Oh Simple Thing, Where Have You Gone?

Kurt Hummel is back at McKinley

"What did you do today?" Blaine asked as he helped Kurt with the washing up. He was on drying duty while Kurt was focusing on soaking all the crockery.

Kurt paused for a moment, putting the plate he was washing gently into the bowl of hot water, "I feel like this is the most active thing I've done all day!"

Blaine couldn't help but chuckle at that, "I'm sure that's not true baby. In all seriousness, what did you do today?"

"I had a lie in like I have every other day," Kurt began, trying to recall his day, "I stayed in bed for a while and read some more of that book you recommended that you said you recently read yourself: 'The Fault in Our Stars', although I did have a cry at the bit I was reading. After this, I'm not sure I'll trust your book recommendations in the future."

Blaine looked slightly offended at that, "Excuse me Kurt Hummel! You said that you're enjoying it!"

Kurt couldn't help but smirk at his boyfriend's reaction, "Yes I admit I am enjoying it. It's a brilliant book. It's just toying with my emotions a hell of a lot."

"Mum found me sobbing my heart out when I was reading it. Of course it was shortly after you and I had reunited and I was overly emotional," Blaine explained with a sad smile, "My Mum had to literally sit and rock me as I cried and cried."

Kurt took the tea towel out of the Warbler's hand as he pulled him in for a hug. Blaine was surprised for a moment before he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend, pulling him in for a tight hug and wishing they could stay like this forever.

"I just hate to think of what you went through while I was missing," Kurt whispered in Blaine's neck, "Plus I wasn't the easiest person to reunite with, especially since I kept trying to push you away."

Blaine actually pulled away at that, still keeping a hold of Kurt, "Are you serious? Kurt, you're worried about what I went through while you were being tortured and held against your will!? Yes it was hard and I just wished I had you in my arms again but that was nothing compared to what you went through. Kurt baby, you have to know how in awe I am of you. You've been hell and back but here you are. Here you are and you're concerned about me. When we reunited and you wanted me to leave after that amazing kiss... I get why you pushed me away. You were scared and worried about how I would react to what happened to you. Please don't worry about me!"

Kurt couldn't help but smile slightly at his boyfriend's words, "I'm always going to worry about you Blaine. It's part of my job as boyfriend."

"You always zig when I think you're going to zag," Blaine laughed as he gazed into the glaz eyes, "Well it's my job to worry about you too and I want to make sure you're okay."

"I'm okay as I can be sweetie," Kurt tried to reassure the boy in his arms, "I'm just taking it one day at a time and just hoping for the best. I know things won't ever be normal again but I want to start feeling okay again. Hopefully one day in the far future I'll be able to look back and see this as a character building period of my life and how much stronger it made me. Until then, I just have to be patient and walk along this road of uncertainty, not knowing the outcome."

"I'll be walking the road right alongside you, I promise you," Blaine declared as he ran his hands gently up and down Kurt's arms, "You're not alone and I'll always be there for you. It is amazing to see how much you've come on in several weeks. You're so strong and I'm just in awe of you."

Kurt pulled Blaine to him and hugged him, burying his face into Blaine's neck. His boyfriend's words had caused a lump in his throat and he was afraid that if he opened his mouth, he would break down. He pressed his nose against Blaine's neck, revelling in the familiar smell. It felt like home. Kurt was so thankful to have Blaine by his side as he had a constant reminder that he wasn't alone. Times were still hard and some days were better than others, but the world didn't seem so dark with Blaine by his side.

Kurt eventually pulled away, not before placing a kiss to the neck his nose had been pressed against, "Come on you, we had better get the dishes done or Dad will never allow you to come around again."

Blaine laughed at that as the two boys returned to the sink, concentrating on the tasks at hand. They both knew that Burt would never ban Blaine from the house. He liked that boy too much and would never keep his son away from someone who loved him and someone he loved. Blaine was seen by all as a positive beacon in Kurt's life; someone there to guide him through the dark times.

The last plate was put away and Blaine turned to Kurt, "Now what? All the chores have been done. What do you propose we do?"

"Hmm…" Kurt pondered for a moment, trying to think of something that the two of them could do where they were just relaxing, "How about a 'Friends' marathon for a couple of hours curled up together in my room?"

Blaine smiled at the suggestion, "That sounds perfect. What series are we going to watch though? I need to know so I have my wits about me in regards to where Ross and Rachel are in their relationship."

Kurt couldn't help it as he rolled his eyes at what his boyfriend said, "Oh sweetie, sometimes I don't know what I'm going to do with you."

"They're each other's lobster!" Blaine exclaimed, looking slightly wounded, "Just like how we're each other's lobsters!"

Kurt leaned in and caught Blaine's lips in a brief kiss. Blaine immediately kissed back and smiled blissfully as his boyfriend pulled away.

"I think we should watch season two. I know you like that one as Ross and Rachel get together and everything's good between them. The whole copy place girl is in the next season and I know you don't fare too well with it," Kurt said, knowing the Warbler in front of him would be happy with his choice of seasons.

Blaine grinned, before kissing Kurt for a few seconds and relishing in the feeling of the boy he loved kissing him back "That is perfect. Good choice my love."

