Hey everyone. Wow, what a long wait!
Here's the thing, I'm going to continue writing this story, but I'm not going to put it up anymore until it is complete. I think it will be better this way.
Also my new computer broke on me… What is it with me and computers OMFG? Luckily, I was able to save my data after three different tries… omg the most nerve wracking thing ever. Anway…
Recap: It is Christmas time. Before the break, Kurt made the football team lose. Kurt is tutoring Blaine in all his subjects except Spanish. Mr. Shue offered to tutor Blaine if Blaine played piano for the Glee Club, and Kurt doesn't like the idea at all.
It was their traditional Friday night dinner. As they sat down, the inquisition began and Kurt sighed heavily.
"You remember that punk kid that came in earlier?" asked his dad when dinner was served.
Kurt scoffed because the description certainly fit. "Dad, that was Puck, but yes, I remember," he drawled.
"He in your Glee Club?" asked Burt feigning ignorance.
With his jaw clenched Kurt answered, "He is in the Glee Club, yes." It wasn't his Glee Club, and he really wished his dad would stop calling it that.
"How come you disappeared when he showed up?" his dad asked, staring intently at Kurt attempting an expression of nonchalance and failing miserably.
"I didn't want to talk to him," Kurt responded like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Kurt knew he was behaving like a five year old at this point. But he also felt like a five year old, with the way everyone was treating him about this whole Glee Club nonsense.
"I think he would have liked to talk to you. Told me about a Christmas party or something that they were having. You should go."
"I don't want to go," Kurt responded stabbing angrily at his chicken.
Burt shrugged, "It was just an idea, bud. Besides, you've been tutoring Blaine every day and helping me out with the shop just as much. You deserve to go out with your friends," he paused, "like you did last year."
Kurt merely rolled his eyes. "I hardly talk to them anymore. People change, Dad. Besides, Rachel probably blackmailed Puck into coming over here because she knows they can't win without my voice. Which, by the way, is out of service. Permanently."
"You used to love singing, kid, I hate to have you just let it go. Besides, if he just came over here to talk to you, he paid a big price for damaging his car."
Kurt was backed into a corner of decisions each less appealing than the next. Whichever way he chose the consequences of his actions were almost unbearable. There was absolutely no way the jocks would let him back onto the team, no matter what Coach said. As soon as he was alone with them, nothing would be held back. The safety of hiding in plain sight was gone. If he joined Glee again the bullying would, for certain, be worse than before. Because not only was he gay and 'showing it off' but now the whole football team despised him with a burning passion. But, if he didn't join Glee, no one would look at him in the hallways. He would have no one to talk to. A black sheep in a cloud of white sheep. All which followed each other, ostracizing Kurt because he was too different to be seen with.
Would it be so bad to walk alone in the hallways? He had practically been doing that this whole year. Sure, people talked to him, but all of his interactions were superficial. With the Glee Club, people would look after him. He knew it. No matter what, they always had his back. However, they couldn't be at his side around the clock. If the wolves are hungry enough for their prey, they stay on the outskirts until an opening arrives. And that was when trouble came last year. His thoughts circled back to how much worse the bullying would be now.
A never ending spiral of poor choices lay in front of him. He sighed. Soon, he would have to make a decision.
"I just thought you should know. Anyway, Kurt, we still need to buy some of the kids their Christmas presents."
Kurt's thoughtful expression turned into a beaming smile. For now, at least, he had time to worry about school later. "Oh that's right! I have some good ideas for Stevie too. Did you know he started playing soccer a few weeks ago?"
Burt chuckled, "I did; his Aunt told me. It sounds like he's really good at it too. He scored the winning goal for his team last game."
"Do you who will be joining us for Christmas?" Kurt asked because their home was always open for the kids and their families on Christmas if they wanted to be here. It was his favorite part of the holiday and usually the one time a year they got to see them. It always astonished him at how quickly they grew up.
"Unfortunately, it is just going to be one this year. Stevie told me told me he and his Aunt will be going to Phoenix to visit his grandparents. But I already made arrangements so we can drop off his present. As you know, Chloe is now living in Florida, so we'll have to call them that morning.
"So who is going to be here?" asked Kurt confusion written all over his face. That was all the kids, unless…
"EMMA IS GOING TO BE HERE!?" asked Kurt excitedly.
