All previous disclaimers apply. Also, I do not own the song L.O.V.E. No infringement is intended and no profit is made from the use of the lyrics.
Author's Note: Sorry this took so long to get up! It was so hard for some reason! I tried it four or five different ways with four or five different songs before it finally came together. I hope you like it. Please read and review if you have a moment!
The year Finn turned sixteen he realized two very important things that would affect him for the rest of his life in ways he never imagined at the time. The first was that he didn't care what other people thought of him anymore as long as he was having fun. Football had always been fun to him and so he had joined the team his freshman year just like his dad wanted. For two years he was on top of the world. He was the quarterback and was dating the head cheerleader. Every guy in the school wanted to be him. And he was miserable. The only time he was really having fun was when he was playing. Just being popular didn't make school any more enjoyable. Really it made it harder. He always had to watch what he said and who he decided to hang out with. Just admitting that he kind of thought the fashion shows that his mom and baby brother were always watching were kind of funny and entertaining had almost lost him Quinn.
She was another thing he was uncertain about. Should his girlfriend really make him feel as bad as Quinn was always making him feel? Shouldn't dating someone feel good? If he was dating someone should she be the person he was the most uncomfortable around? Should she be able to make him feel ashamed of everything he said and everything he thought? And she wouldn't even let him really kiss her. It wasn't like he'd ever force her to do anything that she wasn't ready for, but it would have been nice if he could actually kiss her for more than a second without her slapping her hands on his chest and pushing him away as if he was grinding on her.
It was really Mr. Schuester that turned everything around for him. Finn wasn't stupid. He knew that he hadn't had any marijuana in his locker like Mr. Schue was trying to accuse him of and even Noah, who he was supposed to call Puck now but could never remember, had stopped smoking as Kurt and his own little sister, Miri, got bigger. He used to screw up and hide stuff like that in Finn's locker. But, when Miri had cut herself trying to make a sandwich because Puck was too high to bother watching her he had turned everything around. He hadn't had a drop of alcohol or so much as a hit since that day so he knew Puck hadn't put it in his locker either. He hoped that Mr. Schue wouldn't have taken the blackmail any further if Finn had resisted the idea of joining the glee club, but as it was it gave him an excuse to do something he had wanted to do to begin with.
Glee club was fun. He wasn't the best dancer in the room and he knew he never would be, but he never felt bad about himself when he was singing his heart out. And the friends he made in glee club were really his friends. The first true friends, aside from Noah, he'd made in high school. He never had to be anyone other than who he was with them. Rachel was attracted to him, he could tell and he thought she was beautiful and he really wanted her, but he wouldn't do anything while he was dating Quinn and Rachel tried to be supportive and not push him to break up with his girlfriend. He appreciated her for that. Tina was quiet, but she had a wicked sense of humor that came out once you got to know her. Artie was the perfect gaming partner and never made Finn feel stupid even when he needed tutoring in some of his subjects. Lauren acted like she didn't actually want to be there, but there was no one else who practiced harder. Sam was awesome with a guitar and he helped Finn with his singing in return for Finn helping him learn how to kick so that he could try-out for the football team. It was the best trade Finn had ever made. Sam was a good singing coach and great at kicking a football. With him on the team they actually began to win. Finn didn't know much about Dave Karofsky. He was quiet and shy and managed to blend into the background really well for someone who was so big, but he treated the girls like they were all princesses and it became a club goal to get him to smile his shy smile as often as possible.
Just after Sam started helping the football team to win games Puck, Matt, and Mike decided that it might be fun to join the club, too. They thought maybe with five football players in the club, they might be more popular. They were wrong. Even when Quinn joined the club, for a reason no one quite knew, and brought two other cheerleaders with her, the club was the lowest of the low. They got more slushies thrown in their faces than anyone in the school and yet none of them left. They became a little bit like a family.
