Uplifting

Author's Note: Guess what? This is my 70th story! :D I hope you enjoy this story. It's kind of a winter-theme thing.

Disclaimer: I don't own Glee. Or skiing.

I stomp my feet a little to dislodge the snow, rubbing my hands together at the same time. My breath crystallizes in front of my face as I let out a sigh. Since it's the Christmas break, my family decided to take a trip to some snowy hills to ski…not exactly my idea of a great time. (Of course, I would rather be watching Les Miserables at the theater, dressed in character and singing all the songs.) It's not that I suck at skiing; it's just that I don't enjoy freezing my face off.

Dad and Carol are sitting in the lodge, sipping hot chocolate and having some "alone time", so I was forced to accompany my step-brother skiing. Finn has no coordination, so he can only go on the easiest trails. In fact, he barely qualified to leave the bunny hill. But, he's very determined when he wants to be and is now attempting to ski down the real hills. On his second try, he accidentally picked a more difficult trail and spent most of it sliding down the steep decline on his butt. How he's managing to keep his spirits up, I have no idea.

I'm currently in line, by myself, waiting to go on the ski lift. It's one of those suspended ones that carry your seat high above the ground on thick cables before depositing you on the top of the hill. To get on, you have to time it correctly so that you sit down right before it takes off. I remember the first time I was skiing; I was about ten years old and terrified. Dad held my hand the entire time, and through him I found that it was an alright experience. I've never been that bothered by heights, since I had my big, strong dad to take care of me. It's the cold weather that I have a problem with.

There's a little bit of a commotion ahead of me in the line. A boy with platinum blonde hair is talking to a shorter boy with dark curls poking out from under his toque. "Come on, Blaine," he says, and he sounds a little tired, "Just get on the lift. It's not that bad, I promise."

In silent response, the smaller boy—Blaine, I assume—moves to the side a little so that people behind him can go ahead. The blonde guy shakes his head, "You can't avoid this forever," he says, reaching out to his friend, "It's easy, man. I'll even hold your hand, if you want."

"I don't need you to hold my hand!" the boy snaps, flinching away, "I just need time, okay?"

"You've had enough time. Just slide in front when the chair comes."

I'm only a few people away from where they are now. Both boys are standing to the right of the line and other skiers are going ahead of them without a spare glance. Blaine looks a little flustered. "It's not the getting on the chair part that I'm nervous about," he says indignantly. He looks around him and I wonder if his face is red from embarrassment or the cold wind, "Just go on ahead of me, Jeff. I'll be right behind you."

The taller by rolls his eyes. "Okay. But I'll wait at the top of the hill for you and, if you don't get there, I'll freeze to death."

"Gotcha," Blaine mumbles and he watches forlornly as his friend, Jeff, gets on the ski lift with two strangers and gets carried out of sight.

I try not to give him any kind of sympathetic glance, because I know I would hate it if someone pitied me for something like this. Soon enough, I pass him in line and ski in front of where the seat will come. To my surprise, the curly-haired boy slides up beside me, looking slightly nervous. It's not that I didn't expect to be sitting with anyone; I'm just surprised that the boy got up the courage to tackle an obvious fear.

His mouth is tight and his eyes are worried as the seat jerks a little and starts moving forward. His gloved hand tightens impossibly on the bar beside him. I don't usually talk to strangers, but I turn to him and ask softly, "Hey, are you okay?"

Blaine's eyes briefly meet mine before he nods stiffly. I don't get a response beyond that, but I don't really expect one. He's very much on edge right now, gritting his teeth and fighting to remain calm. I leave him be.

Our seat lifts off into the air and we're moving forward, suspended above the ground by the cables. Blaine has his head tilted back, face towards the sky, and his eyes are tightly shut as he concentrates on breathing evenly. I feel sympathetic towards him, but also helpless. I try to think of what I would want in this situation of nerves and tension.

He glances over at me in surprise when I gently take his gloved hand in my own. I'm not sure what his reaction will be—probably disgust or discomfort—but I simply look ahead of me and don't make a big deal about it. To my surprise, he threads our fingers together and holds my hand tighter as we move, many feet off the ground.

"I'm Blaine."

His voice is like honey. I turn to him and give him a small smile. "Nice to meet you. I'm Kurt." Blaine still looks very tense, but he seems somewhat comfortable with my presence and I'm kind of astonished.

He rewards me with a shaky smile. "Nice to meet you, too."

The next few moments are filled with silence, but it's not entirely awkward. He keeps a firm grip on my hand and gradually starts to relax a little. Blaine definitely avoids looking down, but he allows himself to look around him. I try to stop myself from staring at him.

The boy beside me is handsome in a charming way. He's got large hazel eyes framed by long lashes, curly hair showing from under his toque and a strong jaw line above his scarf. He glances over at me a couple of times, but I assume that it's just because he's catching me staring.

We're not far from the top of the hill when disaster strikes. I'm acutely aware of my surroundings and so is he, so we both react when the lift shudders. I hear him gasp beside me when our seat swings a little, but that's not the end. With another unidentifiable noise, the ski lift stops movie altogether. We're stuck.

"Shit!" Blaine says, freezing up. His hand tightens in mine so much that it hurts, but there's no way that I'm going to complain to him. He closes his eyes, taking shuddering breaths. "Oh my God, this can't be happening to me. The first time I go skiing…of course I freaking get stuck on the lift. Oh my God, I'm gonna die."

