Chapter 10

"A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you." ― Elbert Hubbard

Blaine woke up in David's arms, and with an aching in his head and heart. He could hear the sound of talking, but was more concerned with the feeling of sick crawling up his throat. David looked down at him and helped to get him into a sitting position. Looking around the room, Blaine could see that Sebastian had risen from his corner and was standing by Wes' shoulder as he talked to Nick, Jeff and Trent.

"Blaine," said Sebastian, noticing that he was awake out of the corner of his eye. "up for another trip to the hospital?" Blaine shuddered as he remembered Thad's figure in the hospital bed. He still felt exhausted, but nodded anyway. He had to see Thad.

"What- what's the time?" Then some of last night caught up with him. "Is he still alive?" he cried, leaping off the bed. His legs were weak beneath him, but Wes caught him in time.

"Take it easy, Blaine," he said, smiling gently. "Thad made it through the night, and they've moved him out of the acute ward." Blaine felt himself sag in relief, the desire to be sick still there, but this time because he was so relieved. He could not believe that Thad was alive. He'd made it! Blaine just wanted to burst into tears he was so happy.

"Are we going to the hospital now?" he demanded, still not standing of his own accord. They all gave him steady smiles, except Sebastian who looked very pale and resolute, and Blaine messed up his hair and took it as a yes.

"We are," said David, finally sliding off the bed and putting an arm around his shoulder. "as soon as we eat breakfast – that includes you, Sebastian, because it's the only good habit you have – and then we can go." Blaine could have sworn that Sebastian smiled a little bit at that, but he couldn't be sure. Sebastian nodded, though, and they made their way downstairs.

There was quiet in Dalton as they moved into the kitchen. People handed them cards to give Thad before they went back to their meals and homework, but apart from that everyone left them alone, giving them space to breathe. Blaine slumped down at the table and looked round, noting that nobody took any notice of his presence; like he belonged. Wes shoved some toast in front of his face whilst Trent put down some coffee. Nick and Jeff both ruffled up his hair. David was smiling a little bit, and Sebastian gave him a pointed glare.

Smiling to himself at the thought of belonging – still belonging after what had happened to him – he began to feel better inside, even if he was still scared for Thad. He let the tension release from his shoulders so that he could simply eat whilst Nick and Jeff kept kissing each other instead of eating, and Trent unearthed a load of white cat hair inside one of the cupboards. David grumbled about Hunter and Mr Puss being pests, and Wes laughed whilst Sebastian scowled at the mention of his name and went about munching at his breakfast – periodically stopping to glare at Blaine for whatever reason Sebastian deemed appropriate.

It was when Blaine got back in the front of Sebastian's car on the way to the hospital that his mind was made up. He was scared on the inside, and he wanted to cry when he thought of Thad, but he was also warm. He had been so carefully looked after and cared for last night, and he wanted that feeling to stay. When Thad came back to Dalton – Blaine could not think if – he would need all the help that he could get; a lot of that needed to come from Blaine. Blaine had to be there. He wanted to move back to Dalton.

"I want to go back," he said, looking around into the backseat that contained Wes and David. The two of them frowned.

"Go back where?" asked David, rubbing his hand over his eyes and yawning. The action made Blaine yawn and remember how tired he was, but he simply blinked and replied;

"Dalton, I want to transfer back to Dalton." There was a pause before Wes and David exchanged looks that said they had almost been expecting it, and Sebastian nodded.

"It would probably help Thad," he offered, and Blaine could have sworn that he saw David roll his eyes at that whilst Wes nodded, but he did have a serious frown on his face. Blaine stared at him, waiting for him to spill, but Wes kept his mouth shut.

"What is it, Wes?" he asked in a tired voice. Wes sighed.

"It's just- you want to apply for NYADA, right?" Blaine nodded, not sure how this was relevant. "Well, it's going to help all your college applications if you're Senior Class President." Blaine stared at Wes, his face actually going slack from disbelief as David stared at him, and Sebastian arched an eyebrow and glared, because that was not the most important thing at all.

