Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
Written for a prompt on the Glee Fluff Meme:
"Kurt gets the stomach flu (really bad) and Blaine ends up missing school to come over and take care of him.
Kurt keeps on saying to Blaine to go back to school so he wont fall behind on his work just because he has the flu.
Blaine won't leave. He wants to stay and take care of Kurt. (Because he remembers having the flu once and needing someone there to take care of him).
Kurt can't keep anything down (only maybe small amounts of water)
It takes Kurt 3 days to recover"
Finn Hudson did not consider himself a perceptive individual.
Sarcasm flew over his head like a Frisbee on a summer's day. Irony was something your mom used to get the wrinkles out of your clothes. Subtlety burned out in his atmosphere.
But even he knew that something was up with his brother.
Finn sat at the kitchen table shoveling Cheerios in his mouth as his mother put together three sets of lunches for the day. "Where's your brother?" Carole asked absently as she layered fresh spinach leaves onto three half-assembled sandwiches.
"I think he's sick," Finn mumbled around his mouthful of cereal.
Carole halted. "He's what?" she said.
Finn swallowed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "I might've dreamed it," he said. "But in my dream, I kept hearing Kurt throwing up. So…either he's sick…or I had a really gross dream last night."
Carole turned back to the sandwiches. "I hope to God you just had a weird dream," she said. "But really, honey, you've got to lay off the cold pizza right before bed."
Finn shrugged and lifted a spoonful of Cheerios to his mouth, only to drop it back in his bowl with a sharp clatter. "Oh my god, Kurt, you look like a zombie," he blurted out.
His younger stepbrother shuffled into the kitchen, his crisply pressed shirt misbuttoned and his socks mismatched. His face resembled a sickly rainbow- white cheeks, gray lips, purple bruises under his eyes. "I'm not that bad," Kurt mumbled.
"Good morning, honey, there's Cheerios on the table and oatmeal in…" Carole's voice trailed off as she turned around. "Kurt. Go back to bed."
"But…" he tried to protest.
Carole pointed to the stairs with her table knife. "I mean it. You look like death warmed over. Upstairs. Pajamas. Bed. Go," she ordered.
"But…" he whined. "I'm fine…"
Finn silently held up his bowl of Cheerios and waved it in front of Kurt's face. Kurt promptly clapped a hand over his mouth, his face taking on a greenish tinge.
"You're not fine," Carole said. "Get into bed before you throw up all over the breakfast table."
Kurt sighed heavily, turned around, and headed back up the stairs, his head hanging down. "Well, your dream was correct, Finn," Carole said, assembling the sandwiches but setting the fourth one aside. "I'll write a note for you to take to the school office." She sighed. "I wish I could call in and stay with him, but we're short-staffed as it is. Maybe I can leave early. And do you think you could check on him at lunch?"
"Sure, I guess," Finn shrugged.
Carole folded the tops on the two remaining brown paper bags on the counter. "He probably has the stomach flu," she said. "Here, Finn, you get him a glass of water and some applesauce. I'm going to go take his temperature."
Finn nodded, his cheek bulging with cereal as his mother went upstairs. He slurped the milk out of his bowl before dumping it in the sink, then dug through the fridge until he found the half-full glass jar of organic applesauce towards the back. Humming to himself, he dumped a good-sized portion into a glass bowl, stuck a spoon in the side, and poured a glass of water before heading up the stairs.
He peeked into Kurt's room to find his stepbrother sitting up in bed with a thermometer in his mouth. Carole busied herself with folding the clothes Kurt had discarded across the floor. "Brought the stuff," he said cheerfully, holding up the bowl in one hand and the glass in the other.
"Put it on his nightstand, sweetie," Carole said, carefully draping Kurt's button-up shirt over the back of his chair. The thermometer beeped and Carole tugged it from his slack lips. "You're running a fever, blue eyes."
Kurt groaned and slid under the covers, pulling them over his head. "But…glee…" he started to protest, his voice muffled through his comforter.
"I'll ask Mr. Schue to postpone the solo tryouts," Finn suggested helpfully. "And I know you won't have any problems picking up the choreography."
Carole tugged the blankets back from Kurt's face and smoothed them around him. "Besides, sweetheart, it's Friday," she said. "A weekend in bed, and you'll be good as new for school on Monday." She leaned over and kissed his forehead lightly. "Finn brought you some applesauce. I want to you at least try to eat some of it, all right?"
"That's probably a bad idea," he said, closing his eyes.
"You need to put something in your system or you'll get too dehydrated," Carole warned. "Eat your applesauce, drink your water, get some sleep. Call me if you start feeling worse."
"What about my dad?" Kurt ventured.
"He left early this morning for Cincinnati, remember?" Carole said. "He'll be home tonight, though." She smoothed her hand along Kurt's cheek. "Finn, honey, you need to get to school or you'll be late."
"Oh, yeah," Finn said. "Can I drive the Navigator?" Kurt shrugged. He patted Kurt's knee. "Thanks! Get better, dude." Kurt offered a noncommittal groan into his pillow as a response.
Honestly, Finn didn't think Kurt was missing all that much by not going to school. In fact, when he was sitting in his geometry class, he almost thought he might prefer having the stomach flu. He was struggling to stay awake in English class (because dude, who thought Moby Dick was actually a classic?) when his phone buzzed in his pocket, signaling a text labeled "from: Kurt's dude."
(No one had ever explained how to spell "Blaine.")
Do you know where K is? He's not answering his phone. Did the battery die?
Finn scratched the back of his neck before hiding his phone under his desk to tap out a reply.
Home sick w/ stomch flu probly sleepin
Blaine's reply was almost instantaneous.
Is he all right?
Finn pretended to copy down some notes from the whiteboard before sneaking another reply text.
Ok. Im gonna check on him lunch.
He had barely hidden his phone back in his pocket before it buzzed again.
Would it be all right if I met you then? I want to see him.
Finn quickly stowed his phone inside his desk, folded his hands, and smiled absently at his geometry teacher. Mr. Stockman fixed him with a fierce glare before going back to the board.
Sure but gotta stp txtin gona get in trble
At lunchtime he stowed most of his belongings in his locker, loaded up his backpack with various letters from friends (history notes from Mike, a doodle from Brittany, a sheaf of annotated sheet music for today's rehearsal from Rachel), and picked up the keys to Kurt's beloved car.
He parked in the driveway to find Blaine's red Jeep already there and Blaine himself standing at the front door, hands in the pockets of his Dalton blazer. "I thought about ringing the doorbell, but I didn't want to wake him if he was sleeping," Blaine said.
"No, dude, it's cool," Finn said, sticking his key in the lock and turning it. Blaine slipped past him into the foyer, dropping his school bag on the floor, and taking the stairs two at a time. Finn nudged the door shut with his hip and followed him, his long legs keeping up easily.
Blaine tapped Kurt's bedroom door open. Finn peeked over the top of his head. Kurt was asleep, the blankets pulled up so high that only the top of his ruffled brown head showed. His water and applesauce were still untouched on his nightstand.
Blaine approached Kurt carefully and sat down beside him on the bed. "Kurt," he whispered. He tugged the blankets back a little and touched his lips to Kurt's temple. Kurt opened his eyes slowly, his lashes barely parted. "Hi. How are you feeling?"
Kurt blinked up at him, his eyes heavy. "Cold," he croaked.
Blaine touched the back of his hand to Kurt's forehead. "You're burning up," he said, pulling the blankets away from him. His tee shirt was soaked with sweat. "Do you want me to call your dad? Or Carole?"
Kurt shook his head sluggishly. "'m cold," he repeated, trying to take his blankets back from Blaine.
