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Fic: Harder to Breathe 7/?
fides_rationem
Title: Harder to Breathe
Rating: PG-13
Pairings/Characters: Kurt/Blaine; Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, New Directions
Warnings: anaphylactic shock and medical squick
Word Count: ~2400 this chapter (~29,400 so far)

Summary: Friday night dinner at the Hudmels' becomes a nightmare when Rachel brings dessert and Blaine neglects a childhood allergy.

A/N: Yes this is shorter. But it's been giving me far too much difficulty, and it's really a bridge chapter to the winding down of the story. We're getting to the end (drafted out, it's going to be ten full chapters and an epilogue, plus some bonus scenes).

I hope it was worth the wait. Thank you for sticking around!

Thanks again to preciousmellow for prompting this, being the reason it exists, and her incredible encouragement to get this chapter out, and finished, and worked on. Love you <3



“There’s something I need to come clean about.”

Carrie frowns, tilting her head questioningly at Kurt.

“What do you mean? What-Kurt, what’s going on?”

 Kurt takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, counts to three. Blaine isn’t paying attention, is still engrossed in a conversation with Mike, Finn, and Tina, but John and Carrie are fully focused on Kurt, Rachel watching them curiously.

“Kurt?”

John stands, steps closer. The look on his face is unreadable, and Kurt avoids looking at him, meets Carrie’s eyes instead.

“This is all my fault,” Kurt breathes, barely louder than a whisper, but the sound seems to echo in the room. Even Mike and Finn stop talking, look to Kurt curiously.

Blaine looks downright confused.

“What do you mean?” Carrie asks before anyone else can speak. She’s looking at Kurt strangely, head tilted to the side, brow furrowed. “Your fault?”

“The cookies,” Rachel breathes, and she shakes her head slightly, trying to head off what Kurt’s doing, to stop him. It’s too late. John’s fists clench in anger, and Carrie look stunned. Blaine’s looking from Kurt to Rachel to his parents curiously, the wheels in his brain visibly turning as he tries to remember.

“Kurt?”

“I made cookies that night. For our dinner,” Rachel starts, standing from the bed, slipping her hand into Kurt’s, squeezing for comfort. She doesn’t look up from her shoes, afraid to meet John’s eyes, Carrie’s. Blaine makes a quiet noise on the bed, and Mike settles a hand on his shoulder, offering comfort.

Kurt continues.

“After we ate, I, um-I had a few of them. Blaine and I were-we were-upstairs, in my room,” Kurt stumbles over the words, blushing, stammering. He’s not sure how comfortable John is at the moment with him and Blaine, their relationship, and telling Blaine’s parents, the room full of their friends, that they were making out feels awkward.

There’s a sharp intake of breath from the bed, and Kurt looks at Blaine, meets his eyes.

Blaine remembers.

“We were kissing,” he rasps out, his voice still quiet and rough, but clear in the nearly silent room. Blaine’s looking at Kurt, only at Kurt, begging him with his eyes to confirm, to help Blaine remember, focus.

Kurt can only nod.

“What was in the cookies, Rachel?” Carrie asks, not taking her eyes off of Kurt. John’s anger seems to be growing the longer they stand here, and Kurt knows it’s directed at him, however fair that truly is.

He feels he probably deserves it.

“They were, um, they had tahini in them,” Rachel says quietly, toeing at the floor. “Sesame oil. I swear, if I knew, I never would have brought them over, I didn’t mean for this to happen, I never wanted to-“

“Enough,” Carrie says quietly, holding up a hand to stop Rachel. The room is eerily silent again, no one moving or speaking for a long minute. Carrie takes a deep breath.

“You ate some of Rachel’s cookies, and then-then you and Blaine kissed?”

Kurt nods, eyes closed tightly. He’s afraid to look at Blaine, Blaine’s parents. He’s afraid of what’s about to happen.

“And then he had the reaction?”

“Yes.”

“But you got him help.”

“I-I tried,” Kurt looks up, voice breaking. This isn’t what he expected. Carrie’s smiling gently at him.

“Kurt, you didn’t know, did you?” she asks, but it’s clear she already knows the answer. “You didn’t know he was allergic.”

