(cover by the awesome Becky who puts up with me more than she probably should...)
The First Wish
If Blaine Anderson found a magic lamp he'd only ask for two things. He'd wish for a place at NYADA when he graduates high school, and he'd wish that Kurt Hummel was his boyfriend. There were three problems with this. Firstly, competition for NYADA was insane. Secondly, Kurt Hummel didn't even know he existed. Movie stars tended to be like that about their fans. Thirdly, Blaine didn't have a magic lamp.
This, he informed his long-suffering best friend Rachel, was the only real flaw in his plans. As soon as he found that magic lamp he'd have his two wishes, then give her his third. She alternated between wanting a place at NYADA for herself and wanting a boyfriend because "the only other real option is Puck and after he got Quinn pregnant..." he wasn't a suitable candidate for her.
Apparently the male pickings at McKinley were slim. Mike was dating Tina, for over a year now and still going strong; Artie was in the year below them and it would be "unfair" to leave him behind when she moved on to greater things. Puck's history was questionable and after Quinn's fall from grace Rachel had no intention of going there with him. Ever. There were a couple of other guys in the glee club but they didn't share her passion for it, to them this was a bit of fun and the chance at a bit of glory that was only usually reserved for the football team or cheerleading squad.
Which left Blaine, her "best gay" and platonic soul mate, the only person she could see being in her life for the rest of.
Rachel Berry was destined to be single (and a virgin) until she left school and she was fine with that because she was in the same situation as Blaine.
Who wasn't exactly OK with it himself but when you were the only openly gay kid in the school it didn't exactly leave you with many options. There had been rumours of a gay kid at Dalton but when Blaine tried to sneak in and check out the Warblers last year (and quickly been caught – he was a very bad spy) they'd told him that the only openly gay member they'd had had left over a year ago, having helped them to win Nationals, and nothing more was said on the matter. Story of Blaine's life; a little too late for everything.
College though, that would be different. New York with all its promise and opportunities. He was aiming for NYADA but he'd be happy with NYU or Columbia. His brother had a saying – well, he had several but this was the only one that made any sense.
"Aim for the moon, B. If you fail then you'll land among the stars."
Blaine had tried to point out that the stars were further away than the moon, but then Cooper had made a quip about Blaine wanting to land on one star in particular and he'd flush red so hard and for so long their mom had thought he was running a fever.
Trouble was Coop was right. Blaine had it bad. He was in love with Kurt Hummel, had been for years. Ever since his first movie fifteen months ago Blaine had been completely head over heels with him. Not only was he stunning and talented (and his voice – Blaine fell in love with him the first time he heard Kurt sing and he never wanted to get over that) but he was gay. Kurt was gay and he was out and he was gay and he was proud and he was gay. The jocks at the school seemed to be OK with this because for once there was a young actor who didn't make all teens look like drink, drug and sex obsessed groupies. The fact that he was gay was almost like a footnote, like they knew he was a person first.
Since Kurt Hummel became a name Blaine's slushies and dumpster tosses had significantly lessened as they seemed to apply the same logic to him. (This had also happened after Puck and Mike joined the glee club last year and brought some of the football team around but Blaine's whole being was geared around Kurt.) He was starting to feel like a person first, his sexuality was way down the list of concerns but he wasn't so deluded as to think that they were OK with it. He kept his head down, didn't draw attention to the fact that he was... y'know ...and aside from his locker you never would have guessed he was any different to anyone else. It wasn't perfect but all Blaine Anderson had to do was survive the next two years of school and then he'd be out of here and he'd make it just fine.
After all, Kurt made it so why couldn't he? Fine, he was a New Yorker and not from some small town in Ohio, but that wasn't stopping Blaine. Rachel once joked that if Blaine got an A on a test he'd attribute it to Kurt. (He did once get an A with an oral presentation on gay representation on the media, in which Kurt had featured pretty heavily, so in a way Rachel had been right.)
