Blaine tries to listen to reason and, when that fails, the Kurt-voice inside his head, but as soon as he opens his eyes the next morning, the sense of despair resurfaces, coating him from the inside out. Luckily for his mother— who has grown even more pale and anxious by the morning— his first therapy session is that afternoon. The only good point about that is he gets to miss school.
When he goes down for breakfast, his dad ignores him more forcefully than usual. Blaine is used to telling a held-up newspaper good morning and getting no reply; he’s used to cold eyes skimming over his head; he’s used to watching conversations occur without him. What Blaine is not used to is his father deliberately moving his cup away when he tries to pour coffee into it. What Blaine is certainly not used to is his father getting up from the table, expression livid, as soon as his mom casually mentions that Blaine’s first appointment with Dr Marissa is today. The grumbled ‘see you later’ is most definitely aimed only at her as his father practically runs from the room.
It’s funny because ever since Blaine can remember, his father has grilled into his sons the importance of being a real man and standing up to fears for the sake of appearance, and yet here he is running away like a terrified child. But then, Blaine supposes, it is all too easy to not practice what you preach; tell someone to have ‘courage’ and stand their ground and you inevitably end up crumbling under the pressure of your own advice. The bravest thing Blaine has done all day is get dressed and even that took a good forty-five minutes of internal arguments and bullying tactics along the lines of ‘what would Kurt say?’
His mother looks on helplessly as the front door slams and then smiles weakly at Blaine. “I don’t think he slept very well…” She offers, gathering up the two sets of untouched plates. Blaine snatches the pain au chocolat off his plate as his mom goes to pick it up, and her smile widens as if Blaine wanting to eat something is the best news since Cooper landed that big commercial. It instantly makes any semblance of hunger dissipate but, remembering what Kurt had said last night, he keeps the pastry anyway. He can always flush it down the toilet later.
As the day wears on, it’s clear that his mother is waiting for another breakdown. Blaine had made his opinion on seeing a shrink pretty clear in the hospital, but Doctor Kazaki had discussed it with him in her gentle but firm doctor voice, implying that he couldn’t be discharged until he agreed to a course of sessions. Blaine had reluctantly agreed to turn up to the appointments, but he certainly hadn’t agreed to participate in the weird mind games and let’s talk about your feelings bullshit. He figured he could just sit there and nod when appropriate until they gave up and either pronounced him broken beyond repair or completely better just to get rid of him. Resigned to his fate, he makes a point of always looking busy when his mom comes in every half hour, supposedly to ask him if he wants anything, though really just to check that he isn’t tying a noose.
What does it matter if he spends the whole morning and early afternoon staring into space, thinking about nothing in particular? As long as he has a book in his hand and periodically flicks a few pages on, he can pretend to be reading and put her mind at rest. For some reason he’s too nervous to eat at lunchtime—which is ridiculous since he’s already decided they can’t force him to say anything—and tells his mom that he’s still full from breakfast. He neglects to mention that he never actually ate the pain au chocolat. She sighs, but doesn’t push and Blaine wonders whether he could physically be more of a disappointment to his parents. Instead of eating, he traces little crosses on the backs of his hands, watching the little white lines form and then fade as his skin is pulled slightly. Against his darker skin, it almost looks like little waves dissolving into sand. Blaine wishes he were sand being pummelled down by a current—or maybe he’d rather be the wave, crashing into sand particles resembling Kurt. Destruction is beautiful, he thinks, slowly taking a jacket out of his closet and heading downstairs to put on his shoes.
When Blaine is shown into the office, he is immediately struck by how stereotypical it is. There’s a recliner pushed against one wall, an adjacent sofa with some faux-renaissance pattern covering it, a long window along the other side, looking out into a little manicured garden, and potted plants along the windowsill, all of which fulfil Blaine’s expectations. And then there’s the large desk directly opposite the door with a chair either side, the further of which Dr Marissa is currently sat on. Blaine is surprised to see a man—the surname had sounded feminine somehow in his head. He has dark hair, mainly straight but spiked up slightly at the front into a ridiculous little point, and modern-looking glasses framing his eyes which crinkle slightly as he smiles at Blaine, standing up and warmly holding out his hand. Blaine is further taken aback by his casual clothing, the dark jeans and navy jumper a stark contrast to imagined white coats and formal suits.
