Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and fox, not me.
He'd been looking for him without thinking, he realized. That was the only reason he could think of for venturing into the library. He never really went in there, but he had run out of places to go.
It was decently quiet in the school library. Students walked idly through the stacks, searching for books for homework assignments and research reports. A couple of jocks played paper football at one of the big tables. He scanned the room…and he found him.
Kurt sat in one of the big, uncomfortable armchairs, looking like his usual, impeccably dressed self. One legs was crossed over the other and he balanced a book on his knees. His head was down, and he held his fingers to the page, following the lines. But even though he seemed perfectly normal on first glance…something seemed wrong.
Finn ducked into the aisle and hid behind the bookshelves. He could spy on him better that way…although, when he got a good look at him, he sort of regretted it.
Kurt was crying.
He wasn't sobbing or anything, but his face was blotchy and his eyes were swollen. Tears dripped steadily down his face and off his chin. He didn't even bother to wipe them away anymore.
I wonder how long he's been there, Finn thought.
A nerd with a big backpack brushed up against him, knocking him to the end of the aisle. He stumbled out into the open study area, tripping over his own shoes. The nerd shot him a dirty look. He didn't really notice- he kept staring at Kurt.
Without thinking it through, Finn walked over to him. Kurt didn't notice, lost in his own private grief. He shoved his hands in his pocket. "Hey," he said softly.
Kurt looked up slowly. "Finn," he said, furtively dabbing at his eyes. "I never thought I'd see you darken the door of a library. What are you doing here?"
"I, uh…I was looking for you," he said, digging his hands deeper in his pockets.
Kurt leaned his chin wearily in his hand. "What for?" he asked.
"I just wanted to see if you're okay," he said.
"I'm fine," he whispered.
Finn knelt down in front of him and put his hands on the armrests of the chair. Kurt jumped back, uncrossing his legs in surprise. "I don't think you are," he whispered back.
Kurt's shoulders heaved slightly and he attempted to pull away, his blue-green eyes regaining some of his usual spark. "I think I'm handling it just fine," he snapped. He tried to stand up. "If you'll excuse me, I have work to do."
Finn pinned him down gently. "Have you been staying at your house?" he asked.
"All by yourself?"
Kurt hesitated, then nodded.
"You can come home with me, if you want," Finn offered. "I know my house isn't as cool as yours, but you wouldn't be alone. And my mom would be really excited to see you. She's been really worried."
Kurt slid out of the chair. "Thank you for you concern, but I'm fine," he said. He slipped his book into his messenger bag and slung it over his shoulder. "I'll see you later, Finn."
He left the library, head held high. Finn stood up and watched him walk away.
The rest of the day dragged by. He sat though his classes without paying attention, unable to concentrate. Even glee rehearsal drove him nuts. Rachel kept babbling in his ear, and Mr. Schue kept reminding him to actually sing instead of half-heartedly moving his lips…and, well, he just couldn't focus.
Kurt sat in the front row, just in front of him. He still sang with everyone else, but his voice wasn't quite as strong as usual. Finn couldn't stop staring at him. All he could think about was how on earth he was going to get Kurt's attention.
Granted, he hadn't tried very hard so far. In fact, he felt kind of embarrassed. First he yells at Kurt for not telling him about his dad, because he considered Burt to be kind of his father too…then he starts praying, and only prays for himself. If even Puck could pray for Kurt- even going so far as to attend temple for it- what does that make him?
And Kurt didn't want anything to do with him. He made that pretty clear. Even just patting him on the shoulder was apparently forbidden.
Finn endured the rest of glee, and reluctantly accepted Rachel's offer for a ride home. She gave him a funny look when he kept staring at Kurt, who bolted from the choir room like he was being chased, but thankfully, she said nothing. For once.
She drove him to his house, talking brightly, and he smiled and nodded and offered the proper responses. But when she pulled into his driveway and parked, she grabbed his arm before he could get out of the car.
"Finn, what's wrong?" she asked, squeezing his arm gently. "You've been so distracted all afternoon."
He sighed heavily, slumping back in the passenger seat. "I'm just upset, I guess," he said glumly.
"Why?" she asked. "You're the quarterback again. Shouldn't you be happy?"
"It's not about me, Rachel," he said. He stared down at his knees. "It's about…Kurt. I tried to talk to him, and he won't."
Rachel trailed her fingers up and down his forearm. "He's not talking to anyone," she said quietly. "Mercedes said he hasn't talked to her in a few days, at least not about anything serious."
He sighed. Rachel squeezed his hand. "Do you mind if we don't hang out tonight?" he said. "I kind of asked Kurt if he would come over tonight, and he said no, but…I'm still kind of hoping he'll show up."
