“What do you mean you don’t ‘do’ Halloween?” Kurt stared at his boyfriend incredulously.
Blaine shrugged, flicking through Kurt’s newest edition of Vogue as he sat on his boyfriend’s bed. “It’s not that big a deal. I mean, come on, we’re a little old for trick or treating, don’t you think? I just… don’t get what the big fascination is.”
Kurt blinked, trying to assess if Blaine was being serious or not. He stopped flicking through his iTunes and strode across his room to flop down on his bed directly opposite his boyfriend. “You dress up, you eat candy, you have fun and hang out with all your friends. What’s not to like?”
Blaine shook his head, purposefully avoiding looking up, his thumb rubbing absently on the corner of a glossy page as he replied, “I just don’t do it, okay? I wouldn’t know what to wear. It’s not my thing.” There was an odd note of strain to his voice, as if he was putting a lot of effort into keeping his tone light and casual.
“Come on, Blaine.” Kurt sighed, not willing to give up, “It’s our first Halloween as a couple… We could do matching costumes and everything!”
Blaine gave up all pretence of reading. He shifted awkwardly, finally looking up to meet his boyfriend’s eyes. Kurt pouted adorably, and Blaine groaned, “Okay, like what?”
Kurt squealed, kissing Blaine joyfully on the lips before jumping off his bed and dashing towards his closet, “I knew I’d get you to lighten up!”
“Hey! I haven’t agreed to anything yet!” Blaine laughed at Kurt’s reaction.
“Oh please, once you see the costume designs I have in store for you, there’s no way you’ll be able to say no.”
Blaine sighed, rubbing at the back of his head uncomfortably, “Alright. I guess. I mean, it’s been like ten years since I dressed up, so I suppose if anyone’s gonna make me, it’ll be you…”
Kurt paused in his riffling to turn and just stare, “Ten years? You haven’t dressed up for Halloween in ten years?”
“Since I was eight. So what?”
“Ten years?” Kurt repeated. “But… no trick or treating? I mean, what did you do on Halloween?”
Visited the graveyard. Sat in a circle of salt each year for the next five Halloweens. Take your pick.
“Just hung out with Cooper. Watched movies. Our parents usually went out partying, so he stayed in and looked after me.”
“Okay. This is going to need some serious making up for.”
Blaine smiled indulgently, loving how much Kurt really cared. He stood up and walked up to his boyfriend, linking their fingers and kissing him tenderly, “Fine. If it means that much to you, I leave myself in your capable hands. But… one request?”
“Nothing… Halloweeny?” Blaine blushed, knowing he must sound like a complete freak.
“Halloweeny?” Kurt repeated wryly, quirking in an eyebrow in amusement, “Scared of a little hocus pocus?”
Blaine flinched. Actually flinched. “Don’t tease.”
Kurt frowned, deciding to drop what seemed to be an oddly sore topic, “Well I think I can manage your request. What do you feel about reality tv?”
Begrudgingly, Blaine would admit that he was actually having fun. Mercedes’ parents had gone out to some party, so she had invited all the New Directions around for a Halloween party. Kurt had done a great job co-ordinating their costumes, and everyone else looked great. Even Finn, who was covered in so much toilet roll – “Dude, I’m a mummy. This is what mummies look like” – Blaine was honestly expecting there to be a shortage at school.
“Chip?” Mike offered a snack bowl as he sat down next to Blaine, grinning as he watched Tina dance with Rachel and Kurt.
Kurt split away from the girls and sauntered up to Blaine, raising his voice over the music as Puck changed the track, “Come on, dance! Or is Mike winning you over to the idea of spooky costumes?”
Blaine laughed, “I happen to like zombies actually.”
“And what about super-hot witches?” A pair of arms wound their way tightly around Blaine’s shoulders from behind as Brittany pounced over the back of the sofa.
Blaine’s reaction was immediate. He yelled, lurching forwards and to his feet, immediately dislodging Brittany as he stumbled into Kurt’s shocked arms.
“Wow hobbit. I know you’re not into the ladies, but don’t you think that was a tiny bit extreme?” Santana – raunchily yet fittingly dressed up as Satan – smirked at his reaction, wrapping an arm around Brittany as the blonde girl giggled.
Blaine stared, blinking rapidly as the logical part of his brain tried to catch up with his terror and tried to calm his frantically pounding heart.
