Normally he wouldn't be going to bed so early. Kurt Hummel is a night owl, but he promised to help his dad rearrange the back room of the shop the next day, which will probably eat the entire day right up. So he needs his sleep, especially if he's going to be expected to be helpful and upbeat and not sarcastic and a nuisance.
Sleeping would be a lot easier if he had been alone in his room.
Instead, he's perched awkwardly on the edge of his bed, watching as Finn paces the room.
"Is is the colors?" he asks timidly, remembering the fiasco that was his last home decorating project. He had since toned down the room, painting it a deep green and carefully keeping all of his more elaborate decorations on one side.
"No," Finn shakes his head. "It looks good."
"Thanks," Kurt looks around the room again, trying to figure out just what was making Finn so nervous.
"It's not the stack of boxes, is it?" he asks. "I don't mind helping you unpack if that's it."
"No," Finn shakes his head again. "That's no big deal."
"Is it me?" Kurt asks bluntly, feeling a whole lot better when Finn practically whirls around, looking at him as if he's grown another head, saying, "No, of course not!"
"Then what's up?" Kurt can't think of what else could possibly be wrong.
"I'm just... not good at sleeping in new places," Finn admits. "Last time it didn't really feel like home, just a sleepover or something, but now it's like... permanent. Like, the one time my aunt came over and I had to sleep on the couch, it was still hard to get to sleep. And when mom and I stayed with cousins last summer, it took me at least three days to get used to it."
"So you're saying that you'll be up for a while, I'm guessing."
"Yeah, basically," Finn nods. "So, I dunno, if you maybe want me to go upstairs so you can sleep, that's totally cool."
"No, it's no big deal," Kurt decides. "I don't really need to go to sleep right this instant anyway."
They end up unpacking all of Finn's movies and video games and his regrettably small collection of books. Kurt, who has been meaning to rearrange his bookshelf for months, takes everything off and they go about organizing the entire thing in one go. Finn is surprised by Kurt's wide variety of movies.
"Wait, you have Batman?" he holds up both 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight,' a grin on his face. "Dude, we are so having a marathon sometime." Kurt laughs, tossing him his copy of the old '60's movie with Adam West and Burt Ward.
"This one has to come first," he says. "You can't have a Batman marathon without the original. It's one of those so-bad-it's-embarrassingly-hilarious kind of movies."
"Best," Finn decides, setting all three movies aside on his desk so they're out in the open.
By the time they're done going through each other's belongings, Finn has a stack of must-read books on his desk from Kurt and Kurt has a stack of yes-blowing-up-people-is-totally-fun video games on his desk from Finn.
"Finn Hudson, I am denying that I know you."
"What? It's not my fault!"
"Yes, it is your fault. You have wasted ten years of your life and you expect me to not blame you?"
"Come on, it's not that big of a deal."
"It's such a big deal that it makes Rachel's affinity for argyle almost cute."
"Not the point!" Kurt snaps angrily. "The point is that you're telling me that you have never once, in your entire life, picked up a Harry Potter book?"
They just finished arranging the bookshelf, and Finn had made the mistake of asking Kurt why he kept seeing "those wizard books" everywhere and "Are they really good or something?" Kurt had promptly picked up his old, battered, and literally falling-apart-at-the-seams copy of Sorcerer's Stone and chucked it at his head.
"I refuse to speak to you until you've read at least the first chapter," Kurt decides, tapping one foot impatiently. Finn picks up the book gingerly, as if he expects it to bite him, looking up at Kurt with an incredulous expression on his face.
"I don't read wizard books," Finn protests, opening the cover and finding the first page. "They're not my thing." Kurt just raises an eyebrow expectantly. Finn sighs dramatically and bends his head, beginning to read.
Kurt waits patiently while Finn reads, choosing the third Harry Potter book for himself and starting to re-read it. It's been too long since he last sat down to read it, he realizes when it takes him a minute to remember what's going on in the first chapter. He gets about halfway into chapter two when Finn finally says, "I don't get it."
"Keep going," Kurt orders, not even looking up from his book.
"But I don't get it," Finn repeats, so Kurt looks up and says, "It's all explained as the story goes on. You just have to actually read it first." Finn doesn't look too enthused about this idea, so Kurt asks for his phone. Finn hands it over, confused, and Kurt calls Puck.
"'Sup, Finn?" he hears Puck on the other end and puts the phone on speaker.
"Hey, it's Kurt," he says, setting the phone down between himself and Finn, "and Finn. You're on speaker. I have a question."
"Okay," Puck sounds confused.
"Harry Potter," Kurt says. "Your opinion. Go."
"Did you seriously call me up just to ask if I like to read, Hummel?" Puck sounds annoyed now, but Finn explains, saying, "Kurt just told me I have to read them."
