Odds and Ends

Disclaimer: Nope, nothing still.

A/N: Hello, guys! Long time, no see, I know:/ I'm really sorry this took so long to write! I missed you all and I missed this story but apart from RL completely ambushing me and swallowing me whole, I guess I needed time to really process the episode – it touched upon so many delicate, heart-breaking subjects and I really wanted to do it justice. I hope you'll forgive me and this looong chapter makes up for it!

A/N2: Spoilers for 'On My Way' ahead! I was completely unspoiled for the episode so I was basically stunned for most of it and all the developments. So, yeah, it was one crazy ride.

There was a lot of powerful material in this episode, and great acting, and even some funny scenes (the Hummels and Berries trying to stop the wedding!). The only problem I had was with how no one Kurt knew told him that he had nothing to feel guilty about. I can understand why he would, but he has a supportive father, friends and a boyfriend, he shouldn't have to turn to the God squad (he's an atheist!) or have only Dave tell him that it wasn't his fault.

On a more cheerful note, I was looking for Kurt during the pre-wedding rush and was so relieved to see him there with the girls and Blaine! I was a little afraid he wouldn't be there based on the looks he kept throwing in Finn and Rachel's direction the whole episode. With everything that's been going on I do understand some things had to be brushed over but I'd really love even the smallest scene between Finn and Kurt (like the one between Quinn and Rachel). Still, that's what fiction's for so here we go.

A/N3: Any 'Sherlock' fans out there? If so, this one is for you - there are a few references b/c I just couldn't help myself - kudos to you if you get them!


Life's Too Short

In every film, every TV show, every book and every song, there's always the right answer pre-planned in a script or lyric or sentence. In reality, there's rarely the luxury of such a lifeline. So when Kurt tried to come up with what he could possibly say to Dave when – if – he finally mustered up the courage to go see him, he came up with nothing. Or rather, he came up with a lot of different things but they all seemed wrong and pitiful and so unbearably mundane.

As soon as he crossed the threshold of the Hudmel house, mundane gained a new dimension, though, with the sight of one Finn Hudson standing in the hall looking at him hopefully like a faithful puppy. Well, a six foot puppy bred by gorillas.

Kurt sighed and demonstratively turned his back on him, reaching to take his coat off. He had a really short fuse lately and he didn't want to take it out on his stepbrother just because he was an easy target. However if he spoke, that would be a totally different-

"Did you get my Cheetos?" Finn asked and Kurt's lips twisted almost subconsciously.

He slowly turned around to face the other teen and gave him a knowing look. "You stood in the window the whole time I was gone, didn't you?"

"Dude, that would be crazy!" Finn objected. "I went to the bathroom for a couple of minutes."

The countertenor shook his head, fixing him with a disbelieving stare.

Finn shrugged. "You know I need my Cheetos."

"Yes, however would you cope without clogging your arteries for a whole day?" Kurt asked with his usual acerbity.

The taller boy grinned. "I'd find a way," he deadpanned. Then he took a while to takehis stepbrother in more carefully and frowned. "Dude, where is the shopping? Did you leave it in the car? D'you need help bringing it in?"

"I didn't get the shopping," Kurt replied curtly, averting his gaze and movingto undo his shoes.

"What? Why not?"

"Because I had a row at the shop," the countertenor replied impatiently and looked up at Finn with a frown. "With the ATM machine."

Finn blinked. "You had a row," he echoed slowly, his eyebrows going up to meet his hairline. "With a machine."

"Sort of." Kurt sighed and straightened up, neatly putting his shoes away. "It sat there and I shouted abuse."

The taller teen tried to keep a straight face as he looked at Kurt's obviously disconcerted expression. "Dude, what's up with you?" he asked. "Yesterday you almost side-kicked a middle-schoolercuz she was standing next to a pair of pants you wanted-"

"They were Calvin Klein and the last in my size. She was lucky I didn't have my sais on me," Kurt put in darkly.

"-and in the morning you dumped bacon on Burt's head because he wouldn't eat the grapefruit you'd prepared for him," Finn recounted, ignoring his brother's comment. "Again!"

"Greasy food is bad for you," Kurt replied without the slightest hint of remorse. "In so many ways."

Finn looked at him in silence and before he could think, a question that had been on his mind for some time came blundering out of his mouth, "It's Karofsky, isn't it?"

