It started with a headache, likely brought on by staying up late for a Skype date with Kurt that never happened. He didn't think anything of it at the time, knowing that it would go away with a couple of Advil and a good nights sleep — if that was even possible with everything he had to do that day. The Super Side Kicks Appreciation Club ran until four-thirty and after that he was expected at Tina's house to work on a recruitment number to help fill the last two spots in glee club. After Blaine was finished there he still had a personal statement to finish for his application to NYADA.
He was over-scheduled and stressed out which was both a blessing and a curse. While it kept him busy enough that he didn't have time to worry about Kurt's growing distance, it was also taking a toll on his body and getting to bed early was next to impossible.
The headaches weren't a constant thing, but they happened often enough. Usually he woke up with a sharp pain in his head that faded by third period. They didn't often happen during the day and by the time he returned home for the night, they were a distant memory buried behind pop quizzes, ignorant teachers, more ignorant students, Glee and his girls — Tina, Sugar, and Brittany.
After the first few weeks, he began waking up in the middle of the night with pain so blinding that he wanted to claw his brain out for relief. Even the sound of running water - which was a necessity if he wanted to be able to take Advil — felt like a marching band was stomping around in his head. On those nights he downed a handful of pills with little regard to recommended dosages. It wasn't healthy for his liver, he knew, but it was the only thing that could get him back to bed. He always meant to ask his mother about it in the morning but, after a rough night's sleep, he was usually rushing out of the door, desperate to make it to first period before the bell rang.
He started taking medicine every night before falling asleep and again with breakfast. It didn't erase the ache, but it dulled the pain enough that it was easy to ignore. The slight burning behind his eyes became the new regular for him. Between college applications, a failing long-distance relationship, becoming the "New Rachel," countless new club meetings, student council, and three AP classes, it was no wonder that he was stressed all the time.
It would be better next year, he told himself. He'd be in New York with Kurt and all of his stress would go away. He just had to survive this year.
The dizziness came next, but that was a natural progression from headaches and perpetual tiredness. When he tripped over himself constantly while mini-golfing with Sam and practically fainted when walking to the car, he was sent home with strict orders to rest for the rest of the weekend so he would be healthy for the presidential debate next week. He could recognize that a spinning room was a sign of illness, but he figured at most he was coming down with a cold.
When Monday hit and he was still feeling shitty, Blaine debated going in for a check up. However, his doctor didn't have any available appointments that worked between school, Glee, student council and all of his club meetings so he put it off. He was found throwing up in the bathroom a few minutes before the debate started complaining of nausea, so Coach Sylvester gave him a miracle shot that performed wonders. Blaine not only made it through the debate with flying colors, but he survived the rest of the week without a single sign of illness. When the following week came and he didn't have so much as a headache, he figured that he was finally getting back to himself again.
What's up, sexy? You want to come over?
That was how it all started — a Facebook message from a boy Blaine had apparently met on Grindr, which was absurd because Blaine had never been on Grindr a day in his life. Except that when he looked on the very last page of his phone where he rarely checked but where all new apps downloaded to, there it was - bright orange with a foreboding skull on it. A thorough check of his iTunes receipts revealed record of him downloading the application two weeks prior and then again paying for the upgrade two days ago at one in the morning.
Blaine had no memory of ever doing this which was scary enough on its own, but he clearly had. When he opened up his chat log, there were at least a dozen old conversations saved up — intensely sexual conversations in which Blaine propositioned men twice his age and exchanged shirtless and occasionally naked pictures with at least two guys from Lima University, one of them being Eli C.
He was a complete whore and he hadn't even meant to be. Blaine had always pictured himself as one of those men that stood by his man through thick and thin, but Kurt had only been gone two weeks when he'd first downloaded the application. The thought of what he'd done to their relationship, to Kurt's trust in him, with all of these messages made him violently ill and he threw up in the bathroom, but not before sending the mysterious Eli C. a response.
I can be there in forty-five minutes.
Blaine felt zero remorse the entire time he was with Eli, which should have been a red flag, but Kurt had practically hung up on him when Blaine had tried to explain that he needed him and Blaine just couldn't be bothered with caring. Eli was slightly older and clearly knew what he was doing and Blaine was only concerned with doing what felt right, his mind playing dirty tricks on him by telling him that Kurt wouldn't care. Telling him that Kurt was likely out doing the same thing every night, which was why he never picked up the phone or held to their dates.
As soon as Eli left the bed to go get them water after they'd both come for a second time, Blaine seemed to come back to himself and realized what he'd done. He hadn't planned on meeting up with Eli or leading him on. Sleeping with him had never been on his agenda, either. That was most people's excuse and it was always bullshit, sure, but it was the honest truth.
