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He Was A Shooting Star

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“A publicist for child actor Kurt Wood said on Friday that as soon as this season of Pacific Bay has wrapped up, he will not be taking any new projects. Given that Kurt’s character, Elijah Bennett, will be among the characters graduating this season, Kurt plans to take a hiatus from stardom.”

Twelve year old Blaine Anderson stared at the reporter on the screen in disbelief. His mouth hung open so wide, his bowtie was practically pushing up into it. Maybe that was an over statement. But he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

Kurt Wood, his favorite actor ever, was not only leaving Pacific Bay - only the best show aimed at adolescents like himself - but he wasn’t even considering doing anything else. At least not right away. How long did hiatus’ usually last? And with someone as big a star as Kurt was, was it possible to ever become a has been?

Blaine shook his head. No. No, Kurt Wood would never be a has been.

“Kurt has been with Pacifc Bay for four seasons now, since his character Elijah was in fifth grade, which is the earliest age any character starts on the show,” the reporter on the screen went on. “Before that, he was most notable for playing Chester Atley’s kid brother on the popular Nickelodeon show, Beat That Kid.”

Blaine turned his head to look at a poster he had on his wall. He’d watched Beat That Kid as well. He’d never really cared for the main character Chester. He was more interested in his kid brother and when he learned that Elijah Bennett on Pacific Bay was going to be played by the same kid who’d played Chester’s brother, he knew he had to start watching the show as well.

The twelve year old clicked the television off, not wanting to hear any more. The idea that Kurt was leaving, made him sad.

He slid off his bed, abandoning his homework and going over to his desk to open his laptop. As soon as he logged on, an instant message popped up.

jman12: did u hear the newz about kurt wood?

Blaine stared at the message for several moments. He liked Justin, he really did. But he hated the kid’s penchant for chatspeak and missing capitals.

B&Kfriendsforever: Why do you always type like that Justin?

jman12: like wat?

B&Kfriendsforever: With chatspeak and no capitals.

The only response he got was an eye roll emoji. And then his phone rang. It was Blaine’s turn to roll his eyes as he picked up the phone. Once upon a time, twelve year olds would only have cell phones for emergencies and even older than that, they used to be too young for one.

“So are you going to type at me, or talk to me?” he answered, knowing the caller was Justin.

“Hey! You were complaining about my typing again!” came the reply.

Blaine snorted. “Because I’ve told you how much I hate you writing like that. Sometimes it’s hard to read because I’m convinced you make up chatspeak words no one else knows exists!”

“Whatever,” Justin said. “So, did you?”

The curly haired boy sighed, pushing his desk chair back from the desk and standing up, moving to pace the room.

“He’s nuts! Just because Elijah is graduating, doesn’t mean he should quit acting!”

“Pacific Bay is no doubt over now.”

Blaine was quiet for a beat. “Why would you say that?”

“Come on Blaine, are you really going to watch it anymore without Kurt?”

Again, Blaine was quiet for a beat. Actually, he was quiet for longer than that. He wasn’t about to admit to Justin that he had a point. Sure, the other actors in the show were good and they were what made it so popular, but Blaine had started watching the show purely because he was enthralled by Kurt Wood, something he still could not put his finger on why. If the actor was no longer on the show, than there was no point in watching it.

“Case rested,” Justin said. “It has my name.” Blaine rolled his eyes. “Look, it’s no secret that Elijah is the most popular character that show has. Ratings and viewing numbers are going to drop so low!”

Blaine furrowed his brow. “How do you even know stuff like that?” he asked his friend.

Justin snorted. “My mom works at the local TV station.”

“You never told me that,” Blaine said, surprise evident in his voice. He could practically hear his friend shrugging.

“Didn’t think it was relevant. We don’t really watch our local TV station,” he replied.

“Eh,” Blaine said. He couldn’t deny that Justin had a point. Not even his parents watched it. Then again, they were hardly ever home to watch anything.

There was a moment of silence before Justin said anything else.

“I guess he’s going to turn into one of those former child stars,” he said finally.

Blaine gasped as though he were appalled by the idea. “He’s just taking a hiatus!” he shouted into the phone. “That doesn’t mean he’s done with acting period!”

“We don’t even know why he’s stopping!” Justin shouted back. They weren’t angry at each other, just hysterical in general. Both boys weren’t even sure what it would mean not to have Kurt Wood on their TV every week anymore. At least they still had the rest of the season to watch him. But even as he thought about that, Blaine felt a pang in his chest. He knew it was going to be painful to watch the end of seeing his favorite actor on screen the closer it got to the finale.

Kurt’s turn as Elijah had done so much for Blaine. The character was outspoken, different like he was. He didn’t care what people thought of him and had always been brave in the face of adversity. Pacific Bay was mostly about the struggles of navigating middle school. It was the bridge that connected your childhood to really growing up. Middle school was like the middle sized pond. Elementary was the kiddie pond, and high school was the big pond.

Blaine glanced over at his homework on the bed. He was currently in seventh grade. He had one more year before he had fully crossed that bridge. In the fall, Kurt would be entering high school, just like his character Elijah would. He wondered if people were going to start writing fanfics about Elijah’s years in high school. Maybe he should try writing one.

“Blaine?” It was only after hearing his name that the boy realized he was still on the phone.

“Yeah sorry,” he said. “Look, I have homework to finish. So, I’ll see you at school tomorrow.”

There was a slight hesitation. “Yeah, okay,” Justin replied, sounding like he didn’t really want to hang up.

The twelve year old shook his head. “I swear, the way you talk on the phone so much makes me wonder if you’re secretly your sister,” he joked.

Justin gasped. “Rude!” he bit. “Bye bye bowtie!” he said then. There was a click as Justin hung up and Blaine collapsed into a fit of giggles.

Chapter Text

Blaine Anderson’s room was a mess.

No really. It looked like it had been hit with a tornado. The seventeen year old boy in question stood from his closet with a frustrated look on his face. He had been tossing things out of it, only to have them land in the middle of the floor. Of course, the teenager wasn’t really sure what he was looking for.

“Blaine?” came the sound of his mom’s voice and the curly haired boy froze. He glanced from his closet to the pile of things in the middle of the floor and cringed. The last thing he wanted was for his mother to see the mess.

“Yeah mom?” he called, hoping that she wouldn’t want to come in.

Pam Anderson was the kind of mom that would announce her presence, knock on the door, and then enter the room without an invite so Blaine held his breath.

Sure enough, there was a knock on his door, followed immediately by the knob turning and the door opening. “I brought some boxes I thought you could…” She cut herself off as she noted the mess on the floor. “Blaine?” she questioned, raising an eyebrow.

The teenager sheepishly ran a hand over the back of his head, smoothing it down as though he thought curls has sprung free from the massive amount of hair gel he’d put in that morning.

“What’s all this?” Pam asked her son. She was carrying a couple of cardboard boxes.

“Sorry mom,” he replied with a sigh. “I was looking for something.”

“Oh?” she questioned. “Whatever were you looking for?”

Blaine threw his hands up in frustration. “I have no idea,” he admitted, laughing nervously.

Pam gave her son an unreadable look. “You made a mess looking for something you don’t even know what it was?” she asked.

“Well, when you put it that way,” the teenager replied.

His mother sighed and set the boxes on his bed. “Clean this up. And then you can start packing. I thought you could use a few more boxes,” she said, nodding to the ones she’d placed on the bed.

Blaine glanced in the corner where there was already a stack of boxes and arched an eyebrow. “You really think I need more mom?” he asked skeptically.

Pam nodded to the mess. “If you plan on taking all that, than yes, I do,” she said. She was about to turn and leave the room and then thought better of it, moving to sit on the end of her son’s bed instead. “Blaine,” she started quietly. “This doesn’t have anything to do with the situation, does it?”

The curly haired boy hesitated. He knew what she was getting at. She wanted to know if he was acting out - which Blaine would hardly consider this acting out - because of the fact that they were moving. That he had to leave Dalton Academy. Sure, he could have stayed there, if he wanted to live with his father. But Blaine hadn’t gotten on very well with his father since he came out to his parents when he was thirteen.

He remembered that day really well. It wasn’t long after the ending of his favorite TV show at the time. His best friend then, had been right about it being over.

Kurt Wood, who had played one of the most popular characters on the show, did one last press conference before he seemed to drop off the face of the earth. There were things he said during that time that had resonated strongly with Blaine. Things that had lead to him figuring out what it was that made him different. And while he’d told his parents when he was thirteen years old, he hadn’t been confident enough to come out to his friends at school.

The day he did, which was about a year later, Justin had turned on him. Called him a homosexual slur and had never spoken to him in a kindly manner again.

It was strange to Blaine, Justin’s reaction. The way the boy liked to chatter away on the phone a long time like a girl made him wonder if Justin wasn’t entirely straight either. But Justin and his family had suddenly moved away a few months into freshman year and Blaine had no idea what had happened to him.

And then Sadie Hawkins happened.

The teenager wrapped his arms around himself, hugging himself tightly at the memory.

“Blaine?” his mother questioned, concern lacing her voice. It wasn’t until she’d spoken that he realized he’d been lost in thought.

“Sorry,” he muttered quietly.

Pam looked at her youngest son for a long moment, not at all sure he was really okay. But she was certain the whole thing was bringing back bad memories. She was certain setting foot in a public school again was going to trigger the fear that Blaine had managed to subdue. Even if he was happier at Dalton, even if the protective shell he’d put up had cracked and made him once more the vibrant and positive boy she’d always known him to be, she knew he was still scared.

Once in a blue moon, he still had nightmares. They’d been more frequent again as of late. With the pending move and all. It made her feel guilty for going through with the divorce.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay with your father?” she asked, thinking that maybe she shouldn’t force him to do this.

Blaine shook his head and lowered his hands. “Mom, dad and I haven’t seen eye to eye since I came out, you know that. If I stayed with him, even with boarding at Dalton, life at home would be miserable.”

Pam frowned. Although she hated to admit it, she knew her son was right.

“I’ll be okay,” he assured her.

His mother remained unconvinced, but she didn’t press the matter further. She stood from his bed and nodded. “Okay then sweetie. You really better start packing though,” she said. She turned and headed for the door. “And Blaine?”

“Yes?”

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too mom,” he replied and she left the room, shutting the door behind her.

There was a reason Kurt Hummel never let people like Rachel Berry into his room. But after she’d heard that Mercedes had not only been over to his house, but had been allowed to see his room, she had pounced on the boy.

“Why did Mercedes get to see your room and I haven’t?!” she bit out one day, marching through the front door of the Hummel-Hudson house without being invited in. She stopped in the entry and turned to face him, hands on her hips.

Kurt rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “Because you’re a snooper,” he said bluntly.

“Excuse me?” Rachel chirped, giving him a stink eye.

“Don’t try to glare me down Rachel Berry. I’ll win. I’m better at it than you are.” He walked around her, headed for the stairs, bored by the conversation already.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she spit out. “I’m not through with you!”

Kurt stopped with one foot on the stairs and turned back to her. “I’m going to mind my own business. And yes, you are.” He turned without another word and headed up the stairs.

Rachel was already making her way to follow him. One way or another, she was getting into that room.

“Don’t Rachel,” said another voice. She turned to see Finn standing in the doorway to the kitchen, munching on a grilled cheese sandwich. The diva crossed her arms over her chest.

“I’m one of his best friends!” she spit out. “I have every right to see his room!”

Finn shook his head, chewing on the sandwich. “And he has every right to not let you. Let it go.”

Rachel stared at her boyfriend for a long moment. She was getting really tired of him taking Kurt’s side over hers. She was his girlfriend for crying out loud. She let out a frustrated growl, turned on her heel and walked out of the house, clearly not happy with how this had gone.

Finn watched her go and then slowly ascended the stairs. When he reached his stepbrother’s room, he cautiously knocked on the door.

Kurt was sitting on his bed, staring down at a picture in his hands. He turned his head sharply at the sound of the knock and was relieved to find that it was only Finn. He set the picture aside and sighed heavily.

“Why don’t you want her to know?” Finn asked, coming into the room. He was aware that had it not been for the fact that his mom had married Kurt’s dad, he wouldn’t even know any of this either, and he did respect Kurt for not wanting to tell people. The other boy sighed again and hugged himself.

“Because Rachel’s a blabbermouth. She might take the information as a solution to my everyday problems at McKinley.”

Finn looked at him a moment, not sure exactly where he was going with this. But then it clicked.

“You think she’d think it would be an excuse for everyone to have to treat you better,” he commented, coming to sit beside his stepbrother. Kurt nodded. It wasn’t just that he thought she would do that; he was pretty sure it was a certainty.

“You know this is something she’d be all over, wanting to know why I was hiding it. She’d say it would be my ticket,” he said.

The other boy didn’t say anything. He merely nodded his head. Kurt had a point. They both loved Rachel, but this was the kind of secret she couldn’t be trusted with. There were so many of those. Like when everyone knew that Puck was the father of Quinn’s baby except for Rachel and Finn and then when she’d figured it out herself, she’d gone and told Finn. Or how everyone knew that Finn had slept with Santana and lied to Rachel about it. She hadn’t been too happy about that either.

Santana had even told her exactly why no one told her anything.

But this, this was something that other than Finn, no one in Glee Club knew. And he hoped none of them would find out.

It wasn’t that it was something Kurt was ashamed of. But it wasn’t exactly the most glamorous time in his life. Even if people might think it was. There were things about it that no one knew. Not even his father.

When he’d taken on the first one, it was as a distraction, because his mom was sick. And it was just so easy to slip out of being himself that way and forget about it. And then she had passed. And Kurt hadn’t been able to bring himself to do more of it for a while.

