A/N: Hello. So some of you may know about the KBL Reversebang (where the artist draws a picture and then we authors fight over who gets which image and then write a story inspired by said image). This is my submission for it, inspired by the Howl's Moving Castle-esque art created by littlenim (tumblr), which you can see on her tumblr as soon as she posts it (I'll edit this to include a link as soon as I can). I would just like to thank my beta, unicornssaywoosh (tumblr), for being amazing as always and The Fruit Gang for putting up with all my complaining about the amount of time I had to write this. The title comes from the soundtrack for Howl's Moving Castle, the movie off of which this is based (not the book, which I am aware differs from the movie).
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or Howl's Moving Castle. That would just be silly.
EDIT: Here's the link to the artwork this is based on. Just take out the spaces and add a dotcom and a slash after 'tumblr' because this site won't let you include that when you try to make changes on its site: littlenimart . tumblr post/25093603018/one-of-my-two-pieces-for-the-klaine-reversebang
Blaine gasped as a wall of heat and air pushed him backwards, pressing him against a brick wall as debris fell all around him. He closed his eyes and turned his face away as the searing heat continued to rain dirt and pieces of concrete on him. When it finally settled, he opened his eyes and turned back to look at the scene in front of him.
Part of the building had collapsed into a skeletal structure, black and crumbling, as orange and yellow flames licked at it from outside and within. Bricks and mortar fell in a pile into the middle of the courtyard. And there, sticking out of the ground like some sick statue, was a large black bomb, undetonated.
And lying haphazardly across it, with black feathers sticking out at odd angles and wings bent unnaturally, was him.
"Kurt," Blaine exhaled as he began to clamber of a pile of bricks and uprooted cobblestone. He stumbled once, but quickly righted himself before falling against the warm body that had slid to the ground. Around them he could hear more bombs falling, could see the bright flashes against the smoke-filled sky as homes and buildings burst into flames.
Blaine couldn't understand how it had all come to this. How a person could be so determined she would resort to something so…monstrous.
A sound behind him made him turn his head, and he was reminded suddenly of the urgency of the situation as thick black blobs began to pull themselves from the shadows and form strange figures that began to move towards him and Kurt. Sylvester's spies.
"Kurt, come on," he said gently, shaking Kurt's shoulder and turning his head in his hands. Kurt blinked up at him, his eyes black as coal one second before retreating back to blue as he finally focused on Blaine.
"Yes, come on, you have to come inside, now." Blaine stood up and helped Kurt to his feet as several feathers fell away and Blaine was able to make out the shape of his arms again. He felt his heart clench in fear as he realized that almost all of Kurt's body was covered in feathers and had begun to take on the shape of a bird. In fact, more than half of him was bird-like, his human side slowly disappearing into the darkness that was consuming him.
Blaine swallowed thickly past a lump in his throat before turning around and guiding Kurt in the direction of the door – the very same door they had flown out of not even a few weeks ago. Blaine couldn't believe it had only been that long. It felt like a lifetime had passed between then and now.
The ground shook beneath them as another bomb fell close by. This seemed to awaken Kurt out of his stupor, as he suddenly stopped moving just before the doorway. Blaine paused, looking behind them anxiously as Sylvester's spies moved closer.
"Kurt, come on, we have to get inside."
"No, Blaine. You go inside. I'm going back."
Blaine dropped his hand from Kurt's waist and he whirled around to face him.
"What do you mean, 'going back?' Kurt, you can't – you're hurt, and you need to stop…giving in to this demon inside you. Can't you see it's changing you? You can barely turn back to human anymore."
But Kurt was shaking his head and stepping backwards, away from Blaine and the doorway.
"I can't let her keep going this, Blaine. The bombing….this bullying…it needs to stop."
Without thinking Blaine reached out and grabbed Kurt's hands – still human, he noted. "Please, Kurt, not like this. I understand your intentions and want it just as much as you do, but you're going to get hurt! Or worse, I'm going to lose you forever." Blaine choked back a sob.
But Kurt was smiling and shaking his head, his eyes fading back to black. "I can't just sit here and do nothing anymore, Blaine. I was willing to hide and run away before, but not now. Sue is doing this because she knows I will do anything to protect you. And she's right. They can't touch us, Blaine. Or what we have."
And with that he was gone, hands ripping from Blaine's as he shot upwards, wings expanding and disappearing into the black smoke that filled the sky.
Shaking, Blaine stumbled backwards, as realization of what he had to do washed over him. He glanced once more at the black blobs crowding into the courtyard before opening the door and shutting it behind him. He turned around and grasped the knob that would change the color of the wheel, change their location, and take him one step further from Kurt, from being close to him.
He shook his head and reminded himself that by turning that knob he would be one step closer to saving him.
