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I Need You to Need Me

Chapter Text

"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."

Chapter Text

 

The ride to regionals took nearly an hour in stop and go traffic, longer than expected, and Kurt groaned when the car stopped yet again. "We're going to be late," he whimpered, slamming his head back against the seat.

"Nothing we can do about it, bro," Finn said idly, looking out the window with a sigh. "At least the Warblers are the last ones on the program. And you have thirteen members so even if you don't make it, they can go on. New Directions'll have to forfeit if I don't get there in time."

"There's still time to get there before either of you has to go on," Burt cut in. The rain was pounding down in buckets, hitting the windshield and obscuring the road but for the reflections of the headlights off the asphalt. The windshield wipers slapped back and forth, and Kurt shut his eyes, listening to their quick beat, and mumbled over the words to the song he'd somehow convinced the Warblers to do for Regionals. After seeing New Directions they'd all had to admit maybe he knew a little something about what they were up against, and convinced them to take a little chance on a duet between two gay boys. The way Blaine sang the reworked "She's Got a Love Like Whoa" like he meant the words, the way he looked into his eyes in rehearsal, had made him weak in the knees; but then just as fast Blaine turned on the goofy charm and silly faces … and then he was high-fiving and hey-dude pointing with the other Warblers, and he knew that Blaine was just being Blaine.

Dramatic, charming, show-offy, adorable … and so damn friendly. In English class at Dalton, there was a poem that reminded him of Blaine. Browning's "My Last Duchess". She had a heart, how shall I say? too soon made glad, too easily impressed; she liked whate'er she looked on, and her looks went everywhere. That was Blaine, his little duchess. Those flirtatious, inviting looks, those friendly gestures, went everywhere and he had been a fool to imagine that Blaine had been instantly smitten, singing "Teenage Dream" directly to him. The only teenage dream around here was that Blaine would fall for him just because he happened to be gay and had followed Blaine to Dalton like a lovesick puppy, as much as to get away from Dave Karofsky.

Kurt trailed off on the line, "Cause we only have one life/ The timing and the moment/ All seem so right/ So would you say you're mine?" and looked out the window again.

"Dude," Finn said with a whistle. "That's gonna be tough to beat." He looked up at the ceiling of the car. "I'm singing with Rachel, and let's just say the chemistry's really off for us. Not like you and Blaine."

"You'll pull it off once the two of you are on stage, even if you're mad at her right now," Kurt muttered. "The great performers always can fake it if they have to. Just ask Blaine."

Burt cut in, "Looks like there was an accident. Bad one."

The line of cars snaked past the shattered wreckage, the drivers rubbernecking to catch a glimpse while some of the police officers waved them on impatiently. Others were standing around the car taking photographs.

"Looks like that Honda crossed over the line - - hit 'em head on," Finn said with a whistle. "Was a pretty sweet benzo, too."

"Hopefully no one was hurt too badly," Carole shivered, and as they passed the two smashed cars the traffic picked up and Burt hit the gas to hurry forward. "Shouldn't be any problem getting you two there in time," he said cheerfully. "So no reason to be nervous."

Easier said than done, Kurt thought, trying to shake the dark mood and get his glee face on.

Chapter Text

 

Kurt stuck his head into the New Directions green room and waved at his old family, the one group of people who loved him and accepted him the way he was back at McKinley. To get away from someone who hated him for that, he gave that family up, and he stood wistfully looking at the jabbering, eclectic group, all sizes and shapes and personality types who somehow managed to be a team while still honoring who each of them was. He was safe at Dalton, especially under Blaine's wing, but it took time to form those kinds of bonds and history.

"Hey stranger," Rachel teased, coming up to give him a hug. He hugged back. "Ready for your big duet?" she asked casually. "You know, now that our two teams have come to their senses and put their stars in the spotlight, this is going to be a real contest."

"Shut up, Hobbit," Santana snapped out from the corner her eyes glaring with anger. Jerking her head at Kurt, she snarled, "And oh, Hermie the Elf? Don't you have to get back to that midget boyfriend of yours? Or haven't you finished spying?"

Kurt smiled tightly. "Thanks for reminding me that nothing's perfect, Santana. Blaine's my friend, not my boyfriend, but you're right that I have to get going. Good luck, everybody."

"Good luck, Kurt," Mr. Schue said, patting him on the arm as everyone but Santana chimed in.

