The summer before his sophomore year of high school, Blaine attends a Summer Youth Leadership Seminar sponsored by his father's company, BryTech. The keynote speaker speaks in great detail about the important of having a life map. Inspired, Blaine transfers to his new school, Dalton, with a life map drawn and hanging inside his closet.
During the course of his sophomore year, Blaine periodically edits his life map and makes additions. When he meets Kurt during his junior year, it does not at first impact his life map. Once he begins dating, however, he finds himself adding to his life map, milestones planned out for months and even years in advance.
After all, why would Kurt not want to stay with Blaine forever?
Confessing his love for Kurt had happened sooner than Blaine had mapped out, true, but Blaine recognizes that emotions cannot always be mapped out.
What Blaine doesn't understand is why things are strained in the wake of their exchanged confessions of love. Blaine begins analyzing Kurt's Facebook postings closely.
Kurt almost always posts a quote that relates to the day in some way. Sometimes it's hard to analyze what he means.
When Kurt meets Blaine at the mall and explains he's been helping Puck plan his sister's birthday party, Blaine is confused. Puck, the one with the mohawk, that sang "Friday" at prom, that Puck? And why is Kurt helping him? When Kurt says something about trading for math tutoring, Blaine soothingly mentions that he could have helped with that.
Kurt just explodes about how Blaine offered to tutor him in French, and everyone knows that Kurt's fluent in French. Blaine blinks and protests that he didn't know, which only seems to make Kurt more angry. When Blaine gets home, though, Kurt's Facebook status has been updated.
"Big words seldom accompany good deeds." Charlotte Whitton
Blaine doesn't understand what the quote has to do with anything. Unless it has something to do with Kurt's shopping trip with Puck. Puck, who needed Kurt's help with shopping back in April, for a reason Kurt won't say, and again in May, for Mother's Day, and Blaine sometimes wonders why Puck is so interested in spending time with Kurt.
Sometimes Blaine thinks that most of the guys in New Directions–well, he thinks that most of them don't like him, and he's not sure why. So he can't help but think that Puck is the appointed one to whisper in Kurt's ear about Blaine.
Blaine's map isn't working so well for him. Soon after proclaiming his feelings, Kurt begins to try to take things farther than Blaine has planned. Blaine knows when they'll first touch each other below the waist, when Kurt will first give him a blow job, when he'll finally return the gesture, and when he'll carefully take Kurt's virginity.
Kurt's Facebook page reads "Summer's filled with breaking the rules, standing apart, ignoring your head, and following your heart."
Eight people like the quote within four hours, including Puck, who is curt to Blaine as they each leave the Hudmel house.
Blaine doesn't know what to think when Kurt steers them to Starbucks one morning instead of the usual Lima Bean. Kurt says something about red velvet whoopie pies, and orders three of them, which seems extravagant on top of the venti iced coffee drink with the extra whipped cream. It all makes sense, though, when Blaine recognizes a familiar mohawk preparing their drinks. Kurt makes a joke about something in Dayton, and Puck laughs easily. Within minutes, Blaine and Kurt are arguing in a corner.
Blaine doesn't understand what's going wrong.
The next day, Kurt spends an inordinate amount of time asking questions about Pride in Columbus. "Why are you so interested, Kurt? It's not like we're going."
"Why on earth not?"
"Pride is so… in your face," Blaine tries to explain. "So…"
"Queer?" Kurt interjects, a strange look on his face.
"Well, yes," Blaine nods. "And so political. Last year, a friend of my father's was booed by the entire Parade."
Kurt tilts his head back and forth, as if he's looking at Blaine for the first time. "Blaine. I think we're done."
"We haven't even had dessert."
"No. You and I, Blaine, as a couple."
"You want to… take a break?" Blaine is puzzled and confused. What is going wrong? He has everything mapped out!
"No." Kurt shakes his head and stands, leaving a twenty-dollar bill on the table. "I'm breaking up with you."
That night, Kurt's status simply reads "If gay and lesbian people are given civil rights, then everyone will want them."