The room shook as another bomb dropped nearby. The door was beginning to press inwards as the blobs pushed at it, trying to get in. Blaine leaned against it, pushing back, pressing his forehead against it as he struggled to remind himself that he wasn't running away because he was a coward, that this wasn't the same as last time, that he was doing this to save the man he-
With a deep breath, he flicked his wrist and watched as the colors flew past before settling on
The first time Blaine met Kurt felt like a dream.
In fact, he had been so sure it was a dream, until Wes and David had come running up to him, asking him if it was true that what the others were saying – that Blaine had just dropped down out of the sky like a bird – and he had just blinked at them because he had realized that that had actually happened.
It felt so strange, the way Kurt's hand had fit so perfectly in his own as they ran down the hallway together. The way Kurt's grip had tightened on his, and then a hand slipped around his waist, drawing him closer. Blaine hadn't known what to say, was wondering how Kurt could be so forward when they had only just met and heck he hadn't even told him he was gay, but then a voice whispered in his ear, telling him that they were being followed but not to worry.
And then the ground disappeared.
They were walking on air.
Literally. Blaine involuntarily gasped as Kurt took him by the hands, body pressed against his back, and pressed his cheek against hair.
"Just walk," he said softly in his ear. "It's easy."
And it was. It was so strange, watching his feet make walking movements, and feeling them bounce off the gusts of air that passed beneath them. A laugh had bubbled out of him and he could help but turn and grin at this wizard he had just met.
Because that was what Kurt had to be, he realized. A wizard.
Blaine had never met a wizard before.
Everyone knew about the witches and wizards. They were no secret. Many found themselves sought after by governments to help with national security. Some, but not many, might even take up residence in places largely populated by regular humans and sell their spells and potions for a profit. For the most part Blaine heard they weren't mean or evil. But there were stories of some who fell into the hands of demons and let their souls be eaten away until there was nothing left but greed and selfishness. Those were the ones to watch out for.
Like, for instance, the Fury. A few years ago he had surfaced in Lima, a nearby town that was home to many wizards and witches and their apprentices. It was said to be primarily a place of learning, where apprentices went to train with their masters until they were of age. Unfortunately, not all apprentices manage to make it to graduation before falling prey to a demon. The Fury, as he called himself, had become one of those such beings. Rumor had it that he was prone to stealing the hearts of young men and devouring them.
But those were just rumors.
When Blaine turned his head during their walk across the air, his breath caught in his throat as he found himself staring into shining blue eyes that danced between grey and green like the waves of an ocean.
"See?" Kurt told him. "Told you it was easy."
Blaine swallowed and nodded, not trusting his voice all of a sudden, and turned his attention back to watching the rooftop they were passing over disappear beneath their feet, to be replaced by a soft green lawn, and then another rooftop. He could feel the wizard pressed up against his back, his warmth seeping in through the fabric of Blaine's blazer and shirt, his hands holding his, guiding him and never once letting go or slipping.
Slowly, they began to descend, losing altitude as they bounded over one last rooftop and then came down gently. As soon as his feet touched the ground, Blaine turned around in Kurt arms and opened his mouth to say something. Then, realizing he had no idea what to say, he ended up just staring at him for several moments, mouth hanging open.
Kurt chuckled and smiled at him, releasing his hold on Blaine's hands and stepping back.
"I'm sorry this is as far as I can take you. And I'm sorry I won't be able to see the performance. I was actually looking quite forward to it. Now, if you'll excuse me."
And then he was gone, shooting straight up into the air like rocket before disappearing into a drifting cloud.
That was where Wes and David found him, standing on the grass, staring up at the clouds, wondering dimly if he hadn't just woken up from a very vivid dream. But it wasn't a dream. It was real. And the way his body was responding – the fast palpitations of his heart, the sweat gathering in his palms, the uncontrollable shaking of his legs – Blaine had never felt so alive.
When Wes and David asked him if he was okay he just started laughing and couldn't stop because of course he was okay. He was more than okay.
He had just walked on air.
Still humming under his breath, Blaine turned the lock to his house and entered, shutting the door behind him and twisting the bolt to lock it again.
For once he could care less that there was no one there to greet him after school. Normally the lack of parents left him feeling empty inside, but he had long ago realized that his parents had little to no interest in what he did in his spare time, and so he had learned to ignore the cold feeling that seemed to have taken up permanent residence in his gut and continue on as if he didn't care. However, today he was glad for the privacy; he didn't want to be asked why he was smiling or thrumming with so much energy and singing the new Katy Perry single under his breath. He started bounding up the stairs to his room, intent on turning on his iPod and blasting his music so he could dance in his socks until his parents came home.
He was halfway up the stairs when the front door slammed open.
Startled, Blaine turned to see a large man standing in the doorway. No, not a man, he realized upon closer inspection, a teenager. He was very large and was wearing worn jeans and a faded black shirt along with an extravagant red cloak with silver lining. He had short cropped brown hair and a large chin. His hands were clenched in fists on either side of him as he entered the room.