Kurt waved goodbye and headed down the hall to the Warblers' green room, and a voice called after him. He turned and Santana was standing in the doorway of the New Directions green room, her face averted. "Good luck, Kurt," she said softly, and ducked back into the room. Kurt felt a little smile sneaking onto his face as he heard the eight-part harmony backup to his song choice for his duet with Blaine.

"Hey Kurt," Wes called and the other boys greeted him. Kurt looked around for Blaine … who was never late, in keeping with his perfect never-a-hair-out-of-place image. He'd never seen the older boy ruffled in the slightest and it was as irritating as it was impressive. He'd like to make him rattled, make him react with something other than amused patience and calm understanding, with passion or drama, but that didn't seem to be possible.

"You see Blaine on your way in?" Wes asked.

"Traffic was really bad on the way here," Kurt said, dropping down on the couch and studying his manicure. "His parents came into town to see the competition. They were going to drive here from the airport, so they probably took I-60 too. I'm sure he'll be here any minute."

The minutes crawl by in a green room, watching the competition, and Kurt's nerves started getting the better of him. It would be okay once Blaine was here - - and he caught himself. He had to stop depending on Blaine to take care of him, had to stop texting him every time there was a problem, had to stop thinking about him as anything but a friend. But all the same he hoped he'd get here soon, and he peered out into the rain out the green room window watching for him. And his fingers itched to text him *where r u* but he didn't have his cellphone to do it or to look at the first text he'd gotten from Blaine weeks ago and looked at whenever he needed to feel a little better.

"Kurt?"

He turned and saw Burt standing in the doorway, and something was wrong with his expression. It reminded him of another time when he got the worst news of his life from his father and he hurried forward, pushing that memory out of his mind and choosing to ignore the worried look his father was giving him.

"Dad, no parents in the green room," he said under his breath, when he reached him.

"Kurt- - I got a call on your cell, it's important." He pointed to a chair but Kurt panicked and grabbed his father's arm.

"Tell me," he whispered.

"From the ER at County Hospital. There's been an accident. Blaine asked them to call you - -"

Kurt breathed finally, loosening his hold on his father's arm, but then tightening his fingers again. "He's all right?" he asked, staring into his dad's face.

"He's okay, but they said he has a concussion, he just got back to the ER after the CT scan."

There was a murmur behind them and Kurt pressed his lips together. "He probably won't be able to go on tonight, will he?"

"No, he needs to go home and take it easy. He asked for you, and I told the nurse we'd come pick him up and take him home."

Wes cut in, "Mr. Hummel, can it wait until after our number? Somebody else can fill in for Blaine in the main duet, but if Kurt leaves we'll have to forfeit, we won't have twelve on the team."

"It's up to Kurt," Burt started. "But the nurse said Blaine has no family here to take him home and watch out for him, and that the only number he would give them to call was Kurt's."

"What about his parents?" Wes said, and trailed off as Burt bit his lip and turned to Kurt.

"His parents didn't make it. He's alone in an ER right now. Do you want to wait to go there or - -"

Kurt released his father's arm and was out the door before the sentence was finished.

Chapter Text

 

"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.

 

Chapter Text

The way home was faster than the drive to Regionals but felt like an eternity, with Burt silently driving in the rain and Kurt holding Blaine's hand and watching him stare, stunned, out the window.

Kurt thought he wanted Blaine to cry or yell or … something. This silence was not only unfamiliar to a boy who cried as freely as Kurt - - it was eerie, almost frightening. Almost as if Blaine had died along with his parents in the crash. Only Blaine's hand gripping his almost too tightly, and the unblinking eyes fixed on nothing but open, indicated that the boy was even conscious.

"This is it. My house," Kurt said gently when Burt turned off the ignition. Blaine showed no interest, but unbuckled his seat belt and obediently got out of the car when Kurt nudged him, pulling Kurt along by the hand. Kurt scooted across the seat to get out the same door as Blaine and shut the door, guiding his friend as he would a blind or crippled old man along the walkway.

Once inside, Burt cleared his throat. "I gotta go back and get Carole and Finn, bring 'em home. Unless you need me to stay - - I could call Carole and tell her to try to catch a ride home with one of the other families - -"

"It's okay, Dad," Kurt said. "I've got this."

"Remember – Dr. Khan said to wake him up every hour to make sure he's okay, watch for any new symptoms," Burt said uncertainly. "The keys to the truck are on the hook if you need to take him to the hospital."

"I know. Thanks, Dad."

