Chapter 9

"I don't feel strong anymore I feel like falling to my knees. Things aren't the way they were before, They're not the way they're supposed to be." ― Atarah L. Poling, Hidden Light

The next morning, Kurt's plan of getting up late back-fired on him the moment he realised that it was a Saturday so everyone was still in the house anyway. He groaned loudly, guessing that everyone was probably waiting for him downstairs. Not looking forward to facing his dad, Kurt got out of bed and pulled his dressing gown on. Deciding that if he and his dad were going to have another row, he might as well get showered and be properly dressed, if only so that he could make derogatory comments about his dad's dress sense should the need arise.

A good half an hour later, at around quarter past eleven, Kurt made his way downstairs towards the kitchen. The sounds coming from the TV that Finn or his dad had it on a sports channel, and he mentally crossed his fingers that it was his dad, and that was enthralled by people running around and throwing themselves and balls at other people in an attempt to gain points – sport was incredibly pointless, Kurt would never understand it – as he stepped into the kitchen.

"Kurt," Kurt swore inside his head as his dad looked up from where he was making coffee and nodded at him as he stood in the doorway. With no other choice but to come in and get himself food, Kurt walked cautiously into the kitchen, reaching for a banana.

"Dad," he replied, noting there was enough coffee for him too and opening a cupboard to get out his mug.

"We need to talk, Kurt," he said, and Kurt closed his eyes, shaking his head because he did not want to talk about anything right now.

"We don't actually," he said as poured the coffee into his cup and peeled the skin off the banana. Burt fixed a disapproving look upon him.

"Okay, we don't need to talk, but I want to talk to you." Kurt let out a long sigh, understanding that his dad was not giving up on this easily.

"Alright, dad, what do you want to talk about?" Burt gave his son a look that said "you-know-exactly-what-I-want-to-talk-about", but Kurt didn't want to have this conversation so he wasn't about to make it easy for his dad.

"What you said last night, Kurt," he said, fixing a very intent stare onto Kurt. Kurt sighed, taking a sip of the hot liquid to have an excuse to look away.

"I'm sorry if I upset you about mum," he headed off, quickly, seeking an opportunity to cut the conversation short. Burt shook his head.

"No, it's not that, Kurt, it's just…I've never seen you give up on a fight like this. You don't give up on things that you really want, you know." Kurt sighed, putting down his mug and the banana and trying to think of the easiest way to explaining it to his dad.

"It's not that I want to give up on Blaine, dad, it's just…It's the rational thing to do. I'm trying to be logical, dad, and…I can't juggle so many things. One of the pitfalls of our relationship was how busy I was, and even if I forgave him and he still wanted me, that wouldn't change. I've got work, I'm trying to get into NYADA. That's not going to change; Blaine will feel lonely again, and this whole thing will just repeat, dad." Burt gave his son a critical frown.

"If you're sure…?" he said, like he himself didn't like Kurt's reasoning but didn't want to say it. Kurt sighed, but nodded.

"I am, dad…maybe in a year if he comes up to NYADA things will be different. If we're both single and, whatever, maybe we can try again, but…" he trailed off, sighing. "That's a long time, dad, and I have to focus on now. My whole future is unfolding before my eyes; if I don't get into NYADA this time round I don't think that I'll be able to try again – I'm pretty sure that there's only so many times I can handle rejection from them without it affecting my performance – and I'm still working for Vogue.com." His dad was continuing to frown at him, but Kurt, personally, thought that he'd made a very good argument for not getting back with Blaine and that it had been far more coherent than last night.

"I don't know, Kurt, feels like you're trying to grow up too fast." Kurt frowned back at his dad, shrugging slightly.

"Not really, dad, I'm living on my own in New York – well, with Rachel, but the point stands. I reckon I've got to be grown up." Burt cast him a long that made Kurt sure he was about to get some form of nostalgic talk about Kurt when he was younger, but his dad just shook his head.