Kurt's head whipped up, several expressions chasing across his features more quickly than Finn could identify.

"I mean, it got to all of us but you especially, didn't it? I mean, with the history you and he have-" he let his voice trail off, shoving his hands into his pockets with unease.

Something flashed behind the smaller teen's eyes and Finn took it for surprise.

"Dude, I notice things, okay?" he said. "When it comes to you, I mean. I did the mistake of not paying enough attention once and I ended up losing you for a whole semester," hecontinued soulfully and locked gazes with his brother."I'm not doing the same mistake again."

"Finn, that's really sweet but I'm…okay," he tried to brush Finn off but the look the other boy gave him made it clear he shouldn't have bothered. Finn was growing way too perceptive these days.

"I totally get it if you don't want to talk to me about it," he assured, carefully angling for words. "I guess I wouldn't want to talk to me about it," he added with a self-deprecating upwards tick of his lips. "But you really…should talk to someone. And, uh, just know I'm here for uh, just- whatever. Whatever you need, man."

Kurt bit his lip, his mind flashing back to the quite jarring if also somewhat comforting exchange with the God Squad and comparing it to the concern and warmth in Finn's eyes. He sighed.

"I did talk to someone."

"Oh. O- okay. That's good," the taller teen mumbled.

"Is it?" The countertenor gave him a doubtful look. Finn tried to convey as much support and sympathyas he couldbut the smaller teenlooked away, retreating inside his head, his thoughts clearly unhappy ones.

Kurt knew he had Blaine, his dad, Carole and Finn among many others to help him deal with this but in that particular moment he hadn'timmediately thought of them. The last time he felt so shaken was when he'd almost lost his Dad and, even though he was proudly atheist, it were the Christian members of Glee that gave him some comfort at that time, even though he had initially rejected it. So now that his life had been emotionally slammed in a similar way again, it somehow felt right on some level to seek comfort from them at first. Now, however, confronted with his brother's warm and caring eyes, Kurt knew he should have searched the comfort of his boyfriend and family above all. He didn't have to cope with all of this, all of the guilt alone and maybe, just maybe, they could help him glean some understanding of how such a thing could happen – how someone could get to the point where the only way out seemed to be-Cold shivers ran up and down his spine. He knew that point, though. He knew better than most what it was like. The feeling of being alone in the hopelessness. The isolation. The edge of precipice they all led to. If it hadn't been for the Glee Club and his Dad, and Finn and Blaine, God knows what he-

He felt his legs give and he slid down the wall, slumping onto the floor. He brought his knees up to his chin and hid his face in his hands, taking a deep breath.

Finn's first impulse was to catch him but seeing Kurt didn't have an epileptic fit or something but did it on purpose, he slipped down onto the floor right next to him.

"Dude, what's wrong?" he asked concernedly, softly nudging him with his arm.

Kurt took a while before raising his head and meeting his brother's patient, gentle gaze.

"It's my fault," he stated with finality, a look of deep sorrow mixed with agitation flashing across his face and lodging in his eyes.

"O-kay. It's your fault," Finn said slowly, staring at his brother's face carefully and scrutinizing him. "Um. What exactly?"

Kurt's eyes shimmered but he didn't cry. "Dave."

"What?" The taller teen stiffened at that. "Like hell it is!" he exclaimed fiercely then calmed down a little, giving the countertenor a sidelong glance. "That's the most stupid thing I've ever heard and that's saying something cuz I have history with Puck, dude!"

Kurt snorted mirthlessly. "You don't understand, Finn," he said darkly.

"No, I really don't," Finn agreed. "So, care to explain?"

"I'd really rather not." The smaller teen drew his lips into a thin line, his gaze flickering to the floor. The message was clearbut Finn wasn't giving up this easy.

"Dude, the guy made your life hell, drove you away from McKinley and threatened your life but you refused to out him or do anything to harm him in any way, and Cheesus knows he deserved it," he continued angrily. It gutted him to see Kurt this miserable and he couldn't stand the thought that he was tormenting himself by thinking what happened to Karofsky was somehow his fault. Anger mixed with concern fuelled his impromptu speech further. "And when you came back you were nothing but nice and kind to him! You reached out to him and you forgave him. You did more than his frigging parents, man!" he said emphatically and Kurt finally raised his head to meet his gaze. "So I need you to explain to mebecause I simply can't wrap my head around how you, probably the kindest and most forgiving person in his life, can think you're guilty of this!" he finished heatedly. "Hell, you're probably the only reason he held out for so long!"