Kurt just blushed at Blaine's words before entwining his fingers together and leading him through the house to his bedroom. He was really glad that he was allowed to shut his bedroom door when Blaine was in his room. Kurt knew that it was most likely that his Dad let the door be shut because he knew that they would not be inappropriate under his roof for a long time at least, especially after everything Kurt had been through. Kurt definitely knew that he wasn't ready to grant Blaine's hands a visa to travel to the south equator and that he wasn't ready to have such an intimate relationship. He wasn't sure when he would ever be ready. He loved the romance of it all and he loved being with Blaine but he didn't know if or when he would be ready for sex. Blaine was being so patient and gentle with Kurt, which made the latter feel guilty as he was the reason why Blaine was constantly checking whether he was okay.

Kurt hated the fact that he sometimes freaked out when he and Blaine were making out on one of their beds and Blaine ended up being the one on top. He would sometimes have a flashback to when he was in a dark room in the brothel with a stranger pinning him down to a filthy bed and overpowering him, ignoring his struggles and cries. Kurt would end up having a panic attack and he would push Blaine away. He would eventually calm down and allow Blaine to hold him as he cried. The Warbler knew that it wasn't anything personal and that he just needed to be there for Kurt. He was happy to take it as slow as he wanted to make sure that Kurt was comfortable with the pace that they were going.

Kurt just wished that he could have a normal relationship with Blaine and not have to worry about whether he was pushing himself too far. He wished that he could be experiencing the thrill of sneaking around together to get as much alone time as possible, testing how far they were willing to let their hands travel down their bodies and what they both felt ready for. Kurt just hoped that Blaine would never resent him for pushing him away and making him wait for an indefinite period.

Blaine laid on Kurt's bed and simply just watched as his boyfriend gathered his laptop and the correct 'Friends' box set. He loved moments like this where he felt like it was just the two of them that mattered. He wanted Kurt to be safe and feel comfortable above anything else. Blaine couldn't imagine half of what Kurt went through and couldn't believe that Kurt was here with him to tell the tale, having survived that hell. Blaine just wanted to do everything that he could do to help his boyfriend and be there for him.

"Do you think we're like Rachel and Ross or Monica and Chandler?" Kurt suddenly asked as he set his belongings down on his bed.

Blaine opened his arms so Kurt could cuddle up to him, "Oh we're definitely like Monica and Chandler Bing."

Kurt looked at his boyfriend in surprise as he settled down against his chest, "That's who I'd say we're like as well. I would have thought that you would choose Ross and Rachel due to your obvious love for them?"

Blaine couldn't help but smile at Kurt's comment, "I do love them and are glad they ended up together, but their relationship is really complicated and messy at times. I still cried like a baby when Rachel got off the plane and everything. I chose Monica and Chandler as I see them as being one another's lobsters too."

"Me too," Kurt chimed in, reaching out to caress Blaine's face, "Monica and Chandler were friends first, then got together and they stayed together. That's what I hope you and I do. I want to be with you, my lobster, forever."

Blaine couldn't resist and he leaned down to capture the love of his life's lips with a kiss, pulling Kurt to him. Kurt kissed back, holding onto Blaine tightly as the kiss deepened. They kissed for a few minutes before pulling away and resting their foreheads against one another's.

"I love you, my lobster," Blaine said softly, gazing into the glaz eyes before him.

Kurt smiled brightly at those words, gazing into the hazel eyes he loved so much, "I love you too, my lobster."

Eventually the two boys pulled away and Kurt finally put 'Friends' on. They started off with 'The One with the Prom Video' as that was the episode where the lobster reference originally came from. Kurt settled back down on the bed after putting the DVD on and curled up against Blaine's side, smiling at the feeling of his boyfriend's arms wrapping his arms around him and holding him to him, before placing a kiss to his forehead. It was moments like this where Kurt felt that everything was right with the world once again and that he had the chance to be happy.

(break)

The more Kurt thought about it, the more it made sense to him. He was mainly spending his days feeling completely bored with nothing to do around the house, just either waiting for his family to come home or for Blaine or his friends to come around and visit him. Blaine came around to the house every evening after school and would always spend time with his boyfriend. He seemed to know how bored Kurt was so he would always come and see him, no matter how much homework he had or how he was feeling. He would just do his work at the Hudmel's house, sometimes with Kurt's help. Kurt enjoyed helping Blaine with his work as he had always enjoyed challenging himself with work and had always enjoyed the lessons at both Dalton and McKinley.

Kurt felt as if he had nothing left to do at home. It seemed to him that he had watched every film ever made, or watched DVD he owned, and had read every book that had been ever written during his time on his own during the day. He was sleeping a lot but still actually wasn't eating more, despite his initial thoughts that he would be snacking all the time due to the boredom. He still didn't have much of an appetite much to everyone's chagrin. Kurt actually had put on a little bit of weight and was close to being classified as a healthy weight, which really pleased all of his loves ones and the doctors he saw. Doctor Morgan had told Kurt that the positive physical changes in his body would strengthen his recovery as it would help him a healthier outlook on his life. He was pleased to see his ribs were slowly becoming less noticeable and didn't seem to stick out as much, which in turn meant that he was gradually feeling more comfortable with taking his top off in front of Blaine. He was nowhere near as defined as he had been but that didn't matter as he was just focusing on being and feeling healthy once again. Kurt hated it when he went out in public and was stared at. He felt that his body being severely underweight just reminded everyone that he had been kidnapped and starved for months. Recovering his healthy body definitely would help his psychological state of mind and it would show him and the world that he was recovering and that he could fully recover from what had happened. It helped to show Kurt that he could lead a normal life once more and put the horrific trauma he suffered behind, as well as concentrating on his future and what lay ahead.