"Well, if you say so, kid, but, just so you know, I don't think you should bother being rational about all this; heart isn't rational." Kurt shrugged.

"I'm just tired of it dad. I'm tired of wondering. I'm tired of not knowing…I just want it to be over, so I'm letting him go just like he's let go of me. In the end that's what he wants so he can't complain…I don't like it right now, but maybe he's right; I deserve – after everything that I went through in high school – someone who loves me as much as I love them." Burt shook his head, letting out a sigh and looking at the floor.

"You're not wrong there," he muttered, but Kurt could still tell that he was unsure about everything. However, he thought that he might have won him around. He sighed and picked up the banana, eating it whilst his dad seemed to work out what he wanted to say. "Look, Kurt, I don't think you should give up this easily, but, at the end of the day, you're my son, and I'll always support your decisions and the choices you make in your life. I'm always gonna be in your corner, Kurt." Kurt smiled at his dad, nodding.

"I know, dad, I know."

"Good," said Burt, swallowing slightly and glancing around. "You gonna visit that kid then?" he asked, moving the conversation onto a new topic, and Kurt swallowed and nodded.

"Yeah, I've got an evening flight back to New York so I'm going to go and see Thad now."

"Any idea how he is?" Kurt shook his head, letting out a heavy sigh and hoping that he didn't have to speak to Blaine or Sebastian when he was there – he wasn't sure that he would ever be able to forget Sebastian's reaction to the news.

"No, but…bad…" he let out a long sigh at the thought. He really had no idea how he was, but he also didn't think that he couldn't really handle the possibility that he might not have made it – what was the point of hospitals or doctors if they didn't save people when they needed it? He smiled at his dad. "I'll just finish this and be off." He saw his dad nod, search for something to say and then clap him on the shoulder as he moved out of the room. Kurt sucked in a huge breath through his nose, glad that he had won that battle, and picked up his coffee before it went cold.

Kurt pulled up outside the hospital in Westerville – he presumed Thad was here – and let out a long sigh, turning off the engine. Despite the two hour drive, Kurt had not worked out what he wanted to say to the Warbler when he got there. It was different to Karofsky, who had been desperately trying to talk to him and had been cruelly outed, but he didn't doubt that Thad was still suffering as badly.

What did he say to him, though? Would there even be any need to visit when he'd undoubtedly be surrounded by Warblers who all knew him better? Or maybe he was just thinking that because he did not want to run into Blaine so soon after their fight. He had nothing left to say to Blaine after his tirade, and Blaine's point blank refusal to admit that there was more to the situation. He supposed he could tell Blaine that he was letting go; giving in and doing what Blaine wanted because he was tired, but he couldn't get the way Blaine had broken down out of his head.

He shook his head a little bit at that, seeing if he could dispel the memory, and was not surprised to see that it was stuck there. He strode through the doors and looked around with a frown on his face because hospitals were far from his list of favourite places to be, and he always anticipated for them to be quieter than they were. Before, he could ask anyone where Thad might be, or get lost, he heard his name being shouted through the crowd. Looking around, he was mildly displeased to see Wes walking towards him.

"Kurt," he said, when he was by his side. "what are you doing here?" Kurt gave him a cold glare, and then it occurred to him that Blaine might not have mentioned him being there when he got the news.

"I was there when Sebastian and Blaine found out; I came to see how he is." Wes nodded, apparently not noticing the frostiness of his tone.

"Oh, right…yeah, Blaine didn't mention, but he's really shaken up, and the odds weren't in our favour yesterday so that's not a surprise." Kurt stared at him with wide eyes, heart beating faster.

"…the odds weren't in our favour yesterday…"…

"He is still alive, right?" he asked in fear, and Wes swallowed and nodded hastily. Kurt puffed out his breath in relief, raising a hand to run through his hair because that had been a terrifying moment.

