There were no parking spaces in front of the coffee shop. Dean had to park his truck in the lot of the mini-mart across the street, and pray it didn't get towed. He waited for the traffic to pass, then rushed across before some maniac in a brown Camry ran him down.
He didn't see the kid when he looked through the plate glass window, but he might be in the bathroom. Dean went up to the counter. Holy crap, they had a lot of coffee choices. Hadn't they ever heard of a regular cup of coffee?
He ended up ordering something called a Dark Americano, which was pretty close to what he wanted. When he picked up his drink, he asked the girl behind the counter, "Have you seen a kid come in? Brown hair, kind of skinny, probably wearing a tie?"
The girl smiled and pointed towards the back. And there he was, sitting in a corner booth and staring into his own cup of whatever the hell it was, looking so alone that Dean wanted to go and comfort him. Which was probably why he was here in the first place.
"Thanks." With that, he made his way back, carefully holding his uncovered drink so that it wouldn't splash all over him, and sat down opposite the younger man. "Hi, Kurt."
Kurt Hummel looked up suddenly, startled, and then his face broke into a sunny grin. "Dean! You came!"
"You asked me to. There's only a few people in the world I would drop everything for, and you're one of them now."
"Well . . . thank you." Kurt looked like he was about to say something else, but he closed his mouth again and stirred his coffee.
"So, how's your dad? He's really okay?"
"Yeah, he's doing pretty well. He's following all the doctor's orders and eating better, and he even went to the gym this week."
"Yeah. He wasn't there long, but he was there. I guess he's working up to it. Um, how's your life going?"
"Pretty good, pretty good. I thought I'd miss it, y'know, the traveling, the hunting . . . but I'm settling down okay. I'm actually getting to like life in the suburbs."
"Great." Kurt looked down at the table, and then back up at Dean. "Sometimes I wish we were still at it. That we were still tracking down the thing that killed Mom. I know Dad wanted to keep me out of this life, but I think I might be good at it, if I tried . . ."
"It's no life for a kid," Dean said, thinking of Ben. "I know I'd never drag a kid of mine around with me, if I had the choice. Besides, your dad had a freaking heart attack. He needs to slow down for a while."
"I just want to get out of this town and away from that school full of -" Kurt looked up, as if searching for the right word. He settled for "Jerks."
"What's going on? Someone been giving you a hard time?"
Kurt looked away and wouldn't answer.
"Come on, kid, you can tell -" Dean broke off suddenly and turned around. "Hey, douchebag," he said to the guy at the next table who was leaning in and listening intently. "My cousin and I are having a private conversation here. Do you mind?"
The guy stared at him for a moment, and then turned away.
"That's better." Dean turned back to Kurt. "People need to mind their own business. Just ignore them. Now tell me," he said, in his best big-brother voice, "what is going on."
Kurt took a deep breath, and then he said, "These guys at school have been giving me a hard time because I'm . . ."
"What guys? Point 'em out to me, and I'll make sure they never bother you again."
"No!" Kurt started, and almost knocked his coffee over. "Don't do that! They'll just come after me even more! Just . . . just tell me what to do about it."
"It's not that simple. Why don't you tell me the whole story, and then maybe I'll know what to do?"
"I don't . . . I . . ."
"Kurt." Dean reached over and put his hand on the teen's shoulder. "Whatever it is, it's okay. You haven't killed anyone, have you?"
"Have you been running through the halls in your underwear? I did that once, but it was my last day in that crappy school, and I wanted to leave them with a lasting impression. I don't recommend it if you're planning on sticking arou-"
"It's because I'm gay!" Kurt blurted out. Then he put his head down on the table and cried.
The guy at the next table glanced over again, but one look from Dean and he actually got up and moved across the room. Dean reached over and put his arm around the sobbing boy.
"Hey, hey, it's okay . . ."
"I know you don't approve," Kurt said, "but I had to tell someone."
"Who said I don't approve? Okay, maybe I'm not a fan of the lifestyle, it's not really my thing, but you are who you are. To tell you the truth . . . I've had my suspicions since the tea party when you were seven years old. Right after your mom died, and me and my dad came to see you. Remember?"
Kurt nodded. "I remember. Your dad was talking to my dad about hunter stuff, and you and I were in the back yard having a tea party."
"With real tea and everything. And cookies. I liked the cookies." Then something occurred to Dean. "Wait, you haven't told your dad yet?"
Kurt shook his head. "I don't know how. I thought you could help me with that."
"So how do the kids at school know?"
Kurt looked down at the table again. Then he said, "They found a love note I wrote to Finn Hudson. Karofsky read it out loud in front of the whole class. It was . . . humiliating."
"Did they laugh at you?"
"Some of them did. The jocks kept making kissing noises at me every time they passed me in the halls. How do I stop this? I just want to be left alone!"