"Wes!" he exclaimed, wanting to throw his arms in the air, but he felt too lethargic to do so, so he opted for some Sebastian style glaring. "Thad nearly died! I'm the only one that knows how he feels! He's going to need us! And I'm scared that if I leave him- and David was there, and I just!" he ran out of words as the tears built up in his eyes. "I need Dalton too," he admitted tearfully. "I only feel good when I'm at Dalton…I need to be there."

There was a heavy silence in the car as Blaine wiped the tears from his eyes. He felt tired and empty on the inside now because he'd admitted that. He felt a little weak for admitting that he desperately needed Dalton, but he just wanted to go back somewhere where he could feel good for extended periods of time. He had a feeling that his parents would go for it; they didn't really care as they spent so much time away and as long as he got good grades they didn't seem to mind footing the bill.

"Okay," said Wes, shooting him a smile. "I was just checking that you were really up for it. We wondered when this might happen." Blaine banged his head against the seat in relief, sending Wes a grateful smile. Wes reached forward and squeezed his shoulder.

"It'd be great to have you back at Dalton," said David, grinning. "We can be roommates again." Blaine managed a proper smile at that because the thought of rooming with David was such a great relief. David would be there if he woke up in a cold sweat, yelling. "And the Warblers would be delighted." He nodded, smiling at the thought of the Warblers; Nick, Jeff and Trent who were ready to help with the full knowledge that he didn't tell them everything.

The rest of the ride went by in moderate silence as David fell asleep against the window, and Blaine attempted to organise his argument for his father with a tired mind. He couldn't really make it coherent; "I'm really unhappy, and Dalton makes me not so unhappy" wasn't very good, but he couldn't get past that. Wes had briefly decided that he was going to interrogate Sebastian about his sexual health which turned into a very short rant from Sebastian about how he wasn't stupid and – of course – he used protection and – of course – he checked.

Had they been in any other situation, Blaine and David would probably have been hysterics about Sebastian's reaction to Wes going all "big brother" on him, and also Sebastian's reaction to Wes prying into his private life; not that Sebastian really had much concept of a private life. However, they were going where they were going, and Blaine shouldn't be in the front seat because that was Thad's spot, and so it wasn't funny.

They walked with the other three Dalton boys into the hospital and followed the instructions that Mr Harwood had sent David up to the ward where Thad was now. His dad met them when they got there, and he had a very serious look on his face. Blaine reached out and caught Sebastian's wrist on instinct. The two of them were at the side of the group, and, after looking around, Sebastian hesitantly slipped his hand into Blaine's. Blaine didn't look at him, but he knew that Sebastian was afraid and looking for some comfort so he squeezed it tightly.

"He's alright. He's getting better; breathing for himself now." Blaine felt himself let out a huge breath at that, and the rest of the group deflated too. Mr Harwood gave them weak smiles. "Doctors say it's just a waiting game until he wakes up, but…" he exhaled heavily, tiredness showing up on his face. "I need to know…I need to understand why." Nick, Jeff and Trent swivelled their heads towards Blaine, Sebastian, David and Wes. Sebastian let go of his hand, but Blaine was close enough to feel safe and supported. Wes sighed, glanced at Sebastian and David, before giving Blaine one look of assurance – there would be no mention of Eli – and turning back to Mr Harwood.

"He did it because…well, we're not one hundred per cent sure, but we're basically sure if that makes sense," Mr Harwood nodded in a weary manner. "but we think he was too scared to face what you might say; he couldn't handle the thought of rejection, or you'd tell him that he was…dirty, wrongbroken…These are things that he's already struggling with, but he got really scared. He couldn't face you – he's been suffering for years – and he didn't know what else to do."

There was a silence as they watched Mr Harwood pinch the bridge of his nose. Blaine looked at the floor when he realised that he was fighting against tears. He lost very quickly; tears running down his face as he quietly cried. Everyone looked away, awkwardly, but Blaine could feel a tearful smile work its way onto his face because Mr Harwood was going to be there for Thad, and that would make all the difference in the world. Blaine still didn't know if he knew about what had happened to Blaine, but that didn't matter right now.

