Spoilers: Up to 2.10.
Warnings: Homophobia.
Disclaimer: RIB and FOX own everything ever.

Enjoy, and by all means review should it strike your fancy, my best beloveds.~


1.

Finn Hudson is, all things considered, a well-behaved young man. In Lima terms, he's practically a saint. He caves too easily under peer pressure, which has in the past led to idiotic decisions and probably isn't done leading to idiotic decisions, but on the whole he does make a conscious effort to be a good, rule-abiding person. He wants to make his mom proud, he wants to get a football scholarship, he wants to stay on top in glee, he wants to get passable grades. There are a lot of things he wants that call for a comparatively healthy lifestyle and a general absence of law-breaking, slashed tires aside. And when he keeps good company – more gleeks, fewer straight-up jocks – the worst typical-teen crimes he commits are staying up too late and eating too much junk food.

So Kurt is unprepared to be drunk-dialed at three in the morning by his shiny new stepbrother.

"Finn?" he groans into his phone. "If this is about a glass of milk again, I will come up there with a steak knife…"

"Nnnno. Dude. Dude. Can you come. Come get me."

"What? It's three o'clock in the – you went to bed five hours ago, where am I supposed to take you?"

"I snuck out." Finn starts giggling. "I'm so out of it. I snuck. Out. To a party, football team, you know. Sam didn't want his drinks, so I kept taking his and mine. But now I feel sick."

"Oh, god." Kurt pulls his covers over his head. "Okay. Where are you? I'm on my way." He takes a deep breath and forces himself to stumble to his feet in the chill of the basement. His bed looks incredibly inviting. Warm and soft and for sleeping in. Why me, he mourns, already looking for shoes.

"Puck's house. We left the party. But now he's asleep and I want to go home."

"Great. Alright, give me fifteen minutes. What room are you in?"

"Front porch. I was gonna walk. But. It's so far."

"Is there anyone awake and sober around?"

"No. I don't know. His mom doesn't get up for this stuff. I think Puck went to bed."

"Ugh. Of course. Okay, Finn, you need to go inside." Kurt pulls a reasonably stylish coat on over his pajamas and Doc Martens, giving up on any semblance of presentability in the face of the specter of Finn chocking to death on his own vomit.

"Thass too hard."

"I know it's hard, but it's cold out. You can't just sit there in this, not with all that alcohol in your system. Take it slowly, but wait for me inside. And do nothang up." He scrawls a note to his dad and Carole and leaves it on the kitchen table, grabbing his keys on the way out the door.

"Dude. Kurt. I think we're having an earthquake. Get inna doorway."

"We're not having an earthquake. Are you inside yet?" Kurt puts his phone on speaker and throws it in the passenger's side seat before starting the car.

"Um. No. But we are. A tornado? Which one, which one izzit where everything's spinning around?"

"Get inside! I am losing my fingers to frostbite and you had better make it worth my while."


The Puckermans' door is slightly ajar when Kurt hangs up and runs up the porch steps, and he winces in sympathy at the thought of their heating bill. Then he decides that his own personal pain should take priority, because Finn Hudson is prone on the floor in the entrance way, looking incoherent, and there is an awful lot of Finn Hudson to lie there, and guess who gets to move all six feet and three inches of him.

"Finn," he says. "Finn, get up."

" 'M drunk."

"I know. Believe me, I am acutely aware." He bends and pulls one of Finn's arms over his shoulders. "Come on, stand up." He lifts from the knees and Finn just sort of scrambles around; eventually they get him on his feet. The trek to the car takes about five minutes, which is four minutes and thirty seconds more than Kurt has any kind of patience for.

"If you vomit in my car," he says, buckling Finn in, "I will cut you."

"Mkay. I won't then." He keels over, resting his head on the dash.

"I'm already going to have to fumigate for the stench of cheap beer." Kurt climbs in and holds his hands over the heater for a second. "Do you want to explain anything to me now?" He pulls out into the deserted street, cursing all of the dark windows they pass, behind which lie people doing normal things like sleep. "So that I can translate when you try to excuse your behavior to Carole?"

Finn starts crying. Kurt can only tell because he sniffles so much. "Mom's gonna be so. So pissed." He looks at Kurt. "I feel sick."

"I know. Do we need to pull over?"

"Not yet. Just. I feel awful." He sounds confused.

Kurt can't remember being so taken aback by his own pain since he was maybe ten years old. "Oh, Finn…"

"I really want it to stop. I promise not to drink like that again."

"I'm sorry. We'll make you feel better as soon as we're home, okay?"

"I'm being punished. Rach wanted to hang out. Tonight. I should've. I jussst. Miss being popular."

"Look at it as a gift. Rachel will see it as punishment too, and forgive you for not prioritizing her over your reputation. It's like you've been granted instant forgiveness. I'll even tell her how miserable and remorseful you were."

"That'd totally rock. But my stomach really hurts."

"We're home." He may have broken a few technical speed limits, but no one else is on the roads. "Okay. I'm going to get you to your bed and then wake Carole up, and everything will be fine."

"Please don't." His mouth twists in an obvious effort not to cry harder. "I don't want her to see. I messed up."

"Finn, I…"

Finn twists in his seat, wrenches the door open, and leans over to hurl.

Kurt doesn't usually swear – it's unbecoming and bespeaks lax communication skills – but he allows himself a quiet "shit" as he rushes around to Finn's side of the car. He puts a hand on Finn's forehead, rubbing his back with the other. Some of the puke is splashing on the edge of the Navigator's entrance, and Finn is so cleaning it up tomorrow. "It's okay," he murmurs, "it's okay, I know you feel bad, just a few more seconds…"

"Don't wanna," Finn manages before doubling over again.

"I know, but this is good, I promise. You'll feel better once this stuff is out. It's what's making you feel bad to start with."

"Please don't wake my mom up," Finn gasps out, and pukes some more.

"Okay. Okay, we won't." He pats Finn's back for a few seconds after the last bout. "Can you move?"

"We'll wake her up."

"Then let's go to the basement."

They manage to be quiet about it. Finn is tracking vomit and leaves his shoes outside, which helps. Kurt sets him on the edge of the tub, keeping a hand on his shoulder to hold him upright, and hands him a damp washcloth. "Clean your face up. I'll get you a toothbrush and a cup – you're going to want to drink as much water as you can."

"Ha. No. No drinking."

"This is good drinking. You're dehydrated. You need to replenish your fluids or you're going to feel even worse tomorrow morning. Well, this morning." He pushes down on Finn's shoulder as if it will plant him there. "Don't fall. I'll be right back."

When he dashes back in, Finn has climbed into the tub and closed his eyes.

"Oh my god." Kurt retrieves the washcloth, runs it under the faucet again, and finishes cleaning Finn's face. The tear tracks are sobering; the drool and vomit are just nasty. "Oh, gross."

"Hmn?"

"Finn, good. Nothing, everything's fine." He leans over and fills the cup. "Drink this, okay? I'm going to get your toothbrush ready."

"I'll juss puke it."

"No, you won't. You need liquids. Drink it. Slowly." He gets up and rummages for toothpaste that Finn won't find offensive; most of his is serious plaque-fighting business, while Finn still uses strawberry-flavored kinds with cartoon animals on the boxes. Kurt loaned him a cinnamon-flavored tube once and Finn thought it was a practical joke. He settles for spearmint and turns back.

Finn's managed half the water. "Ugh," he says.

"You can finish after this." Kurt hands him the toothbrush. "Be careful not to trigger your gag reflex. More mess, more tragedy."

