Happy August, Gleeks! I hope you're all having a particularly lovely day—I certainly am, because it happens to be my birthday today :) I had originally planned on wrapping up Intelligible Paranoia today, but I finished up early and it seemed kind of mean to sit on it for so long, so instead: another collection of drabbles, outtakes from other stories, and snippets that never grew up. Those of you who follow me on tumblr (http:/ yourfairygodfather. tumblr. com/) have already seen a few of these, but the rest of them are brand new, so enjoy!

Also! To those of you who wished me luck on my exams: thank you! This weekends' assortment went well, and I have one more, 200-question test this evening. So happy reading—I'mma go study and eat some cake.

Lemonhead, Part I

Pre-"Rumors", 2x19:

"All right, Lemonhead, you're forgiven. Had I known what stiff competition you were facing at home, I'd have been more understanding about your obvious bottle job."

Sam snorted as he shrugged into another sweater. He'd been in the bathroom for half an hour, working his way through the stack of clothing Kurt had brought for him to try on, and he'd been waiting for Kurt to get in a dig about his hair. Hair that was starting to get a little static-y from the various fabrics passing over it, actually.

Surprisingly enough, most of the clothes that Kurt had given him weren't too 'out there'. Sure, some of the jeans were a little too snug to be comfortable, and most of the sweaters were definitely tighter than he was used to, but Kurt had obviously kept Sam's usual style in mind while weeding through his closet. Which was an unexpected level of discretion that Sam appreciated.

Kurt himself was currently on his bed, spine ramrod straight against the headboard, doing something complicated to Stacy's hair that involved blue beads and shimmery pink ribbons. Stevie was sprawled at their feet, video game controller in hand as he split his concentration between Kurt and the screen.

The bathroom door was slightly open, and Sam could hear enough of the chatter from the other room to notice that Stacy and Stevie were subtly competing for Kurt's attention. He was sure Kurt had realized it as well, and was diplomatically doing his best to equally maintain the two conversations.

It was a far cry from what Sam had expected when he first opened the door to find Kurt standing on his doorstep, shopping bags overflowing with barely worn clothing. Stacy and Stevie had stared, wide-eyed and open mouthed, at Kurt's shoes (not that he blamed them—even he had never seen shiny heeled platform boots on a guy before), and Kurt had mentioned in the past that he wasn't good with kids, owing to the fact that he "didn't understand children even when I was a child".

He had scarcely been in the room for five minutes, however, when he turned to Sam and announced his intention to kidnap his new minions on Thursday while Finn was at S.A.T. prep. "You'll just have to find some way to amuse yourself for three hours," he had told Sam casually, letting Stevie climb on his shoulders (with only a slight flinch) while Stacy tried on his shoes. "The fudge cake Stevie is going to help me make is going to need time to set, and I'll need a couple hours to alter all the clothing I made during my pre-pubescent Jewel Tone phase—they're a little too long in the leg for Stacy, but we can put in temporary hems for now and then take them back out in a few months when she hits her growth spurt. Right, Stacy?"

Stacy had nodded emphatically, clearly responding to Kurt's tone of voice rather than indicating any understanding of what on Earth he was talking about. Kurt was kind enough to look away while quizzing Sam on the family's various food allergies and dietary restrictions, giving Sam a chance to swipe furiously at his eyes and swallow the lump in his throat.

Reaching the bottom of the last bag, Sam shook out the final article of clothing—a long grey cardigan—and dropped it straight into the 'No, Thanks' pile. Then picked it back up. It looked like something his mom would wear; he'd save it and give it to her.

"And…there. Excellent. Go tell your brother to stop monopolizing the mirror so that you can see your pretty hair," he heard Kurt tell Stacy, and Stacy happily scampered off the bed and burst into the bathroom. Sam caught her easily and lifted her up so that she could use the mirror, while giving Kurt a pointed look at the same time.

Kurt clapped his hands together, smiling. "I never get to say that," he explained, sounding pleased with himself. "Usually I'm the one getting kicked out of the bathroom. There's a reason I have my own vanity."

