Disclaimer: I don't own Glee... but I can still write Kurt angst :D
Soooo... I'm sure a lot of you aren't too happy with the horrifyingly long time it has taken for me to get this chapter up. All I can do is wave a white flag, apologize, and hope that this ending will suffice... Sorry for the wait! This is just a little rounding off to the story, since in my eyes this one has come to its end.
Thank you for all the reviews. I'm very happy you all have enjoyed this story.
When Kurt opened his eyes to the soft hiss of the shower running in the adjacent bathroom and the gentle thuds of footsteps against the ceiling of his basement bedroom, the only pain he felt was a minuscule throb in the back of his head. As he blinked up at the ceiling, listening to the sounds of the house, he felt a small flutter of butterflies in his stomach. Because today was the day. He pushed both hands through his hair, then sat up and threw back his duvet. He had prepared his outfit for the day, picked it out carefully the night before and hung it on his wardrobe ready for the morning. He looked it over from his bed, wondering if it was right. If the tone of the trousers complimented the sweater. If both would compliment his skin tone. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before automatically reaching for his bedside cabinet drawer and fishing out the painkillers inside.
Two weeks after his unexpected and harrowing arrival in the intensive care ward of the hospital, Dr. Ansten had discharged him with strict instructions to return for check-ups throughout the following week to be sure that the swelling would not return, and that no added complications had appeared as a result of his treatment. Over that time, Kurt was strictly confined to the house to rest. Burt had taken time off work for those first few days in order to watch his son like a hawk, practically stalking him from room to room, jumping on every chance to check if he was okay, if there was anything he needed, if he was hungry, or what about a drink of coke, or water if he feels like it...? And Kurt had also been subjected to several intense 'talks' about his 'recent behavior'.
"Why couldn't you tell me?" Burt demanded over and over. "Why didn't you feel you could talk to me? You think I wouldn't care?"
"No, Dad, I've told you, I didn't want to worry you. It was your honeymoon-"
"And you're my son. I almost lost you, Kurt. Is it the bullying? Is it because you felt threatened?"
"Dad, I was going to tell you-"
"If anything had happened to you, if you had been taken away from me, everything would have fallen apart. I wouldn't be able to go on. Do you understand that? Kurt, do you understand how much you mean to me?"
Of course, he had been grounded indefinitely. But strangely enough, he didn't care. After that day - what he thought was going to be his last day - he had thought he would never see any of his family or friends ever again. He had thought that he would never breathe again, never feel the heat of the sun on his skin, never do any of those thousands of things he still had left to try. Until he woke in that hospital with his father clutching at his hand, he had never realized just how happy he could feel just to be alive. Despite his pride, his fear, his stupidity, whatever it had been that had sent him careering off the path of sanity in that bloody classroom all that time ago and inspired him to convince Finn to let him lie to everyone, he had somehow managed to make it. He had somehow managed to cheat death. And in comparison to that, something as tiny as being grounded for a couple of weeks paled to complete and utter insignificance.
So, slowly, the pain in his ribs and in his head had faded away. The heaviness that resided in his limbs had slipped out again, leaving him feeling a weightless activeness that he hadn't felt for what seemed like a lifetime. Still, Burt made sure that he remained out of school to recover for two weeks after his discharge from the hospital. The extent of excitement for Kurt was a trip to the supermarket with Carole, or evenings with Finn. His step-brother had struggled to look him in the eye when he had first visited Kurt in hospital, his face lined with guilt, his shoulders slumped at his sides. But by the time Kurt was allowed him, the strangeness between them was almost gone. After all, in hospitals there is often little else to do but to talk.
And now, one month on from that horrible day everything had come to a jarring halt, Kurt was about to return to school.
Finn emerged from the bathroom eventually, toweling his hair dry and pulling his shirt straight. He shot Kurt a grin, flicking his eyes over the smaller boy cautiously before speaking. It was a habit he had taken up sometime during Kurt's stay in hospital - a quick once-over, a check, just to make sure before the guard could be dropped.
"Okay, Kurt?" he said, crossing to his bed and pawing through the gap between it and the wall for his rucksack. "Looking forwards to your first day?"
"What, you honestly can't guess the answer to that question?" Kurt smirked, making for the bathroom. "I'm so out of this house, I think I've watched every musical I own about five times now. And I was wrong - there is a limit to the amount of musicals I can take."
He shut the door behind him, Finn's sniggers ringing in his ears. It was good to laugh again.
In the bathroom mirror, his reflected self stared back at him with bright green eyes. He couldn't believe that just a few weeks ago he had been gripping the sink, pale and shaking, trying to think of a miracle to save himself from the monster raging inside his own head. And now... that was a million miles away. He looked himself up and down, raked his hands through his hair to feel the back of his head. It still hurt a little, but nothing compared to the agony he had felt before. It was as if that whole nightmare was a completely different world...
By the time Kurt jogged up the stairs and into the kitchen, Carole and set out a plate of waffles for him and Finn was already steaming his way through his second helping. Kurt tossed his bag under the table and sat down, reaching for his plate with a grin.
"How do you feel?" Carole said, watching him as he picked up his fork.
Kurt glanced up at her, smiled. "Ready," he replied simply.
She smiled back, moved away to the counter beside the sink. Kurt tucked in to his breakfast, aware that Finn had shoveled down his last mouthful and was now carrying his plate to the sink, clearly eager to get moving. He was halfway through when Carole returned, the post held cautiously in her hands. She sat down beside him, her air quiet enough to create a sense of unease. Kurt lowered his fork, blinking at her quizically.
"Nothing. It's just..." She sifted through the letters, picked one out. She placed it on the table in front of him carefully, as if it was made of glass. "... This came for you today."
Kurt stared down at it blankly. His name and address were written in wobbly, blotchy blue ink across the front, almost child-like script. He reached for it, turned it over to find the return address. A juvenile detention center... he hesitated, his mouth suddenly dry. He knew Karofsky had turned himself in to the police shortly after Kurt woke up, and Burt had been adamant that Karofsky not be let anywhere near his son during the police investigation into the 'assault.' He knew that Karofsky had been found guilty of his attack, and charged. What he didn't know was that, at this juvenile detention center that Karofsky had been sent to, the inmates would be allowed to write to their victims. But even as he thought of that, even as the memory of those meaty fists slamming into his face danced through his head, he remembered the other side...
"I'm going to do it for you... And for what I did to you... Maybe one day...
...you'll be able to forgive me."
Kurt realized that Carole was watching him anxiously. He laid the letter down, turned back to his breakfast. Carole hesitated, reached for his arm to squeeze it supportively.
"Of course, you don't have to-"
"I'm going to open it," he said without looking up. "I'm going to read it. But it can wait until later."
She smiled, relaxed. Behind them, Finn shoved his way through the door. "What's keeping you, did a single tiny hair come out of place?"
"That shirt doesn't match those shoes," Kurt replied, standing up and crossing to the sink with his empty plate.
"Give it time, you'll start thinking about it halfway through second period."
Carole followed them to the door. "Remember, Kurt, if you feel like it's getting too much, I can pick you up at any time..."
As Kurt stepped over the threshold and into the morning sunlight, he felt some kind of weight drop from his shoulders. He blinked against the glare, tugged his sweater straight. Again he felt that flutter of nervousness in his heart, felt his lungs tighten. But now, it wasn't terror. It was excitement. It was the thrill of knowing that, for once, everything was going to be okay.
Finn was waiting, revving his car, waving at him to hurry. Kurt took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was ready.
Today was a good day to be alive.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it :)