The story begins on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Kurt and Finn are sitting at the kitchen table playing Sorry! and feeling incredibly sorry for themselves because neither envisaged their summer break going like this.
This year, Kurt has a boyfriend. A boyfriend. Blaine is hot, and sweet, and also kind of his best friend. That alone should exponentially increase this summer's fun factor, but Blaine's been stuck with family obligations, either trapped in one family function or another or off performing at stupid Six Flags.
Finn's sulking because Rachel's busy, too. She's constantly practicing her audition piece for the local community center's upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof. Kurt knows he'd be the perfect Motel to Rachel's Tzeitel, but he promised himself he'd work on Pip. Kurt's also working at Burt's shop as often as he can, because his fall ensemble will be nothing without the divine Comme Des Garçons blazer he's been eyeballing since March.
However, Kurt's swapped shifts to take his laptop in for repair, so he's watching a movie. In peace. That is, until Finn stomps downstairs complaining that if Rachel asks him to watch her YouTube performance of 'The Way We Were' one more time, he'll stab himself in the eye with his drumstick.
"I'm so bored," Finn says. "When Mom wasn't working, we'd always play board games together." He peers out of the window, as though his mom will magically walk up the driveway, burst through the door, and open the game cupboard with a flourish. "Man, I wish I'd had a brother back then," he continues, wearing a pout of epic proportions.
"Interesting," Kurt says, rolling his eyes. "When I was younger, I always wished for a sister."
Finn's pout intensifies; Kurt makes root beer floats which usually placates Finn, but this time, it doesn't erase the sulk from his face. So somehow, to nobody's pride (well, possibly Carole's) Finn cajoles Kurt into playing Sorry!
"What are you doing?" Kurt asks his brother between turns, because Finn's wearing his big, dopey grin and fiddling with his phone. Competitive streak be damned, this might actually be an out.
"Texting Rachel," Finn says, offering his phone to Kurt.
Kurt takes the phone and peers through his fingers at the words on the screen. Between becoming brothers with Kurt in more than name and in lady chats (which he claims he's only in for the warm milk), Finn often seems to have forgotten that important things like boundaries exist.
"I didn't even notice the rain today, because all I could think of is how bright your smile is," Kurt says. His heart does a little fluttery flip. "Oh, Finn! I never would have guessed you could be so romantic."
"Yeah," Finn says. "I wanted to make her feel good before her audition. I try to send her stuff like that, 'cause she says it makes her smile. It makes me happy I can do that for her, you know?"
"How wonderful!" Kurt says, feeling his real smile break out. "What does she text you back?"
"Oh, that's… it's not important, I guess. I just like making her feel good."
"But Rachel makes you feel good too, doesn't she?"
Finn raises then lowers his shoulders, and his nonchalance doesn't sit well with Kurt. Romance isn't just about flowers and chocolates, after all, and Kurt's all about the little gestures. He loves to clasp Blaine's hand tightly while they watch guilt TV and eat carefully-selected European cheeses, and swoons when Blaine asks their favorite barista at the Lima Bean for a medium drip and 'my guy's usual with extra cinnamon'. Kurt's heard the story of how Finn wooed Rachel in New York so many times he could write a book about it, but Finn never seem to voice what he needs.
One thing this game might be good for is getting Finn to open up. Except, Kurt's so occupied with pondering the best way to get Finn to articulate what his needs are that he doesn't even notice when Finn sends him back to start.
Kurt's head hits the table with a thunk as he slumps over, his pawns springing off the board and onto the kitchen floor.
"Aw, shucks. Guess we'll just have to start over," Finn says, sounding far too much like Carole for comfort. "Sorry!" he adds, with a wink, and with that, any sympathy Kurt possesses for his brother vanishes even more quickly than the chocolate cheesecake Kurt might have eaten most of the previous night.
Couldn't they just have played Jenga? Finn's hands are shakier than a jazz pianist with scabies; Kurt would have owned that game.
Anyway. Let's fast forward a little.
Senior year races by so quickly Kurt doesn't give Finn and Rachel's relationship much thought. It's only when Mr. Schue proposes to Ms. Pillsbury that Kurt notices there's uncertainty behind the beaming smiles Finn flashes Rachel. Each time his brother shrugs off talk about the future, Kurt's fairly sure there's something more serious lurking underneath. It's only when Kurt's complaining to Rachel that Blaine's stopped sending him romantic texts that it dawns on Kurt he's never heard Rachel mention that she texts Finn.
