Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
Rachel leaned over the hood of the Lincoln Navigator, tapping her foot anxiously. "Kurt!" she called. "Finn and I are on a schedule. Hurry up."
Finn nudged her lightly. "It's fine," he said. "He's coming."
"But South Pacific is a very long film," Rachel said. "And we'll probably have to stop and rewind certain scenes because you'll probably fall asleep during them. And if you fall asleep, you'll never be able to sing any of Lieutenant Joe Cable's songs convincingly enough!"
Finn scratched the back of his neck. "Um, I'm sure we'll be fine."
Rachel huffed. "He'd better hurry," she insisted, drumming her fingers on the glossy hood of the car.
"Berry, if you scratch the paint job on my baby, I'm going to stuff you in my trunk." Kurt strolled across the parking lot, late afternoon sunlight glinting off his mirrored sunglasses. "Don't think I won't do it. Because I will."
Rachel jammed her hands on the hips. "Kurt, you can't do that," she said. "You're barely as tall as I am."
"Height means nothing," he said, lazily twirling his keys around his finger. He clicked the remote. "I could do it."
Rachel opened the door to the front seat. Kurt held up his hand. "Oh, no," he said. "If you get to ride shotgun, then you will spend then entire seventeen minute ride home fiddling with the stereo, trying to find just the right volume to complement your singing voice. No, you will sit in the back."
Rachel, mouth agape, swiveled to face Finn. Finn shrugged. Rachel tossed her hair and climbed into the backseat. "You are driving me nuts today," she announced. "First you show up an entire ten minutes late to glee rehearsal, then you barely bother to sing. Now you refuse to let me practice on the way to your house."
Finn slid into the front seat. "Rachel, you've been singing, like, all day," he reminded her gently.
Rachel leaned forward, thrusting her head over the center console. "A healthy voice is in constant practice," she said.
Kurt none-to-gently bumped his elbow into her forehead as he put the Navigator into reverse. "Oops," he said.
Finn turned the radio knob. "This okay?" he asked, tuning into a classic rock station.
Kurt winced slightly. "It's fine, as long as you don't blast it," he said snippily. "My eardrums are already blown from that trumpet blaring in my face all afternoon."
"What trumpet?" Finn asked.
"That one," Kurt said serenely, nodding his head slightly in Rachel's direction. Rachel thanked back in her seat, crossing her arms firmly across her chest and scowling so fiercely her face might freeze that way.
Finn frowned. "Dude, why're you wearing sunglasses?" he asked. "The sun's going down."
"Fashion has no timeframe," Kurt said. "They're the perfect complement to this outfit."
"Okay, whatever," Finn said.
They rode in silence except for the dull roar of Boston and Rush on the radio. Kurt kept reaching over and turning the sound down, until it was barely audible by the time he pulled into the driveway of his house.
"Thanks for the ride, Kurt," Finn said, slamming the car door.
Kurt locked the car. "Don't mention it," he said. "If you had a car, I'm sure I'd be hitting you up for rides." He folded his arms and looked Finn up and down. "Then again, I'm sure it would be a festering heap of receipts, fast food wrappers, and discarded soda cans. So maybe I wouldn't." He turned on his heel and strode towards the house. Finn stifled a sigh of exasperation and followed him, Rachel close behind.
"I think you're really going to like South Pacific," she said. "I know Mr. Shuester assigns us a lot of show tunes, but I don't think he's ever given us any Rodgers and Hammerstein before."
"Hammerstein," Rachel repeated patiently. "They wrote most of the classics of the golden age of Broadway. I mean, everyone knows them for The Sound of Music, but they also wrote Carousel and Oklahoma and the King and I and…"
Finn held the front door open before Kurt let it swing shut. The house was warm and smelled delicious. "Mom, we're home," he called.
His mother stood at the stove in the kitchen. "Hi, kids," she said. Finn bent over and kissed her on the cheek.
"Hi, Mrs. Hudson," Rachel said.
Kurt brushed past them. "How was your day, Kurt?" Carole said.
He froze, the light from the overhead fluorescents making his oversized sunglasses shine like small comets. "Fine," he said. "Just fine."
"What are you kids up to?" Carole asked, leaning against the kitchen counter.