Blaine frowned, knowing fully well that he had locked the door after he came in. He turned on the stairs and started down them, but froze when he realized that the teenage boy was already at the bottom of them, glaring up with coal black eyes.
"Wh-who are you?" Blaine asked, trying to make his voice less shaky than he felt. "How did you get in here? That door was locked."
"Locks are for dumb humans like you," the guy said in a deep voice that sent an involuntary shiver down Blaine's back. He stepped backwards, up onto the step behind him.
"You need to leave, right now," Blaine insisted, trying to sound braver than he felt. "This is my house and I will not tolerate strangers coming in here and acting like they own it. Now leave."
"Really? Is that how you're gonna talk to the Fury?"
Blaine felt his eyes widen as he recognized the name of the infamous wizard with the demonized soul. "The Fury?"
"Yes, you dumbass. I followed you after your little jaunt with ladyface. If he told you anything about me-"
Blaine shook his head quickly. "No one told me anything about you. I swear."
"Doesn't matter," the guy said with a sneer as he moved up a step. Blaine instinctively moved up another. "I don't like the way you talked to me. And I don't like the way you dress. You look like an old fart. So why not make you just that?"
Before Blaine could protest and explain that he was wearing a school uniform, the Fury drew back a fist and then proceeded to punch the air.
A force hit Blaine in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him and forcing him to double over as pain shot through his entire being. He struggled to regain his breath as a voice called to him on its way out the door.
"By the way you won't be able to tell anyone about that spell. Just in case you thought you could try."
And then the door slammed shut and all was quiet.
When Blaine was finally able to regain his breath, the pain had receded to dull aches around his hips and knees. Slowly, he stood up straight – or rather, as straight as he could go. His back flared in pain before he managed to straighten up all the way and he was forced to stay bent over at an awkward angle, staring at his suddenly very wrinkly hands.
Blaine frowned, confused, and quickly turned and began making his way up the rest of the stairs – well, as quickly as his suddenly aching knees would allow. Which turned out to be not that fast at all.
Eventually he made it to the top of the stairs and down a short hallway to the upstairs bathroom. Flicking on the light, he took one look at himself in the mirror-
He watched as the old man in the mirror slowly lifted his wrinkled hand to touch his equally wrinkly cheek and jumped when he felt the same touch on his own cheek. A pair of hazel eyes widened at him in the mirror as he realized that the white-haired man staring back at him was him.
Blaine smiled as the color slotted into place and sunlight began streaming in through the window. He could already hear the hustle and bustle on the other side of the door – the rolling cars, the honking horns, barking dogs and people talking to each other and on their phones. With a grin, he gripped the handle and pulled the door open.
New York City, he thought to himself, blinking against the blinding sunlight and breathing in the wonderful smell that was New York. Rotting garbage that hadn't been picked up yet, cigarette smoke, and gas fumes from passing taxis. He grimaced and quickly decided not to include the smells of New York as something to fall in love with right away.
"Mr. Anderson, what are you doing?"
He turned and smiled at Rachel, who was standing behind him looking confused.
"You have a door to New York!" he exclaimed, glancing back outside just in time to watch a man walk by with his dog. He waved excitedly, but the man ignored him and continued talking loudly on his phone.
"Yes, of course Kurt does, Mr. Anderson. It's his and my favorite place in the world," Rachel answered, coming to stand next to him in the door. Blaine shifted over so she could have some room to lean against the door frame. He watched her from the corner of his eye, still too busy trying to take in all of the things he could see from the doorway – which wasn't much, actually, just the street, a fire hydrant, the steps leading down, and the row of brownstones across the street.
"As one of our first tests we have to create portals to different places in the world from our homes. One to where our houses are normally located," she counted on her finger, "one to the outer realms, one to where our masters will eventually train us, and one free choice."
"The outer realms?" Blaine repeated, confused.
"It's a place only people with magic can go – where the spirits dwell and where we go to meditate – and even then, only those who have reached a specific level of training. Kurt managed to reach it just before I did, which, I admit, I am still a little jealous about." Rachel frowned, crossing her arms, and staring forlornly out at the same view.
"He used to talk all the time about getting out of Ohio, of coming here and making a name for himself," she said softly. "Kurt and I, we're more alike than you'd think." Blaine wanted to laugh at that, but he refrained. From what he had seen of the two, they were nothing but alike. "He and I shared the same dream. I just wish…"
"What do you wish?"
Blaine tore his gaze away from looking at New York to watch Rachel as she looked down at the ground in front of her.
"I just wish I had tried to become his friend before that…that bitch-"
"Hey! I can hear you, you know!" a voice shouted from the hearth.
"Shut up, Santana!"
"Make me, manhands."
"Hold on a second, Mr. Anderson, I think someone needs a bath."
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry, okay!"