Whenever a new interview or picture came out Blaine would "check out" (Mike's words) for a bit and so Rachel and Mike would just sit and watch him, smile and wait for it to pass. They didn't dare imagine what would happen if Blaine ever got to meet Kurt, grateful for the fact that it was never going to happen.
By the time Blaine had returned to the conversation (turned out it was an old article – the one where Kurt joked about the fact he was almost old enough to play a high school student now that he was almost 18) Rachel was going on to the gathered Juniors about college applications. Again.
"I know we don't have to apply until next year," she said, "but we both know how intense NYADA's process is. The play this year was a huge success—"
"As were you," Blaine said, recognising his cue to insert a comment.
"Thank you," she smiled. "But only because you were my leading man."
Blaine smiled in return and allowed her to continue.
"We stand a good chance at Regionals this year; Vocal Adrenaline didn't even make it through their Sectionals and from what Blaine said about the Warblers I think that our flare and originality will make us a shoe in..."
Blaine tuned out again, letting Rachel go on and make plans around and without him. He'd spent his Sophomore and the few months so far of this one learning how to deal with her and part of that was to just let her get on with things once she got an idea in her head. And if he was going to survive their senior year together then he'd need to reserve something for the fights he wanted to win.
Like if she tried to take his hair gel away again.
Nothing good ever happened in January, Blaine decided. It was just as dark and cold as the previous month but the joys of Christmas and New Year had gone. This time last year he'd come down badly with the 'flu, but that had been an improvement on the previous year when he'd been put in hospital by... Well. Suffice to say that a six week hospital stay and months of rehab afterwards meant that he was happy to accept the condition of repeating his sophomore year if it meant he was away from those narrow-minded jocks.
Not that McKinley didn't have them, but Blaine felt that slushies and dumpsters were a preferable alternative to baseball bats and football cleats.
Besides, McKinley had a glee club, newly resurrected by someone Blaine strongly suspected of reliving his glory days, and so Blaine had auditioned, along with a varied group of others, and quickly found himself the male lead opposite one Broadway-bound Rachel Berry. A Broadway-bound friend who'd made him realise that this was something he could do, something he was good at as well, and the two of them made a pact; Broadway or bust.
This year, however, January seemed to be a bit quieter. It was as if the Universe had decided that two years of misery was enough and he could have a break. The run up to Christmas had been manic; winning Sectionals, Artie's Christmas special on PBS (although playing Rachel's husband hadn't exactly been a highlight of the night), and the first New Year where his parents didn't invite over friends who just somehow surprisingly happen to have a single daughter about his age.
When 31 January 2012 came around Blaine allowed himself to think that nothing bad was going to happen to him this year.
Then his phone rang.
"I'm hanging up now."
"You'll regret it if you do," Cooper teased.
Blaine sighed. "Give me one reason why."
"Because I'm coming back to Ohio. To Lima, actually."
"You're coming home? Why would that lead to regret? And I thought you were about to start filming a new movie."
"I am, it will and I am."
"I'm filming the movie in Ohio. In Lima. In March."
"Hollywood's filming a movie in Lima? Why?"
"Because they wanted a high school and I talk about you all the time—"
"...No, but the point is they agreed to film this high school movie in Lima. At your school actually."
"So you're going to be filming at my school?"
"Mainly evenings and weekends, maybe some of your spring break but according to my schedule I should be done by then. I play this new teacher who makes a connection with this troubled soul of a kid and I'm the only one who can get through to him but that's not the best part."
"What's the best part?"
"Kurt Hummel's playing that kid."
