DISCLAIMER: I do not own Glee, nor am I associated with it or RIB. Actually, I just don't own anything. There we go.
Just a Summer Job
Note: I saw this prompt on tumblr (on blangstpromptoftheday) and decided I had to fill it. I didn't give a name to the place Blaine works at because I based it on a crappy job I had a certain place and didn't want to name names so ummm yeah. Anyway, I hope this is alright. I kinda got a little carried away, but what can I say? The blangst was calling!
Prompt: Blaine gets a summer job, but one (or more) of his supervisors is homophobic. He can't get a job anywhere else because nowhere else is hiring and he can't quit because he needs the money. Kurt finds out how horribly Blaine is being treated at work.
Warning: Harsh language as well as homophobic slurs are in this ficlet (thrown around by the assholes who Blaine just so happens to work for.) Also, discussion of an incident involving Karofsky (tw: suicide) is briefly mentioned, but not discussed in depth; just highlighted a bit. If homophobia is hard for you to read, you won't like this fic. Just a warning.
"How's your job going?"
"It's good. The days are long, but I'm getting paid and that's all that matters, right?"
"I dunno. If it's not something you enjoy, maybe you should get a job somewhere else, you know?"
"Kurt, you know no one else is hiring right now. This place is close to my house and I don't have to waste gas to get there, plus they pay well, so why leave? I'm only gonna stay there until the summer ends, you know that."
"Well, it was just a suggestion-"
"-and I appreciate that. Thank you."
The thing about Blaine Anderson's summer job was that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
When his mother came home one bright afternoon with a smile on her face and a job application in her hand, Blaine just couldn't pass it up. He had been asking around for weeks for a job and despite the numerous applications he turned in or the interviews he went on, no one called. However, after putting in a good word about him at her own workplace, Blaine's mother came in with a job guarantee of sorts - if Blaine didn't mind working in the food industry, he had a job practically secured at a local franchise sub shop.
So he took it… and had been working there ever since.
However, it was his second week on the job when he found himself in a bit of a conundrum. One of the new hires quit and Blaine found himself bumped up from the behind the scenes work to running the front line - making subs and the like, as well as running register.
And that's when he met his new supervisor, Ron.
Ron was a typical guy's guy, totally into sports and women and anything that one could consider 'macho' by society's standards. Ron was also a huge homophobe, something that Blaine himself didn't find out until his second day on the job.
"Move down to the end of the line. I want you finishing today, alright? Get those subs wrapped up and to checkout, you got me?"
"Yes, sir," Blaine said quietly as he slid on his rubber food handling gloves and took his spot at the end of the line. He did his job as quick as possible, adding whatever else to people's subs as they came down the line, plus wrapping the sandwiches up and passing them down to Lily, the cashier for the day.
Lily was another one of the summer hires, a junior from Thurston High who seemed to be a pretty decent girl once she and Blaine were able to talk between the lunch and dinnertime rush hours. During their downtime, while Ron was in the back taking a break, Blaine found himself being told a story about how long Lily and her boyfriend Jack had been dating. That was when his co-worker asked him a question he had been dreading to answer the second he put on his uniform: "Are you dating anyone?"
He didn't want to seem anti-social, so he muttered a quiet "Yes" and went about his business restocking the lettuce. Then he heard, "What's she like?"
That was something he didn't know how to answer. His silence only seemed to spark a fire under Lily and the girl beamed from ear to ear, leaning close, "What's he like then?"
Blaine blushed and that's how Lily came to find out about Kurt.
That's also how Ron and several others found out about Blaine's sexuality as well.
"Are you done yet?" Ron grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest as he glared down at Blaine. For the last hour, since a few minutes before closing time, Blaine had been cleaning the front room - wiping down the tables, sweeping, mopping, putting away condiments, emptying out the trash, cleaning the restrooms… whatever Ron told him to do, he did it.
"Almost," he said softly, popping the caps off of the soda dispensers to soak for the night. "I just have to take those bags of trash outside and that's it."
"Jesus Christ, you're slow," his supervisor groaned, tossing himself down carelessly into a plastic backed chair. He watched with narrowed eyes as Blaine finished off cleaning the soda machine and then went to grab up the trash bags. "Clock out first and you can carry those out to the dumpster on your way out. Now hurry up!"
