Title: Like You're Slippin' Through The Cracks (Like No One Would Even Notice)
Characters/Pairings: Kurt Hummel, Burt Hummel, Shannon Bieste, Noah Puckerman, ensemble. Mentions of past Puckurt slash, Burt/Carole
Warning: Mpreg, discussion of medical conditions, coarse language
Spoilers: General season one spoilers
Disclaimer: I don’t own Glee
Word Count: Over 12,000
Author’s Note: Set during the Back Nine. Inspired by a prompt on the Glee_Angst_Meme.
Summary: Kurt knew it was a bit unbelievable that he was pregnant, but he never expected it to be like this.
It was past midnight when Burt dragged Kurt home, no protest leaving Kurt’s lips. He stayed huddled up against the window, staring out of the window and thinking about all the things his son wouldn’t be able to see. He didn’t say a word to Burt and he stayed silent as he moved downstairs to his room. He curled up on the bed, wrapping his arms around his legs.
He closed his eyes, struggling not to cry as he thought about the fact his son would never see more than what he was seeing now. Nathan would never see a lot of things, would never get to experience a lot of things. Kurt hated to think that Nathan’s life was over, because he knew a lot of blind people functioned fine in life, but the thought of his son never being able to see scared him. He had no idea how to deal with his son being blind, had no idea how to help his son.
Kurt didn’t dream that night.
The first day Kurt somehow dragged himself into school, running on only an hour’s sleep and a coffee. He didn’t really feel like going, but he reminded himself he needed to complete high school, he needed to get a good job for Nathan. He couldn’t depend on his father or Puck forever.
He was surprised to see Mercedes, Tina and Rachael waiting by his locker. “Hey white boy,” Mercedes greeted him, a guilty expression on her face. “I know you probably don’t want to see us right now, but we wanted to give you something.”
“It’s just some clothes, toys, books,” Tina said, holding up a bag. “It’s not much,” she said. “There’s also some money in there. Only a couple of hundred, the three of us put our money together and I know Artie and the other guys have more stuff for you,” Tina paused, shyly handing over the bag. “I wanted to say sorry.”
“Tina-” Tina hadn’t said a word against him and though she hadn’t talked much to him lately, she still smiled at him in class and the hallways.
“I should’ve done something Kurt,” Tina said. “I didn’t think it was right for us to ignore you like that but I didn’t say anything. I’m sorry.”
“Thank you Tina.” Kurt said. Tina hesitantly hugged him and he hugged her back, thinking of the last time one of his friends hugged him.
“Kurt, I wanted to apologise,” Rachael said. “I was wrong and I’m sorry. I should never have said those hurtful things to you. And I’m sure you’re son will be extremely smart and talented, just like you.”
Kurt bit his bottom lip. “He won’t be smart,” he said, looking away. “There’s a chance he could have learning problems.”
All three of the girls gasped. “I’m so sorry Kurt,” Mercedes said. “I’m praying for you and for Nathan. My church are praying for you two as well.”
Kurt was tempted to say something about his lack of faith, but he didn’t want to pick any more fights. He didn’t want to fight any more, he was too tired. He had to focus on Nathan, not on being bitter. “I’m an atheist,” he said, as politely as he could. “But thank you anyway, I appreciate it.”
Mercedes glanced at Tina and Rachael and the two got the message and disappeared after saying goodbye. “I’m sorry white boy,” Mercedes said and Kurt was surprised to see she looked like she was about to start crying. “I’m a horrible friend. I’ll never forgive myself. I’m really sorry. If you ever need anything, anything, you call me. Even if it’s the middle of the night I’ll help you. I promise.”
“I don’t need people getting me things and trying to make it up to me. I just need a friend, someone to support me. I just want to know I have friends I can count on,” Kurt closed his locker and leaned against it. “Nathan’s sick,” he said. “He has ROP, a condition in the eye. It’s common in premature babies,” he looked up at her. “He’s most likely going to have eye problems or be blind.”
