Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me. "Lost" belongs to Katy Perry.
Is there a light?
Is there a light at the end of the road?
I'm pushing everyone away
'Cause I can't feel this anymore
Can't feel this anymore
Have you ever been so lost?
Known the way, and still, so lost?
Another night waiting for someone to take me home
Have you ever been so lost?
"Anderson. Wake up. Your boyfriend is barfing all over the junior bathroom."
Blaine pushed himself off his pillow, rubbing his eyes sleepily against the crack of light streaming through the open door. "Don't got a boyfriend," he mumbled.
"Kurt," his roommate grunted. Paul picked up a pillow and chucked it at him from across the room. "He means Kurt, okay? Pretty sure he means Kurt."
Blaine sat up, pushing his blankets back. "What's wrong with Kurt?" he asked. "Is he okay?"
He fumbled for his glasses and squinted at the shadowed figure in the doorway. Nathaniel leaned against the wall. The tall blond Warbler was an RA for the junior dorm wing, and if he was in the senior hall at one in the morning, it could only mean bad news.
"I was doing the last room check when I walked past Kurt's room and it was empty," Nathaniel explained.
"Wait, what?" he said. "What do you mean, empty?"
"The door was open and the light was on," Nathaniel said. "I thought it was strange, but I thought he might just be in the bathroom or something. So I went in to check, and he was getting sick."
Blaine rubbed his hands through his hair. "Is he okay?" he asked.
"I asked him, and he said he was fine, but he didn't sound okay," Nathaniel said. "He thanked me for checking on him and told me to go back to bed. Then he threw up again."
"That's not good," Blaine murmured. He struggled out of the covers, shivering a little in the cold air of his dorm room.
"I'm going to go get the nurse, but I didn't want to leave him alone for too long," Nathaniel said. "Can you stay with him?"
"Sure, sure," Blaine said. Out of habit he picked his phone and key lanyard off his nightstand, then followed Nathaniel down the hall.
"Close the door," Paul whined. "Letting the light in." Blaine rolled his eyes and obeyed.
"I figured you were the best person to call," Nathaniel said. "I'll make sure you don't get in trouble with your RA."
"Oh, Wade won't care," Blaine said. He strode beside Nathaniel through the silent, slightly creepy halls of the school; he was beginning to wake up and the thought of Kurt being sick was starting to make him anxious. "What do you think is wrong with him?"
"Probably a virus or something," Nathaniel said. "Stuff like that usually gets around in the dorms. Listen, go check on him and see if you can get him to rest. I'll bring the nurse in to take a look at him. Hopefully he won't have to go to the emergency room or anything."
"I hope not," Blaine said. Nathaniel clapped him on the shoulder before he headed further down the hall; Blaine took the stairs to the junior dorms.
He was not good with sick people. Not good at all. They made him nervous and uncomfortable, and he was always unreasonably worried that he was going to catch what they had. And that always left him chugging orange juice, popping vitamins, and checking his temperature for the next several days, just in case he was coming down with something.
But Kurt was sick. And apparently being stubborn about it. And Blaine had to be the one to talk him down.
Blaine paused outside the door to the junior bathrooms, squared his shoulders, and stepped inside. "Hey, Kurt?" he ventured.
He surveyed the stalls. One door was closed, and he was pretty sure he could see someone kneeling on the floor. He heard whoever it was cough.
"Kurt?" he ventured.
Please don't be Kurt, he thought. Please, let it be anyone but Kurt.
"Oh," he heard Kurt said. "Hi, Blaine."
Blaine approached the locked stall door warily. "Are you all right?" he asked.
"I'm fine," Kurt said, not bothering to open the door.
"Are you sure you're not sick?" Blaine asked.
"I'm…I'm not feeling that fantastic, but I'm not sick," Kurt said. "Thanks for checking on me, but you can go back to bed. I'll be okay."
"Kurt, aren't you throwing up?" Blaine said.
"It's just…just something I ate," Kurt said. "Thanks for checking on me, Blaine. I appreciate it, but I'm not sick."
"Kurt-" "You can go back to bed," Kurt offered. "If I'm not feeling well in the morning, I'll stay in bed, okay? But I'm…I'm fine."