He shook the thoughts away. He didn’t want the memories. He wanted to leave them far behind, back in the past where they belonged. The truth was, as fun as it had been, few of them were happy memories. That was a dark time for Kurt. Maybe it didn’t look like it to an outsider, but that was because Kurt was very good at hiding his real feelings.

He used that skill at McKinley too. Pretending like the bullying, all the dumpster tosses, locker checks, and slushies just rolled right off his back. But the previous school year, it had really gotten to him. So much so that Kurt had even sat down with his dad and asked about doing correspondence homeschool for his final year.

Burt Hummel had been surprised by the request. When he’d asked Kurt why he had wanted to do this, he hadn’t been able to say anything. He didn’t want to burden his father with what was really going on at school. So he just shook his head and told him to forget he mentioned it.

After that, Burt had tried to talk to Finn, ask him about it. But to his credit, he’d told him, it wasn’t his place to tell.

The truth was, Finn didn’t even know the half of it. So what could he really say?

Kurt stood from his bed and slid the picture back into the secret compartment in the bottom of his dresser.

“Is that why you keep your underwear in there dude?” Finn asked.

Kurt grimaced. “Don’t call me dude, Finn,” he said, but nodded altogether. “Less likely for someone snooping to find it that way,” he added. Who would want to rifle through his underwear?

The sound of tape being unrolled filled the nearly empty room as the last box was closed up and Blaine sighed in relief, plopping down on his bed. All that was left in the room was all the major furniture. He wiped a hand across his brow and stared at the space where his TV had been sitting.

It was strange, watching the room change more than it ever had. He was leaving the room he’d spent his whole life in behind.

Blaine dropped the roll of packing tape on the bed next to him. It was then that he caught sight of something sticking out from under the bed.

Sliding off and getting down on his hands and knees, he pulled it out.

It was an old magazine poster. A young chestnut haired boy with pale skin and pretty blue-green-gray eyes was smiling out at him from the picture. Kurt Wood. Blaine had forgotten that he even had this poster.

After Pacific Bay had ended that year, he had been one of the many viewers to stop watching it. All the polls and message boards said that the show was nothing without Elijah. To be fair, everyone knew that he would have left after that season anyway because the show didn’t follow the characters after eighth grade. But the idea that Kurt Wood was leaving acting for an indeterminate amount of time had somehow made the impact of his departure from the show more substantial.

In the end, Pacific Bay’s viewership had suffered so much after Kurt’s departure, it had been canceled halfway through the next season.

Blaine’s hand tightened on the old poster. What had happened to Kurt Wood?

He remembered after the last season of Beat That Kid , Kurt had disappeared from the spotlight for a few years, before turning up on Pacific Bay , but at that time, everyone knew it was because his mother had passed away and he needed the time to grieve and heal some. Though no one had expected it would take two years for him to come back. Still, no one faulted him for it.

But the hiatus he took after leaving Pacific Bay had become less of a hiatus and more of a departure from Hollywood altogether.

The press conference he’d done at the end of his run on the show was the last public appearance he’d made.

Wood wasn’t even his real last name. It was no secret that Kurt had adopted his mother’s maiden name when he started acting, because he’d started acting to cope with her being sick. But no one knew what his real last name was. That in itself made tracking him down harder. Blaine doubted he was still going by Kurt Wood these days.

Of course, he wasn’t looking for him. Sure he missed him. He was his favorite childhood actor. But if he didn’t want to be found, than Blaine respected that.

The media however, had other ideas.

Every single year, on the anniversary of that last press conference, some celebrity gossip show did another ‘What happened to Kurt Wood?’ special. There was not much difference in the shows at all in the last five years.

Probably because there was no new information.

Blaine sighed. He carefully folded the poster and slipped it into his backpack. It was nostalgic memorabilia from his childhood, before the pain he’d endured. It was something that had given him the strength to keep moving forward through that pain. And that was why he needed to keep it. As a reminder that he could get through and face anything.

“Wherever you are Kurt Wood,” he said, staring at his open backpack. “I wish I could tell you thank you.”

There were times when Kurt would shut himself up in his room and just sit on the floor and sift through the memories.

There were times when he would go up into the attic and sit on the floor beside his mom’s old dresser with the drawers open. It still smelled like her perfume.

There were even times when he felt guilty for being so busy during the time she’d been sick. But he wasn’t sure he would have been able to handle it otherwise. A part of him felt like he hadn’t given her a proper goodbye.

Now was one of the times he was sitting on the floor and sifting through the memories.

His underwear drawer was pulled open and the small hatch at the bottom of the boxers and briefs was uncovered. Kurt had pulled a stack of things from the drawer, including the picture he’d been looking at the day Rachel Berry had screamed at him about not being allowed in his room.

It wasn’t until he reached the bottom of the stack that he found it. An old letter, yellowing around the edges.

Curious as to why he might have kept this particular item, Kurt unfolded it.

The handwriting was that of a young child, though it was very neat for the child’s age. Just looking at it had the memories of what and why coming back to him now.

Dear Mr. Kurt,

That sounds funny, doesn’t it? Mr. Kurt. It’s making me giggle as I write this. Um, you don’t know me and I don’t know you. Not personally anyway. But wouldn’t that be fun? Maybe we could play together or something!

Anyway, um, I’m writing this to tell you that you are my inspiration. You have always been my inspiration, since the first time I saw you on TV. And I do mean as Chester’s kid brother. I didn’t like Chester much. I thought you should have been the highlight of the show. You always were for me.

That hasn’t changed now that you are on Pacific Bay. I’m only nine so I’m still two years away from my own middle school experience and I know technically, Elijah isn’t there yet either. But I’m not sure if you know just how much of an impact he has made already. My best friend Justin and I idolize Elijah so I just wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for being a beacon of light to those who are scared to be different.

Your Friend,
Blaine Anderson

Kurt remembered being impressed that the letter had been written by a nine year old. He remembered thinking how he sounded wise beyond his years. It was clear to him that the boy was going to go places one day.

He remember now why he’d kept it. Not only had he addressed him by his first name - and the Mr. part was adorable - but he hadn’t written for an autograph or to brag about how much he loved him or any of the other ridiculous things he’d gotten in fan letters. But perhaps the biggest reason of all, was because the boy had signed it Your Friend rather than Your Fan like everyone else.

Blaine hadn’t wanted an autograph. He hadn’t wanted a picture. He hadn’t wanted Kurt’s phone number so they could hang or something. All he’d wanted, was to thank him.

In Kurt’s opinion, that was the most heartfelt letter he could have ever gotten.

Little did he know, the longtime hope to thank Blaine for changing his life with that letter, may very soon become a reality.

Chapter Text

The first day of school was always the hardest. Kurt was still adapting to regular school, even though it had been a few years. A part of him of course was still bitter about the fact that he should have graduated the year prior. But that was the problem with being mainly raised on homeschool. He didn’t remember the first few years of education for himself. Or rather kindergarten. He’d entered the other world when he was only six years old.

Still, he hated the first day of school. Not just because it meant he had a whole year of plausible torment ahead of him, but because the bullies always had a different method of welcoming him back.

Kurt cringed and tugged down on his sleeves as he passed the dumpster. He remembered the welcome back when he finally started his sophomore year, a year behind schedule. He’d ended up with a broken wrist.

There were no jocks there waiting for him.

He cringed again as he passed the entryway lockers. Last year, he’d been shoved into one and ended up with a dislocated shoulder.

There were no jocks there either.

He started to relax a little bit, thinking maybe they wouldn’t be getting him this year.

Until he turned a corner and was met with a wall of freezing ice hitting him in the face. It burned, it stung, and he was pretty sure it was going to give him freezer burn.

Kurt squinted, trying to see just how many jocks had hit him with a slushie while still keeping his eyes shut enough that the dye didn’t sting as much. He could make out six blurs.

“Welcome back lady boy!” he heard one of them shout. It was Azimio. He knew his voice anywhere by now. Laughter followed his words, the five other jocks with him. But there was something different, something not the same. Something was missing.

“Karofsky would have loved that,” one of the other jocks said.

Kurt shut his eyes all the way and didn’t move. “Eh,” Azimio grunted. Clearly, the last name of his best friend had suddenly become a sore subject for him. “Whatever. He chose to go to that other school. He chose to leave. He chose to shove me at the end of last year and say it wasn’t funny anymore.” There was anger in his last words.

And then Kurt picked up another sound. Footsteps, moving quickly as though someone were running toward them.

“Let’s get out of here!” the pale boy heard another jock say. There was a sound of cups landing on the floor and then the six of them retreated down the hallway. It was only a few moments later when a new voice, one Kurt was sure he had never heard before, met his ears.

“Are you alright?” The eighteen year old turned his head in the direction of the voice. He reached up with both hands in an effort to swipe the flavored ice away from his face, give him a chance to open his eyes a little more so he could see the speaker.

“Nothing I can’t handle,” he muttered. It wasn’t a lie. Slushies were fairly common for the Glee Club at McKinley. And to be honest, he was expecting himself to end up a lot worse. This was the bullies’ last year to torment him. So he was surprised to receive a welcome so tame. “Would you mind just pointing me in the direction of the nearest bathroom?” he added. “I can’t see very well.”

“Oh,” the boy - and he could tell it was a boy - said.” Um, I don’t really know.”

That caught Kurt by surprise and he raised his head from where he’d been inspecting his sleeve and picking some of the larger ice chunks off of it.

“Are you new here?” he asked after a moment of silence.

The other boy nodded, before he realized that Kurt still couldn’t see him very well. “Hi,” he said, extending a hand. Kurt was surprised he would try this, even though he knew he would come away with a sticky hand. But if he insisted, who was Kurt to deny an introductory handshake. “I’m Blaine, Blaine Anderson.”

The pale boy stilled a moment, his hand in the other boy’s. Blaine Anderson. This boy was Blaine Anderson. Could he be the same Blaine Anderson that had written him that letter? How many Blaine Andersons could there be in the US? Not to mention, ones that seemed to be around the right age. How old had that Blaine been when he’d written the letter?

“Nine,” Kurt muttered to himself, not realizing he had spoken out loud.

“Excuse me?” Blaine said.

“Oh! I mean Kurt!” taller boy said. “My name is Kurt Hummel.”

“It’s nice to meet you Kurt Hummel,” Blaine said with a soft chuckle. “Come on, let’s see if we can find you a bathroom.”

“Thank you,” Kurt replied, as Blaine took a hold of his arm gently to guide him. The pale boy felt something stir in his stomach but he ignored it. Blaine was just being nice. It was nothing more than that.

Of course, being covered in slushie was not the way Kurt would have chosen to potentially make a new friend. Or would this kid turn his back on him too the moment he found out that Kurt was the school fag? Although lately, the pale boy felt much more like he was the school punching bag. Though perhaps the two went hand and hand.

“I’m sorry we had to meet like this,” he said quietly as Blaine guided him down the hall. He let out a wry chuckle.

When the other boy spoke, Kurt could hear the hint of a smile in his voice. “Oh the joys of public school,” he said, sarcasm lacing the words. “How I missed the insanity.”

That caught Kurt’s attention. “Oh, were you homeschooled before now?” he asked, curious about whether or not they had this in common.

He could just barely make out Blaine shaking his head. “I went to private school. Dalton Academy.”

Kurt stopped in his step. The school’s name rang a bell.

“You’re that Blaine Anderson?!” he said in surprise, remembering now that Blaine Anderson was the name of the lead singer for the Warblers.

Blaine chuckled. “Do you know any other Blaine Andersons?” he asked.

Though he knew the boy was joking, Kurt’s immediate thought was that yes, he did know another Blaine Anderson. Except that he didn’t actually know him. One hand subconsciously landed on the side of his bag. He’d tucked the yellowing letter into it as a reminder to have courage. Even now, eight years after he’d first received it, the unknown boy was still giving him the courage to keep moving forward.

One thing Kurt had never admitted to anyone was that not long after he’d started on Pacific Bay , he’d considered just quitting altogether. It had been two years since he’d done any substantial acting at all and he was a bit rusty in the beginning, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue was that he wasn’t sure if it was something he wanted to do anymore.

That was when he’d gotten Blaine’s letter. The words touched his heart and reminded him there was strength in facing adversity to move forward.

“Courage,” he whispered, once again not realizing he was speaking aloud.

“What was that?” Blaine asked.

“Nothing,” Kurt said, blushing slightly and happy for once that the ice hid the color on his cheeks.

Blaine didn’t press him for more, which had Kurt feeling eternally grateful and it was only a moment later the two of them finally entered one of the boys’ bathrooms. The new boy lead Kurt over to the sinks.

“Stay here,” he said gently, going to grab some paper towels.

Kurt heard the sound of running water and the next thing he knew, a gentle hand was pressing a wet paper towel to his face, carefully sopping up the pieces of sticky slushie that remained there. The pale boy held back a gasp at the gentle touch. He stayed perfectly still and quiet as Blaine worked. He’d never felt a gentler hand before. Not even Rachel had been so gentle the last time she’d tried to help clean him off.

Blaine saved his eyes for last, doing his best to very carefully wipe the dye out of them, without hurting him anymore.

“There,” he said after several moments. “There’s not really much I can do for your clothes, but the rest of you seems to be fine now. Your hair is a little sticky in the front, but I figured that was something you’d probably want to try and take care of on your own.”

“Thank you,” Kurt said. He blinked his eyes open fully, finally taking in the boy who had been kind enough to help him.