Finn loved performing. It was a rush like nothing he had ever known. He knew that his mom and dad were happy with it, too. They thought it made him more well-rounded. It would make him look better to colleges. And they simply liked watching him perform. Finn loved it when they would bring Kurt to one of his performances. There was nothing like looking out into the audience and seeing his little brother looking up at him like he was the best thing he had ever seen. Sometimes Kurt would be mouthing the words along with them, he spent so much time listening to Finn rehearsing. It was as good a feeling to win a glee competition as it was to win a football game.
Glee even better when Quinn finally told him quietly how much she liked Sam and how much she wanted to be with him. Finn told her that it was probably about as much as he wanted to be with Rachel. They parted friends. And there was nothing else he could have wanted. Puck surprised them all when he started following Lauren around like a puppy. She surprised them even more when she started to blush a little and smile under his attentions. Mike and Tina hit it off right away and were dating secretly for about a day before the rest of the glee club knew they were dating. It took them three months before they actually told everyone else. Somehow Brittany seemed to be in a relationship with both Artie and Santana, but no one questioned it because they both obviously adored her and sometimes even seemed to feel a good deal of affection for each other. Once he and Quinn parted ways he and Rachel were free to be together. They decided to start slow.
Finn loved dating Rachel. She was passionate and open and everything Quinn hadn't been. She admitted that she wasn't ready to have sex yet, but just knowing that she wanted it as much as Finn did someday and didn't mind when he got a little hot as long as he stopped was really great. She believed in him and listened when he told her what he wanted to do with his life. Sometimes she was a little much, but she never made him feel stupid and she dressed in really short skirts, so that was a bonus, too. She also introduced him to her dads. They were the first gay couple he'd ever met. And they were the ones who led him to the second realization that kind of changed his life.
His little brother, his little Kurtie, the coolest little dude ever and someone he always wanted to take care of, was gay. He wasn't sure exactly how he knew. Sure Kurt liked to play with Barbie dolls more than he liked to play with G.I. Joes and he didn't like to get dirty in any way, but those things didn't mean much. Somehow, just looking at Kurt sitting at the dinner table one day while their parents were out and Finn was babysitting, his little legs swinging back and forth as he colored, Finn knew. He leaned against the counter and just looked for a little bit. Just knowing that Kurt would grow up to want a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend, that Finn wouldn't really be able to ever talk girls with him and maybe not most sports either…did that change anything? He actually had to ask himself. So, his little brother was gay…did that mean he loved him any less? Kurt looked up from his coloring book for a second and grinned at Finn with that little gap-toothed grin that always made him feel warm and fuzzy and Finn had his answer.
Fuck, no, it didn't matter that his little brother was gay. He was still his little brother and Finn still loved him more than anything. He crossed the kitchen and ran his hand over Kurt's silky hair. Kurt giggled when Finn kissed the top of his head.
"You want to go get ice cream?" He asked.
"Before dinner?" Kurt asked, his little eyebrow going up just like their mom's.
"Sure, why not? Just this once."
As soon as Finn knew that how much he loved Kurt would never be changed by the fact that he was gay he began to notice a lot of things that he hadn't before. Like the fact that Dave never looked at any of the girls in the club. There were three cheerleaders in really short skirts in their club. Even if you had a girlfriend, like Finn, sometimes you couldn't help the fact that your eyes wandered when there was so much skin around all the time. But, Dave wasn't interested in any of the girls at all. His eyes never wandered unless they were to follow Matt while he danced. Somehow Finn knew that everything about Dave, how quiet and shy he was, how little he smiled and laughed, all tied back to this fact. Finn wanted Dave to be able to be comfortable with himself, but he also didn't want him to feel trapped or like Finn would ever hurt him. He wanted Dave to feel safe. But, he also didn't want Dave to have to hide from himself. In a way, Dave was Kurt. And his greatest hope was that his baby brother would have a friend who would do the same things for Kurt as Finn wanted to do for Dave. So he invited him over.
