Disclaimer: I do not own Glee or any of its characters; Ryan Murphy and Co. hold that honor. I'm simply writing this for fun, not profit.
It isn't that Blaine doesn't like student council meetings. Most days, he enjoys them. They're an opportunity for him to have a say in something that would otherwise be barred to him (not to mention they're another resume boost for future reference: he's already had to shift to eight-point font to fit in all his extra-curriculars and volunteer services). He likes the control, a tangible investment in the future that buffers him from unwanted surprises.
It's just that student council meetings require time and effort and energy. Of which, he has none.
Sliding into his usual seat at the head of the table, he waits patiently for Tina to read off the minutes, finally looking up from his pen and paper when he realizes that no one has spoken. "What's going on?"
"You haven't started the meeting," one of the sophomores pipes in helpfully from the 'lower bench,' her legs dangling over the edge of the table.
"You don't need me to - " he begins patiently, giving up with a sigh as he picks up his customary gavel and claps it three times on the wooden sounding block. "All right. May the twenty-second meeting of the student council begin. Secretary Cohen-Chang, if you would."
"Gladly," Tina says dryly as she straightens in her seat and shuffles her stack of papers importantly. "Last week - "
Blaine doesn't know if it's the ringing in his ears that distracts him or his own fatigue, but between one blink and the next he's bolting upright as Sam bangs the gavel on the table. "Treasurer Motta," he says without missing a beat as he gingerly reclaims his gavel, side-eyeing Sam. To his credit, he does look a little chastened, offering a sheepish smile before redirecting his gaze to Sugar as she starts listing off the funds Blaine's helpfully compiled for her.
Somehow, he keeps his eyes open and his expression quasi-interested as Sugar prattles on and on, seemingly endlessly. Making a mental note to shorten the length of her report for his own sake, he gratefully opens the floor to discussion, relieved when Tina takes over with prom proposals.
It isn't that he doesn't like student council, he reminds himself as he sits through the meeting, taking in none of it. Ever since their whole 'Men of McKinley' calendar, he's just been off-beat, sort of lagging behind on everything. It isn't enough to make him panic, but it's enough that he notices it.
Resigning himself to drinking extra orange juice and maybe even supplementing his diet with vitamins, he's grateful when Tina wraps up what must have been a fairly extensive speech so he can tap the gavel and call the meeting adjourned. Sam tosses him a grateful look as he shoulders his satchel, several of the others looking relieved as they sidle out.
"You okay, dude?" Sam asks, nudging his shoulder in passing as he pulls himself to his feet.
"Yeah," he assures, offering his brightest smile as he tucks the gavel back into his satchel. "Yeah, of course. I'm great."
Sam hums doubtfully, sauntering out of the room without another word. Blaine frowns, hitching his own satchel over his shoulder as he follows Tina out the door.
"Come to the Lima Bean after school?" she offers, linking arms with him companionably as they idle down the hallway together. "I'll buy."
"A gentleman never lets a lady buy his coffee," he defers, swinging their arms lightly, playfully. He doesn't mind going out with Tina on their semi-dates, either, aside from the lingering feeling that maybe he's leading her on. (Of course not, Tina knows that I'm gay, how could you possibly be leading her on?) Still, he knows that if he can barely stomach a student council meeting, he's in no mood to entertain her alone for hours, and so he quietly adds, "I'd love to, Tay-Tay, but Kurt and I have a Skype date this afternoon." He gently disentangles their arms once they reach the parking lot, holding the door open for her. She frowns at him, questioning.
"I thought you two were on the rocks," she says at last, stepping through the doors and letting him wrap an arm around her shoulders.
"We - we're not not dating," he hedges, not wanting to presume in case - absurdly - it works its way back to Kurt. Truthfully, he doesn't know what they are, whether they're together or not together or something in between. Either way, he likes their conversations, friendly reminders that even if they aren't there yet, they could be. Someday. "We're just . . . finding ourselves. That's all."
"Now you sound like a therapist," Tina teases.