"Thanks, Mr. Hummel," Blaine said robotically, and Kurt stroked his shoulder reassuringly. Burt gave another worried look but backed out of the house.

Kurt guided Blaine up the stairs and into the guest bedroom, with an attached bathroom. The house was almost as unfamiliar to him as to Blaine, since he'd never officially moved in, heading off to Dalton instead and staying here only on weekends. He went to his room and pulled out two pairs of pajama pants and t-shirts, and yanked one set on tiredly, leaving his uniform scattered on the floor for once. He trudged back and handed the other pair to Blaine, who got up stiffly and limped toward the bathroom.

"You feeling okay? The doctor gave us some pain pills," Kurt worried, standing on one side of the door. He heard the water running and after a few minutes, he tapped again. Blaine opened the door and nodded.

"Maybe one," he said, barely above a whisper. Kurt scurried to get a glass of water from the bathroom and open the bottle of pills. Staring at it a moment in the bathroom, and remembering how he felt after just one parent died, he bent down and hid the bottle under the sink. Blaine would have to ask for more medication, he wouldn't leave it laying around until he knew it would … would be okay.

Kurt shut off the light in the bathroom and went over to where Blaine was sitting on the bed. He handed Blaine the pill and the glass of water and reached to take it back when it was swallowed. "Thanks, Kurt," he said, watching him set the glass back on the bathroom counter. "This isn't what I thought your room would be like," he said vacantly.

Kurt pulled down the covers and helped Blaine over in the queen-sized bed. "It's not my room. It's the guest room. I'll be right next door in my - -"

Blaine's eyes flew open wider and he gripped Kurt's hand in alarm. "You're not sleeping in here with me?" he asked.

"Blaine - - I - -" Kurt hesitated, unsure at first but Blaine's pleading eyes finished him. "Okay. It's probably a good idea to stay in the room with you." He climbed into bed beside Blaine and reached for the alarm clock, carefully setting it for one hour. Looking back at Blaine he saw that his eyes were drooping … the medication, probably. Blaine's arm snaked around Kurt's waist and pulled him close, and Kurt draped an arm over Blaine's shoulder and watched as he drifted off into a troubled-looking sleep. But still looking like an angel.

All night Kurt lay awake watching intently, waking him up faithfully on the hour and holding him a little tighter, a little closer each time to soothe him back to sleep afterwards. He couldn't sleep. He was haunted by Karofsky's still form back at the hospital and by the wake of death left in his wake. Only he and Blaine knew that Karofsky had struggled with demons, confusion, unrequited desire. And they had chosen to stay quiet when maybe … maybe outing him to his parents or someone who could have helped might have prevented this. He could never know if those demons drove Karofsky to drink, to drink and drive and by some horrible joke of fate, crash his car into Blaine's family. They had thought they were kinder not to do that to Dave, but now, with only Blaine and his family paying the price for their choice, Kurt was tormented with guilt.

By the last alarm, near dawn, Kurt was so exhausted that he closed his own eyes and let Blaine rest his head on his shoulder, running his fingers through the other boy's thick dark hair and listening to him breathe. Feeling it. He dared to press a kiss against Blaine's forehead and drifted off to sleep himself.

When he woke up, the bed was empty and he sat up, alarmed, and looked at the clock. It was two minutes away from ringing again and he turned it off and got up. The water was running in the shower and stopped just as Kurt reached the door and tapped on it.

After a minute, the door opened. Blaine smiled weakly, his hair still damp and curly from the shower, a towel draped over his shoulders and another tied around his waist.

"I'm sorry if I woke you," he said, and Kurt shrugged.

"You feeling … well – your head - -" Kurt stumbled, and Blaine sighed and walked over to a chair, sitting down on it with a thud.

"My head's fine. I'm sorry about keeping you up all night, and - - I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable." Seeing Kurt's puzzled face, he said haltingly, "Clinging to you like some baby - - I just –needed you a lot last night," he choked, bending down and finally spilling some tears, leaning against Kurt's chest. Kurt rocked him back and forth, relieved to see Blaine letting it out but feeling his heart ripping at the unfamiliar sound of his crying.

"It was no trouble, far from it," Kurt whispered, overcome with tenderness. He put a hand under Blaine's chin and raised it to look into what used to be dancing, mischievous, laughing eyes now clouded with pain and tears, and leaned forward to kiss those tears away, trailing down to his soft, yielding lips.

