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* * * * * *
There was a time in which Blaine Anderson was just a normal boy.
That time had long since passed.
The first time it passed was when he was thirteen, and he realized he was gay.
When that happened, Blaine had closed in on himself with terror. Terror that someone – anyone – might find out his horrible secret.
Blaine knew Lindsay Blackstone had a crush on him, and he asked her out the very next day.
He still looked like a normal boy to everyone else, but he knew what it meant. He knew he was a freak.
Maybe one day, when he was older, he could get a visa to go study in the Eastern States, and then he'd disappear into New York and never come back. But this was Ohio, and ever since the Tea Party had taken over the Mid States government, there was no social empathy or legal protection for someone like him.
The second time it happened was when he was sixteen, and his sexual orientation had been discovered.
School became a living nightmare, and Blaine had come home bloody and limping more than once. His mother seemed truly heartbroken over his ordeal, while his father seemed to think that maybe the attacks would "straighten him out." But finally even his father had to admit that this was more than mere rough-housing, and Blaine was sent to Dalton.
Dalton was truly an oasis in their little Republic, a place where so many boys who didn't fit in could come together and breathe free. Bullying wasn't tolerated, and no one cared that Blaine was gay. He joined show choir, and he was good. He was popular and well-liked, and when he was seventeen, he even got himself a boyfriend.
Blaine was sure that the worst was over. He was sure that finally, thankfully, he was almost a normal boy again. And after one more year at Dalton, he could go to New York where he could be normal all the time.
But as it turned out, this sense of near-normalcy was also destined to pass.
It started a few weeks before his eighteenth birthday.
He would later discover that this made him something of a late bloomer.
The dreams were odd, vivid, and sometimes he would wake up screaming.
He saw girls. He became those girls. He both watched it happen and felt it happen, understanding nothing and everything all at once.
There was violence. And death. There were creatures that he couldn't even begin to describe, beings of pure malice pulsing with unimaginable power.
He fought the creatures and he knew what to do. He fought and killed and he was strong and he survived.
There were so many girls. They spoke more languages than Blaine thought could ever exist, seemed to live in a dizzying assortment of times and places.
Every night the dreams would come at him faster, stronger, harder than the night before. On the night before his eighteenth birthday, there were suddenly too many girls, too many lives to process all at once, and when he woke up screaming in his dorm room, he simply couldn't stop.
His boyfriend Patrick had been sleeping beside him, and he held him and tried to communicate until his fear overwhelmed him and he desperately ran to alert the night guard.
When the EMTs arrived, it took an almost lethal dose of sedative to get him to calm down. And when he awoke in the hospital in restraints, he lifted his arm reflexively to scratch his nose and found that he had broken through the straps on his arm like they were made of paper.
His strength terrified him.
He was still in the hospital when Emma approached him. She had seemed very confused, and asked Blaine if he had a sister or a girlfriend that had perhaps been visiting him at Dalton. When he had finally convinced her that there hadn't been a girl in his dorm for as long as he could remember, Emma tentatively asked him about the dreams, seeming doubtful that he would know what she was talking about.
Her permanently-alarmed-seeming eyes had widened impossibly when Blaine launched into the details, and she clutched the door beside herself for support.
And that was the night when all hope of ever being normal slipped away from Blaine Anderson forever.
Once again, he seemed normal (or as normal as he ever was, anyway) to the outside world. But once again he had a horrible secret that he couldn't reveal. Once again he knew that he was a freak.
Only this time, no matter where he went, it was never going to change.
* * * * * *
After The Change of the previous century, it had taken a long time for the Council to re-build itself.
But The Change itself had facilitated the Council's growth significantly. Once becoming a Slayer became a gift and a burden shared by thousands rather than just one, the inevitable collaboration that followed was incredibly efficient.
Working with witches, benign demons and the families of Slayers created ongoing sources of income both in the demon and human worlds. New Watchers were found and trained, and ancient writings thought long since destroyed were rediscovered. Knowledge was re-absorbed, communication was enhanced, and the Council became something better than it had been before.
But over time, a unique problem developed.
In the days before The Change, there was one Slayer and many Watchers, all of whom wanted the opportunity to train and work with the Chosen One. But now the Council was faced with nothing less than an actual shortage of trained Watchers, and more Slayers than it knew what to do with.
Training schools (in the guise of boarding schools, of course) were developed for the newly-called Slayers, and the best and brightest were selected by Watchers and sent on assignments. Getting selected was essentially the means by which one "graduated" from such institutes as the Sylvester School for Girls, while those that went too long without finding a Watcher were given ever more demeaning chores to attend to.
The oldest (and therefore worst) students at the Sylvester School were Brittany Pierce and Blaine Anderson, the boy Slayer.
Blaine had hated leaving Dalton, even though he had been isolating himself ever since finding out what he was. He had completed his junior year there while the Council had debated what to do with him, because something like this had never happened before.
Someone like him had never happened before.
Patrick had broken up with him about a month after Blaine's birthday, citing Blaine's lapse into wistful depression as "too boring for words."