"Yes, sorry, he made it through the night which was the important thing, and he's getting stronger…Any luck he'll be waking up soon." Kurt nodded, wondering whether he ought to come back when Thad had woken up, but he didn't have that much time. "You want to see him, right?" asked Wes, for clarification, and Kurt nodded.

"Yes," Wes nodded, giving him a small smile and beckoning him towards the lift.

"Okay, they moved him out of critical care this morning into his own room on the general ward so…" Wes shrugged, but Kurt understood. Thad had pulled through, but he wasn't out of the woods yet. Wes pushed the button for the right floor, and they waited, in the large lift space that only had one other doctor and an old lady, for the lift to move.

"How did his parents take it?" he asked when they'd set off. Wes let out a long sigh, leaning against the wall.

"From what I can tell, pretty damn well considering," Kurt nodded, remembering the comfort that Karofsky had got from his dad being by his side, even if that meant throwing his mother out. "I mean, his mum is still in shock, but she's just really, really, scared that she's going to lose her only child." Kurt nodded, blinking away a couple of tears that had sprung up for no reason.

"And his dad?" Wes nodded, breaking out into a smile as they reached the right floor.

"He broke down into tears when we explained that Thad being too afraid of their reaction was one of the factors that caused it so we think it's pretty safe to say that he's okay with it. I honestly think that, if they had any doubts, nearly losing their son has caused them to seriously prioritise and think about what matters." Kurt nodded in understanding as he walked along side Wes. "They're downstairs talking to Nick and Jeff about…things, and they're both exhausted – I don't think they slept at all last night." Kurt nodded some more.

"That must be a relief," he commented as they passed other rooms with their doors shut and curtains closed. Wes shot him a wry smile.

"You have no idea; I know Thad wouldn't have been able to handle it if they'd turned him down so I had my fingers crossed on the flight down…when I wasn't panicking about David, Sebastian and Blaine's reactions, that is." Kurt opened his mouth to ask about Sebastian's reaction when Wes came to an abrupt stop. He turned to Kurt with a very serious look on his face. "I have to warn you…it's not a pleasant sight." Kurt nodded, swallowing and remembering his dad when he'd lain prone in his hospital bed – he could handle this.

"I know…" he said, and Wes gave him a tight lipped smile before pushing open the door.

"Sorry guys, forgot the coffee, but I got another visitor instead." Kurt stepped into the room after Wes and felt his heart drop and stomach lurch as well as the beginnings of nausea at the sight before him.

Lying in the hospital bed, completely unconscious, was Thad. His face was unnaturally pale, and his brown hair was incredibly messy. There were some wires taped to his arms as well as a clip over his left index finger. His chest rose and fell very slightly, but Kurt could see that an oxygen mask hung nearby. He looked incredibly small and fragile swathed in the bed clothes and a loose hospital gown, and Kurt could see the bandages around wrists from where he must have slashed them open as well as the faintest of bruising around his neck; oh good grief.

David stood slumped against the wall off the room, looking completely exhausted and defeated. He had a hand over his face, though he had looked up at the sound of Wes, and was now staring at Kurt with tired eyes. Trent stood by the end of Thad's bed, arms folded, and biting down hard on the inside of his lip. He gave a small smile in acknowledgement before training his eyes back onto the boy in the bed.

The sight that added to Kurt's feeling of sickness, though, was that of Blaine and Sebastian. They sat side by side – Sebastian's chair directly beside Thad's bed whilst Blaine's was on a funny angle – but, whilst Sebastian had his forearm resting on the bed, almost brushing against Thad's, and he stared at Thad intently, Blaine's head lay on Sebastian's shoulder. It took Kurt half a second to realise that Blaine was fast asleep against the taller boy who shifted ever so slightly and blinked at Kurt and then looked back at Thad.

