A/N: I own nothing.
Blaine Anderson had never been a happy child. His parents had always put it down to his being the second son and somehow always being in Cooper's shadow, but that was never it.
He had just been born sad. There was no explaining it, and it just got worse as he grew up. At first, as an infant, the silent child had been unnerving but a whole lot easier for Chloe Anderson to deal with than her first son – screaming, excitable Cooper had been a nightmare to look after as a baby.
It was only when he started to grow up and was supposed to be talking her ear off about school and what he did today that she got worried. He'd just sit in the backseat of the car, perfectly happy to hear his older brother break down every single minute of his day. The best that anyone could describe him as would be 'strange'. Chloe hated to call her baby boy strange, but there really was no other way that she could describe it.
But she was a mother, and she would never abandon her child, and so she soldiered on.
Blaine could hardly remember the fire. It was the only thing that Lima would talk about for days on end, but it was in 2005 and he was only 10 years old. It was a major arson attack, taking out four houses in the suburb – enough to be talked about, but not quite enough for a 10 year old to remember vividly and carry with him always.
But it was always in the back of his mind, because he was 10, which was old enough to remember the horror of the entire community at the deaths of the small children, the youngest being 5 years old.
He only started thinking again about the fire when he moved to Dalton – after the horrific Sadie Hawkins dance that he tried not to think about too much – and he saw the shrine they'd made to an, apparently, much loved teacher who had perished in it. And because Dalton had a list of the nine people who had died in the fire, out of respect, the name that had always seemed to stick with him was brought back to the front of his mind.
Kurt Elijah Hummel, 17.
The house move was his mother's idea, when it came down to it. They were just about coping with the tuition fees for Dalton, and although their father was trying as hard as he could to get a promotion to allow them to stay in Lima but pay for Blaine to board, the finances just didn't cover it.
So instead they just moved closer, so that Blaine didn't have the hideous two hour commute. It was a charming little terraced house, with just enough bedrooms and too-smooth wooden flooring and carefully wallpapered walls.
The attic had been locked off, and although Chloe Anderson looked everywhere for the key – there was nowhere to keep all of Blaine's instruments and music things – it was nowhere to be found. On top of this, the lock was a security padlock and neither Blaine nor his parents could pick locks well enough to get into the attic. Instead, his music things just cluttered the living room, making Blaine guilty as hell every time he heard his father tut at them as he walked past the living room.
The house had mice, too. Blaine heard them scratching around in the corners when he was trying to get to sleep. It was worrying, to say the least, when he thought they would fall through the somewhat flimsy ceiling onto him as he slept, but he had to just forget about it. The thought would drive him mad otherwise.
It wasn't the best, but it was close enough to Dalton, and Dalton was worth being away from Spike, Terrence and Mick. So Blaine endured.
Summers in Ohio were hell, to say the least. Most days reaching 87 degrees, there was nothing for Blaine to do but try and stay cool inside by setting up camp in his room and fanning himself, only venturing downstairs to make some more lemonade.
It was on one of the return trips from these expeditions that the attic door caught his eye, just at the top of the stairs that were right next to his room. The door was still closed, the dust still gathering around it, as the Andersons had stopped bothering trying to force the lock open, but the deadlock was very clearly hanging open on the doorknob.
Carefully setting the jug on the floor, Blaine crept towards the door, wary and cautious. That lock had definitely been unlocked by a key and without force, and it was almost definitely not his parents who had unlocked it. If it wasn't them – which he was fairly sure it wasn't – then surely that meant that they had someone who had broken into their house?
More importantly, that person had the key to the attic.
But in spite of that, Blaine's curiosity had been piqued, and he couldn't resist going up and pushing the door open, just to see. It was just to see.
Just to see.
Blaine had not expected to see someone with an ethereal quality about them, rooting through the various boxes in the attic, sorting through the clothes inside of them, and looked about as safe as you could get, considering that he had broken into their house and had snuck past Blaine's mother in the kitchen and unlocked the attic, completely undetected.
"Who – Who are you?" Blaine managed to croak out, after standing there and watching the boy sort through the clothes for a minute.
The boy smiled, but did not look up or stop sorting. "I was wondering when you'd come up. I've wanted you to for a while." His voice was quite high, higher than Blaine expected, but none of this was anything that Blaine had expected.
"You didn't answer my questions. And you do realise that that sounds more than slightly stalkerish, don't you?"
The boy raised his hand absentmindedly, flicking his wrist. The door closed behind Blaine suddenly, and he jumped a few inches closer to the intruder on the floor in shock, and he could hear the lock click.
"Am I a prisoner now?"
"Not in the slightest. Feel free to go whenever. It's just a precaution so that I can get the majority of it out before you run for the hills screaming."
"Fine. Who are you?"
The name rang a bell in the back of Blaine's mind, but he couldn't for the life of him remember where he'd heard it last. "How old are you? How did you get in?"