Blaine pouts. "It's true. Relationships are . . . they're complicated. And ever since we . . . " He goes quiet, then, not wanting to voice what he knows to be true: ever since they broke up, they haven't spoken much. Certainly not where they've actually wondered if maybe, maybe they could try being . . . well. Closer. Friends. They want to be friends again. And not just in the wistful-looks-and-cautious-smiles sort of way, but. Intimate. Like before. Where they could share secrets and feel safe in each other's arms. Blaine misses that, more than he cares to admit, and it takes all of his self-restraint not to ask Kurt if he actually wants to be his boyfriend again. Someday. Ever.
It hurts too much to think that Kurt might not reply at all. That he would simply look down at his hands and wait until Blaine realized that he wasn't going to respond, that he would quietly insist that he would think about it, that maybe he would have an answer in another month or year.
It hurts, and so he doesn't think about it, doesn't focus on the negative possibilities.
He blinks, realizing belatedly that he's somehow walked Tina to her car without any recollection of actually crossing the parking lot. "Oh. I'm sorry, I'll - " He smiles, abashed, as he steps back, giving her arm a single light squeeze. "I'll go out with you some other time this week, I promise."
"Don't worry about it," Tina assures, a sad, ambivalent look to her eyes that Blaine doesn't miss before she smiles and ducks into the driver's seat, already turning the keys in the ignition by the time Blaine turns to cross the lot. He reaches his own Jeep long after she's gone, his steps slow as he lets the truth of it soak in.
Kurt might forgive him. He might also resent him for the rest of his life for ruining their relationship to begin with, but he might forgive him, too.
The mere thought buoys him for the entire drive home, heat cranked up to fight off a sudden chill. He blames it on the weather: brisk if not frigid, enough to make him want to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book to wait for warmer times. He doesn't, toeing off his shoes and padding upstairs instead, hurriedly setting up his laptop on the edge of his bed. He pulls up Kurt's information and, after hesitating a moment, calls him, easing back against the pillows as he waits. He halfheartedly attempts to finish his homework as he waits, getting up after a half hour or so to grab a quick snack before returning, baby carrots and water bottle in hand.
He almost drops both when he sees Kurt, humming to himself as he flips through a Vogue magazine, oblivious to Blaine's return. "Kurt," he blurts, surprise and relief flushing through him. Kurt looks up from the magazine, wearing black pants and a v-neck shirt, languid and smiling and breathtakingly gorgeous.
"Why hello there," he greets, a soft lilt to his voice that eases Blaine's nerves far more than anything else possibly could as he settles more comfortably against the headboard, legs crossed. "I thought I might have missed you."
Blaine holds up a baby carrot demonstratively. "I didn't know if you were working late or something came up," he explains apologetically, setting the carrot back on the little tray.
Kurt shakes his head. "I'm working my way towards more regular hours, and since I'm not allowed to work more than thirty hours a week, I've had more free time." He looks at Blaine, expression unreadable, before asking, "How are things at McKinley?"
"They're good," Blaine says. "You know. Normal. No one's tried to set the school on fire, at least."
"Mm." Kurt watches him, bright eyes inquisitive. "How are you?"
Blaine shrugs. "Better," he admits unthinkingly, tensing a moment later as he realizes how it sounds. He doesn't want to pressure Kurt into feeling like he has to have bi-weekly Skype conversations with him, except - they're nice. Grounding. "How're you?"
"Adjusting," Kurt admits, and Blaine relaxes.
He remembers talking to Kurt about life in New York, harmless things like Rachel wanting to try out for so-and-so play and Brody moving in to live with them and the wonders of cold pizza. Blaine nods and makes affirmative noises in all the right places, relaxing when Rachel loudly intrudes that she isn't going to save Kurt any dinner if he doesn't hurry up. Kurt apologetically ends the call with a soft promise to talk to him soon, Blaine's heart in his throat as he closes his laptop and breathes, eyes closed.
Kurt hasn't made it a secret that he's seeing someone - Adam - in New York. It's not serious and they're not even officially dating, but Blaine's throat still clenches each time Kurt mentions him, wanting to ask if he wants to be more serious with Adam. He hasn't dared - Kurt only opened up to him about Adam a week ago, tentatively explaining that he'd met a senior for coffee and ended up seeing him several times since - but he doesn't want to consider the possibility that maybe moving on would be the best thing for Kurt.
He dozes off sometime around midnight, his dreams filled with Kurt and Adam and starless, empty nights.
