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Home for the Holidays Part 4/4

Part Four
 
Blaine was still desperately trying to keep up with what was going on. His head had been spinning since the moment his sister suggested he leave the Hummel's.

"I…I need some air. Please excuse me," he said, pushing back from the table and heading for the porch. He was hoping that nobody would notice how bad his hands were shaking. He closed the door behind him and stood on the porch looking across the street at the obnoxious blinking Christmas lights arranged around an inflatable Santa dressed in a red flannel shirt and holding a plastic can of Budweiser. Sometimes he hated Lima as much as Kurt did.

Okay, it was really incredibly cold outside and he hadn't been thinking clearly enough to grab his coat on the way out. He should probably get a grip fast. He hadn't expected Andrea to offer him a place to live, but that wasn't really what had driven him from the table. It was good to know he could stay there if he needed to, but they had their hands full with Lucas and he was fine where he was. No, it was what Kurt's father had said about it being his home that threw him for a loop.

Sure, he had gotten comfortable staying there while Kurt was in New York. Now that he had hope that he and Kurt could mend their relationship he was happier than he'd been in a long time. He'd never let himself think of this as anything but a temporary arrangement until he could graduate and be on his own. When he thought about always being able to call this home, even if things with Kurt didn't work out, he didn't know what to think.

His thoughts were interrupted when the door opened, and Kurt came out on the porch carrying Blaine's coat.

"I know you needed space, but let's try to avoid frostbite. Not even you can pull off that shade of purple," Kurt said, handing him his coat before tying a red and gray striped scarf around Blaine's neck. Blaine couldn't help but notice that Kurt kept a hold on the end of it, as if Blaine might try to run again. It kept Kurt close to him, so he wasn't complaining.

"Are you ready to tell me why you are so upset?" Kurt's voice was light, but Blaine could tell it was forced.

"This is part of the talking about stuff thing, isn't it," Blaine said.

"Yes Blaine. I know it's hard, but that's the point. We need to trust each other, and not just with the easy happy stuff," Kurt said.

Blaine knew he was right, and he got it. This, more than anything was what Kurt was looking for from him.

"Yeah," Blaine said with a small smile, "I do, trust you, I mean. With everything. I just didn't expect that."

Kurt nodded and bit his lip, "Blaine, would you rather live with Andrea and Jon? It's okay. You can tell me."

"No!" Blaine shook his head, a little embarrassed at how strongly that had come out. "That's not it. I like being here, and I want to stay as long as you want me to. I just didn't realize that your dad considered this kind of a permanent arrangement."

Kurt huffed out a little chuckle, "My dad doesn't do things halfway, and we want you here. All of us."

"I'm starting to get that, I just don't understand why," Blaine said softly, not really looking at Kurt.

A tug on his scarf made him look up, "Because we care about you. Because you're a good person. Because everyone should have a place to call home where they are accepted for who they are. Blaine, you helped me when I needed it the most. Let us help you."

Blaine thought about what Kurt was saying but he had more questions, "What if things between us don't work out? I can't promise I'm never going to mess things up again, even if I'm trying. Then what?"

Kurt took a deep breath, "Blaine, as long as we are honest with each other I can't imagine us not at least being friends. I think we both know we can't make promises right now, but I believe in you and me. I think that soon we'll be able to be "us" again and that it could be amazing. I think there is something that pulls us together. I think you believe in us too."

Blaine knew his eyes were wet, "I want to, but I gave up. How can you forgive me for that?"

"Blaine, how many dates have you been on since we broke up?" Kurt dropped the scarf and crossed his arms.

"Um, none."
"Yeah," said Kurt, "And what are your top three college choices?"

Blaine blushed, "NYU, Columbia, and NYADA."

Kurt smiled and stepped toward him, putting a hand on his chest. "You didn't give up, you shut down. You've already realized that was a mistake and we're working on things. I can and will forgive you for it, but this isn't going to work unless you can forgive yourself."

Oh, wow. It seemed like Kurt was always a few steps ahead of him when it came to figuring out stuff like this. After the disaster that was the Gap Attack Nick had asked him if he was really that oblivious to his own feelings. It was times like these that he replayed that question in his head. Yeah, he pretty much was.

"Kurt, I didn't ….you're right. Of course I believe in us. How is it that you know me so much better than I know myself?" Blaine asked. He couldn't help smiling just a little bit as Kurt wrapped a hand around his scarf again.

"Practice?" Kurt asked with a smirk.

"Well, we are excellent at practicing," Blaine said and licked his lips. He let Kurt pull him forward by his scarf until their lips met. Sliding his arm around Kurt's waist he let the other drift up to the back of Kurt's head. This was more intense than their kiss in the kitchen and Blaine let himself be backed up against the porch railing with Kurt pressed against him. They stayed like that until they had to take a minute to catch their breath.

"We should go back inside before my dad comes looking for us," Kurt said without moving away from Blaine at all.

"Yeah, I need to tell Andrea I'm staying here. I'll visit a lot, I want Lucas to know me as his uncle, but this is where I need to be," Blaine said. He really adored his nephew and he thought he could be a really great uncle. He thought Kurt had been pretty great with the baby too, and that made him feel warm despite the freezing temperature.

"Let's watch some movies after everyone leaves. I haven't watched White Christmas yet this year," Kurt suggested finally pulling back and heading towards the house with a hand still around Blaine's scarf.

Blaine laughed and shuffled quickly to follow where Kurt was leading him, "That sounds great, I think there are some popcorn bars left too."

As they entered the dining room Kurt dropped his scarf and Blaine tensed a little at the silence as he peeled off his coat, "Um, sorry about that. Just needed a minute."

He went over to Andrea and carefully lifted Lucas from her arms snuggling the baby close, "Thank you for offering, but I'd like to stay here. We are going to have to schedule some time for me to come and visit the little guy, and you too of course."

His sister smiled and reached up to pat his head. "Of course. As long as you promise to talk to my son about something besides football, he's getting enough of that from his dad," she said with a smile.

"It's a deal," he said, moving back to his seat without giving the baby back. As he passed Burt's chair the older man nodded and squeezed his shoulder. He knew he'd made the right choice.

An hour later he changed into some sweats and met Kurt in the living room for their movie night. He was kind of wishing he could wear the scarf, it had its benefits. He was pretty sure they could manage just fine without it though. He grabbed some diet cokes and popcorn bars from the kitchen and settled in just as Kurt pressed play on the dvd.

When Carole came downstairs later to fill the boy's stockings she found Kurt and Blaine curled up together on the couch sound asleep. She gently covered them with a blanket and turned off the TV before turning her attention back to the mantle. As she moved past Kurt's bedazzled satin sock to fill Finn's ragged nineteen year old plaid stocking she couldn't help but smile at third one that she had picked up a few weeks before. The plain navy fabric was embroidered with silver musical notes, and suited the newest member of her family perfectly. It really was a magical time of year.
 
*KB*
 
Christmas morning at the Hudson-Hummel's house was very different then what Blaine was used to, and not just because he woke up wrapped around Kurt under a blanket on the couch. It was another reminder that he was well on his way to getting what he really wished for this holiday. Between finally feeling at home, his adorable nephew, and the amazing man sleeping on his shoulder he really couldn't ask for anything else.

A glance at the mantel told him it was barely seven, so he closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep. At the Anderson house Christmas was enjoyed around 10:30 after his father had wrapped up his business calls for the morning. Blaine and Andrea, dressed appropriately, would pose for the yearly photo in front of the Christmas tree before opening a small selection of expensive but impersonal gifts. If Blaine was lucky there would be a check from an aunt or grandmother that would be enough to get what he really wanted. That's how he'd paid for his guitar.

Blaine had barely dozed off when Finn came barreling down the stairs and directly to the Christmas tree. He stopped short when he noticed Blaine and Kurt on the couch and whispered, "Dude! Looks like Santa came a little early for you! Nice."

Blaine blushed, "I'm working my way off the naughty list, it's going well."

Finn laughed, "Okay, well I want to open presents, so I'll go put the coffee on and you can wake up Kurt."

As soon as Finn crossed into the kitchen Blaine turned his attention back to the boy sharing the couch with him, he placed soft kiss on Kurt's forehead and shook his shoulder a little bit. "Kurt, wake up, love. It's Christmas!"

Kurt opened one eye and sleepily took in Blaine and their location. "I've had this dream before you know. We're wearing too many clothes, though. Finn was never singing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" in the background either. On the bright side, I've met Grandma Hudson, it might improve her attitude."

Blaine laughed, "Finn is making coffee; he wants to open presents." He knew Kurt would be able to hear his excitement.

"That's because Finn is a giant seven year old, and you are maybe ten when it comes to stuff like this," Kurt says, trying to fix his hair in the reflection on the tv.

"You know you love it," Blaine said, and then wondered if it was too much.

"Of course I do, but I need to put the music on before Dad and Carole come downstairs. Dad and I have been listening to the Chipmunk Christmas album on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember," Kurt said jumping up to go to the stereo.

Blaine smiled to himself and folded the blanket just as Burt and Carole came down the stairs. He barely managed to stifle a laugh at Burt's lounge pants, which were covered in Santa driving convertibles. He knew they'd been a gift from Finn last year and he was once again warmed by how different Christmas was here.

Finn insisted on playing Santa, and they all took turns opening the gifts he distributed from under the tree.

Later that night Blaine tracked down Kurt, who was sitting in the window seat in the den with his knees up to chest, watching the snow fall outside. It had been a long day for everyone with lots of food and lots of laughter. Blaine had been touched by Kurt's gift and relieved that Kurt didn't mind unwrapping a picture of the boots Blaine bought him. It seemed that shipping speed couldn't keep up with how fast things were improving between them but he hadn't wanted to settle for something from the Lima mall if it wasn't right.

"Is everything okay?" Blaine asked, sitting on the end of the cushion and resting a hand on Kurt's foot.

"Better than okay, I was just enjoying the view. Everything is so fresh and clean when the snow falls here. New York is never clean, it makes me appreciate Lima just a little bit," Kurt said pressing his toes against Blaine's thigh.

Blaine traced a pattern lightly on Kurt's ankle, "Dirty? It turns out New York has a down side?"

Kurt nodded, "It's amazing, and freeing, but it's also dirty and lonely. It's like there are people around all the time, but nobody really wants to connect with anyone else."

"Sometimes it felt like that at Dalton, like it was all surface impression and competition," Blaine said.

"And then I came along and messed up your boring little world," Kurt teased.

"And then you came along," Blaine repeated with a grin, "and I was never the same again."

He squeezed Kurt's leg, "Maybe next fall it will be my turn to change things up."

"I think I might come home for the summer. I could work at the garage, and save some money. Spend some more time with the people I love," Kurt said.

"I know you are hitting the sales tomorrow, but will you go out with me New Year's Eve?" Blaine didn't actually have anything planned, but he knew he was on the right track.

"I'd like that. On one condition," Kurt said.

"Anything," Blaine said quickly and then blushed.

Kurt laughed, "Hmm, I just wanted to pick out your outfit, but maybe I should think of something better!"

"Of course you can, but I'm warning you my closet is a little thin these days. I'll pick you up in the kitchen around eight?"

That got another laugh from Kurt, "It's a deal."
 
*KB*


Two nights later Kurt put on his new boots that had just arrived and made his way to the kitchen. Blaine was waiting for him, with a bouquet of lilies in his hand. "I wanted to get us off to the right start," he said.

Kurt smiled, and pulled a vase from the top shelf and put it in water. He set the vase full of flowers on the kitchen table, "Thank you, I'll take those up to my room later. Are you ready to go?"

"Yes, but not before I tell you how good you look," Blaine said before helping Kurt on with his coat. Both of them knew what this was about. At this point it wasn't about trusting Blaine, and it was never about loving Blaine. No, he just wanted Blaine to work for it just a little bit. Kurt appreciated the little bit of healthy balance this added back in to their relationship.

As they drove through Lima they sang along to the radio and took turns mocking some of the more outrageous displays of Christmas lights. When Blaine finally pulled into a parking lot Kurt was happy to see he had chosen the hibachi restaurant they had visited whenever they had the money senior year. Not only was the food good, but the large group tables meant they could have dinner out together in Lima without attracting the negative attention a table for two might.

Kurt watched fondly as Blaine played along with the chef's cheesy jokes and stunts and rolled his eyes as Blaine nearly dove off the chair to catch a shrimp in his mouth. Kurt couldn't help but laugh, and he couldn't help but notice that he'd laughed more in the last week at home with Blaine and his family than he did in a month in New York.

Once the chef moved on to the next table they talked though the rest of the meal. Though they'd had many conversations over the last few days it seemed like there was always more to catch up on. After dinner Blaine refused to tell him where they were going and Kurt was even more confused when Blaine pulled into the McKinley parking lot.

Blaine led them around the side of the building to the auditorium entrance and unlocked the stage door. When Kurt just stared at him he shrugged, "Puck had to pass the key along to somebody, and Artie can't get in through this door."

"It figures. Did you know he offered to take me to Scandals and let me get drunk after we broke up?" Kurt said with a shake of his head. He'd accepted the alcohol, but chose to drown his sorrows with Noah and Finn in the privacy of his own home.

"Really?" Blaine asked, "He slammed me against a wall and congratulated me on taking his place as the biggest fuck up in New Directions."

"Don't worry, I think Quinn and her court ordered therapy have you beat. I appreciate the thought, though," Kurt teased.

Blaine looked embarrassed, "He wasn't completely off, which is why we are here. Have a seat and I'll be right back."

Kurt slid into the desk that Mr. Schue used to watch their performances and waited. A single light came on over the stage and Blaine came out and sat at the piano, before turning to Kurt, "Kurt, I love you. You told me once that you'd never say goodbye to me and I am so thankful that turned out to be true. Consider this my last apology for not believing in us. I hope we can move forward together."

Kurt watched, his eyes already damp as Blaine began to play and sing.

Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have

If I made you feel second best
Then I'm sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

And maybe I didn't hold you
All those lonely, lonely times
And I guess I never told you
I'm so happy that you're mine

That's as far as Blaine got because Kurt had headed for the stage during the last verse and grabbed Blaine pulling him into an extremely enthusiastic kiss.

Blaine responded with equal enthusiasm, both their tears forgotten until an alarm on his phone went off and he pulled back.

"Sorry, it's five minutes to midnight. I didn't want to miss the start of the new year," he said turning his phone all the way off and setting it aside.

"Then it's a perfect time for new beginnings," Kurt said taking Blaine's hand. "Blaine Warbler," he started and ignored the snort from the other boy, there was history here he wasn't going to mess with, "Will you be my boyfriend?"

Blaine must have caught on because he said, "I've been looking for you forever, of course I will."

Kurt smiled and kissed him. "That's good, because I don't do stuff like this with guys who aren't my boyfriend," Kurt said and attacked Blaine's mouth again, pulling his boyfriend's shirt over his head.

"Lucky me," Blaine said between kisses and his attempts at undoing Kurt's pants.

"Lucky you," Kurt replied and then spent the rest of the evening putting his mouth to better use.
 

Home for the Holidays Part 3/4

Part Three
After a few minutes Blaine was still on the floor, but lost in thought with his head resting on his knees. He knew that Kurt could only be so hurtful when he was desperately hurting himself. It broke Blaine's heart that he could be the cause of so much pain that Kurt would react as if he was in actual danger. He really should just find somewhere else to go and let Kurt enjoy his time at home.
Blaine's thoughts were interrupted by a hand resting very lightly on his shoulder, a hand he knew well.

