Title: Taking Control
Word Count: 14,825
Warnings: Mentions of drug and alcohol use, mentions of rape, lots of angst (although not an obscene amount), slightly ooc!kurt, and several oc's
Pairings:Kurt/Blaine, Brittany/Santana, Rachel/Quinn, Tina/Mike, and one-sided Kurt/Sam
A/N: This is my first Glee fic, and while I can't say that it is my best work, I can say that I am proud of it. I know that a lot of people think that wing!fics are overdone, but I wanted to write this and so I did. I should probably warn you that I use both metaphors and alliteration excessively. I write a lot more poetry than I do fan fiction, so that's probably why.
I need to thank Cassie, the love of my life, for getting me through this, and also my beta for beta-ing.
There used to be a boy who sat in a nook on a sidewalk in a city. He was thin from hunger and pale from pain. He never smiled, and he never spoke. But sometimes, he would sing.
It was always a song that sounded like it was trying to be happy, but couldn't dig itself up from the depths of its sorrow. His voice was high and clear like a flying banner, waving proudly in the red and golden light of a sinking sunset. It would ring out over the clamor of a crowd and demand attention, demand that he be heard, because he obviously deserved it.
However, the marching procession of men and women never ceased its continuous steady stream. It never thought of the boy, it never winked at the boy, it never took the time to notice the boy who sat cross-legged on a filthy bedroll at the edge of the sidewalk of society's transport, singing out so loudly and proudly and clearly.
Because none of them cared.
Nobody cared about the boy, clearly starving from rejection and mistreatment. Nobody cared that he went into dark alleyways at night, diving through dumpsters in search of a single scrap of edible trash. Nobody cared that he was so alone.
But there would be one who would care. He could break through the fog created by the trampling of so many feet clad in their work-walking shoes and their shielded, narrow thoughts. He would see the boy. He would hear the singing boy.
Blaine Anderson had been walking home that day.
It was really just a normal day; nothing out of the ordinary, nothing too exciting or distressing. It had been just a day.
Then he had heard the voice. It was high and crisp and clear. It floated through the air like a living creature, gliding so effortlessly through the stifling smog, flitting about like an excited bird.
At the same time that he heard the beauty and delicacy of the voice, he could hear its pain. It was like a wounded animal, woefully calling out for its pack members to find it, to help it.
The voice was asking for someone to save them.
And Blaine thought he would, or at least, that he would try.
On the very first day that he had heard the boy singing, he had pushed his way through a flood of meaningless motion. The people all around him continued in their ruts and walked canyons into the ground with the stomping of their feet. Their voices carved holes into the air, chopping down the wings of the voice, only to have them grow back and take flight again.
When Blaine had finally broken free of their monotony, he was met by an unexpected sight.
Sitting on the filthy, disgust-covered ground, was an equally filthy boy. He wore a giant, patchy, leathery trench coat, grayish threadbare pants, and an expression of the utmost fatigue.
Everything about him shouted at Blaine. Words like 'weary,' 'lonely,' and 'finished' were flung at his face with contempt.
But the boy's eyes were beautiful. They shone with a fire that had to have been dug up from the deepest fathoms of the boy's heart. It was like the burst of brilliant, all consuming light that came from a supernova. But then the star would die, and become a black hole.
Blaine didn't want those eyes to become black holes.
He had been walking past the singing boy's nook for a while. He liked to stand in the crowd, sometimes, and just listen to him singing.
On the third Tuesday of March, he finally decided to speak with the singing boy.
Blaine emerged from the crowd, walking briskly toward the boy. Others stared at him, which was expected. What was not expected, however, was the hostility in their eyes. He didn't understand what was so offensive about talking to a homeless person. Sure, it wasn't what most did, but what was the harm, really?
"Hello," he greeted. The singing boy didn't reply, he merely looked up at Blaine with slight surprise.
"I'm Blaine," he told the boy, holding out his hand, which went thoroughly ignored.
"What are you doing?" the boy asked, and it still sounded like he was singing.
"I just wanted to talk," Blaine felt his face starting to fall. He caught it just before it could hit the ground, and reassembled it to look at least passably cheerful.
"You can't," the boy looked out at the crowd. "Just get back to where you're supposed to be before they realize that you can think."
"But-" Blaine started to realize what the boy was saying. It didn't change the way he felt, but he knew that the boy was right.
"Just go," the boy ordered, and for some reason, Blaine listened.
As he walked away, he looked back. I'll be around, if he ever needs me. I can help him.
The singing boy glanced up at Blaine, and for a moment the latter thought that his thoughts had been heard. The boy returned his gaze to his patchy coat, however, and didn't show any more acknowledgements to Blaine.
He continued taking the route that took him past the singing boy. Some days, when he didn't have anywhere else to be, he would walk to the nook and just listen to him sing.
On one of those days, there was a variation in the typically static world.
The change was two boys. One was short, and hunched in on himself like a rat. Filth covered his body, and grease clung to his hair. The other was taller and slimmer. He was also filthier, and looked sickly. His hair was more of a dull brown, and limply lay on his head
These boys came from the alleyway entrance down the street, the widest one in the city. That entrance was known for being the most direct route to the Home, a place rumored to be a safe haven for the criminals of the city. The police force had of course attempted to find the Home, several times, actually. However, even the elite guards of the city couldn't successfully navigate the alleyway, and became lost in its depths. Each time they had gone in, searching for the elusive Home, they had reemerged days later, hungry and tired. After they had lost one of their force during their sixth attempt, they had decided to leave it, resigning themselves to their failure.
These boys had to be some sort of outcasts if they lived in the alleyways. Having come out of that particular entrance implied that they were up to no good; 'no good' that caused them to be very twitchy and thin.
They walked over to the singing boy, who was singing something slow and sweet that sounded like a love song. His voice made it sound like the cruelest of heartbreak.
"I'll give you a dollar if you show them to us," the shorter one said, and his voice was husky and thick.
"Excuse me?" The singing boy looked at his visitors with disdain. His voice was steady and emotionless, but you could hear panic seeping through his careful words.
"Don't act like you think we don't know; everyone knows. And we want to see your wings," the taller one demanded.
"I really don't have any idea what you're talking about," the singing boy said in a convincingly innocent voice. He made to stand up, but the short punk grabbed his shoulder and forcefully pushed him to the ground
Fury filled the singing boy's face, and he smacked the punk's hand away with repulsion. "Don't touch me," he spat. Then he stood, and with an air of superiority, he strode off, shoving his way through the punks.
"Hey!" the taller one shouted, "You'd better watch it, you fucking beetle!"
And the singing boy stopped. For a brief moment, Blaine could swear he saw a small smile appear on the singing boy's lips. The next moment, however, the singing boy looked miserable.
The punks stormed off, and the singing boy returned to his nook.
He didn't sing for several days after. He just sat there, watching the crowd go by.
The silence went unnoticed by the crowd, everyone except Blaine, who thought that he had never felt so empty before in his life.
It was raining that day. Not really raining, though, it was more of a light dripping of warm water that fell from a heap of black wool floating in the sky. The drips echoed distinctly against the dirty paved road, splashing proof of their existence under the feet of careless tyrants.
One such tyrant was not so much careless as he was amused. He was very much aware of the rain drop puddles; in fact, he was so hyper aware of their existence that he felt compelled to jump in every single one that he laid eyes on.
Blaine Anderson was seven years old and only he was able to understand the divine importance that existed in disrupting the stillness of every single body of water that he came into contact with.
A huge puddle lay to his left, away from his mother and the flow of the crowd. He was drawn to its magnificent size and the allure of such an easily disrupted target. Blaine Anderson ran to it, grinning with excitement and giggling with anticipation, and jumped directly into the center of the urban ocean.
Standing ankle-deep in the murky water, Blaine looked up to see a huddled figure watching him. It wore shoddy clothes, its face was pulled like taffy, and its eyes were sick.
It had wings. They were black and dull, and seemed to suck the light out of everything in their vicinity. Blaine hadn't known that people could have wings.
"Hello," he greeted it. Then he remembered that when his mom or dad met new people, they always shook hands. He extended his arm to the winged person, who shrank against the wall, wincing in a kind of fear that screamed abuse.
Blaine Anderson didn't realize this, and proceeded onward, "You're supposed to shake my hand," he politely informed the man, "I don't really get it, either, but I guess it's how grown-ups say 'It's nice to meet you.'"
