Sorry this is so short and so delayed. This story is killer to write. I have all these ideas and they're just jumbled in a notebook right now. I'll try and disentangle them as quickly as I can.
This chapter's pretty anti-climactic and not worth being posted after such a long delay, but good things are brewing!

xxxxXxxxx

He always keeps quiet about it unless it involved one-upping Rachel, but Kurt isn't dumb, nor is he oblivious. He can tell that there's something up with Blaine, has been since they've become closer and he's become more attuned to the little things Blaine says and does. Kurt's always had an acute eye for details and Blaine is nothing short of a blatantly open book.

Kurt's seen the twitches, the feared glances over shoulders: there's something up with Blaine, and whether it's residual from his old school or a weird tic, he doesn't know and doesn't ask or call him out on it because he assumes that it's rude to do so, even if curiosity kills him every time Blaine does something out of the norm.

It's more prominent now that they go to the same school and Blaine walks him to lunch and his classes. Blaine's a very touchy-feely kind of boy and while that ignites every kind of spark imaginable in Kurt's body and he definitely won't be complaining, he somehow still feels like maybe they just shouldn't. Blaine's a good friend and a good guy and Kurt has a tendency to be very vocal and assertive. He doesn't want to scare Blaine off or ruin their friendship forever.

But he wants, oh god. He wants Blaine so badly. He wants a fucking boyfriend who wants to kiss him and hug him and sing stupid love songs to him. Having his heart beat like it had the moment Blaine confirmed that he was gay surely wasn't healthy and would surely lead to only bad things, especially given his track record.

Still, that doesn't stop him from imagining, something he's entirely too used to.

Blaine always looks so skittish and sometimes they'll meet up at the doorway of their morning Soc class, Blaine looking like he's on his last legs under the weight of his backpack and the heavy dark circles underneath his dulled honey eyes. Kurt had asked once what was wrong and Blaine had snapped back "rough night" and that had been that. Kurt hasn't asked since but just under the surface of his skin he's aching to because Blaine isn't being completely truthful and that sort of hurts.

It really hurts, actually.

Blaine seems better for a week in mid-October, brighter and livelier like someone's changed the contrast and color tone of his world. He laughs and jokes with the Warblers at lunch and becomes somehow even touchier with Kurt than he was before, making Nick and Jeff throw lewd glances Kurt's way whenever Blaine wraps an arm around his shoulders or his waist, tugs him closer and laughs loudly. Kurt shakes his head minutely and rolls his eyes when the pair only laughs.

Blaine seems better until Monday of the following week. Due to their block scheduling, they don't always have Monday morning classes together: instead, they have après-lunch Anthropology on this particular dreary afternoon, an extraneous course that Dalton offered to "enrich the minds of the young boys attending." Kurt took in a heartbeat and Blaine was, thankfully, already taking it.

It's in this class that Kurt sees firsthand just how not okay Blaine really is.

They sit next to each other in the back row, Kurt closer to the left wall than Blaine. They often swap notes if the lecture drags on, as it has the tendency to do with their teacher, and Kurt's a meticulous note-taker, especially with all the genus and species names they're given, unlike Blaine, and most classes find Blaine leaning over his desk and checking Kurt's notes for something he'd missed.

They're learning about early hominids today and Kurt's enraptured, as he always is. There's something fascinating about evolution and inherent human nature to him, the way everyone started off so simply before adapting over millions of years.

Throughout most of the class Blaine has been twitchy, pencil shaking in his fingers as he jots down notes from the Power Point. Kurt keeps glancing over at him, watching the steady tap-tap-tap of his loafer against the metal undercarriage of the desk in front of him. No one else seems to notice since they're both the last in their rows and every other boy is either attentively listening or looking supremely bored.

Kurt puts down his own pencil and straightens his tie from where it had shifted askew. He leans over, elbow resting on the edge of his desk. "Blaine," he whispers, looking quickly at the front of the room before directing his attention back toward the boy in question. "Blaine."

Blaine doesn't answer, even when Kurt's second whisper leans more toward stage rather than conspiratorial. He does, however, jerk violently and gasp for air. This gets the attention of a few boys who then look over at him with brows furrowed and what? hanging unspoken off their lips.

"Blaine?" Kurt asks it this time, voice edging on hysterical as Blaine's eyes open wide, wide, and he takes sporadic, shaky breaths. He looks like he's shaking his head and mouthing no, but Kurt can't be sure. "What's wrong?"

Their teacher finally notices and walks as quickly as he can through the narrow rows to the back of the room. He kneels down next to Blaine's desk, his palm flat on Blaine's shoulder and Kurt wants to cry. He's never seen Blaine this undone, this freaked out. He can see little droplets of sweat beginning to dot Blaine's hairline and see the unshed tears pooling in his eyes.

"Mr. Anderson." Their teacher's voice is deep, gentle. It must soothe Blaine a little because his breaths become a little steadier, a little deeper and regular. "Do you need to go to the nurse?" Blaine manages a nod and the teacher helps him up, hand insistent on his elbow as Blaine shakily gets to his feet. Kurt raises an eyebrow at the knowing look their teacher gives Blaine, like they're both in on some secret. But why doesn't he know?

Kurt makes to stand up and follow Blaine, class be damned, but their teacher turns on him and says sharply, "Sit down, Mr. Hummel."

