A/N: Hello everyone! I would just like to say that this story is based on a dream I had. Please let me know what you think?
A/N2: A great big thank you to Emberwillow14 for betaing! Thank you sweetie! 3
Disclaimer: I do not own. If I did, there would be way more Klaine make-out scenes.
Blood on the Road
Kurt whimpered quietly as he shifted slightly, biting back the sobs that were threatening to break free from his throat. He didn't really know why he was bothering trying to muffle them; no one was around for miles. They had made sure of that. They hadn't wanted anyone to find the fag before he ended up dying. At least, that was what he assumed that they wanted; why else would they destroy his phone as well?
He shifted again, hissing in pain as he tried to turn over and get his arms underneath him so that he could push himself up off the ground. It wouldn't do him any good to just lay there feeling sorry for himself. He had to find help. But . . . his arms didn't seem to want to work properly. His arms hurt; but then again, every inch of his entire body was in excruciating pain.
Finally he managed to get his hands underneath himself. He tried to push himself up, tried to get up. But his arms were too weak. His hands slipped in the dark liquid that was pooling beneath him. His own blood, he realized distantly as he stared at his hands. He sighed deeply and closed his eyes.
Kurt pulled his coat tighter around himself as though to shield himself from the slurs of the group of drunken men that had just exited the bar he had passed. He suddenly wished he had called someone for a ride home from Rachel's house. But his dad and Finn had gone to some game and Carole was working late. Even Rachel's dads had been away, gone out for the night for dinner and a show.
Kurt hunched his his shoulders inward slightly, trying to make himself appear smaller. He was hoping that the group of men would just get bored and stop following him if he ignored their taunts.
"Hey fag!" A large, strong hand suddenly gripped his shoulder hard enough to bruise, and spun him around to face the group of drunks. "Where you going? We were talking to you!"
Kurt started to cough violently, his entire body jerking roughly with the force. He was whimpering constantly now in pain, trying to curl his body into a tiny ball. He couldn't seem to be able to bend his legs properly.
Those men must have really done a number on him.
He started coughing again, trying to dig his fingers into the gravel beneath him to try and stop his body from jerking again. Of course they had to leave him on some deserted road in the country somewhere.
Of course they had to bring him to some deserted road in the country somewhere.
Kurt was absolutely terrified; not only because he had been forced into an old car by four drunken adult men, not only because they had driven for almost two hours before finally stopping on an unfamiliar country road in the middle of nowhere. No, he was absolutely terrified because those four drunken adult men had assured him multiple times on the drive that they were going to end his miserable, disgusting life. Tonight.
And he was pretty sure that they would make it extremely painful.
All he could do, he supposed warily as he was shoved roughly out of the vehicle, was get through this – whatever this ended up being – and never, ever walk home at night alone again. Because he didn't think they would really kill him.
But after one last glance into the men's eager faces, he knew that they really did mean to try to kill him.
The first punch to his stomach seemed to confirm this.
Kurt didn't know how long he had been laying on the side of the dirt road. He didn't know how long it had been since the group of men had left him alone there. It could have been only a few minutes; it could have been hours. It felt like it had been hours.
He was cold; he didn't seem to be wearing his jacket anymore. Had they taken it off of him? When did they do that? It was an upsetting thought; that jacket was one of his favorites.
He tried to look around for his coat, but it was too dark to see anything. Also, it was getting too . . . tiresome to move.
Maybe he was going to die.
That was a scary thought. He didn't want to die here, like this. He didn't want to die alone in the middle of nowhere. He didn't want his dad to lose him like this, to find him missing in the morning. He didn't want, he couldn't become just another damn statistic.
He wanted to grow up. He wanted to make it to Broadway and become a big star. He wanted . . . he wanted to have a boyfriend. He wanted Blaine.
He wanted to live.
The moment that Kurt knew for sure that these men actually meant to kill him, that they had been deadly serious, was when one of them pulled a wooden baseball bat out of the trunk of his car.
He barely had a moment to wonder why a grown man would be carrying a baseball bat around before the first strike hit him on the leg. The pain was almost overwhelming; he definitely felt the bone break.
But being beaten with a wooden baseball bat wasn't even the scariest part of the whole ordeal.
The scariest part was when one of the men, Kurt thought it was the leader of the group, pulled a pocketknife out of his coat.
"Now the real games begin, Princess. Should I start by rearranging your face?"
Kurt was not going to allow himself to die like this. He had no phone; so the next logical thing to do would be to start following the road. It had to lead somewhere. He would just follow the road until he found a house, and then ask to use their phone. Easy.
Except he was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to stand.
So then he'll drag himself down the road. He was determined; Kurt Hummel was not going to die alone in the middle of nowhere.
Now that he had a clear plan, he got to work executing it. He reached forward and gripped the gravel of the road, trying to drag himself forward. He tried to push with his legs. Burning pain flared up his entire body and he screamed out. But he tried to force himself to go on. But the pain quickly became unbearable and he collapsed. The last he saw, or thought he saw, was a bright light approaching in the distance. His last conscious thought was the need for his father.
"Tonight, you're going to die, fag!"