Brittany cocked her head innocently, flicking her long blonde hair and fiddling with her purple witch’s cloak. She looked gorgeous, and horrifying familiar. Her innocent demeanour and toothy smile all wrapped up in that costume made her look like she had fallen directly out of Blaine’s nightmares.
He laughed unconvincingly. He couldn’t seem to lessen his bone crushing grip on Kurt’s arm, and his boyfriend’s confused concern was starting to show. Thankfully, the girls’ attentions were distracted by Mercedes calling in delight, “You guys made it!”
When the others were looking elsewhere, Kurt frowned worriedly at Blaine, “Are you okay? You look really pale. And I’m kinda losing circulation in my arm here…”
His words were enough to shock Blaine into reaction, and he dropped his grip, flinching back jumpily, “Sorry.”
“Blaine. What’s gotten into you? What’s going on?”
Blaine shook his head. He needed to get out of here, he wanted to get home. “I’m really tired… I think I might head off.”
“It’s only eight thirty Blaine,” Kurt said slowly, worry shining in his eyes.
“I just need to go. I love you. I’ll see you later.” His words tumbled out in a rush, and before Kurt could object, he had already disappeared out the door.
“What was that about?” Mercedes asked.
Kurt shrugged, a lump of hurt lodging in his throat at Blaine abrupt exit, warring with confused concern, “I don’t know. I guess Blaine really doesn’t like Halloween…”
Kurt tried to enjoy himself, but it wasn’t easy. He kept checking his phone for a text from Blaine, but none came. He was seriously considering driving over there when he remembered Blaine had picked him up. Until-
“Hey, who’s phone is this?” Puck yelled over the music, waving the flashing device in his hand.
Kurt’s stomach lurched, recognising the ringtone. “That’s Blaine’s! He must’ve left it here.” He snatched it from Puck and ducked into the marginally quieter hallway, “Hello?”
He had expected it to be Blaine, calling his own number to see where he’d left his phone, but the voice on the other end was decidedly older, “Hello? Who’s this?”
“Oh. Um, I’m Kurt. Blaine left his phone-”
“Kurt? Hey, it’s Cooper. Blaine leave his phone at your place again?”
“Cooper!” Kurt grinned, relieved it hadn’t been Blaine’s dad on the other end. He had met Blaine’s brother a few times, and liked him a lot. It was clear that the Anderson brothers were close, if rather adept at winding each other up, and Cooper had always been completely accepting of Kurt and Blaine’s relationship. “No, we were at a party but Blaine left early-”
Cooper cut over him again, his voice suddenly sharp, “What do you mean you were at a party? You got Blaine to go to a party? On Halloween?”
Kurt frowned, “Yes…” He drew out the word, perplexed. What was it with Andersons and this holiday? “He left like half an hour ago. Cooper, what’s going on? Should I be worried? Blaine was acting a little weird but I thought he just wasn’t into it.”
There was a long pause on the other end of the line, and Kurt was genuinely starting to feel anxious now. But then, “Nah. It’s just Blaine. Bad trick-or-treating experience when he was a kid and he’s hated Halloween ever since. I’m in a cab on the way to the house anyway – thought I’d fly by Lima to surprise him for the week while Mom and Dad are out of town. So don’t worry about it – enjoy your party Kurt, I’ll deal with Blaine’s melodrama.”
Kurt bit his lip, not entirely convinced, “Are you sure? I could be over there in twenty minutes..?”
“No need. Tell you what, if you’re free tomorrow, I’ll take you and Blaine out for coffee. My treat?”
Kurt smiled, his worries assuaged by Blaine’s brother’s cheery tone. Of course, he would still grill Blaine about it later. “That’d be great. Lima Bean, 11.30? Tell Blaine I’ll bring his phone.”
“Thanks Kurt! See you then!”
Cooper hung up, his stomach churning. He checked out the cab window to see how far he was from home, and was glad to see he was only a few blocks away. He knew he should have flown in the day before. He and Blaine always spent Halloween together, no exceptions. But it’d been ten years, and Cooper had really needed to attend that audition, and he thought Blaine would be fine… Blaine had insisted he would be.
The house was dark when he pulled up, and that did nothing to ease Cooper’s nerves. He threw some money at the driver, not stopping to wait for change as he grabbed his bag and fumbled in his pocket for the spare key he always kept.
