Because we are getting so close to the Season 3 premiere of Glee and CrissColfer RPF helps pass the time. Also, I just can't help myself.
Warnings: Character Injury, Discussion of Medical Procedures, Sexual Banter in Later Chapters, Profanity
Disclaimer: This is RPF (real person fiction) primarily about Darren Criss and Chris Colfer. While they are both real, this story obviously isn't. It is a work of fiction. I don't own the Glee characters or the actors who play them but I sure wouldn't mind owning Darren Criss in real life!
Spoiler Alert: Takes place during the filming of Glee Season 3x01, alludes to Blaine/Kurt character moments from the show during Season 2 (so technically, mild spoilers for Glee through Season 2x22 "New York") as well as refers to events that happened on Glee Live Tour 2011.
Chapter Author's Note: This chapter will be pretty intense and angsty. I'll be introducing the specifics of Darren's injury in this chapter too, so there will be more discussion of medical stuff. In particular, there is one scene at the end that may be a little tough to get through if you are squeamish. I know it was hard for me to write and think of poor Darren going through that, but the severity of his injury will play an important role in bringing Darren and Chris together, so I decided it was worth it in the end. Thanks for reading so far. Now, let's get back to our two adorable boys, okay?
Chris watched in mute horror as Darren crashed to the ground, landing heavily on his right leg. He knew instantly that it was bad. Before Chris could scramble to the lowest level of the stage and drop to his knees next to Darren, allowing him to see his face, he could tell Darren was hurt by the hunch of his shoulders and the white-knuckled grip Darren had on his knee. Chris was at Darren's side within seconds, allowing him a clear view of the deathly pallor of his pain-twisted face, unfortunately confirming his suspicions. Darren was hurt. Badly.
"Darren? Oh my god, Darren… Hey, are you okay?" Chris called in panic as he knelt down next to his best friend, bringing a steadying hand to Darren's right shoulder, squeezing it gently before running a worried hand gently up and down his upper arm. Chris's eyes searched Darren's pain-stricken face and he held his breath, waiting for Darren to open his eyes or respond in some way, all the while listening with growing concern to Darren's labored breathing.
After what seemed like an eternity, Darren turned his head slightly towards Chris. His eyes slid open slowly, looking at Chris with a mixture of abject panic, misery, and desperation while his hand continued to clutch his knee with a white-knuckled grip. "Chris…fuck," he managed to pant out between gasps of pain. "Oh god….hurts."
Chris's face crumpled at the brokenness of Darren's voice, his eyes blowing wide in concern. "Oh Darren…" he said, running a hand through his hair carelessly in frustration. "What's hurting? Your leg?" he asked, looking to Darren's right leg which was splayed awkwardly against the floor. Darren's dark wash slim cut jeans made it hard to see his leg clearly, but Chris could just make out that Darren's leg was set at a somewhat unnatural angle, suggesting further injuries that were blessedly hidden from Darren's view at the moment.
Darren nodded as he looked pleadingly to Chris. "Chris…" he nearly begged, his voice shaking with pain and fear. "Shit…hurts…bad," he cried brokenly, his voice trailing of into a series of gasps.
"Shh…I know, Darren. Just hang on a sec. We're going to get you some help, okay?" Chris encouraged gently, continuing to stroke Darren's arm as he looked up to see this week's director, Eric Stoltz, approaching them with Brooke, the assistant choreographer.
"He's hurt," Chris said in their general direction. "His leg…I think it's…" Chris trailed off, not wanting to speak his suspicions aloud, lest that make them come true and cause Darren additional distress. Chris caught Brooke's eye, glancing down to Darren's leg and then back to her, watching as Brooke'e eyes widened in recognition as she took in the unnatural angle of his right leg. "Brooke, maybe you should get Zach?" Chris half asked, half commanded given that Zach was usually the person to assess and treat the cast's many performance-related injuries. His many years as a dancer and choreographer made Zach a natural expert on when to push through the pain and when to seek medical attention while his epic "bruise wall" served as a small shrine to the numerous injuries each cast member, save Darren until now, had accumulated during their time on the show.
