Hope Is All It Takes
The usual Windsor noise was pleasantly nonexistent that Saturday night. The Tweedles, who were the primary producers of said noise, were grounded for the weekend (for reasons involving an axe, the Hanover prefect and two boxes of whoopee-cushions) and were sent to Europe under house arrest. Kurt argued that being flown to Europe simply did not classify as grounding. Blaine suspected jealousy. David was at the hospital, Wes in tow. And Blaine and Kurt were.. doing stuff (specifically, each other).
Reed, on the other hand, was busy spooned up against Shane's chest, looking rather satisfied with their position. Neither remembered exactly how they ended up this way, with limbs so perfectly arranged around each other, but hell if they weren't blissfully content. Reed tried his best to seem like he wasn't into it, he really did, but to no avail. The hot breath that escaped Shane's lips and kissed the back of his neck, sending shivers down his spine, didn't help either.
"Mmm.." Shane hummed delightfully, touching the curl of Reed's hair with his nose. "You smell really nice.. How do you manage to always smell impeccably nice?" He grinned at the feel of Reed shiver.
Reed was eternally grateful that Shane could not see the blush coursing through his cheeks. "Well, it involves a long list of skin and hair care products."
"It was all worth it.. not that you actually need all that stuff. You'd probably smell nice fresh out of the shower." Abruptly, Shane's eyes widened. "Not that that particular scenario has ever crossed my mind! I just meant that you would probably still smell awesomely despite not having to wear cologne or whatever and I don't even know why I keep rambling around you, exactly like what I'm doing right now so yeah, in fear of making more of a moron of myself than I already have, I'm just gonna shut up now." Shane reddened, shrinking behind the smaller boy.
Reed laughed, resting his free hand on Shane's and closing his fingers over them.
Once Shane felt Reed's warm, lithe fingers between his, his heart went ballistic. He nearly pulled away, if only to prevent Reed from feeling the pounding in his chest, but quickly caught himself. Instead, he tightened his hold, pulling the artist closer against him as Reed's laughs subsided, letting himself drown in the addicting scent that was Reed Van Camp.
"I got what you meant." Reed reassured the dancer, letting himself move closer against him.
Shane beamed, nodding meekly. "Yeah. Yeah, okay."
A sudden silence enveloped them. It wasn't awkward. It was more.. familiar, comfortable. Intimate.
Surprisingly, Reed was the first to break that silence. "I missed you, you know." He blushed till the tip of his ears, tightening his hold on Shane's hand.
Shane's breath hitched, his face burning and his lips stretching out in the broadest grin. "Yeah?"
Reed narrowed his eyes, before realizing that Shane couldn't see it. "Don't push it."
Shane chuckled, disbelieving that any normal human being could be this undeniably crazy about anyone else. "I missed you too.." He whispered. "Actually, that's probably the biggest understatement ever stated. I missed you a hell of a lot more than I can ever express."
The strawberry-blonde rolled his eyes, although the complete redness in his cheeks contradicted this action. "You're always so dramatic."
"I swear, on my tap shoes and favorite pair of high tops, that I wasn't exaggerating!" Shane defended playfully.
Reed laughed. "Well, you do highly value your shoes."
Second to you, of course. Shane smiled. "Yup."
Reed chuckled, eyes darting to their overlapped hands. "You should just go here.." He said in the smallest voice, half hoping Shane wouldn't hear.
But he did. And he smiled, hopeful. "Thanks. That means a lot, coming from you. Now if only Blaine agreed with your sentiment." He rolled his eyes at the mention of his brother.
Reed shrugged noncommittally. "He should come around with enough convincing."
"Oh, we're WAY past convincing. I've done blackmailing, bribing, begging. I was down on my knees and I groveledfor his permission. He wasn't even fazed. He can be sadistically stubborn when he wants."
Reed laughed again, an action he tended to do more often in the presence of the dancer.
Shane grinned. "I'm gonna risk sounding cheesy here, and note that what I'm about to say is free of exaggeration, but.. your laugh just makes me want to try harder."
Reed immediately stiffened, his expression drained of amusement. It wasn't because he was offended in any way, oh no. He was just still not used to such flirty compliments, though he made a mental note to laugh more often around the curly brunette.
Shane panicked immediately. "Oh geez, I'm sorry. I-I didn't realize- Did I cross a line? I crossed a line, didn't I? Sorry, I just- my mouth has a mind of its own sometimes and-" He felt Reed's hand tighten significantly over his when he attempted to pull away. It effectively shut him up.
"You don't need to apologize. You didn't do anything wrong." Reed replied softly, leaning back into the embrace. He was satisfied to find out that a simple squeeze of the hand could silence the usually noisy Anderson. He shrugged. "I'm just not used to being told.. that sort of stuff."
"Oh," Shane suppressed a sigh of relief, opting instead to grin warmly at the boy in his arms. "Well, you deserve someone who tells you that sort of stuff all the time. And I do believe I'm the perfect man for the job! That is, if that's okay with you.." Shane trailed out hopefully.
