Rescue Me: For the past 3 years Cooper Anderson was in Africia working in the Peace Corps. When he returns home to Westerville he finds his childhood home empty, his parents gone, and his brother in a foster home.

Note: This ending to this is rather open, but I currently have no plans to continue.

Enjoy!

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PART 1

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Cooper hadn't been expecting a welcoming committee when he returned home. Mainly because he'd been unable to get in touch with his family, so they didn't even know he was home. He hadn't been expecting a party or anything. He hadn't been expecting his parents to pick him up at the airport, or to greet him with open arms.

What he had been expecting, however, was for their home to not have a for sale sign on the lawn.

Cooper had stood on the porch for God knows how long, banging on the door of the empty house and repeatedly calling his parents on his cell phone, trying to get a hold of someone, anyone. It wasn't until their neighbor Mrs. Flats came up the walk, a look of concern on her face. She asked Cooper what he was doing here, when he'd gotten home. She then proceeded to explain the drama that had unfolded a year ago.

Blaine had apparently been really sick and fallen down the stairs. Their parents hadn't been home so Blaine had to call an ambulance. When at the hospital it had been revealed Mr. and Mrs. Anderson hadn't been home in over a year, Blaine had been living by himself. He had only been 14 at the time. CPS had been called and Blaine was taken away. In shame, their parents sold the house and never returned.

And Cooper had been gone the whole time. He'd had no idea.

So now one week later here Cooper stood, a social worker at his side, on the front step of the foster home Blaine was currently living in.

The house was a little run down, the paint chipping, toys and bikes strewn across the half dead lawn. He could hear yelling inside as they rang the doorbell. A haggard looking woman threw the door open. Taking the two of them in, her eyes widened. "Sheila." She said to the social worker, surprised. "I thought you weren't checking in until next week."

"Hello, Donna." Sheila said calmly, "I'm not here for a visit. I'm here to pick up Blaine. His brother had returned to the country and is taking Blaine into his care."

Donna paused, looking displeased, "Why wasn't I told?"

"Because it happened rather quickly." Sheila said, "We've got some paper work we need the two of you to sign and work out, and then Blaine can leave with Cooper."

At the mention of his name Donna glanced at Cooper, looking him up and down. With a sigh she opened the door all the way, "Come in." With a nod of thanks Cooper stepped in behind Sheila. Donna led the two to a back office. The inside of the house wasn't really dirty. It was cluttered, but not piggish. Cooper glanced down the hall as he heard loud voices.

"How—how's Blaine been doing?" Cooper found himself asking, voice cracking.

Donna glanced at him, as if surprised he actually spoke, and answered, "He's doing." Then she yelled down the hall, "Al!" surprising Cooper and making him jump.

"What?" A masculine voice yelled back.

"Get Blaine to pack up his stuff!"

"What? Why?"

"Just do it!"

Cooper watched the exchange, trying to hold back his judgment. He'd had plenty of conversations via yelling through the house…back when he was a teen. And there hadn't been company. These people clearly had a few etiquette issues.

"Now," Donna said, "You need us to sign some stuff?" Sheila nodded, pulling some folders out of her messenger bag. Sitting down on the couch opposite the two women, Cooper and Donna began to sing the sheets Sheila placed in front of them, signing and initialing and writing in all the spots the social worker marked.

After several minutes, as Cooper was signing the last sheet, he heard footsteps. Turning he watched as a man walked in holding a duffle bag. A smaller figure followed behind him, shoulders hunched, hair long and curly in an uncontrolled afro.

"I got Blaine's shit. Oh, hey Sheila. I thought the check up wasn't until next week?"

"It's not." Sheila said, before smiling at the boy with whom Cooper assumed was Al. "Hi, honey."

"Hello Ms. Sheila." The boy said quietly, voice small. No. Cooper thought, looking at the meek boy. That's not Blaine. This is a mix-up.

"How are you?"

"Fine." He all but whispered, glancing between Al, Donna, and Sheila. He had yet to notice Cooper. "Did—did I do something wrong?"

"No, sweetie, why would you think that?"

"B-because you're taking me away." Cooper's heart cracked in half as he watched the exchange. There was no way – this couldn't be his brother. This couldn't be his Blaine. This small, broken, skittish boy couldn't be the hyper, excitable younger brother that he'd left behind.

"No, sweetie, you didn't do anything wrong. Actually, there's someone here to see you. Blaine?" Sheila gestured to Cooper. Al and the boy both turned to the older brother for the first time. Cooper let out a gasp as he took in the boy's face. Oh God, itis Blaine. This isn't just some mistake. That broken, quiet boy is my brother. Oh God.

Blaine's eyes widened as he took in Cooper, looking him up and down as if trying to figure out if he was real. "C-Coop?"

"Hey, bud." Cooper whispered, voice cracking and eyes welling up in tears.

In a flash Blaine was across the room, latching onto Cooper. He fisted the back of his shirt, trying to pull Cooper as close as possible. A sob ripped through Blaine, the teen going into hysterics. Cooper wasn't fairing much better.

"Oh God, Blaine, buddy, oh my God." Cooper sobbed, "Had I known – if I'd know –" Blaine said nothing coherent in return, just cried into his brother's shoulder.

"Blaine." The exchange was cut short by the curt voice of Donna. Blaine immediately, albeit reluctantly, pulled back from his brother. Standing at attention beside Cooper he turned back to his foster parents. "Blaine, this is goodbye. What do you say?"

"Thank you for allowing me to live in your home." Blaine said, robotically, and Cooper got the sudden urge to punch this woman in the face. Blaine had already been raised. He'd already been taught his manners. He knew how to act. He didn't need some seedy woman ordering him around. Without a thought Cooper put his arm around Blaine's shoulder, pulling his close.

"Yes, thank you for taking care of my brother. But I'll take it from here. I'll take his bag, thank you." Al gave Cooper an odd look, as if sizing him up. But Cooper didn't care. He had his brother back now. "Is this all you have?" Cooper asked Blaine as he took the bag from Al, surprised.

