A/N: Real life gets in the way, but here's the second half of this. There will be more of Oliver and the whole family at some point, and definitely more with Evan and Oliver figuring out how they work as friends and brothers.
So enjoy, sorry its later than planned, and now I fly off into the summer where I have no WIPs again! Well, until next week sometime. Dun dun dun, what will I start next I wonder -coughsoulmates!klaineanddead!blainecough- Who said that?
One of a Kind
Evan eyed his father's closely after they picked him up from Ryan's. It had been a long, eventful night full of video games and mountains of junk food, but even in his half-asleep state, he was aware that they were behaving oddly. They were jumpy and smiling brighter than ever. At first he thought it was because they'd gotten laid from having the house to themselves last night, but it was different than those goofy grins.
Curious, Evan continued to watch them as they headed into the house and started making breakfast. The two men worked seamlessly in the kitchen, exchanging bowls and ingredients for a huge meal while Evan sat at the island and pretended to watch the television in the connected living room. But after an entire episode of I Love Lucy reruns, Evan was annoyed that he still had no inkling about why they were so happy.
"Did you two discover some new type of orgasm last night or are you going to tell me why you're both so bubbly?" Evan finally snapped, shocking both men, and smirking when they nearly dropped the huge stack of blueberry pancakes. It served them right for being so secretive.
"Evan!" Kurt scolded, looking embarrassed and flustered. Man, he was glad he hadn't been home last night because they had definitely– "I do not want to hear you say things like that, okay? We've talked about sex, yes, because you had questions, but that is our private life and– "
"If it's so private, then you should probably be a little quieter about it," Evan grumbled before he could stop himself.
Kurt's face flooded with color, but he knew it wasn't from embarrassment this time. After years of being with Blaine, he was beyond used to having such comments thrown his way, but it was still enjoyable for Evan to toss them out when he could. His dad might be used to them from Blaine, but he was just starting to get familiar with Evan saying or even knowing about these types of things.
"Do not sass me, Evan Michael. Our sex life is private and I do not want you referencing something that personal and loving for jokes," Kurt snapped sharply, and Evan twitched a little with guilt.
After several seconds of wrestling with his squawking tic, he gave it, let the noise echo around the kitchen, and lowered his gaze to the counter. "Sorry, Dad," he mumbled. "Papa jokes about it, so I thought– "
"I knew he'd pick up that terrible habit from you," Kurt complained, his stinging glare whipping over to Blaine. "I bet Oliver will too– "
Evan perked up immediately at the unfamiliar name and the way Kurt fell silent right after it slipped out.
Oliver. He didn't know an Oliver, but by the sounds of it…
"I'm getting a brother?" Evan hollered in disbelief, his words punctuated by another squawking tic. "When do I meet him? Are we going to share a room? How old is he? Are you adopting him now or later? Does he like– "
Blaine's hand clamped down over his mouth, muffling his questions until he stopped talking and started ticking again.
"Slow down, kiddo," Blaine grumbled, sliding a plate across the counter and waving towards the food. "Let's eat and then talk."
The suggestion only deterred Evan until he had his plate piled high and several mouthfuls of food in his stomach.
"So when is he moving in– "
Kurt groaned in dismay, his fork clattering down onto his plate. Blaine grinned and pointed his forkful of pancakes at his husband as Evan beamed at the pair of them.
"This one is your fault," Blaine said happily, before shoving the fork into his mouth.
"Shut up," Kurt snapped, slowly easing his fork back into his grip and taking his time cutting off a section of his pancakes.
Evan wiggled in his seat as he waited, grinning and ticking nervously as he tried to retain his questions until they started giving him answers. When Kurt remained silent, he turned his wide, hopeful eyes to Blaine, who chuckled softly.
"His name is Oliver and he's eleven," Blaine started. "We want to have a serious discussion about this with you before we actually agree to anything."
"But– this is going to be so cool!" Evan squealed, his voice crackling and making his throat ache. He frowned and glanced down. That was new.
"Having a sibling isn't all fun and games, Evan," Kurt said, looking up and meeting his gaze seriously. "Finn and I were the same age but there were still expectations that we looked out for each other. You'll be older, an example for him, and he's just like meeting a new kid at school. Just because he's been labeled as your brother doesn't necessarily mean you'll have anything in common."
Still rubbing his throat, Evan continued to frown as he mulled over his father's words. He hadn't thought of that. This boy, Oliver, wasn't just someone he could call brother someday or someone that would fit his own ideal of such a spot in his life. He was already a living, breathing person with his own likes, dislikes, and quirks. That really wasn't something he'd factored into the idea of having a brother around, and it made him pause for a minute. What if Oliver didn't like him? How awkward would that be, for him to move into their house, and try to be part of their family and not like one of them?
"You're right," Evan mumbled after a few minutes. "I– having a brother would be great, but… he's his own person just like each of us is."
