A/N: I've been working on my Glee fic Everything Changes offline for a long while now. Unfortunately due to life circumstances I won't be able to finish it and start posting before the series finale of Glee as I'd intended. I recognize that engagement with the Glee fandom is likely to wane over time after the show is over, however, so I thought I would circulate a chapter of it now to let people know it's coming.

I chose this chapter because it is relatively stand-alone, but also captures what (I hope) is unique and interesting about this story.

So if you like what you read, please stick around. You can follow on Tumblr, on LiveJournal, or on . In any case, I hope you enjoy!


Summary: Kurt and Rachel already have enough on their plates heading into their senior year at McKinley when they are caught up in the unthinkable. An alien invasion. People imprisoned in their own minds. They along with Puck, Tina, and Artie are given the ability to change into any animal they can touch to give them a fighting chance at resistance, a burden none of them are ready for. (Story elements adopted from Animorphs)
Characters: Kurt (featured), Rachel (featured), Puck, Tina, Artie, Blaine, Finn
Relationships: Kurt/Blaine (featured), Rachel/Finn


So here's what you missed on Everything Changes. Kurt discovered he could turn into a cat, which is totally crazy and kinda breaks the laws of physics, and he's super not okay with it. Blaine doesn't know anything about this even though half of the glee club does, and he doesn't understand why everyone is acting even weirder than they usually do. And that's what you missed on Everything Changes.

Kurt trudged slowly through the hallways to his final class of the day, trying to force his exhausted and strung out mind to figure out what he was going to say to Blaine tonight during their study session at his house. He felt awful about Puck rudely dismissing him from their table at lunch, but he couldn't exactly apologize without being able to explain or even assure him that it wouldn't happen again. He was so lost in his own thoughts that he didn't even notice the three seniors in hockey jerseys approaching until one stepped directly in front of him at the last second and forced their collision. Kurt rebounded back a step and caught himself against the lockers to regain his footing, clutching his book and binder to his chest. His normal stalwart defenses to such antics were shot, and he startled at the intrusion more than he otherwise would have, his retaliating glare betraying the heightened wariness simmering inside him.

The other two smirked with a smugness that didn't reach their predatory eyes, and the guy who'd blocked his path stepped threateningly into his space, having a good five inches over him, and sneered, "Watch where you're going, freak."

The epithet cut into him like a knife, and the shock of it was every bit as breath-stealing as a frozen slushy to the face. It was far from the first time that he'd been called that, and he'd always tried to let it roll off of him in the past, but now the undeniable truth of the word clung heavy to his skin like dirty tar, suffocating him. His heart started to pound. They couldn't know, there's no way they could possibly know, he tried to tell himself, but that didn't stop the fear that his secret would be found out from paralyzing him on the spot.

"What's a matter, got nothing to say for yourself? You think everyone should just be parting like the Red Sea for you now that you lost spectacularly at your little singing competition? You might think you're the new hot shit around here, but I know exactly what you are."

I. Know. Exactly. What. You. Are. Kurt blanched and his universe momentarily collapsed down to the singularity of those six simple and terrifying words. What the guy said next was lost on him as he struggled to make the tile below his feet feel solid again.

"…Well?!"

"I…" Kurt swallowed, trying to gather enough moisture to speak properly, "It won't happen again."

"See that it doesn't," the guy said, eyeing him with a satisfied smirk. He clapped his friends on their shoulders and then led them off down the hallway, conversing energetically with them as they went. Even after they were out of sight, Kurt stood rooted to the spot, staring at the ground, book and binder digging painfully into his chest. I know exactly what you are.

He didn't attend his last class. Eventually he got himself to the girl's bathroom, where he hid until it was time for him to drive him and Finn home. He felt self-conscious every time Finn looked at him from the passenger seat. Not in the way that used to make him blush. No, his crush on Finn was long behind him and this feeling had none of the warmth. This was nerve-wracking paranoia that at any moment Finn would stare too hard past his human skin and notice cat-like qualities about him that he himself was unaware of. Was he breathing at the same rate he always did before? Was his hair still the exact same shade of brown? Could his jawline be slightly off? The fifth time that Finn casually looked over at him, Kurt couldn't take it anymore.