Reed almost laughed at how adorable Shane managed to be sometimes. Shane was very good at looking past Reed's flaws, something Reed ultimately appreciated him for. "It's okay with me.."
Shane pulled the artist as close as physically possible, without the intention of ever letting go. His lips hovered dangerously close over the back of Reed's neck, the strongest temptation to kiss it being fought.
Their relationship continued to be undefined, unfortunately for Shane. He wasn't sure if there was a 'them' or if Reed wanted there to be, but he certainly prayed enough times for God to know that he wanted them to happen. Shane understood that Reed was confused, and he was willing to give the adorable blonde all the time in the world to figure his feelings out. Although, Shane was sure there were romantic feelings underlying behind every touch and word Reed mustered, but he had never really said anything, so Shane refrained from asking. He suppressed the painful urges to kiss Reed, mostly just deliriously thankful that Reed would let him hold him like this. But mostly Shane didn't want to screw this up, so he opted to take everything slow. He did what Reed wanted, what Reed was willing to do. He would initiate everything, making sure that Reed was okay with it. Reed was all that mattered.
Shane smiled. "Then consider me that man."
Reed grinned, his eyes more full of life than they've ever been. He was elated. No one was ever like this with him. No one ever willingly did romantic things to him. Reed was grateful. Gently, he spoke. "Shane?"
"Mm?" Shane responded.
Reed shifted, turning completely to face the curly topped boy. He brought a small hand to rest on Shane's cheeks and smiled. He whispered, "Hope is all it takes."
Shane frowned, completely lost on the vague statement. The tinge of sadness in that smile made him even more agitated. "What do you mean?"
Reed smiled, a single tear running down his cheek. "Hope, Shane. Don't ever lose it."
Suddenly, within a second, a painfully familiar truck came reeling into the room, effectively bulldozing the walls and heading straight at them. Shane couldn't breathe. His eyes widened, fixed on the smile and the tear still on Reed's angelic face. Shane screamed. He screamed for help and he screamed for Reed.
The truck connected with their bed.
Everything went black.
The crunch of bone echoed in Shane's ears as a blood-curdling scream sent shivers up his spine. Tires screeched. A crash. Shane desperately cried for help at the expanse of pounding rain, even though all there was was black. He was shaking. He heard the clink of glass as they fell to the callous ground and the merciless pounding of the rain. He felt the humidity in the air, the dampness that clung to him, the blood..
The blood was everywhere. In his fingers, in his legs, in Reed's hair, in Reed's face, at the corner of Reed's lips, Reed Reed Reed REED REED!
Shane sat up, bolting upright. He was shaking, panting and sweating, like he'd just ran from Walcott to Dalton. The first thing that registered in his mind was his blurred vision. He was crying. He blinked them away furiously, roughly wiping away each tear as more fell freely down his face. The ache in his chest increased tenfold as he heaved almost painfully. He felt so drained, so tired, so lifeless.
"Shane, are you okay?"
Shane looked up, puffy eyes blinking. It was then that he saw the twins looming over him with concerned looks. Suddenly, a dozen scenarios came rushing in. The crash. The calls. The tears. The sirens. The white walls. The words. The silence.
Shane choked back a sob, hands flying to cover his mouth. He caught a glimpse of the hospital bed across his makeshift bed, unable to fully look at the limp body lying in it. He felt bile climb up his throat, and he found himself rushing to the bathroom, shoving the twins aside.
Ethan and Evan shared a look, then sighed. The twins rose simultaneously, each with self-designated tasks. Ethan darted out the door while Evan stopped at the bathroom's threshold, audible sounds of vomiting filtering through. The twins allowed themselves to be apart very very rarely. But desperate times called for desperate measures. With a sigh, Evan pushed open the door, feeling quite alone without his twin beside him.
Evan couldn't hold back a cringe as the sound, sight and smell of Shane mercilessly emptying his stomach contents was before him. He almost felt himself getting sick as Shane gripped at the toilet for dear life. Evan had never seen anyone so miserably depressed in his entire life. Not when Dwight's brother died, not when they thought Shane was dead, not ever. It was especially upsetting, almost heartbreaking, to see the normally bouncing ball of sunshine that was Shane Anderson like this. Evan felt even more lost without his twin to accompany him in this situation.
With not much to do, Evan knelt beside the trembling boy, rubbing circles on his back and tolerating the smell. He whispered soothing words like 'It's gonna be okay' and 'It's not your fault'.
Ethan arrived within only moments of being gone, a bottle of water in hand and anti-nausea pills in the other. "Here." He twisted the lid open, gingerly handing both items over.
The twins shared a relieved look in being reunited before shifting towards Shane.
The shaking boy looked up, snatching the bottle and the pills and downing both, his hysterics calming. When he was done, one of the twins took the bottle from Shane as he exhaled ragged breaths in an attempt to soothe his frantic nerves. It didn't work. His guilt hit him back full force as he buried his head into his crossed arms that rested on his propped up knees and cried. He shook his head, deciding that this entire situation was just wrong and that Reed, sweet beautiful Reed, did not deserve this.