“Hi — Blaine, right?” He says and his voice is pleasant enough. Blaine shakes the proffered hand, doing his best to keep his grip firm. He gestures for Blaine to sit down on the chair in front of him as he flicks open a binder on the desk. This, Blaine had expected, and he tries to read what has been written about him from upside down. Dr Marissa chuckles and Blaine looks up to find him watching his efforts.
“You can read them if you’d like,” He offers, turning the binder round so Blaine can properly make out the words. Surprisingly, they’re not actually statements of his craziness from various witnesses, but rather medical reports from his time in the hospital. Most of it is medical jargon, but Blaine spots the details of his current anti-depressants.
“So,” Dr Marissa continues after a moment. “Do you understand why you’re here, Blaine?”
Blaine lets his eyes drift back up to his face as the binder is turned back around again. “Because I can’t be trusted around sleeping pills?”
Dr Marissa chuckles again, though Blaine doesn’t see what is remotely funny about his answer. “Well, that’s technically correct, I suppose. But you’re not here just because of that. You’re mainly here because your doctor thought you needed someone to discuss things with—that maybe you’d been feeling down before you attempted to take your own life.”
“No shit.” Blaine snaps before realising who he’s talking to. “Sorry. It’s just isn’t that generally why people try to kill themselves?”
“Well, with some people, it all happens rather quickly—an instinctive reaction to a sudden change in their life, but Doctor Kazaki seemed to think that in your case it had been building up for a long time, that you’d been planning it for a while. And that you weren’t going to get back on your feet again without some help beyond the medication. Would you say that’s a fair judgement?”
Blaine shrugs. “I don’t see why my opinion matters— Everyone seems to know better than me anyway.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Blaine. You know yourself better than anyone and I’m not about to put words into your mouth in these sessions. I’m here to talk things through with you and start resolving any feelings you might have.”
“I don’t want to talk about my feelings.” Blaine states outright. “Half the time I don’t even have any.” He adds, glaring at the framed photo on the desk; it’s a neutral picture of a beach, and Blaine wishes it was a bit more personal. Why couldn’t Dr Marissa have a picture of his kid or even his cat?
“I think that’s all the more reason to discuss them, then.”
“Oh.” Blaine says, because what the hell else is he meant to say to that?
“Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to ask you a couple of questions, okay?” Dr Marissa is flipping the page in the binder, a new form on display. Blaine doesn’t attempt to read this one.
Here we go… He thinks and then realises he’s said it out loud when Dr Marissa smiles.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to psychoanalyse all your answers. I merely want to find out a bit more about you.”
Blaine blinks at him. “So no weird picture games?”
“No, Blaine, no weird games.” He pulls a pen out of his desk drawer, flicking the lid off with a satisfying click.
“And no mental asylums?” Blaine means it as a joke but it comes off way too serious.
“Nope. No mental asylums and no crazy pills, I promise. I’m not even in charge of your medication.”
Blaine is genuinely surprised at this. “You’re not? Who is then?”
“That’s between Dr Kazaki and her colleagues. I’m not a psychiatrist, Blaine; I’m a therapist.” His tone remains so freaking steady and reassuring, but it only serves to irritate Blaine.
“So why does your name have a ‘Dr’ in front of it then?”
“Because I have a PhD. I’m not a medical official—I just work with them as part of a team.”
“Oh.” Blaine says again, feeling abashed for some reason.
“No worries; it’s a common misconception.” He pushes his glasses up his nose and then folds his hands in front of him on the desk. “So, you’re in high school, right?”
“Yeah…” Blaine says reluctantly, wondering what that has to do with anything.
“Do you have a favourite subject?”
“Uh, well, I quite like Biology…and, uh, I did like Glee club and performing and stuff…”
“Isn’t that show choir?”
