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Maleficent Misunderstandings

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“Oh dear what an awkward situation” – Maleficent, 2014


 

Current day: June, 2012

Harry and Blaine 15 years old

“I don’t want to hear this anymore! Why can’t you just drop it!?” Blaine shouted, his normally composed expression making way for one of frustration and anger.

“Blaine….please, I’m not trying to cause trouble but if you would just listen….” Harry tried again, his own tone pleading.

“No! it’s always the same with you, ‘don’t trust Kurt,’ ‘Kurt’s not what he seems,’ ‘Kurt’s using you’….I have heard it all before Harry, and I am sick of it. I have already made it clear where I stand on this, why do you insist on bringing it up over and over again? Can’t you just let me be happy?!” His words were nearly whispers, harsh and threatening.

Harry had to clench his fist in frustration, his nails biting into the palms of his hand, as though he could physically force the guilt at hearing Blaine sounding so small, down. He didn’t want to hear his brother like that….he truly didn’t want to hurt Blaine but what other choice did he have? He had waited and hoped that Blaine would come to see the truth about his boyfriend on his own…to see that Kurt was not the sweet and innocent façade that he portrayed…. but he could wait no longer. It was either force Blaine to see the truth, or risk losing him altogether.

And maybe that sounded a bit melodramatic…but Harry couldn’t help but feel that it was true none the less.

“I do want you to be happy….but can’t you see what he’s doing? How he’s changing you? Twisting your opinions so that they match his….separating you from your old friends?” Harry asked, praying that for once that Blaine would put his own pride aside and actually consider his words. Anyone could see what Kurt was doing to his brother….well, anyone but Blaine it would seem.

For a brief second Harry thought that he had finally gotten through to his brother, that finally after all the arguments and confrontations between the two of them, that his words had sunk in….but just as quickly that hope was extinguished as Blaine’s mouth turned down and his eyes narrowed.

“Is that it? Is that what’s bothering you?” Blaine asked; his tone so cold and vicious that Harry hardly recognized it as his brother’s normally warm dulcet voice. “Is the fact that I am changing and growing the thing that is bothering you? You know Kurt said that you were….well, never mind. The point is I defended you to him and now…” Blaine trailed off in disgust.

Harry knew in this moment that this conversation had done the exact opposite of what he had hoped it would—instead of exposing Kurt’s machinations for what they were, it had pushed Blaine further into them.

“Blaine…” Harry began again only to be cut off by his brother’s angry words.

“No, I don’t care if whatever problem you have with my boyfriend is because you are jealous of him, jealous that I have managed to find someone else to confide in….or simply because you don’t like him. I have had enough of this bullshit! I think it would be best if you kept your distance for awhile. Because I don’t think I’m the only one who has changed recently….and honestly, I don’t like this new version of you at all” Blaine ended, a tone of finality--one that took Harry’s breath away, ringing through the tense air.

Before Harry could say anything in response; whether to defend himself and his actions, or beg for forgiveness and say that he was wrong (which in this case he most definitely was not…but anything would be better than having his brother, his twin, cut him off completely) Blaine had turned and stormed out of the now suffocating silent room.

Harry stared in the direction that his brother had gone—part of him wanting to run after him and force him to stay and part of him too angry and hurt to do so. He had so many things to say and unanswered questions to ask…but the main one was; where did he go wrong?

How did things come to this?  

Chapter Text


 

“They’re right. I am a freak, I try to fit in.  I really do, but I just can’t. Sometimes I feel like I really don’t belong here. Like I’m supposed to be someplace else”-Hercules, 1997  


 

September, 2008

Harry and Blaine: age 12

Harry hardly even noticed the fact that he had once again been locked in the prison cell the Dursley’s called his room. For once, being locked in his room for the next several days with nothing but a few slices of bread and just enough water to keep him alive was not the most important thing to the raven haired preteen. No, the most important thing to Harry at the moment was the picture and small silver key taped to said picture’s back that he was clutching in his hand; both which had found only half an hour before.    

He was actually a little surprised that his Aunt Petunia had not taken either of the items from him, but that was likely more due to her own flustered emotional state than a conscious decision to let Harry keep something that had been meant for him. Well, he had no complaints there…even if the picture was rather faded and water stained, it was one of the few (only) items he had belonging to his dearly departed parents.

But wait… were they even his parents anymore? Harry wasn’t sure. Up until this afternoon-- a beautiful sunny afternoon that Harry had hoped to spend hiding out doors in the park down the road, instead of being forced to sort and clean through the Dursley’s dusty loft—Harry, had not for one second doubted the fact that Lily and James Potter were his biological parents…and why should he?

After all, the only thing that he had ever been told (and what little he could remember) about the couple, was that they were a generous, beautifully matched pair (a family friend had told him that when he was eight. It had been the only time that he had ever met any of his parent’s friends, and it had been quite by accident. Harry hadn’t even known the woman but she apparently recognized him, or at least he was pretty sure she did, given the fact that she had come up to them when he was out with Petunia and Dudley at the grocery store and told him so) or that they were both complete wastes of space-- useless alcoholics who had gotten themselves killed and had dumped their freak of a nephew off on his upstanding relatives (as told by Petunia).

Honestly, from what little that he could recall of them, and what little he had found out when he tried googling them (only a few old crime articles) he wasn’t sure which description he believed—though as he got older and became more and more cognizant of the Dursley’s ‘pettiness,’ he was more inclined to believe the random woman (if he remembered correctly she had been an old school teacher of theirs…a Miss Mcgony or something to that a effect).  

But after this afternoon….and his Aunt’s angrily spewed words (which to be fair, most of her words to Harry were generally angry or disdainful) he just wasn’t sure anymore. Sighing, he looked down at the picture; that while faded, still didn’t diminish his mother’s obvious radiance or his father’s happiness. He wondered once again when and where this was taken…it had actually been that same question that had led him to doing the unthinkable and asking Petunia…

“Are you done boy?” Petunia snapped when she caught sight of her scrawny nephew hesitating just outside the kitchen door.

“…err…not exactly” Harry responded, trying to recapture the words that he was going to say. Words; which he had rehearsed in his head and out loud, several times after finding the photo. What had he been thinking? Well, he might as well ask now because he had already pissed her off by coming down here before finishing with the loft.

“Then what the hell are you doing down here you lazy freak? Just like your father….think that if you slack off enough that you will just get away with it….” Petunia snapped back, the beginning of an oh-so very familiar lecture (rant) falling from her frowning lips.

“Um…no, I- I just—I just found this picture up...upstairs and was wondering if you could tell me about it?” Harry hastily asked stumbling over the words at the sight of his aunt’s darkening expression. Yes, this had been a rather stupid idea…it was just that sometimes (rarely) he would catch his Aunt in a benevolent mood, and during those times she would sometimes let a few tidbits about his mother, Lily slip through.

“What have I told you about asking about your disgusting, no-good parents? They’re dead! Don’t you understand that you idiotic child? They are dead and never coming back for you….even if they weren’t, I doubt they would come back for a freak like you. I never understood why my bitch of a sister would adopt an urchin like you in the first place….” Petunia snarled before coming to an abrupt halt as she realized just what she said.

“A-adopt? What-what are you talking about?” Harry asked his green eyes wide with shock.

“Nothing! Get out of my sight” Petunia yelled, lurching towards him and causing Harry to stumble back into the wall.

Apparently, he hadn’t gotten out of her sight quick enough as he had found himself roughly man-handled up the stairs and shoved into his room—the resounding clicks of locks letting him know that he would be there for quite a while.

He wasn’t sure whether or not to believe his Aunt’s words…so often she would say things to him just to get under his skin, and telling him that he was adopted was certainly such a thing. But…at the same time, something about how she had said it-- heat of the moment—and the surprised look on her face after she had said it, made him think that there might actually be some truth to her comment this time.

But then why hadn’t they mentioned it before? Surely, if he were truly adopted they would have used that fact to torment him earlier than this. If there was truth behind his Aunt’s words, he was sure that Dudley at least didn’t know… there was no way his fat bully of a cousin would keep a detail like this to himself--either way he had to find out. He knew that the information would likely change very little about his admittedly miserable life, but he had to know….

Flipping the photo over to its back he slowly traced the key that was taped there with his thin finger. He needed to talk this out with someone, have someone other than his ‘Harry-hating’ relatives and his own insecure brain to bounce it off of. He could really only think of one other person that he would dare to trust with such information: Hermione.

His long time friend was probably the smartest person he had ever met (and that included the adults in his life), if she couldn’t help him, and then he didn’t know who could.

 --0—

October 2008

“You won’t be going back to Westerville…” Mrs. Anderson stated resolutely, staring down at her broken, bed bound son. It was all that she could do to even come and visit him in this place—not because she did not care or love her son, but because seeing him filled with tubes and wires, covered in bandages and casts meant to heal his broken bones, was almost too painful for her heavy heart to handle.

Blaine felt his heart stutter in relief; it had been one of the many fears that had been eating away at him since he had awoken to the sound of machines beeping, groggy and in pain.

He knew even before hearing it from his father’s angry lips that the ones responsible for his current state hadn’t been caught. He also knew that it had little to do with their identities being unknown, and much more to do with the fact that their actions were directed towards a runty, middle school fag—it was Ohio after all. So he thought that he really couldn’t be blamed for the decreased churning of his stomach at the news that he would not have to go back to the school where everything had taken place.

He briefly wondered whether Kevin would be have to go back there alone to face their tormentors but just as quickly banished such thoughts…he was not going to think about the other boy…the boy he had been with at the time. No one had mentioned Kevin, and Blaine was far too afraid to ask about the other boy, so it was better just not to think about him at all.

It was actually the same approach he was taking to most things at the moment…the attack, the flashbacks, the panicked feeling whenever he heard footsteps approaching—just not thinking about them. It didn’t happen…he was never attack; he simply had an accident of some sort, that had landed him in the hospital for the past three weeks—yes, just an unfortunate accident.

He knew that his parents, and even Cooper (in his own way) were worried about him…especially when he refused to talk about what had happened or even acknowledge the fact that it did or why it did. But for now they were letting him get away with it; only showing their disappointed through the slight downturn of their mouths when he quickly changed the topic to something more benign and superficial—like what his mother’s reading group was reading this week, or what new acting job Cooper had auditioned for. Blaine wasn’t sure how long they were going to allow him to continue this way but at least for now they were allowing him one small comfort.

He could be thankful for that at least.

His moment of relief quickly turned into one of dread at his mother’s next words, “Your father has enrolled you at that private all boy’s school—Dalton Academy. We talked to the headmaster already and he was perfectly fine with entering you after the Christmas break, of course you might be a little behind in the course work, as Dalton has a much more rigorous course load, but Walter said that you could start with half the classes and work your way up…of course you will have to take a few of the others over the summer holidays but me and your father can get you a tutor. We can probably find one to come and work with you here even before your release, that way you won’t have so much to catch up on….” His mother rambled away, a clear sign that she was just as scared about letting Blaine go back into a school atmosphere as Blaine was about going.

Blaine swallowed heavily, trying to stop the panic attack that he could feel bubbling up…his chest constricting, a small sheen of sweat adorning his forehead. It was okay…. it would be fine, Dalton was not Westerville high and yes, it would be all boys (something that worried him, as it was generally that half of the population who were the worst offenders when it came to intolerance of his…. preference*) but they wouldn’t be like the jocks and other homophobes from Westerville. They wouldn’t…. it was an all boys school after all, surely some of the rumors and snide things that Kyle and his cronies had muttered about such places were true? Surely they were more along the lines of momma’s boys and pansies then violent jocks and bigots…. surely.

His mother must have seen something in his expression, something that hinted at an oncoming anxiety attack, as she was quick to add, “Don’t worry dear, Walter assured us that Dalton is very different from any of the other schools in the area, they have a zero-tolerance stance on violence and bullying for one. Even words and taunting are punished….”

Blaine wanted to believe her--so badly he wanted to, but then again how many times had he heard similar statements from the staff at his old school? How many times had one teacher or another given an anti-bullying lecture only to completely ignore the fact that he was getting slammed into the doorframe on the way out of said lecture? But he knew that he didn’t have a ton of options, at least not now. They couldn’t move, his father’s job demanded their presence in Ohio, and while he might have been able to convince his parents to let him go and live with cooper in L.A, he knew his brother too well to ask that. Sure, Cooper might be acting a little better right now—sympathetic and caring but it wouldn’t be long until something else came along and caught his attention. So no, Blaine really didn’t have another option at the moment.

Who knew? Maybe Dalton would actually be different…maybe he would be able to make friends—friends who wouldn’t abandon him first chance that they got. Blaine’s thoughts briefly drifted to thoughts of another boy-- one who would be his age exactly minus 6 or so minutes. He wondered if he had known this boy, if he had, had him in his life, if things would be different. If he wouldn’t have felt so betrayed when those that he had once called friends ignored and shunned him…because surely the other boy wouldn’t have done that.

No, Blaine was certain had his twin been here with him, that he would have stood up for him, helped shield him from the words and violence—or at least been someone that Blaine would have been able to talk to without fearing their discussion being the topic of gossip the very next day. He wondered, as he had since he had discovered that he was different-- that he liked boys, if his twin was the same in that way as well….

Of course it was just one of the many things he wondered about his twin—when he allowed himself to think of such things. This like so many other things now was yet another topic that Blaine tried his best not to think about too much. After all, thinking about such things just led him to longing for stuff that he couldn’t have or change—his parents had told him they had tried to find information on what happened to his other half and had come up empty handed—so again, it was better just not wonder at all.

Besides wondering about his twin would not help alleviate his current fears—no, like always it would be up to Blaine and Blaine alone to do so. So putting on his best brave face, a shaky, somewhat strained smile Blaine nodded his agreement, “It sounds wonderful, mother. I’m sure it will be fine….”

“Everything will be fine”     

--00—

October 2008

“Where have I seen something like this before…I know I have….”?

Harry bit his lip to stop himself from interrupting his friends pondering, knowing that she wasn’t actually asking him but simply voicing her thoughts out loud. He was quite used to how Hermione’s brain functioned—having been her study partner countless times since the beginning of their strange friendship.

Strange, because no one in their right minds would have paired them together when they thought friendship: the super smart, uptight brainiac and the moody, troublemaking loner. Yes, they made an odd pair all right, but somehow it worked for them.

It had taken him awhile to bring up the topic of his parent’s photo and attached key to Hermione…not because he didn’t trust her, but because he had half convinced himself that Petunia was lying and had said such things just to unnerve him. He had, at one point in the last month decided that it would better not to find out the truth, to just ignore the entire thing and let himself make up what he wanted to believe; and he had almost done just that. Except that the nagging curiosity just wouldn’t leave him be—he had always been cursed with the damn stuff, the expression ‘curiosity killed the cat’ could have literally been made just for him.

So here he was now, photo and key in hand, leaning back on the school field’s fence waiting for Hermione to tell him what he wanted to know; just what he should do with the information Petunia had unwittingly given him.

Hermione absently pushed back a strand of escaped frizzy brown hair as she stared with an almost unnerving concentration down at the small silver key in her hand, the crease between her eyes pronounced, demonstrating just how vexing she was finding this latest challenge. Harry tried to glance discretely at the watch on her wrist (he didn’t have one, as the Dursley’s barely bought him food much less things as frivolous as watches) knowing that the bell would ring soon signaling the end of their lunch break.

He wasn’t sure what he would do if she didn’t have the answers….   

Luckily, it would seem that he didn’t need to worry as Hermione’s head shot up to show a triumphant smile there. “That’s it! I knew that this key seemed familiar…not because I have seen this particular one before but because I have seen one similar to it!”

Harry shot her a look, clearing stating that she should get to the point before he strangled her—not that she noticed. He sighed to himself before prompting her, “and?”  

“And, it’s the same style and logo as my grandparent’s key! I used to visit them all the time when I was younger and they were always so busy…what with granddad’s work and nan’s committees…anyway, they used to keep me occupied by allowing me to play dress-up with some of their old jewelry and such. There was a key just like this one, in one of the jewelry boxes that I wasn’t suppose to play with—I remember getting into trouble because my nan found me playing with it. She told me that it was very important and was for a box full of stuff that her and my granddad didn’t want to risk leaving lying around the house. Looking back now…I would bet that it was for a deposit box of some sort…I bet that the key that your parent’s left you is for the same!”

What Harry got out of the long, rambling explanation, was the fact that his parent’s had left him a deposit box—a deposit box that was likely filled with things belonging to them; of things that might answer all the questions that he couldn’t ask anyone else about. He tried to squash down the small flutter that he felt at the thought—it wouldn’t do to allow himself to get his hopes up only to have them dashed later. No, he would not have any expectations going into this…he would simply go and find out what, if anything they had left.

“Do you know what bank they used? If they key is similar maybe my parent’s used the same bank?” Harry asked, more to distract himself from his rolling thoughts than anything else.

“Um…. let me think…I know the name, it starts with a D? No, B…. err…oh! I know! I’m pretty sure they use HSBC**….well, at least they do now, though I think they used a different one years back….they ended up switching because of interest rates or some such thing…I think that they used Barclay's before….”

Harry nodded his understanding, allowing his friend to continue her monologue while he turned his attention back to his own thoughts. It didn’t matter if his friend was right or not about which bank the key belonged to, or even if it was indeed a key for a deposit box…. what mattered was that he now had an idea of where to start.

He had wasted enough time waffling around whether or not he should find out more…. well, no more. He would do everything in his power to find out what his parent’s had left him; to find out if there was really any truth behind Petunia’s words.

After all, he had lived for years believing that his parent’s were wastes of space, nothing that he could possibly find could be worse than that.

‘Yes’ Harry decided, ‘it was time to find out the truth…no matter what it was.’  

Chapter Text


 

“Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten” Leo and Stitch, 2002


 

May 2001

Harry and Blaine age 4

Lily sighed as she looked down at her new driver’s license pursing her lips slightly at the sight of the photo. She knew she was being beyond ridiculous in her displeasure…it was after all, just a picture—but she couldn’t help it, the woman staring back at her; the newly brunette with cropped locks and brown contacts, was so foreign…. so un-her.

Different perhaps, but necessary, she knew. It was for her own safety these changes, no, that wasn’t quite right…. it was for more than her own safety; it was for her entire families safety—especially Harry’s. She and James may not be his birth parents but that didn’t mean she loved him any less then if they had been.

She glanced over to the corner of the small living room where Harry sat atop one of the still unpacked moving boxes—a book in hand, his brow scrunched in concentration and a wrinkle in his small nose as he carefully sounded out each word of the story to himself. His lips were moving, silently forming the consonant and vowel’s sounds as Lily had taught him to. She didn’t even try to stop the small proud smile from forming on her lips at the sight. As hard as James’s tried, Harry was much more her temperament then his; far more concerned with learning and solitary play, than in rough housing and jokes.

Glancing down once more at the license in her hand she gave her head a quick shake and tucked it away inside the new purse that she had bought—just one of many new things she had recently acquired to go along with her, their new identities. ‘Millicent Lux’—she really didn’t think anyone could blame her for not exactly loving the new name she had been saddled with, though she was not so vain as to not to understand the rationality behind it. Millicent—because she could shorten it to Milly, which in turn was close enough to Lily that should James— no, Jarold now, make a mistake and call her by her old one, people would just assume they had heard him wrong. Their last name had been James’s contribution to the whole thing; he thought it would be amusing to choose a last name after one of Harry’s favorite bedtime stories; the Mouse and the light*. Whatever, Lily was just glad that he did not decide to go with a mouse themed name.

Thankfully they had only changed Harry’s formal name—it was now Harrison J Potter, instead of Harold. Since the four year old was rarely (only when Lily was beyond angry) called by his full formal name, it was likely that Harry wouldn’t even realize that his name had been changed. It was the same bout of luck that Harry had always called Lily and James; mum and dad…. again, they wouldn’t have to worry about him slipping up and using their old names.

Lily knew that everything was still relatively new—it had only been a week since they had formally been placed in the witness protection program after all—and that as time went on, all the changes—big and small, would become easier to bare. They would eventually be familiar enough that their old life and persona’s would become the unfamiliar ones…. but still, even knowing this it was hard.

Why them? Why Harry? Why that picture? Why, why why?

These questions had been churning in her brain since the very first letter—if you could call it that—had arrived on their doorstep. So, innocent and unassuming looking for what it contained. The pure white envelope just a thin disguise for the threats and horrible ultimatum written within. Had it been about anything other than their beautiful, brilliant son—Lily and James would likely have written it off as a sick prank and ignored the whole thing…but they hadn’t. They would never risk Harry on the off chance that it was not.

And as it turned out, it was not.

No, it was no sick prank—it was instead a sick and very dangerous promise, from an equally sick and dangerous madman. A sick, dangerous and powerful mad man, named Tom Riddle, or Voldemort, as he liked to be called these days.

Voldemort, the head of Britain’s criminal underground, Voldemort, the mass murderer, torturer and thief, Tom Riddle, the tainted politician who everyone suspected but no one could convict for lack of proof and breathing witnesses….

Why did one of the most notorious and corrupt men in all of Britain have to choose Harry to fixate his delusions on? Why did this monster have to see the photo of Harry and his nursery classes’ Christmas concert in a local newspaper and decide that Harry was really his long dead son? Why did the man have to have a snap in his mental health now?

Lily can still recall the acidic dread she felt in her stomach at reading the letter from the man. A letter that told them that they had but a week to give Harry back or their lives would be forfeit. They had not even once considered following the letters instructions and giving that man their young son.

Thankfully the police had believed the letter and had taken the threat seriously, immediately moving the family into protective custody and then going further to place them under witness protection and give them new identities and lives. As Detective Dumbledore had said, Tom—or as he was better known as, Voldemort may be unhinged but he was persistent, and once he fixated on something he was hard to shake. When Lily had heard this, she wondered if they should not have left Britain entirely—gone to some other country perhaps? but Dumbledore had assured her that a simple change of cities should be enough, what with their new lives and everything.

James seemed to trust the detective…and he was a good judge in character, so Lily would do the same. Still, she would take some precautions…just in case. Just in case something happened to either of them. Really, it was something they should have done even before this mess…. that way should Harry ever be left without her or James, he would still have a piece of them, money to look after him when he got a bit older and the entire truth.

Yes; a letter about the adoption, what they knew of his other half, their own family and even the mess they were in right now couldn’t hurt. Perhaps, even his own bank account? -- One that he could access when he was a little older—fifteen or so. It was likely that all this was all for naught but even if that were the case, it would still be good for him to have some money to call his own when he got a bit older… to teach him how to be responsible for finances and such at the very least.

She had always been a bit of a planner…and having something to plan and organize was just the thing that she needed to distract her from that nagging unease that had been persistently eating away at her since the first letter. She wouldn’t mention it to James, he would either just laugh at her superstitions or become even more worried and paranoid—neither of which she wanted.

No, she would write Harry a letter—one he would likely never need—open him an bank account and place the key somewhere that he—or should something happen to them (as unlikely as that was), his new guardian would find it and give it to him when he was old enough to understand.

“Harry, love” She called out softly, knowing that the four year old would hear her.

She was correct and the untidy mop of dark hair shot up, inquisitive green eyes—now marred with a fake pair of ugly round glasses (something that they were using to change Harry’s appearance with—the four year old was delighted, thinking it a grand to have glasses like his dad) peered over at her. “Mum?”

“Why don’t you go get your dad? Mummy has got to go and run some errands…maybe your dad will help you finish your paper airplane?” Lily suggested, knowing that if Harry asked, James would be more than happy to bond with his son. The man could refuse their small son nothing, honestly Lily feared if she were not around to reign in her husband that he would have spoiled Harry rotten by now. Thankfully, her son had seemingly not only been blessed with a sharp mind but a natural restraint. Well, as much restraint as one could hope for in a child his age anyhow.

“K” Harry agreed easily, wiggling his way to the edge of the box and getting down, before running up the stairs towards the recently set up office where James was currently reading.

“Don’t run” Lily admonished half-heartedly knowing that her words would go unheard. Turning to quickly write a note to James—an explanation that she had stepped out and would be back soon, Lily grabbed her coat and made her way down the creaky front steps.

She had a bank to visit. And her own worries, to ease. Once again she knew she was being silly, but if this would help her feel better then so be it.

Her family was safe. She just hoped they would remain so.

--o—

November 2008

Harry took a deep breath while craning his neck back to take in the sight of the imposing, steel and glass structure in front of him. Once again he wished that Hermione had not had a family trip this weekend and had been able to come with him—if not for her brains, then at least for moral support.

Harry shoved his hands deeper inside the pockets of his worn, baggy jeans, reassured to once again feel the small silver key he had placed in there before school this morning. He should probably be a bit more worried about what the Dursley’s will have to say about his late return but he was pretty sure he could pass it off as another detention or the likes—it wasn’t like they actually cared where he was; really they only asked because they hated the idea of him doing anything that might bring him some enjoyment. Yes, the detention excuse would likely work…it always had in the past.

In all truth he thought it was rather clever of him, purposefully giving them what they so desired—proof of his delinquency and bad ‘blood.’ Really, it was win-win; he got to sneak off and do what he wanted—whether it was to be hiding out in a local park wiling away the hours, a trip to the library or even just skulking around downtown…while they got to believe that he was once again in detention for being a little shit. Something that they took great delight in, especially when they could offer it as proof to their neighbors on what saints they were for putting up with the likes of him.

Pushing the glass revolving door, Harry moved with the motion until he was spit out into a gleaming marble and wood laden lobby. Long counters with heavily made-up tellers standing behind them covered the far side of the room, while equally long queues of annoyed looking customers snaked in multiple lines back towards where Harry was currently standing.

Ignoring the frowns and looks of disapproval he was getting-- not only from the security guards near the door, but from several of the more prissy looking customers-- Harry walked confidently (or at least he tried) to the back of the closest line, readying himself for a long wait.

He passed the time by scuffing his black-soled sneakers against the pristine marble floor, taking great joy in the annoyed looks he was getting. Sure, maybe he should have been trying to make a good impression—what with wanting their help and everything, but he just couldn’t force himself to do it. He hated when people judged him before even really getting to know him, and he had seen those looks when he walked in. They had taken one glance at his baggy, worn out clothing, and likely his youthful age and had automatically already dismissed him of being a worthy potential client. It was people like these that made him thirst to prove himself—well, people like these and the Dursley’s. One day he would show them—one day he would prove to them just how wrong they had been to dismiss him.

Harry was pulled from his internal grumblings by the loud, nasally sounding “NEXT!”

Startling from his thought, Harry was surprised to find that he was indeed the next person in line…somehow the long line in front of him had dwindled down to him and a few people behind him while he was mentally berating everyone around him. Well, no complaints here.

He approached the long counter, where the young woman who had called out stood; her stiffly starched blouse and pencil squirt impeccable in there wear. “And what can I help you with today Mr.…” she asked, her disdain evident as she arched one of her thinly penciled eyebrows at him.

“Potter” Harry supplied, once again steeling his nerves and voice so that he appeared far more confident in his endeavor than he actually was.

She barely withheld an impatient sniff, “Yes, well Mr. Potter…. your business?”

“I have recently come across a key left to me by my departed parents and I believe that it is for a deposit box at your bank” Harry gave her the shortened version of the explanation that he and Hermione had agreed was best. Shortened, because this was not the first bank he had visited today and he was getting rather weary and despondent at having to constantly repeat the spiel.

While her posture remained stiff and formal, he saw a minute softening in her expression at the news that he was an orphan—Harry sighed internally, people were so predictable. She held out a manicured hand, in which he dropped the key, all while trying to fight back the urge to snatch it back from her---it was after all one of the few things he had from his parents…he hated having to let other’s touch and manhandle it but if he hoped to get answers it was a necessary evil.

She brought it up closer to her face for a long minute and just when Harry was sure that she was going to shake her head and tell him –like the last few tellers had told him---that she was sorry but she didn’t recognize the key, she closed her fist around it. “Wait here, Mr. Potter. I believe you are correct and that this is one of our deposit key boxes…however it looks like the older version—a key to the boxes that are no longer available to rent. If you will just give me a moment I will grab my supervisor for you, as he would have better knowledge on such matters”

Harry nodded back numbly, trying to ignore the swoop of hope he felt at her words. He could hardly believe it…. Hermione was right! His parents had left him something! In all honesty, he hardly cared what that something might be, just the very fact that they had cared enough to leave anything was enough for the attention starved twelve year old. The joy in discovering this was enough to weigh lay any of the fear that had been building since his conversation with his Aunt—if they cared enough to rent a box and leave it for him, then surely it didn’t matter if he was adopted or not…right?

Harry forced himself to stand still while he waited for the return of the teller and her manager, trying to stop himself from imagining just what might be in the newly discovered box…. what did one even leave in such boxes? Surely, it wouldn’t be much…most likely important papers or documents; he couldn’t imagine that the box would be large enough for anything else.

“Mr. Potter?” a middle aged, rather pudgy and stressed out looking man asked him, moving his hand from fiddling with an expensive gold watch on his wrist to extend it in Harry’s direction.

“Yes, that’s me” Harry quipped back trying to bring some levity to the almost oppressive air that surrounded not only their small group, but also the entire bank lobby. If Harry had learned one thing during the last few hours that he had been travelling from bank to bank— it was that he had no desire to pursue a career path in finance. He mentally shuddered at the thought of coming to work in such a depressing and serious atmosphere everyday—yup, definitely not for him. The strained smile he received in return for his efforts told him just how unsuccessful they had been in the first place.

“Ah…right, well, I have to say this is a little unexpected…. you wouldn’t have identification on you would you?” the man asked shifting his weight slightly, while peering down at the scruffy looking child in front of him. This was not what Alex wanted to deal with so close to closing. He had been so looking forward to getting out on time for once, something that was getting less and less likely, what with having a questionable ruffian waltz in here at the near end, holding a key for a long thought abandoned safety box. This was not what he wanted, not at all. He was still holding a small amount of hope that the whole thing was a hoax and that he could simply show the child the door—preferably within the next half hour, but knowing his luck…

“Err...I have my life* card and my school ID?.... those are acceptable right?” Harry asked uncertainly. He prayed that they would be enough, for it was a small miracle that he was able to get his hands on either of the aforementioned, especially the first.

Well, in all truth it was rather amazing that he even had a health card, considering what the Dursley’s thought of him and how likely they were to take him to see a health care professional should anything ever happen. His only guess was that after Dudley broke his arm when he was six, his Aunt applied for one, likely more as a precautionary measure than because she had any real concern for him. No doubt she and Vernon would be happy to let him bleed to death the next time something similar happened, but even they didn’t want to have to deal with the trouble that would most likely follow the death of a minor ‘under their care’. It was once again thanks to Hermione that Harry had even thought to covertly look through his Aunt’s purse to see if he had one—something that he was rather relieved to find was the case.

The man‘s lips pulled down and a flash of what looked like annoyed displeasure crossed his rubbery old face before it was gone, being replaced once again with the strained smile. “Yes, yes…. of course that should be fine…. and your guardian’s? Where are they?” he asked.

Harry forced himself not to squirm knowing that if there was going to be any trouble over getting access to what was legally his, this would be it. “They were unable to accompany me today…but I do have their signed permission slip**” Harry stated handing over a paper that legally gave him the right, as a minor to handle his accounts without the presence of an adult. Again, Hermione had found the document online and printed it out for him (along with giving him a lecture on how he would have to be responsible and not waste whatever was left to him on frivolous things…the typical Hermione speech really)—which he had then forged Vernon’s signature…really, not that difficult of a task considering how illegible his uncle’s signature was. Harry could only hope that the man would take the form as proof and not follow up with the Dursley’s…a hope that seemed to pull through for once.

“Very well…. if you would follow me Mr. Potter, I will take you to the box. Ah…how remiss of me, my name is Alex Corthen, I have been the manager here at HSBC for the past eight years. I have to admit that there has always been some interest surrounding it…the box.” Alex hastily expounded on his comment, “especially with it not having been accessed in so long, yet still receiving the monthly deposits for its keep….” Mr. Corthen trailed off his attempt to dig up additional information on the circumstances surrounding Harry’s sudden visit, obvious.

Harry hummed in agreement, not falling for the man’s unsubtle probing—he might be young, but he was not an idiot. He knew the less he said, the less likely he would trip himself up later on. He hid a small smirk as he saw Corthen’s mouth twitch again with annoyance over Harry’s silence.

“Here we are…. I will give you a few moments of privacy. Sara will wait just outside, if there is anything that you need please don’t hesitate to ask her,” the man stated as they arrived in a long narrow, room. A room whose walls were lined with metal boxes…looking quite similar to a more claustrophobic version of the back room at the post office that Petunia often used for Christmastime parcel delivery.

Harry ignored the slight tremble in his hands as he took the silver key that had been returned to him right before Corthen left and inserted it into the metal fronted box. Harry absently noted that the box was likely one the bank’s medium sized boxes, and most definitely an older one—he could only assume the newer ones relied on electronic passwords and the likes, not old fashioned keys.*** Carefully sliding the box out of its slot and moving it to the table that was found to the center of the room (no doubt just for the very reason Harry was now using it for) he clicked the key once more and popped open the top panel, letting out the breath he hadn’t even been aware he was holding as he caught sight of several legal looking papers, a thin leather bound album and a small velvet bag lying within.

Harry removed each item with meticulous care, afraid to so much as breath on any of the items. Drawing the hard backed chair up behind him, he sat down and slowly began to examine the items closer; before deciding to go give into his curiosity and start with the velvet bag.

Opening it he emptied the bag onto the table, staring in awe down at the delicate gold chain necklace that came out of said pouch—while there was no doubt that the chain and small locket on the it were old and had not been touched in some time, it was easy to see that the necklace was of good quality and likely worth a small fortune…or at the very least, far more than anything Harry had ever handled before. With all the curiosity that he had been cursed with, Harry could not resist but to pop open the locket feeling his eyes water slightly as he took in the two photographs within. One was expected—a small picture of his mother, father and himself posed in what he would call a Christmas card pose—his parent’s smiling happily back at the camera while his younger self half buried his face into Lily’s side in a moment of shy, hesitance.

He felt his own emotions rearing their heads once again as he looked at the picture—was it the last one that they had taken as a family before his parents had died? How different would his life… he have been had they not been killed? Would he have known what being loved was like? Shaking his head to dislodge such morbid thoughts he turned his attention to the second picture in the locket, the one exactly opposite of the one he had just been studying and found himself wrinkling his forehead in confusion.

The photo showed two infants that appeared quite close in age and physical appearance lying side by side. Why the heck would this picture be in his mothers (?) locket of all places? Harry stooped lower in order to study the picture better and came to the realization that the baby on the right could be no other person then himself—the dark hair and green eyes were unmistakable. Feeling slightly apprehensive Harry studied the child beside his infant self, once again becoming stuck on the fact that the boy shared an eerie likeness to his self—dark hair, similar facial features; really the only noticeably different feature the other child had was the fact that he had brown—almost honey colored eyes.

Clicking the locket closed in a decisive movement, Harry decided to ponder said mystery later…he had a funny feeling that the other boy in the picture was more than just the child of one of Lily or James’s friends’—after all they appeared to be quite young in the photo and if Petunia’s words had any truth to them, wouldn’t the picture have dated to a time before he had gone to live with Lily and James’s? No—this was something he could think (worry) about later.

That decided Harry quickly moved on to the leather bound album, flipping it open to find—to his delight—that it was a photo album; one filled with pictures of his mother, father and himself doing various things, in various places. Once again he decided that he would take the time to look through the album later; perhaps when he had gotten a better hold on his emotions and was in a place not quite as cold and impersonal as the viewing room he was currently seated in. Not to mention it was starting to get on in the afternoon and while he had an excuse for being late on returning home to the Dursley’s, he had to be careful not to return too late—in case they should question the validity of his statement.

Bring the last few items that he had removed from the box closer to him, he quickly flicked through them; separating the letter from the rest of the papers.

The papers themselves seemed to be financial in nature—he saw the title to one of said papers read: Last Will and Testament of Lily May Potter and James Kelvin Potter. He couldn’t help but swallow convulsively when he noted that the date they were signed was only months before their deaths and his arrival at the Dursley’s—had they suspected their oncoming deaths or was it a mere coincidence? Harry really didn’t like where that thought led him, and decided once again to push it aside for the here and now.

Giving the will a quick read over, he had to admit that he would have to speak to one of the bank’s employees—someone more versed in this sort of thing-- as much of the language and content went over his head. What he was able to decipher was that his aunt was never suppose to have retained custody of him; rather a man named Sirius Black or Remus Lupin had been named as the next in line to assume guardianship of him. He wondered why this had not happened…maybe the men mentioned hadn’t wanted to be saddled with the likes of him? ---After all the Dursley’s often commented to having shared similar sentiments. Ah well, for the moment it was not important…. maybe there were extenuating circumstances that came into play? Maybe they had wanted him and for some reason—not that he could really think of one at the moment—they just couldn’t take him?

The other thing that he was able to understand (at least a little) was that his parents had left him a shit load of money. Money, which he would not be able to access or touch until he reached the age of majority or some such thing. Harry did not know what age the papers stated him able to access his trust but he was pretty sure that the age was not twelve. Yes, he would have to take the time to come back here—maybe tomorrow or the next day, when he would have more time to examine the contents of said box and perhaps talk about them with someone.

He finally turned his attention to the last item he had found; the letter. Opening it up he took a deep breath and read,

Dear Harry,

My dear sweet son, if you are reading this then the worst has occurred…

Harry read the first sentence and blinked rapidly as the words became blurry, and he felt the telltale sign of wetness on his cheeks. Hastily wiping his eyes he forced another few calming breaths into his constricted lungs, trying desperately to reconcile the fact that he was reading words written by his mother. Words that were written by her, for him specifically….

Words that within the first line answered one of his previous questions---she had, at least on a subconscious level been expecting her death and had gone out of her way to write to him and prepare things for him should he survive and they not. She had loved him. She had cared.

Steeling himself, Harry looked back down at the letter and once more started from the top. No matter what he learned from the next few paragraphs—he had found the answer that he had so desperately wanted.

He had been loved.  

--0—

April 2010

Harry and Blaine age 13

The scrape of metal on cement was heard and promptly ignored by the man occupying the small 6 by 8 foot cell; a cell located directly in the heart of the isolation unit, in Wakefield prison.

And why wouldn’t it be? It was after all a rather expected and repetitive happening for the man within. Three times a day: 0700, 1300 and 1700, the delivery of whatever horridly bland, starch laden concoction was slid through the postal box sized opening, only to be removed an hour later—generally emptied of its contents. Yes, Tom…or rather Voldemort as he preferred to be acknowledged, knew the schedule of his days inside and out—really not that much of an accomplishment considering they had not varied in any significant way for the past eight years that he had been here. And that wasn’t even taking into account that by most current measurements, he was considered a genius—perhaps a slightly delusional and unhinged genius, but a genius all the same.

Perhaps his well known intelligence, coupled with the fact that he was largely suspected to be one of Britain’s top underground players was the reason why, despite having been relatively well behaved for the majority of his stay at ‘monster mansion, 1 ‘ he had been moved to the isolation unit on a near permanent status. Apparently, they were not going to take any chances with him being able to use his connections to continue his influence in the outside world—he had to allow that perhaps they were not as entirely stupid as he had once thought. Never mind that though, it wasn’t as though such a small thing would be able to stop him should he really want to achieve something. As it was, he was simply biding his time---making plans and waiting for the perfect time to execute said plans. If there was one thing that he had learned from his time as the Death Eater’s head, it was that patience and forethought always paid off in the end.

And yes, he knew that it was a little ironic for him to say so, considering the fact that he had executed neither that fateful night, all those years ago, was the very reason why he was now locked away like a mere animal. Literally caged and figuratively chained-- being kept away from his organization, and more importantly, away from his son.

Oh, he had heard all of the lies and stories that the juror’s were told. He had been forced to sit and listen to the testimonies of the pompous, meddling detective and the true perpetrator’s friend’s tales of woe…but he could not be fooled, he knew his son when he saw him. And there was no doubt in his mind that what he knew was true:

That the little black haired, green eyed preschooler that those disgusting inbreeds said was their adopted son was no other child then his lost son, Ciaran.

He had known the truth from the moment he had come across the photo of him in the paper. The very knowledge that his son—the one that had been taken from him only three years previous, and that he had been told was dead; A revenge kidnapping and murder by a rival gang boss, Grindewald—had been alive all this time had sent him into a rage. A rage that had result in a few dead death eaters (the gang that he did in fact lead), his ill thought out attempt to take his son back and the deaths of the people who had hidden Ciaran from him all that time.