"I'm going to introduce Finn to South Pacific," Rachel said eagerly. "Mr. Shue is going to have us sing classic Broadway, and I thought that Finn's voice would be perfect for one of Joe's songs."
"Have fun," Carole smiled. "What about you, Kurt?"
Finn nudged Rachel lightly. "Oh," she said. "Do you want to watch the movie with us?"
"Sadly, no," Kurt said, brushing his hair away from his forehead. "Lots of homework. No time for Hammerstein." He shouldered his book bag. "I'll just make myself at home in Dad's den. Enjoy South Pacific." He beckoned to Finn, who leaned over. "Beware, Hudson. It's boring."
"I heard that," Rachel sniffed. She took Finn by the hand. "Come on. Let's go."
Kurt ducked out of the kitchen; Finn followed his eager girlfriend down the stairs to the bedroom he shared with his kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really stepbrother. The sides of the room were clearly outlined- one side neat and tidy, hung with jewel toned curtains, and the other littered with sports equipment, candy wrappers, and video game paraphernalia and decorated with sports stars and rock concert posters. Rachel waded through a pile of dirty clothes and brushed a crumpled comic book off the couch.
"You really will like this," she promised, holding out the DVD. He took it and popped the cover. "It won a Pulitzer, you know."
Rachel rolled her eyes and shook her head. "You should listen carefully to all of the songs sung by Lieutenant Joe Cable," she said. "I think he's in your voice range, and you have the right look to play him."
Finn fumbled with the slippery DVD. "Do you think Kurt's mad?" he asked.
Rachel blinked. "What are you talking about?" she said.
"Well, he's been really quiet," Finn said. "Except when he talks, and then he's all snippy and stuff."
"Finn," Rachel said patiently. "Kurt is just an unhappy person. And unhappy people spread that unhappiness to everyone around them. It's like a very small emotional epidemic."
Finn frowned. "You think Kurt's unhappy?" he asked.
"Of course," Rachel said. "He's the only gay kid in our entire, very conservative, high school. And he doesn't have a mother. It's very difficult to go through life without a mother. I know this very well." She smiled and patted the seat beside her. "Let's watch the movie, all right?"
Still frowning, Finn sat down beside her. She nestled against him and he slung his arm around her shoulder as the opening credits rolled. It was hard to concentrate, though, for three reasons.
Number one: Rachel smelled really, really good.
Number two: She wouldn't shut up. Every few minutes she would point out a behind the scenes fact, an anecdote about the history of the show, or some advice about singing the songs properly.
Number three: Kurt was unhappy?
Finn leaned back, his long legs sprawled out, and got lost in thought. I guess he might be unhappy, he thought. I mean, he has to share a room with me, when he used to have it all to himself. And yeah, I guess he's upset about having to share his dad. But, I mean, I've never had a dad. So he can't be that mad about that, right?
He stared off into space. Yeah. That can't be making him mad.
The room abruptly fell silent. He blinked as he realized that Rachel had paused the movie and was staring at him with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. "Why aren't you paying attention to 'Bali Ha'i'?" she demanded. "It's only one of the most beautiful and famous songs from the show!"
He cleared his throat. "I'm going to go see if Kurt wants to watch the movie with us," he said.
Rachel's face fell. "I thought we were going to have some alone time," she said.
"Yeah, well…" he stammered. "We've had a lot of alone time lately, and, well…I feel bad that he's by himself. "
Rachel blinked. "He's doing homework," she said. "I'm sure he's fine." She hit the play button. "Now, this isn't the actress who originally played this role, she…"
Finn leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm going to go ask him," he said. "I'll be right back, okay?" Rachel settled back against the couch, scowling.
Finn loped up the stairs and went in search of Kurt. He peeked around the doorway into Burt's den, expecting to find his melodramatic roommate lounging on the couch, skimming over his algebra homework while watching reruns of trashy romance shows on VHI.
Instead, he found Kurt curled up in the big plaid recliner, his unlaced shoes dangling off his feet and his sunglasses still balancing precariously on his face. His mouth gaped slightly, and Finn realized he was asleep.
"Kurt," he said softly, shaking him lightly on the shoulder. "Kurt, wake up." The large mirrored glasses slid down the bridge of Kurt's nose. Finn leaned over him, startled. Kurt's right eye was swollen shut and an angry shade of purple. The bruise spread down to his cheekbone.
