Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Kurt hovered the pointer of his mouse over the record button for a moment before taking a deep breath and clicking it. Leaning back and looking directly into the camera, he began to speak.
"Hi, my name is Kurt Hummel. It's August twenty-fourth, two thousand and eleven at approximately eight o'clock in the morning. I figure I have about ten more minutes of lucidity, so I thought I'd make good use of it.
About three years ago, I was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder or D.I.D., which most people refer to as multiple personality disorder. It's pretty rare and not very many people are diagnosed with it as young as I was, which makes it even weirder. My dad says that it's been going on for even longer, since I was really young. He said for years he thought I just had an overactive imagination, but when I showed up to school one day as one of my alters, he knew something was up.
I guess I should explain what I mean by 'alters'. They're what I call my different personalities. It feels weird to say personalities, because I don't feel like my alters are part of me at all. When one of them takes over, I don't remember what happens. Sometimes I just find myself in some weird place, wearing someone else's clothes and I can't figure out how I got there. God knows what kind of crazy things I've done without even knowing about it. At times, it seems like the alters come out more than I do, especially when things get stressful or I'm anxious about something. Other times, they won't come around for weeks. It's really a crapshoot.
Anyway, my dad is supportive, which I'm thankful for. My mom died when I was eight, so I don't know how she would have dealt with the whole thing. My dad got remarried to my step mom Carole last year and she has a son, Finn, who's in my grade. They're really cool too, even though I know at first the whole DID thing really freaked them out. I think they're used to it now.
I'm also really lucky to have the most amazing boyfriend in the world, Blaine Anderson. He's super supportive and loving, but he hasn't really seen a whole lot of my other sides. Sometimes I worry that when he does, he might run screaming in the other direction.
I used to take medication, which really helped control the alters, but it made me feel like a total zombie, so over the summer, my doctor tapered me off, much to her disapproval. The upside is that I started feeling like me again. The downside is that my alters started feeling like themselves again too, and have started coming out to play again. Unfortunately, this means that I had to start homeschooling this year.
It's my senior year of high school. I should be living it up, filling out college applications, singing with New Directions—my schools glee club—and hanging out with my friends. Today's the first day of school and here I am, sitting on my bed in my pajamas. The only good thing about this is that I got special permission from Mr. Figgins, the principal at my old high school, to remain in glee club. They practice after school three days a week, so at least I'll be able to stay connected to my friends. It still sucks though."
"Kurt!" Kurt turned toward the door where he could hear his father calling him from downstairs.
"Yeah, dad?" He yelled back.
"C'mon down for breakfast," Burt Hummel shouted back. "Finn has to leave for school in a few minutes."
"Be right there," Kurt sighed, returning his attention to the camera. "See? Not only do I not get to show off my fabulous first-day-of-school ensemble, but I have to go eat breakfast with Finn and pretend to be all happy that he gets to have his magical senior year while I'm locked in the attic like Mr. Rochester's first wife." Kurt rolled his eyes and clicked the stop button on his laptop before closing the screen.
"So, Finn, how's football practice going?" Carole asked her son as she poured him a bowl of cereal. It was the first day of school, but the team had been practicing since mid-summer with high hopes of making it to the state championship this year.
"Really tough," Finn answered, shoving a spoonful of Froot Loops into his mouth. "Coach Beiste is really riding us, but I think we're looking pretty good. We may go all the way this year."
"Here's hopin', kid," Burt raised his orange juice in a toast to his step son. "Where's Kurt? I called him to come down ten minutes ago."
"Maybe he's still upset about the whole homeschool issue," Carole said. "I can't say I blame him, it is his senior year after all."
Just then, Kurt ambled into the room. He was dressed in tight wranglers, a plaid button up shirt and a Future Farmers of America trucker's hat. His hands were shoved in his pockets and he was gnawing on a toothpick.
"So, Finn," he drawled with a lazy southern accent. "First last day of school, ain't it? I'm gonna give you a bit of advice. Chase all the ladies you can, because the pickin's don't get any better than they are in high school, you know what I mean?"
"Conrad, it's been a while," Burt sighed, leaning back in his chair, casting glances at Carole and Finn respectively.
"Yeah, dude," Finn said, putting his spoon down in his now empty bowl. "I haven't seen you in months."
"Well, you know, I come and go," Kurt replied. "Don't like to stay in one place too long. Seems hanging around same watering holes gets me into trouble with the women folk." The other three simultaneously nodded, remembering back to the last time 'Conrad' took over. For weeks afterward, several girls from Crawford Country Day wouldn't stop calling the house, crying about how he had broken their hearts. Conrad was a true love 'em and leave 'em ladies man, no doubt about it.
"Okay, well, I gotta get going," Finn said, getting up from the table and throwing his backpack over one shoulder.
"Hey, if you see that sweet little thing, Brittany, you tell her Conrad has something for her if she wants to stop by after school, if ya know what I mean," Kurt gave a conspiratorial wink and Finn had a hard time not laughing. Brittany S. Pierce didn't understand that Kurt and Conrad were the same person and thoroughly enjoyed Conrad's presence. Finn didn't want to think about what Kurt would do if he knew the kinds of things Conrad had done with Brittany in the past.
Um, sure thing, dude," Finn said, heading out the door. "Bye everyone!" The other three told him goodbye and as the door closed behind him, Burt turned to his son.
"Well, I guess since you're here, Conrad, I'll take the day off from work," he sighed. Out of all Kurt's alters, Conrad was the most likely to get into trouble. He wandered off constantly and one time had even stolen the neighbor's motorcycle. Thankfully, Mr. Norris was sympathetic about Kurt's disorder and didn't call the police when he discovered the bike was missing. Kurt had called several hours later from outside of a gentleman's club a few towns over asking to be picked up. Conrad may have known how to operate a motorcycle, but Kurt sure didn't.
"What do you want to do today?" Burt asked.
"I was thinkin' about headin' over to the shootin' range," Kurt answered, "Maybe the bowling alley, later."
"Alright then," Burt said, standing up. "Go get your hearing protection and I'll call into work." Kurt moseyed out of the kitchen and headed to the garage. Carole came around from the other side of the kitchen counter and gave her husband a hug.
"What do you think brought Conrad out?" She asked.
"I don't know, maybe the stress of not being able to go to school today," Burt ventured. "I was worried this might happen, but I was hoping for maybe Gina or Jamie. Anyone but Conrad."
"Hopefully Kurt'll be back soon," Carole replied reassuringly. "Besides, you can't deny how much you enjoy the shooting range." Burt shrugged his shoulders and smiled sheepishly at his wife. As much of a handful as Conrad was, at least they shared a lot of the same interests.
"Well, I better get a move on," Burt said, standing up and grabbing the house phone off the charger. As he dialed the number for work, he mentally prepared himself for the likely adventure he was in for with Conrad, and tried to keep his worry about his son's well-being at bay.
Any feedback you have for me is greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!
I don't own Glee or United States of Tara
Kurt squinted, his eyes opening on the late afternoon sun that seeped into his bedroom through the open blinds. He felt queasy and had an awful taste in his mouth. Disoriented, he scanned the room slowly, his eyes finally landing on a can of Skoal resting on his bedside table.
"Shit, Conrad's back," He groaned to himself. All of the sudden, the nausea he felt that was intensified by the knowledge that Conrad had been chewing that nasty tobacco sent him over the edge. Kurt barely had enough time to locate the trashcan that had been placed next to his bed before losing the contents of his stomach. When he finished, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, feeling utterly disgusting and desperate to get the taste out of his mouth.
"Tobacco and hot dogs? C'mon," Kurt sighed exasperatedly. He looked up to see his dad standing in his doorway, leaning slightly against the frame. "Why do you let him chew this stuff?" Kurt asked by way of greeting, indicating to the can.
"You think I can control anything Conrad does?" Burt asked with a chuckle, "He's just as stubborn as you, if you can believe it. I'm just glad we made it through the day without having to explain anything to the cops."
"Please just tell me he didn't make out with anyone," Kurt pleaded. Burt smiled and shook his head.
"Not today, kiddo," He stood up off the door frame and started heading down the hallway toward the staircase. "Why don't you get cleaned up? It's almost time for dinner." He called back over his shoulder. Kurt threw the covers off of himself and rolled his eyes at the get-up he was still wearing from earlier in the day. As he stood up and began stripping off the offensive clothing, he noticed something sticking out from underneath his mattress. Curious, he tugged at it until a magazine slipped out into his hand. Kurt stared for a moment, frozen in place before he snapped back to his senses.
"Oh my God, gross!" he nearly shouted, dropping the Playboy onto the floor, very narrowly missing the trashcan filled with Conrad's culinary adventures from the day. He couldn't understand how he and Conrad could be so different and of all his alters, he disliked Conrad the most. With an outstretched big toe, Kurt shoved the offending magazine under his bed and trudged to the shower in his bathroom. Turning the water as hot as he could tolerate it, he did his best to wash away any lingering presence of Conrad in his body.
Thirty minutes later, Kurt joined the rest of the family at the dinner table.
"Feeling better, son?" Burt asked him, passing a plate to him.
"Much," He replied, scooping some green beans onto the plate.
"So, Finn, tell us about school," Carol turned her attention to the taller boy. Finn placed his water glass down on the table and began telling an animated story about the New Directions impromptu performance during lunch.
"It didn't go so well," Finn concluded. "Every year it's such a struggle to get people interested in it. Most everyone just laughs at us, that is, when they aren't throwing slushies at us."
"Well, at least you have the option of being slushied," Kurt interjected bitterly. "Me? I don't have to worry about some dumb jock's Circle K run, I just have to make sure that Conrad doesn't get anyone pregnant."
"Kurt, that's enough," Burt warned his son, folding his arms over his chest. "I know you want to be back in school, but don't take it out on Finn, he didn't do anything wrong."
"Yeah, well, neither did I, Dad," Kurt shouted angrily. He pushed himself up from the table, having barely touched his food. "You think I want to be dealing with this? Hell, most people think I'm making it up anyway. That's what they thought, isn't that right?" Kurt gestured to a shocked looking Carole and Finn.
"Kurt, sweetheart, I would never-" Carole started, but Kurt cut her off by holding his hand up at her.
"You would never say it, but you sure as hell thought it, admit it!"
"ENOUGH!" Everyone jumped as Burt launched out of his chair and grabbed Kurt by the collar of his shirt. He would never lay a hand on his son, but he needed to get control over the situation before Kurt transitioned again. "To your room," he ordered, dropping Kurt's shirt and backing off slowly. "Now, Kurt!" Kurt took a deep trembling breath and turned on his heel, stalking up the stairs to his room. The three sat in silence as they heard the door slam.
"I don't know what to do with that kid," Burt muttered, sitting back down in his chair and burying his face in his hands warily.
"Finn, why don't you take your plate into the living room?" Carole instructed her shell-shocked looking son gently. He started to rise, but Burt stopped him.
"No, you two sit and finish eating," Burt said, getting up again from the table slowly. I need to call Dr. Simmons and see if I can get Kurt in for an appointment sooner than next week. Carole nodded and placed her hand over her husband's as he squeezed her shoulder on his way out of the dining room.
After slamming his door so loudly that the picture frames on his wall shuddered, Kurt threw himself on the bed, trying his best to calm himself down. After a few minutes, his hands stopped shaking enough for him to be able to tap out a text message to Blaine.
Hey Babe, how was school?
Kurt hit the send button and felt instantly calmer. There was something about Blaine that had that effect on him, which was one of the reasons Kurt loved him so much. Blaine knew about Kurt's disorder, but so far, Kurt had never transitioned with Blaine around, even in stressful situations. Of course, Kurt had only been off the medications completely for about a week, so who knew what would happen the next time he was with his boyfriend. Kurt felt his phone buzz in his hand and he eagerly opened the incoming text message.
Lonely without you. Did you have a good day vegging out in your pjs? ;)
Hardly, Kurt grimaced. He hesitated before responding back. Should he tell Blaine about transitioning into Conrad? Blaine knew about the other alters, but he'd kept discussions about Conrad to a minimum with Blaine. He was ashamed of Conrad, of how different he seemed from Kurt himself and he was constantly beating himself up about the fact that some part of him was Conrad. Kurt finally decided just to tell Blaine the truth. If he couldn't handle it now, how would he be able to handle it years down the road? That is, assuming they'd still be together.
Not that great. I transitioned today. Just woke up about an hour ago and I have no idea what he did all day.
The response back from Blaine was almost instantaneous.
He? You mean Jamie? Kurt could almost see his boyfriend's adorably confused furrowed brow.
Conrad. I don't think I've told you about him. He's...sort of like the male version of Santana, with a splash of The Ladies Man. And very southern.
Kurt could feel himself blush and almost wondered if he should have just lied in the first place. He did not want to have this discussion with Blaine, even over text messages.
I guess that explains why you weren't at Glee club today. He sounds interesting. Maybe I'll get to meet him someday.
Kurt almost laughed at the idea. If only Blaine knew...
I hope not. I think I hear my dad coming upstairs. I have a feeling I'm in for a little 'chat'. Text me before you go to bed. Love you. Kurt was just finishing the text when he heard the knock on his door that had to belong to Burt.
"Son? Can I come in?" He called from the other side of the door. Kurt stood up and walked over to the door, opening it before turning back around to sit on the edge of his bed. Burt sat down next to him.
"I'm sorry, Dad," Kurt began. "I'm just so, I don't know, disappointed. This is my senior year and I'm stuck here. And Conrad just makes me feel so gross."
"I know," Burt answered sympathetically. "I called Dr. Simmons and she has an opening tomorrow morning at nine."
"Okay," Kurt answered. He didn't necessarily like going to Dr. Simmons, especially since he'd started tapering off the medicine, but he knew that his outburst at the table, coupled with Conrad's surfacing was to blame for the extra session.
"I think we should rethink the whole medication issue," Burt said, knowing his son would immediately revolt. He was right.
"No, Dad," Kurt started, feeling panic rise within him. "I can't go back to the way I was, I can't. I feel like I missed out on a year of my life. I have almost no memories from last October until this summer. Please don't do that to me again, I'll do better." Kurt was sounding desperate now, and he knew it. The new drugs had controlled the alters, alright, but they also made it impossible for Kurt to feel like himself, to feel alive. For months he walked around, feeling like he was underwater and with a blindfold on. It was horrible.
"I'm not saying we're going to do it," Burt said, placing an arm around Kurt's shoulder, trying to calm him again. "But we need to figure something out. Dr. Simmons is convinced that if we can get to the bottom of what may have happened when you were little, we could work through it with therapy and maybe then, you won't have to hide behind the alters."
"You know I can't control them, right?" Kurt stared up at his father, feeling vulnerable all of the sudden. "You believe me, don't you?"
"Of course I believe you, Son," Burt reassured him. "And so do Carole and Finn. We all know that this isn't something you chose. It's something that's happening to you, but maybe there's a chance you can take control of the situation. Wouldn't you like to work towards trying to figure that chance out?"
"Yeah," Kurt mumbled. Every time he tried to think too much about his childhood, he would either get incredibly nauseated or he would transition. Sometimes he would just black out and wake up hours later, not remembering what had happened to get him into such a state.
"Alright," Burt said, clapping him on the back and standing up from the bed. "You didn't eat a bite of food, why don't you come down and finish your dinner? Carole wrapped your plate to keep it warm."
"No, I think I'll just call it a night," Kurt smiled wearily. "But tell her thank you, and-and tell them both I'm sorry. I didn't mean the things I said."
"I will," Burt nodded. "Get some rest, Kiddo." He shut the door softly and Kurt listened to his retreating footsteps before collapsing backward on the bed and almost immediately drifting off into a troubled sleep.
Kurt awoke to the blaring sound of the alarm on his cell phone. Groaning, he groped around on the bedside table until his hand landed on the phone and with one eye squinting open, he slid the lock to silence the alarm. It was seven thirty and Kurt had to get ready for his meeting with Dr. Simmons. Briefly, Kurt contemplated rolling back over and going back to sleep. He weighed his chances of fooling his father into believing he was ill in his mind so that he wouldn't have to go meet with her, but ultimately Kurt's feet hit the floor and he shuffled to the bathroom to begin his morning routine.
When he first started seeing Dr. Simmons, she had been nice enough, but Kurt didn't feel a connection with her. He couldn't help feeling that she didn't believe him, which, if Kurt was being honest with himself, he was a little paranoid about what others thought about his illness. It didn't help that Kurt hadn't transitioned in front of her for the first few sessions. It wasn't until she tried to dig deeper into Kurt's past that the alters started to arise.
Most of the time it was Gina who appeared during the sessions. Gina was in her mid-thirties, always dressed to the nines, and was a total bitch. In parent sessions with Kurt's dad, Dr. Simmons referred to Gina as Kurt's protector, the one most likely to arise when Kurt was feeling backed into a corner. Any time the therapist pushed Kurt a little too forcefully, causing Gina to make an appearance, she knew that she would get nowhere the rest of the session.
Kurt himself was oblivious to the whole thing. Like his other alters, Kurt knew Gina from what those around him had told him, and from the right side of his closet, which housed all of her clothes. Gina preferred to dress like a 1950's housewife, which was second in embarrassment factor for Kurt only to Conrad's chosen apparel. After learning about Gina, Kurt's desire for a pair of sensible heels at three years of age suddenly made sense.
As Kurt fumbled on the bathroom wall for the light switch, he mentally prepared himself for the upcoming session. Scheduled appointments were bad enough. Emergency appointments were pure torture. They lasted twice as long and always involved Kurt sitting in the waiting room for at least an hour afterward while his dad was in with the doctor. Kurt was 18 now, and legally he didn't have to wait outside anymore, or technically even go to the appointments with Dr. Simmons, but in reality he didn't have much of a choice. He still lived at home, under his father's roof, he hadn't completed high school yet, and as much as he didn't want to admit it, meeting with Dr. Simmons did help. Before they found her, the only therapist in the whole western portion of Ohio who would take his case seriously, Kurt was transitioning in and out at an alarmingly scary speed and intensity. Sometimes Kurt wouldn't be 'Kurt' for days, terrifying his father that his son was lost forever.
A few months after starting the weekly sessions though, Kurt began to level out and the medication played a big role in that. Now that he was off of the pills, Kurt could understand why his father booked an immediate appointment the minute things started to look a bit dicey.
Kurt was brushing his teeth when he heard a bang on the bedroom door.
"Kurt?" He heard his father's muffled voice shout.
"Yeah?" Kurt answered, mouth full of toothpaste.
"Just making sure you're up, we need to leave by eight thirty."
Kurt was silent for a few seconds while he spit and rinsed. "I know, Dad, I'll be ready," he called out, grabbing a hand towel to wipe his mouth. He heard his father's feet shuffle away from the door and Kurt headed to his closet to choose his outfit for the day.
Throwing the double doors open, Kurt stifled a humorless laugh as he scanned the closet. To the left were Conrad's clothes: Wranglers, plaid button-ups, the occasional worn-out tee-shirt. Underneath, several pairs of cowboy boots lined the carpet. Hanging on the wall to the side was a rack of belts, all with huge, gaudy belt buckles which made Kurt cringe every time he saw them. He used to throw them out, but his father finally convinced him to leave them alone when it became apparent that either Burt would have to buy him new ones, or Conrad was going to shoplift them.
To the right, Gina's clothes hung. Pretty vintage sundresses, intricately detailed aprons and pumps in every color. Despite the fact that Kurt was embarrassed by Gina's wardrobe, he had to admit that she had taste. That is, she would have taste if she still lived in the mid-1900's like she thought she did. Apparently the family liked having Gina around. She like to clean and was apparently a phenomenal baker. Finn told him it was like having two moms around, once he got past the weirdness of seeing his step-brother in drag.
In the middle of his closet, Kurt kept his clothes. He was slightly annoyed by having to share his closet with the alters, but at least when they moved into their new house after his father and Carole married, they gave Kurt the upstairs bedroom with the biggest closet and private bathroom.
Kurt pulled out several items and laid them on the bed for further inspection. After narrowing it down to two choices, Kurt glanced at the clock on the wall over his desk and realized he only had a few minutes before they had to leave. Hurriedly, he chose an outfit and put it on, giving himself one final look-over in the bathroom before making his way downstairs to meet his doom.
"So Kurt, you're father told me about Conrad coming out yesterday," Dr. Simmons was sitting directly in front of Kurt. He sat back on the couch, legs crossed with his head braced in his hand, elbow supported by the arm rest. She sat in an uncomfortable looking high-back chair, chewing on her pen in-between writing notes in the folder on her lap. "Do you remember anything from his visit?"
"Do I ever?" Kurt had only been in her office for thirty seconds and he was already exasperated. He hated the way she called them 'visits,' like Conrad stopped by for tea and biscuits. It wasn't a visit, it was a mutinous overtaking, one which Kurt had no control over. Kurt sighed, and tried his best to be civil. "No, I don't remember anything. I remember waking up afterward in my bed, but I have no memories of yesterday after my dad called me to come down for breakfast."
"And why do you think Conrad arose?" It was another pet peeve of Kurt's, the way she asked him these questions as if he had any idea why he was dealing with any of this in the first place.
"I don't know," he mumbled, taking a sudden interest in the painting hung on the wall behind her. "I guess maybe I was upset about not being able to start school yesterday."
"I think that's probably a good starting point for our discussion today," She said, writing something down on her notepad. "I'd like for us to set a goal that by the end of this session, we will have figured out what triggered Conrad and what steps you can take to help prevent him from coming out again, now that you're no longer taking the medication."
Kurt detected a hint of frustration at the end of her speech, but he refused to back down on the medication issue. Now that he was an adult, it was his choice, and so far his ability to make choices for himself hadn't been taken away.
