Blaine had finally had his first taste of Kurt, and it was like a whole new drug. He wanted more. He'd never realized what sex could be like – what it always could have been like had he been sober and with someone he actually cared about. It had been a wholly new experience for both parties involved.

Kurt's touches had been soft, there were gentle smiles, and deep, passionate kisses.

Blaine was addicted.

And for the first time, his addiction wasn't something that was hurting him. Kurt healed him.

Unfortunately, Kurt was still too preoccupied with other things in his life for Blaine to really be able to satisfy his own cravings. Kurt was constantly busy - with his student council election, his father's congressional run, schoolwork, and preparing his application for NYADA. Blaine loved his boyfriend, and just getting to spend time with Kurt was enough for him. But it didn't – couldn't stop him from wanting more.

The two boys would sit at Kurt's dining room table and work on homework and Kurt's election speech. Blaine would inch his chair closer and closer to Kurt's until they were both practically sharing one seat.

Burt would be going over poll numbers and strategy with Carole, Kurt, and Schue, and Blaine would amuse himself by lightly kissing and nibbling at Kurt's neck while the older boy halfheartedly tried to shove him away.

It got to a point where Kurt was able to completely ignore Blaine's advances – because they were so frequent.

He certainly wasn't ignored all the time, of course. Weekends often ended at Blaine's house, in his bedroom, rather than a booth at Breadstix or the movie theatre.

But as the elections grew ever closer, Blaine was pushed away more and more frequently, to the point that Kurt had even asked him to not come back to the Hummel-Hudson house after school in the week immediately prior to the elections.

And so in his free time, Blaine hung out with his other friends instead of spending hours alone and digging himself into a hole of darkness and craving. Blaine didn't smoke with the Skanks again – but he was close. Getting high would erase all of his worries about Kurt growing tired of him. Getting high would allow him a few minutes of pure bliss, rather than the anxiety and frustration that had begun to dominate his life. Getting high would – No. He wouldn't get high again, not with his relationship with Kurt going so well.

When Santana was outed, Kurt took it hard. Much harder than the girl even did – or at least, harder than she let show. She refused to show a crack in her strong exterior, but Blaine was sure she was falling apart inside. All the time that Blaine did get to spend with Kurt was now spent talking about Santana. He didn't hate the other girl, but he just wanted time with his boyfriend.

Kurt and Santana certainly made Blaine think, though. He'd never really experienced any negative repercussions for coming out. At least, he'd never been aware enough to notice or care. His parents might have pulled back a bit because they didn't understand him, but he'd always been too high to notice. If kids at his old school had had a problem with his sexuality, he'd never heard. Of course, he hadn't been in school enough to know, really. And when he had been there, he hadn't really been there.

So he didn't understand what Santana was going through at all.

But Kurt, Mr. Schue, Coach Sylvester, even – they all looked at him like they expected him to. And they all expected him to do something about it.

His advice for Santana, were no one else listening, would have been to "fuck them and drink away your problems," but he was pretty sure that no one else would approve of that.

So he and Kurt sang for Santana.

All the focus on Santana had done one thing, though. It had distracted Blaine from his thoughts.

And then the day of the elections – both of them – arrived, and Blaine hoped that he would finally get his boyfriend back and he would be normal.

Because that was something he had never been. Or at least, it had been way too long since he'd last been normal.

He could take his boyfriend out on dates and make out with him and go back to his room with him and rip off his clothes and that would be all he needed. He could beat this.

After Kurt lost the election, Blaine thought he was going to have more time to spend with his boyfriend. And he did, in a way. But Rachel was also attempting to take up all of Kurt's time, both to make up for the weeks that they spent not talking and to plan for NYADA and New York. So even when Kurt and Blaine were alone, Kurt's mind was still on New York.

And it was starting to piss Blaine off.

Were these subtle hints that Kurt was growing tired of Blaine?

So when Kurt cancelled plans with Blaine to practice with Rachel, Blaine went to the bleachers and accepted the joint that the Mack passed his way without a second thought.

He hadn't realized the implications of his decision until he got home from school around six thirty to find an irate Cooper standing in the front hall. A Cooper who was already annoyed because apparently Kurt had called him to tell him about Blaine's alcoholic adventures. A Cooper who, when he pulled his little brother into a hug, could smell the evidence that Blaine was slipping.

"Why do we keep meeting like this, Blaine?"

"What are you talking about, Coop?" Blaine asked, thoroughly confused.