Blaine didn't argue, instead he rushed to the register, punched in his employee code and dashed over to the door to grab up the bags. He waited until Ron finished clocking out before he hefted both heavy trash bags over his back and pushed all his weight against the door. Ron stepped out before him and Blaine went on his way down the parking lot towards the dumpsters. He was almost there when he felt a jab in his back and down he went, bags and all, crashing into the asphalt with a thud. Behind him, Ron snickered.
"You'd better be more careful, faggot. Don't want to ruin your precious clothes!"
Blaine pushed himself up off the ground slowly and looked around the empty parking lot, eyes filling with tears as he watched Ron hop off to his car and jump inside.
"Make sure you clean up your mess, Anderson, or it's your ass on the line!" Then off the man went in his car, leaving a garbage covered Blaine alone in the parking lot.
Of course, this treatment wasn't anything new to him now.
Blaine wasn't expecting the jeers to come, not after his heartfelt conversation with Lily just hours before, but that night, after Lily clocked out and went home, Blaine found himself alone with Ron on cleaning duty.
And that's when he found out that Ron knew about him… and Kurt.
"So you're a queer, huh?"
The mop fell out of Blaine's hands and clattered to the floor, taking with it the bucket of soapy water. The stunned boy scampered to grab up what he dropped, but he found his hands quivering in fright.
Ron knew. Ron knew he was gay and oh God, he sounded disgusted and oh God no.
"I heard you talking about your boyfriend. Never would've expected that from you, Anderson. Sure, you've got the strangest hair I've ever seen, but damn I was not expecting you to be a cocksucker, that's for sure."
Blaine swallowed hard, his heart thudding in his chest as he waited for something awful to happen - it wasn't like it hadn't happened before…
"I thought I was gonna puke listening to you rave about your pussy-footed boyfriend. I mean, jesus, which one of you is the twink in the relationship? You or him? Because he just sounds like a flaming fruit and the way you sounded talking about him didn't make you look any better."
Fear and anger bubbled up inside Blaine's gut as he rose to his feet and righted the mop back into the bucket. He listened with burning ears as his supervisor spoke horrible nonsense about him and his relationship with Kurt and he tried to let the hateful words brush over his shoulders, but when the older man started in on calling Kurt horrid names, he felt his dam burst.
"Don't talk about Kurt that way," he hissed, turning on his heel to glare up at his boss, lips drawn tight as he struggled to not go flying across the room to pummel the guy's face in. "You leave him out of this. He's not here, so don't speak of him that way… why does my relationship and personal life matter to you anyway? I'm not doing anything wrong!"
"Because people like you are parading around showing off your sickness, that's why it matters to me!"
Blaine chewed on his cheek, the hairs on the back of his neck bristling, "Being gay is not a disease."
"Bullshit, you homos all say that." Ron changed his voice, speaking in a rough soprano for a moment, "We were born this way blah blah blah. Bullshit. You think I'm the only one who isn't cool with this shit, Anderson?"
Blaine stayed silent, eyes darting to the floor as he fought with himself to not speak any more. The man behind him continued, "That Lily girl might've been cool with it, but I'm not and neither are half the guys here, Anderson. You think I'm bad, just wait until Morgan hears about this… or Collins. They'd have a field day, you better believe me!"
"You can't talk to me like that," Blaine whispered, his hands wrapped tightly around the handle of the broom, "This is harassment."
"And what makes you think they'd believe you over me, hmm? All I have to do is tell them that you came onto me and boom, you're out of here on your ass, fairy boy, though I'm mighty sure you'd like it like that, wouldn't you?" Ron chuckled to himself and came up behind Blaine, one hand smacking down on his shoulder with a hard grasp. Blaine shook under his touch, "Keep your mouth shut and no one gets hurt, you got me?"
With tears in his eyes, Blaine nodded, going straight back to work with his heart in his throat and his stomach dropped down to his toes.
For weeks he got bullied. Ron told the other men at the shop and they chimed in to pick on Blaine whenever they got the chance. As soon as a customer would file out of the store, the insults went flying and because there weren't any security cameras in the store, it was like nothing ever happened.
Day in and day out, Blaine took on more work. He did all the cleaning, all the prep, everything he was asked to do because he was terrified, so scared that Ron and the other guys would do something, scared that they'd hurt him or even worse hurt Kurt. So for weeks, Blaine just dealt with it; he ignored the burning pain of the hateful remarks, ignored the constant falls to the floor after a strategically placed foot would pop out to trip him as he walked by… he just ignored it all and dealt with it.