Kurt nodded in silent agreement and Dr. Simmons took that as a cue to proceed.
"Now," she leaned in slightly, as if getting ready to watch her favorite television show. "Tell me everything you remember from the moment you woke up until Conrad took over.
"Well," Kurt let out a huff of air. "I guess I woke up and turned on my computer so that I could start doing that video diary thing we talked about last time."
"Mm-hm," Kurt tried to hide his annoyance at her meaningless interjection and continued on.
"I was feeling stressed out already, probably because of the whole school thing," he admitted. Dr. Simmons' eyebrows shot up, but her eyes remained trained on the paper she was furiously scribbling on.
"I just started talking about what DID was and how it was currently affecting my life, you know, being off the meds and having to homeschool and all. And then I remember my dad calling me to come downstairs to eat breakfast with Finn before he had to leave for school and the next thing I can remember is waking up late yesterday afternoon in my bed, dressed like and smelling like Conrad." Kurt involuntarily wrinkled his nose as he recalled the nasty taste in his mouth from yesterday.
"Okay, so let me ask you this Kurt," Dr. Simmons began, dropping her pen in her lap and folding her hands together underneath her chin. "Do you think it was your father's wording that caused you to transition? If he'd just called you down for breakfast rather than adding the uncomfortable detail about Finn going to school, which to you had the implicit implication that on the flipside of the coin, that you weren't, do you think that had something to do with it?"
"I don't know, maybe?" Kurt entertained the idea for a moment. "But it's not like I can expect for everyone to just tiptoe around the fact that Finn is in school and I'm not. One, he lives there, and two, I'm not stupid. I know what the situation is, so I don't see why someone mentioning it would cause me to transition."
The hour-long meeting continued like this, Dr. Simmons positing a theory and Kurt turning it down. By the end of their time, Kurt was even more frustrated and confused than when they started.
"Well, Kurt, we're out of time for today," Dr. Simmons side, gently closing her folder. "I think we made some progress here. If nothing else, we at least eliminated some possible explanations. But before our next meeting, I want you to go over some of the things we talked about again, and do your best to open your mind a bit. It seems to me that the answer to yesterday's problem may lie in one of the theories we discussed."
Kurt nodded, not trusting himself to speak without being disrespectful. He stood up from the couch and started making his way to the door.
"Would you like me to send my father in now?" He asked, already knowing the answer.
"Please," She said, smiling. Kurt turned back toward the door but stopped when he heard her call to him again. "Oh and Kurt?"
"Keep it up with the video diary, I think it's a great idea, and if there's a way to send a message to the alters to have them try it as well, that might be helpful."
This time, Kurt couldn't suppress his bitchy side. "Absolutely, I'll get right on that," he said with mock cheerfulness. He took his pointer fingers and pressed them into each temple, scrunching his face up as he pretended to telekinetically pass the message along before continuing out the door, not waiting to see her reaction.
"She's all yours, Dad," Kurt announced as he walked into the tranquil waiting room. Burt looked up from the Reader's Digest he was flipping through.
"How'd it go?" He asked tentatively.
"As groundbreaking as always," Kurt remarked, sarcasm dripping from his voice. He started to pick up a People magazine when his father's arm shot across to stop him mid-action.
"Kurt," he said evenly. "I know this is hard for you, but it's hard for me too. For all of us. All I want is for you to be you again. The only thing I'm asking from you is that you work as hard as you can to try to help yourself. If you're not putting in the effort, you're not only hurting yourself but you're hurting me and Carole and Finn too."
Kurt swallowed thickly as the guilt washed over him. "I know. I'm sorry, Dad. I—I am trying, it's just…it's so much harder now, I—"
"I know, kid," Burt said, cutting him off, not wanting to trigger him. "Let me go talk to the doc for a minute and then we'll go grab some lunch, alright."
"Okay," Kurt smiled weakly. He watched his father walk back to Dr. Simmons' office and settled back into the chair, doing his best to keep calm. He had a feeling that his father's meeting with the doctor wouldn't go smoothly and Kurt made a silent vow to himself to work harder on figuring out his trigger from yesterday. The more triggers he could identify, the easier it would be to prevent the transitions. Kurt sat a little taller in his seat and felt a tiny amount of newfound confidence seep into his chest.
"Mr. Hummel," Dr. Simmons stood up to greet Kurt's father as he stepped into her office. "Please, have a seat." She gestured to the couch that Kurt had been sitting on previously. Burt Hummel sat down gingerly, his back still a bit sore from bowling with Conrad the day before.
"So, what do you think, Doc?" He asked, leaning forward, hands held together in front of him.
"To be frank, I think Kurt is avoiding getting well," Dr. Simmons began cautiously. She noted the way his facial muscles tensed and knew she would have to be careful about how she approached Burt about his son. "He refuses to open up during sessions and is quick to shoot down any suggestions I've made to try to get to the root of his disorder."
"Look, I know Kurt is stubborn," Burt conceded. "He always has been, but we've been coming to see you every other week, sometimes every week, for over two years now, and now that Kurt isn't on the meds anymore, I can't see that any real progress has been made. No offense to you, Doc, but what the heck are we doing here?"
Dr. Simmons remained quiet for a moment, trying to collect her thoughts. "May I make a suggestion?" She finally asked.
"If you think it'll help," Burt surrendered, throwing his hands up slightly.
"Trying to talk to Kurt about what happened to him as a child hasn't gotten us anywhere. I think that if you did some digging around, you might find some answers, or at least a starting point. Perhaps if you could think back to when Kurt really began to act out and go from there. Find an approximate date and start asking questions. Not to Kurt, I don't think he's ready for that yet, but maybe talk to family members, babysitters, teachers, et cetera and see if any of them can offer any insight."
Burt contemplated this. He already felt massive amounts of guilt for not knowing what happened to his son when he was younger, assuming anything did. Kurt had never disclosed anything to him or his mother when she was alive, so it was basically just a guess that Kurt's DID was tied to some trauma in his past. It was the only logical explanation though, according to both Dr. Simmons and his own research. Burt had always tried so hard to protect his son, knowing from an early age that Kurt was different, unique. But whatever demons he was battling, he was doing it alone.
"Am I a horrible father for not thinking of doing this sooner?" Burt asked, feeling a hint of vulnerability.
"Of course not," Dr. Simmons answered with a small smile. "It's not uncommon to be so focused on the present symptoms that we forget to try to understand the problem that caused them in the first place. If anything, I should have suggested it sooner."
"Did you two talk about the whole medication issue?" Burt switched topics, but kept his new assignment near the front of his mind.
"We barely skirted on it, but I can tell he's still pretty sensitive about it," She answered.
"You can say that again," Burt said with a sigh. "I mentioned it last night and you would have thought I'd asked him to consider chopping off his legs."
"Well," Dr. Simmons leaned back in her chair. "You know where I stand on the issue. I think they did Kurt a lot of good, and as much as he says he acted like a zombie while taking them, he actually seemed pretty level from what I could tell, and it had to be a relief for him to have a break from the alters."
"Yeah," Burt agreed. "He didn't seem as bad as he said he felt, but Kurt has always been fairly dramatic and his emotional range is ten times wider than mine. I think he missed that. But I have to admit, it was nice for me to have a break too. I don't know, I just want my son to be happy and healthy, it's all I've ever wanted for him."
The two sat in silence for a few seconds before Dr. Simmons spoke up again.
"Alright, well how about this," she started, taking out an appointment card and scribbling on it. "Let's keep our appointment for next Tuesday and see where we are. I gave both of you some homework, so hopefully next week's appointment will be a little more productive. In the meantime, try keeping any extraneous mentions of Finn going to school and Kurt's absence at a minimum. Like Kurt said, he's not stupid and he knows what the school situation is, but perhaps hearing it verbalized is a trigger for him."
"Yeah, okay," Burt said, standing up and nodding. "I'll talk to Carole about it and we'll try that out."
Dr. Simmons stood up as well and walked Burt over to the door. "Also, I've asked Kurt to start keeping a video diary. If any of his alters appear over the next week, which I hope they don't, see if you can't persuade them to keep the diary as well. I'm not sure if it'll be helpful, but it's worth a shot."
"Will do, Doc, thanks," Burt shook her hand and headed out to the waiting room to find Kurt curled up in the chair fast asleep. He smiled at his son and watched him for a few moments before gently shaking his shoulder to wake him up.
"C'mon, Kid," He said, looking into Kurt's bleary eyes. "Let's go get some lunch."
Kurt nodded sleepily and stretched his limbs out before getting up and following his father out of the office building.
Blaine tapped his pencil impatiently against his notebook as he sat in seventh period Economics, waiting for the bell to ring. Kurt had texted him last night letting him know that he was going to the doctor earlier in the morning and Blaine was anxious to find out how it went.
Kurt had, from the beginning, been pretty upfront and open about his DID with Blaine. Of course, they'd been friends for a while before they started dating, so he imagined that Kurt didn't feel like he had anything to hide at first. However, lately it seemed that when Blaine tried to ask him about it, Kurt would clam up. He would still answer his questions, but in a way that let Blaine know that he wasn't comfortable and wanted to change the subject.
Blaine missed his boyfriend. It had been hard when Kurt made the decision to return to McKinley. In the back of his mind, Blaine had planned on transferring too at the beginning of this school year, so that they could spend more time together, but with Kurt doing the homeschooling, there was really no point in leaving Dalton. Still, the physical distance and separation was hard. Over the summer, they tried to spend as much time together as possible, but toward the end, as Kurt was tapering off of the meds, he'd been avoiding Blaine a bit. He had yet to see Kurt transition, and it wasn't that he necessarily wanted to (although he had to admit, with a fair amount of guilt, that part of him was curious to see the other sides of his boyfriend), but he did want Kurt to feel like Blaine was there for him.
After his doctor's appointment, Blaine had received a text from Kurt, asking if he'd come over that evening after school. Blaine jumped at the opportunity. It would be a long drive, but thankfully his roommate had agreed to cover for him if he was late for curfew.
Now he found himself staring down the second hand on the clock, waiting for that shrill ring to signify freedom. It was only the second day of school, so the teacher was still droning on about classroom procedures and reading from the syllabus. Finally, the clock hit three thirty and the bell rung. Blaine almost toppled his desk in his haste to exit the room, leaving a confused Jeff Sterling in his wake. Rather than chase him down, Jeff decided to call Blaine. He pulled out his cellphone and scrolled to Blaine's picture.
"Yep?" Blaine answered on the second ring, already sounding out of breath.
"In a hurry, I see," Jeff answered casually as he sauntered down the hall, bag slung over his shoulder. "Anywhere exciting?"
"Hey, Jeff," Blaine answered. Jeff could hear a car door open and a key turning the ignition. "Just headed over to Kurt's house for the evening, he invited me for dinner."
"Ah, I see. Well, have fun, I was just making sure there wasn't an emergency or a hot piece of gossip I needed to spread around."
"Thanks for your concern," Blaine said sarcastically, but with a smile. "I'll see you tomorrow?"
"You know you will," Jeff replied and hung up the phone, shaking his head and smiling to himself. "That boy's got it bad."
"Who's got it bad?" A voice piped up from behind him. Jeff turned around to see Sebastian walking fast to catch up with him.
"Blaine," Jeff answered, turning back around to continue his walk back to the dorm. The lanky transfer student kept up the pace and walked beside him.
"Blaine Anderson?" Sebastian asked. Jeff nodded. "I didn't realize he was taken." Jeff detected a note of wistfulness in his voice, or was it jealousy?
"Yep, has been since about early March," Jeff added suspiciously. He didn't know what to think of the newest Warbler just yet.
"Well that's a shame, but nothing I can't work around," Sebastian gave a devilish grin.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Jeff asked.
"Oh, nothing, just talking. Hey, I'll catch you later," Sebastian clapped the other boy on the shoulder before running a head, tailing off toward Cypress, the transfer and freshman dorm. Jeff cast a long glance at his retreating figure before making his way to his own dormitory, wheels spinning in his head with the implications made by Sebastian in his brief conversation with him.
Blaine was about twenty minutes from the Hummel house when his phone began to ring. Picking it up, he noticed a strange number on the screen. He slid the lock and held the phone to his ear to answer.
"Hey," a gruff, but friendly voice answered. "Is this Blaine?"
"Yes it is," Blaine responded, trying to figure out how he knew the voice. "Can I help you?"
"Blaine, this is Burt Hummel," As soon as he said his name, Blaine recognized the voice. But why was Kurt's father calling him? Was something wrong with Kurt?
"How are you doing Mr. Hummel?" Blaine asked tentatively.
"I'm, well, I'm fine kid, and call me Burt," he answered. Blaine detected a hint of exhaustion in the man's voice. "Listen, I understand Kurt invited you over for dinner?"
"Yes s—Burt, I hope that's okay?"
"Of course, you're always welcome, but do me a favor," Burt paused and Blaine wondered what he was possibly going to ask him to do. "When you get here, just wait out in the driveway for a minute, I need to talk to you about something."
Oh my God, what does that even mean? Blaine thought. Is he going to have the sex talk with me? Or the protective father, you-better-treat-my-son-right talk? Blaine felt a panic rise in his chest as he searched him memory for any incident where he may have inadvertently hurt Kurt's feelings or given him a reason to go to his father about something he did, but he couldn't come up with anything.
"Blaine? You still there?"
"Oh, uh yes, I'm sorry," Blaine fumbled. "O-Of course, I'll just wait in the driveway then." He finished lamely. He was usually so well-spoken, it was unusual for him to get this flustered.
"Great, see you soon."
"Okay, bye," Blaine practically threw the phone as if it was on fire and ran his hand through his hair. Now he was worried. He turned the radio up as a distraction and somehow kept from freaking out as he pulled into the Hummel's driveway, parked and turned off the car. He wasn't sure whether he should wait in the car in case he needed to make a quick escape or if he should get out and face his doom like a man. He finally decided to be brave and hopped out of the car, alternately leaning against the hood and pacing in tiny circles in front of it while he waited for Burt.
Finally, he saw the front door open and Burt came out, giving a small wave which did little to put Blaine at ease.
"Hey Blaine," he greeted as he approached the boy. "Are you feeling okay? You look a little green."
"No, no, I'm fine," Blaine lied, putting on one of his award-winning smiles. "Is everything okay with Kurt?"
"Yeah. Well, no not really," Burt said, shaking his head. "He, uh…he transitioned again this afternoon, and I wanted to warn you about it before you came in. That is, if you still want to stay. I know Kurt would be embarrassed, but something tells me you two are in it for the long haul, so you might as well see him like this."
"Oh," Blaine breathed a sigh of relief, which was immediately replaced with a feeling of anxiousness. He was about to meet one of Kurt's alters. "Of course I'll stay. Do you mind me asking, who is it?"
"It's Gina," Burt said. He could tell by the look on Blaine's face that Kurt must have mentioned her to him before. "She's currently in the kitchen throwing together a five-course meal, which on any other occasion would be nice, but I need to warn you that he's—she's not dressed like Kurt, she's—"
"A 1950's housewife?" Blaine provided. It was the thing he remembered most from Kurt's description of Gina. He was a little ashamed to admit that he'd on more than one occasion sat up at night trying to picture Kurt in Gina's clothing. He wasn't necessarily turned on by the idea, but it did intrigue him.
"Right, so the other thing to remember is that while the alters know that they are a part of Kurt, they won't respond to Kurt's name or the way you'd talk to him or treat him. The best thing you can do is just pretend she's a completely different person and treat her accordingly. It takes some time to get the hang of it, but you'll learn. You ready?"
Blaine took a deep breath, trying to prepare himself for what he'd see when he got inside. Looking between the house and Burt several times, his eyes finally locked on the elder Hummel's.
Blaine stepped in line behind Burt as they made their way back up to the front door of the Hummel household. He had to admit that his heart was beating a little faster and harder than usual with the anticipation of finally encountering one of Kurt's alters. They walked inside, Blaine hanging back briefly to shut the door before walking to catch up with Burt. Burt looked back at Blaine once before indicating with a nod that they were headed to the kitchen, presumably where Gina was. If the delicious smell wafting through the house was any indication of Gina's cooking abilities, then Blaine was at least excited to meet her on behalf of his stomach.
Blaine had spent months mulling over the descriptions given to him by Kurt and his family about the characteristics of the different alters. In fact, in some ways, he felt like he had met them, just based on the amount of time he'd spent thinking about them. But when he rounded the corner into the kitchen, he realized he was in no way prepared for what he saw. Blaine was looking downward as he walked, so the first thing he saw was a pair of red pumps facing away from him, standing at the kitchen sink. As his eyes travelled up the body they were attached to, he saw slender, pantyhose-clad legs, above which was the hemline of an a-line blue and white polka dot skirt. Blaine's eyes faltered a bit as he realized that it was Kurt standing there with his back to him. Right above Kurt's butt were wide, red apron strings, tied in a perfect bow. Blaine was still staring at the bow (or rather, the butt below it) when the figure suddenly turned around.
"Oh, there you are!" Kurt—well, Gina exclaimed. "I have just been dying to meet you!" she beamed, wiping the palms of her hands off on her well-ironed apron.
Blaine stared, slack-jawed. He found himself incapable of speech as he took in the sight in front of him. She was beautiful, obviously male, but her make-up was striking against her bone structure. Her mascara was perfectly applied and, although he couldn't be certain, it appeared as though she was wearing fake eyelashes as well. She stood there expectantly, her red lips frozen in a wide smile, waiting for Blaine to acknowledge her, which Blaine finally did after Burt cleared his throat and jabbed him in the ribs.
"Hi, I uh, I'm Blaine," He stuttered, awkwardly holding out his hand to her. She daintily placed her hand in his and gave a slight curtsy. He noticed the red nail polish that graced her fingers. Blaine, not expecting the gesture, bowed stiffly in return.
"Jeepers Blaine, well I'm Gina and I have heard so many things about you," She gushed, leaving her hand tucked in his. "You are even more of a cutie pie than I imagined! Even if you are a greaser." Blaine took his hand back and ran it nervously through his hair, looking to Burt. Burt smiled a bit and gave him a nod of encouragement. Blaine turned back to Gina.
"Well, it's very nice to meet you too, uh, Gina," he said, finally returning her smile.
"He's a bit of a shy one, isn't he?" She said to Burt, conspiratorially. He gave a non-committal grunt, backing out of the kitchen toward the living room and she returned her attention to Blaine. "So what brings you here tonight, sweetie pie?" She began chopping vegetables and throwing them in a roasting pan sitting on the island.
"I—um, well, Kurt invited me over," He said tentatively, sliding onto one of the stools in front of the island. Was he supposed to talk about Kurt in front of his alters? They never talked about what should happen in this scenario before.
"Kurt's such a sweet boy, it's a shame he couldn't be here tonight," She said, which only served to confuse Blaine more. "But, poor thing, he just isn't that great with a pot roast, so naturally I'm here to save dinner." She winked at Blaine before turning around to pull open the oven door. Taking out the roast, she slid the pan of vegetables in and set the egg timer by the stove.
"So," Blaine started experimentally. "How long have you known Kurt?" He had no idea what he was doing, but he had an insatiable curiosity to know more about Gina and how she existed within Kurt.
"What a silly question, Blaine!" She swatted him with a dish towel and he grinned sheepishly, not knowing how else to respond. "I've always been here with Kurt. Well, not always I suppose, but as far back as either of us can remember."
"But he says that all he knows about you, a-and the others, is from what others tell him," For some reason, Blaine was becoming nervous, as if he was crossing some boundary that wasn't intended for him to break.
"Well I guess it could be a little confusing to understand," She answered, furrowing her brow and leaning against the counter. "I guess I would have to explain it this way. Kurt's subconscious interacts with us on a near constant basis, but consciously, he doesn't recognize us. Jeepers, it really is just a big mess when you try to describe it, isn't it?" She laughed lightly and Blaine mimicked her.
"Golly, I am just a horrible hostess!" She said so suddenly it almost caused Blaine to jump. "Can I get you a glass of milk?"
"Oh, uh, sure," He responded. He watched as she pulled a glass from the cabinet and filled it halfway up with milk. She handed it to him with a smile. "Thanks," he lifted the glass to her in appreciation before taking a long sip.
Just then, the front door opened and Blaine heard Finn's voice call out.
"I'm home!" He announced. "Where is everyone?"
"In the kitchen, dear!" Gina called out, smiling brightly. Finn walked in and his eyes widened slightly. Obviously, no one thought to warn Finn before he got home from football practice about Gina's presence.
"Oh, Gina… and Blaine," he greeted awkwardly, looking between the two. "Hey."
"Hi Finn," Blaine said, one corner of his mouth turning upward in a smile. For some reason, the other boy's presence seemed to fluster him a bit and he could feel the color rise in his cheeks. He didn't really like the way that Finn was looking at the two of them, as if with some morbid curiosity about a Blaine—Kurt—Gina relationship.
"Finn, darling, run along upstairs and wash up," Gina ordered in a motherly tone. "Dinner is almost ready."
"Yep," Finn said, backing out of the kitchen, but still looking between the two. "Don't have to tell me twice." After he made it through the doorway, he turned around and rushed up the stairs, flinging his backpack on the couch next to Burt before doing so.
"He's a good boy," Gina confided quietly in Blaine. "He just needs a lot of gentle prodding." Blaine tried to hold back the snicker that was rising in his throat. He wished Kurt was there, but he was starting to like Gina.
Dinner went smoothly and was even fairly entertaining for Blaine, watching Gina interact with the family. She obviously felt like she had to compete with Carole, and would interject little jealous jabs after just about everything she said. Carole was good-humored about it though and Blaine was amazed at how this family had adjusted around Kurt's motherly alter.
