This is the angstiest thing I have ever brought it upon myself to write, and I apologise now for that.
I don't own ANY of it. Except the weirdness. The title is taken from "The Book Thief" (best. book. ever)
WARNINGS: ANGELS. MADNESS. MURDER. RAPE. SUICIDE. CHARACTER DEATH. ATTEMPTED RAPE. ATTEMPTED SUICIDE. EVERYTHING BAD YOU CAN THINK OF. The happiness ratio is about 0.1%
This is unbetad, because I'm fearless like that, and I'm English so I spell things the English way (as in, 's' rather than 'z' most of the time)
Come & talk to me on tumblr, ( cagedbirds . tumblr )
Also, this fic has a playlist.
Haunted (acoustic) - Taylor Swift
Night Terror - Laura Marling
Broken Horse - Freelance Whales
Bad Dream - Keane
Kurt Hummel knows nothing about the seasons or the slow crawl of hands around the face of a clock. He couldn't tell you about the sun or the stars and the moon, couldn't describe the colour of grass or the reflection of clouds on water.
He could tell you that it was twelve paces from the door to the window, seven from wall to wall, fifteen and a half steps diagonally from his bed to the bathroom. Kurt could describe the bumps and cracks that scarred the surface of the walls, the chipped corner of the windowsill and the loose hinge that rattled every time the door was opened too hard.
Kurt would never tell you about the one colour he could remember.
He knew Doctor Berry by her rhythmic knock every second morning, always the same. He knew the smell of bread and lilacs that always seemed to trace the air around her, sometimes he knew the click of her heels down the hall outside his room.
"How are you feeling this morning, Kurt?"
Kurt could count seconds even if he'd never seen a clock.
"How did you sleep?"
Kurt Hummel could tell you about nightmares.
Kurt knew how to dig his fingernails into the wall, deep enough to make a viable groove in the plaster. He knew how to lie in bed every night and carve circles into the paint until his nails were ripped and wet, how Doctor Berry would gasp the next morning at the sight of his sticky, torn fingertips. She would order the room to be repainted and it would smell different and strange for days afterwards.
Sometimes she would cry and try to hold his hands, sitting closer to him than normal and whispering in a shaking voice.
"Kurt, you can't keep doing this to yourself. If you continue I'll be forced to restrain you at night."
He would snatch his hands from her grasp and say nothing, but the circles stopped and his fingers healed.
"I just wanted to draw," he told her finally, six weeks later, "That's all."
He would have been thankful for his lost sight if he'd known the expression that fell across her face at his words.
Doctor Rachel Berry had her own reasons for working with Kurt for so long, of course. She was brilliant and dedicated, working with such an intense passion that the other doctors often felt surpassed by the sheer scale of her commitment.
If you asked her for a professional opinion on Kurt Hummel, the response would be clinical. He was just a name in a file she had read and reread every second day for eighteen years. He was just a patient.
But she remembered the nights when patrolling would take her past Kurt's room, to where he screams ripped through the walls and she could hear him thrashing in his sleep. The mornings when she would find him curled and whimpering under the bed, his fingers pressed into his ears and eyes screwed shut.
Rachel remembered the morning of Kurt's tenth birthday – nearly a decade's work with the boy and it seemed that just a hint of progress had been made. She gave him a canary in a silver birdcage – theories on animal therapy in children were all the rage at the time, and she would rather be damned than miss an opportunity like this.
Rachel had never seen a child look so happy without smiling.
Kurt would sit on the floor by the bird, eyes fixed blankly on the wall opposite and a look of supreme wonder on his face. He would whistle and hum along with the canary's song and Rachel was being congratulated left, right and centre for her progress on the child who had stumped even those doctors higher than her.
One swore he heard Kurt almost laugh one morning, with the bird eating from his hands.
It was the greatest moment of Rachel Berry's career.
Dave Karofsky entered Dalton Psychiatric Hospital like a shipwreck, kicking and screaming and almost concussing three doctors within his first week with nothing but his fists.
It had seemed like nothing but another opportunity for Rachel, and she jumped at the chance to room both boys on the same floor. Being the two youngest in the house, it seemed ideal to place them so close where she – Head of Child Psychiatry by that point, of course – could access them both equally.
