Word Count: 4,059
Warnings: character death, depression, self-harm, suicide attempts, psychiatric hospitalization, hospitalization for heart issues, bullying, gay-bashing, homophobia, talk of drug and alcohol abuse, talk of involvement with gangs, talk of ocd
Summary: Confined to the walls of the UC Neuroscience Institute, Blaine Anderson has completely given up on life. But when he meets Kurt Hummel - a boy who’s remaining strong even though his own life is falling apart, Blaine begins to realize that maybe he doesn't have to give up just yet. Maybe he’s strong enough to keep fighting.
Dalton Academy prided itself in being a school of order, routine, and poise.
The students of Dalton Academy were always well-behaved and focused. There was rarely any trouble, and the same pad of blank detention slips had been sitting on the teachers desk for years now. No one ever expected anything exciting to happen at Dalton Academy – it was much too serious a boarding school, where the boys focused on academics and performance rather than the drugs and alcohol most public schools had trouble with.
But just a week ago, there was an exception.
It was well into the night when an ambulance came blaring into the parking lot of Dalton Academy, and if the students weren’t already up and peering down the hallway of room two-fifteen, they were now, watching as paramedics carried away a young boy on a stretcher, calling orders that nobody could quite make out the through the haze of panic and confusion.
As the paramedics disappeared, and the ambulance departed with its sirens still blaring, teachers came walking through the hallways, herding students back into their dorms, skirting around the questions while threatening detention and expulsion to the kids who wouldn’t cooperate.
It wasn’t until the next day that word got around.
Nick Augustine had found his roommate on the floor of their bathroom, unconscious, but breathing. An open bottle of sleeping pills had been found on the counter.
It was the second time Blaine Anderson had tried to commit suicide.
Blaine’s biting his lip as he walks carefully through the doors of the UC Neuroscience Institute. His mother’s got a bony hand on the small of his back, striding on his right side. On Blaine's left, his father carries his luggage, walking just a space farther away from them.
His father is upset – as he has every right to be. Blaine knows he’s a disappointment, he knows he’s a failure. That’s why he tried to kill himself. Everything and everyone would be so much better off without him – if only he’d succeeded.
Blaine swallows hard, keeping his eyes locked forward.
Another pair of double doors, and they’ve entered the Mood Disorders Center.
Now that he’s recovered from the overdose, he’ll be recovering from the real, scarring issue – his depression. He’ll be spending a month here, working with therapists and speakers, getting all his problems out and doing what he can to deal with them. He’ll get a handle on his mental illness, be put on anti-depressants, and with a real smile on his face, be sent right back to Dalton.
Or at least that’s what everyone thinks is going to happen.
But Blaine knows better.
He’s been traveling this road for a good three years now. He’s seen the lowest points of this disease, and he knows right now that he won’t ever see the highest. He’s tried – he has – but it’s all been a waste. Nothing is ever going to get better, and Blaine has accepted it. Now, he’s simply waiting until death finally comes to claim him, whether it be his own doing or not.
His mother leads him to the front desk, finally letting go of his back. Blaine relaxes, breathing a little easier.
“Blaine Anderson,” she tells the receptionist. “Dr. Arnold sent us over here. Blaine’s made it through his seventy-two hour suicide watch, and now he’s here for treatment. Six weeks, I think it was?”
Blaine looks away from the receptionist, and involuntarily, his gaze moves to his father. He’s standing tall, a hardened expression on his face, and he seems to be avoiding Blaine’s eyes. Blaine turns back with a sigh, internally groaning. The secretary is looking through her files, nodding as she pulls out a piece of paper.
“Ah, yes,” she says. “Blaine Anderson. You’ll be in room one-twenty-five with Noah Puckerman.”
Blaine nods, biting his cheek. It’s only been a minute, and he’s already feeling uncomfortable.
“And your nurse is Ms. Emma Pillsbury,” the receptionist continues, standing up and hobbling around the side of her desk. “Now, come on, I’ll show you to your room.”
Blaine follows, swallowing back a noise of frustration.
One thing Blaine’s noticed about this hospital is that it’s bright. White walls, white floors, white ceiling – everything is obnoxiously bright, burning his eyes. Not only that, the hospital is nearly entirely sterile – every surface is clean, not a speck of dust or dirt in sight. It’s unnerving, really.
And his room is no exception.