There was a certain finality to Kurt's tone that Blaine didn't like, but he knew that he couldn't fight him. Not right now. "All right," Blaine said finally. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Mm-hm," Kurt said.
Blaine walked back towards the door, opened it, and let it close.
Fine. Two could play at this game.
Blaine tiptoed across the slick tiled floor, his socked feet making no sound. He lifted himself carefully onto the bathroom counter and waited.
It took a few minutes, but he heard Kurt sigh softly, the breath catching in his throat, and then the painful, strangled sound of retching. Blaine winced as he listened to Kurt throw up.
He really is sick, he thought. Why wouldn't he tell anyone?
Blaine shifted uncomfortably. Kurt was sick. Kurt was really, really sick.
He better not give it to me, he thought.
At long last he heard the toilet flush and the lock on the stall click. Blaine braced himself. This was not going to go well, he was sure of it.
Kurt shuffled out of the bathroom stall, his head down. His Dalton Warblers tee shirt and blue polka dot pajamas were badly wrinkled, like he had been tossing and turning for hours before he finally got up, and his arms were wrapped tightly around his stomach. He wandered towards the sink and glanced up at the mirror, then started.
"Oh my god," Kurt mumbled, bracing his hands on either side of the sink and hanging his head. "I thought…I thought you left."
"Kurt, you're really sick," Blaine said. "What if you had passed out or something?"
Kurt exhaled slowly. "I wouldn't have passed out," he said. "I'm…I'm okay."
Blaine slid off the counter. "Look, I don't want to argue with you right now," he said gently. "Nathaniel went down to get the nurse. Rinse your mouth and let's get you back to bed."
"Blaine, I don't-"
Blaine put his hand on Kurt's back, feeling the bumps of his spine and the heat radiating from his skin through his tee shirt. "Just do it, okay?" he said.
Kurt sighed and turned on the tap, rinsing his mouth out with cool water, then straightened slowly, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He pushed himself back, wavering a little on his feet. Instinctively Blaine put a hand out to steady him. "I'm all right," Kurt said.
Blaine put his arm around Kurt's waist. "Let's get you back to your room so you can lie down," he said. "You can lean on me, okay?"
Kurt said nothing, but Blaine felt him sag against his side. He tightened his arm around his slender waist and guided him down the hall to his dorm. Kurt's usually pristine room was unusually cluttered; homework spread across his desk and his uniform from yesterday was scattered across the floor.
I wonder if he just went to bed right after Warbler rehearsal last night, he thought. He tried to think back to last night's practice. Now that he thought about it, Kurt had been fairly quiet. Actually, he'd been fairly quiet for a while now.
Blaine helped Kurt over to his bed and pulled the rumpled covers back. "Okay, lie down," he said.
Kurt sank down onto his mattress, drawing his legs up as he tugged at his sheets. Blaine smoothed them out and pulled them up to his shoulders. "Thanks," Kurt mumbled. "I can take it from here. It's…it's probably just a virus or something."
"I'll stay with you until Nathaniel and the nurse get here," Blaine said. He placed his hand lightly on Kurt's forehead. "You're really warm."
Kurt closed his eyes. "I don't have a fever," he murmured. "I'm cold."
Blaine looked down at Kurt. His pale face was blotchy and his eyes were red and swollen. He burrowed deeper under his covers, shivering a little. "Kurt, you've got to face this," Blaine said gently. "You're sick. Really sick."
Kurt turned his face away. "I can't be sick," he mumbled. "Just give me some Tylenol and let me sleep, okay?"
Blaine patted his back lightly. "You get ornery when you're sick," he commented. He trailed his fingertips in light, hopefully soothing swirls between Kurt's shoulderblades. "Just relax, okay? You're going to be fine."
Kurt didn't answer, just kept his face turned away. Blaine stayed silent too, his fingers still making the smooth loopy circles on Kurt's back.
Nathaniel cracked the door open. "Hey, Kurt," he said. He glanced from Kurt huddled in the bed to Blaine sitting next to him. "Is he awake?"
"I think so," Blaine said.
Kurt struggled into a sitting position. "I'm awake," he mumbled. "I'm fine."
"I'll be the judge of that," the nurse said. A tall woman in her late thirties, she had been the on-call nurse for the dorms for the past five years; Blaine hoped she didn't remember the time he was a freshman and rolled out of his bed in his sleep, breaking his pinky finger in the process. "All right, honey, open your mouth. I've got to take your temperature."
