A/N: I read an Anderberry sibling one-shot this morning that sparked the idea for this story. I'm not exactly sure where it's going yet, but I do have a vague idea. If you find the story interesting or intriguing, please review. Tell me that you'd like to read more and if there's anything you'd like to see. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Glee characters or McKinley High or the New Directions any of the real places mentioned.
Kurt Hummel's thoughts hovered around a song that he knew at some point he must have heard. The first few chords glued stubbornly in his mind and the chorus equally vibrant but the words – he could not remember the words, or at least, not well enough to sing the song that evening. Almost inaudibly humming a few soft bars to himself, Kurt tried, his brows furrowed in frustration, to jog his memory as he piled his books in his locker. His voice hit a wrong note and he shook his head, backing up the melody in his mind and trying again, bringing the note up a step and continuing through. If only he could remember the words!
With a huff, he closed his locker and turned, almost colliding bodily with a beaming brunette. He hadn't noticed Rachel trotting up to him and he started, rocking back a step as the shock settled. Rachel bounced on the balls of her feet and let out a quiet, high-pitched squeal. Kurt exhaled a sigh and closed his eyes briefly, his mood deflating as he resigned himself to what he knew would happen next. "Kurt! Kurt, you will not believe what I got in the mail last night…" The brunette began to prattle excitedly, and Kurt opened his eyes when he felt her hook an arm with his and start to guide him towards first period French.
Kurt pretended to glance away and rolled his eyes luxuriously, but he bit his tongue to avoid voicing aloud the sarcastic monologue running through his head. Hello, Rachel. It's nice to see you, too! I'm doing so well, thanks for asking! And why yes, this is Alexander McQueen… Instead, Kurt hummed, feigning interest. He was annoyed. Very annoyed. More annoyed than Rachel really deserved, and he knew it. It wasn't really her. Not really. And Kurt was smart enough to keep his anger buried far enough to keep from hurting his friend. He was mean when he was angry, and his annoyance wasn't due to Rachel's prattling. Not really.
He barely realized they'd made to their class when Rachel kissed him on the cheek and squealed again. Kurt cringed involuntarily, the kiss most highly unwelcome but it wasn't something Rachel did to him that often. Thankfully. She was just excited about…something. He thought he heard her say to him something about coming over after Glee and Kurt nodded absently, not really sure what he'd agreed to, but wanting nothing more than to shut her up and slide into his seat at the back of the class. A group of jocks in letterman jackets were already seated on the other side of the room, laughing together in a way that sounded almost menacing to Kurt who tried to get to his seat unnoticed. No such luck, and his body instinctively tensed when he heard a loudly murmured, 'faggot' accompanied by another round of laughter just before he reached his desk. He ignored them, his eyes narrowing as he stubbornly avoided their gaze, chin lifting pridefully, though in his chest, his heart began to race.
He sat down and Rachel, who was already sitting beside him and pulling out her 'Hello Kitty' pencil holder, turned to him and said, as if nothing at all had happened, "Oh and Kurt! I almost forgot…" Kurt swallowed thickly as he gently removed his notebook and a pencil and laid them carefully almost mechanically on his desk. "That's nice, Rachel," he murmured, though what it was she'd forgotten, or what exactly he was responding to, he couldn't have said. The teacher walked in at that moment, though, thankfully saving him from further conversation – at least for the next 50 minutes or so.
While Kurt trudged through another depressing day at McKinley High in Lima, Ohio, a boy he'd never met was sitting vigil at the bedside of his mother. The only sounds in the small hospital room were the beeps of monitors and the steady mechanical wheeze of the breathing machine. The boy was angry. So freaking angry. He was alone in the room, save for the woman in the bed. If he hadn't already known it was his mother he might have not believed it. Both of her eyes were swollen, dark, and bruised. Her hair was partly shaved, a clean gauze bandage wrapped around the side of her head where the doctors had had to do surgery. To reduce the swelling, they'd said
He'd barely slept in three days, and hadn't spoken to anyone – not the police, not the doctors, not the social workers who wanted to get his statement for the file – since his principal had come to pull him out of seventh period. He refused to leave the room, he pitched a fit when the social worker had put a hand on his arm, he hadn't slept. If it hadn't been for a nurse, whose name he never bothered to learn, taking a chance despite his unresponsiveness and bringing him food, he probably wouldn't have eaten anything either.