Rachel's head was buzzing with anticipation that first morning. Maybe the two boys could help each other, if she started slowly of course. Build up Dave's anger tolerance levels before introducing them, sharing therapy sessions and weekend activities, it seemed almost too good to be true. Kurt had never interacted with anyone outside of herself and a handful of other doctors, and just the idea that the interactions could help him…
The door to Kurt's room was open, which was enough to set Rachel's hard pounding just a little bit quicker. Kurt barely left his room, especially without Rachel.
Rachel was almost running by the time she reached his room, but of course it was too late.
Dave was standing, seemingly monstrously tall over Kurt's tiny frame hunched on the ground. Kurt wasn't moving, wasn't speaking. He wasn't looking at Dave, but of course he couldn't and confusion was etched across his face as he stared unblinkingly at Rachel.
Dave was singing.
"Two little dicky birds sitting on a wall, One named Peter, one named Paul."
Rachel became acutely aware of a tiny feathery body clutched hard in Dave's fist, flakes of yellow drifting like snow from the trembling bundle. She ran forwards, raising her voice to shout for the nearest patrollers, one hand wrenching her pager from her belt.
"Fly away Peter, fly away Paul, come back Peter, come back Paul!"
There was a squeak and a snap, and then a terrible silence.
Dave was laughing when the doctors pulled him back, dragging him to his own room but he didn't struggle. He just laughed.
Kurt was on his knees, hands grasping desperately along the floor, searching. His fingers brushed feathers and he stilled. Rachel felt a tear slip down her cheek.
Kurt stood, yellow feathers held between his fingers and he looked Rachel right in the eyes for just a second.
Then he seized the abandoned cage on the floor, turned and swung it in a great ark and it soared through the silent room, and crashed through the window in a shower of sun and glass shards.
That was when Rachel started to lose hope.
Sometimes she thought she saw a glimmer of something in Kurt's eyes: the first time he tried strawberries; the first time he felt rain on his skin; the first time he walked from his bedroom to the lunchroom without her guiding hand between his shoulder blades.
But it was always to fast, fading too quickly and soon his impassive stares and monosyllabic answers returned. Dave was moved to the floor below, and Rachel staggered the lunch times to make sure the boys were never forced to interact again.
And then one day, Kurt was thirteen and Rachel paused before knocking one Wednesday, something she had never done before.
She could hear voices.
Specifically, Kurt's voice, talking inside his room but when she pushed the door the room was empty and Kurt was sitting on the edge of his bed, legs swinging idly over the edge.
"Kurt, who were you talking to?"
He turned his face towards her.
"Blaine. I was talking to Blaine."
"Kurt, can you hear me?"
Blaine Anderson had been nineteen years old when he died, hit by a speeding truck as he crossed the road one morning.
Instant, painless, or so they said.
"He didn't feel a thing," as though that was a comfort to his weeping mother.
Dying wasn't the strange part, to Blaine. The strange part was waking up again.
It was slow and painful, as though the universe was making a mockery of his swift death and forcing him to recall it in torturous reverse. He remembered gasping and panting and choking, eyes filled with blood and throat constricting so tight he couldn't breathe.
It was thirteen years after his death, when Blaine awoke and he couldn't see yet, but he could hear. Scraps of conversations like crossed telephone wires were scrambling through his head, broken conversations in voices that sounded like his mother and his friends.
"It was that family, the Hummels, you remember."
"Nasty business. It doesn't do well to turn this all out after so long, what would your mother think?"
"I'm just…thankful, that's all."
Blaine learnt quickly that sometimes the universe makes mistakes. But sometimes bad mistakes can be good, depending on whichever way you flipped them and it seemed that maybe, he was getting another chance.
Albeit, a strange one.
It started with a cool hand across Kurt's forehead one night, as he arched and strained and screamed until his throat was hoarse, but his mind refused to rip from the claws that sunk into it every time he tried to sleep. Kurt would thrash and twist, roll right out of bed to rock and curl sobbing on the floor, unable to wake.
His fingers were like ice, like the wind and like water.
They touched Kurt's sweaty forehead, pressing back his hair. Lips and breath like frost whispered across his cheek as one word woke Kurt from the nightmare he couldn't break.
"I was talking to Blaine," he answered the next morning, when Rachel asked, and he could feel her eyes on him and he knew exactly why. Because Blaine hadn't gone anywhere when she entered the room and Kurt could still feel his fingertips very gently, touching Kurt's own.