Wes stepped forward and put a strong hand on his shoulder. Wes' demeanour was such that Mr Harwood did not feel patronised by his comfort because all he could see was someone who cared about his son trying to help him because he could. Nick bit down on his lip and looked over at his boyfriend. Blaine noticed Jeff nod slightly as Mr Harwood stepped backwards, giving Wes a look of gratitude, and Nick stepped up.

"If you want, sir, you can talk to me and Jeff. We both know some of how your son is feeling, especially about coming out." Jeff nodded, earnestly as Mr Harwood eyed them in interest.

"Yeah, our parents are still arguing over which one of us made the other gay." One of his eyebrows arched in disbelief, but then he nodded, glancing at Blaine with a brief look that told him that he knew. He closed his eyes and shook his head briefly, begging him not to do this now. Another look in his eyes said that he understood again.

"That would be good, boys. I'll get my wife; she needs a break and something to drink and eat. I don't need to ask for you to sit with him and get us if he wakes." They all gave him nods. He managed a small smile that Blaine, hiding his yawn, felt like he could return. "Come on, you guys." Wes patted both Nick and Jeff's upper arms whilst Sebastian gave them a stiff, yet appreciative, nod.

Blaine felt better when he looked at Thad this time round. He looked much the same, but the lack of machines keeping him alive made him able to breathe easier. He could see Sebastian's shoulders loosen slightly. Trent moved to stand by the edge of his bed. Mrs Harwood got to her feet as her husband whispered in her ear. She cast one look at her son, clearly not wanting to leave, which just filled Blaine with so much hope, before nodding.

They left the room, and Sebastian immediately dropped down into the chair next to Thad's bed, hand going down near Thad's, like he wanted to take his hand but couldn't. Blaine took the other seat as David and Wes leaned against the wall, David pulling out the cards and putting them on the window sill, both yawning. Trent stared down at Thad, like he could wake him with the power of his mind, and then managed a smile.

They sat or stood there for some time, staring at Thad's unconscious form. He looked so peaceful, but incredibly breakable. Blaine's tired mind turned over the idea of calling his dad. He suddenly felt antsy, though he was very tired, and decided that he might as well do it now. He got to his feet. He took a couple of deep breaths.

"I'm going to call my dad," he said, trying to keep his cool. "I need to move now; before Thad gets out." He got some nods at that and walked from the room. He made his way to the stairway, sweat beading across his forehead because he didn't think he could talk him into it, and he had to. Taking a deep breath, he flicked to his dad's number and pressed call.

"Blaine?" came the short reply, and Blaine focused on his breathing. "What do you want?"

"I want to move back to Dalton," he blurted out before he could stop himself. He had meant to butter his dad up a little bit before spilling his big news, but he hadn't quite managed that. There was a long pause.

"You want to move back to Dalton?" was the question, mildly incredulous. Blaine sighed. "Why?" He closed his eyes because this was it.

"I'm unhappy at McKinley; you were right it wasn't a good move for me, and- and my friend is a suicide risk, and he needs me." There was a long pause.

"You want to move to Dalton because your friend needs you? Just like you moved to McKinley because your boyfriend needed you." Blaine pursed his lips and turned to the wall and leant his head against it, pushing down his anger and all the many feelings that the assumption of Kurt being his boyfriend brought up.

"Yes, but I promise I won't ask to move again. We can win Nationals which is good." There was another long silence between them again.

"I'll call you back," he said and then hung up. Blaine yawned widely, feeling even more tired after that. Blinking sleepily, he trotted back to Thad's room. He just wanted to fall asleep. They all looked up as he shuffled back in. He noticed that Wes was gone.

"Where's Wes?" he asked with a yawn as he sat next to Sebastian. There was a moment in which Sebastian stared at Thad, Trent blinked and David yawned.