"Can I talk to you?" Kurt asked while dropping gracefully to the carpet next to Blaine. His first thought was that Kurt must really be serious if he's willing to sit on the floor in Dior pants. "Go ahead," he said trying not to choke on his words.

"First I want to apologize. I was mean, selfish, and unfair. I don't want to be that person, even to you. Especially to you. I'm sorry for the way I've been treating you since I came home," Kurt said.
Blaine looked up at him, his eyes wide. He hadn't really expected this, not so soon at least.

"Kurt, thank you. I'm so sorry that this is difficult for you. I didn't know where else to go," Blaine said, hoping that Kurt could tell how much he meant it.

"Will you explain it to me? What happened with your family? I'd like to hear it from you. I'm ready to listen now," Kurt said, dropping the hand that was on Blaine's shoulder into the space between them.

Blaine took a deep breath and started to talk, "When senior year started things with my dad just kept getting worse. I think that he'd always thought me being gay was some type of rebellion or phase that I would grow out of. He started to see that wasn't going to happen and got angry."

Kurt just nodded, so he took that as a cue to keep going, "I would rather not get into the details of the fight we had that night, it was nothing different than before. It just got out of hand." There was no way he was ready to tell Kurt that he had been one of the topics of the fight.

"I told him that I wasn't going to change who I was because of his homophobia. I suggested he come to a PFLAG meeting. He laughed in my face and told me I better get myself together and think about my future. I pointed out that my college money was in a trust and he couldn't do anything about it, " Blaine said.

He couldn't look at Kurt during the next part so he just closed his eyes and went on. "My father shoved me and I shoved back. I didn't even see the punch coming. I was on the ground with my face throbbing and he told me to get out and not come back. So I did," he said.

Long arms wrapped around him and helped him sit up on the couch, "I don't want to see you hurting on the floor ever again, sweetheart."

Blaine whimpered a little at the endearment, and leaned towards Kurt. When he looked up he could tell that Kurt was embarrassed about letting it slip, but he also had tears running down his face.

"Blaine, I'm so sorry. I had no idea things were that bad with your father. What happened after that?" Kurt didn't take his arms away, but he loosened his grip and Blaine was thankful he maintained contact.

"It was already late by then so the first night I slept in my car. Maybe the McKinley parking lot was a bad choice, but it made sense given my state of mind at the time. It was so cold I shook for most of the night and I just couldn't figure out what to do next. I woke up to Mr. Schue pounding on my window. He was willing to put off calling CPS for a day and suggested I talk to your dad. I didn't want to, but I couldn't think of anything else. I went to the garage and Finn saw my face. After a rather intense talk with your dad I ended up staying here."

He took a deep breath before telling Kurt the worst part yet. "This morning my cousin posted pictures of Andrea's baby boy on Facebook. I don't think he'd gotten the message that I've been disowned yet. I tried to call my sister, but she texted me and told me to leave her alone. That's why Finn took me to breakfast, he found me crying this morning." Blaine said. It was such a relief to have finally explained to Kurt. "I never wanted to make things hard for you," he added.

"I'm sorry I made it about me. I just don't know how to be around you now," Kurt said.

Blaine winced, "I'm sorry, I never wanted to hurt you. At the time I thought it was the best thing to do for both of us."

"At the time?" Kurt asked as he pulled back a little, Blaine couldn't even keep up with the flashes of emotion on Kurt's face he seemed to be stuck cycling between hope, confusion, and anger, "and now? What do you think now?"

Blaine immediately missed Kurt's arms around him, but he knew Kurt needed the truth. "Now I wonder if I might be a complete idiot," he said carefully. He wasn't sure he could face a furious Kurt again so soon.

Kurt stiffened beside him. "Blaine Anderson I think you'd better explain what you mean by that," he said. Blaine was relieved that he sounded firm, but not mad.

"I thought that you would be happier in New York City if you weren't tied down to your high school boyfriend," Blaine confessed.

Kurt just stared at him. In fact, he sat staring at Blaine for nearly a full minute but Blaine knew he couldn't push.

"Did you ever think," Kurt said, each word deliberate "that maybe I should have had a say in that decision?"

Blaine shook his head, "You would have put me first because you were an amazing boyfriend. I didn't want you to have to do that again. I couldn't stand the thought of you not experiencing New York to the fullest and having regrets."

"So you decided it was better for me to spend that time wondering why you left me? Wondering what was wrong with me that you stopped loving me? Thinking I was too stupid to even see it coming? Going on horrible date after horrible date to prove to myself that I could live without you? If that was what you were going for then mission accomplished, Blaine," Kurt said.

Blaine let that sink in and felt his heart break all over again. He could see the pain in Kurt's eyes and hear it in his voice. In attempt to save Kurt from regrets he had created his own biggest regret. He had hurt Kurt, and worse than that he had made Kurt feel bad about himself. He never wanted Kurt to feel that way because of him.

"As I said: complete idiot. You need to know that you are so amazing and you did nothing. I didn't stop loving you, I can't," he said. His voice cracked a little with emotion, but he was glad that it was finally out in the open.

Kurt stood up then, and Blaine was scared to death that he was going to walk away. Instead he began to pace the room, "I don't know what to say Blaine. I don't know what you want."

Blaine watched him for a moment before replying. "I want what you want. I want to be in your life Kurt, and I need you in mine. Whether it's as your friend or your boyfriend I will find a way to make this right. I won't take away your choice again, it's up to you."
Kurt stopped pacing, but stayed a few feet away from Blaine and faced the wall, "I want to trust you. I want to hold you close and let you tell me everything will be okay, but I can't do that."

Blaine's heart sank, "Kurt."

"Please let me finish. I'm saying I can't do that yet. I think for now we should just try to be friends. I feel like we need to get to know each other again." Kurt turned then to give him a small smile and suddenly everything was okay.

Blaine smiled back, "Friends. I can do that. I seem to remember that turning out pretty well for me the last time. This time I promise I won't be kissing any girls or getting anyone fired." Kurt laughed and it was the best sound Blaine had heard in months.

"I'll hold you to that. It sounds like a good start. Carole and I are making the Christmas cookies tomorrow, would you like to help?" Kurt asked as he walked back over to the couch.

"Yes, I'd like that," Blaine said as he took the hand Kurt had extended and let the taller boy pull him up.

"Good. It will be fun. Today I'm going to go collect Finn so we can do his Christmas shopping. I haven't told him what he's getting me yet," Kurt said with a wink that made Blaine's heart jump.
Kurt still hadn't let go of his hand, and Blaine reflected happily that they'd always had a fairly hands on friendship. Maybe this wouldn't be so hard.

"Go have fun, but don't make Finn go through too many stores. He deserves a break for being a good friend. I have the afternoon shift at the shop today. Thank you for listening and for giving me a chance. You won't be sorry," he promised and pulled Kurt into a hug. He let himself rest his head on Kurt's shoulder just for a minute. This could work. Everything was going to be better now.

Kurt led Finn through the mall that afternoon with a healthy dose of holiday cheer. Though he certainly wasn't interested in the religious aspects of the season he couldn't really turn up his nose at a socially appropriate reason to be consumed by shopping and decorating.

So far he had helped Finn pick out a lovely sweater for Carole and a warm scarf made of natural fibers for his grandmother. Kurt had taken advantage of being in New York City and had done all of his Christmas shopping before he came home. Of course, now he had to get one more present with only three days to go. For once his natural shopping talent was failing him. He and Blaine were in such a precarious place right now he didn't want a gift to say too much or not enough. He was so unsure he was even considering asking Finn for ideas.

Kurt also hadn't stopped thinking about Blaine's sister Andrea since he talked to the other boy this morning. Something didn't add up with the whole situation. He understood how she may not being willing to go against her father, but he was shocked that she had been so cruel. She had only ever been friendly and welcoming to him so he doubted she felt the same way as her father about Blaine's sexuality. If nothing else she deserved to know exactly how bad she had hurt her only brother.

He had been wandering around behind Finn who certainly did not need his help picking out a present for Burt when they passed the sports memorabilia shop. Unsurprisingly they specialized in Ohio State and that gave Kurt an idea. When Blaine was living at home he'd had a poster in his room autographed by Troy Smith, this guy who was a big deal player for the Buckeyes a few years back. He had told Kurt how his grandfather had given it to him after they'd gone to a game together. He knew it was one of the last happy memories Blaine had of his grandfather.

The store didn't have anything with Troy Smith now, but Finn was more than happy to help him pick out a signed picture of Coach Tressel. Kurt didn't know much about football, but he had to admire the guy's sense of style. It kind of reminded him of Blaine in a way. It was perfect.

When they'd finished their shopping and headed for Kurt's Navigator he turned nervously to Finn, "Do you mind if we take a detour?"

"Where are we going?" Finn asked, "I don't think I can handle a trip to the outlet mall today bro. I am shopped out!"

"No more shopping, I promise. We're going to see Andrea," Kurt explained, his jaw clenched.

"Blaine's sister? I'm glad you two are talking again, but are you sure about this?"
"She might slam the door in my face, but he needs to know why she cut him off and he won't be able to handle doing this himself for a while," Kurt said.

"Okay," Finn agreed, "but I'd better just stay in the car, I don't trust myself not to punch someone."

Kurt looked over at his stepbrother and smiled, "Thank you for being his friend when he needed one. Don't worry; I can do just as much damage with words as you can with fists."

"Don't I know it!" Finn said, typing the address from Kurt's phone into the car's GPS.

*KB*

When they arrived at the house Kurt took a minute to get his thoughts together. Was this too much? Would Blaine be mad at him for interfering? Would Andrea scream horrible things at him before her husband threw him out? No, he was getting carried away. He was doing this for Blaine and he still had hope that his friend could have his sister and nephew in his life.

He was relieved when Andrea herself answered the door. "What are you doing here?" Andrea asked squinting in the direction of the car, "Is Blaine with you? I don't want him around my son like this."

Given that she looked like she was about to slam the door in his face Kurt abandoned the friendly approach he had planned on the way over. He was much better with snark anyhow, "You know the baby can't actually catch gay right?"

"I don't care about that. I'm talking about the drugs," she said as if insulted by his accusation.

"Drugs?" Kurt was pretty confused. What did drugs have to do with Blaine? Blaine would never do drugs, he'd even stopped drinking alcohol after that fight they had last year.

"You don't know? My father found drugs in Blaine's room and kicked him out of the house when he refused to get treatment,"

Andrea said, her voice sad. "I wanted to find him and check on him, but I had to put the baby first."

Kurt was flabbergasted, "That's what your father has been telling the family? That Blaine is on drugs?"

"Kurt, can you tell me if Blaine is okay? I'm so scared he's going to OD or get arrested," Andrea said.

Kurt stamped down his anger and tried to be as calm as possible when he responded, "Andrea, Blaine is not on drugs. He's fine. He's living with my family because our teacher caught him freezing in his car after your father threw him out because he's not going to outgrow being gay."

Andrea shook her head slowly, "No. Father said that he found the pills and confronted Blaine. Blaine was high and he pushed dad into the wall. Father was worried for mother's safety so he asked Blaine to leave and not come back until he was clean. Father thinks he must have gotten in with the wrong crowd at your public school."

"Blaine's face was bruised up pretty bad when he came to my parents. He said your father hit him, and I believe him. My dad believed him too if that helps. Blaine doesn't even like to eat non-organic produce, do you really think he'd get into drugs?" Kurt hadn't known it was possible to hate Blaine's father more than he already did, but right now he hoped Finn would keep him from driving to Westerville and do something that would get him arrested.

"Oh my god," Andrea said, "I was shocked, but my emotions have been all kinds of crazy with the little one and father convinced me that we had to cut Blaine off for his own good."

"So you believe me? You don't hate him?" Kurt asked, starting to feel hopeful after all.

"Oh god. How could father do this? I told Blaine to leave me alone, that I didn't want to talk to him again. I may never have talked to him again. Lucas might never have known his uncle; all because my father is a narrow-minded relic."

She was crying now, and Kurt felt terrible for having caused it. When he said as much she shook he head, "No Kurt, you may have just saved my family. I believe you, of course I do. I didn't want to think Blaine would do that, but he's been so different these last few months."

Kurt blushed, "It turns out he bought into that "If you love someone set them free" bullshit, but we've reached an understanding. We just need a little time to work things out. He's kind of a moron, but he's my moron."

Andrea laughed, "That sounds more like my little brother. Now how can I make it up to him?"

Kurt smiled, "Are you doing anything on Christmas Eve?"

"We are now," she said, pulling Kurt into a hug, "Would you like to meet Lucas? He should be waking up soon."

Kurt shook his head, "I have to go, and this outfit is Dior. Next time I'll dress to be around a child."
He gave Andrea his address in Lima, and she planned to call Blaine as soon as Kurt was on his way.

By the time Finn and Kurt got back to the house Blaine was practically bouncing around the room though it looked like he'd been crying earlier. When he spotted Kurt and Finn he ran over and threw an arm around each of them, "Andrea called me. Thank you! I don't even know what to say! I get to spend Christmas Eve with all the family that matters. She's bringing Lucas. I'm an uncle, can you believe that!" Kurt smiled and gave Blaine a quick squeeze while Finn brought their packages in from the car.

Kurt had just gone into the kitchen to get started on dinner when Mark called. Honestly, Kurt had forgotten about giving Mark his number. He was tempted to just let it go to voicemail, but he knew that Mark might really need a friendly ear right now. It was hard to go home to a small town after being in New York.

"Hello?" Kurt said.

"Hi there gorgeous," Mark said, "miss me yet?"

Kurt's brow furrowed, something was off. Mark was never this bold and he had expected to be asked for a sympathetic ear not hit on.

"Mark, are you okay? You don't sound like yourself." Kurt listened for an answer but was instead treated to some kind of rambling discussion of Kurt's ass in jeans and some increasingly graphic ideas about it. Then it dawned on him why Mark sounded so strange.

"Mark, are you drunk?" Kurt couldn't believe this. He'd wanted to help and instead a guy he'd been out for coffee with once was drunk dialing him, apparently for phone sex. Kurt couldn't help but think this saved him the trouble of letting the other man down easy if things in Lima worked out.

"I thought we had a connection, but you can't say things like that," Kurt said, blushing.

"Come on, I bet you're a tiger in.." Kurt hit the end button before Mark could finish and deleted the other man's number.

He hadn't heard Blaine in the doorway, "So," Blaine said carefully, "Who is Mark?"

Kurt turned and faced him, a small smile on his lips, "Mark was the last in a string of boring, smarmy, and just plain pathetic guys I went out with while I was trying to get over my ex. He won't be hearing from me anytime soon."

Blaine raised an eyebrow, "Oh? Why is that?"

"Not only is he a jackass when he's drunk, but I'm no longer so interested in getting over my ex," Kurt said.

"I'm very glad to hear that. In fact, I've found myself in the same position lately. It seems that missing someone so special to me had some drastic effects on my personality, enough to worry my sister. I told her not to worry though, I'm already happier than I've been in months and it's only getting better," Blaine said, winking before sauntering out of the kitchen so Kurt could make dinner.

Kurt just giggled to himself and started cutting up vegetables with a smile.
 
