When They Loved Me
Prompt: "the assignment of the week (in Glee) was sing a song that reminds you of your parents and in it, Blaine's parents are horribly un-accepting, and despise Blaine"
"Ok guys!" Mr. Shue's voice rang through the choir room, gaining everyone's attention. "As many of you know, I finally wore Figgins down and McKinley high is having its first annual Arts Night!" Several cheers rang out through the room. This had been an uphill battle Mr. Shue had been fighting Figgins on since last year. "And as you know, this is a night for your parents to see all that we do so for part of the night we will be performing for them," More cheers rang out, Rachel sat up ready with suggestions but Mr. Shue quickly continued, "So, I got an idea last night."
He turned to the whiteboard and grabbed a marker. He quickly scrawled out parents. He turned back to the group, a wide smile on his face. "This week I want you all to come up with a song you would sing to your parents. Whether it's thanking them for all they've done, or just telling them how much you love them – I want you all to pick a song. We'll perform them throughout the week and once everyone goes we'll vote on our favorite one. We'll perform the winner for your parents." Several cheers rang out one last time and soon excited chatter regarding who would perform what rang out through the room.
No one noticed a certain ex-Warbler as he sat silent and unmoving as look of worry slowly spread across his face.
Blaine could remember days when his parents were actually home. His mother used to be a stay-at-home mom while his dad did most of his business at home. That was when they were young though. A young couple with a young child and so many plans for life.
But as the years went on their plans changed.
John, Blaine's father, started working less from home and more from his office. Genevieve, Blaine's mother, started spending less time at home and more time at the country club. Blaine therefore spent more time at day care and after school programs until he was 10 and his parents deemed him old enough to be home alone.
It wasn't that his parents loved him any less. They just couldn't spend all their time with him. Blaine understood, he was a mature boy. He knew his parents couldn't dedicate every moment of their lives to him.
But as Blaine finished out eighth grade he spent most of his time alone. Spending that time alone he got to a lot of thinking. A lot of thinking about his parents, about his few friends at school, about himself. He had been thinking for a while now he wasn't like the other boys in his class who were all hot and bothered by Jenna Maloni's growing breasts or Jasmine Pip's wide hips. Blaine hadn't noticed any of those things until the boys in his grade asked him 'they're totally sick, right?' And Blaine had bewilderedly answered 'Yeah, yeah. Totally sick.'
Sickening was more like it.
He didn't notice the girls' physical changes. Sure he had female friends and he enjoyed their company but he never looked at them the way the boys did. He did, however, notice Conner Wilcox was hitting his growth spurt early and he was really growing into his broad shoulders quite nicely. He did notice Max Ringwald's hand-me-down pants were a little too small on him and hugged him tight in all the right – wrong? – places. But he dare not tell anyone what he was really noticing.
It wasn't until one night in mid-July before his freshman year that Blaine worked up the courage to finally mention it to his parents. It was a rare occasion that they were both home and Blaine knew it was now or never.
"Mom, dad," Blaine said as he pushed his mashed potatoes around on his plate, forcing himself to blurt it out. "I don't think I like girls."
There was a long pause, his mother's fork scraped hard against the plate and made a rather unpleasant screeching sound. His father carefully and deliberately placed his knife and fork down on the table. He folded his hands tightly in front of him and looked Blaine hard in the eye. "Why would you say that, son?"
"Well, just because…I mean. All the guys in class can't stop talking about all the girls and I just – I'm not feeling all the things they're feeling."
"Oh, you're just a late bloomer, that's all." His mother said, forced cheeriness in her voice as she looked all over the table – anywhere than at her son.
"No, it's not like that. I don't notice the girls, but some of the guys I-"
"No, it's just a phase. You'll find a girl come high school." His father said, almost dismissively but more-so forcefully, a tight smile on his face.
"No, dad, it's-"
"Just a phase, Blaine. Just a phase."
"No, please just listen-"
"No you listen!" His father barked, all forced smiles and fake cheeriness gone. His mother glanced back and forth between them looking almost panicked. But something told Blaine it wasn't his father's anger that was worrying his mother. "I will not have afag for a son, you got that? You're gonna figure this shit out and you're going to be normal, do you hear me?"
Tears suddenly filled Blaine's eyes as they always did involuntarily when his father raised his voice. "But dad, I-"
"We're done talking about this." John said, much more calm now, all his walls back in place. "Don't you have summer reading you need to finish, Blaine?" Blaine's mouth hung open. He knew his parents probably weren't going to have a stellar reaction to the topic but he didn't think his father would just deny it was happening. His father couldn't just decide who Blaine was and then say 'we're done talking about this.' That wasn't how it worked.
"Blaine." His father's voice was warning. Blaine glanced to his mother, a look of horror on his face.
She gave him a forced smile and said, "Why don't you go finish your readings, honey. I'll save the left-overs for you."
And with that Blaine slowly slid his chair out and walked from the table. His parents had basically just equated Blaine's coming out with an outfit he wanted to wear. "Blaine, no, you're not wearing jeans. You're going to wear khakis and khakis only. We're done talking about this, now go change."