"Okay. First of all: there's nothing wrong with your being gay. And if they think there is, then there's something wrong with them. You're an amazing kid, Kurt. You're so talented. You're a nice dresser. And you're so smart. You've got a lot going for you, more than you think. So just don't pay any attention to those jerks. They're just jealous that they're not as cool as you."
"How can I ignore them when they're slamming me into lockers and blowing kisses in my face?"
"Just walk away from them. Hold your head up and don't say a word. Don't give them the satisfaction of seeing you hurt. And things will get better . . . probably around graduation."
"If I make it that far."
"Hey." Dean looked straight into the boy's eyes. "If you ever start having thoughts like that, or thinking that you can't go on, you just give me a call. People care about you, you know. The jerks aren't the whole world. You have friends."
"One is better than none. That's one person who doesn't hate you."
"I just hate that they can hurt me so much! Why can't they just find someone else to pick on?"
"They will. Eventually. Think about this, though: in twenty years, these guys are gonna depend on you to get their cars fixed for them. They'll be giving you money and calling you 'sir'."
"Are you kidding?" Kurt said, the ghost of a smile on his face. "In twenty years, I'll be on Broadway!"
"Really? That's what you want? To be a star?"
"That or a famous costume designer. I haven't decided yet. But when that velvet curtain goes up, I'll be there."
"Well, good. I'm glad you have something to work towards. Get out of this town. Get out of this life, just like -" And there he stopped, before he could finish that thought.
Kurt noticed. "You still miss him, don't you?"
"I'll always miss him. He's my brother. But look at it this way: he gave his life, to save the whole world. That's pretty awesome, isn't it?"
"Still hurts, though. A few weeks ago, I actually forgot and called his phone. It rang twice before I hung up. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't chickened out, and someone answered it? What would I say to them?"
"Sorry, wrong number?"
Dean smiled at that. "Yeah, probably. See what I mean? I was down, and you cheered me up without even meaning to. You're like sunshine, brightening people's lives. Don't ever forget that."
"Good." He reached out and put his big, rough hand over Kurt's small, delicate one. "If you ever need anything, call me. Okay? Will you do that?"
"Good. I'm gonna go see what they have for pastries. You want anything?"
"I really shouldn't," Kurt said demurely. "I'm trying to cut down on refined carbs."
"Oh, come on, live a little. I'll get you a brownie, if they have one. That okay?"
Kurt shrugged. "I guess so." He started to take out his wallet, but Dean stopped him.
"Put that away! My treat. If they don't have brownies, what do you want?"
"Chocolate chip cookies! But only one. Half. If they have those big, giant cookies . . . maybe a quarter."
"Okay, don't go anywhere." He went up to the counter and came back with a brownie the size of a brick, and an honest to God warm piece of homemade apple pie. "How's that for a treat, huh?"
Kurt went to pick it up and had trouble getting his hand around it. "It's warm!"
"Yeah, they had ice cream for it, too, but I figured why go overboard?" Dean passed him a fork, and they both dug in.
The brownie was good, warm and gooey, and Kurt enjoyed it instead of worrying about it going straight to his hips. Dean was making orgasmic noises with every bite of his pie, and it was starting to become embarrassing.
"That's damn good pie," he said, as he scooped up the last bite. "We'll have to come back to this place."
"You feeling better now?"
"I guess so."
"Good. Don't ever be ashamed of what you are, because it's nothing to be ashamed of. Life is so much better when you don't give a crap what other people think." He stood up and slipped into his jacket. "You need a ride home?"
"No, I'm good."
"Don't forget to say hi to your dad for me."
He looked back.
"Thanks. For coming all this way just for me."
"I'd claw my way out of Hell for you. Hope I don't have to do that again." He went up to the counter and put a ten-dollar bill in the tip jar. "That was the best pie I ever had," he said, to the counter girl's double-take.
Kurt caught up with him at the door. "Are you going straight home?"
"Yeah. I'd like to stop in and say hi, but if I do, I won't make it home till midnight." He glanced around to see if anyone was watching, and then he enveloped the boy in a bear hug. "You take care of yourself, okay, Kurt?"
"I will. Thanks, Dean!"
"People like us," Dean said, "we don't have anyone else. We've only got each other. I'm here for you, kid, whenever you need me. Just pick up that phone, okay?"
"Okay!" It was so good to see Kurt smile, after all he was going through. It was like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
He stood there waving while Dean walked back to his car, and waited until he was out of sight before he turned and walked down the block to his own. Things were going to be all right now. Not perfect, maybe . . . but it was nice to know that someone was looking out for him.
When he was sitting in the car, but before he actually started the engine and drove home, he went into his phone's address book and put Dean's number on his speed dial. Number three, right under his dad's shop, and his best friend Mercedes. It bumped Rachel Berry right off the list, but she'd never bought him a brownie.
Besides, she'd never know.