Due to Kurt feeling a lot stronger than he had previously, he had started to venture more into the outside world. He didn't like to go out too much on his own and would normally wait until there was someone to go to places like the Lima Bean or the mall with. He sometimes did go out on his own but it would be for errands that would take a short amount of time such as buying a carton of milk. Kurt had been so bored at home, he had asked his Dad to let him work for a couple of hours a day at the garage so he had something to do. Burt, of course, had refused and had stated that Kurt needed to rest and that he could do some serious damage if he pushed himself before he was ready. Kurt knew that his Dad was right but he just wished that his recovery could speed up and allow him to go back to his normal life.

Kurt had discussed his thoughts with Blaine, who initially had been hesitant but was slowly coming around to the idea. When he had spoken to Finn, his stepbrother had been incredibly supportive and had said it would make everyone really happy. He told Kurt how everyone missed seeing him every day and just wanted him back. All that was left was Kurt to speak to his Dad and Carole and find out how they felt about him going back to school.

Kurt found the perfect opportunity to speak to his parents one evening when they were both just watching TV, just relaxing after a long day at work. During Blaine's visit, the couple had worked on what Kurt would say to the adults and scripted some arguments to help him convince his parents that he should return to school. As much as Blaine wished his boyfriend would come back to Dalton, he understood that Kurt didn't think he could bear to be so far away from his family after everything that had happened. Kurt had initially struggled after his family had returned to work and school after the holidays as he was separated from them for several hours. Burt and Carole had taken it in turns to return home during breaks to ensure Kurt's peace of mind and for their own. As the weeks had passed, Kurt had become more comfortable in being on his own and could slowly feel himself getting better.

Kurt waved to his boyfriend as he reversed off the drive and drove down the street, waving back to Kurt. Kurt knew he'd be speaking to Blaine later that night as he had promised that he would ring him and tell him everything that his parents had said. Kurt stepped back inside and shut the front door, mentally bracing himself for what he was about to do. He would understand if his Dad and his stepmother were worried about him returning McKinley and being around lots of people once again. School hadn't always been the best place for Kurt but he was adamant that he should return to school as he didn't want to get too far behind in his studies. This was meant to be his senior year and he wanted the opportunity to actually enjoy it. Kurt felt that he needed to go back to school and start to lead a normal life once more, taking him further away from what happened to him in New York. Of course he knew that it would be difficult initially and that he would be the talk of McKinley for a while but slowly things would get better. He would have the New Directions there for him and it was possible that more teachers would be looking out for him to ensure that he wasn't bullied or tormented in any way.

Kurt took a deep breath and walked into the living room, smiling slightly at his Dad and Carole cuddled up together on the sofa. They both glanced in his direction and smiled at him as he sat down in the armchair closest to them.

"Hey kiddo," his Dad said with a smile, "I'm guessing you've just said goodbye to Blaine?"

Kurt nodded in reply, "Yeah, he has a test tomorrow so we thought it'd be best for him to get back and have an early night."

This was half the truth as Blaine did actually have a test on the Wall Street Crash, which Kurt had helped him study for, but the reason he had left earlier was to give Kurt the opportunity to talk to his parents.

Carole smiled at Kurt, "Ah sweetie, that's very responsible of you two. Now honey, would you like to join in watching this period drama with us?"

Kurt glanced at the TV and saw that it was a repeat of a 'Downton Abbey' episode, "As much as I would love to watch this with you, I'd like to talk to you two about something if that's okay?"

Carole reached across her husband for the remote and turned down the volume so she could hear whatever her stepson was going to say, "Sure sweetheart. What's on your mind?"

Kurt took a deep breath, wondering how to approach the topic. He didn't want to come off too aggressive and demanding as his parents would most likely be thinking that he was trying to hide anything. Kurt wanted a calm and rational conversation, where everyone would be civil and would treat one another as an equal.

"I've been thinking about how I spend my time during the day," Kurt began, speaking slowly as he allowed his mind to catch up with him, "Recently, I've been getting restless and I feel like I'm constantly in a state of boredom. I've tried to find ways to fill my time but as time goes on, I'm really struggling. I'm basically caught up with everything that was released during my seven month absence. Poor Blaine's finding it difficult to come up with books and films he can recommend to me. I just feel that it'd be better for me if I had something to do. I… I think that it's time for me to go back to school."

There was silence for a few moments as Burt and Carole tried to process what Kurt had said. They were actually stunned to hear that their son wanted to return to school. They had just expected him to want to avoid returning to the public life and stay away from crowds of people. Maybe this was a sign that Kurt was recovering.

"Kurt… are you sure you've thought this through?" Burt asked his son, his concern shining through, "It's a big step. I know you said you're restless and I know it must be frustrating, but I don't want you to rush into something you're not ready for. It could set you back both physically and emotionally if you're not careful. I want you to really think about this."