"Do I seem any different to you?" he burst out.

"Uh…" Finn hedged. He thought hard about this question with a perplexed expression, as if he thought Kurt was expecting a certain answer and would be angry with him if he got it wrong. He was about to offer an answer, but retracted it, deciding that Kurt definitely wouldn't want to hear that one. Finally he settled on what he hoped was safe territory. "You're wearing a new shirt?"

Kurt exhaled. He wasn't, but it's not as if he expected Finn to keep track of his wardrobe. But he was able to relax slightly on the rest of the drive home until he was able to hole himself up in the sanctuary of his room.

Only there did he finally had the space to breathe. There was no reason to believe that anyone knew about this thing inside him or that he was wanted dead by an invading race of aliens, let alone his classmate that he'd never cared enough to learn the name of. But if he's a Controller—well, then logically he'd be dead already. There's no way he would have just let him go. Unless he was waiting for Kurt to lead him to his friends…

He drove himself crazy for an hour trying to recall and analyze what had happened, but he couldn't be sure of half of it. Had the guy's smirk really been as insidious and knowing as his memory would have him believe? He knew, realistically, that he was fretting over nothing, but he couldn't quash the doubt that gnawed at him. He couldn't bear the thought that he could be the weak link, the one to put everyone else in danger.

Finally, he busied himself preparing his already tidy room for Blaine's arrival as a distraction. The ring of the doorbell came far too soon and with a final tug at his comforter he gathered a deep breath and made his way to the door with a smile fixed to his face. He had to maintain a semblance of normalcy for Blaine.

"Blaine, hi," he greeted, and just seeing him there on his doorstep was enough to transfigure his forced smile into something genuine. A potent and unexpected relief washed over him, as if Blaine were a beacon of light, and in his presence everything didn't seem quite as impenetrably dark as he had thought.

The next thing he knew he was in Blaine's arms, wrapped around his shoulders like a sweater on a fair day.

"Oh!" Blaine exclaimed with surprise, and returned the embrace. "Well, hi to you too." Kurt soaked up the comfort of Blaine's embrace, lost in the moment. "Not that I am ever against hugs, but is there some special occasion I'm forgetting about?"

Blaine's question brought Kurt back to reality, and, fully realizing the amount of contact between them, Kurt jumped back with a silent curse and a sharp twinge of longing. What they'd just shared amounted a cruel tease of what he couldn't allow himself to have. He wanted Blaine to hold him and never let go, but what happened the last time Blaine had touched his skin was still fresh in his mind and he had to keep him safe, even from himself.

"No, it's just…I'm just really glad you're here," he scrambled, and…I wanted to apologize about what happened at lunch today."

"Oh," Blaine said, and his expression fell slightly. "No, listen, I understand," he told him while fixing his jacket idly, though Kurt could see it bothered him. "You have your established group of friends, I'm the new kid. But I'll win them over, you'll see."

"No, it's not that at all! Everyone loves you," Kurt was quick to reassure. "Well, there might be one or two that are a work-in-progress," he amended, nudging his head in the direction of Finn's room. "It's just that…" Kurt grasped for the first thing that came to mind. "Puck's having some problems at the moment that are of a rather private nature, and he's sensitive about other people finding out."

"I'm sorry, I had no idea—"

"Hey, I was the one apologizing, remember?" He felt even worse now that he'd made Blaine feel bad about something that was completely his own fault. "Now, shall we go upstairs or do you want to stand on my porch all night?" Kurt asked, trying to redirect the conversation to something safer.

"I do think I prefer the sound of option one, if I may be so bold," Blaine said cheekily, and let Kurt lead the way.

"Wow, your room is spotless," Blaine commented, glancing around as he set his backpack against Kurt's wall. "Not that it isn't always clean!" he backtracked. "I just hope you didn't go through any extra trouble for me."

