A/N: Okay, so this is stupid, but this one-shot just came to me after watching Dynamic Duets, and while it deals with some of the same essences that one of my other fics do, this deserved a fic on its own.
Set during season 4, it's an AU (probably).
Warnings: Talk of sexual situations and dub-con, prostitution, slash.
It had been Mercedes' idea at first. He didn't really know now, as he lay on an old, outworn, queen-sized bed, with Noah Puckerman's strong arms wrapped around him, if this had been a good idea. It sure felt good, at least, as the tanned man's hold on him tightened and he felt himself being pushed even flusher against his bare chest. He let himself slip back into the night before, the feeling of gentle but firm hands on his body, the clothes coming off, the feeling of Noah inside him, all the time touching him, cherishing his body with more passion than Blaine ever had (despite the fact that he and Blaine had been "soul-mates" if Blaine's words had been any indication). Maybe he had been wrong about that? It had felt like he had as he had felt Noah's warm, heavy breath on his neck, hearing a shaky moan of his name coming out, before his own muscles had clenched around him, milking him until he shuddered violently, all but collapsing on top of him. It had felt like he had been missing out on something major when Noah, after an hour or two had passed, and the two of them in comfortable silence had gotten something to eat, had suggested they'd go for a second round. Kurt knew it hadn't only been about getting him over Blaine, as Noah had stated they should switch positions this time. And the fact that Kurt had known just why Noah had suggested he'd bottom this time. It had been about so much more. Trust, compassion, safety. He didn't dare say love, because Noah "just couldn't do that shit anymore". He didn't know why that bothered him so much in particular, whether it was for selfish reasons or because of his increasing concern for the man beside him? He closed his eyes and remembered his own admittedly nervous nature as he got on top of him, admitting he had little experience in that department, and basically "no idea what he was doing". He smiled back at the memory of Noah's promise. "You'll be great baby, I trust you." Baby. The words had been said with such carefreeness, but still with so much sincerity.
With a sigh he shifted as best he could, getting more comfortable in the strong man's hold. There was so much getting in the way – so much indicating that Mercedes' idea had been a stupid one. But then there was this. Just this. This bond, that right here and now seemed nothing but unbreakable, the two of them had created throughout their five days in Los Angeles.
Mercedes had insisted, and she was hard to say no to. She had suggested that he and Rachel came and visited her and Puck in LA for five days. In all honesty, neither he nor Rachel had been hard to convince. Looking back on it, Kurt was certain it had been the most important decision in his life. It had let to a series of short, insignificant events that still became so meaningful to him.
As the plane landed in Los Angeles and the two up-and-coming New Yorkers arrived, they were met by Noah and Mercedes by the baggage claim. Kurt had immediately found himself impressed by how much Noah seemed to have grown, not only in physical appearance, but in terms of attitude as well. Mercedes reached out and gave each of them a squeezing hug, even though it had only been a couple of weeks since they last saw each other.
Kurt hadn't really expected a hug from Noah, but then again, that was what he got, and he would have been lying if he had said it wasn't a pleasant surprise. He and Noah had been on good terms for the last two years of high school, but they had never been the "squeeze-each-other-in-a-hug" kind of friends. Apparently, that was now about to change, if Noah's new, easy nature with him was any indication.
"Okay, guys. Enough with the sappiness, let's go get your baggage and get the hell outta here!" Mercedes stated, before turning to Kurt, - "Sorry, Kurt. My dorm's really small, so you gonna have to crash with Puckerman over here." She pointed to Noah. "That okay?"
Kurt took a look at the other boy, just to see if he was cool with it. He didn't seem to have a problem, and Kurt didn't really know whether or not to be surprised. "Sure," he said.
"It's a little more on the east side," Noah said, and it sounded like a warning, - "But don't worry, I'll protect you like a knight in fucking shining armor if you get in trouble."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "How very not femme-phobic of you, Noah."
"Relax, Barbra, I was kidding. Kurt can handle himself fine." He changed the subject: "Did you get my picture of the dude who threw…"
"YES!" Kurt and Rachel stated unison.
"I might officially have to sue you," Rachel stated, matter-of-factly, - "I am not tolerating such blatant blasphemy."
"I was just a random witness; you can't hold me to anything."
Mercedes broke in. "Enough with the bad vibe, guys," she demanded, - "Now, let's go grab something to eat. I'm starving. Been too busy with vocal training all day to eat anything. Let's go!"
Kurt didn't really know why, but as he and Noah were seated in Noah's car, heading home after they had all gone to dinner, the entire atmosphere appeared to have changed rapidly. It wasn't an entirely uncomfortable silence between them, but, although Kurt had no idea why, the vibe had seemed to become a little more melancholic.
Urgent to get a conversation going, Kurt just asked: "So… How is your pool-cleaning business going?"
Fine, so he wasn't that stupid or naïve; he knew the pool-cleaning business was just a cloak for very different services, and maybe, in hindsight, he shouldn't have asked, but the silence was getting suffocating.
If he didn't know better, he would have stated that Noah tensed just a little, before the tenseness evened out in a shrug. "It's going," he stated with a nod, as he pulled into an empty parking spot in front of an eight-floor building that, if Kurt hadn't known better, had looked dilapidated to him. "It's going." The second time the words were stated, Noah's voice was a little more silent, but just as confirming. Kurt didn't really know what to make of it.
There was something different about his former Glee-mate. That was for sure. He didn't know if he had just matured, but he seemed more silent. However, it wasn't like he'd been the most externalizing person in the world by the end of their senior year either, so Kurt decided not to dwell on it too much. It was probably nothing. Noah was a big boy, he could handle himself.
Grabbing his keys, the muscular boy… No, man. Noah had definitely somewhere along the way journeyed from boy to man. Kurt thought it had happened gradually, but he hadn't really paid any real attention to it until now. To be honest, he'd had bigger problems in high school than analyzing Noah Puckerman's every move. Sure, he'd taken his time to admire the undoubtedly strong muscles that added up to his body, the tanned skin, the mischievously sexy look in his eyes or his smile. But it had been just that, admiration. Attraction.
This feeling was new. It was more than attraction. It was interest. Fascination.
Grabbing his keys, Noah stepped out of the car, nudging for Kurt to come along with him. "Nervous?" he asked, with a sly grin.
Kurt gave a scoff. "Please," he said, - "Believe it or not, my neighborhood isn't exactly in Upper Manhattan either."
Giving a chuckle, Noah stated: "I know…" Thinking for a while, he muttered almost to himself: "Kurt Hummel in Bushwick? Who'd have known?"
They walked inside the building. "There's no elevator, we'll have to walk. I live on fourth floor," Noah explained, and Kurt just gave a nod. Stopping somewhere between first and second floor, Noah asked if he needed help with his suitcase.
"I'm stronger than I look," Kurt stated firmly, looking somewhat offended.
"Wouldn't doubt it," Noah smirked, - "I can see the muscles you're hiding under those prissy clothes of yours. New York must be treating you well, because you've gotten even more doable since graduation."
Kurt could actually feel his jaw fall, and he knew he was blushing, but screw it. Had Noah Puckerman… Straight, badass Noah Puckerman… Just commented on his sex appeal, in a positive matter? Looking back with disdain on his relationship with Blaine, he had to deal with the fact that there weren't really many comments made regarding his own desirableness. Those comments had usually been served from him to Blaine, rarely the other way around. As a matter of fact, Blaine had been the one telling him he looked like he had gas pains, rather than being sexy, but he decided not to think about that.