"Wait, you've never read Harry Potter?" Puck asks, obviously taken aback. "Dude, how was I ever friends with you in the first place? Call me back once you've finished at least the first three. I expect an apology for the fail on your part." He hangs up, leaving it at that.
"If Puck's making comments about your literary stunted-ness, I think that's proof enough that you really need to read these books," Kurt grins, pushing the phone back towards Finn and going back to his own Harry Potter book.
They're both still reading. You can't just speed through a Harry Potter book, Kurt insists, tutting loudly every time Finn starts talking. He notices that after a while Finn goes quiet and his page-turning speed increases. He's obviously gotten to the good part, when Hagrid comes and tells Harry that he's a wizard.
Kurt, in his turn, is still reading the Prisoner of Azkaban. It's his favorite out of all seven books, and he loves it so much that he doesn't even own the third movie. Every Harry Potter fan knows that the third movie deserves to be collectively forgotten by the entire population of the world and then melted down to form something useful.
Finn starts reacting to the book, and Kurt finds that it is very entertaining. His fingers clench around the book and he holds his breath when he's nervous. He grins when something funny or something exciting happens. His eyes widen from time to time, probably whenever they find a new clue to the mystery. Kurt knows the book well enough to be able to give an educated guess as to where exactly Finn is based solely on his reactions. It's obvious that he's enjoying the book.
Then Finn looks up and says, "Dude, that is so not fair."
"What's not fair?" Kurt asks, having gone back to reading his own book.
"That Snape teacher," Finn elaborates. "Harry didn't even do anything, and he's just taking away points just because he can. He's such a dick."
"He gets worse," Kurt warns him.
"That sucks," Finn decides. "I feel like he and Ms. Sylvester would get along."
"Totally," Kurt laughs.
They go back to their reading, both smiling.
"My eyes hurt," Finn whines, marking his page and closing the book. "I don't want to read anymore."
"You promise to finish it?" Kurt's eyebrows draw together as he marks his own page and sets his book aside. Finn nods, grinning and saying, "Yeah, it's really good. I like it." That's good enough for Kurt, so he holds out a hand for the book and puts both of them back where they belong on the shelf.
"Borrow them anytime," he offers, "just make sure to put them back in order. And don't dog-ear the pages. The cover has flaps for a reason." Kurt Hummel is very protective when it comes to his books.
"No problem," Finn says, and then his stomach starts growling. "I'm hungry." This announcement is completely unnecessary.
"Let's go see what's up there," Kurt leads the way upstairs, flicking on the lights as he goes. Burt and Carole have obviously already gone to bed.
"What're you in the mood for?" Kurt asks as he opens the fridge. "We've got plenty of leftovers from dinner." Carole had made a roast, which had gone over very well with both Hummel parties. They didn't get around to much real cooking, so it was a welcome treat.
But Finn's already got his head in the pantry. He pulls out a bag of chips and a box of sugary cereal Kurt is sure wasn't there before. He squeezes past Kurt to grab the milk, a jar of salsa, and a can of Pepsi, topping the whole eclectic mix off when he pulls out a microwaveable mac 'n' cheese dinner from the freezer.
The mac 'n' cheese isn't all that bad, Kurt discovers five minutes later, when Finn tips half the bowl onto a plate for him. Finn sucks up his portion like a vacuum cleaner, moving onto the cereal once he's finished and almost accidentally pouring the salsa onto it instead of milk. Kurt's never seen such a strange mix of food all go into one stomach before, but Finn's stomach seems to be coping just fine. He doesn't really understand the logic of heating up a frozen dinner when there's real food in the fridge, but Finn's probably so used to his mom's cooking that it gets boring after a while.
Finn realizes that Kurt is staring at him once he's finished inhaling his food and is left absentmindedly dipping chips in the salsa.
"What?" he asks.
"Doesn't all that hurt your stomach?" Kurt shakes his head, laughing. "How can you down all that in one go?"
"I was hungry," is all the answer he gets.
"I can see that," Kurt laughs. "Feel better now?"
"Oh yes," Finn closes up the bag of chips. "Wanna go blow up some zombies?"
Blowing up zombies is not supposed to be this much fun, Kurt's thinking as he and Finn sit back in their room, playing Left 4 Dead. He's never even heard of this game until two minutes ago, but Finn's really good at it and is making sure his character doesn't die. And even though Kurt is horrendous at it, he's having a good time.
He hasn't even made a comment about the terrible clothing all the characters are wearing, because when you're about to be eaten by a horde of zombies, that doesn't seem to be the most appropriate thing to say.
Finn gets really into it, too, talking Kurt through the game and punctuating this explanation by choice words whenever a zombie interrupts. He monologues the story interludes in such a bored tone that it's more than obvious that he's played this game one too many times. But hey, Kurt can still recite the first three pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from memory, so who's he to judge?