"I have most of Blaine's personal items." Sheila spoke up, "I have them stored. We can pick those up next." Cooper nodded, looking down at his shorter brother to find him staring up at Cooper in awe, as if shocked he was there. Without a thought the older brother wrapped Blaine up in his arms.

"C'mon buddy." With a cordial nod to Donna and Al, Cooper steered Blaine out the front door towards Sheila's SUV. Once outside and by the car Blaine climbed in the back seat, and without a thought Cooper joined him. Sheila said nothing of it as she climbed into the driver's seat.

"It's a 2 hour drive to Lima," Cooper started to say.

"Lima?" Blaine asked.

Cooper nodded, "My buddy owns an apartment complex there. I got us a really nice two-bedroom for cheap." He smiled brightly at his brother, who still looked awed.

"You got it for us?"

"No, I got it for me and a moose. Yes, us."

"So you came back for me?"

Cooper looked awed this time, fighting the tears in his eyes. "Of course I came back for you, buddy. I'll always come back for you…God, Blaine, if I had known-"

"You didn't." Blaine said quickly, his voice still quiet.

"But if I had." Cooper insisted, the tears almost breaking free now, "I'd have gotten you a long time ago."

Blaine leaned into his brother, "Well you're here now."

"And I'm never leaving you again." Cooper whispered back, leaning in to place a soft kiss in Blaine's out of control curls. "Like I said, two hour drive to Lima. Why don't you sleep?"

He lightly pushed Blaine into his lap, and the boy didn't need much encouragement. Soon he was curled up almost completely in his brother's lap. Cooper lovingly ran his fingers through Blaine's hair.

"I love you, buddy." He whispered, tears falling freely now. "I'm never leaving again, I promise. I'm never leaving you again…"

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PART 2

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"Fuckers!" Cooper hissed to himself, tossing his phone onto his bed as his parents' cells went to voice mail once again.

"Coop?" The older brother jumped, turning to see Blaine standing in the doorway, shifting from foot to foot.

"Yeah, buddy?"

Blaine glanced at the phone on the bed and back to his brother, as if trying to calculate what he wanted to say. Finally he just said, "My room's all set up."

"Oh, nice!" Cooper quickly changed his demeanor, Blaine didn't need to think of their parents and the shit they'd put him through. Blaine had to live with strangers for a year because of those assholes. And no one had thought to contact Cooper about it. Sure, he'd thought it a little strange when Blaine had stooped responding to his letters, but he'd had a lot on his plate at the time. If he'd ever suspected Blaine was in foster care he'd have returned in a heartbeat.

But that was in the past. He couldn't change it. What he could do was give Blaine all the love and support he deserved.

Trotting after his little brother, Cooper walked across the small living room to the other bedroom. Walking in, he took in Blaine's room. The apartment had already been furnished, so the two were working with what they'd been given but it was actually pretty nice stuff. Both had queen-sized beds, a book shelf, a desk, and a dresser/mirror in their room.

Blaine had made his room look rather homey. He'd filled his bookshelf with all his books. He had his old bed sheets that Cooper remembered on the bed. His book bag sat on his desk with his laptop. Cooper could see the duffle bag from before stuffed under the bed, and there were empty cardboard boxes in the corner.

What Cooper noticed most, though, was what was missing. Pictures. There were a few pictures of Cooper, and the two of them, on the desk, bookshelf, and wall. But there were no pictures of their parents. Good, Cooper thought, fuckers have no place in his life anymore.

"It looks great, buddy!" Cooper grinned. His smile grew as he set his sights on Blaine's guitar in the corner. "Oh, good! I was worried you didn't have that still." Blaine glanced to the instrument and a small, genuine smile slid across his lips. Cooper reached over and tugged Blaine into a side-hug. "We're gonna make this work, buddy." He said sincerely, and Blaine's smile grew. "You really need a haircut, bud. These curls are out of control." Blaine laughed a little, pushing Cooper off of him. "What, you like them?"

Blaine shrugged, "They keep my head warm." Cooper laughed out right, leaning over and kissing Blaine on the head again.

"If you say so. Then they can stay. Now how about christen our living room by ordering take-out and watching Mary Poppins?"

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The two brothers had fallen asleep in the living room that night, cuddling on the couch while the Mary Poppins DVD menu played over and over. The next morning Cooper woke up, snuck out, bought the two of them some coffee, and was back before Blaine woke up.

After they got up and readied for the day they spent it shopping for clothes and new school supplies. After dropping off the clothes at home they hopped back on the bus and made their way to Blaine's new high school for a meeting they had with the principal.

Blaine looked around the halls nervously. They were empty right now as it was 4PM on a Friday, but he knew in a few days he'd be here and they'd be full of people. Teens who were ready and willing to judge him. On his hair, his clothes, his past, his sexuality. The thought terrified him. Sure he'd gotten beat up all the time at his old school but at least he'd known the routines. He knew which bully was going to be where and when. He knew the best places to hide and which bathrooms to hide in to clean up. Here he was flying blind.

Glancing over to his big brother, Blaine still couldn't believe Cooper was back. Sure, the logical part of him had known his brother would return home to find Blaine was gone and go find him. But part of him had always been terrified Cooper wouldn't want him anymore. Their parents hadn't, his foster parents hadn't really wanted him either, why should his big brother? His big brother who'd gone away to Africa to do amazing things. His big brother who prior to that had lived in New York and worked for the New York Times. He'd done so much with his life, why would he let his stupid little brother hold him back? Especially when he could so easily drop him, just leave him in that home.

"Blaine?" The teen was taking from his thoughts, glancing to his brother he noticed they'd stopped walking. They were outside the Principal's office.

"Oh. Right." Cooper gave him a warm smile, ruffling Blaine's hair and throwing an arm around his shoulder. Blaine allowed himself to be lead into the room with the glass front wall. An Indian man sat at a desk, a warm smile on his face as he took in Cooper and Blaine.

"Hello, you're the Anderson boys?" Cooper nodded and soon the two dove into the details about Blaine's situation. Cooper explained he'd been out of the country, explained how Blaine had ended up in foster care but was now with Cooper, explained everything. Blaine didn't bother to listen, he knew this part of the story. It wasn't until after all the paper work, when the Principal (Figgins was his name) started talking, that he tuned back in.

