Title: Under The Trees
Word count: 2,493
Summary: Blaine doesn't feel like he has anywhere to go sometimes. But he's found a tree to sit beneath and it doesn't hurt so much. And then, the most unexpected person sits beside him.
Warnings/Spoilers: None especially, although if you really don't want to know anything about Blaine's brother, then you should probably wait until after the episode in a few days.
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Glee, FOX, Ryan Murphy or anything else related to the Glee universe.
There's no where for Blaine to go anymore.
If he goes home, his brother is there. And because his brother is there, his parents are home more. They lavish all this love and glory and praise on him, because he's straight and he's successful and he's attractive and he's pretty much everything Blaine isn't but wishes he was, just so he could get the attention of his parents.
If he goes to Kurt's house, Kurt, Finn and Rachel are there. Kurt can't seem to get over the fact he's related to Cooper Anderson. Rachel can't stop gushing about his wonderful advice, or sobbing over Quinn. Finn can't help staring between them and reminding them they're graduating and shouldn't they be studying? (Blaine dimly wonders why Finn suddenly now cares about school work, but that's mean, and it's another thing to hate about himself, because Cooper isn't mean, he's just not there.)
And that's another one of the problems.
Kurt's graduating. He's graduating and he's preparing to leave and Cooper will leave too eventually, because that's just what he does, and then Blaine will be alone once again. He won't even have anyone at Dalton, because Wes has already gradated and Jeff and Nick graduate this year and now there's Sebastian and he doesn't really care how apologetic Sebastian was after Karofsky wound up in hospital, he's still not going to fully trust him or the Warblers again.
So then there's Glee club and in-between Cooper's visits, it's so much quieter. They're trying to adjust to Quinn being in a wheelchair and no one quite knows what to say to her so they say nothing to her, or anyone else. Even Rachel hasn't been offering as many of her ludicrous ideas up lately.
After school, he keeps finding himself making excuses to Kurt and driving. Driving anywhere and driving no where. He never really goes far, but one of the afternoons he's out he finds a park and it becomes his park, his place. He's not sure if anyone else knows it exists, because he's never seen anyone else, but there's this little huddle of trees that shield him pretty well from the wind and from the eyes of anyone that might go past that he doesn't see, and so he's allowed to just sit there with his knees pressed to his chest and cry, because there's no one else around.
His phone buzzes in his pocket and when he glances at it, it's Kurt wondering where he is. He doesn't even bother responding, just switches the phone off and puts it face down on the dirt beside him. It's not like he wants to break up with Kurt. He just…he just wants it to stop hurting. He just wants to have a place where he feels he belongs, where he's needed or wanted or even just feels accepted and safe. But that feels like it's gone now with Cooper barrelling back into his life and getting hit in the eye with a spiked slushie.
But he has his tree.
He doesn't even realise someone is approaching until the leaves and twigs crackle when they sit down, their back to the same tree his is.
"Look, there's a lot of other trees, can't you just-"
"I wanted to sit at this one," Santana interrupts, and Blaine blinks away his tears to stare at her. He hadn't really recognised her out of the corner of his blurry vision. She looks different in jeans and a hoodie with her hair out. Better. Less out for revenge and victimisation.
Or maybe that's just because she's not strolling the halls of McKinley, where you have to be a bitch to survive.
"What are you doing here?" he says finally, because she's not forthcoming with words for the first time he thinks he's ever known.
"You're in Lima Heights." She shrugs, scrapes her hair behind her ear so she can tilt her head to look at him. "My turf. I saw your car and wandered around until I found you. I should have known you'd be here. It's my favourite place too."
"It's a good place to hide, isn't it?" She shifts around the tree until they're sitting at a ninety degree angle, not looking at each other but shoulders barely touching. "What are you doing here?"
He forces his knees down and scrubs at his cheeks, embarrassed that she probably saw him crying from a distance. He just hopes she won't exploit it later on.
She sighs. "Blaine Anderson, boy with everything, hiding?"