On Monday, he feels . . . amazing. His sinuses are open, his eyes dry, and his chest refreshingly clear. He marks it down to a quick, effective response heading off a cold and leaves it at that, a slight bounce in his step as he makes his way to his locker. It's still uncomfortably like wading through a toxic spill zone with all of the sicknesses going around (to McKinley's credit, Dalton wasn't immune, and flu season spread just as rapidly there as it did here). Breathing shallowly, he does his best not to linger near anyone even remotely under-the-weather. He still cringes when someone coughs not three feet away from him, scurrying the final yards separating him and his locker and tugging it open.
"If Kurt is a unicorn, does that make you a rhinoceros?" Brittany asks, appearing at his other side so quickly he jumps.
"Hey, Britt," he greets, tugging out his books for his first few classes and tucking them into his satchel. He frowns, then asks, "What do you mean?"
"You're dating Tina, but you're also gay, so - "
"We're not dating," he assures, laughing a little at the thought and offering his most reassuring smile when Brittany frowns at him. "We're just friends, Brittany."
"So, what, do you two have like, magical not-gay sex?"
Blaine chokes. Brittany pats his head once before he bats her hand away. "No, we're not dating, and we're not having sex. We're just friends."
"But Santana and I - "
"Brittany, honey, I'm gay. I'm not a - a bicorn like you, okay? I don't like girls that way."
Brittany purses her lips, almost pouting. "So does that mean you won't make out with me? Because I have a perfect record for making out with every guy at this school."
"I'm not going to make out with you," Blaine agrees, clipping his satchel shut. "Why am I a rhinoceros, anyway?" he asks, hoping to steer her away from making out. He knows that she would, too: Kurt finally caved over the summer and - pink-cheeked and refusing to meet his gaze - told him about his brief foray with women in the form of Brittany. Blaine didn't ask for details then, just squeezing his hand once reassuringly, and he doesn't push for them now, either.
"Rhinos are unicorns that refuse to show their true colors," Brittany explains patiently. "They're sad and eat their weight in food and can't make rainbows like unicorns can."
"I don't eat my weight in food," Blaine points out absentmindedly, shutting his locker door and letting her link arms with him as they walked down the hallway.
"You weigh like, a feather," Brittany dismisses. Blaine pouts, opening his mouth to reply that he does not, but she's already chattering on about Cheerios' practice and he sighs and clamps his mouth shut, instead, leading her into the choir room when she tries to stray down the wrong hallway.
Glee club drags in spite of Finn's (and his own) attempts to spark an engaging conversation, flagging after the first few minutes of discussion about regionals and descending into borderline catatonic levels by the time the bell rings. Blaine frowns as he gets up and shoulders his satchel, thinking that with only a few weeks to spare they need to be on their a-game. The Warblers would be at full throttle this time around, spending hours at a time in the Hall rehearsing and studying their music until they were ready for the competition. In some small, reserved part of him, Blaine felt bad for disqualifying them. It tarnished the Warblers' name beyond a single competition, and he didn't like to think of his old show choir being disgraced as a direct result of his efforts.
His and Sam's, he amends.
"Hey. I got the essay done." Speak of the devil.
"That's great," Blaine says, smiling up at Sam as he wraps an arm around Blaine's shoulders. "How long is it?"
Blaine arches an eyebrow, surprised. "Have you submitted it yet?"
Sam shakes his head, adding, "I want it to be really great, you know?"
"Of course," Blaine agrees. "You could run it by one of the English teachers, if you want. I'm sure they'd look it over for you. Or Ms. Pillsbury would."
Sam nods, clapping him on the shoulder before adding, "Thanks, dude."
"Don't mention it," Blaine answers, ducking into his next class as Sam takes off at the bell.
It doesn't really hit him until lunch. Tina sits close on his right while Sugar flanks his left, but he doesn't pay attention to their conversation, picking over his food without eating any of it. He drags a little through his next class as a result, mentally clocking out long before the bell rings. He does his best not to think about it when his mouth dries out or his head starts aching, attributing it to the lack of food and even a little mild dehydration. As subtly as he can, he dabs at his nose when it drips, almost going through an entire mini-pack of tissues by the time the last bell sounds. He doesn't notice Tina side-eyeing him as he picks up his satchel and hurries off to Cheerios' practice, not wanting to be late.