Blaine shrugged out of his blazer and draped it over the foot of Kurt's bed. "Finn, can you get a washcloth with cold water on it?" he asked.
Finn blinked. "Uh, yeah, sure, I guess," he said. He dumped his backpack on the floor, loped off to Kurt's tiny bathroom, and picked up of one of his washcloths, then ran it under the tap. "Will this work?"
Blaine finished rolling up the sleeves of his uniform shirt and took the washcloth gingerly from Finn's hand. "Yeah, if he's trying to drown me," Kurt murmured as the washcloth dripped over the floor.
"Hush," Blaine said. "The sarcasm can wait till your fever's down." He wrung out the washcloth over the trashcan and folded it carefully, then touched it gently against Kurt's cheek. Kurt closed his eyes. "See? Better."
Finn draped himself over the chair at Kurt's desk. "I got a backpack full of notes for you," he offered helpfully. "Everybody's pretty bummed that you're sick."
"Mm-hm, I'm pretty bummed too," Kurt mumbled.
Blaine draped the damp washcloth over Kurt's forehead. "What did I tell you about the sarcasm?" he said. "Now hush. Have you eaten anything?"
"I don't want to," Kurt said, burrowing deeper under the covers. "I don't want to eat, I want to sleep."
"Dude, you've been throwing up, you've got to eat something," Finn said.
"Come on, sit up," Blaine said, tugging lightly at Kurt's shoulders. Kurt dragged himself into a sitting position, his shoulders slumped. Blaine placed the bowl of applesauce in his hands. "Take a bite. A little one."
Kurt lifted the spoon, eyeing the drop of applesauce warily, and stuck it carefully in his mouth. "So why are you two here?" he asked.
"Mom told me to come check on you at lunch," Finn reported, watching Kurt cautiously spoon applesauce into his mouth.
"And I was just…a little worried," Blaine said.
Kurt rolled his eyes. "I'm okay," he said. "I've been worse."
"But you're all by yourself," Blaine countered.
Kurt shrugged. "That's usually how it happens," he said. He glanced down. "Please don't make me eat any more."
"Sure, sure," Blaine said quickly, taking the bowl out of his hands and setting it on the nightstand. "Let's see if you can keep that down, okay?"
Kurt leaned back against the pillows, crossing his arms limply across his chest. "If I do, will you both go back to school?" he said.
"I guess," Finn said.
Blaine lifted an eyebrow. "I'll think about it," he said.
Kurt pulled his blankets up to his shoulders. "I'll be fine, I just want to sleep," he said irritably. "Just go back to school and leave me alone, okay?"
Finn saw the hurt flash briefly in Blaine's eyes. But all he did was squeeze Kurt's arm lightly. "Just get some rest, okay?" he said.
Finn frowned as Blaine got up from the edge of the bed and picked up his blazer. That wasn't like Kurt. Kurt was impatient and irritable sometimes, but he never spoke to Blaine like that. Something had to be wrong with him.
Suddenly Kurt hunched over, one arm around his stomach. "Uh…" he said. He glanced up, his hair falling over his forehead. "Blaine? I don't…"
Finn blinked, trying to figure out what it was that Kurt was trying to say. Blaine, however, didn't seem to have a problem. He wrapped an arm around Kurt's lower back and hefted up the trash can just in time for Kurt to latch onto it and throw up.
Finn took a step back. "It's okay, you're fine," Blaine soothed, rubbing Kurt's lower back with the heel of his palm. "You're okay."
Kurt leaned back, shaking. "I think I'm sick," he said in a small voice.
Blaine set the trash can on the floor. "Yeah, no kidding," he said fondly, tucking a strand of hair behind Kurt's ear. He leaned in and kissed his forehead. "I'll get you some mouthwash. And do you want a clean shirt? You've sweated through this one."
Kurt closed his eyes and nodded. "Top left drawer," he said. "Shouldn't you two go back to school?"
Finn hastily opened the indicated drawer and pulled out the first plain white tee he saw. "Here," he said, tossing it to Blaine. "And no, dude, it's cool."
"That's because you're at McKinley. You can come and go as you please and no one notices," Kurt said, rubbing the side of his nose. He glanced over at Blaine. "They're going to notice at Dalton."
"Yes, well, I had Francey call me out. Raise your arms," Blaine said.
Kurt glared at him. "You did what?" he said.
"Arms. Up." Kurt rolled his eyes and obeyed. Blaine tugged his sweat-soaked tee shirt over his head. "I told Francey I needed a day off from school. I had her call in and pretend to be my mom. Apparently she forgot that I had a very important college interview this afternoon."
Kurt crossed his arms, shivering as goosebumps popped on his skin. "You're incorrigible," he mumbled.
"And you're sick," Blaine said. He pulled the tee shirt over Kurt's head and smoothed his hair down. "There. I'll go get you some mouthwash."
"Finn, make him go back to school," Kurt whined. Blaine rolled his eyes and mouthed a no at Finn as he walked past him towards the bathroom.
Finn grinned. "Somebody ought to stay with you. Might as well be him," he said. He picked up his backpack and pulled out the letters their friends sent, setting them on the edge of the bed. "See you later, bro. Feel better."
"I'll try," Kurt sighed. Finn squeezed his shoulder and headed down the hall.
He was between fifth and sixth period when he finally remembered to call his mother. Well, actually, he remembered because his mother called him.
"Hey, Mom," he said, tucking his phone between his cheek and his shoulder. "How's work going?"
"Work's fine, honey," she said. "Did you remember to check on Kurt?"
"Oh, yeah, I stopped by home during lunch," he said. "Sorry, I forgot to call you."
"Well, how was he?" Carole asked.
"Okay, I guess," Finn said, dodging a nerd with a rolling backpack. "I mean, he was still running a pretty bad fever and he threw up while I was there…but I guess he was okay."
Carole sighed. "Did he eat anything?" she asked. "Or at least have some water?"
"He had some applesauce, but he threw it right back up," Finn said. "Blaine's taking pretty good care of him, though."
"Oh, Blaine's there?"
He didn't miss the relieved note in his mother's voice. "Yeah, I told him Kurt was sick, so he drove right over," he said.
"Oh, good," Carole said. "I felt so terrible leaving him alone. I'm glad Blaine's there with him. And Burt called, he's on his way home from Cincinnati already." "That's awesome," Finn said. "Hey, I gotta go to class and stuff."
"Say no more, go on, study hard," Carole said. "Or at least don't fall asleep in class."
Finn half-laughed. "Uh…yeah. Bye, Mom," he said.
He managed to stay awake during sixth period, but he lost the battle in seventh. At least that meant he had enough energy for learning new choreography in glee rehearsal. Of course, the choreography lesson came after arguing with Rachel about waiting till Monday for the solo tryouts. He had to convince her that the solo wouldn't be worth it if it was just handed to her.
At the end of rehearsal he rounded up some more notes (science notes from Sam, a book for an oral report from Quinn, a nerdy kind of stick figure comic from Artie) and plenty of "tell him I say hi"s and "tell him to get better soon"s and headed out to the car.
He drove home and parked in the driveway behind Blaine's red jeep. "I'm home," he called as he swung the door open.
Burt stuck his head out of the kitchen. "Keep your voice down, your brother's sleeping," he said. He disappeared, and Finn followed him.
"Hey," he said. "Mom said you were coming home early, but…whoa, you're really early."
Burt shrugged. "Didn't need to be there long," he said. He opened a cabinet, glanced around, and closed it. "Where does your mom and Kurt keep everything?"
"I don't know, I'm not allowed in here," Finn said, leaning back against the kitchen counter. "How's Kurt?"