The twins looked at each other, concerned, before each of them sat at either side of the poor boy.
Evan rubbed at his arm. "Shane.."
"It's my fault!" Shane screamed, looking up and revealing red eyes and pale cheeks. "It's my fault! It's always my fault! I am such a freaking screw up! I should've listened to him! Should've listened to- to Reed.. If I listened then maybe- Maybe he'd still be.." Shane bared his teeth at the unspoken words, at the unfinished sentence. He shut his eyes as tightly as he could, willing the frustration and the anger and the pain to leave. He punched the floor amidst all the confusion, feeling completely numb to the physical pain. "Damn it!"
Ethan watched with sympathy as the curly-haired boy tore himself up. Gently, he tugged Shane towards him. "Come here."
Shane complied, shifting towards the twin and curling up against him. He gripped at Ethan's shirt, embracing the feel of warmth. He cried freely into the fabric in his clutches. His head swirled, his thoughts swimming in a torrential wave of emotions.
Ethan let him. "Ssh.." He soothed, rubbing his arm.
Evan decided to join in, scooting over so that Shane was in the middle with the dancer's defined arms pressed up against their chests. "Do you remember that promise you made to Blaine?" Evan whispered as sympathetically as humanely possible.
Shane shook his head, his crying escalating. "I can't keep that promise. I can't- because it's not true!"
"Shane, the driver was drunk." Ethan firmly stated. "This was not your fault. You know it's not your fault."
"Maybe if I.. if I listened to him.. about- about not teaching him how to drive.." Shane shook his head, hiccuping between words.
"He would've still tried to learn."
"You know why?"
"Because he loves you."
"He does, Shane."
Shane bawled even more, his chest burning painfully. Reed didn't love him. Reed couldn't love a stupid, pathetic idiot like him. Reed was beautiful and kind and perfect- everything Shane wasn't. And Shane ruined that- he ruined all of that. Just like he ruined everyone else's lives.
"Because he loves seeing you proud of him," Evan continued.
"And he'd probably hate seeing you blaming yourself for something that's not your fault."
Shane sniffled. "But what if- What if it is my fault? What if- What if this wouldn't have happened-"
Shane looked up, at the pair of genuine smiles.
"Stop thinking about the 'What if's."
"What does the past matter-"
The twins echoed together. "-when your future's over there?"
Shane cried, harder than he had his entire life, extremely thankful for the warmth emanating from the twins.
The entire scene was strange, what with two boys sandwiching another on the bathroom floor directly in front of the toilet.
"Our little Dormouse will pull through."
"Hope is all it takes."
Shane cried himself to sleep later, right there on the bathroom floor, balled up against Evan's chest. The Tweedles didn't mind. They carried him gingerly back to the couch he previously slept in, but not before pushing that couch right beside Reed's bed. Then they went back to the twin sized bed they shared (it was the only thing the hospital could offer on such short notice) with knowing looks.
Shane didn't get up from the couch for almost half of the day, despite the visits from the Windsors. He spent hours simply staring at Reed. He watched, entranced, as the fragile boy's chest rose and fell. He held Reed's hand, trailing every line, memorizing each wrinkle. He reached up to toy with the curls of his unruly hair. Sometimes, when he felt brave enough, he brushed his fingers against Reed's cold, pale cheeks.
Shane liked to think he had dried up all his tears. He liked to think this really wasn't his fault. He liked to think that everything was going to be okay.
But he shed a tear when no one was looking. Half of him still thinks this was all his fault. And he knew everything was not okay.
It took Blaine's nonstop coaxing, and a few physical means of persuasion courtesy of Wes and David, to finally get Shane up and into the bathroom for a proper hygienic routine. Dwight took this opportunity to push everyone out of the room and check if any demonic spirits loitered within the four walls.
Just as David shut the door gently, normal conversation began.
Wes shook his head, finding the entire situation surreal. "Jesus.. I can't imagine what he must be going through."
David shrugged offhandedly. "I kind of can."
Katherine gave his arm a worthy smack, sending his boyfriend a warning glare and receiving an amused expression in return. She huffed. "Well, since Shane doesn't know who else to blame, he ended up blaming himself." She finished, as if to say 'simple psychology'.
"I don't blame him, though. He's as crazy about Reed as Dwight is just crazy." Wes added.
As if on cue, Dwight's head peeked out the door, looking peeved. "I can hear you from in here, you know."
Wes chuckled halfheartedly, still unable to full-out laugh. "Love you, man."
The entire group mustered grins, the tension lightening somewhat.
Blaine's attention was caught by the twin's eerie silence. Blaine immediately knew it was a bad sign. "How was he last night, by the way?"
With matching frowns, the Tweedles shared a look. They really didn't want Blaine to worry. The news about the accident had sent them all in a worried frenzy. They didn't need Shane's panicked antics adding to their stress.