“Blaine never-“

“Then why would you think this is your fault?” Carrie asks, and it suddenly seems like the simplest thing in the world. But Kurt still feels guilty, still feels at fault, and the way John’s looking at him-he thinks part of him is justified.

“I kissed him. I didn’t-I gave him the sesame. I’m the reason he’s here.”

“Kurt-“

“I think you should leave.”

John’s voice shocks them all. Carrie turns to her husband, an incredulous look on her face, but he shakes his head, nods at the door.

“I think it’s best if you-if you all leave,” he repeats, and Kurt nods, somewhat stunned.

Blaine is watching his father, too stunned to speak.

“John-“

“I just-“

“It’s okay,” Mike says, taking control of the situation, standing up and nodding at Blaine’s parents. “We should be getting back to do homework, anyway.”

“Don’t leave,” Blaine says quietly from the bed, tearing his eyes from his father, meeting Kurt’s. “Please.”

“It’s fine,” Kurt mutters, crossing to the bed to press a kiss to Blaine’s temple, squeezing his hand. “I’ll text you later.”

“Kurt-“

“It’s fine.”

Rachel and Finn watch the exchange apprehensively, Tina and Mike saying goodbye to Blaine, waiting outside.

“Mr. Anderson-“ Finn tries, but Kurt shakes his head, pointing at the door.

“It’s fine, Finn. It’s just-it’s fine.”

“Kurt, please,” Blaine whispers, tugging on Kurt’s fingers, trying to keep him by the bed, but Kurt smiles sadly, kisses Blaine’s knuckles.

“I’ll text you. You’re getting out of here soon, anyway, I’ll come over tomorrow after school, okay? It’s fine, Blaine. Feel better.”

They leave the room, the door closing behind them with a quiet snick.

“John, what the hell was that?”

“Carrie-“

“You’re overreacting.”

Neither of them acknowledges that Blaine is in the room, still in the bed, looking between his parents with wide eyes and an expression of shock.

“Carrie, Blaine’s in the hospital. If Kurt-“

“It’s not like he did this on purpose, John. Blaine never told him about the allergy, Kurt didn’t know-“

“That doesn’t change the fact that-“

“John, you need to get over whatever remaining-“

“Stop.”

Blaine’s voice is quiet, still hoarse, barely audible over his parents’ raised voices.

“Carrie-“

Stop.

Carrie and John look to Blaine, quieting almost immediately.

“Blaine-”

“Just stop.”

John sits down heavily in the chair he’s spent the day in, head in his hands. Carrie walks over to the bed, taking the chair Mike was using, rubbing a hand along Blaine’s arm.

“Blaine, honey, your dad didn’t-“

“Carrie, stop.”

“John, look at your son. You just sent his boyfriend and his friends away because you can’t deal with this. Look at him.”

John shakes his head, still looking down at his hands.

“Dad?”

“Blaine, I can’t. This isn’t-everything’s too much right now, I just need-we need to deal with this. As a family.”

“We’re not acting much like a family right now,” Blaine whispers, turning on his side, away from both of his parents, arms folded over his chest.

“Blaine, your ribs-“

“Don’t care.”

“Blaine!”

“Blaine, you’re acting like a child,” John warns from the table, looking up and over at his wife and son, shaking his head. “Stop this.”

“John, calm down. Just-“

“I’m going for a walk,” John says after a moment, standing and leaving the room without another word. Carrie watches him go, drops her head into her hands as soon as the door shuts.

She sits with Blaine in silence for a long moment, before he speaks.

“I’m sorry.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for, Blaine. This is just-this week has been really hard on all of us.”

“He shouldn’t have sent Kurt away.”

“You shouldn’t be talking so much,” Carrie changes the subject, rubbing Blaine’s back comfortingly, resting her hand on his shoulder.

“Stop changing the subject.”

“Blaine-“

“Forget it.”

Carrie bites her lip, watching Blaine’s back rise and fall with his breathing for a moment, choosing her words carefully.

“Do you blame Kurt?”

“No.”