And when Kurt started noticing little changes in his boyfriend's demeanor, Blaine just brushed it off.
"Jesus, Blaine, you've been working yourself to the bone. Look at you!"
Blaine shrugged out of Kurt's grasp and stepped into the house, waving hello to Burt and Carole before he jogged up the stairs with Kurt hot on his tail.
"Have you been eating?"
"Of course I have, dummy. I work at a sub shop. I eat all of the time."
"Well you don't look it," Kurt muttered, walking in a circle around his boyfriend as he observed the way Blaine's collarbones stuck out a little bit more and the way his clothes seemed looser on his already tiny frame. "Jeez, I should probably give you some of my eye cream as well. You've got circles under your eyes."
"Gee, thanks. I come over to visit my boyfriend who I haven't seen in almost two weeks and this is the stuff I get."
"Oh, calm down, tiger. I wasn't trying to insult you. I'm just worried. You didn't look this exhausted a few weeks ago. What are they doing to you over there?"
Blaine just shrugged and plopped down on the bed, scooting himself into a more comfortable position as Kurt curled up next to him. "It's just a lot of hard work, that's all."
"Ahh, making submarine sandwiches… the hardest job of all-"
Blaine smiled sadly, jabbing his pointer finger into his boyfriend's side. "Don't knock it until you try it," he teased, laughing when Kurt squealed at the poke.
Of course, deep down he was dying to just tell someone about the jeers and comments he got at work, but instead he kept to himself because who wanted to hear Blaine's petty problems anyways?
"Can I come and visit you at work?"
Blaine jumped, eyes widening as he stared up at Kurt. His boyfriend was looking down at him through heavy lidded eyes, one finger tracing up and down Blaine's sweaty chest. "Umm, why?"
"Because… I just want to see what all goes on there. You're always tired and you've lost so much weight. I want to know what kind of work they've got you doing there. No one loses that much weight working around such good food… or at least I wouldn't, I mean, my God those subs are amazing."
"Yeah, they're okay," Blaine murmured, snuggling into Kurt's side. He closed his eyes and listened to the steady strum of the love of his life's heartbeat. God, he wanted to tell Kurt so badly about all the crap he was dealing with at work, but he didn't want to get anyone involved; he only had three more weeks of hell to go and then he'd be done and could spend more time with Kurt before school started.
But the more he thought about it, the more he wondered if things would even change if he quit his job. It wasn't like he'd never see those people again; the sub shop was so close to his house and one of the workers there had family who lived nearby and his own mother worked with a relative of the owner. It was like he would never, ever escape.
It was a nightmare he'd just have to keep on living.
A few days after Kurt asked if he could stop by, he did.
It was the worst thing Blaine could ever imagine happening. He was leaving the store with Ron and Roger, another one of his homophobic co-workers, when he spotted Kurt's Navigator at the edge of the parking lot. Quietly, he prayed to himself that Kurt would just stay in the car and not even make himself known; he didn't want Ron or Roger to see him and start in on him because after all the shit Kurt had went though, he just didn't deserve it. So, as quickly as he could, he rushed over to the dumpsters and threw both bags of trash inside, cringing when he felt one of the bags (filled with discarded soda cups and containers of salad dressings) rip and start leaking all over him.
"Ha, gotcha homo!"
Blaine cringed, eyes darting up to Kurt's car where he spotted his boyfriend about to hop out. He shook his head negatively and watched as Kurt remained still, obviously pissed as hell, but obeying Blaine's request.
"I didn't think it'd tear, but it did. We got you good. That's what you get, sausage muncher," Roger joked. Behind him, he pulled out an open package of salami and waved it in Blaine's face, tossing it in his hands not too long after. The smell was something else: rotten and meaty. Bile filled Blaine's throat as he struggled not to vomit on his co-worker's shoes. "You see this, Anderson? Ronald over there told me to give this to you. We thought about throwing it out, but considering the fact that you like stuff like this up your ass, we thought we'd give you a little gift. Do with it as you want!" He exploded in laughter and Ron followed not too far behind, throwing one hand in the air for a high five and then both men went towards their cars opposite of the dumpsters. "Peace out, fag!"
Blaine waited for them to get in the car and drive off before he threw the sausage away and picked bits of trash from his hair and off his clothes. Behind him, he could hear Kurt rushing to his aid and he bit back a sob.
"Oh my God, Blaine, why didn't you tell me this was going on?"
