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I Need You to Need Me

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"Wanna talk about it?"

Kurt looked up from the mirror and glanced at his father in it. "Talk about what, Dad?"

Pushing the baseball cap up and clearing his throat, Burt mumbled, "Whatever's got you so down, buddy. Is it that you're gonna be up against New Directions again at regionals tonight?" He came in and sat on the bed as Kurt applied a heated damp washcloth to his face carefully.

"Must be tough competing against all your old friends, your brother."

Kurt looked at his father over the washcloth. "They understand, Dad. It's not that." Lowering his hands, he mumbled, "You wouldn't understand."

"Try me."

"It's Blaine."

Burt frowned. "You two have a fight or something? That'll be kinda tough when you have that duet to sing with him tonight, huh? Maybe you'd better bury the hatchet for tonight anyway."

"We didn't fight. We never fight," Kurt said dully. "That's the problem."

"You lost me. What's that supposed to mean? You're mad because Blaine doesn't fight with you?"

"No, Dad," Kurt snapped, flinging down the wet washcloth with a splat on his vanity table. "It's because of the reason why we don't fight." His bright eyes dimmed. "You have to care about somebody enough to bother fighting." A tear slipped out of one eye and he scrubbed at it furiously with a kleenex. "You have to see them as an equal. Blaine doesn't see me that way. I'm his little buddy, his protégée. That's it. A child who needs his guidance, not ..."

Burt cut in. "That doesn't seem fair, Kurt. He is older than you, been at Dalton longer. If he's nice enough to show you the ropes, is that a bad thing?"

"It is if I want more than that," Kurt sobbed. "I want to be more than just Gilligan to his Skipper, hey little buddy and a pat on the head."

Hiding a smile, Burt patted him on the knee. "That's not an image I'd pick for either of you, but I get the basic idea. You want to be more than friends, is that it?"

"Yes." Kurt bit his lip.

"Well, what's keeping you from telling him? Maybe he feels the same way and is just holding back because you're younger and less experienced?"

"No!" Kurt said, horrified. "If he doesn't feel the same it might ruin what I have with him now. Not that I can take this much longer … I feel like Anybodys to his Tony, you know?"

Burt stared and Kurt elaborated, "West Side Story?"

Seeing Burt still blankly staring, Kurt sighed. "Oh forget it. I'll just grin and bear it. It's not like he's being mean or something. And he's an upperclassman …. Big man on campus … I'm lucky to be his … his sidekick, I guess. But I'm not sure that's going to cut it for me much longer. It's going to start hurting more to be around him and know it can't be the way I'd want it to, than not being around him at all."

"Kurt, think about it before you stop being friends with Blaine. He's a good role model for you, a good mentor - - and that's not something to throw away. You need someone like that in your life."

"I know," Kurt muttered. "But I want to be needed, too. Is that so much to ask?"

"No, of course not," Burt agreed. "But right now, Blaine and the Warblers need you at Regionals to sing that duet with him. Finish the face thing and get your jacket on. I'll go get Carole and Finn. Starting to question the wisdom of all of us riding to regionals in the same car … gonna be an awkward ride home if one of you wins."

"So maybe you'll luck out and we'll both lose, Dad," Kurt said irritably. "Don't worry - - I'll be happy for Finn if he wins, and I'm sure he'll feel the same if I do. Let's get this over with."