"Now Blaine, you might be behind in some of your classes. We can get you into all the same ones you were in at Westerville High but I don't know if they were in the same spots. But your grades look great, I'm sure you'll have no trouble catching up." Blaine nodded, giving a soft forced smile. "We also have a great assortment of clubs and sports here that I'm sure you'll want to look into."

"Do you guys have a glee club?" Cooper asked eagerly.

"Coop." Blaine whispered, embarrassed. Truth was Blaine had loved Glee club at his old school, the one he'd been in before the foster care. But due to the glee club and his sexuality he'd gotten beat up pretty badly on multiple occasions. This repeated itself at Westerville while he was in the foster home. And now it would repeat itself all over again. Blaine wasn't sure he could handle it. Maybe if he just didn't talk to anyone they'd never notice him, never know his love of musical theatre and singing, his love of other boys. He could keep all his secrets to himself and maybe he'd make it out of here in one piece.

"What, bud? You love singing!"

The Principal got an odd look on his face but quickly covered it with a smile. "Oh, yes! We have a Glee club here. They're—uh—they have a lot of fun!" Blaine stared at the Indian man, wondering what was with his stuttering.

"You should look into it!" Cooper said excitedly, poking Blaine's knee. Blaine just shrugged. He didn't want to crush his brother's excitement, but he didn't want to explain to him his worries either.

"Maybe." He said quietly.

"Well, I think that's everything!" Figgins said excitedly, handing Blaine his schedule and locker information. "You'll be given your books and such when you get to class. If you have any questions please feel free to call and ask."

"We actually brought his school supplies with us, would it be alright if we went and put them in his locker?"

"Oh, go right ahead! The locks stick sometimes so if you have trouble just come back and tell my secretary. She'll help you out."

Cooper nodded, standing and shaking the man's hand. "Thank you, sir."

"Not a problem, son. See you on Monday, Blaine." He smiled at Blaine and Blaine returned the gesture insincerely.

Soon the two brothers were off. After some wandering they found their way to Blaine's locker. They got it open without much trouble and began to dump his notebooks, folders, and binders into the empty locker.

"Here, wait." Cooper reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet and a magnet. Pulling a picture out of his wallet he stuck it to the locker door with the magnet. It was an old picture, of the day before Cooper left for Africa. It was taken at the airport, it was of Blaine and Cooper hugging tightly. "So you don't forget me." Cooper joked, ruffling Blaine's afro.

"I couldn't forget you, Coop." Blaine said sincerely, glancing at the picture. "But thanks. I like it." A real smile graced his features as he stared at the picture before shutting his locker.

"Alright bud, we good to go?"

"I think so-" Blaine started to say but stopped as he heard something. Music was floating down the hall. Glancing to their left, Blaine could see light shining out of an open door. Glancing to his brother the two started towards the door. The closer they got the louder the music was, this was definitely the source. They stopped in the doorway, taking in the scene inside.

There were about 12 teens, they were all singing along to a song Blaine had heard on the radio in the home a few times. Blaine noted that though all 12 teens were dancing around on the floor only one boy was singing lead.

And oh Lord, his voice.

Blaine was sure he'd never heard anything so beautiful. His voice was high, higher than any male voice Blaine had heard, and it was angelic. And his voice…his voice was nothing compared to his face. He was gorgeous. He had an unusual beauty that Blaine found fascinating. He looked elfish, fairy like. Blaine couldn't take his eyes off of him.

And even as the song ended and the kids clapped each other on the back for a job well done Blaine's eyes couldn't leave the boy. Even as his brother whispered to him, "See, Blaine? Look how much fun they're having!"

It was only when the teacher in the room turned and noticed the brothers in the door that Blaine's eyes were taking from the boy. "I'm sorry, can we help you?" Soon all eyes were on Blaine and Cooper. A blush took over Blaine's whole body. He couldn't take the eyes on him. Instinctively he took a step back, Cooper now in between Blaine and the room full of teens.

"Oh, sorry!" Cooper said brightly, giving Blaine's arm a reassuring squeeze. "We were just here putting some things in Blaine here's locker and we heard you all singing." Cooper gave one of his mega-watt smiles that could melt anyone's heart. It seemed to work as several of the girls in the room swooned a little.

"Oh, are you new here, Blaine?" The teacher asked, a bright disarming smile on his face. But still Blaine felt nervous, skittish. He just gave a nod. "Well, welcome! We're the New Directions, McKinley's glee club. We're always open to new members." The hint was obvious but Blaine wasn't going to say a word. Cooper glanced at his brother, giving him a reassuring smile, but still Blaine said nothing. He glanced to the staring teens, feeling shame as their eyes bore into him.

But then he locked eyes with the boy, the beautiful, boy with the voice of an angel. He gave Blaine a soft smile, waving a little in welcome. God, even his smile is to die for,Blaine gushed in his head. But still a voice in the back of his mind told him not to bother. The boy wouldn't want him anyway. He'd think Blaine was weird, a freak. Blaine should stay alone and remain alone. No one could hurt him that way.

"Cooper let's just go." Blaine whispered as the teacher spoke up again.

"You know we only have half an hour left to practice. Would you like to sit in?"

Cooper glanced at his brother as Blaine squeezed his arm now, a pleading look in his eye. "Ya' know, we'd love to but we have one more appointment we need to get to. Thank you for the offer though."

"Oh, no problem!" The teacher said, smiling bright. "I'm Mr. Shue, by the way. If you need any help or anything I'm always available! Especially if you want to come join us!" He grinned jokingly, "See you Monday!" Blaine nodded, before all but running away from the door, pulling Cooper with him.

"Woah, bud, slow down. They're not chasing us with pitch forks."

"I just want to go home, Coop." Blaine said, voice cracking.

"Well alright, bud. No problem." Cooper said, voice more soothing now. "But they didseem nice, you know. Don't need to be scared of them."