Finn makes a half-baked attempt to dislodge the no-doubt horrific amount of unsavory things in his mouth. Kurt lets it pass; it's not his mouth that'll taste like dog food in the morning.

"Up we get," he sighs, and succeeds in getting Finn to the sink to spit. "Finish the water, change your clothes. I'll wait outside."

When he comes back in, Finn has finished the water. His shirt is on backwards, but Kurt decides to forebear. He gets more water for later and tugs Finn out after him, toward the stairs.

"No," Finn says. "She'll hear. Your dad."

"They're going to find out eventually. It's four in the morning, you have to get some sleep."

"Not like this. I'm all… I messed up."

"You don't have to be perfect all the time, Finn. They're going to be mad, but not this mad. You don't have to be so worried."

"I do, I do have to be perfect all the time, every time I mess up look what happens – I'm too… I mess up and the whole team pays or glee club or you or Rachel or Quinn or Puck. My mom. My mom." His face scrunches up.

"Finn. Everyone has people who depend on them, who get hurt when they mess up. It's just part of messing up. So… try not to. But you got drunk, it's not a big deal this one time."

"I'm sorry," Finn says, and yanks Kurt into a hug. "I didn't believe Rach. She said I should help. I didn't think it was a big deal."

"Okay, it's okay. It… doesn't matter?" The hell is he talking about?"I forgive you." He pats Finn's back. "Here, you can use my bed. You really need to sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."

"I do want to feel better," Fin concedes blearily into his shoulder.

"I know. Go lie down, I'll get you some water for when you wake up. Just… don't worry about anything."

Finn nods and stumbles over to the bed. Kurt retrieves the cup and sets it on the bedside table. "Feet up," he demands, and tugs the covers over Finn. "God, you're enormous."

"Kurt?"

He's tired and irritated and cold and he wants more than anything to go fight the couch for a comfortable position to sleep in. "Yes, Finn?"

"Thanks." He sounds miserable. The basement is white again, which makes it comparatively bright even now. Kurt can see fresh tear tracks.

Kurt sighs and sits down on the edge of the bed. He takes Finn's hand. "I mean this sincerely: anytime. I will be a bitch about it, but… anytime. Okay?"

Finn smiles. "Okay."

"Goodnight, Finn."


The first time Finn wakes up in Kurt's bed, it's because of a secret emergency, and he freaks right the hell out. Kurt is passed out cold on the couch, looking maybe three years old; that makes him feel guilty about having jumped out of the bed like it was on fire. Also making him feel bad about that: a) It was really comfy in there, and he's still tired; b) He feels sicker with every minute he's on his feet; c) Getting up reminds up him that he's going to have to confess to his mom and Burt that he was drunk out of his mind last night and got Kurt up to deal with it.

But, he thinks. But. He and Kurt are brothers now, and he is totally down with that, and it's all cool. But that doesn't mean he has to go around sleeping in the guy's bed. He'll just be more careful in the future. Not get completely drunk. That'll be a good start. And he doesn't remember everything, one hundred percent, about last night, but he definitely and totally trusts that nothing had happened. Just, how would it sound at school – Finn Hudson spent the night in Kurt Hummel's bed, you know, Hummel, the gay one who had a crush on him all of freshman and sophomore year. It's fine, he tells himself. There's just no call for a repeat.

He looks at the note on the kitchen table.

Gone to Puck's to pick Finn up. Be back in half an hour, tops.
3:05am
Love, Kurt

Yeah, definitely no repeat. For more reasons than one. He lets his head hit the table.

"Hydrate, Finn," says Kurt, making him jump. He's shuffled in, hair in disarray, and is already pouring a cup of water. "It'll help."

"How mad was Burt when you got drunk on that stuff April gave you?"

"Pretty mad." Kurt sets the water in front of him and absently tucks in the tag on Finn's shirt, which is for some reason in the front on this one. "Drink and then you can have orange juice. What do you want for breakfast?"

Finn's been trying to work out where he's seen Kurt do that before, the proprietary clothes-fixing and food-related orders, and realizes it's on Burt. He grins and feels stupid and says, "Thanks, man."

Kurt smiles back. "It's fine. I owe you – the wedding thing…" He looks back into the fridge. "What do you want for breakfast?"

"An omelet?"

"With that orange rubber you call cheese." He starts pulling things out.

Finn knocks back the entire glass of water, even though he doesn't really like water, and decides he doesn't mind being bossed around if it means he gets omelets out of it.

Just… no more sleepovers.


2.

Kurt is not used to Finn getting sick. He and Rachel are both unnaturally healthy; Kurt's used to getting the sniffles and glaring at them a lot to make himself feel better. Colds and allergies and other assorted nastinesses sweep the school regularly, at least every spring and fall, and they remain irritatingly immune. Kurt is not above a little vindictive satisfaction, because apparently the bigger they are, the harder they really do fall. Or health cometh before a fall, or something; however it works, when Finn gets sick, he goes all-out.

Dalton has a slightly different schedule than McKinley, and Kurt's been off for three days already when Finn has his last day before break. Kurt spent the first day he had off on the couch watching Vampire Diaries and recovering from being intellectually challenged at school. The second and third days he spent doing homework nonstop. He plans on spending the fourth day baking for Thanksgiving dinner, taking full advantage of the last time he'll be able to do it without Finn lurking behind him trying to steal batter.

He's the only one still there when Finn leaves for school, which takes a while. Frankenteen walks into a wall on the way to the kitchen, which isn't in and of itself unusual for Finn in the new house when he's at all out of it. Then he can't open the milk on his own, and finally, he doesn't finish his cereal or ask for seconds.

"Finn, are you feeling alright?"

Finn looks up from tying his shoes. "Yeah, I'm good. Why?"

"You're tying your shoes wrong, you've got my keys, and you just failed to eat even one box of cereal."

"How do you tie shoes wrong?"

"I didn't know before just now either." He kneels down and slaps Finn's hands away. "You would have fallen flat on your face, look at this." Having fixed Shoelacegate, he peers at Finn suspiciously. "Your eyes look glassy."

"Dude, I'm fine. I'll see you later." He leaves, still with Kurt's keys. Kurt sighs, fishes Finn's out of the bowl by the front door, and waits for him to come back for them.


Sure enough, the new nurse calls two hours later because Finn Hudson is running a fever, and she's given him a shot but could Mrs. Hudson come pick him up? His girlfriend says she would be happy to drive him home, but she'd feel much more comfortable if a parent could take care of it.

Kurt isn't usually dishonest, but excuse him, of the two of them, who has cleaned vomit off Finn's face? Not Rachel Berry. So he rolls his eyes, neglects to mention that he is not Mrs. Hudson, and agrees to come pick Finn up – although if Rachel wants to escort him outside, that would be fine.

Rachel is waiting just outside the door when he pulls in, and she looks startled to see him but then breaks into a huge grin and takes a running leap at him. Kurt surprises himself by catching her and squeezing her back and actually getting teary, because his kneejerk reaction to the invocation of the name Rachel Berry is the same but she is, suddenly, not usually there for him to react to, with him at Dalton.

And it doesn't hurt his mood that he's just realized that he can catch someone. So Rachel is a midget, why split hairs.

"Kurt," she says breathlessly. "Did Carole send you?"

"No, I sent me. I can take care of Finn just fine without pulling our parents out of work."

Rachel looks deeply affronted. "But if his mom isn't going to take care of him, I should. I'm his girlfriend. I have emergency action plans in my binder for any eventuality, as well as playlists adapted to a variety of diseases and symptoms."