The next day, inexplicably, instead of laments or a telephone call begging Blaine to take him back, that he's made a dreadful mistake, Kurt changes his status again.
"Laughter is the language of the soul." -- Pablo Neruda
Blaine wanders through the remainder of June in a daze. Kurt's Facebook reads like a newsletter for GLAAD or HRC or one of those other organizations he was always talking about with excited gestures.
Blaine has a mark on the map for that, too, the day he would admit to Kurt that his father had voted for John McCain. And even later, the day that he will admit that he will register as a Republican. Join the Log Cabin Republicans.
Kurt's quotes are extensive.
Equal rights are not special rights.
Homophobia is a social disease.
Why can't they have gay people in the army. Personally, I think they are just afraid of a thousand guys with M16s going, 'Who'd you call a faggot?'
One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness.
No matter how far in or out of the closet you are, you still have a next step.
He quotes some of the people who spoke in the New York State Senate.
While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know my vote is a vote of conscience. I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality. ~ NY Senator Steven Saland
I believe you can be wiser today than yesterday. ~ NY Senator Mark Grisanti
He never stops posting quotes, it feels like, all of them like tiny kicks in the teeth, somehow.
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. ~Benjamin Disraeli
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Days and weeks pass with no contact from Kurt, and Blaine can't bring himself to try to initiate contact. On a Friday night in July, Kurt posts Amazing friends, summer nights; chocolate ice cream, mud slide fights; Half the summer is gone already, so let's spend the rest of it, slow and steady.
The next evening, his phone rings, and Blaine picks up it without looking at the display. He changed all his ring tones to one default, giving himself the false illusion of hope each time the phone rings. He is, of course, disappointed when his suave hello is met by Trey’s excited tones, but hides it well.
“Trey, hello. How are you this evening?”
“Blaine, I have some very upsetting news,” Trey breathes into the phone. He’s clearly already worked himself up into an emotional state over whatever news it is he has to share. Blaine braces himself for something terrible.
“Are you okay? Has something happened?” It’s been a few days since Blaine has spoken to any of the other Warblers, and his mind immediately goes to a car accident, perhaps, or some sort of tragedy that’s befallen one of their number whilst on vacation.
Trey takes a deep breath and launches into his tale of woe. “I was at Tuttle Creek mall in Columbus with my mother and I saw Kurt.”
Blaine lets out a shaky little breath, then tries to speak as if he’s not affected by the news too much. “Well, that’s not surprising, I suppose. Kurt does like to shop, and the selection in Lima is dismal at best.”
“That’s not it,” Trey breathes. “He was there with another guy.”
Blaine has to swallow a few times before he can respond. His brain is screaming Already?!? “I suppose... it has been a few weeks since he... broke up with me.”
“Blaine...I really hate to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure it’s the one you were talking about. The one with the mohawk. Kurt’s brother’s friend.”
“Puckerman?” Blaine shakes his head and even laughs a little. “You must have misread the situation, Trey. I don’t like him, but I am pretty sure he’s straight. The stories I’ve heard!”
“I’m sure I could have misread the situation, Blaine,” Trey offers in appeasement, “but I don’t think so. Their body language seemed rather...intimate. And he was holding some of Kurt’s bags for him!”
Blaine feels like he can’t breathe. Of all the people for Kurt to go and take up with! “Are... are you sure? They weren’t just bonding over those racing video games or something? Kurt and his cars,” he chuckles hollowly.
“They were in Lush together, sniffing the same bath bombs,” Trey says, definitively. “Also, the other boy, Puckerman? He kept touching the cuff of Kurt’s shirt sleeve.”
“I...I just don’t understand.” Blaine sits down heavily, sadness in his voice. “How could he do this? If you’re right, Puckerman is in the closet. Why would Kurt choose a closet case over me?”
“I really can’t say,” Trey answers, his voice sympathetic. “I can’t even imagine what he’s thinking, but then, I never really understood Kurt very well. He never seemed quite at home at Dalton.”
“No,” Blaine agrees quietly. “He didn’t, did he? Thank you for telling me, Trey,” Blaine continues, even though he feels as though he could have gone the entire summer without this knowledge.
