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.

To say that Blaine wasn't having the best morning would be an understatement. His hair was a mess, sloppily gelled down after a hasty run through of his morning routine after his alarm failed to wake him up. He'd skipped his usual cup of coffee in lieu of arriving mere moments before the first bell. Already in a formidable mood due to a headache he couldn't shake and a sinking feeling about a physics' test he had neglected to study for (he'd fallen asleep in the midst of an English essay some time last night), he didn't want to think about anything other than Glee club and his first three classes.

"Dude," Sam said, startling him enough that he smacked his elbow against the edge of the locker, wincing as he pulled out the books he needed for his first three classes. "I thought we were going to meet before school to talk about Glee club?"

"I know, I know," Blaine assured, waving a hand absentmindedly and ignoring the sting in his elbow as he rummaged through his locker for a list of songs. "Here, tell me which ones you like and we'll go from there, okay?" he added distractedly, handing the sheet of paper to Sam and already darting off to his first class as the bell rang.

Thankfully, his economics teacher never seemed to mind if he listened or slept, so he spent the time alternately texting Kurt under the table and reviewing some of his physics' notes. Unconvinced that the improvised studying would do much good, he felt his stomach sink when the bell rang, gathering his materials hastily into his satchel and darting out the door.

"Woah," Joe chided, catching him mid-step. "Easy, dude."

"Sorry," Blaine said, already running interference mentally as he saw Marley approaching.

"You look frazzled," she greeted, reaching up to playfully tweak his hair as she linked their arms. "What happened? Bad night?"

"Bad morning," Blaine corrected, forcing himself to slow down to match pace. His next class wasn't far, his urgency unfounded, but the lack of caffeine in his system made him antsy, destructive. All he wanted to do was find the nearest coffeeshop and chug a medium drip until he felt normal.

Maybe I should back off the coffee, he mused, recalling Kurt's lackadaisical comments about his addiction. He'd introduced Kurt to the splendors of drinking coffee regularly, and while Kurt wasn't complaining when he offered to pick up the bill when they went out, he'd mentioned on more than one occasion his general dislike for Blaine's blatant over-consumption. It wasn't that he needed it, Blaine reminded himself, nodding along to something Marley was saying. He just … he craved it. On mornings when he had too much on his mind and too little time, he needed it.

Politely excusing himself at the bell with promises to talk more in Glee club, he squeezed her hand lightly before darting off to his next class. He managed to slide in unnoticed to one of the back rows, quietly pulling out his text book and notes and breathing a soft sigh of relief when he noticed that it was a sub.

Letting his head rest on his cupped hand was a mistake, he reflected, his chin hitting the table hard as his arm slipped some time later. Several heads turned at the sound, their English professor pausing mid-lecture before resuming seamlessly. Blinking sleep-heavy eyes slowly, Blaine tried to refocus, forcing himself to take notes as he listened, nodding along and offering a quiet response when she called on him.

Still, his head ached and his mouth was dry by the time class was dismissed. Feet dragging, he was relieved to find the hallways relatively quiet as he made the short trek between the English department and the choir room. Half of the New Directions were already present, chatting among themselves while Blaine idled slowly into the room, bee-lining for Sam and Brad.

"There you are," Sam said, draping an arm thoughtlessly around Blaine's shoulders as he drew them into their huddle. "Okay, so, I'm all for Mamma Mia - "

Blaine let him ramble, belatedly recalling that his input was required as Sam gave him a little shake. "Sounds great," he said, smiling even when Sam frowned and let him go, propelling him towards the piano. He slid onto the bench next to Brad, ignoring his side-eye as he ran his fingers over the keys perfunctorily.

It took a few moments to get adjusted to it, to slow down enough to remember where he was and what he was doing, but once he did, it was immensely calming. There was something about the choir room that just made him feel - safe. Protected. Like he could set a part of himself free and trust the others not to let others abuse it. Like he could let himself go.

Sam's diction from the center of the room was a calming backdrop to his thoughts, letting him drift without fully severing his ties to reality. He'd been in and out of hyper focus for weeks now, struggling to balance Kurt and everything else.

He'd known that his problem was relying too much on Kurt and their relationship. He'd needed to break away a little, to find a healthy balance that would enable him to set goals for himself that he could attain without outward support. He'd needed to drop his dependency on Kurt's friendship alone and find others closer to him that he could rely upon. He'd needed to step back and re-evaluate his choices, and ultimately, he'd made changes.