Kurt obeyed reluctantly. Blaine resisted the urge to smile. Kurt looked like such a child, with his hair tousled and his cheeks flushed and his tee shirt slipping off one shoulder. It was…well, it would be completely adorable if he hadn't been so sick.
The nurse took the thermometer out of his mouth. "You're running a fever of 102.2," she said.
"But I'm cold," Kurt objected.
"Yes, well, they're called chills, honey," the nurse said, rummaging through her kit. She pulled out an ice pack and cracked it, then put it over Kurt's forehead. "And you've been throwing up?"
"Quite a bit," Blaine interrupted.
"It might be just a virus," the nurse said. "Have you had any other symptoms? Headache or anything?"
"Not really," Kurt said, but he kept his eyes closed. That was never a good sign.
Blaine edged a little closer. "Kurt, are you sure?" he said. "There's not anything else bothering you? Anything at all."
Kurt opened his eyes slowly, his eyes shining pale green under his thick fringe of lashes. "I've got…there's this spot on my side that really hurts," he confessed.
"All right, then, let me take a look," the nurse said.
Kurt shifted on his bed to lie on his left side, twisting the blankets around his legs and wincing a little. Blaine reached over on instinct to take the cold pack from his forehead and give his shoulder a sympathetic squeeze.
The nurse lifted the hem of Kurt's tee shirt up over his ribcage. Blaine leaned over to look and let out a low whistle. A angry red splotch spread over Kurt's ribs. "Well," the nurse said. She prodded it lightly and Kurt flinched. "Honey, have you ever had chicken pox before?"
"Yeah, when I was four or something," Kurt mumbled into his pillow.
"Does he have the chicken pox?" Nathaniel asked. "I mean, I've had it, but I know that a couple of the Warblers haven't."
The nurse turned to Blaine. "Have you had it?" she asked.
"Second grade," Blaine stammered. "Why? What's wrong with him?"
The nurse smoothed the skin around the red mark. "I think it's shingles," she said. "In layman's terms, it's a complication of chicken pox. Have you been stressed lately? Sometimes stress can trigger shingles."
Kurt propped himself up on his elbows, his shirt sliding over his back. "You're not serious?" he said.
"I'm serious," the nurse said, making him lie back down. "You're not sick enough to qualify for a trip to the emergency room, but when the campus doctor gets here in the morning you'll want to get yourself down to the dispensary. You'll have to start a round of antibiotics, and you'll have to stay in bed for at least a week."
Kurt closed his eyes. Blaine draped the cold compress over his hot forehead again and patted his shoulder. "Hey, it's not that bad," he smiled. "You get a whole week to lounge around and do nothing."
Kurt covered his eyes with his forearm, his lips pressing down into a thin line. "I can't," he said, his voice wavering. "I…I just can't…can't you just give me a prescription or something?"
"It doesn't work like that," the nurse said. "You have to give the antibiotics time to work. Besides, you're contagious to anyone who hasn't had the chicken pox. You've got to rest."
Blaine watched Kurt bite down hard on his lip, his eyes still covered by his arm. "Could…could you give us a second?" he ventured.
"Sure, I'll just go ahead and fill out the absence paperwork to give his teachers," the nurse said. She moved over to Kurt's desk; Nathaniel disappeared into the hall.
Blaine took Kurt gingerly by the wrist, his fingers closing carefully over the frail bones, and gently moved his arm away. "Hey," he said. Kurt's eyes were closed tightly. "Hey, talk to me. What's wrong?"
"What's wrong? I'm sick and highly contagious, I'm guessing that's what's wrong," Kurt said sharply
Blaine readjusted the ice pack on Kurt's hot forehead. "Why don't you want to rest?" he asked. "Why do you feel like you need to hide how sick you are?"
Kurt still didn't open his eyes. "Because I'm still trying to catch up in all my classes," he said in a low voice. "Because my parents sacrificed their honeymoon to send me here, and I don't want to let them down. Because I can't miss Warbler rehearsal or I'll get kicked out. Because I…"
Kurt broke off in midsentence. His lips were trembling.
Please don't cry, please don't cry, Blaine thought fervently. I don't think I can handle him crying.
