Chapter 12

"The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for." ― Bob Marley
Blaine felt sick to the bottom of his stomach as he stepped inside Thad's room again. His whole body felt like lead. Kurt was gone. Properly, Blaine-would-likely-never-see-him-again-and-even-if-he-did-Kurt-would-never-look-at-him gone. Wes had dropped a hand onto his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him, but he could not begin to comprehend what Blaine was feeling. Blaine had wanted Kurt to let him go because Kurt deserved something better, but the prospect of his friendship had lingered on the fringes of his mind: a slow burning beacon of hope that Blaine would go to when he had the strength.
Looking at Thad didn't help him feel any better. He was sitting upright in his bed, but if Blaine had thought that waking up would make him look less sick than he was wrong. He was slumped against a pillow, shoulders hunched as he curled in on himself, a dead expression on his face though his eyes were bloodshot from tears that had left silvery tracks down his pale face. His eyes grazed, without caring, over Sebastian, David, Wes and his dad, and landed on Blaine.
That was when Blaine knew that, however painful it was, he had made the right choice. His empty, hollow, eyes had sparked into life at the sight of Blaine. He suddenly looked scared as he stared right at Blaine, but there was also so much relief and hope in them that it made Blaine want to break down and cry because he was so glad that Blaine was here for him, and he believed that Blaine – even though Blaine was so broken himself – could fix him and make him better.
He sniffed, wiping a hand down his face as he began to cry because he had nearly walked away. He didn't quite want to think what would have gone through Thad's mind if, fucked up as his belief in Blaine was, Blaine had not come when he'd asked. Thad needed him. Kurt didn't. Kurt had Rachel, Finn, his dad, Carole and all the old New Directions. Kurt had his job at and the potential to get into NYADA this time round. His life was almost complete. Thad's life hung in the balance.
Blaine found that he couldn't stop crying because he felt so ashamed and sick. He could not believe that he would be so utterly selfish as to consider walking away from Thad as he lay in a hospital bed to go after Kurt when he'd made the choice to let Kurt go. Blaine was the only person that could begin to understand what Thad was going through, and, yet, he would have turned his back on that for himself. He doubled over, pressing his hands to his face as Wes pulled him close because why was he always such a terrible, selfish, person?

"Blaine…" he could hear Thad's gentle whisper of concern, and he tried to pull himself together because Thad was relying on him, and he was no use to him if he was broken into pieces and weak. He retracted himself from Wes' arms, trying to give them a sense that he was okay to talk to Thad about all of this. He looked straight into his worried brown eyes and almost retched; he had no idea how close Blaine had come to leaving him, and why the fuck was he so concerned about Blaine when it was Thad that was lying in the hospital bed?

"I'm fine," he said, dragging a hand down his face to wipe away the moisture of his tears. "I just-" he broke off and looked away in distress because what did he say? How could he tell Thad that it got better when Thad was the one that had promised Blaine that? "I just-" He looked over at Wes as he faltered again. The older boy wrapped an arm around his shoulder, glanced at the resolute David and the tense Sebastian, and then looked at his hospitalised friend.

"Thad, you know how much we all care about you – just look at Sebastian; he was friggin' holding your hand – and we're not…we're not angry with you-" Sebastian, who had scowled at the mention of hand holding though it had meant Thad had smiled slightly, cleared his throat. Wes rolled his eyes. "Well, Sebastian's pissed, but we're ignoring Bastian because he's an emotional dunce." Thad managed a little bit more a smile, and Blaine was sending every God/Goddess that may or may not have been, or be, up there a prayer of thanks for Wes.

"Wes, I'm not…" Thad's voice was cracked and hoarse, and his hands trembled slightly as he tried to keep his voice steady. Blaine felt tearful just looking at him because this was his real friend; someone shattered, struggling, and so seemingly without hope or cause – Thad was like a crushed shell on the beach as the tide came in…He was so dangerously close to being washed away from them completely. Gone forever.