The strange winged man merely shook his head wildly while frantically glancing around at the crowd.
"What? What's wrong?" Blaine asked him, his eyebrows scrunching together in confusion as he glanced around.
"Get away from that kid, you fucking Beetle!"
Why was someone yelling? And why were they using a curse word? Mom told him that it's not polite to use curse words when you're talking to people, especially not in public. Wait, where was the strange winged man going? He had jumped up and was limping rather quickly into the elaborate alley system in the city. You could get lost really easily back there if you weren't careful. He hoped the winged man wasn't going to get lost.
"Hey, kid," a man behind him said, "are you alright? Where are your parents?"
"I," Blaine started confusedly, then he looked up at the man who had scared the poor winged man away, "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
The man chuckled at that, "You're right," he agreed, "You should probably find your parents, then, or else you're going to have to talk to more strangers."
"Yeah," Blaine said, "I guess."
It turned out that his mother wasn't very hard to find. She hadn't gone far after Blaine had left her side; she had stayed in the same general area crying out for her child. When he came back to her without a solid excuse, she scolded him severely and thanked the stranger for bringing him back.
It didn't seem very right to Blaine, though. Blaine was being punished for being nice to a sad person and the mean man was being praised after yelling at the same sad person. He didn't say anything, though, or else his mom would get angrier.
As his mother pulled him away, his mind wandered back to that strange man.
He just really hoped that the winged man wasn't going to get lost back there.
He was singing again.
It was a different song, slower and rougher, but with it brought the same sense of relief, the same feelings of warmth and familiarity that sent Blaine tumbling in an emotional whirlwind.
In one hand, Blaine held a takeout box of sweet and sour chicken. In his other hand, Blaine held a loaf of bread. He thought that maybe he could sit and talk with the singing boy while he ate, and then leave the loaf of bread for when he was hungry later. He was certain the boy wouldn't refuse any sort of meal at this point.
He began to emerge out of the torrent of people, food in hand, when he noticed a little girl running up to the singing boy.
"You have a really pretty voice," she told him sweetly, looking up at him with bright green eyes.
The smile that came to his face was absolutely brilliant. His entire body seemed to glow with the force of the stunning grin that spread across his face like taffy being pulled. From his reaction, one would believe that the singing boy had never encountered any form of positive human interaction, and as Blaine thought about it, he realized that he probably hadn't.
"Thank you," he simply replied, and even from twenty feet away, Blaine could tell that the singing boy was tearing up. It broke Blaine's heart to see someone so emotional over such a simple, little act of kindness.
"What's that song you were singing?" the girl asked him, rolling onto the balls of her feet and giving the singing boy a small grin of her own.
His own smile seemed to falter at the question, "I don't remember the name of it," he admitted to her softly, "I heard it a very long time ago."
"That's alright," she assured him kindly, "It-"
"Olivia? Olivia!" a woman's voice rang out. The voice was soon followed by a woman in her early thirties with short, auburn hair. She was dressed strictly, and her eyes looked severe. "Get away from that thing!"
"But mommy," the girl protested, surprised, as her mother grabbed her hand in a death grip, "I-"
"It's a beetle," the woman spat out, glaring at the singing boy menacingly. The girl's mouth formed a small 'o', and then stretched and crumpled into an expression of disgust. Her mother began tugging the girl away, but as she stomped off, the sweet little girl whipped her head around to look at the singing boy.
The glare painted on the girl's face could have made plants wilt. Her eyes shone with hatred, her scowl spoke of murder.
Then she spat at him.
And the singing boy just sat there. First, his eyes were wide in shock, and then they shriveled and shrunk into broken, defeated slits. They slowly drifted close, and a single shimmering tear leaked out of them, gliding down his face like a raindrop on a window.
Then the singing boy was standing. He stood crookedly, as though there were parts inside him that had snapped, leaving him twisted, warped, hollow. He took one slow, shaky step, and the rest followed quickly, a flurry of movement that lead the singing boy into the dark alley way by his nook. The shadows seemed to take him in like a friend; sad and sympathetic, but unable to do much in help.
And then he was gone, lost in the lonely blackness.
Hours later, the boy would emerge from the alleyway and return to his bedroll. He would sigh at the bulge under his blanket, and wonder what obscene death threat he would find today. He would slowly tug back the rough fabric; listen to the scritching of thread on stone. He would jump back, gasping, more shocked than he had ever been in his life. Under the covers would be a box of Chinese take-out, a loaf of sourdough bread, and a small folded shred of paper that said in a hastily written scrawl, I'm sorry.
"I don't understand," ten year old Blaine had stated to his mother. "Why is it so wrong to have black wings?"
"It's not, honey," she told him very seriously, "people just think it is."
"But then, why does everyone at school talk about the angels with black wings like they do?"
"Look, Blaine," she started, sitting down next to him, "people don't like what's different. People want everyone else to do exactly what they say is right, without questioning it. The angels with black wings, the free angels, they didn't do what people told them to."
"And the angels with white wings, they do what people say? Is that why people like them?"
"That's why," she affirmed, "but they really didn't have a choice."
"What does that mean?" Blaine asked, a confused frown carving itself out on his face.
"It means… angels can be claimed. When they get their wings, they're golden and new. While they have them, they're unclaimed angels. If somebody touches an unclaimed angel's wings, the angel becomes that person's slave, and their wings turn white."
"They become slaves?" Blaine asked disgustedly. "That's horrible!"
"It is," his mother nodded, a frown tugging at her mouth.
"But, what about the free angels? How do they have black wings?"
"They got claimed, but whoever claimed them set them free."
"That isn't bad," Blaine said, "Why would people be mad about that?"
"Because they don't want angels to be free. They think that angels are only supposed to do as they're told."
"I still don't understand why they would think that, though."
She put her arm around the boy and hugged him close.
"Neither do I, honey. Maybe they don't understand what they're thinking, either."
Weeks after the sweet little girl had run up to the singing boy, Blaine walked past the singing boy's nook as he had dozens of times before. The boy looked tired. He looked close to giving up.
But there was still something in his eyes, not the spark of passion that Blaine prayed he would get to see again one day, but a soft glow, like dying embers. It comforted Blaine, because it meant that the singing boy was still holding on.
"Hey beetle!" a familiar voice slurred loudly. Blaine's heart dropped. Turning slowly, he saw the same tall punk from months ago sauntering up to the singing boy, who was slowly getting to his feet. A glare was assembling itself on his face, and he began stalking away.
"Hey you stupid p-piece of shit, I'm talkin' to you!" the punk yelled, jogging after the singing boy who was blatantly ignoring him.
"You k-killed him, didn't you?" he spat. That got the boy to stop dead in his tracks.
"What are you talking about?" the boy asked, clearly caught off guard by the accusation. Blaine could see a hint of something on his face. Was it fear?
Yes, Blaine thought; seeing a slight shudder run through the boy, it's definitely fear.
The punk barked out a short, pained laugh, and Blaine saw something snap in his dark eyes.
"My best f-friend died!" the punk screamed, clearly unhinged, "He j-just fell 'own an' died!" He was visibly shaking, and his words were starting to jumble together
"It- it wush you! You dunnit! Yook 'elled em!" he screeched, stumbling over to the singing boy, who was just standing there, his eyebrows up in his hair.
"I'm sorry for your loss, but I didn't do anything," and when he whispered that, that he hadn't done anything, Blaine knew he wasn't talking about killing a kid. He was talking about everything, and nothing. His life had been filled with hate and disgust, and what had he done to deserve it? Nothing. He hadn't done anything.
The singing boy began to turn away.
Several things happened then.
The punk's hand shot out, his arm covered in tiny pinprick scars. His calloused hand fisted the rough fabric of the singing boy's trench coat; the veins in his arm bulged dangerously, like a snake preparing to strike.
The singing boy whipped around, his eyes were terrified, his face was white, and he screamed "No!" like a man watching his own death approach.
The punk pulled the coat.
Time seemed to stop; nobody moved, nobody breathed. The quick procession of the crowd ceased, like a river hitting a dam, and Blaine heard someone somewhere gasp.
The trench coat hung limply in the punk's hand for a moment, wavering slightly in the breeze, and then it slipped through his fingers, falling softly into a heap on the grungy sidewalk.
"It's not a beetle," the punk whispered, his previous hostilities forgotten. He took a step forward, staring into the singing boy's eyes, reached out slowly with the same vein-covered, pinpricked arm, and grasped the singing boy's wing.