"You have to go back to class," he reminds her smugly. "Is Finn waiting for us right now?"

She glares and flounces, which she is good at. He follows her. Finn is waiting on a bench just inside, head in his hands. "This sucks," he says, and then looks up. "Kurt? Where's Mom?"

"The nurse thought I was Mrs. Hudson. I was too peeved that she'd assume we have a stay-at-home mother despite the fact that I know our files were updated to reflect Carole's working hours to explain once more that I am neither Mrs. Hummel nor Mrs. Hudson."

"Oh." Finn looks confused. Fortunately he does this as well as Rachel does flouncing.

"Never mind. I'm picking you up. Let's go home."

"Sure." Finn stands up and braces himself on Kurt's shoulder. Kurt tries not to actually let his knees buckle; Rachel hurries to take Finn's other arm.

Finn weaves a bit, but can, once he's up, walk under his own power. Yet somehow Rachel ends up buckling him in, and then sort of sitting on top of him feeling his forehead, and then sliding into the backseat. "He's far too ill," she decides. "I'll have to play hooky, just this once."

Kurt stands beside the driver's door, as if not getting in will make her get out. "I can take care of him."

"You won't need to. Honestly, your concern is touching, Kurt, but I'm sure I have untapped potential as a caregiver just waiting to unfold now that my boyfriend is in dire need of my help. You won't have to do a thing."

"Rachel Berry, get out of my car."

"I'll walk if I have to."

"I'll lock you out."

"Guys," Finn says. "Can you figure this out at home?"

"Fine," says Kurt.

Rachel smiles serenely. "This is for the best. You'll see."


Kurt likes Rachel. He still occasionally wants to stick a sock in her mouth, but they have a lot in common and, so far this year, they've gotten sort of tentatively close. Ish. The problem is… they really do have a lot in common.

Finn whimpers frequently on the ride home, and it puts both of them on edge. They react in about the same way.

"We're almost there," Kurt says, reaching over to pat Finn's knee.

"Steering wheel!" Rachel shrieks. "You'll crash and kill us." She reaches forward to put her hands on Finn's shoulders. "You'll be fine," she soothes, "as long as we make it there in one piece."

"Can it, Berry, I am a superb driver. The only thing legitimately distracting me is you."

"If you can take your hands off ten and two, you can let me try to take care of my boyfriend, who is very ill and may need to be hospitalized."

"What?"

"You do not need to be hospitalized, Finn, you're running a slight fever. What is your problem, Rachel? You know he's even more gullible than usual when he's out of it." Kurt parks slightly haphazardly.

"We don't know how sick he is. It's important to be honest so that he's prepared for any eventuality."

Kurt twists in his seat to look at her. "You are completely delusional. I realize you have an obsession with honesty, but do you really think that right now is a good time?"

"I think it's morally reprehensible to edit the truth with someone you love just so that they are more likely to act in a way you find easy to deal with."

"Hey." Finn wipes sweat off his forehead. "Could we go inside?"

Kurt shares an oh-oops look with Rachel. "The hypocrisy was getting overwhelming anyway." He goes ahead to unlock the door, somewhat vindictively leaving Rachel to haul Finn up the steps. "Couch?" he suggests, propping the door open with a foot.

"Um, no?" Finn turns toward the stairs, his whole frame wilting. "I liked being in your room last time. It made me feel better."

"Oh." Kurt forgives him for allowing Rachel to tag along. "Okay."

"I still haven't seen your new room," Rachel says cheerily as they direct Finn up the stairs.

"It took me weeks to perfect it." He sighs and grabs a basketball off the floor before Finn can trip on it. "Carole is going to gut you if you keep leaving these lying around." He pitches it down the hall into Finn's room and nudges his own door open.

"It looks the same." Rachel stares around, nonplussed. "Except smaller."

"It does not! It's a completely different shade. Note the subtle hints of blue." He turns down his covers. "Get him into something less denim, and please god less has-recently-touched-the-seats-at-McKinley. I'll go get the thermometer and tell Carole what's going on."

"And water," Rachel calls after him. "It's vital that he hydrate!"

"Preaching to the choir. He only ever drinks juice, soda, and milk, it's sad and disgusting."

Rachel starts in on how none of these are good things to have in your system when you want to sing, hopefully while on her way to locate some clean clothes. Kurt ransacks the downstairs medical cabinet, half of which is actually the downstairs cardboard box under the sink, and calls Carole at work.

"You should probably lodge a formal complaint about the school nurse," he says. "She let Rachel and I just walk out of there with Finn. I doubt she's as incompetent as Mrs. Schuester, but it might be a near thing."

"Oh Kurt. What did you all do?"

"Nothing! Finn's running a temperature, so Rachel and I are taking care of him. I thought then you and Dad wouldn't have to leave work…" He looks at the cardboard box under the sink, which is because of him, and they'd be getting back from their honeymoon around now if it weren't for him.

"Oh…" She sounds torn.

"I'll call you if anything changes," he says. "The very second. But everything will be fine. I can do this. I took care of Dad after a heart attack, I can take care of Finn with a mild temperature. And I do, god help me, have Rachel Berry. She probably knows Gray's Anatomy by heart. The huge book, not the seminal TV drama."

Carol caves. "I don't know what I'd do without you. I'll be home early, but you call me if anything happens, or if Finn gets to be too much."

"I promise."


When he gets upstairs, Finn is settled into his bed, leaning against a heap of pillows the size of a small pony. Given that one of them is shaped like a hippo and is purple, Kurt's fairly certain Rachel's raided the rest of the house. He would know if there were a purple hippo stashed anywhere in his room. He was unaware that Finn owned a purple hippo, but can't muster any surprise over it.

He can muster some for Rachel, who is in his bed, wearing one of Finn's football jerseys and a surgical mask.

"What," he says, "are you doing."

She tugs the mask down. "I'm taking necessary precautions. And so are you." She tosses him another mask. He catches it in the thermometer hand without spilling the water, and spares a moment to be impressed at his own coordination.

"One: No. Two: Again, what are you doing?"

"I am tending to my boyfriend in his hour of need." She pats Finn's arm and he smiles at her blearily. "While taking precautions to safeguard my health."

"This is starting to sound distressingly PG-13."

Rachel sighs. "You are such a boy. Do you want to get sick?"

Kurt manages a magnificent eye-roll, and no, he'd really rather not, but there are only so many victories he's willing to concede in his own house. He pockets the mask.

Finn peers at them both. "What's going on?"

"Nothing," Kurt sighs, shaking the thermometer. "Open up. Under your tongue and don't talk." He starts the timer on his phone.

"We could watch movies while we take care of him," Rachel proposes, crawling out from under the covers to inspect Kurt's personal DVD collection. "There must be something that would distract him, preferably without half-naked women, which also has an engaging soundtrack."

"Mm-hm." He takes the thermometer back out and makes a face. "Well, not good, but also not the end of the world. I'll get you a cold cloth. Drink the water, Finn, or so help me…"

Finn takes the glass, mimes a toast, and takes a sip. He winces. "My throat hurts."

"Get a few cloths," Rachel instructs, crawling back over the covers, and dear god, she's wearing… is she seriously wearing a pair of Finn's boxers? "And a bowl of ice water, so we can change them out. I'll go make tea – it's good for your throat, Finn. Is there anything you think you could stomach eating?"

"My kitchen," Kurt snaps. "I'll make the tea. You get the ice water." The godawful knee socks are hers, at least.

