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Fic: A Long Road Ahead (2/2)

The Long Road Ahead
Fandom: Glee
Pairing: Blaine + his family, Blaine/Kurt
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Realistic depictions of racism and abusive relationships.
Summary: The story of Blaine’s mother and why Blaine doesn’t call himself Pinoy.

Part 1


Blaine comes home triumphant, bearing top marks in everything but math and a letter of commendation from the Headmaster saying how well Blaine has adjusted to Dalton life. He is the only one who can calm Anna down, and when he suggests that Anna could go spend a few weeks with Aunt Lucia, you nearly kiss him for relief.

In the lull of the summer, Blaine gets his driver’s licence, and Terrance buys him an old Chevy and helps him restore it, and you pretend not to notice that he is doing the same thing your uncle did once with your neighbor who liked to play with your dolls, only Terrance is more subtle.

“Do you wish I were straight?” you hear him ask his father. You are listening through the open kitchen window, cutting up -- tasteless -- vegetables to go with the -- bland -- chicken you’re making for dinner.

“It would be easier,” is his reply, and your hand clenches on the knife because all Terrance ever wants is what’s easy for him and suddenly you are angry, so angry you can barely see. But then it passes, and you’re left feeling empty, because this is all you’ve known for twenty years and you’re not brave enough to change it.

When Blaine comes inside his eyes are too old for his face and you do the only thing you can think of, you hand him the knife and tell him he might as well make himself useful if he’s going to hang around.

Anna comes back from Lucia’s less angry but more determined, and you can see the same fire in her but it has a direction now. She doesn’t yell at her teachers any more, but sometimes she comes home stiff and angry and when she does she gets on the phone and talks for hours with someone on the other end. She is growing up now too, and where Blaine was eager to please and conciliatory, Anna is sharp-edged and brittle and you try and help her as best you can, and you try not to cry where anyone can see you because it is so hard, and you don’t know why God has chosen to give your children so many trials.


Your son is rapidly becoming a stranger to you, but you still can tell when something is bothering him, and one weekend he stays in the kitchen to help you cook. In between putting the pasta in to boil, he tells you about the boy from McKinley, and how helpless he feels, and how much he wishes he could fix things for Kurt, but that every time he tries he thinks he just makes it worse.

When he’s done, you give him a hug and try to tell him the best advice you can think of. “Just be his friend, Nonoy,” using the childhood nickname you haven’t called him for years. “You’ll figure out the rest. But,” the words are thick on your tongue, heavy with memories of growing up happy in a place where too many people outside your door had too little, of escaping to a country where nothing was as simple as it seemed, of a fairy tale wedding that turned into something else, of dinner parties and dry chicken and careful conversation where nothing is said, “there’s not an answer for everything, Nonoy.

Maybe Blaine can read the thoughts on your face, because he just grips your hand and says, “I know.”


It’s Anna who finally breaks the silence that has characterized all your lives. You’d thought school was getting better, but here you are again, in another principal’s meeting, for another rebellious act. This time Anna called her history teacher a “bastard” and stormed out of the room.

“What is wrong with you?” you say finally, because this should be over now and you’re tired. You’re tired of fights and angry silences and Terrance’s explosive rage. It would be so much easier if Anna just behaved. “Why can’t you just be a nice girl for once?”

“What is wrong with me?” Anna’s voice is half choked and hysterical, the way it always is when she’s fighting back tears. “What’s wrong with you, Mom? How can you take it? How can you live in a town where there’s nobody like us, where people still tell you that your English is very good and say “nihao” to you on the street? How can you live near a place that --- that sent a Pinay girl to a crackhouse because they thought it was funny? I’m sick of it!” she yells.

“I’m sick of being called a chink and having people make gong noises when I walk in a room! I’m sick of being told that I have to marry Phillip Chang because we’re both Asian! And --” her voice breaks, and you know that the silence around the issue is breaking, that your daughter will not refuse to see because it is easier. Anna always liked doing things the hard way. “I’m sick of Dad doing it too! He doesn’t even call you by your real name, Mom! He wants you to be this perfect China doll and you’re not and I’m not and I hate it! I hate it!