"Sleeping," Burt said. "Finally. He can't keep anything down and it's getting him kind of worked up."
"Is just the stomach flu?" Finn asked. "Do you think he has like…appendicitis or something?"
Burt shook his head. "No, he had that when he was little," he said. "It was right after his mom died."
Burt turned around to the refrigerator as Finn looked down at his shoes. There was a picture of eight-year-old Kurt hanging over the mantel in the living room, all big blue eyes and neatly combed hair and shy smiles, and for a second his mind pictured that Kurt sick in bed instead of the Kurt he knew now, small and miserable and missing his mother. The thought made him feel a little uneasy.
"Carole'll be home soon, she'll handle dinner," Burt said. He closed the fridge. "God, I hope she can find something that Kurt'll eat."
Finn shifted his weight awkwardly. "I'm, uh…I'm gonna go upstairs and start my homework, I guess," he said. Burt nodded.
He headed up the stairs, taking them two at a time. The door to Kurt's room was open, and he paused in the hallway. Kurt was dead asleep, buried under his comforter with his head resting against Blaine's shoulder. A movie still played quietly on the television, but Blaine didn't seem to pay any attention to it. His cheek pressed against Kurt's forehead and his fingers toyed lightly with his hair.
Finn watched Blaine touch his lips to Kurt's temple, his eyes soft. For some reason a lump rose in his throat, and he quickly ducked back towards his room.
His attempts at homework quickly gave way to playing a few rounds of Halo 3 on Xbox live, and before long his mother was knocking on his door. "Finn? Honey, it's time for dinner. Shut the game down, okay?" she said.
"Oh, yeah, sure," he said, setting his headset aside. "Is Kurt eating with us?"
"No, I'm letting him sleep. He can eat later," Carole said. "Come on, let's go."
He followed her to the kitchen to find Burt and Blaine already sitting at the table and eating. Blaine looked decidedly rumpled- his dark curls in disarray and his white uniform shirt wrinkled with the sleeves rolled up. "Hey," Finn said, raising a hand in greeting.
"Sit down, bud," Burt said.
Finn obeyed, taking the full bowl his mother handed to him. "Blaine, honey, are you heading back to Dalton tonight?" Carole asked.
Blaine looked up. "I was sort of hoping I could stay the night here, if that's all right," he asked.
Burt shook his head. "I'm glad you spent the day with him. He needed that, and I appreciate it," he said. "But he just needs to sleep tonight, and you're kind of distracting." Blaine ducked his head. "But tell you what, you're more than welcome to come back tomorrow. Okay?"
"Yes, of course," Blaine said. He took a deep breath, his shoulders rising and falling, and looked up at Carole with a smile. "This is fantastic, Carole."
"Thank you, honey," she said, leaning over to refill Burt's water glass. "Have as much you want."
Heavy footsteps echoed on the stairs and they all swiveled to look. Kurt slumped into the kitchen. "Where'd everybody go?" he croaked.
Finn lowered his spoon and stared. Kurt looked terrible. His hair stuck up in the back but was plastered to his forehead, and his cheeks were flushed red, but his lips were pale and sort of greenish. He hunched as he walked, bare feet sliding on the floor and his arms wrapped around his stomach as he shivered.
Blaine jumped up from the table first. "Kurt, what are you doing?" he said. He took Kurt by the hands and squeezed them tightly. "You need to rest. You're sick."
"I couldn't find anybody," Kurt said. "And 'm not sick."
"Kurt, kiddo, get your butt back in bed," Burt said, leveling his gaze. "We'll bring you up some dinner, okay?"
"Not hungry," Kurt said, hiding his face in the crook of Blaine's neck, too sick to have any shame.
"I can get him back to bed," Blaine offered, sliding an arm around Kurt's waist.
Burt opened his mouth, clearly to protest, but Carole interrupted. "I think that's a good idea," she said. "I'll bring up a plate for him. Burt, finish your dinner. Finn, I want you to clean the kitchen when you're done, all right?"
Finn nodded, his mouth full. Blaine kept his arm tight around Kurt's waist as he guided him out of the kitchen.
The rest of the night passed pretty quietly. Finn managed to wash the dishes without breaking anything, pausing long enough to offer a soap-covered wave to Blaine as he left. Blaine sort of smiled back, his lips tense. His mother stayed up for a while tidying up the living room before finally dropping a good night kiss on the top of his head and admonishing him not to stay up too late.
Of course, he stayed up way too late texting Quinn and watching cartoons on Adult Swim, and finally switched it off sometime around one o'clock. He tiptoed up the stairs and down the hall, carefully easing past Kurt's slightly open bedroom door.
And of course, he woke up at almost three o'clock having to pee like a racehorse. He crept back towards the bathroom, doing his best not to wake anyone up. It wasn't until he was heading to his room that he heard it.
He paused outside Kurt's door, frowning. Something was making a strange noise, and it sounded kind of…
He hurried down to his parents' bedroom and tapped the door open. "Mom," he whispered loudly. "Hey, Mom."
Burt sat up, rubbing his face groggily. "What's wrong, Finn?" he asked gruffly.
"I think Kurt's getting sick again," he whispered loudly.
"Oh, god," Burt said, climbing out of bed and brushing past him. Finn followed close on his heels as he walked down to Kurt's room, opened the door, and turned on the nightstand lamp.
Kurt hunched over the side of the bed, hands over his mouth, his whole body shaking. "Okay, bud, it's okay," Burt said, sitting down beside him. "Finn, grab me that trash can."
Finn obeyed hastily. "Dad, I don't want to be sick," Kurt said in a strangled voice.
"I know, kiddo," Burt said gently. "I know. I don't want you to be sick either." Kurt made another hacking noise in the back of his throat; Burt patted his back gently. "I know you hate it, but you gotta get it over with."
Finn backed up a little. Burt sat beside his son, rubbing the heel of his palm against the small of his back. Kurt kept his head over the trash can and gritted his teeth, but before long he gave in and threw up. Burt kept his hand against Kurt's back.
The only problem was that apparently Kurt couldn't stop. He clutched the sides of the trash can and threw up until he was gagging and dry heaving, his breathing coming in short stuttering gasps. "I can't breathe," he panted. "Dad, I can't breathe."
"You're okay," Burt said. "You're okay. Just calm down. Take a deep breath."
Kurt closed his eyes and tried to inhale, but it ended in a painful cough. Finn dug his fingers into the doorframe, unable to move. "Should…should we take him to the emergency room or something?" he ventured uncertainly.
His mother slipped past him with a glass in her hand. "Kurt, honey, try drinking this," she said, sitting down beside him. Kurt tried to grip onto the glass but his fingers slipped a little; she wrapped her hand over his and helped him take a sip.
He spat the first mouthful of water right back up, but the second stayed down. "There you go, scooter," Burt soothed, running his hand over Kurt's hair. Kurt sipped cautiously at the glass of water. "There you go. You're okay, bud."
"Drink as much as you can," Carole said. She squeezed his knee. "You're going to be fine, sweetheart."
Kurt pressed the half-empty cup back in her hands and pulled the blankets up to his shoulders, still shaking like a leaf from chills and exhaustion. Burt wrapped his arms around him and pulled him in tight; Kurt dropped his head against the broad plane of his chest.
"Finn, honey, go downstairs and get some Gatorade," Carole said quietly, reaching out to touch Kurt's shoulder. Finn hastened to obey, nearly tripping over his own feet.
He returned with the glass of bright lemon-lime liquid cupped in both hands and tiptoed in to find his mother opening up a bottle of medicine. "Ugh, that stuff's nasty," he said.
