Title: Summer 2010

Author: Aristide

Fandom: Glee. Pairing: Kurt/Finn

Rating: NC-17 for m/m shenanigans

Spoilers: Through S1

Disclaimer: Not even slightly mine.

Summary: Stuff happens, smut ensues.

Gratitude: I cannot overstate the debt I owe to Sandy Justine for excellent beta, insight, and encouragement. She rescued this story from the scrap heap, and was incredibly kind and generous to an author struggling to write in a vacuum. She made everything here so much better, and she did it with grace and style and compassion. Thanks are also due to Dib for audiencing, cheerleading, and inspiration via her innate devastating sexiness. I'm also grateful to Bone for a fourth-quarter Hail Mary, and to Bagmaster Barb for forcing me to sit down and watch Glee (which I'm sure she's very sorry for now, and she'll never do it again).

Author's Notes/Warning: The schmoop siren is seriously going off. It is interesting to note that the noise it makes is 'schmoop'.

Summer 2010

By Aristide

The summer of 2010 was turning out to be awesome. Epically awesome, actually, because although there had been one other summer in which he'd had a girlfriend (the official qualifier of an awesome summer), the Summer of Quinn had been every bit as frustrating as it had been exciting, and really, he tried not to think about that these days, because it made him feel sad and weird and like maybe if he'd been a better boyfriend none of what had happened would have happened and-yeah, not exactly an awesome memory.

But now, Rachel's dads were out of town, Rachel's shirt was still on but her bra was tossed somewhere over the side of her terrifyingly pink bed, and Finn was pretty sure he understood the look Rachel was giving him. At least, he hoped he did-and he couldn't wait to see how it was different with someone he loved.

"Finn," Rachel said, and he could hear her heartbeat in her voice. Her excitement. And that was important, it was important to him that this be *her* idea, something that she wanted.

"Yeah?"

Rachel's eyebrows drew together. "You need to know-I didn't. I wasn't. I didn't tell you the truth about Jesse. I never-we didn't do it."

"Oh. Okay." He was bending down to start kissing her again, but she stopped him with one hand on his chest.

"And I just wanted you to know that because it's important to me, because I'm so, so glad you didn't do it with Santana-because that makes this both of us, special for both of us-I know I'm babbling, but I just wanted you to know how glad I am that it's us. That it'll be our first time. Together."

Finn swallowed hard, and looked deep into her gorgeous, trusting eyes. "Uh…"

About ten seconds after that, the summer of 2010 got a lot less awesome. Thirty minutes after that he was once again Rachel's ex-boyfriend who had broken her heart and hurt her terribly, and he had three long months of utter suckage to look forward to.

He had a whole plan in place for dealing with the suckage until it sucked less, but he hit a snag on his first day of coping when his XBox gave him the red ring of death, and there went that part of the plan-which was basically his whole plan. So he asked for and got extra shifts at Sheets-N-Things, because if he was going to be miserable and bored out of his mind he might as well get paid for it. He spent the first three days dreaming up ways of getting Rachel back, and the more he thought about it the less he paid attention to stuff that was actually outside his head, until Mrs. Schuester yelled at him to stop freaking out her customers by singing REO Speedwagon songs to them when they checked out.

He spent a lot of time feeling guilty and sorry, but once he'd made his way through that he was surprised to find that he was also-kind of-relieved, which only made him guiltier and sorrier. He'd been so sure when he told Rachel he loved her, totally sure, but now he wasn't sure, and the only thing that made him sure of was that he pretty much sucked as a person.

Also, he sucked at being in love. So he sucked as a person and he sucked at being in love, and since he didn't see himself being able to practice his in-love skills any time soon, it looked like he was doomed to suck at it forever-and that was just a whole lot harder to deal with than the time he realized that he sucked at geometry, which had bugged him for a maximum of three minutes before he'd shrugged it off and moved on to other things.

His mom was worried about him. He could tell she wanted him to talk to her, but he just couldn't think of anything he could say that didn't eventually lead to some version of 'Rachel broke up with me because I had sex with this girl I wasn't in love with and then lied to her about it', and, yeah, he wasn't ready to have that conversation with his mom. Maybe later, when he was, like, thirty, and ancient, and nothing mattered any more. Or never. Never would be good. When he refused to go into detail about what was wrong, she gave him a lecture about spending too much time at work and not enough time with his friends, and muttered a whole bunch of other stuff he didn't even try to hear on her way out the front door.

He spent the morning stewing, then called Artie. Artie sounded glad to hear from him, but he was also busy-he and Tina were working their way through the Valkyria Chronicles, and Finn had to try really hard not to be too jealous when he thought about what it would be like to have a girlfriend who 1) thought you were awesome, and 2) had a PS3, and 3) wanted to spend the summer playing it with you, in between make-out sessions.

"Does she have 'Call of Duty'?" he asked forlornly.

Artie made one of his sarcastic noises. "Yeah, but she won't play it-she says the boys in it aren't pretty enough."

Even with that, it turned out that calling Artie was a mistake-because all it did was made him think even more about what he didn't have, what he probably wouldn't ever have due to rampant sucking at things he didn't want to suck at, and… God.

Finn spent the next three days lying in bed with his mp3 player. He put his Dio playlist on permanent repeat, and left it there.

The third day of the all-Dio mopefest, Finn was in the kitchen getting a bowl of cereal when someone knocked on the door. He ignored it, because his Mom was at work and there was nobody he could think of who would come to see him without calling him first. Whoever it was didn't give up, and he was kind of idly wondering what the local Jehovah's Witnesses would make of his rat's-nest hair, holey pajama bottoms and ancient Styx t-shirt, when the knocking stopped and the hollering started. "Finn Hudson, I know you're in there. Your Mom says you're devolving into some kind of emo pre-human and she's worried about you, so open up-I'm working my sunscreen to the maximum out here."

Kurt. Not someone he particularly wanted to see. "Go away," he yelled through the door.

"Not going to happen-not until we talk."

"I don't have anything to say to you. I'm busy."

"Yes, I'm sure that the in-depth exploration of every detail of your angst and inner turmoil is hell on your social calendar-"

Finn thumped the door lightly with his fist. "I'm not going to let you in just because you're extra annoying, you know."

"Actually, I'm willing to bet you're wrong about that. I assumed that anyone who is voluntarily dating Rachel Berry has a pretty high annoyance threshold to start with, so I planned accordingly: if you leave me out here much longer I'm going to start singing show tunes on your doorstep. I understand that Mrs. Samuels across the street is a big fan of Ethel Merman."

Finn hesitated, horror slowly growing in him. He wouldn't. Oh God. He so totally would. Already there was humming.

He was pretty pissed by the time he unlocked the door. "My Mom had no right to say anything to you," he said, ignoring Kurt's wide-eyed double-take. "I've got stuff going on that I'm not talking to her about, and I'm not talking to you about it either-"

"Excuse me," Kurt interrupted. "I couldn't hear you over the sound of vagabond chic. Seriously, Finn-your business is your business, but did you have to involve your hair to such a tragic extent? It looks like it's crying out for help, for an intervention, for Prozac shampoo-"

"I'm not talking to you," Finn said, turning towards the hall. He figured if he locked himself in his bedroom and put all his pillows over his head and turned Dio up to full volume, he could ignore Kurt until he went away. Even with show tunes.

"I'm not here because your Mom asked me," Kurt said from behind him.

"I so don't care."

"I'm not here to pick on your hair, either."

"My hair and I will get over it."

"I'm here because you were right about me, and I owe you an apology. I'm sorry."

Finn stopped, and turned around. "Huh?"

Kurt's face was carefully set. "I owe you an apology. Your Mom said you were upset and didn't want to talk to her about anything, and she wished you had a friend to talk to. I took the hint."

"I don't-"

"But then I realized that I wasn't qualified for the job." Kurt took a breath. "I've never really tried to be your friend. Not really. I just manipulated you, because you were hot and cute and sometimes nice to me, and I had a crush. I never even thought about trying to be a real friend."

Finn blinked. "Kurt-"

"I'm not done." He shook his head. "I never thought about it because guys like you just aren't friends with guys like me-"

"That's not true, we-"

"Finn, listen. This is important." Kurt crossed his arms and looked away. "I have this much going for me: I don't hate who I am. Because I *know*-I mean I all-the-way-down know-that the people who hate me for being the way that I am, are wrong. I just know they're wrong. But there are lots of other people who don't hate me, but also don't really know-not in the same way I do-how wrong that hate is. And those people, they're just scared."

Kurt looked at him then, his eyes bright. "You're one of those people, Finn." Finn opened his mouth, then closed it.

"Which is why guys like you aren't friends with guys like me. You can't be, because you're afraid the people who hate me will hate you too. You're probably right about that. And because you don't know for sure how wrong they are, you're risking more than just everything that can happen to you when people hate you-you're risking them being right. And under those circumstances, I don't blame you for being afraid."

Kurt carefully ran his knuckles under his eyes. "But, Finn-you stood up for me. You wore a dress made from a red vinyl shower curtain for me. So when your Mom told me you needed a friend, I thought about how I'd never been a real friend to you. And then I thought about how you tried. At least you tried. And I knew I had to apologize."

Kurt shrugged. "So I'm sorry. I'm sorry I tried to manipulate you and didn't pay attention to who you really are and pushed even when I knew you weren't okay with it." He swallowed, twice, quickly. "You deserved better treatment than you got from me. I'm sorry. It won't happen again."

Finn felt dizzy, and a little numb. "Okay."

"Okay?"

"And… thanks."

"You're welcome."

"And… you're right. About me being scared."

"I know."

"I'm sorry."

"I know."

It was kind of an awkward moment. Finn said the first thing that came to mind. "Um. So. You want some cereal?"

Kurt didn't want any cereal but he took an apple, and they sat at the kitchen table, eating without talking. Finn's brain was still kind of doing loops and corkscrews around everything Kurt had said to him. Kurt was either deep in his own thoughts or evaluating the kitchen curtains; Finn couldn't tell which.

Unfortunately, thinking about ways he'd failed with Kurt led him straight to some very familiar territory, and then he was staring at the sugar-speckled milk in the bottom of his bowl and, fuck his entire life, he realized he was actually on the edge of crying.

"Um," Kurt said hesitantly. "Did you just eat a bowl of Depressi-Os or something?"

He didn't want to talk about it. He really didn't want to talk about it. "You can't tell my Mom," Finn said, his voice tight, because he kind of needed to talk about it.

"I… No. I won't."

"Or anyone else."

"No."

Finn started talking, and he didn't stop for a long time.

By the time his Mom got home from work, Finn had taken a shower, done two loads of laundry, aired out his bedroom, mowed the lawn, and made turkey sandwiches (one for her, four for him).

She pretended to faint, until he threatened to use the hose to revive her. Then she ruffled his hair and gave him a hug, and offered to take him out for ice cream after dinner.

"Mom. I'm not five, you know."

"No, that would be the other kid I left here this morning. What a pain that guy was. I'm so glad he's gone-"

"Mom-"

"Seriously-that kid was working my last nerve. If you see him around, kick his ass for me, okay?"

"Mom!"

The phone only rang once before Kurt picked up. "Finn?"

"Hey, Kurt."

"Hey."

There was a pause.

"Finn?"

"Huh?"

"Are you testing your cell reception, or did you call me for some reason?"

"Yeah, uh. Hey, are you… I suppose… you're probably hanging out with Mercedes tomorrow."

Kurt sighed. "Sadly, no. My girl got it into her head that she needs to go to some big extended Christian choir camp, and she talked Quinn into going with her, so I am bereft."

"You're not that big on choir camp?"

"Between the excess of bugs and Bibles and the lack of hardcore caffeinated beverages and decent shower facilities, strangely, no. So tomorrow I'm just… oh wait, I forgot. My Dad's shorthanded, so I have to work."

Finn grinned. "You mean, at the auto shop? You fix cars?"

"Finn Hudson, I sincerely hope that's admiration and not amazement in your voice, because otherwise-stereotype much? Also, yes: I am a reluctant reserve employee of Hummel Tires and Lube. I know my way around well enough, although Dad says I never really put my heart into it except for when I work on the top-end vehicles." A pause. "He may actually be right about that."

"It's not amazement, it's, uh, probably that other thing. It's just-that's really cool, but you never talk about it."

"That would be because of the amazement factor. It gets old."

"I get that."

"But you know, if you don't have anything better to do, and if your boredom threshold is very, very high, you could come with me, if you want."

Finn hesitated. "Actually, that sounds kind of cool, but I think I'm not exactly one of your Dad's favorite people."

"He's okay. When I got home I talked with him about some stuff. Oh-none of the stuff that was, uh, your stuff. Just… other stuff."

"Oh. Okay. Good. Then, yeah. Yeah. Hey-can I help?"

"Do you know how to fix cars?"

"Nope."

"Okay. Do you want to learn?"

"Yeah!"

"Meet me at the shop at ten. Don't wear anything too-oh, never mind."

Kurt walked him through an oil change and then a brake pad replacement, explaining things as they went and demonstrating some, but mostly letting Finn do the work. It turned out to be fun; a lot more fun than he'd thought it would be. It made sense, for one thing: there was a specific order to everything, and reasons why it had to be that way. He asked a lot of questions, and Kurt knew the answers, and all the answers made sense. He wished more things worked like that.

The other part of the fun was that Kurt seemed to think that motor oil and car dirt were hazardous to his health, and Finn had a great time attacking him with his black, greasy hands.

"I will end you," Kurt said ominously, scrubbing his cheek with a clean handkerchief.

"Not if you're afraid to get near me," Finn sang happily, waving his terrifying hands around.

"Like I would even have to get near you to-oh, hey, Dad. We're done with these two. I'm going to go get us some drinks." He vanished into the back of the shop.

Burt checked everything they'd done. Twice. Thoroughly. When he was finished, he looked at Finn speculatively, wiping his hands on a rag. "How much are they paying you over at the Sheets-N-Things?"

"Uh. The minimum. I mean. Minimum wage."

Burt nodded. "I could give you a dollar an hour more, to start. But you'd be on trial until we figure out whether or not you've got a knack for this. If you do, you could make some decent money-start saving for college."

Finn made himself close his mouth. "I. You. Are you giving me a job?"

Burt shook his head. "Nope. I'm giving you a chance to earn one, if you've got what it takes. And if it's something you're interested in, of course-"

"I am. Interested, I mean. That was… so far, anyway, it was kind of awesome."

"Well, as long as it was 'awesome'… want to learn how to do a full lube job?"

"Oh, thank God," Kurt said, handing Finn a Diet Coke. When Finn looked at him, he shrugged. "Despite the intriguing name, I hate doing them. They're super-messy."

"Sounds awesome," Finn said, grinning hugely.

Burt let out a short laugh almost like a bark, and smacked him on the shoulder. "Okay then. Let's go."

At dinner a few days later, his Mom passed him bowls of salad and coleslaw and then pointedly looked at his plate, which was currently covered with nothing but four pieces of chicken and a stack of corn-jalapeno flapjacks. "So, how's it going at the auto shop? You're not working too hard, are you?"

Finn dumped a huge spoonful of coleslaw on his plate, and dug in. "You know, it's really weird. It's work, but I'm learning all the time so it's also kind of like school, but actually it's not like either of those things. I really like it."

Mom leaned her head on her hand, pointed to the salad and tapped him above the ear. Finn loaded salad onto his plate. "Okay," she said, pushing a strand of hair out of her eyes. "You know, your father… he always worked on my car. I never had a mechanic, the whole time we were together."

"Really?" he'd never heard that before.

"Yep. He used to say it was relaxing, a chance for him to think. Of course, I thought it was just an excuse to blast AC/DC out in the garage and drink a bunch of beer."

"Huh. Coulda ibbe bofe?"

"Swallow before you speak, Finn. And sure, it could be both."

Kurt was waiting for him when he clocked in. "Are you sick to death of this place yet?"

Finn smiled. "Not even a little. It's fun."

Kurt shook his head. "Such a guy."

"A car-lovin' guy."

"I swear; if you suddenly break into Springsteen, I will wreak terrible musical vengeance upon you."

Finn winced. "Sheena Easton?"

"Nope. My own home-grown secret weapon: Liza Minelli Sings N.W.A."

Finn was silent for a moment, contemplating the magnificence of something that terrible. "But I like N.W.A."

"Oh, so do I. But you won't any more after I get done with them." He smiled brightly and semi-evilly. "Anyway, come on-I've got something for you."

He followed Kurt into the small locker room that also served as a break room, and sat down on the bench while Kurt dug around in one of the lockers, coming out with a neatly folded, ironed pair of coveralls. "Dad asked me to give these to you. They don't have your name on them or anything, but they'll keep you from wrecking your shirts, and they should fit. The last guy who wore them was about your size."

"Wow." Finn took them, absurdly pleased. "Thanks. This is… thanks." He looked up quickly. "Uh. Should I ask what happened to the last guy?"

"I didn't sell his kidneys on the black market, if that's what you're worried about."

"Huh. I really wasn't until just now."

Kurt sat down at the other end of the bench, picking at an invisible thread on his knee. "He smacked me on the ass and called me 'Princess'. He didn't know Dad was behind him."

Finn whistled softly. "Bet he found out fast."

"Yep."

Finn paused, then frowned. "So was he… Uh. Was he being a dick, or-"

"Well, certainly that. But if you're asking whether he was making a pass or exercising his right of free speech to be a homophobic jerk, I'm honestly not sure-there's not always a lot of difference. But either way, Dad wasn't thrilled. He's kind of protective of me. As you know."

"Your Dad is awesome."

"Look at you, already bucking for a raise. What a go-getter."

Finn rummaged through his paper sack. He had three PB&Js, a bag of carrots, chips, three pieces of string cheese, a chunk of hard salami, a banana, an apple, and a king-size Snickers. "I'm forgetting something. What am I forgetting?"

His Mom peeked in the bag on her way to the coffee pot. "Your arteries? Probably also your colon."

"Right-apple!" Finn said, grabbing a fat, green one from the bowl on the counter and tossing it in the bag.

His Mom squinted at him. "You already have an apple-did you need an extra for juggling practice? Are you planning to run away and join the circus again?"

"That would have been totally awesome if you hadn't stopped me. But no-the green one's not for me. It's for Kurt. He likes these. His Dad only buys red ones."

"Oh. Well, that's really nice of you, Finn. I'm glad you two are getting along so well now." She kissed him on the cheek. "You're a good kid, despite everything everyone says about you."

Finn rolled his eyes, then used his shoulder to scrub the lipstick off his cheek.

Finn was finishing up his first solo brake line replacement when Kurt wandered over. "I'm almost done," Finn said, reading through his notes carefully. "A few more minutes, then you can check it."

"Okay." Kurt leaned against the car and crossed his arms. "Actually, I just wanted to talk to you about your plans for tomorrow's day off."

Finn blinked. "We're off tomorrow?"

Kurt sighed. "Do you even look at the schedule in the locker room? Oh, of course not, because the moment you get here you're all 'ooh, wrench is shiny' and 'can I fix that?' and 'loud engines make me sing Whitesnake'-"

"It was Scorpions," Finn said defensively. "Also, you should probably know that my hands are completely coated in brake fluid, and I am so okay with the idea of cleaning them off on you."

Kurt gave him nothing more than a haughty, defiant look, but he took one calculated step further away. "So. Tomorrow. It's the casting call for the Community Summer Musical-I can't miss it. And I thought you might want to come with me."

"Huh." Finn thought about it. "I'm actually not sure I… I mean, I think I'd feel weird singing and dancing in front of people who aren't, you know, Glee Club."

Kurt raised an eyebrow. "They're doing Sweeney Todd."

Finn blinked. "Oh."

"You have no idea what that is, do you?"

"Nope."

Kurt shook his head. "Your musical education has been woefully neglected. It's Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece, according to some people. Including me. You'd love it-it's full of blood and gore and murder and revenge and death and cannibalism."

Finn actually stopped working. "In a *musical*?"

"In a Sondheim musical. He's like… he's like the Rob Zombie of musical theater. Of course, you probably wouldn't want to say that to him personally."

