Warning: There are mentions of (non-graphic) non con and also mentions of suicide attempts/self-harm.
A/N: This was going to take longer because I wrote the rest of this chapter when I should have been sleeping since I worked the next morning, but my Nan was watching Dancing with the Stars (and me too) and she doesn't have the best hearing any more. Basically I wasn't getting any sleep anyway. I wanted to see Amber Riley win it and I wasn't disappointed! So I sat there with my laptop, watching and writing at the same time.
So another couple of months have passed and I finally feel like I'm stronger than I ever was before. I think it's time that I figure out a way for Blaine to have that too. I also wanted to say how overcome I was by all the lovely support I received in reviews and personal messages from you wonderful readers. Some of them brought me to tears, but I promise they were the good kind. Knowing there's so many people out there behind me gave me back a lot of my strength and helped me get back my self-confidence. You are all truly amazing. Thank you.
Anyway without any further ado, here is the next chapter.
Chapter 38 – Piece by Piece
"Are you sure I can't help you with the dishes Bianca?" Kurt asked Mrs. Anderson as he eyed the pile of dishes that had been created in the feeding of eight people, even if one of them was only a baby.
"You're our guest Kurt," she smiled at him tenderly. "I can't have my guest doing the dishes."
Kurt gave her a sideways smile. "I thought I was family? Doesn't family take turns doing the dishes?"
"I'm just going to load them into the dishwasher for tonight dear. Leo can help me with the pots and pans. You go in the living room with the rest of them. I promise I'll let you help next time." She motioned with her hands for him to vacate the kitchen.
"That's what you said last time," he reminded her, but let the woman shoo him into the living room anyway with a roll of his eyes.
Blaine, Brianna and Joey were sat around the coffee table, talking quietly and Kurt sank into a spot next to his tense looking boyfriend. "Is Ness putting the baby down?" He broke in quietly, noticing the way Blaine was looking away from his brother and how his knee was bouncing.
"Yeah, he's a cranky little feller when he's tired," Joey grinned fondly, his eyes veering to the stairs that led to the bedrooms. "We were thinking about watching a movie, but Blaine's not sure which one he wants to watch."
"Do I have to pick? If it came out in the last two years I probably haven't seen it anyway," Blaine muttered, sounding irritable. "I don't see the point in making me pick."
"You should pick it Blainers," Joey insisted quietly. "We all take turns picking movies and you've missed quite a few of yours so it just seems fair that you take this one."
"I don't even know what there is-." Blaine stopped and shook his head. "I barely had a choice in anything for two years; not when I ate or what I ate or what to watch on TV or even what I got to do with my own body. It wasn't even mine really. I just- can't you pick for me?"
"It's yours now. It was always yours-"
Everything that was building inside Blaine seemed to burst at once. It seemed ridiculous to think that after two years his body was suddenly his own again, or that it always was. It sure hadn't seemed that way.
"But it isn't mine! Look at me! Look at me do I look like the same kid you knew two years ago? Did that kid have this ugly scar," he pointed to the gash down the side of his face. "Did he look like a cutter?" He gestured heavily to the arm wrapped in bandages and supported with a sling. He lifted his shirt and poked his stomach. To him it felt way too soft. He used to have abs and it wasn't about the vanity. It wasn't about vanity at all. "This isn't my body. It's Pierre's. He made me like this; soft, thin, and weak." He pressed his hand over the healing cut on his face self-consciously and kept it there. "I was different before, don't you get it? It doesn't matter if I cut my hair or gel it or wear bow-ties or any of that ridiculous shit. I'm still not me."
"Then for God's sake take it back." Brianna looked shocked even as the words left her mouth and suddenly all eyes seemed to be on her. She softened her voice, "I'm sorry Blaine, but I mean it. Instead of complaining about it, why don't you do something about it? There's no one stopping you now but yourself."
"Like it's that easy-"
"I never said it'd be easy. I just said there's no one stopping you anymore," his sister's voice sharpened just slightly once again. "Maybe you can't get rid of the scars, but if you really miss having a hard stomach or being fit or whatever, go workout."
"I'll still be different," he shook his head, his eyes glaring at her. What had happened to the supportive Brianna he'd had in the hospital or in the Airport?
"We're all different, if you haven't noticed," she snapped, before checking herself once again. "I never used to have this short a fuse. Losing you did that to me Blaine. And no, you'll never be the same, but neither will the rest of us. I mean here we are getting all worked up over a freaking movie."
"Maybe," Kurt cut in softly, tentatively reaching to put his hand on Blaine's arm, "you should focus on a new you. You're both right, we're all different; especially you Blaine, but that doesn't mean you can't still be yourself. The best parts of you are still in there and the rest… well can't you use it to make yourself stronger? Isn't that the point of therapy in the first place?"
A bit of red flushed into Blaine's face, "Kurt-"
"I know your body still doesn't feel like your own, but you can take it back."
"I have to be fit for the force, Blainers. You can work out with me if that's what you want? We'll start out small and build our way up," Joey suggested after a moment. "It'll take some time, but maybe it'll help."