"Coffee," grunted Trent, eventually, and Blaine dropped his head down onto Sebastian's shoulder, considering just closing his eyes for a moment until Wes came back with coffee. He didn't really care that it was Sebastian he was leaning on because, though he had a bony shoulder, he was kind of comfortable. Also, he noted sleepily as he yawned widely, he was a bit of a softie because he wasn't shrugging Blaine off. Must be becoming nice or something…Nice thought…

He could feel someone poking him, and he would let out a groan if all his efforts had not been going into prising his two very heavy eyelids apart. Vaguely remembering who he had been leaning on, he mumbled;

"Bastian…what…?" wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep, but unable to now that he was partially awake. He raised a hand to rub his eyes and blinked in an attempt to get the blurry room into focus. Looking round, he could see the outline of one more person than he thought was there. He squinted, trying to shake off the sleep as he rubbed his eyes, and then leapt bolt upright in shock. "Kurt!" he exclaimed, thoroughly stunned to see him standing there, his heart beating wildly. "When did you get here?" He watched as Kurt shrugged before replying;

"Not long ago, I just wanted to check up on how Thad was." Blaine nodded and looked around with a frown, still feeling tired and wondering why he'd been woken, until his caught sight of Thad moving slightly. He felt his breath hitch in his throat as he stared down at his friend, who was clearly beginning to wake, and felt hope bubbling up inside of him.

He vaguely registered Trent saying something about going to get Thad's parents, but Blaine was too full of nerves, relief and happiness to care that he was leaving the room. Thad was waking up! He was going to be okay, but what state would he be in? Would he still be cracked and broken? And what if he mentioned Eli whilst Kurt was still here? It was selfish for that to be his biggest fear, but Blaine couldn't help it. The whole situation was so tenuous, and Blaine was scared that it would all fall apart.

"Thad," he heard Sebastian whisper in such a gentle, cautious, tone of voice that Blaine could scarcely believe that it was Sebastian speaking. "Thad, can you hear me?" Blaine watched with baited breath as Thad rolled towards Sebastian's voice, eyelids flickering but gave no other sign that he had heard Sebastian. He didn't look at Sebastian as he glanced around for support, instead choosing to keep his gaze fixed on Thad and was only interested when he heard Wes say;

"Take his hand. Ask him to squeeze it if he can hear you." He looked at Sebastian, hiding his amusement at his disbelieving, incredulous, face and was pleased to see him roll his eyes before turning back to Thad. Blaine watched the delicate way Sebastian took a hold of Thad's hand with the faintest of smiles because he was frightened that Sebastian might explode at Thad as a result of all his hurt feelings, but he was handling him with the care needed.

"Thad, if you can hear me…squeeze my hand…" Blaine sucked in a huge breath, holding it, as nothing happened for a moment. Then Thad's fingers curled around Sebastian's. He let out a great sigh of relief, clasping his hands over his face as he was temporarily overwhelmed by it all; he was back.

"Bastian…" he heard Thad groan and looked up just in time to catch Sebastian's blazer as he rocketed to his feet. He forced him to sit back down because Thad didn't really need Sebastian looming over him in an intimidating fashion when he woke up.

"Yeah?" said Sebastian, and Blaine felt some of the tension leave his body because, just maybe, Sebastian could do it. Maybe Sebastian could rake aside all his many feelings: anger, confusion, frustration and hurt, for Thad's sake. If they were going to fix Thad they needed Sebastian, and they had him.

"Throat hurts…" Thad grumbled, and Blaine suppressed a small smile at that because Thad was okay.

"Yeah, I'm not surprised," came Sebastian's dry response, and Thad's eyes fluttered open. Blaine barely got a chance to smile at that before Thad had let go of Sebastian's hand and clutched onto his lapel.

"Bastian…Bastian…" Blaine did like the way his voice was slurred or that he was frowning or that he was breathing deeply, but he sat still because Thad was obviously struggling to say something important – to Sebastian. "Did- did you read it?" Blaine dropped his face into a frown as Sebastian asked;

"Read what?" in a very even tone of voice because what did he think Thad was talking about?

"The note…" Thad hissed, and Blaine was alarmed to hear the note of desperation in his voice as Sebastian went stiff. Blaine felt himself do the same because he was still frightened about what the note said. "Bastian…"

"…No…" Blaine felt himself release the breath that he was holding as Thad let go of Sebastian, and Blaine frowned, looking from side to side in confusion because why was Sebastian lying? What had it said?