"But it'll make him feel better," Carole countered. She slowly dripped the pink viscous liquid onto a spoon. "Open your mouth, honey."
"The water was bad enough," Kurt murmured, his cheek still pressed against his father's shoulder.
"It'll help your stomach calm down," Carole said. She nudged the tip of the spoon against Kurt's lips until he reluctantly opened his mouth. Burt rubbed Kurt's shoulder. "Good job, honey." She set the bottle and spoon down on the nightstand. "Now go ahead and drink your Gatorade, you're dehydrated."
"I'm okay," Kurt mumbled, pressing his lips together in a thin white line. His shoulders shook and he closed his eyes tightly. "I'm f-fine."
Burt curled his hand protectively around the back of Kurt's neck and pulled him in closer. "Just drink your Gatorade and get some sleep, kiddo," he said. He leaned Kurt against him and kissed him lightly on the forehead. "You're gonna be okay."
Kurt suddenly choked, pulling away from Burt's grip and leaning heavily over the side of the bed. "Whoa, what's-" Finn started to say, but he stumbled back as his stepbrother suddenly threw up again. "Oh."
Carole rubbed Kurt's back as he coughed and helped him lean back against the pillows when the fit ended. "That's it, we're taking him to the emergency room," Burt said sharply.
"But I'm-" Kurt started to protest hoarsely.
"You can't keep anything down, not even the medicine, and you're dehydrated," Carole said, smoothing Kurt's hair back from his hot forehead. "We're worried, sweetheart."
"Finn, get your shoes. You're coming with us," Burt said. "Carole-"
"I'll hold down the fort here," she said. "Finn, stop staring and hurry. Help your dad."
Finn hastily retreated to his room, scrambling into yesterday's dirty jeans and jamming his feet into a pair of sneakers without socks. He came back to Kurt's room with only one shoe tied. "I'm ready," he panted.
Burt wrapped a blanket snugly around Kurt and scooped him out of the bed. Kurt didn't protest. "Get the keys and unlock the truck," he ordered. "You're gonna sit in the back with Kurt and keep an eye on him."
"Yeah, got it," Finn said, running down the stairs two at a time. He snatched the keys out of the glass bowl on the console and ran outside, instantly regretting his decision to forget about a jacket or a hoodie or something. The key jammed into the lock and he unlocked the truck, yanking the doors open.
Burt walked out of the house with his arms tight around Kurt, who staggered at his father's side. Kurt could barely walk; he stumbled over the curbs and Burt had to help him up into the backseat. "Finn, you sit with him," he ordered.
Finn obeyed without a word, buckling into the backseat and helping Kurt with his seatbelt. Kurt sagged against the restraints, the blanket dropping from his shoulders. Finn tucked him back in carefully.
The drive to the emergency room was silent. The heat blared, blasting Finn's face and drying out his mouth, but Kurt still shivered from the depths of his blanket. Finn drummed his fingers on his knees.
Burt pulled up to the parking lot, as close to the entrance as he could. "All right, Finn, you go on ahead and get him signed in," he said. "I'll be right there with Kurt."
Finn scrambled out of the car, jogging through the cold unease of the past-midnight fog into the warm clinic. The nurse at the desk glanced up as he stumbled inside. "Uh, yeah, hi, my brother's really sick," he blurted out. "My dad's bringing him in in a second."
The nurse slid the sign-in sheet towards him. "Fill this out, hon, and we'll see him when he comes in," she said.
Finn hastily scribbled the information across the lines in terrible handwriting and had just handed it back to the nurse when Burt walked in, his arm tight around Kurt's shoulders. The blanket was still draped around him and the laces of his shoes weren't tied.
"Come on, kiddo," Burt coaxed, pulling Kurt into the nearest chair. Kurt sagged into it in relief, chin tipping forward to rest against his chest. "Finn, you got him signed in?"
"Yeah, she said they'd see him in a minute," Finn said, sliding his hands in his pockets and loitering anxiously by the waiting room chairs.
"Wanna go home," Kurt mumbled into his chest.
Burt rubbed the back of his neck. "I know, bud," he said. "We'll get you fixed up and get you back home to your own bed, all right? Just hold tight."
Finn shifted his weight from one leg to the other, glancing from Kurt to his stepfather to the nurse at the desk to the double doors that would eventually lead to some kind of medical help. It seemed like ages before a nurse in lavender scrubs leaned out of the triage door.
"Kurt Hummel?" she called.
Burt stood up. "Okay, kiddo, you've got to get up," he said, tucking his hands under Kurt's arms and pulling him to his feet. Kurt wavered on his feet for a brief moment before falling forward, his breath wheezing out of his body. Without thinking, Finn reached out a hand uselessly to try to keep him from falling.
Kurt let out a tiny pained gasp. Burt supported him easily, bringing him back up to balance on his own feet. "You all right? Want me to carry you?" he asked. Kurt closed his eyes and shook his head. Burt wrapped an arm around his waist. "Finn, come around to his other side."
Finn obeyed, taking Kurt by the arm. His stepbrother's skin felt hot and dry under his hand. He helped Kurt walk shakily towards the triage room, and Burt pulled him onto the examination table.
"All right, so what's going on tonight?" the nurse asked pleasantly.
"He came down with the stomach flu yesterday morning," Burt said, tugging the blanket back over Kurt's shaking shoulders. "He stayed home from school, but he's been throwing up nonstop since then."
The nurse worked over Kurt while Burt explained, picking up a thermometer, clicking a clean earpiece onto it. "How much has he had to eat or drink in the past twenty-four hours?" she asked.
Burt glanced up at Finn. "Uh…Mom gave him some water and applesauce this morning…but he threw it up…" Finn stammered. "I think he had some soup or something for dinner."
The nurse tugged Kurt's arm free from the confines of the blanket and snapped a blood pressure cuff around his bicep; he closed his eyes and let out a small whine as it constricted around his arm. "He woke up about an hour ago puking," Burt said. "His mom gave him some Gatorade and some medicine for the nausea, but it came right back up."
The nurse unfastened the cuff from Kurt's arm and wrote something down. "When was the last time he vomited?" she asked.
"About ten minutes ago in the parking lot," Burt said wryly.
The nurse checked Kurt's eyes, nose, and mouth carefully, pulling lightly at the thin skin under his eyes with the pad of her thumb. "He's severely dehydrated," she said. "See how white the skin is?" She picked up the chart. "He's running a fever of 102.9, and his blood pressure is 143 over 90."
"Is…is that bad?" Finn ventured.
"He's very sick," the nurse said kindly. "I'm going to get him started on a saline drip right away. We'll probably get him a second bag with some anti-nausea medicine, but we need to get some fluids in his system as soon as possible."
Kurt tilted his head back and blinked at the bright industrial lights on the ceiling as the nurse wrapped an elastic band around his arm. "Dad, I don't want one," he said wearily. "Please. I want to go home."
"We'll go home soon," Finn offered. "Once you're not dehydrated anymore."
The nurse took Kurt's white arm in her hands and swabbed the soft skin of his inner arm with an alcohol pad. "Mom hated IVs," he mumbled.
"I know," Burt said. "I remember."
The nurse threw the alcohol pad into the marked bin. "All right, Kurt, I want you to make a fist for me," she said. Kurt closed his eyes and looked away. "I need you to make a nice strong fist."
Burt tapped Kurt's shoulder lightly with his fingertip. "Kurt, stop being stubborn," he scolded gently. "Come on, kiddo."
Kurt reluctantly clenched his slim fingers into a weak fist. "There we go. Good job, honey," the nurse said. "Okay, you're going to feel a big stick."