"What happened?" Blaine urged forcefully, sensing the uneasiness.
With a heavy sigh, Ethan started. "He was screaming Reed's name in his sleep."
"We woke him up."
"He was hysterical."
"He kept blaming himself."
They ended together. "To summarize, horrible."
Everyone wore mixed looks of shock, worry and concern. Shane was in a worse condition than they initially thought.
At the quick relay of information, Blaine sighed. He glared at the floor, running a hair through his untamed curls. "He promised he wouldn't blame himself."
"Told him that too."
"Said he couldn't keep it 'cause it wasn't true."
Extremely frustrated, Blaine trudged towards a set of chairs and plopped himself down, muttering colorful phrases to himself.
Eyes turned to Kurt, who didn't waste a second to console his boyfriend. Kurt sat himself beside Blaine, who had his head between his hands, and draped an arm around the grieving boy. Blaine welcomed the comfort, turning to hug Kurt's neck, to have his warmth surround him completely. Blaine cried softly into Kurt's shoulders, staining the uniform jacket with tears.
"I understand that you're frustrated. You have a right to be. He's your younger brother. And I guess that adding to the news about Reed isn't helping your blood levels either." Kurt whispered understandingly. "But you have to understand that that helpless feeling you have- Shane is feeling that too, only ten times worse."
Blaine pulled away, but made sure that Kurt's arms still hung loosely around his waist, his eyes void of tears. He stared into that calming sea of blue, absorbing the warmth emanating from them.
Kurt smiled sympathetically. "The love of his life was victim to a car accident, driving a car HE was a passenger of. I would expect major emotional trauma." He placed a chaste kiss on Blaine's lips, keeping their foreheads pressed together. "But I bet he's just waiting for his older brother to pep talk him out of this funk."
Blaine snorted. "Funk? Really?"
Kurt shrugged, smiling.
Blaine pressed their lips together with a kiss that lasted longer than two seconds. When he pulled away, he whispered. "Are you okay?"
Not expecting that question at all, Kurt pulled away. He intertwined their fingers together, watching as each finger laced with another, wearing an obvious mask of bravado. "I think this is taking a toll on all of us."
Blaine squeezed his hand. "I didn't ask about us. I asked about you."
Kurt mustered up courage- the word he so often heard from this very boy- to look up into those golden-brown eyes. "I cried enough last night."
Blaine smiled proudly. "You know, I like to think I'm the strong one in this relationship. But somehow, you always have me thinking otherwise."
"I'm not always the damsel in distress, you know." Kurt playfully bumped their shoulders together.
"So far, you're turning out to be a kickass prince charming." Blaine grinned, happy they could exchange normal banter after all that's happened. But then Blaine noticed the slight falter in that usually perfect smile on his boyfriend's face. "Hey," Blaine gathered all his confidence and assurance into this one statement. "He'll pull through."
Kurt smiled, thankful. "I know. Sometimes, hope is all it takes."
Dwight, finally back from his exorcism routine, exhaled. "The room seems fine. But I sprayed holy water virtually everywhere, just in case. Oh, and also-" He began sprinkling rock salt just beneath the door, earning strange looks from nurses and patients passing by.
"It's just rock salt, folks. Nothing to call security over." Wes quickly announced, looking particularly at a pair of whispering nurses near the corner.
"Call maintenance instead!" David cried, half-joking.
Dwight glared. "You better hope they don't, otherwise you can expect to see Satan's devils lurking around here."
The group chuckled, heads shaking and eyes rolling at Dwight's ridiculous statement.
Suddenly, a commanding voice intruded. "Excuse me, but I assume you are Mr. Van Camp's friends?"
All eyes turned to the man in white.
"Reed.." It was a barely audible whisper and it was the first word Shane's uttered all day. After a hasty shower, Shane sat himself on the couch, eyes boring into Reed's face. He drank in the closed eyes, the pale cheeks, the cold sensation and the dry lips. With a heavy sigh, he reached for Reed's limp hand, expecting himself to crumble at the touch. The instant he felt the chill beneath the skin, Shane knew he couldn't let go.
"The guys brought over your paintings.." He forced a smile, looking more broken and fragile than ever. He risked a glance at Reed's face, heart aching at the sight. "I can't believe you never showed me any of 'em.. especially since most of them seem to be me.." A ghost of a sincere smile made its way to Shane's lips. "They're beautiful, Reed.. You know I love to watch you paint? Yeah. You just- you lose yourself when you paint.. It's like.. you're alone in the world, just you and that blank canvas.. and when you start paining, it's like.. magic happens.. I know.. it's a lot like when I dance.." Tears began to blur his vision but he made no effort to blink them away. "Not to mention you look unfairly adorable when you paint.. You always manage to get stuff on your face and your hair.. and in all of that, I somehow find myself staring.. at you.. at your lips.. and thinking how it'd feel like.. to kiss 'em.."
Shane smiled, momentarily looking down, before gazing back up at Reed's lifeless expression. "I never got to do that, did I?"
