Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
The new kid looks awful," Jeff whispered, but he wasn't very good at whispering and it came out too loud. Nick elbowed him in the side. "Ow! What? He does."
"That still doesn't make it a nice thing to say," Nick whispered back. "The poor kid's having a rough time. Give him a break."
Blaine glanced up from his math homework to see the new boy stumble in the door, hugging his books to his chest, just as the bell rang. "Nice to have you join us, Mr. Hummel," the math teacher said as he switched on the smartboard. "A few seconds later and you would have been marked as tardy. I know you're still adjusting to life at Dalton, but please keep that in mind. Now, gentlemen, if you'll open up to chapter seven…"
He watched the last bit of color drain from Kurt's face as he ducked his head and slipped into an empty desk. Blaine frowned, eyeing him closely. Kurt's hands trembled a little as he picked up a pencil and opened to a clean page in his still-pristine notebook. The younger boy did look pretty worn out- pale and shaky, with dark circles under his eyes.
"Anderson, if you'll come up and demonstrate example four for us," the math teacher said.
Blaine blinked and scooted his chair away from his desk. He wasn't entirely sure what he was supposed to be demonstrating; he glanced down at the page. Something about the y=mx+b thing. He could probably manage it.
He worked out the answer as best as he could, biting back a sigh of relief when the teacher nodded in approval. Carefully he capped the whiteboard marker and handed it back. As he walked back to his desk he passed Kurt. The boy's hand had stilled on the page, the pencil balanced on his slim fingers. He patted his shoulder surreptitiously, and Kurt jumped like he'd been burned, swallowing down a terrified yelp.
Blaine paused. "Are you okay?" he whispered.
Kurt panted a little, looking around the room, and nodded slowly, his blue eyes wide and disoriented. The pencil had fallen from his fingers and rolled to the floor. Blaine bent and picked it up, placing it back in Kurt's hand. His skin was cold. He offered Kurt a smile that wasn't returned and walked back to his own desk.
"All right, Jeff's right, the new kid really doesn't look good," Nick murmured, and Blaine nodded. The others didn't know anything about the reasons behind Kurt's transfer, other than the bullying, but he did, and he knew what it felt like.
He kept an eye on Kurt for the rest of the day, and it only made his heart sink further. Kurt kept dozing off intermittently throughout math only to jerk awake, he picked at his lunch without actually eating much of it, he shivered all the way through Warblers rehearsal. He tried to catch him at before he left, but David and Wes caught him by the elbow and he had to watch Kurt slip out the door alone, lost in a sea of navy blazers.
"Blaine, I know you really wanted us to invite your new friend to join the Warblers, but are you sure he's Warbler material?" Wes asked.
David rolled his eyes. "That's not the priority, Wesley," he said. "Listen, Blaine, Kurt doesn't seem like he's adjusting well to Dalton. Do you know if something's wrong with him?"
Blaine sighed. "He was yanked away from his family to go to a strange boarding school an hour and a half from home, and that doesn't even include the stress from months of unchecked bullying before that," he said. "It's taking him a while to adjust."
"Yes, but he seems…so off," Wes said, frowning. "Like he can't stay awake."
"You should talk to his roommate," David said. "Maybe Trent will know something."
But when Blaine tracked him down at the coffee shop, Trent couldn't shed much light on the subject either.
"He just keeps to himself," he sighed, idly stirring his latte. "He's very sweet and everything, great roommate, but…he's just. I don't know." He glanced up at Blaine. "He talks to his family on the phone every night, sometimes for an hour. I usually put my headphones on when he does, but…it's kind of hard to pretend like I don't notice that's he's so upset."
Blaine fiddled with the strap of his watch. "Does he sleep okay?" he asked. "I mean…does he have nightmares and things like that?" He paused, laughing a little awkwardly. "Sorry, I bet this seems kind of creepy…"
But Trent didn't seem to find it odd. "He doesn't sleep at all," he said. "He goes to bed at the same time every night, but every time I wake up in the middle of the night…he's just lying there, holding onto his blankets, staring up at the ceiling." He cleared his throat. "What do you think might be bothering him?"
Blaine crossed his arms over his chest and looked down thoughtfully at his shoes. "I don't know," he lied.
But he did know. He knew too well.
There wasn't a good time to try to find Kurt and talk to him, not if he had a history test to study for, but he could probably get him out of Warblers practice and take him out for coffee. Well, if he wasn't sleeping, maybe not coffee. But Wes and David would understand.
He went back to his room and changed before gathering up his things and crossing the campus to the library. Mostly likely it would be easier to stay in his own room to study, especially since his roommate was out of town for a funeral, but his teacher was known to pull out obscure details for their tests, and cramming in the library for an hour or so might be for the best.
He had just settled in with several books about the Russian Revolution when the library doors opened and Kurt Hummel walked in. Well, not so much walked as tripped over his own shoelaces and almost falling on his face, but still.
Blaine set his book aside. Kurt was still dressed in his school uniform, but the tie was nearly unknotted and his shirt was untucked and wrinkled. But his face was the worst- pale and blotchy, uneven breakouts on his jaw, black circles under his eyes.
Blaine stood up slowly. "Kurt?" he said.