I'm not sure what's happening technically with the lift, but I'm also uncertain as to how to help Blaine out. "You're not gonna die, I promise," I say to him.

He meets my gaze instantly and his hazel eyes are bright with barely-restrained panic. "Kurt, I'm scared of heights," he blurts out.

I chuckle softly before I can stop it, "Yeah, Blaine, I know."

He stares at me blankly for a few moments—in which I'm very nervous that he's going to hate me—before a startled laugh escapes his perfect lips. "Yeah, I guess you can tell," he mutters. A blush rises on his cheeks as he seems to realize how tightly he's holding my hand, "Sorry."

"Hey, it's alright," I say. He loosens his grip so that he isn't crushing my hand anymore—which I need to play piano, so that's good—but he doesn't let go altogether. I'm undeniably pleased by this. There's a silence filled only by the laughter of people below and around us, and the shaking breaths of the boy beside me who's struggling to stay calm. I decide that he needs a distraction. "So, are you here with family?" I ask politely.

Blaine looks at me, gratitude clear on his tanned features. "No, not with family," he replies, "I'm actually here as a field trip with my glee club. We're an all-boys a capella group."

"Oh, really? That's cool." Of course he can sing. I'm glad that a voice like his isn't going to waste.

"Yeah," he grins at me, "What about you?" I can tell that he's still nervous, but talking about something else is helping him.

"I'm here for a family trip," I explain and he nods politely. We have something in common, so I bring it up, "I'm in glee club at school, too."

Blaine's face brightens up, "Cool! Um…where do you go to school?"

"William McKinley High, in Lima."

His grip on my hand tightens in excitement, "No way! I'm from Westerville! Dalton Academy."

"Isn't that a private school?" I tease him. I don't mention that I looked up schools that would help me escape from the bullying. "Are you a prep-school boy?"

He giggles, "Yeah, I guess I am."

"Uniforms?"

"Of course," then he winks at me and I find myself to be the one blushing.

Blaine looks over at me, then bites his bottom lip. Before I can ask him what's wrong, he hesitantly moves closer to me on the bench-like seat so that his leg touches mine slightly. "So, um, I know this is kind of weird," he says awkwardly, staring at our joined hands, "But…could I maybe get your number?"

I'm shocked. It's not that I didn't suspect that he's gay, it's just that I didn't expect him to actually be interested in me. "Oh, um," I've never had trouble expressing myself, but I can't find the words right now. Blaine misinterprets.

"It's okay if you don't want to. I mean, you don't have to—" He starts to remove his hand from mine, but I keep it there.

"No! No, Blaine, that's not what I meant," I ramble, "I…I'd really like that, actually." I'm happy when a hesitant smile lights up his face once more. "But, maybe when we get back inside or something? Because, it's kind of cold and we both have mittens on, so…"

He nods quickly, "Yeah, yeah of course." His hazel eyes bore into my blue ones. "So…do you want to hang out with me today?"

I raise my eyebrows, "Don't you want to spend time with your glee club?"

"Come on," he scoffs, "I go to school with those crazies; I see them all the time. I want to get to know you."

I know I must look stupidly happy, but I can't make myself regret it. "That sounds great."

"I mean, unless you're spending time with your family or something! I wouldn't want to steal you away."

I nudge his shoulder, "Nonsense. I'm only spending time with my step-brother and he's fine by himself."

Blaine's got the nicest smile. "Great."

I'm about to start another conversation when the ski lift rumbles to life once more. Blaine's breath catches in his throat as our seat shudders and he holds tightly to me once more when we get moving. "Oh my God, what if we fall?" he exclaims slightly hysterically.

"You're not gonna fall, Blaine," I say without thinking, "I've got you."

He gets a strange look on his face and then I get an armful of Blaine as he hugs me around the waist. Our skis tangle together and I rub his back through the ride up. By the time we have to dismount from the lift, he's almost completely relaxed. We ski away from the end of the lift and he laughs at me when I almost fall into a snow bank.

"Blaine!" It's the blonde boy from the bottom of the hill. "Were you stuck on the lift? Are you okay?"

Blaine smiles at his friend as the blonde approaches us. "Don't worry, Jeff, I survived. Mostly because of Kurt."

Jeff gives me an analyzing look. "You helped him out?"

"Well…yeah, I guess…"

"Thanks," he says. He grins and claps me on the shoulder in a way that reminds me of Finn. "Are you gonna ski with us?"

I smile, "Sure."

I spend the rest of the day with Blaine. We're joined sometimes by his friends in glee club—I'm introduced to Jeff, Nick, and Trent—but we mostly stick together. For Blaine's sake and sanity, we avoid the ski lifts but still have a lot of fun skiing on the smaller hills. We share a hot chocolate and exchange numbers. By the time the day's over, I feel as close to Blaine as I do to my other friends in the New Directions. I'm almost sad to leave.

"I'll call you, okay?" Blaine says as Finn loads the van with our belongings.

I smile at him, "I look forward to it."

Maybe skiing isn't so bad, after all.

Author's Second Note: So. It's New Year's Eve. And I'm sitting alone at home multitasking by watching a marathon of Cake Boss and writing fanfiction. This is my life. :P But it's okay. If you review, it would make me feel less lonely.

Take care.

-Patricia Sage