*KB*
 
Dinner was a much less tense event at the Hudson-Hummel house that night. Carole was working a late shift and Kurt just listened as Blaine talked sports with Finn and his dad. Kurt still didn't care about football, but he did like the Rose Parade and that was vaguely football related. Kurt was even mildly disappointed on Finn's behalf that there would be no basketball this year. After all, it's not like Rachel would have made him watch any of it.

When Finn and Blaine went upstairs to play basketball on Finn's xbox he started to clear the table.

"Sit down a minute," his dad said. Kurt had kind of expected this and went back to his chair.

"Yes, dad?" It was usually best to just let his father say what he had to say. Kurt had learned early on that volunteering information usually just made things more awkward for both of them.

"I take it you are more comfortable with Blaine living here now?" His dad leaned back in his chair and tried to take a few extra cookies off the plate in the middle of the table. It only took one look from Kurt to make him put them back.

"We talked and he told me what happened with his dad," Kurt said looking at the table cloth. "And what happened with us. He knows he made a mistake, and I apologized for the way I've been treating him," he added.

"I see," Burt said a slight upturn on the corners of his mouth.

"Why didn't you tell me how bad things were?" Kurt asked.

"It wasn't my place, kiddo. You needed to talk to him one way or another. Did you really think I would have let him stay here if he had another option? Or if I thought he didn't care about you?" His dad shook his head, "Even Finn could tell something was up."

"Thank you Dad. I don't say that enough. I'm so lucky to have this family, " Kurt said, thinking how much harder things would be if his dad didn't accept him.

"Well, we're pretty lucky to have to have you too, Scooter. So what's the story with you two? Do we need to talk about the house rules?"

Kurt rolled his eyes at his childhood nickname, "I'm making him work for it. At least a little. He can do the chasing for once."

Burt chuckled, "I think he knows how bad he screwed up. Don't be too hard on him, he just wants a chance to make it right."

"I know. I love him and getting over how he hurt me will be a lot easier than getting over him. I just don't want to rush it. We've both been through enough," Kurt said.

"As long as you're happy, kid," his dad said as he got up from his chair to head to the living room.

"I am dad, and I hope he is too," Kurt said picking up the last few plates from the table.

*KB*

The next morning Blaine woke up having slept better than he had in months. Having Kurt and Andrea back in his life was more than he had hoped for. As much as he wanted to be back with Kurt in every way possible he knew Kurt's request to take things slowly was for the best. He was totally good with letting Kurt set the pace. He had gotten used to it early in their relationship after all. Still, a little flirting couldn't hurt, and maybe the magic of the season would speed things along.

It was mid-morning by the time he went down to the kitchen. He found Kurt and Carole sifting through recipe cards and cookbooks trying to make the final decision on what to make.

"Would you still like some help?" Blaine asked grabbing an apple out of the bowl on the counter for his breakfast.

"Of course," said Kurt, "it took me months to train you as a sous chef. I can't let that go to waste!"

Blaine noticed that Carole was looking between the two of them so he gave her a nervous smile and tilted his head towards Kurt before nodding. Her face lit up and when Kurt turned his back she gave him a thumbs up. He quickly coughed to cover the rather unmanly giggle that threatened to escape.

"I was thinking I'd make more ginger snaps, and some of the popcorn bars," Carole said, "Kurt always makes his mom's 10 cup cookies, and he wants to do the strawberry coconut balls as well."

"That sounds great!" Blaine didn't care what they made as long as he got to spend time with Kurt.

"I'm glad you think so, you'll be doing the strawberry balls. That goop is not coming anywhere near my hands," Kurt said and handed him a card with the recipe. It was pretty easy, which was good because he wasn't so great in the kitchen.

He started opening cans and bags and dumping the contents into a big mixing bowl while Kurt set his iPhone in the dock and started a Christmas playlist. It didn't take long before his hands were covered in pink goop and they were all singing along. Carole had joined in too and Blaine was pleasantly surprised to find that Finn had inherited his singing voice from her. They worked like this for quite a while before Carole left to surprise Burt with lunch at the garage.

"My parents would be disgusting if they weren't so adorable. I guess I should be thankful my dad fell for someone his age. I ran into my Stage Movement instructor at a restaurant one night and his wife was young enough to be his daughter. So tacky. Her dress was pretty hideous too," Kurt said.

Blaine had long since finished the strawberry balls and was cutting up the popcorn bars that had finally cooled when the track switched again and Baby It's Cold Outside came on. When Kurt reached over and turned up the volume he knew they were thinking the same thing. He carefully put the knife down and took up his usual part, adding a silly little dance across the kitchen in an attempt to make Kurt smile.

Kurt came in right on time for his part and carefully set the latest batch of cookies on the cooling rack before adding a few dance steps of his own. As they sang together Blaine couldn't help think back to the Christmas after they met. He hadn't quite figured out his feelings for Kurt at that point but he had certainly found a connection there that he had never been able to find in anyone else.
He watched as Kurt did the little shimmy that hours of extra dance classes just couldn't stop. Blaine had to agree that it was incredibly distracting. He danced over to Kurt and bumped his shoulder, and was pleased when he felt Kurt's hip bump his in return.

As the song came to an end they found themselves face to face in the middle of the kitchen, both of them out of breath and grinning. Blaine noticed that Kurt had a little smudge of flour on his cheek. It was adorable.
He looked Kurt right in the eye, giving the other boy time to pull away as he raised his hand, "You have a little flour on your face." He gently cupped Kurt's cheek and used his thumb to wipe away the powder, sucking in a breath at how smooth Kurt's skin was. He couldn't believe he'd almost forgotten how nice it felt against his hand.

"Thanks," Kurt said, holding his gaze and Blaine held his breath while Kurt let his hand come up and rest on Blaine's bicep. He tilted his head just a little and hoped Kurt realized how desperately he wanted to kiss him right now. As if Kurt could read his mind, or at least what was written all over his face, the taller boy leaned forward and brushed their lips together.

Blaine fought the urge to push Kurt against the counter for more, he had promised to let Kurt take his time. He was thankful then when Kurt deepened the kiss, and he let his hand slide from Kurt's cheek to the back of his neck in encouragement. Blaine could feel his heart pounding in his chest and was pretty sure it was one of the best kisses he'd ever had.

Just when the things were starting to move from sweet to hot Kurt placed one last kiss on his lips and moved away, not dropping his hand from Blaine's arm. Blaine was relieved to see that Kurt was smiling, he knew he certainly was.

"I didn't mean for that to happen today but I'm not sorry it did," Kurt said, his cheeks red. "I think that's all I can handle today though."

Blaine nodded and moved his hand from Kurt's neck to his shoulder, "Kurt, I meant it when I told you it was up to you. Still, if we are back to this complete honesty thing I really have to say that was an amazing kiss and I'm really glad you don't regret it."

Kurt smiled down at him and raised an eyebrow. "No regrets, just love right?" He said with a laugh.

"Right," Blaine said and laughed as well. At the moment he felt like he could laugh all day.

Kurt excused himself a bit early that night and went up to his room. He was still feeling a little bit of a rush from what had happened earlier. He'd meant what he'd told Blaine. He didn't regret the kiss; it was just that it had been so much more than he'd thought it would be. He thought that he would have work up to being with Blaine again, but it was all so easy when it was actually happening. Tina's claims that Blaine hadn't been seeing anyone else made a lot more sense now that he knew why the other boy had broken up with him. It made it much easier to trust Blaine's assurances that he knew what he'd done and what they'd almost lost.

Still, he really didn't want them to screw this up. He was starting to understand that Blaine still loved him, but he couldn't erase months of self-doubt in an afternoon. He knew he loved Blaine. He'd been trying to deny it, trying to push it down and make it go away for months. It was still there and now it was all rushing to the surface again. He was surprisingly okay with it. The plan was to take things one day at a time, but that was a little more complicated when the next day was Christmas Eve.

*KB*KB*

The next morning he was doing some prep work for dinner that night when Blaine came downstairs. Kurt couldn't help but smile at the red sweater vest over a green checked shirt the other boy had chosen to celebrate the holiday. He wouldn't be caught dead in it, but it suited Blaine somehow.

"I have a gold bow-tie if you are interested," he said.

Blaine smiled and tugged at his collar, "Maybe for dinner tonight? I need to ask you a favor this morning?"

"Is Finn giving you a hard time about being one of Santa's elves again? I thought I made myself clear on that last year," Kurt put the vegetables he'd been chopping back in the fridge and turned around.

Blaine made a rather childish face that Kurt couldn't help but think was adorable, "No, and please don't remind him! He's taking the big brother thing way too seriously and when I try to fight back he just holds stuff over my head!"

Kurt rolled his eyes, "If it helps, he does that to everyone. Brit is the only one who can reach. What do you need?"

"Come to Babies R Us with me? I know it's Christmas Eve and it's insane but I don't have anything for Lucas," Blaine said, looking worried.

"I'm sure Andrea would understand, she just wants to see you," Kurt started but Blaine cut him off.

"I know, but it's his first Christmas and I want to be a good uncle, and except for yours they are the only family I have left and what if he doesn't like me, " Blaine said talking faster and faster.

"Blaine! Take a deep breath. Have I ever turned down a chance to go shopping? You really need to relax. Of course you are going to be great uncle. I don't think newborns are very judgmental, as long as you don't drop him it should be fine," Kurt said with a smile.

Blaine always wanted to make sure everyone else was happy and now that Kurt knew how far the other boy would go to do it, even at his own expense, he realized somebody really had to look out for Blaine's happiness. He was pretty sure he wanted the job.

Blaine's eyes widened in horror, "Oh my god! What if I drop him? I don't know anything about babies. How do I hold him? Oh god, Kurt. He's so tiny."

"Hey," Kurt said, moving to put a calming hand on Blaine's shoulder,"You will be fine. When we get back from the mall we'll ask Carole to show you how to hold a baby. I promise Andrea doesn't expect you to know what you're doing."

"Thanks," Blaine said smoothing down his vest, "Okay, I'm good now. I can do this."

"Let's go shopping," Kurt said.

*KB*KB*

If you had told Kurt a week ago that he'd have a blast spending two hours in a store filled with brightly colored plastic, clothes that didn't fit him, and Blaine he would have laughed in your face. Still, he was having a blast. The little clothes were absolutely adorable, and he had already helped Blaine pick out three little outfits for Lucas including a tiny navy three piece suit that Kurt planned on adding red piping and a patch to as soon as he could get to his sewing machine.

As they wandered through the toy section Blaine was starting to relax and have fun. They discussed the merits of various stuffed toy animals, Blaine arguing for a squashy beagle and Kurt lobbying for a curly haired sheep. Finally the two decided on a rather adorable elephant because as Kurt pointed out, "Gray goes with nearly everything."

When they made their way up to the cash register Kurt excused himself to run to the music store in the same plaza. He'd been feeling rather generous towards Finn lately and he wanted to pick up some new drumsticks to add to his gift. When he spotted the tiny play piano he couldn't resist getting it for Lucas, even though he knew the little boy was months away from being able to even bang on it. Besides, the other gifts were from Blaine and this one could be from Kurt.

When he met Blaine back at the car he was glad to see the other boy looked relaxed and happy.

"Had enough of the mall?" Blaine asked.

"I can't believe I would ever say this, but yes. Let's go home," Kurt said. He liked the sound of that even if it wasn't quite what he had thought of when he imagined living with Blaine before. It was pretty good for now.

They put their packages in the back of the Navigator and when Kurt climbed into the driver's seat he noticed Blaine was still holding one bag, "What's that?"

"Oh! Well, I picked up something else before I went to the register," Blaine said, a little bit of pink in his cheeks, "I wanted you to have it." Kurt watched, curious, as Blaine reached into the bag and pulled out the stuffed sheep that Kurt had been looking at earlier. "I thought you could use something besides Rachel to keep you company when you go back to New York," he explained.

Kurt couldn't help his grin as he reached out and took the little creature, squeezing it against his chest. This was pretty much exactly what he needed from Blaine, not the material things, but the thought behind it. He needed reminded that Blaine thought he was worth the effort. He ran his fingers through the soft coat of the toy.

"Well, I suppose it would be a nice change to not wake up alone. I do have a thing for curls, after all," he said, trying to walk the line between flirting and downright innuendo.

"Lucky fucking sheep," Blaine blurted out and turned a pleasant shade of red when he realized what he'd said. Kurt laughed, but he decided to let it go and started the car heading for home.
 
**KB**
Andrea arrived with her husband and little Lucas right on time that evening. Carole had been more than happy to fuss over the newborn and even Kurt who had put on last season's clothes just for the occasion held the baby. Kurt watched Blaine very carefully when it was his turn and was overwhelmed at the wonder and love on his face as he held his nephew. He could so easily picture Blaine as a father. They'd talked about it before, adopting children and raising a family in New York City. He hadn't let himself think about it in a long time.

The families seemed to get along very well over dinner and Kurt was feeling pretty good, despite the fact that Finn had decided he would help things along by hanging mistletoe all over the house. So far he had not ended up underneath the decorations with Blaine, but Finn had. Kurt could only consider that fitting karma. Finn, however, had merely shrugged and pulled Blaine into a one armed hug planting a kiss on the top of his head. It was brotherly, sweet, and made Kurt stop thinking of ways to injure Finn with the drumsticks for putting up the mistletoe in the first place.

Just as they were finishing up dessert Andrea turned to Blaine, "So do you need a few days to pack?"

Blaine looked at her, his eyebrows a deep v, "Pack?"

"To move in with Jon and me! I'm so glad the Hummels could let you stay, but you're not their problem. We're your family and you can stay in the guest room."

Kurt dropped his fork and looked at Blaine. Blaine obviously hadn't expected this either, as he was just staring at his sister with his mouth open. Kurt wasn't sure what to say, and looked quickly at his parents. Carole was biting her lip and his dad was putting his coffee cup on the table with what Kurt could tell was a fake calm.

He knew Blaine needed his family, but he was happy here. The Hummel-Hudson's had taken him in when his sister was ready to believe the worst about him. If he was honest Kurt would say that he needed more time with Blaine and if that made him selfish he could live with that.

"Now hold on just a minute," Burt said, "Blaine isn't a problem at all and he is legally in our care. This is home for as long as he wants it, and that doesn't stop at his birthday or graduation." His dad stopped to make sure Blaine was really listening before he went on, "Blaine is always welcome here."

His dad's gaze moved from Blaine to Kurt, "Isn't that right, Kurt?"

"Yes, for as long as he wants," Kurt said. He knew Blaine well enough that it wasn't much to promise. If things between them ever became so bad again they couldn't at least be friends Blaine would step aside gracefully once he had the freedom to do as he wished. Kurt didn't really see that happening. If for some reason they grew apart he thought they could stay on friendly terms. The only deal-breaker on friendship would be cheating, and since Blaine wouldn't even date other guys when they were broken up he wasn't too worried about that.

Kurt's dad spoke again, "That said, if Blaine would be more comfortable with you we can make the necessary arrangements."
At that moment everyone's eyes went to Blaine, who hadn't said anything through all of this.
 

Home for the Holidays Part 2/4

It was mid-afternoon before he actually had the guts to go to the garage. Blaine parked his car across the street from Hummel Tire and Lube and took a deep breath; he really didn't want to do this. He had thought about going to Mrs. Hummel first, but he knew that Kurt's father would at least appreciate it if he had the guts to face him. He didn't recognize the man behind the desk.