"Exactly," Blaine said with a nod as Evan slowly started eating again. "I think that's one of the best things for you to remember with this. Try thinking about being in his place and how scared he probably will be those first days here."
"So he's definitely moving in?" Evan said, grasping on to the implications of Blaine's words. "Like, soon, right?"
"We'd definitely like him to," Kurt said, his eyes softening. "He sounds like a wonderful boy, Evan. We just want you to be prepared for the change it'll bring to our lives and to not have overwhelming expectations for him, okay?"
"Okay, Dad," Evan agreed, trying to block out the parts of his mind that kept popping in with little brotherly expectations. "We definitely get to share a room, right? I like having my own space and all, but even now, it's still really quiet without someone else snoring."
"Yes, as long as he's okay with it, too," Kurt answered, nodding slightly as he continued to eat. "I'm not sure what we'll do if he isn't, or if– "
"We'll figure it out," Blaine said as Kurt shook his head, looking worried and nervous.
Evan frowned at the sight, because he didn't understand the fear they had. How could they be so sure of something yet so scared of it?
"It's gonna be great, Dad," Evan added after a moment. "You'll see. He'll love you guys as much as I do. I promise."
By Monday, Oliver was called back called back to Ms. Stacey's office and told that the Hummels had agreed to be his new foster family. The news did little to excite him beyond getting away from the group of boys that had been tormenting him all weekend. A series of small bruises were already blooming along his shoulder blades from being shoved about so much, and the one book he'd managed to purchase at his last foster house was now tattered, torn, and lining the hamster cage in the main playroom.
He wouldn't be sad to see this place go again, and hopefully, when he returned the others would be gone. There was a two year limit on being placed with a foster family. After that time, it was either adoption or moving back to the Center. Oliver hoped he'd manage to stay with the Hummels that long, even though he'd only done it once before. Every other house had been less than a year. If he made it to the two year mark then several of the other boys would be of legal age and gone. He'd be bigger and stronger by the time he was thirteen, too, and with any luck, they'd leave him alone or he'd be able to make them do so.
Ms. Stacey told him to pack his things for the next morning and Oliver agreed with a short nod before returning to the boys' room.
As usual, his books were knocked over and scattered, and the handful of clothes he owned had been hung from the ceiling fan that was slowly rotating and well out of reach. Briefly he wondered if Evan would be doing these kinds of things to him, as a general rule from an older boy to a younger one.
Oliver hoped not, but at least Evan was only one person, whereas there were five boys here.
Carefully he hopped up onto his bed, took his time to find his balance on the footboard, and started grabbing shirts, pants, and underwear as they swung by. It was a familiar process he went through almost daily and right now, on the brink of meeting new people he was going to live with, it was soothing. Oliver picked up his books next, checking for ripped pages or sliced bindings, before ducking under his bed and dragging his bag. He packed everything away then glanced around.
He was still alone and from the sounds outside the window he would be for quite a while. Carefully he lowered himself down, sliding under the bed towards the wall until a blast of cool air hit his face. Swiftly he pulled the air vent out and then yanked hard on the floor board above it until it popped up. A layer of dust billowed out, coating his hands and itching at his nose.
After several snorts and headshakes, Oliver slid up closer and pulled out the few possessions he kept hidden in there. The first that he'd only put back a few days ago was the thick, cracked leather bound journal he drew and wrote in. It was one of only two completely private possessions he had and that nobody, not even the other boys, were aware of. The second, folded up and nestled down in the floor, was an old, tattered little blanket – the one he'd been wrapped up in when he'd been dumped here eleven years ago.
For the life of him, Oliver didn't know why he kept it; maybe it was the smell of lilac perfume that still managed to cling to it or the thought that whoever had last touched it before the ground had cared more than anyone else had. He hoped his mother had left him here because she was too young to take care of him. It was a mystery he thought about quite often, but never looked into.
As he replaced the floorboard and the vent, Oliver cradled the two objects for a few minutes, wondering when they'd see their dark little cave again and why, for the first time in his memory, he hadn't left the blanket where it always was.
His journal always came along, but the blanket…
The blanket always stayed there, holding his place like his mother might have held him.
Shivering, Oliver slid back out, tucked the blanket and journal into his bag, and hugged himself. Something felt different this time, in ways and for reasons he couldn't explain. Nothing felt familiar and everything here felt distorted like he had walked back into an old crumbled photograph that no longer resembled his life.
A few minutes later the door banged open as the other boy's charged in, hooting and passing their basketball back and forth.
"Hey, look! Mouthless is leaving again!" Neil hollered, elbowing Oliver in the back as the others laughed and cheered.
"About fucking time," John called. There was a squeaky creak as he flung himself back down on his bed. "I hate jacking off on my own sheets."