A black feeling welled up in Kurt at that and he let out a dark, bitter laugh. "You make me sound like I'm some kind of a hero or saint, Finn. There are no such persons and even if there were, I certainly wouldn't be one of them," he said, turning his bright gaze at the other boy. "Dave needed my help and I turned him down."

Finn blinked. "I seriously don't believe that."

Kurt shook his head. "My secret admirer on Valentine's? It wasn't Blaine."

"So the whole gorilla-thing…?" Finn mumbled. Kurt could practically see the wheels churning in his head. "It was Karofsky?" he asked, giving his stepbrother an incredulous glance.

Kurt nodded. "He- he told me he was in love with me and wanted us to be together. I tried to let him down gently but when he wouldn't stop calling and texting me, I…I cut him off. I was confused and didn't know what to do- I guess I just didn't want to send him mixed messages…and now I have to live with the fact that if I'd just have the courage and guts to answer one of those calls or texts, I could have prevented all this."

Finn stared at him, trying to process everything and holding himself back from bashing his head against the wall because he still couldn't comprehend how any of that made Kurt guilty.

"God, he must have been so alone and afraid and I was the only confidant he had left and I just...oh God," Kurt's agitated voice brought Finn back from inside his head.

He was now in full meltdown mode and the taller teen stood up quickly and bodily hauled him to his feet. "Dude, stop it," he urged softly, gripping him by the arms. "You're talking crazy, man. You thought Karofsky couldn't take a hint and you wanted to spare yourself and him embarrassment and humiliation. Frankly, you've dealt with this in probably the kindest way there could you have known it was more than Karofsky just trying to hook up?"

"The state he was in when he was leaving Breadstix…I should have known!"Kurt exclaimed, giving up on his voice and letting it emerge choked and broken. "I should have answered one of the frigging phones but I was too chicken to and Dave paid for it. It's my fault, Finn!"

Finn clenched his teeth, feeling helpless and very much out of his depth. He was so not the right person to deal with this. Where was Blaine or Burt when you needed them? Still, it was Kurt and he would be damned if he didn't do his best to help.

"There's no way you could have known!" he tried again but Kurt just shook his head. The taller teen took a deep breath. "Dude, by your thinking, it's also the fault of the company that made Dave's belt and Ikea's for making the stool!"

"It's not the same."

Finn sighed. "Kurt, you're an extraordinary person but you're still just a teenage boy," he emphasized. "Please don't put all this responsibility on your shoulders cuz it's not yours to bear, man."

Kurt swallowed and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

"I feel like my life is a tray with objects carefully placed upon it with everything in its place…and this…this feels like someone's slammed the tray up from the bottom and suddenly everything flew up."

Finn nodded, deciding it was time to use more forceful measures. "Yeah, had that one once, too," he said, a slow smile spreading over his lips. "And I think I have a cure for that."

Kurt managed to quirk his eyebrows before he realized he was being swept off the ground and thrown over Finn's shoulder.A muffled 'oomph' escaped his lips.

"Finn, what the-" he uttered once he got his breath back. "Put me down this instant!"

"No can do, buddy."

"Where are you taking me!" Kurt demanded, pounding his fists on Finn's back. "I'm in no mood for your goofing around, you Cheetos-scarfing, insensitive...brain fart!"

"No goofing, I promise."

"Let me go!"

"Nope, sorry, don't trust you not to run." Finn chuckled lightly and continued his ascent towards the first floor. Then he did a double take. "Dude, did you just call me a brain fart?"

Kurt huffed, crossing his hands, which admittedly wasn't easy in his current position hanging off of Finn's back but it still gave him some comfort. "For lack of a better insult," he admitted with a pout.

Finn let out another chuckle and the countertenor let his hands down, knowing full well resistance was futile by this point. A couple steps more and Finn was depositing him on his bed.

"Wait here, I'll be right back," he ordered, going back through the door.

"Oh, I'll be waiting all right," Kurt said shooting him a death glare. "With my sai swords."

Finn looked slightly alarmed but mustered a nonchalant grin nonetheless. "Just put something comfy on. You're not gonna regret this, man, I promise."

The smaller teen fixed him with a look. "I already am."