He's thoroughly congested by the time he hits the field, the fresh air doing nothing for him. The briskness in the air brings out a hacking cough that makes Sylvester pull him out of the routine and jog laps around the field after the first ten minutes, an exercise in patience as the practice drags on and on and on. He's almost wheezing by the time Sylvester blows her whistle one last time to dismiss them, scuttling off to the showers and stripping quickly so he can hop in a stall and soak.
The steamy water helps clear his head and chest a little, easing the watery feeling in his legs as he stands underneath the spray. He breathes in the steam, letting out a tiny noise of frustration when the water cools quickly, encouraging him to vacate the stall instead of lingering unnecessarily. He quickly scrubs off the worst of the sweat and turns off the faucet before it can turn chilly, drying himself off and shrugging into a fresh pair of sweats and a t-shirt. He ignores the others as he hurries out the locker room doors, not wanting to run into any jocks.
It isn't that he fears retaliation after their quick descent from popularity, but he doesn't feel up to a confrontation.
It's almost happened already. Just last week, he stayed late after school to box and lost track of time, ducking around a row of lockers when he heard a few of the hockey jocks approach. It was clear from their sullen conversation that practice hadn't gone well. He somehow managed to avoid them as he quickly packed up and left, only a sharp, "Hey!" hurrying him along as he let the door bang shut behind him. There was no pursuit then, but he didn't like to think about what would happen if, maybe, he was singled out again.
It's not going to happen again, he reminds himself, sagging into the driver's seat of his car. It's never going to happen again.
"- She is not a trick-ass hoe, and she does not sweat the haters."
Blaine arches an eyebrow as he listens to Finn and Ms. Pillsbury's little speech, trying to equate 'Diva' with their upcoming regionals competition. He knows from last year that pitting the New Directions against each other worked part of the time, bringing out the big, brassy voices that they were looking for, but it also tended to backfire a little, too, sparking arguments and straining friendships throughout the competitive season. It doesn't surprise him when the girls break out into an argument, Finn halfheartedly attempting to placate them before Ms. Pillsbury jumps into her own narrative about being a diva.
It doesn't surprise him that they organize after school the next day during their normal rehearsal time for a diva off. As loathe as he is to argue with anyone when he's fairly certain that at least a quarter of his chest is currently occupied by phlegm, he doesn't want to let the whole 'guys can be divas, too' slip under the radar. The guys need to get more fired up about their performances, and maybe showing off their inner diva-ness is just the way to do it.
And if none of the other guys want to step up to the plate and show off their inner diva-ness, then it's Blaine's responsibility to do it.
Still, he's grateful that the girls take the leads for "Diva," saving his voice for only a background accompaniment. It still sounds amazing, altogether, and by the end of their number, he can't honestly pinpoint who had the best performance. He lets Artie, Finn, and Ms. Pillsbury duke it out from their seats in the audience as his head throbs, gratefully departing once they give them their leave with a promise to inform them of their decision ASAP.
He doesn't know how he makes it to school the next morning, dully grateful that it's Thursday and he only has two more days before the weekend. He's already taken enough decongestant to leave his mouth painfully dry and his nose more drippy than ever, but he can't say if it's actually had any real effect. He hates taking medicine at all, prone to a strong reaction to many of the side effects, but it's diva week, and diva week means being on the top of his game, no matter what. Still, he doesn't feel very on top of his game, especially as he lets out another hacking cough into his sleeve.
"That doesn't sound healthy," Marley chimes in, offering a sympathetic smile as he looks at her, startled. "How long have you had it?"
"It's nothing," Blaine dismisses, tucking a new pack of mini-tissues surreptitiously into his locker. "Spying on the competition?" he adds as brightly as he can, one hand rummaging through his locker as he turns partially to face her. She rolls her eyes and assures him that he's the least of her worries. He frowns, a retort on his lips, but she spots Jake across the hall (he doesn't need to turn to look; the starry-eyed look she gets is enough) and he feels gratitude sweep him. "Go on," he urges. "You two can make heart eyes at each other in the choir room."