With a grimace, Oliver eyed his bedding suspiciously, and then found himself face first on the mattress as a pair of elbows jabbed at his spine. More laughter followed his abrupt faceplant on the bed as the other boys continued horsing around and throwing their basketball.
Another twelve hours and he'd be waking up and leaving here for a long time. He tried to ignore the little part of his brain that kept peeking in and squeaking out a hopeful "Forever!" because that wouldn't happen. It never had and it wouldn't until he was growth and making his own life, choices, and decisions.
Oliver's morning started just as abruptly as his evening had ended. Last night the other boys had gotten the terrible idea that learning to hogtie someone was an excellent way to spend their time after dinner. Unfortunately he'd been the one they'd volunteered and, by the time Ms. Stacey arrived for lights out, they'd already hoisted him onto his bed and thrown the blankets over him. He'd spent the majority of the evening struggling out of his binds and finally freed himself after midnight. The other boys had already been snoring and none of them noticed him finally getting up and then tending to the rope burns on his skin.
A splash of frigid water woke him, chilling his face, neck, and drenching his torso and undershirt.
Several open palms slapped at his thick, wet hair before the laughter bubbled up around him and then disappeared. As usual, they'd gotten up early for the expressed purpose of pranking him. It bugged him more than he would ever admit that they got up to torment him but had to be rolled out of bed to get up at the same time for school.
The next hour was rushed for Oliver. He'd already packed his things, but now he had to shower again and figure out what to do with his soaked shirt and bedding. His hair was still dripping down his bare chest when the door creaked open. For half a second, he almost hoped it was one of the boys, back to taunt him, but it was Ms. Stacey's head popping through the opening, a bright smile of her rosy lips.
"Hey, Oliver, the Hummels are– ohno, what happened, sweetie?"
She hurried in with a flurry of motion, bustling over and helping him strip the bedding off while he finished pulling the pillow case free.
"They dumped water on you again?" she asked quietly as the door creaked again. Her hand rubbed over his still damp locks and then adjusted his glasses and checked them for damage. "At least your glasses are okay, sweetheart. I'll have a talk with them– "
"No," Oliver muttered, glancing behind her where the door had opened completely to reveal the little family from the photograph he'd seen a few days ago.
"Oliver, this isn't okay– "
"No," he repeated, his voice firm and low.
The Hummels looked on uncertainly, the men, one slightly taller than the other, framing the small boy before them. He was barely taller than Oliver, with hair just as long but the opposite of his straight, dark locks.
"I– " she shook her head, and Oliver knew she'd still talk to them despite it never doing any good. At least he wouldn't be around for the backlash of it tonight. "Do you have another shirt?"
In response, Oliver heaved his bag onto his cot and started fumbling with the zippers.
"You can have one of mine," a voice said behind him, and Oliver jumped in surprise.
Evan was standing behind him, plucking at the button up he had layered over his t-shirt. It was a nice shirt, nicer than anything Oliver had ever owned, and seemed like it would fit him. He eyed the deep blue fabric warily as Evan shrugged it off and handed it to him.
"Try it on," Evan encouraged, eyes wide and earnest as Blaine and Kurt approached. "It'll look awesome with your eyes, dude. That's why Dad always wants me to wear green."
Oliver hesitated a fraction of a second longer before taking the offered shirt and putting it on. It was nice and incredibly soft, with a denim-like texture; a perfect fit around his shoulders and down his torso. Evan was grinning widely when he looked up. Behind him, Blaine and Kurt were smiling hopefully, too.
"Thanks," Oliver decided to say, feeling both embarrassed and grateful enough to speak.
"Sure thing, kiddo," one of the men said as Ms. Stacey helped him put his backpack on and let them run through introductions.
"I'm Blaine," the man who had just spoken said, offering his hand. Oliver took it and let Blaine shake his arm before Kurt beamed down at him.
"I'm Kurt, and you just met Evan."
Evan have him a little hopeful wave as Ms. Stacey squeezed his shoulders and nudged him a little with her knee.
"O- Oliver," he offered quietly, turning his gaze down from the three sets of bright, excited eyes watching him.
They always looked like that at first. It was just like those little kids that got puppies for Christmas. Everything was excitement and happy barks until the fun wore off and the realization of all the responsibility that came with him set in. Before long they'd be sick of him, too, sick of his closed off silence and liking of solitude. They'd get annoyed with him keeping them at a distance and send him back here for another family to repeat the same process.
"It's very nice to meet you," Kurt said, bending down in front of him and smoothing out his collar. "What do you say to a nice quiet dinner at home tonight? We can watch some movies and just get to know each other while you settle in."
Oliver nodded slowly as Ms. Stacey squeezed his shoulders comfortingly and ushered them all towards the main lobby downstairs. There was some last minute paperwork to be filled out, several pages of information for the Hummels, and the usual list of phone numbers for Oliver in case he felt uncomfortable or scared. After that, Ms. Stacey wrapped him in a tight hug.