Kurt squared his shoulders as he prepared to answer his father, "I have been thinking about this, Dad. I have been really thinking about it. I can't stay cooped up in this house forever and returning to school makes sense. I've been gone seven months, I need to catch up on my education. I want to have a normal life and graduate school, before heading off to college. I know this won't be easy and trying to adjust to normality will be a massive challenge. I am prepared to do this Dad!"

Carole leaned across and held out her hand, watching as Kurt slowly placed his hand in hers, "Sweetheart, I know you want to start leading a normal life and maybe school might help that. You just have to consider the affect going back to school will have on you. You won't just be with your friends but the entire student body. You'll most likely be what everyone at McKinley is talking about and you might get asked some unpleasant questions that you don't want to answer. I don't want you to get hurt anymore sweetie."

The teenager smiled sadly at Carole, feeling incredibly grateful for how much she loved him as if he was her own son, "That's really sweet of you Carole and I know that you and Dad just want me to be safe, but I just feel I need to start taking control of my life once again. I can't just stay in my room or the house forever. I think I'll go even crazier if I did that. I want… I need to have the chance to have a normal life. I don't want what happened to define me. I need to brave the world once more and the best place to start is to continue with my education."

The three occupants were silence for a few minutes; the only sound being the clock on the wall ticking away.

"When you say school, do you mean McKinley or Dalton?" Burt asked his son, hesitant to hear the answer.

"McKinley," Kurt answered as if it was obvious.

Burt let out a sigh of relief, "Thank God. If you had said Dalton, I would have immediately refused. I couldn't have coped if you had been at a school all the way in Westerville and boarded there. I'd probably have to take up a job at the school so I could see you all the time and check that you were doing okay."

"Oh Dad," Kurt couldn't help but chuckle at his father's antics, "That's how I feel as well. Dalton, although it is a better school in many ways, is just too far away and I think the distance between all of you and I would drive me insane. After seven months of not seeing you, there is no way anyone could convince me to distance myself from any of my loved ones. I know that Blaine is at Dalton but we'll still see each other all the time. He completely understands why I'd rather go to a school in Lima than Westerville."

Burt and Carole turned to look at one another, unsure which way to go. It did make sense for Kurt to return to school and continue with his education. They had trying to help Kurt move on from what happened to him in New York and school would help him to, as well as letting him gain back some normality of life. Burt was still incredibly worried however. He felt that Kurt was finally at a place in his life where he was coming to terms with what had happened to him and had found a way to cope with it. Going back to school, especially McKinley, could cause some serious damage. Kurt would once again be amongst some of the Neanderthals who had made his life hell and had bullied him for years. There was the potential that these bullies could use his disappearance to cause further harm. Burt knew that if his son did return to McKinley High School, they would to take precautions to ensure that Kurt would be safe in the school. He knew Figgins wouldn't be the most reliable person to look out for his boy's welfare, but he was one hundred percent sure that he would be able to rely on Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester to watch over Kurt when he was at school. He knew Will would be eager to make up for his mistake of leaving the New Directions unattended in New York, despite the fact all had been forgiven. Sue had always shown some sort of affection towards Kurt, often by calling him 'Porcelain', and tried to do her best by him. Burt also knew that all of the New Directions would ensure that Kurt was safe at school, especially Finn who knew all the circumstances surrounding Kurt's disappearance and what happened during the seven months he was missing. Burt had no doubt that Finn would not let his brother get hurt again not after everything he had already been through.

Burt ran his hand over his face as he looked at his son sitting nearby, eagerly awaiting a verdict about his education. He knew Kurt was evidently doing better and that his psychotherapist was definitely helping him, although he and Carole were both concerned with Kurt's lack of appetite and how skinny he still was. His son looked a lot healthier than he did when he was found in a basement but he still had a long way to go. Maybe letting Kurt start to lead a normal life once more would help him full move on from his traumatic experiences and maybe be more like the boy he was before he left for New York.

"Okay Kurt, we'll look into you returning to school," Burt said slowly, watching his son to see how he would respond to that news, "Obviously Carole and I still want to discuss this whole matter further but at the very least, we'll set up a meeting with Principal Figgins to discuss everything and figure out whether you can go back to school."

"Thank you Dad!" Kurt exclaimed, grinning at the two adults sitting on the sofa nearest to him, "Thank you Carole! Oh wow… I have to call Blaine!"

Kurt let go of Carole's hand and jumped up before rushing from the room, to the amusement of his parents who watched him go. He ran up the stairs and into his room to find his phone already ringing, displaying Blaine as the caller.

Kurt laughed and shook his head as he answered the call, "Well well, someone's a little eager huh?"

Blaine's musical laughter was immediately heard before he let out a sigh, "Oh you do make me laugh Kurt Hummel! So, how did your talk with your parents go? Are you going to go back to McKinley?"

"Well I think my request initially shocked them as it was obvious they did not see this coming," Kurt explained as he settled back against the plumped pillows on his bed, "They are, of course, worried and concerned about how it may affect me in different ways. Dad and Carole do want to discuss it further but at the very least, they said they'd set up a meeting with Principal Figgins to discuss the issue of me returning to school!"

"That's fantastic Kurt!" Blaine cried, the delight evident in his tone.

Kurt smiled at his boyfriend's happiness, "It really is. I'm so relieved that Dad and Carole didn't just tell me I was being preposterous and say they didn't want to discuss it. Blaine… thank you for helping me think of my arguments to help me with my case. It really means a lot of me. Well, now all I have to do is wait."

