Chapter 1

The thing about panic attacks, Kurt thought sadly, as he studied his reflection in the vanity mirror, was that they were like potato chips. You could never have just one, they weren't healthy, and it was absolute murder on your complexion. Really, Kurt could just do without them all together.

The attacks had become more frequent, though not nearly so severe, since the one Puck and Finn had witnessed. His therapist said it was just all the stress: too many extracurricular activities, a home life turned upside down, actual friends, raging hormones (Okay, maybe she had a point with that one. Being the only openly gay guy in the entire town, excluding Rachel's dads who were both too old and too not-single, didn't help). Mr. Schuester had even given him a lead solo, full of high notes, to sing the next time New Directions got in a pissing contest with Vocal Adrenaline, and the prospect was as terrifying as it was exciting.

So really, he had tons of reasons to be a mess. His therapist just said to go with the flow, remember your breathing exercises, and see you next Tuesday. The panic attacks would go away again, given time.

With a sigh, he swiped some astringent over the small breakout near his hairline. At least it would be easy to cover up. A little concealer, an artful arrangement of his bangs, if nothing else, he could wear a hat. But right now he couldn't be bothered. Finn and "the boys" were planning a video game night, and while it was true that he didn't mind them taking over his room every once in a while (In fact it was kind of fun, and still a novel concept to tell his dad that he had guy friends coming to hang out) it didn't mean that his place had to be a pig sty.

Kurt started to clean up, though honestly that mainly consisted of fluffing pillows, straightening throws, and making sure his vintage muscle magazines were will hidden, and really it was stupid to be nervous. It was just the guys from glee club. Finn, his brother, who pretty much lived in his room anyway. Puck, who was there nearly as much as Finn since they had been paired up for a science project, and Puck found out Kurt could usually be convinced to provide cookies. Artie was cool, and a tiny part of Kurt's brain pointed out that he could totally outrun the other boy, especially considering that there were stairs involved. (Kurt told his brain shut up, and out of all of them Artie was the least likely to toss him in a dumpster or eat his brains.) Matt was the quiet type, which was a little freaky, but he was nice enough and had a wicked sense of humor once you got him talking. Mike was pretty cool too, and mostly remembered not to jump on Kurt when he was having a celebratory spazz out after beating the others, again. Mike seemed to win a lot.

So really. Nothing to worry about. Just the guys. He flinched as the door slammed above his head, a rush of laughter and heavy footfalls. A second later and his phone dinged, alerting him to a new text message from Finn.

"Upstairs. Ok to come down?"

He had told Finn he didn't mind people in his room. It was only fair really since he had the best entertainment system, and the best seating. (and the best decor, but really, no contest.) Finn had talked to Dad, and Dad had apparently shared all his tips for the care and feeding of a panic attack prone Kurt. So Finn made sure to ask a lot, and gave him plenty of warning before doing something potentially disruptive.

Kurt smiled, forcing himself to sit down in a chair and look comfortable. He tucked a book next to him so he'd have something to escape to if he needed it, then answered Finn's text. Above him he could hear the guys, raiding the kitchen from the direction of the sounds.

"Yep. Tell Puck to put the cake back. That's not for him."

It was an educated guess, but considering that the football player had already tucked away half the cake in the past two days, he figured he wouldn't be far off, and he really didn't want his brother's best friend to go missing because he got between Burt Hummel and the last slice of black forest.

"You ruin all my fun" Puck complained, announcing his presence as he clomped loudly down the stairs, a soda and piece of cold pizza in his hands. He was studying Kurt, obvious in his attempt at subtlety.

Puck, surprisingly, had become nearly as much of a mother hen as Finn, though he balanced it with teasing during glee, and stealing his hat in the halls, and mocking his clothing...well pretty much all the time. At least they were, mostly, subtle enough in their fussing that the rest of the gleeks were unaware of Kurt's predicament.

Kurt rolled his eyes. "You and Dad can fight over it later. There's yogurt in the crisper if you want something sweet."

Puck made a face and plopped down near Kurt, while Mike, Matt and Finn maneuvered Artie's wheelchair down the stairs. The wheelchair bound boy was obviously doubling as a snack tray, his lap piled high with drinks and chips.

"Did he just say yogurt?" Artie asked, in mocking disbelief.

"There's nothing wrong with yogurt!" Kurt fired back. It was an old argument. "It's good for you."

"It's like...bacteria" Finn added.

"bacteria that's allliiiiivve" Mike set Artie down and lifted his arms in a zombie impersonation. Kurt rolled his eyes.

"Alive and doing it." Matt's expression was serious. "It's a bacteria orgy in your mouth."

"oh my god!" Kurt slapped a hand to his forehead. "You're disgusting!"

Matt just grinned, fist bumping Puck as he took his own place on the couch.

"We're just worried about your health." Mike ruffled Kurt's hair and dropped a wii remote in his lap. "Bowling. You, me and Artie vs. Matt, Puck and Finn"

Kurt studied the scene in his room, already surprisingly familiar and comfortable. He could handle this. Just a night in. With the guys. And he knew they chose bowling on purpose. He couldn't resist that game.

Puck raised an eyebrow.

Kurt stuck out his tongue, before being pulled into the drama that was Finn getting his hand caught in a remote's wrist strap...again.

Yeah. He could totally handle this.