Title: The Box
Word count: 3,215
Summary: When Kurt goes through his wardrobe, he finds a box of items that Blaine had honestly forgot existed and leaving him to reveal hidden emotional struggles from before he moved to Dalton.
Warnings/Spoilers: Angst. Mentions of previous suicidal feelings.
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Glee, FOX, Ryan Murphy or anything else related to the Glee universe.
The bubbling excitement in his stomach that he was finally, finally, going through his things in preparation for the move to New York had him practically bouncing around his room as he put things he wanted to take with him into boxes while Kurt sorted through his "abysmal excuse of a wardrobe that he simply can't wear in New York". He'd pouted, a lot, at first, but figured that Kurt knew what he was talking about because he'd been living there the past year and Kurt was definitely the more fashionable of the two of them.
So Kurt was going through his dresser and then his closet while Blaine examined old exercise books and discarded useless trinkets and felt like he was losing pieces of himself that he was only too happy to part with.
He didn't really notice anything was out of the ordinary until Kurt started gasping and choking out his name, cracking in a way he hadn't expected.
His gaze fell on the box he'd honestly completely forgotten about was in his wardrobe. He stumbled quickly across the room and snatched the box out of Kurt's hands, pressing it to his chest, holding it defensively and protectively and scowling at Kurt, at the box, at the things in his room that had done nothing but just be there to witness this.
His hands shook as he clutched the box closer. It felt like it was burning his skin to hold, and yet he couldn't let it go because then Kurt would want to ask questions, look through it, understand. He just wanted to throw it out in the growing 'discard' pile and pretend Kurt hadn't seen anything. But he also knew Kurt well enough to know that it would never be ignored that easily. Kurt was pedantic and tenacious and stubborn and determined. Most of the time, Blaine loved him for it. This time, he feared it would lead to some sort of ugly explosion that had him trembling where he stood, backed into the wall and staring at Kurt's frightened face and knowing that his was probably a mirror image, but for entirely different reasons.
Eventually he realised he was shaking so much that he couldn't hold himself up properly and his back slid down the wall, wondering if he was going to be sick or faint or if it'd be better to run out of the room and across the hall and through the closed window and straight down two floors. He put the box to one side, between his hip and the dresser, and curled his knees into his chest and tried to breathe and tried to think and tried to stop shaking so much he wondered if he could pass for an epileptic in the middle of a seizure.
"Blaine." Kurt's voice sliced into his thoughts and there were tears blurring Blaine's vision as he blinked at where Kurt was moving closer, falling to his knees and holding out his arms in a desperate, wordless plea to hold Blaine together before he shattered into pieces on his bedroom floor.
He didn't even quite realise that he'd even moved until he felt Kurt's chest expanding against his face, Kurt's arms wound securely around his back, Kurt's hands cradling the back of his neck and the small of his back and holding him so tightly, so closely, that he wasn't sure if the force of his sobs were making Kurt shudder or whether Kurt's crying was responsible for the uncontrollable trembles in his body. Either way, he wasn't sure if he cared. He was too scared to think.
He wasn't sure how long he was cradled, slightly awkwardly, in Kurt's lap but the ache in his chest was now just a dull throb compared to the pounding in his brain from so much crying and he knew he probably looked like a wreck. When he peeked up at Kurt, Kurt's nose and eyes were red and his mouth was swollen and his face was flushed and he gave Blaine a smile that was completely miserable and worried, and Blaine knew that he couldn't try and brush this under the carpet and pretend it had never happened.
He glanced at the box and felt Kurt's fingers tighten infinitesimally. "You don't have to tell me," he whispered, his voice scratchy and it flooded Blaine with guilt at what he had done, of what he'd made Kurt feel.
"I know but I…" But what? He wanted to? He needed to? He'd forgotten the box was there and he didn't know where to even begin explaining all of this to Kurt.
He reached out, hooking his index finger over the side of the box and pulling it closer. Kurt twitched. Blaine might almost have considered it a flinch but he ignored it in favour of gazing down into the box.
"I forgot it was there." Because it was the God-honest truth and he'd have disposed of it years ago if he'd remembered and at the very least before allowing Kurt to clear out his wardrobe where it had been hidden away for the past three or so years. "And I swear I haven't thought about it since I met you."
Kurt's smile was weak and forced and watery.
His hands trembling, Blaine reached into the box and pulled out the smaller box inside, which was filled with half a dozen various orange cylinders of sleeping pills and painkillers and whatever else he could get his hands on as a young teenager. The labels didn't match what was inside but they hadn't really faded after being stored for so long, and Blaine definitely felt sick now as he stared at how many tablets he'd managed to acquire. He plucked out the cylinders and placed them on the floor beside the larger box and swallowed at the sudden dryness in his throat.
"What is it?"
He licked his lips, once, twice, before tilting the box towards Kurt who sucked in another pained breath. The three razor blades taped to the bottom of the box caught the light and glinted bright silver.
"No. No, I…Blaine…"
Blaine wasn't sure he'd ever seen Kurt rendered so completely speechless. Kurt had a tendency to fall silent or babble endlessly. Seeing Kurt struggle to put words into sentences terrified Blaine in a way he wouldn't ever admit.