Now, Kurt's been Finn's text confidante since the summer; he knows that the affection hasn't stopped on Finn's end. It might not be entirely appropriate, acting as a conduit between his best friend and his brother, but Kurt's learned Finn would love to have Rachel write him a song which wasn't motivated by an upcoming competition; he'd love to have Rachel go out of her way to do something he loves, like go to a baseball game. Or even something as simple as receiving a text to tell him he was in her thoughts.
Here's the thing. When they moved in together, Kurt had gotten to experience what it was like to live with a typical boy, and it made an... impression. For a long time, Kurt was fairly sure all Finn's texts to Rachel were about her boobs. God knows, Kurt heard about them so often he's wondered if they're all Finn ever thinks about.
And, okay. Kurt can understand the fascination. It's not like he doesn't spend ridiculous amounts of time obsessing over Blaine's hips. Or pecs. Or… other things. But without romance, none of that really means much. It's romance which makes Kurt feel free enough to get to the ripping clothes off and getting dirty portion of the program.
Kurt recognizes that being a little self-involved is one of his default settings, and he's okay with that; he's comfortable with who he is. He's known since he was a little boy that anyone qualified to be his dreamboat would have to ooze romance from every pore. It's just, he'd never quite realized that Finn would need that, too.
Kurt doesn't know off the bat what he needs to do to help Finn, but it does wake him up enough to realize that romance is a two way street. Before he can even start thinking about helping Finn, he has to work on equalizing his own relationship. Watching the Housewife shows together is fun, and fingertips are all well and good, but Kurt definitely feels the need to restore some level of intimacy to his relationship.
Emotional intimacy, of course.
This has nothing to do with him being horny.
After an honest conversation with Ms. Pillsbury and some well-timed, ahem, romantic texts from Blaine, some clothes might get ripped off. And if Kurt thought he was seeing things more clearly regarding Finn, it's nothing compared to how much his thought processes improve once his obsession with certain distractions is alleviated a little.
Okay. So, really. Back to the story.
Finn seems to need a lot more help after Rachel announces she and Finn are joining the ranks of the impulsively married, and Kurt's a little more occupied with gathering statistics and information to provide concrete evidence to try and drum some sense into the pair of them. That is, until Rachel catches up with him in the hallway one afternoon.
"Isn't Finn just perfect?" Rachel says to Kurt as he's spraying his hair by his locker, adjusting his bangs just so before Glee practice. "He's so romantic, but he knows how busy my schedule is, so he never asks for anything in return. Don't you think that's such an important quality for my future husband to have?"
Kurt slides to the left avoiding the wave of hair Rachel flicks over her shoulder. "Mmhm," he says with a nod, and shifts his eyes across the hallway. Finn's standing next to Puck and Sam, who appear to be engaged in some sort of impromptu thumb wrestling tournament. Kurt frowns; his brother would usually be goading them on, his enthusiastic whoops giving a migraine to anyone in the vicinity. Instead, he's staring at his phone, head tilted down a little. Finn might not ask, but he certainly needs.
"Are you ever romantic with Finn?" Kurt can't help but ask Rachel; it's blunt, but sidestepping such an important issue is never wise. "When was the last time you told Finn how much you believed in him? Appreciate him, find him dashing and debonair?" When Kurt turns to meet Rachel, her lips are tightly pursed. "Anything?"
Rachel tugs down her skirt and flicks her hair to the right. "I tell him all the time how much I need him to be with me in New York!"
"What about what Finn needs? Words can be empty, Rachel," Kurt says. "Maybe you need to show him rather than tell him, because while we've been trying to claw our way to NYADA, Finn's been looking into clearing his father's dishonorable discharge."
"I..." Rachel starts, and Kurt's had enough. He shakes his head as he shuts his locker, knowing if they continue it'll just devolve into another argument. Kurt, after all, knows the teen marriage statistics inside out. Almost as much as Rachel surely knows Finn's father certainly hadn't died in the first Gulf War as it had happened before Finn was born.
