AN- Here. Have some unedited catharsis.
He feels numb. It's too surreal. How can this be his life? How can this be anyone's life? It's unfair. It's... it's more than unfair. Unfair is too small a word. The "unfairness" is ripping him apart. Deep inside, he feels as though the "unfairness" is suffocating him to death.
With heavy concentration he forces himself to suck in a deep, shuddering breath, then let it out... bit by tiny, aching bit. His entire body is shaking with the concentration it takes to perform this simple task. How can it be so hard to do something so simple? It's just breathing... right? It shouldn't be so hard to breathe, yet it is.
It shouldn't be so hard to do a lot of things that are now common place in his life.
It shouldn't be so hard.
It shouldn't be so hard, being a father.
It is so fucking hard.
He quickly shakes his head, the unwelcome feelings of sheer panic and fear, the ones that have been slowly torturing him for the last few hours start welling up inside of him, threatening to incapacitate him. He looks down, and his hands are trembling. He wrings them anxiously, trying to stop it from happening, but knows even before another second can pass that there's no stopping it now.
It's going to happen. He's going to break.
He never breaks. He doesn't allow himself. Ever. That's how he survives, how he thrives in this chaotic and heartbreaking world he lives in.
He stands quickly, heart racing, and quickly shuts the hospital room door, so that he can at least have some privacy in his weakness. The second the door closes those feelings of "unfairness" that have been threatening to overtake him, choke him, suffocate him, finally break through. A loud choking sob escapes from his mouth, and even in his anguish he's eerily aware of how he sounds like a desperate, wounded animal.
So many words are racing through his mind... Strong. Commendable. Amazing. Inspirational. Rare. Blessed. A rock. Exceptional. These and so many more. Words that have been spoken of him by friends and family for the last eight years, ever since his little girl came into this world. Words that have encouraged him, made him feel loved, even if he felt undeserving of them a majority of the time. Words that unfortunately have had the negative side effect of making him feel as though people view him as this infallible being. He can't break. He will no longer be defined by those words if he breaks. He will simply be a failure.
He knows the truth, somewhere deep inside, that the idea of being a failure simply because of a breakdown is ridiculous and irrational. Rationale rarely has place in a crisis, however.
And his life is full of crisis. That's just the way it is when you have a sick child.
His pacing quickens and his breaths become erratic and stuttered. He glances around desperately, as if he hopes for some type of hope or comfort to appear out of thin air. It doesn't, of course. He can feel his face crumple. His lips turn down on either side. His chin shakes and quivers. Huge, hot tears leak from his eyes, and he buries his face in his hands.
His legs give out and he stumbles backwards, smacking up against the wall then sliding down to the floor. A searing pain stabs through his chest. He hazily thinks of the time a friend questioned the validity of the term "heartbreaking", and wasn't it just a word used to induce drama. No one could actually feel their heart breaking. Right?
He's watching his child, however, not knowing whether she will make it through the night. He clutches at his chest, knuckles white with the exertion.
Yes, it is entirely possible to feel your heart break.
Memories of the past several hours zig zag through his mind; how this escalated so quickly and though it shouldn't surprise him by now, after eight years of this, it still does...
Blaine's voice coming from her room in a panic.
"Kurt, call 911! It's her breathing! It's bad!"
The horrible moment when they fight, even if just for a moment, in the midst of their panic.
"Why didn't you check on her sooner?! If you had been paying closer attention we could have caught this before it was this bad!"
"Now is not the moment for this! Don't fucking blame me!"
Diving into the ambulance, Blaine standing in the driveway, tears running down his face as he holds their toddler on his hip. Kurt mouths the words "I'm sorry" just before the paramedic slams the door shut, and Blaine nods quickly.
The fight is forgotten. I doesn't matter. Their love is stronger than this.
The first stab of heart break and empathetic fear when he sees the panic in her eyes as she's laid on the gurney, struggling to breathe.