Sam liked Kurt as a person, he really did. Still, he had no idea how to respond to that.

Luckily, he didn't have to figure it out—Stacy was squirming in his arms, and as soon as he put her down, she bounded back into the main room and leapt back up on the bed next to Kurt. "You're really good at doing hair," she told him seriously, and Kurt beamed at her.

"Can you tell my boyfriend you think so?" he asked, adjusting a ribbon. "I've been dying to mess with his manscaping for ages, but he's practically married to his hair gel. It's so tragic."

Stacy's big eyes were back. "You have a boyfriend?" she asked breathlessly. Stevie sat up as well, looking interested.

Sam felt a little sick to his stomach—he'd never thought to discuss gay issues with Stevie and Stacy; they were just little kids. Now, though, he was sort of wishing he had, because he had no idea what they were going to say to Kurt, or how Kurt was going to react.

He braced himself for a potential explosion.

"Yes I do," Kurt answered loftily. "And while his level of hair product abuse sometimes means I have to talk myself out of 'accidently' spilling shampoo on his head, he's ridiculously perfect otherwise. He's better than my brother at Call of Duty and he doesn't complain when I spend two hours in the dressing room at Macys. Want to meet him?"

Holy Crap.

And just like that, Kurt had Stacy and Stevie cuddled up on either side of him, bouncing slightly on the bed and watching the phone in Kurt's hand with a ridiculous amount of anticipation. With a wink at Sam, Kurt dryly informed Blaine that he was on speakerphone with his future protégés, so be nice, and that one of them had something to say about his hair styling ability. Blaine laughed easily and pretended to be ashamed of himself when Stacy told him that he should listen to Kurt, and let Stevie pepper him with questions about video games and what kind of guitar he played and could he play better than Sam (and tactfully responded that Sam was better, even though neither of them had ever heard the other really play).

Later when the kids were getting ready for bed and Sam walked Kurt out, Kurt put a hand on his arm and told him that the kids were even more adorable than he was, and that Sam was welcome to bring them by whenever he needed a break. And not to wear his boot cut jeans with sneakers, or Kurt would steal them back during gym class.

Watching him go, Sam felt…

Well, he didn't know what he felt. But maybe somebody knowing didn't suck as much as he imagined it would.

Wikipedia is Not a Citable Source

Mid-Season 2:

David took one look at Wes, who was uncharacteristically slumped in an armchair toward the back of the library, and frowned. "Let me guess," he asked sympathetically, "you've been working on your annotated bibliography for History as well, haven't you?"

Wes didn't even bother to open his eyes. "It's terrible," he lamented dramatically. "I keep finding books and articles that would be perfect for my thesis, and none of them fit the credentials. They don't cite their source materials, or they cite them improperly, or they're published in journals that, for some reason, haven't been peer edited, and it's driving me insane. Why can't scholars just do things properly?"

A small, stifled snort came from a couple tables away. David and Wes both looked over, and Wes raised a tired, un-amused eyebrow. "Warbler Kurt, I missed the humor in my academic predicament," he said dryly. "Perhaps you can enlighten me."

Kurt looked contrite. "Sorry, Wes, I wasn't laughing at you, I promise. It's just—"

He paused, twisting his lips in thought. "I suppose I'm just impressed with your dedication to your studies, and the baseline of educational achievement here at Dalton."

He shrugged, gathering up his books and packing his messenger bag.

"I did go to a school where your entire monologue would have to be summed up as "Pics or it didn't happen" for anyone to understand it, after all."

The Dangers of Daytime Television

Post-"Rumors", 2x19:

"And that's all the time that we have for today. Tune in next time, where we'll be getting the inside scoop—and pictures—on the football team's choice: boxers or briefs."

With a perfect show smile—Rachel had cornered her in the girls bathroom a couple weeks ago and made her practice for half an hour—Brittany waved goodbye to the camera and hit the stop button.

After hitting the rewind, play, and mute buttons. This was so much harder without Artie behind the camera.

"Oh, Givenchy. It's worse than I thought."