For the second time in your life, you pull over in a nameless parking lot and hold your child as she cries, and just like the time before, you don’t know how to fix this.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” you whisper over and over, rubbing her back and listening to her hiccup sobs of frustrated rage.

“I just want you to be happy, Mom,” she says finally. You bow your head and blink back tears. Her words remind you of a command a chubby six year-old once gave you, so long ago.

“I’m trying,” you whisper. “I promise I’m trying.”


The next weekend Blaine stays out almost all night and comes back red eyed and suspiciously tired. You don’t say anything, but it’s clear from his shamefaced expression that he knows what you’re thinking anyways. You leave it be. He’ll beat himself up for it harder than you will anyways.

The next weekend he stays in the kitchen and tells you softly about how he tried going on a date with a girl named Rachel Berry. Finally, you say, “but Blaine, you said you were sure.”

“I know.” He isn’t looking at you, but even pretending to pay attention to the chicken his face is wretched, eyes over bright and mouth screwed up. “I just thought --” He shakes his head violently. “It would just be so much easier -- if I was wrong.”

The words feel like a slap of cold water, and in your head you hear Terrance telling Blaine “It would be easier if you were” and Anna sobbing because she was always going to be different, and she was never going to be enough, and something inside of you snaps.

No,” you say, and it’s forceful enough that Blaine meet your eyes. “No,” you repeat. “Don’t you ever try to hide who you are again, Blaine Dominic Anderson. You are exactly who you should be, and don’t you dare let anyone tell you that you should chose what’s easy for them instead of who you are.”

“O-okay, mom,” he says with wide eyes.

Don’t make my mistakes, you want to say, but you’re still not brave enough.


You finally meet Kurt Hummel at the Warbler’s winter performance, and as you watch the two of them sing onstage you know that there’s more going on than just stage flirting. He’s not the Catholic girl you once hoped for, but...you watch the way your son’s eyes light up when he smiles at the slender boy. He’ll do.

Anna sees the same thing that you do, because the minute they come over, she starts teasing them. “Who’s your booyfriend?” she sing-songs, and Blaine turns bright red. You’re glad that Terrance had to work late today, because this is a moment you want to enjoy, and no one will be able to ignore Terrance’s inevitable steady disapproval.

The slender boy takes over for Blaine. “Kurt Hummel,” he says, and shakes your hand. When the inevitable comment about how you look nothing like Blaine never comes, your smile becomes genuine. Maybe this boy really is as wonderful as Blaine thinks he is.

To your secret joy, Kurt’s parents seem as uncomfortable in the Dalton crowd as you feel. Burt Hummel is a large man whose plaid hunting coat stands out sharply against a sea of black and navy suit jackets, and gets as many looks as you do standing next to Blaine.

“I feel so out of place,” Kurt’s step-mother tells you.

The smile you give her is more sad and bitter than you intend. “It never gets any easier.”


The problem is that it isn’t always bad. Sometimes Terrance comes home smiling and takes you out to dinner and listens to your stories about your day. Sometimes he puts his arm around you on the couch while you’re watching the news and you feel safe and warm, and you know he loves you.

It’s just that you’re not sure he’d love you if you stopped doing what he wanted.


Kurt leaves Dalton, but he doesn’t leave Blaine. You get used to hearing all of Blaine’s stories about him as you cook. Somehow this has become a routine, cooking with your son every weekend and hearing about all of the things that he’s done during the week. Sometimes you don’t even talk, you just cook, but you feel like you know your son a little more now -- like he’s not some handsome stranger who visits your house every weekend.

You’re making chicken pot pie when he laughs in the middle of chopping the carrots. “Do you remember,” he asks, shaking his head, “when I was little, and we tried to make that Filipino vinegar pork but I accidentally spilled all the salt in it and we had to throw it away?”