"Thad, just hear us out, alright?" Thad nodded, instantly, and they all managed a smile at him in a supportive manner, Sebastian's more like a grimace than anything else but it was the thought that counted.

"Okay…" Blaine noticed the way that Thad hesitantly looked at his parents, like he was scared that they would reject his friends in some way. His mother simply squeezed his hands tighter, clenching her other hand around a tissue, and his father came around the bed to stand by his left shoulder and put a hand on it.

"Thad, we're only honestly all – definitely including Sebastian in this – very worried about you. I mean," Wes stepped forward towards Thad's bed whilst David sidled over to comfort Blaine. "we all know that you've been struggling after you found out what happened to Blaine." He sighed, shaking his head, and Blaine looked at floor because this was hard. "I know that you've been carrying around a ridiculous amount of guilt, but… David and Sebastian both said that it was getting better. You were laughing, helping Blaine, singing, winning Sectionals…" he shook his head. "What happened? I know that you came out and told them everything, but why?"

Thad looked at the bed as Blaine chanced a look at his crumbled form. His shoulders were hunched as he let out a shaky breath, and his stomach deflated. He looked scarily thin, but Thad had always been a very healthy looking guy. He ate, though Sebastian might have something to do with that, and he did sport and looked…well…solid. He didn't look that anymore at all: suddenly all his limbs were spindly and twig like, and his body looked like it might collapse under their tiny, combined, weight.

"I don't know," he whispered, sadly. "I'm sorry, but I just don't know."

"Hey!" snapped Sebastian as other people opened their mouths to intervene. "You may have just done something totally stupid, but you don't apologise, Thad. You're the person that is owed a ton of apologises, not the other way round." There was a moment of silence before Thad gave him a tiny smile, and the rest of the people in the room all shot Sebastian grateful looks. Wes looked around, eyes grazing over everyone and giving Blaine a comforting smile before moving to sit on Thad's bed.

"Okay, Thad," said Wes, holding his other hand. "let's get one thing straight: you're not at fault, you're not weak, you're not the guilty party, you're not a burden, or any of those other crap things that you're telling yourself right now, but I'll tell you who you are…" he trailed off, looking around the room one more time as the three people holding onto him squeezed whichever body part they were holding. "You are the son of two accepting, loving, people. You are a student at Dalton Academy where you are a leader of the Warblers and a friend of everyone there. You are a talented singer, a diligent student and love to read and watch films. You have a slightly short fuse, but you make up for that by caring for your friends and cooking them food. You are the equivalent of my little brother. You are the close friend of David, Blaine, myself, Nick, Jeff and Trent. You are the best friend, and long suffering roommate, of Sebastian Smythe. You are the most important person in his world, and the person he cares about the most."

There was an awkward moment in which, for what Blaine was sure was the first time ever, Sebastian flushed a little bit. His cheeks went mildly pink whilst Thad examined the sheets in a rather intent manner. David burst out into uproarious laughter at the sight of Sebastian's gentle flush, bending double and clutching his stomach. Blaine felt himself smiling slightly too as Sebastian glared at the Dalton, or ex-Dalton, boys because some semblance of normality was returning to the world. Thad's mouth was even fighting to turn up into a properly wide smile. Thad's parents shared confused, yet impatient, looks at the laughter.

"I'm not done," said Wes, glaring at David in a mock fashion. "More importantly, though, you are loved by every single person in this room, and…where are those cards?" he asked, suddenly, turning around to frown at David. David blinked and then burst out into a grin. He held up a finger and then picked them up from the window sill with a grin. He handed them to Wes. Wes grinned at Thad. "...and by all these people." He dropped the numerous cards onto Thad's lap.

"There's even one from Hunter," added David with a wonky grin at Thad. Thad was taking deep breaths, clearly trying to hold back tears.