Brittany looked up. Kurt was standing in the doorway, arms crossed, with a pair of oversized sunglasses perched on his head. He was looking around the room with a slight frown, which only deepened when Lord Tubbington jumped off the bed and began sniffing at his boots, glancing back and forth between Kurt and the laces. Brittany really hoped he wouldn't try chewing on them again—last time, Kurt had shrieked so hard that the windows rattled, before delivering a 45 minute lecture on Showing Proper Respect for Designerwear.

Speaking of which…

"Kurt, thank God. You're the only one that Lord Tubbington sometimes listens to—can you please tell him that he needs to quit smoking?"

Kurt gave her an irritated look. "Britt Britt, that is so not what I'm—" Brittany bit her lip sadly and scuffed her foot on the carpet.

Kurt sighed. "Lord Tubbington," he stated flatly, looking down at Brittany's pet. "If I catch you with a cigarette again, I'm shaving off two square inches of your unwashed fur and putting you on the patch. Now go drag your rotund butt outside for some exercise, and think about what you've done."

Kurt gave Lord Tubbington an encouraging pat, and he and Brittany watched the cat slink down the hall. Brittany beamed at Kurt. He was the most awesome parent ever.

"Okay," Kurt said, clapping his hands together before pulling Brittany back into the room and sitting her on the bed, giving the tray of fondue a wide berth. "I thought maybe Mercedes was exaggerating, but after watching that interview, I can see how that was wishful thinking on my part."

Sitting down next to Brittany, he took her hands in his super-baby-soft ones. "Britt, this has gone on long enough. I'm staging an intervention."

Brittany frowned, confused. "Is this about my dirt collection?" she asked. "Because it only takes up two shelves. And I can't go to rehab—Lindsay Lohan and I are fighting on Twitter right now, and the tabloids all say she's planning on ripping out my hair the next time she sees me."

Kurt shook his head impatiently. "No sweetheart, that's Hoarders," he explained, "and we're not on television." He froze suddenly. "Brittany, the camera is off, right? Because I am not dressed for an audience."

The camera was off, Brittany knew, but she gamely allowed Kurt to unscrew it from the tripod before aiming at the wall and covering it with a thick sweater.

Sometimes he just got crazy, irrational ideas in his head, and it was best to just humor him and move on.

"Right, now that that's taken care of," Kurt sighed, sitting back down and fixing his hair, before turning back to her. "Brittany. We all love you, and respect your desire to invade other people's privacy and spread hurtful gossip."

Brittany nodded, following him so far. Kurt smiled understandingly.

"But hot cheese, raw meat, and feline germs are not the way to go about it," he explained. "Not only is it disgusting—and believe me, the repulsiveness factor is off the charts—but it's terrible for your arteries, and I'd be willing to bet my favorite Choos that you don't actually know how to use a fondue pot. And if you give everyone food poisoning, you won't have anyone to interview. Do you understand?"

Brittany nodded again, more slowly this time. She didn't think she was actually cooking anything with poison—you had to buy that from the pirates, since the symbol was their flag. But Kurt never bet his Choos unless he knew he was right. So…maybe the cashier at the grocery store was a secret pirate, or an evil witch. Which meant…

"Is Mercedes in a coma?" Brittany asked, concerned. She and her sister had watched Snow White a couple weeks ago, so she knew what happened to people who ate poison.

Oh, and how to fix it!

"I'll totally make out with her if she is," she offered, "since it's my fault." She paused. "Or do you have to be a prince for that to work?" she wondered. "Because the only royalty I know is Lord Tubbington, and I don't think he'll want to do it, since he and Mercedes didn't get along very well."

Kurt looked disturbed. "That's okay," he said quickly. "She'll be fine. Just…start serving bagels and bottled water on your talk show, okay?" Brittany nodded, and Kurt smiled. "Good. Now get in the car—I missed lunch for this and I need coffee, and since my current arm candy is busy singing at a nursing home today, you can be my girly blonde substitute."

Taking Kurt's proffered arm, Brittany let Kurt lead her out the door.