"That's better," Rachel said smugly as she turned back to face Blaine.
"I don't understand. What did Santana do to Kurt?"
Rachel sighed. "When a wizard or witch takes on a demon, they give up a part of themselves. Most think that they can control it but…it's like a drug. An addiction. They're not just giving up a physical part of themselves, they're giving up part of their soul. And once they do, there's nothing they can do to stop it from spreading."
"I don't understand. What does that have to do with Kurt?"
Rachel just shook her head sadly. "Never you mind, Mr. Anderson. It shouldn't affect you." Blaine opened his mouth to protest, but Rachel let out a heavy and slightly overdramatic sigh he closed his mouth to allow her to continue speaking instead. "I just want to help him so badly. My wizarding master, Mr. Schuester, asked me to come here to watch after him and try to find a way to help after…after he changed because he says I'm his best pupil, which of course I am, but I just don't know how to fix him."
Blaine pretended not notice her wiping the tears from her eyes, turning instead to look back out the doorway. He wished somehow to make her happier. He hated seeing anyone upset, and Rachel had to have been having a rough time with this – trying to help her friend while still trying to keep up with her apprenticeship – no matter how strong she seemed to be. An idea came to him then, as he watched a taxi drive by with an ad for a famous Broadway play, and he grinned at Rachel.
"Hey, I know. Why don't you give me a tour of the city? It'd sure be nice to have someone as knowledgeable as you to be my guide."
Rachel eyes widened almost comically and her mouth widened in a bright smile. She clapped her hands together and nodded her head enthusiastically. "Oh, yes, Mr. Anderson! It would be my pleasure! We could go to Times Square and walk down Broadway and there's this little café not a few blocks from here that I absolutely adore." Reaching behind the door she grabbed their jackets off of the coat rack and quickly handed him his. He had barely gotten one arm through a sleeve when she slipped her arm through the crook of his elbow and pulled him out the doorway. Pulling the door shut behind them, they headed down the steps and began walking down the street, arm in arm as Blaine continued to struggle to get his other arm in his jacket sleeve.
Neither one heard the click from behind them as inside the building they just left the color on the door wheel turned fromgreento
The door clicked shut behind him and the dial spun back to its previous color. Blackness fled from the windows to be replaced by a pale blue light from the shining full moon. One of the curtains fluttered as a breeze passed by.
Kurt slowly made his way across the wooden floor towards the stairs, but as he neared the mattress Blaine lay on he paused to stare down at him.
Gone were the wrinkles and grey hair and the liver spots. In their place were fluffy dark curls absent of gel and soft smooth skin. His mouth was open a sliver as he breathed in and out. Kurt couldn't help but smile down at him, loving the way he looked when he was free of all his worries and wasn't letting the curse dictate his appearance. He looked so peaceful this way.
Kurt reached out a hand, starting to lean down to brush the back of his hand across Blaine's cheek, when out of the corner of his eye a black feather caught his eye and he froze, before drawing his hand back as if burned and quickly turning away from Blaine, and made his way instead towards his chair.
Blaine jerked awake as the floorboard by his ear let out a creak. He blinked and rolled over, looking up and recognizing Kurt's figure as he slowly trudged across the floor to the armchair by the fireplace. He watched quietly from where he lay as Kurt sat down with a heavy sigh.
Now Blaine could see him entirely, and realized how wrong he looked. Black feathers stuck out of his arms and legs and even his face like something or someone had pierced them into his skin. But as Blaine looked closer he saw that they hadn't been put there by another hand – they were growing from him.
"Damn, Hummel," Santana said quietly with a hiss and a spark that jumped over the fender. "You look like shit."
Kurt let out a hollow laugh. "Gee, thanks Santana. You really know how to make a guy feel good."
"I mean it, Kurt. It's getting worse."
"You don't think I don't know that?" Kurt snapped at her, before quickly glancing over at Blaine to see if he had woken him up. From his position, however, he didn't seem to be able to see Blaine's open eyes. With a sigh he continued, quieter this time. "You don't think I'm scared, Santana?"
"Then why do you keep doing it?"
"You just what, Hummel?"
Kurt didn't answer her for several minutes. Blaine watched from where he lay, keeping his breathing even, as Kurt plucked a feather from his wrist and, with a shudder, let the others disappear from his body, returning him to his regular self. He brought the black feather up to hold it in the moonlight that still streamed through the window, watching as the light bounced off the feathers to reflect shades of blue back at him.
Softly, he began singing.
"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise."
Blaine had never heard such emotion in a song before. Kurt sounded raw and broken, his voice cracking in places as he sang the lyrics of the song. There was something so hauntingly beautiful about the way he sang it in the empty air, with nothing to back him up but the crackling of Santana's fire.
It was at that moment, as Kurt was twirling the feather between him thumb and forefinger, and singing about a broken bird, that Blaine realized he was in love with him.