Blaine discovered a lot of things as he lay writhing in the darkness, each bone knitting itself back together, veins and nerves refusing.
The jolt of pain as his heart restarted.
He had been hit by a forty-six year old white male, John Dawson. American citizen, wife and kids, respectable job, and no prior convictions. His friends and peers had spoken highly of him, and Blaine heard every conversation as his blood moved sluggishly back through his veins.
So nobody quite knew what happened the night John Dawson broke into the Hummel's family house in Ohio and viciously murdered Burt and Elizabeth. Nobody knew why he ripped their bodies apart, but left without taking anything, leaving their house intact. Nobody knew why the Hummel's eight month old baby boy was left alive, just, locked in the upstairs wardrobe with his tiny body covered in Elizabeth Hummel's blood.
One thing the neighbourhood gossips knew for certain however, and the one thing that was drilled over and over into Blaine's skull as his limbs slowly regained their strength, was that John Dawson would not have been caught and charged for their murders if he hadn't hit Blaine Anderson in his attempted escape.
"Terrible business, I wonder how the Anderson's are feeling."
"Can't be glad your son's dead just because it helped to catch a murder, can you?"
Blaine knew this.
And when his eyes flew open and the sunlight burned brighter than it ever had before, he knew it wasn't a coincidence that today happened to be Kurt Hummel's thirteenth birthday. It wasn't a mistake or a second chance at his life.
It was fate.
"Why can't Doctor Berry see you?" Kurt asked him, finally.
"Why on earth would she be able to?" Blaine replied, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Then how do I know you're real?"
Kurt felt the bedcovers shift slightly as Blaine moved, felt him lay his cold hand flat over Kurt's beating heart.
"You can feel me, can't you? Isn't that enough?"
Blaine would come with the rain, Kurt discovered. When the winds were howling against the glass of his windows, and the draft bleeding under the crack of the door had Kurt shivering beneath his covers, Blaine would arrive.
Blaine would be there when Kurt was screaming in his sleep, and he would wrap Kurt in his arms tightly and whisper the darkness away.
When it was summer Blaine would arrive on sunbeams, and all the seasons in between and he would come to Kurt on the wind and the snow.
Sometimes they would talk and talk, and Kurt wouldn't let himself sleep, preferring to lie safely in Blaine's arms and listen to stories of the world.
And when Blaine talked, it was like Kurt could see again.
Blaine would tell him about the weather and the birds, about the way grass rippled in the wind and birds sang from the tops of trees. He gathered a handful of snow and let Kurt press his cheeks to it until his lips turned blue and the water dripped from Blaine's fingers.
A child more foolish than Kurt would say Blaine was an angel, but Kurt had lived through too much to ever believe in such things.
Blaine just was.
"Kurt, do you think we should talk about what happened to you?" Blaine asked one day, as they lay side by side on the floor.
"No," he said, "I like hearing about the shapes of the clouds."
"I know," Blaine was hesitant, an edge to his usually soft voice, "But I feel you should."
Kurt sat up, pulling his hands away from Blaine's and moving to sit on his bed, pressing his back hard against the wall and drawing his knees up under his chin.
"Why," he spat, "Why should I tell you, when you already know."
Blaine said nothing.
"I knew it," Kurt said, his fingers gripping tightly to his bed sheets, "You already know everything about what happened to me. You know everything about everything, so why should I have to talk about it?"
Brittany Pearce was two years younger than Kurt Hummel when she arrived in Rachel's care. Sent away by wealthy parents who didn't understand why their thirteen year old daughter refused to eat, she arrived at Dalton Hospital with a blue dress and a smile.
Brittany's smile was almost enough to draw attention away from her stick-like limbs, from the gaunt shadows under her eyes and the lankness in her blonde hair. Because when she smiled, even Kurt could see the change in the room. She would plait ribbon bracelets for all the staff, and tell wild stories of wolves and fairies to anybody who cared to listen to her.
One morning Brittany sat down opposite where Kurt Hummel was folding a sheet of paper over and over again, took it from his hands to smooth out, and folded it into a perfect origami crane.
"Here," she said, passing the paper bird back to him, "It flies if you do this."
She guided his hands over the twists and folds, showing him how to make the wings spread and flap.