"Coming from Blaine Devon Hearteyes himself," Marley teases, squeezing his upper arm before idling off to meet Jake halfway, linking their arms and already talking. Blaine shakes his head, amused, as he coughs into his sleeve again, pulling out his mini pack of tissues again so he can dab at his nose.
"I brought you a cold buster kit," Tina says, appearing at his side between one blink in the next, holding out a plastic box to him.
He stares at it, stammering out a thanks as he squints against a headache, trying to listen attentively as she explains what's in it. He fails after 'cough drops,' relaxing when she wraps up with 'cold medicine.' "Aww. Thanks, Tina." It is sweet, if a little bizarre, and he appreciates the gesture even if he knows that he won't use half of the kit. "This'll have me feeling better in no time. Except for maybe the night time cold medicine."
She frowns, asking, "Why not? It's amazing," and he quickly explains that it makes him drowsy and sort of woozy. He powered through a sinus infection for almost two weeks two years ago on crackers and sheer determination before finally seeing Dalton's nurse for some antibiotics. 'Wiped out' was an understatement; he barely moved from his bed for the next three days, alternating between emailing his teachers for assignments and sleeping after sending out a blanket 'Do Not Disturb' email to his friends.
Cold medicine might not be as strong, but he isn't taking any chances, and he explains as much to Tina as he strolls down the hall, satchel slung over one shoulder. Diva week is important to him, and he isn't going to let a little cold bring him down.
Thankfully, Freddie Mercury's Don't Stop Me Now has a sort of husky undertone that conveniently disguises the raspiness of his voice as he gets up in front of the Glee club that afternoon and sings. He powers through the number like a champ, throwing himself into it and getting a little lost in it all, forgetting that he's tired and achy and his mouth is still unpleasantly dry. By the time he leans back, Jake and Ryder supporting him, some of his cloud-nine feeling wears off, euphoria replaced by exhaustion. He stumbles out of the choir room to resounding applause, smiling a little in spite of himself.
No one questions it, letting him go and departing as a whole after Finn debriefs them on some lesson or another.
Blaine changes quickly into more school appropriate attire (although he is rather fond of the leather jacket, wistfully considering incorporating it into his wardrobe), joining the Glee club for lunch and offering tired smiles at their praise before letting the buzz about diva week slip to the edge of his awareness, pushing his food around on his tray.
"You should eat something," Sam says, startling him out of his reverie as he nods at the full tray, sliding on to the bench beside him. He picks up a piece of bread and dips it into his own cup of tomato soup, adding between bites, "You can't tell me to eat a bag of Cheetos and then ignore your own lunch for three days."
Blaine shrugs, nibbling on his own salad to appease him. "I'm not skipping it."
Sam gives him a look. Blaine sighs and quietly uncaps his bottled water, taking a sip before saying, "I'm not trying to lose weight. I'm just not that hungry."
"Yeah, but you've lost like five pounds already."
Blaine stiffens a little, coolly taking another bite of his salad. Between school and Glee club and Cheerios and all the other clubs he's involved in, he hasn't had much free time. Kurt's Skype sessions and his various obligations to the Glee club members keep him busy around the clock, and if he skips a meal here or there, he usually makes up for it later. Except lately he hasn't wanted to eat at all, his taste gone and his appetite with it, and he's not immune to the fact that he has lost weight. Not much, but. Noticeable. Enough for Sam to notice, too.
"I totally respect that it's your life, but you have to eat," Sam insists, giving him a little nudge. "Okay?"
"Okay," Blaine echoes quietly.
If anything, the full lunch only makes him queasier throughout the rest of the day. Or maybe it's just the splitting headache. He doesn't know, nor have the energy or focus to care. Resting his head on his cupped palm, he dozes off for most of his English course, eyes open but mind elsewhere until the bell rings. The rest of his day passes in a similar fashion, interrupted by coughing jags that leave him sheepishly reassuring the teacher that no, no, he doesn't want to step outside and get a drink until finally he concedes after the fifth spell and does so. It doesn't help, but he does his best to muffle the coughs into his sleeve and his teacher doesn't ask him to step out again, plowing forth with the lecture until the final bell rings.