He must have let out a gasp or made some sort of sound, because Kurt stopped mid-lyric and dropped the feather, whipping his head around to look at Blaine through the darkness. For a moment Blaine could have sworn as they locked eyes that Kurt's were black as night, but then he blinked, and they were blue again.
Kurt stood, mouth set in a firm line, and, eyes never leaving Blaine's, addressed the fire. "I'm going to bed now, Santana. I expect there to be hot water in the morning for my shower. And make sure the house is secure."
"Do I look like your bitch?"
Kurt didn't answer her. He tore his gaze from Blaine and stalked past him towards the stairs. Blaine followed him with his eyes, following his figure as he slipped up them gracefully and disappeared around the corner. It was only then that he let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
He sighed as the ache of old age settled on him again, and he leaned back on the pillow, turning over to face the ceiling, wishing the tears that suddenly threatened to spill to go away.
Taking a breath, Blaine glanced back at the door before giving a huff of annoyance and heading down the porch steps.
"Honestly," he muttered to himself as he began making his way down the street towards the center of the city. He was lucky that Kurt's house wasn't far from McKinley Academy – the school for witches and wizards to attend for primary lessons and where they met with their masters for their apprenticeships. It should only take him about fifteen minutes to get there. "What is his problem? He can go talk to some cockamamie wizard about being a bully, but he's too scared to tell his old master he doesn't want to be her apprentice anymore? And he sends an old man instead! Oh yeah, that's going to convince her. 'Oh, Lady Sylvester,'" he mimicked to himself as he swerved around a low-hanging branch with a small yellow bird perched on it. The bird tweeted at him, but Blaine ignored it, and continued to cross the street. "'I'm so sorry to inform you, but my…my grandson' – yes, grandson, I can do that – 'my grandson is just too scared of you to learn from you anymore. Yes, milady, I don't see what he's talking about either. You seem like a reasonable woman to me…'"
He trailed off and stopped walking as he noticed that same yellow bird from before was now looking at him from atop a mailbox right in front of him. He looked at it, it sang a note at him, and then took off, rising into the air. But it didn't go anywhere. Instead, it flapped its wings while it hovered above the mailbox and looked right at him.
"What, do you want me to follow you?" Blaine asked the bird. It let out a tweet and began flying away towards the entrance of McKinley. Blaine stood stock still, staring after it, until it flew back, landed on his shoulder, and nipped his ear.
"Ow!" He tried to swat at it but it was already gone from his shoulder, circling around his head and tweeting shrilly. "Okay, okay! I get it I'm coming! What's your rush anyway?" He peered closer at the small bird, and suddenly remembered Kurt's final words to him before shoving him out the door, about possibly disguising himself and coming along. "Kurt? Is that-?"
"Move it, old man!" a voice behind him shouted as a body shoved past him, jostling him. Blaine stumbled to the side, only just barely managing to keep his balance, as a large teenager made his way past him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a red cloak that he recognized almost instantly.
"The Fury!" he breathed, immediately wishing he could retract his words when said wizard spun around and glared at him.
"Who the hell do you…" the wizard trailed off as his eyes widen in recognition. He let out a laugh. "Oh, it's you! The old fairy! And just what do you think you're doing at the Academy? Come to beg someone to lift your curse? Won't work, buttboy. Remember what I said about you not being able to tell anyone about the curse? Your mouth will zip shut on its own."
Blaine closed his eyes and took a breath, trying to will his fist to stop twitching. Anger boiled through him, but he quelled it. Now was not the time to go and show off his boxing skills. Not with a wizard as his opponent. Or an old body like his.
"What are you doing here?" he asked instead, glancing at the yellow bird that was fluttering around nearby. Kurt didn't seemed too put off by the other wizard's presence, however, so Blaine relaxed a bit.
"That's none of your business," the Fury snarled at him. "For your information, I was invited here." And with that, he turned around and continued on his way into the school.
Blaine glanced at Kurt-bird and shrugged his shoulders. The bird gave a shrill whistle and flew off to land on top of the railing leading up the stairs to the front entrance of the school. Blaine sighed and followed, making sure to keep a good distance between the large hulking man and himself.
Surprisingly, his knees didn't ache him while he was climbing the stairs, few as there were. Grateful for the change in his magically aged body, Blaine reached the top step and grinned at the bird when it landed on his shoulder.
"Shall we?" he asked the bird as he stepped through the door.
"Who the hell are you talking to, you old coot?" the Fury asked from where he was sitting in a chair next to the front desk in the main office as Blaine entered. Blaine glanced at him briefly before deciding it would be better to ignore him and made his way over to the desk instead. Behind it sat a short blond girl with glasses who wore an expression of extreme annoyance mixed with boredom. She was filing her nails and barely looked up at him.
"What do you want?"
"Um," Blaine began, startled at the rudeness. "I…I'm here to see Lady Sylvester, on behalf of Kurt Hummel."