As the meal drew to a close, the family and Blaine were still sitting around the table talking, when Gina suddenly got a strange look on her face. Bowing her head slightly and squeezing her eyes shut, she remained still for a moment before her shoulders slumped slightly. Raising her head and looking back up, Blaine knew immediately that something was different. Gina was gone.
Kurt's eyes slowly scanned the room, looking at his dad and Carole sitting at the table to the left of him and Blaine and Finn to the right. Kurt remained silent as he appeared to be preparing himself for something. With great hesitation, he looked down at his apron and skirted lap and shut his eyes again, bringing a manicured hand to his mouth.
"Oh no," He said softly, his voice wavering slightly. He almost knocked the chair over in his haste to get up from the table.
"Kurt!" Burt shouted after his son, but it was no use. Kurt was already up the stairs and they heard his bedroom door slam. Everyone sat in stunned silence for a few moments until Blaine finally spoke up.
"Should I…?" Should I what? Blaine asked himself. Go after Kurt, go back to Dalton, what?
"No, just wait here," Burt answered, as if reading his mind. "I'm gonna give him a few more minutes and then I'll go up and see what we're dealing with. Until then, just hang tight." Blaine nodded, relieved to have some directions. They finished their meal in awkward silence.
"Well, how about you boys help me clear the table," Carole said several minutes later, standing up and throwing a look toward her husband.
"Of course, Mrs. Hummel," Blaine said at the same time Finn answered, "Sure mom."
"Blaine, sweetie, call me Carole," She smiled, picking up several serving dishes and heading back into the kitchen. Blaine and Finn followed suit, leaving Burt alone at the table. Taking a deep breath, he pushed back from the table and started making the slow climb up to Kurt's bedroom. Arriving at the door, he knocked gently.
"Kurt? It's me, can I come in?" Burt waited for an answer for a few seconds, but heard nothing except for the bathroom sink running. Figuring that Kurt probably hadn't heard him, he made his way in. He rounded the corner to see Kurt standing at the sink, furiously scrubbing at his face with a washcloth. Kurt's eyes were bloodshot with tears. His eyes met his father's in the mirror before he bowed his head and braced himself against the sink
"I have never been so embarrassed in my life," He groaned, voice thick with emotion.
"How could you let him see me like that?" His head snapped up and he whipped around to be face to face with his father. "How could you?"
Burt felt a wave of guilt wash over him. His intentions were that Blaine would see Gina and would hopefully be able to support Kurt even better in the future after interacting with one of his alters. He hadn't thought about the embarrassment factor for his son realizing that he'd been decked out in full drag in front of his boyfriend of less than half a year.
"I'm sorry, Kurt," Burt began. "I just thought…I don't know what I thought, but I do know this. I'm not real good at emotions or anything like that, but that boy downstairs cares a heck of a lot for you and I don't think meeting Gina is going to scare him away."
Kurt continued to glare at his father for a few more seconds before averting his eyes and letting his shoulders sag a bit. He groaned as he leaned into his father, who wrapped his arms tightly around his son.
"I just want to crawl in a hole and die," he said, voice muffled by his father's shirt.
"I wish you wouldn't, kiddo," Burt chuckled. "We'll get through this, I promise, okay?" He pushed Kurt out and held him at arm's length, dipping his head slightly to look directly into his son's eyes.
"'Kay," Kurt conceded. He looked exhausted, his face puffy from a combination of crying and scrubbing to get Gina's thick layer of foundation off.
"Now, Blaine is downstairs," Burt said evenly, not wanting to get Kurt riled up again. "What do you want me to do, do you want me to send him up?"
"Oh my God, no," Kurt answered dramatically. "I can't face him right now, I…just tell him I'm so sorry and I'll text him later."
"Okay," Burt agreed quietly. "But you two need to talk about what happened tonight. I'm not trying to tell you how to run your relationship with him, but you owe it to him to at least discuss it since he drove all the way out here on a school night. Plus I think it might do you some good to, you know, to have some support outside of me, Carole and Finn."
"I know, Dad, thanks," Kurt said, obviously relieved that he wasn't making Kurt talk to Blaine right then. If he had, Kurt wondered whether he could survive the jump out of his bedroom window without injury.
"Alright, well, let me go talk to him then," Burt said, turning toward the door. "Are you going to be okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, I'm just going to go to bed, I think. I'm exhausted." Burt nodded and headed out of the room, shutting the door gently behind him. Kurt flopped down on his bed, stomach down and buried his head into his pillow as he let out a scream. He hated that Blaine was downstairs in his house, about to be told to start making his way back to Dalton without getting a chance to see his boyfriend, but at the same time, Kurt didn't think he could bear to see Blaine right then. Especially after seeing the look on his face after he transitioned back at the dinner table.
Kurt rolled over and grabbed his phone off of the bedside table and set his alarm for ten thirty, three and a half hours from then, so that he could take a nap and text Blaine before he went to bed. With his last ounce of energy, he reached up and flicked the switch on the bedside lamp off, blanketing the room in near darkness.
Blaine waved over his shoulder as Burt closed the front door. He'd walked Blaine out, explaining Kurt's obvious embarrassment and apologizing to him for not thinking through the repercussions of letting Blaine meet Gina without Kurt's knowledge or consent. Blaine shrugged it off, but knew that he and Kurt were going to have a tough conversation ahead of them.
He knew he would have to explain to Kurt until he was blue in the face that meeting Gina hadn't changed how he felt about Kurt one bit. It didn't scare him, it didn't embarrass him and it didn't bother him at all that Kurt was dealing with this disorder. Well, it did bother him that Kurt was obviously suffering with it. It bothered him that the DID was probably indicative of some terrible childhood trauma, but in terms of how it affected his relationship with Kurt, it didn't bother Blaine at all. He only wished that Kurt had given him a chance to express that to him in person, but he understood why his boyfriend sent him away. Honestly, he would be mortified too, if the roles were reversed.
Blaine unlocked his car door and slid in, sitting idle for a few minutes as he stared at the window of Kurt's bedroom. The light was off and even though it was only about seven, Blaine imagined that transitioning in and out must have been exhausting for him. Thinking about the mental energy it must have taken to house that many different, unique personalities left Blaine's mind reeling. Casting one last longing glance toward the window, Blaine finally started his car and backed slowly out of the driveway and started the trip back to Dalton.
Sebastian Smythe had to show a great deal of restraint to keep a slow, ambling pace back to his dorm room after peeling away from Jeff that afternoon. As he waited for his laptop to boot up, he thought about Blaine Anderson. School had just started, but the new transfer student had already claimed the junior Warbler as his next potential conquest in his mind. To say that Sebastian was experienced was an understatement. Although he was only seventeen, he was worldly, cultured and one hell of a smooth-talker. Well, smooth-talker was a nice way to say it. Those left in Sebastian's wake might refer to him as a con-artist, or worse.
It wasn't that he intentionally broke hearts, he just had a hard time seeing past his own needs and desires. He was selfish, to put it bluntly. But he was also driven and passionate, and for the short period of time when Sebastian Smythe had chosen someone as his intended, he would make that guy feel like a god.
Finally, the familiar background picture on Sebastian's desktop loaded and he immediately opened the web browser. His homepage was set to Facebook and he clicked his cursor on the search bar.
"Well, Blaine Anderson," He muttered to himself as he started scanning the other boy's profile page. "Let's see what I'm working with." He hovered his mouse briefly over 'In a Relationship with Kurt Hummel' before smirking and clicking on the name. As he read through Kurt's profile and scanned over some of his pictures, Sebastian snickered.
"Oh man, this is going to be easier than I thought," he boasted confidently, closing the laptop screen and leaning back in his desk chair. He threw his hands behind his head and began formulating a plan for domination. Ideas rolling through his head at the speed of light, Sebastian was well-adept at figuring out which techniques worked with which personality types. The fact that he would have Kurt Hummel as an obstacle only excited him more. The fragile looking boy with a bad case of gay-face didn't stand a chance against Sebastian's sex appeal and infamous charm.
Sebastian smiled to himself as he stretched his arms into the air, straightening his back and confidently cracking his knuckles before standing up and grabbing his keys. He decided that his pursuit of Blaine would have to wait until he'd had a decent meal at the dining hall. It would give him a little more prep time and he was always more on top of his game with a full stomach.
"Blaine Anderson, ready or not, here I come."
Blaine was about halfway back to Dalton when he heard his phone buzzing. Smiling, he figured Kurt must have woken up and decided to call. He grabbed the phone without bothering to check the caller ID.
"Hey babe, I was hoping to hear from you," He greeted, relieved that Kurt wasn't avoiding him. The relief was short-lived however, when he heard a chuckle on the other end that most definitely did not belong to Kurt.
"Well, babe, I didn't realize you were expecting my call or I would have dialed your number much sooner," Blaine cringed as he pulled the phone away quickly to see who he was actually talking too. Sebastian Smythe, the caller ID read. He was the new transfer student, a Warbler, whom Blaine met at the new student orientation over the weekend. Blaine hadn't put too much thought into the new guy. At the orientation he'd seemed friendly, maybe overly so, and definitely seemed to have no concept of personal boundaries.
"Oh, Sebastian," Blaine responded when he put the phone back to his ear. He could feel the color rising in his face. "Sorry, I thought you were someone else."
"Aww, that's sad for me," Sebastian said with mock hurt, but Blaine could hear the smile in his voice. "I don't know who you thought you were talking to, but whoever it is, he's pretty lucky."
Blaine cleared his throat nervously and reached up to loosen his red and blue striped tie. He'd been in such a hurry to get to Kurt's house, he hadn't bothered stopping by his dorm room to change. Not knowing what to say to that, he simply remained quiet, waiting for the other boy to speak again.
"Well anyway," Sebastian continued, unflustered by the awkward silence. "I was just wondering if you'd like to grab a coffee with me. I'm kind of nervous about my first Warbler practice tomorrow and I thought maybe you could put my mind at rest about it." The lies dripped off of his lips with such ease, it almost scared him. He'd always been a good liar, quick on his feet, but no one should be so good at it, or enjoy it as much as Sebastian did.
"Um, yeah," Blaine murmured, taking his eyes off the road momentarily to read the digital clock on his dash. It was about 7:30. "I'm driving back to Dalton now, and I'll be there at about eight. I can just pick you up outside of Cypress if you want to carpool to the Lima Bean?"
Carpool, Sebastian snickered to himself. He's so hokey, but so adorable. This is going to be fun. "Sure, that sounds fantastic. I rea—"
Blaine heard a long beep, and then the call went dead. Confused, Blaine pulled the phone away from his ear and noticed that the whole screen was black. It was then that he realized he'd forgot to charge his phone the night before and he must have run the battery out.
"Crap," he muttered to himself, throwing the phone back onto the passenger seat. Turning the radio up loud, he continued on toward Dalton, the events of his night with Gina weighing heavily on his mind while Sebastian and his impending coffee date lurked in the shadows.
Kurt was already lying in bed awake when the alarm he'd set for ten thirty started buzzing in his ears. Squinting at the sudden concentrated burst of light coming from the bedside table, he grabbed the phone and turned off the alarm. Giving his eyes a few moments to adjust, he began dialing Blaine's number, not quite sure yet what he was going to say once the other boy answered. His hand trembled slightly as he held the phone to his ear.
"Hi, this is Blaine, I ca—" Kurt pulled the phone away in confusion. Blaine's voicemail came on before the phone had even rung once. That was odd. Kurt ended the call and dialed the number again, hitting send before bringing it back to his ear.
"Hi, this is Blaine," Kurt bit his lip in worry. Blaine never turned his phone off. Was the evening that bad? Did Blaine turn his phone off trying to avoid him? "I can't answer the phone right now, so leave a message and I'll call you back!" Kurt patiently waited for the cheerful, generic message to end before drawing in a deep breath and waiting for the beep.
"Blaine," Kurt started, still not quite knowing what to say, especially since, by all appearances, it seemed that his boyfriend was actively ignoring him. "I, um…I just called to say goodnight, and to—to tell you thank you for driving all the way out here and….and that I'm sorry about what happened. I—I'm really embarrassed, which is the understatement of the century, but anyway…I'm rambling I guess, but um…I guess just call me when you get this. I love you."
Kurt winced as he ended the call and threw the phone back down on the bed, groaning. He rolled over, hugging his body pillow close to his chest and tried to fall back asleep, but it was no use. He knew he was in for a long night of tossing and turning and wondering if he'd chased away his boyfriend with his craziness for good.
Blaine opened the door to his dorm room softly, trying to be quiet in case his roommate Justin was asleep. It was eleven o'clock, an hour past curfew. He hadn't meant to stay out that late. Well, originally he had, but when it became apparent that he would be leaving the Hummel household much sooner than anticipated, he had intended to come back early, maybe even get an early start on his homework assignments. But coffee with Sebastian had turned into coffees with Sebastian, several of them, as Blaine tried to prepare the other boy for the hazards of being a Warbler.
He found it more than a little odd that the new student had so many questions and concerns, when by all outward appearances, he seemed to have more confidence in his pinky finger than Blaine had in his whole body, and Blaine was a pretty confident guy. There was something off about Sebastian that Blaine couldn't quite put his finger on. And it wasn't just that he was obviously hitting on Blaine. It was so over the top that he would have been embarrassed for Sebastian had he not seemed so sure of himself as he tried to put the moves on Blaine.
He had made sure to bring up Kurt several times during their conversation, making it abundantly clear that he wasn't available and wasn't interested, but that didn't seem to deter Sebastian in the slightest. He took everything in stride to the point where it almost flustered Blaine. There was something unnerving about Sebastian's behavior, that was for sure.
Indeed, when Blaine entered the room, he saw that Justin had already gone to sleep. Blaine's roommate was one of those rare, early to bed, early to rise types, which Blaine actually appreciated. He tended to be the same way, so they got along fairly well. Blaine was pretty tired himself and quickly changed into his pajamas before crawling into bed. He didn't even think about the fact that his phone was dead and needed to charge and his mind was swimming with the enigma named Sebastian, so much so that he hadn't even thought about calling Kurt, or at least texting him to tell him goodnight and that he loved him.
"Blaine, shit, wake up!" Justin shook his roommate's shoulder vigorously, trying to rouse him. Finally, Blaine mumbled sleepily and opened his eyes slightly.
"We slept through the alarm, we have to get going or we're going to be late," Justin hissed, turning back around, trying to change into his uniform as quickly as possible.
Blaine sat up with a start. He hated being late to anything, especially the first week of school. Sure enough, the wall clock read seven forty-five. They had exactly fifteen minutes to be in homeroom or they'd receive an afternoon detention. Blaine threw off the covers and frantically began searching his closet for a fresh uniform. He thanked his former self for having the foresight to pair his suits with all the accoutrements so that all he had to do was grab one hanger and throw on all the clothes it held.
As he finished dressing, he reached for his book bag and phone. It was only when he picked up the device that he realized with a groan that he'd forgotten to put his phone on the charger again last night.
"Blaine, we have to go. Now," Justin ordered, holding the door open. They'd have to run to make it on time at this point. Blaine quickly plugged his phone in, throwing it back on the bed before jogging through the open door, Justin close on his heels.
Kurt figured he maybe got about two or three hours of sleep, once you added up the fifteen minutes here, five minutes there nature of his night. He found himself checking his phone every time he awoke, the guilt and fear in the pit of his stomach growing each time he checked to see if Blaine had tried to contact him. Now it was seven thirty in the morning and Blaine should be finishing up getting ready to go to class. Kurt hesitated only slightly before dialing his number again.
"Hi, this is Bl—" Kurt squeezed his eyes shut and grimaced as the voicemail message began to play again. He ended the call and put his head in his hands for a moment before collecting himself. Fine, he told himself. If he won't answer my calls, I'll just Facebook him. He can't ignore me in a public setting. Kurt knew he had no right to be angry with Blaine for avoiding him, but his embarrassment over the previous night's events was causing him to put up his defenses.
He scrolled on his phone to the Facebook application and tapped it to open it and began scrolling through his news feed.
"Sebastian Smythe checked in at the Lima Bean with Blaine Anderson," Kurt read aloud quietly. He looked at the time stamp. It showed eight fifteen the night before. Who the hell is Sebastian Smythe? Kurt wondered. And why hasn't Blaine ever mentioned him before? Kurt clicked on the name and started reading through the mystery boy's profile.
The profile picture showed a cocky looking guy in a dark green polo shirt. Kurt thought his face had a rodent-like sneer, but perhaps that was because he didn't like the fact that his boyfriend had gone with this guy to the Lima Bean after leaving Kurt's house last night. Kurt learned that Sebastian was a transfer at Dalton and was apparently the newest member of the Warblers. Kurt spent the next half hour dissecting every area of Sebastian's profile before a knock at his door jolted him out of his thoughts.
"Kurt, sweetie, it's time for breakfast," he heard Carole call out. "I know you have to be starving, you barely ate anything last night."
"You mean Gina barely ate anything," Kurt muttered under his breath. "Be right down!" He called out, closing out of the application on his phone. He started to walk to the door, phone in hand, when he thought better of it and threw the phone back onto his bed. No need to torture himself, he reasoned. Blaine would call when he was ready and boy, would they have a lot to talk about.
It took Blaine until lunchtime on Wednesday to realize that with his phone dead and no other means of communication, he should have made some other effort to contact Kurt. The moment he realized what was likely going through Kurt's head, ("I just transitioned in front of my boyfriend for the first time, he saw me in complete drag and now he's ignoring me") he began kicking himself for being so careless.
Sure, he could use his weird night with Sebastian as an excuse, but it wasn't a very good one. He could use the excuse that Kurt was his first real boyfriend and on top of that, they were dealing with circumstances that were a bit abnormal, but that didn't really cut it either. The bottom line was that Kurt, was in a vulnerable spot and even though he didn't mean for Blaine to meet Gina, Burt Hummel thought enough of Blaine to trust that he'd handle the situation appropriately and he'd completely dropped the ball.
"Oh my God," Blaine groaned, dropping his forehead onto the lunch table, narrowly missing his tray.
"What's the problem, Blainers?" Nick asked with a mouthful of mashed potatoes.
"I'm an idiot," he answered, voice muffled by the formica tabletop. "A complete and utter idiot."
"Well, yeah," Jeff clapped him on the back, laughing. He grinned goofily at Nick who just shook his head and continued to shovel potatoes into his mouth.
"It's not funny, guys," Blaine shot back, lifting his head up from the table. Both Nick and Jeff grew solemn at the look on his face. "I think I really screwed something up."
"Well, what is it?" Jeff asked. "I'm sure whatever it is, there's an easy fix."
"It's Kurt, and—" Blaine cut himself off. No one at Dalton knew about Kurt's DID, and he knew that Kurt wouldn't appreciate him blabbering his business to all of his friends. "And it's complicated. I have to get back to my dorm room, do you think you guys could cover for me?"
"Yeah, of course," Nick answered, casting a glance at Jeff. "Are you coming back, or…?"
"I don't know yet," Blaine said, standing up and gathering his belongings into his satchel.
"Just make sure you're not late for Warbler practice," Jeff advised him. "We can cover for you in class, but you know excuses don't work with Wes."
"I'll be there," Blaine assured. "Thanks guys, I owe you one."
"Actually," Nick called out after Blaine, who was already making his way out of the cafeteria. "I think you owe us about four! Let's see, Gap attack, duet with Kurt at regionals, singing to Kurt when he returned to Mcki—"
"Yeah, he's gone, dude," Jeff cut him off. "Give it up. Blaine's going to be owing us for the rest of his life."
Nick just smiled and shook his head as he returned his attention to his lunch tray.
When Blaine rounded the corner on his hallway heading to his dorm room, he was expecting to fumble with his keys for a moment, run in and grab his phone to call Kurt. What he wasn't expecting was to round the corner and almost trip over Kurt, who was sitting cross-legged in front of his door with his head in his hands.
"Kurt?" Blaine asked, confused and surprised by the boys presence. At the sound of his name, Kurt jolted and Blaine realized he must have nodded off sitting there. Kurt looked up at him with an expression on his face that Blaine wasn't sure how to decipher. It was sad, scared and pissed off all rolled into one. "Wh-what are you doing here? I mean, I'm glad you're here, but what are you doing? How long have you been sitting here? Does your dad know you're here, is everything okay?"
"Hello to you too," Kurt answered quietly. Blaine noticed that his eyes were bloodshot and there were dark circles under his eyes. He wanted to ask Kurt if he'd gotten any sleep last night, but he figured he'd already bombarded his boyfriend with enough questions. He silently reached out a hand to Kurt, who accepted, and pulled him up off the floor.
"Hi, Kurt," he pulled the other boy into a hug and was saddened and slightly unnerved when Kurt didn't hug him back. "Do you want to come in?" Kurt just nodded and Blaine unlocked the door, gesturing for Kurt to enter before following him in and closing the door behind him. He sat down on the edge of the bed and patted the seat next to him. "Come on, sit down," he urged Kurt, who was pacing nervously in the small space. Kurt shook his head vigorously and continued to pace.
"Are you breaking up with me?" Kurt blurted out, cutting him off. He'd stopped pacing and was standing directly in front him, the look on his face almost painful as tears pooled in his eyes.
"What?" Blaine almost shouted, he jumped up and approached Kurt, noticing how he flinched when did. He forced himself to calm down and speak more gently. "Kurt, no. Why would you ever think that?"
"Y-you ignored my calls last night and this morning a-and then you went out with someone last night after you left my house, and—"
"Kurt, Kurt, Kurt," Blaine rubbed his arm soothingly, growing worried at how worked up his boyfriend was getting. "I am so sorry. It's all my fault. Please sit down." This time, Kurt allowed Blaine to lead him over to the bed and sat down, Blaine right next to him as he continue to speak.