Kurt's chest heaved. "Dad, I want to go home," he begged. "I don't want to be here."
Burt leaned forward, tilting Kurt's chin towards him. "Don't look at the nurse, look at me," he said. He smoothed his son's hair away from his damp forehead. "You're doing great. We'll be home soon."
Finn gawked at the nurse prodding at Kurt's bare arm, needle in hand. He shivered a little without thinking. Kurt squirmed away from the nurse and his father both, trying to pry his arm away. "I want to go home," he said through his teeth. "I want to go home, and sleep, and…and I want Blaine. I want Blaine."
"Kiddo, take a deep breath," Burt encouraged. "You can talk to Blaine tomorrow. Right now we've got to get you better."
Kurt started suddenly, half-raising off the flat bed with a strangled yelp. "Honey, you have to lie still," the nurse said, rubbing at Kurt's arm with another alcohol patch. "You're so dehydrated that your veins are collapsing."
Kurt choked. "I can't," he said desperately. "I can't. Dad. Please. Dad?"
Burt put a hand on Kurt's stomach. "You're okay, scooter," he soothed. "I'm right here. Lie still."
Kurt closed his eyes tightly and pressed his lips together in a thin line, but he still tried to pull his arm out of the nurse's firm, gentle grip. "Finn, help hold him down," Burt said in a low voice.
Finn hesitantly reached out and placed a tentative hand on Kurt's shoulder. He squeezed lightly in an effort to reassure both his brother and himself.
He saw the nurse try to insert the needle again, and again it pricked the taut skin without reaching the vein. Kurt burst into tears, pressing his forehead against Burt's arm. "Kiddo, you're okay," Burt soothed. "C'mon, don't do this. It's almost done. It's almost over." Kurt let out a strangled sob. "Don't cry, Kurt. I'm right here. Just lie still, you'll be okay."
Finn rubbed helplessly at Kurt's shoulder. His stepbrother huddled limply against Burt's arm, a faint panicked whimper pressing against his lips. The nurse took the needle against and set it to his arm, and this time it slipped easily into the vein. "There we go," she said. "Good job, Kurt. All done."
Kurt sagged into the bed, struggling valiantly to swallow his tears as the nurse quickly finished assembling the pieces to the IV. Burt brushed his hair back, ruffling it up irreparably, and touched his lips to Kurt's forehead. "That's my boy," he said.
Finn didn't take his hand away from Kurt's shoulder as the nurse set up the IV and hung the bag of saline above the bed. "All right, there we are," the nurse said cheerfully. "You're all set. We'll get this started, and we'll have a doctor come take a look at you in a little bit, all right?"
"Thanks," Burt said gruffly, his big hand still on Kurt's hair. The nurse smiled, picked up Kurt's paperwork, and quietly left the triage room.
Kurt took a deep shuddering breath. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, his eyes still closed. "I didn't…I didn't mean to freak out."
"Scooter, nobody's gonna judge you," Burt said. He smiled, his expression more gentle than any other time Finn had ever seen it. "You just work on feeling better, all right?" Kurt nodded. Finn squeezed his shoulder and was rewarded by the tiniest lift of Kurt's white lips.
"I'm going to call Carole, let her know what's going on," Burt said, standing up slowly. "Finn, you stay with Kurt. I'll be right back."
"Uh…okay," Finn said as Burt left the triage room. Kurt screwed up his face, his IV-attached arm held out gingerly at his side. "Are you okay? Are you gonna puke?"
"I am not okay, and I'm probably going to puke again," Kurt snapped weakly. Finn hesitated, then gently massaged Kurt's shoulder. He could see his brother visibly relax.
Suddenly an idea struck him and he leaned forward. "Would you feel better if you talked to Blaine?" he asked. Kurt hesitated, then nodded briefly. Finn grinned, pulled out his phone, and scrolled around until he stumbled across Blaine's name.
By the time he reached the third ring, he was getting nervous- the last thing he wanted was for his miserable, highstrung brother to be so close to talking to his boyfriend and have it snatched away from him. But thankfully Blaine picked up at the last possible second with a thick, sleepy "hello?"
"Hey, Blaine, it's, uh, it's Finn," Finn said. "Uh…hi."
"Hi," Blaine said, sleepy and wary. "Why are you calling me at three in the morning?" Finn heard a sudden rustle, like Blaine had bolted upright in bed and pushed all his covers aside. "Is something wrong? Is Kurt okay?"
"Kurt's, uh, he's fine," Finn said, glancing down at his pale stepbrother. "We're in the emergency room…"
"Oh my god," Blaine said. "Oh my god. Do I need to come down there? Does he need me? Oh god…"
"He's okay," Finn said hurriedly. "He couldn't stop puking so Dad brought him in. They put him on an IV and stuff. I think they're gonna do another one, though, so…"
"Oh my god," Blaine said again. "You're sure he's going to be okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, he's just dehydrated and stuff," Finn reassured him. He glanced at Kurt, then glanced away, cupping his hand around the mouthpiece of the phone. "But I think he really kind of wanted…you. You know?"
"I can still hear you, Finn," Kurt said tiredly.
"Can I talk to him?" Blaine asked.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll put you on speaker," Finn said. He pushed the button and held the phone up. "Okay, I think it's working."
The tight worry lines around Kurt's eyes and mouth melted. "Hi," he said.
"Hi, sweetheart. How are you feeling?"
"Tired. Shaky. Eternally grateful that no one was in the parking lot to see me blow chunks."
Blaine laughed softly. "So they've got you an IV?" he said. "How did that go?"
"I still hate needles," Kurt said fervently.
"No surprise there," Blaine said. "Is it helping? Are you feeling any better?"
Kurt sighed. "A little, I guess," he said. "I'm mostly just cold. And I'm probably going to throw up again."
Finn tucked the thick fleece blanket back around Kurt's shoulders. "But you're there with your dad and your brother, right? So you're not all alone?" Blaine said.
"Mm-hm, I think I'm okay," Kurt said. "I just….I want to go home." He rubbed at his eyes. "I really want to go home,"
"I know, babe," Blaine said, his voice soft and gentle. "I know. You're going to be okay. And I'll come see you first thing tomorrow. I promise."
Kurt smiled faintly, snuggling under the blanket. "You have to keep that promise," he challenged.
"I will. I won't forget," Blaine said. "God, I wish you wouldn't scare me like this. You're not allowed to get sick anymore. Ever. You're done."
"I'll do my best," Kurt offered.
The door to the triage room clicked open and Burt walked in. "Talked to Carole," he said. He frowned at the phone in Finn's hand. "Who're you talking to?" "Hi, Mr. Hummel," Blaine said, his voice crackling over the speakerphone. "Finn called me."
Burt sat down beside Kurt again, closing his big rough hand over his son's. "Yeah, it's a little rough right now, but he's a trooper," he said. "Listen, I ran into the doctor in the hall and he's about to come into check Kurt out, so you two'll have to chat later."
Kurt tugged on Burt's sleeve. "Dad, he promised to come over tomorrow," he said
"Then we'll see you tomorrow," Burt said.
"Okay," Blaine said. He cleared his throat. "I love you, Kurt."
If Blaine was self-conscious about saying the 'L' word publicly on speakerphone, Kurt either didn't notice or was too tired to feel any shame. "I love you too," he said, leaning towards the phone.
"Night, Blaine," Burt said, and Finn obediently hung up the phone. Burt glanced up at the nearly emptied saline bag, then smoothed the blanket over Kurt's shoulders. "How're you feeling, bud?"
"Tired," Kurt said. "I want to go home."
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Burt said.