"Kurt," a voice came from the doorway. The boys turned awkwardly and guiltily toward Burt, standing in the doorway, and Blaine stood up and pulled the towel around himself tighter. "I'll put on something," he mumbled, wiping his eyes with the towel over his shoulders and grabbing his clothes from the chair.

Burt took his hand from behind his back and handed him a set of clean clothes. "Here's some of Finn's stuff for now, Blaine. Leave those things here, Carole will take care of cleaning those for you. And your grandparents called. They're on their way here, should be at the airport in an hour or so. Your school called them."

Blaine looked puzzled, squinting confusedly, and took the offered clothes. "I should have done that – I wasn't thinking right –"

"It's understandable. Kurt, let's give Blaine his privacy, okay?" Burt stood in the doorway with a look that didn't allow for any arguments, and Kurt got up and squeezed Blaine's hand.

"Come on down when you're dressed. I'll be right downstairs."

Blaine nodded hesitantly and went into the bathroom, and Kurt glared angrily at Burt.

Chapter Text

Kurt stomped down the stairs and then stormed into the kitchen. "What was that about, Dad? Didn't you see that was a private moment? Why'd you have to barge in right then?"

Burt looked at Kurt with raised eyebrows. "I come into a room and find you kissing Blaine – who's wearing just a towel – and you expect me to just say 'carry on, men' and walk out?"

"It was just a kiss, Dad. I thought you were okay with me being gay. I guess that was just as long as I didn't touch any boys?"

"You know me better than that, Kurt. Someday, when you and a guy you care about are both ready, I have no problem with it. But if I remember right, yesterday you told me Blaine thought of you as just a friend. So what happened to change that?" The question hung there in the air not needing an answer.

Kurt's eyes brimmed up. "You're saying he only let me kiss him because he's vulnerable?"

"I don't know what's in Blaine's head- but obviously, he's dealing with a tragedy right now, and I really don't think you should be making any big moves when he's feeling like this. One or both of you might end up hurt if you take things too fast now and it doesn't work out in the end."

Turning his back, Kurt stared out the window for a long pause and thought about what his father was saying. "I just want to help him through this. Comfort him, that's all, Dad. I didn't mean to do anything bad."

Before Burt could answer, the half-open door to the kitchen swung the rest of the way in, and Blaine shuffled in, his eyes on the floor. Finn's sweatpants and t-shirt were swimming on his shorter frame and Kurt felt another pang of uncomfortable pity and sympathy and guilt. Dad was right, what was he thinking, reading anything into last night other than that, vulnerability.

"I made oatmeal, but there's eggs in the fridge or cereal in the cabinet if you're hungry, boys," Burt said. Blaine shook his head sadly but politely and Kurt pulled a chair out for him.

"Try to eat a little something," he urged, and Blaine sat down, keeping his gaze on his hands folded on the table while Burt busied himself at the stove with the oatmeal.. "Blaine … about last night and this morning, I - - "

Blaine's eyes flew up and met Kurt's, a strange pained warning shining in his eyes. "I don't want to talk about it," he said abruptly, and Kurt trailed off.

"Okay, then," he said in clipped tones, looking away as Burt put two bowls of oatmeal on the table. "Just … you should try to eat."

"I don't need you to tell me when to eat," Blaine snapped, getting up with a shove of the chair and starting for the door. He stopped at the exit for a second but didn't turn around. "Kurt … Mr. Hummel – thanks, for everything. I'm sorry," he said hurriedly and rushed out.

"Kurt. Don't take that personally, buddy," Burt tried to tell his son, watching him dump the untouched oatmeal back into the pot.

"I'm not that stupid, Dad, or that bad a friend to take anything he says personally the day after his parents were killed …" Kurt leaned on the counter and covered his face with his hand. "And I don't even want to know what he'll say to me when he finds out it's my fault."

"You lost me."

Kurt's hands dropped, finding a sponge in the plastic tray suction-cupped to the sink, and started wiping down the spotless counter. "The other driver was Dave Karofsky."

Burt heaved a long breath, and put an arm around Kurt. "How does that equal this being your fault? Are you suggesting Dave hit the Corazons on purpose, to get to you? Kurt, not everything is about you, even where Karofsky is concerned. This was just a freak accident."

"I'm not saying it wasn't. I'm not saying Dave went out looking for a way to hurt me or Blaine. I'm saying if it weren't for me, maybe … maybe Dave wouldn't have been drunk."

"Is there something you aren't telling me, Kurt?"

