Not really sure what my goal with this one was. They have left the early years of Blaine Anderson pretty blank, so I thought I'd give it a shot on interpreting who he was before Dalton and the Warblers and Kurt. I worked pretty hard on this, so please, please, please review. It'd mean the world to me.

If you don't feel like leaving a review on here, you can send me a message on Tumblr.


I don't own Blaine Anderson, Glee, Dalton Academy, or anything else mentioned in this story, including a Stenson and Wyoming. (I do own a few of the horses named on this, though. Want to see pictures? Just ask. I'd love to show them off.)

The sprawling Wyoming badlands spread in front of him, as he sat atop the sleeping world. The heavy huffing that interrupted the bullfrog croaks and cricket heartbeats was carried by the breeze. The stars filled the sky without the stress of competing for room to shine with city lights. A hoof slapped the ground, stirring up a thin layer of dust. Cool, dry air that was lifted up by the restless wind, the air cowboys remembered breathing yesterday, blowing today, but had learned to not trust its reliability tomorrow. The Wyoming desert smell was that of tufted hair grass and chokecherry and dust. The dust that covered his hair, his jeans, his horse, his skin, his hands, his fingernails, his face, his nose, his lips, his teeth. One thing no amount of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood could show you on a film screen, that was the dust. The powder that all the soap and water in the world could clear off someone who belonged in the saddle.

Blaine Anderson breathed in through his nose, counting in time with his horse's soft snorts. The moon that hung before him was familiar. It was different than the Ohio one from Dalton Academy, the cozy, romantic one that he'd shared with ones that he'd loved. No, this was the moon he had a hard time trusting, but found it easy to work with. It was the simple difference between a lover and a companion you'd spent years with. He kicked his filthy boots back in the stirrups, "Let's walk, Yukon Jane," he carped sharply at his horse. She was a smart horse, and did as she was told.

The dapple gray appaloosa walked slowly in the dark, careful of where her feet landed. He sat back in the seat, spine straight. "Good posture makes for a good ride," his mother had reminded him for years when he was an adolescent, still learning how to stand proud. Horses knew when you slacked off, and when you started getting lazy, they did, too.

Blaine mentally estimated they were a good ten feet from the edge of the cliff that overlooked his family's intimate ranch. The blackness covering the distance made it a rough estimate at that. It had been a whole year since he'd been on this trail. He hadn't realized how much he missed it.

Five or six fireflies illuminated the night for a few seconds, then dashed back into seclusion. One lay on Yukon's saddle horn. It lit up in time with Blaine and Yukon's breathing. He wished he'd brought out his guitar, but he hadn't thought of tonight as being a night for music. It wasn't always the right time for that. Kurt would've thought differently.

Kurt had no idea about Blaine and Yukon and horses and Wyoming. Blaine hid his Western drawl well behind a faux Midwest accent. He disguised everything, else, too. It was as if Wyoming Blaine had never existed, and the Ohio Blaine was simply a mere coincidence of birth name. He didn't intend on changing that fact. It was a secret perfectly well kept, mind that, but it hadn't stopped him from occasionally wondering whether or not it should stay that way. What if he shared the real story? The real story of growing up Blaine Anderson, son of Gareth Anderson and Rosita Cabasa. The real story of life before Dalton. The real story of being raised as a rancher. Kurt didn't need to know, either.

His hard eyes traced the outline of a steep hill in front of him. He gripped his thighs tight on the leather saddle. It was a natural instinct, from sitting on a horse since the time he could walk. He'd grown up in the dust, becoming an organic extra layer of skin. His family hadn't just been his mom and dad, but the ranch hands, Tom, Elton and Gorman, and his horses. A peeling wooden sign with the letters "Anderson Horse Ranch and Stables" swung creakily above him, nailed to chains linked on the planks that formed the gate entrance. It'd been new when he was born, but seventeen years later, and it was starting to fall apart.

Thirty two horses in all at the Anderson Horse Ranch and Stables. They lived in unison on the 350 acre farm that had been in the Anderson family for decades. Yukon Jane. Holly Apple. Cherokee. Kody. Cloud. Bullseye. Shesa Sunshine Girl. Rain. Twister. Trinity. Junior. Mandy. Theodore. Minnie Pearl. Rory. Snoopy. Miss Concluder. Orleans. Swanky. Rocky. Custer. Diablo. Buford. Cochise. Bueller. Sugarfoot. Catcher. Gaelen. Maks. Rheticus. Fargo.