"It's okay to cry," said Blaine, finally finding the strength to speak, mainly from Wes' words because he knew that they were all true and they also all applied to Blaine – well, not the part about Sebastian, but the rest did. "It's always okay to cry." Wes let go of his hand so that Thad could clamp it over his eyes as he broke down into tears. David moved to replace his hand on Blaine's shoulder as Wes sat there with a satisfied smirk, and his mother cried a little bit more whilst squeezing his hand, and his dad gave him a series of strong pats on the shoulder. Sebastian was examining the ground with an intent frown – it appeared that, even though he had been reduced to tears himself, he had not quite gotten over his aversion to be people breaking down – like he was trying to solve the riddles of the universe by it.

It took Thad several minutes to get a hold of himself, for which Blaine did not begrudge him because that gave him time to try and get his head together for when he had to talk to Thad's parents – fucking parents – about Eli. What the hell did he say? He had no idea what they were expecting from him. Did they blame him because they thought he might have been blaming Thad, or because he had told Blaine's secret? He could only say that he didn't blame Thad for anything, and that he was behind him one hundred per cent because he was his friend.

"Thad," said his dad when Thad had roped in all his emotions. "son, you know that we love you completely, right?" Thad swallowed, not meeting either of his parent's eyes. "Thad, I know that it's not something that we talk about, but…I always thought that you knew." Thad shrugged his shoulders in a hesitant manner.

"Darling," said his mum in a voice that was desperate and scared, her hands moving up his arm and then to his face, turning it so that he faced her, and Blaine watched with a lump in his throat at the tenderness that she showed as she tried to find the proof that her son knew about her love for him. "I've always loved you." There were tears in her eyes and her voice. "You have to know that." Thad looked down, tears beginning to run down his face as his lower lip trembled violently. Blaine could barely breathe from terrified anticipation.

"I know…I didn't want you to say that you couldn't love me anymore because of it," he whispered in a thick voice. Thad's mother broke down into tears, her hands going over her face at the thought. Thad's father looked torn between comforting his broken son, or comforting his heartbroken wife. Wes put a hand on her shoulder whilst Blaine put his hands over his eyes at the overwhelming emotions that were being stirred up inside of him. He knew that feeling, with all its complexities and pitfalls, and it was his own biggest fear; that was what he feared from Kurt – he could not face it – so he understood.

"Thad, we love you, okay," said his dad, reaching forward to position Thad so he looked into his eyes. "I'm not going to pretend that I'm one hundred per cent comfortable with the idea of you being gay; it's not how I was brought up, it's not what I've been led to believe, but you're my son – end of story. I'm telling you, now, that we might not have taken it well, but that's because it's not easy to hear that your son was raped years ago, and the thought that you went through it all on your own though, Thad, that this isn't the first time that you tried to kill yourself; that makes me sick."

Thad heaved in a huge breath of air whilst Blaine rubbed his eyes because that was what Thad wanted, and needed, to hear. More overly, Thad's dad had been honest with his him; saying that maybe it wasn't everything that he wanted or expected, but that he loved Thad enough to discard that. That his biggest gripe with the situation was that Thad had not come to him all those years ago and told them what had happened. It was no doubt hard to wrap their heads around the fact that this was not their son's first suicide attempt.

"I wasn't- I wasn't alone," choked out Thad, in the end. "I had David and Wes." His dad shook his head.

"I know, but, son, you tried to kill yourself, and we weren't informed!" Blaine could hear the suppressed anger and frustration in his voice. Thad looked at the sheets in an ashamed manner.

"I begged them not to tell you," he whispered with tear-filled eyes. "I said I could never live if you knew…they were just trying to keep me safe…" There was a moment in which Thad broke down into some more tears, Sebastian decided that the answers to the universe were now on the wall and Blaine felt a feeling of sickness swoop up inside of him.

"It's true," said David, quietly. "We're not just saying that, either," he said, looking straight into Thad's father's eyes. "We were scared that if we told you he'd try to kill himself again…That's why I started trying to break down the door straight away – I thought he'd try…" Mr Harwood looked between David, Wes and Thad. Then he sighed.