Blaine Anderson was shorter than Kurt. He had tan or olive-like skin with dark hair that was gelled down to his head with copious amounts of raspberry scented gel. Kurt could smell it easily with their close proximity. His eyes were a warm honey-hazel color, framed by long lashes and topped with uniquely triangular shaped eyebrows.

He was dressed in gray slacks with a white and green plaid shirt, suspenders and a bowtie. He was literally the most dapper boy Kurt had ever seen in his life.

“Hi,” he said properly, feeling his cheeks warm just a little bit.

“Hi,” Blaine said back with an award winning smile and oh God, could this boy be any more perfect?

Stop it Kurt , he scolded himself and cleared his throat to regain his composure. He turned around to face the mirror, studying his appearance and sighed heavily.

“I’ll have to get my spare outfit out of my locker,” he said with a frown. “I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t have to this early, but it’s a good thing I decided to start my first day wearing my backup outfit.” He brushed another chunk of ice from his sleeve.

Blaine came to stand beside him at the sinks, a look of concern crossing his handsome face. Kurt opened his mouth to say something when he had to squeeze his eyes shut suddenly from the burn that was still there. Instead, he reached out and turned on the faucet, bending over to start splashing water in his face, rubbing at his eyes with his fingers.

Kurt expected Blaine to just leave him be, but when he stood again, he was surprised to find the other boy was still there, holding out a couple of paper towels to him.

“I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t do a good job for your eyes,” Blaine apologized.

The pale boy shook his head. “You don’t have to apologize. Handling the dye in the eyes is nearly impossible without actually rinsing them with water,” he explained. “I hope you never have to endure this kind of torment.” He carefully wiped the water from his face with the towels Blaine offered him.

The other boy chuckled. “Well, I don’t think those jocks got the best impression of me,” he said with a grin.

Kurt couldn’t help but smile back. “Eh, they took off before you showed up. They have no way of knowing it was you who scared them off,” he commented. Blaine smiled again. “So, can I show you how to get to your first class?” Kurt asked next, without really thinking about the context of the offer. Before Blaine had a chance to answer, the taller boy caught himself. “Oh! I’m sorry, that was a little forward of me.” He laughed nervously.

Blaine placed a hand on his arm. Kurt felt tingles travel up it.

“No, it’s fine, really,” the curly haired boy said. “I’d appreciate it.”

“What do you have first?” Kurt asked. He could forego getting his outfit right away just this once.

The younger boy pulled out his schedule from his messenger bag. “Um, English III with Steiner,” he said.

Kurt pulled a face, one that suggested he may not have been too fond of that teacher.

“When will they learn that Mr. Steiner doesn’t know the first thing about English literature?” the boy asked. He rolled his eyes. “Come on, I’ll show you where the room is,” he added.

Blaine happily followed Kurt back out of the boy’s bathroom.

“So you’re a junior then,” Kurt commented as they walked.

“Yes, how did you know?” he asked.

Kurt chuckled lightly. “The fact that you have English III is a good indication. That’s a junior grade English class.” He paused for a moment. “Of course, you could also be a senior who is taking twice the course load to make up missing credits or something. Or even a sophomore intending to graduate early so you’re taking classes earlier.”

The boy’s rambling made him seem more endearing to Blaine who smiled at him. “Well, I should be a senior, but that’s a long story,” he said. Kurt detected the hint of discomfort in his tone.

“I should have graduated last year, but that’s also a long story,” Kurt replied.

This got Blaine to look at him curiously. “Oh?”

Kurt sighed. “I was homeschooled for a while. Would you mind if we just leave it at that for now?” he asked. There were reasons Kurt never went into detail about those years, not even with Finn, who knew his secret. His dad didn’t even know the extent of what went on back then. No one did. Well, except for one person.

The pale boy suppressed a shudder at the thought of his former co-star. If it had to be someone who knew some of what he was going through then, why did it have to be him?

They were just turning the corner into the hall where the English class was located when a voice rang out behind them.

“Kurt, long time no see.” Kurt tightened his grip on his bag and turned around, Blaine stopping beside him and a few of the other students glancing at them from their lockers curiously.

“Lisa?” Kurt questioned. “What are you doing here?”

A well dressed woman with her hair piled high onto her head approached him. She gave Blaine a curious look, one that told the curly haired boy that maybe he should give them a moment.

“I think I can find the class on my own from here. Thank you Kurt,” he said politely. “It was nice to meet you.” Kurt appeared as though he wanted to protest but the pale boy couldn’t form the words. And he watched Blaine hurry away.

“I think we should talk for a moment,” Lisa said. Kurt opened and closed his mouth like a fish for a moment before finally nodding. He followed her into an empty classroom and she shut the door behind them. “How are you?” she asked.

Kurt frowned. “I didn’t agree to talk so we could exchange pleasantries,” he bit, crossing his arms. “I have class soon. What do you want?”

“I’ve had you excused for however long may be needed,” Lisa replied, sliding into one of the student desks.

“You what?!” Kurt snapped, unable to reel in his temper. What was she doing here? She knew he had no interest in whatever was the reason she’d sought him out. When Kurt had left Pacific Bay , he made it very clear that he was done with that part of his life. And even his dad had made sure they knew that he was putting his foot down. Burt Hummel had always been the kind of man that made sure his son was comfortable in whatever decision he made. He was worried ever since his wife died, about whether or not Kurt was happy. And that was one reason why his son continued to keep things from him even now.

Lisa looked at him, surprised by his outburst. “Now Kurt,” she started, but he cut her off.

“No!” he shouted, shaking his head. “You don’t get to do that! I made it clear that I was done with that world! I’m already a year behind where I should be! I’m not missing any classes this year!” With those words, he made his way to the door and hurried out of it.

“Kurt wait!” Lisa shouted after him, but he was already gone. The woman let out a frustrated sigh and dropped her head in her hands for a moment, before pulling out her phone and dialing a number.

“Roger Hammond speaking?” said a voice on the other end of the line. Lisa rolled her eyes.

“I told you he wouldn’t even listen,” she said, getting right to the point without a greeting.

“Then go through his father,” Roger replied. “I don’t care what you have to do. Get him to listen and then get him to agree. The Pacific Bay reboot will never soar without Elijah Bennett!”

Lisa transferred the phone to her other hand. “We can’t force him Roger,” she said.

The man on the other end of the line tutted. “You just tell him that if he doesn’t do as we ask, Youtube will have a viral situation on their hands. One that Kurt will never recover from,” he said darkly.

The woman was quiet for a moment. “What do you have on him Roger?”

“That’s none of your business!” the man spat. “Do as I say or that tape of you and Marcos Rodriguez goes public!”

She paled and went still. “How do you know about that?” she asked in a weak voice.

“I have my resources. Now, I suggest if you want your reputation to remain intact, you get me Kurt and you get him pronto!”

Lisa swallowed. She was not interested in blackmailing Kurt back into the limelight. But if she didn’t do as Roger asked, he was going to ruin her. He was using blackmail to force someone else into using blackmail.

It was no secret that Roger Hammond played dirty to get what he wanted. Many of the actors under his contract on his shows didn’t stick around for long. But trying to get him tethered into a spot where he could be charged and tried and face justice for his dirty ways, was like searching for a needle in the void of outer space. Roger had contacts everywhere. He had confidants and resources and ways of paying his way out of trouble.

One of these days everything he had done was going to catch up to him, but getting that moment to finally arrive, was nearly impossible.

“Fine,” Lisa said quietly, hanging up her phone. She set the device on the desk in front of her.

She didn’t like knowing that she was about to make perhaps the easiest existence Kurt had known into a living breathing nightmare.

Chapter Text

Kurt didn’t see Blaine again until Glee Club later that afternoon. He had been so drawn in by his friends at lunch that he hadn’t even had a chance to look around for the new boy. Well, he’d been drawn in by Rachel, who decided to continue their argument about why she should be allowed into his room. After the appearance of Lisa, the pale boy had not been in the mood for another Rachel Berry tirade.

As a result, they now sat on opposite sides of the choir room, Rachel throwing Kurt glares every other second.

She had just opened her mouth to continue their argument again when Mr. Schue breezed into the room. He was followed by Blaine and Kurt couldn’t help but smile at his delight in seeing the new boy.

“Everyone, we have a potential new member joining us today,” Mr. Schue started. Blaine gave the group a friendly wave.

“Are you sure he’s not here to blend in and spy like Jesse was?” Rachel snapped. Mr. Schue gave her an incredulous look and Blaine frowned.

Before the teacher could say anything, Blaine spoke up for himself. “I don’t believe in spying on competition. I’ve always been a firm believer in show choir being fun for everyone involved. The Warblers always pride themselves on playing fair and being good sports. Sportsmanship is a really important aspect at Dalton. For any team,” he said.

It was Puck who chose to answer him. “Yeah maybe for a school who values all their teams.”

Again, Blaine frowned.

“Look,” he said. “My parents got divorced. My mom and I moved here. She told me I could stay with my dad and continue going to Dalton, but my dad and I haven’t gotten along since I came out when I was thirteen,” he explained.

Kurt had to give Blaine credit. Something like that couldn’t be easy to bring up, especially to people you didn’t even know.

Mr. Schue wasn’t going to give anyone else a chance to cause more problems. He clapped his hands and spoke in that tone he used when he meant everything that he said was final. “That’s enough. Blaine is a McKinley student. He’s not here to steal ideas or spy on us. He’s here to audition to join us.”

Finn, was apparently still not sold on the idea, though for a completely different reason. “And what, replace me as the male lead?”

Kurt was visited by the distinct urge to pull off one of his Doc Martens and throw it at Finn’s head. But he was just barely able to restrain it.

Blaine frowned again. And this time, he took a couple of steps back towards the door. “Um, maybe this was a bad idea,” he said hesitantly.

It was Mr. Schue’s turn to frown as he watched the boy seemingly change his mind.

Kurt stood from his seat and moved to grab Blaine by the arm. “Please don’t leave,” he said, giving the boy a pleading look. Blaine looked at him for a moment, glancing down at the hand Kurt had on his arm and blushing.

“Okay,” he said. And that was all it took. Kurt managed a small smile and returned to his seat.

Mr. Schue gestured to the floor, and Blaine set his messenger bag down, taking a moment to give his song selection to Brad and then going to stand in the middle. The curly haired boy straightened his bowtie and grinned at the New Directions.

The music for Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream filled the room from the piano and Kurt playfully rolled his eyes.

Blaine was certainly in his element, singing and dancing the number, and getting very into it, his eyes on Kurt the entire time, as though he were singing to him. Like the song was meant for him and Kurt felt his stomach flip-flop.

The curly haired boy had just reached the first chorus when he was interrupted by a knock on the door. Blaine stopped mid-sentence as all attention went to the door. Kurt’s new lighthearted mood fell immediately as soon as he saw who was standing in the doorway.

“Pardon me, but I need to speak with Mr. Hummel,” Lisa said. Kurt got the sense that she really wasn’t sorry about the interruption. “It’s urgent.”

Mr. Schue looked from the woman to Kurt and back again. “Is it a family emergency?” he asked.

“No,” she replied simply.

“Then it can wait until after Glee practice. You just interrupted a student in the middle of an audition.” Mr. Schue told her. He was being as polite as he could, but something about this woman set him off. And the look on Kurt’s face when he had glanced at him told him that Kurt didn’t want anything to do with her either.

Lisa apparently felt that she had authority over a teacher and ignored him, looking directly at Kurt. “Mr. Hammond said either you agree to the terms or YouTube will destroy you,” she said. No one had any indication what she was talking about. No one, except Kurt. His already pale face became even paler at her words and he stood from his seat again.

“Excuse me,” he said, breezing across the room, to the door, and out into the hall. He didn’t catch the rest of the club running to the door to potentially eavesdrop on this conversation.

Kurt was pacing in the corridor outside. “How dare he!” he shouted. “How dare he use that against me! Not to mention, put you up to it!” His hands were in his hair, tugging it out of its perfect coif. His eyes were dead cold as he looked at Lisa. “I thought you were better than that.”

“He won’t take no for an answer Kurt,” Lisa stated, her authoritative demeanor deflating.

“I don’t care!” Kurt shouted. “He put me through hell! I’m not going back to that!”

Lisa tried to straightened herself up. But she was clearly not good with being on the receiving end of Kurt Hummel’s anger.

“If I don’t get you to say yes…” She trailed off and quickly shut her mouth. But the damage was done.

Kurt whirled around and narrowed his eyes at her. “What does he have on you?” he said coldly.

“It will ruin me,” she whispered.

The pale boy snorted. “Just like everyone else he’s ruined? I’m lucky I got out when I did.”

“He wants you for the reboot.”

“Too bad.”

“They can’t do it without you Kurt.”

“Sure they can. It’s called, next generation.”

Lisa looked at him pleadingly. “You know it didn’t do well after you left!”

“That would have been the case whether it was my time to go or not!” Kurt bit back. “Look, my life may be a living hell where I am now, but that life, makes this one look like I’m living in the fucking penthouse!”

Lisa stared at him for a long moment. Up until then, she hadn’t known what had gone on between Kurt and Roger. Kurt left the show on time, when he would have been contractually obligated to because his character had aged out. But Lisa had been unaware that there were other reasons, besides the underlying character departure, that Kurt had left in the first place.

She’d noted back then, the pale boy had been hard to read. He kept his emotions wrapped into himself, putting on a face for what he had to. His character on Pacific Bay had always been an open book, which was why Kurt was so good at playing him. Because Kurt had always been sort of a closed book in real life. He never let anybody in more than necessary. He never let anyone see him grieve over the loss of his mother.