"It's okay," he said aloud. He squeezed Kurt's upper arm. "It's going to be okay. The Warblers won't kick you out, and we'll make sure you get all of your homework assignments. You won't get behind. I promise." He forced himself to sound lighthearted. "We'll start you on the antibiotics tomorrow to get you feeling better, and then you'll spend a week in your bed watching movies. That doesn't sound too bad, does it?"
"I guess," Kurt whispered. He opened his eyes, staring blankly at the ceiling.
Blaine readjusted the covers around Kurt. His cheeks were still flushed, but Blaine could see him shivering. Thoughtfully he put his hand over Kurt's, rubbing his thumb against the curve of his palm.
He still remembered the first time he got sick on campus. It was a bad chest cold his first semester, when he was a freshman. He had wandered down to the dispensary after lunch and huddled on one of the beds, feverish and miserable and just a little scared at being all by himself in a strange school. But the nurse had called his parents and his mother was there within an hour to take him home. He spent three days at home on the couch with his family fussing over him, still feeling sick but at least reassured by the comforting normalcy of home.
Blaine glanced back down at Kurt, who had curled up on his side, knees tucked up to his stomach. A plan started formulating in his head before he could stop it. "I'll be right back, okay?" he murmured, patting Kurt on the back, but careful to avoid the sore spot on his side. Kurt nodded, burying his cheek in his pillow.
Blaine slid off the edge of the bed, trying not to jostle him, and walked over to the nurse. "So you're sure he has to stay in bed for a week?" he said.
"I'm completely sure," the nurse said absently.
"But it doesn't matter where that bed is, right?" Blaine said.
The nurse looked him up and down. "Honey, did you fall out of bed again?" she asked. "Maybe hit your head this time?"
"No, no," Blaine said quickly, trying not to blush in embarrassment. "I was just wondering…his family's not too far away. Is there any way that he can leave campus and stay home for the week."
"Only if you know a way of getting him there," the nurse said. "But sure, if he wants to go home, then I'm all for it."
Blaine slipped out into the hall. Nathaniel leaned against the far wall, hands in the pockets of his navy flannel pajama pants. "What's going on?" he asked, pushing off the wall.
"I'm about to do something potentially stupid," Blaine said. "Can you go down to my room and grab my hoodie, my Converses, and my car keys?"
"I'll explain later," Blaine said. "Can you do it?"
Nathaniel blinked. "Sure, I guess," he said. "I'll be right back."
Blaine went back into Kurt's dorm room. Kurt was still curled up under the covers, the blankets drawn up to his chin, shivering violently. His greenish eyes were open, but glazed over and vacant. Blaine smiled down at him, hoping to coax some kind of reaction out of him, but Kurt didn't react.
Carefully Blaine sat down beside him, putting his hand on his back. "Hey," he said softly. "Get up. I'm taking you home."
Kurt looked up at him, blinking rapidly. "Really?" he whispered. "You're gonna take me home?"
"Uh-huh," Blaine smiled. "Come on. Sit up. Do you need help?"
Kurt started to push himself up, the blankets sliding away from his shoulders. He swayed a little bit as he sat upright, and Blaine quickly moved beside him, sliding one arm around his waist. "Go slow," he warned. "You don't want to black out."
"I'm fine," Kurt said. "I'm…I'm…"
He put his hands out to brace himself. "You're okay," Blaine said. "Here, just slide your legs over the side of the bed."
Kurt shifted a little, trying to move. Blaine kept his arm around his waist, doing his best to support him. "Sit here, I'm going to get your shoes," he said.
"Get the Sperrys," Kurt mumbled, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
"The what?" Blaine said.
"The light blue boat shoes," Kurt said as he leaned heavily on his knees. "They're the only things that won't clash. And they don't have any laces."
Blaine dug through the hanging shoe rack until he found the shoes that he was pretty sure met Kurt's description. "These them?" he asked, holding them up. Kurt nodded. He set them on the floor in front of Kurt; Kurt inched to the edge of the bed and slid his feet into them carefully.
"All right, honey, I've got all of this taken care of," the nurse said. "I'll email your teachers and let them know you'll be absent for at least a week. When you get to the doctor and they get you your prescriptions, have them fax the information over here. You'll be excused from your classes, no penalties."