Brooke nodded. "Yeah, on it. I'll be right back," she said, reaching for one of the walkie talkies that the cast and crew used to communicate across the cavernous set and turning to head towards the rehearsal studio where Zach was currently teaching some basic choreography to the Warblers for an upcoming performance.
Eric was the next to speak, after silently taking in Darren's appearance and demeanor and quickly making the determination that the young actor was going to need some medical attention. "Darren? I'm going to go ahead and call over one of the Fox studio medics to take a look at your leg, okay? Just sit tight for a few minutes. Can I get you anything in the meantime?"
Darren shook his head, his face tensed and his eyes closed once again. Chris, however, seemed to have other ideas. "Maybe we should get him some water?" Chris suggested, looking over Eric's shoulder at the production assistant who was hovering nearby, looking eager for something to do. Chris's eyes went back to Darren's face, noticing that he'd broken out in a cold sweat. He turned directly to the PA this time, addressing her with his request. "Do you think you could find him a clean towel too?"
The PA nodded, snapping to attention at the chance to do something to help. "Totally," she said. "I'll be right back." Eric rose to his feet, giving Darren a slightly awkward pat on the back as he did so. "The medics will be here soon. Just hang on a minute, alright?" As the director stepped away, he pulled out his cell phone to call for help before stopping to consult with a few members of the crew.
Chris's full attention went back to Darren, noticing that his body was listing to the side a bit more, seeming shaky as he balanced his upper body against his right elbow. Without a word, Chris shifted closer to Darren, allowing his hand to slide from his upper arm and wrap gently around his back and shoulders. Darren shifted gratefully into the physical contact, leaning his body against Chris's while being careful not to relax his lower body too much for fear of disturbing his leg that continued to throb in time to the beat of his heart.
"Darren?" Chris called questioningly. Everything he wanted to ask or say seemed wrong somehow. He couldn't ask Darren if he was okay, when it was clear that he wasn't. And Darren had heard some version of "hang in there" at least four times in the past few minutes, so that was out too. But Chris needed to communicate with Darren somehow, to let him know that he was here, that he wasn't going anywhere, and that it was killing him to see Darren in so much pain and not be able to fix it. But everything Chris could come up with sounded cliched, so he ended up asking the one question he hoped Darren could answer.
"Darren honey, I know it hurts. Is there anything I can do?" Chris asked softly, the tone of his voice making it clear that this intimate question was meant for Darren's ears only.
Darren continued to breathe heavily, feeling a slight prickle at the corner of his eyes at Chris's request. By now, the pain was so bad that Darren was having a hard time remembering what life was like before the pain had started. The steady throb tended to block out everything else, his surroundings fading to gray while the white hot agony stemming from his leg loomed above all else. Everything had faded into the background except for Chris, that was. The feel of Chris's warm arm around his shoulder and back seemed to be anchoring Darren to the ground and to reality and he feared that without Chris's reassuring touch, he would pass out within minutes. He needed Chris's touch almost as much as he needed oxygen and a respite from the pain at the moment.
Slowly, painfully, Darren managed to open his eyes. "Chris…" he started, taking a second to draw in a gasping breath. "Can you just…hold…my hand?"
Chris felt a sharp stab of pain to his stomach at Darren's simple request. It communicated so much about their connection with one another and Darren's vulnerable, anxiety-ridden state. Chris swallowed hard, fighting the rising tide of tears that swelled in his throat. Wordlessly, Chris covered Darren's left hand with his own, lacing his fingers with Darren's and squeezing gently. Next, he carefully directed Darren's head to his shoulder before reaching up his right hand to gently stroke the curls that were gathered at the nape of Darren's neck. "Shh, Darren. It's okay. You're going to be okay. Just hang on, honey," Chris murmured softly as he continued to stroke Darren's hair, feeling Darren's body relax into his little by little.
Chris looked up and was relieved to see Zach barreling across the set towards them with Brooke following close on his heels. Zach dropped to his knees next to the two of them, quickly taking in the tenseness of Darren's body and the awkward position of his right leg.
