Title: Shadows
Pairing: Kurt/Artie
Rating: PG-13 for slight language

Artie Abrams was a quiet boy. He never stood out in groups. He always had a smile on his face to contradict his constant, Asian companion. However, ever since the Madonna fallout, he and his "girl" weren't as tight as they used to be. After a week or so, surprisingly, it didn't even matter.

Glee rehearsal was held 9th period, and Artie looked forward to it every day. Not to see Tina, however. Tina was a crush, yeah, he admits he really did like the girl. After the stutter-gate and the Madonna fall out, however, apologies just couldn't cut it. They were going in an endless circle, and Artie knew he couldn't change that.

Artie Abrams liked Kurt Hummel. The boy's flamboyance and sarcastic remarks just turned him on. He liked his fashion, and his smile. Most of all, Artie liked the way Kurt looked at him. He knows it couldn't mean a thing, since he was so obviously in love with yours truly, Finn Hudson.

Artie Abrams hated Finn Hudson. He didn't personally hate him, truly, but he harbored a resentment to the gawky quarterback. He could walk. He could sing better. He was more handsome, if Artie said so himself. He had the heart of the fabulous, theatrical boy of Artie Abram's twisted affections.

Artie Abrams knew he shouldn't hate Finn. He knows it's bad and all, but he just can't help but notice how badly he treats Kurt. Not outright cruelty, but not the love Artie thinks Kurt deserves.

Wanna know a secret?

Half the time, Artie Abrams is never truly happy.

He hides it with a smile, however. No one sees the shadow of the pain he is in behind his eyes. No one sees the hurt behind the laugh, or the tears behind the blue. But he could see the hurt behind others.

Kurt Hummel was hurting. He was never afraid to cry, but this time, he was afraid he wouldn't be able to stop. Kurt was desperate. He knew Finn never truly meant what he said. But it never stopped the bleeding from getting worse.

Kurt Hummel was rapidly changing, and Artie Abrams could see it. The normally back-talking, sassy Kurt disappeared, replaced with a hollow shell of a boy who merely looks the role. Kurt Hummel is hurting, and Artie Abrams wants to do everything to stop it.

Kurt Hummel can act pretty damn well. Artie Abrams can tell. He looks no different, acts no different, and is treated no differently, except he seems to be avoiding eye contact with his Prince Not-So Charming. Artie, however catches his flaws. He sees the shadows in Kurt's eyes that no one sees in his. And it pisses him off. Not at Kurt of course, but whoever put those shadows there in the first place.

Artie Abrams was terribly shy. It took him 3 days before he even had the courage to confront Kurt. Nonetheless, he did it before he could chicken out.

Artie Abrams was going to be his knight in shining armor, riding in on a wheelchair saving him from whatever is keeping him off his game.

"Hey."

Kurt looked up, surprised the room contained another human. He gave Artie a half-hearted smile, and Artie grimaced back. Artie felt his heart break into pieces when he saw the tears behind Kurt's clear, sheen, blue eyes. The ghost of a laugh met his ears as Kurt replied with all the pep he could muster. "Hey. I thought I was the only one in here. Isn't there Glee today?" he asked, sounding upbeat and cheerful.

Artie parked next to Kurt in his plastic chair. "Nope, Rachel, Finn, Puck, AND Mr. Shue are all out sick. No chiz in only using back up vocals," Artie said, eying the other boy suspiciously.

Kurt didn't reply and Artie sat there, mindlessly peeling the velcro from his gloves off and on. "Artie?" Kurt finally asked.

Artie looked up, hopeful. "Yeah?"

"Please stop doing that."

Artie obliged and the room was filled with silence once more. 10 minutes passed with Artie staring at Kurt's shoes. Once more, Kurt's voice startled Artie out of his assorted day dreams, all involving Kurt and various cans of whip cream.

Artie Abrams is, after all, a teenage male of America.

It wasn't a spoken word however, more like a choked back sob.

Artie Abrams was taken aback at the sight of Kurt Hummel bawling his eyes out right in front of him. The first thing he did was pull a mini package of tissues from his sweater pocket. "Kleenex?" he offered meekly before cursing himself.

Kurt refused, pulling out some sort of herbal wipe from his pocket. "I-I'm so sorry Artie, this must be the last thing you want to do, comfort the crying fag," Kurt said, biting off the last word with a bitter tone.

Artie Abrams' heart was slowly breaking at the sight of Kurt Hummel crying. Kurt shouldn't say fag. The word sounded 4 times as ugly rolling off his tender lips. Artie Abrams knew it was now or never.

"Hey, don't be calling yourself things like that, it's ok," he said, patting Kurt's knee.

Kurt crumpled at that and started sobbing into Artie's polyester clad shoulders. Artie merely embraced the boy and gave him a hug. With a scattered 'hush' and 'don't cry,' Artie comforted Kurt as he shook and sobbed into Artie's white dress shirt. After five minutes, the sobs died down, Kurt righted himself, and Artie opened his mouth to speak. "A-are you ok now?" he asked kinda sheepishly.

'Stupid Arthur, does he LOOK ok? He was just sobbing his eyes out AND there's something else going on!' Artie thought angrily to himself.

Clearing his throat, he started over. "Who am I kidding, you're far from fine Kurt. You've been like this all week, game over, what's the problem?" he asked, crossing his arms and looking expectantly at the latter.

Kurt sniffled a few times before saying hoarsely, "Well, I've been kind of avoiding Finn lately..." he started before more tears filled his eyes.

Artie gave his hand a squeeze, telling him silently to continue. "Well...since he moved in with me, he never really liked the layout of my room, which I can totally understand, his complexion is so washed out in my Dior gray," Kurt said as an afterthought.

"Continue?" Artie said.

"I redecorated, just for him, trying to find that healthy balance between his masculinity and my...feminine side. He came home, and the reaction I got was definitely not what I was expecting..." he said, trailing off mid sentence.

Artie waited patiently for him to continue. "He-he saw the room, and was pissed. I thought I did a good job, but to each their own," Kurt sighed sadly.

"He called it faggy."

Kurt's last sentence hung in the air as Artie sat there, fuming over the new revelation. He was now thinking of how many ways he could harm Finn Hudson, bonus points if he could use his paraplegia as an asset. "Kurt...he was wrong," Artie said, folding his hands together tightly, his knuckles going white.

Kurt nodded. "I know. It really doesn't stop it from hurting though..."

Artie did the unexpected, leaned as far towards Kurt as he could, took Kurt's shoulders, and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek.

Kurt froze, as did Artie. His action finally met his mind as he slapped a hand over his mouth. "Ohmygawd... Kurt I'm so sosososooooo sorry, I'll just...go" he said dejectedly, making to wheel away.

Kurt pulled on the handle of his chair, bringing him back. "Don't go. Please?"

Artie Abrams knew he couldn't say no to the puppy face.

Wheeling back, Artie took his former place beside the other boy. "Y-yeah?" he asked.

Kurt turned to face him. "I used to be in love with Finn...I used to think he would never try and hurt me. When he said that...he lost all my respect, and I guess, all my love. Maybe I didn't really love him. Maybe I just loved his kindness."

Artie's breath caught in his throat. "So, uh, what are you gonna do?" he asked, his voice raised an octave.

Kurt smiled, and Artie then noticed Kurt was extremely close to his face...he could count the tears on his eyelashes...

Kurt Hummel knew he loved Artie Abrams since they performed Push It. Now was his time to show it. He leaned in, praying it would go well, and placed a single, tender kiss on the boys lips.

When they pulled away, all Artie could do was grin.

Artie Abrams was so badass, he knew exactly what to do whenever Kurt got too quiet.


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