She pulled a blister pack of pills from her kit. "Take two of these with plenty of water. They'll help with your fever and nausea." She patted his shoulder. "Get well soon, honey. And don't give it to anyone else."
"I'll try," Kurt quipped weakly.
The nurse let herself out of the room. Blaine dug the pills out of the silver blister pack and put them carefully into Kurt's hand. "Do you have a water bottle or something?" he asked.
"Gatorade on my dresser," Kurt said.
Blaine patted his knee and got up. He found two bottles of Gatorade, one half-full and the other unopened, plus a packet of stomach pills and a bottle of Tylenol. He twisted off the cap of the half full bottle and handed it over. "You've been sick for a while, haven't you?" he commented.
Kurt swallowed the pills, sipping cautiously at the Gatorade. "About a week and a half," he said quietly.
Blaine folded his arms. "And you didn't tell anyone because…"
Kurt stared into the artificially blue depths of his sports drink. "Because I didn't know what I'm supposed to do," he whispered. "I'm…I'm not good at being sick."
"Clearly," Blaine smiled. He brushed Kurt's hair back from his forehead. "Listen, I'm not going to be hard on you right now, because I know you're miserable, but next time you feel sick, you have to tell someone. Your parents, Mercedes, me, Wes or David. Even Jo or Lucy. Or you could at least go to the nurse's office on your own."
"Didn't know where it was," Kurt mumbled.
Blaine stroked the small of Kurt's back, feeling him shiver despite the heat radiating off his skin. "Next time you're sick, I'll walk you down there myself, all right?" he promised. Kurt nodded, still looking completely miserable. He leaned towards him, his head falling against his broad shoulder.
He couldn't help it. Impulsively Blaine leaned over and kissed him lightly on the temple.
Kurt started, falling back a little and catching himself on the mattress, his eyes wide. Blaine jumped up. "Let's, uh, let's get you your coat, okay?" he said. "You're, uh, you're going to need a coat. It's cold out."
He rummaged through the racks in Kurt's closet, hiding his rapidly reddening face in his clothes. "Do you have anything that's, uh, that's extra warm, and kind of old?" he asked. "Just in case you throw up again."
"You think I might throw up again?" Kurt said, horrified. "Oh, god, I thought I was done…"
Blaine turned around. "I don't know, you might," he said. "Do you have anything? A hoodie, maybe?"
"The only item I'm willing to vomit on is that candy-apple-red Dalton sweater vest," Kurt mumbled.
Nathaniel knocked lightly on the door as he opened it. "Hey, guys," he said. "Kurt, are you doing okay?"
"He's holding up," Blaine said.
Nathaniel handed over a bag. "I've got the stuff you asked for," he said. "Your roommate is scary when he's woken up, by the way."
"That's Paul for you," Blaine said as he pulled on his shoes.
"I didn't know which hoodie you wanted, so I grabbed two of them," Nathaniel said, holding out one in each hand.
Blaine straightened. "Oh, thank God," he said. He took the navy oversized pullover from Nathaniel's hands. "Here, Kurt. Raise your arms for me."
Kurt obeyed, the hem of his tee shirt rising over his stomach. Blaine slid the sleeves over Kurt's slender hands. "I know this isn't very fashionable," he said, pulling it gently over Kurt's head and tugging the hem down. "But this'll keep you warm."
"Thanks," Kurt said, sliding his hands into the front pocket.
Blaine shrugged on the red zipup hoodie. "I'll cover for you," Nathaniel said. "It's within my jurisdiction as an RA, but still you should probably be back here before classes start in the morning."
"I'll do my best," Blaine said, snatching his car keys out of his hand.
Nathaniel knelt down and put his hand on Kurt's knee. "Get better, okay?" he said. "Don't worry about the Warblers. We'll catch you up when you get back."
Kurt nodded as Nathaniel patted his knee and left the room. "Is there anything you need to take home with you?" Blaine asked.
"My laptop and my iPod," Kurt said, rubbing his eyes. "And…and my phone."
Blaine picked them up and put them in Kurt's messenger bag, then slung it over his shoulder. "Okay, let's get you down to my car," he said.
He helped Kurt to his feet and followed him into the hall, turning off the lights and locking the door as they left. "You can lean on me," he offered.