He was right. Heating up bagels in the fondue pot would be a lot easier than melting all that cheese, plus they were easier to clean off if she accidently dropped them than raw meat was.

Kurt was awesome. But maybe she should tell him that her arm wasn't really made of candy, just in case.

Carrot and Stick

"Blame it on the Alcohol", 2x14:

That stupid 'Word of the Day' calendar was the worst idea that Finn's mom had ever had. She'd given it to him at Christmas, and Finn hadn't really paid too much attention to it at the time (she and Burt had also gotten him an Xbox to replace the one he'd accidently spilled Pepsi all over, so he was kinda distracted). Kurt had definitely noticed it, though: he'd clapped his hands in front of him happily, praising 'Carole's gift-selecting ingenuity, and the exciting prospect of Finn's expanding vocabulary.'

Finn wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but he was pretty sure he ought to be at least mildly offended.

The calendar made it as far as the desk in his room, where it was promptly ignored for over a month. And really, Finn would have been happier to leave it that way.


In the end, however, it was really mostly Finn's fault that the calendar even came up again—both Kurt and his mom had asked him a couple of times each to move his load of laundry out of the dryer. And he'd meant to, he really had, but every time one of them mentioned it, he was busy eating or doing something else important, and by the time he finished doing whatever, he'd forgotten about the laundry again.

It was Kurt who cracked first. "These are impossibly wrinkled," he announced, coming into Finn's room through the open door and dumping the hamper-full of Finn's clothing onto the bed. "And if you think you're touching my iron again after what happened last time, you'd better think again."

Finn sighed. "I apologized for that, like, a million times," he pointed out. "And it's not like I'd be dumb enough to try that a second time."

Kurt stared at him. "Finn. You used my iron to make a panini when we have a perfectly functional sandwich-maker. A sandwich-maker that, as I recall, is the only kitchen appliance you're still allowed to use without supervision. Forgive me if I'm not astounded by your intellect."

Finn rolled his eyes. "Whatever, dude," he muttered, getting up from his desk and starting to fold his laundry haphazardly. Like he wanted to use Kurt's stupid iron anyway. Wrinkles never killed anyone.

He folded in silence for a moment, secretly waiting—Kurt was still in the room, which meant that any minute now, he was going to start bitching about why Finn's folding sucked. Which was actually okay: he usually only had to listen to Kurt complain about him being incontinent or whatever for about 30 seconds before Kurt would take over and do it himself.

Unfortunately, Kurt was ignoring Finn's sloppy work this time. "Why is your day calendar still set to January 4th?" he asked, leaning over Finn's math homework to pick it up. "It's February."

Finn shrugged. "I don't really use it," he replied. "I was thinking of giving it to Brittany—Rachel says she doesn't know how to read a calendar, so maybe if she had one, she'd learn."

Kurt closed his eyes for a few seconds. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear you say that, because it's only ten in the morning on a Saturday, and I haven't had enough coffee to deal with any of it right now," he explained finally, pinching the bridge of his nose just like Burt did whenever he had a headache. "But if you're not using it, why don't we put it in the kitchen, and we can use it as a family?"

Finn brightened at that. Kurt was at school so often these days that they really didn't spend as much time together as brothers should, but still—Finn thought he was a pretty good one. And he liked when Kurt called them a family, especially when they'd gotten off to such a rotten start. "Yeah, sounds good," he answered, smiling at Kurt.

Kurt smiled back, looking pleased. "Terrific. I'll take it downstairs now," he decided, hugging the calendar to his chest and practically flouncing out of the room.

Leaving Finn to fold all the clothes himself. Crap.


One nice thing about Kurt was that he was a seriously awesome chef. If he had a restaurant, Finn would eat at it five times a day for the rest of his life.

One not so nice thing about Kurt was that he was an evil chef. If he had a restaurant, he'd probably print the menus in French or Mexican or some other language that Finn couldn't read, just because he could. He was seriously so mean that that chef dude on Hell's Kitchen probably called him for advice.