Hold up? Was he comparing this insignificant encounter with Noah Puckerman to his long-term relationship with Blaine? Ex-relationship, he reminded himself. He must really be getting lonely now.
Finally they reached Noah's apartment, and they locked themselves inside. Kurt didn't quite know why, but he had expected something less. Not that the place was exquisite by any means, but at the very least, it had three rooms. Kurt and Rachel's place was a loft. Period.
"How did you afford this?" Kurt asked, wondering if maybe he was crossing barriers.
"How do you think?" Noah asked, giving Kurt a wink over his shoulder. Kurt gave a vague intake of breath, which he hoped wasn't audible. He'd had the feeling.
Approaching the bedroom, Noah just uttered an annoyed "fuck", as he stated he forgot to clean up before he left.
The bedroom sheets were ruffled, and judging by the smell of sex and cheap perfume, it was obvious it had been more than one person in there during the day. Noah reached under his pillow and grabbed a… Was that a hundred dollar bill?
"This is how," he stated, almost waving the dollar bill at Kurt, who was still standing in the doorway, watching Noah put the bill into a drawer on the other side of the bed.
Moving back towards the drawer on what was obviously "his side" of the bed; he reached for a photograph and put it on top of his drawer. Kurt took a few steps inside, acknowledging that it was a picture of Noah and Beth.
"Not having that picture up when I'm working," Noah said, a little more bitterly now. It sounded almost like a strong denial.
Kurt just nodded. Well, given what kind of 'work' Noah was doing, that wasn't too hard to understand. It wasn't that this surprised him all that much. It just seemed so much more real now. Kurt found himself wondering for a brief moment whether or not this was something Noah had to do to make ends meet. The thought sent a chill down his back. It seemed more serious now, than it had with his "pool-cleaning" back in Lima, but Kurt wasn't so sure anymore. Maybe it wasn't so different, after all.
Grabbing the sheets, Noah walked over to the bathroom and dumped them into the washing machine, turning it on. He approached his closet and grabbed some new sheets, making the bed.
"Need any help?" Kurt asked, feeling like an idiot, just standing there.
"'S okay," Noah stated, - "I have practice."
Kurt found himself biting his lip. For how fucking long had this been going on?
He found himself getting pissed no one had noticed or done anything, but he quickly slapped himself. It wasn't like he had done better, but he and Noah weren't exactly the closest in high school, were they? Surely Noah had people around him who would notice something wasn't right… Right?
For a second he thought not.
As Noah was finishing Kurt's bed, he reached for something that had gotten lost between the mattress and the headboard. Kurt saw him pull out a red woman's bra, giving a dry chuckle. "Bitch can't even bring her damn underwear with her on her way out," he stated, and it sounded more like a question. Kurt didn't know if it was appropriate, but he chuckled vaguely.
"So…," Kurt said, as he walked over to his side of the bed, putting down his suitcase. "Is this your only way of making a living?"
Why were they talking so casually about this?
Noah shrugged. "Nah, not really," he said, - "Here it's actually sometimes just pool-cleaning, and I do some tourist, service thing on Hollywood Boulevard, but neither of those pays off very well by themselves, if you know what I mean?"
He gave a light shrug as he ever so boldly stripped out of his shirt. Kurt knew he looked like a stranded fish right now, but hell, it wasn't every day you got to see Noah Puckerman shirtless. Scratch that, it wasn't every day he got to see that. Other people… Well, obviously, for a certain amount of money.
As if having read his mind, Noah stated: "Nice having someone who aren't here to pay me for fucking them."
Giving a small smile, Kurt stripped off his jacket. Shifting a bit comfortably, he asked: "100 dollars?"
Noah nodded, as he pulled off his pants and got on the bed.
Fine, he was going to lie beside one of the hottest men he had ever laid eyes on, who to top it all off had nothing but boxers on. Okay, okay, that was okay.
"Generally," he said, - "Sometimes they pay more, if I do as they say, but I don't always have time for that kind of bullshit."
Kurt folded his jacket neatly, and wondered for a brief second where to put it. Again reading his mind, Noah pointed towards his closet. "You can use my closet, there's room."
Kurt gave a grateful nod as he stripped out of his clothes and put on his pajamas. "Damn, I was right about the muscles," Noah smirked at him, and Kurt did absolutely not blush again, thank you very much.
Kurt got under the covers, and just as he was about to turn his nightlight off, Noah spoke again: "I don't only do chicks anymore, you know."
It was spoken very casually, but Kurt could tell it was a stronger statement than it sounded like. He would know.
He should probably have been surprised, but in all honesty, he for some reason wasn't.
"So you do guys now…?" he asked. It was a stupid question, he knew that, but he didn't know what else to say.
Noah shrugged. "I do them, they do me, things like that…"
"How was it?" Kurt found himself asking, and he knew his voice had gotten quieter now, - "Your first time with a guy?"
Why was Noah even being so fucking open with him in the first place?
Noah gave a small grin now. "Fucking disastrous," he answered, and he gave a chuckle. Kurt didn't really understand what was so hilarious about that. He gave a questioning stare.
"Look, I can't come off as inexperienced, right? They probably won't pay me as much. So…" He took an intake of breath, and as if it was a punch line in a joke, stated: "So I told him I'd done it before."
Kurt sighed heavily, and if these were more normal circumstances, he would probably have rolled his eyes, but the concerned look on his face made that impossible.
"Noah…," he said, and he knew it was stupid, but the concern was very much evident in his voice, - "That wasn't your best move, was it?"
"Hell no," Noah answered, not really appearing faced by the reality of what he was talking about, - "Hurt like hell. But it's okay."
Kurt was somewhat bewildered now. "How is it okay? It's your first time, Noah… I remember my first time with Blaine, and it was amazing. As it should be."
"Yeah," Noah said, looking at him with concern as well now, -"How's that going anyway, with you breaking up and all?"
"I'm dealing, but don't change the subject!" Kurt stated firmly, and he knew Noah wouldn't refrain from buckling under his bitch glare. No one would.
Noah gave a content sigh and lay down fully on his back. "My first time went to a sophomore when I was thirteen, Kurt," he stated, matter-of-factly, - "Sex is sex. I've done this my whole teenage life, I don't know anything else. This is what I am content with."
Kurt lay down too now, taking in the beauty that was Noah's face. It looked much more open now, honest, and Kurt could swear that if he let himself get lost for a few seconds, he could catch a glimpse of something that used to be innocence in the obviously so very damaged man's eyes.
"It shouldn't be that way," was the only thing he could say.
Noah shrugged. "I'm not complaining, am I?"
"You have every right to," Kurt said almost inaudibly.
"I won't," Noah stated firmly, - "I chose this, I'll deal with this. You have your own problems, don't you?"
Kurt gave a crooked smile. Sure, he probably did, but now, in hindsight, away from New York, away from Lima, and away from any thought of Blaine Anderson, his own problems seemed kind of small in comparison to what Noah had to deal with.
"You chose this when you were fifteen, Noah," Kurt stated, and then he gave a shaky sigh, propping himself up on his elbow, - "I don't know what you choose to make from that, but please keep that in mind."
Noah gave a frown as if he didn't know what he was suggesting, but Kurt knew that deep inside, Noah knew. And he would figure it out eventually.