Sure, he’d taken a two year acting hiatus to deal with it, but Lisa was well aware that it was something that never goes away, particularly for a young child. Kurt had always been so good at hiding his true feelings. It was something that made him a great face for Hollywood too. They never found any means to criticize him really.

And it was for that reason, she couldn’t understand why he wanted to leave permanently. Kurt had it so good in Hollywood. He was one of the lucky ones who seemed to always be bathed in a positive spotlight. Why be so eager to give that up?

By now, the rest of the New Directions at the door had pulled away. Only two people hadn’t bothered to eavesdrop on the conversation. One was Blaine, and the other was Finn. Though the conversation had been loud enough, they’d been able to hear anyway.

“What are they talking about Finn?” Rachel asked, rounding on the boy.

Finn raised an eyebrow. “How should I know?” he asked, surprised that she thought he would tell her anything. Of course, Finn had a very good idea of what they were talking about. Not that he would ever say anything to any of the other Glee Clubbers. It wasn’t his place to tell anyway. And even if he had that right, Kurt didn’t want any of them to know. Especially not Rachel, the blabbermouth.

“Because you’re his stepbrother!” Rachel got out in exasperation. “I’m sure there’s stuff you know about Kurt that you’re not telling us!”

Blaine wasn’t paying attention to the new drama in the room. Kurt had left his bag by his chair when he’d rushed out and it had fallen over. A slightly yellowed piece of paper was poking out of the top. The curly haired boy was staring at it intently. So much so that he hadn’t heard the conversation anyway.

“What’s that?” the boy suddenly asked, pointing to the paper. All arguments in the room stopped as they turned to see what he was pointing at.

Rachel had proceeded to make her way over when Finn caught her arm. “Don’t. He’s already angry at you. How do you think he’s going to react if you go through his things?”

The petite brunette yanked her arm from Finn’s grasp. “Best friends tell best friends everything,” she stated simply, moving forward again.

“No they don’t.” The voice came from Mercedes, Kurt’s other best friend.

Rachel turned and crossed her arms, scoffing at her. “Easy for you to say, you’ve been in his room.”

Mercedes raised an eyebrow. “That’s what this is about? The fact that he won’t let you in his room?” she asked.

The rest of the group was floored.

“That’s a really stupid reason to be mad at someone Rachel,” Quinn stated.

“Mercedes is right.” The words came from a surprising source. Puck stood beside the piano with his own arms folded over his chest. “Just because you’re best friends, doesn’t mean you always tell each other everything. I don’t tell Finn everything.”

“And I don’t tell Puck everything either,” Finn said.

Rachel rolled her eyes. “That’s different, the two of you are boys,” she said. “Boys don’t share everything. They don’t like talking about their feelings.”

“Kurt’s a boy too,” Finn pointed out.

“Kurt likes talking about his feelings,” Rachel stated, but quickly second-guessed herself because she knew how guarded Kurt could be.

“No I don’t,” came Kurt’s voice. They all turned to find him standing in the doorway, his bitch glare on and hands on his hips. “And I don’t tell Mercedes everything. I don’t tell Finn everything. I don’t even tell my dad everything.” He took a few steps into the room, glaring Rachel down. “And no one likes to tell you anything, because you go snooping for more. You stick your nose where it doesn’t belong,” he added.

Rachel swallowed and looked around at the entire group, begging for someone to come to her aide, but no one said anything.

This was undoubtedly one of those moments where she was lost in her self-centeredness and would probably eventually come around and apologize for it later. But for now, she swallowed and pushed her way through them, walking out of the room.

An awkward silence hung in the air for a moment before Blaine broke it.

“Should I just start over then?” he asked tentatively.

Before Mr. Schue could answer, Kurt moved to stand beside the boy. “I think we should just say he’s in. We know how well he can sing. Besides, it’s kind of my fault his audition got interrupted in the first place so…”

“How is that woman coming looking for you your fault?” Finn asked.

Kurt bit his lip and it was Blaine who answered. “Because she tried to talk to him this morning too. Kurt who is she?” he asked.

The pale boy sighed. “Someone from my past that’s trying to pull me back in.” The words were said with an air of finality, something that told the others that he wasn’t going to give them any more than that.

Mr. Schue cleared his throat. “All in favor of Blaine joining the group?” The entirety of New Directions raised their hands. “Welcome to the New Directions Blaine,” Mr. Schue said with a smile.

After some applause and cheering, the teacher decided they’d had enough drama for one afternoon and dismissed them.

Kurt patted Blaine on the shoulder and smiled at him. “See you tomorrow?” he said gently.

Blaine couldn’t help but smile back. “Yeah, see you tomorrow.”

Kurt patted his shoulder again and left the room with Finn, the two of them elapsing into a serious discussion. Blaine wondered what it was about but figured it wasn’t his place. He gathered his messenger bag and followed the rest of the group out.

“Hey kid,” said a voice and Blaine stopped, turning to face Lisa who was still out in the hallway.

“I’m sorry, are you talking to me?”

“Yes,” she said, approaching him. “I’m Lisa. You must be a good friend of Kurt’s.”

Blaine blushed. “Oh um, no. Actually, I only just met him this morning.”

She frowned. Clearly there was a reason she was talking to Blaine. “Oh, well, maybe you could still help out. Look, Kurt and I go way back. And there’s something we really would like him to do, but he’s being stubborn. Maybe you could talk him into it, yeah?” she suggested.

Her words struck a chord with Blaine and he found himself instantly disliking the woman. “I’m not going to be your lapdog,” he said shortly. “Kurt’s a good guy. He deserves better than what he gets. If he doesn’t want to do what you want him to do, you have no right to force him. I know how these things work. My father’s a lawyer. So I suggest you back off.”

Without another word, or giving her a chance to reply, he turned on his heel and strode off down the hallway.

...

“So, what was that about?” Finn asked as he pulled open the passenger door to Kurt’s navigator.

Kurt sighed, key still in the lock on the driver’s side. “Her name is Lisa Roscoe. She was the casting producer for Pacific Bay.” That caught Finn’s attention.

“I thought you were done with that.”

“I am,” Kurt said as they both climbed in and reached for their seatbelts. “But apparently Hammond doesn’t think I’m allowed to be.”

“Hammond?”

“Roger Hammond, the creator and director of Pacific Bay.”

Finn looked confused, which kind of added to his adorable doofus persona. “But I thought Pacific Bay was canceled not long after you left.”

“It was,” Kurt said simply.

“So, what is she doing here?”

Kurt sighed again as he slipped the key into the ignition. “Apparently, Hammond wants to reboot and he wants me back for it.”

Again, Finn looked confused. “But you’re too old for it now. Your character aged out.”

“I know.”

“So how does that work?”

Kurt shrugged. “Maybe he plans on aging the character demographic up to high school or something.”

“Even then, you wouldn’t fit though.” The pale boy gave him a surprised look. “Well, you’re a senior, so you’d be gone after one season. And if you want to go even more technical, you’re supposed to be a freshman in college right now.”

The other boy slammed on the breaks as he was pulling out, surprised by the second part of the statement. “How did you know that?” he asked. The fact that he should have graduated the year before wasn’t something Kurt displayed as common knowledge, not even to his stepbrother.

Finn blushed and scratched the back of his head sheepishly. “I accidentally walked in on Burt telling my mom about how your homeschooling put you a year behind where you should be,” he said. Kurt knew he was being honest.

Kurt sighed a third time before carefully continuing to back out of the parking lot. “I wish my dad would stop telling everyone my life story.”

“Dude, why?”

“Don’t call me dude Finn. And it’s because my Hollywood days are not something I want to remember. I just really want to forget about that time in my life.”

“Why?”

Kurt looked over at Finn. he was so innocent in this moment. “If you knew that business the way I did, you’d want out forever too.”

The statement was enough to throw the whole car into silence.

Finn wasn’t entirely an idiot. He could sense there was a story there that not even Burt knew. He filed the thought with all the other things he was pretty sure Burt didn’t know. Hell, there were things Finn was sure he didn’t even know, and he had recruited the other guys in Glee to help him keep an eye on Kurt at school. Still, it seemed there was always something his stepbrother was hiding.

Kurt was a mystery. Even before he’d really become friends with the boy, he couldn’t really figure him out. He had a tendency to zig whenever you thought he was going to zag. Kurt was just a surprise waiting around every corner.

Finn was so distracted by the revelation, he failed to notice the boy who stepped out in front of them out of nowhere.

The tall boy’s thoughts were interrupted as Kurt let out a string of curse words. There was a screeching sound and the navigator suddenly swerved to the right. With a sound like crushing metal, they slammed into the back of another car.

Chapter Text

There was good news and there was bad news. The good news was that they were both wearing their seatbelts. The bad news was that being thrown forward is not a good thing when you have a steering wheel in front of you.

Finn was alright, if a bit shaken up. But Kurt had flown forward and smashed his face into the steering wheel. He was alive, but unconscious. His face was bruised and there was blood running from the crack in his nose. It took Finn a moment to even realize something was seriously wrong. He’d kind of spaced out for a moment after it happened.

“Kurt!” he shouted frantically. He unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped out of the car, moving around to the other side before he remembered Kurt’s door was locked and the keys were still in the ignition. Finn cursed under his breath and pulled out his phone. He knew he should call 911, but the first person he called, was his mom.

“Finn honey,” Carole said when she picked up the phone.

“Mom!” Finn screamed, startling her. “Mom help! There’s been an accident! Kurt’s hurt! Kurt’s hurt!”

Carole had to take a moment to register what her frantic son was saying. “What? What do you mean Kurt’s hurt Finn?” she asked, trying to remain calm, even if the idea that something bad had happened to her stepson was making her feel anything but.

Finn hadn’t realized there were tears leaking from his eyes. “I don’t know what happened. Everything was fine and then suddenly Kurt was cursing and we swerved and tail ended another car.”

“First, I need you to breathe Finn,” Carole replied as calmly as she could. “Where are you?”

“Still in the school parking lot,” he managed to say.

Carole shut her eyes for a few moments. “Finn, I need you to call 911 okay? Don’t try to move Kurt at all. I’ll be there as soon as I can. Do you understand?” She knew it was easy to understand, but with Finn as frantic as he sounded, she wouldn’t be surprised if he had trouble comprehending her instructions at the moment.

Finn was nodding his head before he remembered she couldn’t see him. “Yes mom,” he said.

“It’s going to be okay honey,” she reassured him.

“I hope so,” he said. He hung up the phone to call 911.

Finn was still on the line with emergency services a few minutes later when another car pulled to a stop at the scene. Blaine jumped out of the driver’s side, his face flooded with concern as he ran over to the tall boy. Finn held up his hand to signal him to hold on. Sirens could be heard in the distance.

It was only another moment before Finn hung up the phone. “Hi…Blaine right?” he said awkwardly.

Blaine was a little apprehensive to be around Finn after what had happened in Glee Club earlier, but he pushed it aside. “Yeah. Are you guys alright?” he asked.

The other boy shook his head, running his hands down his face. “Something caused him to lose control!” he cried out, turning to look in the driver’s side window of the navigator. Kurt hadn’t moved, indicating he was still unconscious.

Blaine was glancing around. “Where the hell is he?” he asked.

Finn looked confused. “Who?”

“The boy who stepped out in front of you guys!” Blaine growled. He’d seen the whole thing from where he’d been parked. Had a clear view. Blaine knew what had happened better than Finn did.

“Is that what happened?” the other boy asked.

“You didn’t see him?” Blaine asked incredulously.

Finn sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. “I was kind of distracted with my own thoughts.” There was no mistaking the guilty look on the taller boy’s face.

Blaine sighed and turned his head to again, look around the area. The sirens blared louder and he could just make out an ambulance turning onto the end of the street. “The paramedics are coming,” he said simply. Finn nodded.

“My mom should be here soon as well.”

The curly haired boy hadn’t stopped looking around the immediate vicinity. He was very observant these days, mostly because ever since Sadie Hawkins, Blaine had unintentionally trained himself to read people. It helped him decide whether he could really trust someone, or had to keep them at arm’s length. Like the fact that there were some boys at Dalton that would have gotten expelled if they weren’t kept in check by the no bullying policy.

However, his observance paid off, as he caught someone pulling back behind a van when they noticed Blaine glance in their direction. He balled his hands into fists and started to walk away from the scene towards whomever it was as the ambulance pulled into the parking lot.

“Hey!” Finn called. “Where are you going?”

Blaine turned and faced him. “That boy is still here. He’s hiding behind that van. I thought I would get some answers.”

Finn looked from Blaine to where he was pointing. If whomever it was had stepped out in front of Kurt’s navigator on purpose, they had to know something other people didn’t. For a moment, the taller boy glanced between Blaine and the van and back again. Finally, he placed a hand on Blaine’s shoulder.

“Let me,” he said simply. “I know you want to help Blaine, but I have a feeling you might be a bigger help here with Kurt than questioning some strange boy.” He rubbed the back of his head again. “I tend to panic a little too easily sometimes.”

“I noticed,” Blaine remarked. He was hesitant for a moment. “Fine.”

Before either of them could try to catch the boy, someone else already had.

“Well, if it isn’t a meerkat in its unnatural habitat,” said a voice, loud enough the two boys could hear it clearly.

Finn and Blaine both turned back to the van to see a tall intimidating woman in a tracksuit dragging the boy up by his ear. The boy was trying his best not to let the pain show on his face.

“Who is she?” Blaine asked.

“That’s Coach Sylvester,” Finn replied. “She coaches the Cheerios.” Blaine gave him a disbelieving look.

“They let a woman like that work at a school ?!” he asked.