Blaine was a good kid and a great boyfriend. He wasn't the type of person to cheat and it wasn't like him to run off to a stranger's house for a hookup. For all he'd known, he could have been walking into a murderer's or rapist's home. He'd been completely reckless and careless with his life and the worst part was, it had felt good. Blaine had acted without even thinking about the consequences and that wasn't like him.
He ran out of Eli's home with barely a goodbye, feeling sicker than he had in weeks. He scrubbed his skin raw that night in the shower to get rid of the dirty feeling and he was disgusted with himself enough to throw up every day for the next two weeks, leading him to wonder if he hadn't been drugged. Was that the reason why he couldn't remember contacting those men? It was crazy to even consider, but fourteen days of pure misery was making him a bit loopy.
Blaine put off traveling to New York as long as he could — not because he didn't want to tell Kurt, he knew that keeping this a secret was never an option and Blaine wasn't capable of lying to Kurt — but because he'd been too sick to travel. When Kurt e-mailed him a very loving Sweetest Day card, he knew that he couldn't put it off any longer. Dying of the plague or not, Blaine went to New York.
They broke up, which should have made sense to Blaine after what he'd done, but it didn't. His entire life had somehow spiraled out of control and he still wasn't sure how it had happened. It was like another person had taken over his body because his actions weren't his own. Not only had he cheated on the love of his life, but Blaine had actually tried to blame the entire thing on Kurt, like it was somehow his fault that Blaine had become a raging whore.
Confusion became a new permanent state for him, going well with the loneliness, self-hate, perpetual illness and overall feeling of depression.
For several days after the breakup he felt worse than he had ever felt in his life, which he wasn't sure was even possible, but apparently it was. Not only was he still nauseous and suffering from head splitting migraines, but he was weak. Standing up at any speed faster than a dying grandmother caused the entire world to start spinning far too quickly. He screamed at his friends for no good reason and his vision would blur so badly that he thought he might have to get glasses.
That was what he got for breaking the heart of his soul mate. Karma was a bitch and she certainly was hell bent on punishing him for his vast sins.
It happened one Thursday afternoon during rehearsals for Grease — and when had he even auditioned for the show, because he couldn't remember. It seemed like his entire life was in a trance — Finn and Artie were sitting at the director's table watching him try and run through 'Beauty School Dropout.' The girls had all been cast as his backup dancers and singers, but they just couldn't seem to get the number right. Artie kept telling him that he was off while Kitty insulted him under her breath. Blaine was getting frustrated because he was trying and why didn't anybody seem to comment on the fact that the girls all sounded off key? They were singing so quietly and their voices kept going in and out. It was rather hard to play off of, so why was Artie picking on him? He rubbed at his temples, feeling his headache begin again.
"Alright, let's take a break and move on to blocking out the routine," Finn said, clearly frustrated at continuing to work with zero results. "Blaine, work on that at home more, this shouldn't be a problem for you."
"Of course," he said, blushing and wanting to crawl into a hole and die. He wanted more than anything to be able to call Kurt and complain about it all, but Kurt had already sent back all of his apology gifts — some of them were torn to pieces before being shipped back, including an adorable stuffed bear that hadn't done anything to deserve losing all of its stuffing — so he knew that option was gone.
Not that Kurt picked up the phone when you were together, Blaine thought bitterly.
It was humiliating. He'd been voted the "New Rachel." It was in him that the entire club had placed their faith, what if he couldn't do it? If he couldn't sing one song in a musical where he hadn't even been cast as the lead, how was he supposed to lead them to Nationals this year? He would never forgive himself if they didn't win Sectionals in three weeks.
The dance steps weren't hard, he knew. Mike and Brittany had shown them to him earlier in the week. He had grown more clumsy in the last few weeks, but it hadn't affected his dancing until now. He was surprised to find himself struggling so much.
"Blaine, get your head in the game," Finn yelled as Blaine tripped over his own feet during a simple turn.
"Sorry," he grumbled, growing angry at the constant nagging. He was off his game, sure, but couldn't they just lay off of it for a little bit? He wasn't nearly as bad as Finn used to be.
"What is with you?" Tina asked, giving him a worried look. "You've never had trouble getting choreography before."
"I guess I'm just a little sick, I'll be fine," Blaine shrugged off her concern, not realizing that Artie could hear him.
"If Mercedes can dance and sing at Nationals through food poisoning, you can do this," Artie said, a little too harshly in his opinion. "If you can't do this, we'll cast somebody else as Teen Angel."