"If it kept you alive this long…" he said in a reluctant manner like he wanted to argue, but couldn't because Thad was still here with him.

"I don't know why I told you," whispered Thad in cracked, hoarse, voice. "I just…I came home, and you told me how proud you were of me, and I…" he trailed off, shrugging, but Blaine thought he understood: Thad had seen all the misconceptions, felt the weight of it all and could not bear it any longer – he could not bear the thought that he might turn out less than what his parents thought of him and so went to lower the bar by coming clean, thus making them hate him and taking away that pressure. It made a twisted sort of sense, or at least to Blaine, except for the fact that he forgot to consider the possibility that his parents might accept him and that it didn't actually matter if he was going to kill himself – if you thought about it.

"Thad, I don't understand," said his dad, brusquely whilst his mother wiped her eyes again, trying to find some semblance of balance in her emotions. Blaine took a deep breath.

"He did it because he didn't feel your pride was well placed," every eye turned to him. Blaine let out a sigh, rubbing his forehead before glancing at Thad. Thad nodded, giving him a grateful smile so that he didn't have to talk about it. Blaine sighed again, nervously looking back into Mr Harwood's narrowed eyes. "He felt guilty because he felt like he couldn't live up to your expectations because he doesn't think that he's worth much. He's been carrying around a weight for so long, a huge secret that presses down on him constantly, and he saw a way to relieve himself of it and tear down all your expectations so that he doesn't have to deal with your pressure…"

He fell quiet at that when his throat became choked up because that was exactly how he felt about himself. He saw clearly Thad's worryingly low self-esteem, but he also saw Thad's dangerous capacity to be an incredibly good liar. One look at Sebastian's angry face told Blaine that Sebastian had been fooled into thinking that Thad was okay. He had managed to deceive them all – albeit partially due to Blaine being a greater focus of attention – because he had the ability to convince them that he was okay and believed in himself when he so obviously did not that Blaine just wanted to tear his hair out in anger. They'd bought into it because they wanted to.

"Fuck you, Thad," spat Sebastian into the silence, suddenly. His jaw was clenched, and his face twitched from suppressed rage. Turning on his heel, he marched out of the room, letting the door slam behind him. Thad flinched. There was an awkward silence in which Thad's father looked like he wanted to march out and punch Sebastian, but couldn't bring himself leave his son, who was beginning to cry again.

"We should have seen that coming," muttered Wes as he reached for Thad's hand again, squeezing it tightly. Blaine swallowed, guessing that he needed to go after Sebastian to salvage his and Thad's relationship, but he wasn't sure whether he should leave Thad alone when he was the only one that got what was going through Thad's head in this tumultuous time. Then again, it wasn't like Wes or David were going to be able to convince Sebastian to come back because Sebastian was only going to be persuaded that Thad needed him if it came from Blaine because he was the only one that understood what was going through his head.

"Go," hissed David, eyes narrowed as he stared intently at Blaine. "Get him back here now!" One look at Thad's crushed face told him that he needed to get Sebastian back now, and it wasn't like Thad could do anything stupid with four vigilant people in the room with him in a hospital!

With that comforting thought in mind, Blaine darted out of Thad's hospital room and spotted the receding head of Sebastian going off to god knows where. Letting out a frustrated sigh at Sebastian's prima donna nature, he chased after him because he got that Sebastian found this difficult and shit, but his hurt feelings and frustrations weren't as important as Thad's life, and Sebastian needed to get a grip, quickly, before he made the whole situation ten times worse.

"Bastian!" he called out in exasperation, once it became clear that Sebastian was just going to keep walking until he found the way out and then just walk...until he was gone too. He could see it all falling apart so he reached forward and snatched onto the material of Sebastian's blazer, pulling him to a stop. Sebastian wrenched himself from Blaine's grasp and turned on him with a furious expression blazing in his eyes that would be a whole lot more terrifying if Blaine didn't know that Sebastian was a sarcastic mess of guilt, anger, fear and failure.