Finn shrugged. “I think she’s blackmailing Figgins or something.” Blaine opened and closed his mouth, about to remark on how nonchalantly Finn said it, as though it was something the entire school knew and just shrugged off. The more he learned about McKinley, the more Blaine started to wonder if this was really an average public school.

They watched the woman dragging the boy by his ear, wondering if one of them should follow her. Both boys wanted answers. Where had that boy come from? And what was he doing stepping in front of Kurt’s car?

The ambulance came to a stop just behind the scene and two paramedics jumped out.

“Hi!” one of them said. “What’s going on?” Finn opened and closed his mouth, searching for the words. So Blaine replied for him.

“I saw the whole thing from my car. Some boy jumped out in front of them. They swerved. The driver’s unconscious,” he said. Finn gave him a grateful look.

As the first paramedic took the statement down, the other one had climbed into the passenger seat and was assessing Kurt from the inside of the vehicle. He poked his head out. “Do you think we can get the door open from the other side? It will be easier to remove him that way,” he said.

Finn found his voice then. “The key is still in the ignition,” he said, just as he saw his mom’s car pull in.

The second paramedic nodded and found the key, pulling it out and jumping from the car.

He came around to the driver’s side and put the key in the look.

There was a slam of doors as both Carole and Burt got out of Carole’s car and rushed over to the scene.

“Oh my God!” Burt cried. “Is he alright?!”

“Do you know the victim sir?” the first paramedic said, just as the second one pulled the driver’s side door open.

Burt nodded hastily. “He’s my son.”

“What’s his name?” the paramedic asked.

“Kurt, Kurt Hummel. He’s eighteen.”

The paramedic looked back at Finn and Blaine. “Are you three students here?” he asked.

Finn nodded at the same time that Blaine said, “Yes.”

“Jerry get the stretcher,” said the other paramedic. Jerry nodded, tucking the tablet he was writing on under his arm and hurrying round to the back of the ambulance.

The next few moments seemed to go by in a blur. Burt, Finn, and Carole all held onto each other as an unconscious Kurt was carefully pulled from the car and placed on the stretcher. His nose had a high break, where the bridge met with the forehead. Blood had dripped down from the wound in streaks and the area around his eyes was bruised black and blue. Burt let out an involuntary shutter.

As the second paramedic wheeled Kurt to the ambulance, Jerry took a look at the damage to the steering wheel and frowned.

“It looks like his airbag is jammed,” he said, pointing to the airbag compartment in the steering wheel.

“What?” Burt questioned, hurrying over to the car and leaning in to inspect the damage. “But that’s impossible! I checked everything on Kurt’s car yesterday! It was working fine! The whole thing was in mint condition!”

Blaine turned his head to look in the direction that Coach Sylvester had dragged the strange boy in and frowned. He had a hunch that something fishy was going on.

Burt was still inspecting the airbag compartment, but he couldn’t find rhyme or reason for it to not have ejected on impact.

“Someone must have tampered with his car,” Blaine said a moment later, causing everyone to look at him.

Finn shook his head. “But how?” he asked. “Kurt is very protective of his navigator. He would have noticed right away if something was astray.” His question was definitely one that they all wanted answers to.

Burt and Carole knew Finn was right. Kurt’s navigator was his baby. If something was wrong with it, he would have known right away. And seeing as Kurt had given no sign of any such thing, there couldn’t have been anything noticeably wrong.

“The only possible way someone could have tampered with that car without anyone knowing is if they had a key,” Burt said. “And there’s only one spare,” he added.

“Where is it?” Blaine asked.

Burt looked at the boy, really noticing that he didn’t know this kid for the first time, but he would figure that out later. “On a hook in my office at the tire shop,” he said shortly.

Blaine was quiet for a moment. He was turning things over in his head, wondering how any of this was possible. He had a notion that the boy who had jumped in front of the car had done it on purpose. But why? Why would anyone try to get Kurt hurt? How did he even know where to find Kurt? Or that the navigator was his car? The curly haired boy wanted answers and he had a feeling there was only one place he was going to get them.

He started to hurry away from the scene, making his way back up to the school.

“Hey Blaine!” Finn called out. “Where are you going?!”

Blaine glanced back at him over his shoulder. “To get answers!” he yelled.

Finn started to follow him, wanting answers too but Burt put a hand on his shoulder and shook his head.

“You need to stay with us Finn,” he said. Finn frowned. He was kind of torn. Wanting to go to the hospital and watch over his stepbrother and wanting to follow Blaine to get answers. He wanted to do both.

“I want you checked out at the hospital,” Carole added.

“What?” Finn asked his mom in surprise. “Mom I’m fine!”

Carole gave her son a stern look. “Finn Christopher Hudson, I don’t care how fine you feel! You were in the car too and you are going to get checked out! Is that understood?”

Finn quickly nodded his head. His mother was a nurse. She knew what she was talking about. There was no point in trying to argue with her.

As the Hudson-Hummels conversed with the paramedics and prepared to follow the ambulance to the hospital, Blaine hurried back inside the school. It wasn’t until he was through the doors that he realized he didn’t have a clue where the cheerleading coach’s office was even located. He cursed under his breath. Maybe he should have asked Finn before he hurried back to the school.

It seemed though, that luck was on his side today. Mr. Schue was running behind on heading out for the day.

“Mr. Schue!” Blaine called, waving to the man. The choir teacher looked up, one eyebrow raised.

“Oh, hello Blaine. Shouldn’t you be on your way home by now?” he asked.

Blaine frowned. “Um, yeah, but I forgot something in my locker,” he said quickly. The last thing he wanted was Mr. Schue asking questions about Kurt or anything else for that matter. “Also, I thought I might ask about potential cheerleading tryouts,” he added, thinking up a plausible excuse to need Coach Sylvester’s office location. He mentally scolded himself for that one. There was no way Blaine ever wanted to actually be a cheerleader. But what other excuse did he have?

“Oh?” Mr. Schue asked, giving him a partially surprised, partially disbelieving look. Blaine didn’t know whether the disbelief was because he wanted to be a cheerleader or because he actually wanted to talk to the coach.

“Yeah,” he said, pretending to be sheepish about it. “But I um, don’t know where the coach’s office is.”

Mr. Schue nodded his head. He politely gave Blaine the directions to Coach Sylvester’s office and patted him on the shoulder. “Between you and me, I’m not sure becoming a Cheerio is the best idea,” the teacher said. “I’ll see you tomorrow Blaine,” he added, waving and walking out the doors of the school.

Blaine visibly deflated. “Yeah, I’m not sure becoming a Cheerio is the best idea either,” he agreed after the teacher had left. “But thanks for the directions.”

The curly haired boy hurried to Coach Sylvester’s office and came to a stop just outside the door. He pressed himself against the wall and listened carefully. Even though the door was shut, the voices inside were once again, loud enough to carry to him clearly.

“...don’t have to listen to you. I’m Sebastian Smythe. And Smythes take orders from no one!”

Blaine stilled. Sebastian Smythe? Where had he heard that name before?

“I know who you are, and I don’t give a granny’s saggy bottom about it!” Coach Sylvester replied. There was the sound of footsteps and Blaine pressed tighter to the wall. “You have no right being on this campus meerkat!”

“Says who?” Sebastian bit out.

There was a pause. “Says the McKinley code.”

“What the hell is that? A spoof on the Da Vinci Code?” He filled the room with laughter and Blaine rolled his eyes.

“No. I’m pretty sure the Da Vinci Code stole that from one Sue Sylvester.”

“Excuse me?”

There was a slam, indicating that Coach Sylvester had slammed her hand on her desk. Blaine jumped outside and bit his lip to keep from letting out a yelp.

“You’re not a student of McKinley, nor related to a student of McKinley, therefore, you have no right to be on the premises!”

“You just made that up!”

“Maybe. Because I don’t like you meerkat.” There was some rustling as she rifled through a drawer for something. A moment later, Blaine heard Sebastian attempt to silence an audible gasp. “Now, let’s get one thing straight meerkat,” she said next. “Either you’re going to tell me what you’re doing here, or I’m going to pull out a few of those award winning molars. I’m sure I can get a hefty price for them on eBay’s black market.”

A look of disbelief crossed the curly haired boy’s face. Was she serious?

Sebastian tutted. “I don’t want him coming back,” he finally said. “That’s all you’re getting.”

Coming back? Coming back to what? Blaine furrowed his brow. It was obvious the boy was talking about Kurt, but what was he trying to keep him from coming back to? And why did his name sound so familiar?

Blaine whipped out his phone, crouching down on the floor so the light from the screen wouldn’t reflect through the office window and give away his position. He tuned out the rest of the conversation, intent on finding out who Sebastian Smythe was.

He typed the meerkat’s name into google search and pulled up a wikipedia page. Two words jumped out at him from the screen.

Pacific Bay

“Of course!” Blaine whisper cried. Sebastian Smythe had been on Pacific Bay with Kurt Wood. It was no secret that the boy blamed Kurt for leaving the show and ruining his career. Sebastian still had at least another year or two left, as he was younger than Kurt.

Blaine remembered the nasty interview the meerkat boy had done after Kurt had announced his departure. How he had spoke of his older, more popular co-star with distaste. How he spoke with glory about how he was going to be the favorite now that girly Kurt was gone. How he spoke that the show would be so much better without him.

And then Pacific Bay hadn’t even survived half a season. Sebastian hadn’t been shy about public outrage.

He blamed Kurt for the show’s downfall. He made a statement that he was going to sue Kurt Wood for damages to his career. As it turned out, no lawsuit was ever filed. Sebastian blamed it on Roger Hammond, the show’s creator, saying he refused to tell him how to locate his former co-star so that he could slam the lawsuit on him. In truth, his father didn’t want to waste money on a stupid suit.

Mr. Smythe however, wasn’t at all against putting down a few hundred million on the table to boost his son’s career. Blaine suspected that was the real reason Sebastian dropped the suit. He wouldn’t need it now if his career was repairable.

Honestly, Blaine felt that Sebastian’s career was damaged right from the start. People were adamant that he wasn’t a very friendly person off-screen, even if his character on screen was the problem solver, the go to guy, the person who sat and listened to your problems. They did say it was always an actor who was the exact opposite that played the role the best.

Still, none of this explained what Sebastian was doing here or why he had attempted to hurt Kurt.

Unless…

Blaine shook his head. No, that was a silly idea. Why would Kurt Wood be attending a regular high school now? And even if he was, surely he wouldn’t be bullied. He was a former child star after all.

The curly haired boy pushed the ridiculous idea out of his head almost as soon as it had entered. Sebastian must be mistaken.

There was no way Kurt Hummel and Kurt Wood were the same person.

Chapter Text

Kurt and his dad had developed a kind of code when speaking about his former years as a child star. Mostly so that people who didn’t know that aspect of his life, wouldn’t catch on when they were discussing it. That period was a time that he felt he didn’t have a lot to be proud of. Sure, he’d been successful and his talent had been praised. But at what cost had it come?

It was precisely that code he and his dad were using now, as he lay in the hospital bed, groggy, but finally awake after the accident.

“When I find out who that boy was…” Burt trailed off, he was pacing the room, his ball cap in his hands.

“I know who he was,” Kurt said softly.

Burt Hummel looked over at his son. It was just the two of them in the room. Carole had gone to make sure Finn got checked out. “What?” he asked in surprise.

With a little effort, Kurt pushed to prop himself up a bit more on the pillows.

“I said, I know who he was.”

Burt stared at him for several moments. “How do you even remember that?” he asked.

Kurt shrugged. “I may have been unconscious but the doctor said the concussion was minor and I shouldn’t have any trouble with my memory. He even suggested that I try and talk to the cops because he got the sense that this wasn’t an accident. He thinks the boy jumped out in front of the car on purpose.”

“And what do you think?” Burt asked hesitantly.

“I think he’s right,” Kurt said, resting his hands on top of his blankets. His face was a right sight. The area around his eyes was so bruised, he looked like he was wearing a mask like a racoon. The break in his nose had been cleaned and bandaged. Unfortunately, because it was so high up, the doctors had to splint his entire nose. The only good thing that came from the break being so high was that Kurt’s speech wasn’t affected. Well that, and the fact that doctors predicted, he wouldn’t be left with a crooked nose. So at least he wouldn’t have to consider plastic surgery.

Burt grunted. “Why would anyone want to deliberately step in front of your car?” he asked, trying hard to keep the anger out of his voice.

Kurt turned and gazed toward the window. “Because it was Tommy,” he said simply.

The older Hummel went completely still. He knew very well the implications of that name. Or at least he thought he did. All Burt knew was that Kurt and the actor who had played Tommy had never gotten along well at all. They butted heads quite often off the set. It was no secret that Tommy was jealous of Kurt’s success. Of how much more popular he was then him.

“Tommy? Tommy Padilla?” Burt asked. Kurt nodded. “That’s impossible. He wouldn’t know where to find you.”

Kurt turned to look at his dad. “He knows where I’m from,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean he knows you’d come back here,” Burt replied, shaking his head. “If he knew that, we would have found ourselves facing a lawsuit for sure.”

“No,” Kurt said. “His dad wouldn’t pay for it.”

“I doubt that would have stopped him.”

Kurt shrugged for the second time in as many minutes. “I honestly think it would have made him stop and think twice about what the scandal could do to his career. And frankly, that might have been why we never saw the lawsuit. All Tommy cared about was his career. And how to pull it out of the metaphorical trash.”

Burt was pacing again. “That doesn’t explain why he would come after you now.”

Once again, Kurt’s gaze went to the window. “Because Roger wants to reboot,” he said calmly.

“Since when?” Burt asked in surprise.

“Since Lisa showed up at McKinley today. She was refusing to take no for an answer.”