“I’m sorry I had to be the bearer of bad news.”
Blaine chats with Trey for a few more minutes about the Warblers and their upcoming meeting, and then goes to bed, horribly sad.
He spends the next few weeks scrutinizing Kurt’s Facebook postings even more closely. Most of the quotes are just songs. A week before school starts, there is an inkling that perhaps something is afoot.
He’s my summer boy, and summer boys are the only thing certain/You can trust that they’ll always be back... because they loved you in the time when you were most free.
No one comments on it, though, and no one even likes it, so Blaine disregards it.
The song lyrics begin again.
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time
On the first day of Kurt’s senior year, a quote from Aldous Huxley. The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.
Nothing gives Blaine any indication that Trey could have been right. No one comments. Blaine is still friends with several of the New Directions members, though not Puckerman, and there is little indication of anything from anyone else, either.
On the evening of Labor Day, the quotes take a different turn.
I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. ~Maya Angelou
Lots of people like that one, all of New Directions and then some. There’s a few similarly themed quotations, interrupted by another Pablo Neruda quote.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
Another week passes, and the next quote is along the same lines as before.
Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown
Finn comments to that one, Blaine notes, Well, I do look pretty awesome in a cape, but you’ve gotta wear the mask, and there is another flurry of likes for the original post and Finn’s comment as well.
Something happens two weeks later. Blaine doesn’t know what it is, because he’s slowly been dropped from most of New Directions, but he still sees what Rachel, Finn, and Kurt all have to say.
Finn’s appears first, on a Monday afternoon. Just want to let everybody know that's Puck's ok, but leave him alone to get some rest. I'll catch u guys up tomorrow. There are a flurry of questions, but no answers.
Midday Tuesday, Blaine can’t resist checking Facebook to see what has appeared. Rachel has, uncharacteristically, used a quote of her own. Edmund Burke said once, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I am pleased that there are good men that I know, who do something.
That evening, Kurt finally weighs in. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns all clean. –Maya Angelou
Blaine is working on his assignment for AP Chemistry on Saturday near noon when his phone ringing breaks the silence. “Hello?”
“Blaine? It’s Trey,” Trey says, his tone clipped and hurried, even slightly breathless. “I’m calling you from the Ikea.”
“Ikea? In Cincinnati?” Blaine’s puzzled. Why is Trey calling, and why does it matter that his mother has dragged him along on yet another shopping trip?
“You are never going to guess who I just saw, I mean, literally just saw in the 400 square foot sample room,” Trey breathes.
“No, probably not,” Blaine agrees, smiling easily. “So tell me.”
“Kurt. Kurt Hummel.”
“Well, that’s not one of his typical haunts,” Blaine swallows. “But I suppose it’s not completely unsurprising.”
“He was with that mohawk boy again. Puckerman. Puck.”
“I really don’t think there’s anything going on there, Trey. I know what you told me before, but I’ve looked at Facebook very carefully, and I just don’t see it.”
“Oh Blaine,” Trey says, sympathetically. “There’s definitely something going on. They were all over each other. Embracing in the middle of the sample room. And I heard them, um.” He breathes heavily into the phone. “They were talking about things for their, their bedroom.”
Blaine feels a bit like he’s been kicked in the chest. “Bedroom,” he chokes out. “Are you sure–you must’ve misunderstood. Maybe it was for Kurt’s bedroom at home.”
“Kurt was giggling and Puck said something about getting a cabinet to hold things they might need in bed,” Trey explains. “I don’t think I misunderstood. Their tone was very intimate. Also, they told me they were both going to college in New York together, so...”
Blaine feels almost embarrassed suddenly. “But... I don’t.” He stops. “Tell me more. How did they look?”
“Well, for starters, Kurt looks just terrible!” Trey exclaims. “He’s really let himself go. He looked like he hadn’t shaved in several days and his clothes were all rumpled, possibly from draping himself all over his--his friend.”
Blaine knows what Trey was going to say, and his breath catches a little. “And Puckerman?”