Burt nodded, smiling.
Kurt hadn't even talked to her for over a year. She was taken into protective custody due to neglect. But neither Burt nor Kurt blamed her mother, they were in a tough situation, and simply did not have the means to take care of her two children. But her mom was far too embarrassed to talk to the Hummels about it or talk to them in general.
"She called and said that her daughter hadn't stopped asking about us. Apparently, Emma threatened to never speak ever again if she didn't get to see us for Christmas. Her mom didn't believe her, because, well, you know Emma. I guess after two days of silence, her mom gave in. She put up a defensive, but I think I finally got through. I was going to wait until she got here and let it be a surprise, but I really couldn't keep it from you. She'll be dropping Emma off and picking her up later. Maybe someday we can convince her we don't bite."
Kurt chucked, "So, you talked to Emma and her mom. How is she doing?"
"Well, she is now a third grader and has taken up Karate."
Kurt scoffed, "She would."
"And she wouldn't stop talking. I swear that little girl can talk a mile a minute."
"It is nice to see that some things don't change," Kurt said with a fond roll of his eyes.
Blaine followed the conversation intently. The Hummels kept track of their foster children even after they found homes? The pressure weighing down on Blaine lifted ever so slightly.
The next day, Blaine found himself in the shop standing awkwardly by the Hummels, unsure if he should participate or not. His hands constantly wrung together and eyes made awkward glances at them. He could learn. He could do this. They wanted him to do this, right? That was why they asked him to be here. Right?
Kurt and Burt flowed together like a song well practiced by musicians. They knew the song perfectly and weaved notes together with ease. Blaine was going to be that player to break the harmony. The blasting wrong note which ruins a song, unexpected and unwanted. He couldn't do this. They were better off without him.
"Hey, Blaine!" greeted Burt as Blaine started backing away to escape. "Just in time, we're about to get busy and we could definitely use some help."
Blaine glanced quickly between Kurt and Burt. Should he walk away or stay? What if he messed up? No matter how hard Blaine tried, he always ended up being the wrong note.
Just as he was about to back away, Kurt smiled and beckoned Blaine to follow him.
"Here, I'll tell you what tools are what and you can just hand them to me. You'll be great, I promise."
So Blaine followed and listened to Kurt. He was trying to learn, but Blaine got a little lost in Kurt's kind expression. No one had ever had the patience like Kurt did to teach him things. Kurt never raised a hand, or even his voice. He just tried different things to see what worked with him and what didn't. Someday, Blaine would be able to tell Kurt and Burt how much they meant to him. Someday. Not today.
"Do you get it?"
Blaine looked at Kurt and shook his head side to side. Kurt chuckled and tried again. This time making up ridiculous names for the objects that got the smile back on Blaine's face.
"I think you've got it, and now it is show time," Kurt said as a car arrived. "And Blaine," Kurt began. Blaine looked up. "It is okay if you make a mistake. Okay?"
And, inevitably, he did make mistakes. He handed Kurt the wrong tool or fumbled a little and dropped it on the ground. The very first time he was corrected by Kurt, Blaine flinched horribly as his body expected some sort of abuse. But soon, Blaine discovered Kurt was right, making a mistake really was okay. They just corrected him with a smile as if it was no big deal and carried on with what they were doing. His body soon stopped flinching and he started handing the different tools with more confidence. Maybe Blaine didn't quite know the song perfectly yet. But maybe being a blaring wrong note was not so bad when people were there to show you the correct one. And maybe he was going to still a bit off pitch for a while. An instrument not quite warmed up.
But everything would be okay.
"Alright, you two," announced Burt, "We'll take a bit of a break, and then off to do some shopping."
Blaine stayed close to Kurt the entire time in the mall while Burt's arms started getting heavier and heavier with bags.
"I'm going to go get Emma her present, Kurt, why don't you head over to the book store for Mark. We'll meet back here. Blaine, you can go with Kurt."
Kurt nodded. The mall was decorated for Christmas, which was in just a few more days, and packed with shoppers. Lights glisten above him and a decorated Christmas tree stood in the center. Carolers sung Christmas songs, adding to the ambience. Kurt paused for a moment, those carolers sounded suspiciously like the Glee Club. Sure enough, as they passed by, Rachel's voice was clear as a bell. Finn harmonizing along with her while the rest of the club swayed in the background like usual. Kurt rolled his eyes and groaned in frustration. Obviously, his dad knew they were going to be here and that he would have to pass them to get to the store. Puck hadn't just talk about a Christmas party with his dad yesterday.