Blaine wanted to tell EVERYONE. He wanted to call Rachel and Mike and call them out on the fact that they'd said he'd never meet Kurt. He wanted to tell every person who'd mocked his childish crush and say that his brother, his very own Hollywood actor brother was going to work with him and now Kurt was coming to his school and they'd meet and hang out and then of course Kurt would fall in love with him and oh god what if he hated him and they had nothing to talk about and he thought that Blaine was just some creepy stalker fan of which he probably had a million and he totally had security, didn't he, and Blaine would be kicked out of school for the duration of filming because there was no way they'd risk letting this crazed teenage fan anywhere near the successful and talented Kurt Hummel and now Blaine couldn't breathe...
It took over half an hour for him to calm down enough to text Rachel who, true to form, called him almost immediately.
"Did you have a vivid dream again?" she asked. "I told you, napping in the day is disorientating."
"I wasn't dreaming, Rach," he said. "Cooper's new film is coming to Lima and Kurt's got the lead role. He's coming here, Rachel. I'm actually going to meet him."
"Are you OK? You sound a little... breathless."
"I may or may not have had a minor panic attack earlier," Blaine confessed. "Blame me?"
"Does Kurt know?"
"Has Cooper told him about you? That he's coming to the school of his biggest fan?"
"I... don't know."
"I'm sure it'll be fine."
"You think so?" Blaine asked.
"I don't know," she laughed. "Ask me I think he'll be flattered. I mean who else would have tracked down that European indie film but his biggest fan?"
"How do you manage to make it sound... creepy?" Blaine asked.
"I like to think of it as creative," she replied. "You're a fan, Blaine, everyone knows it. You think Kurt won't find out how much the second he arrives? He'll be mobbed and someone's going to mention you, if it's not Cooper then it'll be someone else."
"Oh god, he's going to think I'm a freak."
"You are," Rachel said affectionately, "but the good kind. I'm sure he knows the difference."
"You and Mike need to make sure I don't make a fool of myself."
"Oh Blaine," Rachel sighed. "If you want me to run interference you know I will, if you want me to cover for you as you come down with the 'flu, bird or Spanish – your choice, then I will. We both will, you know that. But I know you better than that."
"Do you now?"
"You want to meet him, don't you?"
"I have for the last year."
"So I guess we need to come up with a plan of action."
"You're going to need a distraction to get past set security."
"You are not going to belt out some show tune," Blaine warned.
"And you're not going to make Mike do some big dance display either."
"So what's your grand plan then?" she challenged.
"I've only just regained the ability to breathe," he pointed out, "give me a minute."
"Well you have almost two months' worth of minutes," Rachel said. "We'll strategise tomorrow."
"Love you too," she said and Blaine could hear the smile on the other end of the line. "But not enough to bail you out if you get arrested, understand?"
"Fine," he laughed.
Blaine wasn't alone in his feelings. Half of the students in the school were excited about their chances to meet real-life Hollywood stars and when the cast list was announced Blaine suddenly found himself the centre of attention when people connected the Cooper Anderson on that list to the Blaine Anderson in their midst. Soon he was being asked to get autographs and photos and meetings and in one case a senior girl asked him to arrange a very private session with his big brother which had led to Blaine paling so much that people around him had been worried about him passing out.
Truth be told, Blaine was glad for the distraction. The less time he spent dreaming of Kurt was more time he could spend focusing on other things. Like Regionals. They had barely scraped by with their win at Sectionals and so every effort was being made to ensure this time would be different. He was supposed to take lead vocals with Rachel again but most of the Glee rehearsals were spent arguing for Mike and Brittany's dance skills to be given more focus than they were already. Rachel, of course, wanted nothing to detract from her performance. This was her first big competition (half the Glee club had then pointed out it was the first big competition for all of them) and she wanted to shine. She wanted them to shine.
"We need to be thinking about NYADA, Blaine," she said at the end of a very long and very tiring rehearsal. "This Fall we'll be applying and I want to put on there that we lead our Glee club to Nationals, Nationals, Blaine, in its very first year."
"I understand," he said tactfully, "but if we win—"
"When," Rachel corrected.