"Everything?" He snorts, and ew, okay, that was kind of wet and snotty and completely unattractive and disgusting. "I think you're mistaking me for my brother."
"Cooper?" She arches a brow and glances at him. "He's not that fantastic."
There's the tiniest speck of warmth that someone else seems to have been immune to Cooper's charms.
"Neither am I," he admits, twisting his hands in his lap. "I mean, Coop is everything my parents ever wanted. He was the planned baby and he's straight and he's perfect. And I was the accident a decade later who's gay and everything my parents could have not wanted. It's like fate said, okay, you got what you wanted, why did you try again? We're going to give you everything that you're afraid of and hate in society and rather than learn to accept him and the differences, you'll ostracise him because Cooper is fucking flawless."
He catches himself and bites his lip. "Sorry. I shouldn't swear."
"Oh fuck that," she says breezily and waves her hand at him. "Swearing and I are old friends."
An unbidden smile twitches the side of his mouth. "You have friends?"
"Oh ho!" She punches him playfully in the shoulder. "Look who's picked up on his boyfriend's bitchy comebacks. Kurt would be so proud."
He rolls his eyes and she grins before returning to facing away from him. It's a little disconcerting, not knowing what she's thinking by seeing it on her face. And at the same time, it's much easier to talk when someone isn't staring you down.
"So Cooper is the wonder-child, and you're…what? Not?" she asks, and he wonders why he has to clarify that.
"Haven't you seen him? He's taller and better looking. He's older. He's got his life worked out. He's confident and assured and doesn't give a damn. He's straight." Blaine shakes his head and stares down at his hands. "Kurt keeps tripping over his words and his feet when Cooper's around. I know Kurt's attracted to him. Cooper probably reminds him somewhat of Finn or something, except Cooper's not quite as empty-headed as Finn."
Santana snorts. "Finn's not empty-headed. He's just a little aloof."
"Aloof people know how to use a toaster."
"Okay, yeah, I'll give you that one," she concedes.
Blaine doesn't want to keep whinging about his brother, or whining about his boyfriend. It sounds so petty and immature and he's strived so hard to be taken seriously at his age, at any age, because he's always been in Cooper's stupid shadow.
"You're scared Kurt's going to graduate and go to New York with Berry and forget about you," Santana muses.
"You didn't need to." Is he really that transparent? "I'll admit, I'm terrified of graduating. I don't know what I want to do or where I want to go. I'm still not talking to my grandmother and she was always the one that gave me the best ideas and suggestions. My parents don't really care about what I do or where I go as long as I'm happy. And I don't even know what that is anymore."
"Brittany is great," Santana says quickly. "I'm happy with her, like you are with Kurt. But Brittany doesn't replace the fact that my grandmother cut me off because of who I am and what I want in love."
He gets it. Family can't be replaced. Lord knows, he's tried. He's tried seeking out acceptance from other people and places. It always ends badly though. Sadie Hawkins, Dalton, The Warblers, Kurt graduating…
He doesn't even realise that he's sobbing again until her arms are sliding around him and his head is on her shoulder and she's rocking back and forth and cooing, cooing, as she strokes his hair. It has the opposite effect of being comforting though, because it feels like he's unravelling and he doesn't even have the strength to try and calm himself down anymore. It all just hurts too much and he just wants it to stop. He wants Cooper to go back to wherever the hell he came from, and he wants Kurt to stay in Lima, and he wants his parents to notice him, love him, rather than asking why he can't be more like his older brother.
"Shhh…come on…your hair is gross, calm down, I don't want to keep touching it," she mutters and it works somewhat, snapping him from his hysteria to giggle at the ludicrousness that he's being held by Santana for Christ's sake.
He gulps in air andtries to restart a regular breathing pattern, pulling away to wipe at his eyes and cheeks. "Sorry," he mumbles.
She huffs, taps her finger under his chin until he looks up at her where she's frowning severely. "You might not be the flawless child that your parents wanted and got with Cooper." And ow, okay, he didn't need to be reminded of that, thanks. "Don't look at me like that until I've finished my spiel."