"Graham crackers?" Finn suggests belatedly.

"Coming up."

Fifteen minutes later, Finn is ensconced in a veritable obstacle course. There's the bowl of ice water beside the bed, a tray of graham and animal crackers over his legs, a trash can convenient for tissues and/or vomit, and the bedside table is thick with mugs of tea and three glasses of water. Rachel insists that it's vital they not have to move for at least three hours. She sets Kurt's laptop up on a foldout table at the end of the bed and inserts Nine, apparently having resigned herself to Finn's interest being held by Fergie rather than the plot.

Kurt tests a washcloth in his hands to make sure it won't leak into Finn's eyes, lays it on his forehead and pushes his head back so that it won't fall off. Please, god don't let them have sex in here. He's too sick for sex, right? He turns to go.

"Are you going to keep those on?" Rachel waves at his clothes, pausing before clicking away from the movie. "They'll get wrinkled."

"I beg your pardon."

She looks up, distressed. Well, her eyes look sort of distressed. The lower half of her face is obscured; it's hard to be sure. "Aren't you getting in with us? This is the best part of a sick day, Kurt!"

Kurt does not look at Finn. "No, I have a lot of baking to do. You two just… keep your hands to home in my bed."

"It's cool, dude," Finn says muzzily. "Come on, it's cozy."

And it's really Rachel that does it, because she has that stunned, hurt look she gets when people fail to realize they're supposed to be bonding with her.

So he ends up in his pajamas, under the covers with Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson, watching Nine and intermittently handing Rachel fresh washcloths for Finn's head or leaning over her to check his temperature because no, this is his goddamn thermometer and she may not use it. This is, he thinks, legitimately the most surreal experience he's ever had.

Finn dips his crackers in his tea to soften them every few minutes, and each time it's more endearing. "How many girlfriends does this dude have?" he asks halfway through the movie.

"One," Rachel says, snuggling under his arm and lacing her fingers through Kurt's. "And a wife, and a leading actress, and a reporter, and a…"

"Sea witch," Kurt supplies. "I can't get this odd Ursula comparison out of my head."

"And a sea witch. But only Penelope Cruz is his girlfriend. He's just isolated by his artistic genius, which draws women to him."

"Of course, there's also his mother and his costume designer." Kurt gives up on being weirded out by Rachel holding his hand.

Finn's brow furrows. "That's so confusing. No wonder he can't finish his movie."

Rachel twists her neck to look at Kurt and mouths, "Five." Kurt has no idea what she's talking about.

Five minutes later, Finn starts snoring.

"Not bad," Kurt concedes.

"I didn't know he liked animal crackers," Rachel whispers.

"He's a man of many mysteries. Carole let it slip."

"How's Dalton?"

He smiles. "It's… very nice. I miss you, though. All of you."

"We miss you." She yawns. "But I'm glad it's nice."

Kurt contemplates getting up, and realizes he's too comfortable to want to. His limbs feel heavy and warm. "This is definitely the best way to do sick days," he says.

Rachel snuffles a little in her sleep.


The second time Finn wakes up in Kurt's bed, it's also an emergency, sort of, a less urgent emergency okay, and he still freaks out. But regardless of how bad this would sound at school, he definitely doesn't jump out this time. Being in bed with your girlfriend, he reasons, is totally okay. The fact that she's in the arms of another man is less studly, but whatever, this whole thing is weird.

Rachel's back is pressed against him, narrow and soft. Both of her arms are around Kurt's waist, her head tucked under his chin. She still has her mask on. Kurt's mouth is open a little, and some of Rachel's hair is stuck to his lower lip. His arm is all the way over her, fingers tangled in Finn's shirt. Finn moves his tray to the floor, sets the washcloth aside, and burrows down next to them. No one has to know. And look what happened last time – he felt better once he was in bed, but then he got up and felt all gross again. This time he is staying right where he is, where it's warm. He puts his arms around Rach and pulls her closer, because she's cozy, and is grateful he's sick enough not to get turned on because she looks way sexy in his clothes. He tangles his feet with someone's under the covers, too, for warmth, and height-wise there's a chance they're not Rachel's but no one has to know.

Plainly Kurt's bed has magical healing powers. Finn buries his nose in Rachel's hair, thick and long and smelling like peaches, and goes back to sleep. (Just this once. And then really: no more sleepovers.)


3.

It's probably stupid to depend on Rachel-and-Finn. Rachel is an easily-hurt, manipulative drama queen with self-esteem issues tangled in her narcissism. Finn has a nearly superhuman ability to do or say exactly the wrong thing, less than half her willpower, and priorities which for good or bad don't always mesh with hers. It isn't, objectively, a terribly good match.

But they work. They're sort of comfortingly codependent, and they make a good team when they put their heads together, even though it's usually for something crazy. And they do, Kurt truly believes, love each other. He wouldn't bet on them staying together after high school, but he'd easily wager his entire scarf collection – which has extreme monetary, sentimental, and artistic value – on their making it through the summer after graduation. He's gotten used to the idea and, yes, maybe depends on it a little. Even though it's stupid.

And then Finn, who was silent all through dinner and only had seconds of desert, knocks on the door frame of his bedroom door at ten o'clock.

Kurt looks up from his history paper. "Hm?"

Finn walks in, moving in fits and starts. He goes over to the bed and sits down.

Kurt closes his laptop. "What happened?"

Finn puts his hands on his knees and then takes them off, folding his arms over his stomach. "Rachel and I had a fight." He appears to be addressing the carpet.

"About Santana?"

He shakes his head. "Uh, yeah, but… that was before. We had another one." He rocks back and forth a little. "We broke up."

Kurt's jaw drops a little. "What… why?"

Finn shrugs.

"Over Santana? I… Finn, she's just angry. I'm so sorry. I'm sure when she's had some time –"

"I broke up with her."

"What?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

Kurt bites his tongue, literally, because he really prefers to know this kind of thing but this is not the time even a little. "Okay," he says softly.

"I'm hungry."

"Do you want me to make you something?"

"Yeah, that'd be awesome."


Finn is very unspecific as to what he'd like made. He hunkers down in a kitchen chair, face pinched, and doesn't talk.

Kurt doesn't ask many questions, though, either; the only times he's seen Finn this upset, it was when he beat up Puck and screamed at Quinn, and after he used the f-word in their old basement. This expression makes his stomach flip now.

He settles on chocolate chip cookies, just because he knows the recipe by heart and it's easy and quick. He sets half of it to bake and gives the bowl to Finn, then gingerly sits down across from him. "So," he says. "Anything else interesting happen today?"

Finn shrugs and picks at the cookie dough. "Artie and Tina thought Mike and Brittany were cheating on them, so we almost didn't perform."

"Ouch. Where did they get that idea?"

"Brittany lost Artie's magic comb. She was really upset I guess. And Tina was dressing funny, like a cheerleader but in all black and stuff?"

Kurt winces. "The things you people do without me around to guide you."

"I'm losing it," Finn says. "I messed up. I don't… Sam got the lead for sectionals, he's waiting to be quarterback, I'm barely scraping by above getting slushied every day and I thought – I could cope because I have Rachel – none of this used to be so hard."

"Why did you break up with her?" It comes out a whisper.

Finn shakes his head.

Kurt leans forward and pats his arm. "I believe, absolutely and without question, that you will work this out." Finn starts to shake his head again, and Kurt latches onto his sleeve. "I don't mean you'll make up with Rachel. Okay, you might not. But you will straighten your life out. Sam's a sweetheart, but he's not you. And there's not a single person at McKinley who doesn't know who the real king of the hill is." Finn looks at him. "It's you," Kurt clarifies.