Finn thought it was highly unlikely he'd ever have to work around that in conversation, but he wasn't about to say so. "Huh. Really. And there's blood?"

"Literally, buckets of it." Kurt turned his head. "Hey, Dad?"

Burt popped up from under the hood of an ancient Buick. "Yeah?"

"Will you please explain to Finn why you don't approve of Sweeney Todd?"

Burt came over, digging under a thumbnail with his screwdriver. "I don't disapprove of it," he said, frowning. "I just… well, Kurt here says it's really about… what was it?"

"Class disparity, obsession, and the effects of the industrial revolution on human morals."

"Right. That. But I watched the DVD, and to me it just looked like a two-hour bloodbath. With singing and cannibalism."

"Seriously," Finn said, marveling. "Cannibalism."

Kurt lounged back against the car, and started unrolling the cuffs of his coverall. "On a massive scale. People get murdered by a maniac with a straight razor, then run through a meat grinder and baked into pies, which are then eaten by an unsuspecting public."

"Gross!"

Kurt and his Dad looked at each other, then Kurt looked back at him. "And by 'gross', you mean 'awesome', don't you?"

Finn could not stop smiling. "Seriously awesome. I am so there."

The Director's name was Sherrod 'call me Sherrod' Braun, and from the way he introduced himself, he was confident that everyone in the room already knew who he was and was suitably impressed. He had a head full of wavy, white hair that reminded Finn of one of the televangelists his Grandma had been a big fan of when she was still alive, about a thousand blazingly-white teeth in a deeply tanned face, and one of those voices that rolled and boomed all the way to the back of the auditorium they were sitting in. Finn had had enough of him after about thirty seconds.

"Now, of course, not everyone will be chosen for this most *special* production," Sherrod said, wandering up and down the aisles among them. He'd been talking for quite a while, and every so often he would bend down and subside into a whisper, then point someone into one of two different groups-one that was gathering on the stage, and one much smaller group that was collected at the back of the auditorium. Of the group they'd started with, about half the people were still left in the seats, and Finn could actually feel Kurt getting nervous.

"Dude," he whispered quietly in Kurt's ear. "Stop stressing. You've totally got this."

Kurt looked like he was trying to smile, but it wasn't really working out for him.

"Because," Sherrod continued, "the *source material*, ladies and gentlemen; the Raw. Source. Material-well. As you know, this is not your average summer musical. This, of course, is Sondheim's Dark Masterpiece!"

Somehow, when Sherrod said it, it just sounded lame.

"And it's out of respect to the *material*, this *brilliant, brilliant material*, that we find ourselves needing to-oh, by the great god Priapus, who are you and where have you *been*?"

Sherrod had found Kurt. Kurt was staring up at him, his mouth open. "By *who*?"

Sherrod reached out and took Kurt by the chin, staring at his face from different angles. "Remarkable," he said, and then leaned in to whisper. "Side door, off stage left. Dressing room corridor. Wait for me there, I won't be a tick."

Sherrod moved on. Finn glared after him, waving away the smell of cologne, until Kurt suddenly clutched his arm, staring at him with wide, shocked eyes. "Don't leave me," he said in a panicked whisper.

"Not gonna happen." Finn whispered back as he helped Kurt gather up his sheet music. They crept up to the stage, out the stage-left door and then into the hallway that connected all the dressing rooms, which was dark and gloomy and smelled like old floor polish.

Finn waited for the door behind them to click closed, then turned to face Kurt. "Okay. That guy? Is seriously creepy. I mean; I know directors are supposed to be, you know, *directors*, but still. Is that normal?"

Kurt frowned. "No. He's… no. But he's making me want to apologize to straight people everywhere. And maybe do a PSA."

"Do you want to go?"

Kurt looked at him, clearly unhappy. "Not yet. I'm kind of hoping he might be different after he understands that I can actually sing."

Finn thought it over and decided not to say anything. He had all kinds of faith in the power of music, but he just wasn't sure it had the power to triumph over sleazy perverts.

From the door that led to the stage there was a sudden run of piano scales, low voices talking, some sounds of laughter. It got louder when the door opened, then cut off again. Sherrod walked toward them, frowning at Finn.

"Ah. I see-yes, well. You're a big, strapping fellow, aren't you? You're here for Antony, I presume?"

"No," Finn said, although he had no clue who the hell Antony was. "I'm here for him." He nodded at Kurt.

Sherrod sighed. "Oh, no. You're not one of those *dreary* stage boyfriends, are you?"

"No," Finn said, at the same time Kurt said, "He's not-"

"Excellent," Sherrod said warmly. "Truly. You've made my day." He turned to Kurt. "Now. You are?"

"Kurt Hummel, auditioning for the role of Toby." Kurt had his chin up and his sheet music pressed to his chest behind his crossed arms.

"Toby! Of course! Just… just stand right here, please." Kurt stood still in the middle of the hallway while Sherrod walked all the way around him twice, looking him over. "Mmm. Yes. Yes. Well. Toby is of course a *fiendishly* difficult role to pull off; kind of the linchpin of the whole piece, you know. It requires… subtlety, and dedication-so much dedication. We'll have to work together *very closely* to make sure you're properly prepared-"

"You mean," Kurt turned around to face Sherrod. "I've got the part? But… you haven't even heard me sing yet-"

"Oh. Do you sing?" Sherrod asked, as if he'd only just thought of it.

Kurt raised an eyebrow. "Yes. I do. Very, very well."

Sherrod smiled and stepped closer to Kurt. "My goodness-isn't this just my lucky day? I think we should-"

"Dude!" Finn said, because he really couldn't stand it any more.

Sherrod looked at him with some surprise, as if he'd forgotten he was even there. "Yes?"

"You're totally hitting on him!" Finn said, scandalized. "You're totally doing that… that casting-couch thing!"

Sherrod tilted his head to the side. "And your point is…?"

"He's *sixteen*!"

"Ah." Sherrod said, then leaned back to take another look at Kurt. "But he has the ass of a superlative fifteen-year-old catamite."

Finn wasn't entirely aware of when he decided to try to punch the guy's lights out, or what the hell a catamite was for that matter, but the next thing he knew Kurt was standing in front of him with both hands on his chest, telling him to calm down.

Sherrod looked offended. "I thought you said he wasn't your boyfriend."

"He's not," Kurt said. "But he is my friend." He took a few steps forward, looking up at Sherrod. "You didn't even ask me to sing," he said quietly, and then turned and walked away. Finn took a second to flip the bird with both hands, then went after him.

Kurt was walking with his head down, so fast that Finn actually had to break into a trot to keep up with him.

"What. A. Jerk." Finn said. He was about to go on in greater detail, but from the corner of his eye it looked like Kurt was maybe crying a little, so he shut up.

Once they got out to the parking lot, Kurt stopped and sat down on the low wall that ran around the side of the theater, then put down his sheet music and buried his face in his hands. Finn wasn't really sure what to do so he just stood there, feeling completely useless and lame, shifting from foot to foot.

Eventually Kurt said something, but with his hands in the way it was impossible to tell what it was. "Kurt, I… what?"

Kurt dropped his hands and looked at him. He wasn't crying, but he was close to it. His eyes were brimming. "I don't ever want to be that guy. I don't want to be like-"

"Hey," Finn said, sitting down next to him. "No. I mean. You're not. At all. You couldn't ever be-"

"I don't know that it's all that different-what he just did in there, and what I did. To you."

The shock of that felt almost like a slap. "Oh-no way. You can't even think that's… hey. I was there for both of those things, right? And I'm telling you-it's not the same. Not even a little."

Kurt shook his head, tracing under his eyes with his knuckles. "I mean; I know we all get old, but when I get old I don't want to be, I never want to be like-"

"When you get old," Finn said firmly, "you're going to be like… like your Dad."

Kurt hiccupped sudden sad laughter. "Oh, thank you for that terrifying mental image."

Finn grinned, and patted him on the back. "Well, you know. Like that, but with fashion sense."

They sat there for a while, quietly, until Kurt sighed and sat up, shaking his hair back into place. "Thank you. For coming with me. And for staying. And for that valiant attempt to commit battery."

"Hey-no problem. If you want we can go back, I'll hold him down and you can beat on him until you feel better." He bumped Kurt's shoulder with his own. "I'm sorry you won't get to be Tony-"

"Toby."

"But… oh, hey, didn't your Dad say… don't you have this Weenie Todd thing on DVD?"

"Sweeney Todd," Kurt said, laughing and sniffling at the same time. "And yes. Actually, I have three different versions."

"Well, why don't we go to your house, and watch one of them? Or, hell, all of them-it's my day off."

Kurt's eyes were still red, but his head was up again, his shoulders back. He looked… like himself again. "I… okay. As long as you understand that I *will* be singing along. Loudly."

Finn shrugged. "Knock yourself out. As long as you understand that I *will* hog all the popcorn."

"Deal."

"Lima Rec Center. Pool."

"Lima Public Works. Wastewater treatment center."

Finn took the phone away from his ear and stared at it, then put it back. "Huh?"

"I'm sorry," Kurt said primly. "Were we not playing Name That Taxpayer-Funded Resource?"

"Well, as much fun as that sounds, I was kind of thinking of going swimming today instead."

"Ah. Well, in that case, the Lima public pool would definitely be a slightly less trashy option than the wastewater center."

"That's why I picked it. I'm awesome that way." He hesitated. "Are you in?"

"Let me check my sunscreen supply-"

"Oh, there's shade there. Shade, public outdoor showers, diving boards. Plus trashy deck chairs."

"You had me at public showers, you silver-tongued devil."

The pool was crowded, but most people were jostling for places in the sun, so Finn was able to score two deck chairs under the shaded canvas area without too much trouble. He stripped down to his trunks and angled his chair for maximum girl-watching convenience, and had just settled down to it when he realized that something was… off.

It took him a few minutes of looking around to figure it out. People were off. People were staring. Namely, people were staring at Kurt. And they were staring at him, with Kurt. Some of them (girls) were sneaking glances and elbowing their friends and giggling, and some (guys, including Roy the lifeguard, who always yelled at Finn for trying to do backflips off the high dive) were openly staring, making faces of disgust every time they looked over.

He looked at Kurt, laid out in the deck chair next to him. Swim trunks, sunglasses; seriously lacking anything resembling a tan-which was not exactly shocking at the beginning of summer in Ohio. That was all. Okay, granted, Kurt appeared to be the only person there who had brought an issue of French Vogue to flip through, but still. Big deal. And yet, somehow, it seemed like everybody knew. And it seemed like everyone who knew had pretty definite opinions about them being there, and no reason to bother hiding it.

Kurt slid his sunglasses down to the bridge of his nose and gave Roy one of his most hypercritical glares. Eventually Roy looked somewhere else-for about ten seconds, before his stupid bleach-blond head swiveled back in their direction. "If it bothers you," Kurt said quietly, "we can go. Or I can go, if you want."

"No," Finn said sharply. "Just… God, it's creepy. It feels kind of like that pod people movie, and we're the holdouts."

"If it's any comfort to you, I think it's highly unlikely that they'll suddenly swarm us and make us sleep next to eggplants," Kurt said. "Now if we were in Utah, sure…"

Finn took another look around and felt his hands twitch. "Just so you know, I'm thinking seriously about punching Roy right in the mouth."

"Roy?"

"The lifeguard with the attitude problem."

"Ha. That one. I don't think you need to worry about him."

"Hey. Are you okay? Because if you're uncomfortable-"

Kurt shrugged. "Not me. After all, it's like this for me all the time, every day. Everywhere I go."

Every day. Everywhere. All the time. Suddenly, Finn was furious. Absolutely, totally furious.

"Finn. Are you *growling*?"

"I'm gonna go cool off," Finn said abruptly, and pushed himself up to his feet. "I'll be back."

He was locked in a hot, interior world that was half self-recrimination and half rage, walking along the edge of the pool towards the high dive ladder and not really paying attention to anything around him, when a voice from the water stopped him cold.

"Finny? *Finny Hudson*, is that you?"

Finn froze. There was only one person who'd ever gotten away with calling him 'Finny'. She'd lived down the street from him, babysat him for a few glorious, wonderful years, and had gone away to college the year he'd started at WMHS, breaking his heart forever.

Finn looked down and there she was, smiling up at him as she pulled her dripping-wet self up the ladder and out of the pool: shining, golden hair; blue eyes with obscenely thick lashes; perfect eyebrows and full pink lips and a tiny-tiny white bikini and-oh God boobs; truly incredible boobs-

Holy shit, it was Brandie Bellacek, his first and worst-ever crush. Standing there dripping and smiling at him and being gorgeous and looking really glad to see him.

"Hey, Brandie," Finn said smoothly, casually; unfortunately without making any sound at all.

She didn't seem to notice but she did laugh and hug him, and even though she was drenched in cold pool water he was still hot, so hot. "Look at you-you're, like, a giant!" Brandie said happily, pulling back and gazing up at him and basically destroying his ability to do things like breathe and talk. "So grown-up! And so handsome-but you were always a super-cute kid. Extra adorable, with the pink cheeks and the wavy hair-"

"I have some chest hair now," Finn said, perfectly clearly. He was really proud of himself until he realized the actual words he'd used, after which he kind of wanted to die. He cleared his throat and lunged around in his head, looking for something not-stupid to say. "Uh. School? College? How's college?"

Brandie made a face and dropped her hands to her curvy hips, which he really needed to not stare at because he had a sneaking suspicion that falling to his knees and drooling wasn't exactly the coolest thing to do right now. "Oh, Finny-seriously, don't ever fall for that 'best years of your life' story. It's really hard, and there's math and stuff, and there's all these *tests*-"

"Man, that sucks," he said earnestly, shaking his head over how terrible college was. He was carefully constructing his next remarks to include 'how's your family' and to not include 'can I touch your thighs', when they were interrupted.

"Okay, it is officially hot enough for me to risk devastating hair chlorination and-oh. Hey, Finn, who's your friend?"

Finn's stomach clenched. "Uh. Brandie. This is. This is Brandie. She's. Uh. Brandie, this is-"

"Celine Dion!" Brandie squealed, pointing at Kurt.

"Ooh, no, but I'm extremely flattered. Kurt Hummel."

Brandie's eyes got huge. "I totally know you! Omigod, me and my Nana and Mom and little sis watched the Nationals, and when you sang 'My Heart Will Go On' we all totally cried and Nana right away said a rosary for you to win and you *won*! You were *amazing*-"

"Oh, thank you so much-"

"They'll just *die* when they hear I met you-just keel over and die. Especially my little sis Brinn, because afterwards she was all like, 'Justin Bieber who?', and all of us agreed you sing *just like an angel*-"

Finn stood there silently, watching the ping-pong of Brandie and Kurt talking over each other and inching closer and closer together as they rambled through various topics including Celine Dion, music, cheerleading, cheerleading movies, hairstyles in cheerleading movies, hairstyles outside of cheerleading movies, Megan Fox, tattoos on girls, tattoos on guys, emo boys, metrosexuals, retrosexuals, and way more than he ever wanted to know about skin and hair care products. And maybe he could have just tuned the whole thing out, except that the upshot of the last part of the conversation was that Kurt had a ton of stuff with him that he offered to let her try, and Brandie right then and there asked him to come help her with dechlorinating her hair, and the next thing Finn knew he was standing next to the pool all by himself, while Kurt Hummel went off to the outdoor showers with Brandie Bellacek.

In what way was that even remotely fair?

He fully intended to hurl himself into the pool and swim until he no longer felt outraged over the terrible, terrible injustice in the world, but before he could move there was a tap on his shoulder, and he turned around to find himself staring down at the bronzed, glowering face of Roy the Jerk, who appeared to have recently added a fresh coat of oil to his six-pack. "What?"

"That guy," Roy said, nodding in the direction Kurt had gone. "He a friend of yours?"

"*Yes*."

Roy snorted. "Boyfriend?"

"*No*."

Roy shook his head. "And there he goes," he said in a disgusted voice, "showering with Brandie Bellacek. Brandie. Bellacek." The last two words were accompanied by hand gestures to indicate that Brandie had boobs. Big ones. "Jesus wept-there is no justice in this world, Hudson. None."

Finn wondered if he should maybe start making a list of reasons to punch Roy, because there was just such an assortment he'd hate to miss any. Then he had a few seconds where he felt kind of crappy that he was pissed at Roy for saying basically the exact same thing he himself had been thinking, but in the end he gave himself a break on that one, because, well, because at least he wasn't a giant douche.

Finn dove for the water.

By the time he got out of the pool Brandie and Kurt were back, and the whole area they were sitting in smelled kind of like his Mom's herb garden after a rainstorm and kind of like a giant bowl of fruit salad. Brandie had made herself at home on Kurt's deck chair, and had her gorgeous round ass parked right between Kurt's legs, while Kurt rubbed sunscreen into her tanned, creamy shoulders and listened to her talk. Finn sat down fast when he realized that the stories of college life she'd decided to share with Kurt were really not about math.

"So anyways, there I am at this stupid party-I totally didn't want to go, but Kirstyn and Kristin and Krystanne just pitched a fit, and so I went and I danced, and before the song was halfway done there were, like, *five* frat guys grinding on me all at once, all of them with their shirts off-like that was supposed to drive me mad with lust or something-and then it actually got worse, there was all this beer and then groping and finally I'm like, 'why does every guy in this stupid frat wear boxer-briefs?' and they were just… oh. You can't imagine."

"Bet I can," Kurt said wryly, meeting Finn's eyes over Brandie's shoulder.

"Huh?"

Kurt cleared his throat. "I said-you poor girl! Men are just beasts."

"Utter animals," Brandie echoed feelingly. Then she sat up straight. "Oh, no-speaking of which…" she dug through her bag for her cellphone and checked the display. "Crap-I have to go. Mom has a stupid date with some stinky guy from her dumb Parents Without Partners group, and I have to watch Brinn because it's Nana's bingo day."

Brandie garnered a lot of attention when she got up to go. She gave Finn a long, tight hug goodbye, and he was pretty jazzed about that until she said goodbye to Kurt, kissing him lingeringly on the lips and calling him 'Baby'. The only thing that made it at all bearable was that Roy saw it-and if looks could kill, Kurt would have two giant, smoking holes where his chest used to be.

"Well," Kurt said after she had walked away, while Finn was still kind of vibrating from watching her walk away. "That was fun. She's great."

"She kissed you," Finn managed to get out from between his teeth. "On the mouth."

"Mmm," Kurt said, rubbing his lips together. "Cherry lip gloss. Better than root beer."

"I hate you so much right now."

"Very pretty girl. Friendly. Easy to talk to."

"You so, so suck."

There was a strategic pause.

"Her breasts are real, you know-"

"*Dude*! You did *not* touch Brandie Bellacek's *breasts*!"

Kurt tilted his head. "See, Finn-this would be one of the advantages of being gay: girls find you non-threatening. In fact, some of them might even think you're as cute as a bucket of puppies. And if you should happen to admire their figure-purely in the context of fashion, of course…"

Finn glared at him. Hard.

"Oh, don't be like that. I'm sure it was a complete accident that she mashed them into me like-where are you going?"

"I have to go cool off," Finn said, stomping towards the pool. "*Again*."

When he got out of the pool he had just about brought himself around to the point where he was willing to forgive what had happened, so long as Kurt was willing to tell him all about it in excruciating detail. The problem was, Kurt wasn't there, although his stuff was still on his deck chair. Finn waited for a while, then went inside the center and checked the locker room and the bathroom and the steam room: nothing.

Finally he took the gravel path that looped between the center complex and the surrounding hedges, just to check. He didn't really expect to find anything, but at the back of the building he spotted Kurt, pinned into the angle between two cinderblock walls-by Roy.

Finn started towards them, his hands clenching tight into fists. Then Kurt's eyes met his and went wide, and Finn stumbled and froze as he watched Roy lean in towards Kurt and kiss him, missing his mouth by inches only because Kurt pulled his head back at the last second. Roy didn't even seem to notice, but started in on the side of Kurt's neck with what looked like a lot of enthusiasm.