"Kurt, hey, Kurt," Finn said a little louder, shaking him harder.
He opened his good eye slowly. "What?" he said, almost dreamily.
"What happened to you?" Finn demanded.
"I don't know," Kurt slurred. "Why do you ask?"
"Dude, your eye looks like an eggplant," Finn said. "Did someone punch you?"
Kurt raised his hand to his eye. His fingers shook. "I think so," he said vacantly.
"Mom?" Finn shouted.
Kurt looked up. "Mom?" he echoed. He tried to sit up, but he wavered.
"Finn, what's wrong?" Carole asked.
"Somebody punched Kurt and he's real out of it," Finn said.
He backed up as his mother knelt beside Kurt. She probed his swollen eye; he leaned away from her. "Sit still," she said. "Tell me what happened."
Kurt obeyed, gripping the armrests of the chair. "After school, before glee rehearsal," he said, starting to sound a little more coherent. "A couple of sports gorillas. I guess tossing me in the dumpster has lost its novelty."
"The what?" Carole said. She smoothed her hand over the back of his head. "Honey, you've got a bump the size of a baseball."
"That would explain the headache," he mused.
Carole stroked his hair gently. "Do you feel sick to your stomach?" she asked.
"That would explain the vomiting."
Carole put her hands on his cheeks. "Don't worry," she said. "I've gotten Finn through plenty of concussions. You'll be fine."
"Oh, is that what I have?" he mumbled.
Finn hung back, watching his mother fuss over Kurt. For some reason it was unsettling. He felt like a six-year-old, wanting to grab his mother's hand and say no! She's my mom!
Carole helped Kurt stand up. "Finn, honey, can you get him downstairs?" she said. "He needs to rest. But don't let him fall asleep."
Finn slung his arm around the shorter boy; Kurt lurched to his feet. "I'm fairly certain I can make it on my own," he said.
"Finn, take him," Carole said. "I'll be down in a little bit to check on him."
He half guided, half dragged Kurt to the basement stairs. "Why didn't you tell me about this?" he asked.
"Oh, what was the point?" Kurt said. "It wouldn't change anything."
"They beat you up bad enough to give you a concussion, and you couldn't tell anyone?" Finn said. He frowned. "Not even me?"
Kurt gripped the railing on the basement stairs. "I'm tougher than I look," he said.
"What took you so long, Finn, I was-" Rachel's eyes widened. "Kurt! What happened to your face?"
Kurt opened his mouth, probably to offer an off-the-cuff quip. "He got beat up," Finn interrupted. "He's got a concussion."
"You drove us home while you had a concussion?" Rachel screeched. "That alters vision! You could have gotten us killed!"
"You certainly have your priorities straight," Kurt said dryly. He pulled away from Finn's guiding hands and stumbled towards the bathroom.
Finn wheeled around sharply as the door shut. "What was that about?" he said.
"What was what?" Rachel said.
Finn sat down next to her on the couch. "First you drop the bomb that you think he's unhappy," he said. "Then I found him passed out in his dad's chair, too whacked out to move. And all you care about is that he was driving us home?"
"But Finn, it could have been dangerous," Rachel countered. "If something had-"
"Yeah, but we got home all right, didn't we?" Finn said. "So whatever." He raked his hands through his dark hair. "I just don't know what to do about this."
Rachel squeezed his knee. "He'll be all right," she said. "Don't worry."
The bathroom door swung open. Kurt walked out, looking entirely unlike himself. He wore a pair of very baggy red plaid flannel pajama pants, slung low around his narrow hips, and a sleeveless gray shirt. Rachel and Finn stared at him. He stared back. "What?" he said. "I'm slumming it."
He shuffled towards his bed, but stumbled over the edge of the area rug. "Dude, y'okay?" Finn asked.
Kurt closed his eyes. "Please stop asking me that," he said. "I may be slightly disoriented, but I promise I am still in perfect control of my mental faculties." He made it the rest of the way to his bed and crawled into it, pulling the embroidered satin comforter over his head.
"Are you going to go to sleep?" Rachel asked sweetly.
"Cut the saccharine, Berry," he said, his voice muffled. "And apparently I'm not allowed to sleep, so…the answer's no."
