Title: Some Ghosts
Characters: Blaine Anderson, Emma Pillsbury
Word Count: ~1640
Summary: Blaine's parents aren't abusive. They're just not around.
Emma hands out the forms at a meeting early in the year, starts encouraging the seniors to fill out applications early, get their parents involved in the process, start their research.
She wants the packets back by the beginning of October, signed by your parents so that they’re aware of what applying to college (or enlisting in the military, going straight into the work force) involves.
Blaine slips the packet into his desk drawer and forgets about it. His parents haven’t even been home since early August. He doesn’t know where they are, to be honest.
He sees them for three days in the middle of September. They come home between a work trip to California and a three month vacation across Europe.
He’s not invited.
He never is. They leave him money for food and the car, tell him Celia will be around if he needs anything.
Cooper’s only a phone call away, anyway. But don’t bother your brother, he’s got a job and work and that pretty girl he’s been seeing.
You’ll be fine, right, Blaine?
They don’t tell him when they’ll be back.
He doesn’t particularly care.
He and Kurt used to take advantage of the empty house enough times that the quiet and the emptiness and the nagging loneliness seemed less.
It was easier to forget when he was safe in Kurt’s arms, when they curled on the couch, in front of the fire when it was colder, in his bed.
Kurt never asked where they were.
Just held Blaine more closely, pretended he doesn’t hear the quiet sobs.
Kurt’s not here this year.
But Blaine still is.
- - - - -
Emma calls him into her office in the middle of October. She shows up at the door to his history class, pulls Mr. Schuester aside, whispers in his ear. Blaine wonders briefly if it’s something about the baby that’s on the way, the house, their marriage.
He doesn’t expect Mr. Schuester to tap him on the shoulder, tell him quietly that Ms. Pillsbury needs to see him. He’s excused from class.
He slips his notebook into his bag, slings it over his shoulder, follws her quietly through the halls and into her office.
He’s been here once or twice, but never like this.
She shuts the door behind them, gestures for Blaine to sit down as she takes the seat behind her desk.
“Would you like something to drink, Blaine? Tea? I think I have some instant coffee in here?”
“I’m fine,” Blaine says quietly, watching as she nervously straightens the papers on her desk, sets the pens in her pencil cup evenly. “Ms. Pillsbury, did I-did I do something wrong?”
She sighs, and Blaine’s not sure what to make of any of this.
He wracks his brain quickly, trying to remember what rule he broke, what test he failed, what the possible reason for this meeting is.
He comes up with nothing.
He looks up at Emma expectantly.
“Blaine, you remember that assembly at the beginning of the year? About college and making decisions and what you needed to do?”
He nods, because he does.
And suddenly, he thinks he knows what this is about.
“I handed out some forms that your parents needed to sign. I asked you to have them back to me by the end of September at the latest.”
Blaine remembers the forms, knows exactly which drawer they’re sitting in in his desk.
“Blaine, you never returned yours.”
“I forgot,” Blaine says weakly, staring at his shoes, refusing to meet her eyes. “I’ll get them to sign it tonight, bring it in tomorrow.”
He can forge his dad’s signature, make up something for his mother’s. He’ll get Celia to sign it instead.
He doesn’t think it’s going to work quite that easily. Emma’s still watching him carefully, choosing her words before she speaks.
“Blaine, your parents never came to see you in West Side Story, did they?” she asks quietly, watching his face for his reaction.
“They had work stuff that weekend.”
“They didn’t come to Sectionals. Regionals. Last year’s Nationals. I don’t remember seeing them the night you were in the emergency room for your eye-“
“You were there?” Blaine asks, finally looking up. He doesn’t remember much from that night, just pain and terror and Kurt’s hand in his as they washed his eyes from the rock salt, discussed surgery, called Cooper for consent.
“Finn called Mr. Schuester as soon as it happened. We were both there that night, Blaine,” she says quietly, fixing him with a stare that feels too much like pity, and he drops his head again. “But your parents weren’t.”
He doesn’t answer. He can’t.
He has nothing to say to that.
“Mr. Hummel took you for your surgery, brought you home, watched you. Who took you for your follow up appointments, Blaine?”