Of course, thanks to his anger he had failed to execute a proper plan that would not implicate him when all was said and done…. it didn’t help things that Dumbledore had seemed to anticipate his move and had arrived (a tad late to prevent the murders of his son’s kidnappers) before he could disappear with Ciaran.

Yes, looking back on things (something he had, had ample time to do over the past almost decade) he would have gone about things slightly different. He would not have gone off half calked after torturing the information of the Potter’s whereabouts out of the disgusting little rat (and really, what were they thinking making someone as spineless as Pettigrew the contact point between them and their old friends? —honestly, they deserved what they got if they had that poor of judgment), but rather waited until the extra protection had been dropped.

Unfortunately for him, the thought of getting to his son back had been too large of temptation for him to resist.

Ah well, ‘what was done was done’ as they like to say. The past was in the past…. the future however…. Well, let’s just say the future was wide open. And this time, Voldemort would not make the same mistakes;

No, this time he would bide his time and strike when they least expected him to. This time Ciaran, or Harry as he was now known, was as good as his.    

Chapter Text


 

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful new friendship” Lady and the Tramp, 1955


 

December 2008

Harry, Blaine: Age 12

Harry waited, breath held until the thundering sound of his uncle’s hefty footsteps indicated that the man was outside and getting into his car to leave for work before he dared make a move. Knowing that Dudley was still sound asleep and would be for several hours yet (after all it was Saturday and any chance his cousin had to laze about, he took). The fact that Vernon’s job required him to ‘work’ (aka: play golf and schmooze) on the weekend was without doubt a very good thing—heck, anything that allowed Harry more Vernon-free hours was unquestionably a good thing. The only other person that Harry had to worry about in the household; Petunia-- was at a neighborhood garden committee meeting or some such endeavor, something that the horse faced woman wouldn’t dream of missing considering it was a prime opportunity for her to take credit for all Harry’s hard work.

Just how she was able to convince the rest of the ladies of this, considering it was Harry whom they saw day in and day out toiling away in the garden—he didn’t know. But again, he really didn’t care all that much considering it allowed him some well deserved (in his opinion) time to himself. Time, which lately he had taken to using to keep up to date with his newest correspondent; Blaine Anderson.

Perhaps others might find it a little odd—the fact that a twelve year old boy was using what little spare time he had to write…and yes write; as in snail mail…letters—but to Harry, it was one of the few truly enjoyable activities he had in his day to day life. Of course, had the Dursley’s known that said activity brought him such joy—or for that matter, the fact that he was even writing and receiving letters at all—they would have quickly put a stop to such nonsense. So it was a rather good thing that they were completely unaware that Harry had been doing just that since his fateful visit to the bank last month.

The trip to the bank where, Harry not only found out that he was adopted (shocker! Petunia hadn’t actually lied about that part), had been left with a rather hefty amount of money (even if he couldn’t actually access it until he was fifteen—and then just a small portion, only inheriting the entire family estate at the age of twenty-one) but that he was also the second born in a pair of twins.

While both of the first two facts had been surprising, it was the third fact that had left him reeling.

He had a brother….a brother who was in fact not just extended family who had been obligated to take him in, but was directly related to him. A brother who had been (according to the information Lily had left for him…info that she had gotten directly from the P.I. they had hired only a few months before having to go into hiding) been adopted by a family from the United States. A brother who now lived with his adopted family, and attended a private boarding school in Ohio. A brother who had not only responded to the tentative feeler letter that Harry had sent, but who had responded with an enthusiasm that Harry hadn’t dreamed of hoping for.

A brother who Harry had been corresponding with regularly over the past month and found that he not only got along with, but who was fast becoming his best friend (not that Blaine exactly had a tone of competition in that category, but hey it was the principal behind it all).

Listening for a few moments longer to the now entirely silent suburban home, Harry carefully knelt on the hard wood floor of his shoebox sized bedroom and wiggled one of the loose floorboards with practiced ease. When his long time hiding space was finally revealed, he reached underneath and pulled out the still sealed letter he had been saving for a moment just like this. A moment where he could not only read his treasure, but enjoy the contents and perhaps even get his own response jotted down.

As he tore open the innocuous looking envelop he was once again thankful that he had befriended his bushy haired, bookworm friend—for without her assistance, he really didn’t think that his communication with Blaine would still be unnoticed by his relatives. It was rather ingenious scheme if he did say so he, and the best part of it all was that it was he, not Hermione who had for once come up with it. While he held a deep seated admiration for his friend’s brilliance, it was nice to be reminded every now and again that he wasn’t exactly stupid either (despite what the Dursley’s said).

No, to keep his relatives from finding out about Blaine and by extension his apparent currently unattainable wealth, they had decided that Blaine should address all of his letters to Hermione’s place of residence instead of the Dursley’s. Hermione had told her parents that Blaine was a pen pal who she had met through a school project; something that they believed unquestioningly and Hermione dutifully collected and then delivered (snuck) Blaine’s letters to Harry. On occasion she also took Harry’s letters and mailed them for him, although less often then the reverse since Harry was usually quite capable at finding a spare moment to drop off his own letters on his way to or from school. Really, it was a rather simple but effective system they had going…something that Harry was eternally grateful for.

Even though it had been a mere month in which he and Blaine had been mailing each other, the raven haired preteen had started to depend on his brother’s letters to get him through the drudgery that was life. Every ounce of abuse and neglect that the Dursley’s slung at him was made so much more manageable (even humorous at times) when he could distract himself with how he would explain just what color Vernon’s face turned when he yelled, or how Petunia got caught spying on their next door neighbor in her most unattractive nightgown. Yes, even though he had never met Blaine, or even really knew what he looked like, the American teen had become a person that he could vent to without fearing repercussion. Someone who….as rare as it was for Harry, he could trust.

He only hoped that it wasn’t one sided.    

--00—

Blaine allowed his tired body to sink down on the plush leather sofa that was a well worn standard in Dalton’s choir room. It might be pathetic of him, but he was still a tiny bit (ok, a lot) amazed over being able to carry out such a simple and common place action. Well, not the action itself, per say—after all sitting down wasn’t exactly rocket science or anything—but the fact that he could do so, in a crowded, popular space without fear of reprisal.

It had only been a few months since his parents had dropped him off on Dalton’s illustrious front steps (and he wasn’t actually be sarcastic here—the front steps really were a work of art) but it had been everything that he had not dared to dream of and more. When his mother had told him that Dalton had a strict ‘zero tolerance on bullying and violence,’ he could admit that he had been rather skeptical; after all, his old school supposedly had a tough stance on bullying and look where that got him….a direct admit to the ICU.

However (thankfully) it appeared that Dalton actually backed up their statement and followed through on their threats…Blaine hadn’t been targeted with words or fists since he had stepped in the front door. In fact it had been quite the opposite, he had actual friends here; friends, who were not afraid to touch or talk to him in fear that they might ‘catch the gay.’ He had initially considered going straight back into the closet when he learned that he was going to be attending a new school, but in the end figured that it would be worse in the long run because secrets had a way of getting out whether you wanted them to or not. In the end he was relieved that he chose to be honest with not only his new schoolmates, but more importantly himself. Though he could admit that it was much easier to be himself when he did not have to watch his back because of doing so.

And Dalton wasn’t the only good thing that had come into his life in the last little while….no, the person that he had wanted to know from the moment he had learned about him (at the measly age of six) had finally written him! His brother… his twin, had finally learnt of Blaine’s existence and had reached out. And Blaine was right—the instinctive knowledge that his brother would be someone brilliant, funny and amazing was, as he had known it would be, proven correct.

Harry, (for that was his brother’s name) was truly amazing. And the life that he had led so far-- while it was in a large part tragic, horrible and immensely unjust; it was like something out of a novel. Deep down, in the back part of his mind (the part that he would never, ever reveal to anyone, like ever), Blaine thought that his brother’s past and current household resembled the fairytale, Cinderella-- what with the wicked step family, and loving but dead parents. And yes, that might just be his Disney obsession (something he also kept locked away in that deep dark area of his mind) coming out to play but he figured at least this way he could imagine a happy ending for his twin. After all, he had gotten the happy ending (or at least middle) to his own story, so it only seemed fair.  

Because despite everything that Blaine had already experienced in his short lifespan (though to him, twelve years was more than enough to label him wise and earth worn), he still believed whole heartedly in happily ever after—good guys winning—everything working out in the end. And perhaps it was a childish and somewhat naïve belief to have but it was and in the years to come, a belief that defined and shaped Blaine Anderson. It would also be a worldview that was starkly differed from that of his twins; one thing that would either force them apart or make their bond stronger because of it…of course which influence it had on them, was yet to be known.

But that was for later years, as of now they were only beginning to discover each other.

“Ohhhhhh….what do you have there Blainers?” the now familiar voice of his fellow warbler, Jeff asked and he felt rather then saw the blond hair pubescent’s shadow fall over where he was now sitting on the couch, holding Harry’s latest letter.

In truth, had he not been so wrapped up in the letter he would never have been caught off guard enough for the other boy to catch him reading it to begin with. For the most part, Blaine had kept his correspondence with Harry a secret, his brother being someone that only he and he alone knew about. It wasn’t as though he was ashamed or anything….no, far from it; from what little he had learnt about Harry through the short time they had known each other, he adored his twin. He was incredibly proud—in that way that only a parent (or in his case older sibling) could be—ridiculously so.

No, the reason he had so far kept Harry a secret fell down to two separate and yet joint reasons.

The first being: that he wasn’t sure how his parents would react to him suddenly being in contact with someone from his birth family. Oh, he was pretty sure that they would have no problem with it-- they would reassure him that they were absolutely fine with him talking to his twin, or even his birth parents if it ever came down to that, but still he knew that deep down they might be hurt by it. They had never hid the fact that he was adopted and that he had a twin brother out there somewhere from him…just as they had reinforced that him being adopted did not make him any less their son then Cooper was. But still….

As ludicrous as his worries were, he felt (like most adopted children would) that reminding his parents that he was not actually their by blood would either rub the fact in their face or widen the already visible chasm that had been started by his coming out. Don’t get him wrong, it wasn’t as though his parents had suddenly stopped loving him because he told them he was gay, but their relationship had changed none the less. There was a new distance between him and his father—an understanding that was just not possible between them, no matter how hard his father tried. While, his mother’s had become more coddling and protective…as though worried that because of who he liked that the world would be out to get him—sadly, her fears were not completely unfounded as past events had proven. It was just one more change in the long list of them over the past year, and Blaine sadly could not bring himself to place even more strain on his parent’s already struggling acceptance of said changes.

The second reason was as different from the first as could be, yet equally as important. The second reason was Blaine simply didn’t want to share Harry with anyone else. Harry was his twin, his brother, his confidant….he didn’t want others to intrude on what he was forming with his brother.

As stated before, he had known about his twin (well not actually known, as he didn’t know Harry exactly… just the fact that he had a twin out there someplace) since his early childhood when his parents had sat both him and Cooper down and told them the truth:

That Blaine had been adopted from overseas when he was only a year old, that he had lived in an orphanage before that point, that he had lived there with his brother…his twin. A twin that they had never met as the boy had apparently been adopted out just hours before Blaine was. A twin that they had tried to find a few years back, going through the official channels and the orphanage but that had been unable to. At the time Blaine’s father had used big words that Blaine didn’t really understand “records were wiped,” “no trace of him having existed in the first place” but his mother had shoosed him and simply said that maybe someday in the future his brother would reach out and get in contact with him, but until that point there wasn’t much they could do.

Of course being six and all, that part of the speech hadn’t even really registered with Blaine-- who at the time had hated (as only children can hate) his older brother Cooper. Cooper, who had recently passed into the phase of not wanting his younger annoying brother to hang around him and often taunted him for just that reason… so of course Blaine at that moment in time, really didn’t want to have another brother to pick on him.

In all honesty it wasn’t until Blaine had started to realize that there was something different about him when compared to all of his other friends, that he had thought that having another brother. No just another brother but a twin, someone who just might be the same as him in this new respect, or even if he wasn’t would be basically be bound by blood to accept Blaine’s differences. That was when he had truly revisited the idea of having a twin in a way that was more than a passing whimsical thought. He had been just shy of ten at the time.

But from the moment that he had thought about having someone who was (at least to his mind) basically an extension of himself, he hadn’t stopped dreaming about finding and getting to know his twin. Through all of the bullying and cruel words at school, through the sudden loneliness and distance that he felt even at home—thoughts of his twin, and his daydream discovery of said twin, had kept him from crumbling. And now that he actually did know Harry… now that he had a chance at making his daydream a reality---well, he didn’t want to let others mess that up. Even if he knew and recognized the fact that he was being somewhat juvenile in his thoughts and actions regarding Harry, he figured that he had earned that right.

After all Harry was his twin, it was only right that Blaine got to know him best before sharing him with the world.

“Blaine? Earth to Blaine? Who’s your letter from? A secret admirer? Ohh…..do you have a secret boyfriend that you haven’t told us about?” Jeff interrupted Blaine’s rounding thoughts with his teasing comment.

Maybe it was the teasing tone more than anything that made Blaine do a three-sixty in his decision regarding Harry. The teasing tone—a tone that implied closeness, friendship and warmth… not cruelness and malicious taunting, warmed his very core. He was once again struck with just how lucky he was to have found such a group of friends in such a short amount of time—he truly was grateful that Wes had walked up to him the first day here and basically forced him to audition for the acapella group. He had been stunned and overwhelmed at the trust and faith that the seemingly popular, confident older boy had placed in him.

Maybe, just maybe it was time to reward that faith….maybe it was time to return the trust. Decision made, Blaine turned to Jeff, and the rest of boys who made up the Warblers and said.

“No Jeff, it’s from my twin brother…” Blaine paused long enough to take in the easy acceptance and smiles on his new friends’ faces and knew that he had made the right choice. After all, for trust to be had it must also be given.

With a slightly wider smile, Blaine settled back more comfortably on the sofa and decided to start way back at the beginning.

Yes, he decided….it was nice to have friends, and maybe someday Harry would be able to join their group as well.       

--00—

October 1997

Harry and Blaine Age 1 and a bit.

Pam smiled and squeezed her husband’s hand as she stared at the, in all honesty, rather plain and unremarkable building in front of her.

“I can’t believe that we are finally here!” she said in an excited yet hushed whisper, as though if she spoke too loud she might suddenly realize that what she said was a lie.

Greg sent his wife a reassuring squeeze back, on his face a much more subdued smile—but a smile all the less. And for Greg Anderson, that was a big deal.

“I really wish we could have brought Cooper with us….I think that being here for the initial meeting and seeing just where his new brother is coming from would have been good for him. It might have helped ease the transition of no longer being the only child” Pam stated, not for the first time as the middle aged couple made their way up the concrete steps to the double wood paneled doors of the entrance.

“You know that he couldn’t miss that much school hun. Plus, I think it is better that we get to know our new son before adding another face to the mix….and we will be back in the states in little more than a week. You know that Cooper adores getting to stay with your parent’s anyway. You’re mother has the patience to listen to his newest skits and those monologues he thinks up.” Greg answered wryly, shifting so that his front was partially pressed to her back in a familiar and comforting motion as they waited for the door bell to be answered.

“I know, you’re right….I just want this to work out…if I hadn’t…” Pam sighed but before she could finish her sentence the front door swung open revealing a young, clean cut looking man who was wearing a warm, inviting smile.

“Hello” he greeted looking at the couple inquisitively, “can I help you?”

Pam blushed slightly at having been caught off guard, “Err…yes, actually. Sorry, my name is Pamela Anderson and this is my husband, Gregory we were given this address by Kenick from the British Association for Adopting and Fostering*?”

A light of recognition lit up in the man’s blue eyes, “Ahhh….yes, and please I should be the one apologizing. My name is Henry Casis; I am one of the full time care providers that lives here. We are expecting you of course…we just have a few different couples scheduled to come by today, you are here to just meet Blaine correct? You aren’t expecting to take him with you today correct?” Henry confirmed, stepping back to allow the couple admittance.

“No, no, we were told that we should get to know him while he is still in a familiar environment—get him used to being around us before we attempt a trial run in a few days” Greg reassured the man when it appeared his wife wasn’t about to answer-- too busy looking around the interior of the place.

While it was obvious that the place was by no means well off, it was clean and well kept—at least, from what little they could see from the front entrance. It actually reminded Pam a lot of the public school that she had attended in her younger years. Clean and relatively modern, if not worn and well used (Greg of course would not agree with her, stating that the place was squalid, but then what could you expect from someone who had been raised in the lap of luxury all his life?—not that Pam was complaining mind you…she quite enjoyed said luxury now).

“Right, well just follow me….I will take you to the main office where you can sit down and talk with the head of Queen Anne’s residence, there are still a few forms and such that need to be signed before you can meet Blaine. Sara should be done with the other couple by now…such a nice, couple. They are taking their new son home today” Henry chattered as he led them down one of the tiled hallways, past several rooms; one of which looked to be a large mess hall of sorts.

Pam wondered briefly if he should be talking about other couples but shrugged as she was just too curious to really care. Plus, she couldn’t see such banal information harming anyone.

“Oh? They have already done the meet and greet part?” she asked more to distract her from her mounting nerves then any true interest in the topic. She was after all only minutes away from meeting her second son! From the photos the agency had sent of him, he was a cute little thing….such lovely brown eyes.

She felt her husband take her hand, secretly glad for the extra support. She knew that he was not as sold on the idea of adopting as she was, but he was happy to do it for her. She had been devastated to learn that due to the complications of Cooper’s birth that she would not be able to conceive again. She had always wanted more than one child—at one point she had hoped for at least three but she was happy to settle for two. It wasn’t that Greg didn’t also want another child….a son; it was just that he was a bit more worried about the practicality of adopting a child so late on into their marriage. They weren’t exactly spring chickens anymore after all, that and Cooper would be turning nine this year….it was a rather large gap between the two boys. But she wasn’t worried it would all work out.

“Oh yes, they have actually been coming for a few months now…of course it is a bit easier for them considering that they live here in Britain. But don’t worry, a week is more than enough time to get Blaine settled and to begin bonding” Henry explained, adding the last bit on hastily as he saw the concern in the soon to be parent’s eyes.

They slowed as they neared a door that would not have looked out of place in a principal’s office, obviously having reached their intended destination. Just as Henry was about to knock the door swung open to reveal a young couple---couldn’t be very far into their twenties even, moving to leave. The pretty red headed woman was cradling a small black haired child to her, as though he was the most precious thing in the world—and Pam supposed that to these new parent’s he was. The man was standing just behind her, a protective hand on her one hip while he smiled down at the child all while finishing off the end of whatever conversation they had been engaged in with the elderly woman still in the office.

“And you have the contact numbers should you have any concerns or just questions, Mr. Potter?” Pam could hear her ask.

The man—Mr. Potter, apparently chuckled and nodded not bothering to look away from where his (presumably) wife and new son stood, “How many times have I told you to call me James? Mr. Potter was my father….and yes, we have the information packet and all the information you so kindly provided us with”

“Very well then, I will let you and Harry go, It was lovely meeting you James, Lily….take care and please don’t hesitate should you need anything” the woman stated her stern face (because Pam could tell by the worry lines that the woman had a stern face) softening just slightly as she waved them out.

“Thank you Sara, for everything” the redheaded woman—Lily-- said, her voice sounding a tad horse with emotion.

Pam and Greg waited for the couple and their son to move out of the room completely and make their way down the hall, both couples nodding a polite hello to one another as they passed each other: James and Lily leaving, while Pamela and Gregory were coming.

Pamela couldn’t help but glance once more over her shoulder at the disappearing family before entering the cramped office with Greg; they made such a lovely picture—she could only imagine the happiness and joys that awaited them in the future.

Chapter Text

 


 

And [he] sailed back over a year

and in and out of weeks

and through a day

and into the night of his very own room

where he found his supper waiting for him

and it was still hot” ―

Maurice Sendak , Where the Wild Things Are


 

July 2011

Harry and Blaine: age 14—almost 15

Harry stared back, his gut churning with acid and whatever other corrosive substance he was sure had to be in it given its current feeling, not quite able to hide his mounting fear at his uncle’s abnormally (even for him) flushed face. While he had never been fond of his relatives (especially Vernon) he had never out right despised them—a hatred that felt like it was burnt into his very soul. But then again, he had never feared Vernon to the degree that he did at this moment….an utter and all consuming fear.

It had started a few weeks ago….or at least that was the most easily recognized beginning to this new fear. A fear that, little surprise, coincided with Vernon’s recent demotion at work and subsequent ‘reassessment period’ (which was really only a fancy way of saying that Grunning’s management had finally realized what a dead weight Vernon was in their company and they were looking for a way—anyway, to cut said dead weight without bring a law suit down on themselves). Of course Vernon, as thick as he was, seemed to realize this too and it had caused his own mood and behavior to spiral into an ever quickening decent.

A decent that revolved around drinking far more often and coming home much more inebriated with little in the way of restraint; basically there was no longer something holding Vernon back from expressing his increasingly frequent bad humors on Harry. Or at least there was almost nothing.

For as much as Petunia despised him and was happy to starve, ignore or work Harry to the bone—her hatred did not go quite far enough to allow for outright physical abuse, and so she served to be the remaining barrier between Harry being alive and breathing and being not so alive and beaten.

It was exactly this reason that was the source of his sudden panicked fear; Vernon had just informed him—half wasted but not far enough along to truly lose sense of control, that Petunia was taking Dudley to Germany in December—something to do with a school field trip that would last two weeks. This trip of course, would leave Harry home alone….well alone with Vernon.

In other words….it was a death sentence.

There was no way that Harry would survive under Vernon’s—and Vernon’s alone—care for two weeks. It was not even a question. His insides felt like they were shriveling from dread…dread that was not helped in the least by the slightly eager, sadistic look in his uncle’s eyes when he informed Harry of said situation.

Harry knew that he couldn’t stay here once Petunia and Dudley left….but what could he do? He didn’t know…he couldn’t think. He would have access to his smaller vaults by the end of this month so feasibly he could take out money and find a hotel or hostel or somewhere to kip at. But he knew that it was just a short term solution. He was still a minor and no doubt the Dursley’s would eventually figure out he had money if he just disappeared and try to get their grubby mitts on it (they were after all his legal guardian’s at this time).

Furthermore, even if he was able to run away from Private Drive for the duration of Petunia’s trip and found a place to stay that would rent a room to a minor for that length of time, while still keep his money secret, eventually someone would question why a minor was all alone. And once the questions started it wouldn’t take long for the authorities to get involved and once they were involved, it wouldn’t be a far reach for them to find out that he had run away. Vernon might be a scary fuck but he was good at manipulating people into believing his version of events.

It wouldn’t surprise Harry if the authorities bought his tale of woe over having a delinquent under his roof…a tale that would get him placed right back where he started. Something that would be decidedly bad if ran… he didn’t think he would like what would happen to him for defying Vernon in that manner. Even if he did manage to avoid spending the two weeks alone with the man, by outright defying him Vernon would likely not care if Petunia was there or not should Harry be forced back with them. He might hold off on the worse of his temper with his wife and son around but even he had a limit, and Harry thinking for himself was one of those limits.

Harry waited until Vernon and turned around and thundered his way out of his tiny closest of a room and downstairs—yelling something at Petunia while he did, before he let his face crack completely, the terror that he was feeling showing itself.

After several long minutes of panicked breathing and trembling limbs, Harry managed to force himself to take a few deep drawn out breaths in-- slowly but surely pushing back his terror until it was no longer all consuming.

He shakily reached out for his desk draw wrenching it open with a tad too much force but not really caring, quickly finding the paper and pen he had been searching for. He shut the drawer again and sat down to begin his letter.

He needed to talk to Blaine:

Blaine who he had been faithfully writing for a little over two and a half years, Blaine his twin, his confidant and someone who he had grown to see as one of his best friends.

Blaine would know what to do, what to say to help Harry feel better. Blaine would have a way to fix everything in ways that even Hermione couldn’t with her book smarts and love of rules. While she would try to help, she couldn’t understand…not really. She would tell him to go to a responsible, trusted adult and tell them his concerns.

To her, this would be the perfect solution—it didn’t matter that Harry had no adult like that in his life, it didn’t matter that even if he were to find one all that would happen was a visit from social services to whom his relatives would charm and manipulate---speak about teenagers and their resentment, their habit of making up tales or exaggerating things to get back for a petty grievance. And then Harry would be left all alone with an even more irate Vernon. No, while Hermione would try….she just couldn’t help him in this case.

Blaine on the other hand had experienced violence and knew what it was like to not get justice for hurt done to him….he might not be able to physically help Harry but at least his words wouldn’t feel like empty platitudes. He knew that he couldn’t stay with the Dursleys, even knowing how unwise running away was—it was really his only option at the moment.

He knew that it would mean he couldn’t come back, he knew that it would increase the chances of the police and social work getting involved—all while decreasing his own chances at being seen as a responsible, truth telling, scared child. He knew that there was a huge chance that the Dursley’s would find out he had another source of income to provide for him outside what measly scraps they gave him…but what other choice did he have?

To stay was suicide. To leave was likely damning any future he might have had.

But at least with the second—it was still a might. Harry tossed the pen down beside the hastily written, but long letter trying to shake off the doom that he was feeling slowly creeping up on him.

He would figure this out. He would be okay. He would survive. He always did in the end.

--0—

August 2011:

Harry/Blaine age 15

Blaine pushed his quickly cooling peas around on his plate, keeping half an ear on the conversation that his father and mother were currently engaged in. It was not exactly an unusual occurrence, the three of them all sitting around their solid oak dining room table for a ‘family meal,’ but then again it was not nearly as regular as it had been when Cooper still lived at home. Still—it happened at least once a week during the summer and because it was one of the rare times that his mother and father were both there and were not distracted by the many other obligations in their hectic lives, it was when Blaine had chosen to bring up his request.

A request that he could not even imagine his parent’s response to….he could only hope that it was a positive one because if it wasn’t…well, he was not sure what he would do. All he knew was that he had to do something for Harry… at the very least try and help him out—he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t.

Over the past few years he had grown closer to his brother then he had ever hoped for, it truly felt like they could talk about every and anything—or at least it did to Blaine. Sometimes though he got the feeling that Harry wasn’t quite as forthcoming with him as he was with his brother….he couldn’t say for sure of course, but sometimes the little off hand comments, or asides buried within Harry’s letters hinted at things that his brother seemed unable to come right out and say.

And what they hinted at worried Blaine.

Sadly, when he had first started writing to Harry he was a mere twelve and well, as mature as he was given the things that he had been forced to deal with because of his own sexuality; he was still only twelve and rather naïve. Having grown up in a more or less loving and supportive family, his preteen brain couldn’t quite comprehend the fact that not all children had the same privilege. Harry had wrote him with ‘funny’ antidotes about his whale of a cousin and his horse like aunt—but at that point he hadn’t been aware enough to see the context hidden behind the stories. He hadn’t understood then what he did now.

Sometimes he wished he still didn’t understand. Not because he wanted to leave his brother to suffer through his home life alone, but because even though he now understood what he couldn’t back then, there was not a whole lot that he could do for his brother at fifteen that he could not do at twelve. And it ate at him.

Every time he sat down to a large family meal he couldn’t help but wonder if Harry had gotten to eat that day. Every time his mother bought him new sneakers or a new pair of jeans, he couldn’t help but wonder if his brother had a jacket for his long winter walk to and from school.

Well, after Harry’s last letter—the tone of which had been much more riddled with worry and tension then any of his previous—Blaine had, had enough. He had to do something. So, something he would.

Realizing that there was a lull in the conversation Blaine decided that it was now or never and cleared his throat causing both of his parents to look up at him.

“Mom? Dad?” he asked hesitantly, his mind racing through his planned out speech one last time. It had to be perfect; he could not screw up and cause his parents to refuse him….

“What is it dear?” his mother asked her forehead crinkly in concern as she took in her youngest son’s nervous posture. While Blaine’s coming out had put a certain stress on the family and it’s interactions…there was no doubt that she loved her son dearly-- her mannerisms becoming more cloying and motherly towards him as though to make up for her husband’s stiff and reserved ones.

“It…I…um…” Blaine stumbled, trying to come up with a way to start off this conversation before he forced himself to stop, take a deep breath and start over. “You both know how I have been keeping in contact with Harry since I started at Dalton….right?”

He could tell that his question hadn’t been what his parent’s were expecting by their confused expressions but figured it was as good of starting place as any so waited patiently for them to answer.

“Yes….” His mother answered, her tone clearly questioning.

“And you know how I mentioned that his…his home life wasn’t exactly, well….good?” Blaine continued watching as his father’s frown got deeper and his mother’s expression saddened. Both where good….well, for Blaine’s purposes anyhow—the more bothered they were over Harry’s perceived treatment the more amendable they would be to helping fix it.

“He…I, well I got another letter from him and things have gotten worse-- A lot worse. He said that his uncle may lose his job and has been drinking more and more. He didn’t come right out and say it….but I can tell that he is scared. It sounded like he might do something desperate…..like run away or something….” Blaine said trying to keep his own worry and fear out of his voice. He felt horribly guilty for telling his parents this—he knew that Harry had confided in him in confidence, but he couldn’t see any other option but to tell them.

He couldn’t help Harry on his own, he needed someone with more power and authority then he had—he needed his parent’s help and the only way they would help was if they knew what was going on. He’d rather betray Harry’s trust then to keep it and have Harry wind up hurt or worse.

“Oh the poor dear” his mother dabbed at her mouth, a nervous tick that she had picked up throughout the years, “I don’t understand how some people can be so cruel to a child…”

His father sighed and shifted in his chair, his expression largely unreadable, “Why are you telling us this Blaine?” he asked finally.

“I want him to come here” Blaine blurted out before hastily continuing as he saw his parents begin to protest, “I know that he is still underage…and that he is still legally his relatives ward, but he’s going to run away. Wouldn’t it be better that he had a safe place to go then to wind up on the streets? He has his own money—so it’s not like it would be a financial burden….he could come to Dalton with me so it would just be summers that he needed someplace to stay. From what I’ve gathered from his letters if he disappears his relatives won’t care—they won’t look for him. It’s not like you have to adopt him or anything and even if you did apply for guardianship it would only be for a few years---he’s fifteen already….almost a legal adult. He’s a good kid…. he won’t cause problems I promise! Just please….” Blaine pleaded not caring if he sounded desperate. “Please, I don’t want something to happen to him….you know I don’t care about blood or anything and I see you guys as my parents, but he is my twin. I can’t just ignore his suffering when I could possibly help…”

Blaine trailed off, staring down at his plate as the silence in the room became suffocating. He knew that he should have stuck to his preplanned speech but…well, he let his emotions get to him, and now it was Harry that was going to pay for his lack of control….

He was a horrible brother. He didn’t deserve a twin like Har…

“Alright”

Blaine’s head shot up so fast he was sure he would have a crink in his neck tomorrow, “What?” he asked not quite sure he had heard correctly.

“Alright….while there is still a lot of variables and things to discuss, you can offer Harry a place in our home” his father stated his face still locked in his patent stern, disapproval expression but Blaine didn’t care.

His father had agreed! Harry would be able to come and stay with them; he felt his face breaking out into earth shattering grin, “thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You won’t regret this! I swear!” he babbled his relief and happiness palpable.

Greg fought down his own answering grin at seeing his younger son so happy, caving slightly to give a gruff “You’re welcome”

“I think it’s best if we go through the proper channels however but either way if he can get over here we will not turn him away”

Blaine sent another toothpaste selling smile at his parents before jumping up from his unfinished meal, “can I be excused? I’m going to go write Harry and let him know! Thank you so much!” before bolting from the table and almost tripping in his haste up the stairs.

Greg watched his youngest go in slight bemusement, registering his wife’s own indulgent smile.

“You know that this won’t be easy….and it most certainly won’t be straight forward to do this legally right?” she voiced after a few minutes.

“I know” he replied, “but if it saves a child from an abusive home and it makes Blaine happier then he has been in years then who am I to say no?”

“I love you, you know” Pam stated reaching out and grasping her husband’s larger hand in her own.

“I love you to” he replied picking up his wine glass and holding it up in a toast, “here’s to our ever-expanding family”

Pam could only smile as she held her own glass in answer. She had always said she wanted a large family—what did it matter if she came about it unconventionally?

--00—

September 2011

“You’re going to go aren’t you?” Hermione her face pulled into what she likely thought an unreadable mask, but the worry and apprehension—not to mention resignation were easy to see if you knew what to look for—and Harry knew what to look for.

Harry took a last long drag off of his cigarette that he had nicked off of one of his classmates (well not exactly nicked since he had won it playing poker—but George swore he cheated…and he would be right, so it could be said that he nicked it) before dropping it to the ground and grinding it with the toe of his worn trainer. He ignored Hermione’s frown of disproval; over what—the fact that he was smoking or the fact that he had just littered it was hard to tell, in favor of shrugging his shoulder in an attempt at nonchalance.

Not that his friend bought it for a second. Just as he knew Hermione far too well to buy her mask, she knew him far too well to buy his effort at hiding his own anxiety at the decision he had finally come to.

Seeing this, Harry sighed and answered, knowing she would keep at him until he did, “Yeah….I was thinking I might.” He kept studding the grass where his cigarette stub lay afraid to look up and see the expression on his longest—and basically only friend’s face.

When he finally did, he felt a stab of guilt at the sight of her large brown eyes watering—shit! He did not know how to deal with crying girls! It was one of the reasons that he and Hermione got on so well-- despite the fact that she was decidedly female…she didn’t cry—or apparently, on rare occasions she did.

Before he could apologize or run away (which, he hadn’t decided on, but he was leaning towards the latter) she surged forward a watery grin breaking out on her face and embraced him in a tight hug, letting out a shaky laugh.

“Oh Harry! I’m so happy for you! You deserve this you know? Though I hate you for leaving me here all alone…oh, I’m going to miss you!”

Harry hesitantly returned her hug, rather stunned at her 180 turn of behavior, “thanks?” he replied uncertainly.

Hermione drew back dabbing at her eyes though she was still smiling. “Sorry, I’m done. I’m just going to miss you….but you are making the right choice you know. Since you started writing to him he’s all you can talk about you know. You deserve to have a real family…one that will care for you like you need… But you better write you hear me?! If you don’t, don’t think I won’t hunt you down Harry James!”

Seeing that the threat of crying girl was over Harry returned her smile, “I will Hermione! You know I will…and who knows? -- it might not work out and maybe they’ll kick me back here before the year is out….” He trailed off, trying to pass the last bit off in jest but falling short.

“Don’t do that! Don’t give it up before you have even gotten there. They will love you Harry! How could they not? Not everyone is like your wretched relatives….” Hermione reprimanded sternly.

Even though Harry couldn’t help but believe she was saying this out of obligation of being his friend, it still helped ease some of his doubts. He knew that he couldn’t go into this full of pessimism but he was still a little scared to make such a change.

Still, even if worse came to worse and the Anderson’s hated him and kicked him out, it would still be better then is original plan of running away and trying to find someplace to live on his own in London. And this way he would actually get to meet his brother.

He only hoped that his brother still liked him after meeting him face to face.

Chapter Text


 

“You’re um….”

“Intimidating, All inspiring?”

“Tiny….” –Mulan and Mushu: Mulan 1998


 

November 2011

Blaine had to stop himself from bouncing due to sheer excitement and anticipation. Finally, finally, the time had arrived to meet his twin. He had started to believe that it never would. Perhaps a bit childishly; he had believed that after his conversation with his parents that things would be good to go—signed and sealed so to speak. It turned out that it was not quite that straight forward.

Apparently getting his parents to agree to take Harry in was really just the very tip of the iceberg in getting his brother over to the states—well, if they wanted to do it legally that is. Sure Blaine had been vaguely aware of things like passports, green cards and knew that gaining legal guardianship over a minor wasn’t as easy as saying they were invited to stay—yet, he had never thought that there would be so much work involved. He could almost understand his parent’s initial reluctance to get involved…almost.

Because despite the numerous visits to lawyers and various different government agencies, not to mention the even greater number of long distance calls to England, Blaine had no doubt that it would all be worth it to have Harry under the same roof as him. He hoped that his parents would come to agree with this sentiment—but even if they didn’t, it was all but set in stone now and if worse came to worse he and Harry would be spending most of their time at Dalton anyway.

He ignored his mother’s soft admonishments for him to calm down as he scanned the departing passengers that were swarming out of the Dayton airport international arrivals gate, wondering if one of them was his brother. Despite the fact that they had been writing each other for over a year now, Blaine had never received a picture of his brother (even though he had sent Harry a few of him and the rest of the family. He wondered if the lack of photos was because Harry was shy over such things or if there was a deeper, perhaps darker reason)—he had no idea what his twin actually looked like apart from the fact that he had dark hair and green eyes. One might think that considering they were twins this wouldn’t be an issue—but as far as Blaine was aware they were fraternal, not identical.

Still he wasn’t overly worried about missing his twin, Harry would have to be blind to miss the ginormous sign Blaine had constructed to welcome him to the States. It wasn’t until nearly all of the departing passengers had cleared out that Blaine finally spotted him; and to say that he was shocked would have been an understatement.  

While yes, if one stared hard enough they could recognize a familial resemblance between the fraternal twins, it was small—Harry really did not look anything like Blaine had expected, and perhaps that had been a bit remiss of him. Especially given what he knew of Harry’s life over in England.

Still some small part of his brain had expected Harry to be at least slightly similar to him—clean, well groomed, preppy…in essence; Blainesque without the bow tie. However the boy that moved hesitantly—yet defiantly towards their small group was none of these things. Most definitely not what his mother would call a young respectable young man, anyway.

Harry looked rather like a street urchin, truth-be-told….well, a hardened, I’ll-kick-you-in-the-shins-if-you-look-at-me-wrong one.

There was really no other way to put it--he looked like trouble. Waif thin, with long—but not long in the way that it was on purpose, more long in the way that he couldn’t be bothered to go and get it cut—untidy, raven locks; the color so dark that it seemed to absorb the light from around him. Tanned skin that spoke of long hours outdoors and the most unique set of green eyes that Blaine had ever seen, the kind of eyes that made one suspect colored contacts (except for the fact that he had a pair of rather ugly round, taped glasses on—ones that did not really fit the rest of his brother’s tough and tumble look). The rest of him was no better kept then his hair—overly big, worn looking clothes that swamped his brother’s frame, making him look even smaller then he was.

Because as Blaine drew near he realized that Harry was actually rather tall—he just didn’t look it given his slightly hunched posture and elephant sized attire. Blaine automatically scanned Harry for luggage, and mentally had a momentary stumble when he realized that all his brother had on him was one ragged looking back pack—the duck tape keeping it together was glaringly obvious. Despite all this, Blaine felt his face splitting into a huge smile, one that his brother returned, albeit his was slightly more subdued.

“Harry?” Blaine asked forcing himself to pause before he engulfed the boy in front of him—on the off chance that this wasn’t actually his twin but an escaped convict or something.

“Hey” the teen responded, “Blaine? Mrs. and Mr. Anderson? I recognize you from the Christmas photo you sent” he added the last bit almost shyly not quite meeting either of the senior Anderson’s eyes, but instead focusing his attention on Blaine.

Identity confirmed Blaine didn’t hesitate to wrap the slighter teen in a hug, feeling Harry stiffen slightly before relaxing into it. Blaine felt like his heart was about to burst.

He did not care that Harry did not look like him. He didn’t care that he could see the disapproval in his mother’s eyes as she took in the state of her newest charge or the wariness and distrust in his father’s posture.

Harry was here; and that was all that mattered.

--00--

“…please remain seated with your seatbelts fastened until the plane has come to a complete stop. British Airways* thanks you for flying with us and hopes you have a pleasant stay in Dayton”

The tinny sounding arrival announcement startled Harry from the meditative state that he had been in since the aircraft had hit turbulence, oh—looking at his watch—about three hours ago. Harry waited patiently as the voice had requested until the large air craft came to a complete stop before pulling on the latch for his seatbelt and slowly standing on shaky legs. He could not deny that he was most eager to get off this torture—err transportation contraption; for once, he was oddly thankful that the Dursley’s had chosen to leave him at home during their biannual trips to somewhere hot and tropical. If visiting a beach meant he had to endure riding in one of these horrible things then they could keep it.

Of course if he were being truthful it wasn’t really the turbulence or horrid food that had his stomach jumping like there were sugar ridden frogs in it, no, if he were going to admit such things (which he was not) his nerves were more due to the fact that he would be meeting the Andersons and more importantly Blaine in just a few minutes.

Well, that is if they remembered to pick him up….having grown up with his relatives he had long since learned not to take such banal things for granted. Reaching into the overhead bin he swung down his rather care-worn Rucksack and grimaced slightly at the picture he was going to present.