"I'm not scared." Blaine said quietly, but said nothing more. He didn't want to think about it, about how socially awkward he was. About how they'd all end up hating him anyway. They'd hate him for his past, his sexuality, and maybe just for him period. There was no point. No reason to try.

"They could be really nice friends. And you love singing." Blaine said nothing. You'll end up alone anyway, so why bother with the hurt? Cooper sighed, giving up. "Alright buddy, why don't we go get some dinner then, huh?" At this Blaine nodded. Dinner he could do. "Alright, let's go."

Even as they walked out and towards the bus stop Blaine thought of the beautiful boy with the beautiful voice. He wondered to himself why God would dangle such a perfect creature in front of him if he was unattainable. Why tease Blaine like that?

Blaine didn't know what to feel, or what to do. So he decided to focus on dinner with his brother and nothing else

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PART 3

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Blaine didn't sleep at all the whole weekend. He and his big brother spent the whole time rearranging their new home, figuring out the bus schedule, finding the closest coffee shop, and just bonding.

They did a lot of talking. Well, Cooper did. He told Blaine all about his time in Africa, he kept asking Blaine questions but he would deflect them with more questions about Africa. It wasn't until early Monday morning that Cooper got him to talk.

It was about 3 AM, Blaine hadn't been able to sleep so he went out into the dark kitchen and sat at the table. He knew he should sleep since he had his first day at his new school in a few hours…but he just couldn't sleep. He hadn't been able to sleep at all since going to McKinley.

He was scared. Scared of new bullies and new troubles. He was scared of people finding out about who he was, about his past. But most of all he was scared about the beautiful boy. He was scared of deluding himself into a fantasy world where beautiful boy actually could like him when in reality the boy will probably think he's weird, a freak. Especially if he finds out Blaine's parents didn't even want him – why should the boy?

"Blaine?" The teen jumped, turning to see Cooper standing in the doorway of his bedroom across the living room/kitchen area. "What are you doin' up, buddy?"

Blaine shrugged as Cooper padded over, sitting with Blaine at the table. "Can't sleep."

"Nervous about tomorrow?"

"Technically it's today."

"Tomorrow's not today until my alarm clock goes off." Cooper smirked, getting a soft smile out of Blaine. "You'll be fine, buddy."

"I just…" Blaine started, biting his lip. "It's just going to be like everywhere else." He whispered.

"What do you mean?" Cooper asked, titling his head down to meet Blaine's eye.

"Everywhere I go people hate me. It doesn't matter what the setting is. I just wish I didn't care." Blaine whispered the last part, picking at a loose thread at the end of his sleeve.

Cooper's eyes were wide, tears threatening. "Blaine." He whispered breathlessly.

"It's ok, Coop. I know….I know it's not anyone's fault. E-except mine, really. I'm just…there's something wrong with me. I'm just the kind of person people don't want…I-I've come to terms with it."

"No. No, Blaine." Cooper said, voice grave. He scooted his chair closer to his brother, eyes hard. "Blaine you listen to me right now. Are you listening?" Blaine glanced up to meet his brother's eye. "There is nothing wrong with you. Do you hear me? If someone has a problem with you that's their hurdle to overcome, not yours."

"You say that but…there's too much proof on the opposing side." Blaine joked, letting out a pathetic forced laugh before sniffling and looking away.

"That's bullshit. Blaine. Blaine. You're absolutely perfect the way you are."

"But mom and da-" Blaine whispered, tears streaming freely down his cheeks.

"Fuck them, Blaine. Fuck them!" Cooper yelled, making Blaine jump. "I can't – I just can't even believe that they left you and then – when you were taken away –" A sob escaped Cooper. "Fuck, Blaine. They're the fucked up ones. Their issues had nothingto do with you."

Blaine shook his head, swallowing a sob. "It's not just mom and dad, Cooper. Donna and Al didn't want me. The family before that didn't want me. A-and the family beforethat didn't want me! I'm—I'm damaged and I'm too – too old for it to be fixed! Nobody wants me."

"I want you, Blaine. I do. I love you." Cooper cried, harshly grabbing his brother's hands in his, trying to get him to understand. "Jesus. Fuck. Blaine, please listen to me. I love you so fucking much. You're so perfect. There's nothing wrong with you. You have to understand that, please." Both brothers were openly sobbing now. Blaine had no words, he just allowed himself to fall forward into his brother's arms, to sob into his shoulder. "Fuck, Blaine." Cooper whispered again, clutching Blaine close and petting his wild curls "Please tell me you understand."

Blaine didn't answer, because he knew if he did he'd have to lie to his brother. He knew Cooper loved him, that Cooper wanted him. But that was one person. So many people had let Blaine down before, Cooper just happened to be the only person who hadn't.

No one was ever going to love him like Cooper did. No one was going to want him like Cooper does. He'd just have to cling to his big brother until the day he died because no one else was ever going to spare him a glance.

No one would want him, he'd come to terms with this.

He just wished he could stop caring about it.

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Neither brother slept for the rest of the night. Blaine ended up in Cooper's bed, the brothers cuddling until the sun rose, until the alarm clock rang.

"I guess tomorrow is officially today." Blaine had mumbled from his spot in Cooper's lap as the older brother turned the beeping clock off.

"I guess so." Cooper whispered. He blinked down at his brother, "You know, we could call you in sick. Put it off for one more day."

Blaine shook his head, "Might as well get the first day over with."

"Are you sure? Because I can call into work and we can-"

"Coop, you literally just started at Lima Daily. It's kind of a bad idea to call in on your first day." Cooper had managed to get an editing job at Lima Daily News. It wasn't as glamorous as the New York Times but it would do.

Blaine roused himself, showering and changing. He'd picked out his outfit for his first day on Friday when they'd bought the clothes. Blaine slipped on a white t-shirt, a maroon cardigan, a pair of nice new jeans, and a pair of loafers. He combed his mass of curls so they actually looked neat and parted them to the side.

Once dressed and ready for the day he stood in front of the mirror for a long time, backpack slung on his back. "You look great, bud." Came Cooper's voice from the doorway. Blaine glanced to his brother, smiling softly.

"Thanks."