"Thanksgiving, squirt. Why are you doing this again?"

"There's nothing," Blaine tried to deflect, though he knew that the scent – not to mention his red, glazed eyes – gave him away.

"Don't play dumb with me, little brother. You literally reek of pot. And Kurt told me about you getting drunk a few weeks back. What happened? I thought you were doing better!"

"I am doing better. Who says I can't have the occasional drink or smoke the occasional joint? If I'm not shooting up, I don't see any problem!"

"It's a problem because you know where this leads!" Cooper exclaimed. "And it's illegal!"

"But I'm not doing anything that other kids don't do. And don't," Blaine said, cutting Cooper off before he could interrupt, "don't throw that 'would you jump off a bridge' shit at me, okay? I just mean that everyone does this kind of shit. It's harmless. I'm fine."

"No, you're not. Because you are a recovering addict! You can't do stuff like this, Blainey. I thought you were better."

"I am better."

"You're not if you're still doing this shit."

"So you're saying that I can never have a drink again in my life? That's bull, Coop."

"I'm just looking out for you, Blainey. And speaking of, why didn't you ever call me? Or Kurt, or his dad? What happened to that promise?"

Blaine hung his head in shame. "If I was ever going to do anything really dangerous, I would, Coop. I promise. But a little bit of pot and a drink here and there – it's … it's not going to fuck me up again. I know myself, Coop. And I know what I'd be losing if I did that again and I don't want to lose it. So you don't have anything to worry about."

Cooper looked at his brother for a long moment, realizing that what Blaine was saying was true. He might not like it that Blaine was still doing drugs, but – he couldn't stop it. As long as he stayed on Blaine's side, hopefully it wouldn't turn destructive again.

"Now can you please get out of my way so I can drop my shit in my room before dinner?" Blaine asked, lightening the mood.

Thanksgiving was an awkward affair. Blaine's parents were so removed from the lives of either of their sons that they didn't even know how to talk to them anymore. None of their relatives were joining them, so the family had a simple dinner and went off in their separate directions after.

Blaine ended up on the couch in the family room, watching TV and munching on popcorn, when Cooper sat down next to him.

"I am sorry, you know," Blaine muttered during a commercial break.


"About last year and then yesterday. I – I had kinda forgotten that it was Thanksgiving last year when you … when you found me, and then yesterday... It's just – I don't try to screw up, I don't try to fuck up everyone else's lives and bring up all these bad memories for you, and I know that you're trying really hard and that I seem ungrateful, but I'm not."

Cooper took a moment before speaking. "I know I'm hard on you about all this, but Blaine, I don't know if you really understand. What it was like, I mean. I came home and expected to hear my little brother brimming with stories about his school and all his friends and his show choir – because that's how you'd been the last time I'd seen you – and instead, you were slumped on the floor of your bathroom with a needle next to you and barely any pulse. You scared the shit out of me, Blaine. I barely even knew what had happened the first time around, and then you seemed all better – and suddenly you were practically dead on the bathroom floor.

"And now – yesterday, I was hard on you, but I was scared. Because it seemed like everything was repeating and I'm worried that you won't get lucky a second time and I might lose you. I don't know if you realize how much Kurt and I care about you Blaine. Seeing you do this – it hurts us, maybe even more than it hurts you."

"I don't think so," Blaine said sadly. "All Kurt cares about is New York. He can't get away from me fast enough."

"Is that what you think, kid?"

"I don't think it, I know it. All Kurt does is talk about New York and how amazing it's going to be when he gets there and is finally free of me."

"You couldn't be more wrong, Blainers. Do you know how many hours I've spent on the phone with Kurt, talking about how he's so scared of leaving Lima? Not just leaving you – which he is worried about – but leaving everything he knows for something as uncertain as New York. He's probably just talking about it so much to convince himself that he can do it."

"He's – he's been calling you?"

"How did you think I found out about your drinking? Kurt was practically hysterical."

Blaine felt a sinking feeling in his gut. He hadn't realized how much of an impact his own decisions had on Kurt. Suddenly, Kurt's reaction to his drinking over the summer made a lot more sense.

Blaine was quiet for the rest of the night. He'd been planning on angrily calling Kurt about ratting him out to his older brother. But he couldn't anymore. He couldn't keep blaming everyone else. He also didn't know if he could stop. But if it hurt everyone around him as much as Cooper said it did, he would try.