"I think I'm all right," Kurt said, his eyes trained on the floor and one hand trailing against the wall to keep his balance.
"Well, take your time," Blaine said.
Kurt took a lot of time trying to follow him out to the parking lot, especially when they reached the stairs. Blaine stayed as close to him as he dared, one hand nervously extended in case he fell. He didn't, but he took each step one by one. By the time they reached the bottom, Kurt was doubled over, one arm clutched around his stomach.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Blaine asked. "Do you want to take a break?"
Kurt shook his head, unable to speak. Blaine tapped his fingers anxiously on his thigh. This didn't bode well.
Blaine walked a little closer as he pushed the back door open. The cold night air hit them quickly, making Blaine wince and dig his hands in his pockets, clutching at his car keys. He jogged down the three stone steps to the parking lot, then waited. "Kurt?" he said. "Kurt, are you all right?"
Kurt hunched at the top of the steps, both arms around his stomach. "No," he said in a small voice. "I'm gonna…Blaine, I'm gonna throw up."
Blaine ran back up the steps and put his arm around Kurt's shoulder. "It's okay, it's okay," he said. He guided Kurt to the railing; Kurt gripped the cold metal and leaned over the side, making an awful choking noise in the back of his throat. "Kurt, it's okay, go ahead, get it out of your system."
Kurt doubled over and threw up over the side of the railing. Blaine rubbed his back gently. "It's okay," he murmured. "Sh, it's okay."
Finally Kurt straightened, wiping the back of his mouth with his shaking hand. "I…I'm sorry," he mumbled.
"Don't be sorry," Blaine said. "You're sick. It's okay."
Kurt took a hesitant step towards the first stair and grabbed the railing as his knees buckled Blaine grabbed him. "Hey, hey, hey, don't push it," he said. "Give yourself a break."
Kurt shook his head, pressing his lips together. "I want to go home," he said. "I just want to go home."
Blaine glanced across the parking lot. He could see his red jeep parked under a lamp. It wasn't that far away. He could probably make it.
"Okay, come here," Blaine said, standing at the bottom step and holding out his arms. "I'm going to carry you."
Kurt took a step back. "No," he said. "No, I'm okay, I'm-"
"Kurt," Blaine said softly. "Just come here. I'm going to carry you to my car."
Tentatively Kurt stepped towards him, his knees still trembling. He slipped his arms around Blaine's neck, his hands lost in the depths of his hoodie sleeves. Blaine put one arm around the small of his back. "It's okay, just relax," Blaine said. He slid his other arm under Kurt's knees and lifted him.
Kurt was only an inch or two taller than him, so he knew it would be easy to carry him. But he hadn't expected Kurt to be so light. Blaine readjusted him carefully, trying to walk as smoothly as he could across the parking lot. Kurt slumped in his arms, his forehead dropping against his shoulder. Blaine rested his cheek briefly against the top of Kurt's head.
"Okay, we're at my car," Blaine said. "I'm going to put you down now."
He bent down and set Kurt on his feet. Kurt leaned against the hood of the, resting heavily on his elbows. Blaine rummaged through his pockets for his keys and unlocked the door. "Okay, come on," Blaine coaxed, tugging him towards the front passenger seat. "You're almost there."
He helped hoist Kurt into the seat, then guided the seatbelt around him. Kurt curled up in the seat, still shivering. Blaine set Kurt's messenger bag on the floor at his feet, closed the door, and crossed around to the driver's seat.
He could do this. Kurt needed him to do this. Kurt needed to go home.
Blaine got into the driver's seat and turned the key in the ignition. He glanced over at Kurt. "Are you doing all right?" he asked.
"'m fine," Kurt murmured.
Blaine squeezed his knee. "Let me know if you need to throw up again, I'll pull over," he said.
Kurt closed his eyes and nodded miserably. Blaine pulled the jeep out of park and drove out of the Dalton parking lot, praying that they could get to Lima without any real problems.
He had just gotten on the interstate when an idea struck him. "Kurt," he whispered. "Kurt, you awake?"
"Mm-hm," Kurt said.
"Kurt, if you hand me your phone I'll call your dad so he knows we're coming," Blaine said.
Kurt leaned over slowly, fumbled for his phone from the pocket of his messenger bag, and dropped it in Blaine's hand before falling back into his seat. Blaine rubbed his knee sympathetically before scrolling through Kurt's contacts. He picked out the entry for "home," hit talk, and hoped fervently that this would go well.