"My phone died on the drive back here last night, and me, being the idiot I am, I completely forgot to charge it last night. See?" He pointed over to his phone, which was still lying on the bed where he threw it this morning, green battery light glowing. "I should have used someone else's phone to call you, I just wasn't thinki—"
"Who's Sebastian Smythe?" Kurt cut him off. It appeared that the fear of Blaine breaking up with him had worn off and the anger that Blaine thought he'd seen a few minutes earlier in Kurt's expression was back with a vengeance. How did Kurt know about Sebastian? Blaine searched his brain for a few moments before realizing that Kurt was looking at him expectantly, waiting for an answer.
"He's a transfer student and a new Warbler," Blaine answered honestly. "He asked me to go grab a coffee last night because he was nervous about his first practice today."
Kurt's shoulders slumped slightly. "That's all?" He asked, and Blaine felt horrible about the wide-eyed vulnerability of his boyfriend, knowing that he was completely responsible for it.
"That's all, Kurt, I promise," Blaine assured him. "Now, I'm going to hug you again, and it would make me feel absolutely wonderful if you'd hug me back." Kurt let a small smile grace his lips as Blaine wrapped his arms around him. Kurt squeezed him tightly in return and could feel Blaine melt into his touch. They stayed this way for several seconds before Blaine pulled back, holding Kurt out in front of him.
"I am so sorry for causing you to worry like that," Kurt opened his mouth to respond, but Blaine continued. "No, please, let me finish. I can't imagine what thoughts were going through your mind after what happened last night, and then to think that I was ignoring you on top of all that, I…I need you to know that I love you, and Gina and Jamie and Conrad and any of the others are not going to scare me off. You don't have to be embarrassed or ashamed around me, Kurt. In fact, it would hurt me deeply if you were. I want you to trust me and trust that I'm going to be here for you, no matter what."
Kurt took in several deep breaths, trying to absorb everything that Blaine had just told him. "How in the world did I get so lucky?" He asked, letting out a shaky laugh.
"It's me who should be asking that question," Blaine smiled, leaning in to give Kurt a kiss. Every time, it still made Kurt's heart pound and his knees weak.
Burt had been more than a little upset when he received the phone call from Carole at the shop, saying that she'd found a note from Kurt on the kitchen table when she came downstairs from taking a shower. The note indicated that Kurt was driving out to Westerville to "figure something out." The kid could be so cryptic and dramatic sometimes. But, at the end of the day, Kurt was an adult, even if just barely, and as long as he got his school work done and did what Dr. Simmons asked him to do, Burt couldn't really complain too much.
Burt had spent his morning being too preoccupied to get much done around the shop. Thankfully, it was dead, like most Wednesday mornings, which gave him the opportunity to work on his own little assignment from Kurt's doctor. Before he'd left the house that morning, he'd climbed into the attic, being careful not to make too much noise. Locating the box of photo albums from when Kurt was little, he dusted it off and pulled out several before climbing back down and taking them to his car in the garage. He wasn't sure why he was feeling the need to be sneaky about the whole thing, but he hadn't told Carole what he was doing, and he certainly hadn't mentioned it to Kurt. He carried a lot of guilt and helplessness in regards to Kurt's disorder, and for some strange reason, the thought about being open and honest about what he was doing now magnified those feelings within him.
So after hanging up with Carole, he continued to pore over the albums, scrutinizing each photograph one-by-one and searching for some kind of clue, some starting place in the pictures of his son. He figured the easiest way to do it was to start at the very beginning. He smiled at the photos of him holding Kurt, minutes after the nurse brought him back from being cleaned off and tightly swaddled. He looked so happy, so proud, holding his infant son. He brushed his fingertips lovingly over the photo of the three of them, Burt and Kurt's mother leaned into each other closely with Kurt held in-between them on the hospital bed. She looked exhausted, but more beautiful than ever to Burt.
"What happened?" He asked the smiling face of his first love quietly. "What happened to us? To our son? I'm so lost." Burt's throat began to burn as he pushed back the emotions that always threatened to surface when he thought about Kurt's mother. It had been so hard, so painful losing her. And then Kurt…
"Hey, Boss," Burt cleared his throat loudly, shutting the photo album quickly as Josh, one of the assistant mechanics popped his head into the office. "You gotta come see this, I have no idea where to start on this minivan."
"'Kay, be right there," he called out gruffly. He watched Josh leave before taking the photo album and sliding it carefully into his desk drawer with the others. Rubbing his hands on his face, he shook the emotion out of his features and headed back out to work.
Sebastian was sitting in French class, trying his best to feign attention to his teacher, who was obviously much less fluent in the language than Sebastian himself was. Like all of his classes at Dalton, this one was proving to be a complete joke to him. Sitting there, he let his mind wander to his time with Blaine the night before. He smirked as he thought about how flustered Blaine looked every time he'd complimented him. So far, Blaine was playing into Sebastian's hands exactly how he'd planned, so much so that Sebastian almost wished it was more of a challenge. All of the sudden, something out of the window caught his eye.
Ask and ye shall receive, he thought to himself with a barely contained smile. He watched as Blaine walked across the parking lot, holding hands with Kurt Hummel. They approached a black Navigator and embraced for a moment, exchanging a chaste kiss before Kurt climbed in and Blaine walked away with a wave. This was an interesting development to Sebastian. What was Kurt Hummel doing visiting his boyfriend in the middle of the school day? And Blaine did not strike him as the type to skip out on class, especially this early in the school year. Sebastian watched Blaine until he disappeared out of sight and then returned his gaze to the teacher at the front of the room. He tucked away the scene into the back of his mind, filing it away for future use.
Two weeks and he's mine, he vowed to himself. And if it was one thing about Sebastian Smythe, he was never wrong on his romantic estimations. Never.
Kurt hummed contentedly to himself as he drove to his favorite bookstore in Westerville. He and Blaine had made up, but they still had a lot to talk about. Kurt didn't want to be responsible for Blaine missing any more class that day, so they decided to meet up after Warbler practice at the Lima Bean to continue their conversation. According to the digital clock display on his dash board, Kurt had about two and a half more hours to kill before he had to be at the coffee shop.
Kurt had called his father before leaving the Dalton parking lot and received the fully expected earful about not checking with him before being gone for the whole day. Kurt, true to stubborn form, argued that he'd gotten all of his schoolwork done and that when it boiled down, the whole reason he had to go to Dalton to see Blaine was because Burt had let him in the house in the first place the night before. Burt decided not to bring up the fact that Kurt probably would have been equally upset if he'd turned Blaine away from the door when he'd driven all the way out there.
After calling a truce of sorts, Kurt explained about meeting Blaine after he got out of class and Burt agreed that he could stay out in Westerville but he had to be home by ten. Kurt was relieved that he didn't have to fight with his dad over this one. Even though Blaine had told him that he wasn't upset or scared off by Kurt's transition, he was still nervous and embarrassed about it.
The truth was, Kurt was starting to feel very out of control. Transitioning twice in as many days was abnormal, even when compared to the time before he was on medication. Both times, he'd transitioned after only the slightest provocation and unless he could find a way to live a completely stress free life, he was going to have to figure out some way to get his alters under control. The thought of going back on the medication made him shudder, not just because of how it made him feel when he was taking it, but to Kurt, it would seem like a personal failure to have to start medicating again.
Kurt sighed as he pulled into the bookstore parking lot. On the drive over, he'd made up his mind to try to do a bit of research on repressed memories, childhood trauma, and if he could find any books on DID, he'd look at those too. The thought of researching this made Kurt slightly nauseated, although he didn't quite understand why. He always got a bit queasy when he tried to search back in his memory or learn anything about the potential causes behind DID. As it was, Kurt had no solid memories before the age of six. Every now and then, something would flash in his mind—just a shadow of something, but when he tried to delve deeper into it, he'd either transition or get so sick to his stomach that he couldn't continue.
"Suck it up, Hummell," Kurt told himself, turning his car off. He pushed his shoulders back and gave himself a once over in the rearview mirror before stepping out and making his way to the entrance of the bookstore.
Blaine spent the rest of the day very distracted as he mulled over his conversation with Kurt earlier in the day. He still felt awful about the whole cell phone issue, but if he was being completely honest, the midday visit from Kurt ended up being quite nice. He hated that he had to go back to class, but the boys found time for a quick make-out session before sixth period started, so in the end he'd only missed the second half of his lunch period and fifth period after that. They'd agreed to meet up at the Lima Bean after Warbler practice and Kurt had decided just to bum around Westerville until then. Blaine had invited him to come by the practice to say hello to the boys, but after the events of the previous night, Kurt was still jumpy at the prospect of transitioning again.
Finally, after what seemed like fifteen years, Wes finally banged his gavel and the practice was drawn to a close. Blaine gave a quick goodbye to everyone before bolting out of the room.
"Man, he's in a hurry," Sebastian noted, sidling casually up to Nick's side.
"Yeah," Nick agreed, completely oblivious to the intentions of the smooth-talking transfer. "He's in a hurry to go make out with Kurt, I suppose." Nick grinned at Sebastian, but out of the corner of his eye, he caught Jeff throwing him a look that told him he should probably end the conversation as soon as possible. Confused, his smile faltered a bit as he began to gather his belongings.
"Kurt?" Sebastian asked in what he hoped was an innocent sounding tone. "Does he go here?"
"No, well he used to," Nick explained. "But he transferred back to McKinley in Lima at the end of last year."
"Hey Nick, we should get going," Jeff cut into the conversation, both verbally and physically as he squeezed in between the other two boys. "We've got that history presentation to work on, remember?"
"Presentation?" Nick asked. Jeff fought hard not to roll his eyes. He loved Nick, but he could be so oblivious and trusting sometimes.
"Yeah," Jeff said, trying to tell Nick with his eyes to just go with it. "I think you were in the bathroom when Dr. Hill was explaining it." Finally, something clicked in Nick's expression.
"Oh, yeah," he said, nodding as he addressed Jeff. "I remember now, the presentation, right. Well, we have to go, Sebastian, I'll see you later." Sebastian just nodded, smiled and gave a half-wave as the other two Warblers hurried out of the room.
Once they were out of the room, Sebastian snickered and shook his head as he pulled out his cell phone. It was all a big game to him, and the more gullible little pawns he could pull into it, the better. Nick would be easy to manipulate if he had to, but Jeff was a little smarter. He seemed to see Sebastian and his intentions a little clearer, but he still had no idea what he was dealing with.
He found the Facebook application on his phone and pulled it up, hoping that Blaine was as predictable as Sebastian thought he was. Sure enough, the first item on his news feed was a status update from his target.
"Headed to the Lima Bean to see Kurt :)"
"Oh, Blaine," Sebastian smiled. "You are making this way too easy." He put his phone to sleep and dropped it back in his pocket. Gathering his satchel, he made his way for the door as he began plotting his next course of action.
Blaine was already sitting at their usual table with both of their coffee orders when Kurt entered the coffee shop.
"Hey, you," Blaine broke out into a huge grin when he saw Kurt. Kurt gave him a smile and pulled out his chair to sit down. "How did I beat you here?"
"Well, I ended up at the bookstore, and you know how easily I lose track of time there," Kurt explained. The truth was, once Kurt sat down with his stack of books from the psychology section, he hadn't even worked up the courage to open the first one. He simply sat there, staring out into space until he realized that he was running late for his date with Blaine. "I hope you haven't been waiting long."
"Nah," Blaine assured. "I just sat down, like, two minutes ago."
"Good," Kurt smiled. "How was the rest of your day? And Warbler practice?"
"The rest of my school day was long and boring," Blaine paused to take a sip of his coffee. "And Warbler practice was pretty excruciating since I knew that as soon as it was done I'd get to come see you."
Kurt blushed. Even after all these months, Blaine still managed to make him feel flustered with his flirting and charm. The perfection of it all was that Blaine didn't even realize how cute he was or how every word he said to Kurt was the sound of pure love to him. Of course, this fact also worried Kurt. He often wondered what would happen once Blaine figured out he was way too good for him.
The two sat talking for a good half hour before Blaine caught a familiar figure walking through the door. Sebastian. The transfer looked around casually before locking his eyes on Blaine. He looked bored for a moment before a look of recognition spread over his face and he made his way to the table where the two boys were sitting.
"Blaine, oh my God, what a coincidence," he grinned widely. "I was just looking around for somewhere to sit when my breath was taken away by this amazing looking guy and I was like, 'wait a minute, I know him.' Long time no see, right?" Sebastian laughed lightly and squeezed Blaine's shoulder. Blaine sat there with his mouth hanging slightly open as he looked up at the boy standing over him.
"Blaine?" Kurt's small, but determined voice broke Blaine out of his silence. He turned his focus to Kurt. "Who's your friend?"
"Oh, um, this is Sebastian," Blaine said, remembering his manners. "Sebastian, this is Kurt, my boyfriend." Kurt inwardly smiled at the slight emphasis Blaine put on those last two words. Kurt sat up a little straighter and put on his best bitch-smirk.
"Sebastian," he stuck out his hand, which Sebastian stared at, but did not accept. Finally, Kurt cleared his throat and withdrew his hand. "It's nice to meet you, I'm Kurt."
"The pleasure is all mine, trust me," Sebastian replied. Instantly, Kurt was turned off by the slime that seemed to be dripping from each word that slid out of the other boy's mouth. Sebastian returned his attention to Blaine and Kurt noticed that his hand was still lightly squeezing his boyfriend's shoulder. "Hey Blaine, I was wondering if we could get together again tonight to go over the arrangement we talked about at Warbler practice earlier. I could really use some guidance on the harmonies."
"Actually, I don't think tonight is going to work," Blaine said, sincerely apologetic. "I've got some homework to catch up on, and I'd like to spend some time with Kurt before he has to leave."
"C'mon Blaine, homework?" Sebastian laughed and Blaine started to feel very uncomfortable under the weight of the hand that remained possessively on his shoulder. "You can catch up on that later, and I'm sure little Kurt wouldn't mind if I borrowed you for a while, isn't that right Kurtsie?"
"Actually I would mind," Kurt said, trying to stay as calm as possible, but he could feel the heat rising in his neck and the look on Blaine's face was making him very upset. He started to panic a bit as a familiar feeling began washing over him. "Why don't you leave now?"
"Blaine, come on," Sebastian returned his focus to Blaine, the grip of his hand on Blaine's shoulder just a little bit tighter than before. "It'll just be for a little while. I really want to make a good impression with the Warblers."
"Sebastian, I'm sorry but tonight is not a good time," Blaine said, trying to shift away from Sebastian, but the hand remained there.
"Listen, it'll just be—"
"I believe he's told you 'no' several times now, Cowboy." Both Sebastian and Blaine whipped their gazes over to Kurt, whose posture and demeanor had changed drastically in the last few seconds. Kurt spoke with a drawl that Blaine didn't recognize.
"Now, I don't care what you fairy boys do in the bedroom, that's your business," Kurt continued to drawl, his eyes boring into Sebastian. "But the gentleman here obviously wants you to leave, so I think it's best that you scoot on out of here before things get messy."
Sebastian, for probably the first time in his life was shocked into silence. Finally after a few minutes, he found his voice. "Is this some kind of joke?" He laughed humorlessly. Within half a second, Kurt was out of his chair and in Sebastian's face.
"Do I look like I'm joking, son?" He said, looking up into the face of the taller Warbler with the ferocity of a Jack Russell Terrier who doesn't understand he's much smaller than the Rottweiler he's going up against. The quick movement was enough to startle Sebastian and he withdrew his hand from Blaine's shoulder. Blaine took the opportunity to scoot away from his reach and he stood up, slightly apart from the other two boys.
"Blaine what the hell is this?" Sebastian snarled through gritted teeth, not removing his gaze from Kurt in front of him. "Get control of your girlfriend."
"The name's Conrad," he responded, cutting off Blaine, but not breaking eye contact with Sebastian. It was a good, old-fashioned stare-down, one neither boy was willing to forfeit. "Now, you have exactly five seconds to get out of here before I embarrass you in front of this entire room of people. I may be smaller than you, but I can kill a man in three moves. Is that something you'd like to risk?"
Sebastian contemplated the bizarre scenario that was unfolding with an almost out-of-body detachment. Finally he decided to retreat until he could figure out what the hell was going on.
"Fine," he surrendered, putting his hands up in the air, and starting to back away slowly. "Call me later, Blaine, once you've ditched the psycho." He shot a glance at Blaine before turning around and heading out of the shop. Several other customers watched him leave before returning their attention to the two remaining boys.
As soon as Sebastian left, Blaine turned back to Kurt—well, Conrad.
"C-Conrad?" Blaine asked tentatively. "Thanks for your help there." He had no idea what he was doing, but he figured the best thing to do would be to get Conrad calmed down enough so that he could go call Burt and ask what to do next.
"Don't mention it," Conrad said with a cocky smile. "That guy seemed like a grade-A asshole."
"Yeah," Blaine chuckled. "Hey, as a thank you, why don't I buy you a drink?"
"Sure, that sounds good," Conrad said. Blaine let out a sigh of relief as Conrad pulled out his chair and sat back down, laying low in the seat and tapping the table tunelessly. "But I don't like those fru-fru coffee drinks. How about a Coke?"
"Sure thing, I'm going to run to the bathroom and then I'll get your Coke and be right back," Blaine answered. Conrad nodded lazily and Blaine headed to the back of the shop where he could keep an eye on the back of Conrad. He took out his phone and scrolled down to Burt's number, silently thanking his former self for saving the contact information from when he called the night before.
After two rings, Burt answered.
"Blaine, is everything okay?" Burt answered, worry lacing his voice. He must have seen Blaine's name on the caller ID and figured that the only reason his son's boyfriend would be calling was if something bad was up.
"Um, hi Mr. Hummel," Blaine greeted nervously. "Listen, I'm at the Lima Bean with Kurt, but he's not Kurt right now. I think he said his name is Conrad?"
"Shit," Blaine winced as he heard Burt's curse. "Okay son, thank you for calling, that's exactly the right thing to do. Now do me a favor and try to keep him there until I can get there. If he starts to leave, try to talk him out of it, but don't try to stop him physically. He's pretty aggressive when he's Conrad and he can throw a mean punch, trust me. If you can't get him to stay, just follow him in your car and call me and I'll meet you wherever you end up. I'm leaving now, so I should be there in less than an hour."
"Okay—" Blaine began, but his phone beeped to signal that Burt had ended the call. He put his phone back in his pocket and headed over to the counter to get Conrad's soda, hoping and praying that he could keep Conrad there until Burt arrived.
Sebastian sat in his car in the Lima Bean parking lot for almost an hour, mulling over the bizarre scene that had taken place. He had dealt with his share of jealous boyfriends in the past, but adopting a southern drawl, a twinge of homophobia and answering to a different name? That was definitely new territory. Normally Sebastian would be excited about such an interesting challenge, but there was something fishy going on, more so than it even appeared to the casual observer.
First of all, Sebastian noticed that Kurt didn't change his posture or demeanor once Sebastian left. From where his car was parked, he could see the table where the two boys sat very clearly. In fact, had either of them bothered to focus their gaze out the window in his direction, they would have seen Sebastian staring at them, taking it all in. Sebastian noticed that Kurt remained leaned back casually at the table, nothing like the uptight, perfect posture with daintily crossed legs he'd observed before he had approached their table.
Also, while Blaine looked a little worried, he wasn't acting like this was completely out of the blue. It was almost like he was shocked at first, like Sebastian, but then he quickly assessed the situation and took control. Almost like he had practice. Like this wasn't the first time Kurt had done this. Well, Blaine was super cute, so it didn't surprise Sebastian that he might be fighting guys off left and right, but surely the two didn't pull this elaborate stunt each time someone made an advance on Blaine.
Something was going on, something weird, and Sebastian was determined to find out. It went beyond trying to conquer Blaine at this point. He had to know what was going on, and once he figured it out, he would have all the ammunition he needed to get anything he wanted at Dalton. Boys, Warbler solos, anything. Just from the wistful tone Nick had used when telling him that Kurt no longer went to Dalton, Sebastian could tell that the Warblers not only loved Blaine, but still thought very highly of Kurt.
It was then that a thought occurred to Sebastian. What if the Warblers didn't know about Kurt's little alter ego? What if it was something Blaine knew about, but kept secret from the rest of his friends? It was obvious, watching the two boys in the coffee shop for so long, that whatever snapped in Kurt wasn't going away as quickly as it came. It was definitely not an act, he decided.
Sebastian had started to lose track of time, when he noticed a middle-aged man dressed in greasy coveralls approach the table. He watched as Blaine greeted the man and got up to follow him when the man indicated with a nod that he apparently wanted to talk to him away from Kurt. Kurt remained at the table, sipping what must have been at that point his fourth soda. Sebastian watched Blaine and the man talk in the corner, both casting furtive glances back in Kurt's direction. Blaine had his arms crossed over his chest with his head down while the other man spoke, emphasizing certain words with lively gestures. After a minute or two, the man clapped his hand on Blaine's shoulder and said something to him, which made Blaine smile and nod slightly.
When the two returned to the table, the man sat down where Blaine had been sitting and Blaine, much to Sebastian's confusion, gave Kurt a brisk hand shake, waved to the other man, and walked out of the coffee shop. Sebastian quickly ducked his head as Blaine moved past his car in the parking lot, but thankfully he didn't seem to notice him sitting there. Sebastian watched Blaine start his car and drive away before returning his attention to the two remaining in the coffee shop. Almost as soon as he started watching again, he saw Kurt's demeanor change. The man was rubbing Kurt's back lightly, and Kurt had straightened up in his seat again. He saw Kurt scan the coffee shop several times and shake his head 'no' to something the man was telling him before his shoulders slumped and he laid his head in his crossed arms on the table.