"Be good," she murmured against his hair. "Remember what I said," she added. "These are wonderful people, Oliver. Please give them a real chance."
He nodded mutely as she let go and stood up. If he trusted anyone, it was Ms. Stacey, and despite all of his past experiences, he was really starting to believe her words, even if he didn't want to admit it.
Before he knew it, Oliver found himself buckled into the back seat of the Hummels Range Rover with his backpack between his feet and Evan in the seat beside him. Kurt drove them out to the highway and Blaine and Evan spent the first hour of their trip down to Long Island talking soccer, Evan's practice schedule, and about his chances for the making travel team the next year. There were a lot of encouraging smiles aimed his direction, but nobody pushed and Oliver was grateful. New foster parents usually decided to start dragging him into conversations immediately, both out of excitement and wanting to figure him out and if he'd make a decent babysitter for their other kids.
As they crossed into the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania a few hours later, they pulled off for a quick meal at a drive thru and to switch drivers and stretch their legs. Oliver was doing his best to keep his amazement in check because he'd never left New York state before, and even though this was incredibly brief, it was amazing to him to see how different the scenario was becoming as they approached the coast.
When they piled back in, Blaine took over driving and the stereo, playing some pop-punk sounding music, whose lead singer sounded suspiciously familiar. Evan was yawning and patting his stomach full of several Big Macs and doing his best not to fall asleep as Kurt swiveled in his chair and popped open the little storage unit in the floor between Oliver and Evan's seats and pulled a blanket out. With some difficulty, he draped it over Evan, who had dropped off to sleep.
Oliver watched it all with wide, surprised eyes, taking in the gentleness in Kurt's movements and the content, absolute love in his gaze as he tucked his son in. It startled him even more when the same gaze was turned onto him.
Immediately he jerked his gaze to the window and swallowed the hard lump forming in his throat.
"Have you ever been to the coast before?" Kurt asked after several moments of silence.
Eyes still fixed on the scenery flashing past, Oliver shook his head.
"It's quite a change, even from the lakes," Kurt continued. "We grew up in Ohio, and it was one of the first things I did when I moved to New York and Blaine came to visit from his college. We could go to the beach tomorrow, if you'd like. We're not that far from Long Island sound."
Oliver nodded, tentatively flicking his gaze towards Kurt's seat and finding the man watching him with an easy, honest smile. It would be so easy with these three to just trust and let himself open up more. They were all so nice and relaxed, still eager to learn about him and welcome him, but he stubbornly reminded himself that it wasn't going to last. No matter how nice and great they seemed, it would be over before he blinked.
"Great," Kurt said, yawning himself. "There's another blanket if you get sleepy, too," he added kindly, pulling it free and setting it on top of Oliver's bag.
But Oliver had no interest in sleep, even as Kurt dozed off and Blaine continued to drive and tap his fingers to the music. He watched the scenery zooming past his windows, so different the lakes and plateau region he was used to being shuffled around in. As they passed into northern New Jersey, Blaine changed CDs, the music similar to the first, but this time without any vocals. It confused Oliver as he listened and watched, but before long Blaine's voice started floating back to him, singing in the same voice as the lead singer on the previous one.
"That's y– "
He bit off the rest of his question as Blaine's eyes met his in the rearview mirror.
"Yup," Blaine replied with a shrug. "Last one is an older tape, but me and the guys still fool around with recording tracks whenever we get the chance. Lyrics have been slow lately."
"Oh," Oliver muttered, trying to remember what the Hummels file had said about Blaine's career. He had opened a little music shop not too long ago, and had just finished getting some degree so that he could teach. That sounded right to Oliver and made this sudden realization less surprising.
"You play anything?" Blaine asked, eyes still on him in the mirror.
Oliver shook his head firmly. The one time he'd tried, he'd thought either he or the violin was attempting murder.
"If you're ever interested in learning anything," Blaine said smoothly, "I can show you around most instruments, unless it's something really out there, or a tuba. I don't mess with tubas. They weigh too much to be worth the effort."
He waited to see how Blaine would interpret his silence, but there were no uncertain flickering eyes or shifting uncomfortably in his seat. Instead Blaine returned his gaze to the road and started singing softly again, repeating songs until he had the right flow for different lines or had figured out better word choices. Oliver listened to him work between Evan's light snores and Kurt snuffling in the passenger seat. By the time they crossed the state line into New York again, Oliver was starting to yawn, but his first ever glimpse of the ocean and the city was more than enough to keep him awake.
Judging by the fact that they'd somehow ended up on the southern side of the city, Oliver guessed they'd taken a longer route in. He knew enough from his geography studies in school to know that the easiest route would have been cutting northern around the city through the suburbs, but he didn't allow himself to imagine that they'd taken this route just for him to see the ocean. That was absurd.