Burt picked up on the third ring. "H'llo," he grumbled, his voice thick and gruff from sleep.
"Uh, hi, Mr. Hummel, this is Blaine Anderson from Dalton Academy," Blaine stammered. "Kurt's, uh, Kurt's friend."
"Yeah, I know who you are, Blaine, why the hell are you calling me at two in the morning?" Burt mumbled. He coughed. "This about Kurt? He okay?"
Blaine glanced over at Kurt curled up in the seat beside him, swallowed up in the navy blue hoodie. "He's, uh, he's sick," Blaine said.
"What the…how sick? What kind of sick?" Burt demanded, now sounding wide awake. "Is he in the hospital?"
"No, he's not in the hospital," Blaine said quickly. "The nurse at Dalton checked him out and she says he has shingles. He's pretty miserable and he needs to go to the doctor for antibiotics, but he's fine."
He heard Burt sigh heavily over the phone. "Poor kid," he said. "I remember when his mom had that. Okay, tell him I'm on my way."
"Actually, I'm, uh…I'm already driving him home," Blaine said. "We'll be there in about an hour or so. Traffic's pretty quiet."
"Thanks, Blaine," Burt said. "I…I appreciate that. Just bring my boy home safe, all right?"
"I'll do my best, sir," Blaine said.
He heard a woman's voice in the background right before Burt hung up, probably Kurt's stepmother. Blaine let out a long, heavy sigh and glanced back down at Kurt. "Try to get some sleep," he said softly. "You'll be home soon."
Kurt nodded. Blaine popped in the Plans album by death cab for cutie, turning the volume on fairly low, and kept driving. Kurt fell asleep within minutes, his chin tipping down to his chest and his hair falling over his forehead. Blaine glanced at him and smiled.
They made record time to Lima; Blaine found himself pulling into Kurt's driveway just an hour after he got off the phone with Burt. He unbuckled his seatbelt and leaned over to Kurt. "Hey, we're here," he whispered. He stroked his fingers lightly through Kurt's thick, silky hair, his heart thudding in his chest. "Wake up, babe."
Babe? he thought, suddenly mortified even though the only person who had heard him was currently fast asleep. Where did that come from?
Before he had a chance to continue his internal scolding, the passenger door swung open. Burt leaned into the car, dressed in old faded jeans and a threadbare tee shirt. "Hey, kiddo," he said, reaching around Kurt to unbuckle his seatbelt. "Come on, kiddo, it's Dad. Wake up, you're home."
Kurt opened his eyes slowly, his lashes fluttering slightly. "Dad?" he whispered.
Burt cupped his hand over Kurt's forehead and brushed his hair out of the way. "God, you're burning up," he said. "Listen, buddy, we're going to take you to the doctor in the morning, but right now we're just going to get you to bed, all right?"
Kurt nodded, inching closer to his father. Burt scooped him up easily, cradling him to his chest, and carried him into the house. Blaine grabbed Kurt's bag and followed them into the house.
Kurt looked even worse in the bright lights of the living room, his skin in stark shades of red and white. Blaine closed the front door behind them, still unnoticed by the rest of the family. Finn dozed on the couch, but he sat up when they walked in.
"Is Kurt okay?" he asked.
"He's gonna be fine," Burt said. "I'm going to take him downstairs."
"Mom's down there already," Finn said.
Burt adjusted his son in his arms. "Finn, make Blaine some coffee, why don't you?" he said. "I think you can manage that."
"Yeah, I can," Finn yawned. Blaine followed him into the kitchen, glancing over his shoulder as Burt carried Kurt down the stairs.
Finn fumbled with the coffee maker. "Is he really that sick?" he said.
"His RA found him throwing up," Blaine said. "He's been feeling bad for a while, he just never told anyone."
Finn shook his head. "Kurt never tells anybody anything," he said. "He could be dying and he'd never tell anybody. It's kind of a miracle you got him to come home."
"I think he wanted to be home," Blaine said. "I think he was waiting for me to ask."
Finn halted, the coffee carafe in his hands. "Huh," he said. "I never thought about asking him."