"—then it will be because we did it as a team. We need twelve members to compete, Rach. You upset any one of them and they quit—"
"They won't," she said with an air of certainty that Blaine had to wonder at. "Look, Mike and Brittany know that they'll get a chance to... do their thing. Just not in front of us, OK? Santana, Puck, Artie and Tina, they're all good singers but let's be honest here. They're not our level of good. They will be, one day if they want it. But you and I have been in training for this since we were kids. This is all we have ever wanted and it's all we have ever worked for. And Artie and Tina are only Sophomores so when we're setting New York alight they can lead our successful little club and we will know that it's in good hands."
"You have given this far too much thought," Blaine muttered to himself. "What about the others? Sam and Lauren and—"
"What do you want me to do?" Rachel asked. "Give it all up so everyone can sing a line, in turn, and just hope that the judges like a variety act? We want to win this or we don't and if you want to win something then you play your best team."
"That sounds suspiciously like a football thing."
Rachel shrugged. "We do have a number of football players on the team. It's hard not to pick something up."
"Rachel Berry, tell me you're not going to fall for some... quarterback," Blaine laughed.
"Have you seen our players?" she laughed in return. "I have about as much chance of falling for a football player as you do of... I don't know, getting a date with Kurt Hummel."
"You never know," Blaine said, shouldering his book bag, "he might read my letter and be so overcome with its emotion and honesty that he just has to meet me, and once that happens who knows where it might lead."
"A restraining order?"
"I thought you were my friend!"
"I'm your best friend," she said, linking her arm with his, "which is why it's my duty to tell you that you're getting obsessed. He's a celebrity."
"Is just another actor playing a part opposite him. How many of them do you think Kurt's had? Do you think he remembers them all? And if he does remember his co-stars, would that extend to one's little brother who is probably working out some plan about how he's going to sneak onto the set? You heard Principal Figgins. They're filming after school and at weekends and when they are here at the same time we are that part of the school will be closed off and security will be all over the place.
"Please don't get arrested. I'm not going to New York without you and NYADA won't look at you if you've been charged with stalking or harassment or kidnapping."
"I'm not going to kidnap him!"
"Look, I know what it's like, OK? Once upon a time I thought Taylor Lautner was pretty hot—"
"He still is," Blaine protested.
"—but if he walked up to me now and offered to whisk me away somewhere then I'd have to say, 'No, Taylor, I'm sorry but my Glee club needs me. I have a trophy to win'."
"We have a trophy to win," Blaine corrected but he knew Rachel wasn't listening.
"My point is, Blaine, that some things are more important. And you can't go wishing your life away on someone who realistically is never going to want you, not in the same way you want them. And I know it's hard, being the only... one here," she said tactfully, "but things will be different in New York and I promise, there's someone out there who will love you as much as you love them."
"Just not Kurt Hummel?"
"Sorry." She gave him a small smile and then tugged on his arm. "Coffee? My treat?"
"I should be getting home," Blaine said. "Mom and Dad are going a bit spring clean crazy with Cooper coming home. I have to go and sort out my room, though I have no idea why."
"I'm sorry, Blaine, I really am. I know how much you want to meet Kurt and I hope that you get the chance. I just... don't think you should pin all your dreams on it. Be realistic about things."
"Like you being realistic about us going to Nationals?" he joked.
"That's different," Rachel declared as they walked out of school. "I know we're good enough to be the best."
February dragged – Blaine couldn't even bring himself to enjoy his favourite holiday despite his perpetual single nature (what? he was a romantic and always would be. Besides, he loved sending anonymous Valentines to those kids who never seemed to get noticed because for one day they walked around with a smile on their face and Blaine liked that he got to do that for them.) – and when March came around he found himself staring at his wall calendar, the days marked off until that first day of shooting. Cooper was due in a few days before and whenever he was unable to contain his excitement it was easily attributed to his brother's return.
He wanted to ask about the chances of being on set when Kurt was there but as soon as the movie became public knowledge Principal Figgins had called a special assembly.