His bright, brilliant golden wing.
It's over, the angel thought.
It's all over.
Why was this happening to him? What had he done to deserve this? He hadn't asked to have wings, in fact, he had begged not to. He hadn't asked to be a sex toy, to be used and abused and raped. He hadn't asked to be a thing, an object, something to be touched and felt and taken advantage of. He didn't want this.
So what had he done? Why would the powers that might be force him into this life?
"Why-" he started to whisper.
"Be quiet," the punk snapped, his eyes gleaming with new-found power.
His mouth clamped shut of its own accord, and a tingle ran through his entire body.
It had begun. That first order, the simple command to 'be quiet', was the prelude to everything that was to come. Later, it would become things like 'take off your clothes', 'get on your knees', and 'just take it'.
He idly wondered if the punk would keep him to be his own angel or if he would be sold. It didn't really matter, though. Nothing mattered.
It was over.
"Come with me," the punk said, finally taking his hand off of the beautiful, newly white wing. He turned and began striding toward the dark alley way. The tingle came back, flooding his body. His foot pulled forward, and then the other, leading him after his captor, his owner, his master.
He knew what was next. It was what was always next. He'd heard all of the worst horror stories, and he'd seen first-hand what it could do to a person. The stories he'd heard had terrified him, made him promise himself that he'd never let this happen. But it was happening, and he felt surprisingly calm.
Only it wasn't calm, it was a just a lack of responsiveness. Saying he was calm would be like saying a dead person was merely sleeping; something you tell yourself to make everything feel better when everything is wrong.
He wished he was a person instead of a thing. If he were a person, he could have been sitting in a nice apartment at that moment, watching TV or cleaning, or some other mundane activity.
If he was a person, he wouldn't be walking into this alley. If he was a person, he wouldn't be walking straight into his rape.
Some part of his mind that still felt emotion was screaming. No no no! Please! Don't take this from me! Don't do this to me! Anything, I'll do anything! Just- please!
He silenced it. There was no point in begging or pleading anymore. It wasn't like he could voice his pleas anyway.
A few, short steps before he would enter the darkness of the alley, his head turned by some force unbeknownst to him. It swiveled slowly on his neck, back into the foggy grey world. He saw the crowd watching him march into the alley; they watched him marching to his end. You would have thought that somebody, anybody, would have tried to help the white-winged angel. But no one did. They just stared with big white eyes and a shallow gaze.
Then he saw a boy standing in the crowd who didn't have the same blank, thoughtless sight. He was short, with a head of curly black hair. His eyes were hazel, and the white winged angel thought that he saw them glistening with unshed tears.
He looked familiar, like someone you've dreamt about but forgotten the dream upon wakening. His was the type of memory that was slippery to the touch, to the point where you can just start to get a grasp and then it slides out of your hands.
Their eyes met across the dingy concrete sea for a brief moment, and everything seemed to freeze. Sound dropped like a stone from the air, movement slowed in an ethereal manner. They were connected and nothing could penetrate the barrier around them. The angel stared into the boy's eyes, and he saw something there, something sad and sweet and real.
But then the stained wall of the alley filled his vision, and reality came flooding back into his hazy mind.
Each step echoed through the narrow darkness, every breathe he took chilled his heart, causing it to grow fragile, brittle, and ready to crumble at any moment.
The punk stopped and so did he. His mind finally woke up, and screamed at him to run, flee, to leave this place. His body told him that he would stay.
The punk turned and his white sandpaper lips tore apart to reveal yellowed, cracked, hungry teeth.
"Hold still," the punk ordered, his bloodshot eyes wide in anticipation. He took two slow steps toward him, staring at him with eyes full of desire, and he licked his lips as though he thought of the angel as nothing more than a piece of meat.
Then he reached out and unbuckled the angel's pants, and then his own.
It was mere seconds away now. The singing boy looked away, hoping to catch one last glimpse of light before is world was plunged into a sunless Hell. That was when he saw it, the familiar face of a monster, black like coal and with eyes like caverns. His dried leather wings held aloft behind him wavered a bit, like they were trying to urge the beast to take flight.
But it didn't. It stood there, staring at the white feathered angel with pity. It blinked a slow, drawn out blink, and then it turned and stalked into the narrow passage at the end of the alley.
"Now," the punk said, his voice snapping the angel back to himself.
"Get on your knees."
And it began.
The day afterward, Blaine hadn't wanted to set foot anywhere near the singing boy's nook. He knew it would be empty, he knew that the singing boy would be gone. He didn't want to have to face the fact that he was a coward, that he had let someone who truly needed him down. If he went there and saw the evidence of his failure, he would never be able to forgive himself.
Of course, as human nature dictates, a morbid curiosity pulled him back there.
The moment he arrived, however, he wished that he had never left his house.
The singing boy was there after all. Not in his nook, but walking down the street. The crowd parted for him, drifting to the sides of the street like scattering bugs. Some stared at him in awe; some stared at him with hunger.
Blaine could only stare at him with the deepest feelings of remorse, pity, and disgust.
Because the singing boy was not walking down the street alone; he walked with the tall punk. A cord was tied around the angel's neck, and thin red lines were carved into his flesh where the punk had yanked and pulled. He was naked, and there were dark bruises on his waist. Bruises shaped like fingers…
The punk led him with an air of dominance, his head held high and his eyes so self-satisfied. His wolfish mouth was pulled in a lopsided smirk.
The punk yanked fiercely at the cord, and the singing boy stumbled and fell to the ground. His knees hit the pavement first, and then his hands. One hand struck a piece of shattered glass, and blood poured from the wound. Blaine cried out in protest, and rushed forward to stop this cruelty, to help the boy who he had become so enamored with. Strong hands grabbed him by his upper arms, and he was dragged backward by an unseen person.
"Let me go!" he roared, kicking his legs out and trying to gain freedom. He was pulled all the way out of the crowd and onto a sidewalk a ways away, "I have to help him!"
"You can't," the person growled, and Blaine was finally released. He turned around to see a tall, beach blond boy.
"Why?" Blaine shouted, exasperated. "Why can't I help him?"
"What do you think is going to happen when you go out and try to steal that kid's property? Do you think it's going to go over well? Do you think that all of those ignorant people are just going to smile and let it slide?"
"He's not anyone's property," Blaine spat, "you asshole. He's a person, and-"
"I know that, and you know that, but those people don't. They don't think, and if you go back out there they'll tear you apart, and you'll get arrested for attempted theft," Blaine finally calmed down at that, and looked at the person with defeat in his eyes.
"I'm Sam," the person said.
"Blaine," he responded, "So… what were you doing? There, I mean."
"Just walking by. I used to walk that way all the time. He's got a great voice, you know. But lately, I just haven't been able to stop by as often as I'd like. I didn't know he was an unclaimed angel. Well, I guess he's not, anymore." Sam frowned, "What about you?"
"The same; just walking by." Blaine deadpanned, "I tried talking to him once. He wouldn't let me. I was actually there when he was claimed."
There was a long period of silence, and then, "I wonder who he is," Sam said, "Did he tell you when you tried to talk to him?"
"No," regret filled the air, "he never told me anything."
There was a stifling emptiness to the air for a while. Blaine wasn't sure if he was still breathing.
"I should probably get going," Sam stated eventually.
"Yeah, me too."
"Maybe we'll see each other again sometime?"
"Yeah, maybe." They didn't. Blaine's glance backward as they parted was the last time the two lovers of a nameless angel ever saw each other again.
Kurt Hummel. That was his name, back when he'd had one, anyway.
He had lost it a long time ago, on the same night that he had lost his parents.
Things were so different then. It was funny, really, when he thought back to it. He'd thought that high school was the epitome of all evil. He'd thought that he was the lowest of the low, that things couldn't possibly get any worse than they already were.
And then they did.
His parents had died in a common way, really: a car accident. There was no shame in getting killed by a drunk driver. It wasn't a demeaning way of death.
But Kurt's death would have to be shameful, it would certainly be demeaning. He was probably going to die in a cage, or chained to a floor.
He wished he could die in a car accident.
On the night of their dying, he had been at home, watching something on TV. That was when he had gotten the call that his parents had been in a car accident, and had passed away.