As they crossed over the bay, Blaine talked him through the places around them and where they were as they passed north into Brooklyn and skirted the lower side of Manhattan before turning due east out to Queens and down Long Island. There wasn't a lot to see after the city, but Oliver's mind was buzzing with all the towering buildings, the glistening sea, and the bridges they'd crossed. As discretely as he could, Oliver slid his journal out and started doodling, trying to capture as much as he could before the memories became too fuzzy and distorted.
It was only when they hit a rough bump on a turn off that Oliver glanced up and found himself on a single lane road carving through a lot of tall, thickly foliaged trees. He caught a street sign as they passed a gravel road – Mountain View Drive. They were here then. This was where he was going to live for the next… however long.
From in front of him, Blaine cleared his throat and turned the stereo off. "Almost there, kiddo," he said. "The bay's about five miles north of us, but we go to the south side of the island most of the time."
Oliver kept his eyes peeled as Blaine turned down into a short road that ended with a round court rimmed with a handful of houses at the end of long drives. He drove straight through to the house directly ahead, but slightly hidden behind several trees and bushes.
"Shake him away," Blaine told him, jerking his head back towards Evan, who grumbled and twisted against his seatbelt as Blaine eased the car into the garage. "He won't mind if you womp him real good."
Oliver thought he actually would mind, but he shook Evan anyway, gently at first and then a little rougher when the other boy only groaned and burrowed under his blanket.
"St-ah-ah-ahp," Evan yawned angrily, swatting at Oliver's hands as Blaine leaned over to wake Kurt up.
Oliver poked him once more, this time in the cheek , and Evan squawked loudly, though when nobody but Oliver jumped he remembered that Evan had Tourette's. Maybe that was one of his tics.
"Wh– ugh, are we home? I'm hungry," Evan mumbled, squinting around at the dark garage they were now in.
"Again?" Blaine cried in disbelief as Kurt grumbled and tried to keep sleeping. "You ate more than the three of us combined a few hours ago."
"Still hungry," Evan deadpanned as he unbuckled himself and climbed out.
Oliver stayed where he was as Evan went around to the back and opened the trunk where several bags where. It was only now that they were here in the early evening that Oliver realized the Hummels must have arrived in Buffalo sometime yesterday since they picked him up early this morning. It was close to an eight hour drive from the Center to here, and the very idea that someone, let alone three someones, had made such a journey for him was unbelievable.
In the front seat Blaine had leaned further over, dotting Kurt's face with little, nipping kisses and Oliver found himself unable to look away from the sight. That was the difference with these two, or at least one of the differences. They were deeply, madly in love, regardless of whatever else was happening or going on and even in that photograph it had been completely obvious that these two men were happiest when they were together.
"All right, all right," Kurt laughed, finally opening his eyes and accepting a final kiss on the lips. "I'm awake, are you happy?"
"I'll be happier when Evan's stomach stops eating everything edible in the house."
"I heard that!" Evan hollered from the trunk of the Range Rover as he pulled the last bag out and shut the trunk. "You're just jealous that you start getting fat now if you eat too much."
Evan's face appeared in Oliver's open window, tongue poking out as Blaine swatted at him.
The rest of the trip into the house was a continuation of Blaine and Evan bickering playfully, finally ending with Blaine hoisting the boy over his shoulder, plucking his shoes off, and tickling his bare feet until Evan was crying and choking on his laughter.
Oliver followed behind with Kurt at a more subdued pace. It was so bizarre to see a father and son interacting like that, at least for him. The sight wasn't something he was familiar with and it made his stomach twist up oddly until it felt like it was a coiled spring compressed under his heart, waiting for his own moment to start bouncing around.
"Any thoughts on dinner?" Kurt asked him as they watched Evan make a triumphant escape from Blaine's arms, only to be chased out of the room. "Stacey didn't mention what you liked and didn't like to eat, but we have a bit of everything... "
Oliver bit his lip and looked around the enormous kitchen and living room he'd just stepped into. He'd been right about the financial stability. The Hummels house was incredible, fantastically decorated and looked as though it had all the latest updates and newest hardware in their expansive kitchen.
"Do you want to make pizzas?" Kurt offered, setting the duffel bag in his hands down by the couch. "We can pick different sauces and toppings... anything's game for pizza. Then Evan can make his own... or two."
"Okay," Oliver agreed, still letting his eyes roam the walls lined with fancy artwork and picture after picture of Kurt, Blaine, Evan, and a handful of other people he didn't know. He assumed the older man and woman were one set of grandparents, but at a glance he couldn't tell whose they were.