The next morning, he aches. His head aches. His neck and shoulders ache from falling asleep sitting up, halfheartedly attempting research for an essay he can't even remember writing until he saw the first draft saved on his laptop that morning. His legs are stiff, his arms heavy, his entire body slow. All he can think about on the drive over to McKinley is curling up under a thick blanket and sleeping for days, somehow forcing himself out of his car once he finds a spot and parks. No one notices him make his way to his locker, only casting him the perfunctory side-eye before returning to their own conversations. He reaches for the dial, coughing into his sleeve before turning the knob once, twice, thrice, and giving it a pull.
Nothing. He frowns, repeats the process, and realizes with a start that he entered Kurt's old combination, hastily spinning to his own. The door slides open easily as he relaxes, already reaching for his books.
"This is an intervention," Marley states, almost gently, as she pushes the locker shut. He stares at her, disbelieving, and she stares back, unmoved. "You can't work like this, B. Go home."
"I'm not going home," he insists, reaching for the locker dial again, ignoring the way that his fingers tremble finely as he does so. It opens more easily this time, his shoulders relaxing as he pulls out the requisite books, Marley's gaze boring into him. "I'll rest up this weekend and be good as new by Monday," he says thickly, sniffing. "Okay?"
Marley sighs. "If you pass out during physics, don't blame me."
"I won't," he promises, relieved as she leaves him alone with a final squeeze to his shoulder. He wants to curl up on the ground and put up a permanent 'Do Not Disturb' scene when Tina appears, all bright eyes and sympathetic smiles.
"Any better?" she asks, and he doesn't even try and hide it.
Because it's not, and he's tired of trying to argue with everyone at once, and at least Tina doesn't insist that he go home. She gives him vapor rub instead, and he smiles and thanks her, frowning when her expression falls. "What?" he manages.
It's all the permission she needs, explaining that no matter what she does, she's always just sweet. She doesn't want to be sweet, either; she wants to be fierce and in charge and exceptional. Blaine tries to think of a succinct, effective way to explain that she is, coming up short. At last, he invites her over, deciding that maybe he can muster up something sufficiently motivational that she'll be able to find her inner diva and quietly leave him alone.
Tina smiles and accepts, giving him just enough time to get his books in order before he slouches into the auditorium where the Glee club is at. The rest are already seated in a semi-circle on the stage, facing Finn; Blaine quietly slips in to the back, taking a spot next to Marley unthinkingly. She rests her head companionably against his shoulder, their legs pressed against each other from knee to hip as she rubs his back slowly. He doesn't protest, glad that Finn commandeers the conversation and their participation isn't necessary. They go over set list ideas, bouncing them back and forth while Sam and Unique offer the majority of the commentary. The diva cat-fighting seems to have died down, at least. Unique still takes charge after twenty minutes or so with a killer showstopper, forcing the rest of them to get up and watch from the wings.
Blaine misses Marley's warmth almost immediately, folding his arms as he watches Unique perform. It doesn't last long, but it quickly turns into a competition of sorts, with Marley even stepping to the plate with a striking rendition of Bulletproof. Blaine offers her a congratulatory smile as he applauds with the rest, gut churning once more by the time the bell rings.
He barely makes it through his first official class without letting his head drop to the table, sinking lower and lower in his seat as time goes by. He doesn't perk up for any of his morning courses, skipping lunch in favor of hanging out in the library for a quick study session. It turns into sleeping through his next two classes, jerking awake when someone jabs him with a ruler. "Oh. Cool. You're not dead," Artie says, sounding relieved as he wheels away. Blaine tries to answer that of course not, he was just studying, checking his watch and lurching to his feet.
He spends the next ten minutes hurriedly tracking down his teachers and apologizing profusely, handing in the work and assuring that he will get the notes from someone. They both eye him doubtfully before nodding and accepting it, shooing him out of their classrooms so that they can finish packing up for the day. He's one of the last students in the hallways by the time he reaches his own locker, fuzzy-mouthed and heavy-headed from his impromptu nap.
"I was wondering if you would show up."
Blaine doesn't even turn his head, just carefully prying his locker open and stuffing his books back into it, nudging it shut when he's finished.
"I told Tina that you promised to tutor me and couldn't meet up with her tonight," Marley adds, idling closer. "You 'forgot' about our study date." She shrugs, eloquently, and Blaine slouches a little in relief.
"Thank you," he says, staring at his locker but offering a slight smile before frowning. "Why would you do that? Aren't you worried she might - "
Think we were dating?