It's only during a lesson even more boring than one of those ridiculously long car races Finn watches with Burt that Kurt's anger over how self-involved Rachel can be begins to fade. Because, really, he can't blame her for being in the dark. Kurt only worked out Finn was serious about clearing his father's name when he saw the messy piles of papers on Finn's desk. Finn is the sort of guy who will casually tell you about the deuce he dropped that afternoon or how great Rachel's butt looks, but for all that he's an open book, when it comes to sharing anything bigger, he always seems embarrassed. As if his dreams aren't big enough.
Or, Kurt thinks, maybe it's because he doesn't have the confidence in himself to believe they are.
The following day, Rachel's phone buzzes at the mall, signaling an incoming text. Kurt watches her read it, biting her lip before a bright smile lights up her face.
"Aww!" Rachel says, picking up a pleated red midi skirt which is so see-through it looks like a prop from 1001 Arabian Nights. "Finn says his favorite dessert used to be strawberry cheesecake, but now he has all the Berry he needs."
All the Berry and then some, Kurt thinks. He raises his hand in front of his mouth to mask his snort as a cough; Finn can actually be pretty sly when the mood strikes him, but Rachel's a little too love-blind to notice. Also, Finn's favorite dessert has always been apple pie, but that's probably not the point. Or maybe it is part of the point?
Kurt's not sure what disturbs him more: Rachel declining the skirt then picking up an atrocious paisley print blouse in an entirely unflattering beige color, or the fact he has a better knowledge of Finn's pastry preferences than Finn's girlfriend.
Thankfully, Kurt extracts Rachel without allowing her to commit a single fashion casualty. He's deep in thought while she waves her hands in the air, talking about the latest gossip in the NYADA chatrooms. Kurt knows he needs to find a way to get Finn a few romantic or uplifting messages of his own. Almost as much as he needs to stop his best friend shopping at Forever 21. Forever. He steers Rachel towards H&M (it's rather pedestrian for his tastes but worlds above the stores Rachel naturally gravitates to) while thinking the problem through.
He's Kurt Hummel, after all. Covertly staging fashion and romantic interventions without breaking into a sweat should be a piece of cake.
Or, as preferences dictate, apple pie.
Rachel's smiling brightly, still, and it occurs to Kurt that it's been weeks since he's seen such genuine happiness on Finn's face; in fact, he can't even recall the last time Finn cracked a smile when he checked his phone. Kurt, he's decided, will get that smile back through the magic of text messaging.
The easiest solution would be stealing Rachel's phone, but that's not an option; Kurt knows from their slumber parties she sleeps with it tucked in her training bra. The second easiest solution would be to text Finn himself, but while they've come a long way, Kurt doubts Finn's would smile if he received a text from his stepbrother calling him his little honeybun.
And even when Kurt does tell Finn his star shines just as brightly as Rachel's, it's not fear he sees in Finn's expression but disbelief. Finn never quite believes anyone when they try to bolster his self-esteem. Suddenly, it comes to him - Kurt clicks his fingers - that's it!
Imagine, reader, a light bulb flashing in the air around our hero's head. It's that kind of moment. Magical.
Everyone loves having a secret admirer. Who could resist anonymous, non-stalkerish but totally romantic text messages? Finn's crying out for a little affirmation, and while Kurt loyally remains Rachel's favorite gay, a little reciprocation in the compliment and romance department would cause Finn's low self-esteem to crumble into small pieces like a delicious berry scone. Or get his self esteem to rise like a perfectly crafted souffle. Something along those lines. Damn, now he's hungry.
After satisfying his need for sweets, Kurt adds season one of Veronica Mars to his Netflix queue, then orders himself a disposable cell. It makes him feel a little like Sherlock Holmes, and if that's the reason he also purchases Spencer Hart dress pants and a tweed fedora, nobody needs to know. After all, studying Veronica's sassy repartee can only improve his already well-honed and sarcastic wit. And as a total side benefit, he gets to ogle Logan Echolls' divine biceps for a few hours as well.
He's even inspired to draft some sexy and loving texts for his own sweetheart. What? He can't help if his mind wanders a little.
It's a win-win-win situation, Kurt thinks, closing his laptop with a satisfied smile.
The problem is, Kurt feels a little less Veronica Mars and a little more Single White Female when his phone arrives the following week. Especially after Blaine admits during their after school coffee date that flirty texts from someone you're not dating might result in said someone getting the wrong idea.
"Oh. Like Sebastian, you mean?" Kurt says, and then... well. You know the rest of that story.