Finn ignored him and disappeared in the corridor. Despite his scepticism, Kurt shed his school clothes, if only to prevent his gorilla of a stepbrother from ruffling them even more, and slipped into sweatpants and a tee. He was dreaming of a warm, relaxing lavender bubble bath but he knew Finn wasn't done. He could lock himself up but considering Finn's apparent determination and the fact that he had learned how to pick locks lately (though with Puck as a friend Kurt was surprised it had taken him so long to pick that up, pun intended), he knew it was a sighed, deciding he just didn't have it in him that day to prepare a bear trap at the door and he flopped onto his bed.

Sometime later Finn climbed back upstairs and pushed his way into Kurt's room warily, prepared for the worst, but the countertenor was just lying on his bed with his back to him.

"Um, no swords? No booby traps?" he asked tentatively. "Dude, I'm almost disappointed."

"I know," the smaller teen agreed. "Gaga, I'm really in bad shape, I couldn't even stay mad with you long enough to get the swords," he added, not moving from his position on the bed.

"So…you're not mad at me?"

"That's what I said, Finnegan," Kurt replied, his voice coming slightly muffled through his pillow. "Why? Should I be?"

"Then why won't you look at me?"

"Because sadly, I'm remarkably well acquainted with your face," the countertenor said with an eye roll, only then realizing Finn couldn't see his expression.

"You're sulking," the taller teen observed.

"I'm not sulking," Kurt emphasized, burying his head deeper into his pillow. "I'm trying to sleep," he added pointedly.

"In that case, you can sleep later," Finn decided.

"In that case, I am sulking," the smaller teen shot back. "Big time. So go away."

"Don't you wanna know what my surprise is?"

Kurt let out a martyred groan and hoisted himself to a sitting position to regard his brother. "Excuse me for being somewhat less than excited but your surprises tend to be-" Kurt let his voice trail as his eyes zoned in on the two mugs in Finn's hands. "Milk? Seriously?" he asked. "That's your big surprise? Your cure to all evil? How anticlimactic."

"The climate has nothing to do with it," the quarterback replied nonplussed. "And it's not milk. This called for special measures."

"If you've broken into Dad's liquor cabinet, you are so dead."

Finn chuckled. "It crossed my mind but then I got to thinking-"

"That must have been a tremendous strain," Kurt interrupted snidely.

The taller teen shot him a reproachful glance but continued without a hitch, "-and I remembered Burt saying he would make anyone who touched it into shoes so, um, I decided to go for something else."

"How astute of you," Kurt remarked dryly.

Ignoring what was probably another quip (he couldn't be sure, though, as always when Kurt used big words), Finn came closer and thrust the steaming mug into the other teen's hands with a shy smile. Kurt sniffed at it suspiciously.

"Chocolate?" he asked, raising his eyes.

"Yeah. The real stuff you keep hidden in the pantry," Finn concurred with an impish curl of his lips. "With five marshmallows," he added. "Just like your Mom used to make, right?"

Kurt blinked. "You- remembered?" he uttered softly, cradling the mug in his hands.

"Dude, I may not remember that the Earth goes round the sun but I make it a point to remember what cheers you up. I mean, that's what brothers do. That and annoying the hell out of each other," he added wryly as an afterthought.

"You seem to have both down perfectly," Kurt observed but there was no sting in his tone. He took a sip and smiled at Finn warmly, which the other boy took as invitation to awkwardly flop onto the bed next to him, spilling some of the chocolate onto his shirt front and hands.

The countertenor shook his head. "Ah, as always, the epitome of grace and finesse," he huffed good-naturedly.

"Like I have any idea what that means," Finn mumbled.

"Let me put it this way, then. These are three hundred thread count Egyptian cotton." Kurt said warningly and pointed at his bed linen, handing him a box of tissues. "You really don't want to get a single drop on them, believe me."

"Scary Kurt." Finn decided and went on to cleaning the chocolate, choosing to lick it off his palms rather than use the tissues. Kurt raised an eyebrow at him.

"What? Can't let good chocolate go to waste!" he said defensively.

Shaking his head, Kurt put the tissues away and let out the softest of and almost impossibly so, he didn't feel so hopeless and isolated anymore. The guilt was still lodged around his heart and there was still considerable weight on his shoulders but it almost felt manageable now. Maybe the mundane wasn't so bad after all.