Quarter horses. Thoroughbreds. Saddlebreds. Appaloosas. Belgians. Clydesdales. Arabians. Paso finos. Tennessee walkers. Percherins. Paints. Chinitonqua. Brown. White. Black. Gray. Palomino. Bays. Sorrel. Chestnuts. Flea Bit. Pie Bald. Dapple. Buckskin. Pinto.

He could spot any of his horses, tell you its name, age, diet, hands, injuries, work capacity, all down to how many lines it had on its hoof. If you asked Blaine who he was, he wouldn't say the rancher's son. He'd say the rancher himself. The fact that he was a horse man who grown up on farm was a mere coincidence. If he'd lived the beginning of his life in a city, and met a carousel pony at a street festival, he knew he'd have had an instant attraction to the equine. He was just that kind of person. If he'd had the means to, he would never have left the ranch in the first place. It was one of the places where he'd never have to feel guilty for who he was.

"Go to Hell." Blaine's skull was smashed into the iron light post that stood outside the town's only movie theatre. He could feel the soft skin ripping apart on the left side of his head, like tearing apart the seams of a quilt. He legs fell, collapsing underneath him.

"You're a freak. Don't you know that? Your family doesn't love you, my pa told me that himself. Your dad's embarrassed to have a homo son like you, freak, any dad would be. That's what my pa said," a second voice sneered, jamming the spurs of his boot into his hip bone.

"Stop it!" Blaine screamed, trying to grab something, anything that would help him stand back up again, but the boys pushed him back onto the dusty turf.

"Faggots are wrong." Earl cackled, squatting down to look at thirteen year old Blaine. He touched the blood gushing out of Blaine's head. Taking a small bit of it on his fingers, "Even your blood isn't right. Nice going, freak, getting your gay blood all over this public place. No one will want to clean it up; they might catch the Queer Bug."

"Please, stop it!" Blaine shouted, tears streaming down the grit on his face. Trace kicked him again on the back, boot stabbing into his flesh.

"We didn't tell you to talk, now did we?" Trace barked, spitting straight onto Blaine's cheek.

"You even got your blood on me, you stupid fag." Earl continued, waving his bloody fingers before Blaine's eyes. He brought it up to his nose, as if to smell it, and cringed. "It's disgusting that you think your blood could ever be normal. Get it off me before it seeps in too deep." He shoved his fingers down Blaine's throat as he opened his mouth to try and protest. Choking him, he gagged helplessly. His breathing quickened its pace. The more he tried to push away, the harder Trace beat, and the stronger Earl pushed his hand into his mouth.

As Blaine heaved, vomit rose up out his throat and out of his mouth. It covered Earl's hand in crimson bile. Earl tore his arm out of his jaws and wiped it on Blaine's jeans. "You're disgusting," Earl repeated, standing back up. As if by second thought, he reached down and grabbed Blaine's glasses, and smashed them under his heel.

Trace and Earl ran back over to where their horses were hitched, and rode off, leaving Blaine covered in vomit, blood, tears, and dust.

Blaine put a hand on his Stenson, ducking under a low branch. His callused fingers ran over a dent above his ear. A scar that wouldn't heal, sleeping underneath the brown curls. His eyelids blinked the dust out of his contacts.

"Dad, I can't stay here. Every year, it just gets worse." A thirteen year old Blaine quavered to his father as he pushed his Stenson off his head, adolescent voice shaking.

Gareth Anderson looked over his paint, Kody, at his son. A rugged mess of dirty curls sat like a mop on top of his head. A pair of new glasses had to have assistance to stay on his nose, too big for his head. Rather small, but a bit husky, he still had his baby fat, that much was obvious. He had his mother's dark Filipino skin, tan from both birth and endless hours sitting with reins in his hand. The strip of worn leather that usually went under his chin wrapped around his neck, hat lying on his back.

Gareth was no fool. He knew the stiches in Blaine's head weren't the result of being bucked off Orleans after getting heat exhaustion and throwing up on himself. If it was those damn Rochford boys, Trace and Earl, again…he was going to kill those two if it was them who laid a finger on his son. He knew they'd never confess, though, and Blaine wasn't going to say a word. He never did, the gentle old soul. He'd never hurt a fly, let alone accuses someone of harassing him. the boy never swore, never acted out, got good grades, always was the first to wake up and last to stop working, did his chores the first time, could sing like a bird, play guitar beyond most country singer's abilities, everyone who had met him said he was one of the last few who had the ability to love and care for everything he came in contact with. He was just a kid who felt that everyone deserved to be loved and be happy. A thirteen year old kid with incredible talent involving music and animals and people. You could give the boy a guitar and a horse, and he'd thought he'd died and gone to heaven.

