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Connection (1/5 + Epilogue)

Glee: Slo-Mo
Title: Connection
Author: devonwood
Word Count: 35,100
Rating: R
Warnings: Sex. Mentions of homophobia, off-screen violence, and sexual assault relating to canon events between Kurt and Karofsky in NBK, as well as Blaine at Sadie Hawkins.

The full header and links to other chapters can be found in the Masterpost.

Chapter One

Two weeks later

Blaine jolts awake at precisely five-thirty a.m. to the sound of “Love is the Drug” blaring from his iPhone’s speakers, and, like he does every morning, he rubs the sleep crust from his eyes, rolls onto his side, grabs his phone, and opens the Tumblr app to see what happened in the fandom while he was asleep. Being a high school boy living in the Eastern Standard Timezone means he misses a lot of crucial Sing-related information that happens while the cast and crew in Los Angeles are wide awake and, in most cases, still filming, and he doesn’t have a moderately successful blog in a very specific subset of the fandom by missing important updates about his faves.

Blaine hadn’t set out to have a moderately successful blog at all, but the pilot of Sing had drawn him in like a moth to a flickering porch light. There may have only been three boys in his eighth grade choir class when it first aired--most of them dropping like flies once singing was declared “uncool,” and, in most instances, “fruity”--but Sing was an instant hit with people around the globe from all backgrounds and high school social classes. At first, Blaine thought it was just a satirical and absurdist version of the reality he faced every day as a student also involved in the Midwestern show choir circuit. But it wasn’t until freshman year, Blaine’s voice cracking in rehearsals and his heart full to the brim with feelings for a sophomore drama club student, that Chase’s tearful coming out story to his father really cemented Blaine’s love for the quirky show.

With his increased, almost obsessive, interest in Sing came the frustration that his friends--first at his old high school and then at Dalton--didn’t watch the show the same way he did (Nick couldn’t even name all of Chase’s few-but-beautiful solos, when those were clearly the best part of any episode). The Warblers were supportive of his interests in an almost manic yet robotic way, but Blaine wanted to interact with other people who felt things because of the show. Which is how he ended up posting gifs from his “Emotional” folder every Tuesday night at nine pm along with everyone else on Tumblr. He’s still not sure how his silly little drabbles posted right after the episodes and AU ideas and occasional bowtie appreciation posts warrant over a thousand followers, but he’s happy they all decided to stick around and send him emotional Chevon messages every once in awhile.

Blaine thumbs over to his inbox, answering the three questions about his reaction to recent Chevon speculation, before scrolling back a couple hours through his dash. He doesn’t see any spoilers or behind the scenes photos that are particularly riot-worthy, but he places a new photoset comparison of Chase in season one to season four in his queue to be reblogged later. One of Blaine’s favorite smut authors has posted a new drabble about Chase and Devon dabbling in a bit of phone sex, though, and Blaine gasps, rolling over onto his back and opening the link in Safari so it doesn’t crash the Tumblr app. It’s mind-meltingly hot, just as he knew it would be, though at barely six in the morning he doesn’t have the time or desire for anything other than lightly scratching at the hair on his lower belly while he uses his other hand to reblog with fanboying in the tags.

When a crash from the kitchen startles Blaine out of his Tumblr-induced coma, he checks the time on his phone. Six-thirty a.m. He’s not sure how an entire hour went by when it feels like he’s only been awake for five minutes, but Blaine groans and flings off his bedspread in a dramatic fashion. He’ll have to settle for an express gel to make up for lost time, but reading that fic before starting his day was worth the few stray hairs that will poke out of their hold by Warblers rehearsal. The Windsor knot of his red and blue striped tie sits firmly at the base of Blaine’s throat, and his Dalton blazer slides over his shoulders just as his mother hollers up the stairs to hurry along, t’otoy.