"Sure," she smiled. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Call me when you can, okay?"
He nodded, kissed her back, then unbuckled his seatbelt and got out. She drove her gold Miata down the street, waving furiously. He waved back, sort of grinning, and went into his house.
His mom was still at work, but the house smelled like something delicious was cooking. He loped into the kitchen and found the crock pot turned on. A note was left beside it; he picked it up and read his mother's clear, round print.
I made lasagna for dinner. Turn the crock pot off at six o'clock and put all of the leftovers in the refrigerator. There's garlic bread in the freezer, and salad in the crisper.
He made a face.
Don't make a face, you need to eat vegetables. I'll be home around midnight. Don't forget to your homework.
He put the note down and peeked into the crock pot. It was five o'clock now…only one more hour until dinner.
He wrestled in his pocket for his phone, turned it from vibrate to maximum volume, and set it on the counter. Kurt probably wasn't going to call him…but it would be good to be prepared, just in case.
He played video games for a while, then stopped to eat dinner, heaping lasagna into a bowl- and, begrudgingly, a small handful of salad. For a while he took a break and watched TV while he ate, but eventually he turned back to the game.
The sky grew darker as the clock ticked by. Rain started to fall, first tapping lightly on the roof, then pounding against the windows. Finn kept checking his phone, waiting
He knew it was stupid. There was no way that Kurt would call him. He was too stubborn, too proud. He scowled and pounded at the buttons on his Xbox controller, trying to think of something else.
It was almost nine o'clock when he heard the doorbell ring. He paused the game, wondering if he had just imagined under the roar of synthesized music and prerecorded gunshots.
He didn't hear anything else, but he stood up, his wireless controller still in hand, and headed downstairs. It was too dark to tell see anything, but he turned the lock and opened the door.
Kurt stood on his doorstep, soaked and shivering, clutching his messenger bag and still holding his chin stubbornly high. His face was pale and his eyes were wide. "Finn," he said. "I thought I would take you up on your offer."
"Uh…" Finn stammered. "Sure. Yeah, come in."
He held the door open. Kurt walked into the house, his shoes squelching noisily. Water dripped from his hair and clothes, puddling around him on the floor. "I hope you don't mind," he said breezily. "Visiting hours are over at the hospital, and I realized I hadn't had dinner, and I didn't feel like dragging myself through another drive-through for a crappy mass-produced salad." He brushed his hair back from his forehead. "Is it all right if I eat something here?"
"Sure," Finn said eagerly. "Mom left lasagna in the crock pot. It's pretty good. And there's salad and garlic bread." He looked Kurt up and down. "You're all wet, though. Do you want to get changed?"
He blinked. Droplets plummeted off his long lashes. "Into what?"
"Dude, you're kind of making a small ocean in my living room," Finn said, half-smiling. "You can borrow some of my stuff if you want. It's no big deal."
Kurt bit his lip. "I suppose," he said. "If you're sure it's all right."
"It's fine," Finn said. "C'mon."
He headed up the stairs to his bedroom. Kurt put his bag down carefully on the floor and followed him, gripping the banister. Finn resisted the urge to panic. He'd spent all day wishing that Kurt would show so he could magically make them into friends again. Now he had no clue of what he was supposed to do.
He turned on the lights. Kurt followed him inside. "Wow," he said. "You weren't kidding about the cowboy wallpaper."
He grinned. "My mom put it up when I was a toddler," he said. "Kind of went through a western phase, you know."
Kurt gingerly peeled his soaking wet jacket off his arms. The shirt he wore underneath was just as wet. "I went through a very short superhero phase when I was five," he confessed. "Dad bought me every action figure he could his hands on."
"Really?" Finn said as he rummaged through his dresser drawers. "Which ones?"
"Spiderman, mostly," Kurt shrugged. "And Superman…but only when he was Clark Kent. He was cuter with the glasses."
Finn laughed. "I was always a Batman fan myself," he said. "I thought it was cool that a normal guy without any powers could become a hero."
He turned around, holding out a tee shirt and a pair of sweatpants. "I know these aren't your usual style, but at least they're dry."
Kurt took them carefully. "Thank you," he said politely.
"There's a bathroom down the hall," he offered.
Kurt glanced around. "Would it…would it be okay if I just changed here?" he said. He kept his eyes down, almost bashful. "I've already dripped water all over half your house."
Finn shrugged. "It's cool with me," he said.
Kurt tugged at the wet scarf strangling him, then fumbled with the buttons on his vest. He carefully took the layers off and draped them over the back of a chair. Finn busied himself with his game, blasting away at enemies. He ended up getting so distracted that he barely noticed Kurt sitting down beside him.