But there were people who thought his boy deserved to be damned to Hell.

He'd had a feeling his son was gay from the time he was about five or six. It was just one of those things a parent knew after time. He knew, too, that Blaine would avoid telling his parents at all costs, unlike most closeted kids, and go straight to coming out in public. Gareth knew that even if Blaine was straight, it'd be a struggle to get him to take his girlfriend home with him. His boy never said a word on Valentine's Day, and blushed at the sight of a kiss in the presence of his parents, whether it be romantic or platonic. At home, Blaine was more of a loner, a real cowboy. No love outside of his mother and his horses.

Gareth had tried getting his son to be a tad more masculine. Working on tractors, hard labor on the back barn, getting into hunting on weekend. After a talk with Rosita, though, he realized that Blaine was taking his man-to-man as him trying to force him to be straight. Gareth dropped all of his "lessons" immediately, but he knew there was underlying hurt feelings from Blaine of embarrassment and resentment.

Frankly, Gareth didn't give a damn if his son liked girls or boys or horses or cactuses. He honestly didn't; he was modern, in some senses, and understood that there were people who had different preferences than him. He took all of it with a piece of hay. But a little part of him really, really wished he wasn't. All because while he was, he was getting destroyed.

The impish gleam that had flickered in his songs eyes from the time he was a tot had been diminished. That fire had been burn into dull, grey ashes, sunken in with fear and loneliness. He'd become blind to the world he'd grown up in. no more traces of kindness and hope, just the want to get away from his punishment of being homosexual. He hadn't brought out that old classical guitar of his in months, and he sung timidly at the campfires on the ranch. No familiar spirit and childish excitement. Lately, he'd started coming home from school with bloody noses and bruises on his chest, black eyes swollen shut and purple lips. Gareth and Rosita had sent letters to his teachers, called the school and arranged conferences, trying to find out what was going on. Person after person told them Blaine wasn't the kind to pick fights, and was one of the most loved boys in all the school by all the young girls. Certainly none of the other students got in his way, and he was always polite when confronted. He had a fair number of friends he ate lunch with and socialized with, good, nice kids. Now, they understood that there were some rumors going from locker to locker that Blaine Anderson "pitched for the other team", if they understood what they meant. As a teacher, they didn't listen to gossip like that, blah, blah, blah. No, if Blaine was getting attacked, it wasn't visible to school administrators.

Gareth took a long, hard look at the teenager sitting up on Trinity, scared of the world before him. His son had finally come to him, not naming names, but confessing that things were getting way out of hand. His good, kind, caring son, why was it that the only thing some people could in him was that he was gay? He would be deemed ideal in society if he liked girls, but he didn't and nothing anyone did could ever make him straight.

"There's this all boys school in Westerville, Ohio, that has a no-tolerance bullying policy, and I'd hardly have to leave the grounds." Blaine addressed, leaning forward so that he didn't have to look at his father's honey gold eyes. He stroked Trinity's coarse black mane, an undeniable gentleness in his touch. "The superintendent's offered me a spot in their school before already, a few months back. He saw a video of me playing the guitar at the state fair last year and a few recordings of competition and All-State pieces online. Dalton Academy has an outstanding music program and high-standing classes. The fact that he thinks I'm good enough to even be accepted is a real honor, and it'd be a shame if I didn't take advantage of it. True, when the scholarship was first offered, I declined immediately. I didn't have any reason to switch schools back last winter, but you have to believe me that I do now. I love nothing more in the world than Wyoming; the finest place man ever set foot on. There are things here, though, that are holding me back, and ruining who I am as a person. Dalton Academy can reverse that. The superintendent says the scholarship's still there. If you just get me there, and help me cover the cost of food and board, everything else, classes, uniforms, books, supplies, all taken care of. Please, Dad, say yes."

There wasn't anything else to do. Gareth had a choice. Keep his only son, trapped at the ranch, dying inside before his eyes, or send him off to a real Never-Land, where he'd never be beaten and harassed, able to explore the world musically and intellectually, away from his family and passion. The scale fell fiercely to one side.

"When does the school year start, and how soon can we get you there?"