"*What the hell*?" Finn shouted, and Roy whipped around, looking both guilty and furious.

"Nothing!" Roy said in a loud voice. "That was nothing, you didn't see anything, there wasn't-okay, look; this little faggot totally came on to me-"

Finn had him up against the wall before he even knew he meant to move. "Don't even think about using that word again," he said, banging Roy into the cinderblock a few times to really drive the point home.

"I thought you said he wasn't your boyfriend-FUCK! OW!"

Roy shoved him, and Finn went down on his ass but jumped right back up again, feeling almost glad, savagely glad, because now, he was going to seriously take the guy *apart*-but Roy had already backed away beyond arm's reach, his face twisted and ugly. "Both of you-you're just a pair of *fucking faggots*-"

Finn lunged for him, then ran after him when he bolted, blundering down the path until he realized that he was actually dragging Kurt along, since Kurt had his arm.

"Stop-stop-stop," Kurt kept saying. Finn watched Roy round the corner up ahead to the safety of the pool area, and then he stopped, still breathing hard and shaking a little from how fast everything had happened.

"Stop. Finn-stop. Not worth it. Jerks like him just aren't worth it-"

"I'm stopped," Finn said.

Kurt looked at him, then looked down at the deathgrip he had on Finn's arm and let go. "Oh. Good." He slumped down until he was crouched against the wall, and put his head in his hands. "Well. That was nice and terrifying."

Finn slid down next to him, breathing out loudly. "He scared you?"

Kurt snorted. "*You* scared me," he said, lifting his head and frowning. "I wondered if you were going to take his face off, and then I wondered how I was going to explain to your Mom that you'd been arrested for assault, and then… And then I panicked."

Finn scrubbed one hand through his damp hair. "I just. I don't get it. I mean-he spent the whole day *glaring* at you like he wanted to feed you to alligators or something-"

"Yes, welcome to the wonderful world of repressed homosexuality, where it's kind of a toss-up whether the person behaving as if they are offended by your existence wants to beat you up, make out with you, or both. And that guy is more closeted than my heaviest pair of velveteen jodhpurs in July."

They sat quietly for a few minutes. Finn closed his eyes and watched the patterns made by the sunlight coming through the hedge leaves. "Kurt?"

"Mmm?"

He opened his eyes. Kurt wasn't looking at him. "How come… I mean, if you don't want to tell me that's cool, but-"

"How did I end up in flagrante delicto with Captain Queerbash?"

"Uh. I think… Yeah."

Kurt thumbed his hair out of his eyes, and sighed. "He asked. I said yes."

Finn blinked. "And?"

Kurt looked at him. "He was hot?"

"And?"

Kurt shrugged. "That was it." He smiled a little, cynically. "You're wondering exactly how shallow I really am, aren't you?"

Finn shook his head. "No. I'm wondering… I'm wondering why you would decide to do something like that, because I know… I know you're not shallow."

"Oh." Kurt looked away, then started picking pebbles out of the gravel and tossing them into the hedges. "Well, I guess I'll have to keep working on that."

Finn snorted. "Dork."

Burt gunned the engine, backed down to an idle, then shut the car off and got out. "Perfect."

"Yes!" Finn said, spinning around. "I love carburetors. They're fun."

Finn grinned. Burt grinned. Kurt rolled his eyes.

"Come on, guys," Burt said. "Dante's. Pizza's on me."

"Keys," Kurt demanded. "Because you two are *way* too pleased with yourselves right now to be trusted on public roadways."

Burt stopped in the act of digging his keys out of his pocket, and put one hand on Kurt's shoulder. "Kurt-"

"Oh, no-Dad, I'm fine-I'm glad that you two, you know, get along. It's kind of charming, actually, in a testosterone-laden way. I'm just… being bitchy. For fun." He smiled sweetly.

Burt patted his shoulder. "Okay. Play to your strengths, son."

Kurt nodded. "Also, if you're serious about the pizza, you should bring extra cash-Finn can eat."

"Kind of a lot," Finn said, wrestling himself out of his coverall at top speed.

"Hey, Finn."

"Hey. Do you know what they have down at the bowling alley?"

"Besides shoes I wouldn't wear even if they were designed by Jimmy Choo and had five-inch heels?"

"Uh. Yeah. Besides that. There's a whole room full of pool tables. We should go tomorrow."

"To a pool hall at a bowling alley? Ooh, we *are* scaling new heights of trashiness-sounds fantastic. There's only one problem."

Finn hesitated. "Do you have plans?"

"To take over the world, as soon as possible. But until then, you should know that before Dad let me move in downstairs, that was his pool room. I'm not unfamiliar with the game."

"Is that a challenge?"

"Not really a challenge-more like an advisory of your impending heinous and crushing defeat. I'll pick you up at eleven. Now if there's nothing else, I desperately need to use the intervening hours to strategize my look."

"I have this red shower curtain you could borrow, if you want-"

"That outfit was so magnificent on you, it can never be worn by anybody else. You were definitive."

"Also sweaty. See you at eleven."

Kurt apparently meant that whole 'strategizing his look' thing. He was wearing black skinny jeans, black hightop Chucks, a Runaways t-shirt with the sleeves torn off, a studded leather belt, fingerless gloves, and guyliner. He'd also spiked his hair straight up. He looked kind of like the bastard love-child of Joan Jett and Adam Lambert.

"Is it too much?" Kurt asked. "Poor Dad nearly had an aneurysm trying not to say anything. I had something different in mind, but then I went to see Tina to ask if I could borrow a belt-and she basically treated me like her very own Punk Barbie for the next hour. Which was, you know, so fun. But now I'm not sure."

"Punk Ken," Finn said.

"Huh?"

"Punk Ken-you don't look like Punk Barbie. I know these things."

Kurt's eyes narrowed. "Your childhood was way more interesting than anyone suspects, wasn't it?"

"I didn't find out until later that she was seeing Punk Skipper behind my back."

"What a remarkably disturbing turn this conversation has taken," Kurt said brightly.

"You started it."

At the bowling alley, Kurt insisted on paying for the pool table rental. "Really, it's the very least I can do considering that I'm about to reduce you to a weeping mass grasping for the tattered shreds of what used to be your dignity. I'll be right back."

Finn was sighting down various pool cues, rolling each across the table to find out which ones were warped (basically, all of them), when a familiar voice made the hair on the back of his neck prickle.

"Oh my God, if it isn't Hard-on. I'll be damned. Is there a choirboy pool tournament nobody told me about?" Finn turned around, and was dismayed when he actually had to look *up* to meet Danny Fletcher's eyes.

Danny Fletcher had been the worst bully in school all the way through the eighth grade. His Mom and Finn's Mom had been friends way back when they were like five or something, and neither of them had ever understood why their sons weren't closer. Finn could have filled them in on that, but that would have involved tattling, which was a total dick move. So he suffered in silence, but when Danny was signed up for Lima Vo-Tech instead of McKinley, Finn had heaved a gigantic sigh of relief and stopped hiding his milk money in his shoe.

Apparently they fed the students really well at LVT, because Danny was even taller than Finn, and looked like he could probably grow a full beard if he just spent thirty seconds thinking hard about how manly he was. Engineer boots, jeans, a black t-shirt tight enough to show off even more muscles than Puck had-and of course the shaggy black hair and blue eyes that had always made all the girls seem to think Danny was just tragically misunderstood, rather than a budding sociopath. He actually looked a lot like Jake Gyllenhaal, if Jake Gyllenhaal had been left out in the rain for a week. While in prison.

"Danny," Finn said, and hung on to the pool cue he'd been checking. Just in case. "Look, I don't want any trouble-"

Danny grinned at him, and Finn thought of wolves, sharks, the thing in his closet that he'd stopped believing in ten years ago that used to make him sneak into bed with his Mom. "Of course you don't want any trouble-you're no fun. You never were."

"Yeah, well. I've seen your idea of fun. It's not my thing."

Danny actually laughed. "Oh, that's a *classic* Hard-on line. Nice to know some things never change." He shook his head. "And here you are. Do you know how many times I had to listen to my Mom go on and on about you? 'That Finn Hudson, he doesn't cut school-or steal cigarettes-or boost cars-or break his Mother's heart!' Seriously. If she'd thought she could get away with it, she would've gotten your Mom drunk and talked her into swapping kids."

Finn hesitated. He'd never known that. "Oh. I guess… is that why you picked on me so much?"

Danny tossed his head to clear his hair out of his eyes, still smiling. "I'm sure that was part of it. But mostly it was the look on your face."

Finn heard the pool cue in his hands creak. "Yeah, well, whatever. See you around, Fletcher. I'm out of-"

"Oh my God, Finn-is there *anywhere* in this town where you don't know everybody?"

Finn's stomach dropped like a rock.

In the back of his head, he heard the opening bars of 'Kung-Fu Fighting'. He thought about grabbing Kurt's arm and making a run for it, but it was too late-Kurt was already right there, in full view of Danny Fletcher, smiling pleasantly the way you do when you meet someone without knowing that they were the kind of person who might decide to wear your intestines as a hat. Finn lifted his chin and put his shoulders back, and braced himself for whatever was about to go down.

What he hadn't really prepared himself for, though, was for Danny and Kurt to just stand there, staring at each other. Without talking. For what seemed like a really long time. The seconds spooled out while he looked from Danny, to Kurt, back to Danny, back to Kurt-and all of a sudden Kung Fu Fighting faded right out of his head, abruptly replaced by Air Supply. Lost In Love.

"Dude," Finn said, because, dude. Danny's eyes snapped over to him. "He's a dude," Finn said finally, tentatively-because really, Danny Fletcher had never been the brightest bulb on the tree, and-

"Duh, Hudson," Danny said, raising one eyebrow at him before turning back to Kurt. "Danny Fletcher," he said smoothly, holding out his hand and smiling his big, terrifying smile. "Also a dude."

"I'll say," Kurt said, sounding kind of breathless as he reached out to take Danny's hand. "I mean, um. Kurt Hummel. Hi. Hey. Hi."

A few seconds passed in which Finn had the profound impression he was entirely alone in the room.

"So tell me, Kurt," Danny drawled, and how the hell did he make Kurt's name sound so *dirty*? "Are you and Hudson here really good friends? Or is there maybe a little wiggle room I could take advantage of?"

"Who?" Kurt said, and okay, that was enough.

"Excuse us a minute," Finn said, taking Kurt by the arm and breaking what had to be the world's longest, sluttiest handshake ever. He hauled Kurt out of the room, around the corner and into the corridor that led to the bathrooms, and took him by the shoulders.

"Kurt, listen to me. You can't do this. Not with that guy. That's Danny Fletcher-he's a bully and he's mean and I think he probably eats small children-" Kurt's eyes got huge. "Well, no. Not that. But he made my life a living hell at school all the way through eighth grade, and he got everyone to call me 'hard-on' and he's… he's a jerk," he finished lamely.

Kurt looked skeptical. "You had a gay bully at your school?"

"No. Uh, I mean; I didn't know he was gay. Nobody did. Actually, I can't get over that-"

Kurt peered around him. "Because he certainly seems-"

"Oh, he's totally into you," Finn said irritably. "If his eyes had hands, your clothes would be shredded on the floor right now." Kurt's cheeks turned pink. Pinker. "But that's not the point. The point is, Danny Fletcher is a bad, bad guy, and you can't-"

"What did he do to you that was so bad?"

Finn let go of Kurt's shoulders, and wondered how he could best get across the full impact of the kind of monster Danny was. There were so many examples, it was hard to pick just one. "Um. Okay. In third grade, he stole my favorite GI Joe-my only GI Joe, actually. He snapped it in half in front of me, and then jammed it down my pants."

Kurt raised an eyebrow. "He called you 'hard-on' and he shoved a GI Joe down your pants. And this didn't seem gay to you?"

Finn blinked. "Huh. Now that you mention it-never mind. The thing is-he's a bad guy. Very bad guy. Don't go there."

Kurt didn't seem to be paying much attention. "Well, don't you think; I mean, if you haven't seen him since eighth grade, I'm sure he's had all kinds of opportunities since then for, um, personal growth, and, you know, rehabilitation-"

"Hey," Danny said as he came around the corner towards them. He did that head-tossing move to get the hair out of his eyes, and Finn heard Kurt's breath catch. "Was it something I said? Or, wait; let me guess." he stepped close, angled towards Kurt. "Finn needs to tell you what a naughty boy I am. But Kurt, wouldn't you rather find out all about that for yourself? I promise not to behave-"

"Back off," Finn said.

Danny looked him over. "You staking a claim, Hard-on?"

"He's not-" Kurt said, at the same time that Finn said, "Yes."

"Oh, really?" Danny said, amused, at the same time that Kurt yelped, "*What*?"

"Yep," Finn said lightly, patting Kurt's shoulder. "He's mine. All mine. You can't have him. Sorry."

Danny looked back and forth between the two of them, grinning. "Bullshit."

Without letting himself think about it, Finn bent down and kissed Kurt quickly on the lips. His face felt like it was on fire. "Like you said, staking a claim. Go away." He thought he heard Kurt choke a little.

Danny actually laughed. "Oh, Hard-on-you are priceless. Really priceless. Well, far be it from me to get in the way of whatever it is you've got going on with your maiden aunt here, but I think maybe you'd better leave the big-boy games to those of us who know-"

Finn could barely hear over the roaring in his ears, but every word pounded in his head anyway. He got his hands into Kurt's spiky hair and pulled, and laid one on him. At first he was all business, but then Kurt's knees went out from under him and Finn took his full weight-and then he almost lost control of his own knees, because his body totally fucking ambushed him. His brain insisted on informing him that Kurt's mouth was sweet, hot, and sexy, and he didn't want to believe that last part but Kurt kissed like he was melting, like he was breaking open, somehow innocent and really, really dirty at the same time. *Sexy*, his brain repeated, and that must have distracted him, because the next thing he knew his brain was telling him that Kurt had a round, curvy little ass, and that freaked him out completely because the only way his brain could have known that was if he had his hands on it-which he did.

Finn shoved himself backwards, panting, unable to see anything at all except for Kurt's wide, stunned eyes. His entire body was shaking. He was dizzy. And he was hard.

"Oh, *fuck*." Finn said. Then he turned around and ran.

***[BREAK HERE]

When he finally got up the nerve to call, Kurt's phone went straight to voice mail. He waited an hour and tried again. Straight to voice mail. Thirty minutes more. Voice mail.

He didn't leave any messages. He didn't know what to say.

The next day he still didn't know what to say, but he went to work anyway. He had just finished zipping up his coverall when Tran, one of the junior mechanics, came up to him.

"I guess Kurt's out sick today, so Burt asked me to have you help out with the head gasket fix I'm doing. You ready?"

"Uh. Yeah. I… okay. Sure." He swallowed hard, then picked up his notebook and followed Tran into the shop.

The day after that, Brian, one of the older guys, had him help out with a catalytic converter repair. The day after that was the day that Finn *knew* Kurt would come back-he didn't know how he knew, he just did. But when he got to work Burt called him over to help yank the engine of a '67 Camaro; the job he'd been dying for since the car came in for restoration. He stared under the hood for a long time, not really seeing anything except a whole lot of things that needed fixing.

"You okay?" Burt asked him. "You look a little rough around the edges."

"You know, I don't… I'm not feeling so hot. I think maybe I-"

Burt nodded towards the locker room. "Go on. Get some rest. I hope you don't have whatever Kurt has-that kid is down for the count."

"I… I'm sorry," he said.

"Don't be sorry. Be better-you gotta fix you before you can fix anything else."

"Right."

"Okay," Finn said loud enough to carry, pounding on the door. "Enough is enough, Kurt. Open up. We need to talk."

Kurt opened the door but stayed leaning against the door jamb, his arms crossed and his face perfectly composed. He didn't say anything.

"Uh. Can I come in?"

Kurt looked like he was thinking that over, but eventually he moved aside and held the door open. Finn followed him down to his room, and made himself meet Kurt's eyes.

Finn cleared his throat. "I'm sorry."

Kurt just stared at him.

"I wanted to say that. Just that. I just wanted to tell you that I… that what I did to you was a crappy thing to do to someone who… to you, and I wanted to tell you that I hope you can maybe forgive me because I've actually had a great time hanging out with you, because I like you."

Kurt just stared at him.

"But." Finn took a deep breath. "That's not right. Or, it is, but that's not all. And I'm pretty sure you know that."

Kurt's eyebrows drew together just a tiny bit.

Finn rubbed his face, not surprised to feel his hands shaking. "I… I really don't know what to do about this. I. Seriously. I haven't got a clue. I'm fucking terrified, and I. I. Uh…"

Kurt shifted from one foot to the other. "Finn. Just say it."

Finn went numb, then cold, then hot. He sucked in a breath and he could hear his heart beating in it. "I like you. Not the way I thought I did. There's more. And it is completely freaking me out."

Kurt exhaled, like he'd been holding his breath. "Okay."

Finn's heart lurched in his chest. "Okay?"

"Okay."

Finn looked away, looked back at Kurt, looked down at the floor. "So. Um. What do we do now?"

Kurt uncrossed his arms and eyed him speculatively. "Have I ever shown you my comic book collection?"

"I don't know," Finn said, flipping through the Batman pile. "You just don't seem like a comics guy to me. Artie, maybe, yeah. But you?"

Kurt lowered the Superman comic he was reading, and raised an eyebrow. "Hmm," he said dryly. "I guess I just never noticed I was going against type, on account of my preoccupation with all these pages of lovingly-rendered men in skintight costumes grappling with each other."

Finn frowned down at Batman, and started flipping pages. "Oh my God."

"Uh huh."

More pages. "Dude."

"Mmm."

He grabbed the next book, flipped more pages. "Holy crap. It's like there's a secret layer of gay under everything!"

"It's very much like that, yes. Of course I'm sixteen, gay and a virgin, so I actually kind of thought it might just be me."

"Uh. No." He flipped his comic shut and stared at Kurt, but he'd gone back to reading. "So. I guess you and Danny didn't. Um."

Kurt turned a page. "No."

"Oh." Finn buried his face back in his comic. He flipped a couple pages. "Wow. I can't believe they let kids read these. But it's cool, you know? It's like… like a secret code, or something-and most of the people reading it never even know it's there."

Kurt was trying not to smile, he could tell. "Finn Hudson. Only you would turn homoerotic subtext into action-adventure cryptography. And find it cool."

"It *is* cool," Finn said. He dug through the comics pile and pulled one at random, flipping pages quickly. "Just take any comic, and there it is, right-oh, Robin; you are *so naughty*-"

Kurt cracked up.

The days went by. Right about the time that Finn was finally one-hundred-percent sure that Kurt wasn't going to try anything, he started wondering why Kurt wasn't going to try anything. And a few days after that, he started wondering how he felt about Kurt not trying anything, which made him wonder if he was maybe kind of disappointed that Kurt wasn't going to try anything. A few days after that, he had to wonder whether it was maybe a good idea to try something himself. And at that point he freaked out completely for about a week and forced himself to stop thinking about it, only he couldn't stop thinking about it, he thought about it *constantly*, which completely freaked him out all over again. Which made him think about a lot more stuff.

Which was about the time that he realized he might be in very deep trouble.

On their next day off they went to the park with a Frisbee and a picnic basket that Kurt had put together, and Finn learned 1) that he really liked brie, 2) that he really hated gazpacho, and 3) that when you eat basically an entire wheel of brie and then run around in the hot sun for hours, eventually you're going to feel really sick and need to lie down in the shade for a while. Kurt gave him a bottle of water from the cooler, and used the Frisbee to fan him until he no longer felt like he was going to keel over and/or hurl. Which led him to 4) that once you saw something, you couldn't un-see it, and 5) that Kurt was really fucking pretty.

Part of the problem was that when Finn tried to think about the specifics of what he might actually want to do with Kurt, his brain shorted out and his body kind of seized up and liquefied at the same time, leaving him with nothing other than images of kissing and a whole bunch of melty panicked helpless lust.

It reminded him a little bit of his first fantasies of Brandie Bellacek, back when he was so young that he had no earthly idea what he actually wanted from her-but at the time he thought it might involve a spanking.

