a softer klaine

to tell you what I really think

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[fic] Pass
a softer klaine
jakia

Title: Pass

Author: jakia / luckyjak

Summary: 1950s AU. Blaine Castillo can pass: that’s not actually a gift, believe it or not. [Blaine character study, slight Klaine, one sided Blaine/Rachel]

Warnings: racism, sexism, homophobia, and all the other goodness that comes from 1950s America.

A/N: Takes place in the same universe as this, this, and this but none of them are required readings to understand this one.



1.

Mama is mad.  Blaine has never seen her this mad before.  At first he thought she was mad at him for getting hurt, but she quickly assured him that wasn’t the case.  Still, that didn’t explain why she told him to pack his things and then got into a cab with him, hurrying to a place called Lima—wherever that was.

His arm still hurt.

Right now, they’re standing in front of a huge house that could hold most of their neighborhood in a town Blaine’s never been to but looks mostly white, which makes him kind of nervous.  Mama doesn’t seem to care, however, banging on the door, still more furious than he’s ever seen.

It makes him more nervous.

Finally, someone opens the door: it’s a man, Caucasian and tall, but who looks vaguely familiar to Blaine, though he’s not sure they’ve ever met.  His eyes widen when he sees Blaine’s mama.

“You—“

“Thought you could just ignore my calls, did you?” Mama snaps before he can say anything, and the man takes a small step back inside his house.

He shakes his head.  “You shouldn’t be here.”

Mama stabs him with her finger.  “We need to talk.”

“I don’t have anything to say.”

Mama jabs her finger at him again. “You let me inside and you listen to me, Mark Anderson, or I go inside and tell your wife that Blaine here is your son.

The man turns and looks, as if he just now noticed Blaine was standing there at all.  Blaine, meanwhile, does his best to keep his jaw from hitting the floor.  So you’re my--?

The man—Blaine’s father, apparently—stares at him for a long time, long enough for Blaine to become uncomfortable and for Mama to get nervous.  She wraps her arm around his shoulder protectively.

“Don’t think I won’t.” She threatens again, but it’s more hesitant this time.

Finally the man sighs, and opens the door a little wider.  “Alright.  Come in.  Just be a little quieter, will you woman? Do you want the whole neighborhood to know you two are here?”

2

He’s sitting in the kitchen alone, doing his best not to touch anything, because it all looks so ridiculously expensive and he’d hate to break something.  In the other room his—parents, he guesses—are arguing, and he’s trying not to listen to them.  From what he can hear from them anyway, though, it’s probably best that he can’t really hear them: mostly he just hears “bastard” and “responsibility” and a lot of awful things about his mother and some rather choice things about the shape of his eyes: it’s nothing he hasn’t heard before, true, but never quite in this context.

After a while, they get quieter, and eventually someone comes down the stairs.  It’s a boy, at least ten years older than Blaine but not quite full grown yet, though Blaine suspects that maybe he ought to be, with a sharp jaw line and bright blue eyes.  He doesn’t see Blaine, at least at first, and it’s not until he’s chugged half of the milk jug right out of container that he catches Blaine out of the corner of his eye.

He sets the glass down carefully.  “Who’re you?”

Blaine wonders, for a moment, if this is Mark’s son.  If that makes them brothers.  “My name is Blaine.”

The other boy wipes his mouth.  “I’m Cooper.”

They might not be brothers: they don’t look too similar at first glance—Blaine is much darker all around, and they have different eyes, different noses, different mouths—and yet, similar jaw lines, cheekbones, eyebrows.

Cooper points at him.  “What happened to your arm?”

He shrinks within himself.  “I got beat up.”

Cooper snorts.  “That sucks.” He turns back to the fridge.  “Want a sandwich? You look hungry.”

First rule of growing up poor: never turn down free food.  Blaine nods carefully, so Cooper turns back into the fridge, and starts pulling out food: fresh meat, good cheeses, bread that isn’t stale yet---things Blaine’s mom has never been able to afford in her life.  Cooper makes Blaine a sandwich, then makes himself one.

It’s the best tasting sandwich of Blaine’s life, even if he has to eat it with one hand because the other is broken.

They might be brothers.

Things don’t stay quiet for long: Cooper cannot resist a captive audience, and he really can’t resist talking about himself.  Before too long, Blaine knows all about his possible half-brother: how he wants to be an actor, how he wants to move to Los Angeles, how he’s dating Cindy Labowski who Dad wants him to marry but he’s not ready for that yet, how he wants to own a motorcycle and a leather jacket, grease his hair. 

It’s easy, listening to Cooper, because Cooper doesn’t expect much of a response.  Just an occasional “uh-huh” or “yeah” is all that’s needed.

Not much later, the kitchen door opens, and Mark comes in, red-faced and flushed and looking not-happy.  Mama walks in behind him, also red-faced and unhappy like she might’ve been crying, with her hair a little messed up.

Cooper raises an eyebrow.  “What’s--?”