Kurt went on a coffee date with Mercedes and Rachel the next day. Noah was off "cleaning someone's pool" for 100 bucks, and he guessed his heart wasn't really in the girls' discussion about who was the better singer out of Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston.
He didn't know if the entirety of Noah's openness and sincerity from yesterday had been served for him only. It seemed silly that it would be, so he didn't know if it was the blabbermouth in him or just genuine concern, but he felt like talking to someone about this. Because a), he was worried, and b), hadn't anyone noticed anything?
"Mercedes, you know Noah is a prostitute, right?"
The silence that followed was deafening. Rachel and Mercedes looked at each other, and while Kurt would have been more relieved if their exchanging looks had been those of deep shock rather than the looks of "where did that come from?" contently placed on their features, he asked: "I mean, doesn't that bother you?"
Rachel scratched her neck uncomfortably. "Well, it's not like that's news, Kurt," she said, - "He's had sex with women for money since he was a kid…"
Kurt was about to ask how that made anything okay, when Mercedes broke in:
"I've asked him," she said, and then responding to the questioning looks she got from the two New Yorkers: "I asked him once we caught up when we got here if he didn't consider getting a job that paid off as well as the…" She made a hand gesture, - "You know."
"Well…," Rachel said, and she for once seemed spellbound, - "What did he say?"
Mercedes took a deep sip of her coffee, before answering: "He said he was good at this, so why not use it to his advantage?"
"But…," Rachel said…, - "But that's ridiculous. He is good at many things. Take the Glee Club for example; it wouldn't have gone far without him... I mean…"
Mercedes interrupted her: "Too bad none of us took the time to tell himthat, huh?"
Noah asked Kurt out for lunch the next day. Just the two of them. He was going to "work" during the afternoon, which Kurt didn't really want to think about.
Kurt wasn't going to let the lunch offer down. As they were seated, Kurt noticed one thing: Noah was wearing the same type of clothes all the time. Usually, everyone has their style, but with Noah's somewhat out of the ordinary lifestyle, it would be fair to assume that his style would be a bit more varied. But no, it didn't look like that was the case.
"Don't you ever get tired of wearing the same clothes all the time?" Kurt asked, pretending like it was only his inner fashionista speaking, and not his human instincts.
Noah looked up from his sandwich, and gave Kurt the most amused look he had ever seen on his face, before he busted out laughing. Sincerely. Kurt decided that if he could make Noah laugh like that more often, his fashion comments were worth keeping coming.
"Only you, Kurt Hummel," he said once he had stopped laughing, - "Only you."
Kurt gave a small smile. "Answer the question," he prompted.
Noah wiped his mouth with a napkin (look at that, Noah Puckerman had manners!) and leaned back in his chair. "It kind of sucks that I always have to walk around looking like my profession." Responding to Kurt's questioning glance, he stated: "Look, I know I look hot and all, but sometimes…" He acted out an overly emotional facial expression, putting his hand to his hard in a dramatic way that made Kurt almost choke on his orange juice, - "it's good to know that I am more than a walking wet dream." He gave Kurt a suggestive raise of his eyebrows.
"Oh, don't flatter yourself too much now!" Kurt stated with a laugh.
"But," Noah said, the serious tone back in his voice, as he pointed at Kurt, - "You're not getting me new clothes, Kurt Hummel."
Kurt just looked at him.
Kurt gave a sly smile now.
"Oh no, you're not. I know you're dying to see me wear as tight pants as you do on a daily basis, but it's not gonna happen."
Kurt's smile grew wider, and he snickered slightly.
"Never, Kurt. Never gonna happen. It won't."
"I hate you." He was standing in front of a body-length mirror.
"Love you too," Kurt said sarcastically, prompting a grin from the other man. He was wearing a shirt with buttoned up sleeves. It hugged his body gently, complimenting his impeccable muscles at the same time as it wasn't too revealing. Kurt was pleased with himself, and he knew that Noah was still just in denial about the whole thing. Along with the shirt hung a pair of black jeans, less loose than the ones he was usually wearing, mind you.
"We need to find you some winter clothes," Kurt muttered.
"Kurt, it's hot here all year."
"You're coming home for the holidays, aren't you?" Kurt asked, and he couldn't even hide the slight hopefulness in his voice.
"Yeah… Fuck, I am not getting out of this, am I?"
"Not for as long as I live," Kurt stated, pulling off an evil smile, - "I'm gonna go get you a jacket and a scarf."
"I don't wear scarves! They're gay!"
Kurt rolled his eyes. Yeah, Noah was the one to talk. "You're gay!" came Kurt's blunt remark.
"I'm not gay. It's just that some guys are hot, not like that's my fault."
Kurt could just roll his eyes with a small smile.
Fifteen minutes later, Noah was standing in front of a mirror, wearing the same outfit, but with a black winter coat and a brown scarf.
"I look like Mr. Schue gone wrong."
Kurt gave him a bitch glare, crossing his arms over his chest. "You don't have a vest, butt chin or curls, do you? Didn't think so." Rolling his eyes, sighing, he stated: "Come on, you look hot."
Like Noah Puckerman needed an ego boost in that department.
"I look hot in tank and jeans."
"You look gorgeous then, stand up straight!"
Noah gave a chuckle and stood up. Fine, so maybe this wasn't so bad… It was better than looking like the low-class hooker he knew he was on a day-to-day basis, at least.
"I can't afford this anyway. Not all of it," he stated, a final attempt at getting himself out of it.
"Vogue pays me well," Kurt shrugged, - "I can hand you some… Or borrow you some money, either way." He guessed Noah didn't want his charity.
Noah sighed. "Fine," he said, - "But only if you're okay with it."
Kurt gave a sweet smile, and then he nodded. "Of course I am."
After their impromptu shopping spree, Kurt decided they'd grab some snacks to take home, so they hit the nearest grocery store, just to buy some chips and coke.
As they walked from the grocery store, Kurt decided to keep a conversation going. "So…," he said, - "Are you still singing?"
"You've seen the guitar in my apartment, right?" Noah asked, indicating the answer.
Kurt nodded. "Good," he smiled, - "You're a great singer. You know that, right?"
Noah gave him a look. "Sure, I know that."
"You were one of the best in Glee, seriously," Kurt stated, and Noah gave him a look as if he was insane, - "Oh come on, only reason you didn't get more solos was because a), you never cried for them like all of us others did, and b), because Mr. Schuester had a total boner for Finn and Rachel."
Noah gave a smile, and then he laughed, shortly but heartedly, - "Oh man…," he said, dragging his hand over the top of his head, which was now completely shaved. Mohawk gone. Not a bad investment, getting that fixed. "Can't blame Schue for that though… I mean, Finn and Rachel were easy to help, right? They aren't fuck ups." He was silent for a few seconds, and Kurt knew he was secretly adding a "like me" in his head. Kurt found himself hating that.
"But then again…," Noah stated, - "Not like he did notice that anything was going on with you either, what with the shit I put you through and all."
"Noah, I forgave you for that a long time ago," Kurt stated firmly.
Noah shrugged. "I know, but still…"
"And you're one to talk," Kurt all but scoffed, as he quickened his pace, sounding almost annoyed now, - "None of us gave a damn about you either."
Noah rolled his eyes. "I wasn't exactly asking for help…," he tried.