No one said anything as Wes closed the door and went to stand by David, putting an arm around his shoulder. Kurt peeled his eyes from Sebastian and Blaine, directing his gaze back onto Thad's very still form. Kurt could see that he was breathing, but somehow he looked more like a corpse than anything else, and Kurt could feel the sting of tears at the bandages and bruises because he'd – oh God – he'd not just tried once but twice.

He sniffed, heavily, and looked at the floor because there was nothing there that could offend him. There was a silence before footsteps approached Kurt, and a hand rested on his shoulder. Hesitantly raising his head, he saw that Trent had moved over to his side. He didn't make any attempt to speak, and for that Kurt was glad because words failed him in his sadness. He had never seen anything quite as pathetic looking as Thad. He'd known it had been bad when Sebastian had been panicking, but he could not imagine what David must have seen when he had found him; hanging from the ceiling with blood running down his hands.

He fought the urge to be sick at that image, blinking some more, and tried to find something that he could think about that wasn't vomit inducing or wildly inappropriate considering their circumstances. Kurt now wished he hadn't come, or that Thad had been awake because he doubted he could believe that Thad would be alright until he saw him open his eyes and smile.

"Sebastian," said Wes, eventually breaking the silence that was too suffocating and too much for any of them to bear. "what did Blaine's parents say?" Sebastian made to shrug, but then stopped himself, rolling his eyes at Blaine's head. Everyone waited in silence, Kurt interested in what Blaine was doing despite himself, as Sebastian rubbed a hand over his eyes and looked up at Wes, seemingly focusing in.

"I don't know. He said that they'd call him back then he slumped down and went to sleep," he shrugged, causing Blaine's head to loll slightly. They all stared at him as Blaine raised a hand feebly and muttered;

"Bastian…you're stupid…" and then continued to sleep peacefully. Kurt stared at Blaine with a mixture of amusement, jealousy, annoyance and disbelief. Sebastian rolled his eyes and rested his arm back onto the bed, shaking his head gently. Trent was smiling slightly as Wes let out a puff of laughter, and a faint grin cracked across David's face.

"Ah Blaine," muttered David, reaching forward to ruffle the sleeping boy's hair. "you do me proud." There was a slightly less tense silence as Trent yawned, and David rubbed his eyes, and Kurt guessed that they, too, had not sleep much last night.

"Are you guys up for it?" asked Wes, looking between Sebastian and David. "If Blaine does move back?" Kurt felt his posture stiffen; Blaine move back? To Dalton? He closed his eyes and let out a long breath; what did he expect? Blaine had transferred to McKinley for Kurt; why wouldn't he move back to Dalton for Sebastian? Also, Blaine was clearly very close to Thad, he might feel it was best for his friend. Sebastian shot Wes a mildly disparaging look whilst David nodded.

"Don't worry about it," said David, yawning again. "I think Blaine'll help Thad." Wes made a "hmm" noise that did not agree or disagree with the statement and said nothing more. Whilst Kurt was searching around for a good way to question what Blaine's motives were for moving back, Thad shifted slightly. Everyone's eyes snapped to him, zoning in, as he rolled his head towards Sebastian, who prodded Blaine. Blaine let out a mumble.

"Bastian…what…?" he rubbed a hand over his eyes, looking blearily around the room, squinted at Kurt as he continued to rub his eyes and then jumped. "Kurt!" he exclaimed, sitting bolt upright, eyes wide in shock. "When did you get here?" Kurt shrugged, trying to find a suitable tone of voice that he could talk to Blaine in.

"Not long ago, I just wanted to check up on how Thad was." Blaine nodded, looking around with a frown and then zeroing on Thad as he continued to shift around under the covers.

"I'll get his parents," said Trent, making for the door, but the others ignored him as he ran out. Kurt looked around and saw that the four of them looked somewhere between hesitant, overjoyed and nervous. Sebastian gently prodded Thad's arm, an action that, had the situation not been what it was, would have made Kurt roll his eyes.