"What are you playing?" he asked.
"Fallout 3," Finn said absently, still shooting away. "It's pretty cool."
He reached a save point, set down the controller and glanced over his shoulder. Kurt frowned. "What are you smirking for?" he said.
"I don't think I've ever seen you look like this," he said.
Even when they were sharing a room, Kurt never looked unkempt, choosing to sleep in pajamas with button-up shirts, his hair still combed perfectly in place. Now he wore Finn's old soccer jersey from middle school and a pair of oversized gray sweatpants, cinched tightly around his waist. His wet hair stuck up at funny angles.
"Well, I prefer wearing dry hand-me-downs over my own soaked things," Kurt said, lifting his chin. "I'm pretty upset over it, though. That scarf is wool. It's never going to be the same."
Finn grinned and tossed the controller onto his unmade bed. "C'mon," he said. "You're hungry, right?" "I suppose," he said stiffly.
Finn loped down the stairs, Kurt strolling behind him. "My mom makes really good lasagna," he said. "It's better when she bakes it, but the crock pot version is still great."
"Thanks, but I think I'll just stick with a salad," Kurt said. He leaned against the kitchen counter, crossing his arms over his stomach. "I don't eat carbs after 3pm."
Finn rolled his eyes. "Just try it, okay?" he said. "My mom will be really sad if she finds out you came over and didn't have any real food for dinner."
"Salad is real food," Kurt defended, but he scooped a small amount of lasagna onto a plate. Finn just grinned, pulled a couple of pieces of garlic bread out of the freezer, and popped them in the convection oven. Kurt frowned and wandered into the living room, his dinner in hand.
"You can watch whatever you want," Finn called. "We've got a bunch of movies, if you want to pick one."
"Uh-huh," Kurt said absently.
Finn followed him in the living room. Kurt was staring at the shelves full of DVDs and old VHS tapes. "I never would have pegged you for a Disney fan," he remarked, pointing to the row of battered clamshell cases.
Finn blushed. "I used to watch them all the time when I was little," he said.
Kurt trailed his finger along the dusty titles. "Which one was your favorite?" he asked.
Finn could feel the blush spreading to his ears. "Cinderella," he admitted. "I couldn't say her name, so I would just tell my mom I wanted to watch 'the pretty lady'."
"Good choice," Kurt said. "She's one of the best princesses. Classy, yet passive-aggressive."
"Did you watch Disney movies?" Finn asked.
"Of course," he shrugged.
He didn't bother to elaborate. Finn thought about asking him another question, but decided against it. Instead, he reached for a DVD on the shelf.
"Have you ever seen this?" he asked.
Kurt took the case. "Shaun of the Dead," he read. "No, not really a fan of horror movies."
"It's not really a horror movie," Finn said. "It's pretty hilarious. And there's only one part that's actually gross. It's a British movie, so I don't always understand all the jokes, but it's good." His eyes lit up and he reached for another movie. "And if we watch that one, we have to watch this too."
"It's the same actors. It's great," Finn said. He popped the case. "We'll watch Shaun of the Dead first, then Hot Fuzz. You'll like 'em, I promise."
Kurt arched an eyebrow, but he sat down on the couch, balancing his dinner on his knees, while Finn put the DVD in the player. Finn hit play and went into the kitchen. The timer had beeped on the convection oven; he slid the hot garlic bread onto a plate, managing to avoid burning his fingers this time, and carried it out to the living room.
Kurt's eyes were glued to the screen. He ate steadily without paying much attention to what he was eating. Finn put a piece of garlic bread onto his plate without him noticing and settled in to watch the movie.
He glanced at Kurt out of the corner of his eye ever so often. It was weird. Not bad, just…weird. He'd hoped for so long that he could make things right with Kurt, and now that he was here, he had no clue what to say.
Kurt reached his fork to take another bite, but his plate was empty. He frowned. Finn reached over and took his empty dishes. "Thanks," Kurt murmured.
Finn walked into the kitchen, about to put the dishes into the sink, then paused. He glanced back at Kurt, who was still staring at the television screen and absently biting his lips. Finn lifted the lid on the crockpot and spooned out a larger serving of lasagna.
Kurt jumped when Finn held the plate in front of him. "Thanks, Finn, but I'm not-"
"C'mon, Kurt, you're starving," he said, waving the plate in front of him. "Just eat it, okay?"
Kurt glared at him. "Only because I know you won't leave me alone," he said, grabbing the plate from his hands.
