One of the very first memory Blaine has of himself is him shoveling snow from the driveway of his family home in Westerville. His father was rich enough that he didn't need to perform the task himself of course, so it wasn't a bonding moment with him, but Mr. Turner, their groundskeeper and general handyman, would always let Blaine and Cooper help him. The man had basically came with the house when grandfather Byron had bought it after the war, and he had seen three generations of Andersons being born and raised among those sturdy walls. He was somehow part of the family as much as a groundskeeper could be in a family such as Blaine's, in some sort of turn-of-the-century way, but Blaine loved him.
He must have been four or five at the time, so he could do very little, but Mr. Turner had find him a shovel that was shorter and smaller than normal, and Blaine would follow him around, basically shoveling where the man had already cleaned. More than the job itself, which Blaine did only because he always wanted to do what his older brother did, Blaine liked to listen to the old man speaking about anything. His father had never liked children much – not that he didn't love his sons, he just didn't feel comfortable dealing with them – and the seed of his mother chronic sadness was already there when Blaine was a kid, so Blaine was not used to people having real conversations with him.
One of the things Mr. Turner said more often was that snow had no memory. “It keeps track of your steps, but only for a while,” he would explain. “Then, it either melts or falls again, and it's like you were never even there.”
More than thirty years later, as he finds himself shoveling someone else's driveway to avoid facing a reality he's not ready for yet, as he's been doing for the past few days, he wishes time worked the same way. It would be nice if minutes and hours kept track of you only temporarily, if your actions melted through the years, leaving no traces at all. A life without any real consequences. This way, that night of fifteen years ago, a night of which he remembered so little that it took a blood test to jog his memory, would have no meaning at all now.
The thing that hits him the most – that is, the thing that deep down, no matter how much he denies it, is making him angrier – is that that particular night was so inconsequential that it did have no meaning for fifteen years. And it's overly cruel that it found one so crashing now. Unexpected fatherhood he could have dealt with, with some difficulty maybe, but he could have.
Besides, at this point, his involvement as a father in Leo's life would have been pretty marginal, a mere source of genetic information. Suddenly the fact that they look so similar would have made sense in a way that wouldn't have destroyed him from within. He would have kept this secret from everybody, probably cherished it. A son he didn't know he had, who was well cared for and whom he could see and interact with whenever he wanted. A son he had actually seen growing up without knowing the truth.
Would it have hurt knowing that Mia didn't tell him she got pregnant? Probably, at first. But he would have understood her – Hell, he understands her even now. That night was fun, but they were careless. She was with Maddox at the time, and didn't know Blaine that well. What was she supposed to do? Call a man she had met for a couple of hours while intoxicated and tell him she was pregnant with his child? Besides, the baby could be Maddox's as much as Blaine's, and she opted for the safest choice that wouldn't ruin her relationship. Or maybe she didn't want to keep the baby either way, so what was the point of going through the whole process of reaching out to a perfect stranger to tell him?
It would have hurt, but not like this.
They say everything happens for a reason, but Blaine doesn't see the reason of finding out Leo is his son after they've been in a relationship for almost a year. He can't wrap his head around it, unless he sees it as a punishment. There's a voice in the back of his head – it used to only whisper and now it screams – that says this new revelation doesn't add anything to his already reprehensible behavior because he shouldn't have touched the kid anyway, either he was his son or not.
So, this is punishment for the terrible mistake he has already made. But what about Leo? Is he being punished too for something he has close to no responsibility over? He was a kid – he still is – when they got together, he wasn't supposed to know what was best for him.
Then, it hits him. He told Leo they were related.
The nurse gave Blaine the revelation together with the blood test results, and Blaine went straight to tell Leo. Honestly, he doesn't really know what else he could have done. He didn't want to lie to the kid. And keep the secret was not an option unless he planned to leave him without an explanation. Leo would have been heartbroken anyway. There was literally nothing else he could do, but that's on him too. He put that burden on him.
It's guilt piling up on guilt, and he can't shovel that.
“Are you still thinking about it?” Leo tries to sound nonchalant, but his voice is strained. He's been trying to keep himself together since that heart-wrenching scene at the hotel. He was crying so hard and so desperately, Blaine thought he was going to pass out. He's trying to prove to Blaine that he can deal with this, as if they could go on like nothing happened if he really could.