He was pretty sure he didn't want Kurt to spank him. But then, he'd been pretty sure he didn't want Kurt to kiss him, either-and look how that had turned out.

Brian, who usually covered the late afternoon shift until closing, was out due to the birth of his first grandkid, and Burt needed to go on a parts-scavenging trip. Finn whined and Kurt wheedled, and eventually Burt agreed to let them cover the shop.

"Stick to the easy stuff," he told them, "I mean it. Don't get cute. And if Mrs. Cameron comes to pick up that fancy Lexus of hers, don't take a check-I already told her, cash or credit only. I don't want her taking advantage." He drove away, muttering about people who owned the fanciest houses in town but still thought it was okay to bounce checks to locals.

Kurt waved goodbye until his Dad was out of view, then turned to Finn with his eyes wide. "Oh my God. We're in charge. Let's shuffle all the priority repair slips so they're out of order. Let's touch other people's tools. Let's light cigarettes and stand next to pools of gasoline. Let's-"

"Let's flush the radiator on Mr. Snedekor's Acura," Finn said, checking his clipboard.

"I remember when you used to be fun," Kurt said mournfully.

"I still am," Finn insisted. "You just haven't learned how to appreciate a good radiator flushing." Okay. That had sounded cool in his head, but now his face was on fire and Kurt was looking at him kind of funny.

"You've been spending entirely too much time around me," Kurt said. "Personally, I'm impressed, but I think maybe I owe your Mom an apology."

They did really well up until Kurt tried to tackle a clutch problem on an ancient Volvo and sent Finn to track down the right Chilton manual, or rather, they did well until Finn somehow managed not to see the tire dolly on the floor next to the metal shelves where the manuals were, and went crashing down onto his back on the concrete with a noise like someone throwing a box of wrenches down a stairwell. He heard Kurt yelling his name but he couldn't answer because he couldn't fucking *breathe*, and then Kurt was there, right there, looking completely freaked and touching his face with cool, smooth hands.

So Finn just did what he felt like he had to do, gave up and stopped trying not to and grabbed Kurt by the front of his coverall and yanked him down and kissed him full-on, kissed him urgently, fiercely, deeply-terrified and relieved and desperately turned on all at the same time.

"Finn." When Kurt pulled back there was too much light and too much air, and Finn couldn't let go, couldn't make himself do it. "Finn, we have to stop."

"I… why?"

"Because." Kurt took a deep breath and rocked back a little, his gaze fixed somewhere above Finn's head. "Because my Dad will be back soon. Because you just fell and we just kind of made out and now I'm worried that you might have brain damage. Because I… because I know you're scared, and I don't want to scare you. Because I don't want to hurt you." He looked down at Finn. "But most of all because I don't want to lose you-" his voice cracked on the last two words, and he picked up Finn's hand and squeezed it. "Because you're the best friend I've ever had."

Finn squeezed back. "I know. Me too."

Kurt bent down and kissed him once, lightly, soft and quick like a sudden sweet sting and Finn closed his eyes because, oh. He was in so much trouble.

"Okay." It seemed like all he could say. Then, "I'm not brain-damaged."

"I know. Just… just give it a little time, okay?"

"Yeah. Okay."

"He's in his room," Burt told him. "Go on down. I'm out of here-you kids lock up if you go out anywhere."

"Sure will," Finn said, praying that nothing showed on his face, because there were some conversations he just wasn't ready to have, and talking to Burt about what happened yesterday was pretty much at the top of that list. But Burt left with a cheery wave, and then Finn could breathe again.

He did a lot of breathing before he headed downstairs. He wasn't going to push. He wasn't going to ask Kurt how much time he needed. He was going to be cool.

"Hey, Kurt." He was cool. He was casual. He was so cool, he wasn't even looking at Kurt. Staring at the ceiling was definitely cool.

"Hey, Finn."

"I, uh. I came by to see if you wanted to maybe… do something." He snuck a glance at Kurt, but Kurt wasn't looking at him either-he was sitting cross-legged on his bed, staring at one of his thumbnails.

"Sure. What, um. What should we do?"

"Park?" Finn looked out one of Kurt's windows.

"Possibly."

"Swimming?" He looked at Kurt again, but Kurt appeared to be fascinated by his socks.

"Hm. Not today, I think."

"Okay." Kurt's floor was really interesting. "Well, do you want to… Do you want-"

"Finn."

He forgot to be cool when he looked up, and then he was stuck. Kurt was staring right at him, wide-eyed and kind of deer-in-the-headlights, his eyes brilliantly blue. Finn couldn't look away, and he couldn't shut himself up. "Want to make out?"

"Oh God yes."

Kurt pulled back from him abruptly, breathing very fast, his eyes wide. "Oh, crap. You're freaking out."

Finn blinked. "What? I… no way. I-" He felt the tension in his shoulders then, in his chest, rigid in Kurt's wide, soft bed. "Holy shit, I'm freaking out." Kurt started to move away, but Finn grabbed him. "Dude, don't leave me!"

Kurt collapsed on top of him, then pushed back with both hands on Finn's shoulders. "Um. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you're freaking out because I'm lying on top of you and we're kissing and I think it's kind of obvious right now that I'm a guy."

"Yeah, but you can't just *abandon* me-I'm freaking out!"

Kurt sighed. "Okay, this is a dilemma I had not prepared for."

"It's not like I suddenly realized you're a guy, you know," Finn said with his eyes closed, lying back on Kurt's bed while he talked his way through it. "I mean, you've got the softest lips I've ever felt and you're all smooth and you smell nice and stuff, but you have arm muscles and sideburns and, you know, other guy-parts. And then you kiss like-God, you can kiss, and I can't believe how long it took me to notice that you're pretty much gorgeous and there's just all these things I want to do only I don't really know what they are or how to do any of it, I just know that I want… oh. I-"

He opened his eyes and rolled them over so that he was on top, pressing Kurt into the bed. He was shaking. "Stop me if you-if you don't want…"

"No, I'm good," Kurt said in a breathy voice. "You. Uh. Whatever you want. I'm good with that."

Kurt's arms and legs wound around him. Finn let his body take over and went right for Kurt's mouth, right into soft, open, so-not-innocent kisses that made him feel like maybe parts of him were melting, but they weren't parts he particularly cared about right now because there were these other parts that mattered a whole lot more. His spine arched, and then he was rocking, moving, pushing, and he could feel that Kurt was hard but instead of backing off he went for it, grinding them together, and then his brain warped because holy fuck that was so hot, and Kurt made a soft noise into his mouth and… and-

"Finn? Finn, are you okay? Are you freaking out, or…?"

Finn said a few stifled words into Kurt's shirt-covered stomach, where he'd buried his face when he pulled back. Then, "not freaking out," he managed, turning his face to the side and panting.

Kurt's hands touched his hair. "Um. Did you actually mumble something about your mailman? Is there something you'd like to tell me?"

"Yes, I… no. It's just… that's what I do when I'm trying not to… when things are intense."

"Oh." Kurt's fingers traced over the back of his neck, and Finn shivered. "Uh. You know you don't have to stop, right? I mean, unless you want to?"

"Huh?"

"Here." Kurt drew him up, settled them together, wrapped around him and pressed up against him and cupped his face, staring into his eyes. "You don't have to stop. Not unless you want to."

"Really? You don't… it doesn't bother you?"

"What, you doing something insanely hot? No. I am strangely unbothered by that."

"Oh." He looked down. "It's hot?"

"Like you wouldn't believe."

Finn went slowly, and his eyes fluttered closed when they kissed but other than that he kept them open, his eyes locked with Kurt's while his breathing turned to panting and then to groaning, and Kurt kept whispering to him that it was good, he was good, that he was so fucking hot and that he felt incredible, and Finn freaked out a little when he knew he was going to come but Kurt stayed right with him, and somehow that made it okay. When he went over the edge he bit his own lip fiercely and managed to stay quiet, but Kurt made a deep soft subvocal noise of pleasure and in some weird way that was the best part.

"Finn, we need to talk."

Finn straightened up so fast he nearly brained himself on the hood of the Land Rover he was working on. "Uh. Okay. Sure. Yeah. No sweat."

Burt eyed him critically. "You okay?"

"Oh, yeah. I was just… you know. Thinking through the problem."

Burt nodded. "I know just what you mean."

Finn really hoped not. "So. Uh. What's up? Is there a problem? I mean, not that there should be a problem, but, um, if there is, I hope-"

"Calm down. There's no problem. Unless you've started taking speed, which I have to tell you is not a good idea-"

"Ha. Ha. No. Well, once, but the school nurse gave it to me and I used it for singing-uh, no."

"Okay then. So, look-I ran into your mother yesterday, in the grocery store."

"Oh?" Now he thought he had probably solved the mystery of Mom's Unexplained Humming last night.

"Now, she and I, we kind of took a break after, you know, before, and at the time I thought maybe that was a good idea-we'd been moving kind of fast-there's a certain pace to these things-oh, you'll understand that when you're older. But anyway, we got to talking and… and I asked her out. Again. Now, I know that it was hard for you before, and now there's more to it because I'm your boss, and I just don't want-"

"I'm cool with it," Finn said. It was the truth.

Burt did a double-take. "You are? Just like that?"

Finn shrugged. "Yeah."

"And… it's not just because I'm your boss, right?"

"Uh. No. I think you're awesome." He did.

Burt grinned. "Wow. I rated an 'awesome' from Finn Hudson. That's… well, that's just awesome."

Finn grinned back. "So, when can I ask for a raise?"

Burt slapped him on the shoulder. "When you earn one, smartass. Go work."

He was sitting on the bench in the locker room when Kurt came in. There was a moment when their eyes met that left Finn blushing and made his breath catch and also made him wonder if he was going to ever be able to be around Kurt in public again without embarrassing himself. "Everything okay?" Kurt asked, and took a step towards him before freezing. They shared another look and okay, at least he knew it wasn't just him. That helped, a little.

"Your dad just 'had a talk' with me-he asked my mom out again."

Kurt sat down on the bench next to him-but not too close. "Huh. Are you okay with that?"

Finn rubbed his hands through his hair. "I told him I was fine with it. I am. I *didn't* tell him that I was kind of hoping that he'd suddenly decide to take her on a three-week cruise so that I could mess around with you."

Kurt nodded sagely. "Probably a good call on your part."

"I really want to kiss you."

Kurt looked at him. Finn was kind of amazed the bench in between them didn't burst into flames. "Yeah. I… Yeah."

"I can't think about anything else."

"No."

"You, too?"

"Oh yes."

"Okay."

Finn stood just behind Kurt on his front stoop, and both of them waved goodbye as Burt's car drove slowly away. Finn kept the aw-shucks-you-two-happy-Second-First-Date smile on his face even though it felt like it had been stapled on, and just kept smiling and waving and keeping it cool. He could hear Kurt whispering, "omigod omigod omigod" over and over, and then the car turned a corner and was finally, finally gone.

Finn got one hand twisted in the back of Kurt's shirt and yanked him into the house. Kurt impressively somehow managed to kick the front door shut as he went by it, and then Finn pushed him against the wall and Kurt tried to climb him like a tree and finally they were kissing, wet and hot and shivery-good. He picked Kurt up with the vague thought of carrying him to his bedroom, but all that happened was that his dick shoved right up against where Kurt was hard and then his eyes crossed and he was suddenly on the floor with Kurt on top of him.

"Fucking manhandle me," Kurt breathed, and Finn kind of wondered if that was criticism or sarcasm or irony or whatever except that Kurt grabbed his hands and pulled them down to his hips. Finn clamped down and went for it, shoving himself up and pulling Kurt down and God he would have felt like such a bastard for basically using Kurt's body to get off against except that Kurt seemed pretty fucking happy about it, shaking hard and moaning into his mouth.

"I'm… uh… oh-" Finn managed, and Kurt's hips bucked so hard in his hands that it was kind of like trying to hang on to an angry snake. Kurt made some crazy-desperate noise against his tongue and then yanked on his hair, pulling his head back and Finn totally lost it, squeezing Kurt's hips way too hard and making some godawful noise and coming until he banged his head into the floor and-ow, that hurt. It also felt utterly fantastic.

It seemed to take a long, long time to come down, a long time until his heart stopped galloping and he could breathe without heaving. He spent a big chunk of time kind of just floating along in a happy mellow glow, but then part of his brain kicked in and he suddenly burst into laughter. "*Manhandle me*?"

Kurt's fist thumped his chest. "Jerk. You totally thought that was hot-admit it."

Finn laughed harder.

They finally made it into bed, Finn's bed-he had Kurt in his bed, and that was so awesome. What was less awesome was the gigantic, sticky mess in his pants, but he couldn't really think of a casual way to excuse himself so he could change.

"Hey-"

"Mmm?" Kurt sounded sleepy, but he looked perfectly awake, just kind of blissed-out.

"Um. How come you, uh. I mean, you don't-at least, I'm pretty sure you didn't-you never…" he trailed off, waving one generally towards Kurt's groin area.

"What, come?" Kurt said it easily, but Finn saw a blush start up from his shirt collar.

"Yeah." He felt his cheeks burn.

"I don't… I just didn't want to freak you out." Kurt took a breath. "I mean, we're having-I'm having a great time, and I think you are too, and I don't want to ruin things by going too fast or… you know. Doing something you're not ready for. That would suck." He touched Finn's cheek, gently. "But you shouldn't-I mean, it's not like I'm wallowing in a stew of frustration, okay? I just-like, uh, the other day, after you were gone, I, you know, took care of it. So I'm good. Really good. Really really really good."

"Oh." His whole face felt like it was on fire now. "I. Uh. Well, I… I don't think it would freak me out-I mean, I guess there's no way to know for sure without trying, but, um." Oh hell, his brain was going all kinds of places and his breath was speeding up, and they weren't even doing anything. He was so screwed. "Maybe you could, you know, instead of waiting-take care of it now?"

Kurt's eyes got huge. "Now? Here? With… in front of you? You want… that?"

"Yes. Is that weird? I don't mean to be weird, but I, uh. I don't know, I just… yes?"

Kurt looked around, looked at him, looked down at himself. "I… hang on-" he pulled himself free of the tangle Finn had him in, then got out of bed and pulled the bedspread, blanket and sheet free on his side, sliding in underneath. "Would this work?"

Finn could feel his heart pounding in his throat. "Are you still afraid of freaking me out, or are you actually shy?"

"Oh, both," Kurt said, staring at him with one eye; the other one was hidden by the pillow he'd dug his head into.

"Okay. Could you. Would you maybe take your shirt off?" Finn had dug himself into his own pillow-it was just easier to say stuff like that when you had somewhere cool to stick your face afterwards.

Kurt took his shirt off, moving slowly, almost dreamily, and settled back with the sheet pulled up to just below his nipples. He took a breath. "Are you sure about this?"

"Yeah," Finn said, and somehow saying that was even harder than suggesting it in the first place.

"Okay." Kurt's hands burrowed under the covers, then Finn heard the clink of a belt buckle and the zip of a zipper and the soft, sudden catch of Kurt's breath, and oh God he was going to pass out-his whole body felt like it was burning, buzzing, and there didn't seem to be any air in the room. Through the pounding in his ears he caught one of Kurt's quiet sounds, and without even thinking about moving he just went, sliding one arm under Kurt's neck and a hand onto his chest, curving around to his shoulder when he twitched. "Don't stop," he breathed, hearing what was left of his voice shake like crazy. "Please don't."

"Okay," Kurt said softly, and then gasped, and oh fucking hell, Finn was going to have a really serious problem soon because watching Kurt's face flush and his eyebrows draw together and his teeth bite a little into his bottom lip was very possibly going to make him come in his pants without anything touching him. But he hung on, because honestly it was too good to give up. He watched Kurt's face and kissed his open mouth and held him and felt him shaking, felt every movement going on under the covers as if it were happening to him, and he wondered vaguely if it was possible to die from your dick being too hard.

"I…" he stopped because he was panting, his voice low and wrecked. "I need to-" he pulled back and stripped his shirt off, clawed his way under the covers on his side and burrowed in, careful to leave some space between their bodies. He attacked his belt and zipper and then slid his arm back under Kurt's neck-Kurt who was wide-eyed and flushed and staring at him with his chest heaving. "Okay? Is this okay? I couldn't-I just couldn't take any more. I had to, I have to-"

"Fuck," Kurt said distinctly, and then lunged for his mouth, his eyes fluttering closed. Finn flicked over Kurt's tongue with his own, jammed his free hand into his underwear-and made a ridiculously porntastic noise when he got himself in hand and started stroking, because it was so deeply good and needed and necessary and seriously fucking intense that he couldn't control anything coming out of his mouth.

Finn felt them fall into a groove-he almost would have sworn he heard something click-and he was so, so grateful that he'd already come once because if he hadn't he would be so, so done right this second. He could feel Kurt getting off on him getting off, both of them rocking the bed and moaning and kissing like they were starving and so locked into each other, feeding into and off of each other and oh God it was too good, he didn't want to speed up but he had to, it was so hot and he was sweating and his whole body was almost seizing up with pleasure.

"Finn," Kurt's voice was soft, breathless.

"Yeah."

"Is it good?"

"Oh God yeah."

"Are you gonna come?"

"Oh… Fuck… Yeah."

Kurt's eyelashes fluttered. "Could you. Would you come on me? Please?"

Finn tried to say: oh my God you think that's hot?, but then he couldn't because oh my God that was totally fucking hot, so he ended up saying something that sounded like 'wuh' instead, trying to keep his eyes from rolling back in his head.

He heaved himself over, but he hadn't really thought it through because when the backs of his knuckles brushed Kurt's hand he just completely collapsed. Then they were touching all the way down and they were touching *there* and somehow he managed to thrust twice before he came so hard he thought his spine had liquefied. Kurt's head pushed back into the pillows and he grabbed Finn's shoulders and made a soft, high, helpless noise and Finn felt it when he came, down to his toes, and Christ what a mess but it was so good, it was amazingly good, he wanted to stay right here forever.

He slowed down but couldn't stop moving, and his balls twitched agonizingly-sort of a 'hey, give us a fucking break already, okay?' twitch because, ow, sensitive. But there was something he couldn't give up on, and he honestly didn't know what it was until Kurt's flushed, wide-eyed face came out of the pillows and their eyes locked and-oh. It was because they were almost fucking. Really almost fucking. And then he had to push his face into the curve of Kurt's neck, because, God.

"It's called *what*?"

"Frottage."

"Dude. No. That… sounds like some kind of cheese."

Kurt smiled. "You love cheese."

"Not that way."

"Well, there's always the ever-popular 'grinding'."

"Yeah, uh, no."

"Why?"

"Because when I think about grinding with you I spike a fever and start to breathe funny."

"Oh."

"I think I'll go with 'rolling around'."

"Okay."

"Rolling around is good. Rolling around works. I don't think that would… um. Oh, crap."

"You're so cute when you blush."

"Shut up."

Making out with Kurt caused everything else to just fade away, which was pretty awesome except when you were supposed to stay alert for things like one of your parents coming to ask if you maybe wanted a sandwich or if you'd seen their keys. After a couple of close calls, they talked it over and decided to stick with an only-on-date-night policy, which was probably smart, but also sucked so hard.

"God." Finn flopped back onto Kurt's bed. "Three more days. I may just die before then."

"I really wish you wouldn't. That would seriously put a crimp in my plans." Kurt tilted his head, considering. "Or make them a whole lot kinkier, I suppose, but let's not go there."

"Ew!"

"See? Sorry, you'll have to tough it out and remain among the living."

Toughing it out was right. The next three days were like torture. "You have to stop bending over things," Finn whispered to Kurt in the locker room at the end of their shift on day two. "Seriously-I almost grabbed a moving fan belt."

Kurt gave him an annoyed look. "Okay," he whispered back, "First of all, I'm wearing what is essentially a shapeless canvas sack-I'm not exactly flaunting it, here. Secondly, you try tuning up an engine without bending over anything, and see how far you get. And finally, what about *you*, with your lips when you smile and your giant hands and your sexy breathing?"