They kiss and make up, though, and Kurt's not above doing a little skip as he walks through his house that evening. That is, until he finds his brother slumped over the dining table, the picture of dejection.
"Is this one okay?" Finn says, sliding his notepad across the table. "I want to be sure my texts are actually sweet. Not, you know, like the dumb things I say sometimes."
Kurt picks up the notepad and opens his mouth, ready to say it's only sometimes, but then he reads what Finn's written down. If my life was a movie, you'd be my happy ending.
When Finn raises his head, there's a light blush coloring his cheeks. It's beyond corny. It's cornier than the lyrics to 'Pretending'. Kurt, however, loves corny. It's reason #208 why Blaine is so perfect for him, and the very thought of Finn coming up with something like that would have turned Kurt's toes to jello back in freshman year. Kurt flashes Finn a smile and when he nods, Finn quickly types the message out and hits 'send'.
"It's super lame to be doing this on a Friday night," Finn sighs, and starts to drum his fingers against the table. "But... football season's over. Rachel's practicing Parade for, like, the thousandth time, and Sam's awesome but keeps mocking me for being a camper in CoD."
Not quite knowing what to say - Call of Duty involves camping? - Kurt settles for patting Finn on the shoulder. He doesn't want to get too close; the cologne Rachel bought Finn for his birthday is so awful even twenty decontamination showers wouldn't remove the stench. Instead, Kurt offers to indulge Finn in some homemade tomato soup and a bacon grilled cheese. It's as delicious as it is artery-hardening, and if grease and meat can't wipe Finn's frown away, what else will?
He's just getting the ingredients out when he notices Finn's face light up as his phone buzzes, but then Finn's face quickly falls.
"It's... I... it's nothing." Finn offers Kurt a lopsided smile then places his phone screen-down on the table. "Is the soup easy to make? I... didn't do too well the last time I made dinner for her, and I'd like to get it right next time."
"You're always thinking about her, aren't you," Kurt says, more of a statement than a question, and he sighs as Finn nods with a well, duh expression on his face. Idly, Kurt wonders if Rachel's ever cooked for Finn.
"Alright." Kurt waves Finn over, "I'll walk you through it again." He begins by listing the ingredients he's put out then takes Finn step-by-step through making the soup and the sandwiches. He even lets Finn stir. The grateful smile and careful shoulder bump he gets when they are done are definitely worth the trial to his patience when Finn doesn't fully submerge the immersion blender and ends up with soup in his eye, and then fumbles the first sandwich onto the floor.
It's nice, eating dinner with his brother without anyone else there, and Kurt encourages Finn to talk about anything he wants. Finn's never been a quiet guy, exactly. But he's also never been the kind of guy to spill his guts or talk about deeper things. Kurt's always known that Finn feels a lot - when they'd bonded over what it felt like to lose a parent sophomore year, Kurt had realized how much deeper Finn's water ran than he showed.
"It's just... it's so hard to get the picture of the man I thought he was to fit what my mom told me," Finn says, and his quiet confession pulls at Kurt's heart. Kurt knows there's nothing he can do, and can't even imagine what it would be like to learn something that devastating about his mother. Her memory is all he has to hold on to: the lingering impression of her cool fingers on his cheek, the faded smell buried in a small vanity he's held onto for years, and the resonance of her voice, in song or speech, that echoes through him in his most lonely moments.
Finn doesn't even have that; he has an old suit, an uncomfortable chair, a faded photograph, and whatever stories Carole told him. Finn's heartbreak is so palpable all Kurt can do his listen, staying quiet and attentive as Finn tells him about his struggle to clear his father's name, and the distance between his mom and him.
"We've always been so close. She's always been here for me; the most awesome and supportive mom ever when everything went down with Quinn and the baby. I know I'm so lucky, but I'm also so mad. I'm so pissed that she lied to me all this time, and it feels like this thing, this thing that's stuck between us now." When Finn's voice cracks mid sentence, Kurt bites his lip and looks away delicately, waiting for Finn to regain his composure. "Anyway," Finn continues. "I don't know. I'm kind of tired of thinking about it."
Kurt turns to smile at his brother. "Want to watch a movie? One aimed at trying to make us not think?"
He's not sure how to interpret the look Finn gives him - gratitude and understanding and a little like he's never seen Kurt before.