Because when Kurt had been all 'Oh Finn, let's use the calendar as a family', what he had really meant was 'Oh Finn, let me make you breakfast, but not let you have it until you learn another stupid word from that stupid calendar that you were stupid enough to give me'.

Only Kurt would have said it with bigger, calendar-approved words.

And nobody was on his side. The first few mornings that an apron-wearing Kurt had stood in front of Finn, holding Finn's full plate in one hand and the Word of the Day in the other, Finn had tried complaining about how unfair it was for Kurt to make him starve unless he could use 'Proclaim' or 'Trite' in a sentence. Burt had looked darkly at Finn's plate and grumbled that at least Finn was still allowed to have the yolks in his eggs, and his mom had just pointed out that if Finn didn't want to do it, he could always make his own breakfast, especially since Kurt had such a long drive to Dalton every morning, and thoughtfully cooking for Finn every morning meant that sometimes he got a later start on the road than he would have liked.

Then she mentioned that Finn's B minus in English had dropped to a C on his last report card, and maybe morning vocabulary lessons would help him bring it back up. Kurt had smiled poisonously and handed him the ketchup.

Finn played along for three weeks, sleepily muttering under his breath each morning as Kurt cheerfully taped the previous day's word to the fridge before reading the new one out loud. He struggled to make up sentences that Kurt would deem acceptable, and he tried to keep the complaining to a minimum when Kurt would correct his pronunciation with a smirk.

One Friday, though, Finn was just too tired to learn anything new. He just wanted his eggs and turkey bacon, and he didn't want to have to swallow a dictionary to get them. Which is exactly what he told Kurt.

In hindsight, Finn probably should have taken one look at Kurt's stiff shoulders and sharp frown and stayed quiet. Nobody had ever said he was a genius, though.

"Just pick a word, Finn," Kurt had snapped irritably, when Finn had voiced his complaint. "They're all on the refrigerator, it's not that difficult."

Finn ignored the warning tone in Kurt's voice. "Maybe not for you," he protested, "but I can't remember them all, okay? And why do I have to be the one to do it every morning? Why can't you do them sometimes and just leave me alone?"

Kurt turned off the stove and glowered (Finn remembered that one, at least—Kurt had made French Toast that day) at Finn. "You want me to do the Word of the Day?" he asked dangerously. "Fine. I was dismayed to see all the pornography on the downstairs computer last night when I was looking up a few dates for my History assignment. I can assert with confidence that, given the heterosexual nature of said photographs and videos, you will be the one receiving our parent's ire, not me."

He dropped the spatula he had been using back into the cooling pan. "I'm also melancholy because I had to find out that New Directions is having a party at Rachel's house tonight from Artie's Facebook. Rachel forgetting to invite me I can understand, because she's essentially the epitome of self-centeredness. But you should have known better."

Finn's annoyance drained out of him as he realized that all of Kurt's extra-bitchiness that morning had really been Kurt feeling unwanted and upset that all his friends from McKinley might be forgetting about him. "It's not like that," he explained awkwardly, trying to think of what he could say to make Kurt feel better. "I only found about it yesterday at school. And…I don't know, maybe everyone thought you wouldn't want to come, since you're always so busy with school, and hanging out with that Blake guy."

"His name is Blaine," Kurt corrected, voice tight. "And I'm supposed to be meeting him for coffee, so I need to go." He stripped off his apron and dropped it on the counter, before snatching up his car keys. "There's cereal in the cupboard. You're off the hook this morning," he added, and was out the door before Finn could protest.

Finn sighed, hearing Kurt's Navigator speed away outside. He honestly hadn't thought about inviting Kurt to Rachel's party, but—like most of the things he did that hurt Kurt's feelings—once it had been pointed out to him, he could see how it had been kind of a dick move.

Taking one last, sad look at his half-cooked breakfast, Finn tossed it in the trash and sent Mercedes a text, explaining that Kurt was pissed about the party, and that she should invite him and pretend that Finn hadn't mention it. Then he sat down with the stupid calendar and looked at the newest word: Archetype.

It didn't look too bad. Maybe if Finn practiced it a few times, he could use it in a sentence at the party, and Kurt would know that he was sorry.