“I don’t think your father really does, Blaine. I think he’s just-we’re still scared. You have to understand. It’s terrifying knowing your child-your son-is in the hospital once, forget again. That he’s-“

“Mom-“

“Blaine, just-just give us some time, okay? Things will go back to normal soon. You’re getting out of here, and things will just-we’ll figure it out.”

Blaine sighs, curling in on himself more tightly. Carrie sits back, keeping a comforting hand on Blaine’s shoulder.

“We’ll figure it out.”

- - - - -

“Are you okay, Kurt?”

Rachel turns in her seat to watch Kurt carefully as Finn pulls out of the McKinley parking lot after they drop Mike and Tina off, heading home. Kurt’s resting his forehead against the window, eyes closed, breathing evenly and quietly.

It takes him a minute to open his eyes, meet Rachel’s.

“Yes,” he tries, shrugging. “No. Maybe. I don’t know.”

“He shouldn’t have done that.”

“He’s right.”

Finn looks in the rearview mirror, regarding Kurt critically.

“He wasn’t right, bro. You didn’t know, did you? Neither did Rach. This isn’t your fault. It’s just-it’s a mistake. A stupid one. But it’s an accident.”

“Then why do I feel so guilty?” Kurt whispers, closing his eyes against the tears that start falling again (and it’s become tedious now, the tears and the crying and the sobbing). “Why do I feel like it’s my fault?”

Neither Finn nor Rachel answers, both focusing on the road ahead. Kurt sighs, continuing.

“I couldn’t sleep in my room last night. I couldn’t-I can’t go in there, where it happened. I keep seeing him like that, unconscious, dying on my floor. I can’t kiss him anymore. I’m afraid of even going near him it feels like.”

“Have you talked to Blaine about this?” Rachel asks gently, twisting in her seat again. Kurt shakes his head.

“His dad’s always there, or his mom. And talking is hard for him, it takes a lot of effort. We text, but until today-he didn’t know.”

“Do you think Blaine blames you, Kurt?”

Kurt shrugs, looking back out the window, avoiding Rachel’s gaze.

“Kurt?”

“Probably not.”

“So why do you feel like you have to blame yourself?”

“Rachel, don’t. You can’t tell me you don’t feel as guilty as I do.”

“I feel guilty, sure. But Blaine’s okay, Kurt. So we can’t-we can’t dwell on what happened, what’s happening. Blaine’s going to be okay.”

“Rachel-“

“We just need to keep our heads up, okay? It’s going to be okay.”

The rest of the drive passes in silence, and all too soon they’re pulling up at the Hummel house again, getting out of the car. Rachel slips her hand into Kurt’s squeezing.

“Can I hug you now?” she asks quietly, smiling shyly at him, offering him comfort and friendship. Kurt smiles back, nods, and they wrap their arms around each other, stand in the driveway for a long moment, holding each other.

“It’s going to be okay, Kurt,” Rachel whispers into his ear as they break apart, heading into the house. “It’s all going to be okay.”

- - - - -

“Are you about ready to blow this joint?”

Blaine’s walking around the halls of the ward, a physical therapist-Jake-at his elbow as they progress slowly, shuffling. Blaine’s ribs are still sore, his neck painful, but walking on his own is necessary to his discharge, and he’s determined.

They’ve offered him a walker to help at first, with the residual weakness and exhaustion from being laid up for three days, but Blaine refused, opting to feel his way along the walls with the therapist offering support when he needs it.

“Just about,” Blaine rasps out, dropping onto a bench down the hall from his room, sliding over so Jake can sit next to him.

“You look a little rough tonight.”

“My parents are fighting again.”

“Ah,” Jake says knowingly, nodding and letting his back rest against the wall. “You want to talk about it?”

“Not really.”

“We don’t have to.”

They’re quiet for a long moment, Blaine resting, breathing quietly, before he speaks again.

“They threw my boyfriend out.”

“Both of them?”

“My dad.”

“I see,” Jake is quiet, watching Blaine’s face carefully before continuing. “What happened?”

“Kurt’s the one who-“ Blaine trails off, gesturing at his lips then his throat, willing Jake to understand. Jake, for his part, has read Blaine’s chart, knows his history and the nature of his reaction. He nods.

“And your dad blames him.”

“I never told Kurt about the sesame.”

“So it’s not Kurt’s fault.”