"But—"

"We don't need any more disruptions today. Mr. Anderson will be fine."

Kurt glares at him but complies, sitting heavily in his seat and picking up his pencil again. When the lesson picks up where it had been disrupted Kurt slides his phone out of his pocket, texting Blaine as quickly as he can. What's wrong?

Blaine's reply vibrates his phone ten minutes later when Kurt's anxiously flipping through the pages in his notebook. He fumbles for his phone and nearly drops it; Edwin, a classmate whom Kurt's had a few chats with, turns a little in his seat diagonal and a desk up from Kurt's and looks at him. Kurt mouths Blaine and discreetly unlocks his phone under the desk and reads Blaine's message. Panic attack. I get them sometimes when i let my mind wander. I thought of my old school is all. Im ok.

I don't believe you. He really doesn't, and he won't deny that he's being a little overprotective of someone who supposedly can handle himself, but Blaine is a potential—and way too unlikely—love interest.

Really, kurt. Im ok. I'll meet up with you in the commons later.

Kurt glares at his phone. He's glad Blaine's okay, that's a given, but his story is more than a little fishy. He wants to be included in Blaine's life, and maybe he's being a little selfish, too much of the old self-centered Kurt that he'd tried his best to leave behind, but even their teacher knew. An adult who has little presence in Blaine's life besides class a few hours today knows a secret that Kurt feels like he should know as well.

It's frustrating and maddening, but he has to deal for now.

He texts back Fine, but you're not getting my lecture notes today.

It's passive-aggressive and he'll end up giving Blaine the notes anyway once he pouts and whines and bats his ridiculously long eyelashes in Kurt's direction, but it's the bitchiest he'll come to until he finds out what's really wrong.

xxxxXxxxx

One paper cup of water and a Klonopin later, Blaine's sitting on the hard bed in the nurse's office, fiddling with his fingers as his heart rate gradually slows. The nurse, an older, plump woman who insists Blaine always call her Cissy, darts around the tiny room, straightening things and pulling bandages and cotton balls from clear jars. He's still shaky and a little light-headed, but his emotions have leveled out and his adrenaline has gone down.

"Are you okay, dear?" she asks, her brown eyes fixed on Blaine as she runs a hand over the top of her head before cupping the tight gray bun in the back. "Nothing else happen?"

Blaine shakes his head and lets out a sigh. "No. Just the usual stuff."

Instantly she's over him, fussing, fiddling with his collar and stroking his cheek. Blaine's reminded of his grandmother and he smiles, a little wan gesture that doesn't reach his weary eyes. "It was him?"

Blaine nods and draws his shoulders down, hunching a little over himself. "He's gotten more… vicious since I became friends with Kurt."

Cissy looks at him knowingly. Blaine had mentioned Kurt to her not long after he'd gone to Kurt's school; he'd talked about Kurt's blue eyes and pretty skin, the troubles he was having at McKinley and how even when he was happy he wasn't happy. The whole time Cissy had sat there behind her desk as Blaine sat cross-legged on the same bed he's on now, doing nothing but smiling at Blaine's enthusiasm. "You can't do anything?" Cissy asks. She understands a little, but not enough. He'll never tell anyone exactly how his mind works because it's scary enough for him to live it without reliving it.

Blaine drops his head in his hands and groans. "No. I hate this. I want to live like a normal kid and I can't because of him. I'm even too afraid to tell Kurt."

"Will you ever tell him?"

Blaine blinks, lifting his head up slightly. "About the fact that all I want to do is be the only person who can make Kurt laugh, like really laugh, the one where he scrunches up his nose and throws his head back and closes his eyes?"

Cissy chuckles and types something into her computer, the clicking of keys and the ticking of the clock the only noise in the room. Muffled through the walls are the sounds of the office: ringing phones, voices, and clacking high heels from the secretaries walking by. "Ever the romantic," she says with a grin. Blaine smiles back a little bitterly. "But what I meant, honey, was if you were ever gonna tell him about Holden."

Blaine shudders at the name, shrugs and wets his lips. He wraps his arms tight around his torso and looks up at the ceiling, counting out the miniscule dots while he searches for something to say. "Maybe. I don't know. I want to, but it's not exactly the greatest conversation starter."

When Blaine had transferred the faculty had been told of his condition, and as a result he's closer with the nurse than most of the students. More than once he's been in here because of Holden's taunting, not to mention his various rehearsal-related injuries. He feels uneasy with so many people knowing, but here no one judges him for being gay or being fucked up. It's nice.

The students and the Warblers know that he's easily susceptible to panic attacks, but he'd lied and told them when he transferred that it was because of the bullies at his old school and his own penchant for thinking too much about the past. It's not completely a lie because he does have a lot of unresolved business in the past because of locker defacing and slurs, but they hardly ever cause panic attacks anymore.

"I want you to be happy," Cissy says, hand light on Blaine's shoulder. He hadn't even noticed her getting up and walking across the room. "If Kurt is this special to you he needs to know."

Blaine looks at the floor in resignation.

He wants Kurt to know, but he doesn't. He's broken, long past the point of being fixed. He has his front but Kurt's observant: it won't last long enough to make anything work.

He'll leave you like everyone else.

Just forget it: what do you want with a boy anyway?

Do you want to get beat up again? Do you want to die?

He can't escape it.