Blaine was about to respond that it wouldn't be necessary, that he'd be fine, but instead he ended up falling on top of Sugar as she spun into him and he tried to dip her like they were supposed to.
By the end of practice, his understudy had stepped in and Blaine had to sit in the audience and watch on in shame as some fumbling freshman managed to get down the steps that he hadn't been able to. It was embarrassing. He wanted, more than anything, to talk to Kurt about it, or even Rachel, but he'd burned that bridge when he'd slept with Eli. So he put on a brave face and was a team player. It was only temporary anyway. Artie would let him back in the show after his temper cooled off.
The next few weeks went by in a blur of illness and depression until he found himself at opening night of Grease feeling wholly unprepared to perform in front of an entire auditorium when he could barely remember his steps. There were a lot of things he was forgetting recently, like somebody warning him that Kurt would be there. It was making him feel off his game and his limbs grew uncoordinated in a way that wouldn't aid his performance.
"After we destroy this number and show everyone that we're the real stars of this school, I'm planning on telling Finn we are singing 'Circus' as a duet for Sectionals," Sugar said, already in Frenchy's opening costume. "Daddy's got a choreographer working on it for us."
She continued to lament how the two of them could win the New Directions Sectionals if only they were given a chance and he wanted to explain that he was alright with Jake being given his solo. He wanted to tell her that Jake is a great dancer and with a bit more confidence an excellent lead vocalist. 'Circus', at least the way she was proposing they do it, was a bit too raunchy for the judges, he tried to say but all that came out was a garbled mess that didn't resemble anything unless that teacher in Charlie Brown was actually speaking a real language, because that was what came out of his mouth when he tried to speak.
"Are you drunk? Because if you mess up my number because you're bummed your ex is here, I'm uninviting you to my after-party," she said, tactful as ever.
"I'm fine," he said, or at least tried to say, but all that came out was a slurred mess neither of them understood. He tried again, concentrating on forming each syllable carefully on his tongue, but it didn't come out right.
"Maybe you should drink some coffee to sober up?" she suggested, handing him a dollar she'd had tucked in her shirt.
He could try to tell her that he wasn't drunk, but it wouldn't have been successful. His tongue felt like it was lead, cemented to the bottom of his mouth. The only feeling he could equate it to was when the dentist had numbed his mouth to pull a tooth, but this was a million times worse than that and it was scary not understanding why it was happening to him.
He should have gone to the hospital at that moment. The second he realized he was suffering from more than just a persistent flu he should have let his understudy step in and gone to the Emergency Room. It was stupid of him but he already felt like such a failure to everyone, from Kurt all the way to the New Directions, and he just wanted to know that he could do something right in their eyes. The show must go on, they said.
So even while his entire tongue had gone numb, he found himself making his way into a makeup chair to get ready as the curtain came up on the opening number. If there was one thing to be thankful for, it was that he wouldn't be needed onstage until the second act. That was plenty of time for him to regain feeling in his tongue, right? Whenever his foot fell asleep it only ever took a minute or so for the feeling to come back and this couldn't be much different than that.
He was going to be fine, he told himself as he looked up at the ceiling and willed himself not to cry. This kind of thing was probably more common than he knew and it was silly for him to get worried before he even knew what was wrong with him. He curled up in his chair and stared blankly at the wall ahead, trying to keep himself distracted with the sounds of the show.
Santana killed 'Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee' but Unique's version had more humor, Blaine thought to himself, happy to keep his mind off anything substantial. It seemed to do the trick because he found his words again by intermission and was glad he hadn't decided to leave the show to go to the hospital over a problem that seemed to resolve itself. Vowing to ask his mother about it when he got home that night, he put it out of his mind and prepared to take the stage for the second act.
As the curtain opened and the beginning chords of his solo started an ominous cloud settled over him, but when he opened his mouth to sing the words came out just as they were supposed to and perfectly on key. Blaine was nothing if not a professional and he was going to put on the best performance he ever had, even if he could feel Kurt's eyes burning a hole into him. It helped that his character was supposed to be focused on Sugar's because Blaine didn't know if he trusted himself to look away from her trusting gaze for a second because he didn't want to break.
As he started to settle into the song and the girls began dancing around him, the right side of his body began to tingle, but he ignored it. There was only another two minutes or so and he would be finished. The song began to settle down and Blaine happily made his way back up the steps, proud of himself for making it all the way through and just as he moved to step onto the top stair and let out his final note, his leg gave out and he tumbled down the stairs. There was a painful snap and he cried out before he reached the bottom and his head smacked against the corner of a stair and everything went black.