Dave's eyes were wide when he walked into the Hummel household and Finn wondered if he'd ever been invited to a friend's house at all. He was quiet and polite with Burt. Finn and his dad shared a glance when Dave flinched as Burt reached out to shake his hand. He gave Finn a look when Dave turned to take off his shoes. Over the past few years he and his dad had found a way to have silent conversations with their eyes. It drove his mom nuts. They had one then.
"Kid, you need help with anything?"
"Not yet, Dad. I'll let you know if we need you."
"You be careful with him, son. He's scared out of his mind."
"I will, Dad."
"I'll leave you to it then, kid. Love you, Finn."
"Love you, too, Dad."
"So…your dad…" Dave asked quietly as they got snacks, "You guys are pretty close?"
"Yeah. He adopted me when I was nine. He's the best. How about your dad?"
"My dad," Dave trailed off, "He…"
He didn't say anything more and Finn didn't press. They relaxed for a little bit, playing video games, before Finn brought up what he'd wanted to talk about all afternoon. He knew he wasn't the smartest guy and he probably could have found a better way to ask, but he couldn't help it when it just came out in between rounds of gaming.
"Dave, are you gay?"
Dave reacted like someone had reached out and punched him. His breath wooshed out and his body jerked away from Finn like lighting was running through him. Dave pulled his knees up to his chest and rocked a little, burying his face in them.
"Dude, it's okay!" Finn said quickly, worried that Dave would pass out if he didn't start breathing again as the seconds ticked by. He wanted to reach out and touch Dave, but he had a feeling it would be the wrong thing to do. "Dude! Seriously, calm down! I didn't ask to upset you. I just…" He heard the T.V. come on downstairs, the opening song familiar as Kurt had watched the movie a hundred times and always had the same habits when he watched it. Finn knew exactly how he would look right now and it was just what Dave needed to see to believe him. "Come with me."
He stood, but Dave didn't move. He didn't even look up from where he was rocking in his seat. Finn could hear him choking as if he couldn't breathe, "Seriously, Dave. You need to breathe. I'm going to put my hand on your shoulder. I'm not going to hurt you. I just want you to see someone." Dave shuddered when Finn touched him, but didn't react otherwise.
It took a couple more minutes of low talking and reassurances before Dave finally followed him, a silent mountain at his back as they made their way down the stairs and to the living room. They paused in the doorway and just watched. Kurt was flinging himself around the room in his princess dress and sneakers, singing along to his favorite Disney princess in a high, strong soprano. Their dad was sitting on the couch smiling at him like he was beautiful and perfect just the way he was. Which to their family, of course, he was.
"That's Kurt," Finn said quietly so they didn't disturb him, "That's my little brother. And we're pretty sure that he's gay. Mom and Dad and me…we believe that you're born that way. I didn't mean to scare you, Dave. It's just…I hope that someday Kurt will have a friend who wants to make sure he has someone to talk to. I just wanted to ask in case you didn't have anyone else you could talk to about it. If you're not it's okay. If you are I want you to know that I'll never tell anyone unless you tell me I can. So…"
He turned back to see Dave looking at Kurt with tears streaming down his face. As soon as he reached out, Dave crumbled in on himself and went to his knees, arms wrapped around his stomach as if he was trying to hold himself together. He took in great gasping breaths. Finn dropped to his knees and wrapped his arms around Dave, trying to lend him as much strength as he could.
"My dad's going to kill me!" Dave sobbed, burying his face in Finn's sweater, "He already hates me because of my mom! If I tell him this he's going to beat me to death! But, I didn't choose…I wouldn't…I can't…I can't be gay!"
"Dave, it's okay." Finn rocked him like he rocked Kurt when he had a nightmare, "It's okay, I promise! We'll think of something."
"Finny?" Kurt's voice was quiet as a dove.
"Yeah, Kurtie?" Finn turned to look at his brother, who had tears of sympathy in his big, round eyes.