"How many times do I have to tell you that my name is Sebastian?" he demanded, and Blaine rolled his eyes because he'd thought that he'd managed to explain to Sebastian why he called him that. Then, as Sebastian just glared at him like he was trying to get Blaine to spontaneously combust, he threw up his hands in the air and let out a cry of frustration.

"How could you just walk out?" he yelled because Sebastian was so god – fucking – damn hypocritical. "You wouldn't let me walk out, but when you found out that Thad was lying to you – after you lied to him about reading his suicide note – you can just storm out?"

"Fuck you, Blaine," he said, coldly, pushing him away. Blaine felt an uncontrollable rage bubble up inside of him because why the hell was he being so goddamn selfish about this? Sebastian cared a great deal about Thad, but, more than that, he was smart enough to know that Thad needed him! Sebastian had to know that Thad was simply feeling shit about all of this. That he would feel like a burden to Sebastian. That he would feel guilty about lying to him. That would just lead another gigantic fucking downward spiral that really would be all Sebastian's fault! Sebastian got that, but he was ready to risk his best friend for his own stupid selfish reasons because he couldn't handle it all and he felt like a failure!

Blaine didn't think about it. He threw a punch squarely into Sebastian's face, feeling his nose break under his fist and the blood begin to pour from both his nostrils. Blaine took a step backwards in surprised shock because he hadn't meant it to be so hard whilst Sebastian stumbled, hands flying to cover his nose, as his eyes widened in disbelief. Blaine swallowed, barely able to think or articulate because of his shock.

"Oh God, Bastian, I am so sorry!" Sebastian scowled at him as the blood continued to drip onto his white shirt from between his cupped hands. He hurried forward, slipping an arm over his shoulder on instinct whilst internally he was reeling because since when did he punch people when they pissed him off? Then again it was Sebastian, who pretty much got a league all to himself as far as pissing Blaine off went – Blaine definitely preferred the nicer version of Sebastian he had come to know this year, but that didn't mean he'd lost the ability to drive him crazy.

"The fuck, Blaine?" he exclaimed as the two of them moved off in search of a bathroom. "When the hell was violence your cup of tea? You're a hobbit."

"Hobbits did plenty of fighting," pointed out Blaine in a relatively amiable voice considering he'd just decked Sebastian. "Fro-"

"Blaine, do not start recounting the plot of The Lord of the Rings to me; I will punch you back." Blaine managed a laugh, looking at Sebastian's face which was still fixed into a scowl. He guessed that that wasn't meant to be funny. That made the situation, like, ten times more awkward than it already was.

"I'm really sorry," he repeated, weakly as they found the bathroom, and Sebastian stumbled into one of the stalls, getting several confused looks as he pulled out a load of tissues and pressed them to his nose. He put up his middle finger at Blaine, who felt a small smile tug at his lips. Eventually, Sebastian came to the sinks to wipe the blood from his face. He turned on the tap and attempted to wash some of the blood from his face. Blaine winced as Sebastian looked at his reflection.

"You're a lucky bastard, Anderson," he said in a threatening voice, and Blaine swallowed slightly because he got the distinct impression that Sebastian wanted to punish him for what he'd done, but didn't feel like he could. Blaine shook his head because that was all irrelevant.

"Why did you just walk out?" he hissed as Sebastian pressed a sopping tissue to his nose. Sebastian seemed to steel himself, eyes watching the last guy wipe his hands, shoot them one more suspicious look before walking out. "Bastian?" There was a moment of silence before Sebastian's whole posture crumbled.

"What the hell is the point of me?" he mumbled, hanging his head over the sink, looking utterly defeated. "I mean, shit, Blaine, that's my job; I look after Thad!" Blaine put a hand on his shoulder, rubbing it gently because he got that Sebastian felt shit about himself.

"Bastian, it's…this isn't your fault. I mean, if he can fool you then…" Sebastian shook his head, turning to Blaine with wide eyes that were filled with pure terror whilst the anger smouldered and burned out.

