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In Which Blaine Slips Up

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The Bad number wasn't going as well as New Directions had hoped. Clearly the Warblers were prepared for their little face off. For every spin or kick or complicated move they made, the Warblers were there in turn. They seemed like equal matches, and Blaine was starting to get a bit worried – it was his idea after all. If it didn't work, would New Directions be even more upset with him? Think him somehow even more of a traitor? Would Kurt?

He threw himself even further into the performance, concentrating intensely on making sure he nailed every single second of the performance. There would be no repeats here of his first night as Tony – no missing any easy moves. He was going to do this perfectly, and he was going to make up for his accidentally slipping their set-list to Sebastian.

He and Kurt had of course talked about Blaine's continued conversing with Sebastian. During their last playtime, Kurt had not hesitated to punish him for the leak. But that was over now. He was forgiven. Right?

It didn't feel like it. Kurt still looked so angry. He couldn't really tell if it was with him or Sebastian or just the world in general (since when did show choirs have to legitimately have a face-off in the streets just to sing some songs?), but it was unsettling any way.

And then the Warblers started passing around a brown bag. Blaine noticed it immediately and tried to follow it with his eyes, a sinking feeling in his gut that this was about to get really out of hand really fast. Finn had already tried to punch one of the Warblers. The limits of 'just singing and dancing' had already been passed.

Then Nick took the bag from the guy next to him, doing a twirling pass off to one of the other Warblers, who then passed the bag to Sebastian – who pulled out what looked like one absolutely huge slushie.

Both show choirs lined up, singing the final notes at each other, and Sebastian's arm swung backwards.

He's aiming for Kurt, was the only thought that flashed through Blaine's mind, and he started running. His arm caught Kurt's just in time, shoving him out of the way of the icy mess that instead hit him directly in the face from far too close a distance.

In what felt like a burst of flames (why did he feel like he was on fire? Aren't slushies made of ice? Why did he feel so hot? Why was it burning?), he fell to the ground, screaming and clawing at his face.

Kurt was by his side in an instant.

"Blaine, oh God – Blaine, what's wrong? Say something, please. Oh my God, Sebastian, what did you do?" Kurt's cry echoed through the dimly lit parking garage, but was met with no answer. The Warblers backed away slowly, leaving the boy they used to call their friend and leader lying in a puddle of orange corn syrup. Only one even looked back.

Rachel hurriedly kneeled beside Kurt and began wiping Blaine's face off with her sleeve. "I know slushies are horrible and degrading, but they don't really hurt. At least not this bad. Wh-what's wrong with him?"

Kurt rubbed his hand heavily down Blaine's arm, trying to reassure him that he was still there. "I don't know. M-maybe there was something in it. Blaine, please – please tell me what hurts. Oh my God, please say something."

Blaine grit his teeth, broken moans still slowly spilling out of him. "Eye. It – it burns. God, it burns."

Finn nervously made his way over and placed a hand on Kurt's shoulder. "He seems really hurt, man."

"I can see that, Finn. Thank you," Kurt snapped.

"No, I mean, maybe we… maybe we should call someone? Maybe Burt or something?"

Kurt swallowed. Burt and Carole thought they all had gone to see a movie that night. He just shook his head, instead returning his attention back to Blaine, who was looking even worse for wear than before. His face was a bright red from the cold of the ice, and there were a myriad of little cuts across his skin – where they came from, he didn't know. But the burning sensation Blaine described seemed to be getting worse as well. His cries were getting louder and louder. (Honestly, he was surprised nobody had heard them yet. Even though it was late, surely someone else would end up in the parking garage eventually, right?)

"Do you think you can sit up, baby?" Kurt asked. He wiped a bit of the remaining slushie out of his hair with his hand, wiping that on his jeans – for once not caring about the state of his clothes.

Blaine kept his hands clenched tightly over his right eye, but managed to give a slight shake of his head.

"Can you try for me? Please?"

He shook his head again, and Kurt could see tears falling from his uncovered eye. "God, it hurts. It… I can't… make it stop, Daddy."

And Kurt froze.

Blaine had fallen into his baby headspace – and all of New Directions was crowded around them, staring worriedly down at their crumpled friend.

Puck was the first one to speak. "Dude, you need to call his parents. I think he needs to go to the hospital and clearly he wants them."