Kurt started setting up all of their pizza making supplies at the counter while Oliver made a tentative lap around the main floor. There was a small dining room that looked clean and mostly unused, a breakfast nook/sun room off the back side of the kitchen that gave an incredible view of the pool, patio, and the wilderness beyond the wooden fence. Then a small bathroom, a few closets, and a little study set off in the far corner, with thick oak doors with several large glass panels fixed in. He didn't dare go into any room that was closed, but he eyed the staircase to the top floor, curiously, wondering when he'd see where he'd be staying while he was here.
He ended up back in the living room, sparing Kurt a uncertain glance before making his way over to the fireplace and the mantle covered in pictures for a better look. There were five in total, one that was clearly from Kurt and Blaine's wedding day, each of them with cake and frosting smeared over their smiles. Another was of Evan with a big soccer trophy in hand, caked in mud and grass stains, and arm in arm with a girl and a boy in uniforms that matched his.
Oliver paused at the other three, the first of which was clearly a family shot with Kurt, Blaine, Evan, and five other people. He didn't recognize any of them, but they were in other portraits around the main floor, except for the baby sitting on the one man's lap. It struck Oliver hard that none of them seemed to be pretending to be happy. They just were.
The last two pictures were each of a different woman and small boy. The first was obviously Kurt. There was no mistaking his features and pale skin, despite a smattering of dark freckles and a difference of at least twenty years. The woman hugging him to her side was definitely his mother. They looked almost identical with the same eyes, hair, and skin tone. Even their bone structures were similar.
The second picture held a different young woman, this time with thick, dark curls and a smile almost as wide as the one of the small boy in her lap. The two were seated at a piano, and as he looked closer, Oliver realized the picture had been ripped and taped back together. The boy was clearly younger than Kurt in the other one, but there was no doubt that it was a young Blaine.
Oliver gazed at the last two pictures for a long time, trying to wrap his mind around either of these men ever being small enough to sit on someone's lap or to fit into such tiny clothes. It wasn't until he turned back to the kitchen that he realized that the two women's smiling faces only appeared in just one spot. As he walked back towards the kitchen, he looked at each, seeing the other people in the family portrait, but not them, and wondering what had happened and why their existence almost didn't seem to be real.
Kurt hollered for Blaine and Evan and the four of them set about making their pizzas for dinner. Oliver kept his simple, picking the alfredo sauce Kurt had set out and covering it with mozzarella, peppers, pepperoni and a sausage that Blaine had practically drooled over. Kurt's was easily the healthiest of all of theirs, dotted with pineapple, peppers, just a thin layer of sauce, and a handful of other vegetables. Blaine ended up making what he called a taco pizza, which Evan had warned Oliver not to touch and that had made Kurt frown and berate Blaine for his health choices. Evan ended up making three, one of which was slathered in Sriracha sauce, jalapenos, and several kinds of peppers. It made Oliver's mouth burn just by looking at it.
When it went into the oven, Blaine bent over and stared in at it, clearly expecting the heat of it to combust at any second.
"You're so going to regret that one," he said simply, patting Evan on the shoulder before standing back up and stretching.
"It's better than that thing you call a taco," Evan shot back, sticking his tongue and then ducking Blaine's playful swat.
"Shut your trap and help carry all of this stuff upstairs," Blaine told him, nudging him into the living room where all of their bags had ended up.
Oliver's was set neatly on the floor beside the couch, but the others were slung into a hap hazardous pile, spilling off the couch and onto the floor.
"Grab yours, sweetheart," Kurt said as he helped Blaine untangle two bags. "We'll show you where your room is going to be."
"You're bunking with me!" Evan informed him brightly, grinning as he struggled to get a good grip on the last bag on the floor.
His words alarmed Oliver slightly, because bunk beds were something he'd never wanted to try again – not after the Armstrong's. He'd been on the top bunk, always woken up by the other boy, Frank, kicking his mattress and a good smack against his temple when he shot up and his head met the ceiling.
"I hope that's all right," Kurt said uncertainly. "We weren't sure if you would want to share or not, but it'll take a few days at least to set you up in the guest room if you'd rather be in your own room. The other room's being renovation into a nursery right now, but– "
"Come on!" Evan insisted, and for the first time since he'd met them this morning, Oliver found another hand in his, dragging him along and up the staircase. It was the first physical contact he'd had with any of them, aside from the handshakes, and something about Evans' grip was reassuring.
This boy had been where he was now. He knew and understood what Oliver was thinking and feeling about this first night. At least Oliver assumed he did, and maybe later, when they were getting ready for bed, Evan would give him a real rundown of life with the Hummels. It was a typical first night happenstance as far as foster homes went. The kids who had been their longer would finally corner him, tell him how things really worked, the ins and outs of what to do and not to do, and who, if any one, should be watched out for.
Kurt and Blaine followed at a slightly slower pace as they lugged their bags upstairs and by the time they hit the landing, Evan was already pulling him down the hallway and pushing open a door with a soccer poster on it.