“Blaine?” His voice echoed into the house, and once more Cooper found himself cursing their parents. Blaine shouldn’t be alone, not ever, but especially not today.
He dumped his bag in the foyer and climbed the stairs, immediately heading to Blaine’s room, only to find it empty save for a rumpled pile of clothes on the floor. His stomach twisted, but he forced himself not to panic irrationally.
Blaine wasn’t the only one who had a problem with the night of All Hallows Eve.
Glancing down the hall, his eye caught a warm glow spilling out from under a closed door – the door to Cooper’s old room. Sighing, Cooper approached the door and knocked, pushing it open, “Blaine buddy?”
Cooper was knocked back slightly by the momentum as he was impacted bodily by a high-speed little brother launching himself into a hug, “Hey Blaine.” He squeezed back, glad to see Blaine was okay.
Well… if okay could be classed as sitting on his big brother’s old double bed, which had been pulled out into the middle of the room and surrounded by a substantial circle of salt…
“You came. I didn’t think you were, and I tried to give Halloween a go, for Kurt’s sake, but then Brittany was there, and for a second I thought she was Sarah Sanderson and I was so scared and you weren’t there and I thought they were back and I know it’s stupid and I’m stupid but I didn’t know what else to do and I couldn’t tell Kurt because he’d think I was insane and never talk to me again but-”
“Hey! Hey, hey, hey, Blaine breathe, okay? Just breathe for me.” Cooper pulled back slightly, grasping Blaine’s shaking shoulders and forcing him to meet his eyes.
Blaine swallowed viciously, swiping angrily at his eyes, “This is so stupid. I shouldn’t be scared anymore.”
“When your eighth Halloween is spent running from witches who was to kill you so they’ll live forever, I think you’re entitled.”
“When my stupid virgin brother resurrected three nutty witches and then tried to sacrifice himself to save me, you mean,” Blaine shot back, but there was a twitch of a smile as he relaxed slightly, the presence of his big brother making him feel infinitely safer than he had only moments ago.
“I will maintain until my dying day that I was not a virgin. Their spell was faulty. Anyone could’ve lit that candle,” Cooper replied haughtily.
“Keep telling yourself that,” Blaine smiled, but hugged Cooper again in a much less urgent manner. “I’m really glad you’re here.”
“Always, little brother.” Cooper pressed a kiss into Blaine’s dark curls, reassuring himself the teenager was still okay. He drew back and asked, “Permission to enter the salt circle?”
Blaine grinned, “Permission granted.” Delicately stepping over the salt, Blaine clambered back onto the bed, Cooper following.
“Wait… what happened to the gel?” Cooper frowned, ruffling Blaine’s hair, enjoying his brother’s squawk of protest.
“Kurt. Part of our Halloween costume.”
Cooper raised a dubious eyebrow, raking his eyes over Blaine’s hair and pyjamas, “Just had sex?”
“Urgh! You’re so crude!” Blaine yelped, hitting Cooper with a pillow, “We went as Snooki and the Situation. My costume is back in my room.”
“I am not even going to pretend I know what you’re talking about.”
“You live in LA Cooper!”
Cooper shrugged unapologetically, smiling at how much more at ease Blaine was already.
They stayed up late talking, catching up with everything and trying to distract each other, but every so often, conversation would drift back to that night. To Binx. To Billy. To the memories that had shaped them.
Around 2am, Blaine could no longer keep his eyes open. He had long since curled up against a pillow, and his eyes had been drooping for the last half hour. Cooper simply manoeuvred him underneath the comforter in a well practiced movement. Unlike Blaine, he doubted he would be getting any sleep.
One small part of Cooper would always be thankful for the horrors of that Halloween. If he had never awoken the Sanderson sisters that night, he wondered if he would still have the close relationship he enjoyed now with Blaine. He couldn’t imagine life without his little brother…
But there would always be this. The Sanderson sisters may be long gone, but Cooper doubted Blaine would ever be okay with Halloween. The kid may have been a bold eight year old, but he had still just been a kid. And if Cooper still had nightmares of that horrible haunting song, of Blaine’s screams as he was stolen, of Blaine tied to that chair…
Cooper shook his head violently. Blaine was safe. The sisters were gone.
A little salt in the carpet and the price of a plane ticket was a small price to pay to get them both safely through one night a year, when the spirits of the world come creeping close and dark faces lace their dreams.