"But we all knew," Kurt stated, and now his voice was calmer, - "It's been bothering me ever since I got here… I mean…"
He stopped, and gave a frustrated sigh, dragging his hand through his impeccable hair. When he did that, you knew something bad was up. "God, Noah, at some point or the other, we all knew you were hurting.
"Well, what the hell were they supposed to do, I fucked half their girlfriends!" Noah did a vehement gesture with both arms, with his entire body language asking Kurt why the hell he cared so much anyway.
"You fucked one of their girlfriends, Noah, and yes, that is a douchy move, and obviously you as a teenage boy weren't allowed to make one stupid mistake! We never cared one bit about what you were going through! We at least recognized that Quinn had been through some messed up times, but we didn't even ask whether or not you were even remotely okay… And now you are here, getting paid for…!" he stopped himself before he said something he would regret, but he was afraid it was too late.
Noah stood beside him with an unreadable look on his face. His mouth was slightly open, but it was impossible to decide whether he was mad, hurt or just shocked. A small flicker of something appeared in his eyes, but Kurt couldn't figure what that was either.
Not until he took a few steps closer to him, reached for his chin, holding it in a gentle grip, causing Kurt to drop his grocery bag out of anticipation. Then Noah just shook his head in disbelief, and a small grin made itself known.
And then he leaned in, slowly, allowing Kurt to get used to the narrowed distance between them, before he closed it completely.
There weren't fireworks, birds flying from the ground, people stopping and starring or music. But there was Kurt Hummel and Noah Puckerman and the sun was shining, and this felt so good, and so right, and so completely wrong, but no matter the feeling, it must have meant something, because Kurt found himself responding to the kiss eagerly.
It didn't last long. It probably only lasted for two small seconds, but it felt so much longer, as they pulled apart and the world seemed to still be turning, going on as usual.
Noah took in Kurt's undoubtedly flushed face and wet, red lips, and with a grin, he asked: "You know what?"
"No," Kurt said, his voice shaky.
"Blaine's a fucking idiot," Noah said, giving a small chuckle, - "He doesn't know what he's missing out on.
Kurt wondered the next day whether or not he had been more accurate on Valentine's Day than he had intended. His own words were ringing in the back of his mind, and he couldn't seem to shake them off.
"See, Puckerman. That's what you're missing out on: True love."
That seemed so long ago now, when in truth, it was only a matter of months.
He wasn't stupid. He knew the kiss they had shared the day before hadn't been one of love. He would be lying if he said he didn't feel something for the former jock, but he was certain Noah didn't feel anything out of the ordinary for him.
Noah was a man of actions; the kiss had been just that. An act of something. An act of what? Gratitude for giving a damn? Probably.
As Noah that day replaced the sheets and tucked the picture of him and Beth away, he heaved a sigh, and gave Kurt a look. "I am gonna sound like a dick now, but this guy's coming over soon. I gotta get the money to pay you back."
Kurt could just shake his head. "You don't have to pay me back so soon, Noah," he said, - "You can pay me when you come home for Christmas, or even later…"
"Kurt," Noah said, shaking his head with a somewhat amused smile, - "I can't do that. You've done enough for me by a mile now… Let me just do this."
Okay, that really wasn't fair! It left Kurt with nothing to go for when it came to proving him wrong. He gave a heavy sigh. "Noah, I don't want you to sell yourself for my sake, okay?"
Noah shrugged. "I'm paying you back today, Kurt, that's the end of it."
It was final, and Kurt couldn't do a thing about it. He didn't know why it bothered him as much as it did, but hello? The man he was most concerned about in the world at the moment, was going to pimp himself out to an assumed total stranger for his sake, and he couldn't do one thing about it.
Sighing, Kurt got up from his chair and headed towards the door. "I'm heading off to Mercedes and Rachel's, then," he said, and he tried to give his voice some edge to it, to make sure Noah knew he was hurt, but he just couldn't. The last thing Noah needed now was a guilty conscience.
As he was standing in the doorway, Kurt put his hand on Noah's chest, ever so casually. "You're a selfless man, Noah Puckerman," he stated, as he looked into his eyes, - "I'll give you that, but now you're also being damn foolish."
As Noah rolled his eyes in a more defeated than annoyed manner, Kurt leaned up and kissed him softly on the cheek, a concerned look resting on his features. "Take care," he said softly.
Noah nodded. "Don't worry…"
When Kurt reached the stairway, Noah yelled after him: "Hey, Kurt!"
"I'm sorry, okay?"
Kurt just gave a vague smile. That apology was worth very little, when the sin would be done either way, but he just nodded. Fuck, this was much more complicated than he had thought.
He didn't really know what he had thought, actually, but wasn't it time for Noah Puckerman to get some love back in his life again? If there ever had been love…?
Kurt had hit the nearest mall with Mercedes and Rachel as he got a text from Noah:
Kurt didn't really know what to make from it, but he got the impression that Noah wanted him for something… Or needed him. For whatever reason the text gave him an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach. Asking couldn't hurt, right?
"You okay? Want me to come home?"
The text came after a few minutes:
"If ur not busy".
Kurt responded immediately:
"I'm not. Be there in 10."
Noah opened the door for him as he rang his doorbell. Kurt hadn't really known what he was expecting, or if he was expecting anything at all. He only knew that Noah looked a bit more tired and a bit paler than he had when Kurt left his apartment, more drained, so to speak.
Noah locked himself and Kurt in with insufferable silence. Kurt wanted to say something, ask something, get him to say something, but he didn't really know how.
Unashamedly tucking his hand into the front of his jeans, Noah handed him a hundred dollar bill.
"Here you go. Forced it out of him, bastard insisted on only giving ninety."
Kurt shook his head. "You didn't have to…"
"Doesn't matter. It's over and done with now. Do you mind ordering in? I'm hungry."
Handing Kurt his phone, Kurt gave all but tossed it back to him immediately. "Do it yourself! I'm not the housewife, and you are not the working husband."
Noah gave a sigh as he put away his phone. His demeanor was a bit less defensive now. "I gotta take a shower," he stated firmly, - "and I gotta do it now… Will you order in? Please?"
Kurt looked at him. What wasn't he telling him?
"Fine," Kurt said, hesitantly, before grabbing a hold on Noah's phone, cautiously, almost in slow-motion, as if something or someone was gonna pop up out of nowhere and take it from him.
"Noah what happened today?" There was the word-vomit again.
Faking incredulousness with a well-practiced frown, Noah just stated: "Nothing," smiling slightly, - "Why?"
Kurt shook his head. "I don't believe you."
Noah rolled his eyes. "You worry too much, take a chill pill."
Kurt sighed. "I know a thing or two about you, Noah Puckerman."
Noah scoffed. "Right."
"I do," Kurt insisted, - "I know that when you're hurting, you usually either stay quiet, or you get douchy." He gave a firm nod. "Now you're being douchy."
"Well, I'm sorry!" Noah said, in an annoyed voice.
"Noah, you kissed me yesterday!" Kurt almost exclaimed, - "That meant something to me, believe it or not. I care about you, and if someone hurt you I want to hur…"
"It was consensual, alright? So it's okay."
Noah gave a heavy sigh, before looking at him with a new kind of determination in his eyes. For a second it was both so very hard and so very easy to see the lost and forgotten boy in the man in front of him.