"You used to be fun, Blaine," Patrick sighed, before giving Blaine back the pocket watch he had given Patrick for Christmas.
When the Sylvester School had finally agreed to take him, Blaine decided to try and look on the bright side: he may never be normal, but at least he would be around people like himself.
And at least he would be leaving Ohio. The Sylvester School was in Pennsylvania, which meant that he was in the Eastern States, even if it wasn't quite New York.
But at the new school, Blaine felt more alone than ever before in his life.
No one bullied him or pushed him around here, but no one got too close to him either. The Council still regarded him with an air of distrust, and his classmates seemed to take the same position.
There were no other boys around. The faculty consisted of retired Slayers and Watchers, so a handful of old men were the only other males around. When the girls realized he was gay, his one potential reason to arouse their interest quickly dissipated. Many girls were friendly to him, but he didn't have any friends.
Blaine was alone.
Until he met Brittany, that is.
Brittany was also a late bloomer. She was also one of the sweetest people Blaine had ever met. She was the absolute worst student in the entire school, but it wasn't because she lacked strength or reflexes. If anything, Brittany was one of the fastest and most graceful fighters Blaine had ever seen.
The problem with Brittany was that she trusted everyone. Vampires included.
By the time he was twenty, Blaine had managed to kill a fair few vampires in field exercises. Brittany always got distracted talking to them, and sometimes even offered them candy. Once, Blaine had seen a vampire sweetly inform Brittany that a small sip of blood from her neck would be far tastier than candy to him, and Brittany had smiled and tipped her neck toward him obligingly. Luckily, Blaine had managed to stake him before any real damage was done.
But Brittany didn't judge Blaine. She didn't hypothesize, when she thought Blaine wasn't listening, that he might actually be the creation of some evil demi-god bent on destroying all Slayers. She didn't joke that Blaine must be gay if he were something as feminine as a Slayer, and then laugh even harder when she realized that he actually was.
Brittany never said "I wish they could have found somewhere else for him to go. He just doesn't belong here."
Brittany liked Blaine because he never called her stupid. He never made fun of her when she tried to play fetch with werewolves or when she tried to wish upon stars in the presence of vengeance demons. Brittany liked Blaine so much that she happily agreed to share a dorm room with him, much to the relief of all the other Slayers, none of whom wanted to be saddled with either one of them.
So as lonely and sexually frustrated as Blaine was, having Brittany alongside him cleaning the gutters and scrubbing the toilets and preparing Headmistress Sylvester's bi-weekly colon cleanses made everything just that slight bit easier to bear. Even if Blaine was the only male slayer in the world, and even if almost no one around him seemed to trust him, and even if he was being continually punished for failing to catch the attention of a Watcher after being at the school for nearly three years, at least he had a friend.
But if there was one thing that Blaine Anderson had learned in his life, it was that nothing good ever lasted.
* * * * * *
Blaine turned to Brittany. They were sitting on top of the little roofed area outside their dorm room, above the front entrance to the school.
"I think you're going to get a Watcher soon."
Blaine furrowed his brow. "Why do you say that?"
Brittany seemed to concentrate on the question.
"Sometimes I just know things, Blaine."
"Yeah? What things?"
"Well, I knew that Rachel was going to cry when she slayed her first vamp."
"Everyone knew that Rachel was going to cry when she slayed...slew? Is it slew? Because I..."
"I knew that that Turok-Han was going to get in through the basement in February."
Blaine considered this for a moment.
"Yeah. Yeah, you did. I guess I didn't..." Blaine stopped himself and flushed slightly. He hadn't taken her seriously at the time because he had just dismissed her ramblings as "Brittany being Brittany." But come to think of it, some of Brittany's odd comments did seem to have a way of coming true.
Blaine could feel her eyes on him. He turned to face her.
"Britt, maybe you've got some psychic ability. You should let Ms. Robbins test you."
Brittany sighed. "She'll just ask me what shapes are on her cards. But that's not the kind of thing I see, Blaine. I see Rachel crying, and the Turok-Han sneaking into the basement, and you getting this really cute Watcher, and me falling in love with a vampire some day."
Blaine's eyes widened. "Really c- wait. Falling in love with a vampire? Oh, Brittany, sweetie, no."
Brittany met his eyes resolutely. "Buffy did it."
"Um, Brittany, that was a long, long time ago. And I don't think there are any more vampires with souls out there. At least none that are single."
"Well, there aren't supposed to be any boy Slayers out there either, but there's you."
Blaine sighed. "Don't remind me. Just...please be careful, Brittany. And don't let any more vampires bite you."
"But...Slayer blood is like candy for vampires."
"Yes. And vampire fangs are like permanent death for Slayers, Britt."
"Not if you stake them while they're feeding on you," Brittany reasoned.
Blaine opened his mouth to reply, but settled on a slight nod. Brittany did have a point, after all.
Brittany sighed, and leaned back on her elbows. "I'm going to miss you, Blaine. Will you write to me?"