“Oh, white boy,” Mercedes said, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him. He tensed at first but eventually relaxed into the familiar embrace. “I’m so sorry. Is there anything we can do to help?”
“I won’t be in Glee club today or the rest of the week most likely,” he said. He didn’t want to ask for too much in case he was disappointed. “I’m going to be at the hospital with Nathan. I don’t know when they’re operating on him.”
“You should take time off school,” Mercedes said, frowning. “Get your dad to talk to the teachers and I’ll get your homework and write notes for you.”
“Mercedes, I appreciate it but you aren’t in all my classes.” Kurt said. He didn’t want to get his hopes up yet.
“There’s someone from Glee in each of your classes isn’t there?” Mercedes asked. Kurt nodded. “Everyone will be willing to help you. Everyone feels bad and they’d all be happy to pitch in,” Kurt raised an eyebrow. “Even Santana feels bad, though she wouldn’t say anything. She’s been asking about you.”
Kurt scoffed. “Probably for gossip,” he said. “I doubt it’s because of concern.”
“Okay, Hummel, we’ll make this quick,” Kurt and Mercedes turned to see Santana, Quinn and Brittany approaching them. “We’re sorry for what happened, yadda, yadda, yadda,” she said. “Here.” She added, thrusting a bag at him.
“I’m praying for you.” Quinn told him while Brittany stepped forward and thrust her arms around his neck.
“I bet your baby has soft baby hands,” she told him. “And I got you a present.” She added. “Except I left it in my locker. It’s a stuffed dolphin.”
“Thank you Brittany.” Kurt said, pulling the girl off him with Santana’s help.
“When can I see your baby?” Brittany asked, bouncing up and down. “Can I hold him?”
Kurt froze. “Not for a while Brittany,” he replied, not looking at Santana and Quinn. “He’s very small and sick so he needs to stay in hospital for a while. Maybe in a few months,” he said. He pulled one of the photos out of his locker. “Here’s a picture.” He said to tide her over for a while.
Quinn, Santana and Mercedes crowded around Brittany to look at the photo, passing it between them. “He’s small.”
“He was only twenty six weeks,” Kurt explained. “He’s putting on weight though.”
“When he does he get out of hospital?” Quinn asked, glancing up at him.
“He’s got at least another month.” Kurt replied.
Quinn handed him back the photo as the bell rang. “He’s adorable.” She said, before the three cheerleaders disappeared into the crowd.
Artie approached Kurt after History, wheeling up to Kurt during the break. He smiled softly at Kurt, holding out his fist for Kurt to bump. Kurt hesitated before returning the smile and bumping fists with Artie.
“Will you come with me to the choir room?” Artie asked. Kurt looked at the photo of Nathan stuck up in his locker, before he closed the locker. Artie gently pulled Kurt down to sit on his lap, surprising Kurt. “Is this alright?” Artie asked, studying Kurt’s face. Kurt nodded and Artie started wheeling them in the direction of the choir room.
Kurt was surprised to see the boys of Glee minus Puck and Artie waiting for them in the choir room. Finn, Mike and Sam were sitting in the front row of the bank of chairs, waiting for them. Finn heard them first, looking up at them as they entered.
“Hey bro,” Finn greeted, standing, a guilty expression on his face. “We wanted to apologise, you know, for what happened. It wasn’t cool, dude, what happened. We got you some things.
Mike stood up, walking toward Kurt carrying a large gift bag. “The girls told us about what was happened with Nathan.” he said, placing the bag on Kurt’s lap.
The boys were watching Kurt so he opened the bag and pulled out the items inside. Kurt bit his bottom lip, trying to keep control of his emotions when he saw the book inside, a guide to Braille. Moving the book aside, Kurt rummaged through the rest of the bag. Aside from the book there was also a baby sling and a few children’s books and CDs.
“Thank you guys,” Kurt said, wiping the back of his eyes with his hands. “I appreciate this.”