Blaine spread forward on Yukon's back, sternum laid in line with her spine. She wasn't particularly soft, but she was plenty warm. His flannel shirt rolled up to the elbows, buttons undone slightly at the top to reveal the slightest hint of dark brown chest hair. He'd lost his baby fat, these days maintaining a firm, muscular build. He hadn't been gifted height wise, but he was at least taller than his mother. His nose was tickled by the hair on her neck. She smelled like stable cleaning oil, leather and sweat, the tingling aroma of saddle soap and hay lingering under his nostrils. He knew in the morning that he'd smell the same. He never minded, though. Horses smelled real nice to him, better than any musty cologne or air freshener designed to mask barn smells.

The sound of mud puckering under hooves soon joined the Western melody already performing. His own breathing, the horse's steady huffing, the bullfrog's belting, the chirp of the crickets, the humming wind that raced through branches of pines, critters ruffling, mud smacking its lips with every step. Sounds heard only in the dead of night. His other hand holding the reins, he extended his spine so that he could tickle Yukon's alert ears. She woke up out of her thoughts for a second, and as if thinking 'Oh, it's only you," she put her head back down a moment later. Blaine's favorite part of the horse, honestly, was the ears. Softest patch of hair on the body, and you could feel every bone in them. As he rubbed them between his thumb and the palm of his hand, a sudden gust of wind lifted his cowboy hat off his head and onto the ground.

Blaine breathed through his nose heavily, slightly frustrated that he had to get in the mud. A slight smile crept onto his lips; what a private school boy he'd become. A bit of mud on his boots wouldn't kill him. He pulled back on the reins, bringing Yukon Jane to a standstill. He wiggled his feet out of the stirrups and grabbed the saddle horn. A denim clad leg swung over the saddle and blanket, and his not particularly long legs reached the mud. Yukon turned her long nose around to lock one eye on her rider. Her wide brown eye was covered by soft lashes that curled at the ends like a real Spanish beauty. "You fall off again?" they seemed to ask, blinking. "Get back on, you big oaf."

"What in God's graces do y'all think you're doing?" Rosita Anderson screamed, dropping the blue calico plate in her hands as she flew out of her home. She'd been absent mindedly washing dishes in the kitchen sink, watching a game show on the small antennae television. The static's humming was broken by the ear-splitting cry of a horse. Her hand whipped from the fuzzy screen and soap bubbles to the water stained window in front of her that faced the back barn. From the corner of her vision she saw seven or eight young boys standing in misshapen circle. Someone lay on the ground inside of the ring, but she couldn't make out a face. One of the boys had picked up a stone off the ground and tossed it carelessly in the palm of his hand. In a swift motion, he got his arm in the position for a pitch, a direct line towards one of the Anderson's best Arabians, Holly Apple.

The remains of the dish scattered across the kitchen tile, and Rosita ran faster than she'd run in years. Her apron flapped in the wind as the hot July sun beat down on her bare arms. "Get out of here!" she shouted, voice naturally hoarse, but unfamiliarly rough. Her naked feet didn't recognize the rocks and pebbles in the Wyoming dust, but continued to sprint faster. At the sound of her voice, the boys scattered, quicker than her, to the gate. It wasn't long before she heard horses galloping out, their getaway rides that had to have been tied up loosely out there.

The body she'd seen being surrounded earlier now lay alone on the ground, curled up into itself. Choked sobs and hyperventilated breathing came out of it, along with trickles of red on the blue plaid button down. Now, it was easy for Rosita to see the victim. "Oh, Blaine."

He realized that it wasn't boys with handfuls of gravel, horse whips and metal rods, but rather his mother with her cherry-blossom fabric apron and her soft hands. She crouched down next to him, tiny frame leaning over his chest. She lightly ran one of her hands over his cheek, starting to cry herself. She'd seen her son come home from school and town plenty of times with minor bruises and bleeding, and after a while she'd been able to convince herself that Blaine wasn't lying when he said it was due to his normal clumsiness and accidents. She wasn't proud of it, but she'd figured Blaine was just going through a phase, and the last thing he needed was his mother standing over him.

It'd never happened at home, though. This was like taking a war across an ocean, where you can believe the propaganda and news reels that say it's a fine war and there's an end coming soon, to the home front. At the home front, you see the viciousness, the harsh conditions, who's really leading the fight, and who's bleeding from the casualties. Her little soldier was home, and she'd seen him get beat by the other side, right in front of her face. She now knew he didn't stand a chance against his opponent. It wasn't just one little country fighting against her son, but big, bad Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America, the Confederates, the Germans, the British Superpower, jabbing their muskets in between the eyes of her tired little America. And where was she? Sitting in the safe zone, happily imagining her homeland standing proud and confident, battle scars implying that the other guy was even worse. That'd not how it was, though. He was sprawled across the dusty ground in front of her, bleeding and trying not to cry. No thanks to her. She should have stopped this somehow. This shouldn't have been allowed to take place. She was his mother; the tin's soldier's supposed protector. And she'd let him down, she'd let Blaine down.