Kurt's eyes widened for a second, before he asked: "Oh, so for as long as he didn't rape you, it's okay?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact!" Noah was yelling now, but Kurt didn't think he knew it himself.
He was unbelievable, but Kurt was more worried than upset now, to even function properly. Noah shook his head as one would shake off a nightmare, and in a bold move, he stripped out of his shirt, giving a well-hidden but not invisible wince as he did so. "I'm gonna go take that shower now, okay?"
Kurt just nodded, ever so vaguely, but he took a sharp intake of breath as his eyes flickered to the tanned man's hips. There were red marks on them, and Kurt just assumed the marks were handprints, but there was no way of being absolutely sure.
"Noah…" It was all he could say, and it came out almost like a whisper.
Noah was a bit taken off guard as Kurt walked up to him and wrapped his arms around him in a gentle embrace. He didn't know what it was, but he relaxed immediately as he allowed himself to lean into the embrace. It was a totally not badass thought, but this was nice. Just standing here with Kurt in his arms. It kind of made everything else seem less important.
Fuck, now he probably sounded like Mr. Schue would in this situation as well…
Giving a small chuckle, Noah asked, a bit of humor back in his voice: "Will you let me take that shower now, or am I gonna have to bring you with me?"
Kurt gave a chuckle too, but it was rather humorless. "Go ahead," he said with a small smile.
Noah came out of the shower with a towel around his waist about fifteen minutes later. "I ordered Chinese, that okay?" Kurt asked, and he knew there was still concern in his voice.
"Awesome," Noah said.
There was a long silence as Noah went and put on a pair of sweats and tank. Walking out into the kitchen, he decided Kurt deserved an explanation: "He claimed I wasn't into it."
Kurt looked at him, and Noah sat down in front of him, almost but not quite hiding the small intake of breath as he did so. He leaned back in his chair, relaxing as much as possible. "Were you?" Kurt didn't really know what else to say. Noah's sob story (not that he acknowledged it as one) had really questioned his naivety by a mile.
Noah placed his right elbow on the table and rested his chin on his right hand, thinking for a while. "No," he decided, with a shake of his head and a small smirk, - "No, guess I wasn't."
Kurt gave a frown. Why the fuck was he smiling about this? "Why?" Kurt let his curiosity get the better of him.
Noah gave a real, honest to God smile now, and it seemed to light up the atmosphere by a mile. "Because I was thinking about you, you idiot."
Kurt's eyes widened and a big smile made itself known, before it quickly vanished. "No, no, no, no," he said, and his face flushed, - "No, you can't let me wreck this for you…"
Noah gave a small laugh. "Kurt, this isn't a big deal, will you calm down?" As he reached for the smaller man's arm, Kurt stood up.
"You can't just think about me in those…" he made a hand-gesture, - "Situations. I am gonna fuck up your life even more…"
"Well, the dude seemed to agree with you," Noah said, and he still looked quite amused.
"Noah, you can't just go around thinking about me…!"
"I like you, Kurt, that's the end of it."
Noah used that "it's final" voice of his again. "I like you and I am thinking about you a lot, that's how it is." He took a deep breath, and a slightly pained expression made itself known on his features. "Will you get too uncomfortable if I tell you the whole story?"
Kurt's entire being seemed to relax in an instant and he sat down. "No," he said firmly, - "Go ahead, I won't."
Taking a deep breath, Noah said: "During our foreplay, he said I seemed distant."
He had that open and honest look on his face, and even though this was a fucked up situation, Kurt realized it right then and there: He was one hundred percent in love with Noah Puckerman, and there wasn't anything that could change that. Noah's voice went through to his heart. It was disturbing how he spoke about this as if he was talking about the weather.
"I said I was sorry, and I faked a moan here and there, but I knew I couldn't picture you, because then I would have said your name and then I would be in for a serious hard time…"
He chuckled vaguely, obviously trying to lighten the mood, but Kurt didn't think it was the least bit funny.
"So I gave up, he claimed I still was distant. Then he got mad, stopped the prepping, and told me he would make me feel it, and he fucked me." He finished the story with a hand gesture. "So that's it."
Kurt was mortified, to say the least, and he knew that he yet again looked like a stranded fish. A stranded fish with anger and tears in its eyes.
"Noah, he ra…"
"No, he didn't," Noah stated firmly, and there was something in his eyes too now. Not exactly anger, but a firmness that told him not to argue, - "I got off, he got off, I didn't say no." He gave a slight shrug. "Not once."
Kurt wasn't sure that counted as consensual, and he also wondered if there was something Noah wasn't telling him. Kurt was fairly sure Noah hadn't said yes either. He might only have been paranoid, and he didn't really want to think about it, so he reluctantly decided to let it go.
"Well, consensual or not, I still wanna hurt him, just for the fun of it."
Noah gave a surprised chuckle. "Didn't know you were sadistic?"
"Oh admit it!" Kurt said, - "You wanna hurt him too… At the very least you wanna punch him in the face. Admit it."
Noah sighed. "Okay, fine, I wanna punch the asshole in the face, you happy?"
Kurt nodded vaguely. "There you go," he said with a smile that absolutely didn't whatsoever make Noah's heart skip a beat.
As if in a very bad, annoying movie their doorbell rang, and Noah went and got their food.
They ate their food in comfortable silence, and Kurt saw it as a good sign that Noah at least had his appetite intact. After dinner, Kurt decided to ask the question to which he had dreaded the answer ever since he got to LA: "Noah?" He knew that by the sound of his voice alone, Noah would know this was at least remotely important.
"Mmm?" Noah emptied their food in the trash can and placed the cutlery in the dishwasher, before sitting back down slowly.
Taking a deep breath, deciding to just cut the crap and just get to it, Kurt asked: "Are you sexually dependent?"
Noah frowned just slightly. "Am I what?"
Kurt scratched the back of his neck. This was going to be harder than he'd thought. Lucky for him, Noah seemed to catch on. "Oh, you mean, do I need the money?"
Noah looked away for a few moments, obviously contemplating how to answer the question. Kurt knew the answer already and there was no way around it.
"I didn't think I would," Noah answered, and it sounded like an admission, - "When I got to LA."
Kurt looked at him and smiled concernedly. "But then…?"
"But then…," Noah repeated, - "I figured I would, and it didn't really matter much." Taking in the even more worried look on his friend's face, he decided to rephrase his words: "Not like it's much different from how it was back home, though… I mean… After baby-gate and juvie, especially, I happened to have to contribute to some of the finances back home, with mom and all…"
Kurt gave a sigh, trying to be content with what he had just heard, but for whatever reason he had no way of comprehending. This time, he just couldn't. He had no idea why this time was any different from the zillion other times Noah had talked about his profession as if it was nothing, but now he'd had enough. He didn't know how to tackle this, how to handle it. He was Kurt fucking Hummel, for God's sake! He was in control, pretty much all the time, of every single situation there was. He was unbreakable! And you know who else had those character traits? The man who was seated in front of him. Noah fucking Puckerman!
But oh no, the exception; the god-awful, nauseating exception, was the fact that Noah had been a prostitute all his teenage life. That was the reality of the situation, and that, however fucked up it was, was something neither of them had absolutely no control over.
There was only one way out of this: To make sure Noah would know that he was worth more than a warm body in bed, but Kurt knew that even if he told him so, he would need years of convincing. They were the two most invincible people Kurt had ever met, but now, they were trapped, and probably also on the edge of broken.
