A/N: Yes, it is another fanfic.

Yes, I am still working away on Exit Wounds.

But I have actually written everything for this fic. It's just a matter of uploading. So it will definitely be regular updates – once a week or so. :)

God, this is horribly AU.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

The teenager took his mother's cold hand. "It's market day," Blaine Anderson whispered. "We're going out today, Lucy and Paul, and Daniel and me."

"You and Lucy are going to sell flowers?" the middle-aged woman rasped. Blaine nodded, brushing a wisp of hair away from his mother's face.

"You don't like what Paul and Daniel do, but they have to. You know they have to."

"Theft is… wrong…" she croaked.

"No, Ma! They need to steal. Otherwise we wouldn't have anything to eat for dinner or even tomorrow."

"But… the flower money… to buy…?"

Blaine laughed bitterly, hardened by his street life. "The flower money?" Blaine scoffed. "No, no. The flower money's used to pay for the rent, and it doesn't even cover that. If they didn't steal, then we'd be rotting in our graves by now."

The woman shook her head vigorously, as obstinate as ever. "Stealing… is wrong…" she insisted, earnest as ever.

Blaine's heart broke at the sight. He knew that his mother was nearing her end, and he couldn't bear it. Blaine knew in theory he could lie to himself, avoid the truth when his little brothers asked about their mother, but they all knew that their mother was dying. She was healing, because they'd managed to scrounge some medicine, but Blaine, and his older sister, Lucy, both knew she'd never see another Christmas.

Kurt Elijah Hummel's mother pulled back the curtains. She was a thin woman, with her hair pulled tightly back into a ponytail. "Come on, darling!" she called. "Up you get! Breakfast is on the table, and Florence picked out a gorgeous outfit from the High Street yesterday. Come on, darling! Up you get!"

Kurt opened his eyes and wandered downstairs, where a full English breakfast, as usual, was on the table, waiting for him. Kurt had been about to take a bite when he lowered his fork.

He could have sworn he heard a boy cry. Carefully, Kurt laid the fork down on the table and walked out into his garden. The boy didn't sound like he wanted attention, he sounded like he had nothing else in the world and almost as if he had lost the last thing precious to him.

Blaine glanced around the teeming farmer's market. The smell of cooking sausages at the meat stall filled the air, and feet banged against the damp concrete. Now and then a woman would drop by, purchase a bouquet to adorn her living room, or maybe as a gift, and drift off again. It wasn't a large source of income, but it was a steady one.

It was quite unlike Paul and Daniel's line of work, which consisted of them waiting, appearing as though looking for someone in the market, but really looking for open pockets and bags. They were skilled- but it was never going to get them out of poverty. It was never was good enough.

Then again, none of them were ever going to get out of here, out of the vicious circle. Not Lucy, not Blaine, not Paul, not Daniel. Only Beth had half a hope of breaking the cycle- Beth, their baby sister. They weren't doing this for themselves anymore – it was all for Beth's sake. After all, Lucy had dropped out of school for her. Lucy went to a job she hated every day and endured jeers about her family for Beth. If Beth hadn't been born, Blaine knew Lucy would have stayed at school, and might even have escaped from Lima.

But she had been born. It was for Beth, all of it, and so Blaine continued to sell flowers on Saturdays. He knew he would do anything for Beth. Absolutely anything.

Kurt walked out into the garden. The long, gentle slope up Lima Hill stretched out above him. At the summit lived the Olivers. It was just Johnny and his mother. Kurt didn't know what had happened to Mr. Oliver, nor did he care. He was probably a good-for-nothing, someone who ran at the first opportunity. Everyone of that class was.

Mrs. Oliver was the town baker for Lower Lima, and Johnny was entering a junior archery competition at the end of the month. Kurt couldn't see the point of learning archery. He'd never use it ever again in normal life. On the whole, however, Mrs. Oliver and her son were respectable people.

On the other hand, there were the impoverished who lived in Lower Lima. They were the people who sold flowers for a living, had ten children in a family and grew up to be criminals. Kurt absolutely despised them.

Every day, he could hear their loud shouts selling their wares, food or otherwise, interrupting her peace and quiet when he was trying to do work or read a book. It just irritated him so much.

Kurt looked down at the town, which seemed further away today than it normally was, and then back up in the direction of the Olivers' cottage, before turning around and heading back inside.

He was trying to finish his homework when he heard the voices. It was the same boy that he heard crying earlier; he could tell.

"See, Beth! We told you. A scholarship. You're getting out of here."

"Where's Lucy? I want to tell her! She needs to know… I didn't waste her sacrifice!"

The voices faded. It was a few minutes later that another person started talking, and this one sounded much closer to him than the two before had been.

"Beth, no, NO! Beth! You can't be! Beth… Beth, please wake up. You were gonna get that scholarship, remember? Get the Noores out…"

"Blaine, come on. You know she's dead."

"Lucy! Lucy, can't you do something?"

"Blaine, she's been dead a few hours now. You know that, really…"

"No. No… NO. BETH!"

Those voices faded out too, and the silence they left behind sounded so much more sinister than before. It was confusing- 'Beth' in the first set of voices had been going off to school, and in the second one she had died before even applying for a scholarship? What had he heard? What was going on?

A/N: Thanks for reading!


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