Finn answered the door and smiled at the two of them standing on the porch, holding hands. His heart stopped, did a flip, and went on beating.

"Finn," said Kurt, "how did it go?"

"It was… really good." He took Kurt's hand, then Puck's other hand. They stood, a circle of hands, as they had on that day, just last week. It felt like so long ago to Finn.

"Puck, you're freezing." Finn took Puck's hands between his and rubbed them. Puck leaned into his touch. "What happened?"

"Tell him, Noah," said Kurt, and it was definitely not a suggestion.

"I watched you come out to your mom from the kitchen window," Puck said immediately. "I didn't want you to do it alone." He looked at his feet. "Sorry," he muttered, not sounding at all sorry.

"I thought maybe I could deal with that," Kurt said, and his voice was light. Puck looked at Finn, and Kurt did too, inquiring. Finn nodded back slowly.

"That would be… great. I'm feeling a little done in, tonight." Finn rubbed the back of his neck. "Come on in," he said then, reaching out for Kurt's sweater. "Let me hang that up for you."

"Thank you," Kurt said, looking at Puck, who smiled meaningfully at Kurt. Finn either didn't notice or ignored them.

"My mom thought we might watch a movie," he said. "Something I don't have to think about too hard tonight, if that's okay. I, um, I have no idea how to decide who picks."

"Rock-paper-scissors?" Puck drawled, and Kurt laughed.

"How about you pick tonight, Finn, and then me next time?"

"Why am I last?" said Puck, clearly not at all annoyed. Nobody answered that question.

"Finn?" Carole came into the room, holding a monster bowl of popcorn and a 4-pack of root beer. "Hi, boys," she said, very casually. "It's nice to see you both. Hope you like popcorn."

"Hi, Carole," said Kurt, and he kissed her on the cheek, taking the bowl from her hands. She looked surprised, and touched her cheek.

"Hi, Mrs. Hudson," said Puck, grinning. He looked at Kurt, then quickly, almost shyly, kissed her other cheek.

Finn's face felt like it had caught on fire, and he noticed his mom's cheeks were equally red, but she was smiling. "Finn," she said, "why don't the three of you sit on the couch. I'll take your dad's chair tonight."

Finn chose Lethal Weapon as a sure winner – totally awesome action movie, for one, plus a young Bruce Willis (eye candy for all four of them), plus Alan Rickman for Kurt (he knew he had a thing for him). He slid it in the DVD player, then handed Puck the root beers. "Here, open these," he said.

"Yes, sir," murmured Puck, and Kurt had a coughing fit. Carole looked at them, mystified, but just smiled and shook her head.

Finn sat on one end of the couch, next to his mom, with Kurt in the middle and Puck on the other end. Kurt sat propped up with his elbow on Finn's leg and his feet under Puck's leg and made chatty commentary throughout the movie. Finn probably would have found this annoying if he'd been able to focus on anything other than Kurt's touch, but he tried to keep his mind on the movie as much as possible.

Finn thought they might get through the movie without any questions, but at one point she turned to the couch, still casually, and said, "So, Kurt, Finn tells me you've already told your dad about… this."

"Partially," Kurt said, hesitating. "He… doesn't know about Noah, but we're going to be telling him about… that… soon."

"Ah," said Carole. "Do you plan on telling your mom, Puck?"

"Yeah, probably," he said.

"I suspect all of us will want to have a conversation with all three of you about… appropriate behavior, expectations, that kind of thing," she said, and she only looked a little embarrassed. "Maybe we should do it all at once. Should we have everyone over for dinner, Finn, next week?"

"Yeah, that would be nice," said Finn, and he almost meant it.

"How about I cook?" said Puck. Carole smiled.

"I hear breakfast was a hit, Puck. That would be lovely. Thank you."

They watched the movie again for a while, but eventually she turned back to them.

"Boys… I can't begin to imagine how complicated this could be, but I want to say right now how much I am impressed by how comfortable you seem to be around one another. I'm just… I hope you are thinking through the implications of this. How it will be at school, and so on."

"Carole, I can't agree more," said Kurt. "We were just talking about that this morning."

"We've decided not to tell the kids at school about… my part," said Puck. "I don't really care. But Finn and Kurt, that's up to them to decide."

"I don't like lying, Mom," said Finn, "but we're going to go slowly, try to figure out a way to do it carefully."