Of course he would think that. None of them knew about the tumultuous relationship that Blaine had with his family, so they would automatically assume he was calling for them. Breathing a sigh of relief, he turned quickly to Rachel. "Rach, can you," he paused, clearing his throat, "can you call 911? Tell them we need an ambulance. Puck's right."

"Please, daddy, please." Blaine was practically sobbing by now, digging his nails into the skin around his eye. "Hurts so bad."

His voice had risen a bit in pitch. He sounded so helpless, and Kurt could feel his heart breaking. There was no way he could comfort Blaine like he needed right now. Not with everyone standing around.

He kneeled down even closer to Blaine, whispering quietly in his ear as Rachel talked to the emergency operator. "Shhh. Shhh, baby. I'm right here. Rachel's calling for help, okay. You have to hold on until the doctors get here. They'll make it better. You can do that, can't you?"

Blaine whimpered.

Rachel kneeled back down beside Kurt. "They're on their way," she said. "About six minutes. How's he doing?"

"Not good. I don't know what Sebastian did to that slushie, but it wasn't normal. He keeps saying it burns…"

"They said to see if you can get him to open his eye. To see if something's in it. If he keeps it closed and there's something under his eyelid, he could cause," her voice cracked, dropping down to almost nothing, "further damage to his eye."

"Further?" Kurt hissed. He ran his clean hand down his face before turning back to Blaine, who had curled in even further on himself, drawing his knees up to his chest.

"Blaine, sweetheart, I need you to move your hands for me, okay?"

Kurt gently grabbed his wrists and started pulling, but Blaine twisted away, turning his face toward the blacktop.

"Blaine," Kurt said in what he hoped was a stern voice. He really wasn't in the right mind to play, but he had to get through to him somehow. "You need to let me see. The doctors told Rachel we need to look."

"Please no. Don't make me open it," he cried.

Kurt brought his hands back to Blaine and gave them a slight tug. "I said let me see."

With a strangled cry, Blaine let his hands be pulled away from his eye, though he still kept it clenched shut.

"Open, baby."

Blaine groaned, but opened his eye, only to promptly shut it again, his hands flying back up. "I can't. I can't keep it open – it hurts so bad."

"Just try one more time for me, Blaine. I'll look quickly, I promise."

After a few deep breaths, Blaine opened his eye again, managing to keep it open for about five seconds before closing it again with a gasp.

Kurt turned back to Rachel, shaking his head nervously. "It's so red. It – it… way redder than it should be for just getting sugar in his eye. I didn't see anything in it, but it looks really irritat-"

"Hey, Kurt!" Finn shouted, interrupting him mid-sentence. Kurt turned to glare at his brother but refrained when he saw him pointing over the edge of the parking garage to the street. The ambulance had arrived.

"Oh, thank God," he said in a rush of an exhale. "The ambulance is almost here, Blaine. They just have to drive up here to the third floor. They'll fix you right up." His voice wavered a bit towards the end, and he hoped Blaine hadn't noticed. He needed to sound confident for him now.

Shortly thereafter, the ambulance arrived, pulling up next to the crowd with its bright blue lights flashing. The EMTs had no trouble spotting the injured party, so they quickly came over to Blaine and asked what had happened.

"Where is he bleeding from?"

Rachel looked up at them, confused. "He's not bleeding."

"It's slushie," Kurt said softly, gesturing to the sticky liquid on the ground around them. "He got hit in the face with a slushie. Except he says it burns and he can't keep his eye open for more than a couple of seconds."

"Alright, let us see."

The two men kneeled down by Blaine. One grabbed his hands to hold them back while the other used a small light to peer into his eye, holding it open with two fingers as if he was going to drop a contact into it.

"Looks scratched. We'll have to get a closer look at the hospital, but it looks like he'll probably need surgery. It was a slushie, you say?"

Kurt nodded wordlessly, his mind still stuck on the word surgery. Blaine needed surgery.

"Ice that processed wouldn't have done this kind of damage. We won't know what did until we can get a closer look, but I would guess something like gravel. Fine gravel, yes, but something about that size."

"There were rocks in that slushie? Are you serious? I'll beat Sebastian's ass!" Finn yells.

Blaine just chokes out a sob, clinging tightly to Kurt's vest. The EMTs look at the two of them, surveying them closely.

"We need to get him into the ambulance. Now. This eye needs to be flushed as quickly as possible."