"I just had a little extra time on my hands, that's all," Kurt told him as he lay out his homework at the head of his bed. "Did the rest of your day go okay?" he asked, eager to move the conversation away from himself. He didn't know how much longer he could continue to innocuously divert Blaine's questions without getting tripped up.

Blaine joined him at the foot with his laptop and the addition of his weight on the bed disturbed Kurt's papers. "Yeah, it was fine. Nothing too exciting, just the typical transfer experience: learning where things are, getting used to everything all over again, trying to get to know some people in my classes. I feel like I'm an old hat at this by now," Blaine joked. Kurt suspected that he was probably omitting a thing or two for his behalf, like missing his friends at Dalton.

"What do you have for tonight?" Kurt asked.

"Just a short reading response for English to prove that I actually did the reading assignment, or at least read the Spark Notes," Blaine answered. "You?"

"Math," Kurt replied. He also had his longer-term assignments piling up that he hadn't touched, having only done the bare minimum the past few days to hand something in. But he doubted that this was the night that he'd be getting to them.

"I have to say, not having four hours of work each night is definitely a change," Blaine commented.

"Mmm, I know what you mean," Kurt agreed, not failing to see the irony that he wasn't even keeping up with McKinley's load, which was indeed light in comparison to Dalton's which he had taken in stride less than a year ago.

"More time to work on our audition pieces. Do you have any ideas for what song you're going to use for your Tony audition yet? I'm still looking, but I promise I won't steal any of your ideas, boyfriend's honor." Blaine traced a cross over his heart.

Kurt's stomach sank. The West Side Story auditions were fast approaching. Kurt had barely given them a second thought over the past few days, but now presented with them, it was apparent that there was only one possible answer for him to give, though it pained him to admit it out loud.

"Actually, I decided not to participate in the school musical this year," he told Blaine with some aloofness, attempting nonchalance.

"Wait, what?" Blaine asked, jerking his head back in confusion.

"It just didn't fit into my schedule this year."

Blaine looked at him with bewilderment. "You're serious, aren't you? But, Kurt, you were so excited about it. And what do you mean 'this year'? It's your last year. Why would you pass up this opportunity?"

"Things came up, that's all. It's not the end of the world; I'm sure there'll be no dearth of productions for me to be in in college. I don't want to burn out before I even get there."

"But—"

"You should be happy, this means you'll get to play Tony," Kurt pointed out with just the slightest hint of bitterness. Why couldn't Blaine just accept the boon and leave it at that so Kurt didn't have to think about it anymore? He knew it wasn't Blaine's fault, but by insisting on talking about it and forcing him to reaffirm his decision, Blaine was rubbing the issue rawer and rawer for Kurt, and he couldn't help the resentment that started to blister as a result. Being denied something normally only made Kurt want to fight harder to get it, but in this case he knew there was absolutely no way he could handle an extracurricular musical with what his life had turned into overnight. No matter if he looked at it from a time management perspective, an emotional health perspective, or a 'don't screw up and get yourself and half your glee club killed' perspective, he knew it couldn't work. He knew it. But that didn't change the fact that he had wanted this part, badly, and still did if he were honest with himself. Unlike Blaine, he had already picked out his audition song and designed the set piece for it and worked out an exhaustive and exhausting choreography. It was flashy and complex and showed off his substantial range. He was even going to dust off the sais he'd originally gotten as a part of an elaborate ninja Halloween costume and had ended up tinkering with the following winter when they'd been snowed in. He was sure he would have left a winning impression with the co-directors given the chance, but now he'd never know.

"Is that why you're doing this, because you don't want to compete with me for a part? Because I would be fine with Bernardo, or—"

"No, it's got nothing to do with you—"

"—because I don't want you to feel like I'm taking the part from you—"

"Blaine, you're not taking anything from me. I'm not doing the show."

"But it won't be the same without you," Blaine protested unhappily.

