks him to the ground. Boots will find ribs, elbows, knees, stomachs and Blaine will spend the rest of the school day broken between the many regimental rows of the shelves that didn't step in to protect him in time.
It's eight and a half weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine comes to a realisation.
He'll notice that since he started wearing the make-up, the injuries have become more frequent, but they also seem like an excuse for him just to wear more.
But at this point, for the first time in weeks, there'll be no visible marks on his face and he'll apply some anyway. It's not like it's routine yet, and there'll be an odd tension in the air that surrounds him as he applies his usual products, slipping a wipe and his eyeliner into his schoolbag in the likely event he'll need to fix any tear-tracks, and leaves as normal.
He'll be dragging his heels along the damp ground when he realises that the make-up; it makes him feel good about himself. It makes him feel like himself. And he'll recognise there's something more there as well, but only in his subconscious.
It's ten weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine starts to dream.
He will find himself in a ballroom with a thousand eyes that sparkle like the champagne in the glasses. There'll be a hand around his waist and another with fingers locked tightly. And when he looks up and finds his partner, his breath will momentarily catch in his throat, because he's the most beautiful person Blaine has ever seen.
There's something very strong about him, a confidence that lights the air around him, but a hidden frailty, a vulnerability behind the ocean of his eyes and the halcyon fluidity to his movements. His smile is nervous and a little awkward, but exudes love.
The music Blaine didn't know was even playing will end, and his partner will bow to him.
"Thank you for this dance, Blayne," he will say, turning away before Blaine gets a chance to question his words or find out his name.
It's ten and a half weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine has the same dream.
There he'll be, treading on the floor spangled with stars, dancing with the same man – no, boy – stepping and spinning amongst the galaxies of couples, and they'll smile and laugh at each other, say how beautiful the other is.
And Blaine will seize his chance just before the dance ends.
"What's your name?"
"Kurt," the boy will smile back, before saying, "Thank you for this dance, Blayne," and backing away like last time.
Now, he will have a name.
It rolls off his lips as he mouths it to the boy's retreating back.
As he turns to leave the floor, a something will whisper at his knees.
Blaine will look down at his reflection against the tiles to see himself with his curls loose around his ears, his face made up and in a blue silk dress he recognises as his mother's. And he will smile, because he looks and feels beautiful and because this is who he feels he should be.
It's twelve weeks after the bullying starts that Blaine attempts to recreate the look.
He waits for the opportunity when his parents are out for the evening, takes a razor from the cupboard below the sink and tentatively shaves his legs. He cuts his knee, misses a little patches on his calves and it stings a lot, but the smoothness, the freedom will feel satisfying and comfortable. He'll towel-dry his hair, dishevel it a little, the curls falling in ringlets around his face.
He'll apply his usual make-up in the steamed-over mirror, adding a shimmer of him mother's blue eye shadow just over the top.
Then he'll open her wardrobe, find the very same dress, and slip it over his head.
The fit most certainly won't be perfect – it's a little small in some places, a little large in others, open around the bust and tight over the hips, but he will look in the mirror and staring back at him will be himself.
Or should he say herself?
He runs to his bedroom, finds his phone, takes a picture in the full length mirror for safekeeping.
He'll then realise that this experience has just opened up even more questions and problems and will sit and cry into his pillow, because he feels like he's lost himself all over again. When he looks up, his face will be blotchy through the foundation and his face will be fractured by a trail of eyeliner.
It's fourteen weeks after the bullying starts that he dares to take another look at the picture.
He'll dig it out on his way back from school, a slight limp in his step, sit down on a bench to look at it.
He smiles, remembering the feeling of just knowing, and takes a detour into the nearest thrift store.
He'll spend half an hour inspecting the rails, looking at blouses and boot-cut jeans and pretty dresses, imagining what they'd look like on him.
Then he'll check his watch, realise the time and walk home as fast as he can with the ache in his knee to be met by a telling-off from his father.
It's twenty weeks after the bullying starts that he'll confide in his friends.
He'll go back to school after the holidays, his usual facade of make-up on, as well as a faintly fitted shirt in place of his usual loose one.
He'll start to sign his name as Blayne on his schoolwork.
And he'll sit down at break time beneath a tree, books clutched in his hand and whisper, "I think I'm a girl."
He'll wish he could read his friends' reactions, but instead just stare at his shaking fingers.
"What do you mean? You're a guy. You've always been a guy."
"It's hard to explain," Blaine begins, eyes firmly fixed on the point where shadow makes way for sunlight on the grass. "It's a mental thing, I guess. I just...feel female. I am female."
A relief will flood through him – no, her – because she now feels the most honest she's ever felt.
And her friends feel lost; they don't know what to do. But they don't run away, and that's what matters to her.
It's twenty two weeks after the bullying starts that Blayne takes the next step.
She approaches Cameron one lunchtime, her phone in her hand.
"Hey," she smiles shyly. "Can I ask you something?"
He looks up at her and smiles.
"Well, Sadie Hawkins is coming up, and the girls are meant to ask the guys or something. So I was wondering if you wanted to come with me."
She holds out her phone, shows him the picture. He stares for a moment.
"Couldn't refuse a date from a pretty lady like you," he laughs.
Then one of the older guys comes, knocks the phone from his hand and stamps on it, the fragments scattering across the corridor.