"Excuse me, sir. Is Mr. Hummel here?" Blaine asked, not sure what he really wanted the answer to be. He was practically shaking, but he knew he had to call Mr. Schue by eight.

"Nah, he had to go out for a while. Got a problem with your car, kid?"

"No, never mind. Thank you," Blaine turned quickly and headed for the door, this was a bad idea and it wasn't going to work.
He had almost made it through the door when a familiar voice stopped him.

"Dude, what are you doing here?"

Before he could think about it he turned around and came face to face with Finn Hudson for the first time in months.

"Shit man, what happened to your face?" Finn looked angry and Blaine wondered if he should try to make a run for it. He couldn't really get any words out.

"Do Puck and I need to go over to McKinley and remind some people how to behave? I know you're a senior, but you're still kind of tiny and nobody should be picking on you," Finn said. It took Blaine another minute before he finally registered that Finn was angry for him, not at him.

"It's not that, can we maybe talk somewhere else?" There were several people in the waiting room and all of them were staring at him.

"Yeah, come on. We can use Burt's office," Finn said and Blaine followed him back to the small room filled with a desk, filing cabinets, and a rather old looking computer.

"Sit down, you don't look too good," Finn said as he pulled two bottles of water out of the mini-fridge in the corner and handed one of them to Blaine.

"I wasn't sure you or Burt wouldn't want to kick my ass as soon as I showed up. Not that I don't deserve it," he said. He still couldn't forgive himself for hurting Kurt, even if it was for the best.

Finn nodded, "I haven't actually decided yet, but it looks like someone beat me to it. You're here for a reason, start talking."

"Fair enough. The short version is that my dad kicked me out. Mr. Schue found me sleeping in my car this morning and gave me the day to figure things out. If I can't find somewhere to stay CPS will take over," Blaine explained.

It looked like Finn was thinking and then his eyes narrowed, "So, your face? Your dad did that?"

Blaine just nodded, and then jumped about two feet out of his chair when Finn slammed his fist down on the desk.

"Shit! I'm sorry. That's so wrong though, Burt is going to flip," Finn said.

"I'm probably about the last person he wants to deal with right now," Blaine pointed out.

Finn shrugged and looked at him closely like he was trying to figure something out, "Kurt said he didn't even know why you broke up with him. Do you know what I think?"

Blaine looked up at him and waited.

"I think you had some stupid idea about being all noble letting him go. Which by the way makes you a total idiot." Finn said.
Blaine stared at him, "How..?"

"How do I know? Well, for one thing your eyes have barely left the picture of Kurt on Burt's desk. Artie told me last week that you haven't even smiled at another guy. Tina said you ignore the texts from that Warbler guy who still wants to get in your pants. That gives me a pretty good idea that you are still in love with my brother. That leaves me trying to figure out why you would dump him, and I can't really think of another reason," Finn explained looking proud of what he'd figured out.

Blaine wanted to deny it, but he couldn't. Finn might not be great at academics, but sometimes he could really read people. "It doesn't matter, he has options now. He doesn't have to settle for silly Skype dates with a boyfriend who is still in high school."

"Maybe he wants that, you didn't really give him the choice," Finn said.

"It doesn't matter. I'm living in my car. Your pointless attempts at fixing my love life will have to wait, " Blaine said trying not to get too frustrated with Finn. He knew the taller man meant well.

"That's perfect! You can come and stay with us and then talk to Kurt when he comes home for break!" Finn seemed to think it was all that simple, but Blaine wasn't even sure he had the courage to see Kurt again. He couldn't even think about asking Kurt to take him back after what he'd done.

"I don't think that's going to work Finn. Your parents aren't going to let me stay, I just have to figure this out on my own," Blaine said getting up to leave.

"You don't get it. You don't have to do this by yourself. We're all still part of a team, even if I've graduated. Hell, Mr. Schue already took a risk by giving you time. You know he's supposed to report this stuff. At least come home with me and eat dinner, you probably haven't eaten all day. We'll talk to mom and Burt," Finn said. Blaine didn't really want to argue, he was hungry and tired and more than a little sure Finn might be right about him being an idiot.

"Okay, I'd be stupid to turn down a free meal at this point," Blaine admitted, he looked up at Finn, "More of an idiot than I already am."

"True facts, dude. But you are right, let's deal with one thing at a time. First we find you a place to stay, then you can clean up the other mess," Finn said, opening the door to Burt's office and heading for his pick-up.
 
*KB*
 
Kurt needed a rest. Luckily, there was less than a week left of school before he could go home to Lima for break. As he sat in his Playwriting class he realized that Mark might not be in any of his classes next semester so when the professor dismissed them he stopped the other man.

"I was just going to get some coffee before my next class, would you like to come with me? My treat," Kurt said and flashed what he hoped was a flirtatious smile. He really wasn't used to being the one making a move.

Mark smiled, "Yeah, sure. I don't have another class until this afternoon. Lead the way."

The wind was starting to pick up as Kurt took them past Starbucks and to a smaller independent place he had found the first week he and Rachel had gone exploring. They made their way up to the counter and Kurt waved to Melissa, a girl from his English Lit class who was working behind the counter.

He ordered his latte and turned to Mark, "What can I get you?"

"Just a medium drip for me," Mark said. Kurt knew it was ridiculous to be bothered by this, it wasn’t like it was so strange to order a regular coffee. It didn’t  mean anything. Still, he could do without the reminder. He quickly shrugged it off and found them a table near the window.They chatted for a while about classes and the latest rounds of the X Factor until their drinks were almost empty and things got a little more personal.

"So, how do you feel about going back to Ohio?" Mark asked pushing his thick framed glasses up on his nose.

"I'm ready, I think. I'm not accustomed to being away from my dad like this. I know my stepmother is taking care of him and making him eat right, but it's not the same as seeing it for myself," Kurt answered honestly, "How about you?"

"I'd rather not go home to be honest. I will because my grandmother isn't doing really well, but my dad just makes it so difficult," Mark said.

"He doesn't accept you?" Kurt twisted the napkin in front of him in his hands, he knew he was lucky.

"He won't come out and say anything, he just won't talk about it other than to forbid me from telling the extended family," Mark said.
"
Well, why don't we exchange numbers and if it gets to be too much you can call me and vent," Kurt said, trying not to show his nervousness at actually asking for Mark's phone number.

"On one condition," Mark said his cheeks pink, "when we both get back to the city I can call you and take you to dinner."

Kurt blushed as well and nodded, "I'd like that."

As it turned out that was the only good part of his day. It started as he was leaving his afternoon class and didn't move fast enough to avoid a taxi splattering mud all over his Burberry coat. As his day went by he was beginning to think some non-existent higher power was determined to throw his ex-boyfriend in his face.

First, there was the busker on the corner singing Teenage Dream. Kurt had waved a ten in front of the guy's face and told him he could have it if he never sang that song again.

Later he stumbled past the grand opening of a new pet store in his neighborhood, complete with a person in a canary costume. A fucking giant yellow bird. He had to do something to get his mind off Blaine.

He stopped at the University Library to get an article for class and when he checked his email there was a notice from the theater department announcing West Side Story as the spring musical.

When he finally dragged himself home he discovered that Rachel had raided his closet without permission and was wearing the blue Hermes scarf that Blaine had given him last Christmas because "it was almost as beautiful as his eyes." Giving her a bitch face so fierce she actually jumped backwards he stormed into his room and slammed the door. He was really sick of thinking about Blaine Anderson.
 
**KB**
 
Blaine followed Finn back to the Hummel-Hudson house and parked across the street. Other than the snow it looked exactly the same as the last time he’d been there. He couldn't keep his eyes from drifting to the second window on the left, which he knew was Kurt's bedroom.

Finn led him in through the side door and nodded to the driveway, "Looks like everyone's home. Try not to freak out too much. If Burt was actually capable of murder I wouldn't have made it past the first week we all lived together."

Blaine made a mental note to ask exactly what he meant by that later and tightly wrapped his hand around the strap of his
backpack. He could do this. In fact, compared to the possibility of facing Kurt anytime soon this was the easy part.
He wasn't quite sure how to start, but luckily Finn took care of that.

"Mom? Burt? Can you come into the living room? We need to talk to you," Finn said, throwing himself across the sofa.

Blaine stood in the middle of the room too nervous to sit as he heard the adults coming towards the living room.

"No need to yell, Finn. What do you mean "we"?" Carole said, sounding worried. She stopped when she came though the doorway and saw Blaine standing there, Burt stood behind her and crossed his arms.

"He followed me home, mom. Can I keep him?" Finn asked with a snicker.

"Not helping," hissed Blaine as he tried to read the expressions on the Hummels' faces.

It was then that Carole got past the shock of Blaine being there. She registered the bruises on his face and went into mother mode.
"Oh, honey! What happened?" She asked. It looked like she was going to hug him, but she stopped and patted his shoulder instead. Blaine could have really used a motherly hug just then, but it was kind of hard for everyone to figure out how to act.

"I got into an argument, and things got out of control," Blaine said.

Finn snorted, "His father hit him and then threw him out."

"Finn!" Blaine had hoped to work up to it. Though on the plus side Kurt's dad didn't look quite as angry as he had a few minutes ago.

"Just saving us all some time man," Finn said with a shrug.

"I know I don't have a right to ask for anything from your family, but I don't know where else to go and I'm scared. Mr. Schue caught me sleeping in my car last night. If I can't find a safe place to stay, one that CPS will approve, they'll put me in foster care. That probably means some kind of group home," Blaine explained.

"Well," Carole said with a sigh, "at least this one isn't pregnant."

Finn made a face, but seemed to know better than to say anything.

Burt still hadn't said a word and Blaine kind of wished he'd yell or threaten him or something, anything was better than the silence.
Finally he spoke, "Carole, why don't you go start dinner. Finn can help you. Blaine and I are going to talk man to man."

She squeezed Blaine's shoulder again before heading for the kitchen, but not before stopping to whisper something in her husband's ear. Burt rolled his eyes and said "I won't" before waiting for Finn to follow his mother out of the room.

"Sit down, kid. My wife seems to think I'm going to be hard on you, but I think you've probably taken enough crap in the last couple days. She also says this is my call. So, hopefully we can do this the easy way; I'm going to ask you some questions and you are going to answer honestly. If I think you're lying we're done and you can take your chances with whatever Schuester can come up with. Got it?"

"Yes, sir. Thank you," Blaine said as he dropped into the armchair and rested his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands.

"Your father hit you?" he asked, and Blaine caught the same protective look Finn had worn earlier.

"Yes, sir," Blaine said, hoping he wasn't going to have to repeat this again to a social worker in the morning.

"My first instinct is to drive to Westerville and see if he has the guts to take on a grown man instead of smacking his kid around,"
Burt said, "But that won't really solve anything will it?"

Blaine bit his slip to keep from grinning, but the corners of his mouth turned up just the same. "I appreciate the thought sir, but he'd probably press charges. I'd be worried about your heart anyway."

The other man was looking at Blaine like he'd said something particularly interesting and he wasn't sure why. Kurt would be devastated if his dad had even the tiniest cardiac episode.

"And you can't go home? What does your mother think of all this?"

"He told me I had fifteen minutes to pack and get out of his house. I'll spare you the details of the things he called us. My mother will never cross him, he could cut off her platinum card," Blaine said bitterly. He had mostly tried to stay out of his parents' way since he went to Dalton. He wasn't sure his mother even knew he had transferred to another school.

"Called us? What do you mean us?" Burt asked.

Blaine really wished he hadn't let that slip, "Um, he knows how to push my buttons. He started talking about Kurt. That's when things kind of got out of control."

Burt nodded, his jaw clenched. "When was the last time you talked to my son?"

"The night I broke up with him. I didn't want to hurt him like that, but I thought it was for the best," Blaine said. He let his eyes wander until they stopped on a framed picture of Kurt and Finn from their parents' wedding, Kurt looked so happy despite everything else that was happening when they first met.

"What are your plans when you finish McKinley?"

"I've applied to NYADA and NYU, plus OSU and Kent just in case. That was one of the things my father wasn't happy about. My college money is a family trust though, my father can't keep me from it once I turn 18," Blaine explained.

He watched as Burt slid back further in his chair, the interrogation seemingly over, "You can stay here. There was one more question I was going to ask, but I think I already know the answer."

Blaine felt himself sag with relief, "Thank you sir. I'll get a job and pay my own expenses as much as I can. I need to call Mr. Schue and let him know I'm okay. He said Ms. Pillsbury can help with the paperwork."

Burt nodded, "I know the garage isn't really your thing, but I've got a buddy that owns a sandwich shop and he could use an employee that actually has manners."

He was trying really hard not to cry, he'd been so scared and now things were going to be okay and he really didn't deserve all this from Kurt's family. "Thank you doesn't quite cover it," he said.

"Graduate, get into school, and find somewhere to be happy. That's thanks enough," Burt said.
Blaine nodded.

"One more thing," Burt said, "Kurt will be back from New York in a few days. We both know he's going to throw a fit at first but I'm hoping when he calms down he'll understand. Kurt will always come first in my house, and I know you get that, but he only has to be at home for two weeks between now and when you graduate. We're not going to put you out because he can't act like an adult for a few days."

"I hope that won't be a problem. I hope he'll listen to what I have to say to him, but if not I will stay out of his way. I'd never want him to be uncomfortable at home, I know what that's like," he said.

"Okay kid, why don't you call Schuester and then Finn can help you bring your things in from the car. The guest room is now your room, so move things around if you need to. I'm guessing you're exhausted, so get some sleep and we'll talk more at dinner tomorrow."

"Yeah, it's been a long day," Blaine said. He quickly called Mr. Schue who was relieved to hear he'd be staying at the Hummel house. It didn't take long for them to bring in his stuff. He'd only managed to grab a few bags of clothes, his computer, a few photos and his guitar. He went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and found Carole sitting at the table reading a magazine. Before he could say anything she got to her feet and pulled him into a hug.

"It's going to be okay, sweetie. I made Finn tell me everything, and whether you end up with Kurt or not you have a home here for as long as you need it," she said.

It was exactly the motherly hug he had needed so badly, earlier and that combined with the fatigue and relief was enough to make him let go completely. He wrapped his arms around Carole and sobbed into her shoulder while she patted his hair in a way his own mother could never be bothered to do. He'd lost his parents, his house, and realized how badly he had messed up with Kurt. He should be at rock bottom, but these amazing people were taking him in and giving him another chance. He just hoped Kurt could give him another chance too.
 
*KB*
 
Kurt was settled at the tiny kitchen table with his English Lit notes sprawled out in front of him trying to finish studying for his final the next day. His phone rang and he was surprised to see "Dad" on the caller ID, it was nearly ten, much later than he would normally call.

"Dad? Is everything okay?" Kurt asked, flipping through his notebook to find more on the symbolism in a certain passage.

"Carole, Finn, and I are fine. How are you?"

Kurt leaned back and closed his notebook with a huff, he needed to get this stuff down. "I'm fine, just studying for my exam tomorrow. Can I call you some other time? I'm kind of busy," he said.

"Sorry kiddo, I think I better tell you now," his dad said, and Kurt was immediately suspicious.

"Tell me what? You said you were all fine," he replied.

"Well, here's the thing. Blaine came to the garage today. He's having some trouble and he needs somewhere to stay for a while," Burt said.

"What does that have to do with us?" Kurt asked, his tone sharp. He knew what was coming, but that didn't mean he was going to let his dad off easy.