Blaine's sentiments cushioned the blow somewhat, and it was with a little more acceptance and a bittersweet smile that Kurt was able to tell him, "Yes, well, the show must go on as they say, and you'll have your biggest fan there in the audience for you."

Blaine finally let the matter drop, though he was unsatisfied with Kurt's answers. They dug into their homework and continued like that for a while, Kurt making progress down his sheet of math problems and Blaine tapping away at his computer, but as was typical for their study sessions, both were guilty at distracting each other. After a few stilted interruptions, Kurt allowed himself to fall into the comfortable familiarity of it all, able to set aside his burdens if just for a little while. It was the first time since this all began that he felt, if not happy, then relaxed, at ease. He complained heartily about arriving at "4=104" as the final answer to one of the problems he'd been working on ("No, I know that makes no sense. That's what I'm trying to tell you!") only to spend the next fifteen minutes tracing his error back to one of his first few lines of work. Blaine regaled him with his initial impressions of his teachers and then launched into a scatterbrain of topics, eager to share his thoughts and discoveries of the day with Kurt. Three YouTube videos later, though he much rather preferred the mindless distraction, Kurt finally coaxed them back to their tasks.

They worked in silence for some time more until Blaine started humming. This was also not uncommon to their time studying: humming or singing short sections of songs to keep the mood fun and enjoyable, on occasion even experimenting with new harmonies on the fly. It was the particular melody that Blaine hummed, though, that bouncy, syncopated earworm of a Prologue from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats", that immediately set Kurt on edge. He was jolted back to the harsh reality of what he'd gone through yesterday, and his breath caught in his throat.

"Why are you humming that?" Kurt asked as he pointedly stared at the page in front of his face, only half successful at keeping the tension out of his voice.

"Hmm? It showed up on the West Side Story Pandora station I created to find some inspiration for audition songs this morning, and it's been stuck in my head ever since. It's been driving me up the wall," Blaine responded.

"Well could you not?" Kurt snapped, tacking on a short 'please' as an after-thought.

He'd been lax, off his guard, and now the nightmarish sense memories from the day before loomed threateningly at the edge of his consciousness. He feared he could accidently trigger the change if he didn't force them back down and keep them at arm's length where they couldn't hurt him, and that absolutely could not happen. If he changed now, even if he somehow managed to come back to himself, and that was a big if, it would just be to Blaine turning him in as the freak he was. He squeezed the pencil in his hand with a death grip and started to silently count backwards from a thousand.

Blaine raised his eyebrows at Kurt's tone, but let it go and, unharried, said, "Sorry, I've probably gotten it stuck in your head too. Well, at least now we can suffer together." His joke fell flat when Kurt didn't acknowledge the attempt at playfulness or look up from the lines of printed text all blurring together out-of-focus before him.

"Well, the least I can do is fix that," Blaine said, switching tactics. He sat up on the bed, starting to bob in an exaggeratedly silly fashion, and sang, "Here we are again, I feel the chemicals kicking in, It's getting heavy—"

Kurt recognized that song too, and he involuntarily snapped the plastic clip off of the end of his pencil. Nine eighty six, nine eighty five, nine eighty…nine eighty… His focus wavered—God he was so scared, and the way his ribs just—He bit his lip, hard, and the jolt of pain was a temporary distraction. You can't think about it. Nine eighty five, nine eighty four… The more desperate he became to not think about it, however, the more it pressed in on him and the harder it was to block out. He was spiraling down a vicious feedback loop, his own fear working against him. Don't, don't, don't… "Blaine," he tried to choke out, but he was too late.

"—And I won't be denied by you, The animal inside of you—"

The lyric flipped a switch in his brain, and he was bombarded with the memory of exactly how his ribs crushed outwards, blood pooling in his chest to feed the tissues growing up and around their new frame like ivy, shoulder blades sliding grittily under his skin out to his sides—

In the present, right then and there, his body responded to the vivid mental image, and to his horror he felt a thick patch of hair grow from his skin on the back of his neck and continue to trace down his spine under his shirt. God, no, please not again. He threw himself off of his bed and ran for his en suite bathroom. He slammed the door shut behind him and ran over to the counter. He caught his reflection in the mirror just in time to witness the skin on the tip of his own nose shriveling into something more pink and leathery. Tiny, velvet-like hairs sprouted up the bridge of his nose and then expanded outward to dust his cheeks in a soft white. The sight was enough to bring bile to the back of his throat, and he clapped his hands over his mouth to smother a cry. This was a nightmare that he just couldn't wake up from.