Rachel returned to the room an hour later to find both teenagers sitting amidst a flock of paper birds, all shapes and sizes, and Kurt giving sheets of ordinary paper wings of his own accord, while Brittany watched and smiled.
Rachel rescheduled her timetable to put Kurt and Brittany's therapy sessions together, and Brittany would hold Kurt's hand as he whispered things he'd never mentioned in fifteen years.
Within three weeks Rachel had learned that Kurt could remember the colour red, that the last thing he remembered seeing was his mother's blood-splattered dead body, that sometimes at night in the darkness he could hear screaming and laughter.
Sometimes he cried, and Brittany would wipe the tears away with her sleeve.
When the year faded into Spring, Brittany would take Kurt walking around the grounds and they would make daisy chains and crowns of roses from the flowerbeds. Kurt stuck dried flowers and paper birds over the walls of his bedroom, for the first time since he'd lived there.
"Kurt, please say something!"
It seemed that with Brittany in his life, Kurt didn't need Blaine to chase away the darkness. She was always there with a song and laughter, and Blaine faded and faded until he was nothing but an echo in Kurt's mind.
He wondered if he'd imagined him after all.
"I wish I knew what you looked like," he said to Brittany one day.
She took his hand and guided it up to her face, "Here. You can feel me, can't you?"
Kurt was almost happy.
And then one day Brittany stopped laughing, and the room didn't fill with sunshine anymore. Even Kurt could see that her smiles were gone.
"What's wrong, Britt?" He asked her, again and again. But she just held his hand up to her face to let him know she was shaking her head, and walked away and Kurt was left alone.
He slipped from his bed that night, unwilling to sleep because he knew there was nobody there to drag him out when it got too painful. With one hand holding him steady against the wall, he tiptoed from his room and counted the twenty-six paces down the hall to Brittany's door.
Kurt tapped his fingers once, twice against the wood. He pressed his cheek in close, "Britt? It's me."
There was no answer, but the door opened with a swish of air.
There was something wrong, and he knew it immediately.
Kurt didn't know Brittany's room as well as his own, didn't know how many steps it would take him to stumble over to the bed and feel the rumpled, empty sheets. He turned wildly, tripping across the floor and smacking his head on the bathroom door as he went crashing into it.
Something creaked inside the bathroom.
Kurt's arms flailed desperately as he walked jerkily across the tiles, searching, searching, until…
His hands hit and held something hard and cool, fingers ran across it trying to work out…
Kurt fell to the floor and screamed and screamed.
It took Rachel thirty minutes to drag Kurt's screaming form away from Brittany's body once they'd cut her down from the shower rail.
By the time she'd been taken away, Kurt was sobbing and whimpering, screaming whenever they tried to touch him and Rachel could make out one word being said, over and over.
"Blaine, Blaine. Please, Blaine. I need Blaine, Blaine where are you? Blaine, please! Blaine, Blaine, Blaine."
Kurt couldn't breathe. Every cry was a gasp and a choke until all the air left his lungs and he was coughing until his chest hurt, curled into his bed.
It had been three hours since Doctor Berry left him, six since they'd found Brittany.
Even thinking her name hurt and Kurt gave up trying to muffle his sobs into the pillow, falling onto his side to scream and scream. His chest was burning and ripping open, like an animal was trying to claw its way out of his ribcage.
"Shhh, Kurt. I'm here."
Kurt couldn't speak, but Blaine's arms were clutching him to his chest, and Kurt could feel Blaine's heartbeat against his cheek.
"Blaine…I can't," Kurt sobbed, "Blaine, I…I don't…"
"I know," Blaine whispered into Kurt's hair, holding him tighter and closer, "I know, it's okay. You can cry, Kurt."
And Kurt did, until his body was exhausted and his mind was burning, and every inch of him wanted to curl up and decay. He could feel Blaine trembling around him, and it wasn't until later that Kurt realised Blaine was crying too.
Somewhere in the early hours of the morning, Kurt lifted his head and his nose brushed Blaine's chin on the way up.
"Blaine," he whispered, and he didn't know why or what he wanted, but Blaine's breathe was cool on his cheeks, and they were clutched so close that Kurt could feel every shift in Blaine's movements.
But Kurt reached his hands up to grasp uselessly at where he knew Blaine's face was, and he pulled them closer until their lips met and it was messy and wet with tears. Blaine's lips stung lip alcohol poured onto an open wound, but Kurt didn't care.