Of course you remember it. It was for a kindergarten festival called “Food Around The World,” and you had called your mother to get the exact adobo recipe to show off Blaine’s culture. It had been an all day cooking adventure, and when you’d finally tasted it and realized what you’d done wrong you and Blaine had laughed until you cried.

“I didn’t realize you remembered that.” You smile, remembering the way that Blaine had tried to convince you that it was actually really good. “We had to drive all the way to Columbus to get frozen Chinese lumpia and doctor them up.”

“At that little store where the old man kept glaring at you!” You both laugh. Terrance had been so annoyed at you for wasting all that food and gas, but it had been worth it to see Blaine proudly man the “Philippines” booth.

Blaine looks like he wants to ask something, but when you look at him, he just shakes his head and goes back to chopping. “That was fun. We should do it again.”

You blink. “But -- you don’t like Filipino food.”

“What?” Now Blaine looks confused too. “When did I say that?”

You smile softly. “When you were a kid, remember? I used to cook adobo or chicken curry on the weekend and give it to you for lunch and you begged me not to any more.”

“Oh.” When you look at him again, Blaine looks stricken. And guilty. “I remember you stopped cooking, but I don’t remember that.”

“Blaine.” He looks at you and you put a hand oh his shoulder. “You were just a kid.”

He rests his head on your hand and closes his eyes. “I know.”


Your birthday falls on a Saturday, but you don’t make any plans. Terrance is out of town again -- a workshop on leadership that has been on the calender for months -- but he promises to take you out when he gets back.

Anna says that she’s going to sleep over at her friend Kristie’s house, and you might be upset but you can’t not encourage her to ignore her friends. Blaine calls from school and says that Kurt’s parents would like to know if they’ll come over for dinner.

“Your father’s out of town,” you remind him, swallowing down the silly, inconsequential hurt you feel. “But you should go.”

“Why don’t you come?” Blaine asks. “Please?”

It’s not what you had planned for your birthday, but then, what had you planned? “Alright.”

The Hummel-Hudson house is very nice, although it is small and the paint is a little ratty in places. The lack of manicured lawns and gleaming shutters make you feel more relaxed. Blaine left earlier in the day, so you walk up the driveway alone and ring the doorbell, strangely nervous.

Kurt opens the door and you are assaulted with smells that are achingly familiar despite how long it has been since you smelled them. “What?” you manage, but he just smiles and leads you into the house, helping you out of your coat and hanging it on the hall tree.

At the kitchen table there’s a platter of adobo, and even a stock pot full of kare-kare. There is a huge dish of rice in the center, and all the places are set. A faded banner over the counter reads “Happy Birthday!”

“Is it all right?” Kurt asks worriedly. “Blaine told me you didn’t get much Filipino food, and we tried to make everything as best we could but we couldn’t get all the ingredients so it’s kind of make-shift.”

“It’s wonderful,” you manage to say, and you must look like a fool, but you can’t stop some tears because this -- this is almost too much, this is a kindness from strangers you’ve never expected.

Blaine makes a strangled noise and rushes over. “Oh god, mom, I didn’t mean to make you cry!” And somehow Anna is there too, hugging you, and out of the corner of your eye you see Kurt shooing his parents and gangly step-brother into the living room.

“What -- Anna?” She laughs and hugs you harder.

“You didn’t really think we’d all forget your birthday, did you? We had to say something so that we could surprise you!”

It’s all overwhelming and wonderful and when you finally get yourself under control and Kurt brings the rest of his family back in, you say “Thank you,” far too fervent and emotional than you should be. But Carole and Burt just wave you off.

“I didn’t do anything besides let the kids use the kitchen,” Burt says and Carole nods. “They couldn't figure out a way to get you out of your house so they asked if they could use ours.”

“Finn helped,” Blaine tells you, and Kurt snorts. “If you can call that help,” he mutters, and you smile up (and up and up) at the teen and thank him.

“I’m just grateful that Kurt’s letting me eat meat today,” Burt chuckles. “And salt!”

