The doorbell chiming through the Hudmel house(as it had been officially dubbed last December by Tina and Mike) held a strange, tinny echo that Thursday, pulling Kurt out of his summer haze.
"I'll get it!" he called, knowing full well that Finn was out on a (not so) secret date with one Rachel Berry, his father was at the garage and Carole was out running errands. He glanced at the muted television, catching a glimpse of Selena Gomez waving her hands and loosing glitter on her red headed friend before the bell chimed again and he huffed in annoyance.
"I'm coming! Hang on a minute!" he yelled, power walking to the front door and yanking it open with complete disregard for whoever was on the other side, even if they had planned on cleaning the house out and leaving Kurt's mangled body for his family to find.
Kurt's jaw dropped.
"What. The. Hell?" he asked, taking in the slender figure of the last person he ever expected to see on his doorstep. "Here to mock me some more, St. James? Finn's not home, you know. He's out on a date with Rachel-you know, the girl you completely trashed last year?"
Jesse flushed a light shade of pink(and Kurt couldn't help it if the boy was hot but damn he shouldn't lick his lips like that. He did have a boyfriend.) and rubbed the back of his neck nervously, which made Kurt take pause. Jesse St. James was never nervous. About anything. Like, ever.
"Listen, Kurt, I'm not here to cause trouble, honestly. I just wanted to give you these." he said, holding out a black garbage bag and waiting patiently for Kurt to take it.
"You're giving me your trash? Have you seriously sunk that low?" Kurt asked, appalled that Jesse would ever think that Kurt would take his trash.
"It's not-it's clothes! That's all! No trash, no jokes, no plots of revenge! Just a trash bag full of gently used clothing." Jesse snapped back and Kurt snatched the trash bag, fumbling with the knot.
"You know, you have absolutely no right to yell at me after what happened last month. No right at all." Kurt muttered as he glanced inside the bag, taking note of ten or twelve t-shirts, six or seven pairs of jeans, a stylish jean jacket and a few pairs of shoes in varying sizes. "Oh my god, you're serious."
"Of course, I'm serious. When am I ever not serious?" Jesse asked, rolling his eyes at Kurt's disbelief.
"Pushing it." Kurt snapped, dropping the bag right inside his front door. "I'll give them to Finn-"
"They're for Sam, Kurt, not Finn."
"If you'd let me finish, St. James. I'll give them to Finn because he's going to visit Sam on Saturday." Kurt said, crossing his arms and shaking his head cockily at the older boy.
"Oh. Okay, well, thanks. Bye!" Jesse said suddenly, turning on his heel when he felt Kurt's hand grip the back of his shirt and yank him inside the blessedly cool house before slamming the door shut. "Please don't kill me."
"Do you want a drink?" Kurt asked, walking away from a dumbstruck Jesse who blinked in confusion.
"Do. You. Want. Something. To. Drink?" Kurt repeated slowly from down the hall. "And for Gaga's sake get your tush down here so I don't have to yell down the hall."
Jesse walked slowly down the hall, warily, as if the entire of New Directions were waiting to ambush him. But he was only met with two glasses on the island in the kitchen of the Hummel-Hudson house when he reached the end of the hall, both containing ice cubes.
"We have water, soda, juice-anything particular you'd like?" Kurt said muffledly, head buried in the fridge as he rummaged around for something. He made an 'aha!' noise, grabbing something and removing himself from the fridge clutching a bottle of something orange as he turned back to face Jesse. "Jesse?"
"If you have some orange juice that would be fine." Jesse said softly, watching as Kurt poured both drinks and sat at the island gracefully, pushing the glass of orange juice toward Jesse.
"Thank you." he said, grabbing the glass, uncertain if he was allowed to sit or if he'd be thrown out the moment he finished his drink.
"You can sit down. You won't catch the gay, you know." Kurt said, smirking playfully as Jesse stumbled over himself to sit at the island.
They drank their drinks in mutual silence-uncomfortable for Jesse, contemplative for Kurt. He watched the older boy bury his face in the juice glass, his curly if perfectly coifed bedhead falling into his eyes and his face stilled tinted a faint shade of pink.
"How did you hear-"
"Why are you-"
Both boys cut each other off, stopping abruptly at the other talking and letting out awkward laughter at the instance.
"You first." they both said and Kurt let out a very undignified snort as Jesse ran a hand through his hair.
"Why are you being so nice to me? After what I did to all of you? You specifically." Jesse asked, furrowing his brow. Kurt was moved by the look of innocence that was spread out on his former Glee-mate's face, there for anybody to see.
"I'm not exactly sure. You certainly don't deserve it." Kurt said and Jesse's face fell at his honesty. "You misunderstand me, Mr. St. James. 'Deserve' and 'being given' are two very different things. You don't deserve my being nice, but, for some reason, I'm giving it to you. I've been where you are, Jesse, and I wish I'd had someone to be there for me. We were friends once, after all, even if nobody in New Directions trusted you."
"It wasn't without reason." Jesse muttered, burying his face in his hands. "I smashed everybody's dreams to bits and in payment, my own were ripped from my grasp."
"I can't give you a satisfactory answer to your question, Jesse. But maybe if you answer mine, you'll find your answer." Kurt said, taking a sip of his orange soda as Jesse lifted his head.
"How did you hear about Sam?" he asked, taking another sip and Jesse's brow furrowed.
"Rachel told me. It wasn't her fault, it just slipped out when she was rambling so please don't be mad at her." Jesse spouted and Kurt tried not to laugh at his begging.
"I won't, don't worry. Now, for another question-why did you bring me those clothes?" Kurt asked.
"Because...I don't know where Sam...lives?" Jesse asked uncertainly and Kurt shook his head.
"You could've easily figured that out on your own. Now answer my question truthfully." Kurt said sternly, setting his glass down and staring at the man in front of him. Jesse took a gulp of his orange juice before answering.
"He needs them." Jesse said and Kurt cocked his head.
"You could've easily overlooked him. You've done it before, to others far less deserving. And Finn and I have both given him extra clothes so he should be set for a while. Why help Sam out?"
"During prom, after Finn had left, Sam came out to check on me, see if I was okay. We talked about a few things and he seemed kind of, well...cool." Jesse explained and Kurt could see the light dawning slowly. "We became friends."
"There's something Brittany said-the ditsy blond who can dance? That one-right before school ended for the year. Smartest thing I've ever heard anybody said. She told us that we, as a club, were a family, or at least like one. She told us that we fight and we threaten to quit every other day but we're family because family is where everyone loves you no matter what and it's where everyone accepts you for exactly who you are. So, yes, Jesse St. James-you betrayed us and you hurt us and you got what was coming to you in return...but I'm guessing that there are still some people in New Directions that would be willing to accept you back into their lives. You may have to tone down the pigheadedness some but, as much as I loathe to admit it, you were a part of New Directions once. That makes you family, do you hear me?"
"I don't know what to say, Kurt."
"Thank you is usually an appropriate answer in instances like this." Kurt said, smiling.
"Thank you, Kurt Hummel. It means a lot." Jesse said, smiling back.
"It's what families do, Jesse." Kurt replied.
They finished their drinks in silence until
"And maybe I can get Sam and Mercedes to go see a movie sometime this weekend if you're up for it."
Jesse groaned in pain as the last of his orange juice shot through his nose.