“You shouldn't be here,” Blaine says.
“Why?” Leo perches himself on the white fence, like a nightmare at the end of his bed, and Blaine forces himself not to look up at his face. “It's my backyard.”
“You know why,” Blaine grumbles. Despite everything, Leo still manages to wear his patience thin. Blaine knows he can't expect Leo to process the situation the same way he does, but he's never got any time to deal with him when his adolescence takes over his brain.
“There was a time we could actually be in the same room without jumping on each other,” Leo goes on, speaking as if Blaine were pouting for no reason at all.
“There was never such a time, kiddo,” Blaine sighs, looking around. It feels like he's been out here just a few of minutes, but he has already cleaned out half a nice path to the backdoor. “There was only a time when doing that had no consequences.”
Leo shrugs. “It still doesn't.”
This time Blaine turns towards him and gives him a meaningful look.
At least, Leo has the decency to blush and look down. Embarrassment, tho, quickly turns into anger due to the incredible fluidity of his teen emotions. “You know, last week we were worried that I could have an STD. Now we know for sure I'm clean and instead of celebrate, we're moping around,” he spits out, jumping off the fence. “Suddenly us being related is more important than me having a potentially lethal disease?”
Yes, in some way it is.
“That's not what I said,” he sighs, sticking the shovel in a pile of snow.
“But it is what you think,” Leo closes his hands in fists at his sides. Anger radiates from him in waves now and Blaine doesn't know if he can feel it because he knows him so well or because he's so on edge lately. “You'd rather have me sick, now.”
“I don't want you sick, Leo, but I don't want you as you are now either!”
Blaine knows he shouldn't have said that – at least not that way – the moment the last word leaves his mouth, but it's the look of pure betrayal in Leo's suddenly big eyes that gives him the confirmation. “So, this situation sucks for both of us but I am the problem?” He cries out, his voice finally cracking.
“Don't twist my words—and for the love of God, lower your voice!”
“Why?” Leo says, even louder. “If this is so much more important than anything else, then we should tell the truth. Everybody should know it!”
Blaine grabs him by his arm and half drags him half pushes him towards the store shed, a tiny wooden structure that stands miserably in a corner of the backyard. He found the shovel in there, together with years of David's new hobbies that became old ones too quickly. “Shut up!” He throws Leo inside so hard that the kid ends up crashing against a shelving unit. Cans of paints and tools are still falling when Blaine turns around after closing the door. Leo is on the ground, wincing. “Have you gone insane? Your parents are inside the house! Your fucking neighbors could have heard you!”
“So what?” Leo growls, standing up.
“You know, one thing is being upset about all this, another thing is being fucking stupid!” Blaine is so mad that he can't stop himself from pushing him again, so Leo ends up on the ground again.
“Fuck off, Anderson!”
“I can't believe you don't understand the seriousness of the situation,” Blaine keeps barking. The door of the shed wouldn't probably be enough to keep their secret if someone were really listening right now, but he needs to scream too now, and that seems the only place he could do it. “Even with all your fucking stubbornness you can't possibly fail to grasp it!”
“I'm not stupid, Blaine!” Leo stands up and his voice seems to roar for a moment, all that anger that's always bottled up in his tiny body coming out all together. “I just don't care!”
“Well, you should!” Even the idea of having this conversation makes him sick to his stomach. It's pointless – it won't change a thing – and it forces him to say aloud things he doesn't even want to think. “This, this right here, us, that's not possible!”
“We were never possible, Blaine! And yet, here we are!”
The kid is weary, tired of repeating the same things to him over and over again, tired of fighting for something he so desperately wants and Blaine can't give to him. Except that, so far, there was a tiny chance, a sparkle of possibility – in five years, when you'll be of age, maybe after college – now there's nothing. Leo's blood can't change with time. It will always be Blaine's.
“It's different! How can you not see that?”
Leo takes a step forward, and Blaine wishes he could step back, but the truth is that there's a force at work between them, and it's like a magnet, always pulling one towards the other. “It's only different if you want to see it that way,” Leo says.