"Kurt, Blaine is going to be staying with us for a while," Burt said, his voice gentle.

"WHAT? DAD! NO!" Kurt stood up from the table, his notes forgotten as he started to pace the three steps back and forth across the kitchen.

"Kurt, calm down. It's up to him to tell you the whole story, but this isn't up for discussion. I know that it might be a little uncomfortable while you are home, but this is how it has to be," his father explained.

"Up to him? No, dad. You need to tell me why on earth you would think it was okay to let my ex-boyfriend, the one that dumped me and broke my heart wihout any kind of explanation, live in our fucking house!"

"Kurt Hummel you'll watch that mouth when you are talking to me. I'm telling you now so you have time to think about this before you get home, I'm not asking your permission. I need you to trust me that this is the right thing to do. I love you and you will always come first, but I can't turn him away."

Kurt finally stopped pacing and stared at his phone, with the first flash of anger out of the way he was left with worry, "Dad, of course I trust you. You're the best man I know, but I don't know if I can do this."

"I do. I know you can. I think the two of you need to talk when you get home, but that's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. Right now all I'm asking is for you to share space with him," Burt said.

Kurt sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "Okay, I'll try. I really should get back to studying."

"That's my boy. I love you kiddo, I'll see you at the airport," his dad said.

"I love you too dad, see you then," Kurt said, and pressed the end button on his phone. So much for holiday cheer.

The rest of Kurt's week passed in a blur of exams and final projects. The only benefit of being completely overwhelmed by schoolwork was that he didn't have much time to think about his ex-boyfriend living in his house. It wasn't until he was on the plane back to Ohio that he had time to sort out his thoughts.

He had wanted to talk about it with Rachel, but decided she did not deserve input on his relationships after seeing her kiss Jesse St. James one day as he was coming out of class. She was definitely on best friend probation until she decided to be honest about her own bad decisions. He had, however, told her about the living arrangements and extracted a promise that Blaine could stay with her for the first night back to give Kurt a chance to catch up with his family. He really didn't want to share everything that had gone on in his life with his ex.

By the time they'd been in the air for a while Kurt could admit that if his father had allowed this he must have thought it was necessary. Still, he was angry. Blaine had decided that he didn't want to be a part of Kurt's life, and that should be that. He didn't get to show up when he got annoyed at his parents' indifference. Yes, it was unfortunate, but why couldn't Blaine just man up and deal with it for a few months until graduation.

Of course, he had never actually met Blaine's parents. Kurt supposed that maybe that should have given him a clue that the other boy wasn't as invested in their relationship as he had been. Still, it wasn't exactly a secret that Blaine envied the good relationship Kurt has with his family. Now Blaine was able to be a part of that and he didn't even have to pretend to be in love with Kurt anymore to do it.There was a part of him that knew he wasn't really being fair, he knew that Blaine had loved him once. Kurt had just never understood why Blaine had stopped loving him.

By the time the plane touched down in Ohio Kurt had a plan. He had to protect himself; he would be humiliated if Blaine could tell he still had feelings for him. He'd have to be cold at first, but if Blaine didn't push him then he could just treat him like an exchange student who was staying with them or something. It wasn't his job to make this easy on Blaine.

Despite their disagreement he couldn't help but throw himself into his dad's arms when he spotted him at baggage check. He'd never gone so long without seeing his dad and he missed him a lot.

"Kiddo, it's good to have you home," Burt said wrapping an arm around Kurt's shoulders.

"Thanks dad, I missed you. Finn and Carole too. I have so much to tell you," Kurt said yanking a suitcase that was nearly as big as he was off the carousel.

His dad smiled and took the handle of that bag while they waited for the other bags they knew were coming. Before long Kurt tugged one more suitcase off the track and shouldered a garment bag before they made their way to the car.
The way home was filled with Burt catching Kurt up on all the things that had been happening at the shop and around town since he'd been away. Kurt didn't want to repeat himself so he was waiting to talk until the whole family was together. He did notice that his father was carefully avoiding mentioning Blaine and he found he appreciated it more than he was annoyed by it.

When they finally arrived at home Kurt jumped out of the car and enthusiastically went to greet Carole and Finn. Tomorrow he was going to spend the night at Mercedes' house to catch up with her and Tina but tonight was all about his family.
It wasn't until all of his bags had been brought in and the Hudson Hummels were seated around the kitchen table with coffee and some of Carole's ginger snaps that Blaine made a shy appearance in the doorway.

Carole looked up at him and smiled, "I have a fresh batch of cookies. Would you like one?"

Before Blaine could answer Kurt cut him off, "Rachel is expecting you for the night. I'd like a chance to catch up with the people who care about me."

He was rather satisfied at the way his ex seemed to freeze and the small shake in his hands.

"She," Kurt said so the emphasis on that part couldn't be ignored, "would love to see you."

Kurt knew that over the years his father had learned to pick his battles, and he was hoping this was one he'd let go.

"Okay. Just for one night so everyone can adjust. You need to know that Carole and I take being Blaine's foster parents very seriously so everyone is just going to have to show a little maturity," Burt said.

"Kurt." It seemed like Blaine was going to say something and then changed his mind, "Okay, let me grab some stuff and I'll be out of your way."

"Thank you," Kurt said quietly, he would try to be civil if only for his father.
 
**KB**
 
Blaine sighed as he tossed some sweats and a change of clothes into his backpack. It wasn't so much that he minded spending time with Rachel; they had become pretty good friends during her senior year. He was also well aware that he was the one who had ended their relationship and he deserved whatever Kurt could throw at him. Sure, he'd been trying to do the right thing, but it had still hurt Kurt. He knew Kurt better than most people, including how vicious he could be when he was feeling afraid or vulnerable.

He checked the mirror and forced a smile; at least the bruise was gone. He didn't really want Rachel and her dads to see that. Blaine knew that Kurt didn't know the whole story of how he ended up at the Hummels' and that made the way Kurt was acting hurt a little less. He would have to tell him soon, but tonight was clearly not the time.


He quietly let himself out of the house and drove over the Berry's. As soon as he knocked on the door he barely saw the tiny pink blur that was Rachel before it collided with him.
"Blaine! I'm so glad you came. Are you okay? Was Kurt mean to you? What happened with your family? How is New Directions? Suffering without my leadership I'm sure. "

Blaine couldn't really get a word in, but her monologue was stopped when a voice interrupted from inside the house, "Rachel, darling. Let the poor boy in the house. You have all evening to catch up."

Blaine just smiled and shook his head; it was actually pretty comforting that New York hadn't changed Rachel very much. Rachel led him down the entrance way into the living room where her dads were watching the news.

"Blaine! It's nice to see you," said Leroy Berry, "Are you doing okay?"

"Yes sir, I was very lucky that Burt and Carole let me stay with them," Blaine answered. The older man nodded, "Yes, they are good people. I wish we could have done more to help."

"I know sir, if things don't thaw out a little there I may be visiting your daughter quite a bit while she's on break," Blaine said.

"I hope they do, but you are always welcome here. I won't keep you, I know Rachel is dying to get you up to her room and interrogate you on all things New Directions," Leroy said.

"Yes sir. Thank you, I know better than to keep her waiting," he said before allowing Rachel to push him up the stairs.

They had just settled on Rachel's still very pink and ruffled bed when she got right to the point, "Blaine you are very important to me and we mix well vocally, but Kurt is my best friend and I will not betray him."

"Rachel, I would never ask you to do that. If it's not too much can you tell me if he's happy? If he's seeing anyone?" He'd broken both their hearts so that Kurt could be happy, he at least had to know if he was.

"I think he's happy. He doesn't have to be afraid all the time. He's been out on a lot of dates, " Rachel said with a sad smile. Blaine's heart sunk. Of course that was what he'd wanted for Kurt, but the reality of it made him feel a little sick. He felt terrible, but he'd hoped that Kurt might still miss him just a little bit.

"That's good. Yeah, it's good. He deserves that," Blaine said. He hadn't done a very good job keeping his emotions in check.
Rachel immediately softened and leaned her head on his shoulder, "I didn't say he'd been on a lot of second dates. In fact, he hasn't spent the night outside of our apartment or had anyone stay over at ours. Does it make you feel better or worse that there isn't anyone special?"

"I don't even know anymore. If he's not better off then I may have made the biggest mistake of my life," Blaine said, eyes staring vacantly at the wall.

Rachel wrapped her arms around him, "I haven't told anyone else this, but I think you need to hear that I've been seeing Jesse. Yes, he hurt me really badly. But I love him and we fit together in a way that nobody else does for me. He's really trying to make this work and I want to give him the chance."

"Later on you are going to give me all the details on that, but I see what you are saying. Do you think I still have a chance?" His head had been buried in her shoulder, but now he was looking at her. He knew the expression on his face probably looked ridiculous, but if it would convince her he honestly wanted another chance it couldn't hurt.

"I think you might," she said biting her lip, "but if goes back to New York it will be too late."

"Thanks Rachel, I have a lot to think about. So, tell me about Jesse," he said. They talked another several hours about her classes, New Directions, and the many frustrating auditions she had been on since moving to the city. He was happy just to let Rachel be Rachel, especially since he didn't have to do much talking herself. It was nice to have his friend back.

**KB**

Kurt made sure he was out of the house the next day before Blaine got back from Rachel's. He knew he couldn't keep this up his whole vacation, and he knew he should be more mature about it. He just wasn't ready. He couldn't really escape though; Mercedes and Tina had barely taken the nail polish out before the questions started. He considered avoiding the subject entirely, but he gave up on that idea quickly. Not only was that unlikely to work with Mercedes, but he really needed to talk to somebody about everything.

"So what's the deal, baby?" Just as he expected Mercedes had her "don't even think about lying" look ready.

"He's living in my house and I don't have a choice about it," Kurt said.

"Why isn't he living at home?" Mercedes asked.

"I don't know, my dad said it's up to Blaine to tell me," Kurt replied, "We haven't said two words to each other since he dumped me."

"I can't believe your dad is letting him ignore you like that!" Tina said, "He won't really tell anyone at school what happened either, but I think Mr. Schue knows."

Kurt went to work removing the black polish she had on and kept his eyes on her fingers, "It's more the other way around, at least since I've been home. I may have immediately shipped him off to Rachel's and left before he got back."

"Oh, honey," Mercedes said, "you do realize you are going to have to talk to him. Nothing at all? Not a single text or an email all semester?"

"No, and it's for the best. Blaine wanted to be free to mess around with Warblers or whatever. He never actually gave me a real reason, but there was no point in drawing it out. He's hard enough to get over as it is," Kurt admitted.

"Kurt," Tina said, "I don't think that was it. He's been spending a lot of time with Artie and I and he hasn't even mentioned another guy. I heard him ask that Sebastian guy to leave him alone at Sectionals."

Kurt tried to focus intently on applying the purple glitter polish to Tina's nails, but that was a lot to take in. He'd been haunted, especially early on, by images of Blaine out on date after date or doing worse with other guys. It had a lot to do with why he'd been on so many dates himself. Of course he'd thought that at least he could claim moral superiority for not throwing himself around. The fact that Blaine has been alone this whole time was frankly messing with his head.

Mercedes swatted his hands away and took over Tina's manicure, "Now you look even more like someone has run over your dog, what are you thinking?"

"If he didn't want someone else, then what did I do wrong that he didn't want me?" This is what has been on the edge of his mind for months. Why wasn't he good enough? Why did Blaine stop loving him?

"Screw that, you are fabulous and if he forgot that then you don't need him," Mercedes said and he managed a small smile.

"Kurt, I think you need to talk to him. I think there is something off about this. He seemed sad a lot, even before he moved out. I helped proofread his application essays, Blaine applied to NYADA and NYU. When I asked why he wasn't applying to Oberlin he said it had to be New York," Tina said.

"Okay, none of this makes any sense," Kurt said.

Kurt made sure that he got back from Mercedes house early. It was the Saturday before Christmas and this was the day he always spent with Finn. It had started the first Christmas their parents were married. Finn had needed help with his Christmas shopping and since that was Kurt's area of expertise they had decided to do it together. They would eat lunch, do their shopping, and then go see the lamest holiday movie playing at the AMC. This was only the third year, but it had become their holiday tradition. Finn had even sent him a list of the upcoming releases before they left New York so they could decide on one together.

He let himself in the house and dropped his bag by the door. It was just about time for them to leave, but the house was silent. He wouldn't be surprised if Finn hadn't gotten up yet. He didn't work at the garage on Saturdays. When he got up to Finn's room, however, his stepbrother wasn't anywhere to be found so he he sent a quick text.

TO FINN:
Where are you? It's almost time for lunch. I'll even let you pick.

TO KURT:
Sorry dude. Blaine and I went for a late breakfast. Catch you later.

Well, that was just great. Blaine and Finn went for breakfast.
Somehow, Blaine had managed to interfere with one of the only traditions he and Finn had as a new family. Of course Finn was out with Blaine. Hell, he was probably introducing him as his brother by now. It was just perfect wasn't it? Blaine was small enough Finn could feel big protecting him, he liked football, and he could pass for straight. Everything Finn could want in a brother. Why would he want to go shopping with Kurt when he could get greasy eggs and bacon with Blaine?

Kurt sat on the couch and watched a marathon of Tabitha's Salon Takeover. Strangely, watching Tabitha kick ass did nothing to quell his anger. Every time he thought about his plans for today being derailed by his ex he got angrier and angrier. It took about two hours before Finn and Blaine walked in the door and Kurt exploded.

"How dare you! Why can't you just stay out of my life? I get that your family doesn't treat you like the center of the universe but you can't. have. mine!" Kurt was flat out screaming by the end of it, he could feel the blood rushing to his face and his fists were clenched at his side.

He took a breath and was ready to let loose with another round when he felt strong arms wrapping around his middle. It was Finn, "That's it, you're done. Would you look at him? Why are you being such a bitch?"

He couldn't actually answer because Finn had lifted him over his shoulder and was carrying him out of the room. When he actually looked back at Blaine he realized the other boy was curled up in a ball, tears obviously running down his face. After a few more seconds Finn plunked him down on his bed.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Finn asked, slamming the bedroom door.

Kurt was seriously going to punch somebody, manicure be damned. "Me? I'm not the one who blew off our shopping trip to spend the day with your ex. I should point out that I could have spent the day with any one of your oh-so-lovely exes, but I came home because I thought we had a tradition!"

"Blaine was having a bad day. I figured it would be okay if we started our day a little later. Why are you being so selfish? You're a better person than this Kurt, I know you are," Finn said.

That hurt. He knew that sometimes he could be self-centered and a little bitchy, but he really thought he was becoming a better person.

"I just wish someone would actually acknowledge how hard this is for me," he said, flopping back on his bed.

"See that's what I mean. Hard for you? Which part was hard for you, being smacked around by your father or being thrown out of your house with 15 minutes to pack? Was it the night you spent in your car because you had nowhere else to go? Or was it this morning when you found out that you are an uncle but will probably never see the kid? Oh, wait that wasn't you that was Blaine,"

Finn said, shaking his head.

Kurt sat back up, "What?"

"You heard me. Someone had to give you a reality check," Fin said.

Blaine's father had hit him. Andrea had a baby and they wouldn't let Blaine visit? Kurt felt sick. He'd never considered what had actually happened, because he'd been too busy casting Blaine as the villain in The Kurt Hummel Story.