He diligently put the cylinders back in the smaller box and his fingers itched with the need to do something or fill the silence or just goddammit something as he put it back in the larger box. He chanced a look at Kurt who was silently crying all over again and his shoulder was getting damp before it had quite registered that he'd pulled Kurt into his arms. He held Kurt so tightly he wondered if Kurt was able to breathe.
"It's okay. I'm okay. I'm here. I'm okay. I'm alive." It sounded sort of hollow and he knew that if he wasn't buying it, then neither was Kurt, but in some small way it must have managed to help Kurt in getting his emotions under control long enough that he could wipe his damp cheeks and nose with the back of his sleeve.
"I don't…I don't know how much you want to know," he admitted, his gaze switching between his lap and the box.
Kurt cupped his cheek and tilted his head up until their eyes met. "I never want anything from you that you aren't comfortable sharing in the first place."
He'd said it before, several times in fact. When they'd been discussing the idea of actually having a relationship, and then when that relationship had developed and then they had to figure out the whole do we have sex thing and then when they decided that yes, they couldn't keep their hands off each other and they wanted more, it became a negotiation of power and wills and passion. Kurt had never forced him into anything and he wasn't about to start now. Blaine felt grateful, but also scared. At least if someone held him down and forced the details out of him, he couldn't hide. He couldn't panic and try and think of ways to encourage it all to be forgotten. But then he remembered how he and Kurt didn't have secrets, not one. They shared everything, and some people thought it was sickening but honestly knowing someone so completely made everything just so much easier because Kurt hadn't left before and neither had Blaine and they'd jumped some pretty high hurdles. And that's what this was. Only it was an old, dusty hurdle that Blaine had forgotten lurked in his wardrobe like a monster.
He wasn't sure if Kurt was keeping him upright or if he was holding Kurt anymore and maybe it didn't matter. He just needed Kurt close. He needed his scent and his warmth and his constant comfort and strength.
"You know I came out when I was twelve and then Sadie Hawkins when I was fourteen," Blaine murmured, because that seemed like a decent way of contextualising the story. "I guess things in my head as I started out into being a teenager were messed up." He looked at the box. "No, I know they were messed up. Cooper was away at college and I'd been all-but forgotten about. I was getting bullied and then after I got attacked…" He blinked the tears from his eyes and two drops rolled down his cheeks. "I'd been considering ways out for a while so I guess I'd just gathered what I could: stolen pills from cabinets here or at friend's; palmed razor blades during art class and smuggled them home. I became crazed with stealing things that could end my life."
He could hear the rattle in Kurt's breathing which mirrored the underlying agony that Blaine had concealed over the years because he'd truly gotten so much better after moving to Dalton. "Before I transferred to Dalton, I just…I don't know. I mean, I never used any of it, but I had it there. I had it available."
He pulled two spiral notebooks from the box, one A4 and bulky, the other A5 and slimmer. "I guess these were my journals for a while. I carried the smaller one around in case I became struck down by feelings I couldn't express." He flicked through it and saw his childish, scratchy handwriting littering a few dozen pages. "But mostly it was at night, when everyone else was sleeping and I was left with my own thoughts, that everything was so much worse. So I had the larger one."
He opened it to a random page and turned pages haphazardly, flicking back and forth. Sometimes there were things pasted in, like snippets of news stories about gay rights. Other times, there were doodles that seemed to have no purpose. Blaine paused before turning one of the pages and tried not to cringe at the choking gasp of Kurt's breathing behind him.
"Oh honey," Kurt mumbled, the pads of his fingers brushing over the stark words that were unmistakeably Blaine's handwriting. It was written in black pen, bold and scary. 'I WANT TO DIE' was something Blaine imagined no one ever wanted to see that their boyfriend had written.
He knew there was more. There were pages of sketches where he had drawn himself dead as a result of various things. Somewhere there was a page with a coffin and no one around it, not even Cooper. He wasn't sure he wanted to revisit them again. In any case, he was pretty sure he didn't want to show Kurt.
He shut the book with a snap and put it to one side and grabbed at some of the other items in the box.
"This was a teddy Cooper gave to me when he left for college." Blaine rubbed his thumb over the worn patch of the right ear that he used to suck on as a baby. "But eventually it hurt so much that I put it in here as…as…I don't know. Some sort of reminder about Coop or something I guess."
The teddy was added to the pile and Blaine held out the photos for Kurt to look through. He hadn't seen them in years and yet he knew what they contained. They were of a younger Blaine, before he'd come out, carefree and curly-haired and grinning. They showed him surrounded by friends. They showed him snuggled into Cooper's side and sleeping with a lazy smile on his face. They were everything Blaine had once been but lost during the bullying in middle school and in the aftermath of the attack that had left him bruised, broken and nearly dead.
There were other things in the box too. A scrap of blanket that he'd been swaddled in as a child. A tiny baby-sized sock. A comic book. A squishy tension ball that was handmade from balloons and flour and decorated with googly eyes and silly feathers. A note from Cooper that announced he was now a big brother and he already loved the screaming little monster that had taken over the crib in the corner of his parent's bedroom.