"Hey Darren, what the hell did you manage to do to your leg?" asked Zach, aiming for a casual tone but failing to completely conceal his concern. "Brooke said you fell pretty hard. Can you show me where it hurts?"
"Zach…think…it's bad. I heard…something…snap…when I…fell," Darren managed to gasp out between pants of pain. "Hurts…here," Darren continued, his hand hovering just above his shin.
"Okay, let's take a look." Zach reached down and gently tried to slide up the cuff of Darren's jeans so that he could get a look at his leg underneath. But Darren's slim-cut jeans left little room to slide the fabric up without touching the injured leg beneath it and Darren let out an almost inhuman-sounding strangled cry as the fabric grazed his leg.
Darren's hand crushed into Chris's with surprising force as the pain to his leg increased tenfold. Chris squeezed back comfortingly. "Shh, I know, Darren. Just breathe, okay?"
"Okay, okay…" Zach called out in surrender, not wanting to do anything to cause Darren that much pain. "Sorry Darren. I won't do that again but I need you to do something. Can you try to move your foot for me? Can you wiggle your toes or turn your ankle a tiny bit?"
Darren panted in pain for several seconds, waiting for the agony in his leg to die down enough that the black spots would recede from his vision. With a deep breath, he focused all of his attentions on the muscles in his lower leg and foot, concentrating with fierce effort as he tried to send the signal from his brain to his lower leg. Despite his best efforts, there was no movement forthcoming, not even the smallest of twitches to bely the amount of physical effort that the task was currently taking of Darren. This lack of movement was even more disturbing to Darren than the massive amount of pain he was in and he felt a slight chill run through his body at the thought of his leg being so badly broken that it would never work properly again.
Chris's body tensed as he similarly waited for some glimmer of movement from Darren's lower limb. He felt Darren's hand tighten around his own as he seemingly put every ounce of effort into moving his foot with zero results.
"Zach…" Darren gasped out, the edge of panic in his voice sharper than it had been only moments earlier. "I can't…it won't…move. Oh god.."
Zach's eyes widened slightly before he could stop himself. He quickly settled his features into a more blasé expression. "Okay Darren…it's alright. People aren't always able to move a broken limb. "Look, I think there is a pretty good chance that your leg is broken or at least badly sprained, so we just need to wait for the medics to get here, okay? In the meantime, I want you to try to drink some water and lay back and just breathe nice and slow and stay calm, okay?"
Without waiting for a response, Zach turned to Brooke. "Brooke, we're going to have to cut his pants so that we can get a look at his leg. Can you see if one of the PAs can find us a pair of sharp scissors and some bottled water for Darren? An icepack would be good too if we've got one handy. And let's get the ETA on the medics. They have to have one on the Fox studio set at all times, so I don't know what's taking them so long."
Finally, Zach turned his attentions back to Darren and Chris, noticing that Darren was still struggling to hold himself upright. Zach was concerned by the paleness of Darren's face and the labored quality to his breathing and the last thing he wanted was for Darren to pass out. "Chris, can you help Darren lay back?" he asked.
Chris nodded and temporarily relaxed his grip on Darren's hand as he slid back a bit, making room for Darren to stretch out so that his head would rest in Chris's lap. Darren's reaction to Chris releasing his hand was immediate and slightly violent. Darren's eyes flew open and he began to grasp frantically for Chris, his hand possessively gripping at Chris's shirt in an attempt to keep him close by.
"Shh, Darren. It's okay. I'm not going anywhere. " Chris brought his hand to Darren's temple and brushed a lock of hair from his eyes reassuringly. He kept one arm around Darren's shoulders while the other cradled his head and neck and he began to slowly lower Darren's upper body towards his lap. "Just lay back, honey. I've got you."
Darren was scared to move for fear of jarring his leg and starting the pain anew. He tensed his entire body but allowed Chris to slowly lower his torso until his head was resting against Chris's legs in his lap. Once Darren was settled there, Chris brought his left hand to Darren's curls once again and resumed stroking his hair gently while his left hand wrapped around Darren's right, with Chris's thumb rubbing whisper-light circles over Darren's knuckles.