But he hadn't let Kurt go. In the midst of it all, he'd never gotten over him. He'd never wanted to, either.

And now that Kurt was finally letting him back in, giving him a chance … he wasn't going to let that go, either.

Even if it meant sleepless nights, cold sheets, and empty spaces.

He didn't realize he'd dozed off again until he almost hit the keys, his head jerking up as Sam clapped his hands together. "Any questions?"

"I have one," Kitty said sweetly, lowering her raised hand. "Did the hobbit catch any of that?"

The back of Blaine's neck flushed as he straightened on the bench. "Of course I did," he responded coolly, refusing to give ground. "We're taking musical numbers that we don't traditionally see ourselves performing and putting them on display. This is a week about acceptance of those quirkier sides to ourselves." Shrugging, he finished, "It's a guilty pleasures' week."

"Exactly," Sam said, relieved and pleased. "Any other questions? No? Awesome. So, that just leaves us to our next topic of discussion - "

Blaine zoned out again as Sam wrote Regionals on the board, letting the conversation wash over him until the Glee clubbers moved to gather their things. Sliding off the bench and pulling his satchel over one shoulder, he barely made it two steps before Sam put a hand over his shoulder, stopping him in place.

"Are you okay?"

Blaine frowned, tugging his arm out from under him. "Of course I am," he murmured. "Why wouldn't I be?"

Sam shrugged, letting go. "You've been zoning out a lot lately."

"Just haven't been sleeping well," Blaine dismissed, striding quickly to the door. "Kurt and I - " He bit his lip, swallowed, and finished quietly, "We talk."

"That's cool, dude," Sam said. "Just make sure you don't forget about us, too, okay? With Finn and Mr. Schuester gone, we need you now more than ever."

"I know." Then, resting one hand on the door frame and turning to look back at Sam, "I know."

"Good," was all Sam said.

Blaine left him, then, crossing the distance separating him and his next class before promptly dozing off. He trudged off to lunch, sliding onto his usual seat between Joe and Sugar on the bench, ignoring their idle chatter as he picked over his baby carrots. He forced himself to eat them after a time, one by one, bite by bite, until they were finished.

It didn't help.

His headache didn't abate in the slightest with the added onslaught of a hundred of students chattering among themselves, and he quietly excused himself after a moment with a murmured promise to return. He picked up his tray and dumped its contents in the nearest bin, ignoring the concerned look Tina cast his way. He'd already survived a chest cold, and a dozen other minor hassles in between. He could manage the day-to-day stress of living at McKinley. He could.

Slipping in to the library, he selected the most comfortable arm chair he could find and pulled out his phone, already sending off a text to Kurt.

It took Kurt ten minutes to respond, a quick vibration jolting Blaine out of his reverie. He smiled at the It's good! Isabelle's finally back, thank God, before typing out a reply to his inquiry about Glee club.

He reluctantly pocketed his phone at the lunch bell, assuring Kurt that he would Skype him later, or call him, or something. They'd made it a ritual, to talk more, to think more about them and respect each other's boundaries. They weren't as close as they once were - Blaine knew, in some small, dark corner of his heart, that they never would be, not in the same way - but they were closer. Closer than they had been. Close enough to breathe again.

"I'm telling you, it's like the Mayan apocalypse," Brittany was insisting as he stepped out of the library, Sam frowning pensively at her as she gesticulated. "I watched the History channel and it's totally true this time."

"I'm pretty sure the last time that happened was like, during the dinosaurs," Sam said slowly, leaning against the wall as Blaine walked by. "You know, the one that wiped everything out fifty five millions years ago."

"Sixty five," Blaine corrected reflexively, drawing two sets of eyes as he repeated, "It wiped everything out sixty five million years ago."

"There's three hundred and sixty five days in a year," Brittany insisted, refusing to be deterred. "It's the sixty fifth day, the same day that the asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs."

"Britt - "

Blaine didn't hear the click. He didn't hear the first scream.

All he heard was the shot.

And then he felt red as his shoulder turned into a sunburst of pain.

He hit the floor before he heard the next scream.


Author's Notes: Gleekoutbr spoiled that in 4x18, "Shooting Star," a gunshot will be fired but no one will be harmed. It will create panic.

I tweaked the 'no one will be harmed' part, as you can see.

More to come soon!

Review?