He finally gets the hang of which buttons to press when, and the game becomes much more enjoyable for both of them. Finn cheers for him when he kills his first zombie and Kurt can't help but reciprocate the favor when Finn pretty much single-handedly saves them both from an entire horde. There's lots of expletives and jumping around and Finn yelling, "Press A! A! A!"
"You should come over to Mike's house next time we all get together to play," Finn suggests, speaking so casually and nonchalantly that Kurt is amazed he's able to shoot down zombies and make conversation at the same time. Looks like guys really can multitask.
"Who all comes over?" Kurt asks, trying and failing to speak as casually as Finn.
"Matt, Puck, and me, mostly," Finn shrugs. "There used to be a lot more of us before glee. It was like, almost the entire football team, but now it's the guys who double-up with glee and football. Sometimes Artie comes over too, but he's more into Rock Band and Guitar Hero and games like that."
"And you really think bringing me along would be a good idea?" Kurt can't help but think it's a terrible idea. If Artie doesn't even come regularly, why would it be any different with him?
"Yeah, why not?" Finn says right as he blows out a zombie's brains.
"Okay," Kurt finds himself agreeing. "Sure, as long as it's cool with the rest of them, I'll come over."
"Popcorn covered with chocolate sauce with cheese power from that boxed mac 'n' cheese stuff."
"Garbage." A laugh. "No, seriously, garbage. I don't even know what it really was, it just happened when I got tossed in the dumpster one time."
They're lying down on Kurt's bed, Kurt's feet up by the pillows and Finn's feet hanging off the other edge. After Finn had exhausted his desire to blow up zombies, they had both ended up lying down, neither one knowing what to talk about. They'd ended up asking each other all sorts of stupid questions, the latest being "What's the grossest thing you've ever eaten?"
"Oooohh, got one!" Finn giggles. "What's the weirdest thing you'd do for money?"
"At this point in my life, I feel like I could go on a reality TV show and laugh at everything they're made to do," Kurt says honestly. "Seriously, I've already been practically immersed in garbage and had human excrement thrown at me, so why would diving into a tub of cockroaches or eating reproductive organs be a problem?"
Finn's laughing again.
"What? I was being serious!"
"I know, it's just funny because it's you," Finn snorts, he's laughing so hard. "Nobody would expect you to say yes to any of that stuff."
"Well, it'd be a fun surprise for them," Kurt decides. "Go on, what about you? Weirdest thing you'd do for money. Go."
"I dunno, the only things I can think of are really boring and dumb, like painting myself orange or drinking ketchup or something."
"Would you dress in drag for a week?" Kurt asks.
"For how much?" Finn counters.
"How about singing the lesbian duet from RENT with Puck, complete with the same choreography?" Kurt asks, laughing.
"There's a lesbian duet in RENT?" Finn sits up, obviously intrigued. "Wait, what's RENT?"
Kurt sits up and exclaims, "Blasphemy!" He looks skyward, crossing himself and saying, "Forgive him, Larson, he knows not what he speaks."
It's like the first chapter of Harry Potter all over again. Finn's confused and keeps asking Kurt why they suddenly went from a stage with spotlights to the middle of a city and why are people throwing paper that's on fire out of their windows and what's the big deal about paying rent? Kurt just shakes his head, smiling and knowing the questions will subside as soon as Tango Maureen comes on. That always shuts up the straight guys.
They end up falling asleep before the ever-intriguing lesbian duet comes on.
Finn just kind of falls backwards onto Kurt's pillows, falling asleep in a generally comfortable position. Kurt, on the other hand, pretty much falls headfirst onto Finn's lap, using him as a pillow and having absolutely no idea that any of it is happening.
That's how Carole and Burt find them in the morning. The TV in their room is still on, the opening menu for RENT playing over and over since the movie already ended. Kurt's curled up in a little ball, head still resting on Finn's lap. Finn's mouth is open and there's drool all over the pillow. It's halfway between adorable and just plain hilarious, and both Burt and Carole have to stifle their laughter so they won't wake up their sons.
Burt switches off the TV and they head back upstairs, putting on a pot of coffee.
"So how late do you think it was when they finally fell asleep?" Burt asks, choosing two mugs and setting them beside the pot. Carole looks into the sink, spotting the boys' used dishes from the night before.
"Probably early morning, around 3 or 4," she says, picking up a sponge and starting to clean out the dishes. "If Finn hit his second wind, then it's bound to have kept him up until then." Burt looks at her with an amused expression.
"You can tell all that from dirty dishes?" he asks, hands on his hips and head tilted slightly to the side. She just smiles, rinsing the now soapy dishes and setting them on the counter to dry.
"Mothers know everything," Carole tells him, walking over to sit at the kitchen table. "I guarantee I'll know Kurt's late night habits inside and out within the first month. I'll probably know them better than you will."
"Is that a challenge or a promise?" Burt asks as he sits down next to her.
"Promise," Carole grins. "I already know which plate was Kurt's."