Blaine doesn't think about Sing again until lunch, his morning full with choreography for Sectionals ("It's step-step-slide, Thad, not step-slide-step!") and new harmony arrangements to memorize, because while Sing is a major part of Blaine's life, he's careful to keep his worlds separate. Of course, it doesn't always happen--sometimes Blaine will blog about show choir competitions or the itchiness of private school uniforms in un-capitalized and un-punctuated text posts, and sometimes he will jot the first few lines of a Chevon barista meet-cute AU in the margins of his Pre-Calculus notebook. However, while Blaine's Warbler friends are aware that Blaine has a blog and that it is "just a silly thing about Sing, guys, you don't want to follow me, trust me," they know neither the extent nor the url, and Blaine prefers to keep it that way.

The dining room is full by the time Blaine’s English class lets out, but as always, he has a seat saved at the Warblers’ lunch table. It’s a strange feeling, having a guaranteed seat, one that Blaine still isn’t used to after almost a year at Dalton. At his old school, Blaine’s goal was making it through lunch with his show choir friends without hearing someone snicker behind his back.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” Blaine says, sitting down once Trent removes his notebooks from the empty chair before returning to look at his textbook. Blaine pulls a Tupperware container of chicken caesar salad from his messenger bag, placing it on the table before popping a crouton into his mouth. While he chews, he cuts his lettuce into smaller pieces with his knife and fork.

“Blaine,” David says, leaning forward to catch Blaine’s attention from the other end of the table, “while your suggestion of songs traditionally done by female artists is definitely a good one, and one that will surprise and impact the judges, we’re not sure that the applicable songs in our repertoire are polished enough for Sectionals. We think those would be a better fit at Regionals, once we have had months to practice.”

Blaine chews, swallows, takes a moment to sit up straighter. “Very well, then. Though,” he adds, smiling, “let it go on the record that I will be campaigning for a P!nk song in eight part harmony.”

“Let’s get through Sectionals first,” Wes suggests. “We still haven’t finalized decisions on the set, and it’s only a week away. The Warblers haven’t been this unprepared for a competition since 1974, when the fire that burned down the South Hall only left three days to prepare for Regionals in a singed common room.”

As the other Warblers politely argue the order of their Sectionals set list for the third time in as many days, Blaine sneaks his iPhone under the table and cradles his head in his hand so he can see the screen. His dashboard is still fairly calm, though most of the people Blaine follows are either in school or asleep now, anyway. He's not sure why he even bothers checking, but it's become his surreptitious lunchtime ritual. Blaine does notice that his little notifications tab is lit up, revealing that he has a new message since he last checked this morning.




sparklingtheaterofexcess asked:

Hello, partfalseparttrue. I don’t think we’ve ever interacted and I don’t actually follow you, so now that I’m typing this it seems a little more rude and crazier than I’d intended, but I found your url in an old beta post on the Chase_Devon Livejournal Community, and I wanted to see if you were still available as a beta for the Chevon Big Bang? I’ve never written anything before and decided to put the cart before the horse and start with a twenty-five thousand word magnum opus about Chase and Devon falling back in love. Besides the fact that I’ve already written more words than I did for my entire Sophomore year English class and furthermore am woefully overwhelmed, I have no idea how this whole big bang process works.

Would you mind taking a look at what I have so far to let me know if you’re interested? Thank you, I’d really appreciate it.




Blaine raises his eyebrows. He’s heard of sparklingtheaterofexcess, but doesn’t follow him either, though he does follow Fashion of Sing for when they find bits and pieces of Devon’s stellar wardrobe. Their paths don’t cross often--Blaine isn’t into reading meta that makes him feel negatively about Sing, and he’s never seen sparklingtheaterofexcess reblog one of his fics or talk to the acquaintances Blaine’s made online. Blaine doesn’t really know the blogger he’s dealing with. If he were home, he’d do a bit of blog-stalking, but Tumblr mobile doesn’t allow for poking and prodding around. Instead, he clicks through to his blog and clicks on the “Ask” link.




Hello, sparklingtheaterofexcess! Wow, you certainly don’t do things by halves! I’ve never written a Big Bang before. Started once, but sadly had to drop out, so I know just how hard it can be to keep the energy and word count going. I’ll take a look at what you’ve got so far, though it may take a few days because rehearsals for show choir Sectionals are taking over my life this week (and hopefully for the next few months, if we make it to Regionals). I can’t make any promises about beta-ing the whole thing, but let me send you my gmail so you can just add me to the doc.