Finn blinked. "I have sexy breathing?"

Kurt's eyes narrowed. "Oh, don't even try to play innocent with me, like you don't know that every time you do a fix you're happy with you sigh like… like someone just stuck their hand down your pants."

They were kind of glaring at each other, but then they really weren't anymore, and Finn made himself take a step back. "Uh…"

Kurt's face flushed. "Oh, God, I really want to stick my hand down your pants."

"I… yeah," Finn mumbled, and sat down on the bench, grateful for the moment that he was still wearing his shapeless canvas sack.

As much as it sucked to wait, it was almost kind of worth it when they were finally alone, tangled together on Finn's bed with their shirts off and the lights down low, making out and making up for lost time.

Finn shivered when Kurt's hand stroked down his stomach, then slowly lower, and finally, tentatively, right where he wanted it. Finn couldn't help the sound he made, but he tried to smother it in another kiss until Kurt pulled back, his eyes wide.

"Uh," Finn said, very carefully not shoving himself into Kurt's hand. "Everything okay?"

"Finn."

"Yeah?"

"Your cock is enormous." Kurt groped around a little, like he was checking, and Finn couldn't stop himself from rocking forward, at which point they both gasped.

"I… okay. Is that… isn't that… good?"

Kurt blinked twice, rapidly. "Oh. Sure. Yes. Only now I have to reset all my fantasy parameters to 'gratuitous', and I really hope I don't… um. I mean; I don't know if you'd want to, but I thought… I've been thinking about…" He glanced down, then back up, and his tongue flicked over his lower lip. Finn's breath caught, then sped up. "But not if it freaks you out."

Finn shook his head.

"It doesn't freak you out?"

Finn shook his head again.

Kurt frowned. "It's hard to tell, what with the whole stunned-and-mute thing. You seem kind of freaked out."

"I'm not-I want-I've never… I want you to." It all came out in a quiet rush.

"Oh. Good. That's good. We should do that, then." He squeezed gently, and Finn twitched. "Lie back, okay?"

Finn laid back, already too warm and kind of dizzy and so hard he ached. Kurt settled on top of him, kissing him hotly, and Finn tried hard not to think too much about where that wet, soft mouth was going, because he really didn't want this to be over before it even started. Kurt had straddled him above the hips this time so there was nothing to rub up against, and his brain kept insisting that this was sad and also unfair, but then he figured it maybe made sense given his track record, so he didn't say anything.

It was hard to just lie there, to not do much other than kiss and breathe and grope Kurt's amazingly curvy ass, but then Kurt's mouth slid down to his neck and Finn's whole body went kind of boneless, just wanting-everything, all at once-and suddenly it got a lot easier. He turned his head to the side, his breath ratcheting up, and Kurt bit him a little, gently, which created a weird feedback loop between his neck and everywhere else. Even his nipples were tingling, and then Kurt went down and used his wicked, silky tongue there and Finn kind of blanked out for a second, which was really embarrassing but it wasn't like he could help it.

"You, uh. You seem to know what you're doing," he panted, because wasn't he supposed to be the more experienced one, here?

"Oh, I'm an expert-as long as you count the number of times I've done this in my head." Kurt's tongue traced from his nipple to just under his ear, and Finn made some sound like 'ngrh' and let his eyes close. "Good to know all those thousands of hours weren't wasted."

"Not even a little. I didn't know I liked that. How did you know I'd like that? I really like that. I'm gonna die soon if you don't touch me."

"Bet you won't," Kurt said, and went back to his nipples, biting softly. Finn started to shake.

By the time Kurt worked his way down to his hips Finn was so desperate that even his loose jeans felt like they were strangling him, and it was just a huge relief to strip out of them, along with his boxers. It was a relief until he realized Kurt was staring at him, at all of him, and then he felt really, really naked. And turned on. And also naked.

"Wow," Kurt said, then moved back over him and kissed him some more, carefully holding himself at arm's length. "Are you… can I keep going?"

"Oh God please."

"Oh good. Okay." He pulled back a little. "Then here's what you need to know-"

"I have to know things?" Finn tried not to whine, but he didn't quite make it.

"Yes, because I don't want this to suck except in the way it's supposed to. So first of all, please try to be patient and don't get pushy until I get used to you. Second: normally I'm not a big fan of hair-pulling-especially not when it's my hair-but this is an exception because, um, hot. And finally, don't try to be polite and yank me off when you get close, because I want you to come in my mouth. Okay?"

Finn lost some time there because his brain overloaded on that last part, and he had no idea whether or not he'd even answered Kurt or what he'd said, but he figured they must have worked it out because when he came back to himself he was looking down at Kurt taking him in, pausing and breathing and taking more, and then awareness of warm-wet-tight-mouth rushed all through him and he curled his hands into fists and forced himself to stop looking so he didn't come right then and there. Kurt was going slowly, but slow didn't really matter because oh, heat and suction and friction and more heat…

Finn started moaning and got two handfuls of the bedspread, and tried not to move too much. He felt Kurt working his way down and back, down a little further each time and first he was trying hard not to come and then he couldn't help it any longer and he tried to come, but everything was so slow and good and torturous and amazing that he couldn't and then he just gave up and floated, drifted, high on whatever it was when you'd given up trying to do anything except stay right where you were forever.

"Finn… Finn?" He heard Kurt from what seemed like miles away, saying his name like he'd been saying it for a while now. He looked down his own heaving chest and oh, Kurt was shaking, Kurt was-

"You stopped," he said stupidly, like somehow Kurt had missed that or something.

"I'm-I've got it, now, I'm good." Kurt's lips were rosy-pink and wet, and just looking at them made his dick twitch. "You don't have to… you can move, if you want." His eyes were half-lidded, full of heat. "You can do whatever you want."

Then Kurt sucked him in again, and Finn groaned like he'd been wounded but he still didn't move, couldn't move until Kurt groped around for his hands and pulled them to his head. Finn threaded his fingers into silky hair-and something exploded in his brain and oh God he got it, he totally got it, what he could do if he wanted, and oh, he wanted to so badly.

He made fists in Kurt's hair and held him and then rocked up, pushed deep, hard and fast. Kurt made a low sound that he hoped wasn't some kind of distress call, because he tried to back off and couldn't-couldn't stop, couldn't slow down, because Kurt's mouth was some kind of fucking miracle, wet and open and tight and *so* good. He was ready to fight for every second he could get of it, but he wasn't going to get much more because he was about to come *right fucking now*, and it was all he could do to stutter some half-formed words of warning that made Kurt hum and that was it-he pulled back one last time and shoved all the way in and came as deep inside as he could get, groaning through his teeth because all his muscles were locked up tight. He rocked his way through it, gasping and shaking and completely out of control, until it was over and he suddenly felt like someone had replaced all his bones with lead. Really heavy lead.

"Oh my God," Kurt said hoarsely, up on his knees now very far above him, opening his belt and jeans with shaking hands. "Oh God, Finn, I have to-right now-that was so hot, that was so fucking hot-" and lead-filled bones or no Finn had to get his hands on him, one behind the back of his neck to pull him into a kiss and the other tight around his dick without even stopping to think about it, stroking hard and fast and kissing his messy, bitter, salty mouth. That shocked him, then shocked him again because instead of freaking him out it just made his body vibrate like a plucked string. His nerves seemed to have been skinned bare, twitching crazily while he soaked up the feel of Kurt above him, twisting and arching and shuddering and finally coming, spurting all over his hand and his stomach, moaning into his mouth. Finally Finn pulled back, bit Kurt's neck for minor vengeance and then collapsed with Kurt on top of him, both of them panting hard and still shaking.

"Okay," Finn said slowly after a long, long time. "I'm kind of waiting to freak out, here, because that was-"

Kurt waved one hand around. "Whatever that was? Is kind of freaking *me* out. God."

Finn took a deep breath. "I feel different."

"Huh?"

"Nothing." He couldn't stop grinning. He tried. He failed. He… needed a drink. "You want some water?"

"At least a gallon. It might save time if you just pour it directly on me."

"Okay, but I call no singing that lame Flashdance song."

"Ha. I'd tell you you're no fun, but I think you'd know I was lying."

The next day he came into work whistling a jaunty version of 'Crazy Train', but when he walked through the door and ran into Rachel, he stopped.

"Hey," she said, looking vaguely nervous.

"Hey," Finn said.

"Hi," said one of the guys with Rachel. "Do you work here?"

Which was how he finally met Rachel's dads, Jeff and David. They both seemed really nice. When they started talking to him about their minivan, he went and got Burt.

"We've always had it serviced at the dealership," Jeff told Burt. "But the man who ran the place retired-great for him, but not so great for us, because his son is running things now, and he's… he's not the man his father was."

"He made some remarks," David said. "Rude ones."

Burt nodded. "Nicky is a good man," he said sagely. "But his kid is a total twerp."

"Le mot juste. But then our Rachel suggested we might come here instead-I guess she and your son know each other?"

"Hey, Dad, where's-" Kurt said as he walked in, and then there was a whole lot of looking around in lots of different directions. "Finn. Rachel?"

"Oh my God," Jeff said, grabbing David by the arm and pointing at Kurt. "Celine Dion!"

Finn felt a tug on his sleeve. "Is there… can we talk for a minute?" Rachel whispered to him. He glanced at Kurt but there was no help there-he was busy being enthusiastically and affectionately mobbed by both of Rachel's dads, looking a little shocked and not entirely comfortable. Burt looked like he thought the whole thing was pretty funny.

Finn led Rachel outside and around the corner, where Burt had set up a few benches for customers who were waiting to pick up their cars. He sat down next to her, suddenly right back in that guilty-sorry-sucktastic place he hadn't been in since… well, since other things took his mind off it. He wondered if she was going to yell at him again-but she didn't look angry, with her brows drawn together like that and her hands folded carefully in her lap. She looked… tense.

"So," She said, and stopped to clear her throat. "I heard from Puck who heard from Santana who heard from Brittany who heard from Quinn who heard from Mercedes that you were working here."

He relaxed a little. "Yeah," he said. "All summer. I like it."

"Oh. Good." She looked away from him then, smoothing her skirt. She was tan and kind of glowing, beautiful. But he didn't feel like he was in love with her anymore. And even though it would have sucked beyond the power of imagining if he did, that still made him sad.

"Listen, Finn, I feel terrible about what happened."

He took a breath. Apparently she wasn't interested in yelling at him. Yet. "Me too. I never meant… I didn't set out to hurt you-"

"I know you didn't. And I thought about it a lot, and… well, it's not like you cheated on me or anything, and you *did* tell me the truth as soon as I told you the truth, and I… I think I overreacted. I do that sometimes."

She seemed to expect him to say something, but he had no idea what. "I… okay."

She turned to him then, her eyes suddenly bright as her words came faster. "And then I heard you were working here, and it seems like nobody's seen you all summer, and I thought of course because of what happened with me, and before that with Puck and Quinn, and even… and even with Santana, so no wonder you've gone off to live the life of a… of a mechanic monk or something, because you've just been too wounded by the world."

Finn choked a little, then coughed. He couldn't help it.

Rachel didn't seem to notice. "And then I thought about how you bravely and recklessly declared your love for me, after everything we'd been through, and how incredibly handsome you looked when you were standing there, like you were overcome by your passion for me, and I realized I… I was wrong to break up with you."

"Oh." Finn shifted on the bench. "I… uh…"

Rachel reached out and took his hand. "I'm sorry I broke up with you."

He squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry I hurt you." He was.

Rachel looked in his eyes. "I forgive you." Her eyes were enormous, and then they were even bigger because she was leaning slowly in to him, and he felt almost like he'd been hypnotized.

He figured out what was happening in the split-second before it actually happened and leaned back, pulling his hand away and almost toppling himself off the bench. "Whoa. I can't… Rachel-"

Rachel looked hurt all over again. "Is it… am I too late? I'm too late-you're already with someone else, aren't you?"

"No," Finn said slowly. "I, uh… I just don't think-"

"Is it Santana?"

"No, I'm not-I'm not dating Santana. I'm not… I just… this is kind of… I didn't expect-"

"Oh God… I moved too fast, didn't I?" Rachel asked, crossing her arms and hanging her head.

"Huh?"

"I always do that-I try not to, but as a natural high-achiever it's easy for me to forget that other people might not have my emotional facility and range. It's not fair for me to expect you to keep up."

"Um."

Rachel lifted her head. Her eyes were brimming, but she was also smiling a little, sadly. "You must have gone through hell letting go of me when I pushed you away. I understand why you need some time."

"Oh. Yeah."

She took his hand again, but only to squeeze it for a second before she let it go. "So… I'll be here, when you're ready. And until then, I'll just… be your friend."

"Uh… okay. Good. I… thanks. Me too." He felt kind of woozy, like he was standing too close to a train that was speeding by. But he was kind of used to that when talking with Rachel, so really there was nothing to do except let the train whoosh by and hope he hadn't left any important pieces of himself on the tracks. "Well, I guess we should-"

"Yes. My dads will be looking for me."

He led her back into the shop. It seemed very gloomy and dark after sitting in the bright sun, but it was at least ten degrees cooler, and the smells of machine oil and tires and car exhaust seemed oddly comforting. Jeff and David were still talking with Burt and Kurt.

"There's our girl!" Jeff said, putting his arm around Rachel's shoulders and kissing the top of her head. "Young lady, you get an extra gold star today for recommending this place-Bebe will be in good hands, I can tell."

"Bebe?" Burt asked.

"The van," Jeff said. "Rachel named her that. After-"

"Bebe Neuwirth," Kurt and Rachel said at the same time, and then kind of glared at each other.

Jeff reached out and actually pinched Kurt's cheek. "Oh, smart *and* talented-aren't you a treat?" He turned to Burt. "What a wonderful son you have-you must be so proud."

From the look on Burt's face, Finn thought he must not hear that very often. "I am. Very proud. I'm… I couldn't be more proud of him."

"Well I'm so glad to hear it-because if you weren't I'd just scoop him up and take him home to be the baby brother our Rachel never had, because he is *just that fabulous*."

Rachel and Kurt and Finn all went wide-eyed with horror, but nobody else seemed to notice.

Soon after that the Berry family left, and Finn followed Kurt into the locker room. "I'm cured," Kurt said dryly, climbing into his coverall. "My whole life I've been disappointed that I didn't have a gay relative to confide in, but I am now entirely cured. I love *all* my hopelessly heterosexual relations, even my stinky Aunt Mildred. Love them all."

"They were nice," Finn said. "They liked you."

"Yes-which freaked me out completely. I'm just not used to it."

"Kurt," Finn said, and took a breath. "We need to talk."

Kurt looked at him, then looked up at the ceiling for a second, then back at him, and nodded. "I thought we might," he said, and finished buttoning his collar.

"Hey," Finn said, because Kurt hadn't said anything but he didn't have to, it was right there. "Not that kind of talk." He looked around, then walked over to where Kurt was standing and leaned in to kiss him once, quickly, before backing away. "It's just… talk. After work, okay?"

"Okay," Kurt said, closing his locker. "But if this is about me finding it in my heart to step in as Rachel's little brother, I can pretty much promise you a world of disappointment right now."

"Yeesh. No."

Kurt made turkey sandwiches, and they took a loaded tray down to his room. "Food first," Kurt said. "Otherwise I won't be able to hear you over the roar of your stomach." So they ate, or rather, Finn ate while he watched Kurt kind of move things around on his plate. Then he leaned back against the soft pillows on Kurt's bed, and told him everything.

When he was finished, Kurt frowned at him. "I'm sorry, I'm… maybe I'm being dense, but I'm not seeing a problem, here-other than, you know, the usual problems one has when talking to Rachel, such as getting a word in edgewise or conveying any concepts which do not include her as a central focus-"

"I'm being serious," Finn said.

"So am I."

"I said I wasn't with anyone else."

"So you said."

"But… that's… I lied to her."

Kurt's frown deepened. "And?"

"And-I don't like lying to her. I suck at it."

Kurt shook his head. "That's going to be a problem, then, because you can't exactly have a clandestine… whatever, without lying about it-it's kind of a requirement."

"Yeah, but now it's like she's just… waiting for me to adjust, or something, and then take up where I left off with her."

Kurt shrugged. "So? That could happen."

Finn sat up. "No, it couldn't. Not while… no. I don't think, not ever. And that's not fair to her."

"Hm. Okay. Well, maybe you could tell her you figured out over the summer that you're still not over Quinn-"

"But I am over Quinn."

Kurt threw his hands up. "Well, if you're unhappy with the thought of Rachel checking her watch every time she sees you, you're going to have to tell her *something*-"

"Yeah, but I don't have to lie to her."

Kurt blinked. "Yes, Finn, you do. Because you can't tell her the truth."

"Why not?"

Kurt looked at him like he had three heads. "You do remember that Rachel is just about the worst keeper of secrets in the history of, oh, ever, right?"

It was Finn's turn to shrug. "Why would it have to be a secret?"

Kurt's face was pale, carefully set. "No."

Finn's stomach felt like a clenched fist. "Why?"

"Because." Kurt set his untouched plate down on his bedside table. "You, of all people, should know why. Haven't you had enough of your jock friends asking you what color dress you're planning to wear to the prom, just because you joined Glee Club?"

"Those people aren't my friends. And it's not like… I mean, people aren't going to stop being stupid, no matter what they do or don't know about me."

Kurt was quiet for a while. It seemed like a very long while.

"Finn." He spoke slowly, deliberately. "You can't tell anyone. Not Rachel, and not anybody else. You can't."

Finn leaned back against the pillows. "What, it's okay for me to… to mess around with you, but it's not okay for me to tell anyone about it?"

"Finally. Yes." Kurt looked almost relieved.

"No. And I never expected to hear something like that from you." Finn's stomach turned over. "Is it… are you ashamed of me?"

"Oh my God. No." Kurt reached out and touched his neck, gently, tracing down to his shirt collar, and Finn's heart thumped hard. "I think… you're an amazing guy. I'm not… I'm so not ashamed of you."

"But you don't want anyone to know about us."

Kurt shook his head.

"Why not? What… is there something you're not telling me?"

He could see Kurt swallow. "Can you let it… can you let this go?" Kurt asked softly. "Please?"

Finn shook his head. "No. Whatever it is, I think you should just say it."

Kurt looked sad and a little hurt, but he nodded. "Okay." He sat up and turned towards Finn, crossing his legs under him. "Finn, it doesn't make sense for you to tell people about this, because once you're open about it some people *will* do everything they can to make you suffer-and some of them will go on doing that for however long they know you, which will pretty much be for however long you're in this town."

"But you get that all the time-"

"Hold it. Yes, I get that all the time. I'm gay, and it's something I'm always going to have to deal with. I chose my terms for that when I chose to come out." He took a breath. "And there's the difference, Finn. You can't come out-because you're not gay. You're just… you're experimenting. Just experimenting. And there's nothing wrong with that at all-I know that, and I think you probably know that too. But saying 'I was just experimenting' isn't going to cut it when some no-teeth hockey-playing knuckledragger decides to make himself feel like more of a man by rearranging your face. And I can't… I don't want to see that happen to you. Not when it doesn't have to."

Finn blinked. "That's… that's your big reason?"

Kurt looked sad, so sad. "It's all the reason I need. It's all the reason you should need, too."

"You think I'm just experimenting."

"You *are* just experimenting-and there's nothing wrong with-"

"I'm not just experimenting."

"You're not gay, Finn-"

"Well, duh," Finn said hotly, sitting up. "I know I'm not gay-but I'm not straight, either. And I'm not experimenting-I mean, yeah, I'm experimenting in the sense that I'm trying new stuff, but-no, this isn't an experiment. *You're* not an experiment." He sighed. "You know, I like girls. I also like guys. I understand that it's possible to like both." He shrugged. "I like both."

There was a pause. A long pause. Kurt blinked at him a few times while the pause got longer. Finally he cleared his throat, tilting his head. "You're… you've decided you're bisexual."

"Yeah."

"You've… thought about this."

"Well I kind of had to, once I figured out I couldn't be around you without wanting to… uh. Yeah."

