Kurt hadn’t expected Blaine to react so badly to the words “I’m so proud of you”. He thought it would make him happy and grin an ever famous Blaine Anderson grin.
It had been an accident, a silly mistake, a slip of the tongue. Yet it had happened and one moment Blaine was laughing and smiling at Kurt and the next he was hiding in the bathroom, refusing to come out. Kurt was past scared, he was at defcon 1 terrified. He didn’t even know what had happened and he wasn’t even sure what was happening on the other side of the door, he could only hear sobbing.
"Blaine? Blaine please come out" Kurt begged, banging on the door a few times to try and get through whatever was going through his boyfriend’s head.
Blaine could barely hear the banging, his mind was elsewhere. His brain had taken him on an unwanted vacation to the Sadie Hawkins dance, back to the punches and insults and pain. The never ending pain. The loud noise of the dance happening not 10 feet from where he was being beat up from. No-one was helping him, why wasn’t anyone helping him? Did no-one care? Of course not, this was homophobic Lima, they probably would all join in if they could.
"Blaine!" Kurt half shouted half sobbed, resting his head against the wooden door.
Blaine heard his name breaking through the sea of his memory and he used it to ground himself, to bring himself back to the present and that day. He was in Kurt’s house. Kurt’s bathroom. Kurt was outside, freaking out over why his boyfriend had reacted so badly to a seemingly normal set of words.
Blaine wiped at his eyes and carefully opened the door, barely getting a second before Kurt’s arms were around him tightly, sweet nothings being whispered in his ear.
It took 20 minutes for them both to calm down and Blaine started explaining with his head tucked into Kurt’s chest, both boys lying on his bed.
"Sorry. When I went to Sadie Hawkins, my date aid he was proud of me right before we had the crap beaten out of us. I guess it’s triggering to me" Blaine mumbled and Kurt felt the same anger flash up inside him that some assholes had dared touch his Blaine. He also felt his heart shatter that Blaine could never hear that people were proud of him without being forced back to that night.
"It’s okay Blaine" Kurt reassured him, kissing his hair, "I won’t say it again. I love you."
"Love you too" Blaine mumbled into his chest, not failing to notice the squeeze that Kurt had added into their embrace.
"Hey, I need to tell you guys something" Kurt spoke during dinner, gaining the attention of Finn, Carole and Burt. Kurt’s voice was serious, light but still something was hiding in the seemingly normal words.
"Yes son?" Burt asked to show that the family was listening.
"I found out today that a certain set of words triggers a panic attack in Blaine. I just want you guys to know so you don’t accidentally say them around Blaine" Kurt explained, making sure to see every one at the table nod in understanding.
"What are they?" Carole asked carefully, being a nurse she knew how dangerous trigger phrases could be to people who had suffered traumatic events in their lives.
"You can’t say that you’re proud of him" Kurt spoke sadly, even hours later the thought of Blaine’s reaction to such praising words broke his heart.
"Okay son, we’ll watch our words around Blaine" Burt promised, wearing a smile of sadness that Carole also possessed.
Finn however kept a straight face but inside was smirking. So Blaine did have a weakness. Perfect.
Blaine bounced on the balls of his feet, standing in the row of boys performing, minus Kurt who had for once been allowed to join the girls team for boys VS girls week but the cost had been that the boys had to sing songs by girls and the girls had to sing songs by boys. The girls mash-up of Mirrors and Just Haven’t Met You Yet had killed.
Kurt watched his boyfriend with a fond smile as his eyes trailed over Blaine’s tuxedo, needed for the mash-up of Skyfall and Wide Awake. They were half-way through the mixed chorus, each belting out their respective parts, Blaine leading the song.
Kurt raised an eyebrow as Finn leaned over, getting out of formation with the others and leant down next to Blaine’s ear, whispering something. But he quickly guessed when Blaine’s voice cut out mid word, eyes going wide.
Finn had triggered Blaine. He had barely stood up when Blaine bolted from the room. Kurt’s brain was jumping until it clicked onto one terrible thought. Blaine was in a tuxedo. Like he was at the Sadie Hawkins dance. Oh god.
"I’ll deal with you later" Kurt warned Finn as he left the room of confused New Directions to go find his boyfriend.
"Blaine!" Kurt shouted as he saw the back of Blaine’s tuxedo jacket disappear into one of the closets.
Blaine couldn’t hear anything in reality, only things in his head. He heard the booming bass of the dance number that was on, it was the beat for We Will Rock You if Blaine could hear it correctly.
Blaine looked down at his clothes and saw the black jacket. He curled into a ball on the floor, hands covering his head and fisting into his hair, practically tearing it out of it’s gel.
He was going to die. Reynolds was going to find him and go through on his threat of killing him. Why had he come with a boy? How had he been stupid enough to think that this wouldn’t go unpunished?
Blaine stopped breathing as light bathed him, before something blocked the light. Wait, not something, someone. He whimpered as they touched his arm, jerking away from the touch. He could hear buzzing, his ears were struggling to pick up any sound.
"Blaine!" Kurt shouted, keeping his arms away so he didn’t touch Blaine. Blaine had jerked away from him like he’d been burnt.
Blaine finally looked up at him, eyes wide with unshed tears that were following the ones that had escaped. His whole body was shaking and he all but threw himself at Kurt. Because Kurt was safety. Kurt was love, compassion, home.
"You’re okay Blaine, you’re okay" Kurt whispered into his hair and just held him. Kurt was going to tear Finn a new one once Blaine was okay again but for now he had to get Blaine to that place where it would be safe to leave him on his own.