"Blaine, you don't understand; when you first mentioned Eli he came to pieces; like, scratching his wrists, hysterical, pieces, but when you talked to him, what was his reaction?" Blaine stared at Sebastian, the wheels of his mind spinning faster and faster. Thad had been internalising all of his reactions for Blaine. Blaine had known that Thad was probably hiding some of his feelings as a desire to be the strong one because that was what Blaine needed, but had had no idea it had been that bad, or that he'd never talked about it when Blaine wasn't around.

"Are you saying that…this whole time…he's just been hiding it all?" Sebastian nodded, fury twisting and distorting the grim expression on his face.

"But I thought about that, Blaine! I guessed, and he promised me, Blaine, he promised me that he would talk to me about it if it got bad." Blaine heard Sebastian almost choke at the end of the sentence and felt something inside of him sink. He bowed his head, tears stinging his eyes, because how had this happened. "Fuck," continued Sebastian in his furious voice. "just this summer he came to my house when he thought that he was going to do something stupid! He trusted me, Blaine, now he doesn't; what the fuck?" Sebastian dropped his head into his hands in despair. Blaine was pretty sure that he was about to break down into sobs. "What am I meant to do?" he whispered, hand over his eyes as his shoulders shook slightly.

Blaine realised that – holy fuck – Sebastian was crying, and he was so freaking not okay, and he was looking to Blaine for advice. How the hell did he give Sebastian advice and/or comfort that he would not find patronising, condescending or immediately reject as stupid? What was he meant to do? What could he say to someone who was new to caring about people and had absolutely never experienced with the gut-wrenching horror of finding out that someone that you cared about – loved – did not feel the same way; although it was more about a loss of trust than anything else…This must be how Kurt felt about him now.

"You have to be responsible," he whispered, leaning against the counter so that he was on a similar level to Sebastian. "You have to box it all away, but not to the extent that it tears you apart – you need a safe place to unload; I would suggest me, but I know you'd reject that on one of your weird morals about not burdening me anymore, so David or Wes." Sebastian groaned very loudly at that. Blaine rolled his eyes because at least he'd stopped crying because – shit – that was terrifying. "They won't make fun of you – well, David might, but Wes wouldn't – because all those things that Wes said apply to you too."

"Blaine, if you think that I'm liked and loved by all of Dalton than your idiocy if off the charts." Blaine found himself, even though he was the butt of the joke, laughing at that because the long pause had worried him. The sarcasm, on the other hand, was always reassuring. He rolled his eyes.

"Alright, but the point still stands. Wes' interrogation of your sexual health is one of his weird ways of caring about you. We're all his little brothers, Bastian, and you've got dragged into the mess." Sebastian groaned some more at that, but Blaine knew that this was important; Sebastian needed to know that the others cared about him too, and that he wasn't just a means to help Thad – that might have been how his and David's friendship started, but it was different now – and that he was included in their circle of caring and love…though he might not want to phrase it like that because if there was an expression that would send Sebastian running for the hills that would most certainly be it.

"You're right," said Sebastian, straightening up and rubbing his hands over his face furiously. "I can't let this get the better of me. Fuck, this is why I don't do fucking feelings! They're worthless!" Blaine glared at him because he had completely missed the point.

"No, Bastian, that's not what I meant! You have to unload or you're going to explode like this again. You need to find a way to deal with your feelings without them affecting Thad. The thing is; Thad needs you, Bastian! Wes was right! He's the most important person in your world, and you're sure as hell near the top of the list in his." That didn't seem to reassure Sebastian in the way it was meant to.

"He shouldn't do that. I'm not cut out for this, Blaine, he needs to put his faith in you and Wes and David."

"You can't get out, Sebastian, it doesn't work like that…Besides, it'll totally destroy him – you care too much about him for that." He waited for Sebastian to cave and agree with him. Sebastian ran a hand over his face, sniffing slightly to hold back any tears that may or may not be threatening to fall. Inspecting his nose, Blaine saw that it was starting to swell slightly.