Tears cascaded freely down Shane's cheeks, running past the smile on his lips. "When you wake up, can you draw me a portrait.. of yourself? I mean, I don't have a picture of you and I was hoping that you'd kinda be okay with giving me a self-portrait instead? Since, you know.. you're unbelievably awesome at painting.."
"And maybe I can teach you to dance, huh? I mean, you always trip around everything, but that's just 'cause I've never been there to catch you. You can even stand on my feet if you want.. We can dance to your favorite song, which I don't know yet, by the way. You'll have to tell me that when you wake up."
"And then you can tell me everything else about you? If you want, that is.. We'll stay up 'till morning just talking about everything and anything.."
Shane could feel his heart crack a little at the image of Reed awake.. alive. He bit back the quiver in his lips, squeezing Reed's hand and forcing back another sob. "And you can sing to me.. Yeah. That'd be perfect, don't you think? I love hearing you sing by yourself- just you. No accompaniment from me, which is a good thing."
"And then I can tell you I love you.." Shane laughed humorlessly, cringing at the thought. "What do you think? Too soon?" He nodded despite himself, pursing his lips. "Truth be told, I've actually been in love with you I think ever since I saw those eyes and that hair and those clothes." He smiled sincerely.
"We can go out too, if you're willing.. Somewhere secluded, where no one can see but the stars.. And yes, by got out I do mean start dating. Although I would actually go crazy if you ever agreed to be my boyfriend. I mean, YOU- beautiful, talented, kind, perfect YOU- go out with ME? Psh. Nonsensical, right? It's like.. Beauty and the Beast, in which Beast knows he doesn't deserve Belle's love 'cause of all the shitty things he's done.. Like how he hurt her. And not just her, but basically everyone in his life.. Kinda like what I do.. what I did to you.."
And there it was, left hanging in the stifling air of the white walls. The guilt bloomed anew inside him, and Shane grit his teeth in frustration, shaking his head in disappointment. He shut his eyes, burying the guilt behind reason and sense, but to no avail. Because Shane did feel like everything- all of this- was his fault entirely. And not unless Reed awoke and revealed lively brown eyes will the guilt subside.
"I am so fucking sorry, Reed.." He hissed, his teeth bared. "If I just- if I listened to you, then maybe none of this would've happened. You would've been in your room, completely safe, and everything would've been the way it was. I just had to be so hard headed. I just had to be a stubborn ass and disregard everything you said. You said you weren't a good driver, you said! Why didn't I listen.." Shane curled up in a ball, hands cradling his head.
Then he yelled. "Do you see how WRONG this is? How WRONG it is that YOU pay for MY mistakes? God..If I could take all of the pain away from you, I would.. I would in a heartbeat."
Shane labored breaths echoed in the empty room. He swallowed the painful lump in his throat and exhaled raggedly. "I'm supposed to be keeping you from harm's way, instead I put you right in the fucking middle of it. Shit. I should just stay away from everybody- from you, from Blaine, from my parents- everybody."
He held Reed's hand, wincing at the cold. "I need you, Reed.. You have to wake up.. Please? Maybe.. Maybe just move your fingers, or twitch your eyes, or something.."
Reed's eyes were still closed. His hands were still cold. His skin was still pale.
Shane was still completely broken.
Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
Reed had always said how he liked hearing Shane sing. Although Shane never understood that logic, he was happy to comply. He sounded especially horrible right now, what with his voice hoarse and his throat burning a bit. His breaths still came out in ragged intervals, but he ignored that. He was hoping that maybe Reed might hear his attempt at decent singing, and by some lucky twist of fate, wake up.
He was grateful the Windsors were outside. He was a mess of bloodshot eyes, trembling hands and labored breaths right now.
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Shane hated this. He hated how vulnerable he was being, instead of the steadfast boy Reed knew him to be. He knew that no matter how much crying he did, it wasn't going to do a damn thing. Insignificant tears weren't going to get Reed out of that bed. Sometimes he wished he didn't attach himself to people so much. The moment he potentially lost them was absolute hell.
In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
Then Shane remembered the first time he had heard Reed sing a solo. He remembered being rooted to the spot. He thought it was the sweetest, most breathtaking melody ever produced by any living creature. He had made a mental note to ask Reed for a CD with him singing countless songs later. Reed was mad at him then, for good reason. It seemed that no matter how much effort he put into avoiding stupidity, they always went in vain. But then Reed had forgiven him so quickly that he couldn't help but fall even harder for the little curly top.
So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back.
Shane brushed the back of Reed's hand with his thumb. He squeezed the unresponsive hand, feeling the tears resurface.
It don't make no difference
Escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
Blaine peeked in, thick brows shooting up at the sound of the melody. He immediately frowned. It broke his heart to see his brother so miserable. Blaine was sure Shane didn't deserve this. The boy may be insanely irresponsible most of the time, but he always had the best of intentions in mind. Unlike a lot of people, Shane thought with his heart. Blaine admired that quality, but at the same time was completely exasperated by it.