That's the beautiful thing about Marley, he knows: she doesn't look at him as a suitor but as a friend. He's still not entirely sure how Tina feels about the whole situation. She hasn't been defense about Kurt, but it's hard to gauge her, sometimes.
"She won't," Marley says simply, and Blaine nods. Either she won't and it won't matter, or she will and he'll handle it another day. "Can I at least give you a ride?" she asks, almost pleadingly.
Blaine bites his lip before nodding once. He follows her out to the student parking lot, wordlessly leading her over to his car. "Do you know how to - " he begins, but she puts her hand over his and accepts the keys.
"Of course," she says, sliding into the driver's seat of his Jeep while he does the same on the other side, buckling in. She pulls out of the parking space and sets off, Blaine's eyelids drooping shut in spite of his silent promise to stay awake and prove that he could have driven himself home if he wanted to. He's invited her over enough - not frequently, he recalls, a little amazed at how well she remembers the path, but enough - that he doesn't need to instruct her. It's not a competition, he realizes, between one blink and the next, his cheek smushed against the window as he listens to the quiet thrum of the engine. He can trust her not to circulate rumors about how pathetic he feels, and so he lets go a bit of the tension and just lets someone else take the wheel.
He revives enough to get out of the car and follow Marley inside (she digs the key out of his satchel, he notes dimly, still more asleep than awake). She wordlessly peels the satchel off his shoulder and sets it down on the kitchen table, steadying him when he sways a little. "You're not actually going to pass out on me, are you?" she asks, sounding genuinely curious as she guides him over to the table. He shrugs, instinctively sliding into the nearest seat and looking up at her.
"You don't have to stay," he points out, reaching up to rub his forehead.
"I know," Marley says, lifting an eyebrow as she picks up the cold buster kit. "What - "
Marley pops the lid open, laying out the contents on the counter. "Wow. You're sure she's not still - "
She squeezes his shoulder once. "You might want to reiterate that you're gay," she suggests.
"I know." He rubs his eyes, adding, "What's in it?"
"Soup, cough drops, vitamin c tablets, and Nyquil," Marley explains. "What do you feel like?"
"Cute." She picks up the Nyquil, uncapping it and pouring out a dose, sliding it across the table to him. "Drink."
He wrinkles his nose, obliging. "Gross."
"It's supposed to discourage you from getting sick," she points out.
"Kind of counterproductive at this point." He coughs into his sleeve, adding, "I think it discourages people from taking cold medicine."
She rolls her eyes at him, hooking an arm underneath his and tugging him to his feet. A soft whine of protest escapes him as she propels him towards the stairwell, more than willing to just put his head down on the table and never move again. "Go on," she urges. "Do you need anything else?"
Blaine shakes his head, drawing in a breath to say that he can handle it before letting out a racking series of coughs into his sleeve. He's aware of Marley's hand on his back steadying him until the fit passes, his breath wheezing in before gusting out. "I'm okay," he says.
"My thoughts exactly," is all Marley says, nudging him again until he starts up the stairs. He stumbles once, grateful that she puts a hand on his back to steady him again, his head swimming. "Go on," she repeats, giving him a tiny push until he lifts one foot in front of the other and climbs the remaining steps.
He toes off his shoes before flopping back onto the pillows on his bed, not even bothering get under the covers. "Was I actually supposed to tutor you?" he asks, a little fuzzily, as he nuzzles his cheek against a pillow.
"My English grades are fine," she assures, tugging at the covers until he grudgingly scoots over, letting her pull them out from underneath him before draping them over top of him. "Better?"
He nods once in acquiescence, breathing already deepening. "Mmhm."
She squeezes his foot once fondly through the covers, setting something down on the nightstand beside him before quietly padding over to the window, pulling the shades down. Blaine relaxes as darkness settles over the room, drifting off to the quiet sound of the door sliding shut behind her.
He still doesn't know if he'll be able to gently discourage Tina from considering the possibilities of what they can't be. He doesn't know if Kurt and he are ever going to get back together. He doesn't know anything about his future, really, except ... he'll make it though it.
Author's Notes: I have the biggest soft spot for sick!Blaine. This was written for a prompt by bomercolfer.