"And then you decided-bisexual."

"Yeah."

Kurt looked skeptical. "I… no. I don't think so."

Finn was tempted to smack his perfect hair. "You think I'm lying about this?"

"No-of course not. I just think that maybe… see, the problem is, you're going with this 'I like girls and guys' thing, but you don't like *guys*; you like me. Because we're friends and because, I don't know, I think because maybe somehow I make it safe for you to be curious about stuff, or maybe just because you like the way I… you know. But you don't like 'guys'-I mean, other than me."

Finn swallowed. "Uh…"

"Oh my *God*." Kurt said, and sat up straight. "*No way*."

Finn shrugged, and Kurt leaned forward and took him by the shoulders, his eyes suddenly huge. "You like *guys*! I mean, 'like'-as in, 'are attracted to'?, not 'would attend a football game with'?"

"I didn't think so for a while," Finn said slowly. "But I tried to find out, because I needed to know-I couldn't stop thinking about you, I couldn't stop and I just… I had to know. So I looked at a ton of guys, and I thought about… stuff, about whether I'd want to, and it was like no, no, no, no-and I had pretty much decided that I… that it was just you, or that I was doing that-that experimenting thing, like you said, but then I noticed this other guy, and I… yeah. If I weren't… if we weren't, you know. I'd go for it. Definitely."

"Oh my God," Kurt repeated, letting go of his shoulders and sinking back, looking stunned. Then he suddenly frowned. "Wait-what guy? Who's this other guy?"

Finn's face got hot. "Uh. Just a guy I ran into-I was looking at everybody, you know, trying to figure things out. His name's Patrick, I think-I'm pretty sure he goes to the Catholic school. I think his Mom is the manager of the Starbucks where he works-"

Kurt leaned forward again. "At the Starbucks-oh, no-that bitchy twink with the Donna Karan glasses and the Abercrombie & Fitch tee-shirt collection and the stupid blond highlights in his stupid, stupid hair? The one who always has some kind of snide remark about how much time I must spend ironing?"

Finn couldn't help smiling. "I dunno. I thought he was nice."

Kurt rolled his eyes. "Well of course he was nice to *you*, because he probably wants to spread you on toast and eat you for breakfast."

Finn flopped sideways onto the bed, and stretched out. "So. I guess I shouldn't bother bringing up my fun idea for a three-way with you and Patrick, right?"

Kurt turned almost purple, but when he finally spoke he sounded perfectly calm. "Finn Hudson. I have never wanted to slap you so badly. Also kiss you. You utter dork."

Finn grinned. "Okay. Can I have your sandwich?"

Kurt was quiet for a long time, kind of frowning off into space. Finn didn't say anything either, because, well, delicious sandwich.

"I still don't think you should tell anybody," Kurt said finally, once Finn put down the now-empty plate.

"Why not?"

"Because… Because you should have more time-a lot more time-to get used to… all this. Because it's not like telling people you're bi is going to get you a fifty percent discount on the crap people would pull if you told them you were gay-in fact, I think it might be worse. And because you might regret it." He sighed. "Because you don't have to."

"Kurt, are you telling me to stay in the closet and pretend to be straight when I know I'm not?"

Kurt covered his eyes with one hand. "God help me, I might actually be doing that." He dropped his hand and shook his head. "I just think you should think about it, that's all. I think… it has to be your decision. But that if you decide that's what you want to do, you should be sure. Really sure."

"Okay. That makes sense. I can do that."

Kurt went quiet again, but this time he was smiling softly, bouncing one leg that was crossed over the other. "So," he said finally, brightly. "You're bisexual."

"Uh. Yeah."

"You're not just experimenting."

"Nope."

"You want to have freaky three-way sex with me and a trashy fashion-whore barista, because you think that would be fun."

Finn bit his cheek. "Well, I didn't say it had to be *freaky*. Couldn't we have… I dunno, *friendly* three-way sex?"

Kurt snorted. "With me and that Patrick trollop in the same room? Not likely."

Finn hesitated, then plunged ahead. "Does it… does that make things different? You… you're okay, right?"

Kurt gave him a look, then got up off the bed and held out his hand. "Come with me."

Finn followed. "Where are we going?"

Kurt dragged him into the bathroom. "I need to do something with your hair."

"What? I didn't… are there special bisexual hair requirements that I don't know about? Why would you need to-"

"I don't," Kurt said, locking the door behind them. "But that's at least a semi-convincing argument I can give my Dad if he comes down here-but I really don't want to use it, so you should probably brace yourself, because this is going to be fast." He put his arms around Finn's neck and backed him into the smooth stone countertop that surrounded the sink.

"But-it's not date night-"

"Screw date night," Kurt said, then grabbed his hair with one hand and pulled him down into a wet, open-mouthed kiss that was so hot and nasty that Finn realized Kurt must have actually been holding back with him, before-a concept that was kind of terrifying. When Kurt was done Finn gasped for air and tried to stay upright and had to reach down to adjust himself in his pants because, fuck.

"You," Kurt told him. "Keep quiet. Bite a towel, if you have to." He yanked a towel off the rod next to the sink, then hooked it around the back of Finn's neck and tugged him forward, looking right in his eyes and… Finn felt something low in his gut kind of lurch sideways. "Here-try the Nandina. They're very absorbent."

Kurt grabbed him by the hips and made sure he was braced against the counter, then dropped to his knees. He looked up through his lashes and licked his lips, and Finn twitched, hard. Everywhere. "No pressure or anything," Kurt said quietly, "but if I hear you make any noise at all, I'm going to stop. Then I'm going to go upstairs and play Trivial Pursuit with my Dad. Just so you know."

Finn was already panting, so he buried his face in the towel and just hung on. He couldn't hear his belt being undone or his zipper, but all at once his jeans were around his ankles and his boxers were slid down quickly and carefully to mid-thigh and then a hot, smooth hand grabbed him-he sucked in air through the towel, as quietly as he could.

His groping hand found Kurt's hair when it brushed his stomach and then he was in, then further in, then all the way in, and then he was shaking hard and biting his lips and-he just went for it. The whole thing probably would have been over and done with in three seconds except that he had to keep all his attention focused on not groaning and not yelling and on biting the stupid towel. It was like some kind of crazy balancing act, stroking into Kurt's hot mouth until his lungs threatened to burst, then breathing, controlling, pulling himself together-but even those times were dangerous because Kurt never stopped, never let up, and it was so good so good so fucking good he wanted to scream. He knew he was going to come, and finally he jammed the towel between his teeth and used both hands on Kurt, one behind his neck and one in his hair, and fucked his mouth hard until he broke, throbbing endlessly and sobbing silently, trying to keep his feet because really, he thought he was maybe going to pass out a little, but he hoped not.

He was still swaying dizzily when Kurt stood up and leaned into him, bracing him against the counter-which was very helpful, very nice of him. Finn took that into consideration, so he didn't actually maul Kurt when he lifted him onto the countertop and kissed his mouth once (his own cottony-parched, Kurt's bitter-sloppy-wet) before he shoved that fucking towel into it and attacked Kurt's pants. He didn't bother with the boxer briefs problem but just shoved his hand down inside roughly, grabbed and started stroking, closing his eyes when Kurt started to shake.

But then Kurt's arms came up around his neck and even through his own haze Finn could hear fast faint muffled breath, suppressed but full of so much need-and just like that, everything rough and edgy and demanding in him changed. Everything was softer, slower, spreading like liquid and rising like waves. It was something he absolutely didn't know the word for, but whatever it was he was in it up to his chest and it was *huge*, it was huge and it was hard to breathe and he was kind of terrified, except for how he totally couldn't seem to care about that part. He pulled the towel away from Kurt's face and brushed his hair back gently, stroked his hot, smooth cock slowly with one hand and used the other to hold Kurt up when he collapsed backwards, easing him down and down onto the countertop. Kurt opened his eyes then, his pupils huge, dreamy, dazed.

"Finn," he breathed.

"Yeah," Finn answered, husky and raw. He was hard again.

"We can't. We shouldn't take too long."

"I know. But. But I want to."

"I know. Me too."

"Hours. Days. You feel so good…" Finn closed his eyes, because, God, lame. True, but lame.

"Finn." Finn opened his eyes.

"Yeah?"

"If you… Oh. If you kiss me, I'll come."

"Okay." He sank for what felt like forever, bending to Kurt's open mouth. He made his way in slowly, and when their tongues touched Kurt's cock jerked in his hand, spilling hot over his fingers and some on his arm-so sweet, and so good, and he thought that probably the world could have exploded at just that moment without him even noticing.

Game night was kind of weird these days, because Burt and his mom went all-out to make it a family kind of thing-but the way he felt around Kurt didn't exactly fit with the concept of 'family'-at least, not the kind of family Burt and his Mom probably had in mind.

He would be fine for a while, working through his turn at Pictionary (which he was pretty good at) or Scrabble (which he was completely hopeless at) and laughing and scarfing any and all snacks that were close enough to reach, but then Kurt would lean over to him to steal a pretzel or would do a little dance of victory in his chair and Finn would have to force himself to look somewhere else, to be normal, to not look like he was thinking about shoving the game board onto the floor so he could lay Kurt out on the table and-do the kind of things he really needed to avoid thinking about doing on game night.

"Finn-you okay? It's your turn." His mom looked a little concerned.

"Huh? Yeah. I was just… thinking. About cars. And, uh, baseball."

Burt shook his head, handing him the dice. "Don't try combining those, okay?"

Kurt didn't even seem to be listening, but the next time Finn snuck a look at him, his cheeks were extra pink.

It was just Kurt's bad luck that he talked a bunch of smack right before rolling himself into seven Sports category questions in a row, which was why Finn got to pick the song Kurt had to sing at work, in front of everybody, with choreography. Finn was hugely relieved, because he didn't know 'Hello Dolly' but he was pretty sure she sang country music, which really wasn't his strongest style.

His first choice for Kurt was 'Painkiller' by Judas Priest, but then he had Kurt watch the video, and then Kurt watched the video like fifty more times, and he said it was about "studying operatic themes" and "deciding how to approach the vocals". But Finn kind of suspected Kurt was maybe developing a crush on Rob Halford, so he switched his pick to 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' by Def Leppard.

That turned out to be a mistake, because while he'd been happily imagining how uncomfortable and awkward Kurt would feel singing it, it had somehow slipped his mind that the song was like ten pounds of dirty-filthy-sexy jammed into a five-pound bag, and that it therefore might be kind of uncomfortable and awkward for him to listen to it, given that they were in public and at work, if Kurt really went for it.

Kurt really went for it. He got a standing ovation from the mechanics on shift and a thong flung at his head by Mrs. Miransky who was in for new radials, and Finn got to lock himself in the men's room stall afterwards so he could quietly and furiously jerk off.

Sure, there was a little bit of payback when Kurt whispered something teasing about him blushing and he whispered back exactly why he was bright red and slightly sweaty-because then Kurt got all wobbly and distracted and had to go take his own turn in the men's room. Which was awesome, but also something he really shouldn't think about at work because, fuck.

Unlike fixing cars, giving blowjobs turned out to be much, much harder than he expected. At one point he considered asking if there was some kind of checklist or manual that he could maybe take home to study, but then he didn't because it seemed like that might ruin the moment-which he had pretty much covered anyway, what with constant choking and always forgetting about his teeth.

Kurt kept insisting that he didn't need to, pointedly reminding him that there were so many other things they could do, but Finn went on trying anyway. He had to-because he *loved* blowjobs but he wasn't all that crazy about guilt, and getting-without-ever-giving made him feel terribly, horribly guilty, no matter what Kurt said about being just fine with that.

Kurt tried to be helpful, which was really annoying. He kept suggesting that Finn slow down, as if the problem had anything to do with moving too fast rather than just being completely awful at sucking dick. It was so annoying that eventually Finn decided to slow it down enough to qualify as torture, using his hand and mouth one millimeter at a time out of pure, angry spite-only then Kurt said 'oh' so softly and started shivering, fingers creeping gently into his hair and-oh.

So it seemed that 'slow' was the key to turning Kurt on with respect to blowjobs, which was the key to turning Finn on, which was the key to unlocking his throat and making his mouth flood so that he had to keep swallowing over and over while he sucked and hummed and groaned and humped the bed in desperation, which turned out to be the key to making Kurt go boneless and helpless and *loud* when he came, sounding so completely wrecked that Finn didn't even hesitate before he swallowed everything and then straddled Kurt's chest and kind of pathetically shoved his aching cock towards Kurt's gasping mouth until Kurt sucked him in and gave him maybe five seconds of mind-bendingly good head before he came.

When he could breathe and move again, which took a while, he got up and did a little dance while he sang the parts of 'Macho Man' he could remember (he made up the rest), while Kurt laughed until he curled up in a ball and clutched his stomach, breathlessly begging him to have mercy.

On their next day off it was a hundred degrees outside by nine in the morning, so they went back to the pool. They were early enough to get chairs in the shade, but by eleven the place was packed. Finn swam until he was exhausted and waterlogged and a little sunburned despite the sunscreen Kurt insisted he slather on every hour or so, but he felt fantastic-floaty and drowsy and happy in his body, and the only regret he had was that he couldn't strip Kurt naked right there and have sleepy-floaty fumbling sex with him before taking a nap. And also that he didn't have a burrito the size of his head, because that would be… mmm.

"I wish I had a burrito the size of my head."

Kurt's sunglasses turned lazily in his direction. "The expression of pure, unadulterated lust on your face right now is both hilarious and vaguely disturbing."

Finn squinted, considering. "If I had you totally naked right here and now and also had a mega-burrito, I honestly don't know which one I would go for first."

"If you tried to do both at the same time, I think that might officially qualify as kinky. It would undoubtedly qualify as disgusting."

Finn grinned. "I like getting you all messy."

"As long as you leave substances like motor oil and burrito fillings out of it, I have no problem with that."

"Speaking of getting messy…"

"Oh, here we go."

"Mom said she's working an extra half-day tomorrow, getting some overtime, so since we've got the day off maybe you could come over and we could… uh."

"Damn. I'm not around tomorrow, remember?"

Finn blinked. "Huh? No."

"Mercedes and Quinn are back from camp, and Mercedes asked me to go with them to the mall to help with their late-summer look. I said yes, of course."

"Oh." Finn thought it over. "Did you tell me about that already?"

Kurt smiled. "I did, but you were kind of post-coital at the time, so I think you just mumbled 'that's awesome' and started nuzzling me again."

Finn had to admit, that sounded a lot like something he'd do. "Uh, yeah. I don't actually remember that."

"Do you want to come along? I'm sure it would be fine with everyone."

"No, no-no offense, but helping girls shop isn't really my thing."

"You don't say?" Kurt said in a dramatically shocked voice. "Well, maybe you could meet us afterwards-Mercedes said they wanted to go for ice cream."

"That's more like it," Finn said. "Call me when the shopping part is over and the ice cream part gets rolling, okay?" Kurt nodded. Finn debated hotly with himself for a few seconds, then went ahead. "Are you… are you going to tell Mercedes anything? About us, I mean? I know you guys are tight."

Kurt peered at him over the tops of his sunglasses. "No. It's not… it's not for me to tell."

"And you still think I shouldn't tell anyone either."

"I still do."

Finn sighed. "I Googled a bunch of bi pride stuff, you know. You're totally oppressing me."

Kurt cracked up. "Oh, Finn-you are just amazing. Rock on with your bi self."

"Seriously, I found this one site that said-oh, look out-here comes your number-one fan." Finn sat up, wincing as his sticky skin pulled away from the lounge chair.

Brandie Bellacek swooped down on both of them like a big hot curvy coconut-smelling bundle of goodness, calling him 'Finny' and combing her fingers through his hair until he was really glad he'd left his towel across his lap. She kissed Kurt on the mouth and then hugged him in a way that totally mashed his face into her boobs, which would probably have been hard to take in a couple different ways, except for the fact that Kurt looked like he was going to panic if it went on too long.

"Oh, you boys-how have you been? Baby, I was just thinking about you because I used that Lush conditioner you recommended and I…" At that point Finn noticed that Brandie wasn't alone-she had what looked like an entire entourage of college-age jocks with her. "Oh hey, guys, these are my friends, Kurt and Finny. Boys, this is, uh, let's see. Bret, Brad, Braden, Bradford, Brandon, Brendan, Eric, Eric, and Chuck. They go to different schools but they're all in the same fraternity, isn't that awesome?"

There seemed to be an awful lot of people around all of a sudden. Finn turned sideways on his chair to make room for one of the guys (he thought it was Chuck, but he wasn't sure), and then Brandie ruffled his hair and someone handed him a red cup of something that looked like fruit punch but smelled like NyQuil and tasted like total ass, and just like that there was kind of a party going on.

He looked over at Kurt, who smiled, shrugged, and handed off his own cup to someone else after one taste, then turned to the guy next to him (one of the Erics, Finn thought) and started talking a mile a minute.

It was so loud that you pretty much had to yell to talk, but nevertheless Finn and the guy next to him (who was indeed Chuck, it turned out) managed to cover baseball, the World Cup, movies that had just come out, cars, and music. Chuck was nice, and also pretty funny, and really stayed on top of keeping the horrible punch coming. A lot of girls started showing up, and someone with a boom-box and a serious jones for R&B started some music rolling, and then a girl he'd never seen before actually sat down on his lap and took his drink out of his hand, gulping half of it before asking him what fraternity he was in. "Still in high school," he managed, "but, uh, I'm pretty sure the guy next to me isn't." She gave him a dirty look, then kind of flowed seamlessly from his lap onto Chuck's, who didn't seem at all fazed by her sudden arrival but handed her another cup of punch and started casually stroking her legs while they got acquainted.

Right about that time, Finn decided he had a whole lot more reasons to go to college than he'd really been aware of. He decided to celebrate this discovery with more punch.

He kept an eye on Kurt, who was now talking with Brandie like they hadn't seen each other for a whole year, and it occurred to him that staring at the two of them being all chummy and affectionate with each other while downing the world's worst vodka punch was probably not the smartest move he'd ever made, but it was… nice. Really nice.

The girl who had deserted his lap for Chuck's had gone to find Brad (keeper of the cooler, apparently), and he and Chuck moved on to basketball and LeBron and then football and Favre. His next full cup of punch made Finn decide that it really wasn't as bad as he'd thought, but now Brandie and Kurt were whispering to each other and giggling and God, it was so hot today, even in the shade.

"I should go back in the pool," he said to nobody in particular.

"Dude. No," Chuck told him. "You're too wasted."

"I'm not wasted," Finn insisted, staring at Chuck. Chuck had huge green eyes and long eyelashes and perfect skin and a totally ripped six-pack and… "Fuck. I'm totally wasted."

"So," Chuck said companionably, nodding over at Kurt. "You and him, huh?"

"Uh," Finn looked over at Kurt, got lost for a moment, then snapped back to Chuck. "Yeah."

"Mmm. He's hot. Not as hot as you, though."

"Oh." Finn thought about that, because that meant something, only he had no idea what. "Huh?"

"Do you only top, or do you switch?"

Finn blinked. "I…" fuck, he was dizzy. "What?"

"Because if you're into switching, I'd really like to-oh, hey, Kurt."

"Oh my God, Finn-how much of that punch did you have?" Kurt was right there all of a sudden, cool hands on either side of his face, and it took everything he had not to just tilt forward and lay one on him, because God he was so, so pretty.

"I'm wasted," Finn said with great deliberation, because honesty was important in a relationship.

"I can see that. Where's your stuff? We need to go."

"What? Why? Where are we going?" He honestly didn't feel like he could go anywhere that required standing upright.

"We're going wherever we can get you an entire vat of frozen coffee, and then you're going to drink it until you're sober, because if I bring you home drunk your Mom's going to skin me, and then my Dad is going to hack off any parts she happens to leave intact."

"But… I don't want you to be skinned. I like your skin. Did you know you're getting freckles?"

"Tragically, yes. But that's not important right now. We need to get you-"

"I like them. They're super-sexy. I want to lick them."