“Um, yeah…but I don’t do it anymore so…”
“That’s a shame. How come?”
Blaine thinks about it. “Because I wasn’t very good at performing anymore.”
“Shame.” Dr Marissa repeats, writing something on the paper. Blaine’s eyes narrow, instantly suspicious. “Do you miss it?”
“No.” Blaine says too quickly, resolved to stop giving him ammunition.
“Do you want to go to college?” He changes tactic and this question makes Blaine pause again. He’d always just sort of assumed that college was the next step—specifically that NYADA was his destiny—but now he’s not so sure.
“Probably.” He settles on, picking at a loose thread connected to the seam of his jeans. “I’ve applied to some.”
“Awesome. Do most of your friends want to go to college?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess.” He decides not to mention that he doesn’t really have any friends any more.
“Do any of them want to go to the same place as you?”
Damn it. Dr Marissa is annoyingly perceptive. But then, Blaine supposes, that’s sort of his job.
“A lot of us in Glee wanted to go to New York.”
“Wow, that sounds pretty cool. You’re all planning to conquer Broadway, huh?”
“Something like that.” Blaine mutters, and when Dr Marissa doesn’t ask anything else straight away, he feels strangely compelled to keep talking. “None of us are actually that good though—except maybe Rachel; she’s loud and pushy enough—and Kurt, obviously.”
“Are they your closest friends?” Dr Marissa asks as Blaine internally curses. He was not going to mention that name.
“Not really. They, uh, they moved there this year actually.”
“And do you still keep in touch?”
We didn’t. Not since I destroyed everything and broke Kurt’s heart. Not before I fucked up and guilt-tripped Kurt into coming home again, forced him to start speaking to me again.
“Hmm, okay.” Dr Marissa writes something else down and Blaine’s eyes narrow further, but it only serves to emphasise the tears involuntarily forming there. “From what Doctor Kazaki said, a Mr Kurt Hummel visited you quite a bit when you were in the hospital.”
It’s a statement not a question so Blaine doesn’t answer. Dr Marissa glances up and Blaine knows he sees the tears, but thankfully he doesn’t comment on it.
“Does Kurt mean a lot to you?”
This time Blaine can’t answer not because he’s unsure, but because he cannot possibly put his answer into words. He forcefully blinks back the tears.
“So you were best friends and then he moved to New York?” Dr Marissa’s assumption annoys Blaine immensely. He wonders if Dr Marissa is a typical Ohioan and he’s just found a way to piss him off. He decides to try it.
“I’m gay.” Blaine states, letting go of the thread between his fingers and looking Dr Marissa directly in the eyes. Frustratingly, he doesn’t even flinch.
“So Kurt is your boyfriend?” He asks, picking up his pen once more.
“Ex-boyfriend.” Blaine corrects instinctively, the word constricting his insides.
“Are you annoyed at Kurt for going to New York without you?”
“No—I was the one who told him to go.” Blaine answers honestly and dammit, that wasn’t part of the plan.
“Ok. So are you annoyed at yourself for doing that?”
“No.” Blaine says, and then really thinks about it. “Yes—well, not really, but…sort of? I don’t really—ugh!” He face screws up in frustration and, naturally, Dr Marissa writes something down.
“Do you get frustrated a lot?”
“I guess.” He fights to make his voice neutral once more — why is it that the one time he needs to remain emotionless he can’t?
“How do you deal with that frustration?”
Blaine goes back to shrugging now that his tears are in check. “I don’t know.”
“Do you self-harm, Blaine?”
Blaine opens his mouth to say no and then thinks about it. He doesn’t self-harm as such but he does like to bite the delicate skin on the back of his hands and arms until it stings ferociously. He likes to run his fingers over the little raised line, aggravating the painful rawness by rubbing over it. He’s not self-harming, there’s no actual blood—if anything, he’s self-beautifying. Because those little bumps in his skin are beautiful; they’re reminders that he can feel something if he tries hard enough. Then there’s the little thrill that goes down his spine each time his teeth press just a bit too hard, adrenaline surging up inside of him as his survival instinct kicks in. He likes the way he can confuse his own body, make his brain think that he’s under attack when in reality he’s inflicting it on himself. It makes him feel powerful. Plus, for a fraction of a second, as his pain receptors scream at him, the fire that he now inextricably associates with Kurt flares to life. It’s not much, but it’s all he has of someone who is no longer his.