Shaking his head in disbelief, he reached for the tanned man's hands and wrapped them firmly in his own. Keeping his eyes on their entangled hands, Noah's dark complexion standing in impeccable contrast to his own pale one. We look good together.
"I know this is too little too late, but you are worth so much more than this," Kurt said firmly, and he hoped the heart-filled tone in his voice was even remotely close to an indication.
Judging by the… He didn't dare say "touched", but maybe that, after all, was what it was, expression on Noah's face, it had been. Kurt didn't know if anyone had ever said that to Noah before, but he just assumed they hadn't. If he'd stated that that particular fact didn't bother him, it would have been an imposturous lie.
"Can I kiss you again now, or did I blow my chance there…?"
Kurt could just shake his head rapidly, as he leaned in, capturing Noah's lips in a chaste kiss. This one was less grand, yet longer and more passionate than the first one had been.
As they pulled away, and let the atmosphere around them even out a bit, Kurt decided to become diplomatic again: "Look, Noah…," he said, - "Can I at least give you an offer?"
Noah gave him an almost formal look. "Shoot."
Kurt closed his eyes for a few seconds, dreading Noah's reaction, but then he opened them and laid out the idea he had been plotting the whole day: "If you ever get tired of this, or if it gets too hard to deal with… I could always lend you some money."
Sighing, Noah gave the same response Kurt had expected, but he didn't seem angry or offended. He just used that tone he always used when he didn't want to be trouble for anyone. "I can't take your charity, Kurt."
"It's not charity, it's a loan."
Noah looked straight at him now, with nothing but a very much diplomatic facial expression. "Look," he said, - "If I stop for a few seconds doing this, I know I will get too used to it, and I won't be able to get back to work again."
Kurt knew that took a lot of balls for Noah even to admit that, but he said nothing. He wondered, though, whether quitting this job for good would be such a bad idea after all.
Kurt didn't want to give up on this, but he knew he had to play his games wisely and gracefully. Meaning, he couldn't just lay it all out in an instant.
"Besides," Noah's voice cut through his thoughts, - "Don't you need your money?"
"I am just saying," Kurt said, still dreading Noah's reaction, - "that if it gets too hard, in any way… I could always ask my dad for some. I could say I needed new clothes or something, because hello, you can't resist my face when I ask for something."
Giving his best puppy dog eye look, Noah just looked at him with awe. "Okay, that's the most adorable fucking thing I ever saw."
Kurt could just smile at that. "Just think about it," he said.
Noah nodded slowly. "Okay," he said, - "Will do… But only if it gets any worse than it got today."
Trying to ignore the shutter that went down his spine, Kurt gave a smile and a confirming nod. They had a deal.
As they went to bed that night, Noah instantly wrapped his arms around Kurt, pulling him against him, as he carefully nibbled on his neck in the process.
"Why haven't we done this earlier?" he asked.
Kurt wasn't really sure what "this" even was, but he figured now wasn't the time ask. So he just shrugged and grabbed a hold on Noah's right arm that was resting around him. "I don't know," he admitted.
He was sure Noah could hear how fast his heart was beating. There was nothing better than this. As he lay there with Noah's arms wrapped around him in a, dared he say it?, loving embrace, Kurt just knew how completely right this was. It seemed like they had only been waiting for this their entire lives, when it had been right in front of them the whole time.
This was what they had both been missing out on. Whatever this was.
"Kurt?" Noah's voice was so uncharacteristically soft now.
"I wish I could fall in love with you."
This, that honest and sincere statement right there, was so far away from what Kurt had even dared to think of, but it was still so much less than what he'd someday dreamed of. He guessed it made sense, in some way, and that tore at him; he wasn't going to lie about that.
"I mean…," Noah said, grabbing a hold of Kurt's hand as his arm still stayed wrapped around him, - "If we got together, for real, I would be making a living out of cheating on you…"He sighed heavily, and tightened his hold on him, - "You deserve better than me."
Kurt just sighed and shook his head. He didn't want to have this conversation. He still slipped out an: "No, I don't." before he got content in Noah's arms, and decided to drift off to sleep before the pain took a toll on him completely.
Everything looked different in hindsight.
The morning came with bright sunlight waking them both up at the same time. Kurt was met by Noah's smile and a hoarse whisper of "Morning".
"Morning," Kurt answered, not able to contain himself as he leaned in, planting a soft kiss on Noah's lips. His concern then got the better of him. "Are you okay today?"
Noah nodded. "Much better," he answered, and he sounded honest. He sat up slowly. "I have the day off today," he said, and he sounded happy about it.
Kurt tried to contain his excitement. "Great," he said, - "What do you suggest we do?"
Giving him a look, Noah asked: "Go out with me tonight?"
"What?" Not that Kurt didn't want to. Hell, he wanted to so badly he didn't know how to contain himself! But this came a little abruptly, especially given Puck's melancholic phrasing of his words the night before.
Noah sighed. "Look," he said, - "I have feelings for you, and the fact that I can't deny it, was proven to me yesterday by a too fast, too hard and too dry particular punishment."
Well, leave it to Noah Puckerman not to see anything wrong with that. The fact that the man had just admitted to having feelings for him, though, made Kurt's heart flutter more than it probably should. "And," Noah said, moving on with the conversation, - "Judging by the look on your face every time I compliment you, you have feelings for me too."
Noah gave Kurt a look that asked for some reassurance on the matter. Kurt could only give a small nod. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't," he stated.
"Good," Noah said, and he was smiling for real now, - "Then I want to take you out tonight. My treat. We'll go to some weird, wannabe-fancy restaurant or some shit like that. You in?"
He had said it all in one breath, and now it was time to let it out. Kurt didn't know what he was getting himself into, or if he was being led on. But no matter what, there was one thing he knew: He knew that by giving himself into this, he would at least get a few moments in absolute heaven, before Noah had to jump back into reality like one would wake up from a gorgeous dream.
He knew there was only one right answer.
"Sure," he stated, with a smile, - "Sure, I'll go out with you."
"Awesome!" Noah all but exclaimed as he got up from the bed and stalked over to the kitchen, probably to make breakfast. In his underwear. Kurt was not complaining. Slowly getting out of bed, he put on a pair of jeans and a shirt, and made his way into the kitchen, licking his lips in a way he thought was subtle, but which judging by Noah's self-assured grin wasn't anyway.
"Damn, you look hot with bed hair," Noah uttered as he took a long glance at Kurt.
Kurt gave a small chuckle. "I need to get it fixed," he said, about to head back into the bedroom.
Noah rolled his eyes. "Kurt, I'm here making breakfast in my underwear, you can let your hair hang."
Kurt laughed, but stayed in the kitchen. "I'm not really used to all this," he admitted, - "The compliments and all…"
Noah, who was just bending down to get the frying pan, giving Kurt a view he most definitely didn't mind, stood up quickly, and gave Kurt a look. "Wait, seriously?"
Kurt just gave a shrug for a confirmation. Noah shook his head in disbelief, turning away from the stove to look at Kurt. "That's insane."
Kurt looked at him, and it was very hard not to get distracted by the fact that the man was showing a significant amount of skin at the moment. "Why?"
"Because you're sexy as fucking hell!" The comment was so blunt, and came so abruptly that Kurt basically had no choice but believe what he was saying. "Look, I don't make out with people who lack sex appeal."