"Whatever. The two of you are to go through that door," she said with a wave at the door to the left, "and wait for someone to come get you. Now leave, before your old man stink ruins my appetite. You too, fatso."
"What? Me? With him? But I'm-" the Fury began, staring at the girl who continued filing her nails.
"Yes, I know who you are and I really don't care. Orders are to send you both through, now get your fat ass in there."
Blaine made his way over to the door, not caring if the Fury was following him or not. Kurt-bird fluttered his wings as they stepped through the doorway into a dimly lit room. It was sparse, with no windows, and no decorations. The walls were concrete bricks, and the only thing in the room apart from a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling was a wooden chair sitting in the center of the room so that the light cast from the bulb created a circle around it.
"Move over, grandpa. I'm sitting in that chair, you can stand for all I care," the Fury growled as he pushed past Blaine once again.
"Didn't anyone teach you any manners?" Blaine grumbled as the door clicked shut and the Fury took his seat. As soon as he sat down, something in the room changed. Blaine tensed as a tingling sensation caused the hair on the back of his neck to stand on end.
"What the-" the Fury began, sitting up straight in the chair and looking around in fright. The light above him went out suddenly, plunging the room into darkness, but not for long. A series of smaller lights appeared on the floor, circling around the chair slowly. Blaine watched, eyes wide, as the lights took on human-like figures and began to rise from the floor and dance around the Fury, a strange electric song filling the air as their light spread and brightened.
"This way, old man," a voice to his left said, causing him to jump. When he looked, it was the same girl from the front desk, with the same annoyed-bored expression on her face. "Move it or lose it, you old fart."
With that she turned and disappeared through a door he hadn't noticed before, hidden in the corner of the room and shrouded in shadow. He glanced back at the Fury briefly, but he seemed to be in a trance, staring mouth agape at the light-figures that were gradually moving faster around him. He looked at Kurt-bird briefly, which cocked its head in the direction of the door, and took that as a signal to follow the girl.
After a brief walk down a dark corridor, following the yellow bob of the girl in front of him, Blaine emerged in a large office filled with trophies. As in, every inch of the place was covered in gold statuettes of figurines and plaques commending one "Lady Sue Sylvester" on different achievements in the wizarding and even some in the human world. They lined shelves, covered tables, and even hung from the ceiling. One in particular, claiming her "1st Place in the 50th Annual National Magical Cheerleading Championship," spun around slowly as it hovered a few feet in the air in a large glass display case. Next to that a large window showed off a view of a parking lot filled with cars and flying machines and, beyond that, a field with various obstacle courses with men and women training in them, practicing their magic. He glanced around and spotted the blonde haired girl standing next to a dark leather chair behind a large mahogany that held a few more trophies, one picture frame turned away from him, and a nameplate that proclaimed in real fire "Lady Sue Sylvester".
"Ma'am, the old geezer is here for Hummel."
The chair spun around to reveal a woman who, when standing, would no doubt be very tall, and had a short pale blond haircut and piercing eyes that glared at him. Her mouth was a thin line and she had her fingers pressed together in a steeple, her elbows resting on the arms of the leather chair. She was wearing a dark purple tracksuit with gold stripes going up either side of her body, and a gold cape to match. She glared at him.
"I sent for Hummel, not some old man who was probably around to witness the birth of the universe. What are you doing here?"
Blaine shifted nervously and opened his mouth to answer but she cut him off.
"And stop standing there like you have a wedgie. Sit down," she said with a gesture towards a chair that appeared out of thin air in front of his desk. He glanced at it warily, thinking of the chair that the Fury had taken in the other. She seemed to notice his hesitation and rolled her eyes. "Oh, I'm not going to purge you like I did with that oaf. You don't have anything to purge anyway. You're just a measly human with far too much hair gel. Seriously, aren't you worried that old grey rotting hair of yours won't fall out with the amount of product you put in it? I can smell it from here. No wait, nevermind, it probably keeps it glued to your head, doesn't it?"
He stared at her, mouth falling open in surprise, as his body moved numbly towards the chair. This witch didn't seem to care at all about how she came off to people, nor how they felt about her insults. Blaine was beginning to understand Kurt for not wanting to return to being her apprentice.
"Becky, you can leave," Lady Sylvester said to the blonde girl. "And tell the other Becky-clone I want my protein shake with extra powder in it this time."
"Yes, miss," Becky replied before retreating though the door in which they came.
Sue looked at Blaine, narrowing her eyes at him, as her nostrils flared in distaste. "What the hell is that yellow thing on your shoulder?"
Startled, Blaine turned to look at the small canary that was huddled on his shoulder, wings drawn in tight, with its eyes staring at the great witch apprehensively.
"It's…it's a bird, ma'am," he answered, looking back at her.