“Go to your room.”

Cooper frowns.  “But I just—“

“Right now, Cooper James Anderson, and if you speak a word of this to your mother I’ll make sure you regret the day you were ever born.”

Cooper bolts up the stairs, spares one last look at Blaine that seems to say sorry kid before he’s gone, out of sight and out of mind, and Blaine’s left alone with the two people who supposedly brought him into the world.

It’s terrifying.

Mark’s hand comes down roughly on his good shoulder in what must be meant as an affectionate pat.  “You’ll be living here now, for a while at least.”

His eyes get wide and doe-like, and he turns to his mother.  “But Mama--!”

“It’s for the best, sweetheart.” And she crying again, her face wet and tear-stained, and it’s making him want to cry, but he really doesn’t want to cry in front of his—in front of Mark.  “Your—Mark can keep you safe, here.  You won’t get hurt again.”

“I don’t care.” He whines, sounding childish and impatient.  He doesn’t know these people.  He doesn’t want to live with them.  He doesn’t want to leave his home.  “I don’t wanna go back to school but I don’t move here and I don’t wanna leave you!”

“You’re going to school.” Mark says like it’s non-negotiable, and fuck him, who the fuck does he think he is? He’s never had a damn thing to do with Blaine’s life before now, who is he to try to now?  “You’re too smart not to, and apparently you can no longer attend the school you’ve been at without getting beat up, for whatever reason.”

So Mama didn’t tell him.  Huh.

Blaine unclenches his fist, and listens. 

“I can’t afford to send you to Dalton like I did Cooper.  It’s too…suspicious for one thing, and Jamie would have a fit.  Christ, Jamie’s already going to have a fit as it is, let’s not make it any worse.  So you’ll have to go to McKinley, but it’s a decent enough school.  You’ll do alright there.”

Mark runs a hand along Blaine’s mess of curly hair, then along jaw—lightly, like he’s afraid of being too close.  “You look like me.” He says, almost fondly, and Blaine doesn’t know how to respond so he doesn’t, he just—stares back at him.  “That’s unfortunate, actually, but luckily for you I have a brother who has amounted to nothing in his life and has been disowned by our entire family that we can use: if anyone asks, he’s your father.”

Meaning, Mark can’t be. It’s—it’s not ideal, but Blaine wasn’t expecting anything else, so he swallows the lump that’s formed in his throat.  “Yes sir.”

Mark briefly touches his curls again.  “We’ll have to get a hair cut and start greasing your hair down, keep you out of the sun a bit, but you’ll pass.” He squeezes Blaine’s shoulder again, a little rougher this time.  “Don’t you ever tell anyone you aren’t white.  And if anyone acts like you aren’t, you correct them.”

He doesn’t want to look at his mother, so he closes his eyes.  “Yes sir.”

“And don’t—“ Mark bites his lip, pats Blaine’s shoulder again.  “Don’t draw attention to yourself, okay?  I’ll take you to the doctor tomorrow for your arm, but this can’t happen again, understand?  Just—behave yourself, alright?”

Like this is his fault.  Like he asked to get beat up.

He nods.  “Yes sir.”

He squeezes his shoulder one last time.  “I’m going to go—go explain everything to Jamie and Cooper.  Just—say goodbye to your mother, alright?”

Then he turns and heads upstairs, and Blaine breaks down and sobs in his mother’s arms.

3

A blonde woman with Cooper’s eyes and lips shows him to his room in the attic, far from the rest of the house and out of everyone’s way.   It’s less of a guest room and more of a room Cooper simply outgrew, but it’s pleasant enough, forest green and spacious, filled with old toys and posters and instruments. 

It’s three times the size of his room back home.

“Make yourself at home.” The woman—Aunt Jamie, he supposes he ought to call her—tells him, in a tone of voice that implies I hope you die in a fire you flea-bitten rat instead. 

He sets his bag down on the bed and smiles at her.  “Thank you.” He says politely, because he was raised with manners, after all.

Aunt Jamie smiles at him in a way that seems to say get out of my house you mongrel before shutting his bedroom door softly.

He sighs, flops down on the bed, and does his best not to cry immediately into his pillow.  He misses his home.  He misses his friends, what few he had.  He misses his own bed.  He misses his Mom, and he really doesn’t want to be here, with people who obviously don’t want him here.

There’s a soft knock on the door, and then a head poking in the room.  “Hey Squirt.” Cooper says with a soft smile.  “I made you another sandwich.  Can I come in?”

Blaine blinks at him.  “I—thank you, but I’m not really hungry.”

Cooper brushes him off, bouncing in the room full of energy, balancing a sandwich and a glass of juice, somehow not managing to spill either.  “Yeah right.  I was twelve once, too, you know.  I know how much you eat.  Help yourself.”

“…I’m fourteen.”