"Oh, God-"

"Let me help," Chuck said, and then the whole world went kind of swoopy and he was on his feet with one arm around Chuck's warm, muscular shoulders.

"This is Chuck," Finn slurred helpfully. "He has really nice abs."

Kurt looked like he was thinking about panicking again, but he calmed down a little when Chuck started laughing.

The next few minutes were kind of a blur-he remembered kissing Brandie goodbye, and he thought he might have said something to her about wanting to take a nap in her cleavage, but she didn't slap him or anything so he supposed it couldn't have been that bad. Then Chuck helped him out to the parking lot, and got him maneuvered into the car while Kurt stowed all their stuff in the back. It was a huge relief to sit down again, but he had a whole lot of trouble figuring out how his seatbelt was supposed to work until Chuck leaned in and did it for him.

"Dude, thanks," Finn said. "You're such a nice guy."

"Don't let that rumor get started," Chuck said, grinning. "You'll totally trash my rep."

"Seriously," Kurt said from the driver's seat. "Thank you."

Chuck shrugged. "Least I could do. I think it's kind of my fault he got so blitzed-I didn't know he was such a lightweight. I was just trying to help him loosen up."

"I'm not a lightway," Finn mumbled. "And I'm loose. I can dance like Beyonce, you know. Kurt taught me."

Chuck gave him one of those smiles that meant something only he had no idea what, then turned back to Kurt. "Take good care of him, okay?"

Finn looked back and forth between Kurt and Chuck, who seemed to be having some kind of conversation with no actual words in it, until Kurt nodded. "I will. Bye, Chuck."

Kurt was turning down the aisle of cars that led to the driveway when Finn managed to flop his head over towards him. "Hey, Kurt?"

"Yeah?"

"What's topping? What's switching?"

Kurt almost drove them into a light pole.

***[BREAK HERE]

There was a note on the fridge when he got home: on errands, I'll be home before dinner, don't eat too much crap, Love, Mom-so at least he wasn't going to get Kurt skinned and himself grounded. Finn slumped down into one of the kitchen chairs, dizzy, and watched Kurt zoom around. Kurt gave him water and aspirins and a bagel and some Gatorade and a banana, and possibly a lecture, only Finn couldn't really be sure about that because he was too busy watching the way the late-afternoon sun coming through the windows lit Kurt up and made his eyes change color.

"You're so fucking pretty."

Kurt sighed. "Don't change the subject."

"I'm not. That's basically the only subject I've been paying attention to."

"God. I suppose I should be grateful you're not a mean drunk."

"Really grateful. Totally grateful." He shook his head, considering. "So grateful you should have sex with me right now."

Kurt raised an eyebrow. "I think you may not be familiar with some of the side-effects of being really drunk."

Finn raspberried loudly. "I think you may not be familiar with some of the side-effects of you being really hot."

Kurt snorted, but led him upstairs anyway. It seemed to take forever to wrestle out of his clothes, even with Kurt helping, but finally he was naked and laid out on his bed and probably not going to slide off the edge of the world anytime soon, no matter how it felt.

It turned out there were at least two big advantages to making out while drunk: first of all, it was a whole lot easier to just lie there and let Kurt do things to him, and second, nothing was embarrassing-it all just felt really, really good. He didn't care how loud he was or how much he wanted it or what kind of ridiculous things might come tumbling out of his mouth, and that was slutty and satisfying and pretty much fantastic. He distinctly remembered kind of yelling at Kurt that he was about to come in his fucking amazing mouth right before he did just that, groaning with no breath left while the world spun and his toes curled and everything in him came apart. He yanked Kurt up for a kiss afterwards and-God, he was definitely turning into some kind of sick pervert because he loved that, he really did. And he might have actually said that out loud except that right about then he realized that Kurt still had all his clothes on.

"Hey," he gasped when he could. "You're… why are you? Pants!" He yanked at the waist of Kurt's pants, hoping his point would come across.

"I'm good," Kurt said, lowering his head to nibble the curve of Finn's neck, which was… very hot, and horribly distracting.

"No," Finn said, wriggling a little. "You need to-I mean, I want to-we should-nrrgh-"

"Not while you're drunk, we shouldn't," Kurt said calmly, which was totally annoying and stupid.

"That's stupid. Also annoying," Finn said, because Kurt needed to know these things. "Why not?"

"Because. Because you're not-hey, whoa," Kurt said, moving Finn's hand away from the front of his pants, where he'd been blindly and hopefully groping. "We can… later, okay? Some other time."

Kurt sat up, moving to the edge of the bed, and Finn would have gone after him except that someone had sneakily replaced all his bones with taffy, and he was kind of afraid that if he moved he might just puddle right onto the floor. "But…" Finn said, trying and failing not to sound whiny. "But I want to."

Kurt's hand settled gently in the middle of his chest. "I know. But not… look, Finn. It's a line, that's all. No big deal."

"What line?" Finn squinted down at his chest.

Kurt frowned. "Lines, I guess. My lines. Back when we… when I first came to see you, I made you some promises-"

"But that was before, before…"

"Yes. It was. But you weren't the only one I made promises to-I made some to myself, too. Some then, and then some more, some other ones, later. I had to, to make sure I wouldn't… to make it okay that I… that we… I had to." He took a breath. "One of my lines is that I don't take advantage of you. And that means… well, it means I'm keeping my pants on. For now."

Finn felt dizzy all over again, and his brain hurt. This was important. This was something they had to talk about, something he had to understand even though his head felt like it had been stuffed with cotton wool. "Wait. Wait. You need to tell me-I don't think I-"

"Hey, boys-I'm home!" Finn's Mom called from downstairs, and the two of them stared wide-eyed at each other for one split second before Kurt jumped up off the bed, and then they were both scrambling to rescue the sheets and blanket from where Finn had unceremoniously dumped them on the floor.

"Boxers," Finn hissed, and Kurt scooped them up and tossed them at him

Kurt yanked the pillows out from under his head and piled them mostly over his face. "Stay under here. I'll tell her you got too much sun at the pool today-that you've got a headache."

"Yeah, good. That's perfect."

"Finn? Kurt? Hello?" still downstairs, but closer.

Finn could only see a tiny slice of the room between two pillows, but he saw Kurt get almost to the door before he turned around and rushed back. Then Kurt was under the pillow with him, kissing him hotly, and Finn felt something like a thick, tight wire deep in his chest do this weird twangy-twingey thing that almost hurt. "Drink more water before you go to bed, okay?" Kurt whispered to him, and then he was gone.

He heard Kurt and his Mom talking quietly downstairs, which gave him just enough time to get his breathing under control by the time his Mom came tiptoeing in.

It turned out that Kurt liked ice cream in cones, not cups, and that watching him lick one was basically porn. Finn stared at his giant sundae until there was nothing left but some streaks of sugar soup at the bottom of the bowl, then kept his eyes firmly on Mercedes, on Quinn, on random shoppers, on the cute girl working at the Slice Factory counter-anywhere he could look that didn't feature Kurt Hummel sexing up a strawberry ice cream cone.

Porn problem aside, it was good to see Mercedes and Quinn. They both seemed happy and playful and relaxed, and since he didn't think he'd ever seen Quinn that way for more than a second at a time, it was kind of awesome. "So, uh, was camp fun?"

Quinn smiled. "It was nice-I mean, the other kids there were nice, from all over, and it was good to be away for a while. But it's good to be home, too. And sometimes, I mean, the people who ran the place were… uh, they had zeal."

Mercedes made a 'tsk' noise. "Seriously. I mean, I love the Lord and all, but those people piled on the Jesus like it was salt on steak. If I go the rest of my life without singing 'Michael Row The Boat Ashore' again, I'll count myself blessed." She shrugged. "We mostly hung out with the other girls in our cabin, though. They were pretty badass. It was cool."

Mercedes and Quinn shared a look that he totally didn't understand, and then Mercedes turned to him. "So I heard you and Rachel broke up. Again."

"Yeah, we… uh. We did. She did. She broke up with me back at the beginning of summer."

"Her loss," Quinn said in that way she had that sounded totally sweet, but really really wasn't. Mercedes snickered.

He shrugged. "I think… I mean it sucked at first, but, yeah, it's okay. I've been really busy, you know, with work and, uh, stuff."

"Uh huh," Mercedes said, leaning towards him. "So you're not dating anyone?"

"No." He wondered if it would ever get easier to say that. Or feel less like he was betraying something. Or someone.

"Any fair maiden in pursuit of Finn's heart is going to have to do battle with the deadly engine from a 1972 Stingray," Kurt said dramatically, wiping his fingers on a napkin. Thank God he was done with his ice cream.

"Hey-that car is a work of art," Finn said defensively.

"See?" Kurt said, and he, Quinn and Mercedes all shared a look. Kurt sighed and shook his head. "Boys."

Quinn raised an eyebrow. "I *know*."

Mercedes sniffed. "Seriously."

He got to work early because he really wanted to talk to Kurt before their shift started, but Kurt was late for once, and Finn was already up to his elbows in grease by the time he came in.

"Sorry I'm late. Dad was all over the place this morning-lost his hat and his keys and his favorite coffee cup."

Finn looked over Kurt's shoulder and saw Burt heading towards the locker room, scowling. "Everything okay? I guess he found his hat."

Kurt nodded. "It was in the refrigerator, upside-down with the keys in it. The cup is still AWOL." He shrugged. "He's like this, sometimes. He has to deal with things on his own, and then he talks about it when he's ready."

Finn nodded. "I get that."

Kurt smirked. "Of course you do."

Finn faked a grab towards Kurt's perfect hair with his disgusting, blackened hands, and Kurt squeaked satisfyingly and ducked away.

Later that day, he was going over the parts order list with Kurt when Burt walked up to them. "I need to talk to you. Both of you."

The bottom dropped out of Finn's stomach, and all of a sudden he found himself wondering how you were supposed to say 'I'm sorry I molested your son' to the guy who was a) your boss and b) your Mom's boyfriend. He wondered if all those Sweet Valley High books his Mom kept in a box in the basement had ever dealt with this situation-he might have actually read them instead of just pawing through them for sexy covers when he was hard up.

"We haven't engaged in theft, arson, destruction of public property, or impregnated anyone, if that helps," Kurt said lightly. "Not that we haven't wanted to, of course-it's mostly been a scheduling issue."

"My son, the comedian. Come on." Burt led them to his tiny, cramped office at the back of the shop. Finn couldn't stop swallowing, and he felt simultaneously lightheaded and so heavy his feet were dragging.

"You think this is about us?" He whispered as quietly as he could.

Kurt shook his head. "But it could be-" he whispered back, but there was no time for more, because they were there. Burt closed the door behind them, and Finn tried to breathe normally.

"So, Finn," Burt said. "I was talking with your mom, and it's been a long, long time since she's had a real vacation."

Finn nodded. That didn't sound too bad so far.

"We'd like… that is, I want to take her to Las Vegas for a couple days, if we can work it out."

Finn grinned. "Awesome."

Kurt leaned towards Burt, his hands tight on the back of a chair. "Are you eloping?"

Finn stopped grinning. "*What*?"

Burt looked kind of shocked. "Uh. No. Just… it's just a vacation."

Kurt let go of the chair. "Okay. Because if you got married and didn't let me do any wedding planning, there would be hell to pay. Just so you know."

Burt smiled a little. "Uh, that's sweet, I guess. But no-just a vacation. She's never been to Vegas, and she wants to go. She wants to see that weird naked circus thing."

Kurt rolled his eyes, and Finn spoke up. "Okay. But why did you need to talk to us about it?"

Burt shrugged. "She's not too sure about leaving you on your own, Finn-"

"I'm almost seventeen!" Finn said, outraged.

Burt nodded. "I know that. And I also know you've grown up a lot this summer. But to her, you're always going to be her little boy, you know? That's just how it is." He sighed. "And I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea of leaving Kurt alone, either-"

"Hey!"

"Don't get bent out of shape, son-you're a smart kid, and you know how to handle yourself, but you're as stubborn as an ox, and I worry about people who… I just worry. You know why."

Finn was pretty sure he knew why, too.

"So I asked you guys in here because I want you both to promise me that you'll look out for each other while we're gone. That you won't do anything stupid."

Finn looked at Kurt, who was looking at him, and all of a sudden he became aware of all the stupid things they could do with their parents out of town, and he looked away quick before he started blushing. "I… yeah."

"I'm serious," Burt continued. "That means no wild parties, no going off on some crazy adventure you cooked up on the spur of the moment, and Finn-it means you eat your vegetables, because Carole is convinced that the moment she crosses the county line you're going to try to kill yourself with Slim-Jims and Twinkies."

Finn was going to object, but then he realized that that was pretty much exactly what he would have done if Burt hadn't said anything, so he didn't. "Okay."

"Good. Kurt?"

"I promise to force-feed Finn carrots until his nose twitches."

"Kurt-"

"Yes, yes, yes, okay. I promise to stay out of trouble. And keep Finn out of trouble. You don't have to worry about us."

Burt looked back and forth between the two of them. "Maybe I don't have to, but I will anyway-it's my job, at least for a few more years."

Kurt smiled. "We'll be fine. Really."

"Yeah," Finn echoed. "We'll be fine." He was pretty sure he had a foolproof plan for keeping both of them in a state that could, in theory, be described as 'fine', but he didn't think Burt would be reassured by 'nonstop humping with breaks for food including vegetables' as a strategy, so he didn't go into detail.

The rest of the week was a frantic blur. Burt wanted to get all the major fixes and diagnostics they had waiting finished before he left on Thursday morning, and when Finn wasn't helping with that he was trying to convince his Mom that he wasn't about to burn the house down or walk into a dark alley and get mugged by aliens or drown himself in a vat of Strawberry Quik while she was gone.

"You know," Finn told Burt on Tuesday, "there's a lot of this that Kurt and I can handle while you're gone. It's not like we're going to-" He didn't get to finish because just then he kind of forgot that he was chasing down a short in a live electrical system, and touched his screwdriver to a bare wire. He was okay, but his hair looked insane until he wet it down, and Kurt nearly laughed himself into a hemorrhage once he was sure Finn wasn't actually hurt, and then Burt told the pair of them that they were under no circumstances allowed near the shop while he was gone.

"Consider yourselves on vacation," he said dryly. "A very safe, very quiet vacation. Catch up on sleep. Teenagers never sleep enough, and then they do dumb stuff because they're tired."

"I'm sorry," Finn said for about the fifth time.

"Just be more careful, okay?" Burt said. "If anything happened to you, your mother would-well, you probably know already."

"Boy, yeah," Finn said, and got back to work.

It seemed like a nonstop rush of nothing but work and chores and helping his Mom pack while trying to keep her from freaking out, but eventually Finn found himself standing on his front step early Thursday morning, waving goodbye. He watched Burt's car until it was out of sight and then went back into the house and closed the door, listening to the silence, which seemed weirdly, hugely loud.

His heart was beating fast. He felt… like a grownup. And it took a few minutes for him to realize that it wasn't just because he was on his own.

He went to his room, emptied out his small gym bag, then packed in a dreamy, absentminded haze.

He made sure he locked the house up tight when he left. His Mom would have been proud. More or less.

Kurt let him in, then led him to Burt's room, which Finn had never been in before. There were clothes strewn over every horizontal surface except the floor. "Dad had a fashion freak-out at T-minus five minutes of packing to go," Kurt explained as he folded, hung, or hampered everything in sight. "It was so cute, watching him agonize between two identically hideous plaid shirts from Target. Ridiculous, but cute."

"I've been waiting to… I wanted to talk to you." Finn's mouth was dry.

Kurt hesitated with a pair of jeans slung over his arm, looking at him. "Sure, okay. I'll finish this later."

Once they were in Kurt's room, Finn made sure he didn't sit too close-at this point it was automatic for him to want to grab Kurt the moment they had precious time alone, but right now he needed to stay focused on saying what he needed to say. He took a deep breath, one that felt like he was trying to heave a pile of bricks off his chest. "I don't want there to be lines."

Kurt frowned slightly. "I… huh?"

"You probably think I don't remember-you probably thought I was too drunk and wouldn't remember, but I remember. And I don't want it. Lines. Your lines. They don't work for me."

"Finn-"

Finn's lips tingled and felt weirdly numb at the same time, but he kept on. "I want… you're holding back, Kurt, I know you are. You're still holding back. And I want you to stop. I want… I want it all. Everything. All of it. All of you."

Kurt's face looked almost like it was carved from wax, he was so still. "I… Finn-"

"You can't control whether or not I get hurt," Finn continued, and now that he'd gotten started, it was like he couldn't stop. "And I'm not gonna hurt you-not in the way you're afraid of. I don't want to hurt you at all, but that's not something you can promise someone. I know that now." He took another deep breath, and this one came easier. "So maybe one of us, maybe both of us will end up hurt. I don't want that to happen, but I also don't want the fact that it *might* happen to keep us from doing this. Really doing this. All the way. With no more stupid lines to pretend that that makes it safe."

Kurt's eyes were bright. Too bright. "I don't know… Finn, I don't know if I can-"

"You can. I know you can. I know you want to, and I want you to, and when you hold back it's like you're giving up on something we both want. It's like you won't trust me, or you won't trust yourself with me. And that… it hurts. And it sucks. And I want you to stop."

"What if I don't?" Kurt asked, but it was a whisper so soft he could barely hear it.

Finn had about a dozen answers for that, but he didn't get to use any of them because even thinking about saying them overwhelmed him and then he was crying, quietly and hopelessly with his face buried in his hands, his spine curved protectively around the awful, terrible ache in his chest.

Kurt came to him then, and put his hand right where it hurt worst, and he was so close it was unbearable, impossible not to grab him. "Finn, I'm sorry," Kurt said in his ear, his voice shaking so badly it was hard to make out the words. "I'm sorry-I'm in love with you, I have been for a long time. I tried not to be, but I couldn't help it. The lines were for me, so I wouldn't… so it wouldn't get worse. But they didn't really work. I love you. I'm sorry."

"Not sorry," Finn managed. "I'm not sorry. Please don't be sorry. Please don't-don't let go of me. Don't let go."

"I won't." Kurt was basically on his lap, and Finn pressed his messy, wet face against Kurt's shirtfront so that all he could hear was the rush and thunder of his heartbeat and the light, quick rhythm of his breath. Then he just hung on, and waited for the supernova inside his chest to stop melting him from the inside out.

"Hey," Kurt said quietly, some unknown and endless time later. "Are you asleep?"

"I… God." Ridiculous as it sounded, he almost had been. "Sorry. I just… I haven't been sleeping much."

Kurt's fingers combed gently, tentatively through his hair. "Why don't you… um. Maybe we should take a nap."

"It's like, ten in the morning," Finn groused halfheartedly, but really-a nap sounded wonderful, because he was so wrung out and exhausted he felt like he'd been running wind sprints nonstop for a week.

Kurt's bed was soft and cool and the sheets were so smooth against his skin that Finn was shivering with sleepy ecstasy even before Kurt stripped to his underwear and climbed in with him. Finn octopused out with all his limbs and just wrapped Kurt up and pulled him close, their faces bare inches apart on a shared pillow.

"This is amazing," Finn said, sleepily stroking what skin he could reach.

"What?"

"We can just… go to sleep." He shivered when Kurt's hands ghosted over his shoulders, and his eyelids fluttered as they became suddenly, overwhelmingly heavy. "I can go to sleep, and you're right here, and we don't have to worry about getting caught, and I can go to sleep holding you. It's awesome."

Kurt smiled. "Awesome. Yes, I think this qualifies."

"I love you too, you know." He totally hadn't known he was going to say that. But it wasn't a lie. And he didn't regret it.

"I'm… I'm glad." It was the softest whisper.

"Me, too," Finn whispered back, and then gave in and closed his eyes.

When he opened his eyes again, the shaft of sunlight coming through the window had moved at least halfway across the room. It was warm and bright and quiet, and the pressure that had been strapped tight around his chest for so long was gone, like he had somehow… expanded or something, while he was asleep. Finn took a deep breath and turned his head. On the other side of the pillow Kurt was looking at him through heavy-lidded eyes.

"Hi," Kurt said softly.