Two beds on opposite walls with white pillows and blue and white blankets. There are two desks and two shelves right next to the beds, all of which are empty. The walls are free of posters or pictures – and only on Noah’s side is there any sort of indication someone is living here. His bag rests on the floor next to his bed, a sweatshirt hangs on one of the bedposts, and what looks to be his own blanket is folded at the end of his bed.
“Now,” the receptionist starts, grabbing Blaine’s attention again, “there is housecleaning – they come around when you’re at group or in a lecture, but you are expected to pull your own weight. Beds will be made before you go to breakfast, and all dirty clothes go in the hamper by the door, alright?”
“Good,” the receptionist replies. “And also – anything you want to bring into this room will be checked at the front desk. You are not allowed to have any medication, any razors – though you will be given fresh disposable ones each morning for shaving. You may not have pocket knives, lighters, and also – no cell phones.”
Blaine nods again.
The receptionist looks almost surprised for a second – Blaine can tell she was probably surprised he took the cell phone thing so easy, but really, who would be calling or texting him? It’s not like anyone cares.
“Well, feel free to get settled in,” she continues. “There’s a lecture currently going on, but group is at eight o’clock sharp. Ms. Pillsbury will be here in a few minutes to fill you in.”
“Alright,” Blaine says, finally speaking.
With a final nod, the receptionist exits the room, leaving Blaine to face his parents.
“So,” he says awkwardly. “You should probably get going . . . the nurse – “
He’s pulled into a bone-crushing hug, face smashed against his mother’s collarbone.
“Mom,” he chokes out. “Mom – seriously – “
She lets go, and he takes a deep breath, looking up at her curiously. Tears sparkle in her eyes as her lips quiver. Gentle fingers grip Blaine’s upper arms, and for a fleeting moment, he feels young again – vulnerable, dependent, and just wanting his mother to hold him, whispering softly in his ear that everything’s going to be alright. He swallows hard, trying to shake the feeling.
“Blaine,” she breathes, her voice cracking. “Honey, I’m so sorry. I – I feel sick right now. I just can’t believe I let this happen.” Her fingers dust over Blaine’s jaw, her palm coming up to cup his face. He wants to lean into that hand, wants to let his eyes flutter shut, but Blaine remains strong.
“Again,” his mother continues in a choked whisper. “Blaine, I let you drive yourself to the point of suicide again, and I feel so, so awful. I’ve just – I’ve never been able to deal with this. I’ve never known how to help you, and I need you to know how sorry I am.” She shakes her head, pulling Blaine into a gentler hug.
Blaine can’t even bring himself to hug back.
Not with his father’s gaze bearing down on him like that. Not with his mother’s apology feeling so hollow. He knows the truth – they really don’t have to lie. Blaine knows he’s nothing but a worthless waste of human life. There’s just no denying it, no matter how many times his mother says she’s sorry – Blaine knows that she would be better without him. Everyone would.
At last his mother pulls back, but she leans right back in to kiss Blaine’s forehead. He forces a sad smile as she straightens up, staring down at him with her watery eyes.
“We’ll see you in a week, okay, sweetheart?”
Blaine nods, wishing they would just leave.
His mother turns towards the door, but his father hesitates. “Good luck, son,” he says, voice gruff.
Blaine swallows hard, nodding. “Goodbye,” he says quietly.
“Goodbye, sweetheart,” his mother says quietly, and resting her head on her husband’s shoulder, the two of them leave the room.
Blaine sighs – loud and frustrated as he drags himself over to his bed. He collapses onto it, head spinning. Thoughts are racing through his mind, everything dawning on him now that he’s here, about to start the deep and serious treatment. There’s so much to worry about, so many things that should make him anxious, but all he feels is numb.
Blaine knows that tonight and tomorrow and the rest of his stay here, everyone’s going to be digging into his mind, trying to see what he sees and help him get out of this overwhelming darkness, but it’s not ever going to work, now is it? Blaine expects people to get frustrated with him. He expects people to force him into things, making him think back and relive all the shit that he went through and all the horrible mistakes he’s made, but in reality nothing will work.
And you know it’s funny.
Blaine’s made a lot of mistakes, he knows.
But there’s only one thing he’ll ever truly regret, and that’s missing his chance.
He’s still alive.