As much as Blaine enjoys grammatically correct sentences and fanfiction over twenty-five thousand words, he’s not sure he has time to tackle a beta job as serious and lengthy as the Chevon Big Bang. In addition, there’d been an unlucky string of beta work a few months back that had left a sour taste in his mouth about the whole process, with several authors in a row who requested help and then wouldn’t take his advice about anything from comma splices to unnecessary introspection.

"Warbler Blaine, what do you think?"

Blaine looks up to see David staring at him expectantly, his look mirrored on the other Warblers at the table. Blaine hasn't heard a single word of the disagreement. He presses the 'send' button and sits up straight, coming up on the fly with the most neutral, unassuming answer he can.

"Well," he says, giving his voice the slight upper-crust affectation his brother Cooper had once said sounded important, "I believe the Council has the group's best interest at heart, so I must defer to their decision on the matter. And any counter-argument should take place at a meeting where it will be recorded in the minutes, not at lunch when Trent is trying to study for his English test."

Trent shoots Blaine an appreciative look before turning back to his textbook, and the other Warblers murmur between themselves.

"Well said, Warbler Blaine," Wes says, nodding his approval. “We will continue this discussion at rehearsal this afternoon.”

Blaine closes the Tumblr app and slides his phone into his pocket, where it remains for the rest of the day, lest he show his Dalton friends any less than the appearance of a perfect Dalton gentleman.

---

Blaine and his mother are just about to start eating their steadily cooling dinner of grilled salmon, rice, and mixed vegetables when he hears the garage door open, signaling his father's arrival home. With a sigh, he sets his fork down and straightens the napkin on his lap while his mother pours his father a glass of lemonade from the pitcher that's starting to sweat onto the white tablecloth.

The back door opens, and Blaine can hear his father taking off his coat and boots in the mudroom off of the kitchen. There's shuffling around, the telltale sound of a briefcase thunking onto the kitchen counter, and the scent of heated wool and shoe polish Blaine's come to associate with his father.

"Something smells delicious," his father says, padding into the dining room in his navy business suit and just a pair of long, brown socks. He sits at the table and begins eating immediately, salting the fish and vegetables before he even tastes them.

Blaine's mother sighs, casting a look at her husband before staring intently at her own plate. "I wish you'd stop saying you'll be home at six, when you know that isn't the case, dear."

"We've been married for twenty-five years, honey,” his father says, smiling like Blaine's seen him do with work associates on the golf course. “You know when I say six, I usually mean six-thirty.”

His mother purses her lips. "It's seven."

"Won't happen again, dear," his father says, brushing it off and giving Blaine a look that Blaine supposes is guy code for, "Women, am I right?" but Blaine just nods politely and takes a bite of lukewarm rice.

Blaine wants to comment on the whole exchange, how his mother stabs her fish with controlled, slightly forceful movements while his father chews away, oblivious, but he bites his tongue both figuratively and literally. Anderson family dinners are generally happier for all parties involved if Blaine follows the adage, children should be seen and not heard, begun when Blaine was a young child and Cooper would mock him for babbling about superheros and nice clothes and female pop artists, and continued once Cooper jetted off to Los Angeles and Blaine landed in the hospital after attending a school dance with another boy.

His father and mother chat politely about their day, Blaine making the appropriate noises whenever necessary while he eats. He gets all the way to dessert before being directly addressed, in the home stretch halfway through his dish of caramel flan.

"The new human resources manager started today," his father says. "Seems like a nice guy. I chatted with him for a bit-- he just moved from Ann Arbor, but I won't hold that against him. He has two daughters, one finishing up her degree at Oberlin, and the other who's going to be a junior at Westerville South."

And oh, Blaine can see where this is going. His mouth goes dry, chalky, and he takes another bite of flan.

"He said she doesn't really have any friends in the area yet, and seemed delighted when I told him I had a teenage son who'd be willing to show her around," his father says, waving his fork in the air. "I gave him your phone number to pass along."

