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I Need You to Need Me

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"Excuse me, can somebody help us? I'm looking for my friend, Blaine Corazon," Kurt shouted toward a nurse hurrying by, but the room was packed with injured people, nurses and doctors running and shouting at the tops of their lungs. Kurt's attention was drawn briefly by a police officer arguing loudly with an orderly near a bay near the front of the ED, with the curtains pulled around it.

"Make sure you get that blood alcohol level tested, that's all I'm saying," the cop was insisting. "Two people died in that crash he caused - - and we'll need to know his level - -"

"It's on the order sheet, officer, but right now we're working on keeping him alive. Trust me; he was way over the limit. If he makes it, you'll have no trouble getting a conviction. If you'll let me get back to my job I'd appreciate it."

"Kurt, isn't that him? Looks like his picture," Burt said gently, pointing across the room to where a hospital-gowned teenage boy sat on the edge of a gurney, his bare legs dangling over the side and his dark-haired head bowed. Kurt hesitated.

First because Blaine looked so small – so vulnerable – almost childlike, without the added bulk of his always-present dress shirt and vest and blazer. And it was more than just that. Put bluntly, an outsized charisma and self-confidence clung to him as a rule and made Blaine seem somehow larger than life to Kurt most of the time, so that he had barely noticed that his idol was on the shorter side of average, perhaps 5'8" or 5'9". That confidence and charisma was shattered now and swallowed up in shock and grief. Kurt hardly recognized the slack-jawed, blank-faced little boy across the room. And more important, Kurt hesitated because though he knew more about how Blaine might feel right now than most kids would, having lived through it once with Mom and almost another time with Dad, he couldn't remember a single thing that anyone had been able to say that had helped that hurt when he was the one being dealt the blow of losing a parent so young. And he couldn't think of anything to say now either, and he was afraid of confronting that kind of grief in the boy there was no sense in denying he loved. He knew well enough there was nothing you can say at a time like this, and he shrank back in the face of that familiar pain.

But Blaine looked up suddenly and spotted him, jumping down from the gurney without a word and starting at a run toward him. Without realizing what he was doing, Kurt started pushing his way past the crowd to get to him, and Blaine was in his arms, and his cold, clammy face was pressed against Kurt's neck.

"You came," Blaine was whispering hoarsely in a strangled voice that sounded nothing like Blaine, and Kurt nodded speechlessly, and stroked the tumbled, but still glossy black hair.

"I'm sorry," Kurt choked out and Blaine tightened his hold around his neck, saying without words that words were not needed or wanted – being there was both all he could do and all that was necessary.

After a time, Blaine was able to be led away to put on the school uniform again, splattered with blood and rumpled, the top button undone, the tie lost somewhere, and Kurt stood next to him when he looked in the faces of the small dark-haired man and tall fair-haired woman who Kurt had never met and said goodbye, answered the questions of the police, and finally was allowed to go.

Kurt was exhausted by then, as the nurse explained what to look for, what to do for a head injury and handed his father a written copy of the instructions. Blaine sat slumped in the chair, his eyes blank and without their light and joy, and Kurt looked back and saw that the tie was on the floor under the gurney Blaine had been sitting on earlier. "I'll be right back," he whispered and trotted quickly back to pick up the tie, straightening up in time to see that the curtain was pulled slightly on the bay where the drunk driver who caused all this had been lying. Glancing over at Blaine, he inched over to take a look, and reeled back in shock so intense he nearly vomited. The patient in the bay wore a McKinley letter jacket. The face was well known to Kurt from his nightmares and disappeared under the white sheet snapped over him as the doctor muttered, "Call it. 8:02 p.m.," pulling off his plastic gloves tiredly and dropping them on the floor in defeat.