The door opened and the doctor walked in, a pleasant-faced man in his late fifties. "Hi, there," he said. "I'm Dr. Warren." Finn took a step back as the doctor examined Kurt, checking his eyes and mouth and temperature while he asked Burt questions. He fidgeted anxiously, fiddling with the edges of his phone. Kurt winced, shutting his eyes tightly, but he didn't fight it like he'd fought the nurse with the IV.
"All right," the doctor said at long last, stepping back. "Your fever's down to 101.8, which is good, but you're still dehydrated." He pulled out Kurt's chart and wrote down several notes. "I'm going to set you up with another bag of saline, all right, Kurt? And I'm going to add an antiemetic, which will keep you from vomiting, as well as an anti-motion sickness drug. That's going to help with the nausea and vomiting both. You're going to get pretty sleepy, but that's good. You need as much rest as you can get." He smiled at Kurt, kind and grandfatherly. "Do you have any questions?"
Kurt bit his lip. "I don't…I don't have to get another needle, do I?" he quavered.
"No, not at all," the doctor reassured him. He patted Kurt's knee. "The nurse will be right in with the drip."
Burt smoothed a lock of hair away from Kurt's forehead. "What are you thinking, kiddo?" he asked.
"I think I'm tired," Kurt said. He crossed his free arm across his stomach. "Can't we be done yet?"
"One more drip," Burt said. "One more, and then we can go home and you can sleep in your own bed."
The nurse walked back into the triage room with another IV bag in her hand. "Let's get this set up," she said cheerfully. Finn watched as she efficiently switched out the drained-dry first bag for the new one, attached it to the catheter taped to Kurt's arm, and swiftly injected two different syringes into the tubing. The fluid dripped languidly down the line, and within minutes Kurt was drooping against the pillows, eyes blinking heavily.
Burt laughed. "Gettin' tired, scooter?" he asked.
"Uh, yeah…it just hit me," Kurt mumbled. "Can I…can I go to sleep?"
"Sure, kiddo," Burt said, taking Kurt's hand in his. "Go to sleep. Finn and I will keep an eye on everything."
Once he had permission, Kurt went out like a light. He slumped in his bed, mouth slightly agape and his breathing steady. Finn shifted uncomfortably in the plastic chair on the sidelines, eyes trained on the slow drip of the IV, waiting for it to empty out so they could get out of there.
Only Burt seemed patient, rubbing his thumb slowly over the back of Kurt's hand, watching his child's face for any signs of distress. But Kurt seemed utterly peaceful, his whole body lax in sleep.
It was nearly four o'clock when the nurse came back to check on them. "Oh, good, the whole bag's empty," she said, pleased. "Let's see how he's doing."
"Can we take him home if his vitals are good?" Burt asked.
"You sure can, and it looks like he's responding well," the nurse said. "His fever's down another degree, the color's back in his face, and he's hydrated." She patted Burt's shoulder. "Let me check with the doctor and get his discharge paperwork ready."
Burt sighed in relief. "Thank God," he said.
"Should we wake him up or something?" Finn asked.
Burt shook his head. "I can carry him," he said. "I don't mind. Might as well let the kid sleep."
Finn blinked the bleariness out of his vision as the doctor chatted with Burt about recovery at home- fluids and rest, mostly. The nurse worked out the paperwork and removed the IV tubing from Kurt's arm, carefully taping a bandage over the mark. Burt draped Kurt's arms around his neck, then slid his arm under his knees and scooped him up. "All right, Finn, let's get him home," he said, adjusting Kurt against his chest.
Finn followed them outside, darting in front to open the door to the cab. Burt lifted Kurt into the car, pulling the seatbelt across his chest and tucking the blanket around him. Kurt mumbled something, soft and insistent, his head dipping forward.
Burt's eyes softened. "No, buddy, Mom's not here," he whispered, so low that Finn could barely hear him. "Mom can't come."
Finn ducked his head, pretending he hadn't heard, and climbed into the front seat of the cab, clasping his hands together and staring at the glove compartment. Burt got into the driver's seat and started the truck. "Give your mom a call, all right?" Burt said gruffly.
Finn hastily pulled out his phone and dialed the house, his eyes still trained on the darkened road ahead. His mother answered on the first ring. "Hi, Mom, it's Finn," he said. "We're going home."
"How's Kurt doing?" Carole asked.
"Sleeping," Finn said. "The stuff the doctor gave him knocked him way out."
"Tell her they said to bring him back if he throws up twice in an hour, or if his fever spikes again," Burt instructed.
"But we have to bring him back if he throws up more or…"
"His fever goes up."
"Oh, yeah, or if his fever goes up," Finn said.
"I'm just glad he's doing better," Carole sighed. "Well, you and Dad get him home and I'll take it from there."
"Mmkay, Mom, see you soon," Finn said. He glanced surreptitiously in the rearview mirror to look at Kurt. His younger stepbrother slept quietly, slumping forward like a child in a car seat, his chin tipped to his chest. Finn's heart clenched.
They pulled up into the driveway, the streetlights still shining. Burt parked and cut the engine, but Finn got out of the car first and opened the back door. "I've got him," he offered. He undid Kurt's seatbelt and tugged him closer until his head rested against his shoulder, then picked him up.
Kurt felt warm and heavy in his arms, his whole body limp. He could still feel the fever radiating from his skin, and his breathing was thick and sluggish. Finn briefly touched his cheek to the top of his head.
Carole held the front door to the house open and ushered them inside. "Take him right up to his room," she said. She was dressed in jeans and an oversized sweater, like she'd popped out to run errands. "Don't wake him up."
"I won't, I won't," Finn said. He carried Kurt up the stairs, careful not to knock his long dangling legs into doorframes. Kurt's bedroom was spotlessly clean, with all signs of sickness erased. The bed was made with fresh sheets, with the covers turned back crisply, and a glass of water was placed next to the warm light of the bedside lamp. Finn gingerly set him down, supporting Kurt's neck as his head touched the pillow.
"Poor baby," Carole said, sitting down beside her stepson. She reached over to slide his untied shoes off his feet. "He does seem a little better, though. He's got color in his face again."
She set the shoes on the floor beside the bed and picked up a clean set of pajamas. "Did you know that Kurt's scared of needles?" Finn said.
"His dad told me," Carole said, tugging Kurt's sweat-drenched shirt off his arms and over his head. He shivered in his sleep, screwing up his face. "It's all right, honey, lie still, lie still." She guided his arms through the sleeves of his pajama top and buttoned it over his pale chest. "I guess the IV didn't go so well, did it?"
Finn shook his head. "He was freaking out," he said in a low voice. "I've never…I don't think I've ever seen him like that before."
Carole carefully pulled Kurt's striped flannel pajama pants down his legs. Finn stared fixedly at the row of photographs in matched frames hanging above Kurt's bed. "He's very proud," Carole said. "He's proud and stubborn and he doesn't trust people very well anymore. He doesn't know how to handle being so vulnerable."
Finn studied the photographs, his hands in his back pockets- Kurt and Blaine with their arms around each other after regionals, a family picture at the wedding, Kurt and him in their football gear, a much younger Kurt (faintly freckled with braces on his teeth) with his father, an even younger Kurt snuggled on his mother's lap. Finn tilted his head to the side. "I think he was asking for his mom," he said. "When we were getting into the car."
"Sometimes it doesn't matter how old you are…sometimes you just need your mom," Carole said softly. She picked up the blankets and Finn look down to see her tucking Kurt in snugly. She smiled, but her lips tugged down a little. "Poor baby."
Finn heard footsteps in the hall and turned around to see Burt in the doorway of Kurt's room. "How's he doing?" he asked.