Mr. Hummel pursed his lips. “Lisa knows fairly well that you have no interest in returning, for a reboot or anything for that matter.”

“He has something on her.”

“What?”

Kurt turned back from the window again. “Roger has something on her. She practically confirmed as much for me when she admitted it would ruin her.”

Burt scoffed. “And her reputation means enough to try and force you back under contract?” he asked.

“I guess,” Kurt said. He slid back down on the bed, his energy for the conversation all but spent. Burt sighed, seeing his son’s exhaustion fall over him.

“You rest now Kurt. We’ll discuss this more later,” he said, putting a hand on Kurt’s shoulder. The pale boy didn’t reply. He was already drifting off to sleep some more. Even if he was going to be okay, car accidents and minor concussions and broken noses could take a lot out of you.

Burt stepped out of Kurt’s hospital room and pulled the door shut behind him.

“Mr. Hummel, right?” said a voice behind him, causing the man to jump. Burt turned around, placing the ball cap back on his head. He noticed the boy he hadn’t recognized standing behind him, looking concerned.

“That’s right,” he replied. The boy held out a hand to him.

“My name’s Blaine, Blaine Anderson sir.” Burt only hesitated a moment before reaching out a hand and taking Blaine’s proffered one, giving it a shake.

“Nice to meet you kid. Are you new?” he asked.

“Is it that obvious?” Blaine replied, causing Burt to chuckle. The older Hummel decided he liked this kid. He didn’t know who he was, or why he was at the scene of the accident or even why he already seemed to care so much about Kurt, but if it was that important to him, he was a-okay in Burt’s books.

The man adjusted his ball cap. “What can I do you for Blaine?” he asked.

Blaine tightened his hand on the strap of his messenger bag and bit his lip nervously. “How is he?” he chose to ask after a moment, perhaps contemplating what he wanted to say.

Burt sighed. “He’s got a minor concussion and his nose is broken. His face is pretty badly bruised but they say he’ll be alright. They’re keeping him overnight for observation. Carole is going to call the school in the morning to excuse his absence.”

The curly haired boy nodded, still biting his lip nervously. Burt got the sense that there was more he really wanted to say, but maybe he thought he might be overstepping. The man appreciated Blaine’s hesitation.

“Look kid,” he said. “I get that you probably have a lot of questions, but really, it’s not my place to say.” And he was right. All of this was up to Kurt to tell anyone about. And he hadn’t told anyone. With the exception of Finn, but even he just knew the basics. Not the details.

Blaine nodded in understanding. “I would never press Kurt to talk about anything he wasn’t ready to. Even if I had met him weeks ago and not just this morning. I’m not that kind of person Mr. Hummel,” he told him.

“Call me Burt kid,” the man replied.

“Okay Burt,” Blaine said with a small smile.

Burt clapped a hand on the boy’s shoulder and smiled back. “I appreciate your willingness to not pester my son with questions. There’s a lot in his earlier years that he’s really not ready to talk about. He might not ever be. To be fair, he’s trying to forget.” Burt sighed and shook his head. Blaine sensed he was on the verge of saying something else, but must have decided not to. He didn’t press the man.

Instead, Blaine glanced at the door to the room and back at Burt. “Is he allowed visitors? I mean, other than family?” he asked, looking hopeful.

“I suppose you can go in. Can’t say it will be much of a conversation though. He’s resting now,” Burt replied. Blaine nodded. “But I’m sure he’d still be grateful for the company.”

“Thank you sir.”

“I told you kid, call me Burt.”

“Sorry Burt.” Blaine blushed.

The man chuckled and clapped him on the shoulder again. “I hope to see you around Blaine. You’re a good kid. The kind Kurt could use in his corner.” Blaine watched him walk off after that before quietly opening the door.

In the short time Burt had been conversing with Blaine, Kurt had fallen back into a deeper sleep. His hands rested at his sides. And despite the bruising across his face, he looked very peaceful.

Blaine quietly drew up a chair beside the bed.

“Hi Kurt,” he said softly. “I hope you don’t mind me being here, given that we only just met this morning.” He let out a nervous chuckle. “But I saw the accident. I couldn’t just go on home without knowing if you were alright.”

The wheels in Blaine’s mind were turning, wondering if he should tell Kurt about what he’d overheard between Coach Sylvester and Sebastian. He’d been about to say as much to Burt but thought better of it. He was still a fresh face in their lives and he didn’t want to look like a stalker or something, for being in too deep.

For that reason alone, he decided not to mention the conversation to Kurt either. He figured it would be a much better use of his time if he kept this lighthearted.

Kurt didn’t stir and Blaine was somewhat grateful for that. He wasn’t sure he would know what to say if the boy woke up now.

He reached a hand out hesitantly to take one of Kurt’s and then retracted it. Knowing someone only one day was not sufficient permission to take a hold of their hand. Though his fingers were just itching to wrap around the pale boy’s own. He awkwardly flexed his hand a moment before forcing it back to his side.

“Your dad seems really nice,” he said, a small smile crossing his face. “I wish I could say the same about my own.”

Blaine’s gaze fell on the window to the outside world. Every thought about his father felt like a pang to his chest. And every thought about Mr. Anderson had him remembering the one good thing his older brother had ever said to him so far.

“Dad’s old-fashioned Squirt. He wouldn’t know the times were changing if he watched them slip on a new dress right in front of him. My point, you have so many people who support you for just being you. Why dwell on a pighead just because he’s dad?”

So maybe Cooper could use work on how he phrased things, but his point still came across clearly. Stop ignoring the support you do have instead of wasting your time pining for the support you don’t. Still, it didn’t stop the hole in his chest where his bond with his father used to be. Sometimes, the hurt that his dad didn’t really understand was even greater than his pain after the Sadie Hawkins incident. Maybe that was because emotional pain had a tendency to leave scars that would never heal.

Blaine shook his head off, only just realizing that tears were streaming down his face. He hated doing that. Crying over his dad. He wiped them from his cheeks angrily.

“You are so lucky Kurt,” he said softly. “And I am so lucky I got to meet you.” He managed a small smile at the thought.

The door banged open just then, loud enough to startle the boy asleep in the bed. Kurt jumped slightly at the noise, his eyes blinking open groggily as Finn bounded into the room.

Carole was following close behind, reprimanding her son for being so inconsiderate on his way in.

Finn had the decency to look sheepish.

“Oh, hi Blaine,” he said, surprised to see the curly haired boy in the room.

Blaine stood, just as Kurt turned his sleepy head to look over at him. “I should probably get going,” he said, biting his lip.

“Don’t go.” The plea came from Kurt himself. His voice was soft and tinged with sleep, but powerful enough that Blaine dropped right back in his chair. It was almost reminiscent of Glee Club that afternoon.

“Okay,” the curly haired boy said.

Kurt gave him a tiny smile and then his expression immediately changed into his trademark bitch glare, as he turned his gaze on Finn.

“Don’t you have respect for the ill?” he bit out, glaring hard at his stepbrother.

Finn rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry dude.”

“Don’t call me dude Finn.”

Blaine was finding this exchange, mildly amusing. He covered his mouth with his hand to keep from laughing aloud.

However, it seemed that Carole didn’t have the same control. She let out a few giggles.

“Mom!” Finn admonished her.

“Sorry, Finn,” she stated, not really sounding sorry at all. She came around to the other side of Kurt’s bed and started to fluff his pillows. “But your brother does have a point.”

“I was worried about him!”

“That’s no reason to come barging in, banging the door open,” Carole replied, straightening up and placing her hands on her hips. “You just about frightened both of these boys.” She nodded her head to both Kurt and Blaine.

It was then that Blaine realized he hadn’t introduced himself to her. “Oh! I’m so sorry! You must be Kurt’s stepmother!” he said apologetically and then placed a hand to his chest. “I’m Blaine.”

Carole nodded and smiled at him. “Yes, I am. My name is Carole. And I know. Burt mentioned you to me. We ran into him on our way up here.”

“It’s very nice to meet you Mrs. Hummel,” Blaine said with a smile.

She was obviously flattered by his politeness. “Oh Kurt,” she said, giving the boy a knowing look. “This one’s a keeper.” Blaine didn’t miss the blush that covered the boy’s pale cheeks, though the bruising made it harder to notice. Carole chuckled and gently stroked Kurt’s head. “Oh I’m just teasing you sweetie.”

“You can’t tease the truth Carole,” Kurt said, and then blushed even harder when he realized he’d spoken out loud. His stepmother burst into laughter and Finn just sort of stood there, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot and looking dumbfounded for a moment.

Blaine glanced down at the floor shyly and straightened his bowtie, if only to keep himself distracted a moment.

“Well, it was nice meeting you, and Kurt’s dad too,” Blaine finally said with a nod. “I really should be going though.”

Kurt frowned. “Do you have to?” he asked.

Blaine felt his heart skip a beat at the other boy’s pleading tone and he walked closer to the bed. “You need your rest Kurt,” he said, placing a hand on his shoulder. “I’m flattered you want me to stay, but I promise I’ll meet you at the doors first thing in the morning the day you come back to school.” He smiled at him.

“How about you just come over after school tomorrow?” Finn suddenly asked. Blaine looked at him with a stunned expression. It was quite the turn around from the other boy’s attitude earlier in Glee Club. “I feel like I kind of owe you. For helping us out and to like, apologize and stuff.”

“Apologize?” Carole questioned her son.

Finn gave her a sheepish look. “I wasn’t exactly that nice to him when he came to audition for New Directions today.”

“Oh?” his mother questioned, placing her hands on her hips again.

It was Kurt who responded. “No, he wasn’t. I seriously wanted to throw one of my Doc Martens at him.”

“Dude!” Finn protested.

“Don’t call me dude Finn!”

Blaine was really kind of loving the banter between them, but Kurt’s sentiment that he had wanted to throw one of his shoes at Finn was kind of a touching one. Even if it was clearly not something he should be considering. The fact that Kurt had wanted to do it in favor of Blaine, or in retaliation of Finn’s treatment of him, made him feel really good. Especially given the fact that they had only met that morning.

“Anyway,” Finn said, trying to overcome the awkward moment. “How about it dude? You can come over after school tomorrow. You can hang out with Kurt and we can maybe play Call of Duty or something.”

Blaine glanced at Carole. “Only if it’s alright with your mom.”

Carole placed a hand to her chest. “Oh it’s fine with me dear. Especially if it’s my son trying to make amends,” she said. Finn frowned.

“Then I’ll be there.”

“I’ll text you the address tomorrow,” Kurt said simply.

Blaine smiled at him. “Thank you.” It only took him another moment to realize Kurt didn’t have his phone number! “Oh!” he cried, and pulled his phone out. “You should put your number in,” he said simply.

Kurt nodded with a small smile and added himself to Blaine’s contacts, before sending a text to himself and handing the phone back to Blaine. He looked over at his stepbrother. “Just don’t hog him, okay?” he asked Finn and Finn had the decency to throw his hands up in surrender. Blaine laughed.

“I’ll see you tomorrow Kurt.”

“Bye Blaine,” Kurt said softly. Blaine smiled and waved to Finn and Carole as he turned to head out.

As he was turning to leave, the curly haired boy failed to notice the knowing look Carole was giving her stepson, a look Kurt also failed to notice. Carole was a smart woman and she could tell there was definitely something there, even if they hadn’t picked up on it yet themselves.

On his way out of the room, Blaine noticed Kurt’s bag on a chair. That yellowed note from earlier was poking out again. He hesitated for only a moment and glanced over his shoulder. None of them were looking at him so he made a split second decision. He had to know what this yellowed note was. There had to be a reason Kurt kept it in his bag. Knowing he would likely feel guilty for it later, Blaine swiped the note and stuck it in his pocket before leaving the room.

He had just done possibly one of the most inconsiderate things he had ever done in his life.

You know what they say though. Curiosity killed the cat.

Chapter Text

The next day at school, Blaine found himself completely distracted. He had debated all the previous evening on whether he had the courage to see what that note was. It felt wrong to snoop in Kurt’s private things, especially when he’d only known the boy for a day. But the curiosity was eating away at him like it never had before.

So he’d finally looked at it.

Blaine had only to look at the handwriting to know exactly what it was. He didn’t need to read it. He remembered what was in that letter as though he had only written the words yesterday.

But why did Kurt have it? Why did he have the letter Blaine had written to Kurt Wood when he was nine. Sure they had the same first name and he knew Wood was not the actor’s real last name. The answer was right there in front of his face. And it explained why Sebastian wanted Kurt out of the way. But Blaine had learned a long time ago not to look a gift horse in the mouth. He wasn’t going to believe it until he heard it from Kurt himself.

That was another thing though. Why did none of Kurt’s friends know about him? Blaine didn’t think the actor was one to brag, and this Kurt he’d met surely wasn’t one to brag either. But he should be able to confide in his friends right?

The curly haired boy shifted in his seat. He was antsy and just wanted the day to be over.

His hands fingered the note. He knew he needed to give it back to Kurt, but how was he going to do that without calling suspicion to himself?

The last thing Blaine wanted was for Kurt to see him as someone who couldn’t be trusted.

“Dude, are you okay?” Blaine was startled by the sudden voice. He turned to see the blonde boy from Glee Club, whose name he hadn’t caught yet, sitting next to him. He hadn’t realized the boy was in his class.

“Oh, yeah, fine.” He blushed in embarrassment.

The boy didn’t look convinced but he held his hand out to Blaine. “I’m Sam by the way,” he said. “I was the new kid last year.”

“I’m Blaine,” the curly haired boy said with a nod, giving Sam’s hand a shake.