Cooper stares at him for just a second.  “…Really?  Huh.  You’re really tiny for your age.  I’m pretty sure I was bigger than that when I was fourteen.” Cooper says quietly, setting the glass down on the nightstand and handing Blaine the plate carefully.  He lets Blaine settle, picking up the glass and taking a sip before he speaks again.  “So, you’re my brother, huh?”

Blaine manages not to snort orange juice out his nose.  “Cousin, actually.”

“Right.” Cooper says, like he doesn’t quite believe him but knows better than to argue.  “Anyway, I just wanted to welcome you to the house again, officially this time.  See if you wanted acting lessons or something.”

Blaine stares at him.  “Acting lessons?”

“Yeah!” Cooper grins.  “You need to be cool, right? I can teach you how to act cool, Squirt.”

Blaine grimaces.  “Don’t call me Squirt.”

“Too late.” Cooper smiles, rubs Blaine’s head and messes with his curls.  “Don’t worry—by the time I’m done with you, you’ll be the coolest cat in McKinley, I promise.”

(He’s not wrong.)

4

Blaine Castillo grew up in Westerville, Ohio with his Filipino mother, who worked out of the home and never married.  He was a hapa and a bastard, which the other boys in his neighborhood never failed to remind him of.  Because of his mother, he wasn’t allowed to attend the local white school, but because he didn’t look very Filipino, he never made friends at the colored school he attended most of his life.  He and his mother were very poor but happy, at least until he had the nerve to…to talk with a boy like he should have a girl, and these three guys beat the crap out of him for, as they put it, acting queer. 

Then Blaine Castillo stopped existing all together.

Blaine Anderson, however, was the bright and shining star of McKinley High.  He was a greaser, yeah, but he was a sweetheart, too, a scholar and a gentleman.  He was white and his family was loaded, but he wasn’t prejudiced, and was kind to everyone.  Rachel Berry was in love with him.

So was Kurt Hummel, actually, according to all the awful things Blaine’s friends said about him, but Kurt—with his thick, horn-rimmed glasses and sweater vests and bow-ties that Blaine actually found ridiculously charming—wasn’t actually supposed to be a blip on Blaine’s radar, so Blaine never really talked to him even though he really, really wanted to. 

He still really wants to.  Wants to tell him that he thinks his bow-ties are rather clever and if he thought his “cousin” Cooper wouldn’t kill him he’d ditch the leather jackets for a bow-tie that complimented Kurt’s.  Wants to tell him that he thinks he’s beautiful, the most beautiful boy in the world, prettier than any girl Blaine’s ever met in his whole fifteen years of existence, and Blaine just sort of thinks about kissing him all the time.

Maybe Blaine’s friends have it all wrong.  Maybe Kurt Hummel’s not queer and in love with Blaine, maybe Blaine’s queer and in love with Kurt Hummel.

He knows he can’t be, though.  Sometimes his arm still gets sore from when he looked at a guy the wrong way, he knows what he could lose if he ever—acted. 

He’s not white, but he can pretend he is because it’s safer that way.

He’s not an Anderson, but he can pretend he is, because being an Anderson means he doesn’t go hungry some night, means he gets to ride in a car worth more than his life, means he gets a father who doesn’t touch him.

He’s not a greaser, not really, not on the inside, but being one makes him one of the guys, makes him invisible and popular, and that’s more important than being himself, because if he were himself he’d be dead.

And he doesn’t like girls, not at all, but not liking girls isn’t an option, so he lets Rachel Berry hold his arm and take her out to the sock-hop and do all the things dating couples are supposed to do, and hope nobody notices how his eyes linger on Kurt for far too long.

Some would say that being able to pretend to be someone else is blessing.

Blaine wonders if they realize that, by becoming someone else, he has to stop being himself.

And if he’s not him, then what’s the difference than being dead?

--


  • 1
Beautiful. And. Heartbreaking. *cries*

I love this and really hope you continue this verse. It's a fantastic exploration of Blaine's backstory.

Oh, this is a wonderful character study! Cleverly done and so sad.

Nice transposition of character to the time period. :)

really really good. My parents were teenagers in the 50's and came to the States from Manila in the 60's, trying to assimilate but refusing to pass, and hitting the glass ceiling hard. Wish there was less to relate to here.

Very, very well done!

I love fics exploring this topic. It was beautifully done

This is heartbreaking as it is fascinating. Seriously, anything that explores the shit (hapa, gay) Blaine would have to go through in the 1950s is an A+ in my book.

Edited at 2012-10-26 06:45 am (UTC)

Ahhh so beautiful, but really sad as well. Good job!

oh my stars this is gorgeous and heartbreaking. really, really well done.

I read this a while back but never commented. Bad me! I love this story. It is so well done and there are so many little moments that kill me. And the fact that being closeted not only means he's hiding who is from straight people, but from beautiful boys like Kurt Hummel who he could be in love with -- it just kills me. I mean, it's something I can know intellectually, but when I see it juxtaposed with canon like this it's -- ow. I don't know if that made any sense, but there you go. I guess my point is that the circumstances of our lives really do shape what happens in them.

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