Kurt closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath. He knew he had to, at this point. "If you take him away from me right now, he will literally become hysterical."

"Are you family?" one asked.

"Boyfriend," Kurt replied, jutting his chin out proudly, practically daring one of them to say something.

"Only family can ride along, kid," the other answered.

Between the two of them, they moved Blaine onto a gurney, strapping his arms down tightly by his side in order to reduce his temptation to further irritate his eye. As soon as they were sure he was secure, they began to roll him towards the back of the ambulance. Blaine still had his hand wrapped tightly around Kurt's, and Kurt just walked along with them until they reached the car.

"You can't come with us, kid. Those are the rules. I'm sorry."

"Please. Please don't make him do this alone. His parents are out of town at a conference and his brother works in a different state. I'm all he has."

There were a few tense, quiet moments, and Kurt was certain that they were going to make Blaine ride alone. The ride was short – they'd be there in a few minutes – but with Blaine in his baby headstate, being ripped away from Kurt would send him into a panic.

"Just let him come, Rick," the first man finally said. "Look at him. The patient looks like he's about to have a breakdown. I wouldn't want my kid to go through that alone. He's only," he flipped through the basic chart they had, full of nothing but the bit of information they gathered from some other members of New Directions, "seventeen years old."

"Fine. But it's on your head if we get caught."

With one final push, they loaded Blaine into the ambulance. Kurt crawled in after them, taking a seat on the far right side, still clinging to Blaine for dear life.

"Wh-what's happening?" Blaine asked, his one good eye searching frantically around the car. Kurt understood why he was frightened. There were what seemed like a million different machines going at once, making various beeping and ticking noises, and the two EMTs were working furiously to hook Blaine up to some of them, needing to take his vitals and make sure he remained stable.

"We're on the way to the hospital, sweetheart."

"Daddy?"

One of the EMTs, the second man who hadn't wanted to let Kurt come along, turned to stare at him with a raised eyebrow, but Kurt couldn't have cared less at this point what either of them thought. His focus was solely on Blaine – on making sure his boy was okay, on getting him well again, on trying to make his beautiful eyes stop crying.

"I'm right here, baby. I told you I'd always be here, didn't I?"

Blaine nodded, sniffling quietly.

"I would never break a promise to you."

Blaine didn't get a chance to reply, though, because the EMTs started trying to flush out his eye. The burning started all over again, and he was once again reduced to nothing but screams. Kurt knew that sound was one that will haunt his mind for a long time to come.

Blaine never stopped for the entire ride to the hospital.

They arrived a few minutes later, and this time, the EMTs tell him that Kurt really cannot come with them. He has to wait in the waiting room, and the doctor will come and get him once Blaine has been looked at.

Kurt leans down and kisses his forehead. "They have to take you back to the doctor now, baby. You have to be brave for me, okay? I can't come with you."

"Don't leave me!"

He swore his heart broke at the sound. "I'm not leaving. I'm not going anywhere. I'll be waiting right out here for you, Blaine."

And with that, the EMTs dragged him away. In the time it took them to wheel Blaine into his examination room, Kurt could still hear him screaming.

It took two hours for anyone to come talk to him.

"Family of Blaine Anderson?"

Kurt stood. He was the only one there. He had tried calling Blaine's parents, but they didn't answer. Cooper, his brother, was reachable, at least, but again – not in the same state. He wouldn't be able to make it until at least tomorrow evening. And that was the best case scenario.

The doctor furrowed his eyebrows together. "Are you related?"

"I'm his boyfriend. His family is all out of town. None of them will be able to make it tonight. Can you – are you allowed to update me?"

"I suppose, since no one else is here. His right cornea is deeply scratched, and as suspected, he's going to need corrective surgery."

Kurt swayed a bit on his feet, reaching out blindly to grab the armrest of the chair beside him. "What – how did his eye get scratched? The EMTs said they thought there was rocks in the slushie, or something. Please tell me that isn't true."

The doctor flipped through the chart on the clipboard. "I wish I could. Rock salt. It's a good thing you wiped his face down, or he might've had a bit of hypothermia to deal with as well. It was a lot colder than your average frozen drink. I suppose that's why he said his skin was burning. His eye burned because of the salt."

"And the cuts on his face?"

"Rock salt comes in pretty good size chunks. They're just a few minor scratches from that. They should heal up in a couple of days."