"C'mon, let's go so we can get some coffee before the bus comes."

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When Blaine arrived at school he had to focus so not to obviously shake. Cooper kissed him on the cheek before he exited the bus, wishing him luck, telling him to call or text for any reason. He'd felt a little more positive when Cooper had been with him, but after leaving Cooper behind on the bus and heading inside by himself he'd lost any confidence he might have had.

He wandered the unfamiliar halls with his head down, trying to remain as invisible as possible. He managed to make it to his locker without anyone noticing him. Maybe I can do this, he thought.

But then he was slammed hard into his closed locker, clocking his forehead against the door. "Welcome to McKinley!" A voice cackled. Blaine froze, breath catching in his throat. No I can't. I can't do this. Shit, why didn't I scope out a good place to hide on Friday?

"Are you ok?" Blaine jumped, turning to see a Latina girl in a cheerleading outfit staring at him from her position in front of her own open locker. Blaine wordlessly nodded, rubbing his forehead and hissing at the pain. "Here, let me see." Without asking she took him by the shoulders and turned him so he was facing her. She studied his forehead, lightly poking it, ignoring his hiss in protest. "I think you'll live." She said seriously.

"Uh – I – ok." Blaine said awkwardly, turning back to his locker and beginning to struggle with his lock.

"I'm Santana, by the way." The girl said, eyeing him with a raised eyebrow. "You're the kid who was watching us in Glee on Friday, right?" Blaine glanced at her, a little wide-eyed. He mentally cursed himself as his first thought was she knows beautiful boy. "Were you planning on joining us or were you just being a creep?"

"Oh, n-no I wasn't trying to be a c-creep, I just-" Blaine stumbled over his words, unsure of what to say.

"Calm down, hobbit. I'm kidding." She said, smirking again. "I was just wondering if that delicious – brother?" Blaine nodded, "Brother of yours was going to be around."

Blaine shook his head, "He's 29."

"And I'm a lesbian but even I can appreciate." Blaine eyes widened at her words. I'm a lesbian. She was so calm about it. So open about it.

Maybe this school is more accepting, Blaine thought hopefully. But as if on cue a jock walking by called, "Hey dyke! Find yourself a new beard?"

"Hey dick! Find yourself a new nutsack yet? Or have you forgotten the last time you used that word?" She snarled back, taking a threatening step forward. The jock actually jumped away a bit, before scurrying off in the other direction.

Blaine watched the whole exchange with wide eyes. Ok. No. This school's just as bad. But I'm not the only gay kid here. Blaine shook his head, but it doesn't matter because you're not going to tell anyone, Blaine.

"Don't mind the puckheads." Santana said with a roll of her eyes, "The hockey players around here are kind of fuckers." Blaine nodded wordlessly, unsure of what to do or say. He was just so confused because why…why was she still talking to him?

"So who's your homeroom teacher?" Blaine shook his head, pulling his folded up schedule from his sweater pocket.

"Um…M-Mr. Lyman?"

"Oh, my friend Tina's in that homeroom. C'mon," She shut her locker door, "I'll show you the way." Blaine took a step away from her, wondering for a second if maybe this was a trick, if she was going to lead him off to the janitor's closet and lock him in there for the whole day. "Dude, you want me to show you or not?"

Just go, his mind said, you don't know the way anyway. She probably won't talk to you ever again so just do it.

Shutting his open mouth, Blaine nodded.

"Alright then, weirdo. Let's go." Blaine sighed at the 'weirdo' and waited for her to lead the way, but then she actually linked arms with him, leading him off down the hall.

Part of him wanted to enjoy the moment, enjoy a moment of delusion that maybe someone didn't hate him. But a bigger part of him knew better. Don't kid yourself, his mind taunted, she's just being nice. And besides why would she want to be friends with you? No. That was right. He couldn't get too attached. Wouldn't. He'd let her lead him to his homeroom and that would be that. He wouldn't delude himself any longer that maybe she could be a friend.

But as Santana led him to the classroom and introduced him to a smiley Asian girl he couldn't help but wish he could delude himself. Just this once.

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PART 4

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The day had actually been not too bad so far.

Tina from his homeroom had turned out to be a really sweet girl. She asked him questions about himself – many of which he was vague with since there was no way he was going to share those details with her – and she seemed genuinely interested. She was in the glee club too, so Blaine casually asked about the other members, hoping she'd mention beautiful boy. Though when she answered he had no idea who was who so he wasn't really sure if she'd mentioned beautiful boy or not.

Tina introduced Blaine to her boyfriend Mike, who was also very nice. Mike in turn introduced Blaine to Sam and Puck, when they all shared study hall together. Puck was a bit intimidating but turned out to be rather soft. Sam was a big nerd, and he and Blaine got into a serious discussion about Harry Potter (which, much to Blaine's surprise, both Mike and Puck joined in the conversation).

Later he was introduced to Finn and Rachel, who were a rather sickeningly sweet couple that were more than happy to talk his ear off about the glee club. Rachel seemed a little arrogant but overall was a nice girl.

He apparently had only met half the glee club, though, as when he returned to his locker before lunch Santana was at her locker, glancing to him when he walked up. "Hey there hobbit, I hear you've been making the rounds with my friends. They treatin' you ok?"

Blaine glanced at her, surprised that she was still talking to him. "Oh! Uh, y-yes. Of course. T-they're all very nice, thank you."

Santana's eyes narrowed, and for a second Blaine was terrified she had found out things about him or something. He quickly turned back to his locker and began to haphazardly stuff books in and take books out.

"Why are you so twitchy?" Santana finally asked.

"T-twitchy?" Blaine asked, turning back to her and trying to keep his hands from fidgeting.

Santana shut her locker, turning to face him completely and leaning her shoulder into the closed door. "I'm not going to like, punch you or something." Santana said, and it sounded sort of like she was trying to be reassuring but at the same time sounded amused and confused.

"I-I didn't think you were going to p-punch me." He said quickly, shutting hi own locker door and clutching his brown-bag lunch close to his chest.