Finn smiles painfully. "I wish this hadn't happened. I want her back. I mean, I don't, I just wish I'd never… I wish I didn't have to want her back."

"I know." He doesn't.

"I'm tired." Finn stands, dislodging Kurt's hand, and then stands there looking into the bowl of cookie dough, until Kurt stands too. "Let's, uh, let's go up?"

"Okay," Kurt says, baffled. He takes the cookies out of the oven and throws a towel over them, and snaps some saran wrap over the bowl of dough. Finn follows him up the stairs, and then back into his room.

Kurt tries to look more supportive than confused. Finn stands and looks at everything but Kurt and finally says, "Can I sleep in here tonight?"

"Uh, sure," Kurt manages, and gives up on ever figuring out what's going on in that boy's head.

"Thanks."

"No problem. Just… go ahead. I'll be in the living room."

"I didn't mean that." Finn sits down again, staring fixedly at his shoes. "I mean if it's too… if that would be weird for you, okay, but I didn't mean to kick you out of your room. It's just, I'm pretty sure your bed has special powers."

Kurt silently counts to ten and does not ask. Finn thinks grilled cheese sandwiches are magic, and he probably believes in Artie's comb. He doesn't want to know.

"Alright," he says. "No, it wouldn't be weird for me. I'm just going to brush my teeth and moisturize. Get some sleep."

With an act of supreme willpower, he does not spend his moisturizing routine thinking about what this would have meant to him this time last year, Finn Hudson breaking up with his girlfriend and asking to spend the night in his bed with him. Much. And then Finn successfully drives that line of thought away.

The fact that Finn is still awake when he crawls in is sobering, because he's usually out like a light. Kurt reaches over and takes his hand, and starts trying to think of something comforting to say.

Finn grabs his hand back, then turns over and buries his head in Kurt's shoulder, which is no mean feat considering how huge he is, and starts sobbing.

"Oh god, Finn," Kurt says, putting the arm Finn's not crushing around him and holding on tight.

Finn keeps crying for ten incredibly long, painful, uncomfortable minutes, during which Kurt feels helpless and useless and would give anything to make him stop. He settles for stroking his hair and making soothing noises, which doesn't seem to do any good but lets him feel like he's doing something constructive.

Finn doesn't stop crying, exactly. He just falls asleep while still doing it, which Kurt doesn't think counts.


The third time Finn wakes up in Kurt's bed, he almost doesn't freak out. Then he realizes that Kurt's spooning him and freaks out a little.

He gets up quietly and goes downstairs. He wanders into the kitchen and eats the half-baked cookies Kurt made, then goes on a quest to find his phone and figure out what time it is. He finds it under a couch cushion in the living room and has no idea how it got there. It informs him that it's five-thirty in the morning, and that he has several unread texts. He flips it open. Rachel beams up at him from his wallpaper.

Screw this.

He goes back to Kurt's room. Kurt's sort of sprawled out now. It's a big bed, and Kurt's too small to take up all of it, but he's doing his best. Finn climbs back in and pushes him over with some effort; he's a lot heavier in his sleep.

"Oh my god," Kurt protests a minute later, jerking awake. "Are those your feet? What did you do, go out in the snow barefoot?"

"Sorry. I was hungry."

Kurt flops back down. "You're always hungry." He doesn't pull his feet away, though. "How are you holding up?"

Finn moves down farther so that he can get the covers up to his chin and waits for a second. The sheets smell kind of flowery, he's decided, though he doesn't know which flower. And they feel better than his. They're probably nicer material. And cleaner. Also magic. "I'm okay."

"Really?"

"I don't want to get up… ever. But right now, yeah. I'm okay."

"Good." Kurt rolls over and rests his forehead against Finn's shoulder. "I am willing to bet that you have chocolate on your face. I can smell it."

"Oh. Oops."

"It's fine. Even if you get it on my pillows. This is how much I love you, Finn Hudson."

"Kurt?"

"Mm-hm?"

"Do you think Puck is… better-looking than me?"

Kurt draws away slowly, leaning on his elbow. "Do you really want me to answer that? Right now?"

"Yeah?"

"…Even if I say no?"

"Yeah."

"Well. No. You are, and I say this very platonically but from the perspective of someone who has, in the past, been in a position to judge both of you non-platonically, infinitely more attractive than Puck. For quite a few reasons. That's not why she cheated, Finn." For a second Finn stops breathing, and then Kurt continues, "Quinn cheated because of her own issues, not because of you."

If she'd done it to get back at me, would it be because of me then?

"What brings on this intensely discomfiting line of questioning?"

"I don't know. I'll tell you later. Hey, when I sang 'Just the Way You Are' at the wedding –"

"It was much more impressive and leader-like than Sam trying to fight Karofsky. You know how I feel about violence. Caveman techniques. I feel we should, as a species, advance, preferably to song." Kurt pats his shoulder. "You are the absolute best brother I could ask for."

"Yeah?"

"Yes."

Finn nods to himself. "Awesome."

Kurt lies back down, and Finn puts an arm over him. Just Kurt doesn't end up spooning him again. "G'night."

"Next time you're wearing socks. This is not natural."

"Deal."


4.

If there were a list of things Kurt did not expect to be true of Finn Hudson, his being deathly terrified of horror movies would probably be somewhere on it. He plays those video games and watches war movies all the time, and Kurt doesn't see how they're all that different. Lots of people dying gruesomely for a few hours and then it's over; the only real variable is whether it's foreigners or zombies who start the gruesome death ball rolling. And at least horror movies don't have as much posturing about honor and glory. Kurt isn't a huge fan, but he can tolerate horror; he thinks it's likely to be one of the few genres they can agree on. And to be totally fair, he does ask.

Finn is devastated at losing Rachel, his own choice or not. Kurt is trying to be supportive without picking a side, not as much because he can't make a moral judgment as because he just doesn't want to alienate either of them. He has a feeling he is getting away with this only because Finn hasn't noticed, but he likes having a frally in Rachel; it's comforting, and worth a little obfuscation.

In the interests of keeping Finn from noticing, and to distract Finn from his pain, he calls from the grocery store and offers to make a movie run while he's out.

"Yeah, sure, dude."

"Is horror okay with you? I thought it might be sort of the middle ground between musicals and war movies. Just as much melodrama, just as much gore."

"Horror's fine."

"Start finding your snacks now, then, because I am not digging around in the cupboards for ten minutes looking for the cheesy puffs again when it turns out they're in your room."

Then he gets to Blockbuster and realizes that he just has no idea. All of the movies look unforgivably stupid. Resigning himself to a night of mind-numbing boredom, he texts Puck, asking for the title of a cool horror movie.

para normal activity man that shit was freaking terrifying, Puck texts back.

Kurt squints at the title for a while, thinking it's half in Spanish, and then gives up. He finds the movie, and the title makes a lot more sense without the extra space. He trusts Puck to have about the same taste in movies as Finn, so he takes it without reading the description and goes home.

This is a mistake.

His first clue comes when the movie starts and Finn frowns. "We're watching a documentary?"

Kurt plops his feet in Finn's lap and drags over his personal bowl of plain popcorn. "No, it's just shot this way," he says, already bored. "It must be that pseudo-Blair Witch Trials one everyone was raging about." He prefers a stylish horror movie, not one that's trying to be realistic. There is nothing realistic about ghosts, and bad camera work doesn't change that. A horror movie ought to embrace its fictional nature and be pretty. Oh well. For Finn's sake, he can give up two hours.