"Hmmph. What are you, some kind of fairy tale princess then? With animal friends that do your housework for you? Let me guess, you're actually some lazy-ass whiny rich man who is trying to get Hummel to do some willy-nilly magic for him and will do anything, including coming to me on his ladyass behalf, to get it?"
Blaine bristled, but sharp talons in his shoulder reminded him not to do anything rash. Instead, he forced a smile onto his face. "No, ma'am," he said through gritted teeth. "I am here…to let you know my grandson will not be returning to be your apprentice."
Lady Sylvester stared at him for a minute before bursting out in laughter. "Oh, that's rich! Grandson! You expect me to believe that? How much did he pay you to come in here and pretend to be his grandfather?"
He frowned, shifting in his seat.
"Listen, gramps," Sue said, sitting forward and leaning on the desk. She narrowed her eyes at him. "I don't think you know who I am. I'm Sue Sylvester. Lady Sue Sylvester. That title isn't there because I drink tea and stitch doilies and talk about what lovely weather we are having. It's there because I earned it. And I made sure the people who gave it to me knew that. So don't expect any pleasantries from me, Gelmet-head. So why don't you just come out and say it? Hummel's a coward and was too scared to come tell me on his own that he didn't want to be my apprentice anymore, so he sent you instead. Typical."
"Kurt's not a coward!" Blaine blurted out, rising to his feet. Kurt-bird twittered nervously on his shoulder, fluttering its wings. But Blaine ignored the bird, a sudden anger churning in his stomach. He felt adrenaline rushing through him as he pushed out his chest and raised his chin, feeling younger than he had in weeks. "He's the most moral, compassionate person that I've ever isn't afraid to stand up for the people he cares for. It's no wonder he doesn't want to learn from you anymore! You're just a bully!"
Sue's nostrils flared, her hands clenching into white-knuckled fists in front of her. "You know, lover boy, I'm not afraid to 'shoot the messenger' as the saying goes. You'd better watch your mouth, or else your feelings for this boy are going to get you in some deep shit with me. Deeper than you already are – which is about the post-burrito level. And you don't want to know what it's like at the enema level."
"Sue, I would appreciate it if you didn't threaten my friend," a muffled voice said to their right. Whipping his head around so fast Blaine thought he heard something crack, Blaine found himself staring through the glass window at Kurt, who was grinning back at him.
"Wha-?" Blaine began, glancing at the yellow bird on his shoulder that looked up at him and blinked, cocking its head to the side. "Then who-?"
With a snap of his fingers the window shimmered and Kurt stepped through it as if it were a hologram. Blaine couldn't help but let his eyes rake over him, noting the dark wash jeans tucked into white boots and black vest over a soft-blue three-quarter length shirt that was unbuttoned at the top to reveal the edge of a white wifebeater. He had flipped his hair up in in front and had tied a violet-and-gold diamond-patterned cloak around his neck, the collar upturned in a way that it made his neck seem even longer than usual.
"How nice of you to finally join us, Porcelain," Sue growled, eyeing the cloak with annoyance and smoothing down her own outfit. "I'm actually surprised to see you here. I thought you were too chicken."
Kurt smiled tightly at her. "I'm sorry it took me so long to get here. But I thought it would be better to send in someone ahead of me – someone you couldn't touch – before coming here myself. Am I right, my lady? You did try to set a trap for me, did you not?"
Lady Sylvester returned the thin smile. "You're good, Porcelain. Why do you think you were my star pupil?" She snapped her fingers. "You remember David, of course?"
Blaine turned in his seat as a noise from the doorway behind him drew his attention. The girl from before, Becky, was leading in the Fury – except he no longer looked so formidable. His pallor had turned ashen, his hair gone lank, and his eyes looked tired. He was slouched over, hands shoved into his pocket as he shuffled his feet behind Becky. He glanced up as he entered the room and, upon seeing Kurt, froze.
"Karofsky," Kurt said, startling Blaine. He glanced at Kurt then back at the Fury – Karofsky, David Karofsky – as the connection made itself apparent. So this was the bully Kurt had gotten so worked up about. The one who-
Blaine let out a growl, startling the bird on his shoulder who flew off in nervous flight, and made to move towards Karofsky, who shrunk back from him. A hand on his shoulder stopped him, however.
"This is my fight, Mr. Anderson," Kurt murmured in his ear, before the pressure was gone and Blaine was left gaping at the wizard as he walked up to Karofsky.
"David," Kurt said calmly. "I'm not going to say what you…what you did to me was pleasant for me. But I am going to forgive you."
"You-what?" Karofsky started, looking up at Kurt, his eyes shining. "But…but what I did wasn't right. I'm so sorry, Kurt, for the way I've treated you and for…for kissing you when you didn't want it."
Blaine couldn't see, as Kurt's back was facing him, but he could tell he was smiling as he laid a gentle hand on Karofsky's shoulder. "And that's why I forgive you."