"I'd be happy to," Blaine says. "Having a friend who's a girl would be nice." He doesn't say 'girl friend,' knowing from past experience his father would only hear 'girlfriend' and get his hopes up. "There's a double feature singalong of Annie, Get Your Gun and Calamity Jane on Friday at the revival theatre that I've--that she might like." He also doesn't say what he'd originally thought, that I've been dying to see, because no doubt it will lead either directly or indirectly to another Saturday afternoon poking away at the Chevy in the garage when all Blaine wants to do is blog about Sing in peace.

Blaine's hands are trembling as he stands from table, grabs his glass and dessert plate, and places them in the sink. He takes a deep breath in the kitchen, steadying himself on the edge of the counter while he looks out the kitchen window long enough to re-center his Perfect Son mask, but not long enough for his parents to notice it slipping.

"May I be excused?" he asks upon returning to the dining room.

"It's your turn to do the dishes, son," Blaine's father remarks idly. Blaine bites back the comment about how it never seems to be his father's turn, instead wordlessly stacking his parents' plates to minimize the amount of trips into the kitchen.

"I'll help you," his mother says, and Blaine doesn't protest, because he's not sure what will come out if he opens his mouth.

Between helping his mother with the dishes, watching the evening news with his father, and finishing up the last of his chemistry lab report, it’s another two hours after dinner before Blaine can check his computer. Though his fingers automatically begin typing the Tumblr url into the address bar, he remembers sparklingtheaterofexcess’ message from earlier, backspaces, and heads to gmail first (though he does open Tumblr in a separate tab while the page takes a few seconds to load). There are two new emails from an unknown address at the top--one including a message from Google Drive announcing that a document has been shared, and one from the address alone.




sparklingtheaterofexcess@gmail.com

partfalseparttrue,

I had been writing on a Microsoft Word document, and had to figure out what you were talking about when you said “doc”. You fic writers and your fancy lingo (I still haven’t figured out the difference between “lime” and “lemon,” and something tells me I don’t want to). I’ve never used this before, but it seems like it’s saving automatically? Which is a plus since I accidentally lost about five hundred words I’d written last night.

Feel free to take your time, actually, because I also have show choir Sectionals coming up. Life imitating Sing, I suppose. There’s nothing else to do in the Midwest except football, cheerleading, and show choir.

I’m not that far yet, but I’ve shared the first chapter with you so you can take a look. This is more than a little nerve-wracking, so uh. Here. Thank you for even considering it.




Blaine chuckles to himself as he scans the email, clicks over to the next one, and opens the doc. There’s something in brackets at the top that is probably supposed to be a header--minus all the formatting, which makes Blaine cringe a little--and then text directly underneath.




Chase allows himself a week to mope around the loft and eat Phish Food ice cream straight from the container before he picks himself up by his tastefully coordinated boot straps, dusts himself off (both figuratively and literally, since there’s a bit of a draft near his bedroom and all sorts of stuff blows in with the wind), and starts adding clothes from outside the mourning palette back into his fall wardrobe. He launches himself into the action of Getting Over Devon almost manically, and if Raquelle notices Chase scouring the loft from top to bottom once every three days and offering to both cook and clean more often than not, she thankfully doesn’t say anything. It probably comes from a place of selfishness, but Chase appreciates being left alone since Raquelle’s advice for Getting Over Devon had been anatomically impossible and more than a little heteronormative.

There’s a Rubbermaid box under his bed that Chase refuses to clean, packed one night with things that reminded him of Devon when he’d vacillated wildly between the ‘Denial’ and ‘Anger’ phases of his grief. Inside is the crab-patterned cravat that Devon bought when he’d been going through a jaunty sea captain phase, a picture of the two of them dancing at Chase’s senior prom--much better than his junior prom, by spades--and among other articles of clothing, an old, worn hoodie of Devon’s that no longer smelled like him because Chase had slept in it every night his first week in New York. His room feels empty without the small trinkets here and there, and if it was a little melodramatic to think that it matched how empty his heart felt, well, Chase allowed himself the bit of melodrama. And an occasional serving or two of Phish Food.