“He looked different. From how he’s looked in the past. Not that I ever took too much of a look at him before, mind you, but he seemed, I’m not quite sure, exactly,” Trey stumbles around for the correct wording. “Very comfortable.”
“Comfortable?” Blaine sighs. “Was he all... rumpled, too?”
“No, he actually looked rather clean cut for a boy with a mohawk, come to think of it. He was very polite, if cursory.”
Blaine shakes his head, more and more confused. “Oh! Did he look... injured?”
“Come to think of it, yes he did,” Trey squeals. “He had a terrible black eye. I didn’t give it too much thought at the time, because honestly, that’s sort of what I expect on a boy with a mohawk. His clothes were nice, though.”
“I am very confused,” Blaine states honestly. “I suppose that I’ll have to observe things next week.”
“I’m sorry that I was right, Blaine,” Trey apologizes, but he doesn’t really sound that sorry.
“Yes, well.” Blaine sighs. “Thank you for the information, Trey.”
“Any time, Blaine. I knew you’d want to know.”
“I’ll see you Monday, then,” Blaine injects artificial cheer into his voice. “Good-bye.”
“Bye, see you Monday.”
Blaine is restless the remainder of the day, trying to convince himself that Trey somehow misunderstood, though the facts do seem pretty plain. When he wakes up on Sunday morning, Kurt’s Facebook status, however, has changed, a short, simple quote.
“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” --Richard Wagner
It was changed late, probably just before Kurt went to bed, and Blaine cannot help but notice that amongst the people liking the quote, one of them is Noah Puckerman.
They've ducked into one of the classrooms to practice the lift one last time. As the hosts of Invitationals, they're going last, and doing "Human" last of all. It's intermission, though, so all of New Directions has changed into their costumes, and Puck and Kurt are walking back towards the choir room, hands carefully kept to themselves, when Puck spots him.
"Hmm?" Kurt quirks an eyebrow, then looks where Puck is glancing. "Oh."
"I'll go on," Puck says with a nod down the hall to the choir room. "Unless you want…"
"No, it's fine," Kurt motions him on. "I'll be there in just a minute." Kurt sighs and watches Puck, then turns back to the other boy. "Hello, Blaine."
Blaine's alone, dressed in his Warbler finery, as always. Kurt could almost feel a little underdressed in his pink nylon workout pants and grey muscle shirt, but then–he also knows he looks good. Even if the mirror lied, Puck doesn't lie, and they almost forgot to practice while they were alone.
"Kurt," Blaine says, with a sad, pained smile. "You look great."
Kurt smiles tightly. "Thank you," he finally settles on, nodding once. "I hope you're well."
"I am," Blaine nods. "I hope you're happy?" There's a hint of a challenge in it, an echo of the line from Wicked, and Kurt lifts his chin in response.
"I am. I'm having a wonderful senior year with my friends. I have an acceptance letter already. I have–"
"A boyfriend," Blaine interrupts. "Don't you?" He inclines his head in the direction Puck went, then adds, derisively, "A closet case."
Kurt's eyes harden. "Don't talk about–you don't have the right. You know nothing."
Blaine's expression changes, and he nods very slowly. "I see." He steps back. "Break a leg."
"You too," Kurt whispers into the empty hallway. He turns on his heel and hurries back to the choir room. Mike probably wants to do another review of the choreography.
Blaine doesn’t know what to think after Invitationals; from the moment they walked in the door, things were decidedly odd. Puck’s greeting was carefully polite. Rachel didn’t seem to have any knowledge that could explain Trey’s observations. But then there’s the way Kurt walked with Puck, the way he looked at him, and when Blaine challenged Kurt–the immediate defensiveness, the way he protected Puck.
And then Blaine had lied, said it was okay, when it was anything but okay. The basic truth is that Blaine doesn’t understand.
He doesn’t understand why they broke up, in the first place, and he doesn’t understand why Kurt would be so seemingly content with someone who is in the closet. Except their behavior as reported by Trey was definitely not the behavior of someone in the closet. Mainly, he just doesn’t understand how Kurt could choose someone like that. Sure, Trey seems convinced that it has something to do with Puckerman’s purported songwriting abilities, but this explanation falls flat somehow.