"Thank you," he said after a looked up at him quizzically. "For the ill-conceived man-handling attempt at stopping me from a meltdown even though I didn't ask you to. And for remembering about the marshmallows."

"You're welcome," the taller teen grinned. "So no more freak-outs or crazy-guilty talks? Cuz I don't wanna write 'Not Your Fault' on your forehead with a sharpie but I will do it if I have to."

"Finn Hudson, if you ever even think of doing such a thing, I will sneak up into your room in the middle of the night and shave off your eyebrows with a blunt tool," he said with a glare and Finn's eyes grew big.

"Um, what's more than scary?"

"Me."

Finn gulped. Kurt seemed to be satisfied enough with the look of horror on his face because he nodded and relaxed somewhat, letting out a deep breath. Noticing that, Finn seemed to relax, too.

"So what was it down in the hall, man?" he asked tentatively.

The countertenor remained silent, staring into his mug like it contained the secrets of the universe.

"Dude?" the taller teen prompted.

"Nothing," Kurt finally mumbled.

Finn shook his head. "Not gonna fly, dude. You're really good at hiding stuff and a great actor but you're not fooling me. I know you, remember?"

"Coming from you, that is a scary thing to say," Kurt quipped. "And also oddly reassuring." Under the weight of Finn's unwavering gaze, he sighed, knowing he wasn't getting out of this easy. Another thing was, he didn't want to."It's just that...Dave's situation really resonated with me and it's not just because of our history," he looked back into his mug, swirling the liquid slowly. "Before sophomore year, before Glee, I was him, Finn.I was closeted, I was bullied and I had zero friends. I was so unhappy and miserable."

He looked at the other boy, expecting pity, but was greeted with nothing but a look of heartbroken warmth. He felt his chest tighten at the openness in Finn's eyes.

He managed a half-smile and continued with renewed confidence, "Still, I always had one rock, this one life-line that kept my head above the water. My Dad. He saved me. And when I think I could have been that for Dave, that I could have prevented this, I can't help but feel so, so incredibly responsible and guilty. I've been in that place, Finn, and I should have seen the signs."

"Dude, do you even hear yourself?" the taller teen asked with disbelief. "Karofsky was your worst bully and made your life a living hell. You had no obligation towards him apart from kicking him in the 'nads and yet you blame yourself for not knowing his inner thoughts?"

One corner of Kurt's lips went upwards. "Well, it does sound irrational if you put it like that."

"That's cuz it is!" Finn said. "Um, what's irrational?"

The countertenor shook his head and ruffled his hair. Finn didn't protest, anything was better than the guilt-ridden sad expression on his brother's face.

They sat together in silence, Finn's knee delicately touching Kurt's. Neither would admit it aloud but they both drew comfort from the closeness of the other. No more words were exchanged for a good long while. None had to be. Kurt found they always communicated best without words anyway.

Finally Finn shot him a curious glance, weighing something in his mind.

"D'you want, like, to have a go at my drums?" he offered. "It always helps me to unload like, negative energy and stuff that's bothering me."

"Finn, I'd rather put out a camp fire with my face," Kurt replied snidely but his smile contradicted his tone. "But thank you. That's…very sweet of you. I know you won't let even Rachel touch your precious drums."

"Yeah, well, she's a girl. Drums are a man's instrument."

"That was incredibly sexist," Kurt said, shooting him a sidelong glance, "-and possibly one of the nicest things anyone has said to me in a while."

"So…I managed to offend all women and compliment you in one sentence?"

"I seriously don't know how you do it."

"I'm just talented that way," Finn replied with a nonchalant grin.

"Just don't try it in front of Rachel. She might not feel the same way."

Finn chuckled. Kurt put his mug away and brought himself closer to him, using the other boy's chest as a pillow. He usually shied away from so much physical contact but this time he really needed it and Finn was there being, well…Finn – big and warm and safe. Eventually he dozed off, soothed by the regular beat of the steadiest heart he knew.