She nodded. "That sounds like a wise course of action. You are all strong, capable young men, and I'm sure you will figure out what's best for you."

"Thanks, Mom." Finn felt so impressed with his mom, he got up and gave her a hug. She laughed and accepted the hug gratefully. Then she put the recliner back into its standing position, and stood.

"I'm going to head up to bed now," she said, still ultra-casual. "Would you guys please turn out of the lights before you head home? Kurt, I'm sure your dad won't want you to be here too late."

"My curfew is in 45 minutes, Carole," said Kurt, smiling. "I'll be sure the lights are out before we leave."

"Good night, Mrs. Hudson," said Puck.

"Good night, gentlemen," she said, and she turned off the hall light as she disappeared upstairs.

"Well, that was kind of her," Kurt said, looking at Finn.

"Wow, dude – your mom is beyond awesome," said Puck, taking Kurt's feet and pulling them out so Kurt's legs ended in his lap. Kurt backed up so he was lying in Finn's lap, facing Puck at the other end of the couch. Puck began to rub Kurt's feet, and he sighed with contentment.

Finn felt a little dazed, but he wrapped his arms around Kurt from behind, hugging him tightly. "I guess this is – okay," he said, amazed. "That was a lot easier than I expected."

"I expect it will get harder," said Kurt, "but right now it feels pretty easy."

"Yeah," said Puck. "Next is Burt, and my mom. And Glee."

"Um." Kurt said. "I… told Mercedes. About Finn."

"Yeah?" Finn smiled nervously. "Does – she want to kill me?"

"Not unless you hurt me," said Kurt. "I think she thought I was crazy at first, but it'll be okay. Puck, she knows you know, but not anything other than that. I might… tell her soon, though."

Finn yawned then, suddenly exhausted. "Can we tuck you into bed?" Kurt said, and it was not an invitation, but Finn felt his cock twitch anyway.

"Sure," he said. They followed him upstairs. He went into the bathroom to brush his teeth, and when he came back out he found Kurt and Puck making out on his bed.

"Dudes," he said, stretching, "you're gorgeous, but I'm tired. Get off of there."

They moved quickly to obey, grinning at each other. Kurt turned down the bed and Finn climbed in, then Puck pulled the covers up over his shoulders. He touched Finn's cheek gently and smiled. "Nice," he said.

"What?" said Finn, nearly asleep.

"Just remembering something." He bent down and kissed him gently, then Kurt came over and did the same. "Good night."

"'Night," said Finn, letting his eyes fall shut, feeling more comfortable than he had in a long time. "Love you guys."

"Love you, too," said Kurt, with Puck's arm around him, and closed Finn's door.

Kurt drove Puck back to his house. He was surprised to discover how close Puck's house was to Finn's. "You guys spent a lot of time playing together when you were kids?" Kurt asked. Puck nodded.

"Finn's mom was working nights then, so at least once a week he would eat dinner at my house and spend the night."

Kurt hesitated. "Did you guys ever – you know?" he asked.

"Mess around?" said Puck, and Kurt blushed needlessly. "I don't think so. I mean, I'm guessing I'd remember, right? We'll have to ask Finn tomorrow if he remembers anything."

"Are there a lot of things about your childhood you don't remember?" Kurt asked, and his question was mild, but Puck heard the concern in his voice.

"Yeah," said Puck. "Kind of a lot."

Kurt stepped into Puck's personal space. "You'll tell me all about that, later."

Puck opened and closed his mouth, and Kurt pushed him into the house, shutting the door behind him. Puck fumbled for the kitchen light, swearing, and Kurt claimed his mouth before he could turn it on.

"Oh –" said Puck, and made a hungry noise. Kurt laved his mouth with his tongue and held Puck's head still while he kissed him breathless. He ran his hands over Puck's head, down his neck, and around his broad shoulders, making sounds of approval.

"Your body makes me so hot," said Kurt, and it was so dirty, said in Kurt's sweet voice, that Puck nearly lost it. He rubbed helplessly up against Kurt's slim frame, feeling each other's heat, their need. Their arms twined around each other's hips and they danced like that in the dark, slow, grinding, to the music in their heads.