At least they don't see what was on the screen before they smash it.
It's twenty four weeks after the bullying starts that everything comes to a climax.
Blayne slips into a dress she found at the thrift store, one almost identical to her mother's that she's altered very slightly to make it fit better, shaves her legs, checking and re-checking to make sure she hasn't missed anywhere, makes her make-up a little brighter than she usually goes; it's a special occasion.
She walks to Cameron's house, and he greets her with a kiss on the hand.
"You look beautiful tonight," he whispers to her, before turning to his parents. "Mom, Dad, this is Blayne. She's my date."
And his parents will beam at the pair of them, take photographs and wave them on their way as they walk together.
The dance will go without a hitch. There are a few slurs hurled once or twice at them, but they will float below Blayne, who's dancing with Cameron and feeling at her happiest in months. She's been practising her steps in the mirror, and Cameron turns her round the floor effortlessly beneath the gaudy lights and clichés of tacky decoration. He'll sneak a few chaste kisses as the night wears on.
They'll be waiting outside, sitting on the kerb, for Cameron's parents to pick them up when they approach from all directions.
Their words will merge to form one of those sequences you only see in horror films, where everything becomes a blur and all you know is that something bad is about to happen.
Blayne screams, but is cut off by the darkness.
It's twenty four and a half weeks when Blayne wakes up feeling leaden, every limb weighed down by something that isn't there.
"Blaine, Blaine, are you okay, Sweetie?" her mother will whisper, her thumb grazing comfortingly over Blayne's knuckles.
Blayne smiles weakly upon seeing her, blurred around the edges but still very much there.
She glances over her shoulder at the chair beside the bed. Her dress is folded over the headrest, as is the pair of black silk underwear she'd bought specially for the occasion.
Her mother presses a kiss to her forehead, and Blayne winces at the pain even such a simple, loving touch could cause.
The door will open, and her father will walk in, two cups of coffee clutched in his hand.
"Dad?" Blayne will mumble, her voice as bruised and purple as she is.
"Blaine, you're awake."
He pauses for a moment.
"What did you think you were doing, pulling a stunt like that? Why on earth did you do that in the first place? You could have been killed! And think of the danger you put Cameron in as well. Or did he agree to this? What? What do you have to say?"
Blayne stays silent, because she has nothing to say. It's not the anger in her father's voice that makes her cry, but the disappointment that lies beneath the overtones.
It's twenty six weeks after the bullying starts that a resolution occurs.
Her mother slips into her hospital room, a leaflet in her hand. She passes it to Blayne, quietly explaining that although the title reads Dalton Academy For Boys, that she's been on the phone to them for the past few days and that they have another student with a similar – she pauses – situation. They're willing for a transfer as soon as she's ready to go back to school.
Blayne pulls her into a hug.
It's twenty six and a half weeks after the bullying starts that Blayne sees Cameron for the last time.
Just as she's about to be discharged from hospital, she goes to Cameron's room just once more.
"I'm transferring," she tells him.
"That's great," he replies, although he doesn't sound like he really means it.
"What's wrong?" Blayne takes his hand, kisses the bruise.
"I'm scared for you, Blayne. You're amazing, but what if where you go is just the same? What if it turns out worse?" There's an undeniable panic in Cameron's eye that frightens Blayne. She pictures the words zero-tolerance policy in her mind's eye, but the threads of certainty and security are becoming frayed, starting to unravel.
"Don't worry, I'll be fine."
They spend an hour on completely different subject matter, laughing, joking, playing games and just enjoying their time together. They discuss the various things they've witnessed during their time apart, little snippets of conversation that amused them, strange occurrences they've come across, or that the nurses, in an attempt to brighten the atmosphere, told them about.
But the time will come when they have to leave, as a nurse tells Blayne she must come for one final check before she's discharged, and the tears start to fall again.
Blayne will lean over, silently crying into Cameron's shoulder as he pats her awkwardly on the back, trying to control his own tears.
"You're my first girlfriend, Blayne, and I'll always remember you. Stay strong, okay?"
Blayne nods, but it doesn't leave her reassured as she leaves. The last thing Cameron sees of her is a smile marred by tears.
It's twenty eight weeks after the bullying starts that Blayne transfers officially to Dalton Academy.
It won't be the ideal solution. She's still trapped in a male uniform and referred to as "he" by the teachers, but she finally feels free.
She can sign her name as Blayne, and no one will mind.
She can wear make-up if she wants, have her hair down if she wants.
She can make friends who accept her, treat her as they would any other girl.
She can sing in the school's show choir, fit in and stand out and feel special in the best way possible.
She can make plans for the future; decide she wants therapy, maybe even surgery, to make her feel like herself again. She can tell her mother these things and receive the support she craves above all to be who she feels she truly is.
And somewhere, somewhen, she can meet a boy on a staircase who is new and wants to ask a question, who shares a love of music and coffee, who is also being bullied at his school and can find a home at Dalton, just as she did. And his name, and his voice, and his eyes, will spark something somewhere in the back of Blayne's memory, and she smiles as she introduces herself.
"My name's Blayne."
But right now, as a fist makes contact with his ribs, he's just Blaine Anderson, insecure, withdrawn and not-so-proud, being attacked by people he doesn't know for reasons he'll never find out.
And he doesn't realise just how much worse things are going to get before they'll start to get better.