Finn tried not chuckle as he watched Kurt fight a losing battle with his drooping eyelids and finally succumb to sleep. When he was sure the smaller teen was asleep, he reached for his phone, weighing in his mind how much flack he'd get from his brother for recording this but thought better of it and settled on shooting off a quick text. Then he settled a bit more comfortably and looked down. The sight really was record-worthy, for Kurt was completely open and vulnerable now and Finn was allowed to catch one of those fleeting glimpses of him without his usual haughty veneer and prissy attitude. Kurt was such a parade ox to him (that was the right expression, wasn't it?) – he was so full of contradictions, tough and fierce on the outside but on the inside he was the most brittle, delicate human being he had ever known. He rarely lay down his armor and looking at him now as he lay curled up into his side like a kitten with a look of utter serenity on his face, Finn felt a surge of warmth go through him, a sudden strongneedto be the protector that Kurt had always seen him as.

He registered his arm was starting to fall asleep but no way was he going to move and risk waking Kurt up. After last days' events, he needed all the rest he could get. He closed his eyes and began to drift off himself. He had no idea if minutes or hours had passed when there was a gentle knock on the head snapped up just to see Blaine sneak inside.

He smiled widely at the black-haired boy. "Hi, man," he greeted him in a whisper as his eyes wandered over to the clock on the wall. minutes it was. "Wow, you made it in record time."

Blaine turned his concerned gaze at his dozing boyfriend. "You texted it's about Kurt."

"Blaine?" At that moment the countertenor turned around, sleep-heavy eyes popping open and zoning in on the short teen. "You…texted Blaine?" he asked Finn.

"Of course, dude! I mean, Blaine's smart and he's the Kurt Whisperer," Finn said defensively. "And I'm nowhere near as good at the cheering up and feelings stuff."

"Well, for someone who has the sensitivity of a boiled potato, you were doing pretty well."A hint of his characteristic smugness crept into Kurt's voice and Finn felt a smile tug at his lips at hearing it.

Somehow, the way Kurt teasedhim was quite reassuring. Blaine seemed to think so, too, because he chuckled and gave Finn the smallest of winks. Then he came up to the bed and perched on the other side of Kurt.

"Mind if I take over?" he asked, looking at Finn.

"Totally, man. I mean, he clings on like a leech and I'm pretty sure my arm's gonna fall off any second."

"Tell me about it. And he doesn't even look the cuddling type, does he?" Blaine agreed wryly.

"I can hear you, you know," came Kurt's muffled if still audibly disgruntled voice.

Both boys exchanged amused glances.

"That's kinda the point," Blaine said wryly.

Kurt raised his head from his pillow and stared them both down, which was quite a feat, Finn thought, considering he was lying down and they were sitting.

"Blaine Anderson, don't you get smart with both know who's the Cuddle Monster in this relationship," he added, his eyes narrowed."And you, Finn Hudson…you are possibly the most infuriating, annoying-" Finn seemed to shrink in on himself. "-sweet and incredible brother in the world," Kurtfinished, giving him a wide smile before sinking into the comfort of Blaine's waiting arms.

Blaine looked over Kurt's shoulder and mouthed a silent 'thank you' in Finn's direction. The quarterback gave him a thumbs up and slipped out of the room, thethought that maybe he wasn't so hopeless in the feelingsdepartmentbringing a smile onto his face.

XxXxXxX

Finn looked at himself in the mirror and took a deep breath. It was happening. It was really happening. He was getting married to Rachel.

"The happiest day of my life," he muttered and grinned at himself, and even if the grin didn't look entirely sincere, it was just the nerves. Right?

It was completely normal that his hands were shaking so bad he couldn't tie his damn tie, his heart was pounding in his chest and he was suddenly feeling very hot and not in a good way. He reached for the tie again but all he managed to do was almost cut the blood flow to his head again and make a royal mess out of it again. He groaned. Maybe he should just give up on the damned thing and-

"Finn, everybody's waiting-" came from the doorway, followed by a deep sigh. "After all the Glee competitions, all the weddings and all the family get-togethers, here we are again."

Finn looked into the mirror and over his shoulder where he could see Kurt's tuxedoed silhouette leaning against the doorjamb. His brother was giving him a half-amused, half-exasperated glance and he couldn't help but huff as he let his hands hang loose along his sides.

"In a sense I guess it's comforting to know some things never change," the countertenor continued in a conversational tone as he came closer to stand at Finn's side and gave him a pointed glance in the mirror.

The taller teen pouted. "It's your fault, y'know. It's you who always insists I can't wear clip-ons."

"That's because they're so nineties and just plain trashy, Finnegan," Kurt said just as he motioned for him to face him and started on his tie with a practiced ease.

"Rachel has nothing against them!"

