It was so hard to get up in the mornings. Kurt knew he had to, it was the right thing to do, but it was still so hard. Levi and Holly needed to be taken care of, they needed to have their dad. Kurt sighed and struggled out of his bed. He washed and dressed quickly so he wouldn't have to think about it, then walked down the hall to his son's room.

Levi was sitting up, holding out his arms to his daddy. Kurt went to him, picking the little boy up and brushing his thick black hair from his eyes. He looked so much like his mother it made Kurt's heart hurt.

"Daddy's here, Levi. How are you this morning, sweetheart?" he asked, holding the boy close and kissing the top of his head.

"Holly. She was crying, Daddy. Go get Holly," the little two year old asked. He was very bright for such a young child and Kurt was proud of him.

"Okay, but she's not crying now, so let's get you dressed first," Kurt said. He had gotten out a clean diaper and fresh clothes to put on his son. After cleaning him up and getting the day's clothes on him, Kurt held out his hand and they walked down the hallway to his daughter's room. Holly was awake, but just quietly cooing to herself in her crib. She had a sweet smile on her face as she looked up at her daddy. Her big brother was excited to see his baby sister this morning.

"Lift me up, Daddy! I wanna see Holly!" Levi asked and Kurt lifted him up to see his sister. Setting Levi back down, he picked up the baby. She snuggled into his warmth, cooing and waving her little arms. It brought tears to Kurt's eyes seeing her, knowing her mommy would never hold her again.

"I don't know if I'll be enough for you, my precious daughter. I'm going to try my hardest, but I just don't know." He held her close, picking up the scent of her. He kissed the top of her head, then put his cheek next to her impossibly soft one. Sighing, he took out the clothes he had decided on last night and got busy getting her ready for the morning.

"Daddy, can I have pancakes?" Levi asked in his sweet little voice and Kurt couldn't turn him down. Levi was a cuddly child, which was perfect for Kurt because he loved to hold his son. They would lie on the sofa together, and Levi fit in Kurt's arms perfectly as he read Beatrix Potter or Babar the Elephant to him at bedtime. Kurt often thought that his son's voice might turn out to be a lot like his own, a clear, high pitch that was just right for both singing quiet lullabies or belting out Broadway ballads. Levi would even try to sing when Kurt was particularly sad. He would climb in Kurt's bed and stroke his face, singing a little song to try and cheer his dad up. I always worked.

"Of course we can have pancakes, honey. Let me feed Holly and then I'll make you pancakes. Here, drink your milk first," Kurt said, handing his son the sippy-cup of milk and cupped the little boy's chin for a moment. He didn't know if it was just that it was because the boy was his own blood, but he thought Levi was the most beautiful child he'd ever seen.

Holly ate her breakfast, drinking the formula and burping as Kurt held her against his shoulder and rubbed her tiny little back. She usually got sleepy after eating, so he set her in the bassinet he kept in the kitchen, pulling the soft quilt over her, and turned to make the pancakes. He'd gotten up on time, which was difficult at best, after singing at the club last night. Brittany had stayed with the kids while he was working, but he knew that was in no way a permanent solution. He was giving more and more thought into returning to Lima, but it was a big decision for a submissive to make on his own and he was still not sure. He would call his dad later maybe, he needed his dad's dominant support to help him through this.

#*#*#*#*#

Five years ago...

It was the end of Kurt's senior year. The Glee club had won Nationals and most of the kids were still riding that high, happy to have gotten a last hurrah out of school before their life as adults began. The first of May was quickly approaching and with it the apprehension that almost all seniors secretly dreaded. The Pairing.

Every year, on May Day, the Overseers came and announced the Pairings. For most of the seniors, it wouldn't come as a surprise. They knew from puberty if they were a dom or a sub and classes were built around that – each learning how to conduct themselves to the best of their ability and to do credit to their families and country.

Teenagers usually knew who they wanted to be paired with and formal applications were filled out and sent to the Overseers Central Office up to a year in advance. Those few who had not applied for a certain spouse, and were not claimed by anyone, were just paired together at the end of the day and married at the Wedding Day Ceremony on June first.

This year had been as usual, most couples that fell in love had applied together for marriage rights. It was to no one's surprise that on May Day the Overseers – standing in the auditorium filled with the senior class – announced the Marriage Pairings of some of the most popular couples: Tina and Mike, Mercedes and Sam, Artie and Sugar, Finn and Quinn. There were a few Pairings announced of people that didn't go to McKinley. Brittany was a dom and her girlfriend, Santana, was also a dom: which was against the rules. They had apparently come to terms with it, though, because when Brittany's name was called it was with a girl from a school in New York that Britt had met when they went to Nationals. To Santana's credit, she didn't shed a single tear as Brittany marched across the stage to the arms of her future wife. She may have stumbled a bit at the end, glancing over her shoulder at Tana, but there was no one willing to mention it. Santana sat, dry-eyed, and accepted it as fate.

In the back of the auditorium, now sitting by himself, was Kurt. He had been sitting next to his brother, Finn, their arms around each other as Finn tried to support and comfort Kurt as much as he was capable of on this day. But when Finn's name was called along with his future wife, Quinn, he had to leave Kurt alone to face his future by himself. He leaned down before he walked to the stage, hugging Kurt as hard as he could and actually kissing him on the cheek in an attempt to leave a lingering dose of support that he hoped might carry Kurt through the rest of the day.

There were just a few people left in the auditorium as the Announced Couples left to the government-hosted party down the hall in the gym.