Phone Interlude, Part I

Intelligible Paranoia (Season 2):


"Hi, Kurt."

"Britt, aren't you supposed to be in class?"

"I don't know. I'm hungry; maybe it's lunchtime."

"It should be fourth period now. What class do you have after we had math?"

"Are you going back to school?"

"Not today, it's a Teacher Conference day at Dalton. I'll go back tomorrow."

"No, I mean are you going back to McKinley."

"No, I'm not. Who told you that?"

"Nobody, but I didn't think transfer meant forever. Jesse transferred here, and then he went back to school at Vocal Adrenaline, and Matt transferred, but they taught him how to speak and now he's back, so I thought maybe you'd be done transferring and come back too."

"…okay. First of all, honey, Vocal Adrenaline isn't actually a school, it's a cult. The school is called Carmel—not the candy, either, just a building. And second, when did Matt get back?"

"Today. I saw him earlier, and now we're all going to stare at him and look scary. Bye!"

"Wait, what are you—Britt!"

Phone Interlude, Part I

Intelligible Paranoia (Season 2):

"Hi, Blaine."

"Hey, Kurt."

"How was the drive back?"

"It was fine. Is it stupid that I miss you already? It's only been, like, two hours."

"Not at all. I'm glad you came over today."

"I am too. So listen, I just wanted to give you a heads up that we need to take the long way to the music room tomorrow, instead of the shortcut through the senior wing."

"Oh, okay. Why?"

"Wes and David are sick, and we're not allowed to go anywhere near their rooms. It's a whole procedural thing, I'll explain it later."

"Both of them? Are they all right?"

"I'm sure they're fine. There was an incident last year where some idiot swallowed a few too many of those Vitamin C packets, so we tend to treat even little signs of illness pretty seriously."

"That's…really weird."


"When do you think they'll be back at practice?"

"Thursday, probably. Although…"


"Do you know any movies about psychotic cheerleaders? I guess David's been having night terrors, and Thad's a little concerned that he's watching scary movies and not getting enough sleep again."

"…Does that happen a lot?"

"Do you remember the morning we found him passed out in his room after he'd written all over his wall in permanent marker?"

"Too well, actually."

"Yeah. Thad and David share a wall. I guess Wes and David had some sort of fight that night—Thad couldn't really hear it, but something about Wes being too tired to deal with Mean Girls. Then David watched it on his own and had a total meltdown."

"Mean Girls isn't scary."

"You buried your head in my shoulder during the Halloween scenes."

"I did, didn't I? What possible reason could I have had for doing that?"



"Want to come over on Sunday and watch Love Actually?"

"I think I remember seeing that one a few times. Is it scary?"

"Terrifying. You may have to hold my hand or sit in my lap or something."

Lemonhead, Part II

Post-"Rumors", 2x19:

Probably the worst thing about working as a pizza delivery boy (besides the bad porno jokes, because seriously, those sucked) was smelling like pepperoni all the time. It made him a little self-conscious.

And honestly? He was standing on Kurt Hummel's porch, dressed in his stupid striped pizza parlor shirt, coming to pick up his little brother and sister after an afternoon and evening of delivering greasy boxes so that he could help pay for the motel room that they all lived in. He really didn't need more self-consciousness.

At least, Sam thought as he rang the doorbell and waited, Finn wasn't around to see him like this. He really liked the guy, and he was really grateful to have his guitar back, but…

There had been a lot of reasons Sam hadn't wanted to tell the Glee club that he was basically homeless. One of those reasons was that most of them wouldn't really get what that actually meant. For all their loyalty and grand gestures, nobody—not even Mr. Schue—had gone beyond the Healing Power of Song and asked Sam if his family had enough to eat that night.

He wasn't bitter. It wouldn't have been something he would have thought to ask, either, had it been somebody else.

The door opened, and a gruff looking man Sam vaguely recognized as Kurt's dad was standing there. "You Sam?" he asked, and Sam nodded. The man looked him over appraisingly, before nodding back stiffly. "Kurt's got the kids painting out back. They're good—polite."