"Yeah, dude. That would be awesome." Finn holds a fist out, and Kurt bumps it with a small laugh. "You're an awesome brother, you know that?"
"I am fabulous," Kurt says, crossing his legs and leaning back in his chair.
Kurt's so fabulous he graciously allows Finn to choose the movie - which is totally worth it when Finn gives him his trademark lopsided grin. He also manages to (mostly) contain his grimace when Finn selects Varsity Blues. Kurt breaks out his well-hidden stock of chocolate chip cookies and pretends to laugh along at all the appropriate parts while Finn warns Kurt when to cover his eyes.
Kurt's glad he does. Women in nothing but whipped cream actually frighten Kurt. And gross him out. Who would want whipped cream all over their body? The damage done to their skin alone is enough to make his stomach turn.
Despite the resounding travesty that is the movie, it's actually a lot of fun; by the time the credits are rolling and he's brushing crumbs off of Finn's section of the couch, Kurt is sure they've bonded and that he's managed to make Finn feel a bit better, like he's less alone. Kurt's definitely going to miss these moments next year.
And because they only have a few months of living as a family left, Kurt knows it's time to put his plan into action. After finishing his routine and calling Blaine to wish him a pleasant night's rest, Kurt reaches for his disposable cell, determined to fix his brother's flagging self-esteem once and for all.
Though Kurt will never admit it to anyone, he falls asleep hugging his pillow, his face wearing an incredibly satisfied smile.
"Kurt, check this out!" Finn says to Kurt while they're eating breakfast the following morning. "I got this awesome text last night."
"Oh?" Kurt clucks a little under his tongue, because this is almost too easy. "From Rachel?"
Finn's smiling so widely Kurt can see the dimple in his cheek. Finn holds his phone up against the light streaming in from the kitchen window with reverence, almost as if he can't quite believe it himself. "I... I guess?" He shrugs one shoulder and shovels in another spoonful of cinnamon toast crunch, a small drop of milk dribbling from the corner of his mouth as he continues to speak. "Maybe she changed her number? Never did trust Jesse St. Jerkface not to stalk her."
"Hm," Kurt replies, then takes a bite of his toast. "And what did this awesome text say?"
Finn's chest puffs out a little as he waves his phone under Kurt's nose. "I can't hold you in my arms, but I'll always hold you in my heart." Finn's throat bobs as he swallows a large mouthful of cereal. "I mean, it doesn't make any sense, 'cause if they were holding me in their heart I'd be covered in guts, but..."
"Well, now. How pedestrian," Kurt replies. He reaches for the coffee pot and bites his lip so he doesn't flash Finn a bright, giveaway smile. Subtlety isn't his strong suit. "You might want to refrain from telling Rachel about your... paramour."
"Like the band?" Finn smiles. "Rach said that five cheese ziti at Olive Garden gives you nightmares, but the last time I had it, I had this really awesome dream their drummer was sick, and -"
"Paramour, Finn. Not Paramore." Kurt slaps his hand against his forehead. "It means an illicit lover." Finn nods, but it's pretty clear he's not listening, because he's talking about dream Hayley Williams' boobs, which apparently were almost as sweet as Rachel's.
Kurt wishes he wasn't listening, too. In fact, Kurt often wishes Finn was like one of those children's toys that would silence itself if you removed the batteries - mornings have never been Kurt's favorite time of day, but they're even more intolerable when accompanied by very straight teenage boys who are intent on discussing lady parts.
As weeks pass, Kurt's plan is working perfectly. Ideas for messages come easily, and he's even taken to writing them down when inspiration strikes. He's learned to be finely attuned to Finn's facial expressions and times the messages just right so he can see the effect they have.
It's cold outside, but you always warm me up turned Finn into seventy five inches and two hundred-odd pounds of goo, which managed to be both adorable and disturbing. On the other hand, you're my missing puzzle piece fell rather flat; Kurt certainly won't be turning to Katy Perry for inspiration again.
"Do you think I should text her back?" Finn asks Kurt as they eat their lunch.
"My secret admirer! You know, the chick that's been sending me all those texts."
"I don't think that's a good idea…" Kurt starts, sneaking a potato chip out of Finn's opened bag. "We don't want Rachel to get the wrong impression. I really hope you're deleting them."
"I like reading them!" Finn says, then drains the rest of his soda. "And it's not like Rach would find them."