"I can't even sing," Blaine blurted out angrily. "If I still have all the best parts of me then-"
"It's still in you," Kurt cut him off softly. "It may not seem like it and you may not be able to right now, but it's still there Blaine. I know it is. You love music too much to ever lose it completely."
"How do you know?"
"Because I know you, Blaine. I know how strong you really are."
"I don't feel very strong right now," Blaine shook Kurt's hand off his arm. "I know you're all just trying to help, but you're just not. You don't know what it was like. You don't know me. You don't know!" He jerked up from the couch and stalked up the stairs to his room.
Part of him wanted to collapse on his bed, wrap his arms around his pillow and cry, but the other part- the other part was still raging. They thought they had changed? It was nothing compared to what he'd been through, the things he'd been forced to do.
He kicked the door hard, growling deep in his throat when it sent pain into his toes and foot. It hardly made him feel any better, but for just that tiny moment there had been an ounce of relief with the jolt of lancing pain.
There was a knock on the other side of the door. "Blaine?" Kurt's voice called through the door tentatively.
"Leave me alone!" He yelled back hoarsely.
"I'm not going to do that Blaine." Kurt's voice was soft and muffled through the door.
"Yeah neither would he-"
The door yanked open and Blaine was surprised. He hadn't actually expected the other boy to storm in. "Don't you dare. Don't you freaking dare compare me to him!" Kurt's voice wasn't loud, but it was furious. "No Blaine. None of us really know what it was like for you. He didn't get a chance to rape me so I don't really know either, but I know enough to know that I'm nothing like him. You're pissed and you're lashing out and that's fine, but don't you dare compare me to him."
Blaine glared right back at him. "I want to be left alone. Why is that so hard?"
"Because whether or not you like it, or you're not the same as before, I still know you." Kurt's voice softened but was still tight behind his gritted teeth. "You're not the same, but you're still you. And you know what- Brianna's got a point- why don't you take it back?"
"It's not that easy," Blaine ground out, sitting on his bed and crossing his arms.
"When did any of us ever say it would be?" Kurt sank onto the bed next to him, the anger draining from his voice. "You have every right to be angry about what happened to you. Hell I'm glad you're finally letting yourself be angry, but we're not the ones you should be angry with. All we want to do is help you."
"You don't get it," Blaine stood up again, putting some distance between himself and his boyfriend.
"Then help me to get it. What's going through your head Blaine? Maybe if you told me I could help, or- I don't know- Would you please just tell me?" Kurt was looking up at him, his eyes shining. There seemed to be no anger left in him.
Blaine couldn't say the same. There was still plenty of anger simmering inside him. "I don't want to be some new me." Blaine pulled his hand hard through his hair as he spoke. "I don't want these scars. I don't want to have to get back into the shape I was before. I don't want to be this scared, damaged kid that has to 'work hard' to get his life back. I want to be who I was before. I just want the last two years of my life back."
"We all want that Blaine," Kurt murmured quietly, watching as Blaine paced in front of the bed slowly. "We all wish this had never happened, but it doesn't work like that. We can't go back in time as much as we might want to."
"I know that," Blaine snapped, sitting down on the computer chair in front of his desk. "I just hate it. He made me into the person he wanted me to be. At first he basically starved me until I lost any muscle I might've had, living off whatever he didn't finish for months and keeping me weak so I couldn't fight back. Then he screwed up my head and threatened my family so I'd be too afraid to. I'm still the product of what he made me to be, a piece of goddamn clay he molded and shaped for his own twisted needs. Dr. Francis told me I'm more than what happened to me, but it doesn't feel that way at all."
"Why did it have to be me?" Blaine pressed his face into his hand. He'd never wanted it to happen to any other kid, but at the same time it felt like more than he could possibly handle. It felt selfish to even say the words, but he just couldn't help it.
"I don't know-"
He heard Kurt move so that the other boy was kneeling in front of him. "Kurt-"
"I know you don't want to have to be this person who's different from what he was before. I know you don't want to fight to take your life and your body back, but you don't want to stay like this either right?" Kurt's hands reached up and grasped the one he'd been hiding his face in so he could look in his eyes. "We can't go back in time and change what happened, but there are things you can take control of now. You don't have to be clay anymore Blaine. You can't get rid of the scars but you can build muscle back if that's what you really want. Nothing is going to change overnight but you can start to change it now. That's got to mean something, right?"
"I used to like working out," Blaine admitted slowly. The anger wasn't quite draining from his body; however he could see not only the logic behind Kurt's words, but the love and caring as well. "I guess what Joey suggested wasn't all that bad of an idea. We never really hung out before. We could get to know each other again. He's not the same brother I used to know."
"None of us are the same," Kurt agreed quietly. "We're all just learning how to move forward."
"Do you really think I'll be able to sing again?" He took in a deep breath. "Every time I try nothing comes out."
"I think you will. It's too big a part of you to be lost forever," Kurt squeezed his hand again softly. "You just have to keep trying and maybe talk about it with your therapist."