"Your friend's sad?"
"He is, a little bit," Finn agreed.
"Can I hug him?"
Finn looked down at Dave and saw him looking up, hope in his eyes. Maybe Kurt was just what Dave needed. Finn looked back up at Kurt and nodded. Kurt tossed himself at Dave, who wrapped the tiny form up in his arms and rocked. Finn had often wondered, and wondered still as Kurt was in Dave's arms, if his little brother could read people's minds, or at least feel what they were feeling. He didn't struggle, he didn't squirm in Dave's embrace. All he did was pet Dave like he was used to petting their cat and shush him like their mom shushed him when he had a bad dream. Dave held him gently, but firmly, until he had cried himself out. It was only when Dave looked up, surprise written on his face, that Finn realized that they weren't alone. He turned his head to see his mom and dad looking down at them. His mom had tears running down her face. His dad wasn't crying, but he looked decidedly uncomfortable. And angry. Really angry. More angry than Finn had ever seen him.
"Dad…" Finn mumbled.
"Mr. and Mrs. Hummel…" Dave choked out at the same time, letting Kurt go as if holding him any longer would burn him. Kurt looked surprised and a little bit worried, but he just sat on the floor next to Dave and put his little hand on Dave's knee.
"What's your name, son?" Burt asked, his voice rough.
"David," Dave's voice was small, unusual sounding for someone so big and strong, "David Karofsky."
And something in his mom broke, "Oh, David!"
Finn watched, stunned, as his mom threw herself to the floor, wrapped herself around Dave's form, and kissed him on the forehead, all the while running her hands over him tenderly, as if checking for bruises and such. Dave winced when her hands hit four or five different places and Finn felt tears come into his own eyes.
"You're not going back there, David."
Finn could only nod in agreement as his mom took Dave's face in her hands and looked him in the eye.
"You're never going back to someone who hurts you. Burt and I are going to make sure of it. Do you understand? You're safe now. And you're always going to be safe with us."
Finn had never been more proud to be a Hummel than he was in the next few weeks. He's always known that he had the best parents in the world, but they really proved it as they helped Dave get out of his father's house. For a little bit it looked like he and Kurt were going to have another brother. But, then Dave's grandmother on his mother's side came forward. It turned out that she had been trying to get Dave out of his father's house for years, but Dave's father was too good an actor when social services came over and Dave had been too scared at the time to speak up. After a while, with the threat of his father gone and his biggest, darkest secret shared with the glee club, Dave began to smile and laugh just like a regular kid. He relaxed and finally seemed comfortable in his own skin. So comfortable, in fact, that when Junior Prom rolled around he asked Matt to go with him. Matt, blushing lightly, had nodded and whispered that he'd like that. Finn saw his first gay kiss that night when Matt and Dave were hugging each other close as they danced to a slow song surrounded by the glee club to hide them in a way so that no one would give them any trouble. When the only thing Finn could think was that they looked right together as their lips touched shyly he knew that he was right on track to help his little brother know that everything he was would always only be natural, beautiful, and right to his family, to his big brother. No matter what the rest of the world thought or said.
When he got home that night Kurt was still up. He'd been so excited to see Finn and all of his friends in their fancy clothes and so disappointed when their mom told him that he would have to wait until he was older to go to a dance of his own. Finn felt so bad, looking into Kurt's bright eyes, tears glistening in them that he wouldn't actually let fall. He'd almost suggested to Rachel, Mercedes, and the rest of the glee club that they stay behind and just dance to music in the Hummel living room. But, he hadn't. The rest of the club had been looking forward to the dance for weeks and they were supposed to be performing. And they were already doing him a favor by stopping by his house, at Kurt's request, so that he could see them. (It wasn't much of a hardship though. No one was able to resist Kurt's baby boy eyes and charms.) When he saw Dave and Matt his pretty eyes had gone wide and he'd hugged Dave extra hard. Finn still wasn't quite sure that Kurt understood what being gay meant, or realized that it was something he might be. All he knew was that Dave was smiling when he held Matt's hand and that was all that mattered to his young mind. He clung to their mom's leg and smiled valiantly around his trembling lower lip as they all trooped out with the promise that they'd take him for ice cream soon.