Slowly, Blaine retreated, closing the doors. He would tell Shane what the doctor said later.
In the arms of an Angel
Fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel
May you find some comfort here
Shane rested his spinning head on the couch's arms. He slept, a hand resting on Reed's.
"Shane! Shane, wake up! Mrs. Van Camp's-"
"Oh my poor baby! What happened?"
Shane immediately jerked awake at the sound of Reed's mother's voice. He blinked away the grogginess, and jumped out of the couch to make room for the distraught parent, standing respectfully beside Blaine.
Hilde gracefully sat herself on the couch, perfectly manicured fingers taking hold of her son's immobile hand. She brought it up to her lips, kissing it gently, eyes fixed at the expressionless face, half hoping her son would wake up at the touch of his mother. Tear tracks stained her cheeks, dampening the foundation and other traces of make up.
Shane watched, voices in his head screaming at him. He felt tears prickle his eyes, but refused to let them escape. "I-I'm so sorry, Mrs. Van Kamp. It's all my-"
"No. Mrs. Van Kamp, we're all terribly sorry." Blaine shook his head, hand motioning for Shane to stop talking. "But Reed was trying to learn how to drive when it started raining awfully hard and then there was a truck . . . "
Hilde nodded feebly, understanding.
The Windsors shared a look, unsure whether the woman had absorbed all that Blaine had said.
But Blaine knew better. He tilted his head towards the door, gesturing for them to leave. Everyone followed without hesitation.
Shane needed to sit. He rushed tiredly towards the set of chairs parallel to the wall, and sat. He leaned over, elbows resting on his knees, and laced his fingers together, head bowing in defeat. Amazingly, despite the heart-wrenching feeling in his chest, no tears threatened to fall. He was finally dried out.
Blaine sighed, sitting beside his brother. "Shane.."
"Don't-" His voice broke. He reprimanded himself for sounding so vulnerable and scared. "I don't wanna hear you taking pity on me."
"I'm not taking pity on you." Blaine furrowed his brows, voice turning defensive. "I'm concerned for you. You've barely eaten, you refuse to move from that couch and I doubt you actually even used soap when you took that bath."
When he didn't receive a response, he continued. "Look, I know you're depressed, I get that. Someone you love nearly died, Shane.. And in an accident where he was sitting right beside you. I know it's breaking your heart, seeing him on that hospital bed and not being able to talk to him.. or squeezing his hand and not getting a response. I know how helpless you feel, but you have to stop thinking that he's not going to wake up, because he will. He will."
"Don't be pessimistic now, Shane. You've always been the guy who saw the glass half full, and Reed loved that about you. Don't lose hope now, not when Reed needs it the most."
Shane's shoulders shook.
Although Blaine knew this information would only sadden Shane all the more, it was best he knew. Gently, he draped an arm across Shane's shoulder, squeezing his arm. Sympathetically, he spoke. "The doctor said he's officially in a coma, so there's no telling when he'll wake up. Could be days or months.." That is if he wakes up at all. "We'll be here, with him, through all that, okay?"
Shane nodded vigorously, head still in surrender. He could feel the muscles in his nape aching, but ignored it.
Just then, Mrs. Van Kamp strode out the room, eyes glazed and downcast. Promptly, she looked up. "Thank you, everyone, for taking care of him while I was gone. He's quite lucky to have friends like you around." She smiled that practiced smile. "Now if you'll excuse me, I must go find his doctor." Quietly, she stalked off, heels clicking behind her.
As soon as Hilde was out of earshot, Shane stormed into Reed's room, eyes visibly bloodshot.
Everyone's eyes turned to Blaine, who looked to Kurt helplessly. His boyfriend smiled at him in encouragement. Blaine smiled back, internally slapping himself for feeling a bit thankful that Kurt was there and safe.
He doesn't know what he'd do without Kurt.
Sighing heavily, Blaine trudged into the room. With his peripherals, he watched his brother pace furiously in front of Reed's bed. As soon as he shut the door behind them, the fragile boy looked up to meet his eyes.
"What if he dies, Blaine.." Shane whispered so brokenly and weakly that it almost made him want to cry.
"He's not going to-"
"WHAT IF HE DOES?" Shane bared his teeth, face contorting in pain.
"Shane, he's not going to-"
"YOU CAN'T PROVE THAT!"
Blaine opened his mouth to retort, only to close it back. It was the truth. He couldn't prove it. Nobody could.
It had slipped both of their minds that their conversation was perfectly audible to the audience outside the room.
Shane saw the desperation, the crumbling bravado, the inevitable truth in Blaine's eyes. He couldn't take it. He quickly cast his eyes down, biting his lips. He shook his head in defeat. "I am TERRIFIED, Blaine. I don't- As much as I don't want to think of- of him dying, I can't shake off the thought that it IS a possibility and that when he does.. die, when- when he doesn't wake up-"
Shane looked up.