"Students," he'd said, "it has come to my attention that due to the social sites of Tweet-er and Facetimebook you are aware of the movie being filmed at McKinley High this spring. I must inform you that the filming will be going on after school and security will be in place to stop any of you sneaking in or stalking the actors. I will not have any of my students selling stories to the press in some misguided attempt at becoming famous! Believe me, you don't get paid as much as you want, and the restraining orders can make life and out-of-state travel very hard indeed."
But, Blaine reasoned, he had opportunities the others didn't. If his brother invited him on set, well – that wasn't stalking was it? If he was hanging out with his older brother who worked in an industry that had close ties to the one that Blaine was interested in, well – that was just experience gathering. A real film set, real actors and a director and everything else. And if he just happened to run into Kurt while he was there, well – that was nothing more than fate.
He knew Cooper would have a filming schedule so it would just be a case of working out when the two of them would be on set and then arranging visits. A plan so simple it couldn't help but be a success.
"Sure I can get you on set," Cooper grinned when Blaine asked him, "but only the days when it's just me or some of the minor stars. Some policy or whatever, can't have you sneaking pictures of the other lead actors and selling them to the press."
"Oh, right," Blaine said, his face falling along with his stomach.
"It wasn't just me, was it, B?"
"Kurt," Cooper said simply. "Thought so."
"How'd you know?"
"Because he's the kid making it OK for kids to be gay these days and you... well, you've had it rough."
"I just want to meet him, just once. Thirty seconds and I don't care if he's surrounded by security."
"I'd love to help you out, squirt—"
"Coop, please. This could be my one chance to meet him. He saved my life—"
"That's a bit dramatic, Blaine—"
"No it's not," Blaine snapped. "You've seen the interviews, you've heard his soundbites. Even here, Cooper, they're played here. And people know what it's like to be bullied because of your sexuality and they know how horrific it can be... He talked about one of his old high schools; two years where he was a target. His parents pulled him out, sent him to a private school but then he got discovered. You know he said that he'd have to have one hell of a good reason to ever go back to high school? People made his life hell, comments and looking the other way when things happened.
"McKinley wasn't that great before I went there but because of Kurt it's better. Because some of the seniors that year loved his stuff and took his message to heart and now it's the role of every senior class to look out for those bullies and deal with it.
"You can't tell me I'm being dramatic when I say he saved my life, Cooper. He did and I just want one chance to tell him that. Just one. Thirty seconds, I promise."
"Look," Cooper sighed, "I'm not promising anything. But if all you want is a meet 'n' greet then... There's no harm in asking."
"So you'll do it?"
"Me? No," Cooper said. "I think it needs to come from you. What you said? Write him a letter or something. That way I can give it to him and he can make up his own mind in his own time."
"Thank you," Blaine said, throwing his arms around Cooper's neck in a hug. His big brother laughed and returned it just as tight. "It's good to have you home again."
"Good to be home," Cooper said.
Blaine had been drafting this letter in his head for months now but when he came to write it he was struck by the worst case of writer's block he'd ever had. Which was stupid, he thought, because he should so be able to do this. He knew Kurt Hummel. Well, knew all about him.
Kurt's website bio proclaimed him to be a New York boy, recognised when he was attending a private high school (which wasn't named to protect the friends he still had there). After completing his sophomore year and being snapped up, he went to Los Angeles, just to test the water, but the summer indie movie he did was such a hit that Kurt never went back to school. (He is working with a tutor because 'Education is important'.) After that there was another indie which was huge in Europe, then there were the two blockbusters, one of which was financed heavily by the British Film Institute, which were everywhere last year, garnering him a range of nominations and even a couple of wins. He'd done guest roles on TV, recorded a voice over for an animated show which would air some time this summer, and was fitting in so much work that it was hard to work out when he did normal things like sleep and eat.