"Kurt, no!" Blaine pulled away, but Kurt was grasping him back, pressing their lips together over and over.
"Please, Blaine," he gasped between kisses, "God, please. I don't know, I just…"
Blaine felt like he was on fire, and Kurt was burning in his arms and he couldn't stand it, and every touch of his lips was like a spark through his system and he did the only thing he could.
He pushed Kurt off him for just long enough, vanishing as his mind screamed at him. He was miles away within seconds, floating with the atoms and dust in streams of light, high, high up in the clouds.
"I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!" He screamed at the empty air around him, "WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?"
He didn't know who he was talking to, and Blaine had long given up hope that there was actually a higher power out there that had legitimate reasoning for bringing him back. All he knew was that Kurt was beautiful and so fucking damaged, and Blaine was stuck around for some unknown purpose relating to a kid whose life just happened to be intertwined unforgivably with his. Blaine felt wrong and broken and like he wanted to tear his own existence from the surface of the world.
Was he supposed to rescue Kurt, to love him, to save him, to heal him?
How the hell was Blaine supposed to know?
Rachel stopped pushing Kurt after Brittany's funeral. He'd made such remarkable progress during his friendship with her that it hurt Rachel's heart to see him curl back into his reclusive self, but she knew it was inevitable.
Maybe he would come to her in his own time, if she only gave him the space.
So when Kurt didn't reply to every question she asked, Rachel simply stopped asking them. They would sit in silence, and Kurt would fold paper birds and flowers into crowns during their therapy sessions.
She'd almost forgotten what Kurt's voice sounded like until she heard it again, through his bedroom door like before, her hand frozen on the handle ready to push down when…
"No, Blaine. I just mean that it's…different. That's all."
There was a faint rustle, like a whisper, like wings stretching in response, and Rachel threw the door open to see Kurt, sat on the floor with a slightly serene expression on his face.
A white feather drifted to the floor in front of him.
"Kurt, please. If you can hear me, then say something!"
"Can I…see what you look like?" Kurt asked one night, as Blaine sat facing him on his bed. He had been trying to keep his distance since the inadvertent kiss, but it was getting harder and harder to stay away from him.
"Britt…showed me a way, I can…" Kurt shifted forwards, one hand stretched out towards Blaine. He took his fingers, holding them but letting Kurt find his way until they brushed along Blaine's cheekbone.
Kurt moved closer, skimming gently over the soft skin and down the curve of Blaine's cheek. He could feel the silky brush of his eyelashes with every blink, the soft curls of Blaine's hair. Kurt followed the path downwards, over lips and chin and down to the hollow of his throat.
Blaine swallowed against his hand, breath hitching as Kurt let his palm rest over Blaine's heart.
Kurt paused, letting his fingers rest just under Blaine's collarbone, and had it ever occurred to him to wonder what Blaine might be wearing? All he remembered was the cool stillness of Blaine's body, the way he anchored and held Kurt down during his worst night.
Kurt let his hands drift upwards, over Blaine's shoulders and down until they sunk into softness.
"Open them," he whispered hoarsely, and Blaine sighed. There was a rustle and a soft gust of air and Kurt felt the joints shift delicately under his fingers as the wings stretched themselves out.
They were almost as wide as the room, Kurt discovered as he stood to run his hands along the entire length. He could feel each joint twisting under his touch, could hear Blaine's intake of breath as he let his palm rub across the soft underside.
"They're beautiful," he said.
"You don't know that," Blaine muttered, "They could be horrific."
"I doubt it somehow. They belong to you."
Kurt didn't leave his room much, he never had. He preferred the safety of his four walls and the fake sense of containment that came with them.
There was nothing for him outside, especially now Brittany had gone. She'd had the ability to make everything seem beautiful, even though Kurt couldn't really see it, but without her it was all darkness again.
Blaine would talk about the world, would bring fragments of it into his room and they would keep the flowers on the walls fresh and colourful, and Kurt's bedroom would smell like roses. Why on earth would he want to leave?
So maybe it was fate that the one day he decided to go for a walk alone, to see if he could find his way back to the rose garden that Brittany showed him, the one day Blaine wasn't with him was the one day that would break him.