Hurrying as fast as he could, Kurt reached his destination. But he stopped when he noticed a familiar presence not with him. Looking around, he saw Blaine stand just behind the crowd watching the Glee Club with the expression he wore often when playing the piano. The only time he had ever seen him completely at peace.
Kurt knew that music offered an escape for Blaine. Whenever he played the piano, all the tension in him disappeared and in its wake left a boy immersed in the notes. Blaine brought the piano to life. It was his gift. How could Kurt be so selfish as to try and take the opportunity to play away from Blaine? Maybe the Glee Club had the power to help Blaine in ways that Kurt couldn't. But what about the inevitable bullying? Would Blaine be able to handle it? He was already so fragile, and Kurt didn't want him to regress to the way he had been when Blaine first arrived. A scared animal ready to flee when someone so much as moved the wrong way.
What was the right decision? Was there a right decision? Come mid-January, Kurt was going to be forced to choose many difficult paths.
Kurt gently placed a hand on Blaine's shoulder to bring him back and gestured for his foster brother to follow. He did so hesitantly. Kurt made eye contact with Mercedes as he drew quietly away. One thing was for certain, the Glee members had the ability to help Blaine, but at what consequence?
It was Christmas morning and Blaine felt increasingly awkward picking at his pancakes. Only once in his life had he ever been welcome in a Christmas celebration, every other time he was shunned and those days clouded and tainted his one good time. Kurt and Burt, finished with their breakfast, sat watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas waiting for the guests to arrive while Blaine simply stood in the kitchen watching from afar. Instead of joining them, as Blaine was uncomfortable doing, he started doing the dishes.
"Blaine, you don't have to do the dishes," called Burt. "We'll get to them tomorrow. Come over here and relax while we wait for Emma." But Blaine couldn't relax. He was fidgety and on edge. Christmas held too many bad memories and held so many bad meanings for Blaine. Desperately, he shook his head to Burt, hoping he could see how much Blaine needed to keep busy right now. Thankfully, he seemed to understand as Burt gave a quick nod as if giving permission to continue if he so needed. And so Blaine did.
The doorbell rang and Burt answered it. "Hi, Emma," greeted Burt, opening his arms to give the girl a hug while a car in the background drove away.
"Hi, Mr. Hummel!" Emma exclaimed running into Burt almost knocking him over in the process of the overenthusiastic hug. A ball of brown hair and bright blue eyes wrapped around him. Burt Picked her up and kissed the top of her head. She turned at looked over at Kurt. "Kurt!" she said and Burt put her down as she tackled Kurt.
"Umph! Why, hello, Emma. It's so good to see you again," he exclaimed as he swung her around.
"Who is this?" she asked looking at Blaine who was now sweeping the clean floor.
"This is Blaine. He is my foster brother. Be nice to him, Emma," Kurt warned.
"I'm always nice!" she retorted back with her hands on her hips.
Blaine looked from Kurt to Emma and promptly left the room going to dust the furniture. Emma followed him. Blaine left the room shortly after to fiddle with the tree, making sure everything was in place. Emma followed him. After watching him curiously for a few moments she started chatting.
"Why are you cleaning the house, Blaine? It's Christmas!"
After a moment of silence where Blaine just looked at her, she nodded in understanding, "You don't talk much do you? That's okay. I met a kid at the house who didn't like to talk either. He was weird though, picked his nose all the time. You are perfect, Blaine, and I'll probably do all the talking for both of us anyways.
"I started learning Karate about a month ago," she continued as Blaine once again moved to another room. "Mom says I should act like a proper girl because girls like me shouldn't be interested in things like Karate, but she still pays for my lessons. I secretly think she feels bad for what she did; making me go into foster care and everything for my sister so she pays for them anyway. Hey want to see a move I learned last week?" she said to Blaine following him around while he attempted both to clean the house and shake off Emma.
"Emma, why don't you leave Blaine alone and let him breathe. Come here and watch this movie with me," said Kurt.