Blaine goes to bed disturbed as well as resolved to speak with Trey further about the matter. In addition to continuing to watch Facebook closely, of course, because Blaine likes to think he can discern things from Kurt’s choices of quotes.
The next morning, indeed, Kurt’s status reads “Of what shall a man be proud, if he is not proud of his friends?” - Robert Louis Stevenson.
The next week, there’s only one new quote, and it makes no sense to Blaine: “I'm sick of the treadmill.” - Andrea Martin.
A succession of quotes follows for the next two weeks, further confusing Blaine.
“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.” - Author Unknown
“And these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new.” - The Beatles
“Not having that, which, having, makes them short.” - William Shakespeare
“I hear in my mind all of these voices, I hear in my mind all of these words.” - Regina Spektor
Blaine walks into school on Halloween determined to talk to Trey. Trey would not be his first nor even his second choice, in terms of potential confidants, but Trey knows far more about the situation than any one else at Dalton, so Trey it is.
He finds Trey during study hall, and gestures for Trey to follow him to a corner table. Trey trots along like an eager puppy and doesn’t sit until Blaine has settled himself. “I need to speak with you,” Blaine says quietly. “About Kurt.”
Trey nods. “Has something happened?” he asks, his voice equally quiet.
“No, nothing new,” Blaine shakes his head. “I’ve just been thinking, ever since Invitationals really.”
“About what, Blaine?” Trey leans forward on his elbows to catch every word.
“I didn’t tell you, but during intermission–I was walking through the halls, and I happened upon Kurt and Puckerman. They weren’t touching at all, and Puck went on ahead while Kurt stayed to speak with me. He confirmed, more or less, that he was dating Puck, and that Puck was in the closet.” Blaine sits back and shakes his head. “It worries me, Trey. I’m worried that Puck has coerced Kurt into a relationship, perhaps. I’ve been studying Kurt’s Facebook page carefully and it only leaves me more confused.”
“Puck does seem like the untrustworthy type,” Trey agrees. “I think he could easily have manipulated or even bullied Kurt into some sort of...arrangement.”
Blaine closes his eyes and shakes his head sadly. “I am so afraid that that is the case. Is there anything else you can remember observing about them, either time you saw them?”
“Well, now that I think of it, Puckerman did seem very...I don’t know if ‘protective’ is the right word,” Trey muses. “Possessive. Yes, he seemed very terse with me and very possessive of Kurt.”
“Yes, he did seem terse at Invitationals, too, didn’t he? He was smiling, but it had a definite edge to it.” Blaine winces a little. “I hate to think of someone hurting Kurt. Even if Kurt genuinely didn’t want to be with me any longer, he deserves better than that.”
“Puck did strike me as a controlling sort of person. I could easily believe he was creating an unhealthy scenario for Kurt,” Trey nods vigorously. “Oh, yes, I can definitely believe that.”
“What can I do, though?” Blaine asks, voice full of despair. “It was pretty clear Finn wasn’t interested in engaging in conversation. Rachel seemed amenable, but she also didn’t know about Puckerman.”
“I don’t know that you can do anything,” Trey sighs, his voice heavy with sympathy. “You haven’t been left in an enviable position. I understand you want to help, but I don’t know how you possibly could.”
“I doubt I’ll even see Kurt before we compete against them at Sectionals,” Blaine laments.
“Perhaps you could say something to him there, at least?” Trey suggests. “It’s not a perfect solution, of course, but you can’t fix the world’s problems.”
“Through song!” Blaine exclaims. “Trey, you are an absolute genius.” Blaine springs to his feet. “I need to take a look at our choices for our Sectionals set!”
“Goodness, well, I’m just so glad I could help in any small way,” Trey gushes. “I know how hard this has been for you, even though you’ve been so dignified regarding the whole thing. Honestly, I just don’t understand what Kurt was thinking.”
Blaine smiles warmly. “Thank you, so much.”