Sam gave him a small, tired smile. "Thank you, sir. I'll go around the house and get them."

Before he could turn to go, however, Kurt's dad clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Kurt says you took a hit for him, back when he was still at McKinley. Is that true?"

Sam hesitated, before nodding again. The punch he'd gotten in the face wasn't meant for Kurt, so he wasn't sure how true the statement really was, but he had been defending Kurt at the time, so…

Mr. Hummel's hand was still on his shoulder, and Sam felt him give it a light squeeze. "You can call me Burt, and my wife is Carole," Mr. Hummel said seriously, looking Sam in the eye. "The boys haven't told me much about your situation, but I know enough—you and the kids can come over anytime, all right? There'll be a place for you here if you need it, even if it's three in the morning."

Sam, his throat choked up, couldn't answer. Burt seemed to understand.

It was only when Sam had composed himself enough to face Kurt and his siblings that what Burt had said about the three of them sunk in. And he really hoped that Burt had meant they were painting pictures on easels or whatever, because if Kurt had them doing manual labor or his chores or something, he was going to have to find another babysitter, and he had already put so much stress on Quinn over the last couple of weeks, and—

Sam rounded the corner of the house and stopped abruptly.

Stacy and Stevie were standing on either side of Kurt, buckets of water at their feet as they 'painted' the bricks that made up the chimney. Stevie had acquired a roller brush and was painting in large swaths, while Stacy tried to copy Kurt's precise, delicate strokes—even standing the way he did, with one hand tucked in the small of her back and feet shoulder width apart.

"…and I know that a typical first date is generally dinner and a movie, but the mall is my sacred space, and Blaine knew that," Kurt was saying. "Plus, they have a bookstore that makes excellent Frappuccino's, and it was really adorable watching him try to open all his favorite books and read me the parts he likes best while holding both my hand and his drink."

Stacy was watching him with awe. "How did he do it?" she wanted to know. Stevie looked up, looking curious as well.

Kurt looked at them both very seriously. "He put down his coffee, leaned the spines of the books against the shelf, and did it one handed. Never settle for someone who doesn't like books or is afraid to hold your hand in front of everyone."

Stevie was the first to spot him. "Sammy!" he yelled, running over to Sam and throwing his skinny arms around his waist.

Stacy wasn't far behind. "Sammy, we made eggplant pasta stuff for dinner, and it was really good, and Kurt said we could take the rest home!"

Stevie nodded enthusiastically. "And the cake," he reminded Stacy, who was jumping up and down, trying to get Sam to pick her up. Sam scooped her up mid-leap, and she clung to his shoulder while she talked.

"Kurt says that if I still want to be Jessie the Cowgirl for Halloween, he'd help me make a costume. And Blaine His Boyfriend called earlier, and he said if it's ok with you, maybe he'd come over next week and he and Stevie and me could do a play for you and Kurt, when you come pick us up, is it ok with you? Because Kurt said if I was really super careful, he'd let me wear the Little Red Riding Hood cape that his mom made him when he was little."

"Will you teach me how to play your guitar?" Stevie asked suddenly. "You and Blaine know how to play the guitar, and Kurt said he'd teach Stacy the piano if she wanted, but I want to play the guitar like you."

The kids would keep babbling excitedly over each other the entire way home, and Sam would hear a steady stream of whispers coming from their side of the room long after they were supposed to be asleep. The next Thursday, they would be practically bouncing off the walls with anticipation, ready to meet the famous Blaine Anderson. And Sam would sit and watch with pride as they really did put on a play, complete with songs from the radio.

That would all come later. In that moment, Sam let his brother and sister cling to him, and didn't hide the tears that welled in his eyes from Kurt, who knew the value of small gestures.

"Come inside and have dinner before you go, Stevie and Stacy saved a plate for you," Kurt said kindly, as Sam blinked his eyes rapidly before the kids could look up at him. "All that pizza is terrible for your complexion."

Sam put Stacy back down and let the kids pull him inside, Kurt following behind them with the painting supplies.