It was colder outside than he remembered, and although he'd been walking the gardens for eighteen years, the path seemed to twist in unfamiliar ways and Kurt would double back and find himself walking in spirals, tripping over the same jagged concrete corners every few minutes. The roses he did find bit their thorns gently into his hands as he cradled them against the wind, bowing his head as he tried to find his way back.
It was almost expected.
"Well, look what we have here."
It had been eight years, but his voice hadn't changed in the slightest.
"Fly away Peter, fly away Paul, come back Peter, come back Paul!"
Kurt's mind was blank, his head pounding hard. Flecks of childhood terror were rising like bile up the back of his throat, and he'd been around Blaine so much recently that he'd almost forgotten what fear really felt like.
"What are you doing, collecting flowers like some sort of fairy?"
Kurt tried to walk, but every step seemed to take him closer to the voice, and he stumbled backwards to harsh laughter.
"Stupid fucking fairy, lost in the gardens. Shouldn't have come out alone, should you?"
"Leave me alone," Kurt whispered, ducking his head further until his nose was brushing petals.
"That's what that stupid girl said, with a little more conviction though. Didn't stop me, but whatever."
"What did you do to her?"
There was another laugh, and he was closer than before.
"What didn't I do to her? Stupid fucking girl thinking she's better than everyone. All that fucking laughing and those stupid stories, she deserved it. Winding everyone around her little finger like some fucking princess who owned the place."
"Shut up!" Kurt shouted, the words echoing across the empty grass and he was so frozen and so angry that he couldn't bring himself to move, but terror had petrified his spine in place and he couldn't move no matter how much his brain was telling him to run.
Hands pushed him to the floor, and Kurt was pinned to the grass with roses crushing under his chest and thorns piercing his clothes. A dead weight settled on his legs, and his arms were twisted hard behind his back until his shoulders were screaming.
One hand seized his neck, wrenching his head back and cutting off his airflow until black spots danced in his vision.
"Can't say I enjoyed it much, but it was worth it. To hear her scream and beg me to stop."
A hand was fumbling blindly under Kurt, scrabbling to undo his belt buckle and push his trousers down to his knees.
"I prefer them a little more…like you."
His lips were against the back of Kurt's neck and he couldn't move, and every struggle had Dave pressing against him harder, and Kurt got one arm free but it clawed uselessly at the ground, tugging up clumps of grass and mud, and he heard the clink of Dave's belt as he undid it.
Kurt's mind was screaming where his voice wouldn't.
But no one was coming, and Kurt was alone and Dave was leaning in to whisper in his ear as one hand grasped firmly between Kurt's legs.
"You might even enjoy it, Hummel. If you let yourself."
His face was too close, and Kurt took his only chance and threw his elbow backwards to collide with a sickening crunch. He didn't know where he'd hit but Dave fell backwards with a grunt and a moan, and Kurt was up and running before he could realise.
He still didn't know where he was, and he stumbled twice, falling onto the hard ground and pushing himself up to run again. His shoulder brushed a wall, his hands clutched at brick and plaster and then there was a door and a handle, and Kurt fell through it with a gasp.
He knew his way from here, it was ingrained into his mind and the stairs were the same as ever, and the hallway still echoed as he ran and ran to his room, throwing himself through the door and into the bathroom to empty his stomach noisily into the toilet.
His skin itched and burned, and he wanted to rip it from his skeleton, to empty his insides into the toilet bowl and become nothing more than a pile of broken bones. He could feel hands too big on his body, someone too soft and too warm and nothing he ever wanted.
Kurt was gasping and sobbing between rushes of nausea, and he could taste blood and acid on his lips, but he wanted to dissolve himself, to burn everything from his existence into ashes and disappear.
Brittney had the right idea, Kurt could see that now. He knew why the smiles stopped and the laughter faded, and why she hung herself from her shower rail that night.
Kurt crashed into his bedroom, and felt a breeze across his face like an angel.
Blaine liked to leave the window open when he wasn't there, as though reminding Kurt that he would always come back.
But every atom of Kurt was shrieking and hurting, and he threw himself clumsily onto his bed, up onto the windowsill, and the air was too, too cold. It bit at him, and drew him out like a net, and then he was falling and falling and falling.
Blaine saw, he saw it before it happened and he knew.
Because he couldn't move, and his limbs were too heavy, being dragging back to earth like they were waterlogged, and his wings wouldn't press upwards against the wind.