Finn settled back into the couch, propping his feet up on the coffee table. Kurt ate quickly, belying his protests about not being hungry. Finn resisted the urge to grin in victory.
They watched the movie in silence, although Finn snickered occasionally at a funny line. Kurt said nothing. He just ate his dinner and eventually set his dishes down on the coffee table.
The movie was halfway over before he noticed anything. It wasn't much- he just felt the couch shifting, and he belatedly realized that Kurt was curling up against the armrest. For a moment he wondered if he was tired, and just going to fall asleep, but then he heard a barely audible choking sound.
Finn looked across the couch. Kurt had folded his arms across his stomach and tucked his knees against his chest. He still stared at the television, but his eyes looked swollen and red-rimmed again, and his cheeks looked flushed.
Inwardly Finn panicked. He was no good with anyone who cried around him, especially when that someone hadn't spoken anything beyond casual pleasantries in the past few months.
He scooted a little closer to Kurt. "Y'okay?' he asked.
Kurt covered his face with his hand. "I'm fine," he said hoarsely.
Finn paused the movie. It was time to talk about uncomfortable things. "You're not really acting fine," he said. "You keep telling everybody that you're okay, but I don't think you are."
Kurt turned his face away. "I don't want to talk about it," he whispered.
Finn reached towards him, hesitated, and finally placed his hand on Kurt's shoulder. Kurt pulled back sharply. "C'mon," he said. "I'm just trying to help."
Kurt jumped up from the couch. "You can't help," he said. "Nobody can. Nobody can make this better."
Finn sat as still as possible. He wanted desperately to say something, but something told him he shouldn't. He needed to listen.
"My dad's going to die," Kurt said. "He's going to die, and I'm going to be alone." He paced up and down the living room like a caged animal. "I can't do another funeral, Finn. I won't."
He paused, gripping his arms tightly. "I already had to go to my mother's funeral," he said. "I was eight. Eight. And I had to watch my mother die. Now I get to watch my dad die too."
Despite the rage in his voice, he had never seemed more vulnerable. His oversized clothes hung loosely on his frame, and his hair flopped in his wide, wild eyes. "I can't do it," Kurt said. His lips trembled and he bit down hard. "I can't, I…I can't."
His arms dropped to his sides and he sucked in a deep breath. "I can't, Finn," he said in a small voice.
Finn looked down at the floor. "You don't have to," he said quietly. "You just…you just need to let someone help you, okay."
He dragged his hands through his hair, trying to think of the right words to say. "I know that I'm not really your favorite person in the world," he said. "But my mom really loves you. She'd do anything to help you, and that's not just because you're Burt's kid."
He kept his eyes on the ground. He could hear Kurt struggling to breathe evenly. "Mercedes loves you," he continued. "So does Quinn. And Brittany. Tina, Artie…even Santana and Puck, in their own ways. Mr. Schuester would help you. Probably Miss Pillsbury too. And…and me." He sighed. "Kurt, we all want to help you. You just need to stop acting like you're okay all the time, when you're not."
The room fell silent, except for Kurt's ragged breathing and the rain on the roof. Finn stifled another sigh. Clearly this was not going well. And clearly, he didn't need to push this even further.
He turned the movie back on and leaned back on the couch. Maybe he'll just give up and go home soon, he thought unhappily.
He felt something warm and heavy bump into his legs. Finn glanced down. Kurt sat down on the floor, hugging his knees to his chest, pressed up against Finn's long legs.
He nearly jumped back in surprise, but the sound of muffled sobs distracted him. Timidly Finn reached down and put his hand on Kurt's shoulder.
Kurt put his hands over Finn's big fingers and gripped them tightly.
They sat like that for the rest of the movie, until Finn's hand fallen asleep and his back was stiff from leaning over. He was pretty sure Kurt was still crying, judging by the occasional heaving of his shoulders and the even more occasional wrenching, choking, snot-filled gasp.
The credits started rolling. Finn squeezed Kurt's shoulder and got up slowly, trying not to bump into him. "Wanna watch the other one?" he asked as he ejected the disk.
"Sure," Kurt mumbled, wiping at his face.
Finn switched out the DVDs and picked up Kurt's dishes. He carried them into the kitchen and dumped them in the sink as the opening started up. He started to head back to the living room, but he paused. Instead, he opened up the cabinet and pulled out a box of hot chocolate mix and two mugs.
Finn didn't really know how to navigate a kitchen, but he could at least make hot chocolate. He balanced the mugs and walked carefully back into the living room. Kurt was still huddled on the floor against the couch. "Hey," Finn said. He nudged Kurt lightly with his foot. "Sit on the couch."