"Why didn't anyone tell me?" He asked, his voice small.

"You didn't really give anyone a chance, dude," Finn replied, "The question now is what you are going to do now that you know. You can't possibly hate him this much."

Kurt ran a hand through his hair, "I don't hate him at all, that's the problem."

"So what are you going to do?"

Kurt stood up and straightened his bow tie, "I'm going downstairs to apologize and talk to him if he'll let me."

"He will. I'm sure of it," Finn said as Kurt walked out the door to talk to Blaine for the first time in nearly six months.
Kurt Hummel leaned back from the table and crossed his legs, trying to keep the vaguely interested look on his face. His date, a business major he met a club last week, continued to drone on about financial policy and capital investment while simultaneously trying to impress Kurt by dropping dollar figures related to his trust fund. Kurt would claim that he'd never been so bored, but a Warbler discussion on the bylaws concerning performing without ties came close.

The date had all but ended for Kurt when he had mentioned his major and Lucas had sighed and said "that's nice" like you would to a preschooler holding up a finger painting. That was the point when he'd stopped asking Kurt questions and started in on his current monologue.

It was only early December and Kurt had been out with five guys just like Lucas since he arrived in New York last August. He could probably write a guide on the different types of young gay men in New York, he'd been on a lot of first dates and very few second ones. Just this Friday he'd had dinner with Mason, a photography student who had tried to talk him into posing nude before their appetizers had even arrived. Late drinks with Marco had ended nearly before they started when the other man had admitted to not only being in the closet, which Kurt could handle, short-term, but to being engaged to a woman, which Kurt could not.

On this particular evening he managed to act interested through dinner and politely thanked Lucas when the other man insisted on paying. Kurt and Rachel were barely scraping by and Lucas' trust fund might as well be good for something. After the last three months of dates Kurt couldn't really say he was surprised to find the other man's hand on his ass as they left the restaurant. He was also well practiced in removing hands from his ass. He may be determined to move on from his broken heart, but he wasn't about to forget his dad's advice. In fact, with some experience and heartbreak under his belt he knew exactly how those things could matter so much.

Kurt dragged himself up the five flights of stairs to his and Rachel's apartment and grabbed a tub of low-fat organic ice cream from the freezer before throwing himself on the sofa. He saw Rachel shake her head as she dropped her music theory workbook to the side, "What was it this time?"

"I don't know why I keep going out with these preppy business types. All he did was talk about investments and finances. He doesn't care if he makes a mark on the world as long as he makes money," Kurt grumbled. He rolled over on the couch to face his friend and sighed at the look on her face, "Don't say it," he warned. They'd had this conversation before.

"I'm just saying that you seem to be attracted to a certain type of look, and maybe it has something to do with what happened over the summer," she said and he could tell she was trying to be gentle.

"I've been out with all kinds of guys," he protested.

"All kinds of losers. Have you actually turned anyone down?" He wasn't sure why he was allowing himself to talk relationships with Rachel of all people. He'd caught her talking to Jesse St. James on the phone just last week. Still, it wasn't like he had anyone else to talk to these days.

"You know I have," he pointed out.

"Fine, have you turned down anyone under 30?" Rachel must have been getting better at reading the looks he gave her, because she changed tactics, "I just don't think your current strategy of quantity over quality is going to help you get over him."
"None of this is about Blaine Anderson, and you need to drop it. He didn't want me anymore. I left. It's over. This isn't Lima, I have options even if I haven't found a good one yet," he said.

"Okay, but neither one of us is going to meet our Prince Charming in a club. Think strategically for second, there have to be guys in our classes that will recognize us for the future stars we are," Rachel said.

Kurt leaned his head back on the couch and sighed, she had a point. There was a guy he'd had his eye on in his Playwriting class. Mark was a freshman from Iowa and they'd quickly bonded over being from nowhere. He'd hesitated at first, not sure that Mark was gay, but eventually their pre-lecture conversations had turned to high school trauma and he knew that Mark was definitely gay and single. Maybe it was time to see if his new friend wanted to get some coffee after class.

"Thanks Rachel, maybe you have a point. About the clubs, not about Bl-the past. I think I'll just go to bed, I've got a rehearsal room booked early tomorrow," he said and headed to his room.

As he went through his nighttime routine he couldn't help but look at the pictures he had lined up across the edge of his dresser. His eyes settled on the one of his senior prom where he and Blaine had posed with Finn, Rachel, Mike and Tina. When everything had gone wrong he had sat down with a pair of scissors determined to literally cut his ex out of his life. He'd been stopped by Carole, who admitted she knew how tempting it was to destroy evidence of an ex, but that he'd be sorry later when he was able to focus on the good memories. He knew she was right, even if it still hurt to think about their last conversation.

Five Months Earlier:
Blaine had shown up on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-August when he knew Kurt would be home from working at the garage. Finn had started football camp that week and they had the house to themselves. Kurt, who had been sewing costumes for the community theater production he and Rachel were doing that summer was pleasantly surprised to see his boyfriend and had quickly wrapped himself around the other boy. His confusion as Blaine carefully pulled himself away quickly turned to dread as soon as Blaine said, "Let's sit down Kurt, we need to talk."

"Kurt, I'm sorry but I don't think this is working," Blaine said. He was sitting stiffly on the Hummel's couch and he didn't meet Kurt's eyes.

It took a minute before Kurt was even able to speak, "What do you mean? Nothing has changed, we haven't been fighting, I don't understand," Blaine shook his head, "It's not right anymore. You didn't do anything, please believe me. It's just time to let this go."

Kurt was fighting back tears, he was still in shock. "Blaine, stop it. I love you. Whatever it is we can figure it out together. Just talk to me."

Blaine shook his head, "There's nothing to talk about. This is for the best, trust me."

Kurt just shook his head, he wouldn't be able to trust Blaine with anything again, especially his heart.
 
*KB*
 
Three things were very clear to Blaine when he woke up. The first was that it was very cold in the car, the second was that his face hurt worse than it had last night, and the third was that someone was pounding on his car window. He went to rub his eyes out of habit and stopped abruptly when he remembered what condition his left eye was in.

With a sigh he used a corner of the sleeping bag he was huddled under to wipe the mist from the inside of his car window. When it revealed a worried looking Mr. Schuester, Blaine groaned and checked his phone, 6:30 am, it figured this would be the one day his teacher came in early.

He pasted his best charm-the-adults smile on his face and opened the car door, "Good morning, Mr. Schue. Did you feel like watching the sunrise this morning too?"

"Blaine, what happened to your face? Did you sleep in your car last night?" Obviously he was going to have to come up with a better story if he was going to make it until his birthday in March.

"I slipped on some ice, got a little banged up, and I.." he didn't bother to finish when the older man put up a hand.
"Stop Blaine, you aren't making this any better by lying. Let's get you inside where it's warm. You can clean up in the locker room and then we are going to talk in my office. "

"Yes sir," Blaine said quietly, grabbing his school bag and backpack with a change of clothes before following his teacher into the building.

Blaine did as he was told, but he spent the entire time he was washing up trying to figure out what would happen next. He knew that Mr. Schue couldn't and wouldn't let him continue to stay in his car. He was terrified of being put into foster care. Maybe if he could find a job he could be emancipated, although it would probably take until his birthday to work all that out anyway.

He shook his head as he used his dirty t-shirt to towel off. One day at a time, that's what he'd told himself last night. It could be worse, at least it had been Mr. Schue and not the police, or worse yet Coach Sylvester, who found him.

When he got to Mr. Schue's office next to the choir room he was surprised to find not only a cup of coffee but a wrapped muffin waiting for him. His teacher just shrugged, "I figured you would be hungry and Coach Bieste doesn't mind if I raid her stash now and then."

"Thank you," Blaine said quietly as he started eating, not really knowing what else to do.

"Blaine I know you've only been at McKinley for a little over a year, but I hope you feel like you can trust me. I really do want to help," Mr. Schue said.

Blaine tried really hard not to let his first thoughts show on his face. He'd always wondered why none of the teachers, but especially this one, had helped Kurt before the bullying got out of control.

He may have been too tired to properly block that out because he saw Schue wince at his expression. "I think you'll find as you get older that being an adult doesn't mean you automatically have all the answers. We're all still learning, and none of us are perfect. It doesn't mean we don't care."

Blaine nodded, he was well aware of the failings of adults at the moment. Still, Mr. Schue had worked really hard to help Kurt and Rachel prepare for their college auditions last year on top of their regular glee club stuff.

"I don't know what to say," Blaine said, feeling tired all over again.

"Okay, I'll ask some questions. Please tell me the truth," Mr. Schue said before taking a gulp of his coffee, "What happened to your
face?"

Well, no beating around the bush this morning. "My father and I had a disagreement about my life choices. He found out that I had applied to NYU and NYADA instead of Notre Dame. Four generations of Andersons have gone to Notre Dame. They still think I'm going to meet a nice Catholic, preferably Filipina, girl and get married. We got into an argument and he got angry. He started calling me names. He tried to blame all of this on Kurt, as if I haven't been out since freshman year. When he started saying horrible things about Kurt I finally told him to shut up. That's when he hit me."

"Blaine, I'm so sorry. Um, this might be the wrong time to ask but I thought that you and Kurt had broken up?" He could tell his teacher was trying understand what was going on, so he wasn't bothered by the question.

"Yeah, we did. I don't want to talk about that. It doesn't matter, my father doesn't care enough to notice. He just thinks Kurt makes an easy target," Blaine said, looking pained.

Schue shook his head, "He's obviously never gone toe to toe with him."

Blaine forced out a sad laugh, "Yeah, he wouldn't know what hit him."

His teacher immediately got serious again, "Blaine, has your father ever hit you before?"

"No," Blaine said, "It doesn't fit his picture perfect family image."

"What happened after that?"

"He gave me 15 minutes to pack and get out of the house. Luckily the car is in my name, it was a gift from my grandfather before he passed away. I didn't know where else to go last night," Blaine said resting his head in his hands.

Schuester was quiet for a minute and Blaine watched as he pinched the bridge of his nose before he said, "You know that I can't let this go. I'm legally obligated to report this."

"Please, just let me handle it. I'll be 18 in March," Blaine said, even though he knew it wouldn't do any good.

"It's not even that. Once you are an adult you still need a place to stay," Schue said.

"Please Mr. Schue, do you think there are a lot of foster families in Lima that want to take in a gay teenage boy? They'll put me in some group home and then toss me back out on the street in March if nobody puts me in the hospital before then. Just let me figure something out. Please," he said, he knew he sounded desperate and maybe a little crazy. He could only imagine what other boys in a group home might do to someone like him. He had a feeling Mr. Schue had a pretty good idea too.

"Okay. I'll give you a day to figure something out"

Blaine felt the fear ease up a little bit, he could figure this out.

"Is there anyone you could stay with, grandparents? Aunt or uncle?"

"They are worse than my parents, the only grandparent I have left tried to get my mom to send me to one of those "Pray Away the Gay" camps," Blaine said, sounding even more defeated.

Mr. Schue thought for a minute, "Are there any friends from Dalton? I realize you didn't really go there that long."

"No, I don't think that will work. Maybe someone here." Dalton friends were out, there were reasons his friends went to boarding school after all. The Montgomery's maybe would agree, but he couldn't just pick up and move to Seattle. Not with Wes away at Stanford.

He snapped out of it when he realized Mr. Schue was talking again, "If you can find somewhere to stay Miss Pillsbury and I will help you get it set up so there is no legal issue. Emma can tell us more, but it's basically emergency foster care. Whoever it was would have to be approved by CPS." Blaine knew what he wasn't saying.

"So the Berrys are out," Blaine said biting off the end of his words.

"None of this is right or fair Blaine, but we will work it out. I'd do it myself, but..."

"Yeah, no it's fine. I get it," Blaine said, and he did. They weren't really supposed to know that their unmarried teachers were shacked up, or that Miss P was seeing a shrink. Stuff like that still mattered in Lima and they probably wouldn't get approved either.

Mr. Schue gave him a sad smile, "I'll fix things with the attendance office, take today off and think about your options. I think that you should talk to Finn and Kurt's parents. It might be awkward, but they might be your best chance."

"Awkward?" Blaine repeated, "With all due respect Mr. Schue, I don't think awkward covers it when you are ducking a flame-thrower."

Schuester shook his head and bit his lip so he wouldn't smile, "Okay, really awkward. But you know they are good people, Burt would never actually hurt you. They understand how bad this could be for you."

Blaine tugged at his sleeves, "As a last resort."

"I think you are almost there," Schue said, and Blaine could tell he regretted having to point it out, "call me by eight so I know you have something to eat and a place to go. We'll meet with Miss Pillsbury tomorrow and sort everything out."

"Okay, I promise I'll call you when I figure it out," Blaine said, gathering up his bags.

Mr. Schue came around the desk and put a hand on his shoulder, "You don't have to do this alone, Blaine."

"Thanks Mr. Schue," he said. He almost believed it.

After tossing his stuff back into the car he drove to the Lima Bean and ordered his usual before sitting at a table in the back. He hoped the staff wouldn't notice if he stayed most of the day on one coffee. He took out his phone, which thankfully hadn't been cut off yet and opened his contacts. There had to be someone.

He scrolled up and down without much luck. He and Artie had become friends this year, but Mrs. Abrams had been laid off a few months ago and there was no way they could afford another person in the house. Tina's parents were very old world and would never permit a boy to live in the house with their teenage daughter. He didn't have that many friends. Finally he stopped scrolling and stared at the H's. He checked his watch, he'd been lost in thought for a while and it was after 10. Hummel Tire and Lube would be open for business and he knew what he had to do.

Unexpected (Jesse/Will, R)

Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Condom?  Will Schuester hesitated. He wasn’t going to need one, was he?  He was just going to check things out, see how it felt. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. He sighed and slid the little square package in his pocket anyhow.

He and Emma had agreed to keep their distance over the break, and it was probably for the best. Emma was with Carl and was quick to remind him that he still had some issues to sort out on his own. Issues, yeah, that was what this was about. His issues. That’s why he was nervously preparing to visit a gay bar. Not in Lima, oh god, not in Lima.  There was a bar in Carmel that was known for it’s live music and tended to be more open minded about it’s customers. That’s where he was headed.  He’d been with Terri for so long, so consumed by the easy hetero side of his bisexuality he hadn’t explored the other side. At least, not face to face with another human being. Of course, if Terri had ever bothered to use his laptop she would have come off a lot better in the divorce settlement.

The drive to Carmel was uneventful, mostly spent beating himself up over telling kids every day that they should be themselves while he sneaks across county lines to hide who he is.  After sitting in The Anchorman’s parking lot watching couples of every combination come and go Will decided that he was being ridiculous and he may as well get a beer. It’s not like he had to talk to anyone if he didn’t feel like it.

The inside of the bar was trendy, but not overdone and Will relaxed a little as he grabbed a spot at the bar and ordered a Sam Adams.  It wasn’t long before  a dark haired man came up to Will.


“Is this seat taken?” he asked, gesturing at the stool next to Will.  


“Uh, No. It’s all yours.” said Will, taking a long swig of his beer. The other man was dressed casually and simply and it helped to put Will at ease.


“I’m Jason,” he said, “Don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”


“I’m Will, and no I guess you could say I don’t get out much. Just checking things out.”


Jason nodded, “I come here mostly for the entertainment, myself. Do you like music?”