"Then do you mind if we keep watching our movie?" she asked.
"Of course, fine, whatever." Rachel pressed play. Finn looked from his girlfriend, gazing rapturously at the television screen, and Kurt, who was reduced to a lump under his blankets. Rachel sang along, not quite so quietly, to the music.
"Dear God, are you watching South Pacific?" Kurt moaned.
"Yes," Rachel snapped.
Rachel scowled. Finn got up. "Where are you going?" she asked.
He crossed over to Kurt's side of the room. "How do you feel?"
"Like I was punched in the eye and slammed into a locker. It's marvelous, really."
Finn shifted his weight awkwardly. "Want me to get you anything?" he asked.
He stared down at the lump under the covers. "Okay," he said lamely. He shoved his hands in his pockets and sat down next to Rachel again.
The movie kept playing, but he didn't pay much attention. He draped his arm around Rachel's shoulders and stared at the blinking light of the television, his head tilted to one side.
The basement door creaked open and Carole walked down the stairs. "Hi, kids," she said. "Having fun?"
"Oh, of course," Rachel said. Finn shrugged.
Carole walked over to Kurt's bed. "Are you awake?" she asked.
She sat down on the edge of his bed and patted his back. "Sit up, honey," she said. "I brought you some medicine. It'll take the edge off your headache." Kurt pushed the covers back and sat up slowly. His usually perfect hair stuck up at all angles, sweaty and staticky. His bruised eye looked black against his pale skin.
"Hold out your hand," Carole said. He obeyed; she dropped several small pills into his palm. "Take these with plenty of water."
He stared at the large glass in her hands. "Ooh," he said, putting his hand to his stomach without thinking. "I hope I can handle that."
"Just try, honey," she said.
He popped the pills and sipped half-heartedly at the water. Carole kept her hand on his knee. "I'm not sure if this is helping," he mumbled against the rim of the glass.
Finn watched them out of the corner of his eye. That same weird feeling was happening again. It was weird to see his mom being all…motherly…with someone else.
And it was weird to see Kurt actually seeming to like it. Usually the only person who could pierce his bubble of personal space was Mercedes, and sometimes Quinn or Brittany. The rest of the time he was off on his own pedestal- one arm folded across his stomach, his fingertip against his chin, that patented smug expression plastered across his face.
But now Kurt was curled up in his bed, his big blue eyes staring over the rim of his glass, actually allowing someone to pay attention to him. And to Finn's astonishment, his mother seemed like babying someone other than him.
It just wasn't fair.
Carole took the empty water glass from Kurt's hands. "See, that wasn't so bad," she said. She stroked his hair away from his forehead. "Put this on your eye. It'll help the swelling go down." "Ow…thanks," he said as Carole put an ice pack over his right eye.
Carole smiled at him, then bent and kissed him on the forehead. Kurt stared up at her, startled. Finn stiffened. "You're going to be fine," she said. "Get some rest, all right?" Kurt nodded wordlessly. Carole touched his cheek, took the water glass, and headed back upstairs.
"…see, Mary Martin was the original Nellie Forbush, and she was amazing, but as you can see-" Rachel broke off in midsentence. "I don't think you've heard a word I've said."
Finn stared at Kurt. He huddled under his covers, balancing a magazine across his bent knees while holding the ice pack over his eye.
Kurt flipped idly through the pages, as if even the words of Cosmo were too heavy to pay attention to.
"Finn, did you know that South Pacific was also made into a video game?"
"Huh? Oh, cool."
Rachel slapped her hands on her knees in frustration. "Finn, I can't believe you're not paying any attention," she said.
"Can you two keep down the lover's spat?" Kurt said. "Boy with a concussion, right here."
Finn put his hand over Rachel's. "Look," he said. "I think I might need to spend some time with Kurt." "What?"
"I just feel…I dunno, kind of guilty," he shrugged.
Rachel stomped over to the DVD player and hit eject, making the image skip and bounce before going black. "I can't believe this," she said. "We have so much work to do, Finn!"
"We can do it later," he promised. "Tomorrow. It's Saturday. We can spend all day tomorrow watching Rodgers and Hammersley."
