Cancer. Prostate cancer. Kurt’s brain short-circuited at those words, hearing, but not really hearing his dad explain the diagnosis as if he were discussing local sports scores. His blood hummed as it pounded through his veins, and Kurt’s stomach dropped to the floor, but the initial shock was more numbing than anything else. His dad was so damn casual about the whole thing, and before he knew it, they were exploring New York together as if nothing had happened. And if Kurt was confused before, the addition of a “special delivery” from Lima in the form of his very real ex-boyfriend did little to clarify things. But Blaine knew; Blaine always knew. And he had said all the right things. He promised he’d look after Burt for Kurt and reassured Kurt that the cancer diagnosis wasn’t serious, just as Burt had hours earlier. They were clearly in cahoots with one another, the whole “shock and awe” campaign meant obviously to distract Kurt from the reality of what was going on. And much to Kurt’s chagrin, it was successful, at least for a while.
It wasn’t until Kurt was lying in his bed well after 2 AM on Christmas Day, a thin curtained partition being the only thing separating him from Blaine, that the doubts and fears started to take root. Kurt gripped his mother’s perfume bottle turned Christmas ornament in his hand, catching a whiff of her familiar scent. The tears started to flow as he remembered her final months. Elizabeth had lost her hair, her energy, her mobility, and finally her life, each new indignity bringing a fresh wave of grief for Kurt and his father. He felt his chest constrict as he broke into sobs, remembering the overwhelming fear and helplessness he’d felt as he’d watched his beloved mother waste away. The thought of his dad having to go through even one tenth of that suffering was unbearable. And he’d been so dumbfounded earlier that he hadn’t thought to ask his dad about the details of his treatment. Would his dad need surgery? Would he have to undergo chemo or radiation? Kurt could scarcely draw a breath at the thought.
Kurt was so lost in his own grief that he didn’t hear the quiet padding of footsteps across the apartment’s wooden floors. He was startled by the rustling of curtains as Blaine slid open the partition, tentatively stepping into Kurt’s room.
“Kurt?” Blaine called tentatively, struggling to see in the darkness. “Are you okay?”
Kurt choked back a sob, instinctively turning away from Blaine and swiping at the tears tracking down his cheeks. “I’m…I - I don’t know anymore…” he finished at last, his voice hoarse and barely above a whisper.
From across the room, Kurt heard Blaine draw a sharp breath. “Kurt…” Blaine started, his voice soft and familiar. There was a tense silence that stretched on for far too long, before Blaine spoke again. “Do you want me to leave?”
Kurt’s anger with Blaine had started to fade, but the disappointment was still there. Things weren’t back to normal yet, and he knew that there was still a long way to go before he could truly trust Blaine again. But in that moment, none of those things mattered. Kurt just wanted comfort.
“No,” Kurt said at last. “Don’t leave…”
Blaine was across the room in an instant, gingerly sitting on the edge of his bed directly across from where Kurt sat, his knees drawn up to his chest and his head in his hands as he broke into sobs again.
“Oh Kurt,” Blaine started, his voice barely above a whisper. “Shh, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay.” Blaine’s hand twitched, starting to reach for Kurt on instinct before thinking better of it and pulling back.
“My dad has cancer,” Kurt said flatly, the words still seeming unreal, even as he said them aloud.
“I know, Kurt,” Blaine whispered, “but he’s going to be okay.”
“You don’t know that,” Kurt spit back, crying harder.
“Kurt,” Blaine began, “I can’t even imagine how scary this is for you. But they caught it early, and your dad’s doctors are confident he’s going to make a full recovery. The odds are definitely in your favor, okay?”
Kurt let out a rueful laugh, lifting his head from his hands to look directly at Blaine. “Are you kidding, Blaine? The odds are NEVER in my favor. They told me my mom was going to be fine too. And then she died. And my dad’s already suffered two heart attacks. He’s not as strong as he thinks he is, physically speaking. I’m cursed. Terrible things always happen to me and to anyone I love.”
Tears were coursing down Kurt’s cheeks now, as he felt the panic swell up inside him. At the end of the day, he was going to be alone. He’d lost his mother, his boyfriend, and now he was going to lose his father.
“Kurt please,” Blaine begged desperately. “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. What can I do to make you feel better?”
After a prolonged pause, Kurt answered, his voice so soft that Blaine barely made out the words. “Hold me?”
Blaine surged forward in an instant, folding Kurt into his arms. He settled Kurt’s head against his chest, pressing a kiss to the crown of his hair before trailing his thumb down, wiping away the tears on his cheeks.
Kurt just cried harder, clinging to Blaine as he allowed all the emotions he’d kept bottled up over the past few months to pour out of him.
“Shh Kurt,” Blaine whispered, stroking his hair. “It’s okay. I’m here. It’s going to be okay, honey. Just breathe.”
“Bl-Blaine..” Kurt choked out. “I don’t…I can’t… I’m going to be…all alone. I don’t think I can – I can’t do this without my dad.”
“Hey, hey…” Blaine called softly, sliding his palm under Kurt’s chin and tilting it up until he was forced to look at him. “Look at me, Kurt. You’re not going to be alone, okay? Your dad’s not going anywhere. And no matter what happens with us, you aren’t going to lose me, okay? I will be here for you in any and every way that I can. I’ve never stopped loving you, and I never will.”
Kurt held Blaine’s gaze for an impossibly long time, tears continuing to stream down his cheeks all the while. At last, Kurt nodded slightly to himself, looking away and wiping at his damp cheeks. After taking a moment to regain his composure, he laid his head on Blaine’s chest once more.
“Blaine?” Kurt started tentatively after several minutes of companionable silence.
“Yeah, Kurt?” Blaine answered.
“I promise. I’ll always be here for you in whatever way you’ll have me, okay?” Blaine reassured.
“Always?” Kurt echoed.