“Only because it’s a special occasion.” Kurt is clearly the king of the kitchen and rules his kingdom with an iron fist. Burt shoots him an amused, indulgent look when he’s not watching -- you have the feeling that you’re missing some piece of information, but you know you’ll get it sooner or later in one of Blaine’s stories.

“It’s, ah, very strongly flavored,” you point out before anyone can load their plates. “You might not like it.”

“Well, it’s not really about us, mom, it’s about you.” Anna, as always, doesn’t mince her words. “Anyone else who doesn’t like it can eat something else.” She looks at Kurt’s step-brother significantly and you have the feeling that some words might have passed between the two of them earlier in the cooking process.

Whatever else you might have said is forgotten when Anna says “Oh!” and starts rummaging through her bag. “I almost forgot.”

She hands you a jar that is -- to your surprise and delight, a jar of bagoong. There is a sticky note on top of it and you read it.

Dear Marimari, you didn’t think that they got those recipes on their own, did you? Happy birthday, little sister. Love, Lulu.”

You are blinking back tears again, but this time none fall and when you look up, you can smile and say, “this is the best birthday I’ve ever had.”

In the end Kurt’s step-brother makes himself a PB&J and Kurt himself eats very politely but not very enthusiastically. Burt and Carole surprise you when they both take second helpings of the kare-kare, but none of that really matters because your own children are eating the food you grew up with so must enthusiasm it’s unbelievable. Anna even eats her kare-kare with bagoong, and laughs when you are surprised.

“I went to go see Aunt Lucia last summer, remember? She said that I had to get used to eating all of the Pinoy food while I was there because she wasn’t going to make me mac & cheese until I’d at least tried everything.”

You are helping clean up (over everyone’s protests, but you didn’t help at all with the meal and you’ll feel useless if you do nothing) and talking to Carole about her work when you see Blaine stop Kurt in the dining room and mouth “thank you.” Kurt just smiles, and you think about what the conversation must have been to inspire this, and you’re so thankful that somehow Blaine found a boy that he loved that encouraged your son to make time-consuming food he didn’t even like.

You had always imagined that Blaine’s first boyfriend would be a man who would take your son and make him even more of a stranger than he already was. But this boy has made your son more like the boy you remember, the three year-old who danced and sang and was ready to love and protect the whole world.


You have a wonderful evening with Terrance when he comes back that ends in an angry fight because you hadn’t told him that Anna got in trouble with her history teacher again.


Somehow, you and Carole begin to see more of each other. You are always at the concerts and pep rallies that Kurt performs in, and she is always there with Kurt for Warblers’ performances. You both grumble about how you thought your children driving meant you wouldn’t have to do this any more, and you both know you don’t mean it. You and she stand together in the weak March sun watching the New Directions give a spirited performance and she smiles. “I know this makes me an uncultured person, but I’m so much more comfortable here.” You know the rest of that sentence without her having to say it out loud. Than at Dalton.

“Me too,” you say finally and are surprised that you mean it. People are still giving you odd glances when Blaine comes up to hug you, but no one’s asked you if you’re the nanny yet.

Carole’s friendship is like a treasure, and you hug it close to your heart so that no one can disapprove of it. Terrance wouldn’t like it -- he is always encouraging you to go out for tea with his boss’s wife. You hate that lady -- she always talks about all the countries she’s visited and how much better the U.S. is than all of them. Terrance makes a brunch appointment for the two of you, and you almost refuse but he talks you into it.

You were planning on having coffee with Carole that morning, so you call to cancel and end up telling her all about it. “Maria, don’t you think that’s really...manipulative?” she asks finally. Is it? It’s a word that you’ve never thought of applying to Terrance, but now you can’t get it out of your head.


Through all of Blaine’s trips to New Directions, you meet Monica and Eric Chang, Mike’s parents, and spend a good hour discussing the differences between mainland Chinese and Filipino Chinese food. It’s fun, and when they invite you to have dim sum with them, you agree and leave your kids to go have dinner.