Santana looked him up and down again, similarly to how she had that morning. Blaine felt like she was prying deep into his soul. Finally she pushed off the lockers and gestured back with a jerk of her head. "C'mon, you can eat lunch with me and meet the rest of the club." Blaine stared at her for a moment, wondering why the hell she was being so friendly to him. "Oh my God. Short stuff, you comin' or what?"

Blaine quickly scurried after her.

00

When Blaine and Santana arrived in the lunch room she led him to a table where everyone he'd met was already sitting, plus a few he hadn't met. As they walked up a blonde girl's eyes lit up. "Hey, San!" She greeted brightly, reaching behind her to take Santana's hand and pull her into the empty seat beside her.

Unsure of where to go Blaine took the empty seat next to Santana. "Blaine," the Latina girl spoke. "This is Brittany," She stroked the blonde girl's leg as she spoke, before turning and gesturing to a few people Blaine hadn't met yet, "That's Artie, Quinn, and Mercedes." Each person waved as they were introduced, "This is Blaine."

"So you're joining New Directions, right?" Brittany asked, leaning over Santana to talk to Blaine.

Flustered, Blaine fidgeted with his sweater sleeve. "Well – I-I don't know, m-maybe-"

"Can you sing?" The boy in the wheelchair – Artie? – asked.

"W-well, I mean, I sang in my old school's glee club but-"

"Perfect! We need all the people we can get!" Rachel said excitedly. "Do you know a song you want to sing for try outs?"

"W-well, I-"

"Rachel, calm down. He didn't even say if he was going to try out or not." Blaine froze at the voice behind him. Slowly he turned as someone sat in the empty chair beside him.

There…there was beautiful boy.

Oh God, he's even better close up. His eyes sparkled, his hair was perfect, his clothes immaculate, and oh God he smelled so good. And God, he'd only spoken one sentence but his voice was musical, beautiful.

"Hi, I'm Kurt." The boy said with a warm smile, holding out his hand for Blaine to shake. Kurt. His name is Kurt.

Blaine sat frozen for moment before getting his muscles to work again and quickly took Kurt's hand. "B-Blaine." He said, quickly taking his hand back and looking down at his bagged lunch as his cheeks grew hot.

"So—uh, Blaine." The black girl, Mercedes, spoke from across the table. Blaine looked up just in time to see her looking back at him from making a face at Kurt. "What brings you to transfer half way through the year?"

Blaine began to fidget even more in his chair. "Well, uh, I moved in with my brother. He l-lived in a different place than I did before s-so I had to transfer."

"Why'd you move in with your brother?" Rachel asked. Blaine's cheeks felt like they were on fire. All eyes were on him. They were asking too many questions, too many questions.

But before he could freak out any more or try to think up an answer he heard someone gasp and then suddenly his whole body was immersed in cold, the smell of artificial cherry filling his nostrils.

00

PART 5

00

Blaine wasn't really sure what had happened. One second he was panicking over all the questions, the next second he was frozen – literally.

He felt globs of ice sliding down his face, down the collar of his shirt, all over his lap and his lunch. He kept his eyes squeezed shut, unsure of exactly had just been dumped on him. But as he heard loud mocking laughter his breath quickened. It never gets better, he thought bitterly, it will never get better. It will always be the same.

But his thoughts were cut short as he could here who he thought was Santana yelling, though it sounded like it was in Spanish. He could feel the movement of the chairs at the table screeching back, maybe trying to get away from him. There was yelling, lots of words he didn't comprehend. He just wanted to fall in a hole, disappear and die.

But then there were soft, gentle hands on his wet, sticky shoulders. There was a soft, kind voice in his ear. "C'mon, let's go clean you up."

Kurt. Kurt was in his ear. Kurt was next to him, trying to make him feel better and calm. Beautiful boy wasn't only beautiful on the outside, it seemed.

Without a word, without opening his eyes, Blaine stood and allowed himself to be steered out of the lunch room. Soon the sounds of yelling and laughing faded away and all he could hear was the sound of his and Kurt's shoes squeaking on the floor. Before he could figuratively blink, Blaine found himself being pushed through a door and leaned against a counter.

"I know it's humiliating." Kurt's soft voice echoed in the silent bathroom. Blaine said nothing, though mortification filled him as he let out a quiet choking sound. "The first slushie is always the worst. It gets better over time."

Slushie? Is that what that was? "T-there'll be more?" Blaine groaned, trying not to moan outwardly as he felt Kurt's hand on his face. Sure, there was a wet paper towel in between his cheek and Kurt's hand, but it was still contact.

He heard Kurt chuckle softly. God, even his laugh is musical. "Sadly, there will be many more…and I'm assuming you don't have a change of clothes?" Blaine shook his head, "That's ok. You look about my size. You can borrow my emergency outfit."

I'll be wearing his clothes. I'll be in his clothes. Wha– what –

"Here, bend over. If you stick your head under the faucet before the slushie dries we can get your hair clean." Blaine didn't say a word, just did as he was told, ignoring the heavy thudding of his heart in his chest. It was incredibly hard not to moan as Kurt's delicate fingers massaged his curls under the water, getting the chunks of frozen ice drink out of his hair.

"Alright, I think it's all out." Kurt turned off the faucet, squeezing the excess water from Blaine curls before instructing him to straighten up. "I think this is as clean as you'll get before you change."

Blaine blinked his eyes open, taking in the boy before him. Kurt's hands were dripping and he had a few spots of slushie on his clothes, but for the most part he was clean. He had a soft smile on his face, a sympathetic look in his gorgeous eyes. God, he was an angel.

He was perfection.

"Th-thank you." Blaine managed, looking away from Kurt and blushing.

"No need to thank me. Like I said, I've been on the receiving end of a slushie multiple times…just too bad they got you with the cherry. That stuff stains the worst."

Blaine turned towards the mirror, eyes widening as he took himself in. His curls were wet, they'd be crazy and untamable once they air-dried. His face was damp too, but now clean of slushie. It was his clothes that were horrifying.