"…good… What did you do with it?"

"I threw it in the bin?" Blaine was frowning intensely at this point, unnerved by Thad's relief and Sebastian's lie because what had it said? What was so bad that Sebastian would cry and then pretend he'd never read it?


"'Cause you don't get to quit in middle of the game, Thad; you don't get that option: you want to tell me something then you tell me." Blaine could hear the hidden anger in his voice as he looked around to the others, trying to work out whether or not they should point out that Sebastian was lying, but, before they could reach a decision, the door opened, and the others came flooding in. He saw Nick and Jeff break out into grins whilst Trent picked up on the tense atmosphere.

"Thad!" Blaine managed a smile as his mother flew at him and scooped him up into his hug, his father following suit. One or more of them broke down into tears, not that Blaine could blame them, and they all left the room. Blaine tried to focus on the positives; Thad was alive, but found he could only think about Sebastian's lie.

Wes slammed Sebastian into a wall almost straight away. Blaine took a deep breath, watching a nurse pass them by and go into Thad's room, feeling apprehensive about Wes' reaction because Wes never got violent.

"Why did you lie to him?" demanded Wes. Sebastian threw Wes off and stared him down with a very steady gaze.

"Because he didn't want me to have read it," he said, simply. Wes opened his mouth, probably to point out that lying didn't exactly help the situation, but Sebastian got their first. "I'm not putting him in another situation that he can't face, Wes. He needs to trust me."

"Right," said Wes, nodding. "and lying straight to his face is going to help!" Blaine bit the inside of his lip, thinking he understood what he was saying as David explained the situation to the others.

"Yes, actually, because the only way that we can make sure he stays safe is if he knows that he can come to any of us and be honest. He's not been honest to us, right now, and we need that to keep him alive; so I didn't read it." Blaine shook his head, closing his eyes, because it made sense, but he also got the niggling feeling that that kind of lie would backfire, horribly, on them.

"But you did read it!" spat out David, unconvinced. "It made you cry!" Sebastian glared at David, but didn't bother to deny it. "This is a bigfuckingdeal!" Sebastian closed his eyes, sighing, before glaring at David.

"If you want to crash Thad's train wreck of a life again, go ahead, but be warned: that's on you." He brandished his finger at David as he took a step away from the group. "Now, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that that-" he jabbed his finger towards Thad's hospital room, and they all knew what he meant. " -never happens again; if you want to try and kill him then be my guest, but don't for one second think that I won't murder you." Blaine felt tears fill his eyes at the idea of Thad being returned to hospital as he glanced at the others and then realised that it fell to him to follow Sebastian. His phone went off before he could.

"Dad?" he asked, feeling his spine straighten and his face go blank.

"Me and your mother have talked it over, and we've come up with some conditions. One, you get nothing short of perfect grades. Two, you will not move again. Three, you will not miss lessons for anything. Four, you do not get into any kind of trouble. Five, you will compete on a sports team. Six, you may only do show-choir if you win. Seven, you cannot have another boyfriend. Eight, you will spend the holidays at home and any weekends that we say."

He answered to the terms in a robotic fashion because he knew exactly what his dad wanted to hear, and Blaine would say almost anything if it meant he got to come back. He found that he wasn't really that angry about the no more boyfriends rule because he did not think he would be up to going out with anyone else after what had happened with Eli and Kurt. However, the fact that his dad felt that he could control whether or not Blaine had a boyfriend – when he had never made any attempt to control Cooper's romantic life – stung him quite a lot.

"Do you understand?"

"Yes sir," he said, again, waiting for his dad to say that he could go back to Dalton and confirm it, and Blaine could hang up.

"If you let me down, Blaine, I might be forced to take drastic action. Perhaps your first high school would be able to sort you out..." Blaine felt his blood run cold at the threat, and he suppressed the urge to gulp. "and I don't think you want to go there again, do you?"