He had exactly zero time to choose whether to attempt to reverse it himself or call Rachel. If he chose wrong, he'd likely not have the chance for a plan B. His friendship with Rachel had certainly come a long way from their antagonistic rivalry of two years ago, but he had never had cause to trust her with his life, or anyone else for that matter. He hated the idea of being so completely dependent on her because he was incapable of helping himself, but in a few short minutes there was not even going to be a him.

"Kurt?" Blaine called from just outside the bathroom door. "Is everything okay?"

"Fine! Just nausea!"

He went to reach for his phone in his pocket, but at that exact instant his left femur shrank three inches and the sudden slack in his quadriceps made his knee give out, sending him sprawling to the tile floor with a loud thud, unable to catch himself in time.

"I'm coming in," Blaine announced and Kurt froze at the sight of the door handle dipping slowly downwards. Kurt cursed himself and panicked anew. Already, he had made a fatal error: he had forgotten to lock the door. There was no chance that he'd reach it in time from across the room.

"Don't!" he yelled from the floor, protesting with everything in him.

The door handle paused in its descent, at the halfway point to releasing its catch.

"But I can help," Blaine told him, voice laden with concern.

"Blaine, I am asking you, do not come in." Kurt heart leapt in this throat, eyes glued to the handle. Only two inches of door separated them, but it was more than that. It was a gulf of secrets and lies and disparate experiences that had been ripped open between them the moment Kurt's life had been turned upside down and their worlds had diverged so utterly and completely.

As much as it pained him, that was how it had to stay, for both their sakes. It was beyond his control now, though. What happened next was up to Blaine, and the tortuous wait to see what he would do seemed to stretch on forever.

Finally, the door handle slowly retracted back to its neutral position, and Kurt released the breath he'd been holding.

"Should I go get your dad?" Blaine asked. He made a soft scratching noise brushing his knuckle idly across the outside of the door.

"No! Don't get my dad. Just stay out there, please." He dragged himself across the floor the best he could with his mutating legs, and set the door lock. A loud pop filled the air as his hip dislocated, and Kurt bit back another cry.

"Kurt?"

"Just banged my knee on the toilet," he gritted out.

His dad could get around the door lock, he knew, but he'd bought himself a few minutes at least. In the absurdity of it all, he couldn't help but wonder: what would happen to him if his father found a strange cat in his son's bathroom? Would his family adopt him? Or might Blaine take him home to be his pet, never knowing what happened to his missing boyfriend?

He pulled himself over to the shower, turned the water on full-blast to mask any further sound, and hit Rachel's dedicated speed-dial button on his phone. He held the phone up to one ear and plugged the other with his finger to try and block out some of the noise.

Pick up, pick up already, he thought as it rang and rang, and he started to doubt the faith he'd placed in her. He clamped down on the instinct to buck and jerk away from each new mutation that manifested unpredictably without warning; he had to focus on the task at hand. At last he heard it connect, and without a moment's hesitation, Kurt called out, "Rachel, help! It's happening again!"

"Kurt? Where—you?" He could barely make her out over rush of water, but he could have sworn that it was Tina's voice. No, no, no, he needed Rachel.

"Tina? Where's Rachel?" he asked frantically.

"It's Rachel—just Tina right—Don't worry about it—now, let's focus—you. Where are you?"

Kurt was in no frame of mind to make sense of the confounding bits and pieces he'd heard. Struggling past his labored breathing, he simply forced out the answer to her question, "In my bathroom. Blaine's outside. My dad can open the lock. It's getting worse—" The phone dropped the short way to the ground as his thumbs shrunk to mere nubs and he could no longer hold it with his misshapen four-fingered hands. Kurt cried with frustration and despair, but repositioned his ear over the speaker on the floor.