He struggles to wipe off whatever expression is on his face and maintain eye contact with her.
"But you've got a lot of things going for you, Anderson. You've got Kurt, you've got more solos at McKinley this year than me, you've got friends in that silly little singing thing we do. You've got more talent in your pinky finger than most people in the greater Lima area and you have an actual chance of getting the fuck out of this place." She glances over his shoulder and frowns. "Just don't text and drive and end up in a wheelchair, because that sort of becomes a problem. Also don't get married before you've even graduated high school."
"You could elope from the state and meet up with Kurt in New York or something," she says. "It's besides the point. You've got a future, a real, tangible future and maybe you don't know what it is you want to do yet, and maybe you're afraid of the world you live in because of your dumbass brother or your sexuality."
She touches the side of his jaw and from anyone else it might seem tender but tender and Santana seem like really weird words to put together.
"And you scored Kurt. He wouldn't settle for anyone less than perfect. He's dating you, not your brother. He's not going to date Cooper, because he loves you. Lord knows what he saw in Finn, but I'm pretty sure he found the right person in you, Mister Anderson, junior."
Her thumb catches the tear that slips free from the corner of his eye when he squeezes them both shut. "It's just so hard to believe sometimes."
"I know." Her voice is so soft and wistful and he's feeling kind of weird because who knew Santana had a heart? "I still don't quite understand why Brittany picked me. It's not like I'm the best person to be in a relationship with. But…" She shrugs. "It works. That's all that really matters. Brittany makes me happy and I think I make her happy in the weird little way of hers, and you make Kurt happy because I remember what he was like in his sophomore year all too well. The only problem is if he doesn't make you happy…"
"He does," he assures, his eyes flickering open. "He does."
"Then that's all that matters," she says firmly and decisively. "Fuck your brother-" He cringes and she punches his shoulder again. "Not literally, oh my God, Blaine!"
He starts laughing and has to cover his face with his hands to get his breathing under control because the look on her face was priceless and he wishes he could have taken a photo of that.
"My point," she starts again, "is that it doesn't matter who you are or who you're trying to live up to be, you'll never manage it. Life is just about being happy with who you are and who you have in it. Hold onto Kurt and try to ignore the parents you'll get away from in a year's time."
It makes sense, it does. He knows it's difficult advice to follow because it's not as easy as just throwing away the anxieties he's grown up with his entire life, but it does make sense.
"Thank you," he says quietly, ducking his head at the look on her face.
"Tell anyone about this and I'll break into your house and burn all your bowties in front of you while you're tied to a chair."
He's honestly not sure if she's serious.
He's also totally sure he's not taking the chance if she is.
"I won't!" He does a criss-cross over his heart and she rolls her eyes and pats his shoulder. "Go see lover boy and get a kiss or something. You need to get laid."
She cackles as she clambers to her feet and then pats him on the head and he feels vaguely like a dog that should wag its tail and bark happily, except that Santana would probably be pretty freaked out by that, so he stays quiet.
"See you at school tomorrow," she says cheerily, wandering away and cracking twigs beneath her trainers.
He watches her go until she takes a corner and disappears from his sight, then sighs and switches his phone back on where it vibrates with two new messages.
Hey, where are you? Did you get my last message?
Blaine? Honey? Please just let me know you're okay..
He hopes Kurt isn't too panicked as he presses the button to call Kurt. He answers on the first ring.
"Blaine? Blaine? Are you okay? Are you hurt? You didn't-"
"I'm fine, I just needed some time to think," he hushes, and something about Kurt's obvious anxiety makes him feel a little better in a twisted sort of way because Kurt wouldn't be anxious if he didn't care. "I'll be over soon."
He can practically hear Kurt's thoughts, warring between demanding answers now or later. "Okay. I love you. Drive safe, okay?"
He nods and then realises Kurt can't see it. "Of course. I love you too."
He slips the phone back in his pocket and glances around at the grove of trees. He's pretty sure that even if he told anyone about the conversation he had with Santana, no one would believe him anyway.