Darren allowed his eyes to flutter closed, feeling slightly awkward and uncomfortable at being laid out on the floor while people huddled around him and the crew looked on in concern. He hated being weak, hated wincing in pain, and most of all, hated needing anyone as much as he needed Chris at the moment. To be honest, it was taking everything in Darren's power not to break into sobs, not to cry out in panic and pain. Without Chris, Darren knew he wouldn't be able to hold on much longer. He brought his left arm to his face, covering his eyes with the crook of his elbow, allowing himself to block out his surroundings save for the feel of Chris's warm hand in his and the gentle touch of Chris's fingers brushing through his hair.
Chris looked up to see Brooke returning with a pair of scissors. Behind her trailed the PA who was carrying a small hand towel and a bottle of water. Zach looked up in relief as they approached, reaching out a hand to take the scissors from Brooke.
"Thanks, Brooke," Zach said simply, his attentions turning to Darren once more. He took the bottled water and towel from the PA wordlessly, and handed them to Chris. "Chris, can you help him drink some water?"
Chris unscrewed the top from the bottled water and reluctantly relaxed his grip on Darren's hand in order to slide a supportive hand underneath Darren's head and neck. "Let's sit you up a bit, Darren" Chris directed while carefully lifting Darren's upper body to a half sitting position. "Here, drink this," he continued, bringing the bottle of water to Darren's lips.
Darren managed a few small sips of water in between gasps of pain before sagging back into Chris, utterly spent by the small movement. Chris eased Darren back to his lap and took the towel and wiped at the beads of sweat that had collected on his forehead. Chris couldn't help but notice that Darren seemed to be fading, his skin paler than it had been only minutes before and his movements weaker still. But what disturbed Chris most was his breathing. He knew that Darren was in a lot of pain, but Darren seemed to be genuinely struggling just to breathe normally which didn't seem as if it should be happening as a result of a simple broken leg. His gut instinct told him something else was going on with Darren, that there was more than just a simple broken leg to be found.
He watched as Zach readied himself to cut Darren's pant leg to get a better look at this injury. Chris hoped that the medics would get here soon. He'd feel much better once Darren was safely tucked into a bed somewhere resting comfortably after a dose of pain medicine. But until then, Chris knew he had to stay calm for Darren's sake. Given the level of panic Chris was currently experiencing, he could only imagine what Darren was going through and vowed to do what he could to make things as easy as possible for Darren. To that end, Chris dropped the bottled water back to the floor and wrapped Darren's hand in his once more, watching as Darren's body visibly stilled at Chris's touch.
"Darren?" Zach called tentatively. "Hey, how you doing? You hanging in there? Brooke talked to the medics and they should be here any minute, okay?"
Darren nodded minutely. "I'm….okay…. just….hurts," he managed to get out.
Zach nodded in recognition. "I know it does, Darren, but you are doing great. Look, I'm going to go ahead and cut your pants so that I can get a better look at your leg, alright? I'll be gentle as I can be and it shouldn't be painful, but just let me know if anything I'm doing is hurting you, got it?"
Darren nodded his acknowledgement and Zach got to work. He carefully lifted the cuff of Darren's right pant leg a few inches from its resting place against Darren's ankle and slid the scissor blade beneath it, cutting into the tough denim fabric.
As Zach continued to cut, Chris watched his progress carefully, worried to see the state of Darren's leg beneath the pants. Chris saw Zach frown as he cut a slit up the pant leg. He leaned forward , peering around to see what Zach was frowning at. For a moment, Chris saw nothing out of the ordinary, but then realized that the fabric of Darren's jeans was stained darkly down the center. He leaned forward a bit more, noticing the crimson blood smeared across Darren's pale ankle. Before Chris could self- monitor and stop himself, he spoke up. "Jesus Zach, is that blood?" he asked in horror.
Zach gave him an unreadable expression before nodding slightly. "Yeah, I think so. I can't tell where it is coming from just yet, though."