Eric works in the hospital and thinks that he might be able to get you a job as a receptionist there, even though your nursing degree is so old it is almost prehistoric. “A few night classes and you can get your nursing back up to code and go back to work,” he says. “It’s not good for us Asians to sit around bored all day.”

You don’t know how to tell him you’re not Asian, you’re Filippina, but you appreciate the offer and it would be good to get out of the house again. The kids are older now, they don’t need you there all the time.


Terrance tries to convince you not to go back to work, and when he can’t, he gets so angry that you’re scared. For the first time you listen to him shout and your heart says this is not right, this is not right, this is not right rabbit-fast.


On your first day of work, you stand outside Terrance’s door, frozen. You slept in separate rooms last night, and he hasn’t spoken to you since Wednesday. You raise your hand to knock, stop, then lower it. Raise it. Lower it. Finally you turn and walk down the stairs.

In the mirror you check your scrubs one more time. You leave Anna five dollars for lunch money. The portrait of her in her favorite blue cotton dress stands over the sink, next to a picture your mom took of Blaine when he was in Manila. They both look so happy. In your head, you hear Blaine saying Be happy, mommy.

“I’m trying,” you say, and leave for work.

Nasa dugo niya. = It’s in his blood.
Mahiya ka nga! = You should be ashamed!


( 107 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 11th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
Oh my god, bb, this is incredible. I already told you how much I loved what I saw, and this finished version is even more incredible and honest and heart-wrenching, and while it's obviously way beyond my experience, I was still caught up in the rawness of it all (and I'm trying really hard not to tear up, honestly). In short: this is great, and you are great. ♥
May. 11th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
<3 <3 <3 I'm so glad you liked it. I was really proud of some of the stuff I added after you read it, mostly because it was a little happier!
May. 11th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
There is so much to say right now but my brain isn't working. Just: wow.
May. 11th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! If you want to say more, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
May. 11th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
This is beautiful. Congratulations.
May. 11th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
<3 Thank you.
May. 11th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
I really appreciate stories that explore Blaine as half-Filipino, so this was really fantastic what you did - exploring the intersection of domestic abuse and racism.

(And I was going to comment and ask if you studied Women's and Gender Studies in college as a major or minor because your analysis and presentation of the intersection of domestic violence and racism is so well done, only to look at your profile and see that even if you aren't WGST, you're still into anti-oppression studies ^_^)
May. 11th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I also love stories where Blaine's Filipino heritage is explored, and when people started writing about Blaine's dad, I was like "heeey I think I have a story about his mom that needs to be told."

And lol, I might as well be a SWAG (Study of Women & Gender -- amazing how many different acronyms there are, isn't it?) major even though I'm technically not. I'm glad it rang true for you -- I really wanted to to write a story that didn't excuse racism as a symptom of domestic abuse but explored how racism was an oppressive force that added to the abuse and made people even more isolated.
May. 11th, 2011 07:13 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed reading this story, because there seriously aren't enough fanfics that really go into the cultural differences of the characters without trying to make it a Very Special Fanfic, and this one worked in culture with women's rights and family and gay rights and acceptance all in one wonderful package. I can't speak for accuracy, as I am not Filippina, but as someone who is constantly around East/South Asian culture and people who celebrate it, I felt like the touches of culture we got were lovely and telling (especially all the food!)

(also, I loved how Kurt went to all the trouble to help Blaine with his mom's birthday party, and then was picky about the food. Mainly because in my mind, it was less because of the type of food, and more because "but think of the calories, Blaine!" for some reason.)
May. 11th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really wanted to tell a story without making it an afternoon special.

Ahaha -- I more thought of Kurt not liking the food because he seems very into French and haute cuisine and Filipino food is very...bold. I love it, but it can kind of be a punch in the face, and I just imagined him helping Blaine because he wanted to make him and his mom happy but being a little overwhelmed by the food! Although if he was thinking of anything, he might be thinking of the salt contents, there's a lot of vinegar in adobo!
May. 11th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
I fell in love with Maria right away...
I'd love to read more about her :)
May. 11th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

We'll see if there's more coming...I had a specific ending in mind but the problem with abusive relationships is it's hard to get out of them. But depending on how the rest of the season goes there will probably be more.