“I don’t blame him.”

“But your dad doesn’t understand.”

“Are you a psychologist in your spare time?”

Jake laughs, and Blaine smiles along with him, pulling himself to his feet.

“Let’s keep going?”

Jake nods, and they keep walking down the hall, circling the floor, heading back towards Blaine’s room.

“You going to talk to your dad?”

“No.”

“At all?”

“I’m mad at him.”

 “You’ll have to talk to him eventually, Blaine,” Jake says quietly as they reach Blaine’s room, Jake scribbling a few notes onto Blaine’s chart, waiting for him to get settled in bed. “You have to talk to someone.”

“I want to talk to Kurt,” Blaine says quietly, swinging his legs onto the bed, leaning back against his pillows.

“Maybe your dad’ll come around?”

“I doubt it,” Blaine scoffs, sighing. “Whatever. It’s-it’s not fine. It just is.”

Jake signs off on Blaine’s chart, replaces it in the holder on the wall, walking back to the bed. He holds out a hand, shakes Blaine’s with a smile.

“Take care of yourself, okay? You’re doing great, and you’re getting out of here tomorrow, but just-don’t let this ruin any of your relationships, okay?”

“You sound like you have experience with this.”

Jake smiles, nods.

“My dad was never a big fan of my boyfriend. Husband, now. Well, we would be if we didn’t live in Ohio.”

“I didn’t mean-“

“I got into an accident a few years back, was in the hospital for awhile. My dad refused to visit me the whole time. I haven’t spoken to him since. I wish-well-“

“I’m sorry,” Blaine says quietly, sincerely. Jake shakes his head.

“It is what it is. But Blaine-just give both of them time, okay? Maybe it’s not meant to work itself out, maybe it is. But don’t write either of them off until you know for sure.”

“Thanks, Jake.”

“Take care of yourself, Blaine. And don’t eat anymore sesame, yeah?”

Blaine laughs, holding his ribs as they jostle, but for the first time, his smile stays, lingering, through his nighttime meds and the nurse’s checkup, his mom coming up from the cafeteria to say goodnight, to promise they’ll be back in the morning to get him.

Blaine sleeps well for the first time since his admission to the hospital, dreaming of a night with Kurt and his parents all at the same dinner table, the conversation easy and not tense.

“We’ll get there,” he whispers to himself, falling asleep. “We’ll get there.” 





AHHH! It feels like I've been waiting for this update forever! I both expected and didn't expect Blaine's dad's reaction. Great chapter!

Laurennnn

So many feelings. WHY?

I was not expecting that reaction from John at all. I'm so mad they him and Carrie were fighting in front of Blaine. Poor Blaine:( And they kicked Kurt and everyone else out? Jeez. This chapter was pretty intense, but I loved the addition of the physical therapist. I like him.

I just want everyone to hug each other and be okay.

Poor Kurt, poor Blaine. Back to hating John for his reactions.

You are too hard on yourself! I don't see this as short or as anything basic -- 'bridge' chapter to me says it's simply something to help connect the dots but doesn't have anything particularly substantial. Reading this chapter, I disagree. I think this was a critical chapter to have, and you wrote it well. Kurt's been holding on to this guilt all this time, afraid to tell people what truly happened, especially afraid to tell Blaine's parents, or make it clearer to Blaine what happened. That's a lot to hold in, and I was waiting for this moment, for him to finally 'fess up and deal with the reactions. I was so glad to see Carrie's reaction, and Blaine's, and found John's reaction so painful and hard to read.

Though I suppose I understand his reaction. It seems like his fear about almost losing his son is coming out as anger. What's interesting to me is that it's misplaced anger. He shouldn't be angry with Kurt because clearly Kurt (and Rachel) didn't know about Blaine's allergy and they would have acted accordingly had they known. I think deep down John's angry with Blaine for not taking better care of himself, not telling his friends and boyfriend about his allergy and not having his Epipen close enough to use if need be. But he can't yell at his son because his son's in the hospital and recuperating and injured and that would be a terrible thing to do. So.... he goes after the next easiest target, I suppose. Is that how you see it too?

