Summary: Blaine is forced back onto the Cheerios. The problem is that he’s pregnant, and no one at the school knows.
The Cheerios uniform made him feel uncomfortable and exposed, especially under the scrutinising glare of Coach Sylvester and the admiring gaze of Becky Jackson. He had only looked down at his body once since changing into it and his tummy looked so prominent he hadn’t had the courage to do so again. It felt strange not layering himself in a cardigan and a jacket. Blaine knew that he was only just beginning to show, that no one besides himself would think anything of his slightly rounded belly, but he still felt more secure with a few bits of material between his growing waistline and the rest of the world.
These outfits are universally unflattering, he told himself, hoping he was imagining the way Coach Sylvester’s stare seemed to be focused on his middle. She’s sitting down in front of me, he reasoned, where else is she supposed to look?
Her rant about commitments and getting into things you can’t get out of had hit a little close to the nerve and Blaine had felt his bottom lip tremble precariously and his cheeks flush at her words. They applied so well to his current predicament: he was pregnant. He couldn’t just quit, or leave, or get away from it. A baby was growing inside him right now. It was making him feel ill, and exhausted like he never had been before. It was the reason Blaine now knew the location of every boys’ bathroom in the school as apparently the baby was resting on his bladder. It was also the reason that the waistbands of his Capri pants and jeans were getting snug and oh God if this was what was happening to him at eight weeks, what was eighteen, twenty-eight, thirty-eight weeks going to be like?
“From now on, wear a thong to avoid visible panty lines,” Coach Sylvester smiled, flicking him a flimsy piece of material.
Yeah, his panty line showing was at the top of his list of concerns.
“You may go.”
It was a relief to leave the office. He rushed out to his car hoping to avoid the prying eyes of other students. He didn’t really feel comfortable around any of them at the moment. It was like there was a barrier between them; he listened to Sam and Tina discuss plans for college and all he could think about was how his life was going to go in such a radically different direction. He drove in a daze, trying very hard not to imagine what he would look like in his Cheerios costume in a few months’ time.
He was hungry, or maybe he wasn’t, it was so hard to tell. He should eat though. He owed it to his baby. Doing something for someone else had always come naturally to Blaine and now he was responsible for a dependent life. Sighing, he stopped his car outside the Lima Bean, hyper-conscious that he didn’t have his jacket to wrap around himself. Coach Sylvester had kept his street clothes as ‘collateral’, only to be returned when he returned his uniform at the end of the school year. As if he was going to steal it.
The lady at the counter smiled so nicely at him that tears prickled in the corner of his eyes. “What can I get you, honey?”
The endearment sounded so nice on her lips and Blaine just wanted to collapse into her arms and be told that everything was going to be okay.
Instead he murmured, “Just a chocolate muffin, please”, before cursing himself that he probably should have got blueberry because at least that had fruit in it and if he wanted his baby to get the best start he should at least have the foresight to eat healthily.
Maybe it was his imagination, but pregnant women and parents with newborn babies seemed to be following him around lately. As he waited for his muffin he watched a blonde-haired woman coo over her daughter who was in a pram, giggling happily. He felt a pang in his heart as he thought about all the things that he wouldn’t be able to give his child. He wouldn’t be able to afford lots of fancy toys, or decorative blankets and cute clothing. Blaine knew that he wanted children, but he had always thought he would be in a position to support them when the time came. What could he, an eighteen year kid, offer his baby?
Love will be enough, he tried to tell himself, remembering the lonely days and nights he had spent with nothing but his expensive toys for company. Just unconditional, unyielding love.
“Thank you” he said, sounding a little tearful when the kind lady hands him his muffin.
“Take care of yourself, Sweetie.”
He tried to smile but wasn’t sure he managed it.
Driving home was difficult. Driving in general was difficult as his brain seemed to bombard him with negative thoughts when he was along in the car his parents bought him. All of a sudden everything his parents had done for him – Dalton, a new car, trips to New York whenever he wanted them – were making him feel guilty now that this had happened. He would still go to college, he had promised himself that, but he also knew that he wouldn’t be starting straight away. Even when he did start he would probably study part time because he wouldn’t want to miss his child’s milestones. But as certain as he was that he wanted to spend as much time as practical with his baby, he was equally sure that his parents’ would be unimpressed by this. His parents liked to brag about their children to their colleagues, other family members, their friends at the country club. ‘Blaine’s not starting college this year because he found himself unexpectedly pregnant’ didn’t sound all that great.
Blaine wondered if his parents would let him stay in the house once they knew. They had more than enough space for a baby, Blaine thought, as he dropped his satchel onto his desk, pulling out the muffin. He just hoped that he would have graduated before the growth inside him became obvious. At least that way if would have the option of just moving in with Kurt in New York (not that he wanted to impose, but at least he would have his high school diploma and that was something). So far, that particular plan was not looking promising. He was so small and short that the baby really had nowhere to go but out.
The muffin was bland and he nibbled at it without appetite. It was like chewing cardboard and another delightful pregnancy symptom he was currently enduring was a yucky (there really was no other word for it) taste in his mouth. No amount of mouthwash, toothpaste, or pleasant-tasting food got rid of it. At least he could count his blessing that despite his constant queasiness he had only been sick a couple of times in the past few weeks. His parents certainly suspected that something was going on (his mother had left heartburn medication and dry crackers on his bedside table), but thankfully they were maintaining their usual distant relationship with him and not asking any questions. But he wasn’t sure how much longer he could hide, disguise and conceal his changing shape.