Kurt jumped, his binder falling from his hands. Papers fluttered around him like comically oversized snowflakes. "Oh my god," he sputtered.
"Sorry," Blaine apologized. He knelt down to help Kurt pick up his papers. "I didn't mean to scare you." He stacked the pages neatly. "Why are you at the library so late?"
"I'm behind," Kurt mumbled, the binder clumsy in his hands.
"Behind in what?" Blaine asked.
"Everything. I'm behind in everything."
Blaine looked up. Kurt was stacking papers feverishly, his chin trembling. "What do you mean?" he asked gently.
"I'm behind, I'm so behind, McKinley was never this tough," Kurt said, his voice beginning to wobble. "And…and my dad had another doctor's appointment today, and no one's called me to tell me to tell me how he is, and…and…" Blaine's fingers brushed Kurt's accidentally and Kurt yanked his hand back like he'd been burnt. "And I don't need your help, or your pity, thank you very much!"
Blaine rocked back on his heels, startled, as Kurt shuffled the papers messily back into his binder. His rumpled hair fell over his forehead. "Kurt," Blaine said gently.
"…what?" Kurt grumbled.
"When's the last time you had any real sleep?"
Kurt paused. "I…well…I sleep, sort of, but…"
Kurt's face began to crumple. Blaine kept waiting.
"I…I haven't really slept that well since my dad was in the hospital," Kurt confessed. "And then…and then the bullying got so bad, and then…and then the kiss, and then…I just-"
"You stopped sleeping," Blaine said gently.
Kurt nodded. A fat tear rolled down his cheek. "And then I had to move here, and it's…it's so hard here, Blaine, and I can't keep up unless I study, so I don't even have time to sleep anymore, and…" He swallowed hard, and a second tear followed the first. "And, I mean, Trent's nice, but…I miss my bed and my room, and…and we moved and I can't even go home anymore! Not like I used to!"
And then Kurt burst into tears in earnest, crouching on the library floor. Blaine pried the binder out of his hands. "Okay, okay," he said. "Hey, it's all right."
"I'm sorry!" Kurt sobbed. "I'm just so tired! I c-can't-"
"All right, we're done studying for the night," Blaine said, helping Kurt to his feet and taking the binder from his hands. "Come on. Let's go."
He walked down out of the library and held the door open. Kurt almost tripped again over his shoelaces and Blaine caught him around the waist. "I'm so sorry," Kurt said. "I don't…"
"Stop apologizing," Blaine said gently. He pulled Kurt a little closer to his side. The younger boy was shaking all over. "Come on."
It was cold out as they crossed the quad, wind whipping at their faces, but he could still hear Kurt struggling to calm down beside him, hiding his face behind his hand. Blaine exhaled slowly and rubbed Kurt's side in a way that he hoped was reassuring. He remembered those days still, when he couldn't sleep to save his life and he would wander around in an exhausted, sick, irritable haze until his doctor finally gave him something to help.
He led Kurt into the dorms and led him down the hall. Kurt pulled away a little, swiping at his face. "My room's on the third floor," he mumbled.
"I don't think you could make it up all those stairs," Blaine smiled. "You can stay the night with me." He reached for Kurt's hand and he didn't fight back; Blaine folded his fingers around his slim ones. "It'll be like a sleepover."
"I won't be a very good sleepover companion," Kurt said, rubbing at his eyes.
"It's okay," Blaine said, unlocking his dorm room door and ushering Kurt inside. "Go on, make yourself at home."
"I don't have my pajamas, or my toothbrush, or-"
"Kurt, I think you just need to sleep," Blaine said. "You can take my roommate's bed." He crossed to his drawers and rummaged around for a pair of warm fleece pajama pants and a loose gray tee shirt. "Here."
"Thank you," Kurt sniffled, raising his chin a bit as he took the borrowed clothes.
"You'll feel a lot better once you've slept some," Blaine said as he fumbled around in his backpack for his history notes. "Believe me. I know exactly how you feel. And you're safe here. I know that's hard to remember after everything you've gone through, but you really are safe. I'll be asleep about two feet from you. You'll be fine. And we can call you family first thing in the morning if you want. I'm sure your dad will be just as happy to hear you had a good night's sleep as you will be to hear how well things went for him at the cardiologist. Besides, if you're not-"
He turned around and paused. Kurt was dead asleep, sprawled out limply on the other bed, his clothes dumped on the floor and the pajamas loose on his frame. Tear tracks made shiny paths on his white cheeks. He breathed deeply, snoring just the smallest bit, and Blaine exhaled slowly.
He carefully lifted Kurt's long legs onto the bed and raised the blankets to drape over him. "Goodnight, Kurt," he murmured, smoothing a lock of hair back from his face. "It's going to get better." Kurt's chest rose and fell slowly as he breathed, his lips parting, and Blaine cupped his cheek in his hand. "It's going to get better."
Ah, the days when Blaine was older and mysterious. I miss them. I loved that characterization, much more than the over eager puppy version.
Also, I'm taking votes on which drabble I should write first for Klaine Bingo! Go to my redbullandcupcakebatter tumblr to vote on which topic I should write first!
(Also, since a couple of people were curious- yes, I work at the Disney World in Orlando!)