"You're welcome baby," Blaine replied, "Hopefully you won't be waiting too long. I actually have a gift for you. I bought it for you in hope that it may help you with your boredom."

"Ooh, do tell!" Kurt sang, feeling extremely intrigued about what the gift could possibly be and wondering how it could cure his boredom, "Are you going to give it to me tomorrow?"

"You actually already have it. It's sitting on your desk, all wrapped and everything," Blaine told his boyfriend, "I left it there before I left your house earlier this evening."

"What?" Kurt frowned in confusion before he got up off his comfortable bed.

He made his way over to his desk and there in front of him was a package sitting there. Kurt wondered how he had missed it earlier or hadn't seen Blaine place it there but decided not to focus on that. He set his phone down on the desk, knowing that his boyfriend would know what he was doing, and picked up the present Blaine had got for him, eagerly unwrapping it. Once unwrapped, Kurt held it at arm's length and just stared at it. Blaine had given him a 'Wreck This Journal'. He put the book down before picking up his phone once more.

"A 'Wreck This Journal' Blaine? Seriously?" Kurt asked, feeling dumbfounded at why his boyfriend had gifted him with this particular book.

Blaine just chuckled in response, "I thought it could help to keep you occupied and to stop you from going crazy as you had nothing to do. You get to do all sorts of things with the book. There are instructions on different pages and you can give them a go. For example, it's things like: put this particular page in a washing machine and stick back in, rub your dinner on this page and simply scribble all over this page. I got the book for you just for fun and to help you with the boredom."

Kurt was incredibly touched by Blaine's gesture, "Aww thank you so much sweetie, that is really thoughtful of you. I will definitely use my 'Wreck This Journal' and I know I will love it as my amazing boyfriend bought it for me. I love you honey."

"I love you too Kurt… so very much," Blaine replied, feeling happy that his gift had gone down the way he had intended it to.

The two boys continued to talk on the hone for a while, both laying on their own bed and smiling as they talked to their boyfriend. They kept the conversation light and upbeat as they talked about their favourite musicals and compared Broadway and West End shows. The couple also discussed several of the books Kurt had recently read, including the few John Green books he had read such as 'Looking for Alaska'. He found out Carole had read the book as well as she had also borrowed books from Blaine when he was missing to take her mind off what was happening in reality.

Kurt and Blaine ended up watching 'The Bachelor' together, sharing their thoughts and opinions over the phone. They mainly focused on which girls they thought would move onto the next round of the show and who wouldn't. Kurt, of course, turned his attention to the girls' outfits as well and basically acted as if he was the fashion police, judging each outfit in turn. The boys laughed at the cheesiness of the show but did enjoy watching it, especially together. It had become a traditional of theirs. Eventually Burt knocked on his son's door to tell him that he should be getting into bed and going to sleep as it was getting late.

"I guess that's my cue to say goodnight to you then," Kurt began, always hating the moment when he had to stop talking to the boy he loved, "Thank you for everything today sweetie."

Blaine smiled to himself, "You don't have to thank you me honey. I would do anything for you. It's part of my job as your boyfriend."

"I love you Blaine," Kurt said, unable to stop the love and affection for his boyfriend from exploding out of him.

"I love you too Kurt," Blaine replied, "Goodnight baby, I'll see you tomorrow."

"Until then. Goodnight honey," Kurt said before they both hung up.

Kurt couldn't contain his grin as he allowed himself to be filled with his love for Blaine. He was so lucky to have someone like him in his life. Kurt quickly stripped off and put his clothes in his laundry basket, before putting on his pyjamas. He pulled his duvet back and quickly settled under the covers, snuggling in to make sure that he was comfortable. Kurt closed his eyes and allowed himself to only think of the positive aspects of his life, mainly focusing on the people he loved most in the entire world.

(break)

"Principal Figgins will see you now," A lady who Kurt had never seen before in his life told them, "If you'd like to head into his office."

Burt nodded in response for the two of them before standing up and helping his son up. Carole had wanted to come to this meeting as well but unfortunately she couldn't get out of work and there was no one available to cover for her. The two Hummel men walked into the office to see Principal Figgins sitting behind the desk smiling at the pair of them.

"Kurt Hummel! It is very good to see you! And you too Mr Hummel!"

The Principal stood up and held his hand out so both the father and the son shook his hand.

"How are you doing Kurt?" Figgins addressed his student as they all sat down, smiling sympathetically at him, "All of us here at McKinley High were all so worried about you and we all really missed your presence here in the hallways. We're all so happy to see you safe and sound."

Kurt wanted to roll his eyes at the crap the man in front of him was spouting, but he knew it would be regarded as rude and he would most likely be told off.

"That's… nice to hear," Burt replied, helping his son out, "I'm glad how much you and your members of staff care for Kurt."

Kurt could hear the obvious sarcasm in his father's words but Figgins seemed to be oblivious to it.

"Well it is true Mr Hummel," Figgins smiled at them before resting his hands on his desk, "Now Mr Hummel, what can I do for you and your son?"

Burt leaned slightly forward in his chair, "Principal Figgins, I would like to discuss the matter with you of Kurt returning to McKinley. Obviously if he does return here, there would be things that would need to be put into place to ensure that my son is safe here. I do not want him to have to deal with any of his peers harassing him and trying to find out what happened to him."