"Hammerstein," she corrected. She softened slightly. "I'm sorry. I guess I'm being kind of selfish, aren't I?" "Yeah, a little," he admitted.
She squeezed his arm. "Just call me, okay?" she said. He nodded. She put the disc back in the box, kissed him goodbye, and skipped up the stairs.
"Well," Kurt said. "That was interesting. What did you do that for?"
Finn shoved his hands in his pockets and stood up. "I just thought you might want…you know, some company," he said.
Kurt looked up as Finn walked over to him. "I never asked you to feel sorry for me," he said.
"I know," Finn said uncomfortably. He sat down on the edge of Kurt's bed. "D'you wanna…play a video game or something?"
Kurt arched an eyebrow. "I'm not really the type," he said.
"You might like this one," Finn said. He flipped through the game cases on his bookshelves. "It's all creative and stuff."
Kurt turned a page in his magazine. "I'm not going to be any good," he said.
Finn waved the case back and forth. "You get to dress up your character," he said. "You like that kind of stuff, right?"
Kurt's eyes gleamed. "I suppose I could be swayed," he said.
Finn popped Little Big Planet into his PS3. Honestly, he hadn't played too much of it himself, but it had been a birthday present from some relative and it hadn't been that bad. "Here," he said, tossing a wireless controller at Kurt. It smacked him in the clavicle.
"Really, Finn? I don't have much hand-eye coordination on a regular basis," Kurt said, wincing.
"Sorry," Finn apologized. "Here, start with the tutorial. You'll get into it."
The Cosmo magazine slipped onto the floor as Kurt fiddled with the controls. "It's going to take a while to get used to this," he warned.
Finn shrugged. "'Sokay," he said.
Kurt fumbled around with the controls as the narrator told him what to do. Occasionally Finn would point out a hint, like using D-pad to move. Kurt seemed to almost get into it, laughing slightly to some of the narrator's voiced-over quips and tossing the controller around when he was trying too hard to land a difficult move.
They had been at it for almost an hour when Finn realized that the little sackboy character on the screen- bedecked in a large bow tie and a fabulous hat- had slowed down dramatically. He glanced over at Kurt. "Hey," he said, nudging him. "Wake up."
Kurt held the controller limply, his eyes half shut. "Sorry," he mumbled. "Really tired."
"D'you wanna stop playing?" Finn asked.
Kurt shrugged. "I don't know," he sighed. He curled up under the blankets, drawing his knees up to his chest.
"Do you want me to get my mom?" Finn asked.
"I'm fine." Kurt picked up the controller and lethargically prodded the D-pad, making his little character hop across the screen. "You're getting pretty good at this," Finn commented. He cleared his throat. "Kurt…are you unhappy?"
The little sack boy character tumbled off the screen and vanished in a puff of smoke. "Am I what?" he asked incredulously.
Finn scratched the back of his neck. "Well, I guess, Rachel was saying, I was just wondering…"
"Really?" Kurt said. "Rachel thinks I'm unhappy. Fabulous. Pity from Miss Berry. Just what I wanted." He poked angrily on the jump button. "She wasn't pitying you, she just kind of…said it," he said.
"Oh, is that so?" Kurt said, raising his chin stubbornly "And what makes her think that?"
"She, uh…she said it was because you're the only, you know, gay kid in school," Finn said uncomfortably. "And because you don't have…a mom."
Kurt set the controller down slowly. "Well," he said. "I always knew your girlfriend was pushy and overbearing, but I think this went a little too far." He glanced up. "So what do you think, Finn? Am I really a swirling vortex of gay, motherless sadness?"
"I don't know," Finn said, standing up abruptly. "Look, I just-"
"You just feel sorry for me," Kurt snapped. He thrust the controller into Finn's hands. "Thanks for all the concern, Finn, but I don't really need it."
Finn grabbed it and switched off the Playstation. Kurt picked up his magazine and opened it with a vicious snap, nearly ripping a page out. Finn dropped onto his bed and switched to a football game on TV.
They stayed in their awkward standoff for about half an hour. Finn's football game blared noisily; Kurt flipped the pages of his magazine with crisp snaps.
The basement door upstairs creaked open. Finn scowled and crossed his arms, waiting for his mother to come in and fuss unnecessarily over Kurt.