"No," she said defiantly, "he is trying to clean the house. No one freaking cleans on Christmas day. He doesn't need breathing room; he needs to watch my Karate moves." She turned back to Blaine. "Follow me! We are going to go outside because if I do it inside I might break something. I broke the lamp in my room once. Mom wasn't too happy, but she replaced it without yelling too much."
Blaine, not sure what to do, looked to Kurt who shrugged. But Emma didn't give him much of a choice and so he followed her. Being with Emma was like being bombarded by a hurricane. She was vivacious, loud, and full of energy. But she seemed to know how to push Blaine just enough to get him out of his shell. It was a little overwhelming for sure, but she always backed off right when he needed her to.
She told Blaine to sit on the porch chair while she practiced.
"We do a lot of breathing exercises in Karate. We also do a lot of balance practice. I can stay on my foot the longest in my class. I'll show you!"
Emma continued to talk as she balanced.
"Our teacher tells us that we must learn these things before the exciting stuff because it is the core of it all. If we become good at this stuff, we'll be good at other stuff too. So I practice it every day. I want to earn a black belt someday."
Blaine continued to watch as Emma chatted away. Kurt soon joined them outside.
"Emma, you are doing great!" he said
"Thanks, Kurt! Even though mom doesn't like that I do Karate, she does say that it helps with my focus a bit."
Burt opened the porch door and gave Kurt a telephone, "Its Chloe."
"Hi, Chloe! Oh, good, I'm so glad you liked your present.."
Blaine sat, not quite listening to Emma or Kurt exchanging stories with Chloe on the phone. But, somehow, Blaine felt more comfortable now than he had ever been on Christmas day. Whether that was because of Emma's companionship, or because of Kurt's proud smile and enthusiastic clapping whenever Emma managed another balance trick, or Burt shouting encouragement when Emma did something wrong. Right here, in this moment on Christmas day, Blaine was content. And Blaine realized watching the Hummels with Emma that Burt and Kurt really, truly, wanted their foster children to succeed. They wanted to see them happy. They weren't faking anything. They weren't pretending. This wasn't just some illusion being pulled over Blaine's eyes. They were absolutely and completely genuine.
Not only did they want their foster kids happy; they did all they could to stay present in their lives even after being adopted. No matter how many times you were told something, it was completely different to see it with your own eyes.
"Whew! I'm tired. Can we open presents now?" asked Emma tumbling to the ground.
"Getting impatient, I see. Yes, let's open presents," said Burt. "I'm surprised she lasted this long," Burt mumbled to Kurt.
Emma squealed in excitement, "I sit next to Blaine!"
They each opened their presents in turn. Emma hopping off the couch to give Burt a squeezing hug after opening a display case for future belts.
"Thank you so much!"
"I'm expecting that thing to be full by the time you reach high school."
"High school! It will be full before fourth grade!"
Burt and Kurt laughed.
"And, Blaine, this one is for you," said Burt bringing over the largest box in the room to sit on Blaine's lap.
Blaine stared at the box flabbergasted as everyone stared at Blaine expectantly. A present? For him? Why? He stared at the box covered in tiny Santas. This was his first present since he was very little. He always thought he was not good enough for presents. That he was someone who didn't deserve presents. Other people got gifts. Other people, never Blaine. But here was one sitting on his lap waiting to be opened. He brushed it disbelievingly with his fingers.
"Well, go on, open it Blaine! If you don't do it I will!" Emma's voice broke his reverie.
"Emma!" admonished Burt.
"What?" she asked innocently with batted eyelashes.
Slowly, Blaine opened the box not sure what to expect. The Hummels had been so nice to him and have given him so much already. They were truly different than everyone else. They actually wanted to give Blaine this present; he realized when he looked up to see the smiles of Kurt and Burt waiting for him. Finally, he opened it completely.
It was a piano. They had given him a keyboard piano. He ran his hand over the box in silent surprise. The last one he threw at the wall. He didn't think that they would ever trust him again. But here was another one, just waiting to be played. An actual piano he could play, not an invisible one. But one he could produce real music on, with sound that could fill the air instead of just his mind.
Setting it down gently on the floor, Blaine went over to Burt and tried to figure out a way to show his gratitude. Burt smiled at Blaine a little teary eyed as Blaine stood awkwardly in front of him staring at the floor. Eventually, Blaine gathered his courage, brought his hands to his chin and down out towards Burt.