"I'd love to take you dancing sometime," said Kurt, "show you off." He pulled Puck's shirt up over his head. "Dress you up in leather," he went on, and Puck was panting, hanging on Kurt's words. "Let everyone get a good look at you, that perfect ass." He unbuttoned Puck's jeans and slid his hands down along his thighs to squeeze Puck's cheeks. He moaned. "You would like that, wouldn't you, sweetheart?"

"Yeah," he said, and moaned again. Kurt's hand came up to grab his jaw, his neck, and hold him still.

"Yes, what, Noah?" whispered Kurt.

"Yes, please, sir," he said, desperately. "I need it."

"Yes, you do," said Kurt, smiling. He bit Puck on the ear, and Puck came apart, nonsensically babbling appreciation to Kurt. Kurt enjoyed it for a minute, then put a hand over his mouth. "Hush, now," he said, and Puck was silent.

"Noah?" said a voice, and the hallway light snapped on. Sarah stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. She was wearing a pair of Hello Kitty pajamas. She stopped when she saw Kurt and Puck and looked away at their dishabille.

"Hi, Kurt," she said.

"Hi, Sarah," he said. "Your brother's a little tired. I'm going to put him to bed, then I'll be heading out."

"Oh. Okay." She opened the fridge and poured herself a glass of milk. "You can stay if you want," she said, after a minute.

"Um," Kurt said. "I think I need to get home. My dad would be pretty annoyed if I didn't make it home before my curfew."

"Okay," she said again. "See you again soon?"

"Yeah," he said. "You bet."

She touched his arm, suddenly. "You make him really happy, Kurt," she said, solemnly. "He doesn't find that very easily." Then she disappeared back down the hall. The light snapped off. Puck was still silent, watching Kurt with wary eyes.

"Come on," Kurt said. "I'm going to take care of you."

Kurt pushed him ahead of him up the stairs to Puck's bedroom, which was pretty much the way they'd left it that morning. He closed the door behind him and guided Puck to the bed, where he sat down with him.

"You need… discipline," he said, "for your actions earlier." He ran a gentle hand down Puck's bare back. Puck shivered.

"Yes, sir."

"I'm going to give you what you need."

"Yes, sir," he breathed.

Kurt pulled him down onto his lap. "Come here and lean over my knees," he said, and Puck seemed to know what he meant, because he pulled his jeans down, just enough, so his bare ass stuck up in the air, round and perfect. Then he placed himself over Kurt's legs.

"Relax," said Kurt, and Puck did, putting his head down on the bed. "That's right," he said, and Puck basked in his praise, even as he began to spank his bare bottom, gently, lovingly, but relentlessly. What began as a mild tingle began to build, as the spot on Puck's ass grew pinker and pinker, and more and more sensitive, but the swats went on, gentle, neverending. Puck made noises, and Kurt approved of them all. Kurt watched Puck as he dropped further and further into a suspended state, floating on sensation, until he stopped altogether.

"You're such a good boy," he said, pulling Puck's jeans back up over his red, raw ass, and helped Puck into a sitting position on his lap. "Come here." He put his arms around Puck again, and held him close as tears began to fall.

"Thank you," Puck murmured when he was done crying. "I needed that."

"That was… something else," said Kurt. He felt reluctant to pull away from Puck, as though the web they'd build tonight might snap if they parted, but eventually he helped him lie down on the bed and covered him up, as they had done for Finn. He kissed him and stood to go. Puck's hand came out from under the covers and closed over Kurt's, strong, desperate.

"Please don't go," he said. "I need you, Kurt."

Kurt's heart hurt. "I have to, Noah."

"Call me sweetheart," he begged.

"I love you, sweetheart," Kurt whispered. "I'll be thinking of you."

"Come back to me tomorrow," he said, letting Kurt's hand go.

"I'll – I'll try."

"I'll sing you a song, just for you," he murmured, eyes closing.

Kurt turned away, hurried down the stairs, through the dark kitchen, to his car waiting in the driveway, and it wasn't until he was safely inside that he let the tears flow, let his sobs come, racking his body, wringing him dry. It felt so good to let it happen, to let go. He wasn't exactly sure who he was crying for. It might have been for the little boy in Noah who needed to be disciplined, but he thought rather it might be for the one in himself that was afraid to admit what he needed.

Now: Monday Morning

It seemed like an eternity from Saturday night until Monday morning, but family activities and homework and the pull of their regular lives kept Kurt, Finn and Puck apart until school began. Finn found himself sending sappy little texts to Kurt throughout breakfast. His mother watched him, anxiously smiling.