Blaine offered. "If he doesn't wake up."
Shane mustered a ghost of a smile. "If he doesn't wake up.. I don't.. I don't know what I'll do.. I know it's pathetic. It hasn't even been a year since I met him, and already I'm this affected by him . . . You guys have known him for much longer, and you seem to be faring well." Shane sniffled.
Blaine shrugged offhandedly, smiling at Shane's slowly calming demeanor. "That's 'cause we love him in an entirely different way. Doesn't mean we're not shaken up by this whole thing, though. Kurt didn't even bother putting on designer clothes today."
"They are best friends." Shane contributed, happy they were falling into normal conversation. He strode over to the couch, sitting almost exactly where Hilde had sat. He stared at Reed's hand, daring himself to touch it. "Do you remember the first time I met him? It was like.. he looked so perfect, but in that Reed kind of way, you know?"
Blaine sat beside him. "Um, no?"
Shane snorted, lips twisting in a rare smile. "Those bright brown eyes, that curly blonde hair and those crazy clothes that I don't even like all that much, but somehow he totally makes it work. Like, I swear, he looks sexy in most of them, which is saying something because Reed is the embodiment of innocence. I don't get how he manages to look adorably sexy in those clothes, but hell if it doesn't make me go crazy."
Blaine nearly laughed, but settled on a face-splitting grin. He was happy that a trace of the normally boisterous Shane was resurfacing. He watched as Shane stared longingly at Reed's hand, witnessing the internal battle in his brother's head. "Go on."
Shane looked up. He smiled and nodded. Slowly, he reached over and rested his hand above Reed's, his breath hitching despite having held the same hand numerous times before that moment. "I just miss him- all of him.. his laugh, his smile, his eyes, his smell.. even all his stupid accidents, 'cause it gives me a reason to hold him close. I miss kissing his cuts, and seeing his face go red when I do.. I miss hearing him sing.. I miss cuddling with him- he gives the best cuddles, by the way. I miss seeing his face light up when he talks about his paintings or when I visit every weekend. I really, really miss him, Blaine.."
Blaine placed a hand on Shane's knee. "I know."
"You know I've though of us, in the future.." He managed a dry laugh. "I want to marry him. I know it's crazy, and just like me, to want something like that so soon in a relationship, but I can feel it.. He's the one."
Somehow, Blaine was convinced.
Shane continued dreamily. "I want a house with walls filled with his paintings and I want little Reeds running around and I'm gonna love the hell out of 'em, just like I love him. Honestly, just as long as I have him in my life, everything would be-"
Shane didn't breath. Saucer-like eyes fixed itself on Reed's hand. He could've sworn he felt it..
Barely perceptible, but it was there. His finger twitched. It moved. His finger moved.
"You can- Can you hear me, Reed?" Shane leaped out of the couch, leaning over Reed's bed and lifting the small boy's hand. His eyes shifted from Reed's face to Reed's hand and back.
Blaine wasted no time. "I'll call a nurse." He bolted out the door, informing everyone of the good news. Within a second, the room flooded with anxious eyes.
Shane didn't notice the new crowd. He cradled Reed's hand, blinking away the oncoming tears and staring at Reed's still expressionless face. "Reed? Hey. Hey, hang in there, okay? I know you're in there and I know you can hear me, so you have to- you have to stay awake, okay? Can you do that? Can you stay awake for me?"
Reed nodded very very weakly, his cracked lips parting a bit to speak. "Anything."
Shane laughed in utter disbelief, eyes filled to the brim with tears. Cheers echoed in the room, but Shane didn't acknowledge them. He merely nodded at Reed, subconsciously squeezing the hand in his. "Okay, okay." He grabbed the back of the smaller boy's head and pressed a lingering kiss on his forehead. "Jesus, I missed you." He breathed, resting their foreheads together.
"We told you he'd pull through!"
"We told you, didn't we?"
Shane laughed at the twins antics, his head tilting back. He had left Reed's side in favor of giving Mrs. Van Kamp time with her son. They hadn't bothered leaving the room, dancing and cheering in glee near the foot of Reed's bed, only turning their backs from the mother-son moment. With tears still in his eyes, Shane attacked the elated twins with a crushing double hug. "Shut up!" He laughed. "You don't have to rub it in my face."
"We told you, though."
Shane pulled back, giving them a grateful smile.
"The hug was nice." Ethan nodded.
"Yes, very nice."
Dwight's voice boomed over the cries of happiness. "And to think, if I hadn't purified that room, the evil spirits would've prevented Reed's already small movements!"
An awkward silence. Then boisterous laughter.
"Sure, why not?" Shane shrugged, wearing a grin that reached his ears.
"Hey, man." David clamped a heavy yet reassuring hand on the dancer's shoulder. "Glad to have both you and Reed back."
Shane smiled, nodding. "Thanks."
The minute he turned his head, Shane met big golden-brown eyes. Blaine, who was wrapped in a consoling embrace with his boyfriend, smiled knowingly at him. Shane gave a profound nod in return.