His shirt and sweater, his pants, they were completely splattered with red. Blaine had seen himself look like this on more than one occasion. Thoughts of getting his harassed in the park in 7th grade filled his mind. Thoughts of getting his head kicked in on the playground in 8th grade. Thoughts of lying behind the dumpsters in the back of the school, covered in his own blood and vomit in freshman year. Blaine shook his head, fighting off his tears.

"Blaine? Are you ok?" Kurt's gentle hand was back on his shoulder and Blaine jolted. Kurt quickly took his hand away.

"I'm f-fine. T-thanks."

Kurt gave him a sad, clearly forced, smile. But before he could speak there was a knock on the bathroom door. It creaked open and Finn's head appeared. "Hey, you guys ok?"

"We're good. Do you have the clothes?" Kurt asked. Finn nodded, coming into the bathroom completely. In his hand he held a light blue button up shirt and a pair of black jeans.

"Oh, Tina has your bag." Finn said to Blaine as he handed Kurt the clothes. "Hang on I'll get it from her."

Blaine watched Finn go in wonder. "You're all really nice." He said quietly, not stuttering, not thinking.

Kurt gave him a warm smile, handing him the clothes, "Well thanks. We've all been there. Now go on and change, you'll feel better once you do." As Kurt spoke Finn appeared again, handing Blaine his shoulder bag.

"Here ya' go, dude."

Dude. No one's ever called me 'dude' before. Blaine nodded his thanks and disappeared into the bathroom stall. Once alone, at least slightly, he clutched the clothes in his fists, trying hard to fight the tears that were suddenly threatening. Sniffling he straightened. Get a hold of yourself, Blaine. You can't go acting like a freak every time someone picks on you. You've had worse."I've had worse." Blaine breathed out, barely able to even hear his own words. With a shake of his head he quickly began to change.

As the fabric of Kurt's clothes slid across his skin he got chills. I'm wearing Kurt's clothes. I'm wearing beautiful boy's clothes.

Once dressed he rolled up the sleeves of the shirt and tucked it into the jeans. Looking down at himself he didn't look too bad, but something was missing. He paused for a second, glancing down at his shoulder bag. Quickly he began to dig around it, searching for the good luck charm his brother had given him the day before he left for Africa. Blaine kept it with him at all times.

"I know it was your favorite. I want you to have it." Cooper had said at the airport as Blaine cried. "It seems cliché, but just hold it and pretend I'm there – hey don't laugh at me! Do you want it or not?"

Finding what he was looking for, Blaine pulled a bowtie from the bottom of his bag. It was dark blue, practically black, and had white dots all over it. It was simple. It had been Cooper's favorite tie, and therefore Blaine's. He never wore it, but he always kept it with him.

Quickly and without a thought he wrapped the tie around the collar of the borrowed shirt, tying the bow with practiced skill. There. The outfit is complete, he thought proudly. Taking a deep breath Blaine opened the stall door and stepped out. He found Kurt and Finn standing there, having a hushed conversation. As Blaine stepped out they both turned to him, ceasing their discussion. A wide smile and a look of surprise crossed Kurt's face.

"A bowtie?"

Blaine shrugged, self conscious. "Always have it in my bag. Just thought…it f-finished the outfit." An odd look was on Kurt's face, like he was impressed.

"Well you look great, the clothes fit you perfectly." Your clothes fit me perfectly. Literally everything about you is perfect, even the way your clothes fit someone else. Fit me.

"T-thanks."

Finn glanced back and forth between the two teens, "Well lunch is about to end. We should probably get going." The tall teen glanced down at Blaine, shifting from foot to foot, "You gonna be ok, dude? I know getting slushied sucks ass."

Blaine blinked at him in surprise, wondering if Kurt had asked him to ask – by why would Kurt care to have Finn ask? "I'll l-live." Blaine said, a weak smile playing across his face.

Finn grinned brightly, as if relieved by Blaine's words. "Well good! Now c'mon, I think Artie said you have algebra with him next."

Blaine nodded, biting his lip and wondering if these teens were just kind enough to help out the weird new kid, or if they truly wanted to be his friend. Part of him scoffed,don't kid yourself. But another part of him didn't want to be cynical. He wanted to believe they could actually like him.

And as he glanced over at Kurt, meeting his eyes and getting an angelic smile from him, he really, really wanted to believe.

00

PART 6

00

As Blaine walked out of school and towards the bus stop he felt…happy. Happier than he had in a while. Sure, his clothes weren't his, his hair was a mess, and he was pretty sure his favorite sweater was stained for good, but he was happy. And it felt really good.

As he neared the stop he noticed Cooper standing there, waiting for him. An even greater surge of joy swept through him as he realized I'm allowed to be happy. I can be happy with Cooper.

He could share this happiness with someone. He didn't need to go back to a cold, unloving house filled with people who might as well be strangers and didn't give a damn about his happiness. He didn't have to hide away in a room that wasn't his own and pretend someone cared he'd made a friend.

Because someone did care.

"Hey, B!" Cooper said brightly as Blaine came within ear shot. Just at hearing his brother's voice a strong desire to hug Cooper filled him. "Is that what you were wearing this – woah." Blaine threw his arms tight around Cooper, hugging him close. "You ok, bud?"

"I'm great." Blaine said, voice steady and strong. "Today was great."

"Well, I'm glad to hear it." Blaine could hear the smile in Cooper's voice. "But can I ask why you're in a different outfit than this morn—hey, I gave you that tie."

Blaine pulled back from his brother, reaching up to touch the bowtie around his neck. "It's my good luck charm."

A look passed across Cooper's face, Blaine wasn't really sure what it was. It was a mix of being touched, happy, and wanting to cry. Cooper brought his hand up and cupped the back of Blaine's head, pulling him close again. "I'm glad you had a good day." Cooper whispered, pulling back and collecting himself. As their bus pulled up the two boarded and Cooper asked, "So what was so great about today?"

"I—I think I made friends."

Cooper's smile was so big his face looked ready to crack in half. "Really? That's great! What are their names?"

Blaine looked down at his lap, blushing at his brother's excitement over his ability to make friends. "Well, there's – you know the glee club we saw on Friday?"

Cooper's eyes widened in excitement, "Did you join?"