"Thad," he said, cautiously. "Thad, can you hear me?" Thad's body shifted in response, and he rolled towards Sebastian's voice, eyelids flittering. Sebastian frowned down at him and then looked around at the others for support.

"Take his hand," suggested Wes. "Ask him to squeeze it if he can hear you." Sebastian stared at Wes for a second, arching his eyebrow before rolling his eyes and turning back to his friend. Very gingerly, Kurt noticed, and like he was made of glass, Sebastian took Thad's hand. Kurt watched in fascination as Sebastian, looking around again, said;

"Thad, if you can hear me…squeeze my hand…" like he was sure that Wes was an idiot for suggesting it. Kurt watched, holding his breath with the others and remembering all the fear and expectancy he'd felt when he'd done that with his dad, as there was a moment of nothing before Thad's fingers curled around Sebastian's. Sebastian seemed to squeeze back on some instinct as the rest of them breathed out in relief, Blaine putting his head in his hands whilst David slumped against Wes with a giddy grin on his face.

"Bastian…" groaned Thad, and Sebastian almost shot to his feet, but Blaine caught the back of his blazer – Kurt had suddenly realised that all the Dalton boys were still in their uniforms – and made him sit down.

"Yeah?" said Sebastian, leaning over the bed, closer to Thad. Looking around, Kurt could see that Wes, David and Blaine were quite happy to sit back and let Sebastian handle Thad, which Kurt found a little bit odd because Sebastian was not exactly a sensitive person – then again, he seemed to handle Thad with an extreme amount of care, but that just might because he'd obviously broken like glass before them, and Sebastian was trying to pick up the pieces without getting cut or damaging Thad's chances of being put back together.

"Throat hurts…" he grumbled, and a genuine smile shot across Sebastian's face. For a split second, Kurt looked straight at a different person: his eyes had lit up with delighted amusement and his expression had been a hybrid of happiness, relief and laughter. Then the smile vanished, and Sebastian looked guarded.

"Yeah…I'm not surprised." Thad's eyes fluttered open, and he squinted, hand detaching itself from Sebastian's and catching onto his lapel.

"Bastian…" he slurred, a frown crossing his face. "Bastian…" he was taking deep breaths, and Kurt wondered whether that was an early onset sign of a panic attack, though Sebastian and the others did not react at all. "Did- did you read it?" Sebastian stared at Thad very carefully.

"Read what?" he asked, in a very even tone of voice.

"The note…" hissed Thad in a voice that was hoarse and blurred together with fatigue but that was still very desperate. Kurt saw Sebastian's whole posture stiffen. His eyes went wide in alarm, but Thad, with his eyes not fully open, could not tell. Kurt looked at the others as they all went tense too: Blaine's face adopting a worried look whilst Wes and David shared heavy frowns. "Bastian…" Thad's voice rose a little bit in volume after the silence got too long.

"…No…" Thad's hand slacked and fell from its place on Sebastian's blazer. He closed his eyes. Sebastian breathed out, looking up at the ceiling. Blaine frowned, eyes darting from side to side in confusion. David opened his mouth whilst Wes' expression fell into one of intense thought.

"…good…" breathed Thad, a small smile on his face. "What did you do with it?"

"I threw it in the bin," and Kurt knew, from the confused and worried looks on everyone's faces, that Sebastian was lying about reading the note – he guessed that they were talking about Thad's suicide note – and what he'd done with it, but Kurt, along with the others, was at a loss as to why.


"'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." There was a heavy silence after that as Thad continued to breathe deeply, and the other three furiously communicated between them, clearly wondering whether or not they should tell Thad that Sebastian lying, before the door opened, and Mr and Mrs Harwood came in, followed by Nick, Jeff and Trent; the former two breaking out into huge grins and the latter looking between Wes, David and Blaine in confusion.

"Thad!" his mother flew at him, lifting his weak body up into a tight embrace, and his father encapsulated them both, closing his eyes in relief. The sound of crying could be heard, and they all decided that it was time to leave the room. Kurt followed the Warblers, feeling a little bit better because Thad was clearly okay, if only in the sense that he was alive and looked after.

