ficlet: Time

Quick reaction fic to Ryan Murphy’s twitter Q & A. So sort of spoilers. Also *talk* of death (not Burt!) but this isn’t angst I promise.

They all seem the same, these waiting rooms. Same hard, cold plastic chairs. Tinny smooth-jazz tinkling from a corner in the ceiling. Gray on gray color scheme with soft focus paintings of flowers or geometric shapes or boats. Kurt uncrosses then recrosses his legs and shifts in the chair, the chains on his belt scraping across it, flips another page in his magazine.

It’s several minutes of reading the same paragraph over and over and over and still not absorbing a single word that he realizes the article is, upon closer inspection titled, “Turkey School: 27 tips and tricks for turkey hunting.”

He sets the magazine down with the other issues of Field and Stream, Golf Digest and a fairy tattered copy of Better Homes and Gardens. He thinks about perusing that one instead, but settles for staring unblinking at the closed gray door leading to the examining rooms. 

“Let me know if that works.”

Kurt jumps in surprise at the voice beside him, he hadn’t even realized the chair was occupied.


“Trying to communicate that the wait is too damn long through telepathy? Nothing else seems to work, so maybe that will.” 

“Oh no, I-” Kurt turns in his chair, the man next to him is older, gray and whiskered and long-limbed, a baseball cap on his bald head. He’s thin, not drastically so, but with the gaunt look of someone who’s lost too much weight too quickly. “I’m just waiting for my dad,” Kurt finishes, shrugs a shoulder and adds, “Rather impatiently.”


Kurt picks at the seam of his pants, squirms in his seat at the awkward silence now pressed like a physical being between them. He’s unaccustomed to making small talk in an oncologists office. Chatting about sports or the weather seems inane, at best. 

“So. What are you in for?” He blurts after too long, then immediately regrets it.

But the guy doesn’t miss a beat, just folds his hands across his lap and replies, “Pancreatic cancer.”

“Oh-” Kurt replies on a gust of held-in breath. “That’s-”

“Not great, yeah.” The guy says, continues on like it’s nothing, nothing at all. “This is gonna beat me. And not because of God’s will or because it’s my destiny or whatever bullshit platitudes people say when they don’t know what else to. Time runs out. It just does. For all of us.” He turns and asses Kurt with a flattened mouth and steely brown eyes that cut him to the quick. 

“Use it wisely.”

Kurt opens his mouth to say something, but can’t. Closes it again and nods and swallows like it’s a compulsion, like it will ease the constant tightness in his throat. The guy grunts, snatches up a magazine and starts reading. Kurt isn’t entirely sure what just happened, or why, is left only with the thought that sometimes the people with nothing left to lose are the only ones who say what needs to be said.

The door opens, finally, his dad and Carole ushered out by the same kind, round-faced nurse that led them back. They look…happy.

“Dad?” Kurt stands and strides quickly across the waiting room. Burt doesn’t explain, not yet, but he  squeezes Kurt’s shoulder, gives one quick nod. Something like hope bubbles up inside him. 

He’d almost forgotten what that felt like.

The nurse smiles and starts to lead Carole away to sign paperwork, but not before she grins and asks her, “Just how many handsome, charming men are you hiding away?”

“Just the four,” Carole says, rooting in her purse for a pen and giving Kurt a significant look.

Kurt’s brows furrow in confusion, he turns to look at his dad who seems to be suppressing a grin. He elbows Kurt in the ribs, leans in to say, “You should know that Blaine has the entire staff under his spell. He even bakes them cookies,” Burt looks back and forth like he’s confessing some sort of conspiracy. “I think they all wish I was worse off just so they could see him more often.”

“Dad!” Kurt scoffs, but he laughs and shakes his head. It figures, really. Then he catches the eyes of his seat mate, remembers the conversation he just had with someone who is worse off. 

“Hey, I’ll just step outside and call him. I’m sure he’s waiting anxiously to hear how the appointment went.”

Burt nods knowingly, but doesn’t say anything, just slides in next to Carole, hand pressed softly to her back.

Blaine answers halfway through the first ring. “Kurt?”

“So, I hear you’re enamoring the entire hospital one white chocolate macadamia cookie at a time.”

Blaine chuckles, warm and low in his ear, and the fizzing hope in Kurt’s belly seems to be spreading, giddy, through his veins.

“Is he-”


Blaine breathes out in relief. It’s silent then, but not uncomfortable, just rustling and puffs of air from Blaine’s end. Kurt closes his eyes and wants, more than anything, to rest his head on Blaine’s chest, cocooned there, with Blaine’s skin warm and his heart thumping and his lungs breathing. 

“Blaine?” He ventures, leaning against the car as Burt and Carole emerge from the sliding glass doors.


“Will you wait for me?”


He has to close his eyes tight, grip the phone like it’s keeping him tethered to the earth. He doesn’t know what to do when Blaine says his name like that. He never has.


“I’ll wait forever for you.”

He can hear their voices approaching; his dad saying something that makes Carole laugh. He unlocks the car and slips into the backseat, phone pressed hard to his ear. 

“Not forever,” Kurt says. “Soon.”

They have a lot to talk about. A lot to work on. A long road ahead. But Kurt knows he can’t wait around much longer, not when time refuses to stop slipping through his fingers like the intangible thing that it is.

“Okay,” Blaine says. 


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