Rosita pulled him up by his shoulders gently and rocked him back and forth. His head pressed into the nape of her neck, her collar bones jutting into his face. "Mom," he coughed finally, "Holly Apple, Patrick was pelting her, her eye, her eye, it got it, Mom, I have to check, I have to check on her."

"Blaine, you're bleeding," Rosita protested as he mustered all her strength to push her off him. He staggered to his feet, almost falling over but catching himself. He grabbed onto the hitching post protruding off the ground and faltered forward.

"If Holly Apple's injured, it's going to be worse than a bloody lip and a sore leg on me, Mom," he retorted, reaching Holly a few strides later. It was his entire fault. Holly hadn't done anything. Why would anyone hurt a horse, if not to only to further hurt its rider? Holly Apple wasn't offending a single man or woman in the world. Blaine was. Blaine was taking the pain until he could get to Dalton Academy. He could handle a few beatings if it meant they got what they wanted. Three more weeks and it'd all be over, he knew, and he could muster up enough strength to survive it. When his horse started to get hurt, though, that's where the game began getting dirty.

"Shhh," he murmured, attempting to calm down Holly before he reached out to her. She blindly shook her neck up and down, stamping her hooves like a furious rodeo bull. "Shhhh," he tried again, seeing a red haze forming over her eye. He forced laughter, making his face look friendly and comforting. The last thing the scared horse needed was a frightened human. "It's alright, pretty girl. You're alright," he cooed, slowly reaching for the bridle around her nose. After a pause, she let him take hold of it, and he pulled it downwards into grazing position. "Holly Apple, girl, my pretty little girl, my Holly Apple," his voice sang out softly in an impromptu melody, and as if the grime-colored glasses fell off, she seemed to recognize Blaine as someone she could trust. It took a few more minutes and words for her to get relaxed again. Pulling on the bridle again, he got her head at eye level, and placed his face close to her nose. His exhales out of his mouth matched her breathing, and as his breathing slowed, hers did, too. "That's my pretty girl," Blaine hummed, before he finally collapsed onto the ground, unconscious.

That night, the final Mercy Hospital report for Blaine T. Anderson read back as minor concussion, two broken ribs, fractured left calve, multiple minor cuts on thighs, chests, shoulders, arms, and lower back, severe bruising on the back of the neck and knee. No head trauma or damage to organs that could create complications.

The following morning, Holly Apple was stated to have permanent loss of sight in her left eye due to a thrown projectile.

Yukon blinked her eye again, flicking her forelock over to the side. Blaine picked the hat off the ground and wiped it off on the leg of his pants. He looked at Yukon's spotted face, velvety gray nose nudging the air. Her lip hung loosely on her jaw, a stray piece of grass stuck to the bottom. It felt like the skin on a baby's stomach, with whiskers sticking out of it. He plopped the hat back on his head, and hoisted himself back onto the seat. Clucking his tongue and kicking his legs into her stomach, she started into a pokey walk. He pulled a leap out of his hat and flicked it onto the ground beneath him.

The towers looked like the ones in the old Irish castles Blaine had seen pictures of in National Geographic. Ivy vines crept over the weathered stones that had turned gray and burnt red over the ages. Boys in navy and red blazers littered the grounds casually. Dust-free air had greeted Rosita and Blaine after they had exited the James M. Cox Dayton International Airport.

"Smell that? Fresh air." His mother had praised, breathing in heavily.

Blaine had nodded then, but inside he was coughing. It was filthy, smoky air, nothing clean about it. He craved a jar of Wyoming air, free of pollution, but sugar coated in fine dust. He missed the taste of it already.

The town looked nothing like his home. He got the feeling as his cab carried he and his mother towards Westerville that there were not going to be any country roads or tumbleweeds or beloved mountains near his school. They drove on a highway lined with metal fence posts and corn rows. At one point, he saw a little brown quarter horse, alone grazing in a meadow lazily. He covered his eyes with his cowboy hat for the rest of the ride. If he saw another sign of home, he knew he'd tear the driver away from the wheel and drive himself back to Wyoming. The thought of his thirty two individual loves brought saltwater drops to his eyes. He knew his mother wouldn't be able to tell under the hat.