Kurt nodded. It was so much information to take in. "And the surgery?"

"We can't schedule him in until a week from now, but he should be okay in the meantime. He just can't use that eye. We've got him in an eyepatch to keep him from straining it."

"Can I see him? Please?"

The doctor nods. "He's been asking for his father. You say they can't make it?"

He shook his head. "No. They're not – uhm, they're…"

"Not supportive?" the doctor supplied. "We see it more often than we should here. I'm glad he's got you. Come with me, Mister-"

"Hummel. Uhm, call me Kurt."

The doctor clapped him on the back once. "Kurt it is, then. He's down here in room 107, alright? You have a little time left for visiting hours. He's sedated, so he's probably pretty out of it. If he seems like he starts becoming too aware of the pain again, page a nurse, and they'll check his medication. Otherwise, he should be all set. Oh – his skin may be a bit tender. So be careful."

Then the doctor left him alone. Slowly, Kurt pushed the door open, easing his way inside.

"Blaine?" he called out. There was no reply, so he walked the rest of the way inside and situated himself in a chair by the side of the bed. "Sweetheart, are you awake?"

One golden hazel eye fluttered open, looking up at Kurt from his position curled up on the bed. "Daddy," he breathed.

Kurt smiled softly. So he was still there. "Hey, baby. The doctor said you're going to be alright."

Blaine nodded, sucking his lower lip between his teeth and biting down nervously. "I have to have surgery, though."

He sounded so young. So lost, and so confused, and so hurt, and Kurt couldn't help but reach out and smooth a bit of his hair back behind his ear. "I know. But you're going to be okay. They'll fix you up good as new. You'll see."

"They took me from you."

"I know. I'm sorry – there was nothing Daddy could do. You know I'd have been right there with you if it were up to me."

"They had to give me some kind of medicine to make me calm down. I – I tried to be good, but it – I just, I couldn't…"

Kurt shushed him, continuing to stroke his hair with a tender, loving touch. "It's okay. I was scared too."

"You were scared?"

"Of course I was. You're very important to me, and you were hurt. And you were hurt because you were protecting me."

Blaine yawned. "Didn't want Sebastian to hurt you. S'my fault."

Kurt just sighed, scooting his chair even closer to the edge of the bed. "It's not your fault, baby. What Sebastian did to you, what he wanted to do to me, was wrong."

For a moment, they both sat in silence, infinitely more relaxed to just finally be together again. Finally, Kurt looked back up at him with a sad sort of crooked smile. "But you know that I'm supposed to be the one to take care of you. You didn't have to – you shouldn't have…"

"Would rather it be me than you," Blaine said, his voice a bit muffled as he turned his face into the pillow to stifle another yawn.

Kurt watched him quietly. "My brave boy. Move over," he said, though the commanding tone from earlier was nowhere to be found. No tone was found except one of exaggerated fondness.

Nevertheless, Blaine did as he was instructed, scooting to the edge of the bed closest to Kurt's chair. Kurt, though, just stood and walked around to the side of the bed, curling up behind him and pulling Blaine's back flesh against his chest. He pressed a tender kiss to the nape of his neck, lingering in the soft, now-gel-free curls, and breathed in deeply.

"I'm so proud of you. So proud."

"You are, Daddy?" Blaine asked, his voice barely audible as he drifted further towards unconsciousness.

"Mhmm. You did so well, and I owe you so much. We'll have to think of a proper reward for you. I have – I don't know how I can thank you. It would have been me lying here if it weren't for you."

Another big yawn, and Blaine pushed himself even closer against Kurt, who draped his arm across his waist. "Love you."

"Love you too, baby. Now sleep for me." Kurt rubbed his thumb gently against Blaine's stomach through the thin fabric of the hospital gown, and it didn't take long for Blaine to fall asleep. Between the medicine and the sheer exhaustion of panicking for so long, he could hardly keep his eyes open another second.

Kurt knew that when he woke up again, he'd be back to Blaine. He'd still be terrified, and he'd still be sore and upset. He knew they'd have to talk about what happened – about the slip up around New Directions and the EMTs. He knew they'd have to discuss the surgery and if they should turn in Sebastian. He knew. They had a lot to deal with. But for now, his baby boy was safe in his arms, not crying in pain, and that was all Kurt could ask for.