After a minute with his head down and the man talking to him, he finally sat up, and with what looked like a resigned sigh and nod, he stood up and allowed the man to guide him out of the coffee shop. Sebastian observed the man opening the passenger side door to his car and guiding Kurt in before shutting the door gently and going over to get in on the driver's side. That's strange, Sebastian thought to himself. Looks like they're leaving Kurt's car here.
And who was that man? He didn't look like someone Kurt or Blaine would be hanging out with, so maybe he was Kurt's dad? Whoever he was, he seemed to be able to break Kurt out of whatever trance he'd been in and now, with the man's car driving out of sight, Sebastian made a decision to do something that even he wouldn't normally do.
Stepping out of his car, he walked casually over to where Kurt's SUV was parked. He circled it once, glancing around nonchalantly to make sure that no one was watching him before testing the driver's side door handle. It was locked. Sebastian peered in the window and checked the other doors, which all appeared to be locked as well. He was about to give up when something caught his eye. It was a tiny white card, like a business card, that was lying in the floorboard on the passenger's side. Sebastian squinted trying to get a better look at it from where he was standing but he couldn't quite make it out.
Looking around once more, he moseyed over to the passenger's side window and angled his neck to look in. He was close enough now to make out what was on the card.
Appointment for Kurt Hummel: Tuesday at 10:00
Dr. Becca Simmons, Lima Behavioral Health Group
Sebastian quickly catalogued the information in his brain and smiled. He had a starting point at least. Well, several actually. He imagined that with the right motivation, he could get some valuable information out of some of the Warblers as well, especially Nick. Blaine too, although he recognized that he'd have to lay low with Blaine for at least a few days and tweak his strategy slightly if he was going to be able to get Blaine to trust him enough to start spilling the dirt about his curious little boyfriend.
Sebastian clapped his hands together once before dropping his arms to his sides. He walked casually back to his car, making a mental checklist of things to do that night. First was to get on the internet and learn more about this Dr. Simmons. Depending on what he learned there, he'd plot his next move. Hopefully by this time tomorrow, he'd have more answers, and more drama than even he knew what to do with.
After taking Kurt home and putting him to bed, Burt climbed back into his car with Finn in the passenger seat now and began making his way back to the Lima Bean to pick up Kurt's car. Burt was exhausted. Not only had it been a long day at work and quite an ordeal to drive all the way out to Westerville twice, but Burt had spent every free moment poring over the photo albums in his office. The task was made even more difficult by the facts that he was having to keep all of this a secret and he didn't have any idea what he was looking for.
In the end, he'd pulled out several photographs, carefully peeling them from the sticky backing of the photo album page. One was a picture of Kurt from when he was about four, playing in a sandbox with a little blond headed boy. Even though he recognized the boy as Kurt's best friend at that age, he couldn't for the life of him remember his name. Thankfully, for Burt's sake, Elizabeth was always good about labeling each photograph they'd taken, with who was in the shot, where they were and the date. He silently sent up a thank you to his deceased wife for helping him with the task. When he flipped the photo over, Burt's breath caught slightly as he instantly recognized the pretty, looping print:
Edward Szabo and Kurt, playing in the sandbox at East Lima Park, June 20, 1997.
Edward Szabo, Burt thought to himself. How could I have forgotten that name? Whatever happened to that kid? Burt racked his brain trying to remember what happened to his son's friendship with the boy. At a certain point, Kurt began to withdraw from his friends, but Burt had always assumed it was because of Elizabeth's illness and death. What if there had been something more?
The second picture he'd plucked out of the photo album was one of Kurt at his sixth birthday party. He was sitting with his arms folded on the table and his birthday cake in front of him. He wore a paper cone hat and everyone in the picture was smiling, except for Kurt. Burt thought his son looked tired, worn out, and maybe it was just because he'd had so much fun that day, too much stimulation. But after studying the picture for several minutes, Burt decided there was something else there in Kurt's expression. Was it resignation? Exhaustion? Fear? He couldn't quite tell, but it didn't sit well with Burt.
He tucked that photo, along with the other, carefully inside his invoice book and he wrote a note to remind himself to carry it home with him that night. It was right around then that he heard his phone ringing and saw that Blaine was trying to call him.
Now, several hours later, he was listening to Finn explain animatedly about his football practice that afternoon. Burt had stopped the boy as soon as he came into the house after practice and asked him to go with him to get Kurt's car. Subsequently, a metallic, sweaty scent filled Burt's car and he made a mental note to have Finn drive his own car back while Burt took Kurt's. Burt had at least had a chance to change out of his coveralls after putting Kurt to bed and before Finn's arrival.
Burt decided that there wasn't much time to lose with getting to the bottom of Kurt's behavior. He'd now transitioned three times in as many days, more frequent than ever, medication or no. Tomorrow he'd try to find some way of contacting Edward Szabo on the off chance that he may be able to fill Burt in on his and Kurt's friendship and why it fell apart.
Burt tried not to focus on how out of control he felt with his own son. How afraid, how terrified he was of what might happen if he couldn't get him the help he needed. Burt pushed back the tears that threatened to surface, knowing it would only scare Finn to see his step dad in such a state. Burt would do what he always did. He'd wait until he was alone, in the privacy of his bedroom or bathroom or office, and cry out of sight of everyone else. Cry until it was all out and until he felt like he could go back out into the world and be the rock that his family and employees expected him to be.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks for reading!
Blaine was mentally drained by the time he dragged into his dorm room and collapsed on the bed. Looking over at the bedside clock, he groaned when he realized it was only six thirty in the evening. Why did it seem so much later? The whole incident with Kurt/Conrad had put him on almost an excited edge while everything was unfolding, but now he felt empty and numb with no clear direction on what to do with the rest of his night. He figured he should probably buckle down and do the homework he'd been neglecting for the last couple nights, but part of his brain was encouraging him to just push it off for another day. After all, it was still the first week of school, it's not like he could get that behind.
He really cared about Kurt. Loved him, even. In fact, he'd told him as much at the beginning of the summer. But that was before he knew the extent of Kurt's disorder. Truth be told, Blaine was scared. Not necessarily of Kurt or his alters, but of what they represented for he and Kurt's life together, should things move in that direction. Of course Blaine thought about the future, he thought about it often. He thought about where Kurt fit into his future and usually it was with warmth and a steady, excited hum of anticipation. He blushed as he thought back to the cocky self-assuredness he'd worn, even up until this afternoon, about how he could help Kurt overcome his problems. As long as they loved each other, there was nothing the two couldn't accomplish, right?
"Oh my God, I'm so in over my head."
"Anything you'd like to talk about, Blaine?" Blaine bolted upright at the sound of his roommates voice. He didn't even notice when he came in the room that Justin was sitting crosslegged on his bed with a book in his lap. Justin was overall a very quiet, considerate person, but Blaine really must have been out of it to not even notice him sitting there three feet from his own bed until he opened his mouth. Plus, Blaine had no idea he'd spoken that last part aloud.
"Oh, hey Justin," Blaine clumsily tried to recover. "No, it's fine, just first week of school jitters."
"Right," Justin replied skeptically. "Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me."
Blaine offered him a smile before opening the drawer of his bedside table. He fished around for a few seconds before pulling out his I-Pod and headphones. "Thanks, but I think I'm just gonna go for a walk. You know, clear my head a bit."
Justin nodded at him and returned his attention to his book. Blaine breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that Justin wasn't going to push it. Not that he expected him to. That's part of what made Justin a great roommate. He was a good listener and offered sound advice, but never unsolicited. And right now, the last thing Blaine needed was for his friends to start nosing around in what was going on with Kurt.
No one at Dalton, with the exception of himself and the faculty, knew about Kurt's DID. Kurt was adamant that he didn't want them knowing. Blaine suspected that some of the more discerning members of the Warblers sensed that there was something different about Kurt (aside from the obvious flares for fashion and the dramatic), but no one had outright questioned Kurt or Blaine about anything. As far as he knew, the kids at McKinley were in the dark as well, with the exception of Finn, which the more Blaine got to know Kurt's stepbrother, the more impressed he was at his ability to keep his mouth shut on this particular issue. It definitely gave Blaine a new level of respect for Finn.
Until this evening, Blaine had never felt the need to talk about Kurt's disorder to anyone other than Kurt. So far, he realized with a large measure of guilt, it had been easy and sort of exciting to think about. It wasn't that he wanted Kurt to suffer, the whole thing was just so bizarre. And really, when he'd been on the medication, his alters rarely surfaced and when they did, it was usually for only a few minutes at a time and never in Blaine's presence. It wasn't until now that Blaine started to think about the dark side of it all. The fact that Kurt no longer appeared to have any measure of control over his own life. The fact that when his alters took over, he had no recollection of what they might have said or did unless someone told him afterwards. The fact that Burt Hummel had told him an hour ago in the coffee shop that he was terrified of his own son's condition and the possibility of some gruesome or traumatic experience in Kurt's childhood that may have caused Kurt's life to spiral out of control.
In short, Blaine felt like a terrible human being. To think that he'd once romanticized Kurt's DID, and his own role in "curing" his boyfriend, as if love truly could conquer all. He laughed bitterly to himself as he shoved his earbuds in, cranking up the volume on the playlist he turned to on those rare moments in his life when he felt like indulging in his negative emotions. He walked out of his dorm and headed to the courtyard that was surrounded on all sides by the other dormitories. He circled around one of the large reflecting pools and exited the bordering sidewalk onto an offshoot path toward the woods on the westside of campus.
It was still early enough in the summer evening that the sun sat still rosy and soft in the sky. He figured he had a good hour left before complete dark. Enough time to calm down and center his focus back on how to best help and love Kurt, but not nearly enough time to figure out the best way of going about it. Blaine had no idea what he was doing and that part terrified him. But he did know that he loved Kurt and he had no desire to be apart from him. He was scared, sure, but he wasn't going to be scared away.
Love may not be enough to conquer Kurt's disorder, but it was enough to conquer Blaine's fear.
Kurt woke up after a two hour nap, feeling slightly disoriented. It didn't take long, however, for the incident at the Lima Bean to come crashing into his brain again. He remembered meeting Blaine there, talking to him for a while. He remembered meeting Sebastian Smythe and he remembered getting a bad vibe from the tall Warbler. And then he remembered his dad sitting where Blaine was supposed to be. He remembered his dad's hand over his on the table, his soothing words. He remembered looking around for Blaine before his dad told him Blaine had already left, but not to worry, he wasn't upset or weirded out.
Kurt wasn't so sure about that. Really, who wouldn't be weirded out by all this? Kurt himself was weirded out by the whole thing and he didn't have a choice about it like Blaine did. Blaine didn't have to stick around for all this if he didn't want to, and Kurt wasn't so sure he should try to convince him to. Was it fair to ask that of his boyfriend of six-ish months? Was it fair to ask his seventeen year old boyfriend to take on the responsibilities that came along with being in love with a crazy person?
"Kurt you are not crazy. I don't ever want to hear you say that about yourself." How many times had his father said those words to him over the past few years? Over the past few days? He knew it must be exhausting for his father to not only have to put up with the antics of his alters, but to have to constantly reassure his son that he was okay, that things would get better, when there was really no guarantee that they would. Kurt didn't often feel hopeless, but the last few days left him feeling lower than low. He no longer felt like he had control over any part of his life and he was desperately trying to keep the panic that was starting to edge into his brain at bay.
Sitting up in bed, Kurt noticed it was about 8:30 at night. Aside from really having to pee, he knew that he should probably get a decent meal in him and it wouldn't be a bad idea to make another entry into his video journal. The last one he'd made had also been his first, on Monday morning, and as far as he knew, neither Conrad or Gina had taken it upon themselves to make an entry, despite the note he left by his laptop per Dr. Simmons' instructions. He had no idea if either of them even knew how to work a computer.
Standing up, he stretched his muscles and stifled a yawn. He made a mental note to ask Dr. Simmons about all the sleeping at his next appointment. He usually slept a lot after a transition, but this was getting ridiculous. He was starting to feel like over the past few days if he wasn't transitioning, he was asleep, meaning he was never conscious and himself at the same time. How depressing was that?
Kurt took a passing glance in his bathroom mirror after emptying his bladder and trudged downstairs. Walking into the kitchen, he saw Carole sitting at the table with an open book and a mug of tea. She smiled warmly at him.
"Hey Kurt, how are feeling?" She asked him gently. If Kurt had the energy, he would have reminded her that he wasn't so fragile, that he didn't need the baby talk, but who would he be kidding? He was more fragile than ever and turning his back on those who knew, loved and supported him wasn't exactly a smart move.
"I'm okay I guess," he answered, moving toward the fridge. "Where's dad?" And where was Finn for that matter? The house seemed entirely too quiet for this time of night.
"He and Finn went to Westerville to pick up your car," she replied, answering both his voiced and unspoken questions at once. "They should be home any minute though, really. Can I fix you anything to eat?"
"No, but thank you," he answered graciously. After all these years, Kurt had to admit it was nice to have a mother in the home again. "I think I'll just heat this up." He held up a plastic container full of spaghetti and moved around to the microwave. Carole smiled and lowered her gaze to her book again.
After a few minutes, the microwave beeped and with careful hands, Kurt pulled the dish out.
"Do you mind if I take this up to my room?" Kurt asked, somewhat guiltily. It's not that he didn't want to be around Carole, he just had a lot on his mind that he wanted to process before he got sleepy again for the night.
"Not at all, Sweetheart," she smiled. "Just let me know if you need anything, okay?"
"I will," Kurt smiled back. "And thank you, Carole. I mean it. For everything." He backed out of the kitchen and turned around to head upstairs.
Five minutes later, Burt and Finn were walking through the door. Finn carried a Burger King sack and immediately sat down at the table next to his mom and began to eat. Burt shuffled around the kitchen, fixing a glass of water and scanning the fridge for a Kurt-approved dinner while Finn and Carole made small talk about Finn's school day.
"I think I'm going to go upstairs and call Rachel," Finn announced after polishing off his burger and fries. Carole and Burt said goodnight to their son and waited until they heard his bedroom door clothes before speaking.
"Has he come down yet?" Burt asked tentatively as he sat down at the table with a sandwich. Carole smiled at him and placed her book to the side.
"Yeah, he was just down," she answered softly. "He took a bowl of spaghetti up to his room to eat. I wish he'd stayed down here, but I was just happy to see him eating. He's been looking too thin lately."
"I know," Burt agreed with a mouthful of bread. "I just…" he remembered his manners and halted his thought until he could swallow the bite of food and chase it with a sip of water. "I wish that I knew how to help him. I feel so out of control, Carole. He's my son and I…I have no idea what to do. I feel like I'm losing him." Burt couldn't remember ever feeling this vulnerable and scared in his life.
"I know you do, Honey," Carole replied. "But Kurt is strong. Probably the strongest person I know. He'll get through it, we just have to make sure we do what we can to help him."
At that moment, Burt felt the weight of his secret investigation into Kurt's past crash down on his shoulders again. Why in the world would he be keeping this from Carole? He was started to wonder if he himself had some kind of repressed memory. Something in his subconscious that was keeping him from being honest with her. Subconscious be damned, he thought to himself, inhaling deeply and trying to calm his nerves. He pushed his plate back and turned his body to face his wife.
"There's something I need to tell you about."
Sebastian didn't waste any time booting up his laptop the minute he arrived back in his single dorm room. The whole drive back from the coffee shop was spent scheming about possible courses of actions and potential outcomes. If there was any guilt for getting so much enjoyment out of the hardships of another person, it was overwhelmed and muted by the excitement he felt over having a new project.
At his old school, Sebastian had wreaked so much havoc that the dean had, in a close-door meeting, all but paid Sebastian's parents to relocate him. Everything to Sebastian was a game and he had no intentions of putting an end to his fun any time soon.
As he waited for his computer to load, he strolled over to the window and looked out onto the courtyard. For the second time that day, he spied Blaine Anderson walking outside, only this time he was obviously unaccompanied by Kurt. He was alone actually, and Sebastian could barely make out the black earbuds and cord traveling from his neck to an mp3 player in his left hand.
The object of his affection was walking in the opposite direction of Sebastian's dorm, heading towards the woods on West Campus. Sebastian briefly contemplated running out and jogging to catch up with him, but quickly remembered that his plan called for him to lay off of Blaine, at least for a few days, until he could get a clearer picture of what the hell was going on with his boyfriend. Turning reluctantly from the window, Sebastian sat back down at his desk and opened up his web browser.
"Doctor Becca Simmons," he spoke aloud as he typed the name into the Google search bar. "Lima, Ohio." He clicked the search button and waited impatiently for the results to load. The top result told him everything he needed to know. Grinning widely, he clicked the link that lead him to the home page of Lima Behavioral Health Group.
Dr. Becca Simmons, MD Psychiatrist has been practicing with Lima Behavioral Health Group since 2000. She has almost twenty years of experience in treating children, adolescents and young adults with severe psychological needs and disorders. Dr. Simmons recently co-published a study with Ohio State University's Dr. Quresh Varshney about the comorbidity of Major Depressive Disorder and Disassociative Identity Disorder in youths.
Sebastian spent the next few hours researching the different types of disorders listed on the website for Lima Behavioral. By the end of his search, the only thing he was sure of was that Kurt must have some kind of severe psychological disturbance to require the services of Dr. Simmons.
Before logging off, Sebastian decided to prowl around on Facebook for a little bit. Heading to Kurt's profile, he noticed that the last activity from the boy had been over a week ago. A couple of his friends had written messages to him, mostly about missing him at school. Wait, Sebastian thought to himself, so Kurt's not at Dalton and he hasn't been at McKinley either? Scrolling down a bit further on the page, he got his answer.
Mercedes Jones: Hey Kurt, we've missed you this week, hope the homeschooling is going alright and maybe we'll see you at glee club tomorrow? If not, we definitely need to plan a shopping trip! –Sent yesterday at 7:02 pm
"Home school?" Sebastian smirked. "What kind of loser…" he trailed off as he started to examine the puzzle pieces in his head.
Kurt used to go to Dalton where he met and started dating Blaine.
Kurt transferred back to McKinley last year while Blaine stayed at Dalton.
Kurt is homeschooling this year and apparently seeing Dr. Simmons for some kind of crazy.
Sebastian couldn't make sense out of any of it, but he knew that it was only a matter of time before things started to fall into place. He picked up his phone and contemplated trying to make some more headway with some of the Warblers, but noticing the time on his phone, he decided to call it a night. He had nothing but time, now. He might as well slow down and enjoy the ride.
"Okay, it's August 26th and it's about nine fifteen in the evening," Kurt began speaking, looking at his face as it was displayed on his laptop screen. "It's been a little over two days since my last journal entry and in that time, I've transitioned three times. The first was right after I ended my first journal entry. Conrad took over and spent most of the day doing….Conrad things. Then yesterday, while I was getting ready for Blaine to come over, I transitioned into Gina, which was highly embarrassing as you can probably imagine."
Kurt shook his head and lowered his gaze in embarrassment. "Listen to me, talking like someone is listening. I'm not even sure why Dr. Simmons is having me do this. I can't see what good it's going to do, but I'm putting in my best effort like I promised my dad. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Gina. So Gina was here and then she was gone. Blaine met her, apparently, but he didn't really tell me a whole lot about what it was like or what they talked about. He tried to assure me today that it didn't change anything but I'm not sure I buy that.
"Speaking of Blaine, I went to see him at Dalton today. I was really worried, but he helped me feel better. Until we ended up at the Lima Bean and I transitioned and Conrad yet again took over. One minute I'm sitting there talking to my boyfriend and the next thing I know my dad is there, trying to convince me that everything was okay. I just feel so out of control. It's almost enough to make me want to reconsider the whole medication issue, but every time I thing about how it made me feel when I was on it, it just makes me sick. I don't ever want to feel that way again, but at the same time all this transitioning is exhausting."
Kurt looked down at his mouse, getting ready to close out the window before softly adding, "And I think it's killing my dad."
"Kurt?" He could hear his father's voice coming from the other side of the door. "Can I come in, buddy?"
"Sure Dad," Kurt closed the screen of his laptop gently and turned his body so he faced the door as his dad slowly entered.
"Hey kiddo, how are you feeling?" Burt asked, taking a seat next to Kurt on his bed.
"A lot better," Kurt answered truthfully. He was still upset about transitioning in public at the coffee shop and in front of Blaine again, but he'd gotten some rest and his first decent meal in several days, so overall he was feeling pretty alright considering the circumstances. "Thanks for going to get my car, and I'm sor—"
"Don't finish that," his father warned him, cutting off his apology. "I'm just glad Conrad decided to stick around this time. Blaine did a good job keeping him occupied." Burt's smile dropped a little when he saw the look on Kurt's face. "I know you don't believe me, but he's fine, Kurt. I think you have yourself a keeper."
"Yeah, but it isn't really fair to him, is it Dad?" Kurt asked, the worry from earlier in the day washing back over him. "It isn't fair for me to ask him to carry this burden with me."
Burt thought for a moment before responding. "No, you're right, Kurt. It wouldn't be fair for you to ask him to do that. But the way this kid was talking about you earlier today, and what you mean to him, I don't think you're going to have to beg him to stick around." Burt's smile returned as he saw the flush rise up his son's face to the tips of his ears. Kurt looked down into his lap with a combination of embarrassment and happiness.
"You really like him, don't you?" Burt asked his son gently. Kurt brought his gaze up to meet his dad's.