Darren overheard the word "blood" and saw the look on Chris's face and panicked yet again. First, he heard a snap, then he realized he couldn't move his leg at all, and now he's bleeding somehow? It was all too much to take in. For the second time in the past few minutes, Darren found himself wondering if he was going to lose his leg or be unable to walk normally ever again. This fear was enough to propel him forward momentarily, and Darren lifted his head from Chris's lap, shakily pushing himself up onto a elbow in order to get a view of his damaged leg.
"Whoa, whoa, easy Darren," Chris said, shocked when Darren suddenly struggled to sit up from his lap. "Don't try to get up, okay? You just need to lay back and relax until the medics get here." He pressed a gentle hand to Darren's shoulder as he did so, pushing him back into his lap.
Darren struggled mightily to lift his head again. "Chris…need to…see…leg…how bad…it…is," he gasped out frantically.
Chris pushed Darren back more firmly this time. "Shh, Darren. There's nothing to see. You don't need to look. Just relax and focus on your breathing, okay?"
"Said…it's…bleeding," Darren choked out.
Chris looked to Zach for help, not being sure what to say to calm Darren. Zach spoke up next as if on cue.
"Darren, yeah there's a little blood but I can't tell where it's coming from just yet. You probably just scraped your leg on something when you fell. It's going to be fine. You just need to focus on taking slow, deep breaths and lay back, okay?"
Darren seemed to accept this explanation or was too tired to continue to protest – Chris wasn't entirely sure which was the correct interpretation of Darren's sudden surrender. Chris squeezed Darren's hand reassuringly and continued to stroke his hair, all the while keeping a close eye on Zach as he continued to cut slowly at Darren's pants.
Darren's entire body tensed and he let out a cry of pain as the scissor blade accidentally grazed his leg as Zach continued to cut higher up on his pant leg.
"Sorry, sorry Darren… Okay, I think I've cut enough for now. Just take it easy. All done." And with that, Zach dropped the scissors to ground and grabbed for Darren's split pant leg, opening it up to expose his bare leg underneath up to his knee.
Chris watched as Zach's eyes widened and his expression darkened as he exposed Darren's shin. Zach brought a careless hand to his head, running his fingers through his hair messily as he thought through what to do next. Chris looked down to Darren, noting with relief that his eyes were closed once again and that he hadn't seen the look on Zach's face.
Chris leaned forward slightly, both desperately wanting to and dreading looking at Darren's injury. With a deep breath to steel his nerves, Chris looked at Zach wordlessly, who understood Chris's signal and lifted the the flap of Darren's pants, exposing the leg beneath it. Chris felt the room spin and his stomach churn in abject horror as he looked down, taking in the unnatural bent of Darren's leg. Worse still was the third joint that had formed between Darren's ankle and knee in the center of his shin through which Chris could make out the shiny white of Darren's bone protruding through the soft tissue of his right leg.
End Chapter Note: Sorry, I know that last description was a bit gruesome and brutal, but compound fractures by nature aren't pretty. I always strive for medical accuracy with my fics, so I definitely did my homework on Darren's injury, a compound tib/fib fracture. It is a nasty break that can take months to heal properly and it isn't uncommon for a person with a compound fracture like Darren's to go into shock (hence why he seems so weak and out of it and is breathing funny in this chapter). He obviously isn't out of the woods yet, and the next 2-3 chapters will probably contain a fair amount of medical stuff. While I think it is important to be as accurate as possible when including medical crises in a story (esp. in the case of RPF which should be even more rooted in reality), ultimately this story is about Darren and Chris and their relationship with one another, so hopefully I did okay with regards to balancing the medical and character moments. Anyways, if you are out there reading, please review and let me know what you think so far. Is there any plot point or character you're dying to see in an upcoming chapter? If so, please let me know as I aim to please and welcome any and all prompts and plot ideas :)
Also, if you are interested in reading more of my Klaine or CrissColfer works, I also post ficlets, drabbles, playlists, and other special features on my blog. Follow me on Tumblr at place-that-ive-been-dreaming-of (dot) tumblr (dot) com. Stop by and say hello.