Blaine’s pulling clothes out of his bag, folding and stacking them, not quite sure why he’s doing this – but it’s while he’s doing it that a knock sounds at his door. It opens with a creak, and Blaine turns around nervously, eyes meeting the woman entering the room. She’s tiny and bug-eyed, orange-red hair framing her face.
“Hello,” she says, her smile so bright that it nearly blinds Blaine. “I’m Emma Pillsbury – your nurse.” She holds out her hand, and Blaine reluctantly shakes it.
“Blaine Anderson,” he says. “Though I’m sure you already knew that,” he mumbles, pointing awkwardly to the clipboard in her other hand.
Emma nods. “Well,” she starts. “We’ve got just under fifteen minutes before you’re supposed to be at group, so why don’t we get acquainted?”
Blaine says nothing, biting his lip.
“Okay,” Emma says. “Well . . . I’m Emma. I’ve got a husband named Will – Will Schuester. I kept my last name because it was easier for the job. A lot of patients know me as Mrs. Pillsbury, and I still receive letters from old patients addressed like that.”
Blaine really doesn’t look like he’s interested, but Emma continues anyway.
“What else? Well, I like gardening, baking, and going to the local community theater with my husband. I would like to have kids some day, but I’m pretty content with only having my patients right now.”
Blaine nods, pressing his lips together.
“And what about you, Blaine?” Emma presses. “Tell me a little about yourself.”
Blaine takes a deep breath. “Well, there really isn’t much,” he says, rubbing his neck. “I attend Dalton Academy in Westerville, Ohio – or I did. I was in my school’s glee club – the Warblers, but after a loss at Sectionals, there wasn’t much for us to do.” He pauses for a moment, thinking, but he can’t come up with anything good, and it really starts to hit him how much of a life he’s lost in the past two years – specifically the last couple of months.
“Anything else?” Emma asks.
Blaine shrugs. “I’m gay – if that makes a difference to you.”
“It doesn’t,” she replies simply, and a scheming look enters her eyes, making Blaine wary. “Well,” she starts. “We should save the elaboration of that for another time, because I do believe I should show you your way to group.
She stands up, dusting off her scrubs, and Blaine follows reluctantly behind her.
It’s kind of funny.
How people think of insane asylums and picture them as these dark, dank, desolate place, with small cell-like rooms and grimy walls and shady lighting, looking like it were straight out of an old Hollywood horror film. Blaine's certainly been guilty of this line of thought before.
But in reality, as Blaine walks down the halls, it’s quite the opposite. This place is clear and sterile, everything organized in a neat, orderly way. Even Emma’s pace is brisk, her feet making odd little clips as she walks. Everyone seems to be on a schedule, no one sharing glances or waves or even brief “hello”s. And then there’s Blaine, slugging behind Emma and dreading what’s to come.
Just the atmosphere in this hospital makes him feel alone.
They round a corner, entering a dead-end hallway, and Blaine takes a deep breath. Emma turns sharply to the right, opening up a door and issuing Blaine inside. She gives him a pat on the shoulder as he steps into the room.
Every head in the room turns toward them, and immediately Blaine eyes up the man who appears to be the doctor.
“Hello,” Emma says brightly. “Doctor Lancaster – your newest member.”
He looks around, smile upturning his lips.
“Come on,” Emma says, grabbing Blaine’s shoulders and leading him forward.
“What’s your name, son?” Lancaster asks.
“Blaine,” he says, taking a deep breath. “Blaine Anderson.”
“Welcome, Blaine,” Lancaster says, taking Blaine’s hand in his and giving it a firm shake. “I’ll take it from here, Emma.”
She nods, letting go of Blaine and wishes him luck before leaving the room. Blaine looks back anxiously as she leaves, already missing the comfort she had somehow given him.
“So, tell us, Blaine,” Lancaster says, pulling Blaine back, “what brought you here?”
Blaine looks around the room nervously. Everyone looks tired, lifeless, with a dead quality to their eyes. He sure does fit in.
“Uhh . . . my parents,” Blaine answers finally.
Lancaster shakes his head as a few people snicker. “No, Blaine. Why did they bring you here? What’s bothering you?”
Blaine takes another deep breath, stuffing his hands into his pockets. He swallows hard before saying quietly, “I tried to commit suicide. Again.”
Lancaster nods, pressing his lips together.