"So it is a documentary. Like the Blair Witch one."

"Really, Finn?"

Finn looks at him.

"No. The Blair Witch Project was not real. Neither is this. There are no witches, no ghosts, no demons, and do we need to have a talk about the Tooth Fairy?"

"Oh," says Finn, and his expression should tip Kurt off, but it doesn't.

It's not a bad movie, per se. It's just not Kurt's favorite kind. There are exactly two things he's willing to suspend disbelief for: overdramatic relationships and people singing apropos of nothing (and given his life, that's not even that big a leap of faith). Night-attacking demons with a crush, not so much. Halfway through, Dad and Carole get home from their night out and he is granted a brief interlude of interesting conversation, but then they go upstairs to bed. Kurt falls asleep a little before the climax.

When he wakes up, it's very late. The TV is off. His upper body is cold, his legs are warm, and he won't be able to appreciate that for long because they're going numb due to the large amount of Finn Hudson on them.

"Nng," he protests, and shoves Finn until he wakes up and moves. "We fell asleep downstairs," he informs his stepbrother muzzily.

"Um, yeah," Finn says. He's still holding onto Kurt's ankle.

"So. Let's go upstairs."

"Sure."

Kurt leaves the tidying for tomorrow, switches off the DVD player, and goes upstairs to bed. Finn holds his arm all the way upstairs, but Kurt figure's that's because he walks into things so much and wants to get to bed in one piece.

Kurt continues to think that everything is fine and he has made a noble and self-sacrificing gesture until four in the morning, when something huge hits his bed and almost bounces him off. He jolts awake with a small shriek and is assaulted by the smell of cheesy puffs.

"Kurt," Finn says, "are you awake?"

"I am," Kurt says, "now."

"There's a demon in the house. It's after you. I saw it in a dream."

"The random misfirings of your brain are not my problem," Kurt hisses.

"But what if you get yanked out of bed like in the movie and dragged into the hall closet and there's no one there to save you? Or what if I wake up in the night and you're standing over me swaying and then you kill me?"

"Finn. There are no, repeat after me, no demons. They do not exist. And we do not have a hall closet."

"Then what dragged that girl out of bed?"

"Special effects. CGI. It was a movie, Finn, a work of fiction, with actors pretending to be going through imaginary situations."

"There's something moving in my room, though."

"Finnnnn," Kurt moans, and pulls the covers over his head. "Just... get in and go to sleep."

Under the covers, he vindictively texts Puck. I don't think Finn liked your movie. Finn gets in and has, Kurt is pleased to find, worn socks.

A few seconds later, Puck texts back, you watched it w Finn? lol dude bad move. azimio told him blair witch was real when we were kids been doin damage control ever since

Kurt throws his phone back onto the bedside table and contemplates ways to murder Noah Puckerman, and of the two of them which has cheated on Finn twice anyway, or whatever you call it when you make out with your best friend's girlfriend, so he's in no position to make Kurt feel guilty.

"Finn," he says, "docu-style horror kind of freaks you out, doesn't it."

"No."

"Why didn't you say so?"

"It doesn't!" Finn snakes an arm under Kurt and drags him back against his chest. "If the demon tried to get me, though, you'd hold on, right?"

"There. Are. No. Demons."

"But if…"

"It couldn't drag you away anyway, you're too heavy."

"…Really?"

"No, Finn. They can't have a weight limit, they don't exist."

"But so if they did, one definitely couldn't get both of us at once." He puts his other arm over Kurt and folds their hands together.

"I'm going to pretend you're sleepwalking, because you're embarrassing yourself right now."

"Don't worry, I won't let go if you don't."

"Uh-huh. Sure, Finn. Go to sleep."


The fourth time Finn wakes up in Kurt's bed, there is no way, in the light of the sun, to categorize it as an emergency. But it was, Finn decides, thinking of something Rachel had said once, an urgent situation, which is almost as good.

He's spooning Kurt this time, but he'd had the foresight to move over so that a bunch of blankets are wadded between their lower bodies; it totally doesn't count.

There are possibly no such things as demons, and anyway the one in the movie didn't attack in the daytime, so he could move back to his own room. He pulls the sheet over their heads instead, just in case, and locks his hand tighter around Kurt's. Neither of them are going anywhere.


5.

Finn has never been over-invested in his studies. He wants good grades, but not on their own merit, and he means well but doesn't get too terribly broken up about a B or a C. Kurt, on the other hand, while he does value other things more – song, interior decoration, a good sale – does care about his grades and finds Finn's study habits (or lack thereof) irritating. Especially now, with the workload at Dalton. He spends most weekends at home, too, which means he has to bear witness to the madness that is Finn remembering Sunday night that he has a test on Monday and then shrug it off with a few hours of studying, while Kurt's just spent all weekend trying to memorize the entire history of France.

He's not prepared for the horror with which Finn greets Carole's casual, "Oh, Finn, don't you have a test tomorrow? In… history, I think?"

Finn, who is sitting on the floor because he says it's easier to play video games that way, drops his controller, allowing his character to be mowed down by things that are either robots or men in very odd metal clothing. "Oh, crap."

"Don't worry, he's just pixels," Kurt says irritably from behind his French textbook. "You can bring him right back again, remember? Over, and over, and over…" He really thinks video game characters should stay dead when they die.

"No, dude, the test.I'm so screwed. I was going to spend all this weekend studying with Rach – Rachel…"

"Really?" Kurt raised an eyebrow. "You, Finn, you had planned pre-'you know' to study for this test? Why on earth –"

Finn scoots closer to Kurt, lowering his voice. Carole is reading a murder-mystery and possibly not listening, although if she is there's no way to miss Finn's stage whisper. "I'm gonna fail Mrs. Simmons' class if I don't pass with at least an eighty, and then I won't be eligible for sports."

"Oh, ouch. You'd better get studying." He does, now, remember that an awful lot of their grade was riding on this test. He is perversely pleased to not be taking it, though he's traded it for worse.

"I don't know what to do," Finn hisses, frantic.

"You know Mrs. Simmons. Memorize every date in the chapters you've covered well enough to do a short-answer essay on it."

Finn grabs his knee and stares up at him with laser-intense puppy dog eyes. "Help me."


They end up making an obscene amount of flashcards covering the Mayflower up until the end of the Civil War and going over them for the better part of two hours before Burt pats Kurt's back and tells him, with a look at Finn that defines passive stepparenting, that it's bedtime.

"Oh, yeah, totally, me too," Finn says, grabbing a handful of flashcards.

"M'kay, I was getting bored with Washington anyway, fabulous as his wig may have been." Kurt kisses Burt and Carole goodnight. Finn does that awkward thing where he looks like he thinks he should do the same, or wants to do the same, but can't quite bring himself to so he just waves and pats their shoulders instead.

And at the top of the stairs Finn grabs Kurt bodily and says, "Dude, you gotta keep helping me."

"It's eleven o'clock, I've been helping you for three hours. I'm going to bed."

"Please, dude, I can't do this to my mom, fail a class. I swear I was gonna study, but I had everything planned with, you know, and then everything got thrown off when, you know, and you're really helpful, I can't memorize stuff on my own."

Kurt sighs. "Put me down."

"Oh." Finn looks down at the gap between Kurt's heels and the floor and sets him back on his feet. "Oops."

"On the bright side for one of us, either I've lost weight or the gym's paid off for you."