Blaine shook his head, feeling guilty to disappoint his brother. "No…no…but they – well, they remembered me. The one girl has a locker by me and she helped me find my homeroom and one of the others girls was in it and then she introduced me to some others-" Blaine paused as he realized he was rambling. "I—yeah. They all remembered seeing me on Friday and invited me to join."

Cooper clapped his hands together, "Well that's great!" He cried, before quickly adding, "If you wanted to join them, that is."

Blaine chewed on his lower lip, "I just—I kind of wanted to remain anonymous, you know? And I think – I think by hanging out with them I've already lost that. I mean I just sat with them at lunch and I get a slushie thrown at me-"

"Wait, what?"

Blaine pressed his lips together as he realized what he's said, "Yeah, that's uh, why I'm in different clothes…"

"Wait, someone threw a slushie at you? Like – like the frozen drink?" Blaine nodded, "Why?"

Blaine shrugged, "Because I'm new and I was with the glee club…from the way K-Kurt talked about it, it sounds like they get picked on a lot."

"Kurt?" Blaine looked up at Cooper.

"What?"

"You said Kurt, he one of your new friends?"

Blaine nodded, quickly looking out the window as a blush creeped across his cheeks. "He's – he's – yeah. He's one of the b-boys and he helped me c-clean up and these are his c-clothes-"

"You've got a crush." Cooper grinned. Blaine's eyes widened as he turned to his brother.

"What?"

"You're blushing! And when you were talking about him you were stuttering!"

Blaine looked away, blush deepening. "No. I always s-stutter."

"You weren't before you started talking about this Kurt." Blaine said nothing more, he just turned and looked back out the window. "Aww, don't be like that B. I'm only playing."

"I just…" Blaine whispered, not turning from the window. "I can't let myself like him. O-or any of them. But especially him. They'll end up hating me or something." Cooper opened his mouth to protest but Blaine continued, "And…and even if they don't…I don't want anyone to know I'm gay."

"Why?" The older brother asked gently.

Blaine bit his lip. Cooper knew he'd gotten bullied a bit as a kid, but he didn't know about the worst ones, everything that happened after he left. He didn't know about the concussions, the broken bones, the week-long stays at the hospital…he didn't know any of it. Blaine wasn't sure he wanted him to know. "I've gotten…I've gotten bullied pretty bad, Coop. Because I'm gay. I—you don't know—it got bad…while you were gone." Another unreadable look was on Cooper's face. Blaine couldn't tell what he was thinking, but he could tell his big brother was sad, horrified. Like he wanted to ask how bad but he knew he didn't want to know the answer. "And I just…if I could not…go through that…again…" Blaine bit his lip, slowly stringing his words together.

"Blaine…" Cooper whispered, voice wet, eyes glassy.

"I just want a clean slate here, you know?" Blaine said quietly, looking up at his brother with his own wet eyes. "'Cause I—I don't think I can do through it all again. Because I know…it's never going to stop."

"This is just high school, Blaine." Cooper whispered. "Kids, they're – they're rough-"

Blaine shook his head, "No, Cooper. It's never going to change. It's never going to get better. You—do you see those stories? On the news? There's a whole religion dedicated to hating me for who I am."

"Blaine-"

"Kids may be rough but so—so are adults. So is everyone. It's never going to stop…people are always gonna hate me for who I am." The tears started to break free from Blaine's eyes. "And I just—I don't want to—I don't want to keep getting hurt."

Without warning Cooper wrapped his arm around Blaine's shoulder, pulling him close and into a tight embrace, placing a kiss among his curls. "Don't hide who you are, Blaine." He whispered, "You're perfect as is. Don't – don't hide any part of you just because of a few ignorant idiots." Cooper placed another kiss on Blaine's head, pulling him even closer as his voice shook.

"But I don't want to hurt anymore, Cooper." Blaine whispered, "I'm tired of hurting."

"There's always going to be some hurt. But that's where the people who love you come in." Cooper pulled back a little so he could look at Blaine. "And I love you, Blaine. Somuch. And I'm not going anywhere. I'll always be here to beat down anyone who gives you any crap." Blaine smiled at Cooper, sniffling and wiping his eyes.

"Thanks, Coop." He whispered. "I don't…don't know what I'll do about school but just…thanks." Cooper nodded again, giving Blaine's shoulder one last squeeze before releasing him. Both brothers wiped their eyes, Blaine ran a fist under his nose as Cooper pulled a tissue from his pocket.

As the bus pulled towards a bus stop Cooper glanced out the window. "We missed out stop." He said, a chuckle escaping him. Soon the chuckle deepened as he suddenly found the idea hilarious. Blaine giggled, glancing at Cooper, and soon the two were hysterical, pressing their hands over their mouths to muffle their laughter. They stumbled off the bus, gasping for air as they paused on the sidewalk and calmed their crazed laughter.

"We missed out stop – and everyone – everyone on that bus probably thought we were – were crazy-" Cooper gasped, trying to control his laughter. Blaine let out a snort mid-laugh in response, only causing his brother to laugh harder. After several moments they were able to control themselves and stopped gasping and laughing. Soon they were merely smiling like idiots, breathing a little harder as they calmed. "Ok – ok, we should head home now." Cooper chuckled, walking towards their neighborhood near the stop a few blocks back.

Blaine grinned in response, following his brother. "Why was that so funny?" He asked no one in particular.

"I don't know, but I think that whole episode we just had makes us certifiable." Cooper laughed, Blaine laughing too.

The two continued to walk back towards their apartment, neither saying anything. After a minute Cooper threw his arm around Blaine's shoulder and kissed him atop his head again. "I'm glad you made friends, bud."

"Me too." Blaine said, leaning into his brother's hold.

"You can invite them over sometime if you want. Have a sleep-over or something."

Blaine smiled, "That'd be fun."

Cooper paused, looking ahead. "Don't…don't be afraid to join their club either. I mean it. I miss your choir concerts." Blaine nodded, saying nothing in response. He still didn't know what he was going to do, but this whole exchange with Cooper had at least made him feel better about things. About life.

"I love you, Blaine."

"I love you too, Coop."