"17, although I've been 17 for a long time, and I've always been here, ever since 2006. I just didn't want you to see me."
Blaine let the information wash over him for a minute, absorbing it. "What do you mean, you've been 17 for a while?"
Kurt sighed, his hands finally stilling in the clothes and he looked up. Brushing his hands on the thighs of his jeans, he stood up to look Blaine in the eye. The first thing that struck Blaine was, despite Kurt's pale, nearly white and slightly translucent complexion, his bright green-blue eyes. They were what managed to keep Blaine's concentration throughout the entire meeting, the dim light in the attic reflecting off them and giving them depth.
"Blaine, you're smart. Think about it. My name is Kurt Hummel, and I've been living here since 2006. I was 17 in 2006 – hell, I was 17 in 2005, too."
Blaine didn't know what it was about '2005' that managed to trigger his memory. But, whatever it was, it did trigger it and he remembered the name Kurt Hummel along with all the tragic details of the 2005 fire.
"You… You were one of the people who died in that fire, weren't you? So… doesn't that make you a ghost?"
Kurt smiled, a sliver of a thing. "I knew you'd get it. And I've been sitting up here, waiting for someone who could actually do what I need. And you're that person."
Blaine glanced back at the door – it was still closed, and he could practically feel the lock keeping him in with Kurt. "What do you need me to do?"
"I know who set off the fire. It started at my house and it just spread. And I saw him, I know who did it. It was someone who had a long-time grudge against my father about my mother, and some confrontation at my father's work set him off. But he's still alive, he lives in this neighbourhood, and all you have to do is kill him."
Blaine's mouth opened and closed several times in shock. "Kill him? Jesus Christ, Kurt! That fire was seven years ago. Anyway, it's the 16th, it's nearly Christmas. The time of goodwill and peace, isn't it? Maybe it's time to let it go…"
Suddenly Blaine felt himself being slammed against the wall, although Kurt didn't move, but his eyes were fiery and full of anger. "Let it go?" he hissed. "He killed my father because of a grudge! He killed me and three other children besides! Revenge is necessary!"
"Revenge is pointless, Kurt! I know he wronged you, I know you're angry at him, so am I, I hate that he did this to you when you could be living right now, you could have a degree from college and you could have a new life but instead you're here, sorting through clothes. But you need to let it go."
"I'm going to kill him, and there's nothing you can do about it." The fire was still burning in Kurt's eyes, pale as they were.
"I can try to stop you." It was a bluff, and a bad one at that. Blaine knew that Kurt, as an ethereal being, was supremely stronger and more powerful than him, but it was worth the shot. As soon as he said it, Blaine knew it was a mistake – Kurt would see through the bluff in less than a second.
Kurt laughed at him – sharp, humourless. "How deluded are you, Blaine? I found him. I found the guy who killed my father, and you can either help or be a nuisance. And if you're going to be a nuisance, well. It's easily dealt with."
Blaine sighed. There was no way around this. Assisting a murder was something he'd never thought he would ever do, or agree to. But there didn't seem to be anything in the law, which he knew of, that said anything about this. Joint enterprise or complicity law had no guidance if one of the conspirators was a ghost. How did you sentence someone who you couldn't even see?
Begrudgingly, Blaine nodded. "Yes, fine. I'll help you."
Kurt nodded his head, an acknowledgement and some sort of gratitude, Blaine thought. He couldn't really tell – it was impossible to with him. What Kurt didn't want you knowing, you didn't know. He flickered for a few seconds and disappeared, although the clothes kept floating into piles.
The lock unclicked, and, taking it as a very unsubtle request to leave, Blaine carefully slipped out of the room.
It wasn't until Wednesday that Blaine next heard from Kurt. The attic had gone back to being locked, and there wasn't a hope of hell of him getting back in there. The power that Kurt had, both over Blaine and inside the house, was frankly astounding.
But did Kurt have a power of him. He'd been thinking constantly of that meeting in the attic. If Kurt could flicker in and out of vision, surely that meant that he wanted Blaine's help. But that made no sense. Some of Kurt's childhood friends must have still been alive and undoubtedly at least one or two would still be in Lima.
But no. Kurt hadn't gone to them for help – he had come to Blaine. And maybe Blaine was reading into it too much, but he just couldn't get Kurt's face out of his head. It was pale, the features faded by existing as a spirit and lingering for too long, but he was still beautiful. His eyes had somehow managed to retain their colour, and that was what had stuck.
That, and the fact that the ghost was fucking gorgeous.
But on Wednesday, a note somehow made its way to Blaine's desk. It was handwritten, hurriedly too. The letters were short and joined together, but it was still perfectly legible.
2 am tonight. I know the latest your parents go to bed is 1:30. Wear navy blue. Don't bring anything – I just need a lookout. K.