Principal Figgins nodded in understanding, "I completely understand where you're coming from, Mr Hummel. We would be very happy for Kurt to return to McKinley and I can personally guarantee his safety here. We will build upon our zero tolerance no bullying policy and I will make sure it is enforced within the school. There will be zero tolerance when it comes to dealing with students that even dare to step out of line when it comes down to Kurt. I will have every teacher looking out for son, Mr Hummel. You probably know that William Schuester and Sue Sylvester will definitely look out for Kurt. Actually… I'll call them both in here now so we can all discuss this matter further together."

Kurt just stared out of the window as he waited for Principal Figgins to finish speaking to his secretary about getting the two teachers to come to his office. He just wanted to sort out when he could actually come back to school.

Figgins cleared his throat, "There is just one thing we do need to talk about. I am not sure how the two of you will feel about it. When you called and we set up this morning, I looked through Kurt's files and transcripts. Of course the young Mr Hummel is a brilliant student and has always done well academically, but he has missed out on a lot of school. It would seem that Kurt should be a senior and in his final year of school but due to him missing several months of school due to unforeseen circumstances, it would be more appropriate if Kurt re-joined the school as a junior."

The boy in question just gaped at the Principal with utter shock shown on his face. He hadn't even considered the possibility that he might have to repeat his junior year. He had been focused on going back to school and he hadn't even thought about the fact that he might have to make up the time at school that he missed. Kurt had been kidnapped towards the end of his junior year so he had just missed about six weeks of the end of that particular school year. He had missed the first five months of a senior year and he had just assumed that he would be a senior. Kurt couldn't believe that he might have to do an extra year of school.

"Kurt?" The teenager didn't realise his Dad was trying to get his attention, "Kurt? Kiddo, how do you feel about that?"

Kurt glanced between his father and the Principal, "I'm just a bit confused. I've basically done my junior year, although I understand that I missed the end of it. Why do I have to redo my junior year? You've said yourself that I'm a brilliant student so surely I would just be able to catch up on the work I've missed."

The Principal let out a sigh and gave Kurt a pitiful look, "Look Mr Hummel, senior year is a very stressful and trying year. It involves decisions about college and where to go and what to do. You'd be coming back to school in senior year and trying to find your footing once again, trying to get used to everything once more. You being in your senior year and thinking about graduation would just add a ton of pressure onto your shoulders that I don't think will do you any good at all. Starting as a junior again gives you plenty of time to adjust and think about what you want to do. This year can just be about you settling in once more and classes will be easier for you as you will have an idea of what's going on. We all want to help you Kurt."

Kurt couldn't believe Principal Figgins was the one who had said all that. He had always remembered the man as someone who was easily led and not that great as a leader. He did wonder if the Principal had thought of all this himself or in actual fact had been fed this information and was now just repeating it to the father and the son. It did make sense, Kurt had to admit, as he thought about all the information he had just received. If he went back to McKinley as a senior, he would be up to his neck in trying to catch up with work, preparing for exams, thinking about life after school and graduation. On top of all this, he would also have the Glee club and preparing for Regionals and hopefully Nationals. Maybe it was too much.

Kurt turned to look at his father sitting next to him, "Dad, what's your take on all this?"

Burt took off his hat for a moment and scratched his head, before covering his head again, "What Principal Figgins is saying does make a lot of sense. I'm sorry if that's not what you want to hear kiddo but it does take the pressure off you. It would kill me to see you return to school and drown in everything going on. I've told you I don't want you returning to school to set you back. Maybe being a junior again is a good thing. Plus it's only for a few months and then you'll get your chance to be a senior."

Kurt nodded but didn't offer a verbal response. He was still trying to process everything that had been said. He guessed that if he refused, he wouldn't be able to go back to school. It was highly likely that Dalton Academy would also insist that he return there as a junior as the workload there would be too much to catch up on. Being a junior again would be less stressful and it would give him time to figure out what road his life is taking.

Suddenly the office door burst open and hit the wall, causing Kurt to flinch violently. Burt reached out and grabbed Kurt's hand, eyeing him with concern.

"What is going on, Figgins?" Kurt immediately recognised the voice of one Sue Sylvester, someone he used to refer to as 'Dragon Lady', "Why have you summoned me here? I was empowering my Cheerios to be champions. They need to practice more for Regionals so I don't understand why…"

Sue's eyes had fallen on Kurt and she was suddenly speechless. She couldn't believe her eyes at the sight of one Kurt Hummel. Sue had been devastated when she had learnt of his disappearance and had berated Will Schuester even more after discovering he hadn't been nearby when Kurt had been snatched. Sue had always liked the young boy in front of her, even though she didn't always show it. He was an exceptional member of the Cheerios and didn't make her want to vomit when the two of them had a conversation. The Hummel boy could always hold his own when she talked to him. She still remembered how a short week before he left for New York, Kurt had planned her sister's funeral and made it special. She would never forget that. Sue felt like she wanted to cry but she couldn't due to having her tear ducts removed years ago. Sue couldn't believe Kurt was back.

"Well look who it is! Sweet Porcelain is back!" Sue said, her lips curving upwards slightly in an attempt at a smile.

While Burt gaped at the coach, Kurt simply smiled at his former cheerleading coach, "That's right. I missed you too Coach."

