Inspired by the Hunger Games, Evans Blue & The Little Mermaid. And follows a Glee angst prompt.
Blaine Anderson quotes "The Little Mermaid", a lot.
Cooper Anderson especially notices during those Saturday mornings, when Blaine wakes up from a long sleep and he'd start watching the movie for the umpteenth time when he tells Cooper to please make him a peanut butter-and-jam sandwich. Cooper would make him two instead of one, and make him a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and Blaine would jump up and hug his leg and say that "Cooper, you're the bestest brothers in the whole wide world!" and he smiles a smile that lights up the world, even if most of his teeth have been knocked down and are hidden underneath his fluffy white pillow. Almost always, Cooper would joke about how clumsy Blaine is, because he'd have a bruise on his shoulder or on his arm, and Blaine would pout and tell him he was being a big meanie, just right after he's been called the bestest brother ever.
Adrian Anderson would snide a remark over how Cooper shouldn't be giving him hot chocolate in the morning because it'll just make him hyper. Cooper would roll his eyes. It starts off with little things, as the day goes on, he'd say something about Cooper babying Blaine, and acting like he can't take anything, because the minute that Blaine gets hurt, Cooper would scoop him up in his arms and promise to go buy him an ice-cream cone. Cooper says it's his baby brother and he has the right to do that, even though Blaine's technically a good seven years old. Cooper would complain about their Father under his breath and Blaine quotes Ariel, saying "Cooper, will you relax? Nothing is going to happen." He then shoots him a smile, because Blaine's a spazz and a dork.
It's worse when Blaine turns eight, because when Cooper scoops him up, Adrian now starts to threaten that he'll break Cooper's hands if he does that again, because he doesn't want Blaine to turn into a softie. Cooper feels a ping of jealousy when he walks in and finds Blaine sitting leg-crossed in his room, Adrian near them, as he tickles Blaine. On several occasions when Blaine's sick, he dots on him, and brings him several loaves of warm bread. Cooper faintly remembers his Father doing that to him when he's younger, and Cooper still insists on breaking more warm bread loaves home for Blaine, even if his Father tells him he's not going to disappoint Blaine whilst he shoots a challenging look over at Cooper.
It's worst when Blaine turns thirteen, because Cooper and he get into more fights. Adrian wants him to go to Dalton but Cooper tells him that he might not like it and it has dorms so Blaine won't be coming home and he's young and it's so far away. Adrian challenges him again and says that he's Blaine's Father and he knows what's good for him. To this, he ends up punching Cooper straight in the cheek, and Cooper stares at Adrian with a horrified expression on his face. He doesn't remember much. He remembers seeing Blaine sleeping one last time, face calm, eyelids shut softly, and pink lips curved into that special smile of his, as he quotes Triton from Little Mermaid, touching Blaine's cheek softly. "How much I'm going to miss him." He kisses Blaine's cheek, and puts a white note into Blaine's hand, it's a number, his cell phone number, and he disappears off, and he swears there are tears stinging in his eyes.
Blaine doesn't call him.
Cooper's got a job now, working in the ICU late at night. His thoughts are on Blaine, checking his messages ever night, and seeing them from Adam or Jeff, but nothing ever comes into his inbox from Blaine, and he hasn't even heard that name in so long. The night he decides to come home is when he watches The Hunger Games, and he sees Peeta throw the loaf of warm bread onto the ground to Katniss and he can't stand it anymore, because he's pretty sure he needs to see Blaine's face again, because he's his little adorable baby brother. When he steps home, he feels that familiar feeling of dread. He hates this place. He hates how beautiful and extravagant it is. He hates how the gold hits against the white.
He hates how his Mother doesn't even acknowledge him, and the maid smiles at him warmly, curly black hair reminding him of Blaine Blaine Blaine, whom he has to see right now. Cooper walks to Blaine's room, and sees a mass of CD's and DVD's just above his VCR, and the last one is the Little Mermaid. Cooper smiles and takes it in his hands. He waits until Blaine comes home, and the maid, Annie, tells him that Blaine usually comes home quite late and Cooper's mind is going through a million possibilities he's doing drugs he's drunk he's having unprotected sex baby brother's in trouble.
Cooper sits down with Adrian and Elle for dinner. There's no warm loaves of bread on the dining table, like there is usually. There's nothing but cold rice, and unevenly cut vegetables that aren't in season. Cooper eats, and Adrian mentions something about "that boy is out again", not even calling Blaine by his first name, and Cooper feels his resentment for his Father build up again.
"That boy's your son."
"I know that," Adrian mutters incoherently, stabbing a piece of red bell pepper with his fork and that makes Cooper's heart race for some reason.