He really wished he had gotten time to buy new clothes and luggage before he had boarded his flight to the States. As it was, he had just barely managed to convince his Aunt to take him along with her to pick up Marge from the airport. The airport that he had quickly slipped away from her and checked himself in with the ticket that Hermione had purchased him a month ago (he had of course promised to pay her back when he was able to get to the American branch of his bank. His relatives had annoyingly started to keep a closer eye on his whereabouts—he wasn’t positive, but his guess was that a nosey neighbor had hinted at seeing him out and about when he was suppose to be in detention. Whatever the reason, he had found getting out to do what he needed to do—such as visit the bank and make travel arrangements much more difficult than he had anticipated. Thankfully Hermione was a godsend as normal and had helped with the bits he found impossible to do himself).

Oh, he knew that his plan wasn’t perfect. Most likely Petunia would leave with Marge and not bother to wonder about him until Vernon’s sister was gone—before kicking up a fuss about his disappearance. A fuss, not because she was actually worried but because he might be doing something that he actually enjoyed. Too bad for them that the Anderson’s had decided to go about this the legal way—by having him emancipate himself and giving them temporary guardianship over him for the next few years. In truth, Harry hadn’t been sure that they were going to be able to do so—at least not without tipping the Dursleys off about what Harry was planning (not to mention the thought of emancipating himself just to hand control of his life to two unknown adult figures was a little disconcerting. But he had done it, as Blaine had sworn he had nothing to worry about and he had slowly started to trust his unmet twin over the years).

Luckily for all-- but mainly Harry-- Vernon tended to sign things without really reading them through; especially if he thought that it was something that involved discipline, school and Harry. Harry still thought himself a bit of a genius for his fine acting (trembling and acting terrified before shakily explaining to Vernon that the forms would allow his teacher to assign him extra detentions and use physical punishments for his miscreant behavior). It was a good thing that his uncle wasn’t particularly clever or insightful or he might have questioned the fact that someone in a position of authority that worked with kids was getting permission to use corporal punishment. Thankfully, Vernon could easily see himself doing something of that nature so did not think to question that others would think it was wrong and….well, illegal.

The courts had taken the documents at face value when paired with Harry’s own eagerness for emancipation and the Anderson’s own filed paper for guardianship, granting it to him without calling in the Dursleys. Once again something that was purely good luck for Harry. **

Allowing the rest of the plane’s passengers to un-board before him (he was not delaying out of nerves; he wasn’t!) Harry slowly made his way off the plane and down the enclosed ramp ignoring the baggage claim area and exiting into the main part of Dayton, Ohio’s airport. He found that he was rather relieved that this airport was so much smaller then the one he had left from—less chance of him getting lost and stranded, considering he was in a place he had never seen or really thought much about before.

He saw them immediately; which given the rather colorful sign with his name wasn’t all that surprising, yet hung back a bit taking the time before they would notice him to observe his new family. He had of course seen several photos of them, yet seeing them in person was somehow so very different….far more intimidating for one.

His eyes went straight to his twin and he didn’t fight the small smile at the sight Blaine made—sort of like an overeager puppy: warm, hyper and completely lovable. His heart ached for a second as he watched Mrs. Anderson whisper something to Blaine—what looked like a reprimand but one made out of love, not spite, like it would have been had it come from Petunia. He wondered if he would have been more like Blaine; so open and carefree had he grown up with Lily and James alive and able to parent him.

Quickly shaking such morbid thoughts out of his head, he turned his attention to the two people who for the next three years would be legally responsible for him. The woman standing behind Blaine, who Harry assumed to be Pam,* was a rather petite woman--small and slender but not in the half starved way that he or Petunia were. It was clear that a lot of time, effort and money had gone into her appearance but it showed in a subtle manner—making her appear as though she came from old money, not the new brassy stuff. Her face had a few wrinkles, but they did not detract but rather added to her overall grace. Despite the fretting look on her face at the moment Harry felt safe to say that she was the warmer of the two adults.

Greg—or Mr. Anderson, while not a big man (at least not compared to Vernon), still dwarfed his son and wife in both stature and width. Not to say that he was overweight or anything, no, he appeared to actually be rather fit for a man of his age, broad shoulders and a posture that just spoke of authority. His hair was dark but heavily peppered with grey at the temples and throughout his crown and he had a rather lovely shade of blue eyes—even if they were drawn into a stern, unapologetic expression. He looked like a man who you did not want to cross; again not in the street sense but in a more politician—board room one. Overall he was rather intimidating and Harry was not ashamed to admit it.

Finally working up his nerve (or rather realizing that he would soon not be able to delay meeting the Anderson’s face to face considering the quickly emptying arrival gate) Harry took a deep breath and moved as confidently as he could towards the family, recognizing the very instant that Blaine saw him by the smile that lit up his twins face.

“Harry?”

Harry fought down his surprise when he heard his brother’s voice for the first time—unlike his own it was rather nice sounding….then again, he should not have been so surprised, considering what Blaine had told him about his success in his school’s choir group. While definitely not what Harry would be into, he thought it was great that his brother had found something that he was obviously very good at (after all his brother was already one of their lead singers and he wasn’t yet a senior). Not to mention he had always thought twins that did everything the other did were a tad disturbing. He really did not mind that he and Blaine had some rather obvious differences; if anything it would just lend strength to their relationship….at least that was what he hoped.

Beyond nervous by this point…nerves that were not helped at all by the rather stern looking expression on both of the adults faces (Harry was not stupid he recognized the slightly pursed lips of Mrs. Anderson’s for what they were. While not near as pronounced or obvious as his aunt’s, it was a clear expression of disapproval; something he was very familiar with.) While he could understand why Mrs. Anderson was sporting it, it didn’t mean that it didn’t sting just a little. For the time being though he decided to pretend he hadn’t notice it because while Mr. Anderson’s facial expression was no more inviting (one the neighbors often wore; suspicious and mistrusting) Blaine’s held something that he had only ever seen on Hermione’s face when directed at him; joy.

After confirming that he was indeed Harry (again a mental wince at the fact that he had not been able to send Blaine a photo before now. It was rather hard to do so when such a thing didn’t exist…at least to Harry’s knowledge)and getting a bone crushing hug (one that he tried not to pull away from out of shear habit), Mr. Anderson had interrupted with a brisk introduction and they had made their way out of the airport and towards the parking lot.

A rather uncomfortable silence stretched out between the group, well at least until they were all buckled into the rather (if Harry was right) expensive Sedan…then it turned into a rather awkward (though very prim and polite) interrogation—with Blaine trying and largely failing to deflect uncomfortable questions.

“So Harry….do you mind if I call you Harry?” Mrs. Anderson paused long enough for Harry to shake his head to the negative before resuming, “how was your flight over? Did you manage to get through customs and boarding okay?”

Not really wanting to tell her the truth—that the flight was horrible, that he had snuck away from his aunt because his family would have refused to drop him off and that he had been pulled over and searched twice at customs (probably because he looked like a bum), Harry gave the only answer he could think of; “fine.”

Crap! He kicked himself as he saw the slight tightening of Mrs. Anderson’s smile—he was not winning any brownie points right now. The strained silence that followed had Harry wanting to shrink back into the expensive leather seats and disappear…maybe coming to stay with the Anderson’s hadn’t been the best decision. No. He told himself sternly, no matter how much the elder Anderson made him flush with humiliation or feel like some disgusting entity, they had nothing—nothing on what Vernon could dole out. And at least with them he could be reassured (at least he was fairly certain) that their disproval would limit itself to facial expressions and not come out in cruel words or much more importantly; violence.

And Blaine was here—and despite the obvious fact that his brother had noticed the strain between Harry and his parental figures, his smile and overall content air had not diminished. If Blaine could be so sure---so happy to have Harry here, then the least Harry could do was try to do the same.

“Good. That’s good.” Mrs. Anderson finally spoke. Harry gave her his best attempt at a smile (although he was pretty sure that it was more a grimace) before turning his attention to the scenery flashing past the windows. He was rather surprised at the speed they were able to go, that and the lack of traffic congestion—in London they would still be at a crawl this close to the city center.

Then again, from what he could make out—brown dead grass covered in patches of snow and ice-- Ohio was not at all similar to London. He couldn’t help but feel a small bubble of excitement at that thought…after all he had never been outside of London before, it was exciting and a tad frightening to think that he would not be see the only place he had ever known for quite some time.

“So Harry….what are you interested in? Were you on any teams at your old school, in any clubs?.... Dalton has quite a wide selection of sports teams—their fencing and lacrosse teams are renowned. I think their swim team is fairly decent as well….” Mr. Anderson finally spoke for more or less the first time since Harry had met him (Harry didn’t count the grunted introduction in the airport).

Harry shifted feeling a flush of embarrassment once again at the question. Not that the question itself was overly intrusive or something that was embarrassing…well, at least it wouldn’t be to a normal, well adjusted kid who’d had a normal high school experience. Something that Harry was not, and did not have. He knew that it was stupid to feel ashamed of something that he literally had not had any control over—after all the Dursley’s would never have let him join a team or club even if he had been interested in something, but he couldn’t quite help it.

Damn he hated feeling inadequate.

Before he could think of a way to respond Mrs. Anderson broke in, although her comment didn’t exactly help him feel any better.

“Greg” she admonished, “he might not like sports….Blaine doesn’t” before half turning so that she could see into the back seat, “were you in any clubs? Blaine here is part of the Warblers—they’re an Acapella group and are quite good….maybe you could join as well? It would be nice to have someone you knew, at least at the start”

Harry felt his brain freeze at the thought of him joining a group that was all about singing and dancing in front of people. It sounded like the ninth ring of hell to him. Unfortunately when he felt flustered he either became more sullen and silent or he blurted things out without thinking them through; he would later wish that he had stuck with the former.

“No” he blurted out—it coming out far more loud and adamant then he had meant it to. He felt his face flush at the shocked look on Pam’s face, “err…. I mean, I am a terrible singer and I don’t think…um I don’t think I would be very good at that kind of thing….” He tried to explain quickly.

His rushed explanation seemed to work at least a little, although there was still a stiffness to Pam’s posture that said that it hadn’t been forgotten, “oh I see, well…. how about sports? Like Greg said Dalton has some exemplary teams…”

Harry mentally sighed but decided that he might as well just answer and get it over with, after all he was pretty sure he couldn’t disappoint these people more then he already had, “err…not really. I wasn’t really on any teams at my old school. Well, unless you count schoolyard fighting….” He added the last as a joke without really thinking it through, though the moment that it left his lips he wished that it hadn’t.

Yeah, really not endearing himself there.

Thankfully Blaine chose that moment to finally intervene, “Well, that just means that you will have lots of new options to try out when we get to Dalton!”

Harry sent him a small thankful smile as the conversation moved off into safer territories—aka: Mrs. Anderson prompting Blaine to explain Dalton in more detail and the arrangement’s they had made for Harry to join at the start of December.

Harry let out a sigh of relief as he felt the majority of the attention veer off of him and onto his twin. Something was telling him that his enrollment and consequent stay at Dalton could not arrive soon enough.

--00—

December 2011

“Chief constable Dumbledore”

Albus Dumbledore barely withheld the irritated groan that wanted to escape from his lips….what could possibly be wrong now? Honestly….they had just barely gotten a grasp on the carry over fear and stepped up security related to the horrible terrorist attacks overseas in September. He had really been hoping that things would settle for a while; he was getting far too old for this job.

But it appeared as though his hopes were in vain if the appearance and expression on Wakefield’s long standing Warden’s face was anything to go by. Albus could only hope that it was regarding the unplanned death of one of the prisoners that had little public recognition—heaven forbid it was one of the high profile inmates, those inmates always attracted swarms of vultures (otherwise known as press and protestors).

“Ahh….Moody, how are you this fine evening?” Albus asked leaning back in a practiced motion, while unconsciously popping another lemon drop into his mouth. He pretended not to notice how Moody’s one functioning eye twitched at the informal address---hey, he had always been told to take enjoyment in the little things in life and heaven’s knows there was very little to enjoy within his current one.

And to think that he had been so excited and pleased when he had been promoted well above his previous station to become the Metro’s current Chief Constable. At the time he had been thrilled at the thought of having more influence and pull within London’s primary policing force: using both his famous capture of the infamous serial killer Grindelwald, and the later capture of the mafia mogul, Voldemort to secure the position (although sadly the second capture was not nearly as clean of victory as his one over Grindelwald—what with considering the deaths of that poor young couple and consequent orphaning of their little boy). Now though, he had to wonder why he had been so eager.

While yes the position did indeed come with a large increase in political influence and prestige, it also came with continuous migraines, responsibilities and stress. Yes, lots and lots of stress…speaking of which….

“What brings you by?” Albus asked deciding to just get to the crux of the matter for once. He was tired and it was Friday—he really just wanted to go home to his small, but lovely apartment, make a nice cuppa and read the latest work by his favorite author, A.J, Jacobs.*

Moody shifted uneasily, that creepy eye of his staring straight at Albus while the other, functioning one, looked anywhere but, “now you have to understand Chief, it was through no fault of ours. The security systems are completely intact, there were no unsigned or not permitted visitors, and the guards on—I’d trust with my life….”

Albus felt a growing sense of dread at Moody’s continued evasion. Moody—or rather Mad-Eye as he was better known (though not to his face) was not the kind of man to evade answering tough questions. No, he was much more likely to just say it as it was--- the fact that whatever happened had even Moody nervous and evading, was doing nothing to reassure Albus that this would be an easily resolved situation.

“Alastor” Dumbledore stated firmly—resorting to using the man’s seldom-used first name to underline his impatience, “just spit it out, my boy.”

It was showing that his use of ‘my boy’ didn’t even garner a reaction. Finally Moody stilled the nervous bounce in his good leg and brought both eyes so they were peering back at Dumbledore in the utmost seriousness.

The words that left the Warden’s mouth, were words Albus had hoped he would never live to hear:

“Riddle’s escaped”

 

Chapter Text

 

---o---

“Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?”—Snow White & the seven dwarfs, 1937

----0------------

End of January 2012

Blaine/Harry age 15

“Okay Baby, talk ta ya queen. Just what has got you looking so happy?” Mercedes plopped down beside him and demanded without so much as a, ‘how do you do.’

Typical Mercedes….don’t get him wrong, he loved the diva/his best friend, but she could learn a bit about boundaries. Not that he really minded this time around, mind you…after all, this was one secret he was very, very willing to share with his best friend. Cher only knew how seldom he had anything good to share.

And this happened to be both good and potentially scandalous in only the best kind of way—as it, for once, could possibly (hopefully) involve his love life in a manner that was not a for sure failure before it even started.

Yes, his initial spur of the moment spying mission (which in the end really wasn’t a very successful spying mission at all—he could at least scratch off James Bond on his possible career choices, and really it had only been listed because, well, James bond was incredibly hot and he thought that becoming a gay spy would be breaking all sorts of stereotypes and social norms. Though, perhaps it was a good thing that he failed to successfully blend in—something that he really couldn’t see as a bad thing—eliminating that career option. After all, his British accent was terrible) had turned into a chance meeting with the love of his life.

“I’m in love” Kurt replied tone and expression serious.

He did not appreciate the skeptical look on his friends face, nor did he appreciate the quirked eye brow and “again?” comment.

“Yes, it was love at first site” he repeated adding stress to the end. Surely she would be able to realize just how big and life changing this event was for him? –how rare it was to find one’s soul mate in the first meetings of eyes?

“I thought you were over the whole Finn thing?” Mercedes asked, eyebrow still annoyingly unstraight.

“No, not Finn….gaga, I like the guy don’t get me wrong, but that was seriously a situation of misplaced longing. No….I’m talking about Blaine!” Kurt explained patiently, still waiting for the ‘Oh my god!’ squeal moment that he had been picturing from the start.

Though he supposed he could forgive her for her Finn question, after all he had once had a crush on his stepbrother. Though he wasn’t lying when he said that it had been a case of seriously misplaced want; misplaced wanting to have a chance like everyone else with the most desirable person of their chosen gender (though he had to admit McKinley’s definition of desirable left one wanting) causing him to mistakenly latching onto the first semi-handsome boy who had been kind to him. Yes, well after a lot of emotional turmoil and angst Kurt realized it for what it was… a mistake. But at least Kurt had learnt and grown from that mistake, and he knew that his newest infatuation over the incredibly handsome lead singer of the Warblers was anything but.

“Blaine? And is he at least….well, gay this time?” Mercedes asked somewhat hesitantly.

Kurt fought down a huff—OK! So he had a bit of a habit for crushing on straight boys. But cut him some slack! this was Ohio, all the boys were straight (or at least pretending to be…cough cough, Sam). “Blaine, as in the lead singer from the Dalton Academy Warblers, and yes, he is gay. He told me himself. Over a cup of coffee.” Kurt retorted a tad bitchy and defensive.

He really couldn’t help it though…it was an automatic response to something he perceived as a challenge or threat. He internally grimaced as he recalled his recent behavior towards a different Dalton attendee, knowing that his inner bitch had come out to play, and perhaps had done so unprovoked. It was just that from the moment he had set eyes on Blaine, he knew that the handsome dreamy singer and all around gentlemen was meant to be his.

What were the chances that he would go to Dalton meaning to spy on them—and maybe, perhaps scope out a safer and more welcoming educational atmosphere—only to be stumble into a gorgeous and gay (GAY!!!) lead singer? Someone who would know about things like show choir and NYADA? Someone who could keep up (or at least come close to) with him vocally and culturally?

One in like a million, that’s what.

So obviously the fact that he had met Blaine, and had the singer sing ‘teenage dream’ while looking RIGHT AT HIM! (Squeal!) Was not a mere coincidence. It obviously meant that they were supposed to be together—predestined for a love of the ages...

And he really didn’t think that anyone could blame him from getting a tad defensive and annoyed at somebody who was so clearly stepping all over his territory! The fact that the interloper had a real British accent, green eyes that put his best emerald cashmere sweater to shame, and a shy (adorable) smile, did not help his irritation (jealousy) at all. Nor did the fact that Blaine clearly held a large amount of admiration and adoration for the hanger on (if the hug and blindingly white smile, not to mention invitation to join their coffee date was anything to go by!).

But yes, looking back on things, perhaps Kurt had let his inner diva take over preemptively….ah well, it wasn’t really all that important. What was important was the fact that he met his future husband today!!!

And finally, finally came the squealed “OH MY GOD!!! You have to tell me everything!!!” that he had been so patiently waiting for. The enthusiasm and genuine excitement in his friend’s voice was enough for him to forgive her, her doubts in him, and he let an excited smile break out over his face.

“Ok, well it happened like this….”

(Flashback to earlier that day)

Kurt took a fortifying breath and while chanting quotes from Oscar do la Renta* to himself (something that always helped calm him when he was feeling nervous),--before he purposefully walked through the doors of the imposing Academy. It was so different from what he was used to at McKinley (whose doors where generally only imposing because they were graffitied with horribly, mortifying and offensive words, not to mention the various depictions of lewd acts that accompanied said words) that it both excited and terrified him.

After the past few months at McKinley, especially this past week, Kurt couldn’t help but want to reach out and grasp the obvious elegance and sophistication Dalton seemed to offer its students. Surely a place as posh and prestigious as Dalton, would not risk tarnishing its hallways with something as juvenilely crude and plebian as gay bashing? Then again, despite the apparent differences Kurt could see by just looking at the place, it was still an all boy’s school, one filled with testosterone ridden teenage boys… and this was still Ohio.

Shrugging off his darkening thoughts, Kurt determinedly turned his attention back to his ‘mission’ (the one that Puck had so offensively demanded Kurt take, since he, the Puck-a-nator, couldn’t pass as a spy in a school that was for gays and pansies) of finding out more about the New Directions recently named competition, The Warblers.

While Kurt could not really talk, (what with being a part of a group whose name could be easily misconstrued to a certain lewd phrase) he thought that the name ‘The Warblers’ was rather lame. In the end though, if the group did turn out to be lame, it would be better for him…. after all, they were the main competition to his own glee club—though that didn’t really explain the feeling of disappointment that swelled at the thought of Dalton’s glee club being terrible.

It wasn’t as though he was considering transferring or anything….no, not at all…

( Parts of the following dialogue are taken from Never been kissed episode of Glee, season 2 )

Kurt found himself wandering the deserted halls, taking the time to admire the shining marble floors, the painting covered walls and the elegant black iron railings. Yes, he could definitely get used to this kind of a setting. He had just reached the top of a winding marble staircase when the sound of a bell rang out, apparently signaling the end of classes and the previously deserted halls filled with clean cut, blazered teenage boys.

The rush of eager to escape students wasn’t necessarily surprising (after all, it happened when the bell went off in McKinley as well)—what was surprising, was the fact that they all appeared to be heading in one general direction—the opposite one that Kurt had just came from.

Not wanting to give up the gig too fast, and being actually rather curious as to where everyone was heading, (curious…not nosey) Kurt called out to a dark haired boy who was making his way down the staircase just in front of him.  

Oh, excuse me. Um, hi. Can I ask you a question? I’m new here.” Oh, and that came out embarrassingly inarticulate. Kurt wanted to face palm when the boy paused and turned to look at him, allowing Kurt to see just how good looking he actually was. Great! Of course he had to sound like a stuttering moron in front of gods-gift to prepsters.

So busy internally lambasting himself, Kurt almost missed the boy offering out his own hand in greeting “My name’s Blaine”

And BAM!! Right then and there Kurt fell in love …but really, he didn’t think anyone could have resisted that combination of voice and smile.

Blinking a bit dazedly, Kurt managed to finally move past his own (star struck) smile and return the favor, “Kurt…” and suddenly realizing that he had yet to actually voice why he had stopped Blaine in the first place, (the reason other than falling in love with him. Not that he was going to tell Blaine this….after all he knew how straight boys reacted to such news. Thank you Finn! No, best to come at this slowly and carefully….) he hastened to add, “So what exactly is going on?”

He felt his heart soar slightly upon learning that not all schools saw glee club as where losers went to die….if Blaine was not lying, than apparently, The Warblers were actually popular here! He didn’t even think to protest at the chance to seeing them perform. Getting to hold Blaine’s hand on the way there had absolutely nothing to do with it…..

HE HELD BLAINES HAND!!!!

(End flashback)

“….and then he sung Teenage Dream, and I swear Mercedes….it was perfect. Just perfect” Kurt finished his story, feeling his cheeks heat up just at the memory of watching Blaine perform.

“Whoa lover boy, still present here! Keep those thoughts for when you’re alone with you and your hand” Mercedes interrupted his daydreaming, her words causing him to turn a violent red and hiss her name in mortification.

He knew what teenage boys were supposed to be like but…but he just couldn’t think that way. Sure he wondered what it would be like to kiss another boy, (the part of the other boy had now been scripted to Blaine of course) but beyond that well….it just seemed so crass and…and gross.

He pushed such thoughts away glaring at his friend….again he loved the girl, but he wish she wasn’t so juvenile all the time. Part of the charm that drew him to Blaine was that he looked and spoke like a gentlemen…like one of those romantic heroes in the old films that Kurt tended to favor. A Carry Grant….Classy.

“Ah come on Kurt I’m just joshin…you need to loosen up some, have a little fun” Mercedes defended while wagging her dark eyebrows at him.

“I don’t want to be loose….and I do have fun” Kurt retorted shifting uncomfortably at her amused snort. He did! Just because he didn’t go out and party and act like a reprobate, didn’t mean he was up tight and unable to have fun! He was simply responsible about his fun…that was all. Plus it wasn’t like before now he had even had a real chance to have the kind of fun that she was insinuating…but now…well, now he knew Blaine, it was at least possible.

He firmly ignored the little voice in his head that told him that their fairytale romance was not yet at the happily ever after stage.

So what if he hadn’t told Mercedes the entire truth? He wasn’t important….sure right now, he might seem important, but in the long run he really wasn’t. He wouldn’t get in Kurt’s way to sunsets and star gazing.

Kurt felt his nose wrinkle with displeasure as he recalled what had occurred after the events that he shared with Mercedes. It wasn’t necessarily bad or anything, but it could have been so much better if he hadn’t interfered….

(Flash back)

“Hey me and a few of the guys are going to grab coffee….since you aren’t actually a student at Dalton, why don’t you come along and tells us what brought you here?” Blaine offered.

Kurt felt his face flush at the handsome boy’s non-accusation….how had he known he wasn’t a new student? Ok, so he didn’t exactly blend in or know anything about Dalton, so maybe it wasn’t that hard of a leap to make. Madonna, did he feel like an idiot right now. Though judging by the amused but not cruel smirk on the other boy’s face, he wasn’t all that perturbed at finding a spy in his midst…coffee couldn’t hurt could it?

And it would be a chance to get to know his future husband better…..

“S-sure” Kurt managed to stutter out, cursing his pale complexion for once. As much as it was wonderfully vogue to have such a magnificent complexion as he did, it did make emotions a lot harder.

“Hey Blaine! Harry is looking for you!” a boy who looked a bit older then Blaine yelled at him as Blaine made to lead Kurt out of the common room.

A slightly confused look came to Blaine’s face, “Oh? I thought he was still at soccer?”

“Dunno….maybe they got out early or something? Anyhow he was just changing before coming to try and catch you. Not sure what he wanted” the boy said with a shrug, “probably more bonding time**” he said with a teasing smirk.

A teasing smirk that Kurt did not like at all. Nor did he like the sentence and what it implied. Who the hell was this Harry?

Blaine didn’t seem offended by the statement, simply rolling his eyes and giving the boy a light push, “Oh shove off Nate….we do not spend that much time together!”

Kurt didn’t get to hear Nate’s reply as it was interrupted by the arrival of the person in question.

“Hey B! How was glee? You finished strutting your stuff?” the newcomer asked the teasing in his tone evident.

Kurt was momentarily stunned by the sound of the boy’s accent…English! This mysterious (possible rival for Blaine’s affections) had an accent….a totally James Bond worthy accent!! Life truly was unfair. He didn’t fail to notice the easy, adoring smile that lit up Blaine’s face either, or how comfortable they seemed to be with each other. He forced the ball of jealousy that was swiftly expanding in his gut down.

“Harry!” Blaine greeted excitedly latching onto the thin boy now in front of him like a leech.

“Grrr..off..” Harry mumbled out trying to fight his way out of Blaine’s hug half heartedly, “get off you overgrown leech!” he repeated with a laugh, finally freeing himself.

“Gods…I need to start carrying a cattle prod or something” he muttered under his breath though the smile on his face took any sting out of the words themselves. “So, coach let us off early for once…. wanted to know if you were up to grabbing some pizza and watching the rest of that episode?”

Kurt felt the jealousy struggling to break free at the excited, then slightly disappointed look on Blaine’s face.

“Ah…. I would’ve loved to, but I already promised Wes and David coffee…” he trailed off before smiling again and looking over in Kurt’s direction, “...plus we were going to get to know Kurt here better.” trailed off. “Hey! Why don’t you come with?”

Kurt couldn’t explain the rationale behind his feelings at that moment. For some reason (one he was pretending not to know at the moment) he did not like this Harry. He did not want him coming out for coffee with him and Blaine (and the other two…but he had managed to conveniently forget about those two…). He felt a swoop of relief at Harry’s next words.

“Ah…. sorry B, maybe next time? I still have to grab a shower… doubt the guys want to drink their coffee while smelling me….I’ll grab Jeff or Nick and see if they are free to watch some supernatural with me….if you get done with your coffee early, feel free to join. You know where to find me” Harry said easily.

“I would be worried about his mental health if he didn’t” the warbler Kurt was pretty sure was named Wes said, “you guys do share a dorm after all…”

“Oh shut it you git” Harry groused good naturally swatting at the taller senior.

A few minutes later Kurt found himself following after Wes, David and Blaine, trying really hard not to think about the longing look that was on Blaine’s face as he watched Harry prance (ok, so walk…but Kurt was feeling vicious) out of the room.

He did not like how his Blaine was interacting with that boy. His dislike only grew after finding out that Blaine was gay (GAY!!) and listening to the guys joke and rib each other (it seemed to him like far more then was normal centered around things that Blaine and Harry had done together to get into trouble or get the rest of the group into trouble).

And after the heartfelt confession from Blaine about how he ran from his old school after being bullied, Kurt was more determined than ever. Determined, that no one would get in his way to wooing his perfect match. He didn’t care what he had to do, he would get his man!

(End of flashback)

Kurt gave his head a mental shake to push such ruminations away. This was not the time or place to worry about such things. Right now was the time to be a normal teenager for once, to gossip with his best friend and to compare and fantasize about boys (or boy in his case. Because there was only one boy for him!).

That of course, in no way meant that he did not mean what he had vowed to himself back in the coffee shop; because he did.

He knew that no fairy tale could be an automatic and easy ‘happily ever after’….if it were then there wouldn’t be an epic tale. There was always some obstacle or villain that needed overcoming or conquering. And this story would be no different.

Because Kurt Hummel was worth nothing less than Epic—And yes, he did mind speak that with a capital E.

--0—

Start of December 2011

(Two months earlier)

Blaine tried to calm down and not act like an excited child let loose in a candy shop as he led Harry up the steps of his beloved school. Not that he thought that it was necessarily wrong to be as thrilled as he was about Harry finally (finally!) starting at Dalton, but because he knew how nervous his twin was and didn’t want to add to it.

He might seem naïve and even childish at times, but he knew that Harry would pretend to love the place even if he hated it, if only because he thought that it would make Blaine happy. And Blaine didn’t want that. Of course he wanted Harry to love Dalton as much as he did, but he wanted him to love it for himself, not just to please his brother. He wasn’t too worried though, his brother was awesome, Dalton was awesome, so how could they not be awesome when combined? He was sure that Harry would find his place here and he knew that beneath his nerves that his brother was excited to attend as well.

That and the fact that Harry was likely relieved to get away from the Anderson household…..not that Harry hated the rest of Blaine’s family or anything. His brother was still just a tad uncomfortable around authority figures, especially of the parental kind—not that Blaine could blame him, knowing his life story as he did.

No, given time, Blaine knew that his twin would eventually lose his wariness and allow himself to see the Anderson’s as family like Blaine did…in fact it had already started to happen. Admittedly, only slightly, but he had noted Harry didn’t tense up around his mother nearly as much as he had in the start, and he was even able to hold a semi-decent conversation with Blaine’s father now (something that Blaine had trouble doing!). Blaine’s parents in return, had also started to warm up towards the teen, most likely helped by the fact that Harry no longer resembled an up and coming street thug (that shopping trip had been fun…..said without a trace of sarcasm of course).

So no, he knew that Harry’s eagerness to get a bit of space from the family dynamic was not a slight towards the Andersons, but rather simply a reaction from his previous environment. And if it helped encourage him to like Dalton….well, that certainly wasn’t a bad thing.

“Ok, so you are going to be sharing a dorm with me….mom already talked to the headmaster and arranged it. You will also have most of the same classes as I do, though you will be in regular maths rather than the AP….and taking AP law instead of accounting with me…but other than that, our schedules should be identical” Blaine explained while leading Harry towards the main office where he would receive the standard ‘welcome to Dalton’ introduction and package.

He would not however, be assigned a student to help show him around as Blaine’s mom and the headmaster, thought that he would be more comfortable with having Blaine as his guide for the first day. Something that Blaine was more than happy to do.

He honestly couldn’t wait to introduce Harry to all of the warblers. He knew that it was unlikely his brother would join Dalton’s glee club, but he knew that the guys would like him regardless of whether he did or not. They would have given him a chance simply because he was Blaine’s brother, but Blaine knew that Harry would win them over on his own merit.

“You ready to do this?” Blaine asked pausing just outside of the administration office, which they had left after Harry received his information package (The package was full of explanations on the various different electives that he could take/switch too and the different clubs/sports teams he could sign up with—it was a rule at Dalton, that every student had to be involved in at least one extra-curricular activity, after all, outside of a safe haven for kids like Blaine, Dalton was still largely and foremost a preparatory academy whose goals were to have most, if not all, of its students get into top tier colleges following graduation).

“As I’ll ever be” Harry said, sending a nervous smile at his brother.

“Don’t worry….you’ll be fine. Everyone will love you as much as I do….” Blaine tried to reassure his twin. He wished Harry was more confident in himself. Blaine knew how great his twin was….he just wished that Harry did as well; if he ever came across those Dursley’s in a dark alley…..

Harry sent him another slightly strained smile before gesturing for Blaine to lead the way to their first shared class; English. Blaine bit back a sigh and proceeded to do so.

He didn’t care what it took; he would help Harry fit in here if it killed him. Blaine had found his reprieve and happiness within Dalton’s walls….he would make damn sure that Harry did as well.

--0---

End of January 2012

“So are you going to tell me what’s bothering you, or make me fly all the way over there and beat it out of your sorry hide?” the voice of his best friend (though he was trying to remind himself why she was such at the moment) crackled through the cell phone the Andersons had insisted on getting him.

“I’m fine Hermione….nothing is wrong” Harry refuted, wondering just how his friend always picked up on his moods no matter how hard he tried to hide them. Honestly, he thought that the 3, 844 miles between them would have worked in his advantage at least a little bit….apparently not.

“Harry…” was all she had to say, her tone holding the warning that was left unvoiced.

“Really Hermione it’s not that big of deal….I‘m just being ridiculous….” Harry tried once more before sighing at the heavy silence that followed and giving in.

Flopping onto his back, so that he was lying on his bed with his feet propped up on his desk chair, he decided he might as well talk to Hermione about what had been bothering him as of late. After all if he could not tell his first and for a long time, only, friend then who? Normally he would have said Blaine, his twin, but considering the thing that was bothering him was concerning Blaine…..

“I’m worried about Blaine” Harry stated letting out a whoosh of breath he hadn’t been aware he had been holding in.

“Why? What’s happened to him….or what has he done?” Hermione asked at the last, her tone becoming far more dangerous and menacing. As much as he knew Hermione appreciated his twin for having gotten Harry away from the Dursleys when she had failed to do so, he knew that if Blaine ever hurt him in anyway, (not that his twin would) that Hermione would not hesitate to castrate his brother.

“Nothing! He hasn’t done anything…. well, anything bad. I-well, you know that Blaine is gay right?” Harry asked deciding that this was the best approach to begin explain just what had him tied up in knots.

“Yes…..don’t tell me that he has a problem with you being bisexual! Because if he does….”

“What?! No, wait Hermione! Calm down! that is not it. Blaine has known since our third letter, and he has no problem with it….no, why I asked is because Blaine recently met a boy from a school not too far from here, who has been experiencing problems there because he is gay”

“Oh? And this is…..bad?” Hermione ventured sounding confused.

“No…no, not at all. It’s actually good. You remember what I told you about what happened to Blaine before he transferred to Dalton….I think it’s good that he has met someone else in that situation, so that he knows it was not just him. He’s been trying to help this kid, talking to him, being there for him….kind of a mentor thing I think….”

“So what has you worried then?” Hermione asked bringing the subject back around.

“It’s not that I am not happy for him, or proud of him, or anything. Because I am. Incredibly so….I know how hard it must be for him to do this, and I know that it will help him in the long run with his own demons, it just that….well, I’m worried what it will do to him in the mean time” Harry admitted quietly, staring up at the white ceiling as he finally spit out just what had been eating at him for the past week.

“What do you mean? Is he in trouble or something?” Hermione asked. Though he got the feeling that she understood what he was trying to say and was just asking the question to help him sort his own feelings out and understand them better. His friend was brilliant like that.

“I-I just…..I don’t really know how to explain….” Harry trailed off trying to think of the best way to voice his reasoning, “Yesterday Blaine went over to McKinley—the school that the boy, Kurt, goes to—to help him confront one of the bullies that has been causing Kurt a lot of grief…nothing happened, or at least nothing physical. But I do know that it almost came to blows. And last night….well, Blaine didn’t say anything, but I could tell how shook up he was over whatever happened. He was tossing and turning most of the night and I know that he had flashbacks to the Sadie Hawkins dance. I tried to ask him about it, get him to talk to me, but he just keeps saying that he’s fine and pretending like nothing is getting to him. I mean it Hermione, I am so proud of him for trying to help Kurt and I feel for Kurt, I do....I’m glad that he is getting some support, but I don’t want that support to come at the expense of my brother….” Harry trailed off feeling horribly guilty for his words.

He wasn’t lying. He truly did feel horrible for Kurt and what he was going through (after all, after he had come out as bi several years ago, he had been forced to deal with the backlash. Of course the worse of the backlash was caused by his own family and not the people at school. He hadn’t really been close enough to anyone at school for them to really care, well other then Hermione and she was the most open and nonjudgmental person he had ever met…. Plus, it seemed as though people tended to be less hostile towards someone being bi then straight out gay—no pun intended. It wasn’t fair, but that was how it was). But he also didn’t want Blaine to get hurt because he was trying to help Kurt. And whatever had happened yesterday at McKinley had done nothing to assuage such worries.

Not to mention, there was something about Kurt that just rubbed him the wrong way. He didn’t know what it was or why he felt that way but he couldn’t shake the feeling. Still, he knew that he had no basis for his wariness, and that he was likely just being paranoid, so he wouldn’t let those feelings surface. At least not until Kurt did something to warrant them…

“Hey it’s okay Harry” Hermione’s voice brought him out of his musings. “It’s okay to be worried about Blaine over a stranger. He is your brother and twin. But maybe you are over reacting a little? After all, you did say that this could be good for him in the long run. He does need to eventually deal with what happened to him, and the sooner he does, the better I would think”

“I know. I know…that is why I said I was being ridiculous and likely just overly protective….” Harry said sighing again. He knew he was….still it wasn’t as though knowing this just automatically made him stop fretting; sadly, emotions didn’t seem to work that way.

“That’s part of your charm” Hermione said fondly, he could hear the smile in her voice even over the phone, “just make sure he knows that you are there for him should he need it….that’s all you can do”

“You’re right of course…as always, I will do my best to follow your genius advice” Harry teased automatically lightening the somber mood.

“Sometimes I don’t know why I bother” Hermione grumbled.

“Because you love me?” Harry cheekily offered.

“Yea, yea….”

Harry allowed his eyes to drift shut as he listened to Hermione go on, starting in on some of the research she was thinking of doing for her end of term project. He was so glad that they had decided to stay in touch… as much as he was glad to have gotten away from his ‘family,’ and even England to an extent, he did miss his friend.

Still….even though he missed her and wish she could have come with him to the states, he would never have traded getting to know and live with his brother.

Hermione was right though….he was likely just being his usual, overprotective self (well usual to the few that he actually cared about). He would stand back for now, make sure that Blaine knew that he could come and talk to him if he needed and step in if he had too.

After all he had just gotten his brother back, he wasn’t about to let anyone screw that up.

--oo—

 

Chapter Text


 

He's late. I drew a perfectly good map. Well, there were a few smudges on it, okay! I went outside the line with a green crayon, but not much.  

-Oliver & Company, 1988


 

Late February, 2012 (Month later)

Blaine could easily say that he had never been so happy. Not when he had first joined the Warblers, not when his parents had given him the keys to his own car…..not even when he had gotten that first letter back from his twin brother. Because, right now, he truly felt that for the first time in his life, that he had everything that he could possibly want.

He had his twin, Harry, right here, attending Dalton. He was going to a prestigious and welcoming school. He had risen to become the staring performer and a key member of the Warblers. And his friendship with Kurt was growing stronger by the day. All in all, life was good.

That is not to say that everything was perfect of course. This was real life after all, and in real life, there was always something—no matter how small, that could be better. It was the same way with Blaine. For him, while everything was really going pretty well, there were still a few, almost insignificant little knots or hitches that kept him from being perfectly content.

Said hitches happened to, unfortunately, involve the most important person in his life at the moment—Harry, and the quickly becoming second most important person in his life, Kurt (he really couldn’t quite believe how fast both people, but especially Kurt, had grown on him in such a small amount of time. While it was not all that surprising that he adored and loved his brother… given that he was just that—his brother, not to mention the fact that they had been writing each other for several years now-- the same could not be said about Kurt, who he had known for only a little over a month. He didn’t quite understand his bond with the admittedly prissy quaint boy, but he did know that he enjoyed spending time with him and often found himself texting the other boy simply because he could).

The hitch part came in the form of them not exactly getting along. It wasn’t as if they out right hated each other or anything….in fact, they were always the utmost of polite whenever they interacted. But despite it being barely perceivable, Blaine was not an idiot, he could see the tenseness in Harry’s frame when he was spoke to the other boy, or the slight curl to Kurt’s lip whenever Harry was mentioned…no, despite how hard both boys tried to conceal the fact, Blaine knew that they did not like one another. He just wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do about it.