The looming towers looked gloomy above him, his new home looking more and more like a prison every time he dared to peer up at it. He felt uncomfortable in his denim and plaid for the first time in his life. He had had the good sense to travel in his school Converse at least. The city boys in their blazers, ties and dress shoes would have laughed into their BlackBerrys and messenger bags at the sight of his clothes, wouldn't they? Wouldn't they think he was a dumb country boy in his barn cloths and cowboy hat? He'd never been to a place where it wasn't the normal fashion, but he'd be a freak here. He knew it.

"Here we are," his mother said, clapping her hands together. Turning around in the cheap leather seat, she saw her son's horrified look. She'd had a feeling that this might happen. "Blaine, hold on a minute. I want to talk to you before you head off."

Blaine tore his eyes off Dalton Academy after a last glance. His eyes under the brim shone with a new kind of fear, one different from the stare Gareth and Rosita had seen every day for almost a year. This was the kind she witnessed in new mothers who hadn't planned their pregnancies, or in men told that they were being transferred overseas to jobs in countries alien to them. Children told their parents were going through a divorce, and elderly couples being shipped to nursing homes, away from their familiar homes and family. This was the look of a little boy who was about to enter a new world of young men.

"I understand that you're scared, sweetheart. You don't know if you'll find compassion or friendship in a single one of these faces. You haven't the faintest if boys here will care if you talk with a bit of a drawl or say "Howdy" and "y'all". You're thinking about whether or not people here are any different, aren't you? You're afraid they'll hate you, because you're gay." Blaine nodded, closing his eyes shut. He sniffled through his nose and lowered his head so that his chin rested on his chest. Rosita took her hand and slid in under his face, pulling it back up so that they were even with each other. "Now, don't you give up now. You haven't given even one of these boys a chance to show you who they are. I'll bet the farm that when the school board said that this school had a no tolerance policy, they meant it. Whether it be them accepting you as liking boys, being Western, or even for wearing glasses, don't you worry about it. If you get homesick, you just call me up on the phone, and we'll talk for as long as you like. I believe in you, sweetheart. You can do this. Courage."

The driver rapt on the tinted window. Blaine hadn't heard him unload the trunk, but his steamer trunk and duffel bags lay strewn on the sidewalk. He knew it was now or never, and his mother was right. There would be people here that would learn to accept all that was Blaine Tomás Anderson, people that might even learn to love him for it. They wouldn't see him as wrong, but amazing. He hugged his thin, strong mother one last time. After her took off his hat, he placed it careful over her thick black hair, and kissed her nose. "I love you, Mom."

"I love you too, Blaine," she whispered, smiling lips pecking him on the cheek.

He got out of the cab and lifted up his first load of luggage. It was time to end this chapter, and go into a place he could belong.

He kicked his legs harder into Yukon's sides, starting her into a canter. The ride instantly became bumpier, and the force between his thighs increased to stay on. The breeze tickled his pores as they rode into it. He noticed that Yukon's canter had slowed slightly since last summer. It'd been four years since he'd first started attending Dalton Academy as a freshman, and it was his first night back in Wyoming after the last day of junior year. He'd immediately dropped his accent, easily adjusting to the local dialect. He believed his mother when she'd said people would accept him, no matter if he was Western or gay. Something about Dalton, though, made him not only want to be accepted, but be the best.

"And let's give a warm Warbler welcome to our newest addition, Blaine Henderson!" The Warbler senior, Nathan Bordeaux, called out, whacking his gavel on the desk. It was quickly followed by an eruption of applause.

Blaine stood in the front of the room awkwardly. "It's Anderson, actually," he corrected quickly, blushing.

"So, give us the summary, Anderson," shouted a sophomore from the back. "Who are you, why you're here, where you've been, and et cetera."

"Mister Wesley! Sophomores do not give instructions!" the middle councilman, Mitchell Swanson barked.

After a pregnant pause, Blaine started to speak. "Well, I'm from…Pennsylvania," he decided on the spot, "My mother's a real estate agent, and my fathers an attorney. I decided to come here for the…superior educational offerings." He concluded, instantly proud of his answer. Once again, the room was covered in hands clapping together.

At the end of the rehearsal, two sophomores approached Blaine. "Call me Wes," one said.

"I'm David, charming to meet you. It's great, having you on our choir's team," said the other boy, grinning madly.

Blaine's entire body reacted to the compliment, a tingling sensation shooting through his veins. "Thanks!" he squeaked, then hastily cleared his throat. "I mean, it's awesome to be here, too."