Blaine patted him on the shoulder. "Maybe try asking him next time when you think something's wrong," he suggested.
"Guess I should," Finn said.
Blaine slid his hands in his hoodie pockets. "I'm, uh…I'm going to go check on Kurt," he said.
"Okay," Finn said, still fiddling with the coffee maker.
Blaine headed down the steps to the basement, holding onto the banister. Carole was tucking Kurt into his own bed, pulling the satin comforter snugly around him. Burt stood close by, his arms folded across his chest, his face drawn in worry.
The bottom step squeaked as he made his way down the stairs. Carole glanced up and smiled at him. "Hi, Blaine," she said.
"How is he?" he asked, approaching carefully.
"Better now that I'm home," Kurt said sleepily.
Burt shifted his weight. "Thanks for getting him here," he said.
"Oh, it's…it's no problem," Blaine said. He looked down at Kurt, cuddly and sleepy under his layers of blankets and Carole's gentle hand on his hair. "No problem at all."
Carole picked up a cool damp washcloth from Kurt's nightstand and placed it on his forehead. "Are you sure you can make the drive home?" she asked, smoothing out the washcloth. "You're welcome to stay here if you're too tired."
"Oh, I think I'll be fine," Blaine said. "Finn's making me some coffee."
"I think I should go supervise," Carole said. "The last time I let Finn near the coffee maker it came out more like sludge." She kissed Kurt on the cheek. "Do you need anything else, sweetheart?"
"I think I'm okay right now," Kurt said, still sleepy.
Carole smiled at him and kissed him again. "Get some rest," she said. "Call me if you need anything."
Kurt nodded as Carole got up and headed up the stairs. Blaine stood on the other side of Kurt's bed, watching awkwardly as Burt gazed down at his sick son. He cleared his throat. "Well," Blaine said. "I guess I should get going."
"Yeah, you've, uh…you've got kind of a drive, don't you?" Burt said.
Blaine nodded. "Class in the morning, and all that," he said. "I'll stop by tomorrow with Kurt's assignments. The nurse said he needs to stay home for at least a week."
"We can manage that," Burt said. He squeezed Kurt's shoulder. "You hear that, kiddo? You're staying in bed, whether you like it or not."
"I heard, Dad, I heard," Kurt murmured.
Blaine cleared his throat. "I'm going to head out," he said.
Kurt turned towards him, his lashes drooping over his bright eyes. "Thanks for taking me home, Blaine," he whispered.
Blaine smiled. "Any time," he said. "Although…try not to get sick like this again, okay?"
Kurt smiled and closed his eyes. "Okay," he said.
Blaine touched his warm cheek lightly. For a second he wished he could kiss him goodnight, but the knowledge that Burt was still standing over them, eyes trained on Kurt, prevented him from trying anything. Instead, Blaine gave his shoulder a little reassuring squeeze and headed up the stairs, his heart still flipflopping.
Sadly, I have experienced this. I got shingles in the fall semester of my junior year of college, and no one knew what was wrong with me. I totally woke up my roommate at 3am and was like "waaaah, call my parents to come get me." Kat, being the blessed saint she is, did so. I spent a week quarantined at home feeling sorry for myself. And I felt even sorrier for myself when it turned out I was allergic to the antibiotics.
Then I got mono in the spring. During a tornado. And fainted twice when they did the blood test. And then my hair started to fall out. THAT WAS NOT A GOOD YEAR, YOU GUYS.
Anyways. I hope you enjoyed this chapter full of Kurt-torture. Poor kid, I'm so mean to him. At least Blaine is there to take good care of him. And Burt is there to be all "THIS IS MY BABY." I love that he adores his son. And that Carole and Finn love him too. At least when I write them. When I write the Hudmels, Kurt is definitely the spoiled baby of the family.
Crap. Now I need to cuddle Kurt.
This is one of the the first chapters I outlined for this story. When I started scripting everything out, this one fleshed out pretty quickly, once I got to the "face down in the porcelain" and "waiting for someone to take me home" lines. It just sort of fell in into place. Then I started writing and it JUST WOULDN'T STOP.
Oh, well. Hope you liked it! Did you like it?
Also, I have a Tumblr. The link is totally in my bio. You should visit and ask me questions. Because it's AWESOME and I'll give you gifs.
Next chapter: "One of the Boys"