"So, what?" he asked, wincing as he looked at Blaine. He did not know what Sebastian was thinking and feeling so he did not know whether or not Sebastian was on board or not with his talking-sharing plan. He got the impression that he wasn't. Still, he knew that they should focus on Thad, though. Sebastian's inability to cope with his emotions would have to wait for another day when there was less chance of suicide. Blaine sighed.

"I guess you just need to explain to Thad why you stormed out," Sebastian looked distinctly uneasy at that. Blaine sighed again. "Look, it's far more my fault than yours. Thad felt the need to be strong for me and hid it all away so that's my fault." Sebastian glared at him fiercely.

"Don't make me punch you, Blaine. I refuse to let you end up in that hospital bed too." Blaine glared back at Sebastian in his most defiant manner.

"Why are you allowed to become full of all-consuming guilt and I'm not?" Sebastian wiped his face and sent Blaine a highly condescending look.

"Because I'm not an idiot," he said, shortly, walking to the exit, and Blaine knew that that roughly translated to; I have not been raped and I'm not already blaming myself for a ton of more dangerous shit and have the potential to be suicide risk, and was mildly surprised that Sebastian had managed to stop himself from saying all of that. He shook his head and followed Sebastian back out of the bathroom.

Sebastian walked quickly, and Blaine had to hurry to catch up with him. They walked side by side in silence, and Blaine wondered just how much of an impact the note that Sebastian "hadn't" read was having on the situation. Blaine didn't necessarily disagree with Sebastian about his reasons for lying, but it niggled away at the back of his mind that it had made him cry – Sebastian just cried twice in the space of two days, but this Blaine had understood; feeling helpless and powerless – and he just couldn't think what Thad could have possibly said that would make Sebastian cry. What was so bad? Was that why Sebastian was completely unable to cope? Would it change things – Sebastian knowing whatever he knew – to an even more dangerous extent?

He stopped by Sebastian's side at the door to Thad's room, taking a deep breath along with him as Sebastian rubbed his hands together in nervous anticipation. Blaine gave him a supportive smile, and Sebastian closed his eyes before pushing the door open. Silence fell as he walked back in, and Blaine saw Wes and David share knowing looks at the state of his nose. Thad's eyes were predictably red, and he shrunk in on himself, clearly afraid of what Sebastian might say or do. Thad's mother held onto his hand tighter whilst his father straightened up, trying to make himself bigger and more intimidating, as Sebastian just stood there looking pale.

Then he did something that Blaine would not have guessed. Sebastian stared right at Thad in a very intense manner before striding over to his bedside. There was perhaps half a second when nothing happened, and then Sebastian had pulled Thad into a very tight, rough, hug. Blaine felt his mouth spilt into a smile, holding back his laughter at the sight of Sebastian voluntarily giving someone a hug as David groaned and pulled out ten bucks to give to Wes. Wes pocketed it, looking like the cat that had gotten the cream, and Blaine couldn't hold back his laughter as the hug went on for an oddly long time until they all realised that Thad was crying, quite quietly, into Sebastian's chest. Sebastian's face was an over composed mask, giving nothing away, but he bent, low, whispering in Thad's ear so no one else could hear him and, eventually, he made Thad pull away, and they smiled at each other – Sebastian fondly, and Thad with watery eyes.

Blaine saw the vaguely amused light in Thad's eyes die as a heavy silence fell upon them. Mr Harwood gave Thad a looked that begged for the truth of what had had happened. Thad shuddered, seemingly drawing closer to Sebastian on instinct. Sebastian clenched onto Thad tightly, face tense and resolute as his nostrils flared from suppressed emotions. Wes patted Thad's leg, and David put his hand on Blaine's shoulder. Blaine gulped in a huge breath. Eventually, though, Thad nodded, saying that he was finally ready to speak…

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