It was after one in the morning.
Jeremiah really had no idea how he always got roped into these things, how he always ended up being the designated driver when his friends decided to go out drinking. Okay, he did know; he was the only one with a drivers license.
The worst part though was driving his friend Kevin home. Kevin literally lived out in the middle of nowhere. It always took Jeremiah over half an hour to drive all the way out to Kevin's and back to his own apartment in Westerville. And the road was always deserted, especially at night. It always kind of worried him; if he happened to get a flat tire or was in an accident or something, there was no one around for miles. A person could probably die out here. It was unsettling.
Which is why he screamed and swerved into a (thankfully shallow) ditch to avoid hitting what looked like a bloody body laying in the middle of the road.
He sat in his seat for a long moment, breathing heavily and trying to calm himself down quickly before springing into action. First he looked over to Kevin in the passenger seat. His friend looked fine, still passed out from drinking too much. Next, he grabbed the flashlight he thankfully had in his glove compartment and climbed out of his car.
Jeremiah rushed over to the body, grimacing at all of the blood smeared across the gravel road. He knelt down carefully and felt along the (blood slicked) neck for a pulse.
"Please don't be dead," he muttered anxiously, pressing his fingers against the pale, cold skin. He breathed a deep sigh of relief when he managed to find a weak pulse. He swiftly pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed 9-1-1. As it rang, he slowly and carefully turned the body over.
And he froze in shock.
"Hello, what's your emergency?"
Jeremiah could only stare in shock at the boy; he knew the body that was laying in the middle of the road. He could recognize the face underneath all the blood.
"Hello? Are you still there?"
The boy was friends with Blaine Anderson, the teenager that had gotten him fired from his job at the Gap. He couldn't remember the name, or if he had known it at all.
"Are you all right?"
Jeremiah blinked, finally cluing into the fact that someone was talking to him in the phone. He fumbled around for a moment before he could answer. "Um, yeah. I'm okay. But . . . There's a kid here and he's hurt pretty bad. I- he needs an ambulance."
"What seems to be the problem?"
Jeremiah swallowed nervously and glanced over the boy's body. "He, uh, he's bleeding pretty bad. And he looks really beat up. He's unconscious." He noticed that the kid's legs seemed to be bent at funny angles. "A-and I think his legs are broken."
"Okay, I'm sending an ambulance now. Can you give me the address?"
He whipped his head around, trying to find a landmark or something before giving off the location the best he could. "I found him here," he added frantically, feeling the need to defend himself. "I was driving my friend home and saw the kid in the middle of the road!"
"It's okay, sir. An ambulance is on the way," the voice replied reassuringly. "Does it look like he was hit by a car?"
Jeremiah looked the body over again, grimacing at all the blood, before settling his gaze back on the familiar face. "I don't- don't think so. I mean, he could have been, but . . . It looks like he was, like, intentionally hurt. At least, there's some pretty deep gashes on his face."
"Is he breathing?"
Breathing? He hadn't even thought to check that! He held his hand in front of the kid's face for a minute before resting it gently on the broad chest.
"I-I think so," he answered shakily. "At least, his chest is moving."
"Good. Now, can you see where the blood is coming from? Are you able to stop the flow?"
Jeremiah shook his head frantically before remembering that the person on the other line couldn't see him. "No. Well, I can see where he's bleeding in a couple of places, but he's literally covered in blood. There could be, like, stab wounds under his clothes."
He could hear the sirens approaching now, could see the flashing lights. He felt the rush of relief flood through his body; the kid would be in the hands of professionals soon. He had done all that he could do. He distantly realized that the person on the phone was talking, had been talking the whole time. "Sorry," he mumbled as an ambulance and a couple of police cars pulled up (why were the police here?). "The ambulance is here now."
Jeremiah hung up the phone and shuffled back against his own car on his knees as the emergency workers jumped out and got to work saving the kid. Everything seemed to pass in as a blur after that; the kid (what was his name?) was loaded into the ambulance while he was questioned by one of the police officers. Another officer was checking out the front of his car, probably to make sure he hadn't been the one to hit the kid or something.
When he mentioned that he kind of knew the victim (that's what the cops kept calling the injured boy), they offered to let him ride with the ambulance back to the hospital. They even offered to drive Kevin home (which was good, since apparently his car needed a tow truck to get out of the ditch). So that was how he found himself climbing into the back of an ambulance with a kid whose name he didn't even know.
The ride to the hospital felt short.
As soon as they arrived, the kid was whisked away and Jeremiah was left standing alone in the emergency waiting room. He didn't even know why he had bothered to come here; he knew absolutely nothing about the kid beyond the fact he was friends with and went to school with Blaine Anderson.
That fact really hit home when a nurse asked for the kid's name and contact information.
Jeremiah may not have known a single thing about the kid, but he did know someone who did. He stepped outside the hospital and pulled his phone out again. Scrolling through the long list of contacts, he hoped that Blaine would remember his number.
It was almost two in the morning, and Blaine's cell phone was going off. Loudly. And it was almost two in the morning.