"Care to join us for lunch?" the one who'd introduced himself as David asked, raising his eyebrows.

"David doesn't bite, I promise," laughed Wes loudly, "Anyways, we have some people we'd like you to meet, new kid. We both heard you singing in the commons shower last night. Takes guts to sing in the shower on your first day of school, you know. Impressive. Don't tell them we said this, but you're already far better than Swanson and Bordeaux, and they're the lead vocalists right now. You could quickly climb the ranks of the Warbler community if you knew where to look. With our help-"

"What he means is, introductions to the right Warblers could get you some good chances to shine, and we know exactly where you could find them." David finished, smirking deviously. Blaine gulped down a bit of saliva, biting his bottom lip. These were the first boys to talk to him since he'd arrived at Dalton, except for his desk partners and roommate. They seemed innocent enough, in a Fred and George Weasley kind of way. Mischievous, but friendly, and they honestly seemed to be interested in Blaine. He couldn't say no, that was for certain. These two were offering an opportunity to get a head start on making a name for himself at Dalton, and who knew? Maybe they'd end up being his first companions in this sea of unfamiliar voices. He'd need to make friends at some point.

"I'd like that." Blaine answered.

We and David had been true to their words, and with their help, Blaine soon rose to the top as Dalton's leading soloist. The three of them ended up being as close as brothers, sharing everything from a three-person room to lunch at noon. Blaine smiled to himself as he bounced up and down on Yukon's back. Those two were the only two who knew about Blaine and Wyoming. After a long night of partying like mad men in an abandoned warehouse with their sister school, drunk Blaine had let it slip that he was a "rough rider, an ass-less chaps Wyoming man." The next morning, when Wes and David had confronted him on his unusual comment, he'd decided to share his little secret with his two closest friends, and they hadn't told a soul. They were the first ones to bring up the fact that Kurt deserved to know the truth, too.

Blaine craned his neck up, and looked at the moon. It was raw, untouched by smoke and skylines. He remembered learning about settlers coming west during the early years of the United States of America. His history book had introduced the topic by explaining why every person had come to the country's newest form of expansion. The Easterners had come to help populate the untouched land and the always sweet taste of profit. Gold, cheap property and hardly any competition between businesses. The international newcomers had crossed seas and oceans in hope of a place to escape persecution and war, and where better to start over than in a place swarming in currency? Things like the California Gold Rush, the Homestead Act, it all acted as a huge draw to people in the 1800's. Centuries before, Native Americans had lived lives there for the beautiful landscapes, and the ground their ancestors had habited. When the settlers came, they were uprooted from their homes, and really got the short end of the deal. People had loved the prospect of riches since the beginning of time, and it won the way of the West.

Blaine had always disagreed with his text book's interpretation of the settlement of the West. It made everyone who had moved towards the Pacific seem like greedy, selfish people who had their lives set on making it big. They didn't know the West, he'd decided at an early age. The West had been a place for covered wagons to ride towards in hope of new lives and adventure. The prospect of living in a place where you didn't know a face in the crowd, and every step was an experience few had lived through, was appealing to those who had the thrill of live in their blood. Cowboys had long chased the idea of jeopardy and intensity. The rolling hills, enormous canyons, blistering deserts, and stretching plains fed that fire. From Yellowstone, to the Rocky Mountains, and the Mojave Desert, to the Great Plains. Men and women alike couldn't control themselves when it came to the West. Not for the almighty dollar, but for the passion of a life without limits.

The other thing that had really irked young Blaine was that the authors of the book were so busy accusing the settlers of this and that, that they forgot about every cowboy, rancher, miner and Indian's companion; the horse. Every tale that prided the victory of Western American civilization on man was false. No person had touched the barren grounds of the West before the mustang. The further those men came towards the Pacific, the more wildernesses they broke down and tamed. But they encountered a power that no amount of elbow grease and leather could tame. The great wild horses. Some of the new comers feared the huge beasts, and went after them with their own weapons. A creature that couldn't be domesticated deserved to be destroyed, they thought, so that's what they did. Like the buffalo and the bald eagle, these horses were almost killed off completely. Not all of them, though. The phantoms of the Old West, mustangs still ran free in some places, the herds like a moving ghost town. Nowadays, people don't touch them. You don't see wild horse preservation lands, because even to this day, no one can own them. Some people want them to disappear, once and for all, with the rest of the traces of the past. Still, a few mustangs survived relics of the West. Blaine knew that it wasn't their time to go just yet. They were a sign that in the wilderness of the frontier, you didn't need to live by the reins and the rules. Something most Americans seemed to have forgotten, something many were afraid of. People keep it buried down, locked away inside of them, and never learn to use it. But there will always be a few people who have the courage to love what is untamed inside us. Blaine Anderson had that courage.