“I'm your father, Leo!” Blaine cries out, shocked. Since they found out, he only said it aloud a few times and he doesn't remember Leo ever saying it. Maybe this is their mistake, they should say it more, fight through the shivers those words bring to them. “I'm your father.”
“No!” Leo throws himself at him and places a hand over his mouth, his body slams against him, and instead of pushing him away, Blaine adapts to him, welcomes him in his arms. It's a constant fight between the imperative of keeping him at a distance and the need to touch him. “You're not! You just provided the genetic material that made me how I am! That's it!”
“It's enough,” Blaine insists against Leo's fingers.
“It's not,” Leo says, and he stares so intently at him, with such determination in his eyes, that Blaine would believe him if he was just a little less lucid than he is. He got used to always be aware of what he's doing because Leo is not. Leo just follows his primal needs, and what he thinks he needs is Blaine. So now that Blaine would like to forget himself, he can't. Now more than ever he needs to do the right thing, because Leo most certainly won't. “Maybe my biological mother had another kid after me and she kept that. Blaine, I could have a stepsister somewhere right now. And I could meet her. And I could fuck her. And I wouldn't care because I didn't grow up with her.”
“It's different,” Blaine says again, his voice lower and tired now.
“No, it's not,” Leo says. “It's really not, 'cause if you're my father just because of genetics, then David and Kurt aren't for the same reason.”
Blaine closes his eyes and tries to find the strength to break this embrace. “You're making no sense,” he spits out. He wills it to sound mean, but it comes out shaky. He pushes Leo away again, forces himself to let go and him to step back. “This is wrong, and you know it.”
“Don't you dare!” Leo hisses and pushes him back. He pushes him back so hard that Blaine slams against the wooden wall of the shed. He doesn't know where Leo's strength is coming from, but for a moment everything around them shakes. “This isn't wrong! We're not wrong!”
“Leo,” Blaine begs, but he lost already.
“Shut up!” Leo screams so hard that his voice makes Blaine cringe. It's Leo's stubbornness which melts into desperation that scares him, because it's blind and it can become reckless. Leo's lips crash against Blaine's and at first it's not a kiss, it's just a bite. Frustrated, scared, hungry. Blaine arms close around Leo's waist, his fingers dig in his hips. He feels wrong, this kid, but he also feels like home.
“We're not wrong,” Leo says again, in a whisper.
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
His lips brush Blaine's sweetly now, inviting. It'd be easy if this was just a fling, a whim. Blaine could leave and never return, and everything would be fine, if not right away, along the road. But he loves the kid – God help him – he loves him. So he can't run, but he can't stay. He's trapped, and Leo along with him.
“I'm still me and you're still you,” Leo kisses him, and it's a goofy, childish kiss.
He's trying to sail this wreck they are because Blaine dropped the helm. But he's far too young to fight such a storm alone. Blaine must stay with him at least for the moment, at least in this moment, and bring him back ashore.
He gives himself a few minutes of peace. He pulls Leo to himself, holds him so tight that he probably hurts him but Leo doesn't complain. The kid throws his arms around his neck and disappears into his arms. He's been here with him so little and he already smells like them. If Blaine could stop time, he would do it now, after they screamed at each other and before their bodies reject what they're so desperately keeping together, in this brief perfect moment.
Then, it happens. Sometimes it's him, sometimes it's Leo, but it's always violent.
Blaine feels the shiver run along Leo's spine as if it was his own. Leo pushes himself away from him, cringing at the memories flashing before his eyes, twisting in his mind. They always come, the images of the two of them together, and they leave a sour taste in their mouth. Look, look at what we have done. Leo bends over and retches hard. It's his body rebelling to what his heart wants. A dissonance that is slowly tearing him apart from the inside.
Blaine leaves him be for a while, knowing that touching him now will only makes things worse. He waits patiently, forcing himself to look at him. He needs to see it, to remember what he's doing to him and to himself. Only when Leo seems to have nothing left to give, he gets closer and pulls him away and into his arms again. They don't say anything anymore. There's nothing to say.
At some point they will have to stand up and get out, make new traces in the snow.
Until then, they can stay e pretend for a while the old ones have never been made.