It was strange to look at the items that were filled with significance that he'd put in the same box as notebooks professing his self-hatred and pills and razors that could have, would have, ended his life if he'd used them. It barely made sense to him now why he had put all the disjointed items together. Had he been trying to remind himself of the good times, or a reason to live? Had he been hoping to cry so hard he no longer wanted to end it? He couldn't remember anymore. It all seemed so foreign to him.
Kurt's hand was hooked around the inside of his elbow as he slipped the items back into the box, neatly fitting it all back together and shoving it away under his bed, out of sight. He wasn't sure how to speak. He wasn't sure how to look at Kurt. He wasn't sure what to do, so instead he did nothing and just waited.
There was silence for a long time, the shaky breaths of Kurt exhaling from his mouth the only real noise. Then Kurt was tapping his chin, tilting his head up and pressing their lips together, close-mouthed but firm. The hand on his elbow tightened as he sucked Kurt's lower lip into his mouth and bunched his hand into the fabric of Kurt's shirt on his hip.
Kurt pulled away first, his chest heaving as their foreheads touched, breath mingling, eyes crossed trying to focus on each other. "I love you."
Blaine felt his cheeks pink a little more than they already were. "I love you too."
Kurt blinked slowly before raising both hands to cradle under Blaine's jaw, slipping behind his ears and holding their faces in place. "You promise me you haven't felt like that since then?"
"Absolutely. Dalton…Dalton helped me more than I think I realised until just now. And then…well, I met this boy on a staircase and he sort of transformed my life," Blaine said shyly.
"How curious. I met a boy while standing on a staircase and he kind of transformed my life too," Kurt replied, smiling as he kissed Blaine's lips softly several times before he paused to chew his lower lip. "I…I'm glad you're still here. That you didn't…you know…"
Blaine looped his arms around Kurt's neck and nuzzled his face into the skin of Kurt's jaw where it was just the tiniest bit rough with stubble. "I'm glad for so many things in my life that brought you to me."
Kurt snorted and pressed a kiss to the spot below Blaine's earlobe at the curve of his jaw. "You sound like a cheesy Hallmark card."
"On your special day... No, wait, that's not right," Blaine muttered, shaking his head and smiling teasingly. "It's a boy! No, not that one either… Um… I love you more than humans need water."
"We'd die without water, Blaine."
"I know," Blaine shrugged. "I'd die without you."
Kurt looked the slightest bit disapproving or regretful or worried. Blaine couldn't quite settle on what the flash of something was in his eyes. Maybe he just didn't think Blaine should rely on a singular person so much, but it was too bad for Kurt because Blaine was completely head over heels and not going anywhere, no matter how frustrated Kurt might get with him when they were finally living together in New York. He'd survived a year with Kurt mostly absent and only communicating with him via the phone and Skype and it had only made him realise how much he actually needed Kurt in his life.
Blaine held Kurt's body closer and just inhaled the heady scent that was so Kurt, feeling the tension ease out of his muscles.
"What do you want to do with the box?" Kurt said.
Blaine shrugged and twisted the hem of Kurt's shirt between his fingers absently. "I don't know. I mean, we can…I could throw out the stuff that's dangerous. I don't want it. But…but I don't know about the other stuff. It's mostly junk."
Kurt squeezed his arm. "But it's junk with significance. You put it in there for a reason."
Blaine found himself shrugging again as he nosed at the skin of Kurt's neck and kissed it lightly. Kurt whimpered and his grip on Blaine's arm tightened. "Blaine."
"Yes?" Blaine nipped under Kurt's jaw towards his mouth where Kurt met him and it was tongues meeting and hands in hair and on hips and soft noises of content and desire and moremoremore.
Eventually Kurt pushed him away, just enough to kiss Blaine's nose. "I love you. And I'm so grateful you're here. I'm so proud you were strong enough to keep safe when you clearly thought about it quite a lot."
Blaine glanced at the box one final time. "I think I'm going to go throw out the smaller one and the notebooks. I'll figure out what to do with the rest some other day."
Kurt nodded and stroked his fingers through Blaine's hair gently. "You're incredible, Blaine Anderson."
Blaine flushed and kissed Kurt's forehead as he stood with the things he wanted to toss away. "You're not half bad yourself, Kurt Hummel."
Kurt giggled and shooed him away to throw the box out.
Blaine stood by the rubbish bin for a while, feeling like there should be some sort of symbolic gesture made or something sung. But at the end of the day, he was reminded of the fact he was moving to New York. It was a fresh start, one for both him and Kurt to leave Ohio behind. And that started with leaving behind the negativity he'd grown up with, the fear for his safety because of his sexuality.
It seemed so mundane and yet final to open the bin, drop the notebooks and box inside and slam the door shut again before the rank smells of the bin wafted out and made him gag. But it was done. It was gone.
And he was stronger, lighter, freer, for it.
A/N: Another bad night leads to things like this getting written. Oops. One-shot only because I don't see how I could really extend on it and Lord knows I've got enough multichapter things at the moment!
Thanks for reading xo