"Hm, she won't be suspicious at the deluge of texts from a mystery number on your phone?"
"That's why I saved the number as 'Pizza'."
"Duh. Pizza!" Finn rolls his eyes. "It's the meatiest, cheesiest, most non-vegan thing ever. It's perfect! She'd never think anything was up with that. And it's not like they're sexts or anything. They're just... nice. Like the sort of thing you might say. Like, this one." Finn flicks through the saved messages on his phone then reads out the message which resulted in him smiling so brightly Kurt wished he'd taken a picture of it, "Your smooth baritenor makes all the girls swoon. She didn't say it made her swoon. Maybe it's someone from glee who's trying to pick me up a little?"
Kurt's collar feels a little too stifling all of a sudden. "Why… would you say that?"
"Well, not many people outside of the show choir circle know I'm a baritenor, dude. Kinda makes me think it might be someone we know."
"YouTube," Kurt reminds him, and Finn mercifully remains quiet on the issue as he crushes his soda can between his hands. "Although to be fair, most of the people who watched that weren't paying attention to your voice, T-Rex."
When Kurt walks off to Pre-Calc, though, he swears there's a spring in Finn's giant step. Which, being the size of a dinosaur and having all the grace of Goofy is as heartwarming as it is amusing. Until Finn manages to trip over his loose shoelace while tossing his crushed soda can into the trash, books flying.
That's just amusing. Period.
Later that week, Finn sits down next to Kurt on the couch and immediately thrusts his hand into Kurt's bag of pita chips. "What does debonair mean?"
"Casual. Affable. In a way... sophisticated," Kurt says. Of course, he knows exactly why Finn's asking, so decides to let his brother continue.
"Huh." Finn turns to Kurt and bites his lip a little, still speaking through a mouthful of chips. "Cool. The latest one she sent says I look dashing and debonair in my coveralls, and I was worried it meant I looked like a complete dork or was really fat or something."
Kurt turns to him with a smile. Finn does look charming in his coveralls, albeit a little too much like he's starring in a Billy Joel music video for Kurt's taste. "Dork wouldn't be the word that comes to mind," he says. "Have you given any more thought to taking over the shop when you graduate?"
Finn's nose scrunches up a little. "Actually, I..." He starts, then stares back down into Kurt's bag of salty snacks, as though he can easily find the answers in there. "You'll laugh at me."
"Try me," Kurt responds, preparing to bite his lip in advance.
The words come out as one long rush. "I wanna be an actor."
"Finn, I think that's a wonderful idea!" Kurt says.
It doesn't make immediate sense, but the more he thinks about how Finn lives for the moments when he really gets to shine in the spotlight, not to mention his flair for the dramatic, it does actually seem logical. Finn's never been as showy about his need for adulation as Kurt and Rachel - perhaps that's why Kurt's never really seen it before - but Finn did take his role in the Mattress commercial pretty seriously, and Kurt knows Finn's chatted with Cooper a few times on AIM.
"Yeah, but... it's not really something you go to college for. At least I think it's not. I have no idea how to go about it." The frown and the resigned tone creep back. "I wanted to audition for West Side Story so bad, but there was you, and Blaine, and Mike, and keeping up with Booty Camp was enough work, let alone doing actual dance stuff."
"So maybe Broadway isn't your destiny?" Kurt nudges his shoulder against Finn's. "If Cooper Anderson can capture the emotion tornado, I don't think you'll have any problems."
Finn points to the Ikea swivel chair that hasn't quite swiveled like it should since Finn met with the football recruiter several months previously. "Screw you, chair!" Kurt laughs in spite of the serious turn the conversation has taken as Finn continues. "Yeah, sorry about that. I'll replace it the next time Burt pays me, I swear."
Kurt waves this off. "Have you told Rachel?"
"Rachel's been doing this since she was in a turkey baster. I… she'll be on at me for not taking it seriously until now. And she'll insist on writing my application, which is cool, but with my grades, they're gonna know. "
"She's not going to make fun of your dreams, and you have so much raw talent. You hadn't sung a single note outside the shower when you joined Glee," Kurt feels the need to point out. "And listen to you -"
"Huh. Raw talent. Weird. That's what one of those texts I got told me, too. You really think I could act? Like, in New York?"