“Many others here have been in that same place, Blaine. Here, you don’t have to worry about people judging you.”
Blaine nods, unsure of what else to say.
Because he’s not worried about people judging him. He’s gotten past that – has been past that for a long time now. What he is worried about is people trying to help him. People forcing him to do things he’s not ready to do – talking, remembering, recounting. He’s afraid of the treatment, of the medication, of the therapy.
He’s afraid of getting better.
Or rather, trying to.
Because no matter how hard they try, Blaine doesn’t think he will.
Group isn’t terrible.
Blaine doesn’t like it, but he gets through it. Lancaster does try and get him to open up, to basically tell his whole life story, but he eventually sees that Blaine’s not going to budge. He respects that and backs off. For that, Blaine is thankful.
Blaine’s relieved when they’re finally released, and he practically races for the door. He’s halfway down the hall when he realizes he doesn’t know where he’s going. He stops short, backing up into someone.
“Sorry – I’m sorry,” he stutters, involuntarily putting his arms up.
“Dude, it’s fine,” the guy says, stepping back. He’s got a scraggly Mohawk, tanned skin, and scruff dusting his jaw. “It’s Blaine, right?”
“I’m Puck,” he says, offering his hand. “I’m your roommate.”
Blaine shakes his hand carefully. “Puck?” he asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Real name’s Noah,” he replies. “But you call me that and it’ll be the last thing you ever do.”
Blaine chuckles, nodding again.
“You think I’m kidding,” Puck says with a smile. “But I’m really not.”
He begins walking slowly down the hall, and Blaine follows, making note of where they’re walking so he won’t get lost tomorrow.
“So, suicide, eh?” Puck asks as they round a corner.
“Yep,” Blaine says, voice small.
“Someone put you up to it, or - ?”
Blaine shakes his head, a little taken aback by that assumption. “No, no. It was all me. I’ve got – well, everyone says I have depression.”
“What do you mean ‘everyone says’?” Puck asks, looking over at him.
“I’m not sure,” Blaine admits with a sigh. “But you think I’d know if I did. You think I’d be able to feel like something was wrong, like it really was an illness. But I don’t. Killing myself feels pretty right, to be honest.”
“Well, of course you’d say that,” Puck retorts. “Seems like the easiest way to deal with the pain, doesn’t it? That way you don’t have to work through it.”
“Oh, it’s not just that,” Blaine assures with a dry, humorless laugh. “You have no idea how many people want me dead.”
Puck doesn’t say anything, and Blaine hopes he’s taken it as his cue to stop asking questions.
“What about you?” Blaine asks, heaving a deep breath. “What are you doing here?”
“Drug addict,” Puck replies. “I was also involved with a gang. I might have PTSD. We’re working on that.”
Blaine looks at the ground, raising his eyebrows. “Well . . . I feel inadequate.”
“Why?” Puck asks, looking surprised.
“No reason,” Blaine replies, shaking his head.
Puck nods, pressing his lips together. They walk the rest of the way to their room in silence. Once inside, Blaine goes straight to his bed, collapsing to the hard mattress and curling up in a fetal position. He feels the backs of his eyes burn and shuts them tight, refusing to let any tears through.
He doesn’t want to be home. He doesn’t want to be at Dalton. He doesn’t want to be here.
He doesn’t want to be anywhere.
He just wants to be free.
Free of the pain, of the worry, of the fear. He doesn’t want to have to deal with people fussing over him and keeping an eye on him and trying to help him. He doesn’t want to deal with anything.
More than anything, he just wants to be dead.
Blaine has one hour before curfew. Puck’s left, and he can’t stand being alone. So now he’s wandering the hospital, staying in space of the building that he’s allowed. He doesn’t really know where he’s going or what he’s looking for, but does it really matter?
It’s just the same thing, over and over again. No matter where he is, no matter who he’s surrounded by, he has nowhere to go and no one to go to. He’s utterly alone, and he’s accepted that. He just wishes everyone else would do the same. And in fact, most of the time he just wants to be left alone. He’s sick of people keeping their eyes on him, watching his every move, nosing in on his thoughts. They don’t understand; no matter how many times they say they do – they don’t.
And you know, maybe things would be a lot easier if people just listened to Blaine. If they gave him the time and the space that he needed, maybe he could try to work through everything.