Kurt wouldn't be too sure about that, to be quite honest, but he said nothing. This was Noah's day off and not the time to discuss his numerous acquaintances.
"Thanks Noah," Kurt didn't really know what else to say.
Noah just scoffed. "Don't thank me, it's pretty fucking true."
And then he returned to his impeccable position as he grabbed the frying pan from the cabinet, and went over to make scrambled eggs.
For a brief moment, Kurt found himself admiring the fact that Noah badass Puckerman knew how to cook, but he wasn't really surprised. He had been around for the bake sale back in sophomore year, and while that had been disastrous, the cupcakes, for whatever reason, had been delicious.
What was also delicious was Noah's flawless physique that wasn't wrapped in anything but a pair of tight boxers. God, could he at least put some clothes on, because Kurt could feel his pants get even tighter than usual? Slowly moving to sit down in the kitchen chair, Kurt tried to avert his gaze, but it was pretty damn hard.
Noah gave a chuckle, and somehow without looking behind him his ego came to the conclusion all on its own: "I know you like what you're seeing, Kurt."
Blushing Kurt sat down, still not able to let his eyes avert from Noah's body. Hey, he was a teenage boy; it wasn't his fault that he was rooming with the hottest man he had ever met, which, in all honesty was really saying something, because Kurt was living in New York now.
For the first time in his life, Kurt wasn't anxiously waiting to go back. This entire trip to LA had, without him even having planned it out to be that way, for him been about living completely in the present. Not caring about tomorrow and what it might bring. It was an unusual lifestyle for him, but it had in so many ways made everything much easier to deal with, given what he had been served with here. And it was fun too, to some extent.
Therefore, he decided to go by the "live for today"-philosophy and not think about it until tomorrow.
They had breakfast in comfortable silence, exchanging a couple of meaningful looks every now and then. This felt so right.
Too bad there was so much under the surface that made it wrong.
Noah had been right about the restaurant they picked. Wannabe-fancy. But it was okay. More than okay, actually, as it was the best date Kurt had ever been on.
"But seriously," Noah stated, as they had sat down and ordered, - "Blaine didn't complimented you?"
Kurt shrugged. "He has, but he has never made me feel…" He made a hand-gesture, - "Desirable."
Noah nodded. "Ah, the wrong kind of compliments?"
Kurt gave a shrug in agreement, and Noah nodded. "I know those. The other way around, though. Both ways, really, can't say I've been the best boyfriend ever during the short-term relationships I've had…"
Kurt shrugged. "I bet the girls were exaggerating, at least to some extent," he stated, and Noah looked at him as if he was mental.
"They weren't," he just said, - "I've been a douchebag most my life, there's no denying that."
He looked down for a second, and then he shook whatever thought was bothering him. "Enough with the pity party, let's talk about something else. How's New York?"
Kurt gave a sigh. He didn't really know if talking about New York would be a good definition of an end to the pity party, but at least it was better than what they had talked about before Noah changed the subject.
"It's good," Kurt answered with a small smile, - "Better than I imagined."
Noah raised his eyebrows in a surprised manner. "Wow, must be good," he stated, - "I mean, I loved it there when we went there for Nationals back in junior year, so…"
Kurt nodded. "It's amazing," he sighed, as he rested his head in his right hand, getting a somewhat dreamy look in his eyes. "Rachel and I haven't gotten cabin fever yet, my boss is lovely… Everything is just the way it should be, if not better…"
Noah smiled too now, looking genuinely happy. "You deserve this, Kurt," he stated, and Kurt had never heard him sound so sincere about anything, - "After everything you went through in high school you deserve to be happy."
Kurt sighed, and looked at Noah, making sure there was no way for him to misinterpret what he was about to say:
"So do you. Deserve to be happy."
Noah gave him a look that Kurt couldn't quite read, but he looked like he was about to say something when they were interrupted by the waitress who brought them their food.
Kurt guessed he would never know what Noah was about to say right then, but judging by the look of complete adoration that stayed on his friend's face throughout their dinner, he had done something right.
The restaurant wasn't far away from Noah's apartment, so they walked home. "So…," Noah asked as they walked, - "How do you, who don't look the least bit tough on the outside… No offense!" he stated after having been met with the most vehement of bitch glares from the other man, - "How do you manage in Bushwick?"
Kurt gave him a suggestive smirk. "Want me to show you?" he asked, as if responding to a dare.
"Shoot," Noah said, not really knowing what he was expecting.
And by that Kurt just started making some really weird twitching movements as he broke out into an awfully high-pitched (even for him), uncharacteristically off-key singing voice: "AAAAAAALLL THIIIIIIIS TIIIIIIMEE WE WERE WAAAITING FOR EACH OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTHER! ALL THIIIIIIS TIIIIIIIIIIME I WAS WAITING FOR YOOOOOOOOUUUUUUu!"
Noah could do nothing but stop in his tracks, mouth hanging open, and a somewhat frightened look on his face, as at least five passers fled to the other side of the street in a frightened hurry.
"Holy. Shit," was the only thing Noah could think of saying, before he shrugged nonchalantly, - "Well, it seems to work." He gestured to the significantly terrified people on the pavement on the other side of the street.
Kurt laughed at that. "It does," he claimed, - "It's fun, though. You should try it!"
"No way," Noah said immediately.
"Oh, come on!" Kurt exclaimed, - "Live a little! It's fun."
"Oh, I do plenty of living on my own without singing on the streets, thank you very much."
Kurt scoffed. To be fairly honest, what Noah did "on the streets" wasn't really much better.
"When did you turn too proud and I too reckless. Come on, let's sing something. We haven't sung together in forever!"
"Actually you and I never sang together," Noah stated matter-of-factly, - "Schuester never let us sing a duet."
"You're right!" Kurt gasped, - "See? We should sing together now!"
Noah rolled his eyes. "But I am still only singing songs by Jewish artists, you know."
That wasn't really true, but it was a final attempt at getting himself out of this, but no such luck.
"I've got the perfect idea!" Kurt said, almost jumping with excitement.
"Sure you do," Noah said, not really surprised, come to think of it. Kurt seemed to have a wide knowledge when it came to music.
"The Longest Time, Billy Joel. Let's go!"
Noah scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Okay, fine!" he exclaimed, as he started to sing:
"If you say goodbye to me tonight…"
Wow… When did this song become so depressing.
"There would still be music left to write!" Kurt joined in.
"What else could I do?
I'm so inspired by you.
That hasn't happened for the longest time!"
They continued to sing in unison as they walked down the streets, amused by the horrified looks of the occasional people who passed by, both acknowledging the fact that the lyrics of the song fit them quite well, in an awfully depressing way they didn't really want to think about.
"Once I thought my innocence was gone.
Now I know that happiness goes on.
That's where you found me, when you put your arms around me.
I haven't been there for the longest time!
Both tried in vain to ignore, as they reached the middle of the song, that the lyrics were as good as created for them:
"Maybe this won't last very long, but you feel so right, and I could be wrong.
Maybe I've been hoping too hard, but I've gone this far, and it's more than I hoped for."
As the next verse came and went, Noah wondered if Kurt had kept this in mind when he picked the song in the first place. It really was the "perfect song".
"Who knows how much further we'll go on?
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone?
I'll take my chances.
I forgot how nice romance is.