"Well. We'd need to investigate acting schools, but before that, I really think you need to talk to your fiancé about these sorts of things."
Finn crumples the near empty bag noisily. He doesn't quite meet Kurt's eyes when he responds. "Busy. Since she choked, she's been working on the third draft of her list of reasons why NYADA should give her another shot." Finn times his pause perfectly, and Kurt's a little surprised he hadn't sussed out Finn's actual dream sooner. "Her dads are driving her to New York this weekend so she can deliver it in person."
"Oh. That's her tactic?" Kurt says, patting Finn on the shoulder.
"Boring, huh? I told her she should send it by owl, like in Harry Potter, but -"
"Animal welfare is far more important to me than dramatic impact, Finn!" Kurt finishes, because he loves his best friend but god she's crazy, and Finn's laughing in a way Kurt hasn't seen in months.
Of course, Finn's gladsome mood doesn't last for long. At school the next morning, Kurt doesn't catch much of Finchel fight #508 except for 'you should have been my Tony!' and 'it's not romantic if we're both starving artists!' but that's enough for him to realize that getting Finn to go through with applying to acting school is going to be a two-person job, at least.
Luckily, when it comes to slightly corny but sweet and well-meaning romantics, Kurt knows just the person to ask. After a few kisses with Blaine, Kurt goes to the bathroom to make his hair look a little less I-just-made-out-in-the-Astronomy-classroom-with-my-ridiculously-hot-boyfriend, then mentions his plan.
Blaine's silent as he tosses the disposable cell between his hands. Then, his eyebrows lower a little. "Kurt, I've got it!" he says, and it's worrying how deeply in thought he's been about this. "What's the one thing Finn and I have in common?"
"Difficulty finding pants that fit?"
"No, silly! An affinity for the classics!" Blaine sweeps his hand across the air in front of him in a move which leaves little doubt him and Cooper are related. "Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it."
"I don't recognize that song."
"It's a quote from Braveheart," Blaine says, as though that's so obvious and hits send. Out of the corner of his eye, Kurt can see Finn smile so widely his eyes narrow and crinkle at the corners.
"You sly little puppy," Kurt remarks, watching Blaine's face light up too.
"Do you think this is ethically wrong?" Blaine says, and Kurt pauses for just a moment before he shakes his head.
Yes, it might be slightly unethical, but it's not immoral.
It's not much of a surprise to Kurt that Blaine's incredibly proficient at this. Finn smiles ridiculously brightly that evening when his 'admirer' texts him: Clint Eastwood's cheekbones have nothing on yours and then asks Kurt for help completing his application for Pace. Afterwards, Finn leaves the house wearing jeans that actually fit, and a tight brown sweater that's been shoved to the back of his closet ever since Santana said it made his man boobs sag.
Yes, Kurt supposes. Seeing that smile on Finn's face is worth the slight moral grayness of this exercise.
Everything's going well. A little too well, Kurt realizes, just as Rachel corners him in the hallways one morning.
"Kurt," Rachel's voice is frantic as she slams his locker shut. "We need to talk. Now." She turns to him with that crazed sort of feral look that's usually reserved for maintaining her status as lead of pretty much everything she's involved in.
Kurt angles his body toward her and adopts his best, I really care about what you're saying face. The last time he saw that look on Rachel, it ended with Finn being slapped, so it's probably wise to let her continue.
"I'm inclined to think my husband-to-be is cheating on me with some floozy from a rival show choir!"
Kurt strives to disguise the way he tenses at the words with a well-timed head tilt. "Rachel, Finn is not cheating on you."
"We were looking at potential shoes for our upcoming nuptials," she says, whirling around him like a tornado. "Finn seemed a little disinterested so when he was in the bathroom I found his phone because he has his favorite pizza place's number stored on there, I thought some pizza might motivate him, and - I wasn't snooping, I swear, but I found text messages! From another woman!"
"Rachel, please. He's not cheating."
"She was complimenting his sweater! The sweater I got him for his birthday! And, and saying he had lovely arms, and a beautiful smile, and a voice so silky you could bathe in it! This brazen hussy is clearly a fixture of the show choir world."
Bathe in? Okay, that must have been Blaine.
"Well..." Kurt sighs, knowing Rachel won't take any answer but the truth. "The sender, or senders of those messages are in Glee. And they can both confirm Finn's not cheating on you."