He wanted to take both of their heads and knock them together until they got along….but as previously mentioned, nothing that they did really said or did, made the fact that they did not like each other obvious-- it was just a feeling that Blaine got. His current solution to the overhanging tension, was to ignore it….maybe if he ignored it for long enough it would just go away?

He had come to this solution after having sat down and just stewed, his resulting conclusion from his stewing was that maybe, just maybe, he was blowing this up to be a bigger deal then it actually was. He had been raised alongside Cooper after all, there was bound to be at least a little bit of over dramatization in his personality. And realizing this, he decided that he must have imagined the near-invisible hostility between his two companions, and because it was imagined, it should be easy to set aside and ignore….right?

Even so, he still tried to divide his time evenly between the two… although recently he had to admit he had been spending more and more time talking, texting or getting coffee with the latter. But as he had decided to ignore the problem, he did his best not to think about this fact.

Plus, as he had half convinced himself at this point, that the coolness was at least partially imagined on his part he figured that if the small amount that wasn’t, really bothered either of them, they would eventually come out and admit to the fact that there was something going on between the two of them outside of friendly civility. Then Blaine would be able to sit them down and help solve whatever it was.

Problem solved. Nice and simple.

At least that was what he told himself each time he saw the disappointment on his brother’s face when he left Dalton to go and meet up with Kurt. He rationalized the slight guilt that churned in his gut by promising himself that he would make it up the Harry later….Kurt needed his friendship right now…. Harry would be okay, he would understand.

Really…..Blaine should have known better, one should never ignore their gut feelings.

--0—

Start of December 2011 (Flashback)

Nate sat back with a bored huff as Wes rapped the gavel loudly against his desk, causing the rest of the warblers to instantly hush. Really, he didn’t even know why he was here, especially considering that he was not even a Warbler….no matter how much Wes was convinced otherwise.

No, that was not entirely true; Nate did know why he was currently in the common room, sprawled half out on the well worn leather sofa, listening to his best friend of 4 years try and take control of a group of hyperactive, bouncy, sugar high divas. He had nothing better to do. And wasn’t that just sad….

Unfortunately, as sad and pathetic as being reduced to a Warbler groupie was (or a Wes groupie he supposed, considering he didn’t give a damn about the rest of the group and was really just here to make Wes stop whining at him for not yet having seen them perform this year) it didn’t make it untrue. Soccer was on hold as it was almost the holidays, as was his extra-credit debate group and lacrosse….so really, he didn’t have anything better to do. He just hoped that this meeting would not be as long as most of the Warbler (so he was told) meetings tended to be. Maybe he could convince Wes to ditch studying for the night and participate in a Halo tournament instead….James would probably be game….

It was only then that he noticed that it was not Wes who was actually doing the talking (which was unusual because his best friend looooved to hear himself speak), but rather the newest and admittedly rather talented member of the team, Blaine Anderson.

Despite himself, Nate found himself sitting up and paying attention—Wes had chosen their newest lead singer well; Nate had to give it to the kid, Blaine Anderson certainly could hold a crowd, the kid just had presence.

“….really felt like family these past few months….so thank-you” Blaine sent a warm friendly smile which was met with a polite smattering of applause from his teammates.

“Now I know me standing up and talking to you all as one is a bit odd, but I figured it was just easier this way…” Blaine continued

“You’re not telling us you are leaving us for another are you?? Some poor underfunded public school?” Jeff threw out in jest, clasping his face in overly dramatized horror.

Blaine continued on ignoring the sniggers coming from the rest of the peanut gallery with a good humored roll of his eyes, “as I was saying….I wanted to introduce you all to my twin. I only really learnt of him a few years ago, and have only recently met him. He has moved in with me and will be attending Dalton for the rest of the this semester and next”

For once the noisy group was dead silent—a heck of an accomplishment, Nate already liked the kid for just that alone.

Unperturbed by the sudden quiet, Blaine turned slightly to grab and drag the boy that must have been standing slightly behind him this whole time, forward—though Nate was pretty sure he wasn’t the only one who hadn’t noticed the fey boy before this.

“Everyone, this is my brother Harry, he is from England. Harry this is the rest of my glee group—the Warblers” Blaine announced with a bright, rather proud smile.

The boy, Harry, looked as though he would much rather sink deep into the floorboards and never come out, but he managed a strained, shy smile and a small wave, “er…hi. It’s nice to meet you”

And that seemed to break the damn, as the previously silent group started to speak and call out greetings (many paired with overly friendly hugs) back.

“You have a twin?!?...”

“I’m Jeff, are you going to join…”

“Love your accent, bet you get a lot of acti…”

“Can you sing like Blai…”

And on and on and on.

Nate could see Harry getting more and more flustered at the wave of questions being lobbed his way, and had the same look a cornered rabbit tends to get right before it’s snapped up in a mouth of sharp teeth.

Finally getting annoyed enough by the noise and feeling sorry enough for the poor kid, Nate decided to intervene.

“Er….no….I’m not really all that good at singing…” Harry was saying, trying (and largely failing) to edge away from a demonic looking Wes.

Nate loved his friend he did…but sometimes Wes’s enthusiasm for show choir was just downright terrifying.

“Hey Wes, hate to interrupt, but aren’t you guys suppose to be preparing for your upcoming Christmas show…..I mean it is in like, two weeks right?” Nate finally interrupted.

Wes’s eyes widened taking a slightly frantic look, proving that he had indeed momentarily forgotten about why they had all met in the first place. With a quick nod at Harry, Wes soon was banging away with his gavel and shouting to be heard over the rest of the group.

Harry quietly slipped to the side of the room, letting out a relieved sigh and sending a grateful smile Nate’s way when he moved to stand next to him.

“Thanks…..I-I know Blaine loves singing and dancing and all that, but I don’t think that it is going to be for me….”

Nate lips quirked in understanding, giving a the smaller boy a friendly shoulder bump, “Ahh…it’s definitely not for everyone….say have you ever played soccer?….”

--0—

February. 2012

‘What a disgustingly, plebian place’ was the only thought he could dredge up while he walked leisurely through the quiet streets of Surrey.

He held back the sneer that such a place so obviously deserved, when he saw a fat, doddery woman, still wearing her magenta house coat, peer at him through her front living room window. Truly despicable.

And to think, that those cowards had brought his beautiful son, here of all places. Talk about trying to create a pauper from a prince….not that they could ever succeed of course. His darling child, would never, no matter where they tried to hide him from Voldemort, be anything less than royalty.

He hadn’t left very much of the placement agent who had eventually (quite against her will of course) informed him just where they had dumped his Cirian. Of course they were still trying to keep with the lies and had his child going by the disgusting name of Harry Potter---but he was not fooled. He would make them pay for what they had forced on Cirian.

He had used the two months since he had escaped from his cage, to track down the whereabouts of Cirian…. he couldn’t even force himself to be all that surprised that Dumbledore had not yet announced his escape to the public, or that the old geezer had somehow had a hand in forcing his gorgeous little boy to live with the redheaded bint’s sister.

He would show the sister, just as he had done to the ‘Potters,’ just what kidnapping his son would earn them. They would be screaming for death when he was done with them. And soon he would have his Cirian.

His little boy would be back where he belonged. He would make sure of it.

When the door to number four privet drive swung open to reveal a thin, pinched faced, horse of a woman, whose high, nasally voice barked out, “Can I help you?”

Voldemort let a cruel, gleeful smile spread on his face, “Oh, I very much hope that you can, Mrs. Dursley. At least I hope so for your sake”

Chapter Text


 

“It's so much more friendly with two.” Piglet, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926

 


 

February 2012

There’s a nervous thrumming running through his body. It’s not solely his heart, at least it doesn’t feel that way despite how he can feel said organ rap-tap-tapping furiously. No, the thrumming cannot be isolated to one small part of his body but thrums through nerves, bones and muscles alike.

He knows his smile is perhaps just a bit too wide, too eager, too excited, when he opens the Hudson-Hummel’s door to see Blaine standing patiently, charming smile in place, on the other side of the door. He knows that this is just supposed to be a ‘friends’ thing, he knows that he really shouldn’t be letting himself get so worked up, so excited for something as simple as a night of bowling. But he can’t seem to make his mind understand that.

He rationalizes to himself that it is only a matter of time before this is the real thing. Before he can say out loud and to all of his friends (perhaps rub it in their faces a bit---because well, that’s just the kind of friend ship they have) that he has a boyfriend; a handsome, suave, charming boyfriend.

Blushing slightly while trying to pass off being nonchalant, Kurt opens the door a bit wider to allow Blaine through, “Hey Kurt, ready to go?”---and OH MY GOD, his voice!—his voice!—his voice!

“Um…er…yeah—well, almost. I just need a second….you can sit down if you like, I’ll be ready in five” Kurt manages to get out gesturing towards the (incredibly ugly and gauche in Kurt’s opinion) couch in the living room.

Blaine acquiesces easily, smile never wavering…none of the nerves that seem to be swamping Kurt present. But then why would they be? A small annoying voice in Kurt’s head asks, this is after all just friends hanging out….

Kurt does his best to ignore that voice. He’s getting pretty proficient at it, having spent increasing amounts of time hanging around Blaine. Yet it’s not enough. Not enough time around the handsome brunette, not enough of his attention and praise, not enough of those full smiles or warm laughs, not enough…not enough….not enough!

Kurt can hear Blaine offer a polite greeting to someone as Kurt hurries towards the bathroom to give his hair a once-more check; probably Burt. OH god! He hopes his father doesn’t say anything to screw things up for him. He really, really hopes that Burt doesn’t mention to Blaine just how much Kurt has been talking about the other boy, or….or how Kurt has kind of insinuated (but never out right said!) that he and Blaine are more than friends. (They are! Well, at least in his head….but soon…soon)

He abandons his last minute attempts to fix his already perfect appearance, (because his appearance is perfect! He doesn’t care what anyone else says…a guy can totally pull of a man purse!) to rush back out and intervene before Burt says something that Kurt doesn’t want him to.

“…going bowling?” he hears just as he enters the room, Burt, now sitting in a chair situated across from the couch, his arms folded in a slightly defensive manner belying the seemingly harmless question he just finished asking.

Blaine’s posture is slightly stiffer then it was a moment before, but not overly so; a half bemused, half confused look crinkling his thick eyebrows together. Kurt breaths a small sigh of relief---it meant that Burt hadn’t managed to reveal too much in the few minutes he was out of the room.

“Hey, so I’m ready…we should get going!” Kurt interrupts hurriedly, hoping to get the brunette out of the door before Burt can dig too deep.

“er…right” Blaine says his confusion growing at his friends odd behavior, but he stands regardless, turning to smile at the man who was still sitting a few feet from him. “Er…it was lovely to meet you Mr. Hummel….” though the slightly unsure sound to his voice makes it clear that he wasn’t all that sure of the veracity behind his words.

“Are we meeting the others there?” He directs this question at Kurt as he moves towards the door.

Kurt forces himself not to grimace at the reminder that this is not a date….no, this is a night of bowling so that he can introduce his new ‘friend’ Blaine to the rest of his friends. Namely; Rachel and Mercedes. He had hoped to get out of the door before that fact was revealed to his dad. Who may or may not be under the impression that Blaine was taking Kurt out for his first real date.

“Others?” Burt’s voice interrupts their conversation causing them to pause just in front of the door. Dammit.

“um….yes….we are meeting Rachel? And Mercedes? Those are their names….right?” Blaine answers Burt, directing the last bit at Kurt in question.

“Y-yes. They said they would meet us there…but we really should be going now. Don’t want to be late…Rachel can be a real bi—witch about punctuality…” Kurt corrects himself while letting out a strained sounding laugh all while opening the front door and tugging Blaine’s arm so that he moves out of it.

Kurt resolutely ignores the confused look Burt his shooting him at this revelation, sending a quick good bye towards his dad as he pulls Blaine down the sidewalk and towards the Kurt’s* car.

The question comes once they are both buckled in and Kurt is pulling out of the drive, “um….Kurt….are you feeling okay?”

Kurt’s heart picks up in its staccatoed beat. Surely Blaine doesn’t know….hasn’t realized yet. He hasn’t been that obvious with his feelings….has he?

“I’m fine….what makes you ask?” Kurt voice squeaks embarrassingly half way through, but he does his best to ignore the fact and hopes that Blaine will too.

“Um…no reason…you just seem a bit….” Blaine pauses as though searching for a word that would sufficiently describe the train wreck that currently is Kurt Hummel, “…nervous” he finally settles on, his eyebrows quirked in question.

Kurt frantically searches for a plausible excuse, taking the first one that he can think of, “No, no….I just want you to get along with my friends is all. They can be a bit…um dramatic at times….” –there good save. It’s true though, he does want Blaine to get along with Rachel and Mercedes (although not for the reasons that Blaine likely thinks) and they can be a bit overwhelming at times.

The explanation works though, Blaine’s worried expression melts away and he lets out that lovely warm chuckle that Kurt has come to adore, “no worries….Harry always says I’m a bit dramatic myself. I’m sure we’ll get on just fine…after all you and me get on, so why shouldn’t I like your other friends just as much?”

Kurt can feel his teeth nash together at the mention of his name but tries to hide that fact. He does okay he thinks, but he hates it. It’s as though Blaine can’t get through a single conversation without somehow dropping his name into things. ‘Harry this…Harry that…’ god he hates that name.

Kurt offers a weak smile in return and some feeble agreement to Blaine’s well meaning words but internally fumes.

He’s so sick of hearing Blaine’s admiration for someone else….admiration that should be solely his. He won’t stand for it! He won’t.

Turning his attention back to the road, he silently vows that he won’t have to for much longer. Soon he will be the most important person in Blaine’s life. Soon he won’t even remember the name Harry.

--0--

March 2012

“Hey you ready to go?” Harry asks leaning against the frame of their shared dorm room. It’s only a few weeks before spring break but exams are looming in the distance and Blaine had convinced him earlier that it would be a good idea to get away from Dalton for the weekend before all the stress of cramming and studying began.

They were going to be heading home for the weekend…and while Harry was still not perfectly comfortable with the idea of having a ‘mother—father’ figure in his life, his relationship with the Anderson’s had improved vastly. Not to mention he would be meeting Blaine’s older brother this weekend, who was supposed to be out visiting between auditions. He was both nervous and excited.

Nervous, because it would be one more person in Blaine’s life that he would have to get to know and develop an amicable relationship with (something, that as a person who was not the most socially adept—often coming off as surely and quiet-- he was not the most skilled at). But excited because he would finally, finally get to spend some actual time with his brother.

Not that they hadn’t seen each other or spent any time together….but more and more lately, any time that they had once spent just hanging out (watching crap tv, doing homework or just talking) had been sacrificed for various reasons. Sure school, different after school activities, homework, friends accounted for some of it, but the largest factor went by the name of Kurt.

And while Harry was happy that the kid had found a mentor in his brother and that his brother had gained a new friend—a friend who he could possibly relate to, what with being gay and whatnot (Harry might have sort of understood Blaine’s situation, being bi himself, but there was still a difference and if having a gay friend could help his brother then, well, Harry was okay with that)—but he still missed spending time with Blaine.

He knew it was not rational but it sort of felt like he was losing both a friend and a brother. But like he said, he knew it was ridiculous to feel so territorial and insecure over his and Blaine’s relationship, it wasn’t as though some kid could come along and make them stop being brothers or anything. He just missed Blaine…that was all.

So, yes, he was a bit excited at the idea of finally getting a weekend without Kurt, or Nate, or their other friends tagging along. Maybe they could get back to being just them for a weekend….no one else to change for. And maybe that was what bothered him the most about Kurt and Blaine’s new friendship; the fact that Blaine changed so much when he was around Kurt. Not necessarily in a bad way, but his brother seemed to watch his words more carefully, alter his opinions slightly as to not upset, laugh at jokes that weren’t all that funny….

Harry gave his mental head a shake, no, there was no point on moping or worrying right now. Right now they needed to get going….Wes had offered to give them a ride back to Westerville and they were going to be late if they didn’t go down to meet him soon.

“Ouch!...shit…oh, Harry sorry! You scared me” Blaine sent him a smile rubbing his forehead where he had wacked it on the hanging bed lamplight.

Harry smirked at him, amused as always by his brother’s hyper-activeness and resulting clumsiness. Blaine may have been able to move with surprising grace while performing, but take him off of a stage….

“Sorry…um what did you ask?” Blaine shot him a sheepish look.

“I asked if you were ready to head out? Wes wanted to leave here by 3….and given that it’s almost 2:50 now…..” Harry repeated gesturing towards his own packed bag.

A slightly horrified look crossed Blaine’s face for a moment before morphing into one of slight guilt. “Oh, shit ! Harry….I…uh…I forgot to tell you didn’t I?”

Harry felt his stomach sink slightly though he made his sudden trepidation at his brother’s expression didn’t show on his own, “Forgot to tell me what?” he asked. And maybe, just maybe, it came out slightly sharper then he had intended judging by Blaine’s slight wince.

“Ummm….I’m actually not catching a ride with you and Wes….I promised Kurt that I would go to his place for dinner and meet the rest of his family…..Finn and Carole and such tonight. He’s going to pick me up and then just drop me off back home afterwards….sorry I thought I mentioned it earlier. I must have forgot…..” Blaine trailed off looking uncomfortable a bit conflicted.

Disappointment washed over Harry like a cruel, suffocating tidal wave but he did his best to keep the now strained smile on his face, “Oh…”

“Sorry….I should have said something….I-look, you’re not mad or anything right? You and Wes get along really well, and I know Cooper’s home this weekend and I promised to introduce you guys, but you know mom and dad….so....so you’ll be okay right? I shouldn’t be back that late or anything…I mean if you really want me there I can probably call Kurt and arrange another night but he was just so excited….”

“It’s fine” Harry cut Blaine’s rambling excuses off, before clearing his throat and forcing his tone to become softer, not so sharp, “really…it’s fine. I’ll be fine. I can manage without you holding my hand” he gave a crooked smile, hoping that his attempt at humor wouldn’t fall to obviously flat. Because it wasn’t fine. Not at all…..

Blaine seemed to buy it though because a relieved smile spread across his face, “ok good! You’ll love Cooper…or at least he’ll love you….he can be a bit much at times but his hearts in the right place….”

Harry found himself smiling and nodding along as Blaine expounded on his older brother, trying to force the churning feeling in his stomach to go away. So what if Blaine had cancelled on him again? So what if his brother—who had promised to be there for him always—was not going to be there when he really needed a buffer, a safety line.

It was fine. He was fine. He had managed alone before, he was not going to suddenly self combust because his brother wanted to spend time with his friend rather than his brother (again!). He would just have to manage. He would see this as an opportunity. Maybe he needed to branch out more, start meeting people outside of their group at Dalton…

Just because Blaine had forgotten to tell him didn’t mean anything, they could hang out the rest of the weekend. It was fine.

Everything was perfectly fine.

But then why did the sinking feeling in move from his stomach to his chest?

--0—

February 2012

Minerva had always prided herself in being a tough, in-control, and professional, kind of person. She had worked hard for her high rank not to mention the recognition and respect of her colleagues. Law enforcement was still largely a male run domain, and being not only female, but a female that largely out ranked the majority of her male colleagues, she had had to be to survive. However, after having personally attended this crime scene, she felt like some wet behind the ears, just out of the academy whelp. It was a feeling that she couldn’t say that she much appreciated.

She sank gratefully into one of the hard back chairs that surrounded the long conference table which was now stacked with various files, waiting for the rest to arrive. She could not deny that she was glad to have a few minutes to collect herself before having to once more apply the McGonagall mask, and despite the shower and peppermint spray she had used, she could still smell the rank odor of too long decomposed flesh. She permitted herself one more shudder before pushing all vulnerability and unease away, straightening her spine and shoulders reflexively.

Just in time too.

The conference room door swung open the sound of a wooden stump muffled due to the carpeted surface of the room reached her sharp ears. Moody had arrived then. She bit back a grimace.

Don’t get her wrong, it wasn’t that she didn’t like the prison head; he was just a bit….well, out there she supposed. She had heard stories about his early years; years when he was still fighting his way in the police force before having been forced into the position at the infamous prison and well, if the stories were true….

She gave her head a mental shake. No, rumors and gossip didn’t matter….if he was here it meant that Albus had wanted him here, even if she couldn’t understand why. After all, it was his prison that had let the psycho that did this, escape. The sound of the door opening once more signaled the rest of the expected people’s arrival.

Arthur, a quiet but hard working and largely liked man entered followed by no other but the Chief Constable himself, Albus Dumbledore.

“Thank you for coming” Albus’s weary voice greeted the rooms other three occupants, moving to take a seat front and center. His usually calm, blue gaze looking burdened and almost resigned.

“Is-is it really him then?” Arthur’s voice asked timidly, not that Minerva could blame the man, Tom Riddle had managed to kill off a large number of his family during his years at large; A warning to other law enforcement agents of what could and would happen if they chose to continue pursuing the him.

Dumbledore let out a heavy sight picking up the stack of folders in front of him and passing them out, “I’m afraid so Arthur…I’m afraid so…”

“Why haven’t we heard anything before this? Why wasn’t there an announcement made….surely the man didn’t just walk out without anyone aware?!” Arthur questioned his tone losing its passive, pushover quality becoming far more pointed and demanding.

“I tried to tell him…” Moody’s own gravelly voice muttered under his breath glaring in Albus’s direction, causing to Albus to send him one full of reprimand.

“Alastor” he said sharply before turning back to face where Arthur and Minerva were sitting, “Yes we were aware that Riddle escaped, but we did not want to announce it and cause mass panic. You know how he operated in the past…using people’s fear and the resulting fall out for his own means. Not to mention that before the most recent events, we were not sure what his goal was in escaping. He has been largely well behaved and subdued for years inside…. we could not be sure what caused his sudden desire to escape”

Minerva heard Moody scoff and couldn’t help but agree with the man. Albus might be a wise and powerful leader, but what he was spewing right now was a load of lark. How could he not have known Riddle’s intent? The Potter case, after all, had been one of the cases that had sky rocketed his career.

Riddle’s obsession with the Potters, or more specifically their adopted son was METRO’s worst kept secret.

Deciding that they were accomplishing nothing sitting here and arguing, something that they would likely continue to do if she didn’t redirect things Minerva interrupted with a question she was already pretty sure the answer of, “and the Dursleys….why them?”

Albus straightened up, his in charge expression falling back into place once more with the question. Gesturing down at the folder in front of him and waiting until they had all flipped open their corresponding ones, before he spoke “Vernon, Petunia and Dudley Dursley, were Lily Potter’s only living relatives and up until fairly recently were the primary care takers and guardians of Lily and Jame’s adopted son, Harry”

Pausing momentarily to ensure that he had all of their attention he continued, “Harry, if you had any part of the case that ended in Riddle’s final imprisonment, was and apparently still is a major obsession of Riddles. Through the testimony and confession gotten from Tom when he was arrested and charged for the murders of Harry’s parents, it is clear that Riddle has come to believe that Harry is actually his son. A boy who died after being kidnapped by one of Riddle’s less savory associates years and years ago. It was believed that court mandated medication and therapy while inside Wakefield had cured him of this delusion. After seeing the most current destruction brought upon by Tom, I can safely say that we no longer believe that to be the case.”

Minerva barely heard him, staring down at the crime scene photos in front of her with repulsion. Despite having seen the actual scene…the photos still had a shocking effect, showing far too competently the utter malevolence and destruction that Riddle was capable of.

“What was his purpose for going after the Dursley’s though if Harry was no longer living there? Where is he by the way? I looked to see if there were court manuscripts relating to him and could not find anything?” Minerva spoke again, this time not sure what the answer was.

She was not lying after all. She had looked into where Harry went as soon as she had left the crime scene. His body was obviously not found among the other’s scattered and mutilated ones and she could only hope that he had not been taken by Tom. Though none of the boy’s belongings had been found in the home….

“No, I do not believe Harry was taken by Tom…at least not yet. I had the manuscripts destroyed for the boy’s safety after learning that Tom had escaped. I had not anticipated Riddle getting by the patrol cars I had stationed to watch the Dursleys….” Albus sighed again, “We cannot be sure what they told him before they died. I am not sure how much Vernon or Petunia knew about the people who gained custody of Harry…. for their and Harry’s sake I can only hope that it was not much”.

“What are you doing about warning them, have you set up protection for the boy?” Arthur demanded his face having a haunted sheen to it.

“There is not a lot I can do….Harry is no longer in the country and far out of our jurisdiction. I have set a meeting with the appropriate agencies and hopefully they will be able to set up some sort of protection for the boy and his new family”

“But this is Riddle! That can’t be all that we can do….you know that the protection they are likely to offer him will be paltry and ineffectual. They do not understand what that monster is capable of, or just how determined he is to get his hands on the boy” Minerva denied, her gut twisting with worry.

Oh don’t get her wrong, she had the utmost respect for other agencies, especially those in the States but she did not trust them to take the threat of Riddle as serious as it needed to be.

“I am afraid we must trust them. Not only do we legally have no sway in that part of the world….I am afraid we have a problem of our own, much closer to home…” Albus trailed off.

“You finally admit that you have a leak then?” Moody asked, a black humor twisting his voice.

Albus sent him another glare though it was half hearted at best, “Yes….I am afraid that after the Dursley’s murders there is no other conclusion that I can come to. There were only a select few high ranking officers who knew who the Dursleys were, where they lived or their importance….it is safe to say that the department has a high security leak”

The men (and woman) in the room fell into a solemn silence, contemplating this latest blow. A leak was bad. A leak meant not being able to trust the very men and women you needed to go out with and have your back each day.

A leak meant segregated investigations and misleading information. Stalled arrests and mangled crime scenes.

“What are we going to do for Harry then?” Arthur asked quietly after a long drawn out silence.

“The only thing we can at the moment…..pray that the Americans do their jobs and that Harry has the support he will no doubt need from his new family.”

Chapter Text


 

What a Dog!” Lady and the Tramp, 1955


 

Harry felt like dragging his feet if only to slow down the inevitable. Why did he agree to this again? What could possibly have possessed him into thinking that caving to his brother’s pleading eyes was in any way a good idea?

Ah….right, the fact that it was Blaine, and he could not deny his brother anything. And the brat knew it. And just maybe he had pushed his reluctance of all things social (or at least these kind of social things) away for a moment because it was the first time in quite a while that Blaine had asked him to join him in something.

Even if that something did include the annoying Miss Priss. Still, most of their exams were over now and despite the fact that he and Blaine had eventually hung out a bit on their weekend home, he had not really seen his brother outside of class for more than a nanosecond since. And, he reminded himself, he had promised himself that he would branch out of the Dalton group more….so here was the perfect opportunity.

Gritting his teeth, and shoring his resolve, Harry forced himself not to fidget as the door of the rather cliché looking two story family house swung open to reveal a slender brunette wearing the most atrocious looking dress that Harry had ever seen. And this was him; he was terrible when it came to recognizing such things!

“Kurt!!! You made it! Oh! And you did too Blaine!” the high pitched squeal made Harry want to clamp his hands over his ears in protest. The jerk caused by preventing himself doing just that brought the girls attention to him.

“Oh” she cocked her head to the side in a curious manner—obviously they had been drinking for sometime already given how obviously tipsy the girl was—“I don’t know you. But you’re cute. You can stay” she decided nodding her head succinctly, as if reaching a very important decision.

“Hey Rachel, it’s nice to see you again. Thank you for inviting us” “….I hope you don’t mind… this is Harry he is my b---“Blaine began introductions in that oh so polite and dapper way of his.

“Oh….we should head in! everyone is already here….come on Blaine” Kurt cut him off, a slightly hysterical note in his voice, before latching onto Blaine’s arm and dragging him into the house, leaving Harry to stand awkwardly on the doorstep.

Sighing to himself and wondering once more why he was putting himself through such torture—because Kurt had been acting like a little bitch from the moment he pulled up and Blaine told him that Harry was coming with—Harry moved as unobtrusively as possible into the house. Trailing down the stairs where he had watched Rachel disappear down just seconds before.

When he reached the bottom he cast a quick glance around the room, surprised at how few people were actually there. When Blaine had explained that Kurt had invited him to a house party with some of the McKinley students, Harry had thought it would be….well, bigger.

Sure he had only been friends with Hermione back home, but he had still been to his share of parties. He didn’t need to actually like anyone at them to get plastered and relieve a bit of tension after all. It had been fairly common for the school that he went to back in Surrey (even if the stuck up residents of Privet Drive liked to turn a blind eye). Hell, even Dudley went out every now and again—and that kid still got his Mother to wipe his face after he finished eating!

Reminding himself to be polite and that he was no longer in a urban metropolis but rather a small, back water town, Harry ignored the curious stares sent his way and made a beeline for where the drinks were sitting, looking very inviting at the moment. There wasn’t a ton of choice but hell, he wasn’t all that picky. If he was going to survive this night…it would not be sober.

His hand had just closed around his prize—an unopened bottle of Smirnoffs, when a much larger, calloused hand closed around his wrist to stop him.

“Whoa….little guy, I don’t think you want that one….more then you can handle”

Harry bristled at the obvious condescending tone to the voice and wheeled around to find himself face to face with a rather large, heavily muscled, mohawked adorned teen.

“As much as I value the opinion of a complete and total stranger….I think I can manage. Thank you” Harry sniped back, infusing as much sarcasm as he could into the end while ripping his arm and the connecting bottle away petulantly.

The other teen let out a snort and shrugged, his face clearly saying that he didn’t think much of Harry’s proclamation but wasn’t above humoring him for the time being. The look just infuriated Harry more and he twisted the cap off taking a long draw from the bottle; his eyes never wavering from the other teen.

He continued until he saw the slightly surprised widening of the boy’s eyes, before moving the bottle away from his mouth slowly and making a big show of wiping his now wet mouth on his sleeve, cocking an eyebrow in challenge.

“Alright. Alright midget. So you can handle your drink. I have to admit, I’m impressed. I saw you enter with Hummel and his boy-toy…didn’t think that anyone Kurt associates would even know what the stuff was…” there’s a definite teasing tone to the boys voice now, which caused Harry a small start of surprise.

Hmmm….maybe not everyone here was quite so innocent and straight laced as he had first assumed, he ran a speculative eye over the boy. He might be reading the tone wrong but he could swear that the comment wasn’t meant entirely innocently. And even if he was reading it wrong, he definitely was not reading the look in the teen’s smirking eyes wrong.

Coming to a decision (he had said he was going to get to know other people after all, and he had never been that good at small talk….) he sent back his own teasing grin, “Harry” he said holding out the bottle as a peace offering.

It seemed to work if the answering smirk he got was anything to go by, “Noah….though I go by Puck…..so are you also a prep school boy?” he asked grabbing the much emptier bottle and taking his own swig.

“Of sorts” Harry answered easily snagging his drink back. At the questioning look he got, he explained further “I only started there in December. From Surrey before that, went to public school there”

“That explains it…” Puck muttered under his breath before slinging a heavy arm around Harry’s shoulder and steering him towards a group of couches were a few other boys sat, along with a blond, rather stunning girl.

“Everyone this is Harry. He’s alright. Harry this is everyone. Take a seat” Puck announced to the group as a whole and manhandled Harry into an opening on the couch by the blond, before squishing him by sitting on his other side.

“I’m Quinn” the girl offered giving him a dismissive once over, “and how is it you know Puck?” the question held a trap in it…that much he could tell.

“Know? Oh I don’t know him. The asshole tried to steal my drink” Harry answered easily holding the large bottle up slightly.

Whatever the test was, apparently he had passed because her posture relaxed instantly and a much more genuine small was sent his way.

“He is an asshole isn’t he?” she agreed easily with a small laugh.

“The worst” Harry agreed taking another swig. Ok, this wasn’t so bad. He could get through this….plus he was starting to feel quite nice. Warm and fuzzy….hmmm…he should probably take it easy. He hadn’t drank this much in such a short period of time in quite a while….

Glancing over and catching Puck’s heated gaze he shrugged. Ah well….what was the harm?

And if he took a slightly bigger swig after noticing the disgusted glare he was getting from a certain uptight priss….well, it was a coincidence.

**~**  

It wasn’t fair!

This was supposed to be his night! A fun filled evening where he could show Blaine off to the rest of the New Directions (the same kids who while supportive of him and his choices, had always been a bit pitying or scornful). It was supposed to be the night where he could show Blaine that he wasn’t such an uptight, naïve loser.

He could be cool and fun. He had lots of friends and he could party just as well as the football jerks and hockey assholes (he couldn’t quite bring himself to admit but sometimes hanging out with Blaine left him feeling a bit insecure. It was just that Blaine was so…so perfect! He was what every little gay boy fantasized about being with and what they secretly wanted to be more like. He couldn’t see someone like Blaine getting tossed into the McKinley dumpsters, or getting slushy facials most days of the week).

So yes, tonight was supposed to be his chance to show Blaine another side of himself (even if technically, he had never been that type of person to begin with), but of course he had to come along and ruin it.

Kurt hadn’t even been able to hide his irritation and anger when he saw the other boy, standing right next to his Blaine. But Blaine, as oblivious to the obvious tension between Kurt and Harry, had looked so excited to be going to the party… so excited to have them both going with him, that Kurt managed to hold back his more abrasive and bitchy digs.

From the look Harry sent him, the green eyed boy had done the same.

And maybe, just maybe, Kurt had been a wee bit vindictive and purposefully excluded the boy when they first got here. Taking a small amount of perverse pleasure over the fact that Harry would be left out as the loner….the boy who didn’t know anyone here. He had felt a minor twinge of guilt of course, but it was easy enough to ignore when he gad Blaine beside him.

Of course Blaine was no longer solely beside him.

Noooo…Blaine apparently decided that having a glass or two of whatever horrible concoction that Mercedes mixed up was a good idea. And now….

Now, Blaine was acting way too friendly with just about everyone. Dancing and singing duets and…and kissing Rachel. Kurt was not impressed. This was NOT how he had envisioned the night going.

Even worse, his one up of Harry had failed completely. Of course the little twerp had managed to somehow waltz in and be immediately accepted by Puck. Of course he was now sandwiched between the mohawked teen and Quinn Fabrey, hanging out with Mike, Sam and ‘the cool’ glee kids.

Kurt didn’t even try to deny that he felt a churning jealousy over the fact. Especially since most of those same kids still didn’t accept him completely-- even after having known and preformed with him for over a year. The fact that they would instantly accept his arch nemesis (and maybe Harry wasn’t aware that he was his enemy….but let Kurt assure you….he most definitely was!) was like a punch to the gut.

He felt his lip curl back in disgust as he watch the fey looking boy laugh and playfully swat at Puck, trying to hold his nearly empty vodka bottle away from the other teen’s grasping hands. Kurt’s eyes narrowed in suspicion at just how grasping those hands were.

What the hell?

If he hadn’t known it an impossibility, he would have sworn that homophobic, very straight, Noah Puckerman was….was flirting and groping the smaller boy. And if that hadn’t been an impossibility, (as he had previously stated) Kurt would have sworn that Harry was more than welcoming of his attention.

Not that the last part would have surprised Kurt….no, Harry was exactly the type of person to cheat on his supposed boyfriend (because as much as he wanted to pretend otherwise, that was how Blaine had almost introduced him. Thankfully Kurt had cut him off in time. Rachel and the others were still under the impression that he and Blaine were a thing….he did not need to burst that illusion quite yet). He was obviously just as skeezy and loose as Kurt had assumed.

The really annoying part was that Blaine was far too busy smiling and laughing with the Rachel Berry to notice Harry’s indiscretions! It was disgusting that was what it was….both how Harry and Puck were just about going at it right there (on the sofa!); and how Rachel was obviously taking advantage of Blaine’s tipsy state.

What did she think she was doing? He had made it pretty freaking clear that Blaine was gay….capital G!!

Kurt watched with a mix of disgust and morbid interest (and perhaps something else, though he wasn’t about to acknowledge that other feeling) as Harry sent Puck a coy grin before shakily pushing himself off the couch and making his way, half stumbling, half walking up the stairs. Puck watched him go with eyes that were way to focused to be just innocent interest, before he too said something to Quinn and stood up to follow.

This had just proven Kurt right….Harry did not deserve Blaine. He had been patient with his beloved Warbler but perhaps it was time to step up his game.

Blaine deserved so much better….and Kurt was going to make sure he got it.

--=--

(note: a lot of the dialogue is taken from the episode—Blame it on the Alcohol)

“Are you kidding? You spent the entire night sucking Rachel Berry's face. That, sir, is what we call rock bottom” Kurt gave a short laugh, though Blaine could tell there was not much…if any, real amusement behind it.

He wasn’t really sure how he was supposed to respond to that. In truth, even after all the time that they had spent hanging out together, he had never really witnessed this side of Kurt. It bothered him.

Oh sure, he was more than aware that Kurt could be a bit of a drama queen on occasion…but he didn’t mind that, after all…like he had told Kurt previously that he could relate. He was a bit of a drama whore himself.

No, what was bothering him with Kurt’s behavior was nothing to do with his love of flare and drama…no, it was the vindictiveness that shadowed his words; the spite. Before today, he would have laughed in the face of anyone who said that Kurt had a mean bone in his body….yet now….

The point was, that this was not the Kurt he was used to dealing with… this Kurt was not the sweet, confused boy who was becoming one of his best friends. And he didn’t like it. More so, he didn’t know why Kurt was acting this way.

Deciding to just ignore it, or at least pretend he wasn’t aware for the time being, Blaine forced a smile, applauding his excellent acting skills when it didn’t come out strained and moved forward in the line they were patiently waiting in, hoping that they could just let the whole ‘Rachel topic’ drop. It was not to be.

A faint buzzing in Blaine’s pocket alerted him to his cell going off and thinking that it might be Harry, he fished it out noticing but not really caring that Kurt leaned over to read the caller ID.

“Oh, my God, speak of the devil” Kurt muttered under his breath not even bothering to hide his contempt this time.

Blaine gave an internal wince as he quickly finished ordering their coffees and flipped the phone open; annoyed by the fact that he was hesitating to answer it in front of Kurt. Why should he not want to talk with her just because Kurt was having some sort of issue with the girl? She was a sweet, funny girl and he really shouldn’t have to hide the fact that he thought so….even if her very name was making Kurt act weird.

“Hi Rachel” He greeted, doing his best to maintain a friendly, polite and interested tone while carefully handing Kurt his coffee and grabbing his own. “Kurt and I were just talking about you”.

Shit! Why did he say that of all things? Dammit….were was his smooth, suave charm now when he needed it? Thankfully, it seemed as Rachel did not sense the under lying meaning to his statement…that, or she just did not care

“You're such a cutie pie with your blazer and your pants”. She practically cooed. And alright….so it was a bit of an odd statement to make, but hey, Blaine wasn’t going to stomp on the girl when she was trying to compliment him. It was nice of her…..if a little weird.

Apparently she wasn’t going to stop there, “So I have a question for you. I wanted to know…” her voice grew louder….and by the expression on Kurt’s face he could clearly hear her as well.

“Oh, my God. Is she drunk?” Kurt hissed as realization made his eyes widen.

Blaine shushed him, afraid that Rachel would hear his catty comment, focusing his attention back on the, until now, mainly one sided conversation.

“….if you would want to maybe…you know, possibly go out this Friday?” Rachel finished her question though her voice was quieter…so it was quite possible she had heard Kurt.

Shit?! What was he supposed to say to that? She did know he was gay right? He was about to tell her that, to let her down easy, when something stopped him. His thoughts turned to his brother….his brother, who had been the first person he had met outside Kevin that didn’t follow the standard heterosexual mold. His brother, who had told him that he didn’t really care about gender but was attracted to personality. Maybe…maybe he was the same?

He had never really given it much thought before….but…maybe he wasn’t completely gay? He had really enjoyed spending time with Rachel the other night, not to mention the fact that he thought that their kiss was pretty friggen fantastic. If he was completely 100% gay, he wouldn’t have enjoyed it….right? Why should he throw away an opportunity to find the person he was meant to be with just because he had labeled himself before really having any experience?

He couldn’t know that he just liked boys, when he hadn’t really ever been with a girl before…could he? No. He couldn’t. So instead of turning her down he did the opposite.

“Uh….yeah” he finally answered the question, still second guessing himself. Maybe it was not such a bad thing that she was obviously drunk considering his usual smoothness was horribly absent at the moment.  

“Really?!” Rachel squealed excitedly, “oh! That’s great! Awesome….okay, so dinner and a movie? Friday? You can come and pick me up…or wait, you don’t have a license do you?” Rachel’s questions came a mile a minute and she was off again before he managed to answer any of them, “ok, that’s not a problem. One of my dad’s can drop us off at the restaurant and we can just walk to the theatre. So…. Friday then?”

“Uh huh” Blaine managed to get in, afraid that she would start up again. A drunk Rachel Berry was apparently a very chatty one.