“There’s something else,” Artie said and Kurt shifted forward for Artie to pull something out of his pocket. “My parents chipped in too,” He added, handing Kurt an envelope. Inside the envelope was a congratulations card, sighed by Artie and his parents, as well as several fifty dollar notes. “You okay, Kurt?” Artie asked softly.
“I just-” He took a deep breath. “I want a friend,” he whispered, barely audible. “I don’t want money, I just want a friend. Everyone’s trying so hard to make it up to me but nobody’s tried to actually be my friend. I don’t want gifts, I want someone to talk to.” He looked down, ashamed he’d shared that with the boys. Sure, he was friends with Artie and occasionally Finn, but he wasn’t close enough to them to share something like that.
Artie rested his hand on Kurt’s lower back, rubbing in soothingly circles. “In a few months when Nathan’s settled in, you and me are going to hang out okay? And we’re going to talk.”
“Thanks, Artie,” Kurt said, giving Artie a watery smile and squeezing Artie’s hand. “I better go,” he stood, facing the group. “And thank you guys, I really appreciate it.”
The boys started moving out first, patting Kurt on the arm and back as they passed him. The new kid, Sam, stopped beside Kurt. “Hey, uh, I know I wasn’t here for what happened but for what it’s worth I’m sorry that happened to you.”
Kurt nodded, unable to see anything. He waited until the choir room was empty before he moved to sit on the piano stool.
Kurt could hear Puck pacing, though he couldn’t see him because he had his face buried in his hands. The waiting room was silent except for Puck’s footsteps and muttering. After a few moments Puck’s pacing and muttering stopped and Kurt heard Puck sit beside him.
“What if he’s not okay?” Kurt asked. “What if he’s both blind and has learning problems?” Kurt shook his head. “I hate not knowing, having to guess what might be wrong with him.”
Puck rubbed his back soothingly. “It’ll be fine,” Puck said. “And you won’t be alone. I’ll be helping you and so will your father. You don’t have to do it alone Kurt.”
“Yes, I do,” Kurt said. “I can’t depend on my dad forever and you’ll have a life in a few years, as will everyone else.”
“Kurt, I don’t think you get it. I’m not going anywhere any time soon.”
Kurt looked up at Puck, only to see Puck leaning forward, about to kiss him. Kurt turned his head away. “Puck,” he bit his bottom lip. “I can’t do this right now. I need to focus on Nathan and I can’t be worrying about relationships right now. I’m sorry,” he looked up at Puck. “I won’t stop you from visiting Nathan. You can come and see him whenever you want. But we can’t be together right now. And face it, in a few years you’re going to want to get out of Lima. I don’t have that choice right now, but in a few years I might leave too.”
“I’m not smart enough to go to some fancy college,” Puck said. “I mean, yeah, I want to get out of Lima but I won’t have some fancy job. But if you want to go to New York, I’ll follow you; find my own apartment so I can be near Nathan. But Kurt, you’re smart enough to get into some fancy college. You should do it. I’ll help you.”
“I can’t,” Kurt said, shaking his head. “I mean, I’ll take some night classes or something but I can’t leave Nathan alone for that long. If he’s blind and has learning problems, he’ll need full-time care.”
“I’ll pay child support,” Puck said. “I’ll send you whatever I have and if you need anymore, you just tell me. Anything, you need I’ll help you.”
“Thank you,” Kurt said. “I appreciate it,” he studied Puck’s face. “I think we can make this work.”
“Mr. Hummel?” Kurt and Puck looked up at the doctor’s voice. They stood and he approached them. “We won’t be sure if the surgery was successful for another few days, but it doesn’t look good,” he told them. “I’m sorry, but it looks like your son will be blind.” Puck wrapped Kurt up in a hug almost immediately and Kurt wasn’t even aware when he started crying. “Ssh,” Puck whispered. “It’ll be okay, we’ll be okay.” Part Eight