"No sir," he said, not letting his voice waver at all because he knew half, if not more, of that threat was a test of Blaine's strength and resolve. His dad was always doing that – testing Blaine's strength to withstand cruel comments, insults, abuse and other such things as if he could assess whether or not Blaine was still a man – and he knew the tricks.

"Very well, you will be back at Dalton on Monday." Blaine felt a tiny smile, of victory and relief, spread across his face at that; he'd done it! He was going back. He suddenly felt like everything could be alright again.

"Thank you, dad," he said. "Thank you." He heard his father grunt out something in response, but he wasn't paying attention as he hung up and turned to the others, allowing the smile on his face to grow, but not looking at Kurt because he didn't know how Kurt would take this, and said; "I'm coming back to Dalton."

Their reactions of joy at his news was enough to make him really, really, believe that, with some time, him and Thad could really be okay again. He let them all hug him and knew that they had his back again, just like old times. He felt good about it; he'd been on this road before, for different reasons but he knew where it went, and from David's steady, strong, embrace he knew that nothing had really changed between any of them after what had happened; yes, Blaine was broken again, but that wasn't his fault, and they were there to fix and help him instead of looking down on him.

He looked up at Kurt, nervously, when the Warblers had stepped aside. He could tell that neither of them had anything to say. Technically, it didn't matter what Kurt thought – he was letting Kurt go, and Kurt had graduated so what school Blaine was at ought to be irrelevant to him – but at the same time it really did.

"Look, Kurt," he said when he'd found his voice, trying to find the easiest way to explain this to him because he knew that Kurt doubted him now – that was Blaine's fault – and he was, likely, not interested in anything that he had to say. "it's Thad, mainly, I just-" he broke off as Kurt held up his hands, his explanation about needing to be there for his friend dying on his lips.

"It's okay," he said, and Blaine felt something cut straight through him – for some reason – at the sight of his fake smile. "you don't have to explain your life to me." He watched as Kurt shrugged like he couldn't care less, but Blaine could see that he did care. "What you do is your own choice," and he had to know that Blaine could see through his attempts to be casual.

"Kurt…" he began because he didn't want this. He wanted Kurt to let him go, but only, really, in a romantic sort of way. He'd been hoping that maybe they could rebuild a friendship, but Kurt didn't trust him at all. He was hiding behind a wall, and Kurt had never, ever, hid from Blaine – not even when they first met because it had been around Blaine that Kurt had felt able to bring down his shields and be himself.

"Blaine, really, it's fine." Kurt took a step backwards, and Blaine could see the emotional distance between them rapidly spiralling out of control. "Tell Thad that I hope he feels better, and the New Directions said if you need anything they'll be there to help." Blaine managed a small nod as Kurt stepped back again. "Good luck with Regionals and Nationals." He turned around to walk away. Blaine stepped forward.

"Kurt…" he said in once last desperate attempt to salvage something from between them because Blaine had wanted Kurt to let him go and move on and find someone worthy, but he had never thought that Kurt would cut all their ties. That Kurt would feel unable to be honest around Blaine. That Kurt would hide away from him because Blaine could see, now, that his betrayal – in Kurt's eyes – had sliced far deeper through them than he had thought.

He looked around at the Warblers, noticing Sebastian approaching the group again with a frown, and let out a sigh of hopelessness. Wes and David both gave him looks that said the only way to salvage this was if Blaine chased after Kurt and told him everything, but the door to Thad's room had swung open, and his dad stepped out.

"David, Wes, Sebastian and Blaine, Thad needs to talk to you all." Blaine felt his heart rate pick up as he looked back down the corridor that Kurt had vanished along. He felt a sick feeling of nerves swoop through him. He had to help Thad, but if he let Kurt walk away without saying something more than he would lose him forever.

"Blaine?" Blaine had never thought he would have to choose. Looking around, he saw that Nick, Jeff and Trent were confused, Wes was supportive, David looked ambivalent and Sebastian's eyes were condemning. He would never forgive Blaine if he went after Kurt when Thad needed him. But it was Kurt! Or Thad…

He closed his eyes, wondering when Sebastian had started to mean so much to him. It wasn't a choice.

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