"I love him." Kurt stated simply. Burt nodded silently and put his arm around his son, drawing him in for a side hug. They sat like that for several comfortably quiet minutes before Burt cleared his throat softly and began to speak again.
"Hey Kurt, I need to ask you about something," Burt began, feeling the nerves rising in his stomach. After talking to Carole and explaining how he was trying to decipher Kurt's past, she'd convinced him to ask Kurt about his friendship with Edward Szabo before trying to contact the other boy. After all, the dissolution of their friendship could have nothing to do with Kurt's DID. Or maybe, depending on Kurt's reaction, he might learn that the friendship had everything to do with it.
"What is it, Dad?" Kurt asked, the innocent trust in his voice almost breaking Burt.
"I came across an old photo earlier today," Burt said, fishing around for the picture of the two boys in the sand box in his left chest shirt pocket. He'd left the birthday photograph tucked safely in his invoice book. Pulling it out, he handed it over to Kurt, trying to read the expression on his son's face. "Do you remember this?"
"Yeah," Kurt said, furrowing his brow. "That's me and Edward. Where did you get this?" Kurt looked at his dad suspiciously. Why was he looking at old photographs and what was it about this one in particular that gave his father pause?
"Well, I was just going through some of our old family albums," Burt began his practiced explanation. He could tell by the look on Kurt's face that he was only half-buying it. "And I came across this one and just started thinking, you know, you two had been really close and then all of the sud—"
"I don't know, Dad," Kurt cut him off abruptly, shoving the photograph back at his dad. "We just grew apart, I guess. I'm kind of tired, though. Can we talk about this later?" Kurt didn't wait for an answer before standing up and walking over to the corner of his room. He turned around to face his dad, his arms crossed protectively over his chest. He didn't know why he was reacting this way to a stupid photograph, but for some reason, he really didn't feel like a walk down memory lane right that moment.
"Kurt, I just wan—"
"Dad, please," Kurt begged, his eyes pleading with Burt. Something was definitely wrong. "I'm really tired and I think you should leave."
Burt opened his mouth, but couldn't quite form a response. Kurt had never kicked him out of his room before. There was no doubt in his mind now that Edward had something to do with whatever it was in Kurt's past that he was using the DID to cope with.
"Okay, son," Burt answered, slowly getting up from the bed. "Try to get some sleep. I love you." He heard Kurt mumble, "I love you too," before he exited the room and shut the door softly behind him.
He stood outside the door for several moments, contemplating the photograph, when all of the sudden he could hear retching noises coming from inside of Kurt's bathroom.
"Damnit," he cursed, knowing that Kurt's body was in the process of rejecting the one decent meal he'd had in a long time. Things were looking up for Kurt before Burt brought up that stupid photograph. He could have kicked himself for not waiting until tomorrow to breach the subject with his son, but at the same time, how much longer could he wait? It felt like he was dealing with a ticking time bomb and watching the minutes pass by without a solution was killing him.
Burt stayed outside the room for a few more minutes until Kurt's heaving stopped and he heard the toilet flush and the shower turn on. Putting the photograph back in his pocket, he slowly retreated to his bedroom and tried to put together a plan for reaching Edward Szabo the next day.
"So what exactly did you want to talk about?" Nick asked the boy sitting opposite of him in-between long gulps of Coke. He didn't go off campus too much, so going to the Lima Bean where he had unlimited free refills of soda was definitely something he was going to take advantage of.
"Oh, you know," the other boys answered casually, arm propped casually on the back of his chair as he sat sideways, his legs crossed loosely. "I just haven't had a chance to make very many real connections here at Dalton yet and you seemed like someone who'd make a good friend." The boy smiled almost painfully, trying his best to convince Nick that he was a good guy, when in fact, Sebastian Smythe was nothing more than a conman. He had every intention of being Nick's 'friend' for as long as it took to get the information he needed.
"That's cool," Nick replied casually, completely oblivious to Sebastian's true motives. Unlike Sebastian, Nick was a genuinely good-hearted person. He rarely disliked someone and when he did, it was only after giving them the benefit of the doubt a hundred times first. "Are you liking it here so far?"
"Yeah," Sebastian answered, placing his coffee cup down on the table. "Everyone's been so nice, especially the Warblers. Hey, speaking of, who is this Kurt Hummel I keep hearing so much about?"
Nick put down his glass excitedly. "Oh Kurt? He's great. He transferred here last year for a little while because he was having problems at his old school, but then he went back. He was a Warbler while he was here and he made a great addition to the group. We were pretty bummed to see him go."
"Wow," Sebastian said, with all the fake enthusiasm he could muster. "So, if he fit in so well here, why did he leave?"
"I don't really know all the details," Nick answered, furrowing his brow slightly. "He was bullied at McKinley by this stupid jock but then they worked out some kind of deal or something so he could go back. I don't know. You should ask Blaine, he knows all the details."
"Wait," Sebastian replied, mimicking Nick's confused look from a few moments earlier. "Kurt…is Kurt who Blaine is dating?" Nick nodded as he down another gulp of Coke. "Okay, everything makes a lot more sense now. But wow, that must be pretty tough on Blaine, huh? Long distance relationship and all?"
Nick shrugged his shoulders casually. "Nah, they seem to have it figured out."
Sebastian waited a few moments to see if Nick was going to add anything else before he began moving in for the kill. "Say, I heard something else that kind of confused me about Kurt."
"What's that?" Nick asked, putting his glass back down with concern.
"Well," Sebastian started, fiddling nervously with the paper sleeve of his coffee cup. "I feel horrible for gossiping, but….well, I heard that he had some…problems"
"What do you mean?" Nick asked, completely confused. This wasn't a good sign to Sebastian. "What kind of problems?"
"I overheard someone talking in the cafeteria about him," Sebastian said softly, leaning over the table so Nick could hear him properly. "About his disorder?"
Nick stared at the other boy for a moment. He was starting to feel a shadow of suspicion growing in the back of his mind. What was Sebastian getting at? "I really don't know what you're talking about. There's nothing wrong with Kurt."
Sebastian leaned back. Damn, he thought. I was really hoping to get somewhere with him, but he really doesn't have a clue.
"You know what?" Sebastian asked, putting on his patented charming smile. "They must have been talking about someone else. I shouldn't have assumed it was Kurt."
"It's cool," Nick said quickly. Maybe he was wrong about Sebastian's motives. Maybe he really was just trying to make some friends. "But hey, do you think we could make our way back to the school? I'm supposed to meet Jeff for dinner."
"Sure thing, Nick," Sebastian answered, standing up from the table. "Will you do me a favor though?"
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Will you just forget that I asked that question about Kurt? I feel really bad that I thought those guys at lunch were talking about Kurt and I don't want anyone to get a bad impression of me. I'm not that kind of guy." Sebastian could tell be the forgiving twinkle in Nick's eye that he didn't have anything to worry about.
"Sure, yeah," Nick nodded, smiling back at the other boy. "We all make mistakes."
"Yes we do," Sebastian replied, laughing a little too loudly. With that, the two of them headed out of the Lima Bean and back to Dalton. All the while, Sebastian started working on developing the next step in his plan.
Burt's fingers shook slightly as he typed the number into his cell phone. He checked it against the one he found online three times before hitting the send button and bringing the ringing phone to his ear.
After the third ring, someone picked up and from the sound of the voice, he was pretty sure he had the right person.
"Uh, yeah hi," Burt stumbled as he realized for the first time that he hadn't prepared what he wanted to say in case he actually did get through on the first try. "I'm trying to reach Edward Szabo?"
"Yeah, this is Edward, who is this?"
Burt's heart pounded so hard, he thought he might be having another heart attack. He had no idea he would be this nervous, but then again, why wouldn't he be? After all, this was his son's life he was talking about.
"Edward," Burt cleared his throat and tried to steady his voice. "This is Burt Hummel. Kurt Hummel's father?"
There was a long pause. Such a long pause that Burt thought that maybe the call had been dropped, but then he could hear Edward breathing slightly on the other end.
"Do you remember Kurt?" He ventured. Still no answer. "Edward?"
"Don't call here again."
Burt heard the long beep in his ear signaling the dropped call and pulled the phone away in disbelief.
"What the hell was that about?" Burt asked aloud to no one in particular. When he had finally spoken, Edward's voice was shaky. Instead of sounding angry, like his choice of words would seem to suggest, Burt thought he'd sounded scared, almost pleading with Burt not to contact him. He thought briefly about redialing the number, trying again, but then another thought occurred to him.
Edward Szabo was the same age as his own son, and he'd sounded more than a little frightened. What if something had happened to him too? Even if nothing had and Burt was reading way more into the short interaction than was actually there, if it was someone from the past calling Kurt and Kurt had that kind of reaction, would Burt want that man to keep calling his son? Knowing that the answer to that question was 'no', Burt put the phone back down on his desk with a heavy sigh.
He'd spent all morning and early afternoon mustering up the courage to dial the number he'd found online the night before after talking to Kurt. He knew that Edward was either a junior or senior in high school at this point, so he waited until school would presumably be out to make the call. Now he had a few hours before he had to be home himself, and the thought of going back out into the garage and getting underneath another car just made him sick.
Working on cars was his passion, but right now, if it didn't have something to do with trying to save his son, he didn't want to even think about it. He had a one-track mind and his one lead had just told him never to contact him again.
It was Friday afternoon, several days since the incident at the Lima Bean and Blaine was starting to feel much better about everything that had happened. Kurt seemed to be doing well, at least it seemed that way from their nightly phone calls. He hadn't transitioned at all on Thursday and so far, so good today. Blaine's only wish was that Kurt would let him come see him tonight.
The night before, Blaine had eagerly jumped into weekend planning, taking for granted that Kurt would be on board for two and a half days of togetherness. Blaine figured they could go shopping on Saturday, maybe catch one of the last 'Movie on the Lawn' events of the summer at East Lima Park. They were showing "Up" this week and Blaine remembered how much Kurt had enjoyed it when they watched it in Blaine's dorm room last semester.
Before he could get too deep into planning, however, Kurt cut him off.
"Blaine, honey," he started, the regret already heavily lacing his words. "That all sounds wonderful, and there's really nothing I'd rather do more, but I promised Dr. Simmons and my dad that I would work on the assignments she gave me on Tuesday. I haven't been able to do much this week because of all the transitioning and sleeping, so I really feel like I need to buckle down these next few days. I'm so sorry."
"Oh," Blaine answered softly, sounding obviously crestfallen, which caused Kurt to wince a bit. "Well that's okay, Kurt, I understand. I'm going to miss you though. C-can I ask you one more thing though?"
"Yeah?" Kurt ventured warily with a sense of foreboding.
"Is that the only reason you don't want to go out with me this weekend?" Blaine asked carefully. He didn't want to upset Kurt, but he had a feeling there was more to Kurt wanting to be a homebody this weekend.
There was a long pause on Kurt's end of the phone before he finally answered.
"I guess that's not the only reason," Kurt finally explained. "I…I just…I guess I'm really afraid of transitioning in public again." Blaine's worry was confirmed.
"Kurt, it's okay—"
"No it's not, Blaine," Kurt said a little too forcefully. He took a deep breath and started again. "It's happened only a few times before and it's terrifying and embarrassing when I wake up. Like at the Lima Bean the other day…waking up to see everyone in the coffee shop staring at me, my dad sitting right where you had been a split second before. It's awful, you just….you don't understand how bad it is."
"You're right," Blaine answered after a quiet moment. "I'm sorry, and I didn't mean to trivialize what you go through, that wasn't my intention. I just miss you, that's all. Do you forgive me?"
Kurt's heart melted for a moment and then he felt guilty. He hadn't meant to snap at his boyfriend like that. After all, he was just about the only person in Kurt's life who voluntarily put up with him, knowing about his disorder.
"Of course I forgive you," Kurt said. He could hear a whoosh of air on the other end of the phone and could only assume that Blaine had been holding his breath, waiting for an answer. "But it's me that should be apologizing. I didn't mean to snap at you. In fact, that's one of the things that I need to start working on this weekend. I've been snapping at everyone lately and I've got to learn to keep my anger and frustration in check, otherwise I put myself at risk of transitioning more frequently….and I put myself at risk of developing a reputation as a bitch."
Blaine let out an involuntary snort and just like that, the small tension between the two had been broken. The rest of their conversation that night revolved around humdrum issues such as what assignments Kurt was doing for his homeschooling and what the latest, trivial debate amongst the Warbler's was. When they were getting ready to say goodnight, Blaine made Kurt promise that if he started to feel lonely or sad over the weekend, he would call Blaine.
"Because you know I'll come running," Blaine promised.
"I know," Kurt answered with a smile. "I love you."
"I love you too, Kurt, always. Goodnight."
Now, a day later, Blaine found himself alone in his dorm room, Justin already gone for the weekend, with nothing to do. He'd already gotten up to speed on the social goings-on by checking his Facebook and Twitter. Now he was lying on his bed staring at the ceiling, trying to decide if he could muster enough motivation to trek down to the dining hall by himself. He hadn't been pondering the idea too long when there was an unexpected knock on his door.
Curious, Blaine popped off the bed and headed to the door, throwing it wide.
"Jeff!" Blaine greeted the fellow Warbler with a huge grin. Of course, why hadn't he thought about seeing what his friends were up to tonight? "What's going on?" Blaine's smile wavered a bit when he saw the serious and somewhat nervous look on Jeff's face. He worried that maybe something was wrong between he and Nick.
"Hey Blaine," Jeff answered, finally giving Blaine a small smile. "Can I come in? I kinda need to talk to you about something."
"Oh yeah, sure," Blaine said, a bit flustered. He stepped to the side, allowing Jeff to walk in and then motioned to the bed for Jeff to sit. Once he had, Blaine jumped up on the other side and sat cross-legged, facing his friend. "So…." Blaine trailed off, not really knowing what to say since Jeff hadn't given him any indication of what he wanted to talk about.
"I need to talk to you about Sebastian, and something that happened the other day after Warbler practice," Jeff explained. "Sebastian tricked Nick into going to the Lima Bean with him—"
"Wait, hold up," Blaine interrupted him with a good-natured smile. "You don't think that there's something going on between Nick and Sebastian, do you? Because I know that Nick would never—"
"No, Blaine," Jeff cut him off, sounding a bit exasperated. "Just listen to me, this isn't about Nick and me, it's about you and Kurt."
"Me and Kurt? What do you mean? What does a coffee trip between Sebastian and Nick have to do with us?"
"That's what I'm trying to get at, so just stop interrupting and let me talk, okay?" Jeff waited for Blaine to nod before continuing. "Nick said that pretty much the entire time they were there, Sebastian was asking him questions about Kurt, like when had he gone to Dalton, why did he leave, that sort of thing. But then he said something kind of strange, which is why I wanted to talk to you."
"Well," Blaine asked, starting to grow impatient. "What did he say?"
"He asked," Jeff took a moment to swallow. His mouth had grown dry and he was starting to feel nervous about confronting Blaine with this. "He asked about Kurt's disorder."
Blaine just stared at his friend. As far as he knew, Blaine was the only student at Dalton who knew anything about Kurt's condition. How did Sebastian know and why was Jeff talking like he knew too? Panicking slightly, Blaine decided the best course of action was to play dumb.
"Jeff, what are you talking about? What disorder?"
"I don't know." If Jeff had been paying closer attention, he would have seen the slight relief wash over Blaine's face at discovering that Jeff hadn't known that Kurt was suffering with something, rather, he was just repeating what Sebastian had said. That still left the mystery of how Sebastian knew about it though.
"I don't know what he was talking about," Jeff repeated. "But Nick and I both thought it was strange, and I wanted to warn you about it, because it seems to me, after having Nick tell me word-for-word about their conversation, that Sebastian is up to something. He's trying to spread rumors about Kurt and seeing the way he acts around you at Warbler practice, I would guess it's because he has a crush on you and wants to break you two up."
Blaine looked down at his hands for several seconds before returning his gaze to Jeff. "Thanks for the heads up, Jeff. I wasn't too sure about Sebastian's intentions before and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but now…I guess I know what I'll be doing tonight, having a little chat with Sebastian Smythe."
"Just be careful," Jeff warned his friend. He knew that Blaine deserved to know the truth, but he was worried about Blaine confronting Sebastian. He was a sneaky guy, and while Jeff had figured out a long time ago that there was something off about Kurt, there was no way that Sebastian would have been able to figure that out after meeting him just one time. He was digging for information somewhere and in Jeff's opinion, if Kurt wanted people to know about his personal issues, he would tell them.
Even though Jeff knew Kurt was struggling with something, he would never dare go searching for whatever it was. It was none of his business. It was no one's business but Kurt's. Well, Kurt's and Blaine's. Jeff could tell by the way Blaine had reacted to what he said that he knew exactly what Sebastian had been getting at, which made it clear to Jeff that he and Kurt had the kind of relationship where Kurt had opened up to Blaine and allowed him to know him fully. If Sebastian was trying to ruin that, Jeff was going to do everything in his power to make sure that didn't happen, because that's what friends are for, damn it.
"I will," Blaine answered. "Thanks for telling me. You're a good friend, Jeff."
"You're welcome, but please don't do anything stupid," Jeff pleaded, standing up from the bed and heading over to the door. "I just thought you deserved to know."
"I promise I won't do anything stupid," Blaine said with all the sincerity of a boy scout reciting the scout's honor.
"I'll talk to you later," Jeff said as he walked out of the dorm and down the hallway. Blaine didn't bother to close the door after him. Instead he laced up his shoes, looked up Sebastian's dorm room assignment on his computer and headed out the door himself to have a little chat with the newest Warbler.
Five minutes later, Blaine found himself pounding a little too forcefully on the door to Sebastian's dorm room. After several minutes of angry knocking, the door finally swung open and Sebastian appeared. He looked surprised for a brief moment before rearranging his face into his trademark flirty smile.
"Why hello, Blaine," he said, opening the door wider and motioning for Blaine to come in. Blaine stalked in and turned to face Sebastian as he closed the door and turned back toward the shorter boy. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"I heard about your little chat with Nick the other day," Blaine started angrily, leaving all pretense to the wayside. "And I heard what you said about Kurt."
"And what did I allegedly say about Kurt?" Sebastian asked lazily, which only infuriated Blaine more.
"You know damn well what you said. You asked him about Kurt's supposed disorder."
Sebastian laughed lightly. "Come on Blaine, let's not play games. We both know that there is nothing 'supposed' about Kurt."
"I don't know what you think you know about Kurt, but—"
"Dissociative Identity Disorder," Sebastian cut him off, relishing the wave of panic that washed over Blaine's face. "Also known as DID or more colloquially, Multiple Personalities Disorder. Kurt's got it. You know it, I know it, and unless you want the whole school to know it, you're going to listen very carefully to me. Have a seat, you look uncomfortable."
Blaine was in total shock and found his body plopping down in the desk chair that Sebastian motioned to while he himself slinked down on the edge of his bed.
"First, I want you to know that I'm not a bad guy," Sebastian explained through a wide grin. Blaine had never hated someone so much in his entire life. "I'm just a very motivated person and when I see something I want, I'm going to do everything I can to get it, you know?" Sebastian didn't wait for a response from Blaine before he continued.
"One of the things I was looking forward to when I joined Dalton was being a Warbler. No school that I've ever attended, and I've attended quite a few, has had a glee club on par with what Dalton has to offer. The only problem is, it's impossible to get a solo with you around. You should take that as a compliment from me, you have a beautiful voice. But so do I, and I want a chance to use it. Therefore, I want you to stop accepting solos. Say you want to give your voice a break, or you want to give other Warblers the chance to shine, or whatever other crap you want to make up. But in addition to backing off the solos, I want you to use your influence on the council to promote me. I want at least one solo per performance or I'm going public with Kurt's crazy.
"Second, I may be really smart, but I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty lazy. You and I have a lot of classes together and I get the feeling that you're pretty nerdy. In a totally hot way, I mean. I think it would be mutually beneficial if you started to take on my homework in addition to yours, don't you think?"
By this point, Blaine was barely able to contain the rage within him. He could feel it bubbling near the surface, but he felt completely unable to express it because at the same time he was frightened about what Sebastian might do with the information he'd mysteriously obtained about Kurt.
"How would that benefit me?" Blaine finally asked through gritted teeth.
"Well, unless you want everyone to know that you're dating a psycho—"
"Don't you dare call him that!" Blaine's anger finally bubbled over and in a flash he was standing over Sebastian who still had that stupid, bored yet slightly amused look on his face.
"Whoa, whoa, cowboy," Sebastian said, throwing his hands up in mock surrender. "It looks like you've been taking lessons from….Conrad, is it? Sit back down, there's one more thing."
Reluctantly, Blaine backed up and sat back in the chair, never once shaking eye contact with Sebastian.
"I think you and I should start seeing each other," Sebastian's eyes twinkled at the look that washed over Blaine's face. "It doesn't have to mean anything, I just want to give the appearance to the rest of the Warblers that you and I are becoming close friends and maybe something more."
"Why?" Blaine could feel the heat in his face now and the way his anger caused his voice to quiver. "What could you possibly have to gain by doing that?"
"I have my reasons," Sebastian answered simply. "Now, do we understand each other? Play nice and Kurt's little secret is safe. Go against me and don't imagine for a moment that I won't make good on my promise."
Blaine hated himself for the tears that burned in his eyes. He didn't want to let Sebastian know that he'd gotten to him, but it was a little too late for that.
"Can I go now?" He asked, voice still shaky.
"Of course, Blaine," Sebastian smiled, standing up to open the door for him. "Maybe we can talk more tomorrow over coffee?"
Blaine didn't answer as he stalked out of the room and thought he heard a snicker coming from the open doorway as he made his way down the hall.