Sue smiled at Kurt, before walking over to the chair he was sitting in. The latter stood up and the pair just looked at one another, small smiles displayed on their faces. Sue suddenly engulfed Kurt in her arms, not hugging him too hard as she didn't know whether he was in pain. Kurt hugged his coach back, finding it slightly unsettling that Sue Sylvester was hugging him but he decided not to think too hard about it.

Both Burt and Principal Figgins just stared at the pair in utter shock and bewilderment, not knowing how to act themselves. This was an extremely rare show of affection from Sue Sylvester and they were not prepared for it.

The door to the office opened once again, "Sorry I'm late Principal Figgins. I had to make sure my class knew what they were doing. How can I help you?"

Will Schuester looked around the office, wondering why he was needed. His eyes nearly popped out of his socket at the site of Sue Sylvester hugging another human being: the person on the receiving end he couldn't quite make out. He noticed Burt Hummel sitting in a chair watching Sue and the other person hug. Will had no idea what was happening.

"Ah William! I thought I smelt failure," Sue said, before letting go of Kurt and stepping aside.

Will ignored whatever insult Sue had just thrown his way as he was staring in shock at the sight of Kurt Hummel once again. He had really missed the young boy and had really blamed himself for not being there when Kurt had been taken. He knew deep down that he wouldn't have been able to stop it, but he still blamed himself and had been overjoyed to hear that Kurt had been found. Will drank in Kurt's appearance and took notice of the changes in the young boy. He noticed how skinny Kurt looked, how he was slightly taller and the fading marks on his body. He wondered what on earth had happened to a member of his Glee club; a boy he referred to as one of his own 'kids' that he loved. Will could feel his eyes tearing up and he couldn't believe that Kurt was actually home.

He wasn't sure how it happened but somehow he had gone from standing by the office door to embracing Kurt and hugging him. Kurt hugged his teacher back, having missed him and knowing that the teacher would have taken his disappearance hard, especially since Mr Schue had been in charge of looking after him in New York.

Will pulled away and placed one hand on Kurt's shoulder, "Oh Kurt, it's so good to see you! You were widely missed and I can't tell you how happy we all are you're home. I'm so happy you were found Kurt."

"I missed you too Mr Schue," Kurt replied, smiling at his teacher and Glee club director.

A few moments passed before Kurt sat back down in his chair, with both Will and Sue standing between the two Hummels.

Principal Figgins addressed the occupants of the room, "We are all here to discuss Kurt returning to school. If he does return, he will be a junior. This is to give him time to adjust and make his life as easy as we can. If the young Mr Hummel needs to miss school for any reason, there will be no added pressure on him, unlike if he was a senior. Now William and Sue Sylvester, I have called you in here as I know you two will help look out for Kurt when he is at school. There will be zero tolerance when it comes down to Kurt here and we will ensure that not one student steps out of line. No one is able to harass Kurt or question him about his disappearance or what happened to him. He does not need the unnecessary stress and I will address all the students of this school before he does return."

"Wow Figgins, you're actually speaking sense for once," Coach Sylvester piped in, nodding her head to show that she agreed with what her boss was saying, "Can I just ask however? What did happen to you Porcelain? I understand if you don't want to say but as the school, don't we need to add this to his file?"

Kurt froze at the Coach's words, suddenly feeling short of breath. He couldn't do it… he wouldn't do. He would not explain to his teachers that he had been kidnapped and forced to be a whore to strangers in New York City. He just wouldn't.

Burt seemed to sense his son's inner panic and reached out to hold Kurt's hand in his, "Look I don't think it's best to go into details. I'm sorry if you feel that you're being kept in the dark but that's the way it has to be. Can't you just write in his file: 'Kidnapping and missing for seven months'? Look, Kurt was kidnapped and was missing for seven months. That's all you need to know. In the interest of my son's state of mind, I do not think it is a good idea for people at the school to know. Kurt just wants to come back and try to lead a normal life. That's why we're here."

Kurt had never felt so grateful to his father before in his life. He had saved him from a horrible and painful discussion of either explaining what had happened to him or him having a panic attack and probably running away from the situation. Kurt could still feel the panic building up and he tried to stop it by tightening his grip on his father's hand, desperately clinging to reality and hoping to whatever deity that was out there that he did not have a flashback on the school grounds. His Dad was right. Kurt just wanted to return to McKinley and just be a student at school. If anyone at the school knew what had happened to him, he would find it difficult to go to school.

Principal Figgins nodded in understanding, glancing nervously at Kurt, "I understand completely Mr Hummel. I will simply update Kurt's file with those words. Look, how about you two head home? I will discuss the issue of looking out for Kurt at school with William and Sue Sylvester here, but you don't have to stay if you'd rather get Kurt home. Like I said before, we are very happy to have Kurt back and we will do everything to ensure that he is safe here."

Burt did want to stay and listen to the full discussion of Kurt's safety but just one look at his son told him they needed to leave. Burt nodded at the three other adults in the room before standing up and turning to his son, still holding onto his hand. He slowly reached down and helped Kurt to his feet, never letting go of Kurt's hand as he knew his son needed him.

"Thank you Principal Figgins," Burt said, glancing between all of the teachers, "Thank you as well, Will and Sue."