The adults who were now responsible for him were far more frustrated than they were concerned. They needed his statement, needed cooperation, and unfortunately they didn't have a legal reason to arrest the little punk. It was the nurse that brought him food that overheard their conversation that very first day, and that same nurse who told off the over-worked public servants for being heartless. ("He might lose his mother! What is wrong with you people?") To the surprise of both the social worker and the investigating officer, the nurse promised to keep an eye on him and enlisted the help of her colleagues. ("He won't leave the hospital. I'll make sure of it.")
That nurse snuck him food, leaving it for him with only kind words the boy didn't hear, leaving without expecting a reply. She'd brought him food again not long ago, but he'd ignored her once again, all of his attention focused on the woman with the tube coming out of her mouth, his hand clutching tightly to hers. He would eat once his stomach forced him to acknowledge his need for sustenance, but not yet. Still, it had been three days since he'd followed Principal Brewer out of his classroom, ignoring the sniggering and taunting "oooh"s of the students behind him. It had been three days since he'd last seen his mother's eyes, watching him with a cold, distant sadness from her perch near the kitchen table. He remembered her eyes as she'd brought a cigarette to her lips with trembling fingers and dragged hard on it.
That morning he'd glanced at her, his heart wrenching at the sight. He'd paused for only a moment and watching as she'd exhaled a cloud of smoke. She wasn't eating enough. He'd hoped against hope that she might actually speak to him this time, tell him she loved him, wish him a happy day, but this was life, not a fairytale – and as much as his desire to tell her he loved her despite it all consumed and wrenched at his heart, he simply couldn't bring himself to do it. He hadn't done it. Instead he'd left the house like he did almost every morning – in silence. He hadn't any idea that it might very well be his final chance to speak to her. He hadn't had any idea that the next time he'd see his mother would be in the ICU of Columbus Presbyterian.
Rachel Berry arrived home that evening with a light skip in her step and a bright smile on her face. She'd gotten to sing three different solos during Glee rehearsal and had nailed every single note (as if it could have been any other way!). The brunette hummed happily to herself as she placed her key in the lock and turned it, then pushed her way into the front door of the large, elegant home she shared with her fathers. "Dads," she chirped in a bright sing-song, "I'm home!" Still humming, Rachel removed her pea-coat and her hat and hung them on the hooks by the entrance. She strolled towards the kitchen where her dads were usually waiting on the days she got home late because of Glee.
When she saw them seated at the kitchen table, she paused, her eyes widening slightly when she noticed the expressions on their faces and the way they held their hands together tightly. "Dads?" she asked, her voice only wavering in its confidence slightly as she her smile faded into a look of concern as she advanced a few steps towards them. They didn't look up at her, and suddenly the worst case scenarios started running through the young diva's mind. "Dads," she tried again. Wringing her hands, Rachel asked, worry now clearly breaking through her tone, "What's wrong? Is everything ok?" Silently, she begged the universe, Please don't let it be Barbra. Please don't let it be Barbra…
Again it took a moment. Hiram and LeRoy looked at one another sadly, then Hiram gave his husband's hand a squeeze and finally looked up at their one and only daughter. He smiled weakly at her. "Have a seat, Sweetheart. There's something we need to talk to you about." With her heart thundering loudly in her chest, Rachel did as she was told, though now she was really getting scared. Her fathers had never spoken this seriously to her – never. She looked between her fathers. Hiram looked distressed but determined. LeRoy just looked like he was about to faint.
Rachel frowned a little and cleared her throat, smoothing the front of her sweater. She straightened in her seat and folded her hands on the table in front of her. "Ok," she said with as much dignified maturity as the teen girl could muster. "What do you need to talk to me about?"