"—coming over—now, and I'll—Blaine to keep him distracted, but—meantime you have to—reverse—okay? —just like Wolverine. Picture—retracting."

Right, he knew this. He did this before. He just had to focus and block out all the ways in which his body was being forcibly taken from him, twisting, snapping, and shrinking from the inside out into something that was not his own. At least he wasn't alone now, Rachel (or was it Tina?) knew. There was nothing else to do at this point except make a desperate attempt to concentrate to the exclusion of all else on the mental image of claws retracting back into his fingers. That had worked for him before.

Nothing happened. The transformation continued to wrack his body, and Kurt didn't know if the tremor in his thinning limbs was because of the change or because he was scared, so incredibly scared, that at any moment now the cat brain would surface and everything that he was would cease to exist. He knew it was coming this time, and that threat, not to his corporeal body but to his very being, terrified him more than anything else ever had in his entire life.

Kurt had nearly given up all hope of being able to get himself out of this when he reached for his phone that had skidded a foot away and noticed that his thumbs had returned to their normal size and dexterity. The hair had disappeared from the nape of his neck and the loosely pooled mass of skin and muscle hanging uselessly off his upper leg was slowly tightening and re-annealing to the lengthening bone. A tremendous relief washed over him. He'd done it. He sagged on the floor, spent, and let the process run its course with his teeth clenched against the sickening feelings until they finally came to a halt. It occurred on him that he didn't even know at which point it he had managed to reverse it: it all had felt like the same amorphous shifting and contorting.

He managed with considerable effort to push himself off of the cold floor with arms drained of their strength and stumbled over to the counter again to check that, from the outside at least, he once again looked like the person that everyone—that Blaine— believed him to be, rather than the self-destructive, freak of nature he'd become. He felt insubstantial, shaky and pale as a ghost, but, as his cover story was a sudden need to vomit, that would work in his favor. In that moment, as he stared at his reflection, he felt certain of only one thing: he couldn't keep doing this. He could not envision a future for himself if these were to be his days from now on.

"Are you still there?" he spoke finally into his phone that he'd retrieved.

"Yes, I'm—. I'm—hanging up. Artie gave—phone so that—call Blaine—still on with you." Now Rachel was on the other end.

"Don't call Blaine or come over, I'm fine. It's under control, I think. I, um, I'll call you later," he told her over the noise of the water still pounding away in the background. "Did you hear me?"

"Yes, I heard you—Kurt? I can still—"

"I'm sure, Rachel. Just give me a few minutes, okay?" He ended the call before she could respond. Despite the fact that his night was not over yet, his mind didn't want to work quite yet, so he drifted on automatic as he turned the shower off, scrubbed at the sheen of sweat on his face with a damp cloth, and carded his fingers through his hair, allowing himself a moment for collection.

He could hardly bring himself to face Blaine whom he could hear fidgeting outside. He had no idea how much he had heard, or what would happen next when he left the seclusion of this small, contained space. Beyond that door was everything, his life, his love, his future, and it all felt as tenuous and fragile as a sheet of papyrus eaten away by the ages. If he just didn't move, didn't even breathe, it couldn't all crumble into dust around him.

"Kurt?" Blaine called out to him again, now that everything had gone quiet.

But neither could he hide in his bathroom indefinitely.

"Just a minute." He flushed the toilet for appearance's sake, then went over to the door and stared at the lock until he finally mustered the courage to pull the handle down and swing the door open. The pop of the mechanism releasing rang unusually loud and penetrating to his once again human ears.

Blaine came rushing over to him immediately. Kurt couldn't look him in the face at first, couldn't confront whatever he was to find there. But when he did, it was just worry. And it was just Blaine. He didn't know what he'd been expecting.