"Every day," Blaine promised, leaning back to mirror her pose. "If I am getting a Watcher. I don't know, though, Britt. I don't think anyone would want to work with me."
"It's just because you're a boy," Brittany stated firmly, not seeming to notice Blaine's wince. "You're a really good Slayer, Blaine. Even Ms. Sylvester thinks so."
"Yeah," Blaine replied dryly. "After the last field day she said I was finally turning into a real Slayer. Then she said she wanted to check and see if I was growing a vagina, because that might explain it."
Brittany giggled, then sobered very suddenly. "Wait. You didn't grow a vagina, did you?"
Blaine couldn't fight his smile. "No, Britt."
"Good. Because I'm totally almost out of tampons, and I'd feel bad if I didn't have enough to share."
Blaine laughed, and reached out to squeeze Brittany's hand fondly.
In moments like this one, with his only real friend, Blaine could almost believe that he was normal again.
* * * * * *
A week later, Blaine received his letter.
The school was simply buzzing with the news that a Watcher had finally decided to take on the boy Slayer, and no one even bothered to keep their voices down when Blaine was within earshot.
There was intense speculation as to who it could be, most of the best-known unattached Watchers being dismissed out of hand. No one with true prestige would want to take on Blaine. Not when he could easily turn out to be evil and bring about the next apocalypse. Not when he could turn out to be the secret weapon of some unspeakable creature from a hell dimension.
And indeed, when Blaine found out the name of his Watcher-to-be it was no one he had heard of.
That didn't bother Blaine, though. Whoever this man was, he was willing to take a chance on Blaine. He was willing to put aside all gossip and speculation and train him to become a real Slayer. A professional Slayer. And though Blaine would have preferred not to be a Slayer at all, he would rather be a well-trained professional than a Sylvester School drop-out.
Blaine and Brittany both cried as they packed Blaine's belongings, and Blaine repeated his promise to write her every day.
"And now that I'll be a real Slayer I'll be getting a stipend, Britt. Maybe I can save up enough to have you come visit."
Brittany raised her right fist, and extended her pinky. Blaine wrapped his own pinky around it to seal the promise.
* * * * * *
They were sitting on their little patch of roof, waiting for the representative for Blaine's new Watcher to arrive, when a very stylishly dressed young man emerged from the back seat of a town car.
Blaine leapt up excitedly. "I think that's him, Britt. I can't believe this is finally happening."
Brittany hugged him.
Blaine swung through the window and back into his dorm room, taking one last nervous look around.
"I think I have everything...Oh, Brittany, I wonder what I should say? Where do you think I'll be stationed? I wonder what the threat level is there? Do you think it will be mostly vampires, or will it be demons? Maybe it's werewolf rehabilitation? Ihope it isn't just werewolf rehabilitation. That seems so boring. I wonder-"
Blaine froze at the knock on the door. Brittany walked over and opened it, smiling.
The man – boy? – on the other side looked momentarily confused, until he glimpsed Blaine behind her.
Blaine stared at him. This guy was...well, he was pretty. He was probably the prettiest boy Blaine had ever seen. At first glance he looked like a teenager, but he carried himself like someone much older. He was dressed immaculately and his hair was perfectly coiffed without looking over-styled. He had full pink lips and the loveliest eyes...
Blaine blinked, forcing himself back into the moment.
He needed to get a grip. Yes, it had been a very long time since he had been in the same room as a good-looking man in roughly his age group, but he needed to make a good impression, not drool like a horny schoolboy.
Blaine cleared his throat. "Um, yes. That's me. Nice to meet you."
Blaine held his hand out. The man shook it.
"Nice to meet you too, Blaine. I'm Kurt Hummel."
"Um, pardon me?"
The man looked confused. "I thought you'd be expecting me. I'm-"
"You're Kurt Hummel?"
The man – Kurt – raised an eyebrow. "I believe that's what I said, yes."
"But...but I thought Kurt Hummel was my Watcher's name!"
"Yes, that would be correct."
"But you...you're...how old are you?"
Kurt pursed his lips. "I'm twenty-one."
"How are you old enough to be a Watcher?"
Kurt's face took on a haughty expression. "Well, Mr. Anderson, if you must know, I suppose I'm considered something of a prodigy. Now, if you're quite finished gawking, we're on a bit of a schedule, so..." Kurt gestured to Blaine's packed belongings.
Blaine nodded mutely and began gathering his things.
He turned away from Kurt, cheeks burning. So this was what the Council was going to do. Instead of letting Blaine waste away at the Sylvester School they were going to unload him on this boy – this joke of a Watcher. Blaine was going to be even more of a laughing-stock than ever, but at least he wouldn't be around to see all of the amused faces.
In fact, with a Watcher like this, Blaine would be lucky to be around much longer, period. He would be lucky if he and Kurt lasted a month in the field.
Brittany smiled at him as she hoisted his trunk effortlessly onto her shoulder.
"I told you he was cute!" She chirped, bouncing down the hall after Kurt. Blaine collected his backpack and wheeled suitcase and followed, sighing.
It was official. He'd need a telescope to see normal from where he was going.