Disclaimer: Don't own a thing, especially the characters, go figure.
AN (or rambling, more likely): So, this is part of an unnamed, imaginary verse. And by imaginery verse I mean that a few days ago I had a story idea, don't know if I'll ever get a full multi-part-story together, thought I just put it off till I forget about it, but then had a way too long train ride and just decided to start something for it. So now that I've put this one out, chances are I'll continue writing for it, but I have no idea whether I make a verse and just throw out oneshots about different points in it, or actually sit down and write a multi-chaptered fic. I have no idea about point of view, or resolution, and for that matter one of the characters seeing how he hasn't actually appeared on the show yet. So, in short, I have no idea what I'm doing, but maybe something will come out of it. Let's see. But for now, this is a oneshot and we'll see what will happen with it.
Spoilers – for a character appearing first in 3x15 as far as I know, name and relation only.
It's so cold that Blaine can feel his teeth chatter. They left their coats in the car, and really, it hasn't seemed that freezing earlier. Of course, earlier they didn't stand on top of a skyscraper. But up here, where he can see Lima stretched out underneath him, ridiculously small and insignificant, the wind is so much stronger than he would have thought; not strong enough to make him fall, but maybe strong enough to make him want to fly.
He still isn't sure why he's here. Out of the corner of his eye he can see Cooper checking the rope, pulling on it as if daring it to tear. Turning to his brother, Blaine is surprised. He had expected Cooper to be excited, thrilled even, like he had been when suggesting this, but there's nothing of that left now. Instead, Cooper looks grim, determined like a man who has nothing to lose. Blaine looks down for a second, away from the small, safe harbor of the roof and into the depth, and already he feels like he's falling. He can only look for a second before he fixates his eyes onto the safe ground. His breathing doesn't calm down, though.
"This is insane…" he mutters.
"That's the point." Cooper says. His expression softens a bit as he looks at his younger brother. „Are you scared?"
Blaine shakes his head.
It's a lie, of course it is. Blaine isn't even sure he remembers the last time he hasn't been scared. Logically he knows it hasn't been so long. Only three months ago, probably. But ever since that confrontation between his father and Kurt, it feels like he hasn't been able to breathe.
Their instructor is still on the phone, talking in a slightly agitated voice, maybe to a family member, maybe someone of his team, maybe even the person responsible for their security right now… it's impossible to tell, but to his own surprise, Blaine isn't worried.
Again, he looks down. He can feel the hammering of his heart against his chest, can basically feel the edge, and how easy would it be to just fall…?
Not yet, a calm, clinical voice at the back of his head says. It sounds like Cooper.
This is insane, repeats a different, agitated voice. Kurt, this time. And god, Blaine doesn't even want to think about how he'll ever explain this to his boyfriend. Not that there is something to explain. It might be nothing. He might be absolutely fine. Granted, he's losing his father, but that will take years, and he's fine for now. And obviously, Blaine's losing his mind, seeing how he stands on top of a skyscraper, ready to jump. But apart from that, he might be fine. They both might be fine, Blaine reminds himself as he looks up to his brother again.
And maybe they're not.
Looking down suddenly feels a lot less frightening.
"Tempting?" Cooper asks, also looking down now.
Blaine shakes his head again. Another lie, and again his brother doesn't comment. Instead, he pulls on the ropes securing Blaine.
"Don't start early…" he mutters while checking the harness. "I won't be the one calling your guy that you accidentally committed suicide because you confused some straps…"
And that is exactly where the temptation ends. Easy? Maybe. But he can't even think of it without seeing Kurt's face in front of his eyes. He'd be devastated. No, that is not an option. Not now, not ever.
…well, at least not now.
"Why are we doing this, Cooper?" Blaine asks quietly.
His brother freezes, his hands still on the protective gear. "Why wouldn't we?" he asks instead of an answer.
"Because it's insane."
Cooper nods. "Completely. Insanity sounds nice, doesn't it?"
Blaine is sure he looks as if he'd been struck, and Cooper quickly shakes his head. "Not that kind of insanity. You know, just… risking things. Take what we can get. I heard it's an amazing feeling. Like absolute freedom. Just falling…"
"And if something goes wrong…" Blaine starts. It's not a question, just a statement of what they both know.
"One hell of a way to go, don't you think?" Cooper says and grins. It reminds Blaine of a skull.