Blaine followed him on Twitter and Facebook, had signed up to his email list as soon as it became available, and he had stared at the contact address on his official website for so long that he knew it off by heart.
So many people sent fan letters, he reasoned, it isn't weird. He would be just another letter, just another fan, and Blaine would be able to tell Kurt exactly what he'd done for him. He would, if he'd ever got around to writing the damn thing.
Blaine even had a few pictures up in his locker, along with a printed out version of a single word Kurt had handwritten and Tweeted about. There had been an update just before school started back in which Kurt had talked about being out and proud and what it meant. He said that to face up to the things and the people in this life that want to shut you down takes one thing. That to follow your dreams and to be who you are takes one thing. He carried this card around with him as a sign of how to live his life.
Taking a deep breath to try and locate the last shreds of his, Blaine put pen to paper and started to write, not letting himself second guess a single word of what he was saying.
When Cooper came home from that first evening's filming Blaine couldn't even wait five seconds before accosting him in the hallway.
"Yes, I gave him the letter, OK? Can I take my jacket off now, B?"
"Did he read it? What did he say? What was his reaction? Can I meet him? Did he say anything?"
"He will, nothing, he thanked me, I don't know, nothing much," Cooper answered after taking a second to process everything. "Look, it was the end of the scene, we were getting ready to go and I just handed it over, said my little brother was a fan and wanted me to pass on a letter and that it would mean a lot to you, him, if he read it."
"And he said thank you, put it into his bag and left. Look, B, I wish I could tell you that Kurt and I are best buddies and we hang out and that I could totally get you in. But truth is that he keeps himself to himself. He's got this publicist, Mercedes, and trust me you do not want to get on the wrong side of her."
Blaine knew all about the infamous Mercedes Jones. She'd been hired right at the start to protect Kurt from the negative influences Hollywood can have on a sixteen year old as well as make sure that people took him seriously. She was fierce and determined; more than once she'd been mentioned in articles which were about Kurt, purely because she'd made security move the journalists back five or ten feet, or because she'd run into a director at some party and given him hell because he'd refused to even consider that 'new kid Hummel' for his film and now that Kurt was big it was his loss and he'd have to pretty much beg to even get Kurt's attention these days.
Blaine's favourite incident, however, came after Kurt's first award win. Best Actor in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and the start of something great for Kurt. When he was up there, giving a stumbling and shocked acceptance speech, there'd been a quick shot of Mercedes. She'd been crying with pride and mouthed 'that's my boy' at the camera. She arranged one interview that night, despite everyone wanting to talk to the kid that had come from nowhere, and when E! complained she had written an open letter to the industry, telling them in no uncertain terms how they used to treat gay kids and black kids and now they had teamed up they were working to their rules so get used to it.
Where Kurt went Mercedes went and people were slowly working out that it was just easier to go along with it. They'd never made any demands that were unreasonable (pretty much the opposite actually) and under her guidance Kurt's career had gone international within two years.
"So he's what? Reclusive?" Blaine asked, feeling his stomach sink with his hope.
"...Private?" Cooper settled on. "Between takes he's happy to make small talk and we'll grab a bite to eat from the craft services sometimes but when we're done? He's gone. He won't come out with the crew, I don't think he's accepted anyone's invitations for dinner or drinks—"
"He's underage, Coop."
"—and from what I'm hearing, this is him. He's polite and he's great to work with, but we're never going to be best buddies. Or brothers-in-law."
"Shut up," Blaine scowled, pushing his way out of Cooper's attempt at a hair ruffle. "I'm not asking for his cell number or anything. I just... want to meet him someday."
"I don't think that day is coming any time soon, sorry," Cooper said and it sounded like he honestly meant it.
Later that night, after picking at his dinner and feigning a headache, Blaine sat on the ledge by his window and stared out. "I just wish I could talk to him," he said quietly, his breath misting the glass a little. "Thirty seconds. I'd be happy with that."