“Yes, most kinds.  The singer here is pretty good?”  Will smiled, this was a topic he was okay with, but if the curtain opened to reveal Bryan Ryan he was leaving.


“The kid is something else,” Jason said, “and not hard on the eyes either. See for yourself, he’s about to go on.”


Will shifted to watch the stage, and suddenly he wished it was Bryan up there. On the stage, in leather pants that clung to him like a second skin, was Jesse St. James.


     
Will’s first instinct was to drop his beer bottle on the bar and run for it. There was just no way that this could end well.  It was bad enough to be seen here by a student, but being seen by this student was a disaster.  Jesse who had broken Rachel’s heart with his games, who had trashed his choir room, who had a massive ego and a big mouth. Jesse who was now straddling the microphone stand belting out “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and making Will incredibly uncomfortable in the process.  Still, he wasn’t ready to leave.   It had taken him two months just to find the guts to spend an evening here in the first place, and the thought of giving up now without even finishing his drink was disheartening to say the least.


 He was going to need more alcohol if he was going to stay so he ordered a Long Island from the bartender and did his best to ignore the stage, where Jesse had moved on to "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)” from Avenue Q.  Instead he turned to Jason and asked, “Is it always this intense?”

Jason chuckled, “This is nothing, you should check out some of the clubs in Columbus sometime.”


“I think I’m going to have work up to that,” said Will.


“Fair enough,” said Jason who easily changed the subject, “Do you follow football?”

    
Will spent a while debating the fairness of the BCS with Jason while Jesse sang his way through some even more disturbing crowd pleasers including “I’m a Slave 4U” and a spectacularly filthy version of “Dancing with Myself” that would have made Artie cringe.  He was working on quite a nice buzz by this point and he couldn’t help but jump when the other man’s cellphone went off.  After a few quick words Jason closed his phone and gave Will an apologetic smile, “I have to go. It seems my nephew decided to use some scrap wood as a bike ramp and my sister needs me to stay with the baby while she takes him to the ER.”


Will nodded, “Wow, hope everyone is okay. It was nice meeting you.”

   
With Jason gone Will was out of distractions, but he knew he’d have to hang out for a while before he was okay to drive home.  When Jesse started in with George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” he decided it was time to visit the men’s room.  That turned out to be a rather crucial mistake.  It was on the way back that Jesse spotted him. The eye contact lasted just long enough for Jesse to raise an eyebrow before Will ducked his head and found a seat in the back. He knew he should leave. He couldn’t really afford a cab, but he wasn’t really sure he could afford to stay and face Jesse either, not with the effect the performance was having on him. Still, he felt like he had to have this confrontation.


If he’d needed any confirmation Jess St. James liked his mind games the end of the set was proof enough. The next three songs were Madonna’s “Burning Up”, Journey’s “Wildest Dream” and a version of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” with the correct gender modifications. He was so fucked.


Finally Jesse's set was over and he announced a break.  Will was determined to find him, say his piece and get the hell out of there even if it meant walking back to Lima.  Earlier in the night he'd noticed a corridor  that seemed to run behind the stage.  He assumed there was some kind of dressing room or green room back there so he set off to find Jesse. He didn't have to go far.   He turned the corner to find the younger man walking toward him with a towel around his neck and a bottle of water in his hand.


"What the hell are you doing here?" Will asked, "Do they know how old you are?"


Jesse laughed, "I'm 19 you know. I'm an adult and I'm not a high school student any more. That's all that matters. I'm singing and I'm making money. Los Angeles isn't cheap. I'm going to UCLA remember?"


"Oh, I remember.  I also remember how you treated Rachel and given that now you are singing here I have to wonder how deep your lies go."  Will said, trying to keep his eyes off of Jesse's toned chest.  The silk shirt that had carefully skimmed just an inch above those leather pants earlier was now hanging open.


"It wasn't all a lie. I did what was needed.  And as for singing here, let's just say I’m flexible when it comes to my interests. Hell, I messed up the lead singer from that prep school the year before you made it to regionals. Some naive little sophomore, Blake? Blair? Something like that, at least I got some action out of him."


Between the amount of alcohol in his system and anger at the callous smirk on Jesse's face Will saw red and went after him. To Will's distress it only took a second and he found himself turned around and pressed against the wall of the corridor, his hands trapped above his head held in place by one of Jesse's.


"Now, if that's your idea of flirting no wonder you never got anywhere with Coach Corcoran, or that little guidance counselor you had the hots for. Of course, you're here too, so maybe you weren't that invested either."


Will tried to shove him off, "You're an ass, I'm not flirting with you."


"Really?" Jesse said, leaning close enough that Will could feel his breath on his neck, "I saw the way you were watching me. You may have noticed that most of the performance was meant for you."

   
Will had known that, it was kind of hard to ignore. His body certainly couldn't ignore it, or ignore how close the other man was standing now. There was really only one thing he could think of to say, "Fuck You".

   
He figured his message was received loud and clear when Jesse's mouth crashed down on his.  The kiss was rough and almost painful, their teeth clashing against each other.  Will's arms were suddenly free, just as he found himself trapped, his entire body pressed between Jesse and the wall. He didn't waste any time in shoving his hands under the open silk shirt and sliding his hands over Jesse's chest and shoulders, clutching at his back.  Jesse's mouth moved to his neck, nipping and kissing at Will's throat just as he shifted a leg between Will's and pushed against his thigh.  

Will groaned, and his own cock got impossibly harder in his pants as he thrust forward seeking friction in the same way.  This was about lust and control, there was no false affection, no breathy moaning of each others' names. They found an angle that worked for both of them and kept at it, ignoring the fact that they were in an open hallway.  Whether it was the anger, the novelty, or the musical foreplay it was clear this wasn't meant to be a long encounter. Will scraped his nails one last time against Jesse's back and buried his face against the other man's shoulder as they both thrust a few more times and came violently against each other.  

   
After a few moments Will pushed Jesse away and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He knew his eyes were wide and and he was still panting. Shit, he couldn't believe what he just did, or more accurately who he had just done this with.  He had to get out of there, maybe Emma was right when she called him a slut. He didn't look back, but if he had he would have seen Jesse St. James smirk before calmly finishing his water bottle and retreating to his makeshift dressing room to change before his next set.
Part 5:December (where Part 1 leaves off)

Finn’s phone beeped just as he was getting in the car for the three hour drive back to Lima.  It was a text from Kurt - Meet me at the Starbucks on West Market before you go home. ILY

Finn sent a quick reply telling him when he expected to get there and settled in for the three hour drive.  

He pulled into the coffee shop a few hours later and spotted Kurt’s Navigator parked in a corner of the parking lot. Before he could go in and look for his boyfriend Kurt spotted his truck and came through the door and motioned for Finn to get in his car with him.   Finn scrambled out of his truck and into the Navigator, giving Kurt barely enough time to put their drinks in the cup holder before pulling the smaller boy into his lap and kissing down his neck, “I missed you so much, three weeks is way too long not to see you. “


Kurt laughed, “Why do you think I wanted to meet you here! We need a little time together before we have to keep our hands off each other. “

Finn started to push Kurt off of his lap so they could get more comfortable, but Kurt shook his head and hit a lever on the side of the seat leaving Finn horizontal and Kurt stretched out on top of him.  “I’d like to hug the person who invented tinted windows,” Finn said.    The two boys spent several minutes getting reacquainted before Kurt pushed himself back and moved to the driver’s seat, “If we keep this up we’re going to have more things to explain to our parents.”


Finn blushed, but agreed reluctantly, “About that, what are we going to do about this holiday dinner?”


“I don’t know.  I hate lying to my dad, but I’m not ready to tell them either.  If they are weirded out by this....”  Kurt trailed off with a shake of his head.


“They know better than anyone that we were close before they met, even if I couldn’t quite admit it then. I know what you mean though, it’s a lot to lay on them. Hey! Maybe I could get someone to pretend to be my girlfriend,  Santana should be home for break. “ Finn said, happy to contribute an idea.


Kurt’s eyes narrowed, “That girl is not getting anywhere near you as long as I can help it. I still don’t trust her. Still, getting someone to play the part is not a bad idea. Wes owes me pretty big, I covered for him so he could sneak out to his girlfriend’s prom.”


Finn considered that for minute, “Fair enough, but only because I know he’s straight. I don’t really want anybody else’s hands on you either.  Is he still with the same girl? Maybe she could help me out?”


“Okay, let’s find out when Dad and Carole want this dinner to happen and then I’ll call Wes.  In the meantime we have to behave.”


“Fine, but we’re going to have to sneak out a few times. I know all the good places to park. “


Kurt snorted, “From Puck? You dated the two biggest prudes in the history of McKinley. I won’t leave you hanging like they did. “


Finn glanced at the clock on the dashboard, “I should probably be home soon.”


“Go ahead, I’ll wait twenty minutes or so before I leave here.” Kurt said, kissing him quickly before Finn headed back to his truck.


***

Despite their brief meeting in the parking lot Finn was having trouble keeping his hands off Kurt and it really wasn’t helping matters during the rather awkward family dinner.  

He’d almost sprayed 7up all over the table when Burt asked Kurt where he’d met his boyfriend, but the other boy just said “at school” which Finn figured wasn’t technically a lie.


Finn immediately started talking about the classes he had taken last semester in hopes of changing the subject before the questions went too far.


When Kurt offered to do the dishes Finn quickly volunteered to dry, much to his mother’s surprise.  The smaller boy barely started to fill the sink before Finn had him pinned against the counter, pressing up against him.


“Finn!,” Kurt hissed at a whisper, “Our parents are still in the dining room, they could walk in any minute.”


Finn lifted his lips from Kurt’s neck for just a minute, “I can’t help it, you look so hot. It’s been weeks!”


“Later, Finn.  Wait until they are both asleep and sneak down to my room. “  Kurt said quietly before Carole’s voice wafted in from the dining room, “Boys? Everything okay in there? You are really quiet!”


Finn immediately jumped away from Kurt and answered, “Yeah Mom, we’re fine. Almost done!”


Kurt just shook his head and grabbed the scrubber.



***

Once Finn was sure that their parents had gone to bed he turned off his Xbox and slipped quietly down to Kurt’s room. He would have rather spent the evening watching a movie with his boyfriend but he wouldn’t have done that before and he already felt like his mom was suspicious. He found Kurt stretched out on the bed, the most recent copy of Vogue in front of him.

“Hey,” he said, “Mom and Burt are asleep.”


Kurt smiled, “Set the alarm on your phone for four if you want to stay. Dad will be up at 5 to go to the garage.”


Finn quickly set his alarm and placed both it and Kurt’s magazine on the nightstand before stretching out on the bed and pulling Kurt on top of him.  They had some time to make up for.


***

Kurt was starting to think that keeping their parents in the dark wasn’t worth the damage it would do to his complexion.  He was still groggy when he met Mercedes at the mall for last minute Christmas shopping the morning after Finn had snuck into his room.  He had a hard time getting back to sleep after convincing Finn to leave before his dad got up.  Luckily he didn’t have to keep his act up with Mercedes.  He hadn’t intended to tell her so early on, mostly for Finn’s sake, but he had unthinkingly answered a Skype call from her while Finn was hanging out in his room one weekend.  Given that the taller boy was only wearing his boxers Kurt decided to tell her the truth and explain. She had taken the news well, but insisted on explaining to Finn rather graphically what she would do to him if he was just messing around.

The two friends spent the morning shopping, with Kurt picking up a few things he wanted to see on Finn that the other boy would definitely not be opening in front of their parents.  It was about one o’clock when he got a text from Finn telling him to come to the food court.  They arrived to find Finn pushing Artie to a table in the back while Mike carried a tray piled with food.  Kurt’s phone buzzed again, “Thought we could all catch a movie, parents won’t think twice about a group thing”.


“Hi guys!  What are you doing here?”  Mercedes asked, looking directly at Finn.


“We wanted to see that new Incarceron movie, and Finn said you and Kurt were already here. Are you finished your shopping?” Artie said.


“Get me anything good?” Finn asked, craning his neck to look in Kurt’s bags.


“No!” Kurt snapped, blushing. “A movie sounds good, my phone says there is show starting in forty-five minutes, that should give us time to eat before we go.”


Everyone agreed and got down to eating lunch and catching up.  When it was time for the movie they all filed into the back of the theater where there was room for Artie’s chair.  Mercedes carefully manipulated the group so that Finn ended up on the aisle with Kurt between the two of them.  It wasn’t that they didn’t want Artie and Mike to know, it was just that the more people that knew the less chance of keeping their secret in a town like Lima.   As soon as the lights went down Finn flipped up the armrest between them and pulled Kurt closer into his side.  They mostly behaved themselves, but it was nice to be close without having to worry about who might see them.


***

Burt Hummel sat at the kitchen table peeling potatoes while his wife prepped the rest of the meal, “And Finn still thinks we’re expecting to meet his girlfriend?”

Carole chuckled, “I wonder if he even realized that I never said “she” or “girlfriend”. I just told him I wanted to meet whoever was making him happy.”


“I basically told Kurt the same thing, although I hinted about his credit card bill. I’m not sure whether they think we forget how we got together in the first place or we’re  just plain stupid.” Burt said with a shake of his head.


“That’s not it. I think they both feel like this is a very big thing and they don’t quite know how to talk about it. I was upset at first that he didn’t tell me, but I think I understand. What I don’t understand is why Kurt thinks we don’t see all the charges for places around Kent.” Carole said, dumping the rest of the vegetables into the pot.


Burt stopped for a minute, he had promised his wife he’d be honest, even though parenting related issues were hard for them. They’d been doing it on their own for so long they were always nervous about butting in, but this involved both their kids. “If Finn is really so uncomfortable about this, I’m kind of worried that Kurt might be too invested,” he said.


Carole sat down at the table and took her husbands hand, “I know you’re frustrated because you can’t figure out who to threaten with the shotgun, but do you really think Kurt is that easily won over any more?  If I know Kurt he made my boy work for it. One look at Finn’s face when he talked about Kurt during Thanksgiving totally gave them away.”


Burt had to agree, “So  I think this dinner thing should be Friday. Give them two more days to freak out. How far do you think they’ll take this before they come clean?”  


“I think they’ll at least consider asking a friend to play the part.”


“Hmnfh,  I think one of us will be unlucky enough to catch them in the act before they get the chance.”


Carole had to laugh at the face Burt made to go along with his prediction, “Okay, whoever is wrong does the dishes next week.”


“You’ve got yourself a deal.”


****

Finn and Kurt made it home from the mall just in time for their parents to tell them that they’d like both their significant others to come for dinner on Friday night.  Giving Finn a pointed look Kurt quickly excused himself to go down to his room and make a phone call.  To his great relief Wes picked up on the second ring.

“Kurt? Hey, what’s up? You usually just text.” said Wes.


“Yeah, but look I have to call in that favor you owe me. I need someone to pretend to be my boyfriend and  meet my dad Friday night. I was kind of hoping Madison might be willing to pretend to date my step-brother too.”


“Um, I know I owe you, but I think there is something I’m not getting here. Why do both you and Finn need fake dates?”  

“Remember what I told you guys about how my dad met my step-mother?”  Kurt said, hoping Wes was going to connect the dots on his own.

“You introduced them,  you had a crush on Finn.” Wes said.


Apparently Kurt was going to have to spell it out, “Well, things between he and I kind of developed over the summer. Our parents know we are seeing people, they just don’t know who we are seeing.”