"Hey, how are you doing?" Blaine went to wrap his arm around Kurt's back to help him over to the bed, but Kurt pushed him away.

"I'm fine, I just feel sick," Kurt lied with the minimum amount of energy required to pronounce his words. He tried not to shake too visibly as he shuffled slowly over to his bed. Blaine followed immediately behind, arm still stretched outward to catch him if needed, and the bed creaked under his weight as he sat down next to Kurt and began to rub his back in a slow, soothing motion. Kurt flinched at the contact but realized it was through his shirt, so that was okay. He couldn't hurt Blaine like that.

He needed to know what Blaine was thinking, the not-knowing was killing him, but he couldn't say anything and risk making things worse than they already were, so he read what he could from his expressions. Wide eyes, muscles tense around the outside edges, closed mouth, prominent jaw. Concern, first and foremost, but also confusion, uncertainty? Doubt?

"Are you sure that's all?" Blaine probed.

Kurt's heart beat wildly. Surely Blaine would be able to hear the forceful thudding that throbbed through his own ears like a criminating metronome. "What you do mean? Yes, that's all. I'll spare you the completely unsexy details."

Blaine stared at him a moment too long, as if trying to figure something out, and Kurt fought not to squirm under his scrutiny. But then Blaine said, "It just sounded like you hurt yourself."

"Hmm? No, I was just in a rush and I stumbled. I'm fine," Kurt insisted.

"If you're sure…" Blaine interrupted his ministrations to pluck an inch-long, thick white hair off of Kurt's collar. He inspected it, twirling it between his thumb and forefinger, before setting it aside. Then with an attentive hand he smoothed the fabric of Kurt's shirt down along the shoulder seam from where he'd disturbed it and gave Kurt's shoulder a comforting squeeze.

"Is it just queasiness, then, or—" Blaine moved next to Kurt's forehead to gauge his temperature, but Kurt again evaded contact with his bare skin.

"Yes," Kurt gritted, "It's not a big deal."

Blaine was unphased by the fit of petulance. "How long have you been feeling like this? You seemed fine earlier, I wish you'd told me."

"It sprung up quickly," Kurt said. You have no idea how much I'm not telling you.

He switched strategies. "Maybe I've just listened to 'Memory' so much that Cats physically nauseates me now." He tried for a joke, a weak one at that, and produced a thoroughly fake-sounding chuckle, but Blaine smiled at it anyway. Kurt wondered at the fact that he might actually get away with this. He was so close, now he just needed Blaine to leave. His façade was precarious as it was and he couldn't keep it up much longer without risking it all falling to pieces or Blaine asking a question he couldn't come up with a quick answer for.

"Look, I'm sure I'll be better in the morning, but since I'm not feeling up to any more homework tonight, it would probably be best if you leave."

"But that's all the more reason for me to stay," Blaine protested. "I can help make you feel better."

Kurt swallowed his frustration. This was absolutely the worst time for Blaine's protective streak to make an appearance. "I just need to sleep it off. By myself. I'll see you at school tomorrow, all right?"

"Are you sure there's nothing I can do? I could go see if your dad has some crackers or chicken soup, or—"

"No, I don't need anything except sleep. Undisturbed sleep," Kurt insisted, and proceeded to burrow under his covers to give Blaine the extra hint.

Blaine shifted his weight indecisively between his two feet, and then relented. "Well I hope you feel better in the morning. You'll call me if it gets worse?"

Kurt grunted an affirmative. Anything to get Blaine away from him.

Blaine gathered up his homework and jacket from around the room. "Do you want me to shut the lights off?"

Kurt nodded from his pillow and Blaine flipped his light switch. Blaine wished him a final goodnight before gently closing his bedroom door with a soft click and the light cut out from the hallway, leaving Kurt to stare up into the darkness, alone. The bone-deep tiredness tugging at him brought with it a fuzzy numbness that he welcomed. He simply lay there, still and silent. He needed to call Rachel and Tina back; he knew he'd worried them. But for the moment he just breathed and listened to the sound of Blaine's car fading away into the night.