Finn brightens. "I think it's the gym. You've actually gained some weight lately."

Kurt glares.

"In a good way! You were looking all scrawny at McKinley the last few weeks, like in a bad way, even Rachel said so. Now you look healthy again."

"Stop, Finn, while you're… less behind. Fine, come in my room after they go to sleep and we'll keep working on it."

"Cool! Love ya, dude."

Kurt reels emotionally, and also a little bit physically, as he isn't all that skilled at keeping his emotions off his face or inner ear. He is pretty sure Finn will fall asleep and fail to go anywhere until seven in the morning, when the alarm Carole habitually set for him would go off. He is also regretting that this was his reason for saying yes.

It probably hadn't meant all that much to Finn, Kurt reminds himself. Finn doesn't think before speaking. Or during, or generally after. That sort of makes it better, for a second; it means Finn's over the crush issue and can toss off familial expressions of love without thinking about it. Then Kurt thinks about it some more and realizes that it makes it worse.


Finn shows up three hours later. He's yawning and mussed and Kurt realizes he's there when he wakes up to someone huge with ice-cold feet dragging him into a hug.

"Teddy," Finn says.

"No. Not Teddy." Kurt shoves Finn off. "How did you wake up for this?"

"Gah. Uh. Cell phone. Did you know they have alarms? Rach showed me. Took me a while to find it again."

"I thought we discussed a sock rule for when you sleep with me."

"I didn't realize I'd have to get under the covers. Anyway, I'm not sleeping with you, that sounds weird."

"Yeah, well, tough. Technically you are and have been."

"Are you mad at me?"

"No."

"Okay, good. Don't be. I can't handle it right now, dude, not on top of… you know."

"I know."

"So do you still want to help me study, or can we just go to sleep?"

"Sit up," Kurt sighs, and manages not to snap or snipe for a full two hours more. The key to flashcards, he's always found, is to go very slowly and not add more until you know the one you have. With Finn, this is a process which slows time to a surreal crawl, especially when he tries to get out of answering the questions by saying that he'd just done that one despite having no real response for "yes, so what is it?"

The end result is not perfect, but it is four in the morning, so Kurt calls it quits. Finn doesn't even put the cards on the table before falling asleep.


The fifth time Finn wakes up in Kurt's bed, there's pretty much no excuse except that he was tired. He does think the whole magic thing could help him on his test tomorrow, to be fair. But it's five-thirty in the morning and he has to pee, which is depressing since in a half an hour Kurt'll have to leave for the week at Dalton so he should probably stay awake but he really wants to sneak out, pee, and then sneak back in for more sleep.

This doesn't happen, because the bed is empty when he gets back into the bedroom. It takes him a while to remember why this is bad, and then he wakes up all the way because he's afraid Kurt's been snatched by a demon.

Kurt is, as it turns out, asleep on the couch downstairs. Finn feels pretty heroic for having checked rather than running to hide under his own bed.

"Hey," he says, poking Kurt's shoulder. "What are you doing?"

Kurt bats his hand away. "Sleeping."

"On the couch, though. How come?"

"No reason. Go back to my bed, Finn."

"You're gonna freeze, dude. I think you're out of it and making bad decisions. Come on." He tugs Kurt's arm over his shoulders.

"Finn." Kurt jerks away. "I mean it. Leave me alone. I don't want to sleep with you, okay?"

"…Seriously, what did I do?"

"Nothing."

Finn steps back. "I'm sorry, I… I thought you were cool with…"

"Well, I'm not. I changed my mind."

"Uh, did I… did you… like… get…"

"Do not, Finn Hudson, finish that sentence; the horror in your tone speaks volumes," Kurt says bitterly. "In fact, don't finish any sentences. Go. Back. To bed."

Finn nods, and turns around, and does. He goes to his own bed, which cold and there is definitely something moving in the corner of his room and damnit he really thought they were cool. But he's been sleeping in with Kurt kind of a lot, for a guy with a brand new gay stepbrother who used to have a crush on him, and they'd talked about whether or not Finn was attractive and oh shit. Just… shit.


+1

Kurt is really high maintenance, but he's also really, really self-sufficient. He does a lot of the cleaning and cooking, and it's pretty obvious even to Finn that he used to do like all of it before he and his mom moved in – because Burt totally helps out whenever anyone asks him, it's just that he has to be asked, whereas Kurt and his mom both have this weird thing where they just do stuff, like before it even needs to be done. He still does the grocery shopping sometimes. He buys all his own clothes, and he has a credit card so he knows how to handle bills and sometimes he does that. He helps out at the garage and keeps his own car in working order. He's pretty much like a miniature grown-up, Finn figures.

So it probably sounds lame to say that he's fine with his parents having a weekend getaway awhile after Christmas not so much because he's seventeen and almost an adult as because he knows his little brother will, even if he is still pissed off for things which are not Finn's fault, take care of him – but there it is. Plus it's totally the only reason they're going; Carole reminds Kurt twice before they leave not to let Finn use anything hot or metallic in the kitchen, or anywhere really. She also makes sure three times that he knows where all the emergency numbers are.

Finn is fine with this, because the night Burt brought the idea up (and Kurt, predictably, was kind of creepily overjoyed at the idea of their parents having a romantic pseudo-honeymoon thing, while Finn was decently uncomfortable with the whole thing) he took Finn aside later. "Look," he said, "this has gotta stay between us, but… you know how to use a rifle?"

Then he showed Finn where he stashes this manliest of man-things, and how to use it. Let Kurt keep the frying pans; Finn gets the rifle.

"Kurt knows where this is, and how to use it," Burt said, "but he doesn't like it and he ain't afraid to say so. I just…" he rubbed his head. "Some of those phone calls… Thing is, Finn, anyone breaks in here, you got a legal right to shoot them. This town, I don't trust them to be after the TV, okay? So you know how this is gonna work, Kurt's gonna walk all over you on this power high, but if anyone tries something funny while we're gone – you're in charge, and don't you let anyone hurt either of you boys. No matter what. Alright?"

Finn nodded solemnly and accepted his mission.

Burt looked at him warily. "Just… don't take it out unless you have to. And maybe let Kurt load it."

So now they're gone, and Kurt is, indeed, on a power high. He's trying to decide what bedtime to instate.

"Kurt, come on. I already cleared this weekend because you said you didn't feel comfortable with me driving at night in the snow. Now you're just being a tyrannist."

"Tyrannical. Tyrannist isn't a word. And I was right! Look at it out there, it's a whiteout."

He's not wrong, but it's Ohio in January. Finn thinks this is an overreaction. Plus he needs to stop using words that aren't around Kurt, because he has the exact same tone (and phrasing) Rachel does about this stuff and it hurts too much. "Dude, chill. It's not like… a storm."

"Actually, Finn, when the snow makes it impossible to see across the street and the nice man on TV is warning against unnecessary travel? That is the very definition of a storm."

"…I don't see why that means I need a bedtime."

"You need a bedtime because I say so." Kurt beams. "Oh my god, I've always wanted to say that."

Finn breaks down. "If it makes you that happy." He slumps down into the couch. "Not like anything else I can do will…"

"What?"

"I was kind of hoping someone would break in and I could shoot them to save you and then you'd like me again, but since we're snowed in and all the violent homophobes probably are too, I guess that's a bust. So seriously, dude, what is your problem?"

Kurt closes his eyes for a while, and mutters something that sounds like numbers. Then he says, "Do you really want to do this?"