Restlessly he stood up and started pacing, subconsciously pulling the material of his uniform away from his body. It felt so wrong being dressed like this. Santana had been outed for being on the Cheerios: was his secret going to get out the same way? His father – a respected lawyer – would be horrified, probably never speak to him again, now that he was verbose now. When Blaine had come out his father had told him to be discreet and be careful about who he told because his sexuality was a private matter. Strangely enough, his father never felt that Cooper’s love life was private. He told everyone at his firm when Cooper had a new girlfriend. Over time Blaine realised that his father didn’t want him to be private; he wanted him to be ashamed.
He dug his fingers into the flesh above his hipbones. They were aching already, a constant burning pressure, and this was just from walking. Now he was a cheerleader again he would be doing far more rigorous routines. Unable to keep it all in for a second longer he lunged for his phone and dialled the only other person who knew, the only other person who could give him what he needed.
“Kurt” he gasped.
“Blaine, hi. What’s going on? You sound…strange.”
I’m freaking out. I can’t do this. I feel like everything is about to overwhelm me and I’m just going to break down.
“Um, I’m back on the Cheerios.”
He couldn’t tell Kurt what a mess he was. It was a miracle that Kurt had taken him back. The Blaine he remembered had been well put together and calm. That was the Blaine that Kurt loved. Blaine had chosen to have this baby and Kurt had chosen to be supported. It wasn’t his responsibility to try and fix Blaine.
“Blaine, you are pregnant,” Kurt said firmly, his voice reproving through Blaine’s mobile phone.
“I know” Blaine sighed, turning side-on to the mirror and biting his lip at how pronounced his belly looked, with that tight, stretchy material clinging to it. He ran his hand over the curve. “Trust me, I know.”
“Did you tell Coach Sylvester?”
“No.” Blaine blushed at the thought. It was bad enough that she had tricked him into putting cement in his hair and commissioned a plane that announced his preferred sexual position (how on Earth did she even know that?) to the whole school. The last thing he needed was some sort of banner declaring that ‘Blaine has a bun in the oven.’
“Blaine!” Kurt sounded sharp, tense and Blaine could imagine the tightness in his face and body. “You have to tell her. You can’t be doing back flips and cartwheels and whatever other stunts she expects when you are carrying our baby.”
“I-I haven’t even told my parents yet, Kurt.” His emotions, always so close to the surface these days, were threatening to bubble over and engulf him once again. Feeling so out of control was an uncomfortable experience for Blaine. It reminded him of his pre-Sadie Hawkins life where he wore his heart of his sleeve, laughed loudly and openly and didn’t try to hide anything from the world. After being beaten down Blaine had been careful to wrap layers of composure around himself, to come across as polite, charming, and likeable. It scared him that his body was rebelling against him; nowadays a critique on his assignment was enough to bring a lump to his throat and he had felt like crying when Coach Sylvester had flicked that stupid, stupid thong at him. Yeah, like that was going to fit him for much longer.
“I think you should, Blaine. You need all the support that you can get right now and – ”
“And my parents won’t be supportive,” Blaine replied flatly.
“You keep saying that but you never know.” Kurt’s voice was quiet, hopeful because he couldn’t fathom parents who didn’t love unconditionally and wouldn’t do anything to protect their child. “You need to get off the Cheerios. The routines they do are insane and Coach Sylvester isn’t like Mr Schue. She won’t let you take it easy. She probably won’t even want you on the squad once she knows.”
Blaine wrapped the arm that wasn’t holding his phone around himself in some pitiful attempt at self-comfort. “I’d rather she didn’t find out,” he mumbled.
“Blaine,” Kurt begins, but Blaine is too close to tears to continue with the conversation.
“Can we talk about something else, please?”
There’s a few seconds of silence, in which he checks that his phone is still connected. It is, which he takes as a good sign – at least Kurt hasn’t hung up on him – but he can sense that Kurt is unhappy.
“Okay,” Kurt said reluctantly. “When’s your next ultrasound appointment? I’d really like to be there, if that’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay,” Blaine said, relieved. Going to his first appointment alone had been terrible. Most people went as a couple and he had felt so alone in the waiting room. Not to mention when he finally saw the image of his baby he was desperate to have someone squeeze his hand and to look over at them and see the look of awe and wonder on their face. As it was Blaine had no one. He hadn’t even asked for a photograph; he just wanted to get out of there. “It’s in a few weeks and I can reschedule it at a time that is convenient for you, so you don’t have to miss any classes. Just tell me what day you want to come down – maybe you want to see your dad at the same time, don’t just come to Lima for me –”
“Shhh,” Kurt soothed. “I really want to come. I am doing this for me as well. Just tell me the date and I will be there.”
“Thank you, Kurt. Not just for this. For everything. I don’t know how I would get through this without you.”
“I told you,” Kurt replied patiently. “We’re in this together.”
“Yeah,” Blaine murmured. He glanced in the mirror again and forced himself to think about how it was their baby that was making his belly so distended. A baby that would grow and develop, maybe with Kurt’s eyes and Blaine’s smile, and that getting through the next few months of school would be a distant memory in years to come. For now it was hard, but it would be worth it. “Just the three of us.”
He could make this work. Maybe he would ask Coach Sylvester for a Cheerios jacket. Maybe he would pretend to be awful at the routines so he would be pushed to the back of the formation. Maybe things would work out, just because eventually they always do.
Maybe he had no choice but to have faith. In himself, in Kurt, and most of all in the tiny little person he hadn’t met yet, but already knew that he loved.
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