Karofsky let out a sob, covering his face with his hands as his shoulders shuddered. Blaine watched, heart swelling as Kurt took the broken teen into his arms and made shushing noises.
"Oh, for the love of – would you please stop all this sniveling? You're getting snot all over my floor," Sue snapped, startling everyone and causing Kurt and Karofsky to jump apart. Karofsky sniffed, rubbing his nose on his sleeve, keeping his head down.
"What did you do to him?" Kurt asked, looking at the teenager with concern.
Sue waved her hand dismissively. "I just returned him to the blubberingwastebasket of an oaf he is that wouldn't know hygiene if it kicked him in the rear end, but mostly because he probably wouldn't be able to feel it through all that pudge." When Kurt blinked at her, she sighed and rolled her eyes. "I simply got rid of the demon in him! And bound his magic. I wasn't going to do that to you, Porcelain. I need your magic. It's too good to waste. Just a good demon-purging is all you need."
Blaine started, glancing between Kurt and Sue. A demon? In Kurt? But how-
Sue seemed to notice his confusion and let out a bark of laughter. "Oh, you didn't know, twinkletoes? Your little boy toy here's got himself a demon."
"No. Kurt wouldn't. I don't believe you. Kurt," he said turning to the wizard in question. "Tell her you would never…tell her you didn't…"
But Kurt wasn't looking at him. He was staring down at the ground, biting his lip and shaking his head. No, Blaine thought. He's shaking his head no. No he doesn't have a demon in him. I knew he wouldn't ever do something like that.
"I'm sorry, Blaine."
He finally looked up and met Blaine's gaze. Blaine gasped as he locked eyes with black ones. The whites were still there, but the irises were as black as the pupils they surrounded, like an endless void.
"Oh, Kurt," he found himself whispering, reaching out a hand to Kurt.
Kurt blinked and slowly the black faded back to blue, but Blaine could see that his irises were still darker around the edges, like the black was still there, waiting to take over as soon as the chance came. He waited for Kurt to take his hand, but he didn't. After several seconds of Kurt just staring at Blaine's hand he looked away and, feeling crushed, Blaine let it fall to his side.
"I'm not going to take 'no' for an answer," Sue drawled from where she sat, lounging in her chair and twirling a ring of fire around her pinky. Kurt turned back to her, his face settling into a stubborn frown.
"Well, that's the only one I'm going to give, I'm afraid."
Sue's eyes narrowed, her mouth contorting into a strange grimace-like frown. "You're going back to that chia pet, aren't you? I swear, that Will Schuester-"
"Actually, Sue, I'm not. I'm done with apprenticeships altogether. But I'm especially done with you." Kurt walked over to Blaine, slipping a hand into his. Blaine jumped at the contact that had only just recently been denied to him, glancing down at their entwined fingers, and back up to Kurt, who wasn't looking at him. "Now, if you'll excuse me-"
"I'm not done with you, Hummel!" Sue shouted, finally rising from her chair. Blaine gulped, taking in her full height as she towered above them and pointed her finger at Kurt. He involuntarily took a step towards Kurt, pressing closer to him. Kurt, in turn, slid his arm around his waist and drew him even tighter against his body. If Blaine hadn't been too busy staring at Lady Sylvester in fright, he probably would have been blushing to the roots by now.
"I'm sorry, Sue, but I'm not interested in being your minion," Kurt retorted, spitting out the last word in disgust.
"I don't care what your interests are, ladyboy! You are going to work for me! I'll make sure of it! Sue Sylvester has never been denied a servant!"
Kurt laughed as he began backing up towards the window, pulling Blaine with him. A weight settled on Blaine's shoulder and he didn't have to look to know it was the yellow canary.
"I want to see you try, dragon lady."
And with that, he jumped through the window.
Sue let out a screech of unspeakable volumes, causing Karofsky to wince and Becky to bat an eye. She sped over to the window and watched as Kurt and that boy who had come in as an old man hopped onto a flying machine and rose into the air. With a growl she spun around, hand flying out and knocking over a display case of trophies.
"Becky!" she shouted.
"Yes, my lady?"
"Get me everything you know about Blaine Anderson! NOW!"
"On it, miss!"
Sue turned around and glared out the window at the fading flying machine. A small chuckle rose in her, growing louder as she realized what situation Kurt Hummel had just put himself in.
"Oh, Porcelain, you underestimated me. Just you wait. You will do what I say."
"Here you go, my lady," Becky announced, handing Sue a manila folder.
"Thank you, Becky. You may leave," she told her dismissively, watching from the corner of her eye as Becky bowed. "Take that sniveling snotball with you. And get someone to clean up this mess."
"Yes, miss. Right away, miss."
Sue opened the folder and smiled down at the picture of grinning boy in a navy blue blazer with red piping and a red and navy striped tie. "Consider yourself mine, Porcelain."