“Fantastic. Oh I’m so excited! I will see you then! Bye!”

Blaine managed to say his farewell just as the click of phone meeting receiver sounded, and he turned to Kurt in bemusement, “Rachel just asked me out”.

This time around, he failed to see the slight tightening to Kurt’s eyes and smile, “Oh, that's amazing. She's got a girl crush on you!” he gave a amused laugh before pausing a look of confusion coming to his face, “Wait a second…..Why'd you say yes? You can't lead her on.”

Ignoring the nervous little flutter in his gut, and trying to pretend he didn’t know why it was there in the first place (because he had no reason not to tell Kurt! None at all…) he replied keeping his tone light and easy, “Who says I'm leading her on?”

“ You can't be serious” Kurt deadpanned, disbelief dripping from his very pores.

Blaine felt the inexplicable need to defend his choice…even if he really shouldn’t have to….why did it matter to his friend if he was going to go on a date with Rachel….was Kurt worried about him hurting Rachel?—that could be…he had been friends with Rachel first after all. So Blaine decided to try and explain himself, “When we kissed, it …it felt good”.

God what was wrong with him? how was it that every comment out of his mouth was unbelievably stupid? That was not what he meant to say, that was not the reason why he had agreed to a date with Rachel…..(ok, so it was sort of…but not just that…)

Kurt scoffed-- actually scoffed!-- at his answer. “It felt good because you were drunk”. And could the other boy get any more condescending if he tried? For some reason Blaine found himself becoming angry at Kurt’s blatant dismissal.

“What's the harm in going out on one crummy little date?” Blaine found himself asking, his own annoyance leaking through.

“ You're gay, Blaine!” Kurt practically shouted, no longer content with his covert disbelief and disdain.

The anger and annoyance that had been building steadily since they had started this conversation was nearing its breaking point, so Blaine forced himself to take a deep steady breath, trying to reign in his emotions.

“I thought I was, but I've never even had a boyfriend before. Isn't this the time you're supposed to figure stuff out?” Blaine voiced the same question that he had just finished asking himself. Hoping to make Kurt understand where he was coming from.

Something that clearly wasn’t going to be the case, “I can't believe that I'm hearing this right now!” Kurt denied shaking his head and shooting Blaine an almost disappointed look.

Still Blaine wasn’t one to give up first try, “Maybe I'm bi...I don't know” he said with a shrug.

Kurt snorted “Bisexuals a term that gay guys in high school use when they want to hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change”.

The anger and condemnation coming from the other boy momentarily stunned Blaine. How could he say that? Blaine knew that it wasn’t true. After all, he knew that Harry didn’t care what others thought of him….his brother—while perhaps a bit more blatant with his sexuality and attraction—had never hidden the fact that he liked both genders. It wasn’t as though Harry only flirted with girls; he was very obvious when he wanted a guy’s attention as well. Kurt’s claim made no sense.

“Whoa, wait, wait. Why are you so angry?” Blaine asked wanting…no, needing to understand where all of this hate was coming from.

“Because I look up to you” Kurt stated as though that answered it all, when Blaine just raised his eyebrow in question he continued, “I admire how proud you are of who you are….I know what it's like to be in the closet, and here you are about to tiptoe back in.”

Blaine found himself staring at Kurt, slack jawed. While yes, he understood how insecure Kurt was about his own sexual preference and knew how he had gained a lot of comfort and strength by knowing that Blaine was gay and not hiding that fact ….it didn’t make his words any less ignorant and…just wrong.

“That’s not true. I can’t understand how you could say that Kurt….I know for a fact that bisexuality is not just some lie….Harry is bi…. and more then proud of being so….” Blaine denied, still not quite believing he was having this conversation with a boy he had thought so open minded, “I'm really sorry if this hurts your feelings or your pride or whatever, but however confusing it might be for you, it's actually a lot more confusing for me…..You're 100% sure who you are. Fantastic. Well maybe we all can't be so lucky”.

Kurt’s scowl deepened at the mention of Harry and he looked like he was going to comment but he managed to ignore the Harry part and comment on the end, “Yeah, I have I've had a lot of luck Blaine…I was really lucky to be chased out of high school by a bully who threatened to kill me”.

Oh no! Blaine was not going to fall for that. He could see what Kurt was trying to do--to turn the conversation around so that Blaine was the bad guy here….oh no! Not happening!

“And why did he do that?” Blaine asked trying to keep his voice even, even if he wanted to yell.

“Because he didn't like who I was” Kurt replied, his own posture loosening obviously thinking he had won this round. He was wrong though…..he had fallen for it; hook, line and sinker.

“Sort of exactly what you're saying to me right now” Blaine stated, hoping to drive his point home. When Kurt looked ready to refute Blaine continued, “Isn't it? I'm searching, okay? I am honestly just trying to figure out who I am, and for you, of all people, to get down on me for that, I didn't think that's who you were” this time it was Blaine who shot his disappointment at a speechless Kurt.

“I'll see you. I'd say bye, but I wouldn't want to make you angry” he stood up quickly, pushing back his chair and weaving his way out of the coffee shop without so much as a backward glance.

He couldn’t believe it! He was honestly stunned at Kurt, especially since he knew the bullying that the teen had gone through because of his own differences. He didn’t know what to think. Most of him believed that he had just caught Kurt on a bad day…that the other boy wasn’t truly so short sighted…wasn’t really such a….well, bully he supposed was the word for it.

Yet there was a wee-little bit of him (one he shushed adamantly) that couldn’t help but doubt that sentiment.

--o—

Harry ignored his screaming muscles and pushed off the pavement harder. The trees, gravel and underbrush were out of focus as he forced his concentration to remain only on the now harsh panting that was his breathing.

He found the monotony and sheer effort of running combine to give him the mental grey space that he had been searching for since his run in with Hummel. And yes, after their last ‘conversation,’ he was now referring to the little two-faced snob by his last name. When Kurt had come all the way to Dalton not to see Blaine, but to talk with him, he had been cautious but curious.

After the disgusting drivel that spilt from the other boy’s lips—Harry was convinced that he was not only a bigoted hypocrite but that his feelings for Blaine were not only obsessively unhealthy but a little bit frightening. He had decided right then and there that there was something seriously amiss about the normally meek boy. His suspicions had only been confirmed when, upon Blaine’s entry, Kurt went from a hatefully spouting ass, to a pleasant and oh-so-apologetic teen.

And to his horror, Blaine had taken the (obviously) fake apology with hardly batting an eye, agreeing easily to an afternoon movie that Kurt had so courteously offered up as a way to make amends for his horrible behavior—not that Harry had ever learned what that behavior was.

Worse part was that Blaine agreed without even recalling that he had already promised to help Harry with the new French assignment he had received earlier. Harry didn’t want it too….but such easy disregard from his twin had stung….

So instead of spending the afternoon reviewing and translating French verb tenses with his brother, Harry had grabbed his gym bag and decided to go for a long, hard run. One, where he was determined to leave every ounce of self-pity and hurt behind.

Having wanted to be alone, Harry had even decided to head out on the back wood trails rather than running at the nicely groomed Dalton track…sometimes, one just needed space and privacy to sort out their head.

Feeling the uncomfortable stitch in his side grow to be downright painful, Harry slowed his pace to a stop, leaning forward slightly and bracing himself with one hand against a tree while he waited for it to disappear and his breathing to return to normal. Still worked up by Kurt’s visit, he instead focused on his recent and first encounter with the McKinley kids.

He smiled despite his current bad mood, the party had turned out to be surprisingly fun….all things considering. He was surprised, but happy to find that most of the McKinley crew had been much more his speed then the Dalton boys were. It wasn’t as though he didn’t like the kids from Dalton, it was simply the fact that he didn’t….no, couldn’t, really understand them. They came from a different world then he did—taking their wealth and the privileges that came from it for granted, when Harry was all too aware of what it was like to live without those things.

In that way, he could better relate to the McKinley kids, the ‘public schoolers’-- as the Warblers liked to call them--better. True, even they were a bit sheltered and naïve (some more so then others) but there was more diversity to be found….and Harry could admit he had found Noah hilarious. Crude, a bit intellectually stunted perhaps, but funny none the less.

Hell, after spending most of his time with him and Quinn during the party, he had even developed a bit of a soft spot for the icy blond. She was cutting, but in her own way, just as humorous. Despite how much he had enjoyed spending time with Noah…or rather, Puck as he preferred to be called, Harry hadn’t gotten completely carried away.

Had he been tempted to go further than a few sloppy kisses and a bit of innocent groping? Yes (not that anyone could blame a guy. Puck was, for all his faults, in possession of a very ripped body). Had he actually given into that temptation? No. Harry might be fairly lax when it came to these kind of things, but even he wasn’t about to give it up to a curious ex-homophobe. He did have some standards! Mind you, should Noah ever take the time to figure out where his interests truly lied (aka; experiment with some other poor bloke first) Harry would be more than willing to wile an evening or two away with the teen.

But he was not about to be the turd that enlightened him. No, after things had started to get a bit too ca heated—Harry had taken a step back. He was more than a little relieved when Puck had shrugged off his rejection with good humor. He was glad that he hadn’t lost the chance at a potential friend.

Still, the evening had left him riled up and without release. The constant itching under his skin, the restless energy that their flirting had evoked, coupled with his ‘disagreement’ with Kurt had left him practically vibrating. He was hoping that if he ran hard and far enough the discomfort would ease….at least a little bit.

His breath having calmed to a much more reasonable rate, Harry let himself move away from the tree he had been leaning against, rolling his shoulders to try and relieve them from the tension that had been weighing down on them. He was just about to start up again when something stopped him.

He shuddered lightly, a shiver making its way down his spine and his skin on the back of his neck prickling with unease. He carefully turned his body to the side, pretending to take the time to stretch a bit more while using the movement to covertly scan his surroundings, looking for the source of his sudden unease.

He could swear that someone was watching him.

Yet, his quick scan revealed nothing. Trying to shake off the feeling as paranoia, Harry decided that he had been out here long enough and it was more than time to return to the campus. With that thought he increased his speed just a bit more then he was comfortable with.

He couldn’t shake the feeling that the sooner he got back the better.

He felt himself relax slightly when the trees started to thin and he caught sight of grey stone through the more wide spread branches. Good…he was almost b….

“Shit!”

The startled exclamation that did not belong to him and the feeling of his body running smack into something hard, brought his thoughts to a resounding halt.

He blinked confusedly for a few seconds before realizing that he was no longer standing up straight but was rather lying on the ground in a tangle of limbs….limbs that did not belong to him. It took him another few seconds to realize that they belonged to the teenage boy that he had just run full throttle into. The same boy who was not looking overly impressed by that fact.

“What the fuck?! Watch where you’re going you damn simpleton!”

Oh yes, pretty boy was definitely not pleased with their inadvertent collision.

“Excuse me? But you are not the only one knocked on their ass. Perhaps you should watch where you are going”—ok, so he was responding rather juvenilely, but he was winded, still a bit unnerved from earlier and now his ass was smarting….and not in a good way.

The boy seemed like he was going to retort in a equally snippy and most likely childish way, but taking a moment to look Harry over (at least that was what Harry assumed considering the way the other boys green eyes scanned him head to foot) he seemed to change his mind. The frosty, pissed off look faded and a….flirtatious (?), inviting smile appeared.

“You’re right. I apologize for my horrible manners, please forgive me you simply caught me off guard” the boy smiled disarmingly, “Sorry but are you lost?....”

Harry went to answer because honestly was he lost? Dalton was literally within view now, but the boy cut him off, making Harry let out an exasperated groan

“Because heaven is a long ways from here….”

Harry shot him an unimpressed look and snorted, “Seriously?” was all he managed.

The other boy’s smile just grew wider and he shrugged, “hey, had to try….the set up was just too perfect. I’m Sebastian by the way, and by how you look you must be…”

“No. Stop right there. I do not need to hear your entire repertoire of terribly cheesy pick up lines thank you very much. I’m Harry” Harry held up his hand to stop the boy whose eyes were far too mischievous.

Sebastian (if that was the other teens real name) gave a light, amused laugh not looking repentant in the least, “Hey, at least I was sticking to the G rated stuff….I could have tried out my less family friendly lines”

“Or you could forget your lines, as I have no doubt they are as horrible as the one you already used” Harry shot back squirming slightly as the weight from the other boy’s body was making his trapped leg go numb, “now if you don’t mind…..” he gave Sebastian a pointed look.

“No, I really don’t” Sebastian leered but reluctantly moved off of him, standing up before offering Harry a hand to stand up himself.

“So…in all seriousness, what brings you out this way? You’re not a Dalton are you? Those preps usually avoid venturing too far out into the woods” Sebastian stated wiggling his eyebrows in a way that Harry was sure he meant to be creepy and foreboding. Failing horribly of course.

“And if I am?” Harry challenged. He wasn’t sure why he was indulging this unknown boy, but he couldn’t help himself….there was just something about Sebastian that made him want to stay and talk with him. Even if it was just to jest. “Why are you out this way? You’re not from Dalton are you? I don’t recall seeing you around….”

“Well I guess that answers my first question. And no, you’re right I don’t go to Dalton. I’m actually not even really from around here…well, for most of the year. My stepfather lives a few miles away from here…I’m home for a bit visiting him. Needed to get out and clear my head” Sebastian explained his smile never once leaving his face, though Harry sensed there was more to the story by the slight tightening around his eyes at the mention of his step father.

Not that it was any of Harry’s business. “Ah…same here. Dalton can get a bit…..claustrophobic at times. Just wanted to go for a run” not completely the truth, but close enough to.

Sebastian seemed to take his answer at face value and they stood there for a few minutes staring at each other as though not sure what else they could say. It somehow just felt wrong for Harry to up and walk away now….

It really did not make any sense. He didn’t know this boy, and really, according to him, he wasn’t even really from around here so there was no point in getting to know him better. He should leave…..

“Er…well, I had better get going. Um…sorry for, you know…” Harry gestured at the ground, “…it was nice meeting you Sebastian” he finished lamely and was just about to move to the side of the path in order to get around the other boy when a hand flew out latching onto his forearm.

“Sorry” Sebastian apologized at Harry’s startled look, dropping his arm as quickly as he had grabbed onto it, “I- did you want to grab a coffee or something?” he blurted the question out, the faintest bit of pink tingeing his high cheekbones. “I mean…if you wanted, I don’t really know anyone my own age around here….” He trailed off trying to look nonchalant but not quite hitting the mark.

Harry did not try to justify the surge of pleasure he felt in his own gut, though he did hide his pleased smile, “Sure, why not. Just let me grab a quick shower and my wallet. You can drive I assume?”

Sebastian’s nervous smile morphed into a far more confidant and smug one, “you bet flash, I pick you up in an hour”

Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the corny nickname but nodded his agreement. The run had done what he had hoped and he returned to his dorm feeling far lighter hearted and more optimistic than he had when he left. And if he pushed the few moments of unease and nerves that he had felt while out alone in the woods away, in favor of thinking about the new, admittedly handsome brunette named Sebastian? Well who could blame him?

After all, he had just been letting his paranoia run away with him….

Chapter Text

 


 

Phil : Kid, listen to me. She's...

Hercules : A dream come true?

Phil : Not exactly.

Hercules : More beautiful than Aphrodite?

Phil : Aside from that.

Hercules : The most wonderful...

Phil : She's a fraud! She's been playing you for a sap!

Hercules : Stop kidding, Phil. “—Hercules, 1997


 

March 2012

Over the past few years that Harry had known his brother, he had gotten into the habit of confiding in the exuberant boy—at least on most things (the more dirty details regarding his childhood, and perhaps a few of his misdemeanors or less charitable thoughts were still kept private but regarding relationships, friends and that sort of day to day stuff, he and Blaine followed a pretty straight forward, honest policy). Hence the reason that after his interesting run-in (followed by an even more interesting coffee) with Sebastian, he was in search of his brother’s ear.

This was after all, one area of his life that he did not have to hide, change or alter to feel accepted—especially with Blaine. With this he knew that Blaine understood and even appreciated his openness regarding same and opposite sex partners.

And yes….that did mean that he was more than considering Sebastian in that regard. The boy just oozed confidence and seduction—something that Harry most definitely could appreciate. By the second cup of coffee (with that extra kick added; another thing that he could get behind) he was even finding the boy’s cheesy—becoming increasingly lewd, come ons a tad charming. Or at the very least amusing.

“Hey Nate! Have you seen Blaine around?” Harry called out catching a glance at his closest Dalton friend. He may have trouble truly identify with most of the guys due to their background and well….general uptightness regarding grades, style and social conduct but Nate wasn’t like that…at least not most of the time. As far as Dalton went he was rather laid back.

Hearing his name, Nate paused his step and sent Harry a warm smile, “Oh hey there Harry” Harry was just glad that he had finally let go of the nickname the Warblers had coined him with for the first few weeks of his stay—Other Anderson. It really wasn’t a very flattering one, mainly because at that point he hadn’t felt all that much like a part of the Anderson family…but for some reason it had really stuck. He secretly wondered if Blaine had said something to them to make them drop the name…he wouldn’t have been all that surprised to find out if he had, that was just who Blaine was. Overly considerate, at least most of the time.

“Um….I think he’s in the gym…”

Nate smirked when Harry interrupted his sentence with a surprised look, “…yeah I know. Weird right? That other kid, Kurt is visiting again. Think Blaine wanted to show him some of the activities that were available at Dalton. There’s a b-ball game going on”

Okay, Nate wasn’t lying, that was weird. It wasn’t that Blaine didn’t like to watch sports or anything stereo typical like that….he did. It was just that he was usually too busy with warbler or school stuff to get the chance, not to mention if what Nate said about Kurt being along was true…well, Harry might sound like a jackass for saying it, but he got the feeling that stereotypical gay pretty much fit Kurt like a pink bedazzled tiara.

Shrugging it off, he decided to go and see his brother anyway. True, he wasn’t exactly comfortable with Kurt (okay…so major understatement) but maybe the other boy’s hostility was just because they didn’t get each other? Harry was often told he appeared aloof and cold to strangers….maybe he had come off as unfriendly or snobby too Hummel (not that he exactly forgave the other boy for his attitude or snubbing…but if Kurt was willing to put things aside he would be as well).

Perhaps treating Kurt like he did his brother, sharing something (like gossip about a boy) was the way to ease the tension between them? Well it certainly couldn’t hurt.

Entering the side of the gym, he was surprised at the level of noise and actual spectators present. The Dalton team was good—don’t get him wrong, but he hadn’t thought that there would have been so many interested in seeing them play a mid week game.

Weaving his way to the stairs on the far side of the bleachers, Harry made a quick scan of the crowd a small smile pulling at his lips when he spotted his brother’s rather shiny head of gelled hair and Kurt sitting next to him a few rows up and over. He noted that there really wasn’t room anywhere near the duo, but an empty seat a bit behind and over. Well, he could grab that seat and then try to get their attention….half time was almost coming up. Perhaps he could snatch a seat beside them once people got up to stretch and get food.

As he drew closer to the pair and his seat he noted with a small amount of confusion that they were both looking over to the side of the game at a rather publically snogging couple rather than at the game itself. The glare and look of disgust on Kurt’s fine boned face was clear as day from where Harry was.

When he finally managed to get his previously spotted seat his attention was caught by the snippets of conversation he could hear from his brother and friend.

“….bother you?” Blaine’s voice was unmistakable, despite the fact that he was leaning slightly towards Kurt and making an effort to keep his volume somewhat down.

“Because it’s disgusting! That’s why!” Kurt retorted his own terse reply carrying more.

“B….kissing?” Blaine’s distorted question asked.

“They don’t have to be all over each other out where everyone can see. Something…something like that should be done in private…people like that are just exhibitionists”

Harry’s eyebrows raised in surprise at the vehemence in Kurt’s tone. He honestly didn’t see what the big deal was…they were only kissing. It wasn’t like she was going down on him or anything. Plus if Kurt didn’t like that then why was he looking?

Blaine’s own reply to Kurt’s statement was drowned out by the sudden loud cheering and applause of number 13 scoring a three pointer. Dammit.

“I just think that kissing someone, or…or flirting with someone should be…should have more meaning then that. I mean, anyone who acts so loose is obviously someone with low standards. It’s just…wrong” Kurt said, “I mean if someone was interested in me…I would like them to show some restraint. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who was willing to start flirting….and, and groping as soon as they met someone. Would you? I thought you were all about long term commitment and self respect?”

Blaine shot Kurt an odd look before shrugging, “er…yeah I guess not” he answered before turning his attention back to the game.

It wasn’t much of a reply but it was enough. Harry felt like someone had poured a bucket of ice into his stomach. Blaine might have sounded a bit hesitant when he agreed…but he did agree.

Harry waited until the half time buzzer went before hastily standing and retreating back down the bleachers and out of the gym, doing his best to avoid being seen by either of the two boys. For the first time Harry found himself what Blaine truly thought about all the stuff that Harry had shared with him. Did he agree with Kurt? Did he secretly think Harry was disgusting and loose like Kurt said?

There was no way he could tell Blaine about Sebastian now.  

--0—

April 2012

Sebastian glanced down at his cell phone in surprise. The surprise quickly morphing into a smug sort of happiness…he hadn’t been expecting to hear from Harry so soon. After all they had just hung out yesterday….he thought that it would have been at least a few days before getting so much as a text, much less a call from the wary teen.

He shrugged his surprise away flipping the phone open to answer with a “Hey speedy” knowing just how irritated his favorite nickname for the other made Harry.

When he had first run into Harry it had been entirely by accident, and he had been moments away from lambasting the teen for his clumsiness—clumsiness that had resulted in the ruining of Sebastian’s favorite pair of jeans (not to sound like a girl or anything but they happened to make his ass look good, like really really good). One look up into those rather magnificent eyes however and a whole different set of plans had unfolded before him.

Sebastian would be the first to admit that he was no paradigm of virtue or modesty; he was vain, conceited and what many would call ‘a lost cause.’ He knew this and was rather proud of it. So no, it was really not all that surprising that he found himself incredibly interested in Harry Potter. For such a plain and boring name; the boy was stunning.

No, stunning was not quite the right word—Harry was not what you would call handsome or even attractive in the traditional sense of the word. He was different, unique and eye catching…there was something about him that you couldn’t help but be drawn towards….and that was even before he opened his mouth and let out a string of snarky, sarcastic insults all said in that lovely British accent of his. Yes, Sebastian could admit it. He had it bad.

After that first coffee—he found his attraction to the green eyed teen only increasing. While not completely alike, they were certainly similar enough in temperaments for the start of a friendship the likes of which Sebastian had never had before.

Which of course brought up a whole slew of new problems for the cocky teen. He had never been the type to have friends---or at least not real, lasting, genuine friends. His type of friends were the type to use and be used depending on the situation and would generally stab you in the back as quickly as they would declare you the love of their life. In short; his type of friends, were not the type you wanted to rely on when things got rough. But he knew that with Harry, it could be different.

That wasn’t the problem: the problem was that Sebastian was now torn. Did he ignore his lust and want for the teen to pursue an actual healthy and long lasting friendship? Or did he say screw the friendship and do exactly that to the boy—gaining a wonderfully fulfilling memory but likely ruining any chance at anything more.

Decisions, decisions.

Thankfully, they were choices that he did not have to make just yet. He could straddle the line for a while longer…..and be quite happy doing so.

Sebastian…”

Oh yes, there was definitely irritation in the tone, though perhaps a bit of fond exasperation as well?

“That’s me” he answered cheekily, continuing his course up the thickly carpeted stairs and towards his current bedroom (really it was a guest room for 9 months of the year, but when Sebastian was forced to come and visit his father it became his).

“er…I know we hung out yesterday…” Harry’s voice said nervous and more than a bit hesitant, “…I was just wondering if you had plans for today?”

Sebastian felt a trill of happiness run through him, “Now I do”

He could practically feel the relieved grin coming from the other side of the phone. “Yea? You sure? I mean I haven’t seen much of the area or anything—outside of Dalton that is….I-I well, don’t really have anything to do today and was bored….”

Sebastian’s grin grew, “Hush Harry, you don’t need to excuse wanting to see me”—was that a snort from the other end of the line? How rude! Sebastian chose to ignore it and continue, “I can think of a few things to show you, I’ll pick you up in 45?”

“Sure! Sounds great. I’ll see you soon” Harry’s uncharacteristically upbeat reply sounded followed shortly by the click of an end button.

Sebastian stopped in the center of his room and stared down at the phone in bemusement. Was it just him or did Harry sound far too happy to be hanging out with him? could it be that the other teen was….lonely?

Sebastian quickly dismissed that ludicrous thought. No way, he had heard Harry talk about his brother and even some of his other friends at Dalton. There was no way that with a brother as great as Harry described that he would be lonely. Ahh well, whatever the reason for Harry’s sudden desire to see him, Sebastian wasn’t going to fight it.

He was all too happy having the green eyed boy’s time and attention. He just couldn’t figure out exactly which reason that was.

‘The problem,’ he decided, ‘with lines was that they were really rather difficult to straddle’.

--oo—

Harry allowed his tense lips to curve into a more inviting smile when he saw the quickly becoming familiar dark blue Mantary pull into Dalton’s parking lot (he only knew what it was because he had finally caved and asked. The way that Sebastian hovered over the bloody thing and had to check and recheck each and every time he got in or out of the car was what clued Harry into the fact that it was not just an everyday run of the mill vehicle. Sebastian had been abhorred by his lack of knowledge or care).

He couldn’t deny the relief he felt at knowing that he had someone to run away…er, hang out with. Because he was not running away, no siree….not at all. He conveniently ignored the fact that he had only called Sebastian, desperate to get out of Dalton for his free Sunday, after being ambushed with a certain horrifying announcement.

Dalton, despite it not being an exact fit to him, had, until now, been a bit of a sanctuary. Really it was not all that surprising considering it was one of two places he had lived at since the Dursleys. Anywhere would appear a safe haven after having to live with them. So really, it should not have been so shocking that he felt oddly violated by the fact that it was no longer so.

And maybe he was being overly dramatic again….after all it wasn’t as though Kurt Hummel was Vernon by any long stretch. But he was still someone that Harry could do without having known, and the fact that he was now attending Dalton did not make such feelings go away.

The small bitter and cruel voice in Harry’s head (that he normally did his best to smother and ignore) pointed out how very convenient it was that Kurt suddenly made the decision to transfer to Dalton even though he hadn’t during the worse of his bullying at McKinley. Again though, Harry did his best to ignore such malicious thoughts—for he knew that they were petty and likely a bit biased.

He had taken to trying to avoid the other boy as much as possible—even if doing so limited the already very reduced time he spent with his brother. He couldn’t help but question if Kurt had aimed at this, but again he was trying to ignore such questions. Plus as much as he would have loved to lay the blame for the growing chasm between he and his brother on Kurt, he could not. Some of the blame lay with he and his brother.

Harry; for avoiding the issue and letting it continue—for not standing up for himself more, and Blaine; really, for doing the exact same thing. For never protesting Kurt’s monopolization or jabs at his brother, for not questioning the lame excuses Harry made to avoid spending time with the Prada clad brunette, or looking more closely at the reason behind them.

Where ever the true blame lay—the result was the same. Harry spending less and less time with Blaine, the other warblers or even his few Dalton friends, and more with Noah, Quinn and lately, Sebastian. And Blaine spending more and more time with Kurt. It was like a vicious circle that Harry didn’t know how to end or even if he could at this point.  

Harry hastily pushed his quickly deteriorating thoughts aside and made his way over to the car practically throwing himself in the passenger side…. “So….were to?” he asked with false cheer.

The answering grin he received was addicting….and just what he needed. Maybe if he spent enough time getting smiles like that he could make everything feel just a little bit less false.

--0---

A week later

“Hey I’m heading to the mall, want to join?” Blaine’s voice stole Harry’s attention away from the English paper he had been working on. While he wasn’t horrible at English he wasn’t awesome at it either (stupid grammar and commas). Unlike sports and practical, school and his head didn’t seem to want get along—regardless of subject.

Still he would happily abandon his unfinished paper to spend time with his brother if he was willing to do so.

“The mall?” Harry asked quirking an eyebrow. Despite being a bit of a diva, Blaine still wasn’t one to spend a lot of time shopping—so the mall was a bit of a weird destination for his brother.

“Yeah Kurt wanted to go so I said I’d go with him….I guess there are major sales this weekend or something and Mercedes and Rachel wanted to find shoes. Though in all honesty, I think it’s just an excuse for Kurt to find marked down Valentino” Blaine explained with a fond smile.

Harry felt his heart drop, and hastily hid the following look of disappointment, “Er….thanks anyway, I’m pretty behind on my paper. But have fun” the smile he gave felt fake even to him.

Blaine paused in his motion to leave, sending Harry a probing look, “Really?” he asked and Harry was a bit shocked to hear the pure old skepticism in his brother’s voice. He hadn’t though Blaine was capable of it (well in truth, he often thought Blaine wasn’t capable of any emotion that wasn’t at least a derivative of pure happiness and optimism).

“um….yeah?” Harry answered hating how it came out as a question.

“I don’t believe you Harry….what’s the real reason?” Blaine’s smile was now a determined line.

“W-what do you mean?” Harry tried for innocent, pretending to turn back to his barely started paper and concentrate on it instead of the look Blaine was currently sending him. Damn it! he was usually so good at hiding his true feelings…. he had, had years of practice at lying from living with the Dursleys.

“How come you are always busy? Have I done something to make you angry at me?” Blaine asked worrying his lower lip. Great. Now Harry felt like a bastard…..stupid guilt.

“No! of course not. I…I just have lots of stuff to catch up on….and I’m not really much for malls” he added the last with a teasing note (no matter how forced it sounded), hoping to get a smile or at least break the tension that had been steadily building in the room.

It didn’t work.

Blaine’s expression didn’t waver from the pensive, upset cast that it was currently set in. After a long drawn out pause Blaine sighed, “Its Kurt isn’t it?”

Harry could not believe his ears….could it be? Was it possible that Blaine hadn’t been as ignorant to Kurt’s malevolent words and attitude towards him as he had originally thought? A small smidgeon of hope bloomed unasked in his chest. A bit cautiously he asked, “Pardon?”

“I’m not blind you know.” Blaine refuted his frown lines deepening.

“I know that” Harry replied his tone placating still trying to figure out where this was going.

“I know that you don’t like him. I know that you seem to be busy whenever he’s around or change the subject whenever I mention him. I just don’t get why. I thought you guys would get along so well….he is so sweet Harry! I just wish you would give him a chance, if you did I think you guys could be really great friends. I know that you constantly avoiding him really hurts him-- even if he pretends it doesn’t….I told you a little about what he went through at his last school, and I can’t understand why you’re doing it?”

Harry wasn’t even aware of how his heart plunged at Blaine’s speech, too focused on the pure shock he was feeling. That, and trying to keep his mouth from gaping. What the fuck?!? Was his brother being serious right now? Hurting Kurt’s feelings?!?!? He mentally snorted, yeah right. Was Blaine really that obtuse that he hadn’t heard every snippy insult muttered at him, or seen every condescending hate filled glance sent his direction?

He was somehow the bad guy in this situation? Unbelievable.

The shock and hurt over hearing Blaine’s perception of events quickly made way for anger and annoyance.

“Oh so it’s all on me is it? Kurt couldn’t possibly have done something” Harry ground out under his breath his hand clenching painfully around the pencil he was holding…was that a crack (?) dammit—now he was going to have wood splinters in his hand. He hadn’t meant for Blaine to hear his comment but apparently his brother had selectively awesome hearing.

“No! that’s not what I’m saying! But come on Harry….what else am I supposed to believe? It’s not like you have even tried to get to know him….or really anyone for that matter. You’ve been here how many months and you still haven’t made any friends?!” Blaine shot back before looking horrified and clamping his hands over his mouth.

But it was too late, the words had been spoken.

Clenching his jaw to stop himself from yelling back, Harry stood up—back stiff and gathered his notepad and broken pencil. “Sorry Blaine. But I really am busy. Have fun.” Not waiting for a reply from his brother he hastily marched down the hall and towards the parking lot, already pulling out his cell phone and dialing the number without thought.

“Speedy?”

“Hey Sebastian, are you busy?” he distantly heard himself asking.

“Not for you….should I pick you up?” Sebastian’s teasing (and was that slight concern he could hear) tone answered.

“I’ll see you in a few” he answered clicking his phone shut and staring blinding out at the half filled lot.

Screw him. Screw them both.

--0—

Hooded grey eyes watched the car whip out of the parking lot, the man they belonged glanced down at his wrist making a note of the time and jotting it down on a page already filled with similar notes.

‘Voldemort will be happy’ the blond thought to himself as he saw just how many entries fell under the ‘leaving campus’ column. It would make things much easier if the boy continued to flee the relative safety the school walls offered him.

Careful to remain in the shadows just out of eye sight of any student who might wander out (not that it was all that likely considering it was the weekend and most of Dalton’s pupils had either headed home for the weekend or were indoors sleeping their lives away) the man turned to make his way back to his own stashed vehicle.

He would drive a few miles away and make the call to his boss. He could only hope that Voldemort would be ready soon. He was starting to miss his own warm bed and the wife that warmed it.

His cell went off before he had turned on the ignition. He was still far too close to the school to feel secure in using the cell but he dared not ignore it when he saw the caller ID.

“My lord?” he asked, careful to keep his tone deferential, hoping that his boss was in a good mood.

“Lucius…..report” came the cold familiar tone of Thomas Marvolo Riddle—aka: Voldemort from the other end.

And he did.

Chapter Text


 

Yes, but wait till you taste one, dearie. Like to try one, hm? Go on. Go on, have a bite".—Snow White and the Seven dwarfs, 1937


 

May 2012

It looked so innocent, so innocuous that Harry thought that maybe he was imaging the words and the icy shudder that slid down his spine at reading them. The note—because he wasn't really sure what else to call it, had been sitting, waiting really, for him when he had come back up to the dorm after having spent the better part of the afternoon with Noah. At least that was what he eventually deducted.

He hadn't initially noticed the thing, what with being a wee bit tipsy from the few (ok, quite a few) drinks that he and Noah had consumed while trying to one up each other in Call of Duty (Noah just couldn't seem to admit that Harry owned that game. He literally could not lose, much to the mohawked boy's consternation). But after tossing his coat on the bed, then promptly collapsing on it and falling asleep—likely something he wouldn't have done had he not been a bit drunk (he was not really in the habit of sleeping half the day away after all. It would have been akin to signing his own death warrant back at the Dursleys) he didn't think he could be blamed for not noticing the sharp edge of an envelope digging into his hip until quite a few hours later.

When he did finally realize that he happened to be lying on a letter—one left on his bed, without any address on it—he had been half tempted (by the pounding headache in his head) to ignore the thing and stuff it under his bed too deal with it at a later date.

A few Tylenol later and a hot shower however, and curiosity won out. He really wished it hadn't.

It had to be a joke…..a really weird and damn creepy joke. Nate? But no, Nate didn't have that kind of humor—or at least he hoped he didn't. He definitely couldn't see Blaine leaving it, despite the fact that Blaine was really the only other person who had access to their shared dorm, what with it being locked most of the time. But no, again there was no way that Blaine would do something so…..

Just no.

Harry felt his eyes drawn back to the now slightly crinkled sheet of paper, lying abandoned on his bed, almost as though it was a magnet. He swallowed, just now realizing how parched his mouth felt and how there seemed to be something—a lump—lodged halfway down his throat.

Dearest Beloved,

It won't be long now. Be patient my child. I'm coming for you.

-V

The words left a bitter, acidic aftertaste in his mouth. They were weird, creepy, as he had mentioned before but it didn't quite explain why the letter rattled him so. It was most likely a prank—maybe some weird hazing thing the Dalton boys had come up with. After all, they were a strange bunch….something like this didn't seem too far out of their wheel house.

Harry wondered briefly if he should mention it to Blaine…. ask him if it was something that the Warblers or guys normally did to new kids. Then again, he wasn't exactly new…..

No, there was no point in bringing it up. It had to be a joke; a tasteless, really not all that funny joke but a joke none the less. Plus Blaine was busy making eyes at Kurt: wouldn't want to distract him from that. And no, that was not thought with any small amount of bitterness. It wasn't.

Coming to a decision, Harry snatched the offending article off of his bed and stuffed it back inside its envelope, before shoving both under his bed. It was where he shoved all the things he didn't want to deal with at the moment—dirty laundry, test results that weren't so awesome…..creepy-ass letters.

Yes, he thought to himself nodding with a satisfaction that he didn't quite feel, much better.

-0—

(6 days later)

"….don't know what to do" Harry finished his mournful tale (at least to him it concerned a rather sad and dismal event, no matter how he tried to look at the matter differently).

He shifted, trying to find a comfortable position amongst his bunched blankets and various study materials as he patiently (or so he tried) out waited the long pause that followed. He was not sure what to make of the staticky silence from the other end of the line but he tried not to panic over it.

Hermione tended to be one of those people who stopped and really thought about what they wanted to say before doing so—so the fact that it was taking her a bit to sort out what Harry had just told her, was not all that unexpected. Still….he wished she would hurry up, he had no idea when Blaine would be back and he really didn't want his brother to overhear their current conversation.

Mainly because it was about him, well, him and Kurt….and their new relationship status. Harry found himself grimacing at the word—the very thought that Blaine had changed his mind (for he had been quite determined not only a month ago that Kurt made an excellent friend but he was not someone that he would ever consider as boyfriend material) left Harry with a sour taste in his mouth. Like the time that Petunia had only allowed him to drink milk that had gone bad for supper—she had stated that she didn't want to waste it and he should be thankful to get anything considering that he (Dudley) had broken the sprinkler earlier that day. Harry had never been able to look at milk the same way—he still harbored a rather strong aversion to most dairy products.

"I'm not sure what to tell you Harry…..are you sure that this Kurt is really that bad for your brother? I mean….I know that you feel really protective over Blaine and everything…." Hermione said hesitantly after a moment.

Harry immediately felt his hackles going up at her insinuation but forced in a deep breath and not vowed not to snap on her. She was his oldest friend after all. And to be fair; the few things that he had told her about Kurt really didn't make him seem like that bad of a guy….it wasn't fair to her to get angry over something that he couldn't explain. Because that was what it came down to really: Kurt, in a purely facts-to-paper kind of way, wasn't that bad, and in truth Harry wouldn't even have that big of an problem with the other kid….if he weren't so clearly obsessed with his brother.

Because he was. Harry had at first thought he was making a mountain out of a mole hill when he started to notice the possessive look Kurt had on his face every time he looked at Blaine, or the way that Kurt constantly laid a hand on Blaine's arm and physically directed his actions. There were so many other little things that seemed rather innocent in themselves but when added together….

And that was the problem; there was no way to explain to Hermione just why Blaine and Kurt dating bothered him so much. Because the real aversion he had to Kurt could not be really explained outside of a gut feeling. Heck half the time Harry was sure that he was just being a paranoid ass…but other times…

"It's not that Hermione…." Harry interjected his voice still coming off as a bit defensive despite his best efforts, he sighed before continuing, "well….not completely. Look I recognize that I can be a bit of a worrier at the best of times and I know that trait tends to be a bit more pronounced when it's over someone I actually care about…" Harry's thoughts flashed to his near expulsion when he had decked a guy for putting the moves on Hermione—wincing mentally as he was sure that Hermione was thinking of it as well. But this was different….it was! Shaking his head to organize his thoughts Harry continued, "but….it's not like that this time. I can't explain it right…..but there's just something….I don't know….something off about Kurt. I keep trying to make myself like the guy and play nice but I just can't shake it…."

Harry sighed again, swinging his legs so that his feet were planted flatly against the floor, running his free hand though his hair in frustration over his inability to elucidate properly.

There was another pause, though much shorter before Hermione's own sigh—one that sounded a bit frustrated itself- transferred over the line. "I don't know what to tell you Harry. There's really nothing that you can do without risking alienating Blaine. The only advice I can give you is what you already know. Play nice….if Kurt really is as bad as you make out, then he will tie his own noose. Fake people can only fool people for so long….just be the supportive brother that Blaine needs. That's all you can really do…." Hermione paused before adding as an almost after thought, "Well…I suppose you could also discreetly help him to branch out more. You mentioned befriending people outside of Dalton maybe that would benefit Blaine as well? Help him see that he doesn't need to settle for the first gay boy to show him any interest? I mean think about it from his perspective Harry….he's always grown up in a small town. He hasn't been exposed to the variety of people that you have…"

The initial disappointment Harry had felt over Hermione telling him what he had been afraid she would lessoned as she continued on. It wasn't that bad of an idea really…..it was true, he had been looking at the whole situation from his own point of view not his brothers. And like Hermione said, Blaine really didn't have much experience with acceptance or the fact that there were people besides himself and Kurt who had the same orientation.