"Y-You shouldn't have come. It's n-not that bad-"
"Don't you dare try to downplay this! They were harassing you! They were bullying you, Blaine!"
"Don't you think I know that already?!" Blaine yelled as he tossed his hands into the air. Kurt stepped back, tears in his eyes as he watched his boyfriend begin to pace the parking lot at a rapid speed. "They've been doing this for weeks, but it's almost over. I only have two weeks to go. I put in my notice today and after this, I'm done. I won't have to deal with them anymore-"
"You shouldn't have had to deal with it at all, honey."
Kurt stepped forward, tugging Blaine close to his chest as the smaller boy shuddered and then finally broke down in his arms. "Shh, Blaine, shh. You don't deserve this. You don't."
"I just d-don't understand why they're doing this," Blaine cried, his hands bunched into the sides of Kurt's shirt. "I never did anything to them."
"They're assholes, homophobic assholes."
Kurt continued to comfort his boyfriend, shushing Blaine after the boy tried to pull away with the thought of ruining Kurt's clothes with his garbage covered body. As his distraught boyfriend sobbed, Kurt found himself brainstorming.
He wasn't going to let those assholes get away with it, not at all.
The very next day, Blaine walked into work, fake smile plastered on as he stepped behind the counter, punched in his employee code and clocked in. Beside him, he could see Lily's smiling face and he offered her an actual genuine smile back before he tied on his smock and fixed his visor.
"Are the assholes here yet?" He asked, wearily eyeing the back room where his supervisors and other workers usually hung out. Lily shook her head and pointed to a car parked outside.
"Ron's talking to his girlfriend on the phone. Roger's on shift today, but he doesn't come in until noon, so it's just us and Ron for now."
"Great," Blaine muttered plainly, watching as Ron stepped out of his car and into the empty shop. The man fixed a grin to Lily and then made a face at Blaine before slipping into the bathroom.
"I don't know why you deal with that every single day."
"Neither do I," Blaine answered as he went about setting up his station.
Only two more weeks.
Only one more week.
Lily frowned as she pried open the freezer door and found Blaine standing inside, skin pale and slightly blue and lips chattering despite the fact that he looked pissed as hell. "They locked you in here again, didn't they?" She questioned sadly. She was still in her regular get-up, having just clocked in, and on her way to the back to change, she overheard the guys laughing about Blaine being in the freezer. "You should report them. This is getting ridiculous."
They won't listen to me, Blaine thought to himself as he stepped out of the walk-in and pushed away the pile of heavy boxes used to blockade him inside the freezer. He shook out his hands (cold and numb even though he took out his anger on an unsuspecting bag of frozen chicken - something he usually did when the guys locked him in the walk-in) and walked back to the front, mind still reeling. I don't see why you don't report them either, he mentally admonished as he stared back at the upset girl before him. Even though she was a good friend, she never stood up for him either.
He stopped, looking up at the small girl as she wiped away a tear from her eye. She pursed her lips together for a second and then wrapped him up in a tight hug.
"I just don't want you to do what that Karofsky boy did."
He forgot she had went to Karofsky's new school. She had revealed it to him a few days after they started talking; supposedly she was one of the only people who didn't attack Dave on his Facebook before or after his suicide attempt and even though she barely knew him, she was deeply upset over what happened.
Still squeezing him tight, Lily hummed under her breath and then let him go, "I really like you, Blaine, you know that right? I just don't want to see you go down that path."
Ha. Lily just didn't understand.
Blaine looked down at his pale skin, at the way the bones in his wrist stuck out a little more, at the way his waist tapered in much more than it did months ago, and at the way he slouched just a bit. It was like the fight was draining out of him and the only thing that was keeping him going was his boyfriend and that fact that after this was all over, Kurt would still be there. Gnawing on his lower lip, he stepped away from Lily and mentally tried to prepare himself to go back out to the lion's den.
"Just be careful, okay?"
He couldn't promise anything.
"Lily, why don't you go home for the evening? Blaine, Ron, and I will get this all cleaned up."
"You've got day shift tomorrow and you'll need your rest. We've got evening tomorrow; we'll be fine."
Lily shot a look back at Blaine, but the boy was already set to breaking down the line and putting food away. Mentally, the girl willed her friend strength and went on her way, leaving Blaine back at the shop with two of the biggest assholes she worked with. Deep down, she hoped he'd be okay.