"Hasn't woken up a bit," Carole said. "He's got clean pajamas, he's tucked into bed, and he's not dehydrated anymore. I call that a success." She continued to pat at the covers, smoothing them as if she could soothe Kurt's illness that way. "I ran out to Kroger and got him some more Gatorade and some more medicine. And a few things we might be able to get him to eat tomorrow."
"Thanks," Burt said, hugging his wife around her shoulders and dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "Go get some sleep, hon. You two, Finn."
Carole kissed Burt on the cheek. "Good night, both of you," she said. She squeezed Finn's arm. "Finn. Bed."
"Okay, okay," he surrendered. "Night, Mom. Night, Burt."
He headed to his own room and changed back into his pajamas, but even though he was exhausted and his bed was incredibly comfortable after sitting in the waiting room for so long, there was no way on earth he was going to sleep. For a while he turned on the TV as low as he could manage, but he stopped and muted it every so often to check for footsteps in the hall, or sounds from Kurt's room. He even snuck out to peek in on his brother, but thankfully Kurt was still fast asleep, his breathing deep and even. Thank goodness.
The sun was just beginning to come up when he heard the sound of a car pulling up to the curb outside the house. He muted the television and peered out the window to see Blaine's red jeep on the street. Finn frowned and waited, but no one got out of the car.
He leaned off the edge of the bed and dug his phone out of the back pocket of his discarded jeans, then tapped out a hasty text message. Within seconds of hitting send, he heard the clatter of the car door opening and closing.
Finn crept out of bed and ambled down the stairs. When he opened the front door, Blaine was waiting impatiently, bundled up in a scarf with a backpack slung over his shoulders. "Hi," he said. "Sorry. I could sleep. I was worried."
"Yeah, that's all of us." Finn said, ushering him inside. "Kurt's sleeping, though."
"I figured," Blaine said, unwinding his scarf. "God, I've been freaking out. Is he feeling better?"
"He got a little better after they did the first IV, but once they got the second one he just conked out and he's been asleep since," Finn said. "You wanna see him?"
Blaine visibly brightened. "Yes," he said. "I mean, would that be okay?"
"Yeah, dude, come on," Finn said, heading up the stairs. Blaine followed him closely. Finn pushed the bedroom door open.
Kurt curled up on his side, his back to them. He snored faintly, his whole body rising and falling with every breath. Blaine set the backpack on the floor and approached carefully. He sat down, trying not to jostle the bed, and gingerly reached over to pet at Kurt's hair.
Kurt roused instantly, rolling onto his back and blinking up in the pale half light. "Oh, god, I'm sorry," Blaine said. "I wasn't trying to wake you up."
Kurt blinked at him in confusion. "Blaine?" he rasped.
"Yes, baby, it's me," Blaine said, smoothing Kurt's hair back from his forehead. "Are you all right? Do you need anything?"
Kurt glanced around the room. "I was…in the hospital, and then…I'm home?" he murmured.
Finn cleared his throat. "You, uh…they gave you the second IV and you fell asleep," he said. "Your dad and I got you home."
Kurt plucked at the satin of his pajama top and frowned. "I'm so confused," he mumbled.
"Don't be confused, just go back to sleep," Blaine coaxed. He pulled Kurt into a tight hug, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "I'm just glad you're okay."
Kurt tugged on Blaine's shirt. "Are you gonna stay with me?" he begged sleepily.
"Yes, babe, I'll stay with you," Blaine smiled, rubbing Kurt's stomach gently. He kissed him on the forehead. "I'll stay. Scooch over."
A little bit of the tension in Finn's chest relaxed. "Night, you guys," he said. They didn't hear him, and he crept back into his own room to collapse on his bed.
Twenty minutes later he jolted awake with a hand on his shoulder. "Finn. Finn. Finn."
"Mmwhat?" he mumbled, lifting his face out of his pillow.
"Blaine's in Kurt's bed. You know about this?"
Finn sat up, wincing at the sudden disorientation, and blinked at his stepfather. "Blaine came about 6:30, I let him in," he said. "He went in to see Kurt, but Kurt woke up, and he was all like 'stay with me,' and Blaine was like 'okay,' and then I went to bed…"
Burt sighed. "I guess I'm just glad he's getting some sleep," he said. "They've got to have that door open, though. Don't let them forget about it."
"I won't, I won't," Finn yawned. Burt said something else, but Finn had already rolled over and gone back to sleep.
He eventually woke up to the sunlight blaring through his window. With a prolonged yawn he rolled out of bed and wandered over to the bathroom to take a shower. His stomach was rumbling, but he felt gross after spending most of the night sitting around in the hospital.
He pulled on jeans and a tee shirt and wandered across the hall to Kurt's room, ruffling his damp hair. "Hey," he said, surprised. "You're up."
Kurt was sitting up in bed, propped up on pillows, and he was sort of paying attention to a movie playing on his TV. "Yeah, hi," he said tiredly. His hair hung over his eyes, but his hands rested limply on his blanket-covered knees. "You look…clean."
"Yeah, that's me," Finn said, amused. "You feeling better?"
Kurt shrugged. "I don't know," he said. "I don't feel like myself. And my stomach won't settle down."
"Need me to get anything for you?" Finn offered.
Kurt shrugged again. "Blaine went to get me some more Gatorade," he said. "I'm okay."
Finn frowned. Kurt was starting to look a little green again, and there were beads of sweat lingering at his temples. "You're sure you're okay?" he said.
"Fine," Kurt mumbled.
Blaine walked in with a tumbler full of orange Gatorade in his hands. "Okay, drink this," he said, pressing it into Kurt's palms. "You need to get something in your system." He glanced up at Finn. "He threw up again."
Finn whipped around to glare at Kurt. "You what?" he said.
Kurt dropped his head. "I didn't mean to," he mumbled.
"Don't beat yourself up for it," Blaine said. "I've had the stomach flu. I know how miserable it is. You haven't done anything wrong."
"I hate being sick," Kurt mumbled.
"We know," Blaine said. "Drink your Gatorade. You'll feel better." Kurt obeyed meekly, cradling the glass in both hands. Blaine smoothed his hair back. "Stop trying to pretend you're fine. You know you're sick, we know you're sick…just let it go."
Kurt exhaled heavily and set the empty glass tumbler aside. "So can I complain that I haven't taken a shower in two days and I'm gross and all I want is to feel clean again?" he said, his shoulders slumping as he gazed up at Blaine.
"Yes," Blaine said. "You are definitely allowed to complain about that. How does a hot bath sound?"
"Amazing," Kurt sighed.
"And I'm gonna go," Finn said, picking up the empty glass. "Blaine, you're not gonna…you know, try anything?"
Blaine hid a snicker. "Scout's honor, Finn," he said. He pulled the blankets back from Kurt's bed. "Okay, babe, let's get you up."
Finn ambled down the stairs and into the kitchen. His stepfather was unpacking several takeout boxes from a plastic bag. "Hey, bud," Burt said. "How's Kurt?"
"He puked again, but Blaine's got it under control," Finn said, dropping Kurt's empty glass in the sink. "Ooh, is that lunch?"
"I stopped at a takeout place Kurt likes, since Carole's at work," Burt said. "Sandwiches and stuff for you, me, and Blaine, and soup for Kurt. Is he hungry right now?"
"I think he's taking a bath or something," Finn said. Burt's eyebrows lowered. "I'll, uh…I'll go see what Blaine's up to…"
He jogged back upstairs to find both the bedroom and bathroom doors open. Blaine was sitting cross-legged on the closed toilet lid, and Kurt was submerged in a tub full of bubbles. Kurt huffed. "Don't give me that look, Finn, I'm still in my boxers," he said.