"Precisely." Kurt levelled him down with his stare, his fingers not stopping their swift work on the tie. "There," he said after a moment with a satisfied nod and stepped away.

"Thanks, man," Finn said, offering him a grateful, if somewhat tight-lipped smile, as he glanced at himself in the mirror and looked at the perfect knot at his neck. "It's incredible."

Kurt rolled his eyes. "It's really not rocket science, Finn. Why can't you just learn it once and for all? I guarantee it's one of those things that do come in useful later in life."

"Unlike math or English?" Finn said and Kurt snorted. "Dude, what for when I've got you?" he asked cheekily.

"I won't always be there to tie your ties, Finn," Kurt said softly and averted his eyes.

Finn turned around and considered him with a frown. Kurt was looking down, his fingers fiddling with the white rose in his lapel.

"Are you okay, dude?"

"Of course I'm okay," Kurt snapped. "Well, as okay as I can be when I'm about to witness my brother and best friend do something really stupid."

Finn rolled his eyes. He had reconciled himself with the fact that Kurt still wasn't on board with the whole thing. Still, he was here and if Finn had to take a few jabs, he would take it. It was worth it.

"Are you sure? Cuz you're about to squish that rose," he said with an amused smile and indicated Kurt's lapel, which the other boy was gripping in a vice-like grip.

The countertenor looked at it in surprise and let his hand fall to his side, keeping his head down. Finn frowned and came closer to him, tipping his chin up.

"Dude, are you crying?" he asked shocked, taking in the other boy's features with a frown. "I- I'll get you a new rose! Rach has plenty more!"

Kurt scoffed. "I'm not crying."

Finn ignored him. "Is it the wedding? Cuz in that case, aren't you supposed to cry during not before?"

"I'm not crying," the countertenor enunciated. "And even if I was, it wouldn't be because of you and your wedding, you lummox."

"So it would be because...?" he let his voice hang. "Did you have a huge onion for lunch or something?"

Kurt rolled his eyes. "Finnegan, does food ever leave your mind?"

"That was like, rhythmical, right?"

"Rhetorical. Yes."

"You still haven't answered me," the taller teen persisted. "If you were crying, which you aren't, why would you? Does it have anything to do with you disappearing after Regionals?"

"How do you know I-" Kurt narrowed his eyes at him. "You're taking the whole 'having an eye on Kurt' thing really seriously, aren't you?"

"Yup." Finn nodded. "In fact, I wanted to go after you but Rachel insisted I give you your space."

"How uncharacteristically thoughtful of her."

"So...where were you?"

The smaller teen sighed. "Making amends...and friends," he said and locked gazes with Finn. "I spoke to Dave."

The taller teen nodded slowly. "And?"

"He's going to be fine," Kurt stated with conviction.

"That's…that's really good, Kurt," Finn said. "And you?" he added tentatively.

The countertenor smiled. "Yes. I believe I will," he answered, that rare smile that lit up all his face creasing his lips. "Thanks for the concern but I'm not the important one today so the question is, are you?"

Finn nodded and subconsciously, his hand went up to loosen his collar. "Of course. Why?"

"I'm not so sure about that," Kurt observed, watching his movements.

"Uh, is this supposed to be so tight?"

"It's form-fitting, Finn."

"Well, it's choking me."

Kurt gave him a knowing glance. "I don't think it's the suit," he decided, taking his stepbrother's expression in. "Are you having second thoughts?" he asked slowly. "Because if you aren't one hundred per cent sure of this-"

"It's nothing," Finn interrupted him curtly. "It's just wedding jitters or nerves or something. I want this, Kurt. I mean, I love Rach and want to spend my life with her so why wait?"

"Actually, I have a list," the smaller teen replied, crossing his hands. "I'm up to twenty three reasons if you'd like to hear it."

Finn shook his head, his eyes growing big.

"Twenty three? Seriously?" he asked, feeling even hotter. "Dude, did anyone ever die of wedding fever? Oh my God, I've got black spots in front of my eyes and I think I'm gonna-"

"They're flies, Finn," Kurt replied unfazed. "This-" he motioned at his suit, "-is Westwood so if you faint, I am not catching you."

"Dude, I can't do this!" he uttered in a panicky tone, not hearing a word Kurt had said.

"That is the smartest thing you've said all week."

"No, I mean I…I can't move."