Either way, I thought this was an important chapter, very intense, and good that everything's out there in the open now. And I really liked the conversation between Blaine and Jake. He gave Blaine some good advice.

Anyway, good stuff! Thanks for posting. And good luck with the writing of the rest! *sends you good writing mojo vibes*

Le sigh... So happy to see this update! Glad Kurt got all that out in the open and that there will be some resolution to the Blaine/dad drama. Our boys just need a little fluff and talking to get us better! Can't wait to see how it ends!

Lauren! I'm so happy you updated! Love, love, LOVE it!

I really liked the ending of this chapter. I like the tentative vibe of it, as well. I can't wait to read the next installment. Thanks for sharing!

Excellent story and i'm glad that in addition to the medical trauma, you're delving into the reactions and the relationships between the Andersons and well as Blaine and Kurt. The fight here is painful but it felt totally realistic.

i want to hug them both. i wonder if john would have thrown kurt out if he'd been blaine's girlfriend rather than his boyfriend. :/

I'm so, so, so happy to see an update! Lovely chapter. Truly.

I was so excited when I saw this updated! Poor boys. I hope things don't end up escalating next chapter (except I totally do).

you updated! yay :) oh blaine, honey, it'll work out

I'm sure they'll get there eventually!

I'm so happy to see an update for this fic! Poor boys, please go talk to each other and kiss and feel better.

LAURENNNN
WHY YOU GOTTA DO THIS TO ME?

So worth the wait! Loved it!

"Don't eat any more ___" is always advice they give you in the hospital and it always makes me want to smack them. But it usually isn't said jokingly. It almost always on the discharge papers. "Avoid contact with ______." I totally did it on purpose. Next time I'll make sure I don't eat the pineapple that was hidden in the food that really shouldn't have pineapple in it... (Or avoid getting stung by bees. Because everyone just goes and sticks their hands in the beehive and says, "STING ME!")

Kurt, it wasn't your fault. Blaine's dad is being an ass.

Holy crap, this chapter was amazing! *does happy dance because you updated HTB*

I'm not going to lie, I squealed a little (ok a lot) when I saw that you updated!

I love this chapter so so so much. I love how nervous Kurt was, understandably so, to tell the Andersons, especially Blaine. I really like how you wove Blaine remembering what happened into the story. It was great to have Blaine come to the realization just as Kurt said it.

I also think the reactions from both of the Anderson parents is super realistic. I can totally see his father kicking Kurt out and his mother being kind and understanding about the accident. I was a little worried about how you were going to write Blaine. It really could have gone either way-with him being upset or, as you did, not. I'm glad Blaine wasn't upset, but why do I get the feeling that this conversation isn't over between Blaine and Kurt.

This chapter was great! I can't wait to read the next one! :D ♥

<3 So pleased to see this update. My heart just breaks for Blaine, and for his Dad too actually. I know he's being a total bastard but he's scared and he's lashing out and I just feel bad for him. For everybody. Gah. This makes me sad.

Poor boys! I want to wrap them in rainbows, sunshine, and bubble wrap. They're both hurting so much, and Blaine's father...

I can't wait to read more, though!

Review take TWO! Hopefully this one works. (I figured out what I was doing btw... apparently my computer likes to be slow and if I click out of the window before it displays the review or whatever it doesn't go through. Poo)

I will try and remember what I said before. I really liked this chapter, even if it was a bit of a chapter to get from point A to point B. I actually kind of felt for John a bit. I don't think he reacted appropriately, and I felt so bad for Kurt, but I could kind of understand in a way. He's struggling to come to terms with Blaine and accept him and Kurt, and now he finds out that Blaine has his reaction because of Kurt (even though it was kind of Blaine's fault he never told Kurt) and sometimes, when everything wraps you up like that, it's really hard to control your reactions. I hope that he can come to terms with his emotions though.

I also want to wrap Kurt up in a big ol' hug and tell him it's not his fault and Blaine still loves him and everything will be okay, just don't eat before you make out.

Beautiful chapter, as always. <3

I've been too swamped with school for a while to read much fic, but now that I can breathe again (finals was this week), I've started remembering those stories which I like and hope are going to continue.

So... no pressure, but... how's this one coming along?

:)

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