Moments later, sobbing, broken, on the floor, his back tore open. Screaming, thrashing, the world had turned scarlet from the agony he endured and the blood flowing over his flesh. He could feel bones shifting and stretching, and finally, with one final snap, bloody, golden wings emerged from his back.
And that had been that.
He knew what it meant to have wings. He knew that if he was caught, he would be sold like some sort of property. He knew that new, unclaimed angels were the most wanted, and he knew that being the greatest prize meant taking the most abuse.
If his parents were still alive, he would have trusted one of them to free him.
But they weren't, and he couldn't.
So, there was only one solution in his mind.
He rose from the puddle he lay in, and walked slowly to the highway. There he stood as a pair of headlights came over the hill, barreling toward him.
At that moment, however, another was coming toward Kurt Hummel. This one traveled by air, and just happened to notice the broken little virgin angel standing in the road.
And so she saved the boy. At least, she thought that was what she was doing.
All that Kurt could see was a streak of black before he was being lifted and pulled out of the way of his salvation.
And then they both landed on the other side of the highway.
He screamed and cried out. He tried to hit the free angel who had saved. He flung his arms out wildly, not actually caring whether his blows struck or not. The free angel just held him to the ground, quietly restraining the broken child.
When Kurt had become too tired to continue, he just lay there limply.
"Why?" he asked quietly.
The black winged angel didn't reply. She simply offered her hand to Kurt, who stared at it for a moment before taking it. They walked together in silence, and Kurt didn't once give a thought to where they were going, because for some reason, he trusted this woman.
They walked deep into the darkest part of the city until they reached a very shady looking place.
No one was in the building except for the bartender. He gave the free angel a strained nod, but didn't speak. The free angel nodded back with a short jerk of her head, and then led Kurt downstairs, into the cellar.
It was filthy there. You could hear the rats skittering about in the foul place, and it smelled of rotting food. There was a small wooden door in the back of the room, though, and it was through that door that Kurt and the free angel proceeded.
The door led into a tunnel, and after forty minutes of trekking through them, the tunnels led to a ladder. The ladder led to a myth.
They rose through the ground onto the surface world. They were in the alley system, and more than just that, they were in its heart.
They were in a Beetle Haven.
It was a wide space nestled within the network of thin, constricting tunnels. Threadbare blankets covered the ground, and a tarp lay folded in a corner.
There were free angels sitting around. Most were staring off into space absently; some were nibbling at scraps of food. Their black wings were dull and lifeless.
Standing in the far corner was a creature. Its skin looked like charred leather, and its wings were devoid of feathers. Its shape was warped, with elongated feet and a slightly hunched back. It was watching Kurt with narrowed, yellow eyes.
"What is that?" Kurt asked the woman who had rescued him. Her gaze drifted over to the creature, and she turned back to him with ferocity.
"You listen to me," she snarled, "he's just as much of a person as you or me, and I'll be damned if I brought you here just for you to treat him like the rest of the world does."
"I didn't mean it like that," he told her, too tired to be frightened by her hostility. "I've just never seen anyone like that before."
She softened her harsh gaze at that. "No," she agreed, "you wouldn't have seen anybody like him. Most of them never leave the sewers, but for some reason, he wanted to live on the surface world with the rest of us."
"Why does he look that way?" he asked.
"You should ask him yourself," she said. "What's your name, anyway?"
"Kurt. Hummel. Kurt Hummel."
"My name's Santana," she told him. She gestured to his wings. "You'd better find someone to free you, or else you're not going to be Kurt Hummel for much longer."
"I don't have anybody," he stated, "my family's dead."
"Then I don't know how to help you," her voice was blunter than a hammer, "you can't stay with us for much longer; they'll find us, and they'll find you."
"But I thought that your havens were harder to find than the Holy Grail?"
"They just tell people that so they won't wonder why we haven't all been exterminated yet," she sighed.
"Why haven't you been, then?"
"The first place any unclaimed or free angel goes to is a haven. They know that. They keep us around because they know that all the rare, expensive, little virgin angels like you who don't have anybody to free them are going to come here. Then they have their raids, and they'll take you like they took her to their factories, and their cages, so they could train and sell her like she was some sort of filth!"
She looked away, "She was so beautiful, and I loved her, but that didn't matter to them. They just took her away. She was screaming for me to help her, and I tried. I really tried."
Kurt didn't know what to do, or how to help. So he just stood with her while she cried, and, actually, that was all she needed.
When she had finished, she looked him up and down, as if to check him for any signs of sympathy, or worse, pity. When she was satisfied that he wasn't sparing the slightest bit of emotion for her, she gave him a nod, and briskly walked off.
When she was gone, he decided to speak with the featherless creature. He walked up to it with caution.
"What could you want?" it asked him, seeming disinterested, it's gaze wandering over the golden feathers of Kurt's wings.
"I was just wondering…"
"Wondering why I look like this?" it finished for the unclaimed angel, "That's what every angel, virgin or free, wants to know first."
"Well, yes," Kurt admitted.
"It's a rather short story, really," it started, "I was claimed, so I took the first opportunity I could get to get free."
"What does that mean?" Kurt asked the creature. It stared at him for a few moments with pity in its eyes before responding.
"It means that I killed the person who claimed me."
"But- how?" Kurt gaped. That was… impossible. You couldn't do that. There was no way.
"I just did," the creature shrugged, "she hadn't given me any orders yet, so I strangled her. It wasn't until a few days later that I noticed my feathers falling out, and then my skin started to burn itself. My bones started shifting over time, until I looked like this."
"Now," it said, "I've told this story what seems like a thousand times, so if you don't mind…" And with that he strode off.
Kurt stayed there for hours, waiting. He wasn't sure what he waiting for, or even why he had remained in a place that could be raided at any moment. He never had his questions answered; what he was waiting for never appeared.
"You can't stay here," Santana reappeared as the last rays of light began fading out of the sky.
"I know," the stars were starting to blink their way into existence, and Kurt could see constellations being drawn into the sky. They were stories laid out before him. His mother used to show him the stars, and tell him their stories. He remembered something about the Pleiades being a group of sisters who were pursued by Orion? Cassiopeia was the W, he thought. He couldn't remember the story that went with Cassiopeia, though…
"You have to leave, tonight. You'll have to hide out somewhere else. Somewhere alone," she told him. "It can't be in the alleys. And it can't be with a person, because of the Harboring Laws. You'll have to hide in plain sight, I guess."
"They'll claim me!" He argued.
"No, they won't. If you can hide your wings, they'll think that you're just some free angel, living in a gutter. There are a couple of us that don't hide out in the alleys, the ones that don't function well in groups. They won't touch you, or even come near you; you'll be the lowest of the low."
"Won't I be arrested or killed if they think I'm a free angel?"
"Maybe. Just try to stay in the slums, they won't mind much as long as you don't broadcast yourself," Santana stared deep into his eyes. Don't you dare die, her eyes said to him. "Just don't be stupid and you'll be fine, for a while, anyway. They really don't care as much as they think. They all think that they know what we are, but everyone has those doubts. Those doubts are what are going to keep you alive."
She took him to the mouth of the alleyway.
Kurt gave her a sort of smile that wasn't at all happy, "Maybe I'll see you again?"
She didn't reply, but gave the same strained nod that the bartender had given her earlier. "If you get caught," she blurted out suddenly, as if she couldn't contain her words any longer, "if you see her, if you see Brittany, in that fucking factory, tell her something for me," she was pleading, "just tell her that I love her. Tell her that I love her and that I miss her every day, ok?"
He nodded, and she embraced him tightly. She didn't want to say it, but Kurt knew: she was hoping that he could be caught. Somehow, Kurt couldn't find it in himself to blame her.
When they parted, neither looked back at the other. They were determined to forget each other. Neither would.
The kid was obviously high on something. The angel was scraggly and claimed.
This was going to be the easiest deal he would ever make.
Mr. Cowl was the fiercest negotiator in the company on a bad day. Today was not a bad day, and this kid wasn't going to be any competition at all.
I could probably get the angel for less than a grand, Mr. Cowl thought. However, he was feeling generous that day, and they were in no way short of money.
"How can I help you?" he greeted smoothly. The kid grinned. Probably thinks he's in for a shit ton of money, he rolled his eyes, don't they all?
"I'm here to sell my angel," he slurred out. Well of course you are, why else would you be here?
"How much do you want for him?" he asked, becoming all business faster than a blink of the eye.
"I want a million dollars," the kid declared.