It was bewildering, but Blaine complied. By 2 am Thursday morning, he was standing outside his house and shivering in the early December air, having managed to dredge up blue jeans and a blue hoodie from his closet – the jeans he didn't even know he'd bought, though he had a suspicion that they were actually cousin Susie's.
A few minutes of Blaine shivering – he didn't have a navy blue coat, and he knew Kurt would make him take it off – passed before Kurt flickered into view. He took in Blaine's attire and smiled timidly. "Oh, good. You did find some navy blue stuff. You have no idea how much easier that makes this."
Blaine watched him carefully, still not trusting Kurt. With everything that happened in the attic, Kurt's aggressive nature revealed, he knew that he would do well not to trust the ghost. He probably should have just gone to bed, but he had a sneaking feeling that Kurt would just drag him out of bed with nasty consequences if he did.
Kurt fixed a glare on Blaine's outfit before raising a hand. His blue eyes glowed amber for a second before lowering the hand. There was definite feeling of a lighter body, but nothing dramatic.
"What did you do?" Blaine asked, watching Kurt warily.
"Temporarily invisible to human vision. Animals will still be able to see you – but they can see me anyway, all the time. They're just intelligent."
Blaine bowed his head, ever so slighted bowled over by this. It wasn't something he'd really expected to happen, ever – he was invisible. But he really wouldn't have known any different, so small was the change.
"Come on!" Kurt hissed, glancing back at him impatiently. Oh. He hadn't realised that Kurt was already moving. "His daughter'll be up by six, we need to get going."
Blaine was tempted to stop at this news, but at the fear of Kurt's wrath, he kept walking. "Jesus, Kurt. He has a daughter? How old is she?"
"Still a baby, but he's killed those. At least I'm sparing the family."
"At what cost? What can justify leaving a baby and a mother to fend for themselves?"
"He killed eleven people. That's what."
The journey was silent after that.
Finally, they came to a halt outside a large semi-detached house. It was in a slightly more upmarket area, and it was very well designed. Kurt turned to Blaine, and the hatred in his eyes was tangible now that they were this close to his father's killer.
God, this was terrifying. Murder. That was what this was. Cold blooded murder, and Blaine was practically condoning it. Never mind that Kurt was an irrepressible ghost, it was still murder.
"Stay here. You're just the guard, I'll actually do the dirty work, don't worry. Just make sure that nobody comes in. I don't know if his wife is out or not. If she, or anyone, does try to come in, pretend to be a ghost and haunt them. Whatever you do, they can't find me. I can't commit a mortal sin while I'm invisible. Stupid arbitrary afterlife rules," he hissed, before sliding through the carefully crafted oak door.
Blaine sunk down to sit on the patio steps. Nobody was going to come; Kurt was just being over-precautious. It was 2:15 am on Thursday. Nothing happened on Thursdays.
Well, apart from a ghost taking revenge on someone that was apparently seven years overdue. He just knew that it was going to be a long night.
But, surprisingly, it only took him fifteen minutes, and it was completely silent. If Blaine had just been walking past – at 2:30 am, for whatever reason – he wouldn't have known that someone was being killed.
"Let's go," Kurt whispered hurriedly, grabbing Blaine's elbow and trying to yank him up. But his hand just slipped through the skin – even though Blaine was invisible, he was still human. Kurt blushed, but waited patiently for Blaine to stand up of his own accord.
As they hurried off, Kurt looked at Blaine and snuck a sly smile. "Thanks," he murmured before flickering into oblivion outside Blaine's house.
Well, that was it. Kurt had done what he'd waited so long to do. The man who had set off the 2005 fire was dead, even though it was through illegal means, and so surely that meant that Kurt would have left.
Which meant that Blaine was extremely surprised to see Kurt standing over him a few weeks later, crystal clear eyes shining with some mix of guilt and passion.
"I can't leave, Blaine," he started, and the pain made Blaine shift up to sitting in the bed, leaning against the headboard.
"I've tried. I want to leave. I hate it here. I just want to go to the ethereality, however boring it will be, because it's going to be better than lingering in Lima for centuries to come. But I can't. Because you're here. I don't know why, but because I had to watch you for months and months, waiting just to make sure you could be trusted. And you were, but now I can't leave. Because somewhere along the way, I fell in love with you."
Blaine's mouth opened and shut several times in shock. "Kurt… I… I don't know what to say."
The sadness in Kurt's eyes seemed to increase tenfold at that, and it was starting to worry him. "Just know that I'm so sorry."
The gunshot echoed throughout the empty house.
Blaine knew that Kurt was waiting for him – the spirit, that is – to emerge out of the bloody corpse. And so it was a pleasant surprise when he was met with a gentle hand on his face and warm lips carefully pressed against his.
Blaine kissed back, moving one hand to support Kurt's head as he did so. When they drew apart, the first Christmas snow falling in the window behind them, it just made the past month worth it.
Just look at his spirit now.