He looks down again. He has tried to throw himself into performing, into boxing, into anything, but it hasn't helped.. He has tried drowning himself in Kurt, latch onto every kiss, every touch, every single word whispered into his ear, desperate for anything he can take hold of, but reality always comes crashing down on him, too soon, never enough… And Kurt, who should be absorbed in his senior year, in graduation and tests, and New York… of course he has noticed, how could he not? Blaine knows he's horrible at lying, that his boyfriend can tell that he is not fine, but what is there to say? He's even tried pulling back, giving them some space apart, but when it comes down to it, Blaine can't stay away. So he rather steals a moment, or two, or to be honest every single one he can get, and keeps lying about nothing being wrong.
Though maybe that's not a lie, even if Blaine doesn't know it yet…
It's so tempting just to jump. Maybe falling will make everything clear. And maybe he'll never know. He thinks of his grandmother. God, he hopes he'll never know…
"Why today?" Blaine asks. He remembers last year, remembers the funeral, his parents saying that everything would be alright now… That one definitely has been a lie. It's been nearly a year since then, but not exactly. So what is special about today?
Cooper hesitates, keeps him waiting while also looking down. "Because this might be the last thing I do in freedom."
Blaine stiffens. There's only one thing this can mean.
"I got the letter this morning." Cooper confirms.
Blaine wants to ask what it said, but his throat feels like it's blocked.
"I haven't read it." Cooper says without prompt. "I…" his voice breaks and he takes a few deep breaths before continuing. "I need to do this first, Blaine. I need us to do this first."
"You didn't tell me." Blaine says. His voice is devoid of accusation. He feels like he should be angry at Cooper, but he can't feel it. It's fear, he knows that, muting every thought, every feeling.
"You don't want to know." Cooper shrugs. "Or maybe you do. Of course you do. Listen." He fully turns to him now. "I know you're scared, but you can't run from this."
Blaine winces as he hears the word. His own curse, always running… he's been so sure that he stopped, but apparently old habits aren't that easy to get rid of…
"You'll have to face this." Cooper says.
As if Blaine doesn't know. He can't run, or hide, but god, he wants to. There are a lot of things he wants. Like turning back time, mostly. Or stopping it. Stopping sounds nice. He'd find a great moment to freeze. Not only great, but perfect. He can already think of some.
"Alright, sorry, family stuff." their instructor interrupts his thoughts. He proceeds to speak at them, but Blaine isn't listening. They've gone over this often enough, and they triple checked their gear. They're as safe as the can be. Or maybe just as safe as they want to be.
It's a weird feeling, just standing here, waiting to fall. It makes Blaine uneasy, nervous. It's the height, or maybe he just wants it to be over with. He doesn't want to think about what the worst thing that could happen is. Not that it's hard to guess. They will probably be fine, anyway. And maybe for just a moment have that freedom Cooper has talked about.
The waiting seems like the worst part now. But how bad will it seem if things go wrong?
"You ready?" Cooper asks.
Blaine hasn't noticed that their instructor has stopped talking. His mouth is dry as he looks from the man to his brother and then down to the ground.
It's still insane. And it's not really as if they have nothing to lose. They just don't know. It's a state of vertigo, and he hates it, wants to end it so bad, or maybe stay in it forever. Though really, what he wants is solid ground back under his feet, to be safe, to look up at Kurt who will roll his eyes at this insanity, and just take his hand and lead him back into reality.
He's blinking back tears that have to be from the wind.
It's not that simple.
"You still with me?"
Blaine nods at his brother's question. "Let's do it."
There's pressure on his hand, short, just for a moment, and it feels wrong, too big, too quick, too much direct strength, and then it's gone and so is his brother. For a few seconds Blaine watches Cooper's falling form getting further away from him. And suddenly, without thinking, he takes a step forward.
The wind on top of the building is nothing compared to this. It's whipping into his face, over his whole body, cold and sharp, and everywhere. It's like jumping into ice water. He hears a distant screaming and it takes minuteshoursyearsdays seconds until he realizes it's his own voice. He's not sure his heart is even still inside his chest, or where his body ends, and all he can think of is "this is it, this is how I die". He shouldn't be doing this, he needs to take it back, he needs Kurt.
Blaine can't remember ever being this scared.
The ground is coming closer, and then, for what feels like forever, it stops.
He's not falling, he's… floating.
And suddenly, he's pulled up, flying upwards, weightless. Rebound, he remembers their instructions, and then he stops thinking, apart from one word.
His heart is racing, like standing on a stage, the crowd cheering around him, losing himself in performing, or running, it's fighting and dancing and gasping for breath, air and warmth, like that one second that makes your whole world crumble around you only to realize that it was an illusion all along, that what you really want is right there, and everything will be alright. It's you take my breath away, it's hope and whispered confessions and safety.