Rachel's eyes are so wide Kurt's pretty sure they'll fall out of their sockets. "How do you know?"
Kurt takes a fortifying breath, laying a careful hand on her arm. "Because I sent them, Rachel." He pauses to consider. "Well. Blaine helped, too."
"That was all... you?" Rachel's lips are compressed, tight corners turning in.
"Mostly from me. Some of the more flirtatious ones were from Blaine, because I think he was possibly thinking of me when he sent them."
"What? You're telling me you and your boyfriend are using pick up lines on my fiancé so you can have a tawdry little threesome relationship?" She huffs a little, clearly missing the point. "As interesting a chapter this would make in my autobiography, I think making Blaine realize he was gay is sufficient drama to endure in my ingénue period."
"Finn's my brother, Rachel. And if you can bring yourself to deal with this situation rationally, you'll understand the multitude of reasons why that's all he'll ever be. You also might be able to understand that, god help me for saying this, that means I'm in his corner, I love him, and I can't stand to see him upset."
"I... I make him upset?"
"Not... intentionally," Kurt says, trying to be as careful with his words as he can. "Finn's just been feeling like he's not particularly important in your life, lately. I sensed his lack of confidence was holding him back from expressing what he wanted to do next year, so I thought a little anonymous ego boosting might help him out."
Rachel's face falls, which kind of tugs deep in Kurt's chest. Rachel does have a good heart, and always has good intentions. But, Kurt's done what is best for Finn, which is his priority here. Disclosure and honesty can only help his brother at this point.
"If he'd mentioned it to me, I would have sent him texts which were so romantic I could sell them to Hallmark!" Her eyes are doing that thing, that big doe eyed sort of watery thing. It's no surprise Finn can't stay angry at her for long.
Kurt straightens his posture, holding his books closer to his chest. He has the moral high ground here, damn it. "Did you ask him why he was upset?"
"Finn always does this! He never tells me how he's feeling!"
Kurt resists the urge to slap his hand to his forehead. "That's because he's a boy!" Kurt pauses. "And as much as I hate to encourage the pair of you, because I am still anti-wedding, let me make this clear, he thinks that you're so madly in love with who you want him to be that he's afraid of being who he wants to be."
"I... but I love him for who he is!" Rachel's eyes grow even wider; these aren't on-demand tears. "Why would he think I want him to be someone else?"
"You could, hm, I don't know, Rachel. Why don't you try telling him you love him for who he is?" Kurt smiles, sweeping her into a hug; he does love her, through all her layers of crazy. Plus, he can't really appropriate all the blame on her for this. "Wait! I have an even better idea."
It's not even lunchtime when Finn pats Kurt lightly on the back and wordlessly passes him his phone.
I don't need to look at the sky to know you're watching over me. Kurt shakes his head. Given what a high achiever she is, it comes as no surprise that Rachel's texts would be the most cheesily romantic of them all.
There's a second message, too.
"You're the only person who makes my heart beat faster and slower at the same time," Finn recites, and Kurt's not surprised he's already committed that to memory. "I'm not hot on anatomy, but isn't that kind of impossible?" He shoots Rachel a bright grin. "It's so nice, though. To know she's thinking of me."
Finn's phone pings a new incoming text again.
I'd walk around New York in rags if it would mean being there with you.
"Anyway, so..." Finn says, his eyes tracking Rachel who gives him a little wave with her fingertips. "I gotta… class, or something."
Kurt presses his forehead against his locker, because he knows the outcome of this. And, sure enough, less than a minute later, his brother is devouring Rachel in the hallway. While a happy Finn is a very pleasant sight to behold, this sight is definitely not one for sore eyes. Well, it kind of makes his eyes sore. And, oh god, what is Finn doing against that locker, and why is he doing that in public?
And this, dear reader, is where our story ends: Finn and Rachel happily crossing the boundaries of socially acceptable affection in public and Kurt desperately texting Blaine and requesting some rather unscheduled make out time. It's going to take a lot of kisses to fix the damage done to his eyes after this, and a lot of Lysol for Ms. Pillsbury to fix the damage done to that poor, innocent locker.
It's not quite a happy-ever-after.
Kurt would rather play Sorry! for ten hours than be witness to this, but when Finn and Rachel break apart and Kurt's eyes are dazzled by a pair of stage-bright smiles, it's an ending he's happy to accept.