That's what his parents wanted. For him to change. They didn't care who he really was, just that he changed himself to fit their image.
He cried himself to sleep that night. Hoping tomorrow would be better.
Little did he know the war of the Andersons was only just beginning.
His mom and dad never looked at him the same way after that night.
Hell, his father barely looked at him at all.
They spent the majority of their time out. His father away on business in extravagant places like Rome and Tokyo…all while he did that his mother spent his money taking trips to Vegas with her girlfriends. Blaine spent most days alone in their large house.
When he wasn't alone at home he was alone at school. The kids had found out about his coming out and by a month into school he'd already gotten 'fag' spray painted across his locker.
His parents didn't bother to come home for that one.
By his second month in Blaine got locked in the janitor's closet over night. He'd spent the whole time sobbing until he fell asleep. It wasn't until the janitor's showed up the next morning before the kids arrived that Blaine was found.
His parents didn't come home from that either.
The third month into his freshman year he finally made a friend, another gay boy named Jessie. He and Jessie bonded over their mutual outcast status. They discussed the best placed to hide from bullies and the best way to treat a bruise. They got along pretty well. Well enough that they decided to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance together because 'why should they get to go and not us? Let's go together! What's the worst that could happen?' The worst that could happen was apparently a cracked skull, multiple broken limbs, and 2 months in a coma.
But, hey, at least his parents made it home that time.
He spent the majority of his freshman year in a rehabilitation center where his parents were, of course, scarcely seen. Come fall he was well enough to make it to school – a brand new school. His parents had decided it was best they move him to a school with a zero-tolerance policy.
"We wouldn't have to do this if you would just get over this silly phase." His father had mumbled as they pulled up to Dalton for the first time.
"John." His mother chastised, her tone reading 'this is not the time.'
"I'm just saying." John shrugged, "None of this would have happened if Blaine got over this little rebellious phase of his.
And there it was.
Ultimately, what happened to Blaine was all his own doing. It was his fault he's skull had gotten cracked open on the dirty concrete behind the school gym while the attackers just spit on him. It was his fault that he had to transfer from his school, uproot his whole life. It was his fault he was terrified of any sudden movement, or any sudden loud sound.
It was all his fault.
And his father wasn't going to see it any other way.
"Uh, h-hey mom. It's Blaine. I'm just calling to see…see how you are." Blaine sat cross-legged on his bed. Today was his sixteenth birthday and neither of his parents had bothered to call – and it was nearing 6pm. "Just wanted to chat if you could, but you're probably b-busy." Blain swallowed a sob as his breath hitched. He hadn't seen his parents since they had dropped him off that first day of September. It was now mid-March. "So, um, just give me a call when you get this. Tell dad I said hi…I—I miss-"Beep. The answering machine cut him off. "-you."
Blaine pulled the phone from his ear and glanced at it, eyes widening with tears. Don't cry. You don't need to cry. Don't cry.
Blaine had lain on his bed that night, repeating his mantra to himself. Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry.
His parents never called him back.
Any night Blaine spent at the Hummel-Hudson residence was a fantastic one. Kurt and Blaine were able to cuddle and be cute together without being yelled at or reprimanded. Lovingly teased, sure. Burt was skilled at that. But Blaine didn't have to feel ashamed there.
He could feel loved.
It was discovered pretty quickly that Blaine's parents were not to be brought up. Under that roof everyone could be happy and open and themselves. Blaine could hold his boyfriend's hand and not worry about who will say what. Not that it mattered too much if they did that at Blaine's home. He hadn't seen his parents in god knew how long. They didn't even know he had a boyfriend, and Kurt and Blaine had been dating for months.
When Blaine spent the night with Kurt he may have to sleep on a blow-up mattress on the floor but at least he wasn't alone. He wasn't the only one in their 3-story house. He didn't have to focus on the fact his parents hadn't called him in months, hadn't been home in even longer. He didn't have to think about the fact his parents would rather pretend he didn't exist than acknowledge his homosexuality.
He didn't have to see the photos on the wall calling back to a time where they were happy. A time when they went to the zoo and had family dinners every night. A time when his mom kissed his goodnight and his dad left the door open a crack for him. A time when they were a family.
A time when they loved him.
Yeah, Blaine preferred sleeping over at the Hummel-Hudson's any night.
All the glee kids got into the 'parents' assignment. All the kids but Blaine.
Blaine never once volunteered to sing his song for the group, trying to avoid it as long as possible. He let everyone else fight for their turn. He watched obvious choices such as 'Because of You' and 'If It Wasn't for Your Love'. Blaine's favorite performance over the three days was Kurt's rendition of 'Because You Loved Me' – not that Blaine was biased or anything. Kurt's song was actually their first choice at the moment. But they were holding out on voting until everyone had performed.
Everyone included Blaine.
"Mr. Shue, I—I really don't need to go. I'm going to vote for Kurt anyway." Blaine said quietly to their instructor as everyone filed into the room.
"Blaine, don't be ridiculous! We want to hear you just as much as we want to hear everyone else!"