Kurt pulled himself up carefully. His legs were probably asleep at this point. Finn handed him the mug of hot chocolate.
"Finn, thanks, but I-"
"Just drink it," he said quietly. Kurt obeyed. Finn sat down next to him.
It was still silent, but at least now it didn't feel awkward. It wasn't comfortable, either, but at least Kurt had stopped crying into his knees and he wasn't panicking about what he was supposed to do next.
The movie kept playing. Kurt even laughed a couple of times- a thin, reedy sound. Finn finished off his hot chocolate and put the empty mug aside.
After a while, Finn realized that Kurt was leaning towards him. He shifted a little closer. Kurt sidled up to him, and Finn closed the distance until Kurt's head was resting against his upper arm.
He wasn't sure what he was supposed to do about this. Were they…snuggling? He wasn't sure if brothers snuggled.
Finn glanced down at Kurt. He was staring at the screen, the blotchiness faded from his face, seemingly unaware of Finn's inner turmoil.
Finn caved. He wrapped an arm around Kurt's shoulders and pulled him against his side. Kurt froze for a second, then relaxed.
They spent the rest of the movie like that. Finn found himself more relieved than he expected to be. Things are going to be okay, he thought. Maybe we will end up as a family.
Kurt's laughs grew farther and farther apart as the movie rolled on, until Finn realized as the end credits rolled that he hadn't heard him in a while. He glanced down at Kurt, and couldn't help but grin.
Kurt was fast asleep, his head tucked against Finn's side. His hair was mussed and his mouth was slightly open. Finn resisted the urge to wake him up. I wonder if this is what it's like to have a little brother, he thought.
Carefully Finn eased himself away from Kurt and lowered him back down to the couch, one hand under his neck and the other on his lower back. Kurt didn't wake up. He just slumped into the couch, his arms drooping at his sides. Finn gently shifted his legs so that he was lying on his back, then picked up his discarded mug from his sleep-slackened hand.
He turned off the overhead light, leaving just the table lamp on, and tiptoed into the kitchen. The back door opened and his mother walked into the house. "Hi, honey," she said, shaking her umbrella on the back porch. "Why are you still up?"
He tapped his finger to his lips and shook his head. She frowned. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"Kurt's asleep," he whispered.
Carole's mouth dropped open slightly. "I thought that was his car in the driveway," she said. "Where is he?"
He pointed to the living room. "I got him to eat dinner and we watched a couple of movies," he said.
Carole took off her coat and hung it on the back of a kitchen chair. "And he's really sleeping?"
"Out like a light," he said.
She shook her head. "He hasn't slept much at all in the past few weeks," she said. "The nurses on Burt's ward have been so worried over him."
She walked quietly into the living room, Finn following. Kurt slept soundly on the couch, the light from the lamp casting a soft warm glow over him. Carole picked up a blanket from the back of an armchair and draped it over Kurt. He made a soft noise in his sleep as she tucked him in snugly. She brushed his hair away from his face, then bent over and kissed the top of his head.
Finn ducked back into the kitchen and rinsed out the mugs. His mom walked back towards him. "He looks so much better," she said. "He's been so pale."
Finn stacked the mugs beside the sink. Carole put her hand on his arm. "You did good, honey," she said. "Things have been really rough for Kurt, and he's too proud to let anyone help him. I'm glad you stuck it out."
He sort of smiled. She squeezed his arm. "I know I never really made religion a part of your life, and I know you've been…sort of confused lately, about the whole Jesus thing," she said. "But what you did for Kurt…well, I think God would be pretty happy about that."
Finn smiled, for real this time. "Thanks."
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.
Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'
The closing passage is from Matthew 25. Surprise! I'm a Christian. "Grilled Cheesus" is one of my favorite episodes, not just because I adore Kurt, but also because I think it's the first time that Christians aren't painted as complete idiots and hypocrites. It was as balanced an episode as one could expect, and I appreciate that deeply.
If you haven't seen Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz...do it now! So good. I might end up writing a story about Finn and Kurt arguing over which one gets to be Simon Pegg and which one gets to be Nick Frost...it would be a total crackfic, but adorable nonetheless.
The anecdote about Finn calling Cinderella "the pretty lady" comes from a friend of mine who confessed that Cinderella was his favorite movie when he was little. Too cute.
(Personally, I think Kurt prefers Ariel. Which princess do you think he likes best? Discuss.)
I've wanted to write this for a while, but it's tricky. I couldn't bring myself to make Kurt fall sobbing in Finn's arms, as much as I wanted to. I hope it still ended up okay...
Let me know what you think! I adore feedback...and more story ideas...