“So I’ve heard,” Sam said with a laugh. Blaine felt his ears go warm and looked down at his desk. “But seriously, are you alright?”

Blaine was quiet for a moment, contemplating what to say. “What do you know about Kurt?” he finally asked.

“You mean is he single?” Sam replied with a small smirk on his face. Blaine blushed again. “Relax dude,” Sam added, placing a hand on Blaine’s arm. “I’m only joking. But what do you mean exactly?”

The curly haired boy thought for a moment, not really knowing how to breach attempting to find out what Kurt’s friends knew about his past. “How much has he shared with you guys about himself?”

Sam was quiet. He sighed. “Kurt’s a good kid Blaine. But he’s always felt a little closed off. He doesn’t like to go into detail about anything. He doesn’t really like to talk about himself either.”

Blaine gave his head a nod. So Kurt was keeping something from them. After seeing that letter, he had a good idea what.

He decided it was in his best interest to keep this light, not wanting Sam to think that he was investigating Kurt, which to be fair, he kind of was. The thought made him frown at himself. Was that really what he was doing? Blaine wasn’t a detective by any means. Nor was he the kind of person who liked to invade other people’s privacy. But Kurt was like a fantastic puzzle, just waiting to be unraveled and the curly haired boy couldn’t help the idea of being the one to do it.

“Well,” he finally said to Sam. “At least you know he isn’t an arrogant person.” He tried to grin at the other boy, but it only came out as a grimace. Mostly because Blaine had never really felt less like grinning before.

He shifted in his seat, wondering if he should really go to Kurt’s house after school. But Finn had technically been the one to invite him. So he could come play video games. Blaine didn’t feel right about turning him down, and Kurt by extent. He had a feeling Kurt would feel really let down if Blaine didn’t actually come. It was weird because they’d only known each other a day.

“Dude?” came Sam’s voice after a moment. “You’re zoning out again. I know the teacher’s lessons aren’t that creative, but they’re not a total bore,” he said, laughing a bit.

Blaine didn’t answer. He didn’t know what to tell Sam. He couldn’t tell him the real reason why he was distracted. His silence cut Sam’s laughter short.

“Do you like, need to go to the nurse or something?” the blonde boy asked.

The curly haired boy sighed and ran a hand over his face. “No,” he finally said. “I just didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.” It wasn’t entirely a lie. “Sometimes, it messes with my ability to focus.” That wasn’t entirely a lie either. You could ask every one of the Warblers.

His hands went to his bag. He had something in there that he hadn’t told anyone about.

After the incident at the Sadie Hawkins dance, Blaine’s parents had decided he needed more than just a zero tolerance school. He’d been to see every type of therapist one could see. His mother was worried, and hadn’t known what was the best option for him. The psychiatrist he ended up seeing regularly had put him on antidepressants. He’d taken them regularly for about six months until he was declared recovered enough to only need them on a voluntary basis.

These days, Blaine rarely ever took one, but his mom insisted he keep the pills on him, just in case. He wondered if now was one of those rare moments he should take one.

But he decided against it, leaving his bag closed and trying to focus on the lesson.

The day seemed to blur on after that. Despite the fact that he was sure Sam didn’t entirely believe his excuse, he opted not to question Blaine about it further, for which the curly haired boy was grateful. Sam didn’t even know him and yet he had settled into a role almost like a best friend right away.

He learned at lunchtime that Sam had been comfortable with Kurt right from the start, which was more than anyone could say about most of the Glee Club. He hadn’t been bothered by the idea that others might have assumed Kurt had a crush on him. Of course, no one knew for sure whether Kurt did have a crush on Sam or not. To be fair, he hadn’t thought the blonde boy was straight when he first met him. According to Finn, Kurt had seemed to struggle with the idea that Sam was straight. Though Blaine got the sense that at the time, Finn hadn’t exactly understood why Kurt could see Sam as anything but straight, falling into stereotyping mindsets, which the tall boy felt embarrassed for thinking. He knew better now of course, even if Sam had turned out to be straight in the end.

“So you’re still coming over after school, right dude?” Finn said, after an awkward lull in the lunchtime conversation.

Rachel raised an eyebrow and jumped in before Blaine could answer. “You’ve already invited him to your house?” she asked, slightly appalled.

“Yeah, he’s going to see how Kurt’s doing.”

There was a clattering of a fork as Rachel stared between the two boys in disbelief. “He’s going to be in Kurt’s room ?!” she spit out.

Finn sighed. “Not this again Rachel.”

But she didn’t want to let it go and stood from the table, placing her hands, palm flat in front of her. “How is it that a boy who has only known Kurt for a day, gets to see his room, but I’ve been friends with him for two years and I don’t!”

“Rachel just let it go,” Mercedes said. They were all already bored of this argument.

The petite diva glared at her. And then glared at Finn and Blaine as well. She didn’t say another word, but picked up her lunch tray and walked away from the table with her nose in the air.

“She’s never going to let that go, is she?” Sam asked.

“Maybe you should like, talk Kurt into showing her his room,” Puck suggested.

Finn just looked at his best friend and shook his head, watching Rachel dump her tray and hasten out of the cafeteria.

Blaine however, got up from his spot and moved to leave.

“Where are you going?” Finn asked him.

“To try and make something right,” the curly haired boy said simply.

“Oh,” the taller boy said. “You’re still coming though right?” he asked.

“Yeah, for sure,” Blaine replied with a nod before he left the cafeteria. He was quick enough to catch the heel of one of Rachel’s flats, rounding a corner. Drawing a deep breath, the boy followed her, close enough to not lose her, but far enough behind to not be suspicious.

To no surprise, the girl turned into the auditorium. Blaine waited a beat outside before he pushed the doors open.

Rachel was standing centerstage, facing the back of the stage, arms hugging herself.

Blaine slowly walked down the aisle towards the stage. “Why?” he asked in a quiet voice and she turned around sharply.

“Why what?” she asked, her haughty attitude lacing her words. Rachel placed her hands on her hips and turned her nose up again, shutting her eyes and trying to look as though she found Blaine to be beneath her, which she probably did, considering Blaine doubted she accepted that he wasn’t a spy.

“Why does it matter so much for you to be in Kurt’s room?” he asked, knowing that maybe he was overstepping.

Rachel dropped her stance and just looked at him. “Because it’s part of being friends,” she said.

Blaine leaned on the aisle railing, both hands in his pockets and his messenger bag slung over his shoulder. “It sounds like you settling more on the materialistic meaning of friendship, rather than the emotional connection you share,” he said simply.

She stared at him for a moment before crossing her arms over her chest. “What’s your point?” she asked.

“That there’s more to being friends than hanging out in each other’s room. None of the Warblers ever came to my house,” he said. “And those guys are like brothers to me.”

“Maybe because they don’t care about that sentimental stuff,” Rachel said.

Blaine shook his head. “Not true. I went to their houses a few times. Actually, they were kind of scared of my dad, I think,” he said with a shrug. “But that’s not my point.”

“Than what is your point?” she asked, clearly irritated.

He took a few steps closer to the stage. “That there are more important things in friendships than what each other’s rooms look like. For instance, how do you think Kurt would feel if he found out that your first reaction to me coming to see him after school today was that I would get to see his room when you still hadn’t?”

Those words gave the girl pause and her posture sulked a bit. Blaine did have a point.

“Do you think he’d be happy about that being the first thing you cared about?” the boy went on. “Kurt was in a car accident yesterday, Finn too. Some things, like how he’s doing, should be higher on the priority list right now, don’t you think?” he asked.

Rachel was quiet. She had an expression on her face Blaine couldn’t read, though he figured that might be because he didn’t really know her yet more than anything else.

Without a word, the girl walked across the stage, down the stairs, and out a side door. Blaine sighed. He wasn’t sure if he had gotten through to her or if she was mad at the new kid for trying to tell her how to be a friend to someone she knew better than he did.

He slid into one of the seats in the auditorium and put his head in his hands. He stayed that way until the bell rang before he reluctantly stood and headed off to his next class. He hadn’t gotten a chance to finish his lunch, but it was okay. He wasn’t truly hungry anymore anyway.

The atmosphere in Glee Club that afternoon was unreadable to Blaine. On the one hand, there were those who were enthusiastic and all too happy to move forward as normal. On the other, there were some of them who seemed to be switched off. Blaine was one of the latter group. He was still distracted. Mostly by that letter, which was folded in his bag. But now it wasn’t so much as contemplating the questions of why that had him distracted. It was more the idea of trying to figure out how he was going to give it back to Kurt. And then it clicked. Of course, why hadn’t he thought of it before?

Before Mr. Schue arrived, Blaine headed over to Finn. “Hey,” he said simply, reaching into his bag.

“Hey,” Finn replied. “You okay dude?”

Blaine nodded, even though he wasn’t really sure he was actually okay at all. “Fine,” he said and cleared his throat. “Um, do you remember that note that was poking out of Kurt’s bag yesterday?” he asked.

Finn nodded, and the curly haired boy could swear he saw the boy tense. Maybe he shouldn’t try to lie to him about this. He shook it off.

“Um, I was kind of the last one to leave yesterday,” he started. That part was true at least. “I think it fell out of his bag when he picked it up.” He pulled the folded letter from his own bag. “I found it on the floor by his chair.” He held it out to Finn who took it carefully, before putting his hands up in surrender. “I didn’t read it, I swear,” he lied, hating himself for doing it, but it was necessary and Finn was easier to lie to than Kurt might have been.

“Oh,” Finn said. “Thanks man.”

Blaine let out a breath. Finn had a strange look on his face. “Everything okay?”

“Huh?” Finn jerked his head around to face him. “Yeah. Yeah. He’ll be glad that he didn’t really lose it. He kind of flipped a bit when he went through his bag for homework last night and found it missing. I’ve never been allowed to read it, but it has some sort of sentimental value to him or something.”

The curly haired boy felt his heart speed up a bit. “Did he tell you anything about it?” he asked softly.

“Only that the person who wrote it made him feel like a real person and gave him a reason to hold his head up. And he keeps it as a reminder of that,” he said, but then quickly looked appalled at his own words and waved his hands hastily. “Don’t tell him I told you that. He’ll kill me.”

Blaine frowned, but nodded his head.

It became clear from just that minor conversation that Finn must know the truth, but he wasn’t surprised. Blaine couldn’t imagine keeping something like that from your stepbrother. But given how easily he was able to give up that much, the curly haired boy was surprised he had managed to keep the secret from the rest of the Glee Club.

He didn’t think that Finn would have given it up on purpose though. He struck him as the kind of guy who wanted to be able to keep the secret and would feel guilty if he said anything.

“It’s safe with me,” he said, placing a hand on Finn’s shoulder.

“Thanks dude,” Finn said awkwardly. Blaine nodded.

Mr. Schue chose that moment to enter the room, clapping his hands as usual. “Okay guys,” he started, glancing around and then frowning. “Wait, where’s Rachel?”

It wasn’t until he said something that anyone noticed that the petite diva hadn’t shown up for Glee Club. This was completely not like Rachel and Blaine felt himself tense up. He wondered if his conversation with her at lunch had anything to do with it.

“No one’s seen her since lunch,” Quinn said from her spot in the back.

Blaine tensed more. Mr. Schue looked worried. Finn glanced at Blaine, which the teacher didn’t miss.

“Blaine, do you know something about Rachel’s whereabouts?” Mr. Schue asked him.

The boy shook his head, because no, he didn’t know. “I went to talk to her in the auditorium about something. Afterwards, she kind of just walked out the side door without saying anything. She an expression on her face I couldn’t read. But I thought that was just because I don’t really know her enough to read her.”

“What did you go to talk to her about?” Finn asked.

“I was hoping I could logically defuse the situation,” Blaine replied. “And I may have pointed out how Kurt might feel if he knew her first reaction was that I get to see his room before her, rather than how he was doing.”

The rest of the Glee Club exchanged glances.

“You don’t think she went to his house do you?” Tina asked.

Blaine shrugged. The question reminded him of something and he pulled out his phone.

“Something wrong dude?” Finn asked.

“Kurt said yesterday he’d text me your guys’ address. But I haven’t received a text from him all day,” he said.

Finn chuckled. “That’s probably the painkillers they got him on. They knocked him out right quick. My guess is he’s been sleeping all day. No worries though dude. I’ll show you how to get there.” He patted Blaine on the shoulder.

“Thanks Finn,” the boy replied.

“That still doesn’t help us find Rachel,” Mercedes stated.

Blaine was still looking at his phone. “Well, you could always call her,” he said.

The dark skinned girl smacked herself in the forehead and laughed. “Why didn’t I think of that?” she asked.

The curly haired boy shrugged. “Sometimes being really worried about someone you care about, clouds your judgment,” he said.

Mercedes nodded after a moment and pulled out her phone. She found Rachel’s name in her contacts, hit the call button and then put it on speaker.

It went straight to voicemail.

The tension in the room hiked up as everyone looked at each other with expressions bordering on panic. Now they had a minor mystery on their hands.

Where, was Rachel Berry?

Chapter Text

Kurt felt like he was in hell. Confined to his bed all day and sleeping more than he ever wanted to - thanks to those stupid pain pills - he had an idea of what it might be like to be in captivity. He was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom, which he had an en suite for. So he wasn’t even able to leave his room. All the damage was to his face, but that didn’t stop Carole from fretting over him. Having a nurse for a caring stepmother felt like it was going to be the death of him in this situation.

The pale boy loved Carole, but he was going stir crazy. He’d even tried to sneak out the back in his pajamas to go to school for the second half of the day. She’d caught him.