While he wasn't all that optimistic that this would get Kurt's grubby claws out of his brother….it certainly couldn't hurt if Harry nudged him towards other people…people he might not have given a chance before…..

If Blaine was dating Kurt just because he wanted a boyfriend and to have a similar high school experience to the rest of his friends (which was the only thing that truly made sense with how quickly his opinion over Kurt changed. At least Harry was convincing himself of this….because the idea that Blaine truly liked someone as insipid, controlling and well, mean as Kurt, was not something he could stomach) well then all Harry needed to do was to find someone better for his brother.

Someone who wouldn't try to change his personality and actions. Sure this was small town Ohio, but surely there was someone who was better suited to Blaine then Kurt was. It might be tricky finding them.

But then, when did Harry ever shy from a challenge?

-00—

End of May 2012

Despite the constant and varied beat downs (figuratively speaking—unless you counted dumpster throws and slushy baths) Kurt had been forced to bear over the course of his middle and high school years, he had (to his pride) remained rather confident in himself.

He knew that he was better than the Neanderthals that had wrought his torment; he knew that once he had escaped from this cesspool of a town, he would be able to truly flourish and become great. Sure there had been a few moments where his confidence had faltered for a mere breath of a second—like the whole rather nasty Karostfsky business—but it was only a simple brush off the surface. Deep down, he had always held faith in his own superiority.

Which is why, now that he was finding his rather incredible intelligence and rationalization skill set being called into question, he was understandably, rather shaken. The worst part of the matter was that it was he who was questioning it.

The problem of the matter had, of course started with (who else?) Harry. He had thought that he had gotten the upper hand from his rival….he had been so smug and sure of his win over the other boy. And why wouldn't he be? He had been named Blaine's boyfriend after all….so obviously he had won.

(Of course he was not exactly sure of the details behind Harry and Blaine's breakup, but he had been hesitant to actually ask, as once he had his love's full attention, he did not want to risk bringing up his ex's name. He knew boys like Harry—they could work with just a sliver, if allowed. So no, he had thought it best to just let the whole matter lie. Though he had to admit he was dreadfully curious).

He had been so sure—given Harry's past behavior and way of dealing with his unvoiced challenges—that the green eyed teen would scowl, pout and then skulk off to sulk silently over his shortcomings (shortcomings that led to his failure). And he had in fact done so….for all of two days.

Then out of the blue, Harry had done a one-eighty. The increasingly reclusive and antisocial teen (for he had been avoiding anyone associated with Dalton more and more over the weeks since Kurt had arrived) had suddenly become a bloody social butterfly! Flitting and dipping into things he had no business with. Suddenly, the normally absent teen was everywhere—or at least everywhere that Blaine, and by association, Kurt—went.

Always there to offer a bright (mocking!) smile, and a friendly (devious!) suggestion that he join whatever it was that Blaine and Kurt were doing. And not just him, but he insisted on making it a group activity—often dragging various warblers or even on occasion, McKinley students to join!

It was so incredibly irritating!

Not only could Kurt not understand what had brought about the teen's change of behavior and attitude, (he watched CSI dammit! He understood personality profiling and Harry was not following his!) but he couldn't figure out what his master plan was.

Oh sure, the fact that Harry was going out of his way to make sure that his ex and Kurt had no (or very little) time alone was obvious. But that did not explain the whole group dynamic the boy was insisting on….

The other thing that irked Kurt beyond measure was that Blaine didn't seem bothered by Harry's presence in the least! For someone who was supposed to be an Ex….it was not normal behavior (and yes, he was aware that some people were able to remain friends after breaking up but still, not so soon after, and there should still at least be some tension or awkwardness present!)

The whole thing was giving him a horrible headache—which if he was not careful, could lead to premature wrinkles.

He shook his head in irritation at his thoughts—what did it matter what Harry was planning? All that really mattered was that it was no doubt insidious. Kurt did not need to know the exact details, to know that the boy was plotting.

And Kurt was not about to let him get away with it. He had a few plots of his own…..

He was after all, both clever and cunning (he would prove it!). Now, all he had to do was get Harry alone. No one makes him doubt himself without consequences….No one.

-0-

He had tried….really he had! He had been polite and courteous and the all around good guy….

But enough was enough, even he, as mild mannered as he was, (and no that was not meant to be sarcastic, thank you very much!) had his limits. Yes, he had not exactly welcomed Blaine's relationship with open arms, and perhaps he had been secretly plotting on finding someone better for his brother….and therefore could, he suppose, be said to have been plotting on breaking up the wonder couple.

But still! He hadn't been forcing the breakup! It wasn't as though he had slipped arsenic into Kurt's morning Half soy-half skim, low fat, sugar-free vente Carmel macchiato or anything (and yes, the little twit did indeed drink something that annoyingly pretentious).

All he had done was taken his brother's invitation to hang out with them instead of excusing himself, well that, and maybe suggesting the joining of several other people as well….details (and while there hadn't been flashing lights and fireworks, he was pretty sure that the strange tension between his brother and that McKinley blond—who looked like he had been airbrushed—was promising).

He had to hand it to Kurt; the diva had actually taken him by surprise. He would never have thought that Kurt would be one for direct confrontation—he had been expecting a much more underhanded, passive-aggressive retaliation. He most definitely had not expected the boy to track him down and actually threaten him.

True, considering Harry's past school environment, not to mention his past home one, a threat coming from a kid who weighed all of maybe 100pds was not all that intimidating, regardless of how much of a bitch face Kurt had on when delivering it. But still, it had been rather unexpected and because of this Harry had stood there silently taking it from the twerp instead of dishing out his own rant. Lost opportunity, that (because believe him, he had some serious aggravation that he would love to expel on the likes of Kurt Hummel).

The confrontation and screaming (or near) insults that the red faced and manic eyed Kurt had delivered, had proven (to Harry at least) his suspicions that the boy was unhinged; and not in a cool, quirky kind of way….more like an obsessed, stalker-y way. The "keep your filthy hands off of him and stay away or you will regret it…" had felt a bit too much like a cheap b-rated movie line, but it had definitely leant weight to his previous conclusion.

And there was just no way was he going to allow Blaine to continue having a relationship with the psycho. Absolutely not. Hence the reason he was now on the hunt for his twin to tell him what had taken place nigh an hour ago. It was time to make Blaine see Kurt Hummel's true colors, once and for all.

He let a small sigh of relief when he finally came across the hunched up figure of his brother, glad for once, that the Warbler's common room was empty outside the two of them.

He paused momentarily, feeling a wariness that he could not quite explain when he saw the preoccupied look on Blaine's face and the small wrinkle that usually meant his brother was contemplating less then pleasant things. He wondered if this was perhaps not the best time to broach the subject of Blaine's deranged boyfriend with him….before pushing the thought away and steeling his nerves for the upcoming (and most likely unpleasant) conversation.

If he didn't talk to Blaine now, who knew when he would next be able to get him alone? So he moved further into the room, taking a hesitant seat beside his brother while clearing his throat to get his attention.

It took a moment, but Blaine's head finally swung up, though his expression was not exactly the welcoming smile Harry had hoped for. The silence in the room seemed to stretch making Harry's insides squirm and his former thoughts of leaving the conversation until later seemed to rear their head once more.

Giving his head a mental shake, he firmly squashed them down once more, "Hey….." he greeted when it seemed as though Blaine was not going to do so first (which was decidedly odd for the vibrant and vivacious brunet). The internal squirming increased when Blaine did not return his greeting, the pucker between his eyes deepening instead.

"Um right….er…. can we talk?" Harry pressed on despite his growing doubts, feeling a small modicum of relief when Blaine gave a short nod. Not exactly the most encouraging, but at least he had gotten some sort of response out of his twin.

"er…..well, I wanted to talk to you about Kurt" Harry tried again watching his brother's face closely hoping to gauge his response.

And finally, Blaine seemed to respond, the lines in his face relaxing slightly, though the pursed lips did not disappear, "is this about what you said to him?"

Said to him?—well, he suppose he had spoken a bit during Kurt's diatribe….though it seemed an odd way of putting it considering Kurt had most definitely been the one to initiate and contribute most to the conversation.

"um….yes?" Harry answered hoping to get this topic over with sooner rather than later, and seeing this as a possible opportunity to bring up the topic in question (considering what he wanted to talk about with his brother was the conversation he had, had earlier with Kurt).

"I don't understand why you would do that—say that?! I mean I know we have talked before, and I know you don't like him….but honestly Harry! I thought you were above such things! To actually openly threaten him to stay away from me? Especially since you know what he had gone through in the past!" It was like Harry's unintentional admission broke a flood gate, words spilling out of Blaine like angry torrent, and Harry once more, found himself too stunned to speak.

What the hell?! Threatened him? That little sneaky manipulator! How dare he! Lying ass!

"What are you talking about?! I never threatened him! In fact, I came here to tell you that he came threatened me to stay away from you!" Harry found himself exclaiming when he had finally managed to process Blaine's words. Indignation and anger fueling the volume and tone.

Blaine paused momentarily before his face screwed up in righteous anger, "Stop it! Just stop it! I don't understand you Harry! Why are you doing this? Why are you lying?! Kurt didn't even want to tell me….that's how scared of you he was! I came across him crying! So don't even try…"

Beneath Harry's own fury at not only Kurt, but also his brother for so easily falling for Kurt's ploy, he had to applaud the other boy's genius. Still, it felt far too much like Dudley's tear streaked face while holding up the toy that 'Harry' had broken (even if Harry hadn't even been home at the time).

And maybe that contributed to the not exactly best choices of words that came next.

"Are you serious?! You actually fell for that? He's lying Blaine! He's lying and manipulating you and you can't even see it! Tell me this; why on earth would I lie to you? What do I have to gain from it?" Harry demanded his fist clenching convulsively.

Blaine wasn't even trying to listen to reason, completely disregarding Harry's words, his face and posture weary and weighed down. Just as quickly though, Harry could see the steel and determined anger flow back into the brunet.

"Stop this Harry. I don't want to hear this anymore! Why can't you just drop it!? I don't understand what he has done to you to deserve such treatment" Blaine shouted, his normally composed expression making way for one of frustration and anger.

Still despite all the warning bells that said that this was already a lost cause, Harry had to try and make him see reason.

"Blaine….please, I'm not trying to cause trouble but if you would just listen…." Harry tried again, his own tone pleading.

"No! It's always the same with you, 'don't trust Kurt,' 'Kurt's not what he seems,' 'Kurt's using you'….I have heard it all before Harry, and I am sick of it. I have already made it clear where I stand on this, why do you insist on bringing it up over and over again? Can't you just let me be happy?!" Blaine's voice grew quieter and quieter as he spoke until at the end of the sentence he was speaking barely even whispering.

Harry had to clench his fist in frustration, his nails biting into the palms of his hand, as though he could physically force the guilt at hearing Blaine sounding so small, down. He didn't want to hear his brother like that….he truly didn't want to hurt Blaine but what other choice did he have? He had waited and hoped that Blaine would come to see the truth about his boyfriend on his own…to see that Kurt was not the sweet and innocent façade that he portrayed…. but he could wait no longer. It was either force Blaine to see the truth, or risk losing him altogether.

And maybe that sounded a bit melodramatic…but Harry couldn't help but feel that it was true none the less.

"I do want you to be happy….but can't you see what he's doing? How he's changing you? Twisting your opinions so that they match his….separating you from your old friends?" Harry asked, praying that for once that Blaine would put his own pride aside and actually consider his words. Anyone could see what Kurt was doing to his brother….well, anyone but Blaine it would seem.

He valiantly ignored the sting that came from Blaine so readily taking Kurt's side- his words, as truth over his own brothers. He could deal with his feelings of betrayal later….right now all that mattered was that he got Blaine to see the truth.

For a brief second Harry thought that he had finally gotten through to his brother, that finally after all the arguments and confrontations between the two of them, that his words had sunk in….but just as quickly that hope was extinguished as Blaine's mouth turned down and his eyes narrowed.

"Is that it? Is that what's bothering you?" Blaine asked; his tone so cold and vicious that Harry hardly recognized it as his brother's normally warm dulcet voice. "Is the fact that I am changing and growing the thing that is bothering you? You know Kurt said that you were….well, never mind. The point is I defended you to him, even after he told me about the threat. I told him that I was sure that it was a misunderstanding that there had to be an explanation, some reason, maybe words taken out of context….but now…" Blaine trailed off in disgust.

Harry knew in this moment that this conversation had done the exact opposite of what he had hoped it would—instead of exposing Kurt's machinations for what they were, it had pushed Blaine further into them.

"Blaine…" Harry began again only to be cut off by his brother's angry words.

"No, I don't care if whatever problem you have with my boyfriend is because you are jealous of him, jealous that I have managed to find someone else to confide in….or simply because you don't like him. I have had enough of this bullshit! I think it would be best if you kept your distance for awhile. Because I don't think I'm the only one who has changed recently….and honestly, I don't like this new version of you at all" Blaine ended, a tone of finality-one that took Harry's breath away, ringing through the tense air.

Before Harry could say anything in response; whether to defend himself and his actions, or beg for forgiveness and say that he was wrong (which in this case he most definitely was not…but anything would be better than having his brother, his twin, cut him off completely) Blaine had turned and stormed out of the now suffocating silent room.

Harry stared in the direction that his brother had gone—part of him wanting to run after him and force him to stay and part of him too angry and hurt to do so. He had so many things to say and unanswered questions to ask…but the main one was; where did he go wrong?

How did things come to this?

Sadly he knew exactly how it had come to this: its name was Hummel. He just didn't know what to do about it. Obviously trying to confront Blaine with the truth had gone horribly awry…. he didn't know what else to do to save his brother the pain he was sure would come from Kurt's lies.

Though he was a bit ashamed to admit, that at the moment, he was hurt and angry enough to think that whatever came down the road, his brother deserved it a bit….He quickly shoved the thought away feeling a swell of guilt over purposefully wanting his twin to suffer—even if just a little. He was just so angry and hurt right now….

Without even thinking about it his hand went to his pocket and he found himself dialing a quickly becoming familiar number in. He needed a drink—he needed to just get away and forget the last horrible half an hour.

He was sure that Sebastian would be able to help him achieve just that.

-00—

Voldemort sneered at the pathetic sniveling man in front of him. Why was it he, who was easily acknowledged by ally and foe alike; a genius, forced to put up with the dredges of humanity? He despised the fact that he was forced to rely (at least partially) on men like Peter Pettigrew.

But alas; when one was trying to stay low down and beneath the radar of authority (regardless of how inept and useless said authorities were) one had to make a few sacrifices. His patience and little remaining sanity seemed to be the price.

He sighed before pushing himself up off of the chair he had been previously reclining in, striding past Pettigrew's shaking form, just barely restraining his urge to kick the man as he passed (he suppose kicking the man when he was already bleeding out from the gunshot wound delivered to him only moments before, would be bad form. Especially considering it was he who had delivered it).

Moving towards the one filthy, low lying window in the room he tried to occupy his frenzied mind with the view outside—such as it was (a drizzling, dank and dirty street: occupied more by industry then inhabitants).

Prison had eaten away at his once impressive patience and Voldemort found himself straining and bucking at the restraints of time. He did not want to wait….he had waited far too long already.

No, he did not care that it would be more prudent to bide his time… he could easily dismiss Lucius reports and subtly given warnings (because Lucius was if anything, self serving. He would never dare come and say such things outright—not if he wanted to continue walking with two limbs. Pettigrew had already demonstrated the error in doing so.)

Sure, he was aware that things were not perfect yet. There was still much to be done in order to successfully smuggle his son out of the country (for it would be truly foolish to remain in the States or even Britain for that matter), but he did not care anymore. He could deal with those things once Cirian was beside him. They could hide out in this dank, disgusting warehouse for a few days while his idiotic minions procured the papers and forged documents they would need to leave.

He was sure his patience would be restored as soon as he had Cirian in his sight. Then they could leave-where, he had not yet decided. But it would be far. Far from those who sought to keep the boy from him, far from their influence and reach. Yes….he would be better, calmer, when his baby was returned.

He wanted the boy and he wanted him now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Now.

And he always got what he wanted.

Chapter Text


 

" I never get my hopes up, so I never get let down" Eeyore- Winnie the Pooh, 1966


 

June 2012

Harry ignored the concerned glances being thrown his way and swallowed another long drag of whatever it was he was drinking (at this point he wasn't entirely sure…he did know that it was strong, and really, that was all that mattered). Puck was nowhere near as discreet as he liked to think he was….and the fact that he was even trying to be, was further souring Harry's already horrendous mood.

It wasn't as though he wasn't aware that he was spiraling, because he was. It was simply the fact that he could not bring himself to care. And why should he? His own twin had basically tossed him aside like last week's trash. Or at least his opinion.

He wasn't entirely sure why he was feeling so betrayed and hurt by that fact. After all it wasn't as though when he had first found out about having a twin brother he hadn't been expecting Blaine to do so eventually. After having been treated like he was less worthy than most household vermin were throughout his childhood, it wasn't exactly surprising to say that he had been both wary and guarded around his brother at first (at least in their correspondence).

He should have known better then to let his guard down. He really had no one else to blame but himself. After all, why should Blaine being his twin make any difference? In his experience, everyone betrayed you eventually.

He went to take another swallow of the numbing liquid only to stare down at the bottle in confusion. When had it become empty? He could have sworn there was more in there yet….

After a moment of confusion he decided it didn't really matter and stumbled up from where he had been sitting on one of the road guards to grab one of the cans that Puck had brought with him. Only to find his reach thwarted.

"Whoa man. Hey….don't you think you've had enough?"

Ah shit. Puck. He knew that the concerned looks Noah had been sending him at increased frequency as Harry made his way through the majority of their 'supply' would eventually spell trouble. He tried to bat the teen's grip on his wrist away, not bothering to mask his irritation. "Nuhh—no, Ima fine." He disagreed renewing his efforts at reaching his prize.

This time Noah let him, though his brow was becoming increasingly furrowed. "I don't know about that man. What's with you anyway? It's only like ten….you don't normally call this early…." He trailed off, the unasked part of the question hanging heavily between them.

"Sssnot so early" Harry muttered, clumsily making his way back to the bit of cold cement he had been sitting on previously and quickly popped the can open. He really hoped Noah would just let it go….it was part of the reason he had called the mohawked teen rather than Sebastian. Sebastian tended to be far more inquisitive and recently he had been making more and more comments about Harry's behavior. Comments that Harry would really rather not address. It would surprise most to discover that Sebastian Symthe, infamous play boy and party animal was actually a closet mother hen.

Endearing, true, but not what Harry needed or wanted right now. Hence Noah Puckerman, who, while a friend was neither close enough to Harry nor responsible enough to give two fucks about whether or not Harry wanted to drink himself into a coma. At least that was what he had thought, though he still had a small smidgeon of hope that Noah would let sleeping dogs lie.

The look of disbelief on the other teen's face made it clear that Harry was not going to get his wish. "It's even early for me dude….and that's saying something"

Harry just shrugged, determinedly focusing his attention on the slew of murky water not too far off from the road that they had pulled off on earlier. His nose wrinkled slightly as he studied the cloudy algae infested water. He found it mildly amusing that the people around here had the gall to call it a lake. He shivered slightly as he watched a shadow caused by turbulent looking clouds skittering across the sun move over the expanse. His mood and increasing dependency on chemical distraction were not made any easier by the paranoia he felt haunting his step.

Of course the paranoia might have been a result of the distraction. It was hard to tell at this point. But he couldn't shake the feeling of eyes following him-waiting…. he shook his head to rid himself of such thoughts. He was being crazy, he knew this. He wasn't so far gone not to recognize that fact. He allowed a bitter smirk to curl at the corners of his mouth as he thought of what Hermione would say if she could see him right now. She had always stated that he had a self destructive streak…..poor coping mechanisms or some such shit….well he wouldn't want to prove her wrong, now would he?

(He ignored the little voice in his head that stated that one of the reasons that he found himself turning to the bottle was because he didn't have Hermione's stern disapproving looks and silent support close by to keep his so called streak inline)

He heard and ignored Puck's sigh, letting his shoulders sag slightly in relief when it wasn't followed by more nagging. Good….because he was quickly running out of options; he didn't want to have to find someone else if Noah decided to keep pushing. He didn't want to admit that even though it was mostly the teen's provisions that he brought with him, he appreciated the Noah's company as well. Especially since he knew his own company was not something that most would seek out. Deep down, he could appreciate the fact that Noah was still around despite the pushing that Harry had been doing.

Even Sebastian had backed off by now. And he wasn't going to bother mentioning the rest of the Warblers or his brother at this point.

Finishing the last of his current drink, he came to a decision. He knew he couldn't continue on in this vein, he needed to get out of here too get some space from Blaine and the rest of these people. Clear his head. He was just digging himself in deeper here and dragging everyone else around down with him. He needed to go somewhere, get away….problem was; he wasn't sure he had anywhere left to go.

-0-

Sebastian batted the increasing sense of trepidation down. He felt like a schmuck….even though he continually reassured himself that he did not have any reason for feeling such. At least that was what he was trying to believe, though the sour taste at the back of his throat as he spotted the helmet of dark hair stated otherwise.

He couldn't quite believe that it had come to this. He had never been the responsible one before, the one that was doing the tattling (because really that was the only word for it). While he knew it was a necessary evil, he wasn't entirely sure he liked it; in fact, he was pretty damn sure he didn't. Not one bit.

Still, it was necessary…very much so. He had already witnessed this once before: In his father in fact, right before his mother finally had the strength to leave his drunken ass—not that she had replaced him with that much of an upgrade, at least in Sebastian's fine opinion—and only months before his inability to stay sober had taken both his own life and that of a young newlywed couple. So yes, this was needed. He only hoped that this Blaine Anderson would be able to do something to help his….friend (?)

Something that Sebastian could admit, he did not make very easily, and even though he had long since saw Harry as far more than just a simple friend—encroaching on something far more intimate—he still first and foremost viewed the boy as such. And while he might not have a whole lot of experience with such, he was pretty sure that friends did not allow each other to spiral out of control and self implode. Something that on the current path Harry was travelling at the moment was inevitable.

He had heard the way Harry talked about Blaine in those first few weeks of their acquaintance and he knew how the boy spoke of him now—which was to say, not at all. Something had occurred in the past few months to cause a drastic shift in Harry and Sebastian instinctively knew that it was that same something that was causing Harry to react in such a manner.

He had seen what had become of his father thanks to his method of stress relief and he would be damned if he allowed the same to happen to Harry.

Hence coming to talk to the source (aka: the likely cause) of the problem: Blaine.

He didn't know how much good it would do—because really, they were twins and weren't twins suppose to be, like super close and shit? Shouldn't Blaine already recognize the fact that his brother was descending down at an increasingly alarming rate? But still…..mentioning that fact to him wouldn't do any harm (he hoped).

"Hey!" "Blaine right?" Sebastian called out causing the Warbler to stop his fast walk across the Dalton parking lot and turn to see who was yelling at him.

"um….yeah…that's right. Can I help you?" the boy asked hesitantly, confusion causing his rather bushy eyebrows to crinkle.

Sebastian pulled his attention away from studying the boy (upon closer inspection he could see a bit of family resemblance: the pale skin, short statures, and dark hair. But it was clear that Harry and Blaine were fraternal, not identical twins) to explain just why he had tracked the other boy down.

"Ah…yes actually. I'm Sebastian" he announced, surprised and a bit taken back to see no sudden dawning of recognition at the name. Had he overblown his and Harry's relationship in his mind then? Or had things become so bad between the twins that they were hardly speaking to one another?- because it was obvious that Harry had not told Blaine about him. He felt a little bad for hoping that it was the latter.

"…a friend of Harry's" Sebastian expanded, finally seeing a small—if slightly strained—smile come to Blaine's face, though the look of confusion did not clear.

"Oh…um….nice to meet you?" Blaine offered shifting from one foot to another, "Sorry to be rude….but is there a reason you came looking for me?" he asked again when a sudden flicker of fear entered his eyes and his posture became far more rigid, "is Harry alright? Did something happen? Is he okay?"

Sebastian quickly held up a hand to stop the sudden panicked flow of words, not really sure how to say the next bit but deciding to just lay it all down. "Er….yes…I mean no" he coughed and started over, "I mean that he is ok….well sort of. I came to talk to you because, well….. Have you guys had a fight recently?"

He winced minutely at his blurted question. Damn his inability to retain his casual smoothness when it came to Harry.

The cautious frown and guarded look that stole over the Warbler's face was answer enough, "….I guess you could say that. Why? And how is that any of your business?"

Sebastian ignored the increasingly hostile edge to Blaine's words and plowed on. In for a dime. In for a dollar and all that.

"Because I'm worried about him and I think that you should be too. Have you actually spent any time around your brother lately? Talked to him? Seen how he is coping…from what I am pretty sure is your guy's fight?" Sebastian demanded feeling a quickly growing amount of annoyance and anger at the brunette in front of him when the answer was clearly written all over his guilty mug. He knew that he didn't have the best relationship with his family….but surely not all family's were so fickle and cruel to one another?

"I am going to assume by your silence that the answer is no…. that you have no idea what is going on with Harry or what he is doing to himself. Well let me enlighten you: not well. In fact, your twin, one of my good friends, is likely a drive away from an early grave. When he isn't trying to pickle his own liver—and doing quite a bang up job of it too, I might add—he is reckless, moody and withdrawn" Sebastian paused to take a deep breath, trying to regain some of the control he was known for.

He let out a tired sigh when he saw what could only be horror reflected back at him and putting a large amount of effort into trying to soften his tone, he continued, "look…Blaine. I know that you don't know me from Joe….but I care about Harry. And from what I have heard about you I am pretty sure that you do too—even if you haven't been doing a very good job of showing that lately. I don't know how to help him….I'm pretty sure the only person who can right now is you. So I am asking. No, begging you to do something. To put aside whatever petty grievances there are between you and help him. Please Blaine. Before it's too late. I know my fair share of regret and I am telling you now, that if you let whatever it is between you stop you from at least trying to help him….you will regret it; Possibly for the rest of your life."

Deciding that he had said what he had come to say, Sebastian turned and walked away (he didn't want to see what Blaine had made of his uncharacteristically impassioned speech). He might be a dick and an asshole for ratting Harry out to his brother like this—but he knew he had made the right choice. He could live with Harry's anger….he could even handle Harry hating him (at least he was trying to convince himself of that) if it meant saving his 'friend' from a fate like his fathers.

Because dying while driving drunk was not a fate he wanted for Harry. The green eyed boy who had managed to wiggle his way into this asshole's heart deserved so much better. He only prayed that Blaine agreed.

-0—

Blaine had to squint his eyes as he entered the dark room, the feeling of discomfort that had been plaguing him since his 'discussion' with Sebastian growing tenfold. His eyes immediately sought out the only other person in the room—not that he could actually tell that the mound of comforter and bed sheets was actually another living being.

It surprised him just how fast the discomfort and vague sense of guilt he had been feeling shifted to make way for anger and annoyance when he determined just what it was that had Harry in bed, sleeping…or should he say, sleeping off, at this time of the day. He had been horrified to hear the blatant concerns in Sebastian's voice when he had mentioned Harry, and he could admit, rather ashamed and guilty at the underlying notes of accusation in the tall brunette's eyes. But right now….well right now all he could focus on was his anger.

He wasn't entirely sure just who that anger was directed at-and he wasn't all that keen on delving too deeply into the reasons it burned and clawed at his insides.

Slamming the door behind him, Blaine reached and quickly flipped the light switch on gaining a small amount of vindictive satisfaction at the pained groan it elicited from the bed in front of him.

A muffled exclamation sounded "uumphh…W-what the hell?"

"Wake up. It's two in the afternoon, what are you doing in bed Harry?" Blaine asked striving for an even, non-confrontational tone. Not that he thought he was all that successful.

The second groan only stoked at the anger he was fighting to keep at bay. Why was it always him who had to be the one to clean up, pick up the pieces? How come he always had to be the strong one, the rational one, the fair and reasonable one?

Hadn't he dealt with enough yet? Hadn't he paid his dues; first the bullying and the bigotry, then with the violence and fear? And that was just at his old school…..it wasn't even touching on all the times he had been forced to be the grown up for Cooper-never mind that he was 9 years younger than his irresponsible brother. It should have been Cooper that helped Blaine deal with the shit life threw—not the other way around. Instead his older brother had always been absent, nowhere to be found when Blaine needed him most.

When he had found out about Harry, his twin, he had thought that finally….finally, he would have someone who he could lean on a bit; someone who could be by his side and help him when he needed it. But yet again, he was the one who had to be the support. Here he was once again trying to save his sibling…. to dig Harry out of the hole the teen had obviously fallen into. In truth….he was getting sick of it.

He forced the niggling of guilt at the selfish nature of his thoughts away….why was it his fault that he was happy? That he had found someone who he cared about, someone who he might even be able to grow to love? Why couldn't Harry see that and just be happy for him? Wasn't that what a good brother was supposed to do? He had already had enough jealousy and pettiness from Cooper…he didn't want or need it from Harry too.

No. He would not let Harry's behavior bring him down….it wasn't his fault. No matter what the look Sebastian had given him implied. He would try his best to help Harry—but for once, he was not going to put this on himself, take all the blame on his shoulders. He deserved to be happy…..and he was sure, well pretty sure, that he could be that with Kurt.

"I was sleeping" Harry muttered petulantly as he slowly and rather stiffly pushed aside one of the quilts to bring himself into a half sitting position, his head in his hands and feet hanging over the side.

"Why?" Blaine demanded once again taking a step closer and seeing just how horrible his brother looked. Harry's raven locks where sticking up on end, his eyes (at least what Blaine could see of them considering how Harry had his hands nearly cover his face) were red rimmed and puffy, the smell of sweat and stale cigarettes rolled off the slight teen in waves. "Ugh….what…the hell…you reek! When was the last time you showered?!"

The shrug he got as Harry moved one of his hands to fumble around on the nightstand nearby searching for the glass of water was not the answer he wanted. "Dunno….this morning, last night?"

Blaine allowed his eyes to roam his brother's form once again, suddenly realizing that Harry's hands were shaking slightly. All of the signs converged at once….

"Have you been drinking?!" –Blaine felt like an idiot for not having realized sooner. Sure he had vaguely suspected the truth, but an abstract idea was much different than seeing it for himself. He ran the conversation that with Sebastian over in his mind. Of course the brunette was worried….

Blaine found his own brain looping endlessly without coming up with a solution. He had just thought Harry was a bit depressed or moping, he had thought that Sebastian was over reacting. After all, that was what Cooper or even he would have done….he hadn't pictured….well this. And honestly he had no idea what he was supposed to do with this. Because he was starting to suspect that this wasn't just a one off….a happenstance….

He watched as his brother shrugged again, taking a long gulp of water only to bolt up from the bed and run to the adjoining bathroom. The sound of retching followed.

Ten long minutes passed before Harry reemerged looking slightly better—the front of his bangs wet, having obviously dunked his head under a tap.

"Why? What the hell is wrong with you?" Blaine asked. Shit, he hadn't meant it too come out like that! He had meant to ask what was going on with Harry….

"Nothing. Why do you care anyway? I thought you weren't talking to me?" Harry retorted his tone just as angry as Blaine was feeling, immediately on the defensive, though there was no way to hide the hurt in it.

"Jesus Christ Harry!"—Blaine didn't know what was wrong with him, he never swore or got worked up….but right now….."You can't just try to drink yourself to death every time you have a problem! Look….I think you need help. Help that I am not sure you can get here…..maybe, maybe you should talk to someone; a therapist or something…." He trailed off. He could see a shutter fall, as Harry's posture curled in on itself: defensive and guarded.

"Fuck off Blaine. I'm fine….don't worry yourself with me. I've been dealing with shit myself for far longer than I've known you. I don't need you to give me advice on how to live my life. Why don't you just run on back to Kurt? We both know it's where you rather be anyway"

Somewhere hidden behind the hostile tones and boiling irrational anger and confusion, Blaine recognized that neither of them really meant what was coming out of their mouths right now. They were both too worked up, to invested, too hurt by each other's actions or lack of….sadly, that recognition was far too quiet to overpower the rest.

"You know what? Fine! Your right. If you don't want to listen to me then I'm not going to stand around and waste my time. When you stop and actually start acting like a rational human being, admit that you need help, then we can talk again"

Blaine didn't wait to hear his brother's retort. He didn't want to hear what he had to say right now. As he stormed down the hallway, going to do exactly what Harry had just shouted at him—find Kurt, he couldn't help but think that he had just done the exact opposite of what Sebastian had asked him to do.

Maybe he would try to talk to Harry again after he had cooled down. He needed to get a clear head on his shoulders before he confronted his brother again.

He would go later. There was time.

-0—

Kurt sighed in annoyance, springing out of the way of the screaming snot covered toddler and an equally loud, if not snot covered, mother coming his way. He still didn't get why he had to be the one to come and pick Finn up. Oh sure, he knew Burt said he couldn't shut down the shop to come to the bus depot and that Carole was away visiting some obese, redneck sister for the weekend, but he thought that this was a horrible way to spend his few homework free hours. Especially since he would much rather be spending them with his boyfriend….and making sure that Harry didn't somehow weasel his way back into Blaine's good graces while he wasn't there intervene.

Surely Finn could have called a cab or something?

But noooo…..of course his dad declared that was a waste of money that his somewhat dim witted step brother needed to be saving for (eventual) college (though Kurt had serious doubts of Finn's ability to get into a college….a valid concern considering the boy still had issues with multiplying and dividing numbers over 10). Burt seemed to think that because Kurt had a perfectly working vehicle already (a second hand atrocity that Burt and Carole had chipped together to get him when he transferred over to Dalton. His dad had insisted that if he was going to be going to school that far away from home that he shouldn't rely on catching rides to come back and visit. Finn had been rather put out that Kurt had gotten a paid for ride when Carole was making him save on his own….though at least the teen had enough sense—and survival instinct—not to voice these objections when his mother was within ear shot) that he should be the one to come get the lummox.

But getting back on point; Kurt did not want to be here and he could only hope that Finn's bus was not late (Finn had gone to check out the football camp that he and Puck were considering spending the summer at too get a feel for the place. Or that was what he claimed. Personally Kurt thought Finn just wanted to have an excuse as to why he couldn't accompany his mother to see Dear Auntie Cora).

Sighing to himself again while tapping one of his perfectly polished shoes in impatience and checking the time on the cracked plastic fronted clock on the far wall of the depot, Kurt almost missed him. It was only the fact that he had spent so many of the past months obsessing and worrying over the boy—including staring at the midget for hours to try and see just what it was that Blaine saw in him—that allowed him to recognize him.

Well at least he didn't have to worry about Harry making a move on Blaine while he was away.

Still…..what the hell was the Brit doing at Lima County Bus Depot of all places, and with a banged up backpack to boot?

He probably should just ignore him….let him get on with whatever the hell he was doing (leaving? preferably somewhere far, far away, without cell service or any other living beings…. Please, please, please…cherry on top?) But his curiosity got the better of him and he found himself striding through the sparse few waiting passengers towards the other teen.

He didn't even bother to try and hide the sneer on his face… they were long since past such civility. "What are you doing here?" he would have added some acerbic comment but he didn't have one that would appropriately fit so he stuck to simply letting his contempt for the boy in front of him color both his question and expression. Not that Harry seemed to notice (he was really irritating like that!) by the way he gave Kurt an almost dismissive glance before turning his attention back to the cork board holding a paper list of today's arrival and departures.

"Hey! I asked you a question! Surely even you aren't so far gone as too be able to answer it" –and okay, maybe being ignored was bringing his inner bitch closer to losing control then he wanted. Normally he was the epitome of ice cold and collected. Harry seemed to be his exception.

The teen let out an irritated sigh before reluctantly turning his attention towards Kurt. "None of your business. But don't worry; you are finally going to get your way. So I suppose congratulations are in order" he dipped his chin in a mocking manner though there was a bitter edge to his words.

Even as his heart and stomach soared at the implication that his rival was leaving (leaving!), Kurt still had the graciousness to feel a small twinge of guilt; both at his obvious relief (and joy), and because he was not naïve enough to not realize that his actions had likely played a large part in driving this boy away. The guilt, while slight, that he felt, came from the parallels he couldn't help but draw between his own flight from McKinley and Karofsky. He was quick to silence that part of his brain though because it was not the same—the situation was entirely different….he wasn't exactly sure how it was, but it was!

Plus don't think that he did not see (or smell) the state that Harry was in. He knew he had been right all along. Harry was a destructive influence and while sure, Kurt felt vaguely bad for (likely) having sped up the boy's meltdown, ultimately it would have taken place eventually. And when it had—if Kurt had not been there to distance Blaine from him—Harry would have taken Blaine down with him. No this was better….for everyone.

"You're leaving? Where are you going?" Kurt demanded, not that he really wanted or cared about the latter part….but he couldn't help but be curious. Plus it always paid to have more vs less information (and he just might convince Blaine that never, ever visiting where ever it was that Harry was going, for any reason, made sense).

Harry snorted as though he could read just where Kurt's thoughts had taken him and pointedly ignored the question. Kurt was about to demand an answer from the boy when he heard his brother's voice call out his name. Well, apparently Finn had managed to actually get on the right bus then….

By the time that Kurt had returned his attention to the boy standing in front of him, he realized that Harry was in fact, no longer standing in front of him. He had instead moved across the room to sit on one of the benches near the departure terminal, ear buds in place.

Realizing that he didn't want to have to answer any questions Finn might get if he continued to interrogate the teen, Kurt decided to let it go. It didn't really matter after all, Harry was leaving; soon he would be somebody else's problem.

"Kurt! Hey thanks for picking me up" Finn's voice broke his concentration and Kurt sent him a smile (albeit a tad strained)

"No problem, what are brothers for?"

He was pretty sure that he had not imagined the fact that Finn's smile was equally as strained at his casual use of the term (he knew that his step brother was not entirely comfortable over their still rather new familial status. It probably didn't help that Kurt had been rather persistent in his perusal of the straight teen in his pre-Blaine days).

"Er….should we get going?" Finn asked shifting awkwardly and managing to look even more so with his lumbering frame.

Kurt nodded and gestured with a wave of his hand towards the exit, sending one last glance over his shoulder towards where Harry sat. He paused momentarily when he saw that he was not the only one who had seemed to take interest in the teen. A rather tall, thin and…..well menacing was the only word for it, man seemed to be staring almost obsessively at the teen.

As he watched, the bus that Harry was obviously taking called its departure, and he saw the teen stand up quickly and move through the right gate doors. He felt a slight niggling in his stomach (which may have been concern, though he could not be certain) when he saw that the man did the same.

"Kurt? Are you alright? Are you coming?"

Shaking his head and shrugging the incident off as inconsequential Kurt turned away and lengthened his strides to catch up to where Finn had paused his step.

"I'm fine. Perfect in fact" Kurt answered and hastened his step.

He wasn't entirely sure that those words were as true as they should be.

Chapter Text


 

“I give myself good advice, but I very seldom follow it” Alice in Wonderland, 1951


 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blaine shifted uncomfortably in his chair and took yet another sip of his now lukewarm coffee. He had been sitting in the Lima Bean with Kurt and a few of the McKinley kids for the past hour and a half and he was now sure that his prior suspicions were at least partially correct.

Kurt was hiding something.

When he had met his boyfriend earlier that morning he had noticed something off, but had convinced himself that he was just being paranoid---blaming it on left over worry and stress, results from the fight he had with Harry yesterday. Despite how shifty and nervous Kurt had been acting, Blaine had easily enough dismissed it as just seeing what Harry had suggested, overanalyzing everything his boyfriend did.

Now though, several hours later—all filled with awkward pauses, strained jokes and constant, jerky movements—he had come to the realization that perhaps he had been too quick to reject his initial instinct.

Though to be fair, the fact that he was feeling increasingly guilty over his relationship with Kurt certainly didn’t help things. And no, he wasn’t feeling guilty just because it was obviously causing a huge amount of strain on his relationship with Harry (as well as several of his Dalton friends) but because in a way Harry had been right with his accusations—both spoken and silent. Blaine had been trying to hide from the truth for a while now, perhaps even more so because he didn’t want to have to admit to Harry and everyone else (Again Harry was not the only person who had voiced their doubts about his and Kurt’s longevity. Many of the Warblers seemed to share such sentiments) that he had been wrong: that he and Kurt did not have fantastic chemistry and a romance that would last the ages.

