Oh my God I have to get my act together.
Blaine tensed and rushed to rub tears from his face, alarmed at the shame of being such a mess. But his dad held him there a second, softly rubbing his back soothingly.
"Hey. It's okay." he said quietly. "I promise, it's all over. You're forgiven."
Blaine sniffled hard, as his dad helped him back up. His bottom was searing, and he winced as he embarrassedly pulled his sweats back on. Exhausted, he sort of stumbled back onto his bed, laying on his side with his back to his dad. He couldn't look at him right now.
Mr. Anderson breathed a sigh of relief. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been so eager to have a punishment over with. Flexing the sting out of his hand, he stood with the intent to just give Blaine his space, but he got half way across the room and thought better of it. Blaine was curled up on his bed like a small child. He didn't need to be abandoned right now.
Coming back over to the side of the bed, Mr. Anderson sat down. Blaine first impulse was that he didn't really want him there- he definitely didn't want to talk. But when he felt a hand against his shoulder, he rolled over onto his stomach the way he did when he was little, head buried in his pillow. Smiling, Mr. Anderson rubbed his back.
"You gonna be okay?"
Blaine took a breath. "Yeah."
"I know you think your brother's some kind of a superhero but you should know he made mistakes when he was your age too."
Blaine smiled into his pillow. It was funny that his dad would bring that up, and somehow it would make him feel better. He turned his head a bit and looked at his dad.
"I miss him."
"You should give him a call. I'm sure he'd love to talk to you."
"Maybe over spring vacation I could... go out there?"
Mr. Anderson looked thoughtful. "Well, I'm sure he's got a lot of studying to do, but I think that would be nice."
Blaine turned more towards his dad. "You'd let me go? By myself I mean?"
"Well, I would have to talk to your mother. And we have to see what Greg has to say. But I think you're old enough now I can trust you to take a train to the next state."
"I could drive."
Mr. Anderson gave Blaine a small smile. "I think right now I'd feel better if we stuck with Amtrak."
Blaine shrugged. That was stupid because he was a perfectly good driver- but, whatever.
"You know I trust you. I just don't trust all the other drivers on the road."
Blaine smirked, then rolled back on his stomach for his dad to rub his back some more. "Greg taught me well. No tickets so far."
"Yeah we're going to keep it that way." Mr. Anderson said, giving Blaine's bottom a pat. "Even if there is traffic on White Street some night you're trying to make curfew."
"Yes sir." Blaine said, playful.
Mr. Anderson smiled, gently scratching his fingers up and down Blaine's back. "I think it's great you want to go see your brother at school. It would be good for you to see what college is like. And- I think it's good you have someone to talk to."
"...Yeah." Blaine definitely felt like he had a lot of sorting out to do these days. Maybe his brother would be a good listener.
Mr. Anderson took a deep breath, holding his hand on Blaine's back a little too long. He used to do this when he was little and had nightmares to help him go back to sleep. When kids get older somehow there's less... moments like this. Between his awkwardness and the teenagers', no one ever wanted to touch each other.
"You had a long day, want me to turn off the light?"
"Yeah, thanks-" Blaine said, sleepiness starting to press in on him.
Mr. Anderson went over to the chest at the foot of Blaine's bed and pulled out a flannel blanket.
"It's colder tonight than you think..." he muttered, laying it over Blaine, who smiled with his eyes closed, snuggling into it.
Reaching over to turn off the lamp at the nightstand, he saw the dirty plate and fork leftover from dinner. Blaine hadn't brought it down when he was finished. Rolling his eyes, he picked it up. Whatever. Gabriel Anderson wasn't ever really going to be a "whatever" kind of father, but this he could let go. It was just a minor bump in the road, and he had to keep his focus on enjoying the time he had with his kid before he went and became all grown up on him. He tiptoed to the door, looked back at that already sleeping teenager he loved, and flipped the light switch. It was definitely time for bed.