"What's it going to be like today?" she wondered aloud.

"Hard," he said. "Lonely. Sneaky."

"Hopeful," she said. "Strong. Resilient."

"I'm scared," he admitted.

"You wouldn't be human if you weren't," she said, and she kissed him on the top of his head, which was much easier for her to reach when he was sitting.

Kurt's last text said for Finn to meet him in the auditorium, behind the stage. He poked his head out from behind the wings and said, "Hello?" He heard his voice echo in the empty room. No one was there.

Then, suddenly, he was, looking shy and so desirable that Finn nearly reached out for him. But Kurt looked around, then shook his head, and Finn retreated. "Hey," he said softly.

"How was your weekend?" Kurt teased. Finn blew out a breath.

"I think I'll have to wait to give you the answer to that one."

"I missed you yesterday," Kurt said. "And Noah."

"Shh," said Finn, looking around again. Kurt twitched a lip and shrugged.

"People would see us making out and think he was beating me up," he said, and Finn busted up laughing, because he was probably right. It wasn't funny at all, but it was easier to laugh than to do anything else.

"God, I love you," he said, and there was a surprised sound behind Kurt, and Mercedes stepped out of the shadows.

"Hi, Mercedes," said Kurt, his cheeks flaming.

"Hi," said Finn, with a little smile. She looked at him curiously.

"You're not one of those pod people, are you, Finn?" she said, and he laughed. "You ain't gonna suddenly turn out to be straight after all? 'Cause if you break my boy's heart, I'm gonna come after you. And I ain't so nice."

"You love him, too," he said, and she nodded. "I wouldn't do anything to harm him. He's – he's amazing." He held out a hand, and Kurt took it, briefly, then dropped it, looking down.

"We need you guys to come to the choir room now," she said.

"Why?" said Finn.

Kurt slipped an arm around her. "Because we have something to give you. And Quinn."

"Is there a cake?" he grinned.

"Maybe some donuts," said Kurt, and put a casual arm around his shoulders.

They met Quinn on the way in, being led in much the same way. "Do you know what's going on?" she said, and he shook his head. The entire Glee club was waiting for them, with two chairs in the front of the room. Puck and Kurt were in the front, standing, just waiting.

"We have a ballad for you," said Kurt. "This is from all of us, because we know you've both gone through a lot recently, and we just wanted you to know… how we feel about you." Kurt's eyes gleamed at Finn. Mercedes watched him with compassion. Puck did not look at him, except indirectly, but Finn felt his attention anyway. He felt exposed, up here in the front. He glanced at Quinn.

"What are you going to sing?" asked Finn.

"Just listen," said Rachel, gently. "The song says everything."

They began to sway as Artie took the lead:

Sometimes in our lives

We all have pain

We all have sorrow

But if we are wise

We know that there's always tomorrow

Mercedes joined in on the chorus:

Lean on me, when you're not strong

And I'll be your friend

I'll help you carry on

For it won't be long

'Til I'm gonna need

Somebody to lean on

Finn felt a smile open on his face. He knew they didn't know about him – but they cared, anyway. They would be there when he needed them. He could depend on them, just as he depended on Kurt, and Puck. He looked at Quinn and saw her smiling, too. It was going to be all right.

Please swallow your pride

If I have things you need to borrow

For no one can fill those of your needs

That you won't let show

Kurt was taking special advantage of the performance opportunity to tease and torment him, but when he came up to the side of the group and made a little "call me" gesture, Finn lost his cool for just a moment. Yeah, you can bet I'll be calling you, he thought.

Then he caught sight of Puck's eyes on him for the first time, and his breath caught. Even if they weren't able to be together at school, he knew they were both still there, watching, loving him, and that was enough.

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you'd understand

We all need somebody to lean on

It was a gift, from Mercedes, to let him know he was accepted, and from Kurt, to thank him for all the things he'd done and given him. It was from Artie and Brittany and all the others who had no idea, but who would be there for him when he was ready to ask for their help. And it was for Quinn, too, to let her know she wasn't alone. Their friends pulled them out of their chairs and into the group of shouting, singing Glee voices, and embraced them.

He felt Puck's hand on the small of his back. "Lean on me," he said into Finn's ear, and Finn shivered, returning a little pressure, and he smiled.

"Lean on Me" copyright by Bill Withers.

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