"Yes," says Finn, who doesn't. "I'm sorry if I shouldn't have been bunking in with you, but you could have said if it was making you – I mean, you specifically said it was fine, like I asked and everything!"

Kurt is the special kind of white he gets when he's really upset or mad or, generally, both. "You were not," he says, "making me uncomfortable. At least not the way you're obviously about to have an apoplectic fit over. You said that, not me. You're the one who assumed that the only possible reason I could be mad at you would be because you'd awoken my perverse, incestuous gay lust."

"That's not fair," Finn says, "you didn't say you weren't, either. Wait. You weren't?" The intense skeeze factor he's been dealing with for the past week and change, thinking he'd been snuggled up to a dude who kind of wanted to bang him still despite the lack of crush, goes away. This is nice, but it's replaced by total bafflement. "Well then what was the problem?"

"At this point, the problem is that you really think I'd sleep with you if I wanted to have sex with you. Aside from everything else, I can't believe you think I'd be that stupid. The original problem was that you said you loved me."

Finn feels very out of his depth. "Which time was it a problem?"

"There was only. One. Time."

"Dude, not even. I say it all the time."

"No, you don't. You said it when I told you I'd help with your stupid flashcards. I promised to help you study after lights-out, you tossed off an 'I love you.'"

"Okay, fine. I still don't get why it's bad to say that I love you."

Kurt's eyes are getting shiny and wet-looking. "Because you don't. You like me. There's a difference, and maybe it's not a big deal to you, but it is to me. And when you do love someone, you don't just… drop it into casual conversation when you're saying it for the first time. Especially you.You don't think when you speak, and 'I love you' requires some forethought. You didn't mean 'I love you,' you meant, 'thanks for being a convenient study partner,' and you should have said so."

Finn stands up. "Jesus, Kurt, give me a break! I didn't say it the right way, so there's no possible way I could mean it? I do love you. I don't know how to say it so you believe me, like what weird new-brothers code I'm supposed to be following here, but I do. And don't give me that about it not being a big deal to me, either, I know what it's like to grow up with only one person and then get two brand new ones. And – and you know what? I'd buy in a second that you love me, but you don't like me very much, and that sucks."

Kurt looks stricken. "I do like you. I – what more could I possibly do to convince you that I like you?"

"It's not about doing stuff, dude, that's my point! You're always there for the big stuff, when I need you, like over Rachel and being drunk and stuff, and I'm grateful. But you don't like me anymore. Unless I'm like on the verge of a nervous breakdown you snap at me and act like I'm stupid and say weird stuff about some guy who plays a pipe –"

"The Pied Piper."

" – yeah, him. You used to want to talk to me about normal things and… and now you just help when I need it and then go away again."

Kurt takes several deep breaths. "I may have misread the situation."

"You think?"

"But you did too. I do like you, Finn. I think you're a really great guy. If I've been… short with you in your hours of less emotional need, it's because of the stress. Karofsky's been worse all year, and then moving to Dalton – it's great, but it's not exactly stress-free to change schools mid-semester and not be able to see my dad every day. And if I've been condescending, well, welcome to the club, I'm condescending to everyone."

"You didn't use to be with me."

Kurt flushes. "Finn. When we met, I…"

"Had a crush on me," Finn realizes.

"Wasn't making wise decisions," Kurt says.

"You were only super-nice because of that?"

"Yes. Because of the lack of wise decisions."

Finn reflects upon this at length. "So it's a good thing that you're treating me like everyone else now?"

"Yes."

"Oh. Cool." He sits back down. "I really do love you."

"Well, I really do like you."

"So… you're still pissed at me."

"You thought I was perving on you.You seriously thought I was letting you sleep with me, which was always your idea, just so, what, I could –"

"I'm sorry, okay?" Finn, with monumental effort, manages not to point out the room-sharing incident, which kind of proves Kurt's not entirely above this sort of thing.

"Good." Kurt sits down too. At the opposite end of the couch, with his arms crossed. "I hope that in the future you're more certain about eliciting contact with which you'll feel comfortable without a metaphorical 'no homo' right after."

"Okay." Finn waits a while. "So what's bedtime?"

"I don't care."

Finn wonders if it would be insensitive to turn on the TV. Probably.

"Finn?"

"Yeah?"

"Have you ever spent the night without Carole? I mean, with her in another town?"

"Actually, no."

"Me neither. I mean, at Dalton. But Dad's never been the one who's… gone."

Finn nods. "Let's stay up all night in case they call randomly at three in the morning."

"Deal."


Kurt's the first one to pass out, at some time around two in the morning, with his cell phone still in his hand. Finn thinks he probably follows suit around three. He wakes up at seven in the morning, and Kurt is curled into a lump under the blanket over at the end of the couch. It's still pretty dark outside because of the snow, which looks gray and threatening in the thin light.

Finn being the one in charge of dangerous situations, he goes up to his room and changes the sheets, then piles all the blankets in the linen cupboard on his bed. He also gets snacks. Kurt proves to be about as easy to carry as the lump of blankets – awkward, but not all that heavy.

"Wazzat?" Kurt asks when Finn dumps him on the bed.

"We're battening down the hatches," Finn informs him. "Move over."

"Mmphm."

Finn gets in next to him and curls around him. It really isn't fair that he always has to be the bigger man, and Kurt isthe one who thought it was cool to share a room with a guy he had a crush on and then never even own up to said crush so he thinks a few misgivings are justified here. But on the other hand, Finn seriously is the bigger man – by like at least a head or so – so maybe that's why. He makes sure he's holding Kurt's hand before he goes to sleep.


The first time Kurt wakes up in Finn's bed, his initial reaction is horror because he remembers going to sleep in the living room and apparently someone broke in during the night and plastered the walls with hideous, tacky posters. His secondary reaction is also horror because oh god he's in Finn Hudson's bed, and those sheets are probably breeding diseases unknown by science. By the time he gets around to Finn being sort of on top of him, with the hand-holding and arm around him and their legs all tangled together, he's pretty much out of horror.

"Finn."

No answer.

"Finn."

"Hn."

"I thought we had a new rule."

Finn slits his eyes open. "New rule. Bedtime?"

"No, the other one."

"Only things I'm comfortable with, even without no homo?"

"Yes, that."

"Following it." Finn tries to pat Kurt's shoulder with the hand he's holding Kurt's with and ends up sort of clipping Kurt's chin with his own hand. "Oops." He rests his chin on Kurt's hair. "I know I backslide sometimes, but it's cool now, right?"

Kurt sighs into Finn's neck, which smells faintly of sweat and the kind of soap that dries rather than moisturizes. "You're very good at messing up spectacularly and then making up for it even more spectacularly." It really isn't fair that he always has to be the bigger man and forgive Finn's constant gay freakouts, but he's had his whole life to get used to it. Finn didn't have to deal with any of it until he was sixteen.

"Thanks? I think?"

"I have to get up, though."

"…We're not cool?"

"We're cool, Finn. This bed is not cool."

"I changed the sheets."

"For clean ones?"

"Uh-huh."

"I take that back. You're astoundingly good at making it up with spectacular gestures."

"Which makes me very likable."

"It does."

"Did I tell you I got an A on that test?"

"No, but I heard you tell Carole. Several times. In a tone of voice I haven't heard since I used it on my father when I was maybe ten."

"Oh, screw you."

"You're welcome for my invaluable help with studying."

"I would say it makes you lovable, but I'm afraid you'll think I only love you for your brain or something, so just in general – I love you, Kurt."

"Good."

"Next time we're going back in your room, though. Pretty sure this one's haunted."