"I did, but maybe I should bring it up again."
"She might be able to help you figure out a game plan," Kurt nodded his agreement.
"Every time I try my body just shuts down and-" He shook his head , standing from the chair to pace again in hopes it might let out some of this nervous energy. Kurt followed him, taking his hand again and motioning to the bed.
He sank into it, not moving away this time when Kurt sat next to him. "You can tell me about it Blaine, if you want to."
"Maybe- I- I'll show you. Maybe- maybe it'll come back this time, but…" He paused for a moment, taking in another breath to prove his point and tried to sing a few words from an old tune, the first song Kurt had ever heard him sing. His body stiffened automatically and his tongue felt dry and thick as he choked on the words before they could flow from his mouth, coughing hard. It seemed like there would be no teenage dream for him.
"Easy," Kurt's hand was immediately rubbing his back comfortingly. "You don't have to try right now, but it'll come back eventually. Maybe it's just too soon."
"The pieces won't pick up themselves, will they?" Blaine leaned his head into Kurt's shoulder. There were no tears, but his chest felt heavy as Kurt's arm wrapped around his back gently. "It's got to be me. I have to do it myself."
"I think so, and even then they might not fit the same," Kurt murmured, the arm squeezing around him lightly, "but that doesn't mean you'll be doing it alone. We'll all help you as much as we can and as much as you'll let us."
He tried to breathe out the heaviness in his chest, only succeeding minutely. "I should probably go downstairs and apologize to everyone."
"I don't think anyone wants you to apologize, Blaine. They just want to be there for you and if you need to yell at them, or me for that matter, sometimes then that's fine. No one's going to blame you. We all just want to help." Kurt gave him a small smile. "Of course if you still want to you can go down and take Joey up on his offer.
Blaine feigned a smile of his own. "Yea, okay. I think I might like that." Maybe by starting to pick up the pieces he'd finally feel a little more in control. He rose to his feet and looked back at Kurt. "Let's go back downstairs."
He padded down the stairs with Kurt close behind him and tentatively stepped back into the living room. It was a little fuller than it had been. Vanessa had returned and was sitting next to her husband with a hand on his knee while his parents had taken over the loveseat.
Joey's head was resting in his hands.
"Sorry I freaked out on everyone," Blaine mumbled, feeling his face flush slightly. "I guess I overreacted a little bit."
Joey raised his head his face creased and tired looking. "No I'm sorry Blaine. I shouldn't have pushed so hard over a movie. You didn't want to pick- you didn't want to and I tried to make you. After everything- that's the last thing I should've done. I thought I was helping. I just didn't realize- I guess- that it would overwhelm you like that. I'm sorry Buddy, I really am."
"It's okay." Blaine found a spot to sit on the other couch and Kurt sank in next to him.
"No it's not, but thanks Blainers." Joey's voice was quiet and his brother gave him a strained smile.
"I thought about what you offered though," Blaine started carefully, trying to clear the thick nervousness in his throat, "about working out. Maybe I could try it and start picking up the pieces. I want to take a piece of myself back, as much as I can."
"If you want me to be your personal trainer Blaine, I'd be happy to." The strain in Joey's face seemed to ease away and his smile looked a little more genuine. "You picked the right guy. Just ask Ness, I have rock hard abs."
Blaine made a face as Vanessa punched her husband in the arm. "I'd rather not, thanks."
"So anyway, little brother," Joey picked up two different DVD's and showed them to Blaine, "we've narrowed it down to two. Which one looks better? There's no pressure if you can't decide. Bri's already volunteered to take your turn if you don't want it."
Picking between two movies seemed a lot easier than deciding among the large collection of movies his parents and siblings had amassed over several years of avid movie watching. He eyed the two covers and their titles. "Pitch Perfect looks kind of good."
"He would pick the one about a Capella," Brianna's voice was tinged with sarcasm that she eased with a grin. "I was actually going to pick that one anyway."
Blaine managed a small smile. Maybe one day he'd be able to do more than just watch it in a movie. Kurt certainly seemed to think so. He just had to take one small step at a time, piece by piece.
A/N: So I'm not sure how I feel about this chapter. I want to stay realistic in the timing of his healing process but at the same time I wanted to give the poor boy a bit of hope. I hope I portrayed that in a believable way and if you'd be so kind to send me a little feedback that would be wonderful. While I somewhat have an idea of how I'm going to write the rest of this story (it's vague but it's there) I always want to take into account any of your suggestions because a lot of the time it's like you're in my head but two steps ahead of me, or it gives me inspiration for a scene that will eventually turn into a chapter.
So yeah, I have a tentative plan to get to the end of this story that has taken me over two years to write. I'd started writing this almost seven months before I ever thought about posting it, so it's been a real project for me. I think a part of me is afraid to let it end. Not only has this story one of my greatest/longest literary undertakings, but it's really grown to be special to me and has helped me through some of my own demons. I only hope you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I've been enjoying writing it. No it's not done yet, but knowing that I have a plan means the end is in sight so these things have been on my mind.