"Oh sir, I'm terribly sorry, but we can't even give that much for an unclaimed angel." That was utter horseshit; he paid ten times that much for a claimed angel on a daily basis. "Also, before we continue, I must know: have you slept with your angel as of yet?"
"Of course," the kid stated proudly, "that was the first thing I did."
Mr. Cowl tsk-ed, "That's too bad. The virgins are worth more." That was true, yes, but he would still be telling potential buyers that this angel was a virgin; they would never know the difference.
"Oh," the kid's face fell, "then, how much can I get for him?"
"Honestly? The most I can give for him is fifty grand, and that's quite a stretch."
"I'll take it," he said, and Mr. Cowl almost took pity on the kid for his complete stupidity.
"Very good, sir." He handed the kid the contract, which was really only for legal purposes, and watched as he signed his sloppy scrawl. "Now, if you could read the statement printed on the second page to your angel, we'll be finished here, and you can be on your way."
"You are to follow any and all orders made by this person and any of his or her affiliates, without protest of any sort. You are to follow his or her orders as would follow my own," he read, stumbling over the words with some difficulty. Mr. Cowl was impressed that the kid knew how to read at all.
"Have a good day," he said as he slid the small slip of paper across the desk, "spend it wisely."
The kid didn't look like he'd heard a word Mr. Cowl had said to him. He stared at the numbers on the check greedily, and nodded once before turning and walking out the door. It really didn't matter whether the kid had the manners of a drunken bull or not; Mr. Cowl had just scammed the poor child out of ninety nine percent of the angel's actual worth. He might as well delude himself as wealthy.
He turned to the angel now. He really was a piece of work. Sure, he was skinnier than a fucking twig, and as filthy as a pig, but that could all be fixed. He had a pair of eyes that would make his customers fall over themselves to have him. If, of course, they didn't notice certain... other assets of his, first.
He still had that look, though, the one that meant that they still see themselves as a person. They'd get rid of that, soon enough. He'd realize that he was nothing more than an animal.
Mr. Cowl pressed a button on his desk, "Do we have any empty cells for a claimed angel?"
"Yeah," the speaker informed him, "that little Asian bitch that couldn't stop crying? She died this morning."
"Good," Mr. Cowl replied, lightly tapping the button again, "you get to have one of the claimed cells."
When the angel didn't say anything, Mr. Cowl continued, "Trust me, it's a good thing. The unclaimed angels' cells are much less… accommodating."
There was still no response, "You're going to be a good pet. You showed up without a voice; that'll get you to a master faster than the others. Most of them show up crying or begging, but not you. You came already trained, I suppose."
That got a reaction, if only a slight one. The angel's eyebrows furrowed, thin string sliding over porcelain.
"Ah, so maybe not trained as well as we thought?" Mr. Cowl grinned. "I know, he probably told you not to speak, and it's just killing you to stand there, silent, right?"
"Most people think that my job is easy," he began the speech he gave to every new acquirement, "that I would simply need to tell you all exactly what is expected of you, and that would be that. It could work like that, of course, I just prefer to do it in more thorough ways. Why order an obedient mutt around when you can have an award winning purebred? You already obey when we get you, we just make you obey better. We can make you want to obey. And isn't it so much better if you want it?"
Two men led him down a stark white corridor. Glass cells lined the walls, and in the cells were white winged angels. Most were naked, some were in their underwear. All had bright, white wings that added to the blinding effect of the colorless place.
Kurt was thrown roughly into one of the cells. By the time he hit the floor and had turned around, the men were gone.
In the cell to his right was a brunette. Her hair was long and thick, and fell past her shoulders to the middle of her back. She was rather short, and she was crying. Kurt wished she would stop.
In the cell to his left was a blonde. Her hair was shorter, about chin length, and a bit wilder than the other girl's. Her head rested against the glass, and she was looking past Kurt, watching the brunette girl cry. Her eyes were intense with need, but the rest of her body was slack.
He wondered idly if either of them could be Brittany. He didn't think so: they seemed to know each other from before their capture, and they seemed to know each other well. If one of them was Brittany, then Santana wasn't the only person who loved her, and Brittany didn't seem exclusively to love Santana.
Things passed slowly in his cell. Most of the time, Kurt slept. There was nothing better to do; they couldn't speak with each other, they couldn't really interact at all. So he slept, and so did the other angels.
On the second day of being there, angels started being pulled from their cells. The two men who had brought Kurt to his cell came and took the angel at the end of the row out. Every angel in the corridor stood at the wall of their cell, trying to watch what was happening. The men took the angel through a doorway, though, and nothing else happened for several hours.
When they returned, the angel was unconscious. The men tossed his body back into his cell before taking the next angel in the row.
It continued like that all day. An angel would be gone for several hours, and then be returned unconscious, only for the next angel in the row to be taken in their place, usually kicking and screaming.
When it was the blonde girl's turn, she fought back harder than any of the others had. She hit one of the men in the face, and blood poured from his nose.
She was gone for a very long time, but when she came back, she wasn't unconscious. There were deep gouges in her thighs, and there was more skin discolored from bruises than not.
She was flung into her cell by the men so hard that she slammed into the back wall. She crumpled to the ground in a heap.
Kurt was next.
He didn't kick, and he didn't scream. He stood waiting for them, and walked like a person with them down the hall. He wasn't going to let them take his humanity away.
The door at the end of the hall led to an empty room. The men pushed him inside, and then exited through yet another door on the far side of the room.
Nothing happened for a few minutes, and then a projection appeared on the wall. As a video began playing out in front of his eyes, he could see a gas pouring in from the corners of the room. He was already lightheaded by the time the first words were spoken in the video.
"Angel. That's what you are," the narrator said, and photos of smiling angels began appearing on the wall.
"You are probably very happy to be an angel, and you should be. Angels are highly prized for their beauty, and you will one day be a great pet for a lucky person," he was becoming more lightheaded, and noticed that he couldn't feel his fingers anymore. The room began to dance around him, and the walls were melting like snow. There was a strange buzzing in the air, and the video seemed to be speeding up. The narrator's voice, however, seemed only to be talking at a slowing pace.
"As a future pet, there are some things that you'll need to know."
"Just because you have to do what your owner says, doesn't mean it's an 'order'," the narrator said, "they just know what's best for you, and whatever they tell you to do is really in your best interest."
"You don't need to worry anymore!" Kurt thought he was going to vomit. The room was spinning rapidly now, and he couldn't see the video anymore; the walls would slow down long enough for the image to clearly display itself.
"Everything you'll ever need will be taken care of for you," the narrator's voice was warped into something from a horror movie.
The voice faded off into the distance as it said, "Be happy, not many are as lucky as you." The room stopped spinning with a jolt, and Kurt fell to the ground like a brick. He heard his head hit the floor, but for some reason he couldn't feel anything. He could hear people walking toward him from somewhere. They were talking, too, but their words were indecipherable as he was swallowed by the void.
When he woke, he was back in his cell. The blonde girl was awake as well, and she was back to staring at the brunette, who lay unconscious on the pure white floor of her cell.
Kurt could remember almost nothing from before his awakening. The last thing he remembered was sitting in his cell, watching the blonde girl do… something. She was hitting someone, he thought. He could remember red drops hitting the white floor and thinking of paint. Had it been blood he'd seen?
The brunette girl was starting to wake. Her back arced as she sat up, and she turned to look at the blonde girl. Her eyes softened as she looked past Kurt, and he turned to see what had caused that reaction.
I love you was written on the glass of the blonde girl's cell in blood. It must have been blood, then, that he had seen. The brunette girl began nodding fiercely, and she looked near tears again. Nothing ever fell from her eyes, though, and Kurt was grateful. She placed a hand to her heart, and then pointed to the blonde girl, who smiled. They stared at each other for the next few hours, hardly even taking the time to blink away the image of each other.
Kurt was both warmed and jealous of their slight interaction. They had each other, at least. He had no one.
Days later, he was taken again. Like before, he fell unconscious during his visit to the small room, and like before, he forgot everything that had happened by the time he woke up.
The visits to the room down the hall became more and more frequent as time passed, and he began to remember small bits from them. The sound of the narrator's voice, the spinning of the room, the sentences spoken to him as fact, all began to stick in his memory, and eventually, he realized that they were trying to brainwash him. He wouldn't have that. They could make him watch that video a thousand times, he would remember who he was.