He didn’t mean to misbehave for her so to speak. He was just irritated. The meds were making him moody, as well as sleepy. He wanted to stop taking them, but when he did, he could feel the pain full force.

And now he stood in his bathroom, staring at his face. “I look worse than Rachel did that time Finn broke her nose,” he muttered aloud to himself, groaning and going to run a hand over his face, but stopping himself in the process.

There was no way any boy would find him attractive now.

The very thought brought his mind around to Blaine. He’d only known the boy a day, but he’d been so eager for him to agree to come over and see how he was doing today.

“Great,” he mumbled as he dragged himself back out of his bathroom.

Kurt hadn’t thought much of it when Blaine had shown up at the hospital. Finn had told him that he had been the first on the scene after the accident. He was grateful for Blaine’s help. He knew the boy didn’t have to do that, especially when he had hardly known Kurt.

But now, he was aware of Blaine’s potential presence, not only in his house, but in his room . The boy whipped his head around at his dresser, and squeaked at the pair of boxers that had been shut halfway out of the drawer. He padded over there and quickly shoved them back in the drawer, letting out a sigh of relief. The idea of Blaine seeing his underwear wasn’t the first thing that had crossed his mind though. It was the idea that them hanging out would provoke the other boy into curiosity, and cause him to ask what was in the drawer.

Kurt knew that was highly unlikely, but given the fact that it was something he was sure Rachel Berry would have done, his brain couldn’t tune the idea out entirely.

He padded around the room, straightening things that really didn’t need to be straightened. Kurt kept his room neat and tidy, a sign of his flare for the fabulous. His eyes landed on his vanity, all his creams and moisturizers arranged in front of the mirror. It seemed to be in order.

There was one exception. One he had completely forgotten about and was now surprised Mercedes hadn’t noticed it when he’d invited her in.

Hurrying over to the vanity, Kurt reached out a pale hand and snatched the photo from where it was stuck in the bottom left-hand corner of the mirror’s frame. It was a cast photo, taken his last day on set.

Not that Kurt felt like he was really recognizable in the shot. His hair had actually been naturally a lighter shade. Not too much lighter, but enough to warrant a noticeable difference between then and now.

As he stood there in front of the vanity staring down at the photo, his eyes landed on a figure in the upper left corner and he wrinkled his nose. Kurt knew very well who that boy was. He knew the smile he had painted on his face that day was false. In fact, Kurt wasn’t entirely sure that Sebastian Smythe knew how to genuinely smile.

He brought his fingers to the corner of the photo, intent on ripping the meerkat out of the image. But he stopped, leaving only a minor crease. Huffing out a frustrated sigh, Kurt threw the photo in the vanity drawer and rested his hands palm flat on the table. He once more found himself staring in the mirror, just like he had been in his bathroom.

That’s where he was when the knock on the door came and Kurt turned his head.

“Um,” came Finn’s voice as he hesitantly poked his head in the door. “Can we come in?”

Kurt hadn’t missed the ‘we’ part of the question and he stilled for a moment before crossing to his bed and getting situated in it once more.

“Okay,” he said nervously.

Finn pushed the door open and hesitantly walked into the room, gesturing for someone to follow him. Kurt felt his heart stutter for a moment as Blaine entered, looking every bit as dapper as he had the day before, if not more so.

“Hey Kurt,” Blaine said nervously.

“Hi Blaine,” Kurt replied, just as nervous. Finn let out an awkward cough and sheepishly scratched the back of his head.

“I had to show him how to get here,” Finn said. “You forgot to text him.”

Kurt blushed and grabbed his phone. “Stupid pills,” he muttered.

“It’s okay Kurt,” Blaine said sincerely.

Finn let out another awkward cough. “Right,” he said. “I’ll just leave you to it then.” He turned to leave the room and stopped at the door. “Let me know if you do want to play video games dude,” he said to Blaine before leaving.

The two boys were quiet for a moment, Blaine awkwardly shifting from foot to foot and Kurt smoothing the comforter on his bed, even though he couldn’t get it any smoother.

It was Blaine who found the nerve to speak first. “How are you feeling?” he asked gently.

Kurt debated telling him the truth, but decided it was best not to. “Okay,” he said simply instead. Honestly, he was kind of feeling like he’d been hit in the face with a baseball bat or something. He hadn’t been aware smashing his face into the steering wheel could do so much damage. And he hated how unattractive it made him look.

Blaine cautiously approached the bed and perched on the end. There were questions in his eyes, ones that Kurt wondered if he was hesitant to ask.

“Are you okay?” the pale boy asked him and Blaine nodded.

“I’m fine,” he said, looking down at the comforter. “So, this is your room, huh?” he added, looking around.

Kurt managed a small chuckle. “Yes, not entirely impressive. I think Rachel would be highly disappointed if I actually let her in.” He could see her response now. She’d probably be wondering why the hell he was hiding a normal looking bedroom from her. It wasn’t the room he didn’t want her to see. Just the idea of snooping and finding things he didn’t want her to know about. Like his past on that damn show. He momentarily flicked his eyes to the dresser drawer before they went back to Blaine.

But he found himself surprised at the look that had written across the other boy’s face when he’d mentioned Rachel. His triangular eyebrows were now adorably furrowed together and a frown was plastered on his face. It was a look Kurt didn’t really like seeing on the handsome boy.

“Something wrong?” he asked.

Blaine looked up at him again, biting his lip. “You haven’t heard from Rachel, have you?” he asked.

Whatever Kurt had been expecting him to say, it certainly wasn’t that. “What? No, she was at school.”

The curly haired boy was hesitant for a moment. “Exactly. She was at school,” he said.

“I don’t understand,” the pale boy replied.

Blaine sighed. “There was an outburst at lunch so I went to go talk to her.” He decided not to tell Kurt that it was about the fact that he would see Kurt’s room and Rachel still hadn’t gotten to. “I found her in the auditorium, but after a brief discussion, she walked out a side door. That was the last anyone saw of her.” He realized he was the last person who had seen her that day, which could make him look bad.

“What do you mean?” Kurt asked.

“She never showed up to Glee this afternoon,” Blaine admitted quietly.

Kurt stared at him, completely stunned into silence. He knew Rachel well enough to know that she would never miss a Glee practice, certainly not of her own accord at least. That would be highly out of character for her.

Words didn’t need to be exchanged to know what they were both thinking. Did something bad happen to Rachel?

Rachel’s sudden disappearance was certainly unsettling for Kurt. Sure, she could be annoying and she got on his last nerve quite often, but he would never wish ill of the girl and she was still one of his best friends. A part of him was starting to wonder if her going missing was his fault. Had she gotten so fed up she walked out of everyone’s life? No, that couldn’t be it. Rachel would never do that. She valued her future stardom too much.

The younger boy searched for a way to overcome the awkward bump in their conversation, which could they really be considered to be having a conversation? Unfortunately, the option he chose was no better. In fact, it might have been worse.

“Did you know the boy who stepped in front of your car?” he asked, instantly regretting the words the moment they were out.

Kurt’s whole body tensed up and his expression became unreadable. The warmth in his eyes dissipated and Blaine knew that he’d said the wrong thing. “No,” Kurt replied flatly. Though the other boy knew he was lying, he also knew he didn’t have the privilege nor the warranty to call him out on it. For one thing, if he called him out on it, it would show that he knew more than he was supposed to.

The tension hung in the air and Blaine slowly slid off Kurt’s bed, feeling like maybe he wasn’t welcome anymore.

He could sense that there was definitely some bad blood between Kurt and Sebastian. But again, it wasn’t his place to ask. He wasn’t even supposed to know that Kurt was who Kurt was.

“Is he a friend of yours?” Kurt suddenly asked, staring Blaine down.

The curly haired boy quickly shook his head. “No!” he spit out. “I’ve never seen him before in my life!” He couldn’t remember a time he’d been so frazzled before. He’d also never seen anyone go from warm and friendly to cold and aloof as quickly as he had just watched Kurt do exactly that.

Kurt was staring at him, his eyes still like ice. Apparently, he was not comforted by Blaine’s proclamation. If anything, it might have made him more angry.

“Your hastiness to deny it says otherwise,” Kurt stated, voice still flat. “I think you should leave.”

“What?” Blaine asked incredulously.

“You heard me. Go,” Kurt said, his voice that deadly calm tone.

Blaine only hesitated a second before he turned on his heel and made a swift exit from the room. This certainly hadn’t gone as planned.

Kurt relaxed his shoulders and carefully buried his face in his hands. It was only a few moments later that Finn burst into the room without knocking.

“What the hell dude?” Finn got out, staring at his stepbrother.

“Go away Finn,” Kurt bit, not looking up.

Finn shook his head. “Not until you tell me why the hell Blaine just stoically left the house at a brisk pace.”

That got Kurt’s attention. Not because Blaine had left, but because Finn had used complex wording and language and he just stared at the boy in surprise, wondering where the hell he had learned to talk like that.

“What?” Finn asked.

“Where did you learn that word?”

“What word?” The boy scratched his head.

“Stoically,” Kurt said simply.

Finn stared at him for a long moment before shrugging. “I have to stop falling asleep to those news talk shows,” he said. This only made Kurt stare at him again.

“Since when did you watch news talk shows?” he asked.

“Since I was having trouble sleeping and they were the only thing that worked.”

“When did you start having trouble sleeping?”

Finn hesitated and shifted from foot to foot. “I don’t know dude. I guess when I started to really worry about you because all the bullying was escalating. To be honest, I was scared. I didn’t want anything to happen to you.”

His stepbrother’s words flipped a switch and the cold demeanor washed away from Kurt, replaced by his usual warmth. He blinked several times and looked around.

“Where’s Blaine?” he asked after a moment.

“What? I thought you kicked him out,” Finn said.

All the color drained from Kurt’s face. His eyes moved from Finn to the door and back to Finn again. “Finn, would you mind leaving me alone for a while?” he asked quietly.

Finn had no idea what was going on, but he didn’t want to overstep, no matter how worried he was about his brother. “Sure dude, whatever you need.”

“Thank you,” Kurt replied as Finn made to leave. “And don’t call me dude.”

The taller boy threw his hands up in surrender and left the room. Kurt picked up his phone from where he’d dropped it on the bed in front of him and called the number for his dad’s work.

“Hummel Tires & Lube, Burt Hummel speaking,” came his dad’s voice after two rings.

“Dad, do you seriously not have my number programmed at work or something?” Kurt asked without a greeting.

“Sorry kid,” Burt chuckled. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine dad,” Kurt lied. He was still moody and restless, but his dad didn’t need to know that. “But…” he trailed off, biting his lip.

There was a noise as Burt made to shuffle into the office with the cordless phone and shut the door. “But what Kurt?” he finally asked, now that he was in the privacy of the office.

Kurt let out a breath. “It happened again.”

“What did?” Burt’s voice was laced with concern.

“The blackout,” was all Kurt replied.

On the other end of the line, Burt Hummel went still. He felt his blood run cold. “Are you sure?” he asked in an uncharacteristically quiet voice.

Kurt nodded before remembering his dad couldn’t see him. “Yes. Dad, Finn said I kicked Blaine out. But I don’t remember why,” he said.

“Okay, okay,” Burt replied. “Calm down kid. We’ll figure it out. I’ll call Dr. Marlowe and see if I can’t get you a script for that pill. The one that helped with that last time.”

The pale boy swallowed. “Are you sure that’s necessary dad?” he asked.

Burt grunted into the phone. “I’m not taking any chances Kurt. Sure it was one time, but it was out of the blue and after the fact that Tommy tried to get you seriously hurt, I’m worried the floodgates will burst back open. I don’t want you back in that aftermath kiddo. It was terrifying.”

The teenager sighed into the phone, gripping it so hard his pale knuckles turned stark white. He knew his dad was right. He didn’t want to go back to those episodes again either. He wasn’t keen on starting on the medication again, but if his dad thought it was a necessary precaution, he wasn’t going to argue with him.

“Okay,” he finally said in a defeated tone of voice, playing the comforter between the fingers of his free hand.

“Okay,” Burt confirmed. “Get some more rest kid. I’ll see you when I get home.”

“Bye dad,” Kurt said.

“Bye kiddo.” There was a click as Burt Hummel hung up the phone and Kurt fell back on his pillows, staring at the ceiling.

Thoughts were swirling around his head like a tornado. Memories of the months after he had left the show filtered to the forefront of his mind. That had been a trying time for Kurt. He’d never let anyone know where his mind was during that time. The only people who knew what he’d been going through, were his dad, and Dr. Marlowe.

The psychiatrist said Kurt’s mind was reacting unusually to things that triggered bad memories. It was actively trying to black them out. He was suffering episodes during which he would black out without physically losing consciousness. Periods of time where he was unaware of his actions or what he was doing.

He knew that was what had happened with Blaine. Finn said Kurt had kicked the boy out. He wasn’t sure if that was true and he wasn’t sure if Finn was sure, only that it was speculated but the fact that Blaine was gone said something had happened.

But the question was, what had triggered it? What had he and Blaine been talking about just before Kurt had the episode?

He remembered something about Rachel going missing. And he had been conflicted by what could have happened to her. And then Blaine had said something about…

“Sebastian,” Kurt muttered to himself. He remembered now. Blaine had asked him if he’d known the boy who had stepped in front of his car. That must have been when he’d tuned out of himself, because he couldn’t remember what had happened after that.

But now he had another issue, besides the sudden episode. Blaine thought he was mad at him. That was not a good feeling at all.

It lead to one major stressor on Kurt’s mind. One he had hoped to never have to encounter with anyone who didn’t already know.

How the hell was he going to explain this to Blaine?