Oliver was quite stunned by the room he found himself in, finding a twin bed straight in front of him, obviously Evan's since it was covered in soccer sheets and a big plushy soccer pillow. The walls were a deep, handsome green and all around Evan's bed were posters, and little shelves full of models and Legos. Directly opposite Evan's bed was another, fitted with plain bedding and surrounded by blank walls, clearly just set up for Oliver since there was a scattered mess of other posters and objects of the built-in desk that curved into the long alcove where three tall windows were.
As he stepped into the symmetrical room, taking in the bookcases and dresser lining the same wall as the door and the plushy purple beanbag chair on the atlas map rug in the open area in the center, Oliver couldn't stop himself from thinking that it was the best room he'd ever had the chance to stay in. He had his own bed, his own side and room to personalize and decorate if he ever wanted to.
"That side's yours," Evan gushed, tossing his own bag onto his rumpled bed and tugging Oliver over. "Dad said we'll go get you cool bedding and posters and clothes and stuff tomorrow, but I took all of my stuff down so this side could be your side."
"It doesn't have to be tomorrow," Kurt's voice called from the doorway as Oliver set bag gingerly on the bed and looked around. "We've got all week, or longer if you want some time to think over color choices to compliment Evan's side or a theme and we can even paint your half a different color– "
"Kurt, I don't think he's going to be as overboard as you– "
"I am not overboard, Blaine Xavier," Kurt snapped waspishly, pursing his lips and pausing to give Blaine a good glare.
"Come on," Blaine muttered, taking Kurt by the hand. "We'll be downstairs, guys. Dinner should be out in about half an hour, okay?"
"Okay!" Evan agreed.
The door was snapped shut behind them and Oliver suddenly found himself alone with his new roommate. He refused to call Evan a foster-brother in his mind. It would just give him expectations for what his life would be like while he was here. He'd learned a long time ago not to mess with those titles or the idea of having a brother.
"There's room in the closet and the top two drawers on the dresser are for you," Evan said into the silence. Oliver watched him flop back onto his bed, bouncing slightly as he hit the springs, but his eyes were trained on Oliver.
Oliver nodded in understanding and turned away, slowly unpacking his few possessions, except for his journal and the baby blanket. He didn't want to be bothered with curious questions right now, not when his mind was buzzing with so many of his own. After ten minutes, his stuff was placed in drawers and he found himself sitting on the edge of the bed that was meant to be his, watching Evan just as intently as Evan was staring at him.
"Ever played soccer?"
Oliver shook his head. He'd never played any sports, but that wasn't because the thought had never crossed his mind. Nobody had ever asked him to or played to do anything with him. The other boys had made him the outcast and he'd taken up the post without much thought. It was easier when they didn't like him. There was no attachment and that made the constant changing of his location easier to deal with.
Another negative head shake as Oliver drew his legs up to his chest and hugged them.
"Um… swimming? Or video games? Oh!" Evan hopped up and darted to the bookcase on his side of the dresser and yanked a book from the middle shelf. "Have you ever read Harry Potter? Dad and Papa gave them to me last year and they're really great! Even held my attention, which isn't easy."
Oliver nodded quickly, staring at the slightly worn book in Evan's hands and watching his smile falter a little. He'd read them repeatedly since he first learned to read at a high enough level for them. There were dozens of books he'd checked out of the local libraries and school library time and time again. With nobody to play with or interact with in a friendly manner, he'd spent more time than was probably recommended with his face stuffed inside a book.
"Oh, well… they're one of my favorites," Evan muttered, looking disappointed that Oliver's lips still remained firmly pressed together. He paused for several minutes, and Oliver thought that the disappearance of his grin would finally bring on the rundown he'd been waiting for. He'd get to hear how Evan really felt about living here and what to expect.
"You're really quiet," Evan said abruptly. "Like, they said you didn't talk a lot, but you haven't said anything in hours. Does it hurt you throat if you talk too much? Cause I had this bad tic that popped my esophagus out and back in that made it hurt to talk for a while."
For a long moment, Oliver watched Evan fidget and then make the same squawking noise that had punctuated the conversation while they were making dinner. He really was sincere about all of this then. Just a nice, hopeful boy actually looking for Oliver to be his brother. The idea was raw and ill-formed in Oliver's mind, but he bit his lip and decided for once it might not be such a bad idea to speak.
"It doesn't hurt," he mumbled softly, clearly his throat at the scratchy sensation.
Evan perked up at his voice, another large grin slowly spreading across his face at finally making some sort of progress. Oliver fidgeted, tugging at a loose thread on the bedspread as Evan flopped down on his stomach but still watched him. His mind wandered as they each processed this new element that Oliver had just allowed between them. He wasn't doing any harm by being a little friendlier. If anything, talking to Evan would make his time here more pleasant and perhaps even bring it closer to the two year mark than Oliver had been hoping for.