Blaine groaned quietly and rolled over in his bed and groped around on his night table for a full minute until he finally grasped it. He glanced at the caller ID, wondering who could be calling at this hour, and the name that was displayed caused him to drop his phone onto the floor.
"That had better be a fucking emergency, Anderson," his roommate, Wes, moaned loudly, turning over to face him. When Wes saw the look of complete shock on Blaine's face though, he promptly sat up. "Blaine? What's wrong?"
Blaine slowly raised his gaze from the floor to his best friend's face when the annoying ringing finally stopped. "It was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was just calling me."
The phone started to ring again, that same name on the display screen.
Wes groaned loudly again and let himself fall back against his pillow. "Do not answer it, Blaine; you've got enough troubles involving him without adding late night drunken booty calls to the list."
Blaine bit his lip nervously, glancing down at the phone again. "But . . . What if it's an emergency?"
Wes snorted and rolled his eyes. "Think about this logically, Blaine. Do you really think that Jeremiah, the guy that you accidentally got fired and inadvertently outed, would call you if he was having an emergency? How exactly would you be able to help, anyway? You are only sixteen!"
"I guess you're right," Blaine replied, staring at the (still ringing) phone. "Of course you're right."
The phone stopped ringing.
"Of course I'm right," Wes repeated sleepily and turned back over. "You should turn off your phone so he doesn't keep waking us up. And, if it is really important, he'll eventually leave a message."
Blaine picked his phone up hesitantly; there still seemed to be some residual feelings for the older boy–man, really–left inside of him. But Wes was right. He turned his phone off and laid back down to go to sleep.
He couldn't quite shake the feeling that he had made the wrong decision, though.
Jeremiah swore softly under his breath when Blaine didn't answer his phone the second time. He figured that the teenager was just ignoring him to get revenge for the rejection.
Teenagers could be petty like that.
He pressed redial again after a couple of minutes, deciding that if Blaine didn't pick up this time then he would leave of message.
(He had been informed by a nurse that there had been no personal information on the kid; no cell phone, no wallet, no ID.)
The call went straight to voice mail.
"Hello, you've reached Blaine Anderson. Unfortunately I'm unavailable at the moment, but please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you."
Jeremiah snorted at that oh-so-formal message. Who did that kid think he was fooling?
He took a deep breath. "Blaine? It's Jeremiah. It- It's an emergency; I need you to call me back as soon as you get this. Or better yet, come to Westerville Hospital. Your friend, the one who insulted my hair, is here."
He shut his phone and slowly walked back into the hospital again. As he sat down in the waiting room, he made the decision to stay put until Blaine, or someone else that the kid knew, showed up. He knew that if it were him in the hospital, he wouldn't want to wake up alone. So he would stay until someone else showed up to wait with the kid.
Then he would leave.
Jeremiah jerked awake, disoriented and confused as to why exactly he had been sleeping on a hard plastic chair in a sterile white hospital waiting room. He looked around tiredly before he remembered the crazy events of the previous night. He reluctantly dragged his gaze back to the pretty blonde nurse that was standing in front of him, a little afraid of what he was about to be told. What if the kid didn't make it?
"You may go see your friend now."
Jeremiah nodded and pushed himself out of the chair slowly; a quick glance at the clock on the wall told him that it was a bit past seven-thirty in the morning. He trailed after the nurse down the hall to a room that was just as white and sterile as the waiting room. The kid was there, still unconscious. He sighed deeply as he sunk into the marginally more comfortable chair beside the bed, his eyes roaming over what he could see of the kid's broken body.
The kid (Jeremiah will probably never be able to stop thinking about him by anything else after this experience) looked terrible. Well, that was probably to be expected under the circumstances. There was a white bandage wrapped tightly around his forehead, another taped over his left cheek. His right arm was secured in a sling (dislocated shoulder, Jeremiah would find out), and the left was heavily bandaged. Under the blanket there were even more bandages wrapped around his chest peeking out, and Jeremiah had a sneaking suspicion that both legs were in casts.
But the kid was alive and breathing, and that counted for something (right?).
Jeremiah leaned back against the chair and closed his eyes, silently praying that Blaine would get a hold of him soon. The kid needed his friends and family here; not some random guy he met once and who found him on the side of the road. A quick glance at his phone showed Jeremiah that he hadn't receive any missed calls while he slept. Maybe he should try calling Blaine again. But it was still pretty early in the morning; chances were that Blaine would still be in bed and wouldn't answer his phone. Again.
Jeremiah groaned quietly; he didn't know what to do about this. The kid needed to be identified, but he couldn't do it. He closed his eyes once again; he'd call Blaine again after sleeping some more.
Burt Hummel wasn't an overly observant man when it came to his son; it wasn't something that he was particularly proud of. But he did notice when Kurt didn't come down for breakfast, and he knew that wasn't normal. As soon as he saw his son's empty chair at the table, he got a very bad feeling in his stomach.
"Where's Kurt?" He asked, looking in his wife's direction. "Isn't he awake yet?"
Carole shook her head. "I haven't seen him yet this morning."
Burt sighed deeply and pushed his chair away from the table. As he trudged up the stairs he thought about how strange it was for Kurt to sleep in; usually it was Finn who had trouble waking up in the morning.
"Hey kiddo, it's breakfast time." He knocked on Kurt's bedroom door. After a very long moment of silence he pushed the door opened. "Kurt?"
Kurt's bedroom was empty; there was no sign of his son there. In fact, it looked as though Kurt hadn't been there all night. His bed was still perfectly made and there were no dirty clothes in the hamper.
Kurt hadn't come home last night.
Burt barreled down the stairs as fast as he could and slid to a halt at the entrance of the kitchen. "Did Kurt mention to anyone that he was planning on spending the night at Rachel's?"
Finn just shrugged with his mouth full of food. Carole answered slowly, staring at Burt in surprise. "I don't think so. He didn't say anything to me about it, at least. He's not in his room?"
Burt shook his head as he snatched the phone from off of the wall. "I told him to call if his plans changed," he muttered quietly, trying to push down the rising sense of panic in his chest. He dialed Kurt's cell phone number and waited anxiously for his son to answer.
It went straight to voice mail.
The panic in Burt's chest magnified tenfold; Kurt always kept his cellphone on. Relax, he thought to himself as he took several deep breaths. His phone is- is probably dead, that's all. He's fine. He has to be.
"Finn, what's Rachel's number?" Burt was very proud that he hid the waver in his voice so well. "Kurt's phone must be dead or- or something."
Finn swallowed the food in his mouth and rattled off the tiny girl's number; even he could sense Burt's fear. Burt dialed the number and waited for someone to answer, praying that his son was still there.
"Rachel?" He couldn't seem to force more than one word past his lips.
"Uh, it's Burt Hummel. Is- is Kurt still there?" He winced at the stutter, turning away from Finn and Carole's worried expressions.
"Nooo," she replied slowly, the worry starting to seep into her tone. "He left at about nine-thirty last night. I take it he didn't make it home?"
"He's not here and it looks like he didn't sleep in his bed." Burt rubbed the back of his neck anxiously.
"Maybe he stopped over at Mercedes' place." Even as Rachel said it, Burt could tell she didn't really believe that. Mercedes lived too much out of the way.
"Maybe," he sighed in despair. "I'll give her a call to check. Thanks anyway, Rachel."
"You're welcome," the girl replied politely. "I'll try calling Blaine. Maybe he knows something." She hung up before he could answer.
Burt knew that Blaine would be an even longer shot than Mercedes, what with being at Dalton. At least, he hoped so; he didn't like the idea of Kurt spending the night with a strange boy who had wanted him to inform his son about sex (he would forever hold that above the curly-haired boy).
He sighed heavily again and dug out Mercedes' phone number (Kurt had given it to him in case of an emergency), setting to work on finding his missing child.
When Jeremiah had woken up again there was still no call or message of any sort from Blaine Anderson. He swore quietly; that teenager was really taking that petty thing too far. After a quick glance at the still unconscious boy in the hospital bed to reassure himself that the kid was still breathing, he stepped out of the room to make another call to Blaine.
It went straight to voice mail again.
"Damn it, Blaine," he growled after the beep. "Your phone had better be dead or else I'm going to punch you in the face really hard the next time I see you. Because your friend, the one with the pretty blue eyes and pale skin and perfect hair? He's in the hospital and I don't even know his name to tell them, let alone any other information! Either call me back and give me whatever information you have, or get your ass down here!"
Jeremiah snapped his phone shut and ran his hand through his tangled curls, taking a deep and calming breath. He supposed that he shouldn't have yelled at Blaine's voice mail, but he was getting very frustrated. The kid probably had family that was really worried about him with no way of knowing where he was. And it wasn't even his responsibility to be here; he didn't even know the kid! The least Blaine could do was check his messages!
He just shook his head in disbelief as he grabbed a couple of old magazines off of a table and walked back into the kid's room. He figured that he was probably in for a long wait.
It was after ten in the morning when Blaine finally woke up. He moaned quietly at the bright sunlight streaming in through the open curtains on the window. A quick glance at the other side of the perfectly neat room showed that Wes had already left for the day. He reached over to his nightstand to check his phone for any messages; Kurt usually sent him a text every morning. He nearly had a heart attack when his phone remained dark before remembering that he had turned it off the night before to avoid being woken up.
That did explain why he woke up late, anyway.
He turned his cell phone back on and was surprised to see he had three new voice mail messages in addition to about fifteen missed calls. There was no text message from Kurt, though, which was strange. He swiftly checked his messages and waited impatiently.
The first message was from Jeremiah, sent at about two in the morning. He tried to pretend that didn't send a small thrill through his body. Maybe the older boy wanted to get together again.
"Blaine? It's Jeremiah. It- It's an emergency; I need you to call me back as soon as you get this. Or better yet, come to Westerville Hospital. Your friend, the one who insulted my hair, is here."
Blaine frowned in confusion at the message; which of his friends had insult Jeremiah's hair? Which of his friends had met Jeremiah?
The second message was from Rachel Berry, sent about a quarter after nine that morning.
"Blaine? That's odd; I was under the impression that you never turned your phone off. Anyway, have you heard from Kurt since last night? He left my house last night and apparently never made it home. If you know anything, please call either myself or the Hummel household."
Blaine felt all of the blood rush from his face; Kurt was missing. How could that be? He almost hung up the phone to call Rachel back to see what was going on, but then the third message started. It was from Jeremiah again, sent scarcely twenty minutes ago.
"Damn it, Blaine. Your phone had better be dead or else I'm going to punch you in the face really hard the next time I see you. Because your friend, the one with the pretty blue eyes and pale skin and perfect hair? He's in the hospital and I don't even know his name to tell them, let alone any other information! Either call me back and give me what ever information you have, or get your ass down here!"
Blaine felt his phone slip out of his suddenly numb fingers to the floor as that message concluded.
His friend, the one with the pretty blue eyes and perfect hair and pale skin, the one who had insulted Jeremiah's hair, was in the hospital.
Kurt was in the hospital.
Kurt was hurt, possibly very badly, probably unconscious. He had to be unconscious; otherwise they would know his information already. He had been hurt badly enough to be put into the hospital. But why was he in the Westerville hospital and not the Lima hospital? And why wouldn't the staff have his information; wasn't he carrying his wallet? And why was Jeremiah there with him?
What had happened to him?
Blaine leaped out of his bed and hurriedly threw on the first vaguely matching clothes he could find before rushing out of his dorm room. He had to get to the hospital; he had to get to his Kurt. He couldn't allow his friend to be alone in the hospital. As he ran quickly through the halls of Dalton Academy, he dialed the number for the Hummel household. It was promptly answered by Kurt's father.
"Mr. Hummel?" Blaine gasped, out of breath and sliding into his car. "I think I know where Kurt is . . ."
Jeremiah was flipping through his second magazine (the first had been a fashion magazine; lord knows he didn't work at the Gap for almost five years because he liked fashion) when his phone beeped, indicating that he had a text message. Finally it seemed that Blaine was getting back to him. The message itself was just two words:
Jeremiah shook his head in disbelief as he reread the message several times. He remembered a conversation he once had with Blaine during one of their two coffee meetings when the teenager had boasted about how good he was in English (mentioned because Jeremiah is an English major in college). That text message seemed to prove otherwise.
He glanced over at the (still unconscious) kid laying in the bed; for some reason he was reluctant to leave the boy alone. But the hospital needed the kid's information; Blaine had at least some of that information. He shoved himself out of the chair stiffly, groaning quietly. He had been sitting for far too long. With one last glance at the kid, he walked out of the room to go meet Blaine outside.
Blaine Anderson was standing just inside the front entrance, a guilty and sheepish smile curving his lips when he saw Jeremiah.
"Please don't punch me?" Blaine whimpered pathetically as the older boy–man, really–approached him. "I didn't know why you would be calling meat two in the morning, besides possibly . . ." He trailed off, cheeks turning a violent red in embarrassment.
"Really, Blaine?" Jeremiah scoffed, rolling his eyes. Really, how obliviously idiotic could that teenager be? (He did know from personal experience that the answer was very.) "I turned down dating you because you are underage. Why would I call you, out of everyone I know, for a hook up?"
Blaine's blush deepened even more if at all possible; he hadn't thought of it that way.
"That's not what's important right now," Jeremiah continued, politely ignoring the teenager's blushing. "The hospital needs to know your friend's name at least, and some way to get a hold of his family."
Blaine just nodded dumbly and followed the other man down the hall to Kurt's room. "I- I think it might be Kurt," he said quietly, more to break the awkward silence between the two of them than anything else. "I got a message from a mutual friend this morning asking if I knew anything about his whereabouts since he didn't come home last night."
"Kurt," Jeremiah repeated softly to himself, tying the name to the face of the hurt kid, as he lead Blaine into the kid's room.
It was almost heartbreaking to see the rapid change in Blaine's expression going from uncomfortable to recognition to distress.
"Oh, Kurt," Blaine whispered gingerly, slowly approaching the kid's bed. He couldn't believe how broken the other boy looked, so tiny in the hospital bed.
Jeremiah silently reached over to press the button that calls the nurse; he didn't want to leave the kid just yet. At least, not until someone responsible showed up to sit with the kid. Kurt.
At least, that's what he kept telling himself.
Burt broke almost every single traffic law in the book in his rush to get to his son. When he had gotten the call from Blaine about Kurt's possible (likely) whereabouts, he bare was able to finish the phone call before running to his truck. All he knew was that his son was in the hospital, so that was where he needed to be.
He made it to the Westerville hospital in just under an hour (the trip usually took two but with disobeying the traffic laws he was able to cut his time in half. Carole and Finn were following in her car at the speed limit. For the most part.).
Burt barreled into the hospital after parking haphazardly, panic and worry plain on his face.
"I- I was told that my son is here," he gasped, out of breath when he reached the main desk. "His name is Kurt Hummel."
The pretty young nurse's eyes lit up in recognition of the name. "Oh! You're that poor boy's father? We have some paperwork for you to fill out when you have a spare moment. If you'll just follow me, I'll take you to his room."
Burt nodded silently, breathing heavily to catch his breath, and took the papers that the nurse handed him before following the young woman down the hall.
"Your son's friends are still in there with him," she said as she stopped at the open door. "The blond one has barely left his side since they came in early this morning."
Burt had barely heard the nurse's words; he was distracted staring into the stark room. His son, his brave and amazing son, was laying unconscious on the bed, deathly pale and covered in bandages. Blaine was sitting silently on one side of the bed, alternating his gaze between Kurt and and the unfamiliar, blond, blood-covered boy that was sitting on the other side of the bed reading a magazine.
There was a complete stranger in Kurt's hospital room.
There had been a complete stranger, who was covered in blood, in Kurt's hospital room all night.
Burt felt his protective instincts kick in. He stepped into the room and cleared his throat loudly. Both boys–the stranger looked a little older, actually–looked in his direction and then jumped to their feet.
"Hello Mr. Hummel," Blaine spoke quickly, shifting from foot to foot awkwardly. "The- the doctor would only tell us that Kurt would live, but at least that's good news."
Burt ignored the dark haired boy in favor of giving the blond stranger his most intimidating glare. He took pleasure as the boy shuffled nervously before dropping his gaze to the floor. Burt considered this to be a win.
"Who are you?" He questioned the boy gruffly, moving closer to the foot of his son's bed. "How do you know my son? Do you go to Dalton too?"
The boy blinked at the rapid questioning before running a hand through his long and tangled curls awkwardly. "Uh, my name is Jeremiah, and, uh . . ." he shrugged hopelessly, a bad and disrespectful sign to Burt. "I don't really know Kurt. I- I met him once before briefly a while ago though. And I didn't go to Dalton; my parents couldn't afford it."
Burt frowned at this Jeremiah slightly; something about the kid's statement seemed off. It took a moment for it to click fully: the kid had used past tense when describing not going to Dalton. He glared suspiciously this Jeremiah.
"Are you in school?"
The kid looked confused for a moment replying. "Yeah. I go to the Otterbein College here in Westerville."
Burt turned to him slowly, eyes wide in shock. "College? You're in college? How old are you?" He had been hoping that the kid was only eighteen or something. Because this guy had been alone with his unconscious son all night long.
Jeremiah grinned sheepishly as though he knew what Burt was thinking. "Twenty-two."
Twenty-two. Some twenty-two year old guy spent the night alone in Kurt's hospital room. Unsupervised. While Kurt was unconscious. To make matters even worse, the twenty-two year old guy was covered in blood. Speaking of which . . .
Burt's glare deepened. "Why are you covered with blood?"
Jeremiah's eyes widened considerably and looked down at his clothing, noticing that he was covered in blood for the first time since he knelt down beside the injured body in the middle of the road. It was true (not that he was really that surprised); his jeans had dried blood at the knees and his favorite brown hoodie had dried blood on the cuffs and around the hem.
"There- there was a lot of blood on the road where I found Kurt, sir."
Those words brought Kurt's father's attention back to his son and away from Jeremiah, which he was grateful for. The man was kind of terrifying, and the grilling of his life was a little weird. Oh, Jeremiah understood why, vaguely, the man would do that. But it didn't make it any less weird. Besides, now he had a perfect opportunity to leave without anymore questions. Jeremiah nodded politely at Blaine, who was still standing there awkwardly, before walking out the door. He paused for a brief moment, looking back at the unconscious boy in the bed. The kid was going to be okay (well, he would live, anyway), and there were people here so Kurt wouldn't wake up alone; there was no reason for Jeremiah to stay.
He sighed softly and left the hospital quickly; happy that it wasn't too long of a walk back to his apartment.
Summer vacation; Kurt had been waiting for it anxiously. The last few months since the attack had been long and tedious. Ever since the first moment after he regained consciousness in the hospital, everyone had been bombarding him with questions about what happened. No one wanted to leave him alone for even a single moment. It was driving Kurt crazy.
The first time Kurt had woken up in the hospital, he only felt numbness throughout his entire body. Because of this numb feeling, he was sure that he was dead. Well that, and the fact that he swore he heard his mother's voice. It was telling him to hold on and to not give up because his father wouldn't be able to survive without him.
(He found out later that it was actually Carole who had been talking to him.)
He didn't remember anything else.
Kurt was really looking forward to the summer. The months following what he had dubbed "The Attack" had really sucked. The Attack had taken place just a week before Regional's; he had been in no shape to perform during the competition. He hadn't even been able to go see it; he had still been in the hospital. Members from both the Warblers and New Directions came to visit him afterwards to tell him the results though (New Directions won).
But listening to his friends talking about their lives was making Kurt jealous. He missed his own life; but it had to be put on hold until he was healed.
The next time that Kurt woke up, he felt pain in his entire body. He hissed quietly as he tried to shift into a position that would be less painful and clenched his eyes shut tightly against the brightness.
He stopped moving at the sound of his name. Someone was here with him, wherever here was. The hope filled voice sounded like one he thought he should know very well. But . . . it hurt to think. Or maybe his head was just hurting because of his injuries. Either way, he was having some trouble thinking.
"Are you awake kiddo?"
"Dad?" Kurt whispered hoarsely as he finally recognized the voice. He pried his eyes open, squinting against the bright light of what was obviously a hospital room until his eyes adjusted. Sure enough, when he could finally see clearly, his father was hovering over him with a very worried expression. "Dad, what- what happened?"
Burt sighed and ran his large hand over the rim of his fading baseball cap nervously. "Well buddy, we were kind of hoping that you could tell us that."
Kurt didn't go back to school; not even after he was discharged from the hospital. At least, not right away. He didn't want to admit it out loud, but he was scared. He didn't want to be too far away from his father at the time. Those men who had attacked him hadn't been caught yet either; he just didn't feel safe with them still out there.
He did make sure that he kept up with his schoolwork, though. Every single day Blaine would drive to Lima after school to visit him, bringing the day's assignments with him and taking the previous day's completed work back to Dalton. He would have been devastated if he would have had to repeat the year on top of everything else. But, thankfully, with the help of all his friends (especially Wes and David) he got acceptable grades in everything.
So Kurt was very glad that it was summer. After a lot of hard work and physio he was able to move around by himself now. Not that he would ever be allowed to leave his house by himself ever again; his father wouldn't allow it. But his family and his friends were always around. Which, while welcome most of the time, made the little mission he set for himself a little (a lot) awkward.
The first time Blaine had visited Kurt in the hospital while he was conscious was a little weird. Blaine's face seemed to be stuck permanently on a guilty expression. The first few minutes of conversation were very awkward before dying away completely. Finally Blaine just dropped his gaze and sighed deeply.
"I'm sorry, Kurt," he said quietly, staring hard at his own lap. "If I hadn't ignored my phone, your dad would have been here sooner for you."
Kurt snorted loudly (immediately regretting it because it really hurt his chest). "What are you talking about? Even if my dad had been here sooner it wouldn't have mattered; I still wouldn't have woken up any sooner."
They both lapsed into a very awkward silence again. Kurt fiddled nervously with the edge of the rough blanket with his one good hand. It felt . . . awkward with Blaine, for some reason. He didn't understand why it would be like that. It was as though something had changed while he was unconscious.
"Blaine?" Kurt finally whispered hesitantly, "do you . . . do you happen to know who found me? Dad said that- that some rude college guy was here with with you when he finally arrived. Did you know who he was?"
Blaine chuckled awkwardly and rubbed the back of his neck. The expression on his face changed from guilty to embarrassed. He knew that the answer would most likely make Kurt either very angry or very uncomfortable.
"Do- do you remember Jeremiah? From . . . from the Gap?"
Kurt stared at his friend in a shocked silence. He couldn't really believe the words he had heard come out of Blaine's mouth. Jeremiah, from the Gap Attack, had saved his life?
Ever since Blaine had told him that it had been Jeremiah who had saved his life, Kurt had been trying to find the apparent college boy. He just wanted–needed–to thank Jeremiah. Or something along those lines. Maybe he just really needed something to do besides homework. But Kurt put all the effort he had to spare into trying to find the man. He'd had no luck so far though. He had even looked into the college that his father told him Jeremiah attended, but by the time he'd had a chance to classes had already been let out for the summer.
So, for the time being, Kurt had given up on searching for Jeremiah. He needed to stop dwelling on the past and move on. At least that was what his father (and Blaine and Carole and Mercedes and Rachel and Finn and Jeff, although he didn't really count Jeff's opinion since the blond boy was practically stalking Nick.) keeps telling him.
So Kurt had given up on searching for Jeremiah for now. Right now he was going out for coffee with Mercedes at the Lima Bean; it was to be the first time that he would really be going out in public and he was very nervous (he was worried about stares and whispers). As soon as he limped into the coffee shop he felt as though everyone was staring him. He froze in the doorway, fear washing over him. The place was crowded, very crowded. He tried to back out discreetly, but Mercedes was right behind him.
"It's too busy in here!" He hissed quietly, trying to move around the girl. He hated himself a little bit for being so frightened, but he felt it was too soon for him to be in large crowds. "Let's just come back later!"
Mercedes laughed softly and gently grasped Kurt's shoulders. "You'll be fine, white boy. It will be good for you to get out of that house for a little bit. Now let's get our coffee, okay?"
Kurt sighed in defeat; he knew better than to argue with Mercedes over this. He continued limping forward (his right leg was still not fully working properly). He was just starting to calm down when a random girl walked straight into him. He flailed frantically as he lost his balance and started to fall over. He closed his eyes tightly as he was expecting to feel the hard impact of hitting the ground; but a pair of semi-muscular and distinctly manly arms wrapped around his waist just in time to catch him.
He looked up to thank the man for catching him, but all words got stuck in his throat.
The man who caught him just happened to be Jeremiah.
It was summer vacation and one of the few rare days that Jeremiah had off from his new job (it was a summer job at a warehouse). And for some God forsaken reason, he was spending it in Lima of all places. Okay, he did know the reason: Kevin was supposed to be meeting a new girl at the local coffee shop. So here he was, at some placed called the Lima Bean, listening to his best friend complain about being stood up (the girl was ten minutes late). Then, when he thought the day wouldn't get any more strange, in walked a familiar face. Well, more like limped in.
Kurt Hummel. The kid was looking . . . more alive than the last time that Jeremiah had seen him. Kurt was limping slightly but walking on his own without crutches. There were scars on his left cheek and he looked thinner. As Jeremiah discreetly watched, Kurt stalled in the doorway to the coffee shop with a terrified expression on his pale face. He tried to back out, but a formidable looking black girl pushed him forward again. The pair moved into the coffee shop slowly, getting closer and closer to Jeremiah and Kevin. Kurt hadn't seemed to see him; actually Kurt looked like he was trying to remain calm or something. He was so focused on that, he didn't see the girl heading straight at him.
When Jeremiah saw Kurt start to fall, he didn't think. He wrapped his arms around the kid's waist to prevent him from hitting the ground. He saw the recognition and shock on the kid's face as soon as their eyes met. They stared into each other's eyes for a long moment in complete silence.
"Kurt!" The black girl rushed over and the moment between the two boys was over.
Kurt pulled away from the strong arms around him and brushed himself off, avoiding Jeremiah's eyes. "I'm perfectly fine, Mercedes. It was an accident and I wasn't hurt. Everything is fine."
"Good," the girl, Mercedes, replied, helping the kid brush himself off. "Maybe you were right; we can come back later when it's not as busy here." She grasped his arm tightly and started to lead him out of the coffee shop.
Kurt shot an almost longing look toward Jeremiah before following his friend.
"You're limping." The words were out of Jeremiah's mouth before he could stop them from escaping.
Both Kurt and his friend turned back to look at him; the girl's eyes narrowing suspiciously. "What's it to you?"
Jeremiah shrugged and ran his hand through his tangled curls awkwardly. "Uh, it's just . . . it's been a few months since . . ." he sighed quietly and shook his head, embarrassed. "You know what, never mind. I- I'm glad you're doing better." He turned to head back to sit with Kevin (who was staring at them in confusion).
Kurt pulled away from his friend and took a rapid step towards the other boy. "Wait, Jeremiah!"
Jeremiah paused and glanced back at the kid (he still couldn't stop thinking of him like that). The girl blinked and hissed at Kurt, "That's Jeremiah? That boy is fine!"
Kurt flushed slightly and took another small step forward. "I- I wanted to thank you. For what you- you did that night. You saved my life. And . . . Blaine told me that you stayed with me in the hospital until my dad showed up." Kurt swallowed heavily and dropped his gaze to the ground. "You didn't have to do that, any of it. But . . . you did. And I'm eternally grateful for it. So thank you. And . . . My right leg is still healing. That's why I'm limping."
Jeremiah blinked several times in shock, staring silently. He hadn't really expected even a thank you for his little good deed (of course, he hadn't really expected to see the kid ever again either), so he was understandably surprised.
"You don't have to thank me," he muttered gruffly, running his hand through his eternally tangled curls awkwardly again. "It really was the only thing I could do, it's not like I was going to be able to leave you there, laying in the middle of the road, to die. But you're welcome. And I'm sorry about your leg."
Kurt raised his eye from the ground and they both stared at each other in silence for another exceedingly long moment. Neither of the two really seemed to want to drop their gazes, nor did they seem to want to part ways with no hope of any future contact.
"Dude!" Kevin's overly loud and currently grating voice broke the moment and Jeremiah reluctantly looked over his shoulder at his friend. "The girl's obviously not gonna show. So stop talking to those kids and let's go!"
The girl, Mercedes, frowned deeply and looked as though she was about to snap something cutting back at Kevin (which, honestly, Jeremiah would have loved to hear), but Kurt just shook his head silently in her direction. She didn't look too happy about that but settled for scowling at Kevin as Kurt looked back at Jeremiah.
"So I guess that's it," he said quietly, sounding almost . . . forlorn. He turned away once again to leave without another word, not even a good bye.
"Wait!" And again without think, Jeremiah called out to the boy. His entire body seemed to be working without consulting his brain; he reached out and grabbed the kid's hand to stop him from leaving. Kurt looked startled at the contact; his beautiful glasz eyes widened as he stared down at their hands. Thinking quickly, Jeremiah snatched a discarded pen off of a table and rapidly scribbled his phone number onto Kurt's palm. "Give me a call and we'll get coffee," he explained hurriedly at the kid (and his friend's) confused look. "You- you owe me a new brown hoodie!"
Kurt bit his lip slightly as a small smile graced his features. Without a word, he nodded and left the coffee shop.
"What the hell was that?" Kevin asked in annoyance, coming up behind Jeremiah with a frown on his face.
The blond boy just shrugged, watch Kurt leave the parking lot. He really hoped that he would hear from the kid soon, but he wasn't holding his breath. After all, he had seen the look the kid had given Blaine before. There was no chance.
But . . . He also had seen the look the kid had given him during that chance meeting.
Maybe he would get a call. Someday.