"So," Wes intervened, throwing a heavy arm around Shane's shoulders. "How does it feel knowing your loverboy's alive and well?"
Shane laughed at the term, blushing. "Kinda surreal. Mostly just perfect."
Wes grinned playfully. "This moment right here? Can't get anymore real than this, buddy."
Shane watched, as everyone hugged and laughed and cried in triumph, like they'd just won the Olympics. He watched as the twins surprised people with bone-crushing hugs, as Wes and David exchanged playful banter, as Blaine humored Dwights crazy remarks, as Kurt now cried on Katherine's shoulder and as Mrs. Van Kamp murmured loving words to her son.
And then his eyes fell to Reed, who looked like he was staring back at him.
"Yeah.." Shane thought he won so much more than a gold medal.
After minutes more of attending to her son, Mrs. Van Kamp went to take care of the financial responsibilities. The second she left, the Windsors quickly scurried out behind her, leaving Shane alone with a fully conscious, albeit still extremely exhausted Reed.
Reed's brown eyes smiled at him with an emotion Shane couldn't decipher. "Hey." His voice was still hoarse but Shane was just thankful he could hear his voice again.
"Hey." The nervous boy strode towards the bed, leaning over to run his hand along Reed's curly head of hair. He smiled down at the pale boy, brushing his thumb over his cheek. "How is it?"
Reed closed his eyes, nuzzling the warm hand. "Sore. Numb. Head hurts. But I'm okay."
Shane frowned. Didn't seem like he was okay. Looking downwards, Shane sighed, retracting his hand from Reed's face to place it on hishand. "I'm really so-"
"No." Reed shook his head with as much fervor as he could muster. "It's not your fault. Blaine, the twins.. they were right. I would've.. still tried to learn. And sometimes, I like that you push me into things.. that I usually would never do. It makes me think like.. you have more faith in me.. than I do in myself." Feeling his throat dry, Reed gestured towards the glass of water on his bedside.
Shane quickly came to his aid. He tipped the glass over Reed's lips, very careful not to spill. Reed emptied the whole glass. As the smaller boy spoke, utter relief made its way to Shane's heart. He fell even harder for the boy, if that was even possible, knowing that he had a big enough heart to forgive him for such a reckless mistake. But one thing really stuck out in his mind- "You heard?"
Reed smiled shyly in response, the 'thank you' he was planning to give lost.
Shane wasn't sure if this was a good or a bad thing. "All of it?"
Reed reddened, thinking how the pace his heart was going was probably unhealthy for someone of his condition. "Kinda. Sorry. It was hard not to hear."
Shane spluttered, eyes suddenly finding the ground very interesting. Despite himself, he could not let go of Reed's hand. "So . . . you heard?"
Reed laughed. He couldn't help it. Shane was just too adorable. But he had underestimated the strain of that laugh and ended up coughing. Shane's eyes lit up, alert, but his coughing subsided quickly. Reed nodded meekly. "Yes, I heard."
"So . . . "
Reed smiled nostalgically. "Somewhere where no one can see but the stars.." His tired smile somehow managed to look beautiful.
Shane blushed profusely, the palm pressed against Reed's sweating.
"Where is that, exactly?"
The dancer chanced a glance up at the artist's face, finding an amused smile. "Is this you saying yes?"
Shane gaped, startled by the response. "A-are you saying . . . you're okay with being . . . together?"
Reed smiled coyly. "Well.. you do love me.."
Shane's eyes brightened with hope, body stiffening with anxiety.
"And I am sort of falling for you.."
Shane nearly cried. "R-really?"
Blood colored Reed's pale cheeks, making him glow. Vigorously, he nodded.
As Shane's lips stretched to form the largest grin, his hand squeezed Reed's. When Reed squeezed back, his breath hitched. How long had he been waiting for that to happen? "W-would it be okay.. if I.. kissed you?"
Reed's expression suddenly resembled that of a deer in headlights. "But.. I-I look horrible.. a-and I probably smell awful.. and my lips are dry.."
Shane took that as a yes. "I haven't seen those eyes in ages. Do I look like I care?"
Carefully, he leaned over, placing a nervous hand on Reed's cheeks. Reed tingled with anticipation as he welcomed the warmth emanating from Shane's hand. Slowly, Shane neared, until their lips met in an explosion of racing heartbeats and heartfelt longing. Reed smelled of medicine, a smell Shane personally hated, but the mere thought that he was kissing- kissing - Reed Van Kamp was enough to send shivers down his spine. They both melted into the kiss, until Shane pulled away.
Reed smiled contentedly. "By the way.. Belle and Beast get together in the end."
Shane grinned. "Even more perfect, then." And then he kissed him again.
A/N: By far the longest oneshot I have ever written and the first one from the Dalton fandom. :D And most certainly not the last. I LOVE RANE! The next oneshots would probably be shorter though. Lots of Rane :D A few Jogan maybe. And a sprinkle of Klaine everywhere!