"Hi," Finn answered. He felt ridiculously, stupidly shy. He decided not to let that stop him.

For once he didn't have to try to force himself to take it slow-slow was just how it was; slow kisses and touches and a slow endless time of sinking deeper. It was like he was seducing Kurt, using his mouth and his hands to tease and invite, and that was new but insanely good, feeling Kurt gradually open to him, arms around his neck and his face so flushed and gorgeous and wanting.

He let go of Kurt's hot, smooth cock and slid his hand lower, softly over his balls and then further down. His whole body felt like it was humming. "Can I?"

Kurt made a faint, low noise, and Finn felt his own heart jump when Kurt spread his legs. "Yeah. I want… I want you to."

"Okay," Finn breathed. "Good." He leaned in for another kiss but Kurt unwound his arms and sat halfway up, opening his bedside table drawer and digging around.

"Here," he said, handing Finn a small bottle of clear, thick liquid. Finn's face went hot, and suddenly his stomach felt like he was in free-fall. "You know what to do with that?"

"Sure," Finn said, as calmly as he could under the circumstances.

Kurt dug in the drawer some more, then looked at Finn with his cheeks flaming pink. "Condom?"

"I… uh." That was barely a noise. Finn cleared his throat. "I used one when I, uh. With Santana."

Kurt's eyelashes fluttered. "Okay. Are you going to use one with me?"

"I… no. Not unless you want one. Unless you-"

"I… don't know," Kurt said, touching the curve of Finn's neck and making him shiver. He looked at Finn for what seemed like a long time, then slowly eased back into the pillows. "Come here."

Finn kind of lost track of himself then, skimming fast over the surface of things and sinking down every so often into the slow, heartbeat tempo of what was happening; into this wet, rhythmic kiss or that squeeze and slide of muscle, into the unreal heat and throb of having his fingers inside Kurt, so tight and hot Finn struggled to breathe. Kurt was shaking, hard.

"Hurts?"

"Oh my God, no." Kurt managed, gasping. Finn moaned a little and covered Kurt's mouth with his own, and kept working him slowly open.

There came a moment when everything stopped, when he'd done everything he could do except the only thing that was left, when Kurt was trembling and damp with sweat and had both arms and legs tight around him, and Finn was on fire and right there and touching but not pushing, not yet. He looked into Kurt's eyes and then he couldn't look anywhere else, because all of a sudden even though Kurt looked sexy and messy and gorgeous he also looked a whole lot like Finn's best friend, the guy he'd talked with and hung out with and laughed with way before he knew there was anything more.

He kissed Kurt softly, because he had to. "Are you scared?"

Kurt swallowed visibly. "A little. You?"

Finn had to think about how to put it. "I'm… yeah. But I want… This is what I want."

Kurt nodded. "Me, too."

So Finn kissed him again, almost apologetically, and then pushed. Kurt heaved under him, and they both made loud, shocked-sounding noises that were eerily harmonic. Finn had to close his eyes then, had to fight his body which all at once wanted in-in-in as much and as fast as possible, because slow had gone right out the window and now he needed to fuck Kurt so badly he thought it might kill him. He gasped and started to shake, muscles tense with the strain of not just shoving his way into where Kurt was so hot and smooth and tight and felt so, so good.

He was holding back, holding back, working his way in and focused just on easy-gentle-don't-get-pushy, so it took him a while to notice that Kurt had gone quiet and almost still, rapid patter of fast faint panting his only sound. Finn panicked a little.

"You… Kurt, are you okay? Should I-"

"Finn." Kurt's voice sounded almost strangled.

"Oh, fuck. I'm sorry. I'm-"

He started pulling back, but Kurt's hands squeezed his shoulders hard enough to hurt. "Finn. Don't move." Finn froze.

Kurt arched his head back into the pillows, worked his hips hard and fast, and then came all over him, moaning and shivering and throbbing hard around his cock. Finn's mouth dropped open. "Oh my God."

Kurt made some noise that didn't qualify as language, but his hands slid from Finn's shoulders to his face, and drew him down into a wet, sexy-sloppy kiss that managed to say all that was necessary. Finn felt all the tension flow out of Kurt's muscles, and then gasped when he realized he was all the way inside-Kurt's body had gone limp and kind of boneless, but his ass was fiercely tight, and hot, and-oh fuck.

"Kurt, I can't-I need to-"

Kurt only nodded against his forehead, gasping, petting him with shaking hands. Somehow Finn got his own hands hooked under Kurt's thighs and pushed them wide, and then he just couldn't stop, and he hoped it didn't hurt but he had no words or breath to ask with. He closed his eyes and went with it, lost to everything except trying to get enough of what he already knew he'd never have enough of. Kurt was so open to him, open mouth and open body and heat and friction and he was so deep in, all his nerves on fire and driving him on.

He had let go of Kurt's legs at some point and now their hands were tangled together, fingers intertwined and squeezing. Finn slid Kurt's hands up above his head and held him there, moving on instinct which he figured was pretty much right on when Kurt moaned and bucked under him, arching up into him like he couldn't help it.

So he used his weight and clamped down on Kurt's hands and fucked him harder, and Kurt said 'yes' a bunch of times, breathlessly, his head tossing on the pillow and Finn realized Kurt was probably going to come again right about the time he realized he was going to come himself, so then it was all about hanging on, wringing out every last second, holding out until Kurt twisted so hard he almost tossed Finn off the bed and Finn kissed him while the whole world came apart, while everything in him just spilled over, coming with Kurt throbbing under and around him, rocking endlessly until there was nothing left.

He kept kissing Kurt until everything bright and hot and intense had softened, until the kiss became something tender and grateful and kind of almost weirdly worshipful.

"Finn," Kurt breathed when they finally broke apart. "God-"

"Yeah," Finn said, brushing Kurt's hair back from his wet, red face. "Oh yeah."

Finn pulled out slowly, but Kurt still winced. "Hurts?"

Kurt sighed, smiling ruefully. "A little. But. So worth it."

"Sorry." He was.

Kurt rolled his eyes. "You'll just have to make it up to me."

"How?"

"Do it all over again, as soon as possible."

"Oh. Well, yeah. I can do that."

"I'm counting on it." Kurt wriggled a little, and made a face. "Okay, I… oh boy. Shower. Like, right now."

"Yeah."

After that, Finn didn't really feel shy anymore. After he'd fucked Kurt in the shower, bent over the kitchen counter, on the living room floor, and in his hanging hammocky-chair thingie (an adventure that-in Finn's opinion anyway-was so worth it despite his unfortunate head injury), he thought it was pretty likely he'd never feel shy again.

He apparently still had the ability to feel guilty, though. "Hey," he said when he realized they hadn't so much as stepped outside the house in… jeez, quite a while. "You know, we're on vacation. Did you want to, uh, do something?"

"We are doing something," Kurt said matter-of-factly, then got him by the shoulders and guided him backwards and down onto the bed, pressing him deep into the soft mattress. "We're doing this."

"Fuck yeah."

It was weird and almost dreamlike-and also awesome-that at any moment there could be a look, a touch, or a word, anything at all that made something go 'zing' between them and then they'd be making out, rolling around, screwing themselves stupid. He kept waiting to get used to it, like after they'd done it enough times there would finally be some sense of been-there-done-that. But there wasn't. Instead there was a strange and almost scary feeling of having only scratched the surface, like each time went just a little deeper into something he totally didn't have words for-but he didn't need words to know that he liked it. That he loved it. That he very possibly was becoming addicted to it.

"This is crazy," he wheezed, trying to get enough air in him to not pass out.

"What's crazy?" Kurt didn't sound all that far from passing out himself. They had been in the middle of breakfast when Kurt took a bite out of a very juicy apple slice that made Finn tackle him to the floor to lick the taste off his pretty, pink lips and out of his apple-sweet, wicked mouth, and one thing led to another and… here they were.

Finn mustered up enough energy to stroke the curve of Kurt's ass. "We just… I just finished fucking you, and I want to do it again. Seriously-I'm afraid my dick's going to fall off."

"Mmm." Kurt wiggled a little under his hand. "Can't have that. Use more lube."

"Okay." He squeezed. "God, I love your ass so much."

Kurt snorted. "It's a big fan of you too, you know."

Finn grinned. "Your ass likes me?"

"Oh, yes. Especially certain parts of you." He wiggled again. "I'm afraid it's true love."

"Good." Stroke. Pet. Squeeze. His dick twitched hard. "Can we fuck again now?"

Kurt gave him a look. "You're insatiable."

"Uh. That's good, right?"

"Come here and I'll show you."

Out of necessity, they took a lot of showers. Also out of necessity they took a lot of naps and decimated the Hummel household's food supply, because while Finn was really happy with the having-nonstop-sex thing he hadn't even considered the inevitable side effects of being constantly tired and ferociously hungry.

"You know, Finn," Kurt said, eyeing him as he loaded his plate with… well, everything. "There's that crazy cowboy-themed all-you-can-eat restaurant near the mall, if you want to go out-"

"They have killer ribs," Finn enthused. "But they'd make me wear pants."

Kurt smiled. "I imagine they would."

"And they might freak out if I started licking barbecue sauce off you."

"Uh. Yes."

"So here's better." Finn glanced towards the refrigerator. "Got any barbecue sauce?"

"*No.* Barbarian."

But the rhythm of sex-food-sleep-then-do-it-all-over-again definitely had a lot going for it: at one point Finn experimented by trying hard to feel upset or unhappy about… something, anything-but he just couldn't do it.

These are the things Finn really, really loves:

He loves kissing Kurt, whether they're ramping up or coming down afterwards or right in the middle of it or not even messing around at all. Kissing Kurt makes it all real, whenever he starts to wonder.

He loves it when Kurt loses control. He loves it when Kurt gives in, surrenders. He also loves it when Kurt gets bossy. He has no problem loving all those things at once.

He loves whispering with Kurt in the dark, saying as much as they can before they fall asleep, saying all the things they don't say except for then.

He loves sleepy, messy, fumbling sex-especially when Kurt's sleepier than he is. Because Kurt seems so vulnerable then, and Finn has to be gentle with him. He takes Kurt softly and so, so slowly, drawing out every second, and everything feels so good he almost can't stand it. When Kurt comes it makes something warm deep in his chest go from brimming-full to overflowing, and Finn has to kiss him, needs to kiss him, never wants to stop kissing him.

He loves that most of all.

They were lying in bed with Kurt on top, very much in the phase of lazy making out before things got serious, when Kurt winced and Finn froze.

"What is it?" He had the tips of two lubed fingers barely inside Kurt's silky-slick ass, and when he pulled them out Kurt winced again.

"I, uh. I'm sorry, Finn, I think… my ass needs a break."

"Oh, God-sorry, I'm sorry-"

"Don't guilt out, Finn-it's not like you forced yourself on me, for God's sake. It's just… I'm a little sore."

"Jeez, of course you are-I've fucked you so much my dick is half-raw-"

"Such a romantic-"

"But I just never wanted to stop and I didn't even think about how you must be-"

Kurt covered his mouth with one hand, shaking his head. "Fine, I'll be fine, seriously. Just give me a little time." He smiled and pulled his hand away, raising one eyebrow. "There's lots of other things we can do."

"Yeah." Finn pulled Kurt down for a long, soft kiss, an I'm-sorry-I-hurt-your-ass kiss, and all of a sudden the shyness he thought he was over and done with came back in a major, major way. "Kurt."

"Mmm?"

"You could fuck me." He couldn't believe he actually said that out loud.

Kurt's eyes got big. "I… oh. We don't… we don't need to do that."

"Not saying we need to," Finn mumbled with his face on fire. "Saying we could. We can." He made himself take a breath. "We can do that."

Kurt looked like he was thinking it over. "You might not like it."

Finn bit his lip. "You like it."

Kurt gave him a look. "I don't like it-I love it. Some people do. I do."

Finn frowned. "Maybe I do, too."

Kurt kissed him softly. "You're going to be a stubborn jerk about this, aren't you?"

"That's like the pot calling the kettle a stubborn jerk, you know."

"Yes," Kurt answered calmly, smiling. "It's exactly like that." He looked at Finn closely, almost studying him. Finn tried to look determined and stubborn and fuckable all at the same time, but he obviously didn't do it right because Kurt cracked up.

"Fine," Finn said through his teeth, and was about to shove Kurt off him when Kurt grabbed him by the hair and pinned him.

"Trial run," Kurt said, still grinning.

"Huh?"

"We'll do a trial run."

"Uh… okay." Finn's heart thudded hard in his chest. "What do I do for that?"

Kurt kissed him again. "Lay there. And don't make that face again-my heart can't take it."

It turned out that a trial run meant Kurt blowing him and gradually sliding lubed fingers into his ass, which at first was weird and distracting and not even a little bit sexy, and Finn probably would have stopped everything right there if he hadn't decided to be a total stubborn jerk about it. So he hung in there grimly, and then he hung in there uncertainly, and then he hung in there curiously, and then something happened and…

"Oh, God. Kurt."

"Mmm?"

"Fuck."

"Mmm."

"Fuck!"

"Mrr."

"Don't stop."

"Nnn."

"Oh, fuck, I'm gonna-I need to…" He let his bent knees fall wide, working himself ruthlessly between Kurt's mouth and fingers. He opened his mouth to groan, but what came out instead was, "Kurt-fuck me. Now."

"Nnn?" Kurt's fingers curled and twitched inside him. Finn's hips jerked helplessly.

"I want… I want to come with you in me, so do it." Amazing, how being desperate took care of the whole shyness problem. "Come on come on come on-"

Everything got a little hazy then, but somehow he'd gotten himself turned over and up on his knees with his flaming-hot face buried in a pillow, wanting it and dreading it and trying not to shake too much. His ass felt empty, a strange and vacant ache, but then Kurt was right there, silky and hot and such soft skin and oh God in him, slowly inside, a tight stretch that didn't really hurt and didn't really burn but *scorched*, somehow, intense enough that he lost control of everything and just spread out and took it.

"Oh, God," Kurt breathed behind him, and Finn agreed with that but he couldn't possibly say so. His body was rocking without him trying to move, working further back and taking Kurt deeper in, bright sparks of pleasure striking off his nerves and going crazy all through him. It was so good and he needed it so much and he was so full, stretched so full it felt like he was somehow vibrating, but his throat was locked tight shut until Kurt's hands ran from his shoulders down his back to his sides and around, one warm against his chest, one shaky-tight around his cock-and then he sucked in air like he was never going to stop.

"Don't let me come yet," he said, and wondered what kind of stupid-ass thing he'd just said because, fuck, he really really needed to come like, right now.

Kurt made some noise like 'ngrh' and squeezed the base of his cock hard, rocking into him gently, finding all these amazing places inside that made Finn feel like he was being turned inside-out only in a good way, melting and throbbing and really not able to tell where his ass ended and his dick began, because everything felt incredible everywhere.

Kurt fucked him and squeezed him and stroked him until Finn felt he was hanging on the edge of something so huge it was vaguely terrifying. He held on and held on until Kurt finally went all-out, moaning in his ear and moving faster, harder, and-oh. First Finn realized that Kurt was about to come inside him, come from fucking him, and then his entire body kind of took a leap up to a whole new level of amazing, and then Kurt turned Finn's head to the side and leaned close and took his mouth-and that was it, Finn was coming and groaning and kissing and feeling Kurt come inside him all at once, pierced by pleasure that just went on and on until he thought it might never end.

Finn came back to himself in slow degrees, and probably would have drifted off seamlessly into a much-needed nap if Kurt hadn't kept kissing him, over and over like he couldn't stop, his mouth sweet-salty and tender and really everything that Finn needed in the whole world until… yeesh. "Uh…"

Kurt's brows drew together curiously, then smoothed out. "Oh. That. Yes. Shower?"

"Uh huh," Finn said, grimacing.

They kissed for a long time in the shower, which was good because everything was kind of sinking in, and Finn wasn't sure he could talk. But Kurt stayed close to him, kissing him like kissing him was everything, touching him like touching him was amazing, and somewhere in the quiet and closeness Finn went from oh-hell-I-can't-believe-we-just-did-that to oh-hey-when-can-we-do-that-again-how-about-now?

Shortly after that, Finn had one more item to add to his list of things he really, really loved.

Early Monday morning:

"Kurt?"

"Mmm."

"Wake up."

"Nnn. Time izzit?"

Finn looked. "It's early. But it's our last day-they come home tonight. Don't you think we should take advantage of our last day?"

"Uh-huh." A yawn. "Once we're awake."

"I'm awake." No answer. Finn leaned in, and kissed the curve of Kurt's ear. "Hey. How's your… uh. Is your ass okay?"

One bright moment of blue glare before it was shuttered behind soot-black lashes. "No, not *okay*. My ass is *fantastic*." Another yawn.

"Oh, I know." He coaxed Kurt's lax, sleepy body gently over and onto his back, and stroked his tangled hair away from his face. "Believe me, I know."

Monday afternoon:

Kurt looked around the room like he was surveying a crime scene. "Jesus. Finn. We've got to clean this place up."

"Yeah." He looked around too, then looked back at Kurt and reached out for him. "But let's finish messing it up first."

Late Monday afternoon:

They were sprawled on Kurt's destroyed bed, both of them breathless, sweaty, and entirely splattered with come. Finn licked his swollen lips, glanced over at Kurt's swollen lips and unfocused eyes, and wiggled his toes, which were about the only part of him that had any energy left.

"Okay. Now we clean the house."

Kurt hit him with a pillow.

Monday evening:

The first thing Finn did when he got home was eat-he was ravenous, and his Mom had left him a ton of food which he hadn't even touched. So he happily ploughed his way through everything he could find that didn't need anything more than a few minutes in the microwave before he shoved it in his mouth.

He'd had a vague plan to eat, shower and then go straight to bed, but as soon as he turned the water on for his shower, he stopped. He sat down on the edge of the tub, then pulled out the collar of his shirt, ducked his head down, and sniffed. He still smelled like Kurt's soap-which was some weird exotic fragrance combination like zinnias and oregano or something, so it wasn't like anything else smelled like that.

He turned the water off.

"Hey, Finn." Kurt sounded sleepy. Finn pressed the phone to his ear, laid back in his bed and closed his eyes.

"Hey." He didn't really have anything to say, it was just… fuck. He was so screwed.

"I miss you." When Kurt said it, somehow it didn't sound lame at all.

"Yeah." He really shouldn't talk. He should stop talking. "Me too."

Then there was quiet, and Finn listened to Kurt's soft breathing while he spent a few minutes being grateful that Kurt understood just what he needed, even when he didn't admit to needing anything. He was in the middle of wondering whether he could tell Kurt how cool that was without sounding like a total jackass when he actually slipped over the line and into sleep, phone wedged under his ear, breathing in unconscious sync with the rhythm on the other end of the line.

"I can't believe summer is over," Kurt said, slinging his bookbag over his shoulder and beeping his car locked. He stared squarely at the stone face of McKinley High, like it was some kind of monster that turned out not to be dead after all.

"Yeah," Finn answered as they started across the parking lot. "It went fast."

Kurt nodded. "Really fast. Must be that 'time flies when' principle at work." Kurt gave him a sly, private smile. "It was a great summer, though."

They reached the stairs, and Finn swallowed, his perfectly dry throat clicking loud in his head. He ignored the students swarming around them, ignored various teachers already looking annoyed and harassed as they hurried into the building, ignored the nearby hoots of laughter as some poor kid got tossed into the dumpster, and reached out to take Kurt's hand.

"Best summer ever," he said calmly, clearly. His stomach was in knots.

Kurt looked at him, eyes wide, then down at their hands, then back up at him. Finn stepped closer. "You said… you said it had to be my choice. You said you wanted me to be sure." He squeezed Kurt's hand. "I'm choosing. And I'm sure."

"Oh," Kurt said, so softly that Finn almost couldn't hear it. "Okay." Kurt looked at him, about a thousand things going over his face all at once, but in the end he just smiled, ran his thumb gently over Finn's knuckles, and slowly, finally squeezed back.

Then they walked through the doors and into McKinley High together, hand in hand.

***End***