When school resumed after Thanksgiving break, tension was in the air. The New Directions and the Troubletones had briefly joined together to help Santana, but now they were rivals once more, and sectionals was in a week.

The New Directions still didn't have enough members, and they couldn't even rely on forcing some Cheerios to dance backup like they used to – because all the Cheerios were in the Troubletones. They didn't even have Rachel to help them since she had been suspended and banned from performing at regionals.

And so Finn brought Sam Evans back.

Blaine had never really cared about Sam much when they had been at school together last year. He'd never really paid him much mind. But now everyone was practically worshipping at his feet, like he was the greatest thing to happen to the New Directions, and it kinda pissed Blaine off. He wasn't jealous, and he didn't want to be the star, but – he still was a bit insulted that Finn had decided that they weren't good enough without pulling some kid out of Kentucky. Or maybe it was because Finn kept shooting him these looks, as if he expected him to walk out because of what the Warblers had said about Blaine last year.

Choreography was a mess, their set list was practically nonexistent, and no one seemed to want to work together. So Blaine suggested a few strategies that he knew had worked with the Warblers in the past. Only to have Sam immediately shut his ideas down and insist that what they needed to do was sell sex.

Blaine should have been fine with that. He understood exactly what Sam meant, perhaps better than anyone else in the room. And that was exactly why he objected.

"That's not what we need," Blaine found himself saying. "We don't have to resort to … that. It's cheap, you know? It's selling out."

"I came back here to win! When you're desperate, sometimes you gotta..." Sam demonstrated his body roll again, "you know, use your assets and do what you gotta do to get back that advantage. This is the advantage."

"Of course that's what you think. You have to think that in order to sleep at night."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"It means that I'm not for sale!" Blaine shouted.

Sam rolled his eyes and shoved his chest. Hard. "Oh really?" he spat. "Because I remember you telling a different story last year. Come on, Blaine. We all know that you whored yourself out for another hit!"

Blaine launched himself back at Sam with just as much ferocity as the other boy. They struggled for a few moments as the rest of the room erupted into motion around them. As Blaine felt himself being pried off of Sam, he simply pulled away from everyone and headed to the exit. "Forget it."

Blaine headed straight for the bleachers and lit a cigarette. When he had gone from hating them to relying on them to soothe his nerves, he didn't know. All he knew what that he needed something to calm down.

His brain was telling him exactly what he needed. And oh, god, if this was what the rest of his life was going to be like, he just couldn't see why he needed to stay off the drugs at all. Surely anything would be better than constantly wanting, having this ever-present itch that he just couldn't scratch.

Sheila noticed his agitation immediately. "Baby, you know what'll calm you down."

And Blaine didn't say no. He took her rolling papers and the small envelope she held out to him, and he hunched over and began the process. He was just lighting up and taking that first, freeing hit when he saw a figure approaching. Blaine took a few more quick hits, just to get a pleasant buzz, before handing the joint off to Sheila and walking to meet the figure.

Oddly, it was Finn who met Blaine. And the boy either couldn't recognize the smell of pot, or he was ignoring it for Blaine's sake when he suggested that they talk for a moment.

"What happened in there?" Finn asked.

Blaine sighed. "It's just … everything Sam said was right. And I don't want to be that kid anymore, the one who sold himself for drugs, but doing that – it just makes me feel like that again. I mean, is that all you guys think of me anyway? The junkie?"

"Wha – no, of course not!"

"Then why are you always walking on eggshells around me? Why are you always looking at me like you think I'm about to shoot up and abandon you guys at the last minute?"

Finn sighed. "Blaine, man, we like you. And you are crazy talented. It's just hard to remember that when half the time that I look at you, I get scared because I remember what happened in New York. And I know it wouldn't be your fault, but I don't know what I'm supposed to do."

"Just treat me normally, Finn. But please, please, don't make me do those dance moves. Because when I think of what I used to do, I just feel like shit. I hate who I was and that I still feel like that sometimes. And I know you don't mean to, but when you guys act like I'm just a ticking time bomb, I just get more stressed and, well..."

"You got it," Finn said.

Sectionals passed by in a whirl of color. Although things between Blaine and Sam were still tense, they had reached a mutual understanding. The New Directions managed to come together, and they beat the Troubletones.

Everything fell back into place.

And Blaine celebrated with his new favorite drug: Kurt.

a/n: Don't expect the next update to come as quickly! I'm in finals now, so I wrote this while procrastinating, but I'm going to need to buckle down and actually work (on school and the play I'm directing) for the next few weeks.