Kurt turned to face his father. "Yeah, something maybe I should have. Karofsky wasn't just a standard bully. He was gay, Dad, and I think he picked on me because he liked me."

"What gives you that idea?"

"One time, he shoved me and I started yelling at him, and in the middle of it he grabbed me and kissed me. Really kissed me."

Burt stared at his son dumbstruck.

"I think he needed help, and I never came clean about it to you or Ms. Sylvester or Dave's dad in that meeting. His dad wanted to know what was wrong, why his grades were slipping. I was afraid saying something would make things worse." He took a shaky breath. "And I didn't think anybody but Blaine would believe me."

"I would have believed you!"

Kurt wiped his hands on a tea towel and hung it neatly back up. "I know. Now."

The doorbell rang and Kurt excused himself, going past Blaine sitting moodily on the couch and opening the door to an elderly Filipino couple, well-dressed and elegant, but looking as if their world had come to its end. "You must be Kurt," the woman said, extending a slender hand. "I'm Lupita Corazon – Blaine's grandmother, and this is his grandfather."

Blaine stuck his head into the hallway. "Lola, Lolo," he said haltingly, and the couple rushed past Kurt holding the door and embraced their grandson. Kurt shut the door and stepped forward.

"You can make yourselves comfortable in the living room if you like - -"

"Thanks, Kurt, but we won't impose … there are a lot of things to attend to and arrange for my … my son's funeral," Blaine's Lolo said, keeping an arm around an ashen-faced Blaine. "And we've booked a flight back to New York for this evening, so we'll only be a few minutes."

Chapter Text

"You're going back to New York tonight?" Kurt asked, glancing at Blaine.

"We've made arrangements to have Blaines' parents flown back there, and we'll have their funeral there."

"You'll come back to school – after – right?" Kurt asked anxiously, ignoring Burt's pointed look to back off.

"We've decided to have Blaine come live with us," Lola said firmly. "You can take off the rest of this semester, and then transfer to a performing arts school next year, Blaine, there are lots of wonderful ones in New York. It's what you've always wanted to do."

"Your parents named us your guardians in their will, so of course you'll be living with us," Blaine's Lolo added. "You're all we have left now," the old man said sadly, and Blaine nodded slowly.

"Blaine - - are you sure?" Kurt said, and Blaine shrugged a listless shoulder. "Wouldn't you do better here, at Dalton, than changing your whole life - - "

Blaine's face was still and pale and uncomprehending. "Whatever," he muttered. "Better get ready to go."

Kurt watched Blaine go upstairs, and sat nervously biting his nails while Blaine's grandparents murmured quiet conversation at him in the living room, until Blaine came downstairs with his coat on.

"Forgot, I don't have anything else to get. I guess we better go, pack up my stuff at Dalton."

"Okay, mahal," the elderly lady said softly, stroking his arm.

Kurt wanted to scream at them not to go, not to take Blaine away, or at least to tell him how he felt before he was gone, but his father put a finger to his lips and shook his head, and the words died in his throat.

Following Blaine to the door, Kurt caught his hand as the older couple headed toward the car. "Blaine – I just want to say thank you for – everything. Being my friend, my teacher, when I needed one. And everything."

Blaine suddenly turned and put a hand along Kurt's face, looking into his eyes through a cloud of tears. "I'm the one who should thank you. I learned more from you than you did from me- by a long shot. And even if you didn't mean it … that way – thanks for the 'comforting'," he said, kissing Kurt on the cheek. "Goodbye."

Kurt was frozen as Blaine slipped his arm free and went down the steps, getting into the car with a small wave. He tried to open his mouth to call him back, but he was too overwhelmed. Burt stood next to him in the doorway and put an arm around him.

Kurt found his breath and looked wildly at his father. "He heard me talking to you - - he thinks I just was pitying him last night, today," he whispered.

"You'll straighten it out," Burt said comfortingly, and Kurt ran into the house past his father and up to his room, two steps at a time, barreling into it and scrabbling at his clothes on the floor, finding his cellphone and flipping it open. He pressed the "on" button, but he moaned in despair at the message, "BATTERY LOW- POWERING OFF" and the maddening tinkle of ringtones as it did so.

"Dammit!" he shouted at it and scrambling for his charger. He sat and waited for it to power up, and as he waited, he realized. He could tell Blaine how he felt, but it wouldn't change the fact that he would be going away … just when he needed Kurt most.