Blaine feels himself smiling, eyes crinkling, by the end of the first few paragraphs. It’s good. Not great--not yet--but it can be and Blaine’s fingers itch with the potential. The author has a decent handle on Chase, which makes Blaine jealous because he has a hard time getting inside the mind of that character, figuring out what makes him tick. And it’s technically proficient, too, which makes Blaine swoon just a little bit with every comma inside the quotation marks. He scrolls down, skimming the rest, liking the general idea that sparklingtheaterofexcess is setting up: Chase is perfectly fine in New York with forgetting about Devon (or so he says), but when he comes home unexpectedly, it’s harder to stay away from the guy he’d thought was his soulmate. It’s just the fic that the fandom needs, and Blaine thinks it can be perfect.

The line of text he’s reading jumps down a bit, and there’s a flicker at the bottom of the document. Blaine hadn’t expected sparklingtheaterofexcess to still be logged in, but it looks as if he is getting a jump start on outlining chapter two. He clicks over to the chat function, glad he can talk in real time instead of sending another message through Tumblr.

partfalseparttrueYou have yourself a beta. :)

sparklingtheaterofexcess There’s a chat function?!
I mean
Yay!


partfalseparttrue It’s really good, sparklingtheaterofexcess.
(Do you prefer to be called sparklingtheaterofexcess?)
(Or is there something else I can call you? I like the Scissor Sisters as much as the next gay teen, but it’s a bit of a mouthful.)


sparklingtheaterofexcess Thank you, I appreciate it.
(I try to keep my online identity anonymous, but it feels weird to chat one-on-one with someone using their Tumblr url, as perfect as the Scissor Sisters or whatever your url is from may be.)
(Name for a name?)


Blaine hesitates. Some of his closer followers refer to him as PFPT, but Blaine assumes that’s less a term of endearment and more because his url is not easily shortened. He can understand sparklingtheaterofexcess’ desire for anonymity, since he has never shown his face or name to Tumblr before, and was always cautioned through school never to do such a thing. Besides that, Blaine knows how little it would take for Tumblr CSI to somehow connect his name and face to his location, and family, and the last thing Blaine wants is for the internet to discover he’s the younger brother of Cooper Anderson, Body #3 from one of last season’s episodes of Criminal Minds.

There’s something about sparklingtheaterofexcess, about his writing, about his subtle humor, though, that causes Blaine to forget the countless lectures from parents and teachers and after school specials throughout the years. He wants to know this guy, and that starts with his name.

partfalseparttrue: It’s a Roxy Music lyric. :) And my name’s Blaine.

sparklingtheaterofexcess: Kurt.

partfalseparttrue:Nice to meet you, Kurt.

“Kurt,” Blaine says, aloud in his room, placing extra emphasis on the ‘t’. He likes the way it sounds in his mouth, both hard and soft at the same time. There’d been a Curtis at Blaine’s old school who locker-checked him at least once a week, so in that funny way people do, he’d come to hate the name by association; Kurt, though, he can work with.

partfalseparttrue: I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to wake up early for extra Sectionals rehearsals tomorrow.

sparklingtheaterofexcess: I know that feeling, actually. We have Sectionals coming up soon too, and I think rehearsals keep running later and later. Pretty soon they’re going to lock all the doors and turn off the lights with us still inside rehearsing “Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat.”
...We’re not doing “Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat,” if you thought you’d be getting a leg up on the competition.
...Not that we’re competition, I’m sure. One of the choirs this time around is full of octogenarians getting their GEDs, and unless you’re lying about being a sixteen year old boy, then I don’t think you’re a member...


partfalseparttrue: Haha, I don’t think we would. We compete on the private school circuit, and I’m assuming you’re on the public? Never our paths shall cross, except in this Google Doc.
And someone’s been reading my blog, I see.


