In The Blood

Chapter 1: What's Wrong?

Music filters through into his dreams, and Kurt hits the alarm. He sits up and groans. What? Again? This makes the third morning in a row that he's woken up with a killer headache. He stares at himself in the mirror as he swallows two Advil. O.K. If he wakes up like this again tomorrow, he'll make a doctor's appointment. Maybe he needs glasses? Kurt turns the shower on. Thinking about glasses, as he soaps up, he starts to feel better because, hey, new fashion accessory!

Kurt climbs out of his Navigator. As he crosses the parking lot, he's grateful that dumpster dives are no longer part of his daily routine because he's just not up to it. It's not only the headaches. He's been really tired lately, like wiped out. Maybe it's the flu? He starts to remove his sunglasses as he enters the school but the light hurts his eyes so he leaves them on. O.K. There's definitely something wrong with his eyes.

Week Two and Kurt's not any better. Actually, he's worse. He's practically living on Advil and he wears sunglasses all the time, even in the house. Finn and his Dad tease him about the sunglasses. They think it's some new fashion statement. Kurt just laughs and says that he's thinking of starting a rock band. He's seen doctors and they can't find anything wrong with him. He doesn't need glasses. He hasn't told his family that anything's wrong. He doesn't want them to worry.

Week Three and Kurt's freaking out. He feels awful. He's tired and nauseous all the time. He can't stand the thought of food. Just the odour of food cooking makes him gag. He's subsisting on juice and ice cream. Burt stops teasing him about the sunglasses. Finn's really gentle around him, speaking softly as if Kurt is a hospital patient. Carole's eyes are on him all the time. They're all worried about him. The only thing he can think to do is stay away from them, so they won't see how sick he is. He starts to spend a lot of time driving aimlessly around town.

Week Four and Kurt looks like hell. This morning he just couldn't summon the energy to dress properly, so he walks into school wearing sweat pants and a baggy black turtleneck. The turtleneck is cashmere though, because even a deathly ill Kurt Hummel has standards.

Mercedes takes one look at him, and drags him into the girl's washroom. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

Kurt tugs at his sweater and tries to stand up straight. "I slept through my alarm this morning. I didn't have time to put an outfit together."

"Don't give me that crap! You've been acting weird for weeks." His BFF puts her hands on her hips. "Do you think we're all stupid? You look like shit. You're not eating. You fall asleep in class. You haven't said a thing in Glee in like forever. You didn't even argue with Rachel over that solo. What the hell is going on with you?"

Mercedes stares at him, waiting for an answer. Silence! His BFF loses it. "And what the fuck is with you and those sunglasses?" She reaches over and rips them from Kurt's face. Kurt bends over, covering his eyes with his hands. Mercedes stares at the boy cringing in front of her. Her furious dissolves in a heartbeat. "Kurt, baby" She touches his shoulder gently. "What's wrong?"

Kurt's hand reaches out, trembling slightly. Mercedes slips the sunglasses into his hand. The countertenor stands up, pushing the glasses into place. "I don't know, Cedes. I don't know what's wrong with me." His voice shakes with unshed tears. Mercedes hugs him, rubbing her hand over his back. "Shh, Shh. Tell me."