Kurt rolled his eyes but seeing Finn was getting really pale and sweaty, he knew he had to put all his reservations and objections aside and just be Finn's brother.

"Finn. Finn!" he knelt in front of him and put his hands on his shoulders. "Look at me! Think about Rachel."

"Ohmigod, Rachel."

Kurt took a deep breath. "Think about Regionals and Rachel's solo. When she was singing, she was singing it to you and no one but you. You remember how you felt then?" he asked softly.

Finn nodded slowly, surprise flashing over his features.

Kurt gave him a lopsided smile. "You were grinning like an idiot. A blind man would notice, Finn," he answered the unasked question. "Everyone could see how happy she was. You make her happy, Finn, and she does you. That's what this is about. To keep with you the person who makes you special, who makes you better, and offer yourself to them in return. And that's what you want, isn't it?"

"Y-yes," Finn uttered.

"Good." Kurt nodded with a small smile. "And now you really need to breathe, Finn."

"Thank you."

"No problem. If you ever need to be reminded to breathe again, you know my number."

"No, seriously, man. Thank you. I thought you'd jump at the first opportunity to try and change my mind."

"It crossed my mind, just like the idea of ambushing you and closing you somewhere in a closet, but I thought better of it," Kurt replied with a shrug.

Finn regarded him carefully, his eyebrows knitting together. "Um…why?"

"I'm still mad at you but I know a lost cause when I see one," Kurt said evenly. "You can be stubborn as a mule and I think I'd have more success reasoning with a wall."

"I'll take that as a compliment," the taller teen deadpanned, then lowered his gaze. "Dude, I know you disapprove but it just feels right. Panic attacks aside, I'm a hundred per cent sure of this."

Kurt regarded him seriously and seemed to have come to some sort of a decision. "Then I believe you should go get her."

Finn blinked. "Okay, who are you and what have you done to Kurt?"

"I'm exactly as I was," the smaller teen replied. "But someone much wiser than he lets on had me realize one very important thing today."

"Oh?"

"Life's too short," Kurt added softly.

Finn gulped, the look in Kurt's eyes telling him much more than any words ever would.

"You...you were listening?"

"You do have your moments, Finn. Not many of them but you do," the smaller teen said. "And you honestly didn't think I'd be so petty as to miss my only brother's wedding because of my ego."

"Well-"

Kurt sniffed. "Your faith in me is truly reassuring," he said and looked at his watch. "I'd better get back to the girls, I left Blaine all alone with them," he informed him.

Finn nodded, a sharp uncertain gesture.

"Will you be okay?"

"Yeah. Of course."

Kurt sighed.

"You'd better be because if you don't get your ass in there in the next five minutes, Rachel will start freaking out on us poor innocent bystanders," he warned. "And then I'll have to come back here, break off both your arms and make you carry them home in your teeth."

Finn didn't blink. "Promise?"

Kurt tried to stop the smile creasing his lips but it was a losing battle. "I'm still mad, you know," he said.

"I thought you didn't have the energy."

"Oh, I'll always muster the energy for that."

"Does it make me strange that I find this kinda comforting?"

"It does," Kurt confirmed. "But I wouldn't change it for anything," he added.

Finn nodded and turned back to the mirror. He made a couple of ninja moves at his reflection, putting on a Very Dangerous Yet Cool Frown.

"Brilliant."

Finn turned around. Kurt was still there, watching him with amusement. "Um, really?"

"Yes. A brilliant impression of a moron."

"Love you, too, man."

Kurt snorted and went out the door. "Finn?" he said, turning on his heel. "Good luck," he said softly.

Finn nodded, feeling a wave of confidence wash over him. Those two simple words of support from Kurt meant more than a thousand from anyone else.

Let's do this, he thought to himself and stepped out into the corridor.


And now still 2 weeks of hiatus left...FOX overlords really are cruel to leave us hanging this long! Regarding that, my question to you is, would you like some more Furt during that time or should I lay off? I'm asking b/c I've noticed that the reviews for the last chapters have fallen and I'm starting to worry this story is boring you and you're getting fed up with me, guys!

You should know that your reviews provide invaluable feedback and are the greatest source of motivation and inspiration for me and I would truly appreciate it if you took the time to drop me a line from time to time, even if it's just to say 'it was okay' or 'it didn't suck this bad':)

Have a great Sunday!