The second stab of heart break, this time accompanied by a fear that threatens to swallow him whole when the panic leaves her eyes and an empty dullness takes its place.
His frustration with the nurse who is pulling him away from his daughter to answer generic questions from a form.
"Has she been complaining of shortness of breath?"
"She doesn't talk."
The nurse keeps on talking as though he's an idiot, not even bothering to look him in the eye as she fills out her paperwork.
"I know that it's hard for children to communicate, but please think back to anything she might have said to you in the last week. I need you to help me out here."
Kurt snaps. He yanks the forms from her hand.
"Read her fucking chart! She has a severe cognitive impairment and is autistic. She is basically an eighteen month old in an eight year old's body! She! Doesn't! Talk! She has a history of RSV and was born with multiple holes in her heart! Is that HELPFUL enough?!"
Guilt floods over him immediately, but thankfully the nurse's eyes become soft and she grips his hand in understanding. She simply nods and ushers him to the room where his little girl is lying unconscious in the bed. He turns to her shakily, starting to apologize. The nurse shakes her head quickly.
"I'm the one who's sorry."
They sit down to finish the questions, and this time the nurse actually listens.
The doctor's words.
"It's not... it's not good. She can definitely pull through. She has before. The next twenty-four hours are critical though."
Sinking into a chair as the doctor and nurses leave the room. Soaking in the vision of how the oxygen tubes and IV somehow make her seem even smaller than she already is.
That was twenty-two hours ago. She's not improved.
His entire body feels as though it's betraying him. Everything about him is weak, breaking. He wants to curl up on the floor and sob until he can no longer feel. He wants to scream at the top of his lungs and break things. He wants to hit something. He wants to run until his legs grow numb. He wants to escape, even if just for a little while.
Can't we just catch a fucking break?! Why can't we catch a break?! WHY?!
He scrambles forward to his knees, hands clasped to his chest. He's rocking back and forth, the motion soothing him slightly, calming his breathing just enough so that he no longer feels as though he will retch.
"Please, God," he whispers harshly. "I know I haven't always... but I can't..."
He shakes uncontrollably.
"She's my baby!" He sobs. "Please! Please, please, please, just please...
He's repeating this over and over. It's almost a mantra. He's rocking and shaking and sobbing, all the while whispering "please" in a broken, cracked voice.
He's so caught up in his meltdown, so caught up in his grief and desperate pleas to a God he's not even certain exists.
He almost misses it.
His head jerks up, eyes wide as he silences himself. He strains his ears, not yet daring to actually look at the bed.
He's on his feet faster than he's ever moved in his life, he's fairly certain. His heart is pounding in his ears. His world is spinning. His eyes are still awash with tears, so his vision is blurred at first. He swipes over them in a harsh movement, and that's when he sees it.
The bright blue eyes are slowly blinking open. The chest that previously showed almost no movement is now heaving gently with small yet full breaths. The cheeks that were so frighteningly pale now have the slightest tinge of pink to them. The smile...
And that's where he stops. That's where he breaks again, only this time for the good. That bright, contagious smile is tiredly playing at the corners of her rosebud lips as her daddy comes into view.
That smile. That beautiful, miraculous smile. That smile which shows his daughter's eternal optimism. That smile which shows her love for life, despite the hand she's been dealt. That smile. The one that is almost always accompanied by the most amazing hugs you've ever received in your life. The one that reminds you to stop wallowing in self pity. The one that fills you with joy from the mere sight.
A tiny, soft hand clutches at his, and the peace is automatic.
A touch, a smile and a word. That's all it takes and the panic and fear are gone. The anger at the unfairness fades away into oblivion. Nothing else matters, because she's here. She's still here.
He sobs joyful tears, choking out a laugh with a crack in his voice. His hand smooths back the bangs that have matted to her forehead. He squeezes her hand gently.
His smile, for just a moment... it outshines his little girl's.
"Yes, baby. It's okay. You're okay. Dada's here."