And then it's falling again, coming back to the ground, and maybe he's crying, but he can't care, or worry, or even only think, it's just… feeling, everything disappearing except for this thrill, filling up his entire being, and this is it.
Eventually he slows again, gets pulled up again, and again, and he loses count. All he know is that at some point, he stops. He's hanging above the ground, exhausted, and for the first time in months perfectly happy.
"Hey!" he hears a voice screaming. Looking around he spots Cooper hanging not far away from him. "How's it hanging?"
Blaine snorts, laughs, because it's just that bad… He feels that he's slowly lowered down, carefully, and his laughter ebbs away. Perfect. It's all he can think of. Absolutely perfect.
A group of instructors waits for them on the ground, they're helped down and freed from the harness.
"Do you understand now?" Cooper asks, gasping for breath himself.
Blaine only nods. The harness is gone, and he feels the ground beneath his back. He can't even remember lying down, and he doesn't care. He just wants this moment to last forever. So maybe he found the moment he wants to freeze… Nearly perfect. Not quite, but it might be the best he can get…
He should have known, really. Just like with every other good moment he's had since finding out, reality comes crashing down on him, again, and in this second he knows. He can't run, or hide, because the problem is inside him. No matter how he tries to tell himself that it might be fine, that his chances aren't that bad… he knows.
He turns his head to see Cooper lying beside him. In his hand, his brother holds an envelope.
"Let's find out." Cooper says.
Blaine nods, closing his eyes.
"The waiting is the worst part," Cooper continues, as if he's trying to convince himself, "you just saw that!"
Blaine doesn't look when he hears paper tearing. Maybe he should reach out to his brother, but he can't. He only opens his eyes when he hears a gasp.
Cooper is sitting up, staring at the paper in his hand, and Blaine's heart nearly stops when he sees tears falling down from his brother's eyes.
"What?" he asked. "Cooper, what is it?"
Blaine too is gasping for breath now, he tears the letter out of Cooper's hands and stares at it, reads the words confirming what his brother just said, and then they're hugging, something that never happens in their family, and they're laughing.
"I'm so glad for you." Blaine says, when they calm down… when his own thoughts catch up with him again.
"What's wrong?" Cooper asks, because of course it's showing in his face.
Blaine looks away, can't face his brother. "It's a fifty percent chance." He can't continue, just stares at the ground beneath him. He doesn't have to, since he can see Cooper freeze beside him.
"Blaine, that doesn't mean that you-"
"Stop. Just… stop. It's fine." Blaine stands up, even though his legs feel weak.
"You need to know." Cooper insists.
Blaine exhales carefully before turning to his brother again. "No, I don't."
Cooper actually throws his hands up in frustration. "You do realize why we did this, right? Because the worst part is the waiting, not knowing what's going to happen. The moment we jumped off there, everything was fine."
Blaine shakes his head. "Only because it worked."
Cooper opens his mouth as if he's ready to protest, but something in Blaine's face shuts him up. For a moment, they just stare at each other, then they both look away.
"Can we go home?" Blaine asks.
"Sure. I'll just… you know." Cooper gestures to the team still standing around, pointedly trying to not look interested in their conversation, and Blaine feels shame flaring up.
"I'll wait in the car." he mumbles and doesn't wait for his brother's nod of consent before leaving. The closeness that had been there before, has evaporated again. Maybe this, too, is a family thing. From inside the car he watches Cooper talk to the group, money changing hands, claps on backs, and the familiar haze settles over reality again. It was nice, though, feeling like that again, like reality, even if only for a few seconds that felt like eternity, really…
He hears his cell phone, checks it to find a message from Kurt, asking if he is still coming over for dinner. He's got a few hours until then, which is good, since Blaine probably looks like a wreck right now. Maybe he shouldn't go, but he can't help wanting to. It could be so easy. He could just take the phone and call, tell Kurt everything, and maybe he will make it all better, he always does somehow, but…
But there was no better, because how do you tell someone who wants to spend the rest of your lives together, that it might not be such a long time?
Instead, he just types a short message – 'Be there at five, love you' – and lets his head lean against the window. He doesn't react when Cooper returns, and neither of them says a word on the way home. It shouldn't be that surprising, the Andersons were great at not talking…
Maybe Cooper is right, at least for himself, that the waiting is the worst part. But if the answer is what Blaine fears…
He'll take the vertigo.