No, he had been forced to admit, (to himself at least) that he and Kurt really didn’t click at all. They had made decent friends—but sadly that was where it ended. The thing was, he found that he really wasn’t all that attracted physically—and lately even personally—to Kurt. It was just too forced; both of them were trying just a little too hard to make something work that just wasn’t there. And it was starting to show.

Even before Kurt’s latest odd behavior, there had been a noticeable strain when they were alone. Forced gaiety when a joke fell flat, faked concentration on conversations that held little interest to the recipient…..yes, despite both of them trying desperately to pretend otherwise, the truth had been sneaking up on them for a while now.

And perhaps that was part of the reason that Blaine had reacted the way he had to Harry’s observations and advice---deep down he had known that his brother had a point, he just hadn’t been ready to admit it then. Not that Harry being right (at least on a few things—he still thought his brother was reaching on his whole ‘Kurt is a conniving liar’ bit) excused his brother’s own behavior or reactions; because it didn’t.

But perhaps Blaine could have been a bit more patient, approached his brother from a different angle, brought up the topic of his methods of coping more gently……

Blaine sighed again, shifting once more as the high pitched sound of Kurt’s ‘fake’ laugh broke his line thought. It was the fact that Kurt was using such an obvious tell—fake laughter—with Mercedes and Rachel of all people, that made him believe that Kurt was hiding something. Usually the newest warbler was better at hiding his discomfort and distraction then this. And that wasn’t even touching on the reactions Kurt displayed whenever Harry’s name was brought up.

“What do you think Blaine?” Kurt asked causing the rest of the table’s inhabitants to turn their attention his way.

Crap. What had they been talking about? Well, most likely something show choir or fashion related, he’d just have to fall back on his usual reply and hope it was appropriate. “Yeah, your right….I completely agree” he said with as much false confidence as he could muster at the time.

Rachel and Mercedes seemed to buy the response as they immediately turned back to each other to resume their conversation, one which Kurt joined in shortly after. But he could tell by the tightening around Kurt’s eyes and mouth that his boyfriend had not been so easily fooled by his lackluster response.

Somehow he couldn’t bring himself to care.

--0—

Late Thursday June 7, 2012

Harry stepped off of the bus, unable to hide his raised eyebrow as he did so. Delaware was suppose to be the ‘big city’, at least that was the impression he had gotten via various conversations with the Dalton boys. All in all, he was not overly impressed (intimidated) by its size….or rather, lack of size. Then again he supposed that when compared to Westerville or Lima, Delaware was a metropolis.

Not that the size of the city really mattered to him—all that he really cared about was whether or not it had an airport…which it did, even if it was a bit small. It was still large enough for him to board a plane to somewhere bigger, and more importantly, further away from Dalton Academy and by association his twin.

Later on he would think back on the next series of events and wonder whether or not his instincts would have triggered sooner had he not been so distracted: Distracted by his fight with Blaine, with the churning feeling in his gut that told him he was being overly dramatic and a coward for running rather than facing up to the situation, for leaving without telling Blaine, or for that matter Sebastian. Then to, maybe if he hadn’t been dulling his senses with the continuous consumption of alcohol things might have turned out a bit differently….

But then, maybe not. While hindsight was said to be 20/20, one can never account for how choices and differently made ones will affect the outcome.

All he could say for sure, as the strong smell of chloroform invaded his nostrils and black spots swam across his vision, was that he really wished he could have avoided the present outcome.

He couldn’t help but wish that he had told someone (Blaine, Sebastian, Puck, it didn’t matter…just someone!) where he had been going.

Then the world went black.

--0—

Saturday June 9, 2012

“So you haven’t seen him since Thursday?” Blaine’s fingers were white from how hard they were clenching his cell phone.

“No…..he hasn’t been answering his phone either. I just figured that you had talked to him about….well you know. I thought my name had been dropped and he was just pissed off and ignoring me…you’re saying that he’s missing? That you haven’t seen or heard from him either?” Sebastian’s voice crackled through the phone. Blaine could tell that the Warbler was outside with a decent wind blowing by the noise in the background. That, or Sebastian had recently acquired a wind machine, but Blaine was placing his bet on the former. Even with the background noise however there was no missing the increasingly worried tone to the teen’s voice.

“Yeah”—it was a lame answer but it was all Blaine had in him at the moment. His mind was already running a thousand miles an hour down the path of what if…..

Nausea threatened to overwhelm him at the possibilities that sprung forth.

“Well have you talked to anyone else? What about that Noah character from welfare high? They are kind of friends or something…..or one of the Squabblers or whatever? Aren’t you his roommate….not to mention his brother; shouldn’t you have noticed that he hasn’t been sleeping in his bed for the past few nights?”

Yeah the accusation, dripping with condemnation was hard to miss. Not that Blaine could exactly blame Sebastian—he was right after all. If there was a contest for world’s worst twin he was pretty sure he could have won it hands down.

He had just been so wrapped up in his own drama and realizations. And to be fair, Harry did keep incredibly unpredictable hours; getting up at the crack of dawn some days, other days sleeping past noon, staying up until the wee hours…..so really, he wasn’t completely to blame for not having clued in earlier to the fact that Harry had not, in fact, been sneaking in and out of their room unnoticed by him. The perfectly made bed was sort of a tipping point, well that, and the fact that his closest was virtually empty of belongings. Shit! who was he kidding? He was definitely the world’s worst brother.

If anything happened to Harry…..

He hastily pushed those thoughts away, forcing himself to concentrate on the here and now: The part of this mess that he might actually still be able to fix.

“Can you call Noah? You have hung out with him before right? I don’t actually have his number…I guess I could find Kurt and ask him….though I doubt that he would have it either…” Blaine trailed off mumbling more out of the habit of thinking out loud then actually asking Sebastian.

Though after an aggravated sigh and clipped reply from the other, he might as well have been asking. “Yeah, I’ll call him. Why don’t you give your guys’ room another comb over? See if there is anything that Harry left that might help track him down….a note or something?”

Blaine found himself nodding his agreement, before realizing that Sebastian could not see him thus following with a quick verbal confirmation and asking him to call back once he had talked to Puck. The sinking feeling in his gut was far from alleviated by talking to Sebastian if anything, it was worse.

He had so hoped that Harry had been simply too pissed off at their latest confrontation to sleep in the same room as him. That his brother had gone to stay with Sebastian for a few days. He didn’t want to think about what it meant that Sebastian was as in the dark about Harry’s absence as everyone else he had talked to.

He sighed, rubbing his temples tiredly as he stashed his cell back in his bag and started back towards his and Harry’s shared room. Despite agreeing to have another look around the room, Blaine couldn’t help but feel that it was a waste of time. It was becoming rather clear to him that Harry had packed up and left…..without leaving so much as a goodbye to his friends or family.

Blaine didn’t know whether he should be feeling more hurt or worried by this fact. Surely things hadn’t gotten so bad between the two of them that his brother would run away without telling him….or anyone for that matter. But then Blaine thought back to the look of hurt on Harry’s face when he had so obviously sided with Kurt…..

The headache that had been sneaking up on him since he realized that Harry’s stuff was gone spiked as if it were trying to punish him for his past mistakes. He knew that this was not entirely his fault, that he was but a teenager and that his brother was obviously dealing with issues that a kid his age shouldn’t be expected to navigate without harm, but it didn’t make him feel any less guilty.

If Harry had truly run away then he was in a still relatively foreign country, completely alone. Alone, without support of any kind, to help him battle his inner demons. Blaine was good at the talk—brother’s helped each other, stayed with each other through the tough times…wasn’t that what he had always wanted from Cooper?—but when it came to actually walking the walk, apparently he had failed abysmally.  

He sent a silent prayer out to the universe—the first time he had done such a thing since the horrible Satie Hawkins Dance nightmare. Please, Please let Harry be okay. He had to be.

Blaine swore that he would make it up to his brother. He just needed to be given a chance to do so.

Chapter Text


 

“Do I still have to sleep in the cupboard?”-- Beauty and the beast, 1997


 

Friday, June 8

Harry felt the first stirrings of awareness tense against the inside of his eyelids along with a weak trickle of light. His head throbbed something fierce (which was saying a lot since he had become rather accustomed to awaking with the consequences paid out in form of hangovers these past few weeks) and a stale, slightly sweet aftertaste coated the inside of his mouth and nose.

It only took a few seconds for him to piece together the events that occurred just prior to his forced blackout, and even less for him to start panicking.

His mind immediately went to the worst possible causes for his immediate situation—one of the possibilities that ranked quite high on the list being that Kurt had finally snapped and let out the secret psychopath that Harry was becoming more and more sure was hidden within the newest Warbler. He really didn’t get much further then imaging the other boy examining himself in the mirror while cackling out the overdone lines of “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” before the sound of footsteps against concrete brought his imaginary scenario to a grinding halt.

And maybe the noise also forced Harry to realize that Kurt losing it and having a narcissistic mirror fetish would be the best case scenario.

The soft rustle of fabric that sounded his approaching kidnapper caused him to stiffen, his posture not relaxing even after his vision improved when the blind fold was carefully—almost gently removed from his eyes (he belatedly felt a little sheepish for not having immediately identified the cause of his limited vision).

His newly restored sight landed on a tall, thin and extremely pale man who looked as though he may have once been handsome, but whose life had led to a premature aging causing his feature to come off as hard and almost inhuman. Of course the inhuman air the man gave off, could have a lot less to do with premature aging and hard living, then it did with just being batshit crazy. Which became blatantly evident the moment the man opened his mouth. All kinds of crazy going on there.

“Ahhh my darling boy” the stranger crooned at him—which made the whole statement just that much creepier—“there is no need to look so afraid! I would never harm you precious. I would kill anyone who thought they could, and have in fact”

Somehow Harry did not feel even slightly reassured by the man’s statement and his ineffective attempt to move further away from him made that fact obvious.

Still his overt fear and mistrust of his kidnapper barely registered on the man who was staring at him with such a crazed look of devotion in his eyes that Harry wished he could gouge them out. He was starting to think that his own thoughts were not entirely stable if his mind could come up with solutions such as that.

The man paused in his speech, a brief flitter of consternation passing through his eyes (which while being the very plain and normal colour of brown, seemed to look almost red from the way the light let in by the single window high about their heads reflected in them), “Oh love forgive me! I have not yet introduced myself….it is no wonder you are afraid. Of course had those monsters not taken you from me so many years ago there would be no need for introductions….” The last part of his sentence trailed off as though he was talking not to Harry but himself. It struck Harry that this was likely not the first time the man had this particular conversation with himself. Again not a reassuring thought.

Harry was not particularly keen to have been kidnapped by a strange sane man, much less a strange insane one.

“Harry, I am Thomas Marvolo Riddle—also known by the pseudonym of Voldemort in many parts of the world. I am your father”

Harry felt like life had a few distinct moments that could be classified as surreal, life changing, or ludicrous. It just so happened that this fit all of the aforementioned. He no longer had to wonder how Luke had felt in that cinematically iconic moment*.

Of course he rather preferred to keep his hand rather than be able to completely empathize with the character.

He opened his mouth to try and give release to the maelstrom of thoughts and emotions raging inside of him only to let out a pathetic sounding croak. One, that the man—no, his father (?)-- picked up on immediately and rectified with an annoyed hiss and glare to the right of Harry.

A fat, sweaty, and frankly, disgusting rat of a man scurried into his line of vision holding a glass and straw to his mouth. Harry was no idiot and immediately strained his neck away from the offending offer, clamping his lips tightly together. No way was he drinking or eating anything that this man offered him, who knew what he had done to it.

Of course doing so risked pissing off the man, his kidnapper, and currently the one with all the power in the situation off. Thankfully outside of a deepening frown and resigned sigh the man seemed to excuse his paranoid behavior making an impatient gesture towards his cowering minion and taking the glass of water from him.

Making sure to keep eye contact with Harry he slowly raised the glass to his own mouth and to a long drink from it, “See it is perfectly safe Cirian, I told you I would not harm you. I would not break a promise to you my son”

He then walked back up to Harry and offered the straw. Harry drank this time, not out of acceptance of Thomas’s statement, but out of shock at what he had just said. Had this all been some huge, terrible mix up? Before he could think better of it (consider his options thoroughly and conclude smashing the man’s obvious delusions to his identity might not be the safest thing to do) his mouth opened and the words were out.

“My name is Harry”

This time the man’s anger was much more noticeable, his eyes took on a wild look and his mouth pulled into a snarl.

“Silence!” he snarled moving towards Harry with a quick viper like motion which cause Harry to jerk back in shock, the chair he was tied to, tipping backwards at the momentum of his surprise. There was a brief, but prolonged silence, as though time had slowed where the chair (and Harry in it) teetered on its two back legs, before finally overbalanced and crashed to the floor.

Harry’s head along with.

Thomas’s face lost its feral quality morphing into a guilty concern as he rushed forward to upright them, his long skeleton like hands carefully palpating the now sluggishly bleeding gash on the back of his head.

He started to talk again, his tone much calmer and careful “ I am sorry Cirian, I did not mean to startle you. I am not angry at you my dear….but the people responsible for your delusions. You are my son. Not this Harry. Harry is a lie they fed you to keep us apart, love. But you no longer need to hide behind that lie….I am here for your now. Now you are Cirian. My son”

The sinking dread in his stomach could not be overpowered by the newly smarting lump on the back of his head. He was starting to realize that it would not matter what he said to the man, his belief that Harry was his son was finite.

“I know that this situation is not ideal in making you believe me love. But it is necessary. I cannot risk you running now….not when we are so close to getting everything in place…..” again Thomas trailed off.

This time though Harry wished he had finished that sentence. Get what into place? What was this lunatic planning? And just how did Harry, or rather ‘Cirian’ fit into it all?

Harry swallowed back the swell of desperate tears, shutting his eyes firmly to everything going on before him. He really, really wished someone else was here; Blaine, Sebastian; either or…..as selfish as that thought was.

He didn’t want to be alone with this man.

--00—

Saturday, June 9

Blaine felt like his head was underwater and all he could manage to do was stare blankly at the people in front of him; which just so happens to be his parents. His parents, who had come to Dalton as soon as he had choked out the words “Harry’s missing” with bells, whistles, and a squad car with a very serious and stern looking detective in tow.

He couldn’t understand what was happening. Or why it was happening.

Don’t get him wrong, he was just as worried over the fact that he, Sebastian or any of Harry’s other friends/acquaintances hadn’t seen or heard from his brother in 2 and ½ days as his parents were. He just thought that bringing the police into everything was a bit……well, terrifying, truth-be-told.

Not to mention he had thought that the police wouldn’t respond with such haste over a runaway teen, especially with so little time having elapsed. Of course that was before his parent’s opened their mouths and told him the truth.

A truth that had boggled his already frazzled mind.

His mom had tearfully admitted that the police had actually already been keeping tabs on his brother, and thus the rest of their family, and had been since just a little after Harry’s arrival from England. She had dutifully reported that because of heavy encouragement from a specialized police force back in England, the local police had felt that it was in everyone’s best interest to make sure that Harry and his ‘family’ remained safe. That the man who had brutally murdered Harry’s adoptive parents had escaped and been last seen crossing the ocean with the destination of the States.

It was like some sick, horribly written B-grade thriller; one that Blaine had never thought he would play a central role in. The fact that not only had he apparently chased his twin from the one place that the police had been relatively certain he was safe in, but that his brother could, at this very moment be in grave danger of falling into the hands of the Potter’s murderer made him want to throw up. In fact, he had, three times already.

Unable to understand or accept what he was being told he forced his guilt and fear to become anger.

“W-Why didn’t you say anything?! Did Harry know this psycho had escaped?” Blaine distantly heard himself shouting at his mother’s tear streaked face while ignoring his father’s tightening jaw.

“I’m sorry dear. There was such a low risk…..or that was what we were told. We just didn’t see the point on scaring you two. You were just getting to know each other and we thought you didn’t need the extra stress and worry….” She trailed off biting her lower lip anxiously. Blaine felt a brief twinge of guilt for making his mother look so contrite but the righteous anger at being kept in the dark was far larger.

He knew deep down that he was grasping onto this perceived wrong so that he wouldn’t have to acknowledge his own fault in how the events had played out. That really….if it hadn’t been for his words…his treatment of his brother…..

No! he was not going to think about this right now! They weren’t here because they knew something had happened to Harry, it was just a precaution. Likely his twin was somewhere safe, struggling to decide where he wanted to go next, hating Blaine for being an ass.

For once Blaine was completely okay with being thought of as an ass. As long as it meant that Harry was safe.

--0—

Sunday morning, June 10

“Sebastian”

The bored drawl of his stepfather’s greeting drew his attention away from his previous worried brooding as the teen entered his house.

“Terrance? What are you doing home? I thought you were away for another few days?” he asked sending a confused glance towards were the man was sitting, one leg crossed across his knee reading the financial and business section of this week’s newspaper (well this week’s, New York, newspaper that is, which was where his father was suppose to be for the next few days).

“Negotiations fell through, the opposition refused to show up claiming that the evidence submitted wasn’t applicable so the case was suspended for another month until the judge gets everything cleared up” Terrence Smythe answered in a bored voice. He didn’t bother shifting his attention from his reading—which was par for course with him.

“Oh” because what else could he say? It wasn’t as though his stepfather being back would really have any effect on his life, because despite the fact that he was out here specifically to see him, in reality he rarely did. Plus he didn’t think he could stomach spending time sitting in awkward silence with the man when his mind was already so weighed down with worry over Harry.

It wasn’t as though he would even consider expressing such worries to his stepfather; no, while Terence might not forbid Sebastian from pursing ‘such’ relationships it was an unspoken agreement that such things were not openly acknowledged. So no, Sebastian would not be confiding in his the man over his missing boyfriend (?—because they had not yet crossed that official bridge yet, nor were they going to now apparently… what with Harry just up and disappearing) anytime soon.

He was just turning to leave the room, intending to head upstairs and grab some of his running gear (he was in need of a release, and while running might not be as fun as ‘other’ releases that he often pursued, it was the one that would best take his mind off of his current fears) when his father once again interrupted him.

“Here, there was a letter for you this morning”

Sebastian paused, slightly confused at his words….mainly because he had no idea who in the world would be sending him a letter of all things --this was the day and age of cell phones after all--but moved over to grab the letter off of the table that Terrance had negligently waved his hand at, despite his surprise. And true to his stepfather’s words, the envelope had, in messy chicken scratch, his name scrawled across the front.

Sebastian tore the end of the envelope allowing the thin sheet of paper inside to fall out into his waiting hand, unfolding it he began to read;

Sebastian,

By now you probably know that I have left. I just wanted to tell you I am sorry. Sorry, for not having taken the time to say goodbye. I hope you understand; I had to leave. It is for everyone’s good….I wanted you to know that I am not angry at you for going to Blaine. I probably would have done the same if our positions were reversed. I need some time to sort myself out, but thank you for what we had.

I was originally not going to tell anyone where I was going but I found I could not just let you go….at least not without giving you the choice. I no longer have my phone on me but I wanted to give you an address where I could be reached should you want to stay in contact. I know I have no right to expect that from you but I do hope you choose to.

I will be in Delaware for the next few days, staying at the youth hostel while I try to decide what and where I will head next. I am mailing this right before I catch the bus there so I hope it has enough time to reach you.

No matter what you end up deciding, it was a pleasure knowing you Sebastian Smythe and I hope our paths cross again in the future.

Harry

Sebastian felt his breath catch as he read the letter, a flurry of emotions flooding through him at the written words. Joy, worry, anger, annoyance, acceptance….

But most of all conflict. He had spoken earlier to Blaine and the Warbler had reluctantly told him about the police protection and the danger that Harry was really in. And now Sebastian held in his hand, proof of where the missing teen could be found.

He didn’t want to rat Harry out and betray his confidence, especially after he had gone out on a limb and took the time to contact him, but he couldn’t in good conscience, continue to allow Blaine and the others to worry themselves sick about their missing brother/son/friend. He just couldn’t. Plus, he didn’t think Harry running from his problems was going to help him in the long term….

Taking a deep breath, mind made up, Sebastian reached for his cell and began to dial, steeling his nerves for the decision he knew he was going to make.

“Hello Blaine…”

--0—

Sunday afternoon, June 10

There was a block of ice that had formed and set up permanent tenancy in the center of his stomach. The white washed room where he sat-- foot previously tapping a nervous, agitated rhythm, now completely still-- disappeared before his unbelieving eyes.

Blaine tried to tell himself that the video they had showed him just now was a lie. It was the only truth that he could possibly accept which would allow him to keep his perilous sanity intact. It had to be. But at the same time, he knew that it wasn’t, and it broke his heart.

After the phone call he had received from Sebastian, the latter claiming to have received a letter from his brother with his where abouts, he hadn’t hesitated for a moment before going and informing his mom and therefore, the police. He didn’t care if Harry would resent their meddling in his apparent decision—all that mattered to him was the fact that his brother was out there alone, with a crazed, well known and feared murderer obsessed with finding him.

They had to find Harry first, and if not bring him home at least make sure he was safe.

The news he had presented had been an obvious relief to not only his parents but the local police who had been getting more and more frustrated with a certain British detective who had been hounding them about the missing teen’s whereabouts. In the back of his mind, Blaine was not so naïve as to not realize that this man, Dumbledore, likely cared little about his brother and was much more interested in using him to locate his missing/escaped convict. It didn’t matter right now though, as long as there was someone pushing the cops over here to find his brother—no matter the reason—Blaine could set aside his unease and distaste at the detective’s underhand tactics.

The police had of course taken the information given them, spoken (interrogated) Sebastian and viewed the letter for themselves before bullying their way into obtaining the local Bus depot’s security footage**. Footage that had quickly revealed that Harry had indeed taken a bus from there, apparently doing so under his own will. It had also, however, revealed several other, much more alarming facts.

They had brought Harry’s known friends and acquaintances—Sebastian and Blaine included, down to the station to view the footage and see if they recognized anybody in it. Questioning whether or not any of the passengers—one creepy looking man in particular—had been seen around Harry or Dalton in the past few weeks/months.

Blaine was horrified to see the man they had been heavily leaning towards (perhaps not saying so out right, but definitely hinting at) had definitely taken more than a passing interest to his brother in the video.

But that was not what had brought on his current disassociation to what was going on in front of him. No, that had much more to do with the fact that he now had definitive proof that Kurt had lied to him.

Kurt had said he had no idea where Harry was, that he hadn’t seen him. So why was his boyfriend, shown clear as day, holding a long and tense looking conversation with his brother right before his brother had disappeared?

 

Chapter Text


 

“If you hurry, little prince, I'll let you see her one last time...”—Swan Princess, 1994


 

The problem with so often being the smartest person in the room (something that Kurt made no bones about being) was that sometimes it was hard to see around your own brilliance. Even when he wasn’t the intellectual star (which seemed to happen a lot more since coming to Dalton) he was still confident enough to talk like he was.

Because really, that was what it all came down to: Confidence. As long as you were able to talk the talk, people rarely bothered to question whether or not you could walk the walk. Sadly it was this very trend that set him up for the ultimate fall.

He really hadn’t even considered the possibility that his actions against Harry might ever be called to question. He had simply placed them in the ‘done because he was smarter than everyone else and could see the teens true colors, therefore he was right’ box and left it at that. He had known deep down that if Blaine ever found out about his lie (okay lies….as in plural) that his boyfriend might be a bit miffed at him. But again he had dismissed it as being an easy to deal with consequence, sure in his ability to talk himself out of looking bad and make everyone see his rational.

It had always worked in the past, after all. And maybe, some people would call this ability of his ‘manipulation’, claim that he was being underhanded and sneaky, but Kurt had never seen it as such. He simply saw it as him being cleverer then the rest of them.

He was wondering where that cleverness had gone now that he was sitting stunned and unsure in the face of Blaine’s furious glare. The fact that he had just minutes before been seated in a room that he was pretty sure was used primarily to question and intimidate Lima’s druggie population was not helping him recover his wits either.

He was also a bit confused, to be entirely honest. He had received a call from Officer Kendrick asking Burt if he would accompany Kurt down to the station to answer a few quick questions. He had hastily reassured Kurt’s panicked father that Kurt was not in trouble and had not broken any laws, that they simply had a few questions regarding one of his classmates in which only Kurt could answer.

Kurt had immediately known the classmate in question could be no other then Harry and still that fact had not set off any warning bells. He had assumed (still did in fact) that Harry had gone and broken some law, likely stolen something or was publically intoxicated or some such ilk, and that as the most honest and upstanding of his classmates, they had wanted his opinion on the boy’s character. Something that Kurt was only too eager to give.

The confusion part of it all came from the fact that they had not greeted Kurt as though he was doing them a favor by being here; asking for his good advice and observations on arrival, but instead, had treated him with all the suspicion and sneering warranted a suspect!

The next half an hour that followed in fact, had him being asked not one question on Harry as a person, but questioning him on the last time he had seen the irritating teen, and what they had talked about. Kurt wasn’t sure why he did it…..at least not to the police-- it was only Blaine after all, who he wanted to keep in the dark about Harry’s whereabouts--but he found himself opening his mouth and lying through his teeth regardless.

Somehow he knew, just knew, that now that he had lied once (to Blaine) about not having seen Harry, that he could not back down from said fib. That doing so would only create an even more tangled web of truths and omittances. So he did the only thing that he could do, he lied out right, to an officer of the law and he didn’t even feel all that guilty for doing so.

It was only after he noticed that said officers weren’t exactly reacting like he expected, with understanding nods and “thank you for your time”’s falling from their lips that Kurt started to think that maybe he was in a wee bit of trouble. That perhaps his talent at manipulating words and telling straight faced stories was coming back around to bite him in the ass.

The fact that Officer Kendrick had asked him several times, in various different ways if he was sure, didn’t exactly help that sinking feeling in his gut go away either.

There had been some meaningful glances between Kendrick and his subordinate before Kurt had been told that they were not done talking with him and to wait with his father (who had been looking more and more perplexed throughout the questioning) in the hall. Kurt had shakily nodded his head in agreement, hastily standing up on wobbly legs to do so….feeling no small amount of relief at getting away from the uniformed men; if only for a few moments.

He had felt even more relieved when Burt hadn’t questioned him on what he had told the police or why they were even asking Kurt about this strange, unknown boy, instead offering to go and get soda from the vending machine that they had passed on the way in. Kurt hadn’t even bothered to lecture his father on his unhealthy nutritional choices, only too relieved to get a few moments alone to sort out his thoughts and re-center himself.

He needed to stop freaking out. They had no reason to suspect he had lied to them….why would they? After all he was an upstanding student who had dealt with his fair share of persecution and bullying….he was the model victim to people like these. They had no reason to dig or look further then their preconceived stereotypes.

Though it did bring into question just exactly what Harry had gotten into? It had to be something far more serious than simple shoplifting or public indecency if they were getting this serious about talking to people, who, for all they knew, had barely interacted with the kid. While he didn’t think that even Harry, as delinquent as he was, could be capable of murdering someone…..he was starting to wonder.

All the better that he had gotten the loser away from Blaine and the others. One bad seed is sometimes all it took….

“Did you really think I would never find out?!?”

Kurt’s felt his head snap up from where its study of the stained linoleum floor that lined the police station hallway (and he was supposed to trust people who thought that this kind of décor was passable, with guarding and protecting him from the Big Bads of the world? Really?) to then meet the face of his very angry looking boyfriend.

Well, shit. It would seem that today was just not his day.

“Blaine?” he asked questioningly careful to keep his expression perfectly innocent and confused. His churning gut may be telling him that his game was up and that somehow everyone had found out about is insy-teensey lie, but that did not mean that he was just going to roll over and fess up without being one hundred and ten percent sure of that fact.

He couldn’t however, quite stop his eyes from narrowing in a suspicious glare at the tall, rather attractive brunette hanging just over his boyfriend’s shoulder. What the hell? He had just barely gotten Harry out of the picture and already Blaine had attracted another stunningly handsome and definitely gay hanger on?

“Why did you lie to me Kurt? And do so right to my face?!” Blaine demanded apparently not falling for his innocent façade for once. Kurt was about to open his mouth in denial but he was cut off. Apparently Blaine was really, really angry about his small white lie. Really couldn’t he see it was for his own good? I mean look at where they were because of the drunk!? Jail! That’s where! Surely he could make Blaine understand that what he had done was for Blaine’s own good……

“I told you the first time we met how much I hated liars Kurt! I told you what happened at my last school…and not only did you completely ignore that fact, but you went right ahead and lied to my face! I trusted you! I defended you to Harry when he tried to warn me about you! I took your side and drove him away!” Blaine’s voice grew louder and louder as his speech went on. The teen was a far cry from his usually quietly composed and dapper self—rage and betrayal shining in his eyes.

“What are you even talking about?!” Kurt found himself shouting back. He had never been one to take reproach lying down. He was well known for letting his inner bitch out to play when he was feeling ganged up on and defensive, and this time was no different. Plus all Blaine was shouting at him was that he had lied to him, surely there was no sure way that Blaine could know that he had. If this was some ploy of this newest boyleech….well Kurt could turn it in his favor yet. He was confident of it.

And finally it would seem that said newest boy decided to step in and say his piece, “I believe that he is referring to the fact that you not only saw Harry the day he disappeared but seemed to have a rather frost filled conversation with him…..Sebastian Symthe by the way. I would say it’s a pleasure to meet you but……I unlike some people, try not to lie with every second word out of my mouth” the smile he sent him was positively poisonous with its insincerity.

Kurt felt like his breath was caught in the back of his throat. It would appear that he had finally met someone who could be as big of a bitch as he was. He really wasn’t sure how to feel about that fact. Or the fact that his chances of talking himself out of his own made shit-stew were getting slimmer and slimmer if the look on Blaine’s face was anything to go by.

“I did not” Kurt tried, watching as the red shade of Blaine’s face darkened. He was starting to feel just a little bit worried over his boyfriend’s health; surely it couldn’t be entirely healthy to have that much blood rushing to one’s head?

“Really? you’re really going to try that Kurt?” Blaine asked him disbelief coloring his words, “I saw the bloody security tape Kurt!”

Ahh…..double shit. Kurt just stared back at him his mouth slightly gaping (he would later deny ever having such a plebian expression on his lovely face) not sure where he was supposed to go from here. He had never had anyone doubt the veracity of his words before! He spoke, they believed! He could not believe that this was happening!

“What the hell did Harry ever do to you? Now thanks to your jealous pettiness his life could be in danger!” was the tight accusation that Sebastian tossed at him next. Kurt saw the anger in his words clear as day but missed the calculative gleam shadowed just behind. And maybe that was why he fell into yet another trap…..

He hated feeling ganged up on. Because sure he had told some tiny insignificant lie, but how was he to blame for the other teen’s cowardly ways? How was he the bad guy here?

Annoyed and sure in his actions Kurt didn’t hold back,

--honestly the exaggeration going on here, he mentally scoffed. ‘Life in danger’ and he thought he was a drama queen….pppllllleeease!---

“I don’t see how this has anything to do with you Meekrat! As far as I am aware this is a conversation between my boyfriend and myself, so why don’t you just take your overly—and should I say, horribly—styled pompadour and walk the hell away before I am forced to do something I regret” Kurt said snidely wrinkling his nose in distaste before turning back to Blaine in clear dismissal of the now rather pissed off teen.

“Blaine……look honey, I know I stretched the truth a wee bit….but I don’t see what the big deal is! I was only doing it to protect you…” he crooned, his tone and eyes heavily layered with sincerity.

He ignored the derisive snort that came from the replacement wanna be, focusing entirely on Blaine’s now unreadable expression. He could deal with Symthe later.

“Protect me?”

Kurt felt a small frown forming at the corners of his mouth when he was still unable to get a read on Blaine’s inflection, but quickly dismissed the warning bells going off at the back of his mind sure that he was finally getting through to the lead warbler. They were in love after all; love conquers all—everyone knew that.

“Yes! I didn’t tell you I saw him because I wanted to protect you from feeling unnecessarily guilt for him! That’s what he wanted after all….this whole running away thing was obviously just a ploy to get you back! I couldn’t let him win….couldn’t let you fall back into his poisonous grasps! You understand that, don’t you babe? He’s not worthy of you….he’s a train wreck and was just going to drag you down with you given the chance. It is better that he left. I was just trying to protect you…I swear” Kurt ended his spiel with a pleading note, sure that he had won Blaine over with it.

So he couldn’t understand why Blaine was staring at him, jaw slack and eyes bugged out in disbelief. Nor could he understand why Sebastian (and what the hell was he doing still standing there? Kurt had told him to bugger off already!) was looking at him with part horrified, part pitying and completely 100% mocking eyes.

Soft, derisive laughter fell from the taller teens lips, even while Blaine seemed to shake his head as though to rid himself of some thought.

“Wow. Good job Hummel” Sebastian congratulated him, the shark like smile back on his face, “…I really didn’t think that I could possibly feel sorry for you after the hell you put Harry through, but congrats. You have just proven me wrong”

Almost against his will Kurt turned his gaze from Blaine’s still shocked filled one to look at Sebastian in confusion….what the hell was he on about now?

Sebastian saw the confusion in his face and if anything it seemed to make the other boy even more smug and condescending, “You have been acting like a jealous little bitch, sabotaging and isolating your year mate all because you are completely delusional?”

The way that he shook his head in false disappointment was the last straw on Kurt’s quickly waning patience, “Delusional? What the hell are you even talking about Smythe? How would you know anything about what is going on? Why are you even still here???”

--And that was a good question, at least in Kurt’s opinion. Why was the other teen here? He didn’t even go to Dalton? Who the hell was he?

“Oh, only because my boyfriend has gone missing, largely suspected of being kidnapped by a raging psychopath. Both of who were last seen by you by the way….a sighting that as we were previously discussing, you lied about being a part of. Hmmm I’m not sure, my step dad is only a lawyer after all, but I believe they call that obstruction or something similar. You know lying directly to the police….” Sebastian stated tilting his head in mock question, his eyes shooting daggers at Kurt.

Kurt was starting to feel that sinking feeling reach new depths….surely not….no….

“Boyfriend?” he managed to squeak out.

“Yeah, Harry....we’ve only been hanging out for the past several months” Sebastian retorted.

“B-but…..Blaine and Harry……they are….were…” Kurt trailed off trying to give voice to his confusion and suddenly unsure footing.

“Brothers” Blaine finally spoke up looking at Kurt with something he wasn’t willing to label, “twins in fact, everybody knows that”

No! not everyone! He certainly hadn’t! brothers? Twins? Since when? What…..???

“B-but you don’t look anything alike, h-he’s British!” was the only thing his scrambled mind could supply in terms of defense. Brothers? What……he felt something that was suspiciously similar to guilt curdling in his gut….

“We’re fraternal brothers. I told you I was adopted when I was younger, well Harry was adopted by a different couple, a couple from England, who were murdered by the same psycho who is after my brother now! And instead of defending him or listening to him, I trusted you and listened to you! I didn’t believe him and now he’s gone…..completely alone! Well except for the man who is apparently his adopted parent’s killer, that is!” the guilt and anguish in Blaine’s voice did not make Kurt feel any better about his own actions over the past few months.

Kurt just stared helplessly back at his boyfriend’s anguished face, not sure what to do. He had never witnessed the consequences of his lies quite like this before….and try as he might, the guilt of his own words and lies were not brushing away as easily as they once would have.

“But you don’t know that for sure….I mean it’s not like they are sure that this—this man grabbed him. For all anyone knows he might be perfectly fine!” Kurt defended, the words sounding weak even to his own ears.

Blaine and Sebastian’s twin glares made him want to shrink back.

“The police obtained to footage from the Delaware depot where Harry got off. The man they suspect of being his parent’s killer got off and followed him out. The street footage just outside of the depot shows that neither of them passed by it….they both just disappeared” Blaine’s voice sounded worn and empty as though he had no energy left to state anything but the gruesome—and admittedly worrying—facts his family had been told.

Kurt felt like there was a cotton ball stuck in his throat….”I—I didn’t mean…I didn’t know…” he trailed off.

A flash of something other than emptiness entered back into Blaine’s eyes has his gaze met and held Kurt’s; his words made of steel, “It doesn’t matter if you knew Kurt, that’s not even the point. It’s the fact that you did what you did, knowingly or unknowingly, you went and tried to destroy a relationship---a friendship between two people all because you felt insecure and untrusting. Even if this hadn’t been the end result, even if Harry wasn’t in mortal danger because of that, I couldn’t be with you after this. A relationship needs trust Kurt and there is just no way I could or would ever trust you again after all the lies you have told me….”

Blaine held up his hand when Kurt opened his mouth to once again and try to defend his actions, “No….don’t Kurt. I know what you are going to say and don’t bother. I know that this is not the first lie you have told me…and if we stayed together it would not be the last. No. We are done”

There was such finality in the statement that Kurt didn’t even try to convince Blaine otherwise. He had known from the moment Sebastian mentioned the security footage that it was a long shot anyway……

Today was really not his day.

With a resigned nod he turned in his seat only to be met by the furious face of his father……who apparently had heard, if not all the argument, a large part of it. And it was clear to everyone just what Burt thought of what he had just heard……

No, today was most definitely not his day.

--0—

(4 days later)

The police had finally returned it…..

Blaine wanted to throw the offending object as far away from him as he possibly could, disgusted by its contents. It seemed so, well so normal; just a simple everyday shoe box. An object one could find in countless homes on any given day.

Well until you opened it of course.

And no, it was not something as morbid as Harry’s pinkie finger or ear or anything of the likes (this was not a movie after all!) but in Blaine’s mind it was something nearly as bad. For it was clear evidence of Harry’s mistrust of him….of just how far they had grown apart even before the horrid fight (s) that had resulted in Harry’s running.

What could possibly be so terrible one might ask? Letters. Yes, you heard right…the box they had found stashed in the far, dark corner, under Harry’s bed, buried beneath a heap of dirty running shirts was filled with letters. And not the sweet secret admirer kind of letters.

No, these letters might to an outsider appear to be of that nature but they had a much more sinister air to them. The creepy wording and possessive nature of the content made it clear to anyone who was reading that the sender was not entirely right in the head. The fact that the sender never signed his full name—leaving a solitary letter; a over stylized V—at the end of each didn’t ease the sense of foreboding each page left Blaine with either.

Why hadn’t Harry told him he had been receiving incredibly creepy letters? For he must have been receiving them for a while now. There were a fair few after all…..

But then when was the last time Blaine had actually made time for Harry to tell him anything important? When was the last time he had actually kept a premade date with his brother, or talked to him about anything besides Kurt? Hell, before Harry’s disappearance, Blaine hadn’t even been aware that his brother was in a sort of—semi relationship with another boy. Yes, he was feeling like an incredibly big jack ass at the moment.

He was pretty sure that even if they did find Harry and he was ok, that he didn’t deserve his twin’s forgiveness. Hell….he hadn’t treated his twin any better than the horrid relatives that he had helped him escape from had. And wasn’t that a kicker?

No…..he shook his head harshly, this was not the time for self pity and regret. He could be angry at himself all he wanted later, after Harry was safe. Now the only thing he could possibly do to even begin to make things up to his brother was to help find him.

To bring him home.

With renewed determination, Blaine flipped the lid of the box open once more and took out the top letter. There had to be something….some clue or hint that had been overlooked that would help them find Harry. He could not let his brother down again. He had to find something, anything….

Failure was not an option.

---00—

“What? Say that again….” Sebastian demanded pressing the phone harder against his ear as though attempting to make the conversation clearer by proximity.

“I think I know how to find Harry….or well….I think I found something that can at least help us find him” Blaine’s urgent-quasi excited voice responded.

“What did you find?! And did you tell your parents, the police?” Sebastian asked trying to ignore the responding hope and need awoken by Blaine’s statement.

“I-I tried, they didn’t think it was much though…they said they would look into it, consider it but……” Blaine trailed off

“You don’t think they will” Sebastian supplied already feeling the stirrings of hope crumble. Of course it was too good to be true. Of course this wasn’t CSI, and they hadn’t found the crucial evidence in a speck of rare dirt or flower pollen at the last minute, resulting in them tracking down and saving Harry in the nick of time. Of course not.

“No…..it’s not that. I just don’t think they are going to prioritize it…that they will leave it too long and by that time it will be too late….” Blaine finished off sounding equal parts frustrated and despondent.

“But why wouldn’t they? I thought they were all so sure that this maniac had grabbed Harry. Wouldn’t they take any clue—no matter how small or improbable—and run with it?”

“That is what I thought…but—but it sounds like they are starting to doubt whether or not Harry was actually grabbed in Delaware or whether or not he went elsewhere….they-they said that they didn’t have enough evidence to support the kidnapping angle and that if the English force were so sure of it then they could come down and waste their valuable time and resources….” Blaine’s voice said in a poor mimicry of whatever official had told him such drivel.