Kurt spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday morning working on his assignments from Dr. Simmons. He'd spent a good chunk of time going through the items in his bottom dresser drawer, which is where he kept old diaries and photo albums. As he went through everything, he made different video diary entries to discuss how he was feeling.
Kurt was feeling pretty proud of himself for the fact that he was able to work on all of this and still keep all of his food down, not to mention the fact that he still hadn't transitioned since Wednesday. Of course, he was having to take very frequent breaks and so far, he didn't feel like he'd hit on anything significant during his search, but at least he was making the effort like he'd promised.
Per his father's request, he kept his bedroom door open. He wasn't in the habit of locking his bedroom door anyway, but he understood his father's worry. Even if Kurt wasn't motivated to muck through his past for himself, when he saw the look in his father's eyes, the tired lines on his forehead and the way his head hung these days, he knew he would do whatever it took to make sure his father didn't have to suffer anymore.
Just as Kurt was coming to the end of a photo album from the summer he turned three, he heard a knock at the door. Looking up, he smiled at his dad standing in the doorway.
"How's it going in here kiddo?" He asked, wringing his hands a bit.
"It's going fine," Kurt answered honestly. At first, his heart pounded every time he opened an album, but his mother had been quite the shutterbug so by the time he reached the photo chronicles of his third year, the feelings of anxiety had definitely dwindled. "I still don't really know what I'm looking for, but I'm hoping I'll know when I find it."
"Well don't push yourself too hard, okay?" Burt said, coming into the doorway to stand closer to where his son sat on his bed. "I mean, I think it's great that you're doing this, but don't push yourself past the point of no return."
"I know," Kurt answered patiently. "I mean, I won't Dad. I've been using my breathing techniques and taking a lot of breaks."
"Have you eaten anything today?"
"Let's see," Kurt started, lifting his hands in front of him to tick of the items he'd eaten. "I had a bagel when I woke up, an apple, a cup of yogurt and peanut butter crackers. Not to mention the fact that it's only ten thirty in the morning."
"Well, I wish you'd eat something of substance, but at least you're eating." Kurt rolled his eyes good-naturedly at this. "And everything is staying down?"
"Yes father," Kurt replied. "If I promise to eat a dozen wings and a rack of lamb at lunch time will that make you feel better?"
"It would make me feel better if that's what you were actually going to eat, but I'd settle for a burger."
"A burger?" Kurt winced. "How about a turkey sandwich?"
"Throw in some potato chips and we've got a deal."
"Fine," Kurt sighed. He knew his dad was just trying to look out for him, but he felt like all he was doing since last night was stuffing his face. He had to acknowledge to himself several times that he'd been practically fasting for at least four days prior, so his body had to play a bit of catch up. "Hey, why do you have your coveralls on? I thought Josh was working today."
"Oh uh, yeah," Burt looked down at his work garb as if he forgot what he was wearing. "Josh just called. Said he had some kind of family emergency, so I'm headed in. But listen, if something comes up just call me on my cell phone okay? And Carole's here, so you know, she can help you too."
Kurt gave his father a skeptical look. Something was going on with him, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. "Yeah, of course. Well, I guess I'll see you tonight then?"
"Yeah, I'll be home by five, alright?"
"Okay, see you later Dad." Kurt watched his father back awkwardly out of the room and listen to his footsteps shuffle down the stairs. Shaking his head, he returned his attention to the photo album, scrutinizing each individual picture, looking for anything that might be a trigger.
Burt had woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of his phone buzzing on the bedside table. Squinting in the darkness and cursing whoever was trying to contact him at three in the morning, he checked his phone just on the off chance that it was an emergency. When his brain cleared enough to make sense of what was on the screen, Burt jolted upright and was immediately wide awake.
Message from: Edward Szabo
Mr. Hummel, if u still want 2 talk, meet me 2morrow at Maggie's at 1pm.
Burt silently cursed his clumsy fingers and lack of experience in sending text messages as he spent the next ten minutes crafting a reply.
I will see you then. Thanks.
Placing the phone back on the bedside table, Burt tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use. He was awake for the day, his mind racing a million miles a minute as he thought through all the things he wanted to ask and wondering about why Edward had changed his mind about speaking to him. Easing himself out of bed as carefully and quietly as possible to keep from waking Carole, Burt stumbled out of the bedroom and headed to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. If he was going to be awake anyway, he might as well start thinking about what he was going to do when he met with Edward in less than twelve hours.
Now, Burt was shuffling back down the stairs from Kurt's room, shaking his head at what a horrible liar he was. Kurt saw right through that, he thought to himself, but hopefully he's too preoccupied by his assignment to think too much into it.
He'd told Carole about the new development when she came downstairs a few hours after the text message, surprised that he was already awake and dressed. She promised to keep it a secret from Kurt until they had some answers from Burt's meeting with Edward. They both decided there was no use getting him riled up and setting him up for a potential transition if the meeting turned out to be a wash.
"Just keep your eye on him," Burt instructed her quietly as he was slipping out the door. "You know, check on him every now and then. He promised me he'd eat a turkey sandwich and potato chips for lunch, so just make sure tha—"
"Burt," Carole interrupted him, placing her hand on his shoulder. "I think I can handle it. I've been a parent just as long as you have. Three months longer, actually."
"I know, I'm sorry," he answered, letting out a deep sigh. "It's just, Kurt…."
"I love him too," Carole spoke softly with a smile. "And I worry about him just as much as you do, so don't think for a minute that I'm not going to do everything in my power to help him through this."
"I love you so much," Burt replied, tears threatening to cloud his vision.
"I love you too," Carole answered, drawing him in for a hug. "Please come back with something. Anything."
"I'm going to do my damnedest," Burt said, pulling away and steeling himself as he opened the door and stepped outside. He may have looked confident on the outside, but inside he was trembling like a child.
Blaine found himself sitting across from Sebastian at the Lima Bean. It was Saturday, around noon, and Sebastian had made good on his threat to make him go get coffee. The whole time they were sitting there, Sebastian was going on and on about what it was like living in Paris. Blaine wasn't paying attention to the words Sebastian was speaking. Instead, he was focusing on how much he hated Sebastian's stupid smirk and elitist attitude.
At some point, after Sebastian had talked for at least ten minutes straight about his favorite little café in Paris, he leaned across the table close to Blaine and beckoned him to move closer. Blaine reluctantly obliged.
"I don't care if you hate me right now," Sebastian whispered in his ear. "I think, once you see the light, that you will have a change of heart. But for right this moment, you better start acting like you're having the time of your fucking life because Nick and Jeff are headed in from the parking lot and if they suspect for one second that this is not a mutually agreeable coffee date, you are going to regret it."
Blaine leaned back in his chair, not bothering to turn around to look for his friends. He knew they'd eventually find him. Until they made their way over to the table though, Blaine had to use every ounce of energy to rearrange his facial features so as to appear to be having the time of his life with the first person he could every truthfully say that he hated.
"Blaine…and Sebastian?" Blaine shut his eyes briefly as he heard Jeff's voice coming from behind him. Drawing on years of experience hiding his true emotions, he turned around with a bright smile to greet his friends.
"Hey guys!" he greeted. "What are you two up to?"
"Oh you know," Nick piped in. "Just wanted to get off campus for a while."
"But enough about us," Jeff said pointedly looking at Blaine. "What about you guys?"
"Blaine here called me up out of the blue and asked me out to a light lunch," Sebastian said, still wearing that stupid grin. "And when the cutest guy in all of Ohio asks you out on a date, you don't say no."
"It's not a date," Blaine said through gritted teeth. Sebastian shot a warning look at Blaine. "I just thought I should get to know Sebastian better, if we're going to be singing together."
"That's not what you said on the phone earlier, Blaine," Sebastian teased. "But we can play that game I suppose."
Jeff gave Blaine a funny look that Blaine interpreted as both confused and angry.
"Well boys, I would invite you to join us, but Blaine and I were just leaving. It's such a nice day out, I think I've convinced Blaine to go for a walk around the lake at Westerville Park."
"Sure," Jeff answered, still not taking his gaze off of Blaine. Blaine tried to subtly communicate with Jeff that they'd talk later, but he wasn't sure the message was received. "Well, we'll let you go then. Come on, Nick."
"Bye guys," Nick smiled nervously, sensing that all was not right with the situation. Blaine watched helplessly as the two boys headed across the coffee shop to the registers.
"You're coming awfully close to ruining this whole deal we have going on," Sebastian warned. "I suggest that next time you act a little less like you want to rip my face off."
"Maybe if you weren't trying to ruin my life I wouldn't hate you so much," Blaine answered angrily, keeping his voice low.
"Blaine, sweetie," Sebastian answered patronizingly. "Can't you see I'm trying to save your life? What kind of future do you think you have with that freak? If he doesn't go off the deep end completely, he's going to either be so drugged up he can't function or he's going to be so depressed he'll kill himself. And where does that leave you?"
Blaine was too angry to form words. Instead, he got up from the table and began heading to the door, Sebastian close on his heels.
Blaine was barely out of the coffee shop before his phone started buzzing. Sliding it out of his pocket, he winced slightly as Jeff's name appeared above the new text message animation.
We need to talk. Tonight. Don't blow me off.
Turning back toward the shop, he saw Jeff standing at the counter with Nick, who was giving his order to the barista. Blaine saw the seriousness in Jeff's eyes and gave him the slightest nod of agreement, hoping that Sebastian hadn't caught the exchange. Thankfully, Sebastian was too busy playing with his own phone to notice.
"Sorry Blaine," he announced after several moments of silence while the two of them stood outside his car. "Just updating my Facebook status. I want the world to know what a great day I'm having with you."
"Please don't do that," Blaine pleaded, panicking slightly at the possible fallout of any number of people seeing that status update. "Please Sebastian, if Kurt sees—"
"Blaine, Blaine, Blaine," Sebastian chuckled shaking his head. He walked over and opened the passenger side door before placing his hand on Blaine's shoulder. "Don't you get it? The status update is for him. Trust me, the sooner you get out of this toxic relationship, the better off you'll be. Get in the car."
"No!" Blaine shouted angrily, pushing Sebastian back away from him. "I'm not playing this stupid game anymore. I don't care if you tell everyone at Dalton about Kurt. I love him and I'm not going to lose him for you!"
"Blaine, you're making a scene," Sebastian said through a tight smile. "Fine. Let's talk about it. Get in the car and we'll do this like civil adults."
The only reason Blaine agreed to get in the car was because of the other people standing around in the parking lot. When he shouted and pushed Sebastian, several of them turned around and began watching. One lady even pulled out a cell phone and looked like she was either going to record the whole thing or call the cops.
Once they were both buckled in and driving away from the coffee shop, Sebastian began to speak.
"I get that you don't care that your boyfriend is psychotic," Sebastian started, earning himself a death glare from Blaine. "But did you ever stop to think that maybe he doesn't want people to know? I mean, he did transfer schools twice before giving up on social interaction altogether. I'm just worried that if everyone knew about him it might destroy him."
The fake sympathy and concern that dripped from Sebastian's words made bile rise up in Blaine's throat.
"Don't you dare act like you care about Kurt's well-being," he said as calmly as he could muster. "If you cared at all about him you wouldn't be doing this."
"On the contrary, Blaine," Sebastian retorted. "I care about Kurt more than you think. He has to know that what the two of you have going on can't last. I mean look at you, and then look at him. Why are you with him anyway? Was he like, the only other gay kid in all of Western Ohio?"
"Stop the car," Blaine answered. "Stop the car now."
Blaine grabbed the emergency brake.
"Stop the car or I'll do it."
Seeing the angry look in his eyes, Sebastian reluctantly pulled the car over. Blaine unbuckled himself and got out of the car, slamming the door. They were about four miles from campus, not a terribly long distance, but there was no way that Blaine was going to spend one more second in that car with Sebastian.
Sebastian drove slowly beside Blaine for a few moments before rolling the passenger side window down.
"Okay, you're right," Sebastian shouted to him. "That was really out of line. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. Can we try again?"
"I'm done talking," Blaine answered. "I'm not going to do this anymore."
"Fine," Sebastian said. "But don't think for a moment that I won't hold up my end of the deal. In fact, let me pull over here and get online—"
"No," Blaine suddenly remembered that despite the fact that he didn't care about Kurt's illness, it wasn't his decision to let the whole world know about it. He would figure out how to get around the whole Sebastian thing, but he needed to buy some time first in order to come up with something.
"No what, Blaine?" Sebastian said with a smile. He knew he had the other boy back in his grips.
"Don't do that, I'll….fine, I'll do whatever," Blaine answered, moving back toward the car despite the fact that his body was physically revolting against the action. For a moment before he opened the door and sat back down, he felt like he was going to throw up.
"That's good, Blaine," Sebastian said smoothly. "Now, I believe we were headed to the park before you got your panties in a wad?"
Blaine answered by way of one solitary, defeated nod of the head. He was so engrossed in his plans to stop this nightmare that he didn't feel his phone vibrating again and again in his pocket.
Burt sat impatiently at a booth at Maggie's, Lima's only non-chain twenty four hour breakfast restaurant. It was a quarter past one and there was no sign of Edward Szabo. Fearing that he'd been stood up, he pulled out his phone and checked it for what felt like the millionth time. Nothing. Just as he was putting it away though, a familiar looking stranger walked through the entrance.
It was definitely Edward. He was, of course, older and taller, but he had the same round face, the same blond hair, although it was a touch darker now. Realizing that Edward probably wouldn't recognize him after all these years, Burt stood up and waved at him until his eyes connected with the boy's. Edward tilted his chin in recognition before making his way over to the booth.
"Mr. Hummel?" he asked tentatively as he approached.
"Yeah, Edward," Burt answered, motioning to the bench seat opposite himself. "Have a seat, son. Thanks for agreeing to meet with me."
"It's no problem," Edward said. Burt wasn't the greatest at reading people, but the uneasiness radiating from the boys was palpable. "I wanted to apologize for how I acted the other day when you called. I just….you caught me off guard, that's all."
"It's okay," Burt nodded. "I understand, you probably hadn't thought about Kurt for a long time."
"Actually, I think about him all the time," Edward answered in a near whisper, hanging his head slightly and averting his gaze from the man sitting across from him.
Burt didn't know how to respond to that. He didn't really know what he wanted to ask Edward now that the boy was sitting right in front of him. Of course he had so many questions, but where did he start? Should he tell Edward about Kurt and what he's like now, or should he just ask about what happened to their friendship all those years ago?
"Edward, I wanted to speak to you about Kurt and what happened to your friendship," Burt started. He decided to just dive into it. "You two were inseparable for years and then it was like you disappeared. Kurt stopped talking about you and didn't beg me to take him over for play dates anymore—"
"Mr. Hummel," Edward cut him off. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but why does it matter now? Why did you track me down to ask me about a friendship I had with your son in preschool?"
So this was it, Edward was going to determine the path of the conversation, and Burt owed him at least the truth of why he interrupted his life.
"Edward, Kurt is…Kurt has some problems," Burt explained, not really knowing the best way to describe what was going on with his son. "Emotional problems. They're pretty severe and he's been dealing with them for a long time, but they have gotten a lot worse in the last couple of months. His doctor seems to think that these problems may stem from an incident in his childhood. I called you up because you two were so close and you disappeared around the time that Kurt began to change. I guess I just thought you may have some insight into what may have happened to my son."
Edward stared at Burt for an uncomfortably long time, not speaking. Burt wasn't sure how to respond. He tried to hold the boy's gaze, but the mixture of emotions that played on Edward's face made it difficult for Burt not to pull away. Finally, Edward began to speak.
"When I was five, my uncle came to stay with us for a while. He'd been kicked out of the house by my grandparents and my dad told him he could stay in the guest bedroom until he found some work. He was a lot younger than my dad, probably like seventeen or eighteen at the time. He didn't really pay much attention to me, even though I tried to get him to play with me. I thought he was real cool, you know? I'm sorry, do you think I could get something to drink? My throat is really dry."
"Yeah, of course," Burt put his hand up in the air, motioning for the waitress to come over. His heart was pounding so hard, he was afraid it was going to burst out of his chest. He didn't like where this story was heading, but at the same time he was desperate for Edward to continue.
Five minutes of silence passed before the waitress finally came back with Edward's soda. He took a few shaky sips before steeling himself to continue.
"Okay where was I? Yeah, Uncle Mark. Anyway, he ignored me most of the time, except for when Kurt came over to play. Whenever Kurt was over, Mark would come out of his bedroom and sit on the floor with us, playing whatever game we were playing. Kurt was like me, he seemed to look up to Mark and always asked where Mark was when he came over. I guess I was probably pretty jealous. I mean, Kurt was supposed to be my best friend and Mark was my uncle, but we would only be playing for a little while when Mark would suggest that we play hide and go seek. He would always make me be 'It' first and then I could never find Kurt or him after that, sometimes for hours."
Edward cast a worried gaze at Burt, trying to see if he should continue.
"It's okay, Edward," Burt said, as if reading his mind. "Keep going."
"It was like that for a long time. I mean, Kurt came over just about every day. Sometimes I'd ask if we could play over at his house, but he said he wanted to play with Mark too and Mark told him that he would get in trouble if he tried to invite him over to play at his house. It wasn't too long after the hide and seek thing started happening that Kurt began acting different. He would still come over to play, but he didn't laugh anymore, and when Mark would come out of the bedroom, Kurt seemed scared or something. He would still disappear with him, but he didn't seem to like being around Mark anymore. And then one day, Kurt just stopped coming over. I knew his mom was sick, so I thought that maybe he just couldn't play anymore because of everything going on at home. It wasn't until I was older that…that pieces started falling into place."
Silence. Edward could see a slight tremor in the frame of the elder Hummel.
"Mr. Hummel? Are you…do you…are you okay?" Edward felt stupid for asking that. Of course he wasn't okay. Edward didn't know exactly what happened between Mark and Kurt, but now that he was older, he assumed what Mr. Hummel was probably assuming right this minute. And finding out that Kurt had some sort of emotional disturbance only confirmed the fear that had been growing within him for several years now every time he thought about his first best friend.
"Edward," Burt's voice came out shaky and Edward prayed to God that the man didn't start crying in the restaurant because he had no idea how to comfort a man more than twice his age. Thankfully, Burt took a few deep breaths and seemed to regain composure. "Where is Mark now?"
Burt was hoping that the son of a bitch still lived with Edward's family because it would make murdering him a lot more convenient.
"I-I don't know," Edward stuttered. "He disappeared shortly after Kurt stopped coming over and no one has heard from him since. It's been over ten years since I saw him last."
"Szabo?" Burt asked. "Is his last name Szabo too?"
"Yeah, Mark Dewitt Szabo" Edward gulped, starting to feel incredibly nervous. "Mr. Hummel, please….will you do me a favor and keep my name out of this? I wanted to meet with you and tell you what I knew, but I don't want any fallout from my family over this. I-I've never told my parents what I think happened, and I'm afraid—"
"Don't worry, Edward," Burt cut him off. "You have no idea how much I appreciate you having the courage to come meet with me. I won't bring your name up to anyone, but you do understand that I'm going to have to follow up on this, right? For Kurt?"
"I know," Edward conceded. "I just hope it helps somehow. And Mr. Hummel?"
"If, in the future, you feel like it's okay or it might help, will you tell Kurt that you bumped into me? That I asked about him and that I still consider him one of my best friends?"
Burt's heart nearly broke for the fourth time in the past hour. This poor kid sitting in front of him had spent years feeling guilty, mulling over what happened at his house to his best friend. Burt wished he could take that away for him.
"Absolutely," Burt affirmed. He was getting ready to end the conversation when a wave on fear washed over him as something he hadn't thought about yet came to mind.
"Edward, I have to ask you one more thing and you absolutely have to tell me the truth."
"Okay," Edward answered nervously.
"Did Mark ever, ever do anything to you? Even once?"
Edward exhaled shakily, but when he spoke, his voice was clear and Burt believed him.
By the time Blaine finally was released from Sebastian's company, the sun was already making its slow decent in the western sky. Sitting down on his bed, he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. It was only then that he realized that he hadn't bothered to check it all day since leaving the Lima Bean. Scrolling through, he looked at the damage.
Four missed calls, one from Jeff, the other three from Kurt. No new voicemails. One new text message from Jeff.
I'll be at your dorm at 6pm. We need to talk and I need answers.
Blaine looked at the time on the phone. It was five thirty. He wasn't planning on going anywhere for the rest of the night, so he figured he better call Kurt back before Jeff was pounding at the door.
He called twice, the second time he left a voicemail, apologizing several times and asking him to please call when he got the message. With some time left to kill before his chat with Jeff, he decided to hop online and check out what Sebastian had written on Facebook earlier in the day.
Sebastian Smythe: Lunch date with the one and only Blaine Anderson. Who's the luckiest guy in all of North America? ;)
Blaine winced, but it wasn't as bad as he was expecting. Maybe Kurt wouldn't see it. Who was he kidding though? Sebastian had tagged him in the post, so even if Kurt didn't stalk Sebastian's page, the update would still show up on Blaine's profile. But maybe with Kurt working on his assignments all day, he'd neglected to log on. Maybe Blaine could catch him before he saw it. Either way, Blaine knew he had to tell Kurt what was going on with Sebastian. He may have to put up with his antics for a while, but he wanted Kurt to know that Sebastian meant absolutely nothing to him.
As he was mulling over his options on how to approach the topic with Kurt, Blaine heard the familiar knocking on his door.
"It's open!" Blaine shouted and seconds later, Jeff was storming in. Blaine half expected Nick to be trailing in behind him, but it appeared as though Jeff was alone.