“I don’t know.” He says eventually, and surprisingly Dr Marissa just nods.
“Do you ever blame Kurt for feeling frustrated?”
“What? No, of course not—it’s not his fault. I broke us.”
“And does Kurt blame you for that?”
“Yes.” Blaine answers instantly. Why wouldn’t he when it was undeniably Blaine’s fault?
“Has Kurt told you that he blames you?”
“…No. But, I mean, he stopped speaking to me so...I just knew, I guess. I cheated. ”
Once more, Blaine is impressed by Dr Marissa’s poker face—and his perceptive ability to ignore the obvious fuse-lighter and focus instead on the seemingly mundane. “Kurt stopped talking to you?”
Dr Marissa keeps saying Kurt’s name, every single time he asks Blaine a question, and Blaine hates it. The letters don’t sound right in his mouth, they sound harsh somehow—and Kurt’s name shouldn’t be harsh. It’s the same when he says Blaine’s name, too. It comes out sounding patronising and Blaine finds himself wishing that it was Kurt sitting opposite him; Kurt always said his name beautifully.
“I think I’m going to cry.” He informs Dr Marissa, folding one of his hands over the other as the tears well up inside his eyes once more. Why do you always make such a mess, Blaine?
Dr Marissa opens a desk drawer, pulling out a box of tissues and sliding them over the desk to Blaine. “Here you go,” He says with a sad smile. “Use as many as you like.”
“You must’ve seen a lot of people cry.” Blaine remarks, mainly to clear Kurt’s voice from his head.
“A fair few, yes.”
“Don’t you get fed up?”
“Not really, no,” He was scribbling on the form now, giving Blaine privacy to dab at the tears. “I suppose because no one’s tears are the same as the last person’s. Does that make sense?”
“Aren’t you the professional? Shouldn’t you know the answer to that?”
Dr Marissa chuckles again. “Probably, but I’m asking you.”
“Well…No, it doesn’t make much sense to me. But then nothing does anymore so I really don’t think I’m the best person to ask.”
“On the contrary, that makes you the perfect person to ask.”
“You’re the weirdest fucking psychiatrist I’ve ever met.” Blaine says honestly, wiping his eyes roughly.
“I’m not a psychiatrist.” Dr Marissa reminds him. “But as your therapist I can say that was a fairly successful session and I shall see you in two days. We’re meeting after school next time, right?”
“That’s it?” Blaine asks, looking around for a clock.
Dr Marissa turns his wrist so Blaine can read his watch face. “Yep. Did you think it would be longer?”
“No, I guess I just thought we’d do…more.”
“Are you disappointed by the lack of tell-me-what-you-see-in-this-picture exercises?” He laughs, slipping the form back into the binder and closing it. Blaine doesn’t answer, biting his lip. “Look, Blaine, I’m going to be completely honest with you. This is going to be a long process, but it doesn’t need to be a daunting one. We’re going to take baby steps and just discuss things, like today. And if there’s ever anything in particular you want to talk about, feel free to say so. If not, I shall keep asking you random questions until we get somewhere, again, like today.”
“…Okay.” Blaine says slowly, one of the knots in his stomach lessening slightly. Only fifty-thousand more to go, he thinks sarcastically, squeezing the tissue in his hand.
“Baby steps, Blaine. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Blaine closes the door behind him and braces himself for his mother’s questioning. He decides that he sort-of likes Dr Marissa, although his mind-reading abilities are really fucking annoying. And he’s not sure whether he trusts him to defeat the balloon feeling yet. Or to take a hold of the string and guide Blaine out of the rocks to be honest, but he prefers him to the anti-depressants. He prefers most things to those.