Days passed, and then weeks did as well. Time blurred together as it always seems to do.
He lost count of how many times he had seen that video, but he knew that it had to have been at least twenty. He didn't know if the others remembered watching the video as well. Its message seemed to be having an effect on some of them, regardless. Once, he had witnessed an angel bowing as a guard passed by his cell. Another angel hugged a guard as he took her out of her cell to watch the film. The video didn't have any effect on Kurt, or, he didn't notice any change in his own behavior. He didn't have any sudden desires to grovel at the feet of his captors, so that was something.
Despite his best efforts, he did starting losing bits of his past. Pieces of the person known as Kurt Hummel began to fade from his mind, and soon, he struggled to remember his last name. He tried carving it into his skin with his fingernails, and the scratches he left kept his name fresh in his memory for a while. The guards saw it while taking him to the small white room, though, and he was instantly taken to a small infirmary where all traces of the marks were removed. Because of this detour, however, he got out of watching the video, and his memory began seeping back into the forefront of his thoughts.
The brunette angel was replaced in her cell four days after Kurt had first seen the video. She was taken while Kurt was asleep, and when he awoke, there was a red haired boy in her cell. The blonde girl lay in the middle of her cell. She didn't move from that position until she was next taken down the hall to the small room, two days later.
One day, at least a month after he had been brought to this place, he was taken down the hall for the last time. They took him into the small room, and through the door on the opposite wall. In that room stood a woman, tall, dark haired, and tan. "This is the angel?" she demanded, "The one you're selling for cheap?"
"It is," Mr. Cowl, standing in the corner of the room, affirmed.
"I can see why," she said, but you could hear the lie in her voice more clearly than a bomb going off, "it's scrawny and pale, and honestly I don't see why I'm not getting it for cheaper."
"We both know that price isn't a problem," Mr. Cowl smiled faintly, "do you want it or not?"
She walked around Kurt, trailing a finger across his back. After thoroughly examining every part of him, she finally conceded, "I suppose. It wouldn't make a horrible addition to my collection, and we want to make sure that something as… fragile… as this one seems to be comes to a good master, right?" She addressed Kurt now directly.
When he couldn't reply, Mr. Cowl apologized. "I'm terribly sorry, this one had prior instructions not to speak, and we prefer not to give our acquisitions any new orders until they are resold. Now, answer her," he ordered.
"Yes," he replied, and he realized that 'answer her' hadn't meant 'answer in the affirmative.' It was ordering him for his answer. His own. Why would he say yes if it hadn't been required?
Maybe the video was having more of an effect on him that he thought.
He didn't have much time to think about that, though, because the woman was nodding and said, "Exactly right. If you would now kindly give him over to me, Mr. Cowl, my new pet and I can get home," she stared deep into Kurt's eyes, "And then we can get started on all of the fun."
He was put into her ownership, and soon after he was placed in a cage. The drive to her home, as he assumed that was where they were headed, was long and uncomfortable. He wasn't sure where they were going, he was in the pitch black trunk of her vehicle, or how long it took them to get there, but he received no food during the duration of the trip, and his cage was small. He had to curl into a ball in order to lie down, and the criss-crossing pattern of the metal rods dug into his flesh.
When they arrived and he was finally pulled from his cage, his eyes were met first by the blinding light of the outside world. Once his eyes had adjusted, he looked upon a mansion. Its towering walls were laid out with dark stones, and vines crept up the sides. A small flower garden thrived by the staircase, which wound its way up a small slope and to the tall mahogany doors of the mansion. It really would have been a beautiful place, if not for the fact that it was his new prison.
He was led across the lawn and into the massive structure, carried up three stories by an elevator, and eventually brought to a windowless room with dark walls and wood floors.
There were cages in this room, much larger, more accommodating cages. There were other angels within these cages, and in total, there were probably a dozen within the room. They watched him with wide eyes. Most looked curious, but one of them, a girl with dark hair, quietly cried into her hands. He wondered if their master would make the girl stop crying. She didn't; it really didn't seem as though she noticed. Maybe she simply didn't care. The latter seemed more likely for some reason.
She ordered him into the cage with the dark-haired girl. He climbed in without hesitation, and closed the door behind him. The woman left then, and the room was silent for a brief moment.
"Is the sun out today?" A blonde girl in the cage next to his asked.
"Is the sun out today?" she repeated, "Is it cloudy? Did you see any birds? I miss the birds."
She stared at him with intensity, as though this was of the greatest importance, and maybe it was to her. The others seemed less interesting, but he could see them waiting for an answer.
"The sun is out today," he confirmed, "and the sky is light blue, with two fluffy clouds floating just above the horizon. I saw a bluebird in a rose bush outside this house."
The others were staring at him with a look of thanks, and the blonde girl thanked him. "You talk like you're singing," she told him. "Do you sing a lot?"
"I used to," he replied, "but I haven't for a little while."
"Maybe you'll sing again soon," she said, hopeful. "I'm Brittany."
"Brittany? Brittany!" his eyes lit up briefly, "Do you know Santana?"
"Of course I do!" she rolled her eyes, "She's mine and I'm hers. How could I not know her?"
"She told me to tell you that she loves you," Kurt told her.
Brittany smiled, "I know, and I love her. She knows that, too."
"I'm glad," Kurt's lips prepared for a smile, but it never came. It was a start, though.
The woman who owned them cycled through them on a regular basis. After she had Kurt for the first time, however, her schedule changed, and Kurt found himself in her bedroom more than any of the others.
It wasn't as bad as it could have been. Although he had to do it often, it was as hard to do as when he had been under the ownership of the punk.
Kurt and Brittany spoke every day. Sometimes, the dark-haired girl, who they learned was named Tina, would chime in with a story about a boy named Mike. She cried a lot, but the amount of time that tears leaked out of her eyes lessened gradually.
Kurt began to look at things with a happier view. He wasn't lonely anymore. He had a home. He had friends.
The dark side of things was darker than Kurt normally could have handled, but at least there was a bright side.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and the woman who owned them got tired of hearing their voices. She silenced them all with a sentence, and told them that animals didn't need to gossip.
One day, he noticed that his wings were looking dinghy. He thought that perhaps he was supposed to have been cleaning them, but he didn't quite know how to do so.
"Your original owner is about to die," the woman had told him greedily when she took him to her bedroom, stroking the off-white feathers. "Soon, you'll be mine, and mine only."
Kurt smiled because that's what a good angel is supposed to do, and when angels are good, their owners act kindly in response.
At least, that's what he had been told by his owner, and owners were always right.
Nights later, as he waited in his cell, a strange shock ran through his body, and his wings went from dinghy to silver as a shimmering flooded his feathers.
He expected the woman to come upstairs and claim him entirely as her own, as she had the room monitored by cameras.
Instead, her voice could be heard throughout the house as she drunkenly spoke to a friend.
"He's gonna be mine, Annie. Once an' for all. Isn't that great?"
"Yes, truly wonderful."
"Are you bein' sarcastic? I know you're all for, like, equality or whatever, but seriously though, they're just angels!"
"Of course I wasn't being sarcastic. Why would you think that I would want everybody to have the same, basic rights?"
"Because you're always goin' on 'bout that that hippie shit."
"Why aren't you drinking, too? This is a night of cel'bration!"
"It's the anniversary of your divorce, Melinda."
"Yeah? Well fuck Nick! I don't… I don't need anybody in my life! I've got five angels… to my name, and….. I'm happy as a fuckin' clam without his ass, bringing….bringing me…"
There was no noise for a moment, and then there was the sound of a person running up the stairs. A woman with curly black hair appeared in the doorway. She stood there for a moment, and then she ran to his cage with a key, opening it one swift movement.
"Get out of here," she said. He stared at her with wide eyes, thoroughly confused.
"Go on! Hurry! Before she wakes up!" And in that moment, he realized that he was free. He didn't know what might happen after his escape. He didn't know if he would be captured again, by someone far worse. He didn't know if he would be taken back to the Company. He didn't know anything that might be in store for him, but he knew that this woman had risked her freedom for his, and he was not going to let that go to waste.
He ran. Out of the cage, down the hall, out a window, and he jumped. He flapped his wings, but had absolutely no experience at flying. He fell to the ground and heard something snap. Ignore it. He jumped again, flapped his wings again, fell again. Try again, fail again. This happened twice more before finally his wings found their purpose and he shakily rose higher into the sky, gaining altitude and speed, making his way as far from everywhere as he dared to go.