I haven't been there for the longest time."
Before they knew it they were back outside Noah's apartment, and Kurt could only whisper: "Imagine when you do that alone," prompting a chuckle out of Noah.
Noah didn't really know what caused the action out of him, but before he knew it, he had pinned Kurt against the wall and pulled him in for a long-lasting kiss, tongue searching for entrance, which Kurt gladly allowed him.
As they pulled away, Kurt whispered. "You know… You could always come celebrate New Year's with me in New York…?"
Noah gave a chuckle. Leave it to Kurt to think about things like that right now. "Don't try to stop me," he grinned, and Kurt felt his stomach flutter at this. Maybe they could work this out somehow…?
A boy could dream, couldn't he?
They locked themselves in, and Noah yet again pinned Kurt to the wall, this time leaving a hickey on Kurt's neck, causing an unashamed moan from the smaller man.
"You know…," Noah muttered against his neck, - "I think I know an awesome way of getting you over Blaine…"
Kurt was about to argue that he was long since over Blaine, but it was kind of hard to form words, as Noah's hand ever so gently, albeit bluntly found its way between his thighs.
Noah's gaze found his own, and his eyes were questioning. Kurt found absolutely no reason in this world to say no. "I refuse to pay you for this, Noah," he chuckled, meaning it as a joke, but there was still some seriousness behind the tone in his voice, and it caused a grin from Noah.
"Awesome," Noah whispered in return, as he slowly started to unbutton Kurt's shirt.
Smiling heartily, Kurt looked back on the past few days. Yes, he thought. It had definitely been a good idea. He turned to look at Noah, who was still asleep with his arms wrapped around him.
It wasn't until then that the thought hit him: This was it. Today he would be leaving LA, and he and Noah… What would even happen to him and Noah along the way? He was absolutely in love with the other man, there was no denying that, but what happened now? Nothing? Everything? Something? … Anything?
He feared the answer.
He felt Noah shift uncomfortably beside him, before he was met with his big hazel eyes. Noah's features formed into a soft smile. "Hey," he whispered.
"Hey," Kurt smiled back.
Noah's grin grew even wider. "You were great last night."
"I was?" Kurt asked.
Noah chuckled and pressed a soft kiss to Kurt's forehead. Kurt appreciated the contact. "Don't be modest, of course you were." There was a break. "I think I needed that, you know? Do that with someone I trusted…" Yet another break settled between them and Noah laughed. "Fuck, that sounded lame!"
Kurt shook his head. "No, it didn't."
There was yet another break between them, and Kurt for a moment wondered if they were just about to drift back into sleep for a few more hours, but then Noah started speaking, his raspy but still gentle voice ringing through to his heart, allowing him to take in his every word:
"You know…," he said, shifting ever so slightly, just to get a better look at him, - "I sat for three fucking years in that choir room at McKinley, eager to get to sit next to you."
Kurt's eyes widened almost comically, but he was in no position to care right now. Was Noah really saying what it sounded like he was saying?
"Didn't you ever consider that to mean something?"
Kurt shook his head in disbelief, and he thought the other boy deserved an explanation at the very least. "Noah, I… I didn't know, I…"
Noah gave a laugh. "It's cool," he stated, - "Not like I wanted anyone to know."
Okay, so Kurt knew he was a crier. He knew it didn't take more than a sappy scene in a rom/com to cause his tears to fall, but as of right now, the tears were worth it. He could feel them approaching, and there was no use in stopping them. "God, I'm sorry…," he whispered, and Noah immediately looked guilty.
"Hey, hey, hey…," he whispered, as he pulled Kurt against him, holding him in his arms as he cried out. Cried for everything: For himself, for Noah, for their lost relationship, for how damaged this entire situation was. And Noah just let him. He knew there was no use in stopping him, and maybe it was for the best that Kurt was just allowed to cry right now.
Kurt's voice got muffled by Noah's shoulder as he cried, but Noah could still hear the words coming from the smaller man, and they tore at his heart more than he would let on: "I just wish we could be together… Isn't that stupid?"
Noah squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, for a second having trouble holding himself together. Taking a deep, shaky breath, he stroked Kurt's hair comfortingly. "Look, Kurt," he said, kissing the top of his head, almost cradling him, - "You are destined for much greater things than me… You hear me? You should achieve your dreams before you decide to get with me."
Kurt just sobbed harder at that, and shook his head in obvious denial. If the situation had been any less depressing, Noah might have found Kurt's denial completely ridiculous. "You are and you know it," he stated. He took another deep breath, bracing himself for what he himself was about to say: "Look, your own boyfriend sent you away, just to cheat on you. I am not subjecting you to that again."
He felt Kurt cling to him harder, and he wrapped his arms even more contently around him, if that was even possible. "But…," he stated, and Kurt relaxed a bit, maybe sensing some hope in those miserable circumstances, - "Unlike Frodo back in Lima, I won't be shaming you for achieving your dreams." He tried to smile, but it didn't really come out the way it was supposed to. "I will be the one cheering you on the fucking loudest of them all."
Kurt gave a choked laugh, and they just stayed in each other's arms for a while. For how long they didn't know.
Eventually, Kurt pulled away. He lay down on his pillow again, looking into Noah's eyes, taking in everything about the other man, knowing it would be a while until they got the chance to be this close to each other again. "What happens now…?" he asked, his voice almost broken, - "Shall we just forget this happened or…?"
Noah shook his head fiercely. "Kurt, that's stupid," he said bluntly, - "We're not gonna do that."
Kurt gave a small smile at that, and he let a silence settle between them. Noah was the one to break it: "Do you regret it? Sleeping with me, I mean…?"
The question sounded nonchalant enough, like it didn't matter, but Kurt knew it mattered much more than the other man would ever let on. Kurt also knew there was only one right answer. An answer he deeply and sincerely meant every word of, no questions asked.
"No," he stated firmly, looking into Noah's eyes to make sure that even if he forgot everything this world had ever taught him along the way, that he would remember, - "Noah, there's nothing about you that's worth regretting."
He didn't know for sure, and there was no way in hell he would ever get away by calling Noah out on it, but he swore he could see a couple of tears blinding the other man's vision right then and there.
Taking a couple of moments to pull himself together, Noah said in a shaky voice: "Damn Kurt, you're making me soft here, but at least you make me feel like I'm worth something again."
Kurt pulled him in for a sweet, short kiss, before resting his head on his chest, just listening to his heartbeats.
"Kurt?" Noah's voice rang through his consciousness yet again.
There was a silence. A long, deafening, almost suffocating silence, before Noah gave the most fatal statement a person could make:
"I really do love you, you know that, right?"
Biting his lip to stop himself from tearing up again, and reaching for Noah's hand, Kurt replied in the most sincere voice he could: "I love you too, Noah."
Judging by the way Noah's arms tightened around him, and the kiss he received to the top of his head, Noah believed him.
Nothing made Kurt more relieved than knowing just that.
There was a time Kurt Hummel thought love could conquer all.
Now he was not so sure anymore.
There was always the harsh reality of whatever situation you were stuck in that got in the way.
Maybe small choices really do define our lives, after all? At least to some extent?
All he knew was that as he sat on the plane on his way back to New York, the only little thing that rang in the back of his mind, repeatedly reminding him of that one fact, was the only thing to keep him happy:
New Year's would be there before he knew it.