"Uh…yeah," Finn said, still trying to avert his eyes. He ended up staring at Kurt's toothbrush propped up on the counter. "So…Dad's here with lunch. You guys hungry?"
"I think we should wait and see how Kurt feels," Blaine said.
Kurt closed his eyes. "And believe me, I don't want to come out for a while," he said.
"Well, uh…you guys have fun," Finn stammered. "I'll…tell Burt. Keep the doors open."
"We know," Blaine grinned.
Finn beat a hasty retreat to the kitchen. "They're good, not quite hungry yet," he informed Burt. "But…I am."
"That's why I got you two sandwiches," Burt said, handing the first one over. "I bet by the time you're done with the first one, they'll be ready to eat too."
"Thanks!" Finn said eagerly, grabbing the sandwich.
He ate over the kitchen sink, dropping fragments of shredded lettuce down the drain and supplementing with handfuls of chips. When he finished it off he swigged a can of Pepsi, wiped his hands off on his jeans, and grabbed Kurt and Blaine's food.
"Hey, guys, is Kurt still mostly naked?" he called from the top of the stairs.
"He's good, come on in."
Finn stuck his head in the room. Kurt was curled up in his bed again, dressed in warm pajama pants and a V-neck tee, and Blaine was rubbing a thick fluffy towel through his hair. "I brought lunch," he said. "You guys hungry?"
"I am," Blaine said. He kissed the top of Kurt's head. "How about you?"
"I think I'm actually hungry," Kurt confessed. He stretched out his long legs and flexed his socked feet. "I feel a lot better."
"Good," Blaine said fervently. He dropped the towel and frowned. "What's that?"
He pointed to a bruise on Kurt's inner arm. Kurt glanced down at it. "Oh, that's from the IV," he said.
Blaine gently held Kurt's wrist and raised his forearm. "Poor baby," he cooed, brushing his lips against the purplish splotch. "Here, sit back. I'll tuck you in."
Finn shifted his weight awkwardly as Blaine helped Kurt get situated under the covers again. Kurt patted the seat beside him. "Want to sit with us?" he asked. "We were going to watch Stardust."
"Don't let the title fool you, it's not a chick flick," Blaine said.
Finn shrugged. "Well, I do have a sandwich of my own to eat," he said, plunking down beside his brother.
Kurt only managed half of his soup and twenty minutes of the movie before falling asleep on Blaine's shoulder, but Blaine just tucked him in more snugly and Finn moved the dishes out of the way. He continued to doze on and off all afternoon, submitting to Blaine handing him cups of Gatorade and Burt checking his fever without a word of protest.
They were on their third movie (the new Sherlock Holmes, which Blaine kept having to explain to Finn) when Carole peeked in. "Hi, boys," she said. "I'm home from work. Is Kurt asleep?"
Kurt nuzzled his cheek against Blaine's shoulder and sat up. "M'wake," he said, his hair sticking up in tousled waves. "Hi."
"Hi, sweetheart," Carole said, touching the back of her hand to his flushed cheek. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," he said, leaning his hot cheek against her cool hand.
"He hasn't thrown up for a few hours," Blaine added.
Carole kissed Kurt's forehead. "Good," she said. "I thought I would make some chicken and rice for dinner. Not too heavy on your stomach. How does that sound?"
"Sounds fine," Kurt said.
Blaine glanced at the clock on the nightstand. "I actually have to head back," he said. "I told my parents I'd be home for dinner."
Kurt's face fell. "But Blaine-"
"You're fine," Blaine reassured, drawing the blankets back around Kurt's waist. "Eat some dinner, get some sleep. I'll come over tomorrow after church, okay?"
Kurt's lips drew down in a pout. "Blaine-" Blaine cut him off with a soft kiss on the cheek.
Carole hid a smile. "I'm going to start dinner," she said. "I'll see you later, Blaine. Thank you so much for taking care of Kurt."
"It's no problem," he said. "No problem at all."
Kurt crossed his arms across his chest as Carole left and Blaine started to pack up his things. "Don't sulk," Blaine teased.
"I'm not sulking," Kurt muttered.
Blaine laughed softly and ruffled Kurt's rumpled hair. "I know you're feeling better if you're able to pout," he said. He tilted Kurt's chin up; the disgruntled expression melted from Kurt's face. "Please get better, babe. I can't take much more of this."
"I'll do my best," Kurt said.
Blaine leaned in and kissed Kurt softly on the lips. Finn stared at the television and tried to ignore the liplock. "Bye," Blaine said. "Get some sleep."
"Okay," Kurt murmured, his chin still tilted up. "I love you."
Blaine smiled. "I love you too," he said.
He slung his backpack over his shoulder and headed down the stairs. Kurt flopped back against the pillows. "Ugh," he said. "I'm done with being sick."
"I know the feeling," Finn said.
The two brothers fell silent as they watched the movie, but Finn's mind began to wander. For some reason, Kurt's expression when he told Blaine he loved him kept dancing in his head- wide-eyed, vulnerable, happy.
And then there was the look in Blaine's eyes, as if Kurt was the most precious thing he'd ever seen. But that had happened a lot this weekend, Finn suddenly realized, even if he hadn't noticed it. Blaine driving at six o'clock in the morning just to see for himself that Kurt was all right, his mother cleaning Kurt's room in the middle of the night so he could come home to peacefulness, Burt cradling Kurt in his arms during their time in the emergency room.
That's what love is, some tiny wise portion of Finn's subconscious informed him.
Finn tucked an arm around Kurt's shoulders and tugged him into his side. His younger brother was still warm but smelled like fresh clean soap, and his hair was silky against his cheek. "What's gotten into you?" Kurt murmured sleepily.
"I don't know, I just…" Finn cleared his throat. "Do you need anything? Want me to do anything?"
Kurt shook his head slowly. "No, thanks," he said, burrowing into Finn's side. "But I love you too."
Finn started. "But I didn't-"
"But I know you do," Kurt yawned. He burrowed deeper under the covers, stretching out his legs and pressing his cheek against Finn's stomach. Finn hugged him tighter, trying to put words together and failing miserably.
But at least, he reasoned to himself, I'm pretty sure Kurt understands.
This was supposed to be a brief hurt/comfort sickfic. Nothing fancy,
ELEVEN THOUSAND WORDS LATER.
Oh, well. Hopefully there are other people out there who enjoy a good snuggly sickfic, laden heavily with hurt/comfort.
I stumbled across this prompt in the fluff meme about...three months ago. I just thought it was the sweetest. Originally, though, it was strictly Klaine. I made sure there was plenty of Klaine, but somehow Finn ended up introducing it, which meant that he became the narrator, and that meant Hudmels. And as you've probably figured out by now, I'm a sucker for Hudmels. MAJOR sucker for Hudmels. And so...Furt and Hudmels happened. Hopefully there's still enough Klaine to fill the prompt.
I have a sweet, sweet friend (rnstudentandagleek on Tumblr, katebxo on ) who's a nursing student, and initially I just popped by her askbox with some questions. She was all like "that poor baby needs to go to the emergency room!" and I was like "okay!" and then somehow I was sending her twelve asks a day. She was super sweet about it, and this story wouldn't have been finished without her. So thank you, sweet Katelyn!
This story also served as a sort of practice run for the second half of Knife Going In, if you've read that one of mine. There's some medical stuff going on in that part, including a sequence involving Finn taking Kurt to the emergency room. Katelyn has graciously agreed to be my medical consultant for that one too, and not only is she super smart, but we work well together. So yay! I think KGI will go well.
I hope you enjoyed this! As much as you can enjoy someone with the stomach flu.