Burt looked confused.
Blaine did it again. And again. And again. Each time growing more desperate, wanting his intention to come across.
But the more he did the gesture, the more confused Burt got.
Frustration and hurt wound itself around Blaine constricting him. He knew they wouldn't understand; why did he even try? With a broken heart, and tears trickling down his cheek, Blaine left his keyboard and ran upstairs.
"You guys are both idiots," exclaimed Emma. "He was saying thank you!"
"Thank you?" asked Kurt.
"Yeah, thank you in sign language. Jeez!"
"We didn't know Blaine knew sign language," said Kurt, looking surprised at his dad.
"Well obviously he does! So if you excuse me, I'm going to do some damage control." With an angry sigh, she grabbed Blaine's keyboard and dragged it after Blaine.
A knocking came at his door, and Blaine wished it away. But the door opened anyways, Blaine was ready to be yelled at, but instead it was Emma.
"That was your first time signing in a while, huh?" she asked sitting beside him on his bed, he just watched her. "I could tell because Mr. Hummel didn't know what you were doing. I wonder why they didn't know you could sign. That's something the social worker should have told them. You must not have a very good social worker. That's okay though; mine wasn't all that great either. But I would've thought Mr. Hummel would've taught you sign because you don't talk. And that's something he would learn himself and teach you because he's like that. Even though they are wonderful, Mr. Hummel and Kurt can sure be idiots sometimes, I tell you, idiots. They mean the best though; you'll never find nicer people than them.
"I don't know why you are here with them, but no one's story is ever the best. I got taken away because mom couldn't afford us. But she managed to get my sister back, she's deaf and so mom fought for her more than me." She looked downcast and her legs were no longer swinging off the bed.
Kurt peeped in to make sure he didn't have to remove Emma from Blaine's room.
Emma immediately noticed him and said, "Oh good! Kurt, can we set up Blaine's piano?" With a smile, Kurt nodded and opened the box.
"In the beginning," she said continuing her story, "I was placed in a home with a bunch of children, but then I was sent here."
Kurt intercepted, looking up at Blaine, to add in, "She was a spit fire, but we love her to death." This prompted Emma to give Kurt a hug which in turn earned her a poke in the side. She giggled.
"Can I plug it in, Kurt? Please?"
"No need for the puppy dog eyes, Emster. Go ahead."
Taking the cord she began again, "Eventually my mom married my stepdad and wasno longer in financial trouble. She was able to take me back, that is at least when proved to the law she could take care of me. I didn't hear from the Hummels again until a week ago. "
"You know, Emma, we never stopped trying to contact you," said Kurt.
"I know! I saw the caller ID. She thinks I don't know about that. Eventually though, I got her to let me come here. I can be very convincing when I set my mind to it. I think now that she let me come, I'll call you guys every night!"
Kurt chucked, "I look forward to it."
She smiled then looked to the keyboard and back at Blaine. "Well, play me something!" she said excitedly.
Blaine just stared at the keyboard.
"Come on, Blaine. You must know how to play or else they wouldn't have gotten it for you. Right?" she said looking at Kurt.
"I think we should let Blaine play when he is ready to play."
"Blaine, please?" Instead of listening to Kurt, she gently cupped Blaine's hands in her own and placed them on the keyboard in front of him. The keyboard clunked in response. Caught a reverie in response to the sound of the keyboard, he slowly began to play. Silent Night.
Emma clapped her hands and sang along. Hearing the piano, Burt soon entered the room and started singing immediately. Kurt glanced around. His body straining to sing and lungs gasping for notes. Drowning in the music, the only way to keep going was to let out the bundled energy inside him. It started as a whisper. A soft melodic hesitant voice joined the group.
Resigned and loosing himself in song, his voice grew louder. Emma stopped singing to listen, and soon so did Burt. All that filled the air was the tune from Blaine's fingers and the soft yet strong voice of Kurt bringing in Christmas cheer.
At the end of the song Emma burst forth to give Kurt a gigantic hug making him stumble at the unexpected launch of arms around him.
"I missed yoursinging, Kurt. Sometimes it was the only thing that got me to sleep. Can you sing another, please?" her huge shiny blue eyes begged him.
So Kurt sang and Blaine played. The magic of Christmas had brought their gifts back to life once again.