"Our pleasure, Mr Hummel," Figgins said, looking at Kurt in concern, "I'll be in touch soon to finalise arrangements and talk about the day Kurt can come back to school."

Burt nodded in agreement before bidding the Principals and the teachers goodbye. Kurt managed to say his goodbyes as well before they left the office, Burt leading his son out. All Kurt wanted was to crawl under his covers and block out the world, otherwise the panic would overwhelm him and he would go under… not knowing how long until he would resurface.

The three adults in the office watched as Burt led his son out, whispering reassuringly to him. They all individually wondered what on earth had happened to Kurt in New York. Of course this had all crossed their minds several times before but after seeing Kurt and noticing the difference in him, it made the Principal, the teacher and the Coach realise that whatever had happened to him was a lot worse than they had even dared to imagine.

(break)

Kurt kept his head down as he walked along the hallways of McKinley High School. He couldn't believe he was back at school and that he was officially a student there again. The thought of it made him smile as it meant that maybe he could lead a normal life. Principal Figgins had called not long after their meeting and it had been decided that Kurt would start school the following Monday, but he would go in for a half day and he could leave if he ever felt too overwhelmed or needed a break. Kurt guessed that Figgins was worried about his state of mind of seeing him nearly have a panic attack in his office.

Kurt could feel a few eyes on him but he ignored them, focusing on each step he took towards the choir room. Finn had told him that Figgins had mentioned him in the assembly that morning, explaining that why they were all happy to have Kurt home, he shouldn't be questioned about what happened and that there would be consequences if anyone harassed him. Kurt did feel extremely overwhelmed as he walked past groups of students, reminding himself to do the breathing exercises Doctor Morgan had given him to help him stay calm.

Kurt finally reached the choir room and walked inside. His face lit up at the sight in front of him. A banner hung across the room with the words: 'Welcome back Kurt!' displayed for all to see. His friends, Mr Schue, the band members and Brad the piano guy all stood there smiling at him, all holding a chute of sparkling cider. Kurt noticed that Finn was holding two, obviously one for him. Once he was in the room, they all cheered and catcalled at the return of their lost member.

"Welcome back white boy!" Mercedes yelled over all the noise, "You have been really missed."

Finn handed Kurt his drink before pulling him into a hug. This started a procession of hugs and kisses, with every single Glee club member telling Kurt how much they had missed him and how happy they were that he was back and safe once again. He knew they were all dying to know what had happened to him in New York but Kurt hoped that they would never know the truth. It would actually kill him if word got out.

Quinn entwined his fingers with Kurt's and gave him a big smile, "We thought long and hard about how we would celebrate you coming home to us. We thought about which song expresses our love for you and our happiness at your return."

Rachel suddenly interrupted, "I'll take it from here thank you. Kurt, I realised that we should sing a song to you about being there for you and offering you support, rather than simply singing about our love and happiness about you being here with us once again in the choir room. I had the brilliant idea… well all my ideas are brilliant, but…"

"Rach…" Finn said quietly, stopping her from her rant, "We all thought of it together. Don't be so demeaning."

Rachel looked shocked for a moment, before she stepped back and gestured to Quinn.

"Thank you Rachel," Quinn remarked before turning back to Kurt with a soft smile, "We decided to sing a song to you about being there for you and supporting you always. You've probably guessed that you'll be serenaded a lot this afternoon but we want to start off with a classic. It was actually first sung in this room by everyone to Finn and I."

Kurt immediately knew what song she was talking about and he smiled when he heard the opening melody of 'Lean on Me'. Quinn let go of his hand and the New Directions quickly got into formation. Kurt smiled at his friends as they prepared to sing to him. He really did feel that he was home in this room but it still felt slightly wrong. Kurt knew it was because everything had changed. He wasn't the same innocent boy he had been over seven months ago. He was this damaged and broken boy who was struggling to adjust to the life they used to lead. Kurt was hopeful that being back at McKinley would help him and he knew that many others were hopeful too. Maybe having to act okay all the time would help Kurt to be okay or even take his mind of the horrors of New York. He just had to take it one day at a time, he reminded himself as he smiled at his friends about to sing the chorus of the song. Kurt really hoped he would eventually be okay, he just had to be.

A/N: Whoa I can't believe it's been over two months! My sincere apologies! Unfortunately life gets in the way at times and for me that was doing several essays for university. Believe me when I say I'd rather be writing this!

I can't believe it's been over a year since I met Chris Colfer! I remember it like it was yesterday :)

Oh a sadder note, I can't believe it's nearly been a year since Cory Monteith passed away. Sending my love to all Gleeks everywhere and hoping everyone is doing. RIP Cory

Well Kurt is back at school. He wants to be okay and hopes having a routine will help him. I had always planned Kurt going back to school for this chapter but some scenes in this chapter suddenly appeared or my brain would suddenly come up with an idea that I had to include. I've gifted you with a longer chapter to try to make up for it being a long time. Sorry again!

Hope you enjoyed this chapter :) Thank you to everything for reviewing, alerting this story and adding it to your favourites. It means so much to me and I love hearing what you think or any suggestions you have. I hope you are enjoying my other stories as well :)

Please review as I love hearing people's opinions who read this story and knowing what they think, or any suggestions they have as I always appreciate it! I will always reply if you reply so fire away if you have questions or comments!

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Love Laura / misslaurielou88

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