Kurt was not amused by the laughter that was coming from the other end of the phone, “Focus Wesley! I’m serious.”


“So let me see if I get this straight, pun intended. You are dating your apparently not-quite-so-hetero step-brother, and rather than tell your parents, who I assume know better than anyone how long you’ve had a thing for Finn, you want Madison and I to spend our Friday night pretending to be your respective significant others?”


“See, I knew that fancy Dalton education had to be good for something. So will you do it?” Kurt asked, starting to lose his patience.  


“I really can’t. It’s my grandmother’s eightieth birthday and Madison is going with me. Just tell them Kurt, from everything you’ve said about your dad it’s not going to be a problem...except maybe that you didn’t tell them before. Do you really think he’d rather you bring some random person home? “


“Okay, okay. Point taken. But you still owe me,” Kurt said, pinching the bridge of his nose, his friend did have a point.  

He could hear Wes pause and his voice go gentle on the other end of the phone, “Blaine’s doing okay.  He likes London, but I can tell he’s lonely. Have you talked to him?”

“No, we agreed. In the new year maybe. It was too hard to keep talking when...” Kurt said.


“I get it. I do, Kurt. I’m glad you’re moving on. I think when you’re ready he would like to hear from his friend. You don’t have to give that part up too.”


“Thanks Wes. We should talk more often. Have a good time with your family on Friday.”

“Later Kurt.” Wes said, and the call ended.


Kurt spent a few minutes thinking about what Wes had said. At least the part about Finn and telling their parents. As far as getting back in contact with his ex, even in a completely platonic way. that he’d have to think about and talk over with Finn.


He went upstairs and found Finn watching ESPN as usual, “Hi there, can we talk?”


“Of course, are you okay?” the taller boy said, scooting over on the couch so Kurt could sit next to him.


Kurt took a deep breath, “I think it’s time to tell them the truth. I don’t like lying and you know deep down they are going to be okay with it. Unless that it makes it too real for you?”  He didn’t really mean to question Finn’s commitment to them being together, he just wanted to understand what was keeping his boyfriend from being open about it.


“Kurt, this is the most real thing that’s ever happened to me. I think you’re right. I mean how long can we really keep this up?”


Kurt smiled, “As long as you are sure, how should we do it?”


Before Finn could answer they heard a key in the lock. It had to be Carole, Burt was always at the garage until dinner time.  Kurt didn’t have a chance to react when Finn grabbed him and pressed him to the couch covering his lips with his own just in time for his mother to enter the room.


Carole only paused a minute before hitting the speed dial on her cell, “Hi honey, looks like you won. I’ll be doing the dishes this week.”    The boys gaped at her, although Kurt’s disbelief seemed to be split evenly between her and Finn’s method of spilling their secret.


The sides of her mouth quirked up, “A parent always knows, boys. I expect you’ll be acting like gentleman the rest of your visit. There are some things we’d rather be kept in the dark about.”

With that she continued into the kitchen to start dinner, leaving the two shocked boys on the couch.
(Not Quite August)


Kurt Hummel was not a patient person.  It had seemed like a good idea when he’d told Finn they needed two months to get their heads and hearts together. He’d been right about waiting, just maybe not about how long.  He’d meant what he’d told Finn about getting over his ex.

Honestly, Kurt had never expected that relationship to last as long as it had. He had always known that being different made him shine, and Blaine just didn’t see the world that way. The other boy needed to blend in.  Still, they had loved each other and even though ending their romantic relationship had been for the best it was still painful.  He still couldn’t quite believe that Finn might want a romantic relationship after all they’d been through, but he didn’t have to be a relationship expert to know having your step-brother as a rebound guy was an extremely bad idea. So he’d waited, and now he wanted to move on. With Finn, if he would have him, and Kurt was pretty sure Finn still wanted them to be together.


He’d meant what he’d said to Finn about still hanging out, and they had.  They had fun both alone and out with their friends who were still in town, but one thing was very different. Finn was touching him all the time. Not like he was trying to rush things,  mostly just friendly casual touches.   They had gone to the beach with their glee friends and not only had Finn picked him up and thrown him in the water but he’d also put him up on his shoulders so he could chicken fight Tina who was on Mike’s shoulders.   It was a very couple-ish thing to do and earned them a raised eyebrow from Mercedes.  


On the Fourth of July  Finn had talked him into watching the fireworks from the roof of the house, and they had stretched out shoulder to shoulder on a blanket Finn had brought up.   What finally broke Kurt’s resolve to wait had happened a little more than a week after that.   


Their parents had gone to Toledo for a car expo and  they had left the boys alone for the night  with pizza money and a warning against throwing a party.  Finn had spent most of the day watching an Indians double header in the living room, while Kurt was re-organizing his closet in the basement.  Kurt had just come upstairs to see if Finn wanted to watch a movie before they went to sleep when the tornado sirens went off.    He froze. He thought he heard Finn go into the garage to grab the radio his dad kept in there, he may have heard Finn say something about grabbing some water and snacks from the kitchen. He couldn’t be sure, he couldn’t hear much of anything over the sound of his own heart.  Suddenly Finn was in the kitchen with him and looking nervous.


“Dude, are you okay? You look a little freaked.”


Kurt shook his head, “I’m not good with tornadoes.”


Finn put a hand on his shoulder, “Okay, well, you know what to do right?  We’ve lived in Ohio our whole lives.  We need to go down to the basement, probably in your bathroom and wait it out.  I’m going to grab some bottled water and stuff. Do you have your phone?”


Kurt just nodded. He was sure he could hear it coming, a sound like a freight train. He’d heard it before.


“Okay, let’s go downstairs. We’ll check the weather on your phone then.”  Kurt still wasn’t moving so Finn grabbed his hand and carefully pulled him down the stairs behind him.  Once they were downstairs and in Kurt’s bathroom Finn guided Kurt to sit down on the edge of the tub and crouched in front of him taking both of his hands in his larger ones.

 “Kurt, you’re scaring me. Can you tell me what’s wrong?”


“It’s the storm. It..it’s not the first one I’ve been through.” Kurt said, visibly trembling.  When Finn pulled away Kurt thought he was going to tell him he was being silly, maybe even laugh at what a baby he was being. He was confused when Finn darted out into the bedroom and came back with the pillow and blanket from Kurt’s bed.  He watched as

Finn placed the pillow at the back of the tub and climbed in, bending his long legs at the knee to fit.   “Come here, “ Finn said and patted the spot in the tub between his legs. When Kurt didn’t move right away Finn reached out and guided him over the side and into his spot. When he had Kurt settled against his chest he pulled the blanket over both of them and started gently rubbing Kurt’s shoulders.  “Please tell me what is going on, I just want to help.”


Kurt sank back into the taller boy and started to explain in a shaking voice. “I was little. Maybe four or five, it was before my mother died.  My dad and I had gone to visit my Uncle Andy in Bluffton and we were on our way back.  We didn’t have the radio on because I had insisted on listening to my Aladdin CD instead.    We heard it before we saw it.  Tornadoes sound like trains, but louder.  I looked up and just saw this big black thing ahead of us. I was too young to even know what it was, but  I could tell my dad was scared. I had never seen my dad scared.”


Finn wrapped his arms around him tighter, but didn’t interrupt.  Kurt kept going, “Dad stopped the car and pulled me out of my booster seat. He carried me over to the ditch at the side of the road and told me we had to hide. I didn’t want to get dirty, but he said we had to.  I still don’t know how he managed to cover me without crushing me, but he did. The funnel cloud didn’t pass right over us, but it was a close thing.  The car...the car was totaled. Dad didn’t have a cell phone back then, so we had to wait on the side of the road until someone came by. So now I don’t like tornadoes.”


“Wow, dude.  Your dad is like superman or something. No kidding you don’t like tornadoes.”  Finn said, resting his chin on Kurt’s shoulder. “We’re doing the right thing to stay safe though. Let’s look at your phone. “


Kurt pulled his phone out of his pocket and opened the weather app.   The tornado warning was still in effect and they expected at least a watch to last a couple more hours. Luckily the storms that had been spotted so far were a good distance outside of Lima.  


Kurt was suddenly exhausted and very comfortable. He stretched out his legs and leaned back, causing Finn to relax his grip a bit and lean his own head back on the pillow.  “I’ll tell you what,” said Finn, “you look like you need some rest. I’ll stay awake for a while and keep an eye on the weather.  Once it’s over we can go to bed. “


After a while Kurt drifted off and Finn started to relax himself. The tornado warning had ended, but there was no way for Finn to get up without waking Kurt.  The other boy just looked so peaceful Finn just couldn’t wake him.  He sent a quick text to their parents telling them not to worry and letting his head fall back on the pillow Finn slept with Kurt in his arms.


When Kurt woke up the next morning he was very warm. It took him a minute to figure out that he was still in the bathtub and still wrapped up in Finn.  He began to move when the arms around him tightened and Finn planted a sleepy kiss on the top of his head, “S’okay love, ‘nados are over. Jus’ sleep here for now.”


Kurt wasn’t sure that Finn had actually even woken up, making the endearment and his actions that much sweeter to Kurt. It was one thing when Finn was alert and knew what he was supposed to say, but to be like this when his guard was down told Kurt how he really felt.  He didn’t need the calendar to tell him when it was okay to let Finn into that part of his life. He knew that they were both ready.   Trying not to wake Finn just yet he carefully twisted around so that he was on his knees facing the taller boy.   Gently he shook Finn’s shoulder to wake him, and when he opened his eyes and saw the bright smile on Kurt’s face he tilted his head and smiled too.


“Something’s changed.” Finn guessed.    


Kurt laughed and leaned over and rested his forehead against Finn’s, “We’ve both changed, Finn. I think I’m ready now if you are.”


Finn paused, “Is this a test or something? Are you going to be mad if I say yes since it’s not August yet?”


Kurt shook his head, “No, I just got tired of waiting and thought maybe you did too.”


Finn didn’t answer, he just pulled Kurt closer into a deep kiss.
Bear with me, I have a bit of writer's block

10. Under the bleachers.
9. Will's apartment
8. Backstage in the auditorium
7. A Hotel Room During a Glee Field Trip
6. The McKinley Boy's Locker Room
5. A Dorm Room at Dalton
4. Brittany's Bedroom
3. The bed of Puck's Pick Up Truck
2. Schue's Office
1. The Choir Room
a/n: Forgive me, Kurt isn't in this chapter.  Finn needs to work some stuff out first, and he need help, it's Finn after all. I also can't seem to resist hinting at a little Will/Finn.

(Later that summer)
Finn was tired of waiting. He was ready to admit that Kurt had a point about the time thing. Kurt was certainly more of his old self. At the very least he had stopped gazing sadly out of windows and listening to his Broadway’s Most Depressing Hits playlist at all hours of the day.  

The summer had been very different for Finn as well.  It was weird to leave all the high school stuff behind, and in a way he wasn’t sure where that left him.   He wasn’t the quarterback, or the lead singer, or someone’s boyfriend. He was just Finn, and it had taken a few weeks to get a handle on what that meant, or maybe more importantly what it could mean.   He had taken a summer job with the Lima Parks Department, doing some landscaping and mowing grass.  It wasn’t much fun, but it paid well and it gave him time to think.   Since the night he danced with Kurt the taller boy hadn’t been able to ignore the new feelings he was having towards his step-brother.  


After two weeks of muttering through lots of websites, some helpful and some just plain frightening he gave up trying to figure things out on his own.  So, after work one day he jumped in his truck and headed off to see Rachel.  It had taken almost all of their senior year, but they were finally able to settle into a comfortable friendship. Finn figured that other than Kurt she knew more about this stuff than anyone he knew.


“Finn!  I wasn’t expecting you. Come in, can I get you a beverage?” the small brunette said.  


“Some water would be awesome, I just finished work.”

Rachel nodded and he followed her into the kitchen and sat at the small dining table.  

“Are your dads home?” he asked.  He wasn’t quite ready for her to drag them in for a heart to heart or something.


“No,” she said, “Dad took Daddy to Columbus to see that new French movie the critics have been talking about.”


“I’m not sure what’s going on with me, but you are smart about this relationship stuff - at least when it’s other people’s.” Finn said, smirking at her while dodging her indignant punch to his arm.


“What’s her name?” Rachel asked, wondering if Finn had met someone in his new job. When Finn didn’t answer right away she looked up at him to find him staring at his shoes.


“Finn?” she asked gently, “Are you here because it’s not a girl? You can look at me you idiot, you know I don’t care.”


Finn blushed and looked her in the eye.  Apparently everything was written all over his face because she gasped and her face lit up, “It’s Kurt! You’ve finally realized you have more than friendly feelings for him.”


Finn choked a bit, “Finally?”  


“You are the only one who didn’t know about your feelings, there has always been something different between you and not just on his side.”


“But I do like girls! Seriously, there was his girl at the city pool the other day and …”


“Finn, focus!  You know it’s not as simple as one or the other right? You can like both.  Although, if you are seriously considering a relationship with Kurt I suggest you stop ogling girls at the pool.”


“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said, watching as she popped into the living room and took a book down from the shelf.  She checked the index and opened it to some kind of chart and laid it in front of him.  


“This is called the Kinsey Scale, it’s not the only way to think about these things, but I think it will help you understand.  See, at this end is people who are exclusively straight, and at the other end are people who are only homosexual.  Now, you’ll have to figure this out for yourself, but I’m guessing you’ll feel that you are a 2 or even a 1. “


Finn read through the descriptions and thought for a minute, “A two, I think.”


Rachel nodded, “Kurt’s not the only guy then?”


“Well, he’s the only guy I’ve actually wanted badly enough to do more than just think about. But, yeah, I’ve noticed guys before.”  


“I kind of figured that was the case,” she said, looking past him and biting her lip to keep from laughing.


He looked up her and sighed, “You obviously think you know something?”


“About your crush on Mr. Schue? Um, yeah. We all kind of knew, you are really subtle Finn. that was while Kurt was at Dalton though so he missed it. Did Schue give you the “you deserve someone special” speech?”

Finn shook his head.

“Then he was clinging hard to the denial. Interesting.”


Finn didn’t quite follow what she was talking about, but accepted it when she she waved it off with a “Don’t worry about it.”   After all, he was here to talk about Kurt.


“Kurt is worried I’m just lonely or horny. I mean, I’m kind of lonely, and I’m definitely horny. So what! If I wasn’t interested in Kurt I could get that taken care of any weekend. There are only five bars in this town  that people under thirty go to.  There are plenty of babes that would be willing to take a go at last year’s quarterback.   I’m not looking for a meaningless fling. “ Finn said, bringing their conversation back to his problems.


Rachel made a face when he mentioned the “babes’” but couldn’t argue the point, “Kurt needs reasons not to let himself hope too much. In case August comes and you choose the ‘Never talking about it again’ option. Now he needs you to take those reasons away for him. That’s why he’s making you wait.”


Finn nodded, “So if I let him know that I’ve figured out I sometimes like guys and it’s not just a piece of tail I’m after he’ll give me a chance?”


“That’s up to Kurt, but I think you are finally ready to follow your heart instead of the crowd. I think he is beginning to see that too. I’m proud of you.”


Finn rolled his eyes, but gave her a hug anyway, “Thanks Rachel, I think I just needed a chance to say some of this stuff out loud.”


Rachel just smiled and walked him back to her door, “That’s what friends are for.”