As Evan clicked his fingers in a rapid-fire succession, Oliver looked around for something else to get Evan shooting off at the mouth, and his eyes came to rest on another picture, this time on Evan's night-stand with him and his fathers.
"W- who were the women?" he asked quietly, and when Evan looked baffled, he added, "In the pictures on the mantle. I… they weren't in any of the others."
"Oh," Evan said softly, his gaze and smile dropping. "Those are... well, they're Dad and Papa's moms. They died when they were kids. All of Papa – Blaine's" he clarified at Oliver's confused look "family except his sister are gone. Well, I think his grandfather's still alive but he hasn't seen him since high school."
He'd expected the answer, but it still surprised him to hear it. They were a house of motherless boys, each of them without one for their own reasons. Oliver wondered if the two men downstairs had really replaced whoever Evan had had before them in his heart. It certainly seemed so, but he didn't think the same could ever happen for him. How could they fill in a hole that wasn't defined or named? One that even Oliver couldn't fathom the shape of depth of.
"I get that you're trying to keep a distance with us," Evan added, biting his lip nervously before plowing on. "I've been there. Pa– Blaine's been there. Even Kurt has. Getting hurt sucks and letting people in means that's always a possibility, but Kurt and Blaine? They're so worth it, dude. Just... even if you don't give me a chance or we have nothing in common, please give my dads a real chance."
Oliver was so stunned by the confession and request that he said nothing, but Evan seemed to understand him perfectly. Or something close to it, considering how newly acquainted they were.
"You wouldn't be here right now if they didn't want to adopt you, Oliver," Evan finished with a small shrug. "That's why you're the first kid they've fostered, because whoever comes into our home is someone we all want to stay in our home and be a part of us."
Amazement surged through Oliver for half a second before he tried to squash it down. But Evan's gaze was steady and honest. It was one thing he'd learned in the past twelve hours with the other boy. He was honest and sincere, even to the point of being blunt about whatever he had to say.
"I– really?" Oliver whispered, hating the way his voice trembled as he spoke.
He shouldn't get his hopes up, shouldn't count on these undefined differences he'd noticed with the Hummels being anything worthwhile and true, but here was another boy they'd taken in, one much like himself. Evan was happy and loved, and loved Kurt and Blaine in return. It's what Oliver had always longed for deep down, someone who truly cared, but the thought that this moment was arriving years before he'd ever expected was too much right now.
"Definitely," Evan said simply. "I didn't believe it at first either, but… they're something else." He shook his head with a fond smile. "Sometimes they drive me nuts, yeah, but they're the parents I've always wanted and… they love each other more than I ever thought it was possible to love another person. They've been through a lot, but their love is insane and deep. And they want to give that to you, too, just like they did with me. They want you here," Evan told him. "So do I, even if I can't sleep naked anymore."
Oliver snorted through his disbelief and Evan grinned.
"Boys, the pizzas are ready!"
Evan stood up as Oliver sniffled and hugged his knees a little tighter. It was all so overwhelming to think about, to even fathom that it was a real possibility that if this worked out, he'd finally understand what people meant when they called someone or something home. It was a word he liked to use, because it wasn't something he could honestly say he'd ever experienced.
"You need a minute?" Evan asked from the doorway.
A little shiver ran through Oliver as he nodded. Evan returned the gesture and closed the door, his heavy footfalls stampeding down the stairs and fading away.
Oliver stared around the bedroom again, taking in the little details this time, from the empty fish bowl on the desk where it fit seamlessly against the walls under the window sills, and the random dirty socks Evan had left thrown about. He looked over the posters of various soccer players and the corkboard filled with little photographs of Evan and his teammates and friends.
He eyed the bag still sitting at the foot of his bed and scooped it up. Carefully, Oliver pulled out the baby blanket and the journal, setting the latter on the night-stand and then gently tucking the little blanket under his pillow. It would be safe there, with no worries of being manhandled by a pack of obnoxious boys or shredded while they teased him over it.
A light knock rapped against the door and then Kurt's head popped in tentatively.
"You doing okay? Your pizza's going to get cold."
"Yeah, I'm okay," Oliver replied, taking Kurt by surprise with his voice, but Kurt smiled as widely as Evan had earlier and motioned him towards the hallway.
"Come on then," Kurt told him, holding a hand out. With a last glance at the pillow he'd hidden his blanket under, Oliver hopped up and took Kurt's hand slowly, nervous about the strong, warm grip that closed easily around his small fist.
This could be his home, and maybe he was foolish for even allowing the thought so soon and so suddenly, but everything in this house bubbled over with hope and honesty and unwavering warmth. It was hard not to think anything was possible here, even a family's collective heart loving him enough to keep him.