“How can they just dismiss it like that?! I mean they saw the man following him! They said that he disappeared—not showing on the security footage after leaving the depot in Delaware. What they think he just teleported himself out of there? Like some damn magician?!?” Sebastian demanded his own anger at the local cops apparent lackadaisical approach shining through.

“Of course not” Blaine bit back though it was followed by a sigh, “They said that there was still a small chance that Harry had been taken by Riddle but that it was more likely that he had grabbed a taxi before reaching the next camera point, that or he had hopped on a bus in one of the security blind spots…they think that he left Delaware for a bigger city point….they said they weren’t going to drop the investigation completely, they were just going to delegate a smaller task force to it and concentrate on the ‘leaving Delaware’ angle of it”

“That’s ridiculous! Did they even manage to identify the man following him?” Sebastian asked

“Yeah, at least they think so. They sent the footage to that detective in England who is supposedly an expert on the guy and he said that there is a 40% chance that the man was Thomas Riddle, the guy they are looking for. Something about light levels and angle of the camera didn’t allow for a closer assurance or something…” Blaine explained worry coloring his words, “Their wrong though Sebastian! I’m sure of it…..I know Harry is still in Delaware, I don’t know how to explain it….I just KNOW he is…..”

“Hey---calm down I believe you….so explain why you think you found something again?” Sebastian attempted to sooth the obviously falling apart teen as best as he could without actually being there in person. Not to say he wasn’t also feeling the ends of his wits and patience fray at the constant worry and fear; because he was. He was just better at handling stressful situations then others his age… his parent’s rocky marriage, divorce, father’s death and the multitudes of shitty step dads to follow had been fantastic training grounds for such things.

He could hear his words take affect by the deep breath Blaine took and how his tone evened out, still shaky but not quite so frantic and directionless. There was a purpose there when Blaine next spoke.

“I was looking at the notes that the creep sent Harry….” Blaine began. Sebastian forced himself to push aside the immediate rage he felt over the fact that this asshole had been stalking the troubled teen for who knows how long, to focus on what Blaine was trying to tell him. It wasn’t easy though; far from it.

“….the ink. It’s an unusual one. It looks a lot like the specialty pen that I use to mark and make changes on the Warblers arrangements. One of those that you can erase and redo….the only place I have ever seen that kind of pen is at a music shop. There’s a chain called ‘Noted’ with a shop in Westerville that I go to, to get them and I am pretty sure that Delaware has a sister shop by the same name. I mean it’s a long shot but what if this Tom went there to get the pen? Maybe he is staying someplace close to the shop….I mean what other reason would he have for going into such a shop if it wasn’t the most convenient at the time? I know it’s a long shot but I thought, well maybe, we could go and just ask the teller if they recognized him or take a look….” Blaine rambled his theory off.

The sinking feeling in Sebastian’s stomach continued as he listened to the ‘evidence’ that Blaine so excitedly claimed to have found. It was more than a long shot….it was really almost ludicrous, it was no wonder that the police had so readily dismissed the teen; Blaine sounded like he had watched one too many crime dramas on TV and was now trying to ‘play’ detective. He didn’t know how to let the teen down easily so he was just going to have to come straight out with it…..

Before he could however Blaine interrupted, his voice sounding small and insecure, obviously he had taken Sebastian’s silence and interpreted it….”I know it sounds stupid and is likely nothing….but, but I can’t just sit here and do nothing, not when the police are obviously already coming up with excuses to stop looking—to just dismiss Harry….I-I just can’t…”

And maybe it was his own anger at the situation or fear over Harry’s continued absence, or maybe, just maybe the vulnerability in the warblers voice that had Sebastian say what he said next.

“Alright. Then we will go ourselves….so tell me Sherlock, you have a plan?”

--0—

“You’re sure you don’t recognize him?”

Puck sighed and turned away from the desperate scene in front of him, allowing his attention to wander as he scanned the artsy shop that he and the others were in.

What in the world was he doing here? Not just here in Delaware, apparently hunting for his missing friend

—and wasn’t that weird? He wasn’t someone who made those easily, sure he had friends…Finn and him had been friends since they could tie their shoes (though to be honest, he wasn’t sure if Finn was able to tie his shoes yet so perhaps that wasn’t the best saying to express what he meant)…what he was trying to say was that; yes, he had friends, but he hadn’t really known Harry all that long or even spent a huge amount of time with the teen. Yet, despite those facts, the Brit had somehow grown on him….much like a aggressive mold or something…he was just the type of person that was impossible not to want to protect and be there for--

But here in this lousy store.

Honestly, never in a million years had he thought he, Noah Puckerman, bad-ass extraordinaire would be caught dead or alive inside nerd center inc., in the company of two gays and his dweeby team mate Sam Evans. Never.

To be honest he wasn’t sure why Sam was here either. Well, he had his suspicions and from the way that Sam kept sneaking looks at the midget Warbler, said suspicions were quickly becoming fact—not something he wanted to think about, much less acknowledge. Still despite knowing this, he was still a wee bit perplexed in how they had wrangled him into accompanying them on this fools mission…or at least that was what he was adamantly going to say if anyone caught him with them.

Because deep down, he knew the truth. He knew that he had been just as worried about Harry’s continued downward spiral over the past few weeks, followed by his sudden disappearing act as the others were. The whole police—kidnapping thing hadn’t done anything to lesson his worry either. So yes, maybe he did know why he had so easily agreed to driving the two fools—Sebastian and Blaine that is—to Delaware in his second hand, barely running on a good day truck (because according to Sebastian his trillion dollar gorgeous car was in the shop getting repainted or some other such rich kid bullshit). And maybe the look on the midget’s face: one of terrified hope was the reason he hadn’t refuted Sam’s sudden insistence of coming along (who knew? Maybe fishlips could somehow help distract Harry’s brother and make the whole car ride a little bit less tense?).

Not that it had helped of course: the ride had been incredibly awkward and tense, they had all been more than a little relieved to finally arrive in the city and find the store that Blaine was so sure of. Which, little surprise, had turned out to be a complete flop.

The kid behind the counter had resolutely shot down whatever pipe dream Blaine and by extension Sebastian had been clinging to. And doing so while buffing his nails…. really it was a new low for the Puckster.

“No. the answer hasn’t changed since the last time you asked….which in case you forgot was oh….a second ago. Haven’t seen the guy. Don’t recognize him. Can’t help you. The door to leave is to your right” the annoying little punk said, not moving from what he was doing though Puck was sure if he had looked up there would be a derisive little sneer on the little twits face.

It seemed as though Sebastian thought the same thing by the way he made to lunge at the kid only to be stopped when Sam latched onto his arm and murmured, “Hey come on. You guys said it was a long shot---we should just go….”

Hmmm….maybe Puck could like this teen after all; Sebastian that is, not Samantha. He could appreciate the urge to use aggression on those who were irritating knats.

With a sigh Puck trailed out of the shop after the morose group, once again scanning the area they were in, all in hopes of delaying having to get back into his truck and make the equally (if not more so, because now they had no hope to help balance things) trip back. Seeing the familiar sign of a Subway flashing away just across the street he immediately latched onto it---salvation of procrastination and all.

“Hey, I’m starving lets grab something to eat before leaving” he immediately suggested to the group, already moving towards the shop knowing that they had no choice but to follow. He had the keys after all.

He could tell by the look on Blaine’s and even Sebastian’s faces that they were not happy with the plan, (Sam looked cool as eve; he wasn’t sure if there was something that could bother that kid—well except for his girlfriend—ex now—cheating on him with Finn of course) but they followed along mutinously any way.

Good—a giant Italian meatball sub smothered in cheese and ranch dressing—could cure anything. Including the guilt from failing your friend and quite likely dooming him to a life of a leather clad slave (Hey, Puck’s head was a scary place to be, don’t judge!).

It wasn’t until they, and by association he, were second in line that Sebastian broke out of his self induced sulk to latch onto Puck’s upper arm with a surprisingly strong and bruising grip (not that Puck thought Sebastian was some kind of puff cake or anything but still—compared to him, everyone was a weakling).

“Ow! Christ! What the hell Smythe?” he growled (yelped—but potato, patoto)

“Him! do you recognize him?” the brunette hissed under his breath while jerking his chin to Puck’s left, directly at a tall, poncey looking blond guy. Speaking of puffs; the man looked exactly like the type to go and get a mani-pedi-….definitely Kurt’s kind of guy; though much older…probably around forty or so, ancient really.

Puck took a second to study the guy (discretely of course) before turning back to the agitated teen beside him, though to be fair, Sebastian was hiding his unease remarkably well. “No….should I?” he asked back taking care to keep his voice lower than previously. The whole conversation had taken a decidedly conspiratorial air.

“I….I don’t know. I think I’ve seen him before….I’m sure of it” Sebastian shot back his normally arched brows furrowing in concentration.

“Ohh-K awesome for you…” Puck shot back feeling confused at the teen’s fascination with the blond. Oh god! Please tell him that Sebastian did not have a thing for old guys—old blond guys for that matter! That was just gross, plus he was pretty sure that the brunette was supposed to have a thing for his friend anyway….

By now their hushed (or not so hushed) conversation had caught the attention of the rest of their group and Blaine decided to add his input.

“He’s familiar to me too….I swear I have seen him around, I want to say Dalton….but I’m not sure” Blaine trailed off studying the man who had by now had noticed the extra attention he was getting and was shifting nervously because of it.

Suddenly Sebastian’s eyes widened and he leaned in closer his voice excited, “That’s it! Blaine your right! It was around Dalton that I saw him. In fact I am sure I passed him when I was out running that first time I met your brother, I thought it was weird cause he was kind of just skulking around the path not really walking or running on it, but I just dismissed it…..and I’m sure that I saw him again after. I think we drove past him once when I went to Dalton to pick Harry up”

Puck’s skepticism was immediately tossed aside at that---that, that was suspicious—what was a grown man, a grown strange man doing hanging around Dalton? And was it just coincidence that both times Sebastian had seen him it was with Harry or just before? And now Harry was missing…..

Before the group could finish their hushed conversation and reach a consensus on what they should do, the man apparently had enough of their suspicious glances and decided to leave.

He carefully folded up the paper he had previously been reading while waiting in line, and walked swiftly towards the door, walking as fast as his polished shoes allowed outside and down the street. He didn’t bother sparing their group another glance.

“Shit!” Blaine hissed—causing Puck to start, because while he didn’t know the warbler that well, he was pretty sure that the kid wasn’t one to curse. “We have to follow him! he might be our only lead to Harry! I bet he’s connected with Riddle….why else would he have been hanging around Dalton?”

“Maybe he’s just your typical perv? Has a thing for boys in uniforms” Puck suggested with a smirk though he didn’t really find his comeback all that amusing. Neither did the others by the looks he received…and perhaps it was a little bit insensitive considering their and Harry’s current situation.

“Alright, let’s go….though this isn’t going to end well….I can tell you that now” he relented silently mourning the loss of his awesome almost sub.

The rest of the crew didn’t hesitate to put his reluctant agreement into motion, immediately leaving the line (ignoring the annoyed looks and words of the other customers) and walk—running onto the steadily becoming busier street, scanning it in hopes of seeing where the man had gone.

And they were in luck as Sam gave an excited shout and pointed to their right just in time to see a flash of blond hair disappear around a corner. They didn’t waste any time in following. And follow they did, for the next fifteen minutes in fact, always just barely keeping the guy in sight until finally they rounded a corner only to come up lost.

They stood their desperately looking around in the vain hope of finding their missing mark, taking in the fact that they were now in what looked like Delaware’s abandoned industrial area—once industrious, now vacant buildings lining the streets, only to realize that they had truly come to a dead end.

There was no sign of the man—anywhere.

Puck felt like kicking something in frustration. Sure it may have been goose hunt to begin with, but it was still something….now though…

He could tell by his compatriots faces that they were feeling the same frustrated disappointment that he was. Though in this case it appeared that Blaine was not quite ready to completely admit defeat and give up. Puck had to hand it to the kid, he was dedicated.

“Does anyone have their phone with them?” Blaine asked, still scanning the street as though it would suddenly relent and give him what he wanted.

“Yeah, I do” Sebastian replied fishing out a expensive looking waver thin phone from his back pocket (and no, Puck was not jealous….even if he couldn’t afford to even have a phone), “Shit, the batteries dead though” he admitted after a second.

Blaine’s shoulders drooped in disappointment before he looked to Sam and Puck in question, both boys shook their heads. Puck was pretty sure that Sam was in the same financial shit hole he was in, so he wasn’t all that surprised. Phone plans were expensive damn it!

“Damn it! OK, you guys head back. Find a payphone and call the cops…I’m going to stay here and make sure he doesn’t come back this way” Blaine commanded ignoring the incredulous looks he was getting—mainly from Sebastian.

“Why don’t you go find a payphone, the cops and your parents are more likely to listen to you…..plus is it smart to stay here alone?” Sebastian asked raising an eyebrow in challenge.

Blaine huffed in annoyance, “I can’t leave! Damn it Sebastian. He’s close by….I-I know it! Can you just go and phone someone? I promise I won’t confront anyone if the blond does show up…I just—I can’t right now. Plus I don’t think I’m calm enough to be able to convince them to take us seriously….”

Sebastian studied his face for a moment before relenting, “fine, I’ll go and phone, since at least they know who I am….but why don’t Puck or Sam stay with you? You know, just in case…”

“No! Seriously I’ll be fine. Plus the more of us there are the easier noticed we’d be. No offense, but do you really think that any of us—no matter how jock orientated—are up to defending ourselves against these guys should it come down to it?”Blaine asked before holding his hand up to silence the protest that was about to fall from Sam’s mouth.

“No…seriously Sam I’ll be fine, It will be easier to stay hidden and out of sight, just observing if it’s just me. Safer too, I promise I won’t attract any attention to myself…so no confrontations…OK? Just go back with them and wait for the police to come…please?” Blaine pleaded.

Puck could admit he was marginally impressed with the teen. He could see how his pleading expression and Bambi eyes worked not only on Sam (who he really wasn’t all that surprised they worked on) but on Sebastian as well. He could sense just how hesitant both boys were of doing what Blaine asked but they agreed none-the-less.

Shrugging Puck decided that he wasn’t up for fighting with the kid if he was so adamant about doing things his way; he just hoped that what Blaine said was true.

That he would be fine, that nothing would happen.

Looking back on things his only question was how could they be so stupidly naïve?

Chapter Text


 

"In case of emergency, the exits are here-here-here-here-here-here-here-here-here-here-here - anywhere! Keep your hands and arms inside the carpet! We're….outta here!"—Genie, Aladdin, 1992


 

Harry emptied his mind of anything but his plan. He fell back on the 'training' he had perfected from his years of Dursley treatment to categorize and, not dismiss exactly, but address later; his fear, uncertainty and the rest of his contradicting emotions.

He could deal with them later; later being when he had enacted his hastily thought up plan and escaped. At least he was hoping that the last was the outcome of his actions, he wasn't allowing himself to consider the alternative.

He knew that it was foolish, that in most likelihood he would fail miserably and make his situation that much worse but he didn't know what else he could do. He had tried waiting it out, hoping that the police, Dalton, the Andersons, Blaine…anyone would have realized that he was missing by now and alerted the necessary people. That those people—whoever they were (because in truth, while Harry knew that there were people high up in the British government who were at least aware of his existence—if only because his dubious ties to the underground mob leader Riddle—and who would *hopefully step in should he go missing, he was not entirely sure who these people were) would have done some super crime solving pizzaz to track him done, and more importantly rescue him.

However he had been here almost a week if his guestimates were accurate and he had yet to see any sign of the cavalry arriving, hence why he was getting a bit desperate. His desperation was not helped by the fact that his captor Riddle, was clearly getting rather close in arranging and securing a way out of the country for not only he and his men, but for Harry as well. Harry knew one thing—no matter how insane and fond Riddle seemed of him, that it could switch on a dime. He didn't want to be with the man when that switch finally flipped.

So he was going to take matters into his own hands, and for the past two days, he had been waiting for an opportunity to do just that. It had finally come this afternoon….and while yes, it was stupid and he would most likely regret trying; not trying was no longer an option. Because if he didn't at least attempt to escape then he might as well sit back and admit defeat completely.

Riddle had spent the morning yelling into the phone that he was always carrying, his voice alternating between a hushed almost serpentine hiss and a loud commanding tone that had both Harry and the rest of the man's minions cringing, before he finally lost what little composure he normally had and threw the cell across the room shattering it into a million tiny pieces. The fact that it had cause Harry to start mentally singing Humpty Dumpty in his head was rather alarming to the teen—as it was a clear indicator that Riddle's mental state was at least partially contagious.

Riddle had verbally abused both the blond (Malfoy from what Harry had garnered from various conversations held near his vicinity) and the little fat man (Peter) for a time after that (though he mainly directed his abuse at the latter) before leaving in a huff. Though he had barked at both of the quivering man to watch Cirian until he returned and that it would be on their heads should anything happen to his son.

Harry had no idea where the man had gone, or for how long but he was not about to let this opportunity (no matter how small it may appear) to slip out of his hands. He had waited all of fifty minutes before he had started to grumble about being hungry; taking care to mention in his best 'brat impersonation' how disappointed his 'father' would be should they let him starve to death under their watch.

While Malfoy seemed rather hesitant to believe Harry, it would seem that the ill concealed threats of his complaining to Riddle, coupled with the very real task of having to replace his boss's cell phone had finally won out and he had left (with a rather stern warning—whether to Peter or Harry, Harry wasn't sure—of not trying anything stupid while he was gone). That had been half an hour ago.

Harry had since then, through gritted teeth, fought past the disgust he felt over the next part of his plan in order to pull it off.

He would never be labeled as a genius or even academically inclined, but he had, over the years, become rather adept at people watching. Harry could watch someone and make a surprisingly accurate guess as to their character; including their desires and even their vices when given enough time (it was a necessary skill to survive the type of home environment he had been forced to survive. One had to be aware of their 'keepers' moods to avoid punishment when possible after all).

So he had not missed the way that Peter's eyes seemed to stray to him whenever he thought no one else was watching, nor had he missed the poorly hidden guilt and anxiety that clouded the man like an ill fitting coat. He didn't know the whys or the hows to what he saw there, he just knew that he had to use those emotions to the best of his advantage.

And use he did.

As soon as Malfoy had disappeared to carry out his various tasks, Harry had subtly started to question his remaining prison guard. He had started off with a few innocent questions about Peter himself, slowly imparting small (but useless) bits of sentiment and sympathy for the man and his current position. He doubted that his attempts at manipulation would have worked on any man but the pathetic creature in front of him—one who was so obviously there solely due to their own cowdardly actions, but who despite the abuse and humiliation they willingly put up with, was clearly searching for some type of accolades or acknowledgement.

He had fought not to grimace at the empty praise and admiration he laced his tone and expression with, all while continuing to work on the ever loosening knot that restrained him (it had miraculously started to loosen when he and the chair were knocked to the ground. Miraculous because no one, not even Riddle, had thought to check to ensure the bonds were as secure as before). It was only now that said rope had unwound enough for him to wiggle his chaffed wrists out of their hold that he enacted the rest of his plan.

He held still, waiting just long enough for Peter to come closer—lost in his own story of woe and mistreatment…far too eager to regale the only person who seemed willing to listen to him, before Harry forced his previously stationary body out of the chair directly towards the man.

In all honesty, it worked far better than Harry had reason to hope. His sudden departure from the chair caused Peter to squeak in surprise, stumbling backwards the extra weight of his bulky frame pulling him down. The man fell with a thump, his head snapping back into the cement floor and momentarily stunning him—giving Harry just the opening he needed to run.

And run he did.

Of course he had known that his luck could not, and would not hold. So when, just as he bolted onto the street outside of his makeshift prison he ran directly into the man he had been trying to escape, he shouldn't have been surprised.

And as he was roughly manhandled (dragged, kicking, and biting—because he had tried the screaming bit only to find a rough hand covering his mouth) back into the abandoned warehouse he could acknowledge that he really wasn't. He hadn't truly believed that he would be able to pull it off—to get away. So no, the fact that he had failed, didn't surprise him in the least.

He was however, rather surprised and shocked (to to mention, horrified)—to witness only five minutes later, the sight of his twin brother being dragged in, clasped tightly within the cruel grips of Lucius Malfoy.

-o—

Voldemort wasn't sure who he should torture….er 'educate,' first. You would think that he could trust his idiot employees to be able to understand and carry out a few short directions without completely screwing everything up. You would think, but you would be wrong.

Thankfully for everyone involved (as he would have really lost it otherwise) the 'negotiations' (it really was all about the euphemisms in life—who knew violence had so many alternative representations?) with the Irish visa office had been a relatively quick fix. Not only because he would have been forced to resort to more convincing measures—thus risking drawing the cops' attentions to his activities—but also because he would have lost Cirian.

As it was, even with him returning just in the nick of time, (to see his son attempting to bolt from their temporary 'home') he had nearly lost his son. And he was not a happy man because of it….not at all.

He was not made any happier when he dragged the boy back inside the building to find a nearly unconscious Pettigrew and an absent Lucius—both who he had charged to look after his son's wellbeing.

Oh yes…..there was going to be blood spilled because of their idiocy, believe him on that!

But first; first, he had to show his recaptured son what it meant to break his rules. He had read somewhere that parents should not try and be their child's friends; that they had to show them tough love in order to ensure obedience and respect. Well, he had tried the friendly route with Cirian and that had obviously not worked….

The only option left open was that of discipline. Not that he wanted to physically hurt his son or anything such low life, barbarian thing. No, he knew that he simply had to make a point. One that Cirian would not forget.

It was only luck that provided him with just the opportunity to do so. And surprisingly enough such opportunity arrived with no other then Lucius Malfoy. Originally when Voldmort had entered the building to find the blond missing he had been determined to reward the idiot with a bullet to the head (not that he had dismissed this option entirely), now though….

Well Tom had always been an opportunistic type of man and Lucius just may have saved himself by bringing the perfect solution to demonstrate why it was a bad idea to not listen to your father's rules.

"M-my Lord…." Lucius stammered when he looked away from the struggling boy he was half carrying, half dragging with him; the surprise at seeing his boss glaring back at him with the promise of untold future pain in his gaze.

"Not expecting me back so soon Lucius?" Tom asked mildly—his calm steps moving away from where he had just finished re-securing Cirian's bonds were the only warning sign that all was not well. Lucius forced himself to swallow, his mind immediately connecting Peter's unconscious form, the fact that Voldemort was retying Cirian's rope and his bosses boarding on frosty tone, into the most likely cause. There were no good scenarios that he could come up with to explain all of his observations; it was rather clear that he would have to start making amends….and quickly.

"I-I just stepped out for a m-moment….I found this hoodlum lurking nearby. There was a group of them but he was the only one that stayed back. I believe I recognize him from that school" Lucius provided, thrusting the curly haired teen forward causing the boy to stumble. He was placing all of his hope in the fact that there was someone else present for his master to focus his undeniable instability on. If there was anything that he knew about Tom Marvalo Riddle it was that he was a possessive man….especially when it came to the boy he thought was his son.

And as luck would have it, Lucius short term distractions seemed to work as Tom's furious gaze left his slightly shaky form to zone in on the pale teen pushed in front of him instead. Speaking of which, the boy finally seemed to get his bearings enough to realize just who he was looking at.

"Harry! I knew it! are you okay?" Blaine voice came out a few octaves higher than normal—though he was pretty sure that he could be forgiven given the circumstances. He was after all starting at his tied up kidnapped twin brother, the super villain of the century, and doing so without any way of defending himself or the normally required superpowers that hero's tended to have when dealing with similar events. He really could use super strength, super speed or heck he'd even take being able to shoot fireworks from his fingers at this point.* Sadly, despite closing his eyes and wishing with everything he had, he opened them to find himself still completely human and still, sadly, in the exact same position as before.

Real life sucked.

"Bl-Blaine? What are you doing here?" his brother asked, shock and fear coloring his question.

Sadly, it would seem that Riddle had decided that they had enough time without his input and he moved forward with the speed of a viper, his foot sweeping out and sending Blaine sprawling to the floor. Harry's panicked cry making the impact that much more painful.

"Now Cirian….I did warn you that you should listen to me didn't I?" Riddle asked circling Blaine, though his gaze was pinned on the struggling form of his 'son.' "And didn't I tell you that there would be consequences should you ignore me?" he asked again when it was clear that Harry was not going to reply to his question. Not that Blaine really thought that the man was expecting an answer—he got the feeling that Riddle was simply setting the scene, that nothing that anyone else, even Harry could say, would change what he had planned next.

"I know that you regret not listening, my son….but I wouldn't be a very good parent if I let you get away with your act of disobedience without any consequences…now would I?" Riddle continued his voice a mockery of patience. "Good parents don't go back on their words Cirian. I said you would be punished if you tried to run, and you will. Let this be a lesson…next time perhaps you will think twice before ignoring my warnings"

Blaine felt a spasm of fear take hold of him as the man who had cause his brother so much pain—ruined Harry's childhood, turned away from his brother his smile changing from a gentle condescending one to one of manic glee.

He was going to die. Here and now, in this dingy worn down warehouse, in front of his twin brother, he was going to die.

He didn't bother with trying to run, he knew that he wouldn't and couldn't out run a bullet, so he turned to his brother meeting those green eyes one last time. Doing his best to be calm and send the other half of him as much reassurance as he could muster in the final seconds of his life.

"I'm sorry" he whispered before closing his eyes and stealing himself for the inevitable.

The sound of a gun went off.

-0—

THE END!

*Jokes…..heh heh, sure am funny huh? *

-0-

It was a quiet day in Delaware, OH. Of course, as the newest and greenest cop on the New Castle County Police Department payroll,—it was almost always a quiet day for one constable Kyle Dorn. Not exactly what Kyle had imagined when he first signed up to become one of the brave men sworn to protect the city and its inhabitants.

Of course, his mother had always told him that he was too much of a dreamer—always letting his imagination and hopes of the future get in the way of life's realities. Not that he had listened to her back then, or even now for that matter. Because the truth was, Kyle Dorn knew that he was meant to be something special; to be a part of something big and worthy: Something heroic.

Which may just account for the way the rest of his coworkers saw him; for the jaded and lackluster crew that staffed the core of Delaware's justice system, having such an exuberant and well, frankly, naïve view of the world and their place in it, could be seen as a tad laughable.

Not that Kyle cared what his coworkers thought of him….or at least that was what he told himself when the room fell silent upon his entrance into it, with barely restrained smirks and looks of pity adorning every face. He had never allowed others to dash his dreams as a kid, and he sure as hell wouldn't let them do it to him now as that he was an adult.

If anything their silent ridicule just made him more determined to prove himself…to show them that just because he was the rookie of the team did not give them the right to ignore his ideas or treat him like a newbie.

This outlook on life could also be the reason he was still unfortunately, totally and completely single. Spending one's nights perusing various agencies 'most wanted lists'—memorizing faces and statistics of the world's worst offenders, did not exactly endear him to the opposite sex. Neither did watching and re-watching episodes of 'the mentalist, CSI, NCIS, and five-0 for that matter.

But regardless, Kyle had never been one to lose hope easily and on his third pass around Delaware's industrial division patrol route, his faith and many hours of studying finally paid off.

If he were being honest (which later on when he told the story—it going from spotting the criminal to him single handily wrestling him to the ground and thus saving not only the day but most likely the entire country- he may have shied away from being) he almost overlooked the entire matter.

It was only due to a chance reflection of late afternoon sun off of platinum blond hair that his eyes were even drawn to the pair to begin with. Not to say that his mad detective skills should be so easily dismissed—it was these same skills (hours spent reading wanted lists and such) that helped him recognize just who the blond actually was.

He was understandably a little shocked when his mind supplied the name Lucius Malfoy, the suspected right hand man to London's underground mafia syndicate. The same man who had been reported to have disappeared without a trace in the last few months. The same man who was now having what looked like a rather heated disagreement with a rather small, out of place teen (because come on—one did not expect to see Abercrombie Jr. on this side of town!).

His initial and immediate reaction to such a sight was to pull over and confront the pair however common sense kicked in before he put his reaction into motion and he drove past, pulling off of the main drag onto one of the little side alleys instead.

Immediately he picked up his radio (one that he had only rarely gotten to use and even when he had in the past he had been told, rather sternly at that, not to) and got ready to relay his current circumstances in to main base. (For once he was actually sorry that his assigned partner had gotten a bad case of food poisoning the night before, thus leaving him to ride solo).

"Constable? What seems to be the problem?" the cracked voice he had been hoping to hear sounded out.

And that was all it took for Constable Dorn to open the high pressured flood gate and give the report that would forever change his career.

Chapter Text


 

" I'm sorry I bit you….and pulled your hair…and punched you in the face…." Lilo & Stitch, 2002


 

Sebastian was this close to reaching through the phone line and strangling the dick officer on the other end. Or constable or detective or whatever the fuck he was. He did not need to see the man's face to hear the condescension and complete and utter dismissal in the asshole's tone.

He was starting to think that Blaine really should have been the one to call the police; at least he had a family connection to a possibly missing teen to bring to the table. As it was now, the Delaware police force had no time or interest in the worried observation of some punk, from out of state, teen who thought he recognized a suspicious looking guy. None what-so-ever. If Sebastian wasn't so desperate in his need to find Harry he would have hung up long ago, but at this point he would take whatever he could get if it meant finding his kinda-maybe-possibly boyfriend.

"Uh huh, did you actually witness this uh….suspicious man doing anything illegal? Other than buying a sandwich that is?"

Sebastian bit down on his lip hard enough to draw blood in order to not reply with the retort he wanted to reply with, his restraint being tested even more so when he heard the tell tale sound of a magazine page been flipped. Clearly the officer was not even bothering to paying attention to what he was saying.

"Look sir, I don't think that you understand! A fifteen year old boy is missing—his parent's killer escaped from prison months ago and is believed to have done so specifically because he was after Harry! He is not only a notorious murderer, but has known connections to London's mafia syndicate. The suspicious man—as you so call him- has been seen hanging around the private school that Harry attended these past few months and now that Harry has disappeared, the same man is suddenly spotted here? Where Harry was last seen? Doesn't that warrant at least a secondary glance?" Sebastian demanded his fingers turning white from the grip he had on the payphone they had found. He ignored the tinny female voice that warned him that he only had a few minutes of time left. He really should start carrying around more change—one never knew.

He heard the man on the other end give a bored sigh and start to give the same damn excuse he had been giving for the last ten minutes,

"I'm sorry kid…I get your worried for your friend, but as it stands now we can't do a…."

The guy's answer was cut off and Sebastian heard a murmur of voices in the background—muffled but he was still able to catch a few words.

"Dorn…..d…area…..just called….inves"

Sebastian gave a growl of annoyance that had Sam shuffling a little as though trying to create space between him and the possible loose cannon he was crammed into the phone booth with. Puck had elected to stand outside the phone booth, shooting the blond a weird look when he insisted on joining Sebastian inside it (a look that a defensive Sam had defended with a 'I want to hear!"). Sebastian just ignored both of them at the time, he had been far too worried and anxious about getting a hold of the cops with his new found information…now though, he was wondering if they were just wasting valuable time trying to convince the nonbelievers on the other end.

Maybe their time would be better spent investigating themselves….they shouldn't have left Blaine there on his own….

"Hey kid? You still there?" the officer's voice broke through his brooding thoughts. Sebastian grunted his affirmative, not missing how the man's previous bored and dismissive tone sounded a whole lot more interested now.

"Can you describe the man you saw again? As much detail as you can?"

"Er….yeah" Sebastian agreed, he had already given them the blond's description but if they wanted it again so be it…."Blond—like bleach blond, shoulder length hair, sharp features like he's from nobility or some shit, grey eyes…..tall but not freakishly tall….six feet or so….um dressed like he's from money….uh that's all I can really think of….he's noticeable, stands out" Sebastian finished wishing once again he had paid more attention to what the man looked like instead of just seeing him as a lead to Harry.

"Ok, tell you what. We don't normally do this but one of our guys thinks he may have recognized a guy that sounds a lot like the guy you saw. Where did you say you were calling from again? We will send someone your way to have a look around, he'll be there in five to ten….don't get your hopes up or anything, it's probably nothing but…"

Sebastian felt the air in his lungs whoosh out in relief. He didn't even bother listening to the rest of the man's speech just agreeing in order to speed things along. All he wanted was for the guy to shut up and get here. Get here and find Harry. That's it; all he wanted.

He didn't even care about how Harry had just left without telling him, they could deal with all that shit later, later when Harry was back here, in front of him and safe.

Just as long as he was safe.

Please Lord* let him be safe.

-o—

The bang that rang out, reverberating off of the cement walls, was far louder then Blaine had expected—definitely louder than the movies made it seem. It was only after that random observation passed through his mind did he realize that for him to be thinking it, he had too still be alive. Something that, moments before, he had not counted on being for much longer.

It took an embarrassingly long time for him to realize that not only was he still alive, but he wasn't feeling like he had just been shot (to be fair it wasn't like he had ever been shot before so he wasn't exactly sure just how it felt when one was shot; though he was pretty sure there would be a lot more pain and blood involved). His next reaction was to snap his head over to where Harry had been standing, pushed towards Malfoy when Riddle had begun his seriously creepy circling action—suddenly terrified that it was his brother instead of himself that had been the victim (even if common sense told him the gun that Riddle had been holding had been directed directly at himself not Harry; fear and shock made common sense not so sensical).

It was only when he saw his pale, slacked faced (but perfectly fine and not bleeding to death) brother staring aghast to the right of Blaine that he felt like he could once again breath. And it was a few seconds after that before Blaine realized that there was a man, dressed in a dark blue uniform, a freshly holstered gun at his waist, standing in front of him trying to ask him something. When he dragged his eye line away from his brother (instinctively not allowing himself to look over his shoulder to what had his brothers horrified gaze. He just knew that whatever it was—Riddle had been standing there seconds ago—it would not be pretty) he realized the man was asking him if he was okay.

To tell the truth, Blaine really didn't think that he was.

The next hour…or maybe it was three or four, he really wasn't sure, passed in a blur of medics, police officers, concerned/angry parents, and scoldings/hugs all around. At some point Sebastian, Puck and Sam appeared on the scene—or maybe they had been there the whole time—and Blaine was vaguely aware of Sam gluing himself to his side (something that he found he was really very okay with).

In the days that would follow the 'shoot out' (as they would later label it) Blaine came to learn that it was because of Sebastian's call and an amazing amount of luck that help arrived in the form of three officers (two seniors and a junior who was actually the one to have coincidently spotted and recognized Lucius Malfoy). It was because of the Junior (who was apparently trigger happy) that Riddle, aka: Voldemort, aka: Brittan's most notorious criminal was now lying cold in a pine box—with no one to morn that fact. Lucius and Pettigrew apparently were more than happy to try and make plea deals, and were waiting to be shipped back to Britain to stand their own trial in multitudes of acts ranging from: kidnapping, extortion, murder and blackmail (to just name a few). The trials would likely take months to years to be resolved.

Blaine didn't care, he was just happy that they were finally far away from Dalton and his brother.

In the days that would follow he and Harry would finally talk. Try to start a healing process that would also take months to possibly years to complete; but the important part was that they were working on it. The key fact of that statement was that they were both still here to do so.

But right now, at this very second, the many faults and factors that had resulted in this almost devastatingly tragic set of events did not matter. They did not factor into the tight hug that Blaine found himself wrapped in. The glassy, wetness in both of their eyes at the moment was perfectly excused in the here and now; this was no time for resentment, anger or even embarrassment.

That could wait until tomorrow. The talks, the yelling, the explanations, the apologies

They would take time….but for once they had it.

And that made all the difference.

Chapter Text


 

I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now." — Edna Mode, The incredibles


 

It was so stereotypical. The fact that the previously grey, drizzly day suddenly broke to reveal the first rays of bright cheerful sun, just as Harry exited the front doors of Windsor Laurel Center for the first time in 3 months, seemed almost set up; like it was perfectly reflecting his current mood.

A mood that was only elevated by the sight of Blaine's recently purchased green Toyota, Blaine included, waiting to pick him up and drive him home. Home; a word that he was still a little hesitant to use to describe the Anderson's not so humble abode, but one that he was getting more comfortable with. Certainly more comfortable using it to describe the Anderson's residence then the Dursley's two story or even the large, all-amenities-included, addictions center he had just exited.

He was really looking forward to leaving Windsor behind—though to be fair, the place had been more then comfortable, the staff extremely helpful and really everything that the brochures had promised. It had been in truth, exactly what Harry had needed and despite not wanting to admit it, they had helped him a lot.

So it wasn't as though he really resented or disliked the place (not like he did the Dursleys) but he was still more than ready to return to the people and family he had gone to Windsor for in the first place.

If he had, had any doubts or second thoughts about agreeing to be admitted as an inpatient with focus on coping and alcohol when the after math of Riddle and his abduction had finally settled, his talk with Sebastian and the look on his twin's face had quickly silenced them. He may never have been able to admit that he had a problem to himself but he was strong enough to do so for them.

And now that he was leaving, 90 days completely sober, therapized to the eyeballs and issues as resolved as he could hope (given the time) he was glad that he had.

He knew that regardless of how 'healed' he was that it wouldn't be a simple walk in the park to retain his new balance but he also knew that with Blaine's….and Sebastian's help, he could do it. He would do it. So yes, he was excited to go home.

"Hey! How are you! It's so great to see you! You ready to go home?! Where are your bags?!" Blaine's excited avalanche of questions broke his mental reflections—bringing his already present smile up a few kilowatts.

After everything that had happened, he was relieved to see that Blaine was still the Blaine he remembered—enthusiasm, bounciness and all.

"Whoa slow down!" he laughed holding up his hands in defense his own returning smile softening the comment, "Only have the one bag and I'm good, Signed all the release forms so good to go when you are…"

"Great! Oh it's so great to see you Harry! I've missed you so much! Everyone has-and by everyone I mean especially Sebastian- been asking me non-stop when you are getting back home. Though, now that I think about it he stopped pestering me a few days ago…." Blaine's excited babble trailed off as a perplexed look crept onto his face instead.

Harry bit back a secretive grin, knowing exactly why Sebastian had finally stopped bothering his brother for information. It most likely had a lot to do with the fact that Harry had used his newly instated phone privileges (given the last week of treatment) to call not only Blaine but Sebastian and talk to him, himself. It was amazing (and a little scary) to realize just how much better he felt after having spoken with the tall brunet.

Harry had finally had to admit to himself that perhaps whatever it was that he had with Sebastian could be more than a passing fling….

That realization both excited and terrified him.

"Anyhow" Blaine shook his head apparently dismissing wherever his wondering had taken him, "what I am trying to say is that I am really happy your back"

Harry would normally have made light of his brothers comment but the sudden seriousness in Blaine's voice stopped him. "I'm really glad too" he said instead.

There was a moment of silence—though not awkward for once—before Harry finally broke it with a grin, releasing some of the solemnity of the moment.

"Sooooo…how are things with you? How's school been going? Has Cooper driven you crazy yet (the older Anderson brother had flown out and stayed for the first few weeks following everything—and while Harry acknowledged the fact that Cooper could be a bit much, he actually found his obnoxiousness amusing. It helped that he could recognize the obvious, if not well displayed, love that Cooper had for Blaine)…..and how's Sam?"

And yes he did just slip that last sneak question in…..

"We're g-good, I mean he's good….I mean…" Harry snickered at Blaine's flustered answer. Not missing the fact that he had zoned in on only one of the enquiries. He guessed that was telling of where his brother's current priorities were….

He was happy to realize that unlike when Blaine was fixated on Kurt, Harry didn't get the same uneasy feeling every time his brother mentioned the newest New Directioner in his life (and Blaine mentioned the blond singer A LOT. Subtleness had never been his twin's strong point). He had a good feel about Sam Evans, though to be truthful he was pretty sure that came from the fact that the goofy blond didn't have a bad or selfish bone in his body-definitely a step up from Hummel.

Though so far Blaine had maintained the line of 'just friends.' He didn't know if his brother was being purposefully blind or simply oblivious but he figured that with the way that Sam had looked at his brother that day, the way that the blond had latched onto him after Malfoy's and Pettigrew's arrests, that they would figure it out. No matter how long it took them.

And yes he recognized the semi-parallel to his own situation with Sebastian. They too would work things out—for once he was willing to risk it. He had a feeling that maybe, just maybe it could be worth that risk.

Because despite everything; he was now in a much happier place. Not because of his own newfound sobriety, or the fact that he was given the chance to resume his school work where he had left off and quite possibly graduate with the rest of his classmates, but because of the people now in his life.

People who while not perfect (much like himself) genuinely cared for him.

And that made all the difference.

THE END.