But no one does, and Blaine doesn’t try, and that’s when he ends up with a broken noose and a palm full of pills that never get digested.
Blaine chews on his lip as he walks around aimlessly. He looks ahead, but sees nothing, and the sounds around him seem muffled, as if his ears are filled with cotton. The light feels dim, dark, and he starts to wonder if the world was ever a bright place, or if he simply imagined it.
Outside, the sun is shining, traffic rumbling through the streets of Cincinnati, people talking, smiling, laughing. Blaine supposes it must be a beautiful day. He just wishes he could see it.
Blaine sighs, pulling his gaze away from the window and continues to walk forward. He’s nearing the cafeteria now, and the smell of food makes him nauseous. His appetite has been completely fucked for the past few months, and the nurses are slowly easing him into eating again, but it’s not easy. And these obnoxious smells aren’t helping.
Blaine’s turning away, bringing a hand up to his mouth when he hears something.
Someone’s crying – soft and muffled.
Blaine lowers his hand. He walks forward again, his eyebrows creasing together as he looks for the source of the noise. He rounds the corner, and there sits a guy, head in his hands. His shoulders are shaking horribly, and he seems to be trying desperately to calm himself.
“Excuse me,” Blaine says quietly. “Are – are you okay?”
It’s a stupid question, Blaine should know. He gets asked that question thirty times a day, and it’s always the same answer.
However, the guy looks up, and Blaine’s a little startled. He’s somewhere around Blaine’s age, and underneath the puffy, bloodshot eyes and red nose, he’s really quite beautiful. His hair is light brown, his eyes a startling blue – or are they green? Blue-green? Blaine swallows hard, alarmed by this change in his thoughts.
“Sorry,” the guy says out of reflex.
“What are you apologizing for?” Blaine asks, confused. “You’re obviously upset. And in a hospital. Surely there’s a good reason for crying.”
The guy bites his lip, shaking his head.
“I’m Blaine,” he says, and he sits down carefully next to the guy, offering him his hand.
“Kurt,” he says, giving Blaine’s hand a shake. He reaches up, wiping his eyes and sniffling.
“Do you – are you comfortable with telling me what’s wrong?” Blaine asks, though he has no idea why. He can barely deal with his own problems, why is he suddenly caring about someone else’s?
“I just – realization has finally hit me, I guess,” Kurt says, heaving a deep breath. He glances at Blaine, and visibly relaxes. “My dad had a heart attack,” he says quietly. “Second one in a year, and it’s – it was a lot worse than the first one. It’s been a really long day.”
Blaine nods, pressing his lips together. “I’m sorry.”
“No, no – it’s fine,” Kurt says quickly. “Don’t be. It’s – it’s not your fault.”
“Still,” Blaine says. “I can’t imagine this is fun for you.”
“It’s not,” Kurt agrees. “But thank you, anyway. For – for talking to me. Everyone else has ignored me today. My family’s in shock, and I guess everyone else is too wrapped up in their own problems – not that I blame them.”
Blaine nods, turning his eyes away from Kurt.
“So, what about you?”
“What?” Blaine asks, looking back over at him.
“What are you doing here?” Kurt asks gently, sniffling again.
“Oh,” Blaine says, nodding. “Yeah, I – um . . . I – my brother,” he says, and he’s not sure why his first instinct is to lie, but it may have to do with the fact he’s not exactly comfortable talking about his depression or whatever it is. Suicide tends to freak people out. “He got in a car crash. Major head trauma.”
Kurt nods, eyes soft as he looks at Blaine sympathetically. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Don’t be,” Blaine says with a forced half-smile. “We’re hoping he pulls through.”
“Well, best of luck to you then,” Kurt says, and then pauses. “I – I should be going. My brother’s probably looking for me.” He stands up, and Blaine follows.
“Right, I – I was just on my way back to my brother’s room,” Blaine stutters, swallowing back the nervous lump in his throat.
“Will I see you around again?” Kurt asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Possibly,” Blaine says, licking his lips.
“I hope so,” Kurt says, and he smiles. “See you later, Blaine.”
He turns, walking away.
“Goodbye, Kurt,” Blaine says quietly, and his lungs feel heavy.
He really doesn’t know what’s just hit him, but for a moment, he felt almost normal. Not like before the depression and the suicide attempts, but a whole lot less like the hopeless mess he’s become.
And that’s got to count for something, right?