In a spontaneous move, Blaine jarred his legs hard in Yukon Jane's belly. One swift movement later, and they were galloping in the Southern direction, towards the crescent in the sky. Satellites and stars dipped in and out of the murky azure. He spotted a few familiar constellations, the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper standing out the most. He decided to follow it, and pulled Yukon's reins in their direction.

"The stars are lovely tonight," Kurt Hummel mused, nestled into Blaine's chest. They sat on top of Kurt's dusty Cadillac Escalade, about 11'clock at night. The chilly April evening gave the two boys an extra excuse to cuddle in together. The car was parked on Banter's Peak, a cliff that overlooked the small town of Lima, Ohio.

"Mhmm," Blaine lied, silently rolling his eyes. It wasn't his boyfriend's fault that he was a half-wit when it came to judging the stars. Every trail had its puddle, though, and Blaine loved him anyways. He'd never admit it, but there wasn't a chance in the world that the filmy atmosphere above him could stand a chance against Blaine's home wild blue yonder. Every star here was home to a thousand back in Wyoming. Things were just better there. A few more months of Ohio, and it'd be summer break again. Then, he could hightail it back to the Cowboy State and roll around in the dust again.

"You can see the Big Dipper, over there," said Kurt softly, pointing up at the design painted on the heavens.

"You're right," said Blaine automatically.

"What are you thinking about?" Kurt asked, turning his head up to look at Blaine.

"What?" Blaine asked, still half-daydreaming.

"You aren't listening to me," chuckled Kurt, shaking his head slightly. Some people couldn't stand Blaine's inability to stay in reality. Kurt loved everything about it, though. He found Blaine's head in the clouds to be comforting. People who were too attached to real life were constantly stressed about everything. People who dreamed could use it as an escape from the black-and-white planet, like Dorothy's Oz. Kurt's version of jumping over the rainbow wasn't munchkins and dancing lions. It was just simple envisionments of Broadway and fairy tales and classic Disney-style love. Sometimes he imagined his future with Blaine, getting married, having little Warblers, and growing old together. He crossed his fingers that maybe, someday, it would no longer have to be just a figment of his imagination. Anyways, if Walt had taught him anything, it was that, if you were lucky, and believed in it, dreams did come true.

"I'm sorry," Blaine apologized, kissing the top of his boyfriend's head. "I'm listening now."

"I was just wondering what you were thinking about. Care to share your fantasy with two?"

"I was just thinking about…" trailed Blaine, talking slowly but thinking quickly. "Disney movies." It was a daft answer, but it was believable. Ever since he'd come to the Midwest, he'd developed a taste for the classics. They were easy to follow, and filled with hope and dreams. Hardly a week went by when an animation wasn't playing on his television.

"Huh," hummed Kurt, "I was just thinking about it, too. That's strange."

"Sure is. Guess we're just two of a kind. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be your knight in shining armor."

"Only if I get to be your Prince Charming."

"Given." Kurt leaned up and pressed his Chapstick-covered lips on Blaine's dry ones. Blaine kissed back gently, but kept his eyes open. He looked down at the boy in his arms, gorgeous, perfect, and amazing. Blaine loved everything about him, he truly did. He hated lying to him more than anything else in the world, though. Someday, he'd tell him the truth. Kurt deserved to know that his boyfriend was no Philly's city slicker, but a dust-covered cowboy with blue jeans and a Stenson on his head.

Not tonight though, he thought to himself, and closed his eyes again.

Blaine looked down from the stars back to the horizon in front of him. It was nice to be home again, as it always was after a long time away. His lips started to vibrate as he began to hum,

I hear her voice, in the mornin' hours she calls to me.

The radio reminds me of my home far a-way

And drivin' down the road I get a feeling'

That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday.

He'd end all his hiding someday, and come forward as the person he really was. The original American settler, a person who had the courage to be as free as the wild mustang. As the sun rose up, the Western melody that had been playing started to end, giving into the new song of galloping horses and windy plains, guitar twangs and the singing on the meadowlark. He took once last glance at the vista before him, and started to turn Yukon back in the direction of the stables. "Take me home," he breathed, and they rode off into the dust.