"He's maturing and living his life, so of course he's going to be out," Cooper reasons, and then they hear the door opening. Cooper's shocked by what he sees, because whilst his baby brother looks gorgeous, vibrant black curls, same warm honey eyes, and soft-looking pink lips – he looks tired, and pale. Cooper can tell his complexion is usually glows better and he's more gleeful than he seems right then, so that's what makes Cooper glare coldly at his Father, because he knows that it's his fault. He just knows.
"Is that…boyfriend…of yours joining us?" Adrian asks.
Cooper's eyes widen, as he thinks of every possibility for Blaine's boyfriend, a million different looking boys that can empower Blaine, and Blaine just nods silently. The boy that comes isn't part of Cooper's expectations at all – he looks a lot like Blaine, innocent, sweet-looking, with really emotional and intense eyes, causing Cooper to exhale a sigh of relief. Cooper feels the need to chuckle when he notices that the boy's probably one of those high-maintenance types because Cooper can recongise a Gucci bag when he sees one. Kurt shakes his hand with Cooper. "You're Blaine's older brother?" Kurt asks, "The resemblance is uncanny."
Cooper smiles. "Don't have his eyes. I might even say that he chose you because our eyes are identical."
"Coop," Blaine whines. "That's kind of like saying that I have fantasies about you." There's a twitch in his shoulder after he finishes that sentence that Cooper notices completely.
"Won't be shocked if you do," Adrian states.
That's when Cooper stands up, slamming his hand over the plate. "Shut the fuck up," Cooper snaps coldly, and Kurt's eyes are full of sudden respect for him, as he overprotectively holds Blaine's hand. "Blaine's gay. He isn't mentally ill."
"Good to have you back, Cooper," Adrian's voice is full of sarcasm. "Babying him again, aren't we?"
"I'm not fucking babying him! I'm standing up for his rights."
"He's a spineless coward."
"He's got more courage than you do," Cooper and Kurt say in unison, and they look at each other for a moment and Cooper decides he likes Kurt, as he smiles at him. Kurt tentatively smiles back at the still mysterious older brother. Adrian just leaves and Elle leaves behind him, with her golden high-heels. That's just the beginning, because that morning, Cooper notices that morning, when he makes Blaine his breakfast of peanut butter and jam sandwich, that Blaine just eats one – like Adrian wants him too – and doesn't even look at the hot chocolate that's standing there. Cooper's eyes are onto Blaine's face, withdrawn from Cooper.
"Where are you going to?" Cooper suddenly asks, when Blaine starts to step towards the backdoor just after he's finished his breakfast in point five seconds. Cooper suddenly jokes, and says Sebastian's line from the Little Mermaid to lighten the mood, "Someone's gotta nail your fins to the floor." Blaine doesn't show signs of recognition as he nods towards Cooper, says a dull 'I know' and then leaves. Cooper's heart breaks, because that doesn't sound like his brother that would've giggled and jumped around him. This isn't like his brother at all and he doesn't want to know what's going on in Blaine's mind but at the same time, he's desperate to know. He wants to know what's happened to his baby brother because there's no joy in Blaine's honey eyes. It's just gone.
Blaine comes home that night, Adrian says he's sorry and Cooper feels a softness in his heart as he touches Blaine's shoulder. Blaine flinches, and Adrian has a flash of anger in his eyes – it's just a flash but Cooper definitely catches it. Cooper tries to talk to Blaine but every question's replied in the most general way as Cooper's mind racks over the conversation he's had with Blaine.
Where do you go to school to now, Blaine?
What happened to Dalton?
Was it good? It was okay.
It was okay.
What's going on with you, Blaine? I'm okay.
You look sick.
I'm okay. He notices by this point his brother isn't forceful. He's just tired. I'm gonna go to sleep. Talk to you tomorrow, Coop.
Blaine, it's seven pm. You didn't even have dinner yet.
I'm not hungry. There's no reinforcement in Blaine's voice, almost as if he doesn't even try to convince Cooper that he's actually alright, and Cooper's more protective than he ever is. He notices the little things, like after a week, when he looks at Blaine, he notices that he's lost a bit more weight, and that his eyes are bloodshot, and he's tired. He's always just tired. It's almost like his brother's been replaced by a lifeless shadow of himself. The only time Cooper even hears Blaine laugh is when he's with Kurt. Cooper spies on them a lot, because he's never seen Blaine happy like that, not since he's gotten here—and he's not the reason he's happy. It's the boyfriend that Cooper doesn't really know, that shares the same colour eyes he does. Cooper also notices that Blaine loves singing, a lot. Blaine drinks hot chocolate when Kurt's around.