(I may have a scene firmly in my mind called "Anna meets the Glee Club and tells everyone off.")
(Deleted comment)
May. 11th, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Oh good, I'm SO GLAD, I was really nervous to write this because it wasn't my culture I was writing about! I tried to do my research and be respectful, but it's always nerve-wracking and I really hoped that I wasn't just translating an experience I'd had and making it into a Universal Immigrant Experience. I'm so glad it worked for you.

(Also HI! Your icon is brilliant.)
May. 11th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
I've read this twice and am just blown away. I loved Anna and Maria and Maria's birthday scene was just so perfect. I feel like we've gotten so many "Blaine's dad" stories and not nearly enough "Blaine's mom" stories, so thank you so much for exploring the other side of his family!
May. 11th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
All those Blaine's dad stories were actually what prompted this, actually! I started to wonder what it would be like on the other side of that, and why Blaine's mom wouldn't be allowed to have a voice.

Ahhh, I'm so glad you liked the birthday scene -- it was my favorite to write because it was a nice change from the overwhelming hopeless tone and it felt like the turning point, when Maria started seeing herself as a person again, who could have agency, not just go along with things.
May. 11th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
As a graduate student interested in feminist-based research and someone "of colour" (though I'm not Filipina), I found your story really interesting and while I can't say it's accurate for Filipinas or the Filipino culture, it certainly seems to have parallels for visible minority immigrants in general.

I'm a second generation but I still see a lot of those issues of culture difference, of abuse, and racism that you describe in the story. Wonderful job writing this story and thanks for doing it ;-> I sometimes feel like people think the issues of racism ands sexism have been cured so...
May. 11th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
That's actually...almost precisely the background I come from as well -- I'm the child of a first generation immigrant married to a white man, but I'm Indian, not Filipino.

It's something that I think we see a lot and it's easier to see when we're not directly involved ourselves...abuse like this is one of the hardest things to recognize, I think, especially when issues of race and immigration keep you isolated.

And yeah, all the people who think that racism and sexism are in the past make me want to cry. I hope this might make people think about some of the more subtle forms of racism and sexism that we see.
May. 11th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
This was fantastic. It's subtle, but powerful, which is not easy to get right - I wish we could see something like this on the show, though I very much doubt we ever will.
May. 11th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'd love to see something like this on the show, but...Glee has a pretty crappy track record with race to begin with, so maybe it's better this way. I can only yell so much at my TV in one hour, lol, and most of it needs to be directed at Mr. Shue.
May. 12th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Oh, this is fantastic. It's so understated, the abuse, the grinding feeling of being worn down into an uncomfortable shape that's more pleasing for others. The little sacrifices made, the little things--you get that, you make these people really people, I don't know how to articulate that but you have it down to a science.

(Terrence reminds me strongly of my own father. He and my mother are both white but--it was/is a near thing? It's complicated. He's a really awful person in exactly this way, is what I'm saying, and you understand exactly what makes that kind of person tick in such a resonant, quietly ugly way, and you express that so well.)
May. 16th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
This is well-written. The sense of isolation and how Terrance's racism tied into his manipulation of Maria is very haunting. Your story got me right in the heartstrings.
May. 28th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you -- that's really what I was going for. I'm so glad it resonated with you.
May. 28th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
This is amazing. Thank you so, so much for writing this.
May. 28th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading it!
(Deleted comment)
May. 28th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
Sigh, yes, I have given up hope that they're let Blaine be hapa, because...it's Glee.

I'm really glad you liked the way that Anna was written! I think that the difference between Blaine and Anna was one of my favorite things about writing this, that Blaine can pass for white and has a whole other set of things he gets harassed for, but Anna can't and so she faces something totally different. Also, she's just a kick ass little sister, let's be honest. I loved writing her.
(Deleted comment)
May. 28th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
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( 107 comments — Leave a comment )


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