"Okay, you're going to explain to me what the fuck is going on with you, and depending on what you say, I may or may not call Kurt and tell him what an asshole you are."
"Jeff, calm down—"
"No Blaine! I won't calm down! Do you have any idea what you're doing? What you're risking to lose by hanging out with…excuse me, with dating that thing? How dare you do that to Kurt?"
By this point, Jeff, who was usually so mild mannered, was hovering menacingly over Blaine, screaming at him. Blaine actually thought for a few moments that Jeff was going to hit him.
"Jeff will you please sit down? I promise I'll explain everything, but you have to promise not to tell anyone, especially not Kurt. It's my responsibility to tell him what's going on with Sebastian and me." Blaine was leaning back awkwardly in a half-sitting, half-laying position with Jeff still over him. Finally, Jeff stood back up straight and sat down next to Blaine on the bed, arms crossed tightly.
Burt stumbled back out to his truck, a pain shooting sharply through his chest. He felt like he'd been shot. It took everything within him to hold it together in front of Edward. He'd promised the boy that if he found out about Mark's whereabouts he'd contact Edward and Burt made him promise the same. They awkwardly shook hands at the end of the conversation, and he waited until Edward was in his car and headed down the road before paying the check and heading out to the parking lot himself.
Now he was sitting in the driver's seat, fighting the urge to punch his fist into the windshield with every ounce of restraint in his body. He wasn't sure how long he'd been sitting there when the familiar jingle of his cellphone ring tone jolted him out of his thoughts. Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he saw that it was Carole calling.
"Hello?" He answered, not quite ready to hear his wife's cheerful voice on the other end. Only, when she answered, it was far from cheerful.
"Burt, honey, I need you to come home right away," she spoke urgently, sounding slightly out of breath.
"What's wrong, is it Kurt?" Burt already knew the answer to that. Of course it was Kurt, hadn't he been trying so hard to work on his assignments the last few days? Something must have come up.
"Yes," Carole answered frantically. From the muffled noises in the background, it sounded like she was rummaging through something, or moving quickly through the house. "He's gone. I came upstairs to check on him after he ate lunch and his room was destroyed. It's awful, he tore everything off the walls and there's paint or markers or something scribbled all in the carpet."
"Did you check for Teddy?" Burt asked automatically. Teddy was Kurt's favorite stuffed animal as a child. If Teddy was gone too, then Burt had a pretty good idea what happened.
"Shit, I didn't even think about that," Carole muttered. Obviously she was still in Kurt's room, because Burt could hear the telltale whine of Kurt's closet door being opened. "
"Teddy's gone too," she finally confirmed.
"It's Jamie," Burt answered, cursing to himself. Kurt had transitioned again and from the looks of it, Jamie threw a tantrum before running away. The good thing about Kurt's five year old alter was that, although he tended to 'run away from home' quite a bit, he usually stuck to the same few hiding places.
"Is Finn there?" Burt asked. When Carole said that he was, Burt explained the game plan. "Okay, you know that little creek behind Gordon Street a couple of blocks up? About a quarter of a mile south of the intersection of Gordon and Oak, there's a little cave-like area next to the creek. Send Finn over there and if Jamie is there, tell him to call me and just keep his eye on him."
Burt waited impatiently as he heard Carole tell Finn verbatim what Burt had instructed. Burt was already halfway down the road by the time Carole got back to the phone.
"Okay Carole, I want you to head over to the covered bridge by Johnson's Dairy, you know, the yellow one?"
"Got it," she answered. Burt could hear keys jingling in the background. "Where will you be?"
"I'm going to the cemetery," Burt answered, putting his blinker on. "Call me if you find him and I'll call you if he's where I'm going. I'm sure he's one of these places." Burt didn't want to think about what he would do if Jamie wasn't in one of his usual hiding places.
But five hours later, as the sun started to set, it became obvious that Burt was going to have to do something. Jamie was nowhere to be found and despite all the horrible days in Burt Hummel's life, this one was turning out to be one of the worst.
"I think we better call 911. It's getting late and he's not anywhere we've tried looking."
Burt rubbed his hands wearily over his face as his wife spoke. He, Carole and Finn were all gathered in the living room after searching everywhere that Burt could possibly think to look with absolutely no sign of Kurt or Jamie. It was closing in on eight o'clock and every second that passed caused Burt's panic level to rise.
"They wouldn't do anything," Burt answered, caught at the crossroads of anger, frustration and helplessness. "He's eighteen now, they don't search for adults unless they have reason to believe he's in danger."
"Burt, honey," Carole responded gently. She didn't want to say anything to further upset him, but she was feeling pretty frantic herself. "Kurt has a mental health diagnosis, a pretty severe one that's not currently being medicated. I think the police would consider that a dangerous situation."
Burt contemplated this. He knew she was right and part of him was screaming to jump up and run to the phone to call the police. But the other part, the part that knew his son more than anyone else, knew that if he called the police and a news alert was issued about a mentally disturbed eighteen year old by the name of Kurt Hummel, when Kurt was eventually found, he may never forgive his father for it. He was still contemplating his choices, when Finn suddenly jumped up from the couch.
"Wait," he said excitedly. "Has anyone called Blaine? Maybe he knows something."
"Oh Finn, it didn't even cross my mind," Carole said, mentally berating herself. Of course Blaine might know something. Maybe he was with Kurt right now and didn't know to call. "Will you call him?"
"I'm on it," Finn answered, already moving quickly toward his bedroom to get his phone off the charger. He'd wasted the battery after being in near constant contact with his mom and Burt all day.
After Finn left the room, Burt and Carole continued to discuss what they should do. They went over everything that had happened earlier in the day, searching for any clues that might help them figure out what happened. Burt hadn't had the chance to talk about his conversation with Edward, that would have to wait.
"Did you see anything in his room that might shed some light on anything?" Burt asked. He hadn't gone upstairs yet. He knew he should, but he was too anxious to find Kurt to focus on anything else.
"I didn't do a whole lot of digging around, the place is a wreck," Carole answered. "There were some pictures on the ground, some pages torn out from his photo albums, but other than that, I didn't really get a good look."
"I wonder if he saw something in those photographs," Burt mumbled. He was ninety percent sure he already knew the answer to that, but he wouldn't be certain until he went up and investigated.
"Burt," Carole's voice jolted him out of his thoughts. "We need to make a decision about the police."
"I know," he conceded. "Let's wait to see what Blaine knows, if anything."
Another excruciating minute passed before Finn came shuffling back into the room, hands shoved in his pockets.
"Blaine has no idea," Finn said, avoiding both his parents' disappointed faces. "He said he hasn't talked to Kurt today, that he had several missed calls from him around lunch time, but when he tried to call him back, he didn't get any answer. No answers from his text messages either."
"That's it," Burt said, standing up. "I'm making the call."
But before he could reach his cell phone in his pocket, the shrill ring of the house phone radiated from its cradle on the side table. Burt's hand flew over to pick it up and answer before he could even process what was happening.
"Yes, this is Burt Hummel." Carole and Finn exchanged worried glances, wishing they could hear the other end of the conversation.
"You do? Christ, is he okay?"
"Yes Officer, I'll be there in ten minutes."
Burt ended the call and tossed the phone back on the couch before picking up his car keys.
"He's at the police department. Apparently he was at the public library and refused to leave at closing so they took him into the station. From the sound of it, he's still Jamie and I've got a lot of explaining to do."
"Thank God he's okay," Carole said, breathing for the first time since the phone rang. "Do you want me to come with you?"
"No," Burt shook his head. "Stay here and fix up the guest bedroom please. I don't want him going back into his bedroom until I have a chance to see what happened and get it cleaned up. Finn, call Blaine back and let him know Kurt is safe and I'll call him later tonight."
Both Carole and Finn nodded and set off to complete their tasks while Burt headed downtown to pick up his son.
"Blaine, calm down! Just breathe and tell me what happened."
Blaine could feel Jeff rubbing small circles on his back as he sat hunched over, unable to catch his breath.
"Finn, he said…he said…"
"Deep breath. There you go, now take one more. Okay, now who is Finn?"
"Kurt's brother," Blaine answered after following Jeff's instructions. He was starting to calm down a bit, working hard to get himself under control. He was no use to anyone if he couldn't stop freaking out. "He said that Kurt's been missing since early this afternoon and he wanted to know if I knew where he was."
"I'm sure he's fine," Jeff reassured, a little too quickly. Thankfully, Blaine's back was to him so that he couldn't see Jeff's facial expression. Jeff had seen the post from Sebastian on Facebook, and after talking to Blaine, the whole thing made a lot more sense, but if Kurt's disorder was really as bad as Blaine had just confided, Kurt going missing was definitely a bad thing. "What do you need me to do?"
"Grab that trashcan." Jeff barely had time to swoop the trash bin underneath Blaine's head before Blaine began retching violently. This was not good. Jeff knew something was up with Blaine, Kurt and Sebastian, but if someone had told him that this is how his day was going to end up, he would have laughed in their face. Jeff was still rubbing Blaine's back, trying to help him through the heaving when Blaine's phone began to ring again. Blaine tried to pull his head out of the can to get to it, but Jeff intercepted him.
"Hello?" he answered, listening to the voice on the other end. Blaine watched with a mixed look of horror and dread.
"No, this is his friend, Jeff. Is everything—"
"Oh, God. Okay, that's awesome news."
"Yeah, I'll tell him, thanks for calling back."
Blaine wanted to collapse over on the bed, knowing from Jeff's end of the conversation that Kurt must be okay, but he couldn't rest until he knew all the details, until he knew for certain that Kurt was safe and sound.
"Who was it? What did they say?" Blaine asked, wishing his friend would just spit it out already.
"It was Finn calling back. The police station just called and Kurt is there. His dad is going to pick him up now and Finn said to tell you that Mr. Hummel will call you later tonight."
"Is he okay? Is he hurt? What happened—"
"Blaine, calm down," Jeff said, plopping back down on the bed next to him. "You heard that phone call, it was thirty seconds tops. I think if there was anything else, Finn would have told me."
"Yeah," Blaine conceded. "I guess you're right. I just…I felt so helpless and…guilty. I should have answered my phone when he tried to call, I should have been up front and honest with him about what Sebastian was trying to do, I just wasn't really thinking everything through."
"It's going to be okay," Jeff said. "I know he may be mad that you told me everything, but at least you have me on your side. I'll help you talk to him if you want, or if you think it'll help."
"I don't know," Blaine answered honestly. "But thanks for being such a good friend. Do you still want to kill me?"
"No, I want to bathe you," Jeff retorted and then immediately blushed at how his words could be misinterpreted. "No, I didn't mean that like it sounded. I meant that I want you to go get cleaned up, because you reek."
"Sure," Blaine answered with as much playfulness as he could muster after the roller coaster of a day he'd just experienced.
"Seriously, you smell like throw-up," Jeff wrinkled his nose. "Go take a hot shower and in the meantime, I'm going to take your trashcan to the dumpster and throw it out."
"You're going to throw the whole thing away?"
"Well I'm sure as hell not cleaning it, are you? That's what I thought. We'll get you a new trash can tomorrow, now go, you seriously stink."
After driving as fast as safely possible, Burt finally pulled into the parking lot in front of the Lima Law Enforcement Center. Since it was after hours, he had to wait to be buzzed in. When the door finally opened, he followed the instructions given to him over the intercom to take the elevator to the second floor and go through the first door on the right. Opening the door, he breathed a sigh of relief at seeing his son sitting in a plastic stackable chair, clutching Teddy tightly to his chest. Jamie, indeed.
"Are you Mr. Hummel?" A tall, lanky officer approached him.
"Yes sir," Burt answered.
"Hi, I'm Officer Powell," the officer answered, putting out his hand to shake Burt's. "I've been here talking with your son and I have quite a few questions."
"I can imagine," Burt chuckled nervously.
"Right. Well, if you'll follow me back to my office, I'll try to make this quick so you can take him home. Sheila, will you keep an eye on Kurt—"
"Jamie! My name is Jamie. J-A-M-I-E!"
"Sorry, will you keep your eye on Jamie, while I talk to Mr. Hummel?" Burt tried to stifle an inappropriate grin. He knew it wasn't funny, and Kurt may be facing criminal charges for whatever happened at the library, but he was just so relieved that his son was safe, especially after everything he'd learned that day.
Fifteen minutes later, Burt and Officer Powell reemerged and shook hands.
"Thanks for understanding, Officer," Burt said. "He's a good kid, we're just fighting a tough battle right now."
"Well, now that I know the whole story, it makes a lot more sense," Officer Powell replied. "If you just fax me that paperwork from his doctor when you get home tonight, I'll dismiss the charges."
"Thanks officer, I'll do it as soon as I walk in the house. Jamie, buddy? You ready to go? Wait a minute, what is that all over your face?"
Jamie crossed his eyes and jutted his chin out, trying to get a closer look at his nose and mouth. There was something red smeared all over the corners of his mouth and up his cheek.
"He kept saying he was hungry," Sheila answered sheepishly. "So I gave him my lunch. Peanut butter and jelly."
"Ah," Burt said with a nod. "Jamie, go into the bathroom and wash your face, please." Burt instructed him in a firm, but gentle tone. Jamie hopped up holding on of Teddy's paws in his right hand and trudged to the bathroom.
"Thank you, you really didn't have to do that," Burt said pulling out his wallet. He found a ten dollar bill and handed it to the woman.
"Oh no, it was really no big deal—"
"Please take it," Burt interrupted, crumpling the bill in her hand. "It's going to be a long night on an empty stomach."
"Well thanks, Mr. Hummel, but really Jamie and I had a good time," Sheila responded, reluctantly taking the money. "He was telling me about the time he and Teddy dug a hole in the back yard and found a secret cave."
Burt shook his head as Jamie emerged from the bathroom, face slightly cleaner than before.
"You ready to go home kiddo?"
"Yeah, Teddy's tired," Jamie answered, slipping his free hand into Burt's. "And he wants a milkshake on the way home."
"We'll see," Burt answered good-naturedly. He waved to Sheila and Officer Powell as they made their way out of the station, down the elevator and out to the car. By the time Jamie was strapped into the passenger seat, he was fast asleep and the drive home from the station was much less frantic than the trip there.
BANG BANG BANG
Sebastian looked lazily up from his computer screen at the sound of fists beating his door down. Now who could this be, he thought to himself. Thinking it was probably Blaine, come to argue some new offense, he put on his best smirk and sauntered over to the door. When he opened it, however, he was in no way prepared to be tackled by the blond-headed Warbler known as Jeff.
The two boys landed on the ground with a thud, their heads narrowly missing the corner of Sebastian's desk. Sebastian tried to force Jeff off of him, but he was stronger than appearances let on.
"What the hell are you doing?" Sebastian asked angrily, still struggling against him.
"Take it off," Jeff answered, a look of pure fury etched into his features.
"Take what off, you psycho?" Sebastian asked, able to hold Jeff far enough off of him to roll out from beneath. Both boys scrambled to their feet and circled each other, as if waiting for a bell to ring to signify the next round.
"Take that fucking status update off of Facebook," Jeff growled. "Or else."
"Or else? Who says that anymore?" Sebastian laughed at him. "Last time I checked, I have the right to post whatever I want, and let's face it, I didn't post anything untrue."
"You have no idea what you're messing with," Jeff answered. "You have no idea what kind of destruction you're causing and you don't even care."
"That's where you're wrong, Jeffy," Sebastian smiled. "I do care. I care very much. Granted, I don't care so much about Kurt, but I really think that Blaine is worth all the trouble. If Blaine knows what's good for him, he'll play along like a good boy. Otherwise…"
"Otherwise what, Sebastian? You'll tell everyone about Kurt's DID?" Jeff took a split second to relish the look of shock that registered on Sebastian's face before he regained his composure. "Somehow I think that by tomorrow, Kurt is going to know how you're blackmailing Blaine and he's going to rather the whole world know about it than have the love of his life being abused by you."
"You think so?" Sebastian asked cockily, his mind racing a mile a minute trying to figure out how to regain the upper hand in the conversation.
"Oh, I know so," Jeff answered. "And while Blaine is spending tomorrow with his boyfriend, I'll be spending the afternoon at Dean Parker's office explaining your little scheme to him. He knows Kurt and considers him one of the best students to pass through Dalton, so I'm sure he'd be happy to hear all about this."
Sebastian was silent.
"But why don't I cut a deal with you?" Jeff continued, his confidence growing in the knowledge that he had Sebastian right where he wanted him. "I'll hold off on telling the dean if you just remove that pesky little status update."
Sebastian looked away. He was pissed at himself for not being able to think through this one quickly enough.
"Do we have ourselves a deal?" Jeff asked after another few moments of silence. Sebastian glared at him before stalking over to his computer. Jeff followed him so he could make sure he was actually going to follow through. After it was erased, Jeff stood back and with a small smirk of his own, began walking toward the door.
"Good, Sebastian," he said patronizingly, before slowly shutting the door behind him. Sebastian waited until the sound of footsteps disappeared down the hallway. When there was nothing but silence, Sebastian let out a loud growl and punched the door as hard as he could. Wincing at the jolt of pain it sent up his arm, he let out a string of curse words, kicked over his desk chair and threw his body down on the bed.
He now had two missions. One, he needed to regain control over this situation with Blaine and Kurt, and two, he had to figure out how he was going to make Jeff's life a living hell for as long as took for his embarrassment to go away.
For the first time in the past few weeks, Burt was almost glad that Kurt had become so thin, because it made it easier to carry him from the car up to the guest room. At the same time, the lightness of his body caused him even more concern than before. He slept the entire way back from the police station, giving Burt plenty of time to mull over his conversation with Officer Powell.
The library staff had contacted the police after they repeatedly asked Jamie to leave the reading castle in the children's section. It was closing time, and although they'd felt it was a little odd to have a teenager clutching a teddy bear hiding out in the castle structure all day, there hadn't been any other kids up there from the time he arrived, so they let it slide.
When they couldn't get him to crawl out, however, they had no choice but to call 911. When the officers first arrived, they tried to talk to him to get him to remove himself. When that didn't work, they had to drag him out by his feet. Jamie kicked two of the officers, leaving bruises and screamed the entire time. When they were finally able to extract him, they forced him on his stomach and cuffed him from behind. Apparently, Jamie began crying and screaming for Teddy and it was then that the officers realized there was something seriously wrong with him.
Of course, their first assumption was that he was on drugs, but when they got him back to the station and talked to him for a while, they realized that it wasn't drugs, but that still left them with no explanation. It wasn't until Burt arrived that they knew the whole story, and Officer Powell expressed great relief that he decided against using his Taser on the boy when he was being combative at the library.
All in all, Kurt Hummel had been charged with two counts of obstruction of a peace officer and one count each of criminal trespass and criminal damage in the second degree. Burt had thanked Officer Powell profusely for his willingness to dismiss the charges upon confirmation of Kurt's psychological condition and on the way home, he'd phoned Carole to ask her to go ahead and fax the forms to the station. He knew once he got home, he had a long night ahead of him and he didn't want the task to fall by the way side.
After carrying his son upstairs and putting him to bed in the guest room, Burt made his way slowly back downstairs, wincing at the pain nagging in his lower back. He explained everything to Finn and Carole, and answered their questions the best he could. He knew a lot of answers were going to have to wait until Kurt was back, specifically dealing with what caused him to transition in the first place.
"I better go call Blaine before I forget," Burt sighed, remembering the promise he'd made about an hour ago.
"Don't bother," Finn answered quietly. "He's on his way."
"What do you mean? He's coming here?" Burt asked. It wasn't that he didn't like Blaine, or didn't want him around, it was just one more thing on his plate right now that he didn't want to deal with.
"Yeah, I couldn't talk him out of it," Finn answered sheepishly, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"It's fine, Burt," Carole chimed in, putting her hand over his on the island in the kitchen. "I'll take care of Blaine. You do what you need to do and don't worry about the rest of us."
Burt contemplated this and let his shoulders sag slightly. It was so hard not to want to do everything when it came to Kurt, but he needed to start delegating a bit if he was going to make any progress.
"Thanks, honey," he answered, leaning over to give her a quick kiss. "I'll be up in Kurt's room, trying to figure out what the hell happened." Carole and Finn nodded as they watched him climb back up the stairs to the mess that awaited him.
It was awful. The room was absolutely destroyed. There were holes in the walls, the bedding was torn and it looked like some pieces had been cut up with scissors. The worst mess was on the floor though. Several pictures littered the area, but mostly there were marker stains everywhere. There didn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to the markings, but in one corner of the wall, Jamie had drawn a picture of a house with two stick figures standing outside. One was tall with blond hair and the other was shorter with light brown. The tall figure wore a red shirt and a big smile, while the little one was frowning with wide eyes. Next to the drawing in childish handwriting, Burt saw something that almost made him throw up.
Hide an go sek
Burt had to sit down on Kurt's bed to regain composure. If he wasn't sure that Mark Szabo was the one behind all of this before, he was positive now. Scanning the floor, Burt studied the photographs where they lay.
Most of them were unremarkable and untouched, aside from the fact that they were no longer in the photo albums, but one stuck out to Burt like a sore thumb. He stood up and slowly walked over to where it lay, slightly crumpled and leaned over to pick it up.
Through the angry red marker, Burt could make out the smiling faces of Kurt and Edward sitting on the edge of a pool in their swim trunks. A lazy, lanky arm was draped over the shoulders of each boy by a blond haired, smirking teenage boy who sat between them. Despite his increasing dread, Burt forced himself to flip the photograph over and read the caption.
Kurt, Mark and Edward swimming in the Szabo's pool, August 18, 1998
Burt wiped away an angry tear as he carefully pocketed the picture and began cleaning up his son's room as best he could.