It isn’t a rhetorical question.
“My brother came around a few times. Kurt took me. It’s not a big dea-“
“Blaine, your parents aren’t home, are they?”
He thinks about lying, bluffing, hiding the truth.
One look at her face, and he can’t.
So he shrugs.
He doesn’t trust his voice.
“Blaine, where are your parents?”
“Out,” she repeats, the word short and clipped. She stands up, walks to the chair next ot his, sits down and rests a hand on his knee. “Blaine-“
“They’re away. Vacation. Work. I don’t really know this time.”
I don’t really care.
“Blaine, just how long have your parents been away?”
“A couple weeks.”
“A couple weeks.”
“Maybe more than a couple.”
Everything’s out in the open now, and Blaine can’t look at her anymore. Can’t see the pity or the fear or the sadness there. Doesn’t really want to know the gravity of this big reveal.
He’s seventeen, after all.
Isn’t he old enough to make decisions on his own?
“’M sorry,” he mumbles, but he isn’t.
He’s not sorry, he’s not upset.
He just is, and he’s used to it.
Emma watches him for a moment longer, removes her hand from his knee and goes back behind her desk, sits down slowly.
“Blaine, if you’ve been living at home alone-if your parents haven’t been around-Blaine, I think we should-I think maybe we should get the authorities-“
His head shoots up, and he gapes at her in horror.
Child Protective Services.
Social workers and police officers and foster homes and what?
His parents aren’t abusive. They don’t neglect him, they don’t hurt him, they give him everything he could ever want.
They’re just not there.
“They don’t hit me or anything like that,” he says, shaking his head, trying to plead with her. “Please, Ms. Pillsbury, I don’t-it’s fine, I mean-I’m used to it. It’s been like this forever anyway. I don’t really care.”
“You shouldn’t have to decide whether or not you care, Blaine,” she says sadly, and he thinks he might see genuine care in her eyes, not pity or sadness.
He’s not sure how to deal with that.
“It’s only a few months anyway. And I’ve got Kurt, and Mr. Hummel lets me come round for dinner on the weekends, and he’s really great, he really-“
“Kurt told him.”
“How long has it been like this, Blaine? How long have they been-have they been disappearing like this?”
“Since I came out,” Blaine whispers, and the truth hangs heavy between them.
It’s really since he was released from the hospital, since the dance and the night and the weekend that changed everything.
Celia drove him home after his discharge, took care of him, tucked him into bed and fed him and kept his painkillers on schedule, took him to therapy and appointments and cast removals.
His parents were in Cabo the entire time he recovered.
He hasn’t really thought about it in years.
The last time his family spent time together was before Blaine was openly gay.
Before his father stopped caring about him.
And his mother went along with it.
He meets Emma’s eyes, shrugs his shoulders.
“My dad’s not a big fan of the fact that I like boys. That I love Kurt,” he says simply, and suddenly, he’s crying.
He doesn’t even know why.
He’s not particularly sad about any of it.
It just is.
It’s his life, and he’s dealt with it.
He ends up crying with his head in his hands while Emma hands him tissues for a good ten minutes before he finally settles.
She’s sitting next to him again.
“Blaine, I really think we should tell someone that-“
“It’s not going to change anything,” he whispers quietly, wiping at his eyes, looking at her. “My dad’s still going to be my dad. There’s not much point fighting that right now. The only thing that will happen is that I’ll get shipped off to some foster home for the next four months, or fight a judge for legal emancipation or something. It’s not worth it at this point.”
“But don’t you get-“
“Lonely? Sad? Tired? Sometimes. But Mr. Hummel’s been really great this year, and Kurt and I Skype all the time. It’s not perfect, Ms. Pillsbury. But it’s my life.”
He shrugs, standing up, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
“It’s always been this way, long as I can remember. I turned out okay, though, I think?”
He leaves her sitting stunned in her office. She watches him walk down the hallway, retreats to her desk and scribbles several notes for later, reminds herself to talk to Will and Figgins, see if maybe Sue or Shannon has something to help her.
“You turned out wonderfully, Blaine,” she whispers quietly when she knows he’s out of earshot, down the hall and gone. “Despite all that, you turned out wonderfully.”