Cooper realises that Kurt's the only thing practically keeping him alive. He's got no one to hold onto. He can't trust to hold onto Cooper. Because I left. Blaine can't rely on him like he has before.
Blaine. Talk to me.
Okay. What about? Your eyes. They're bloodshot.
Your eyes. They're bloodshot.
Insomnia's not really a deadly issue.
You lost weight.
People tend to do that.
I haven't slept.
Yes? I'm sorry.
Blaine doesn't respond. Cooper wonders why. He pretends not to notice the hot tears starting to form in Blaine's eyes.
That night, Cooper will never forget, when he falls asleep, and then wakes up in a cold sweet, having a weird thought that Blaine may be hurt. Cooper relies he really should stop babying Blaine and goes back to sleep. The next night it happens, it's because he hears sounds coming from Blaine's room – like a ghostly whisper. Cooper stands up, and walks towards Blaine's room, where he's sure he hears the voices. He hears the sound of a slap, and Cooper just bursts through the doorway.
Then his eyes widen and his heart rips out of his chest, because Blaine's on the bed, and he's naked, and Adrian's on top of him, and Blaine's on his side, and there are bruises marring his body and Blaine's really clumsy as a kid and ends up bruising himself a lot and Blaine's eyes are so full of tears. His baby brother's marred in cuts. Adrian's belt is covered with studs – that studded belt that leaves marks on Blaine's body, marring him as his belonging, a possession, nothing more. Cooper feels sick because his baby brother's really pale right then and he doesn't know what happens next but he jumps on top of Adrian and he's angry and they're fighting and he thinks he hears the sounds of PLEASE COOP DON'T JUST LET HIM FINISH ME OFF from Blaine's side, and it hurts, because this is what his brother's being reduced to. He hears Blaine sobbing again.
Cooper doesn't know how many punches it takes for him to knock Adrian out, but he's out cold by that time and Cooper's heart is racing. He brings Blaine close to him and he feels his skin touch his shirt. He pulls off his pajama shirt and lets Blaine wear it. It covers him like a dress because Cooper's taller than Blaine and that shirt's originally tall on Cooper, and he tells Blaine to follow him now. Blaine doesn't protest, and leaves.
In the car, when Cooper arrives at his apartment, Blaine just presses his head against Cooper's lap and he cries. He cries because he's been hurt. He cries because it still hurts. He cries because it's over.
"I'm sorry I didn't call you, Coop…he wouldn't let me. He wouldn't let me call you."
Blaine recites Ariel's lines perfectly, chuckling and eyes full of tears. "If only I could make him understand. I just don't see things the way he does. I don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things, could be bad."
They're playing parts again and Cooper just rocks Blaine gently back and forth. "I'm sorry." Cooper says once again. Blaine's silent again.
"…he told me that you didn't want me. That I burdened—"
"Never," Cooper cuts him off, knowing it already. "You will never burden me. Do you understand? You're my baby brother. I love you. I'll always love you. You…you know what I work as right? I was in the ICU. I had a woman, aged twenty-six, just last one, curly black hair just like yours, and she tells me that her husband's been sexually abusing her, and she thinks it's her fault. We had to put her in therapy…she doesn't talk to anyone."
Cooper looks down at Blaine. "Talk to me, Blainey. Be brave for me, Blaine."
Blaine nods, but is silent. Cooper drives them away, and he doesn't push Blaine to speak. Blaine just stares into the road. "It started before you left," Blaine's voice is soft. "He didn't touch me when you were around…" Cooper feels sick in the stomach.
"You protected me."
I left you, Blainey.
"When you left…" Blaine's eyes are burning with tears. "…it just got worse. He used…he used whips…belts…chains. Whatever he can get his hands on…then Kurt…he doesn't know, so when I'm with him…I'm normal."
Blaine notices Cooper stopping the car. "You aren't normal, Blaine. You're special. Always have been. It's those eyes. It's the hair. It's you. You're special to me, Blainey."
"You left me."
Cooper's eyes are full of tears as he bites down his lower lip. He notices Blaine tugging at the pajama, and he's cold, shaking as he pulls himself closer to towards the window. "I'm really cold, Cooper. I'm cold."
Cooper finds himself driving in the rain that's splitting and hitting against the glass of his car, and the road's empty and he stops by the bakery, and gets Blaine a warm loaf of bread. Blaine splits it between him and Cooper. "Cold," Cooper finally says, as he watches the colour of Blaine's cheek resorted when he bites the loaf. "But I'm still here."