Blaine Anderson simply happened to be walking home on the most important night of his life. If circumstances had been different, if he hadn't have left his phone in the choir room and had to have gone back to get it, he would never have seen found the singing boy crumpled in a heap at the mouth of an alley.
The angel was naked, trembling from the cool, glistening water droplets that covered his pale, bruised skin. Dark circles were drawn under his eyes, and his wings were no longer the bleached white that they had been the last time that Blaine had seen him. They were now a dingy grey that accented how broken the singing boy looked.
Blaine reached down to help him, but stopped himself. What if he accidentally touched those unclaimed wings? What if he stole the singing boy from himself?
"Excuse me," he murmured softly to the shivering collection of bone and flesh. There was a startled opening of the eyes, and then wounded blue-green eyes met hazel. Wild fear tainted the singing boy's eyes, and he looked like he was on the edge of sanity.
"I'm sorry," Blaine said, and the singing boy seemed to relax a little. His eyes seemed hazy, though, like he wasn't entirely certain of what was going on, and his eyebrows were drawn together in confusion.
"Here, put this on," Blaine told him, holding out to the singing boy his raincoat. The singing boy stared up at the blue jacket with the same hazy eyes, and made no move to put it on, let alone stand up. Blaine sighed, and then stooped down, very carefully positioning the raincoat over the singing boy's shoulders, pulling his arms through the sleeves. Then he zipped the raincoat and pulled the singing boy to his feet. He placed the singing boy's arm over his shoulder, and began the long process of bringing him back to his apartment.
By the time they actually reached their destination, Blaine was basically dragging the angel along beside him, who had almost collapsed several times. During the elevator ride, the singing boy actually did collapse. Blaine had to carry him the rest of the way, finally laying him on his bed after taking half an hour to walk two blocks.
The singing boy was very obviously exhausted, but he was also freezing. Blaine couldn't just leave him lying on a bed in only a wet raincoat. He also couldn't simply put him in pajamas; there were wings to consider. So Blaine went through his apartment, searching for a pair of gloves. In the end, he found a pair of mittens.
Wearing those, he dressed the angel in pajamas that had always been too large for him. He'd sloppily cut out holes in the back for his wings. After the singing boy was dressed, Blaine pulled him up onto the bed and under the covers. He shut off the lights, hoping that the singing boy would be alright.
He woke up in a different place from where he'd fallen asleep. He didn't remember anything at first, but then fragments began to slowly drift into mind. He remembered that his wings had turned grey, and that he'd gotten free. He remembered trying to fly, and finally being able to. He remembered trying to get far away from there, but only making it back to where he'd started. He remembered crawling into an alley, and trying to fight sleep. He remembered that it started raining.
But that was it. He couldn't remember anything else.
Now he was wearing pajamas in a bed in some house.
He quietly got out of the bed. His feet touched the cold hardwood floor with the utmost delicacy, and he slowly began to move to the bedroom door.
Whoever had brought him here hadn't claimed him yet. That could only mean one thing: whoever brought him here was planning on selling him, and most likely, they were going to sell him to the Company.
No, he wouldn't let that happen. He couldn't let that happen.
His hand grasped the handle of the tall oak door, and he stopped. What if they were waiting for him on the other side? Should he try to go through the window instead? He turned around and quietly traversed back across the room. He pulled back the maroon curtains and looked outside.
He was twenty stories up. He could try to fly, but if his last attempt at flying was anything to go by, he was not the most adept.
No, he decided. I'm going to have to go through whoever is on the other side of the door.
Taking a deep breath, he pushed on the heavy door. It swung open silently to reveal an empty living room. Tiptoeing through the doorway, he was able to see the entire apartment. There was a tall bookshelf on his right as well as a small love seat. On his left, he could see a small kitchen and the exit.
There was a person standing in the kitchen. His back was turned away from him, making coffee. The only way out was through the kitchen.
There was a knife container on the counter.
Mentally resolving to do whatever it took, no matter the cost, he crept up behind the other boy. He slid a knife from its spot in a container and raised it into the air.
Whatever it took.
He was ready. He was going to sink the knife into this person's back, and then he was going to get out of this apartment. He was going to run, and he would keep running.
He wouldn't be able to stop. If he did, they would catch him.
Just as the blade was ready to plunge into flesh, the boy turned around. He had to do it now! He frantically tried to bring the knife down on the boy, to stab as he had intended, but the other boy's eyes were so wide and scared. He just looked so frightened.
"Ah! Wait!" the other boy yelped, jumping back against the counter and throwing his arms up in defense. "Please!"
He lowered the knife, but remained wary, "Who are you?" he questioned icily, "What am I doing here?"
"My name's Blaine," the other boy, Blaine, said, "And this is my apartment. I brought you here after I found you lying in the street." His eyes were still wide, but he spoke calmly.
"You didn't claim me," he stated bluntly, "Why not?"
Blaine looked at him for a moment with sad, tired eyes before saying, "Because I wouldn't do that to a person."
A person. Blaine thought he was… a person? No, nobody thought he was a person. He wasn't a person. This was a trick.
"Don't lie to me!" he screamed, pointing the knife out toward Blaine and backing up against the wall, "You're going to sell me to the Company, aren't you?"
"No, I swear I-"
"No?" he yelled, "Then what the Hell do you want from me? What else could anyone possibly want with me?"
Blaine seemed at a loss for words, and then, looking at his feet, he whispered, "I only wanted to help."
He froze, and then confusion filled his eyes. Blaine sounded so honest. He sounded like he really meant it. But that was impossible; nobody wanted to help him. Nobody.
"Why?" he whispered, "Why would you want to help me?"
Blaine turned his gaze toward him, and then said, "Because I heard you singing."
Suddenly, memories of the nook, his nook, returned. Memories of a single person in the crowd who could stand out, and the image of a boy with the bright hazel eyes that could actually see.
That was this boy.
"You…" he murmured, "I remember you."
Blaine seemed shocked, "You do?"
He nodded, "I remember seeing you watching me almost every single day. At first I thought that you knew… that you knew that I wasn't claimed," he spat the word like it tasted bad in his mouth, "but you didn't really seem like you were plotting anything, so I let it go."
A small smile appeared on Blaine's lips, "No, I was just appreciating good music."
He sighed, "I wish everything had been different."
"I'm sorry," Blaine told him, and then he reached out to comfort the angel.
"Don't," he yelped, jumping back, "Just don't touch me. I can't. I mean I don't. I can't yet. You can't just-"
"It's alright," Blaine soothed him, "I'm sorry, I should have known better. That was stupid of me."
He didn't say anything; he just stood there with his back against the wall holding himself.
"What's your name?" Blaine asked him in a soft voice, only just realizing that he didn't know. The angel's eyes opened wide in shock, and then he looked pained. Tears flooded his eyes and he looked away.
"Kurt," he told him, "My name is Kurt." When he closed his eyes, a single tear glided down his porcelain face.
Blaine had never seen anyone so moved by the simple acknowledgement of having a name. Perhaps it was because for a long time, the angel, Kurt, hadn't had one.
"Kurt," Blaine said, experimenting with the name. Kurt's eyes met Blaine's, and they were wide and bright.
The fire was back.
"It's very nice to meet you, Kurt."
They talked over coffee for hours. Blaine did most of the talking, and Kurt listened. For some reason, after being silent for so long, Kurt couldn't find the will to speak.
He was tired, in a way that he shouldn't have been. In a way that no one should ever be. There was a strange sense of having too many answers and having too many things to say and too many stories to tell. If he were to ever speak again, he wouldn't know where to begin.
That night, he was in luck. Blaine Anderson asked few things of Kurt, and what he asked were of such little importance, that Kurt didn't have to delve any deeper than the very surface of his mind to conjure the right words. It was a beautiful mindlessness that Kurt wished would last forever.
Eventually Blaine went to bed, or he went to couch. He insisted that Kurt take his bed.
This boy had to have been the strangest in the conceivable universe.
"What are you going to do?"
Kurt looked up from his crepes, wondering what Blaine meant exactly. He was planning on finishing his crepes, with strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. Then, he was going to do whatever Blaine suggested. Blaine never told him to do anything, he simply made suggestions, or asked Kurt if he fancied something, and if Kurt responded with 'yes,' then they would do it. He could faintly remember things being like that, but it was such a long time ago that he didn't understand it in the slightest.