Blaine finished up his last bit of work. Across the store from him, Ron and Roger sat at a table together, acting as if they were boyfriends, making lewd remarks about Blaine and his sexuality while they watched him do all the work.
"Is the turdburglar done yet?" Roger asked with a chuckle. Ron rolled his eyes and yelled, "You done yet, Anderson?!"
Blaine nodded and went to grab up the trash bags, having already clocked out for the night. He waited until both Ron and Roger were through in the shop before he hefted the bags over his back and pushed his way outside, almost tripping when Roger darted in front of him.
"Oh, whoops! Sorry about that. I forgot it was ladies first!"
Blaine ignored the comment and went down the parking lot, hands trembling as he struggled to carry the slick handled bags to the dumpster. He could feel a trickle of something cold running down his back that he was sure was someone's discarded soda and possibly some Italian dressing (based on the smell); he gagged, eyes watering when he heard his co-workers laughing their asses of behind him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something come flying at him and before he knew it, he was on the ground, once again covered in trash.
Someone had thrown a bag of moldy bread in his face.
Biting back tears, he stood back up and lifted the soggy trash bags into the dumpster, followed by the bag of bread. He shut out Ron and Roger's laughing and their jeers of derogatory slurs as he went on his way towards the road to his house, arms crossed over his chest as angry tears threatened to fall from his eyes.
He was just so humiliated, so defeated.
Behind him, Roger and Ron called out a few more names before they got in their cars and sped off and once they were out of his line of sight, Blaine broke down, collapsing to the ground in a fit of harsh sobs. He clutched his arms around his knees and bawled over the injustice and insensitivity of it all, his heart aching at the thought that anyone could treat a human being, someone with feelings, like this.
"Blaine! Honey, are you okay?"
He looked up, stunned when spotted two dark forms running at him. Kurt and Lily came dashing towards him, both looking a little worse for wear as they dropped to the ground beside him.
"Come here," Kurt whispered, his voice wet with tears as he pulled Blaine to his chest. Blaine wept into Kurt's jacket and next to him, he felt Lily's presence as a thinner set of arms curled around him.
"We're here, Blaine. It'll all be alright."
"I just don't- I can't- I don't-"
"Shh, honey," Kurt hushed. He looked over to Lily and the girl unwrapped herself from Blaine, her gaze shooting to an area near the shop next to a set of hedges. "We're going to get those guys, I promise."
"Kurt, what? I don't-"
Lily waved her arms and a tall, lanky boy came out of the bushes, his hands wrapped around a tiny camera. The boy smiled and gave Blaine a little wave as he got closer. "Blaine?" Lily spoke, eyes still on the unnamed man. "This is my boyfriend."
"W-Why is he here?"
"Because we're going to stop those assholes, that's why." Kurt hissed. "Jack has been videotaping those guys the last few nights. I talked to Lily about what you told me and she confirmed everything. She's been recording stuff as well-"
"-and tomorrow we're going to your boss. We're going to get those guys and if we have to, we'll go out with this. People need to see what happened here."
"But Kurt, I-"
"No, Blaine, you don't get to tell me to let it go this time… not after what I saw tonight. These people need stopped and we're going to stop them."
Blaine stared up at his boyfriend, face still wet from crying. He looked over at Lily and Jack and down at Jack's tiny camera, filled with videos of the last few nights - and who knows what all Lily was able to capture on the job as well?
A whole new set of emotions came tearing through and Blaine clutched Kurt a little bit tighter, still holding tight as his boyfriend led him to the Navigator. He felt his heart swell as Kurt buckled him in and then said goodnight to Lily and Jack; he felt everything grow lighter at the thought that these people cared so much about him that they were going to fight for him, with him.
"We're going to put a stop to this, honey," Kurt whispered, taking Blaine's hand in his own as he started on the road home. "You won't have to fight this alone, you have my word."
And with that, Blaine closed his eyes, a little bit of that awful, stifling weight falling off of his shoulders. He didn't know if anything great would come from what they were about to do, but with Kurt at his side (and subsequently, Lily and Jack), he hoped that things could only get better and that they'd be able to show Ohio (and maybe even the world) that bullying and harassment, no matter what reason, just wasn't okay.
A/N: I'm not continuing this, btw. I was just filling a prompt and this is the result. I know I should probably get back to my other fics, but if any of you happen to be reading my fic Not Like This, you'll find a bit of a status update in the author's note of the last update of that fic that should explain where my thought process has been. Thanks for reading and please review! :)