Wes slamming Sebastian into a wall was enough to make everyone break from their thoughts. A passing nurse, heading for Thad's room, looked at them in alarm but then decided that her patient was more important. David put out an arm to stop Nick, Jeff and Trent from intervening whilst Blaine (Kurt was studying his facial expression carefully) just took a deep breath and looked apprehensive.

"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!" Kurt saw Nick, Jeff and Trent exchange confused looks, and David leant in to explain. Sebastian let out an exasperated sigh.

"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." Kurt had to admit that Sebastian made a good point: Thad didn't want Sebastian to have read it, and Sebastian didn't want Thad making any rash decisions to stop them from having a conversation he'd rather avoid. He could see that the others could understand where he was coming from. Wes stood down whilst Blaine shook his head as he closed his eyes. Nick, Jeff and Trent shared sideways looks and shrugs.

"But you did read it!" spat out David, clearly not convinced. "It made you cry!" Kurt felt his eyebrow leap up in shock at that news, looking at Sebastian who was glaring back at David, but didn't deny it. Sebastian had cried. Kurt couldn't quite believe that. "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."

He whirled around and stormed down the corridor. Kurt blinked at his figure in astounded shock. There was a very tense silence. Blaine looked around the group with tear-filled eyes, probably over the thought of Thad ending back up in that situation, but Kurt couldn't be sure, and made to follow Sebastian. His phone bursting into life stopped him in his tracks. He pulled it out, answering hastily.

"Dad?" he asked, and Kurt, along with the other boys, stiffened slightly. Blaine's spine straightened via habit, and he adopted a very blank face, nodding down the phone with lots of "yes sir"s and "no sir"s. Then a tiny smile broke out onto his face. "Thank you, dad, thank you." He hung up and turned to the others with a smile, purposefully not meeting Kurt's eyes. "I'm coming back to Dalton."

As the others crowded forward to hug and congratulate him, Kurt took a step backwards and swallowed. There it was; he'd lost Blaine. Blaine was moving on completely with his life; back to Dalton, being with Sebastian, and it was high time Kurt did the same. Naturally, if it was a reason and Kurt suspected that it was, he did not begrudge Thad in any of this because he was going through his own personal hell, but he did feel a pang of anger towards the rest – especially Wes.

He looked at Blaine and only felt a slight lurch as he looked into his nervous, hazel, eyes. He searched for something to say, but he couldn't quite find anything that didn't come out as sounding bitter because he didn't want that at all.

"Look, Kurt," said Blaine, and Kurt internally rolled his eyes because if he'd learnt anything from this it was to take Blaine's explanations with a pinch of salt. "it's Thad, mainly, I just-" Kurt held up his hand because he wasn't really interested in Blaine's lies.

"It's okay," he said, pulling out a fake smile that he knew that Blaine knew was fake. "you don't have to explain your life to me." He clasped his hands before him and gave a little shrug. "What you do is your own choice," he made a casual movement with his head, trying to convey an air of detachment about the whole thing – like it didn't bother him at all.

"Kurt…" began Blaine in that tone of voice that said that he had seen straight through what Kurt was doing, and that he wanted Kurt to stop pretending. Well, Blaine had no right to get up on his high horse about anything like that given all his lies.

"Blaine, really, it's fine." He took a step backwards, giving the Warblers another flash of that fake smile. "Tell Thad that I hope he feels better, and the New Directions said if you need anything they'll be there to help." They all nodded as one, their eyes all watching him carefully as he took another step backwards. "Good luck with Regionals and Nationals." He added before turning around, ignoring Blaine's last "Kurt", and walking away with a straight spine and his head held high because, even though he was desperately hoping for Blaine to come chasing after him and tell him everything, he knew that this was probably the moment he turned over a new leaf and moved on.

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