He saw Kurt fall like a doll from his fourth floor window in his mind, saw the way the wind caught in his clothes and slowed him a fraction until he was floating and he crashed like a wave onto the grass below.
He was miles away, but then he was there and Kurt was in his arms and Blaine knew he was too late.
Blaine heard bones snapping as he shifted Kurt's body, saw the red slid of blood down his cheek and the way his eyes stared upwards. There was no steady beat thrumming from his body, no gentle pulse against Blaine's skin.
Blaine heard himself shout out, heard the howl as though from a broken animal, and his wings curled around them both until Kurt was surrounded by feathers.
"WHAT WAS THE FUCKING POINT?" Blaine shrieked to the silence around him, "WHY DID YOU BRING ME BACK TO WATCH HIM DIE?"
He saw tears he didn't remember crying splash onto Kurt's face, hitting his eyes and skin and mixing with the blood on his cheek.
"Kurt," Blaine begged, and he was pressing his lips to every inch of Kurt's face. His forehead and nose and cheeks, and tasting blood and salt with every kiss, "Kurt please! Fucking...just…I'll do anything, he…fuck, Kurt, come ON!"
He touched their foreheads together, letting their noses slide alongside each other, "I'll do anything to keep him alive."
There was a pause, a beat like a drum that seemed to throb from Blaine's chest, and then he was flat on his back and his wings were tangled and crumpled underneath his body, and Kurt had fallen next to him but just out of reach. Blaine stretched his arm out, but he was pinned to the ground by a dizzying weight on his chest, and his body felt heavy, like he was drowning.
The world was going black, but Blaine felt fingertips scrape along his before everything faded.
"Kurt, Kurt can you hear me?"
"Kurt, if you can hear me, open your eyes!"
"Kurt, come on!"
"Kurt, I know you're in there. You have to wake up."
Kurt could feel every nerve in his body tingling, like static was being fed through his veins.
He wanted to get up and spin and twirl, but his body wasn't responding to his brain. He wanted to sleep, but his mind wouldn't shut up.
He was burning, but he was far too cold.
Nothing hurt at all.
A bright spot of light was floating in front of Kurt's face, something glinting and dancing and it hurt his eyes to look directly at, but they refused to close.
He knew that voice, and it seemed to be coming from the light, which was slowly fading to a duller shade, still gleaming, still hanging above his face.
"Kurt, can you hear me?"
He tried to speak, but there was a tube in his mouth, prodding down his throat. He settled for a jerky nod, watching the bright light dance as he moved his head.
There was a scuffling noise, the light moved and came back, and then the tube was gone and he was coughing. Someone pressed water to his lips and he swallowed gratefully.
"Doctor Berry?" He whispered.
"Oh my god, Kurt!" Arms were thrown around him, clutching him to her chest and he could feel her crying into his hair. Strands of hair were tickling his nose and face, and she pulled away rubbing her nose with the back of her hand.
"You're beautiful," he said.
The first thing Kurt did when they let him out of hospital a week later was visit Brittney's grave.
There were tests and more tests, arguments and lawsuits and custody issues and a particularly awful incident with a preacher claiming Kurt was either a miracle worker or the antichrist.
Nobody seemed to be able to explain how Kurt came back to life in better condition than he left it. Nobody knew what had returned the boy to life, and given him back his sight.
But Kurt found a white feather down the collar of his shirt, and he cried himself to sleep the first night of his life, because he knew.
He knelt on the grass in front of Brittney's grave, a bouquet of lilacs and roses in his hand. A photograph of the smiling girl was propped against the stone.
"You're even lovelier than I expected, Britt," he whispered, brushing his fingers down the glass. He let the flowers rest on the soil, and pulled a paper crane from his pocket, tucking it into the photo frame before standing.
There was a snap behind him, the crack of a twig as somebody shifted their weight.
Kurt froze, swallowed hard and turned.
Brown eyes, and a smile so beautiful it hurt to look at, and when the sun flashed through the clouds Kurt thought he saw the brief shadow of wings stretched out on the grass.
"Oh, there you are," Blaine said, "I've been looking for you forever."
I CAN'T BELIEVE I KILLED OFF BRITTANY, OH MY GOD SHE IS MY WOJFLISH\GKIGFDHFGK,
I'm mad at myself.
So I know that was really strange, but I had a plot bunny and it grew. Please give me your thoughts! :)