"Yeah, but I don't really-" Blaine didn't get to finish his sentence as Mr. Shue turned his attention to the room.
"Ok guys, today's the last day for this assignment!" He turned to Blaine who was still standing next to the piano, stomach in knots. "Blaine, you're the last one!" He smiled but Blaine was unable to return the gesture.
Blaine let his eyes wander up to Kurt in the top row. Kurt had a look of concern on his face. Blaine wasn't sure if it was because Kurt knew about Blaine's less than great relationship with his parents, or if it was because of how nervous Blaine looked at the moment…either way it didn't help Blaine feel better.
Kurt smiled softly, reassuringly, and then Blaine did feel a little better.
"The floor is yours, buddy! You're gonna be great!" Mr. Shue reassured, clearly assuming Blaine was just nervous. Blaine shook his head, Kurt was right. The guy meant well but he was a little oblivious.
With shaking legs Blaine stepped to the middle of the room. He glanced out at his classmates. He'd performed with and for them multiple times. He wasn't anxious about this. He didn't have to be. Right?
"S-so…uh…hey, guys." Blaine forced himself to speak. He wondered how horribly obvious it was that he was uncomfortable because most everyone was either looking at him with furrowed brows or reassuring looks. "So…uh…I know…I know Mr. Shue said at the beginning of the week to sing a song about how we love or appreciate our parents. And I…I thought of picking an obvious song, something simple. There's a million songs with the word 'love' in the title, right?" Blaine forced an awkward laugh. He glanced at Kurt again, who once again gave him a reassuring look. Blaine pushed on. "But I…I decided I wasn't going to lie." Blaine found his eyes un-focusing as spoke. "I promised myself I'd stop lying when I came out of the closet. I…I won't lie now…a-and I love my parents, yes. But they…my parents haven't been my parents in a long time." He forced his eyes to focus again and looked around at his confused classmates. "So. I'm going to sing you all this song. I changed the lyrics a bit but I…I think you'll get it."
Blaine forced himself to turn and move to the piano. He slowly sat down on the bench and just sat there for a long moment. He just stared at the keys, breath quickening.
He could do this.
He would do this.
Carefully, deliberately, he lifted his hands and laid them lightly on the keys. He slowly played the opening notes. And he began to sing.
"When somebody loved me…everything was beautiful. Every hour we spent together lives within my heart. And when I was sad they were there to dry my tears. And when they were happy so was I…" Blaine took a shaky breath. "When they loved me."
He raised his voice, hitting the high notes beautifully despite the tears welling up in his eyes. "Through the summer and the fall we had each other that was all. Just them and I together like it was meant to be. And when I was lonely they were there to comfort me. And I knew that they loved me."
Blaine played the notes on but took another shaky breath, almost hitting the wrong keys. He felt tears escaping his eyes as he played on. "So the years went by. I stayed the same." Blaine put more emphasis than needed on that phrase. Because he hadstayed the same. He was still the same Blaine, he was still their son, gay or straight. "But they began to drift away. I was left alone…and still I wait for the day when they'll say…" Blaine stopped, almost unable to go one. But shakily he sang out, "'I will always love you.'"
"Lonely and forgotten. They won't even look my way. Won't smile at me or hold me just like they used to do. Like they love me…when they loved me." More tears slipped from Blaine's eyes as he forced himself on through the last verse. "When somebody loved me everything was beautiful. Every hour we spent together lives within my heart. When they…" One final pause rang through the room, the notes Blaine was holding down hung in the air. "…loved me." He almost whispered, fingers still pressed on the final keys.
He sat at the bench for a long moment before forcing himself up and back to the center of the room. He refused to look up. Running his fist under his nose he sniffled and said, "That…uh…that's it." He whispered, tears still slipping down his face.
No one spoke, no one said a word. There wasn't a sound for a few seconds. Then, suddenly, a chair scraped across the floor. A familiar pair of designer boots suddenly stood toe-to-toe to Blaine's. He finally looked up to see Kurt look into his eyes, face stained with tears.
"I love you, Blaine. I will always love you." And at once he threw his arms around Blaine and hugged him tight. Blaine clung to him, burying his head in Kurt's shoulder.
Suddenly the sound of multiple chairs scraping the floor filled the room. Soon he felt more arms, and as they tightened he realized everyone in the room was in one giant group hug. "There's no 'when' with us, Blaine." Came a voice from somewhere in the hug, Blaine wasn't even sure who it was. "We love you."
Blaine let out a quiet sob at that, and all the arms tightened. He even felt someone's hand ruffle (or at least attempt to ruffle) his hair. He continued to cry, but now not just because of his parents.
"I love you guys too." He mumbled into Kurt's shoulder. He got some affirmative mumbles throughout their huddle. "I don't think we can sing that for Art night, though." He joked lamely and suddenly everyone was laughing. Blaine couldn't help but laugh too.
He felt like a balance had shifted. Maybe his parents didn't love him. But here he had 12 people genuinely telling him they loved him. It was like a void had been filled, something he'd been missing for so long was finally returned to him.
Yeah, he couldn't help but laugh.
Things were going to get better, with or without his parents.