Blaine feels self-conscious, the same way he does when a new friend finds him on Facebook and he goes through all of his profile pictures trying to figure out what they’ll see when they look at him. He doesn’t feel bad, though, when he pulls up Kurt’s blog and reads back to page twelve before remembering he was in the middle of a conversation.

sparklingtheaterofexcess: Well, I had to get to your ask box somehow, didn’t I? And make sure your grammar and punctuation were up to snuff.
I like your sidebar gif, by the way. Nothing beats Devon jumping rope in tight pants, except perhaps Devon jumping rope in no pants at all.
...Hello?
Are you still here?


partfalseparttrue: Sorry, I got distracted.
Your spam of Cheerleader!Chase was...very distracting.
I do really need to leave, though. Can’t belt Train in eight part harmony on a tired voice.
...Not that we’re doing Train in eight part harmony.


sparklingtheaterofexcess: Mmhmm. As long as you’re not doing a bopping rendition of “Hey, Soul Sister.”

partfalseparttrue: …..

sparklingtheaterofexcess: THAT song? Really? Come on, Blaine.

partfalseparttrue: I’ll have you know, there’s nothing wrong with a catchy tune. And we’re very good at it. If we were competition, you’d be impressed.
Okay, I really have to go now.
Good night, Kurt. :)


Kurt doesn’t reply, but Blaine can see him typing away at the bottom of the document. He glances at the blinking cursor and watches a few words of Chase’s dialogue with Raquelle appear before Kurt pauses, backspaces, and starts over with something completely different. Though it’s not conducive to the editing process, Blaine enjoys watching other people create on the spot. Art in its rawest form, if he’s being rather pretentious. Mainly, he likes feeling involved from the very beginning, even if a lot of what his job entails as beta is more behind-the-scenes and custodial in nature. The cursor pauses for several moments before the next sentence, a single letter appearing every so often before blinking out of existence as quickly as it’d arrived. Blaine can picture the look on Kurt’s face even though he doesn’t know what it looks like: brow furrowed, lips pursed, chin resting on linked fingers while leaning his weight on his elbows. It’s the same look Blaine has when the right words won’t flow from his brain to his fingertips.

When no new words appear for another five minutes, Blaine clicks out of the document. Perhaps Kurt went to get a glass of water, or watch that new Gordon Ramsey YouTube video floating around Tumblr, both of which Blaine does before he closes his laptop and pads into the bathroom to begin his nighttime routine. The water is near-scalding when Blaine steps into the shower, but he doesn’t notice as he begins working his fingers through his crunchy hair. Maybe Kurt even fell asleep at the computer desk and would wake up with keyboard indents in his forehead. Blaine had only done that once, and while the image was cute and made for a likeable text post, it had been a painful experience he wouldn’t like to repeat any time soon. He wonders if Kurt will keep writing while Blaine’s asleep, or if he’s embarking on his own nighttime ritual as Blaine applies an astringent to his t-zone and spits out the toothpaste in his mouth--though if Kurt is as busy as Blaine with show choir, he’d be hard-pressed to stay awake any longer. It’s definitely past Blaine’s self-imposed bedtime when he finally finishes pulling on his blue silk pajama set.

Out of habit, Blaine opens the Tumblr app on his phone after popping out his contacts and sliding into bed, but nothing important was posted to his dash in the thirty minutes he was offline. Blaine does smile, though, as he catches a new notification on his blog screen. He responds accordingly, places his phone into sleep mode, and turns off his lamp.

sparklingtheaterofexcess started following you

Chapter Two

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
voyagehk
Sep. 19th, 2013 05:26 am (UTC)
Loved the story
This was a very cute fic that had me laughing at various parts. I liked how their online relationship mirrored S2 canon. The one the worked the best was when Blaine wrote a fic for his 1,500th follower ("Someone special") and Kurt admitted that he thought it was for him. I have already read some of the fics that you referenced in the story and you wove them is beautifully.

At one stage I went to a new chapter and I thought the chapter summary was part of the story (that was how engrossed I was). I was trying to figure out who Devonwood was in the story and then I realised it was you!

I think this is a story that I am going to have to read again soon as I am sure that there are lots of little things that I didn't pick up the first time. Thanks for sharing the story.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )