Full Sumarry: Two years after Kurt and Blaine's messy divorce, Kurt finally wins full custody of their daughter after a long and painful battle. A week later, Blaine attempts suicide. He has no one else to turn to, and Kurt volunteers to take him in, believing that he can rehabilitate Blaine. The man he fell in love with is still in there, somewhere - he just has to figure out how to bring him back. The process, however, won't be easy for anyone.
Warnings: Alcoholism, brief mentions of one-time domestic abuse (the only explicit instance will be in a flashback in chapter two), depression, and in later chapters attempted suicide (but no character death). If any of these things are triggering for you please don't read, I don't want to upset anybody. And if I missed a trigger, let me know and I'll add it to the warnings.
A/N: Both titles (of the 'verse and the chapter itself) are from Florence + The Machine songs, as her music has been my biggest inspiration for writing this. (I chose Hurricane because the song Hurricane Drunk reminds me of the Blaine of this verse.) Since this has no end that I can see at the moment, I'll be updating this as I feel like it, when I feel like it - whenever I have a scenario in my head for the 'verse that I want to write. I want to try to make each piece a standalone thing, too, but we'll see how that goes. Maybe no one else will be interested in this, but it won't stop bugging me, so I wanted to get it written. Also, I apparently can't go for long without writing heartbreaking angst. I wonder what that says about me.
Kurt hasn't actually been inside Blaine's tiny apartment since… well, since Blaine first moved in, he thinks. Parked outside, yes, many times, but always to meet him there, not to go in. It's actually not as much of a wreck as he had built it up to be in his mind, but the coffee table is still covered in old beer bottles, and he can see that the little kitchen needs a days' worth of cleaning, and there's a vibe about the place that makes him want to gag. He's glad that he won't have to come back, at least if all goes well.
He takes a moment to breathe before he raps his knuckles on the already open door. "Hey." Kurt says quietly. Blaine looks up from where he sits on the floor, helping Amelia put some of her favorite toys in her favorite little backpack. Amelia jumps up, shouting, "Hi, Daddy!" and running into his arms. Kurt kneels down and hugs her close to him, eyes drifting closed as he squeezes her. Blaine watches them from the other side of the room in silence, and when Kurt looks into his eyes, he only meets them for a moment before he looks away.
"Amelia, why don't you go to your room and grab your things? And make sure you haven't forgotten anything, okay, sweetheart?" Kurt says, releasing her. She nods and runs down the hall to her room, five-year-old feet thundering as she goes. Kurt stands at the same time as Blaine does. He can't tell if Blaine is drunk yet today, but at least he seems aware of himself. "How are you?" He asks, if only to break the silence.
Blaine shrugs, shuffling his feet. "I'm dealing," he says quietly, still not meeting Kurt's eyes. But that's the problem, he isn't dealing. Blaine's version of dealing with something is to drink himself half to death. It breaks Kurt's heart all over again, seeing him this way, but he can't do anything about it. It makes him feel helpless. "Her stuff is all packed and ready to go."
"I - I thought I could keep a few things? Some special toys and stuff. For when… if she gets to visit." He hesitates, as if he might get in trouble for asking for anything.
"Of course you can." They haven't worked out visitation rights yet, but it will have to be dealt with soon, another horrible legal battle that he just wants out of the way. He assumes that Blaine will visit their daughter at Kurt's house rather than bringing her here, at least at first, until Blaine can prove that his home is child safe - unlikely.
It isn't that Kurt doesn't want Blaine to see Amelia, he does, but while he knows that Blaine would never, ever hurt her, there is no denying that he's unstable. He scares Kurt a lot of the time and that's something he wishes he didn't have to even think. There had never been any doubt that Kurt would win full custody, they both knew it, even if Blaine fought tooth and nail to keep her. With Kurt, she would have the healthy environment she couldn't have with Blaine.
"I hope you're happy now," Blaine says. Kurt can't tell if his tone is sad or angry. Maybe both.
Kurt swallows. He knows that he should be happy. He has Amelia back, full time - it should make him overjoyed. He won, and Kurt still loves to win. So why does he ache at the thought of bringing her home, of separating them, now? "Not really." He answers.
"Why not? You have what you want now, right?"
"Maybe because I know how it feels to have my child taken away from me?" It comes out more venomous than he had intended, but when Blaine is sarcastic with him it brings out the worst. Blaine huffs, arms crossing over his chest defensively. He starts to argue, but Kurt interrupts before he can even begin. "Just - don't. You brought this upon yourself, Blaine, so take it out on me, alright?"
He still looks like he wants to argue, but all at once, Blaine seems to deflate, all fire gone from his eyes, dead to the world again. Kurt would almost rather see him fighting, at least that means he cares. "As long as she's happy," he mutters. "That's all that matters, right?"
"Yeah," Kurt says softly. There was a time when he could have wrapped Blaine up in his arms and held him until he felt better. Not anymore, not for a long time. He doesn't know why it still hurts; shouldn't the heartache have stopped by now? "Are you going to be okay?"
"Do I look okay?"
He doesn't. There are dark circles under his eyes and he's paler than Kurt has ever seen and it's pathetic, really, and sad. Kurt shoves his hands in his pockets and sighs. "Blaine…" He trails off, unsure of where to go from there.
At that moment, Amelia wanders back in, dragging a brown duffel bag behind her. "Here you go, Daddy." She lets it drop at his feet.
"Oh, look how strong you are!" Kurt bends down and kisses her on the cheek, making her giggle. "Thank you, sweet girl."
"Do we have to go now?"
Kurt glances back at Blaine. He's just staring at Amelia with such longing that it make Kurt's chest ache Kurt knows what's going to happen, after he leaves. Blaine is going to drink and drink and drink, and he's not a happy drunk anymore. He just gets sadder and more volatile and Kurt hates it.
More than anything he wishes that he could help, but he just doesn't know how anymore, hasn't known how to even talk to Blaine in years. Not that Blaine would let him. It's like he doesn't want to get better. Like he wants to waste away, be this shadow of himself. He just doesn't care enough about himself to fix anything.
"Yes," Kurt says quietly. "It's time to go home now. Say goodbye to Papa, okay?"
She turns back around, dark curls bouncing as she wraps her arms around her father's broad shoulders. He hugs her tight, eyes squeezed closed, like if he just holds her tight enough she won't have to leave. Kurt's throat tightens as he watches them, and wishes that things could be different. It isn't fair that he has to feel like the villain no matter how things work out.
"You be good for your Daddy, okay?" Blaine whispers into her ear. "Promise."
"I promise." She whispers back. She's a complete goofball 99% of the time, but as soon as it matters, she turns around and becomes the most serious little creature Kurt has ever met.
"Good girl. I love you so much."
"Love you too, Papa." She kisses the tip of his nose, which makes Blaine smile for the first time since Kurt had arrived. He takes her little backpack, zips it up, and helps her put it on, and Kurt picks up the duffel bag. There's nothing more to do but leave, but it feels like there is so much left to say.
Kurt reaches out, and Blaine startles a little when Kurt touches his shoulder. "Take care of yourself, Blaine." He says.
Blaine laughs, hard and bitter, and looks away. "Uh-huh." His eyes shine with unshed tears.
"I mean it."
He has to resist the impulse, or maybe the instinct, to hug him. They don't do that anymore, and Kurt misses the warmth and strength of those arms. He misses having someone to hold him and to hold, to be loved and cherished by, and love and cherish in return.
He misses his husband more than anything else in the world. But that's not the same man that stands in front of him now.
He reaches out with his free hand and takes Amelia's, squeezing gently around her tiny fingers. "Bye, Blaine." He says, not enough, but all he can think of to say. Blaine nods, and doesn't meet Kurt's eyes, doesn't look at him even when Kurt turns and leaves the apartment.
Amelia chatters all the way down to the car, the whole time he's buckling her into her booster seat, even as he pulls the car out of the parking lot. Something makes her fall silent, though, and when he glances at her in the rear-view mirror she has a look of intense concentration on her face. "Am I going back to Papa's tomorrow?" She asks suddenly.
Kurt grips the steering wheel tight. "No, Amelia. You and Papa and I all talked about this, remember? You're going to stay with Daddy now."
To be honest, a part of him had wanted to give up during the heat of the custody battle. Amelia had been so confused, over that and the divorce, and she'd had hundreds of questions that neither he nor Blaine could figure out how to answer. Part of him would have been okay with letting Blaine have her more just so that she could have the consistency of living in one home. Of course he wants her with him, but he hates having to explain to her why she can't see one of them, or why her Papa is so sad and angry all the time, or why they aren't married anymore. Why they aren't in love anymore. She still doesn't know the full story and he, for one, will never tell her what had happened to make him end it.
"Oh." Amelia frowns, face screwed up in concentration as if she's solving a riddle. "When do I get to see Papa?"
Kurt swallows. "Soon, honey." That's one thing he won't fight Blaine over. He's not going to keep Amelia from her father, no matter how they work their own issues out. "I promise."
"Okay!" She perks up after that and doesn't ask any more questions, just entertains herself with singing little nonsense songs that she makes up on the spot and kicking the back of Kurt's seat. He doesn't have the heart to tell her to stop.
Amelia looks down at her plate like it has personally offended her, and then back at Kurt, eyebrows raised, and she looks just like him right now, damn it. He closes his eyes and counts backward from ten. She hadn't stopped complaining since the instant they stepped in the door, offended by every little gesture Kurt tried to make. She didn't like the games he offered to play, or the cartoons he suggested she watch, or the snacks she had even asked for. Kurt tries to be patient. He knows how she gets when the routine is broken up, know that this is particularly confusing day for her. That's something he hopes to remedy by having custody of her, lessening the confusion of going back and forth from home to home without sticking in any particular schedule.
But it's so hard when she refuses to be content. She's like Blaine in that way; determined to stay in a mood once she gets in one, for better or worse.
"What is it?" He asks as calmly as he can manage.
"Papa always cuts the crust off my sammiches." She stumbles over the word, and Kurt can't help but smile.
"My mistake." He takes a knife and carefully slices off the crust, then passes the peanut butter and jelly sandwich back to her. Amelia scowls. "What now?" Kurt groans. She hasn't even taken a bite. After refusing all dinner suggestions, she had demanded peanut butter and jelly, and after he's finally given in, she won't even eat.
"Papa cuts it in squares."
Kurt rubs at his temples with the tips of his fingers. "Sweetheart, I can't. It's already cut into triangles."
"It's not right!" Her voice gets shriller with every word.
"I'm sorry, Amelia. I didn't know. Can't you eat it this way for now, and next time I'll remember to cut it into squares, just the way you like it?"
She shakes her head and kicks at the leg of the table, rattling her glass of milk and nearly spilling it. "No! You aren't doing it right! Papa does everything better."
"Well, I'm not Papa!" He doesn't mean to snap, and wants to take it back the instant he says it. The look of shock on Amelia's face quickly crumples as fat tears well up in her eyes. "Baby, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to yell -"
"I want my Papa," she says, voice rising to a wail. "I wanna go home. I hate your house. I wanna go home!" She dissolves into loud, wet, messy sobs. And he knows that she's five years old and is bound to have temper tantrums, especially on days like today that are so confusing for her young mind, but he just wants one day - is it so much to ask for one day where someone isn't breaking his heart?
The lump that has been rising in his throat all day long comes to the surface, and Kurt tries in vain to swallow it back down. It's just a fucking sandwich, just a little temper tantrum, but god, he must be the worst father in the world if he can't even compare to Blaine in her eyes. Any day where he has to see Blaine gets him stupidly emotional even though he knows it shouldn't, and today is no exception. He tugs Amelia into his lap, bouncing her gently on his knee and shushing her, the way he used to when she was littler, and even though she doesn't like him right now she hides her face in his chest, staining his shirt with tears. He lets her cry herself to exhaustion. "I know, baby. I know you do." He whispers, and presses his cheek to the top of her hair. He closes his eyes and breathes in deep, trying to choke back his own oncoming tears.
Someday, he thinks. Someday, it's going to get easier.
But today isn't that day.