Kurt sat up and set his magazine aside. "Hi, Dad," he said, his good eye lighting up.
"I tried to close up early, but I had some last minute customers," Burt said. "You got a concussion?"
"It's not that bad," Kurt said, looking away.
Burt tilted his chin up and studied his face. "That's quite a shiner," he said. "You got this from some jock at school?"
"Dad, I'm fine," Kurt insisted.
Burt sat down next to him and put his hands on his son's shoulders. "I'm sorry I couldn't come home sooner, kiddo," he said. "Has Carole been taking good care of you?"
"Yeah, Dad, she's been great," Kurt said.
Finn hunched further, trying to ignore them. It was sort of impossible. "I know it's not the same as your own mom taking care of you," Burt said gently. "She'd probably go nuts over you. Remember when you were seven and crashed your bike?"
Kurt ducked his head. "I remember," he said quietly.
Burt pushed his son's hair away from his forehead. "Carole's making dinner. She'll bring some down in a little bit. You hungry?" he asked.
"Sort of, I suppose," he said.
"If you need stay home tomorrow, you do that, okay?"
Burt hugged him tightly; Kurt dropped his head against his dad's shoulder. "You know I'm going to go to your school tomorrow and raise some hell, right?" he said.
"You don't have to," Kurt said. "But yes, I figured you would."
"You're my kid. Stuff like this is in my job description." Burt leaned back, studied him carefully, then leaned over and gingerly kissed him on the forehead. "Get some rest, kiddo." He patted him on the knee and headed back upstairs.
Finn continued to stare at the football game on TV, even though he wasn't really paying much attention at this point. Kurt picked up his magazine.
"So," Finn said slowly. "What happened when you were seven?"
Kurt looked up, his hair flopping over his eyes. "What was that?" he said.
"Your dad…he said something about you crashing your bike," Finn said awkwardly.
Kurt sighed, set down Cosmo, and raised his left hand. "Broke my wrist," he said, wiggling his fingers. "The bones were sticking out. Disgusting. And I couldn't play the piano for three months."
"So what'd your mom do?" Finn asked.
Kurt rubbed his good eye. "It was nothing," he said.
The football game roared quietly in the background. "So…is it the same when my mom looks out for you?" he asked.
Kurt smiled wryly. "You're not very good at deception, Finn," he said. "You hate your mom babying me just as much as I hate my dad treating you like the straight son that he never had."
Finn flopped backwards on his bed. "I guess this whole trying to be a family thing is all screwed up," he said.
"If you can call it a family," Kurt said unhappily.
They stared at each other. "You know, I kind of always wanted a brother," he said. "I mean, I always thought I'd have the kind of little brother that I could play baseball with and teach him how to ask girls out, but…it's still kind of nice, I guess." "I always wanted an older sister," Kurt said coolly. He looked Finn up and down and smiled. "I guess it might be nice to have a brother."
Finn sat up and grinned. "You want to give that video game another try?" he said.
"Oh, why not?" Kurt said. Finn tossed him the controller; this time it hit him in the forehead. "Ow. Is it possible to have a double concussion?"
"Sorry," Finn apologized. He switched on the console and sat down next to his stepbrother. "Oh, and this time…remember that that button makes you jump. That's why you keep falling off and dying."
This was going to be just a little drabble. Apparently not.
I don't think it even makes much sense at this point.
In any case, please enjoy Kurt and Finn being all brotherly.
This is the first time I've written Rachel, and geez, she's a pain. A serious pain. Like really obnoxious to write. It's nearly impossible to balance between her over-the-top diva-ness and making her flat out unlikable. And I think she ended up really unlikable in this. Crap.
Also, South Pacific is a boring movie. I've tried to watch it three times and I've fallen asleep .time. Did I mention I'm a twenty-three-year-old with a degree in theater? Yeah, there are some musicals I just cannot get into. I'm sure everyone has one.
Also also, the videogame thing is kind of like how my husband and I roll. Because I am terrible at them, and he's like mega-awesome. But he made me play Little Big Planet, and I liked it. I sucked, but I liked it. In the meantime, I will stick with Mario Kart, Rock Band, and DDR.
(Also also also, I'm totally going to write a oneshot that involves Rock Band. The idea needs a little more development, but yeah. It's on like Donkey Kong.)