"You can stay here, of course, if you like, but you'll never be safe."
Oh. That was the sort of question that Blaine was asking.
"I don't know," was the best answer he had. "I suppose I'll go back to what I was doing before," was the second best.
"You can't," Blaine told him, "that's too dangerous.
"Then what do you suggest?" Kurt asked, and for a moment he felt something that he hadn't felt for a very long time. It came with the inflection of his voice, the hint of frustration, a touch of sarcasm, and a sprinkling of sass. Kurt Hummel had felt like himself.
"I could- no. Never mind."
"Nothing, it's stupid."
"What is it?"
"Forget I said anything. It's a horrible idea."
"Tell me!" Kurt shouted, and his eyes widened in a way that might have been comic were it not for the fact that he had just torn open an idea wrapped so tightly around his mind that he did not know who he was without it. He was momentarily stunned, until Blaine spoke up.
"I was going to suggest that maybe I could… claim you."
That stunned Kurt even further. Before he realized what was happening he found himself climbing out of the window in Blaine's bedroom.
"Kurt! I didn't mean- I mean, I wanted to free you! If, you were alright with that, of course, I don't want to do anything you don't want. I was thinking- but it was so stupid and I'm sorry!"
"I'm so sorry," he repeated.
"It's fine. Really."
"But it was a terrible idea-"
"What I'm trying to tell you is that I think that it might be alright with me."
"You can free me. If that's what you promise to do," for some reason Kurt trusted in Blaine, and he trusted that his promise would be a promise kept.
"I promise. I swear on my life, Kurt, but you don't have to agree to this."
"I do, though. That's the thing. What else am I going to do?"
Blaine didn't have an answer. He couldn't have, because there wasn't one.
Minutes later found them sitting across from each other in Blaine's living room.
"Are you sure about this?" Blaine asked him tentatively.
"Yes," Kurt replied. He wasn't.
Blaine reached out with his right hand. It crept slowly through the air, getting nearer to the grey feathers of the angel's wings, so slowly that it was painful.
Just as his fingers were about to make contact, he looked deep into Kurt's eyes, and Kurt was able to see how truly sorry Blaine was. For what, he did not know. But a mountain of apologies could be seen in his eyes, and Kurt wished that he could look away.
That was when his fingers brushed the feathers of Kurt's wing. White began to spread from that point, and Kurt could feel a strange throbbing moving throughout his body.
And then Kurt was Blaine's.
For a moment he was afraid that Blaine wouldn't keep his promise. He was afraid that he had made a terrible choice, and the boy before him was not so different. He saw in his mind the years that he would spend as Blaine's slave, the number of times he would have to give himself over to Blaine completely, and the way that Blaine would flaunt him in front of his friends, showing off his fancy acquisition.
And it hurt so much more than anything had ever hurt in his life.
But the moment ended with surprising ease, as Blaine closed his eyes and whispered the three most beautiful words Kurt had ever heard spoken.
"You are free."
Days later, Kurt sat on Blaine Anderson's bed, stroking his fingers along the deep red fabric. His mind drifted aimlessly through memories and desires that held no actual meaning to him now. He was free.
His wings were a rich sort of black. They seemed to have a faint glow about them, but one could only notice it if they weren't really looking.
The moments following his freeing were hazy. He could remember crying, and he could remember Blaine crying with him. He remembered hugs and thanks. He could remember dancing to silly songs, and laughing. He might have sung, and he thought, although he could be deeply mistaken, that he could remember a chaste kiss shared between the two of them.
But as he said before, it was all still very hazy.
He was free.
"Kurt?" Blaine was standing in the doorway, his small smile bringing a light to the room.
"I can't stay," Kurt stated.
"You could," Blaine replied.
"But I can't, and you know it. It's illegal." The Angel Harboring Laws were very strict. If a free angel was even seen on your property for a moment, you could be fined for not reporting it. Actually giving a free angel a place to live was something else entirely.
Blaine sighed, and Kurt wanted nothing more than to make him happy again.
"Where will you go?"
"There are places I can stay."
"The alleys, you mean."
"Will I ever see you again?"
Anything's possible," and Blaine actually smiled at that, and Kurt wanted to as well.
He was free.
"So goodbye for now?"
"Goodbye, Blaine. And thank you for everything."
And with those words, he left.
And Blaine Anderson sat on the edge of his bed, where an angel had sat only moments before, and he laughed.
He didn't know how long he was laughing before it turned to crying, but it was long enough.
Kurt found himself exactly where everything began; in an alleyway.
Santana and the others were no longer there, but he didn't think they would be too far off. He would just have to search until he found them.
And from the things that Kurt was learning about himself, he had realized that he loved a challenge.
He did find them, days later. And they accepted him with a sorrowful greeting.
He found Santana and told her about Brittany, and about the woman that was her master. She looked torn between anger and sorrow and relief. She settled on relief, Kurt supposed, because she pulled him into a hug and didn't release him for several minutes.
She thanked him, and immediately after she flounced away, out of the main camp and into one of the narrowest alleys nearby. He didn't follow her; she would need some time alone.
Time passed slowly. He helped with everything that needed done, and threw himself into everything that he could. He began hearing gossip about two retiring council members, and how they were being replaced by a man and a woman who were supposedly rather progressive. He didn't put too much faith into them.
But weeks later, a free angel came running into their camp talking about how the Angel Harboring Laws were being voted on again, after one of the new council members had raised it for discussion. Kurt began to hope.
On the night of the voting, almost everyone in their camp, save for the free angels that looked like monsters, left the safety of their home to watch the voting happen. They stood outside a television store, ignoring every dirty look that was thrown their way. Kurt and Santana linked arms.
Michael Mitch, the oldest council member, announced that they would be voting over the morality of the Angel Harboring Laws, and whether they would remain.
Mitch was the first to vote, and he voted that the laws remain.
Some in their group groaned, but most stayed silent, waiting for the next vote.
Elizabeth Regime was the next to vote. She was the first female to have ever been on the council, and was one of the recently appointed members.
She voted that the laws be abolished.
There were several cheers, but some of the humans threatened to call the police, because "the laws haven't been passed yet, you idiots!"
Next were Thomas Finkley and Dudley James, both of whom voted no.
A majority vote of six was needed for a law to pass, and they were currently at three to one.
Haymitch Dean voted for the abolishment of the law, stating that he was "tired of this bullshit," and that the other council members needed to "get off their high horses."
Gale Winchester voted for the abolishment as well, and so did Jeffrey Charles.
Erik Freeman voted for the law to remain, though, and the votes were at four to three.
Harold Finch voted for abolishment, which shocked everyone. It was rumored that he owned three angels himself, and nobody had expected for him to vote in a way that might lead to the abolishment of the angel trade.
Jared Everett voted for abolishment, and that vote was entirely expected as he was the one who raised the question of the law's morality in the first place.
Four to five was the count when Ronald Smythe announced that he would "in no way aid in the ending of one of the most beneficial trades to the area's economy."
And then it was time for the last vote.
Campbell Berry stood and took a deep breath.
"I do not think that it is within the rights of a single man, or even a council, to change the course of history. Who am I to say who is a person, and who is not? However, I have learned recently that when a person you love suddenly stops being a person, that pain is far too great to bear. I know that we are not voting on the continuation of slavery today, but I hope that soon we will. But for now, I can make a decision to be able to house my granddaughter, were she to obtain her freedom, and I am going to do just that. I vote yes for the abolishment of the Angel Harboring Laws."
The moment of silence that followed was so utterly empty that one would think that time had stopped. Nobody was moving. Nobody was breathing.
And then came the roar of a celebrating group, so utterly excited and thankful that not even the men and women spitting at them as they walked away could dampen their spirits. This was a day of joy.
"I have to go," Kurt suddenly realized.
"What?" Santana asked, surprised. "We've got partying to do! Freedom to take hold of and all that."
"I have to get home," he told her, and his heart burst at the realization that he could have a home, "I can go home!"
She rolled her eyes but she smiled and said, "Then go home!"
And he did.
Blaine was waiting for him at the door when Kurt arrived, slightly out of breath. He cleared his throat and stuck his hand out in front of him.
"Kurt Hummel," he introduced himself with mock solemnity.
"Blaine Anderson," the other replied, smiling ear to ear, "would you like to come inside?"
"Yes, I think I would like that very much."