His consolation that night was that their dad promised him that he could wait up until Finn got home from the dance so that he could tell him everything. Rachel understood completely. She and Finn weren't putting pressure on themselves to sleep together on prom night like so many other couples their age did. They knew that they were ready to go to the next step in their relationship, but they weren't going to plan anything. When it was right it would happen. Not before then. They were both comfortable with it. Finn was surprised that Kurt had lasted so long. He was an energetic little boy, but he was also still a kid. He'd submitted to a nap for the first time in a year that afternoon. He seemed a little sleepy when Finn first came in, his eyes were barely open when he looked away from the movie playing on the screen from under their mom's arm, but jumped up, wide awake, as soon as he recognized his big brother.
"Finny! Finny! Finny!" He screamed as he launched himself across the room. Finn scooped him up on the fly and settled him onto his hip.
"Hey, little man!" Finn twirled him around, a little high on his good night and the fact that he and Rachel had crawled into the backseat of his Navigator for a little bit to make out in her driveway before he came home. Kurt's high giggle was probably one of his favorite sounds in the world.
"What did you sing? Did you dance a lot? What did it look like? Did you have a good time? Did you tell Lauren that I thought she looked prettier than Rachel but I didn't want to make Rachel mad when she came over? She can yell really loud, Finn. She sounds like a crow and makes my ears hurt!"
Finn couldn't help but laugh. He loved his girlfriend, but when Kurt was right he was right, "We sang lots of stuff, Kurtie Bear. And we danced tons. There were about a million balloons in red and white. We all had a great time. And I did tell Lauren. She told me to give you this." He put one hand on Kurt's hair and leaned closer to press a soft kiss to Kurt's forehead. Kurt sighed, his energy almost depleted. Seemed he only had enough to keep him going just until Finn got home. Finn smiled and shifted Kurt a little so that his small legs were wrapped around his waist, his arms around his neck, and his little head nestled just underneath his chin. Kurt sighed again in content.
"Sing me one of the songs you sang tonight, Finny?" Kurt requested sleepily.
"Yeah, buddy, sure."
He began to sing quietly and the song took on new meaning for him. He'd always thought that is was a love song between a man and a woman and it was, but it also described just how he felt about his little brother. He closed his eyes and swayed slowly as he continued, feeling Kurt fall asleep in his arms. When he opened his eyes both of his parents were looking at him with wide smiles on their faces. His mom had tears in her eyes.
"You want me to put him to bed, kid?" Burt asked, and his voice was a lot rougher than it normally was. Finn, being a teenager and male, was a little embarrassed on behalf of his father for getting emotional over a song that Finn had sung to his little brother. He shrugged a little, then aborted the movement half way through when Kurt moaned from the back of his throat and moved a little restlessly.
"Naw, Dad. I got it. I'll put him to bed and then hit it myself. I'm pretty bushed."
"Alright, sweetheart," Carole smiled, "Sleep tight. Glad you had a good time. Love you."
"Love you, too, guys. Night."
"Pancakes in the morning." Burt called, "Mom's going into work early. It'll be a boy's day."
"Sounds great, Dad."
Kurt didn't wake up as Finn put him in his bed, pulled his blankets up, and tucked his classic Pooh Bear under his arm.
"Love you, Kurtie," He whispered.
"Finn?" Kurt's voice was light and Finn wasn't sure that he was even really awake.
"Sing it again?"
Finn smiled, pushed Kurt's hair back from his closed eyes, "Sure, Kurtie. Anything for you." He laid next to Kurt on the bed, let his little brother snuggle close to him, and sang.
L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very, very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can
Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don't break it
Love was made for me and you