Kurt looked around the room, finally gathering his courage to look around the room and see who was left. At this point he wasn't really caring who he was assigned. The worst nightmare of his life, Dave Karofsky, had already been Paired – to a boy from another school. It surprised Kurt that they looked very happy as they left the stage after hugging at the Announcement and their ceremonial kiss lasted just that shade too long. The woman on stage was shuffling the last of the paperwork, looking a bit bored as she glanced over the forms. Her face brightened a bit and she leaned over to the man that was announcing, and she meant to whisper something, but forgot her microphone was still on.

"Phillip, look. There are no leftovers this year. I can't remember the last year that every person in the whole class was claimed," she said, then realized her mic was on and blushed. Phillip gave her a disciplinary look and she wilted in her chair, starting to slide to her knees when he touched her arm. She read his unspoken message and sat still.

"We'll go on." Phillip said into his microphone with a look at the woman beside him. "The next couple is Rick Nelson and Wendy Koch. Please come forward to the stage," he said in a commanding voice. Rick was a hockey jock and it was the talk of the school when he had appeared one day with a submission cuff on his wrist. Wendy was never a surprise, she had been a dom from the minute she was born and everyone knew it. There had been speculation about her ability to calm her temper down enough to marry anyone, but this might just work. Rick blushed and put his head down, following her to the stage where Wendy sat in the chair provided and Rick knelt in front of her, his forehead just touching her knees. She put her hand on his head in a caress and they were Announced. There was the hug and ceremonial kiss, just a brush of Wendy's lips across Rick's mouth as they turned to wait for further instructions.

"Please follow the attendant out the side doors to the party. Congratulations," Phillip said in a monotone. He had been an Announcer for years and it was a good job within the Overseer office, even if it did get dull sometimes.

Kurt sat still in his chair, a bit shellshocked. He didn't know any gay boys at McKinley except Dave Karofsky, and he was already Announced. He looked around the room; he knew every one of the twenty or so people left here. Perhaps there has been a mistake? Maybe his file had been lost because he had not applied for a spouse at all – who would he ask for? He hadn't had any discussions with anyone concerning a marriage, his father hadn't applied on his behalf for an arranged marriage, surely. Burt would have told him. No, this morning his father had pulled Kurt into his arms and told him that life had a way of working out and he was confident that Kurt would be okay before kissing his cheek and hugging him close. He had hugged Finn, too, and whispered for Finn to take care of his brother.

"The next couple is Kurt Hummel..." Phillip said and time seemed to stop. Kurt held his breath because if he was being Announced, it meant someone had applied for him. "...and Santana Lopez."

Kurt just sat there. Santana? But why? They were friends, but not terribly close. He was much closer to Rachel, Mercedes, and Tina – even Brittany. He chanced a look over at where Santana sat, looking at him with an unreadable expression on her face. He was lost, confused, and didn't know what to do, so he hung his head and tried to reason this out. Maybe he hadn't heard correctly? He happened to look up and there she was. Santana held out her hand to him and he took it. She didn't even have to verbalize the order, he knew instantly what she was asking of him and he did it. Hand in hand they walked up to the stage. The stage where they had sung and danced their way through the last three years together with the New Directions, but now it felt like a different country.

In a daze, Kurt watched Santana sit in the chair, squeezing his hand and pulling just a bit. He immediately dropped to his knees before her, as if in slow motion and rested his head on her knees. He closed his eyes, feeling cold and dizzy and wishing with all of his heart that he wouldn't faint. He felt her hand on his head, carding through the soft chestnut locks of hair to calm him. He could hear her faintly humming and it was like she had wrapped her arms around him in her ability to relax his straining muscles. He hardly heard the Announcement before she took his hand and lifted him to his feet, giving him the customary hug and a soft kiss to his lips before leading him out the door.

The rest of the day was a clouded memory. He didn't understand, but felt grateful to Tana for taking him as her husband. He had never had any illusion: he would not have the good fortune to be married to a man – he just didn't know any and it was not his place in life to question it.

#*#*#*#

Kurt had always been a good singer, but after his marriage to Santana, he didn't need to work. They moved to New York the summer after their wedding and Santana was signed to a prestigious record label. She had been the breadwinner and he stayed home. Now he had to do both: earn the money and take care of the family, with nobody to help, nobody to guide him through what he had to do next, and it was building the stress to the point he was afraid. He knew about Sub Weakness, and he knew if he succumbed to it that the Government Office for Child Protection could take his children. He got a job singing in a nightclub, and Brittany came to his rescue. She had always been in love with Santana and so she come to take care of her children, but it was not a permanent thing. Britt had her own life and her own wife, so Kurt was panicking about what to do. He thought New York would be full of doms looking for subs, but if that were true, Kurt was looking in all the wrong places. He was at the end of his rope, barely hanging on when his dad called to say he could work in his tire shop and move home to Lima. Not knowing what else to do, Kurt jumped at the chance.

"Here, Levi, can you hold Holly's bottle while I get her into her stroller?" Kurt asked his little son.

"Yes, Daddy," Levi said, holding it with both hands and looking important. After securing Holly in her car seat-stroller, Kurt gathered the pieces of luggage and set what he could under the seat in the stroller, tucking a stuffed giraffe beside the sleeping baby and taking Levi's hand as he moved through the airport. He was tired and had dozed off during the flight, waking when an elderly woman tapped his shoulder to tell him the baby was fussing. The panic just about choked him before he got himself together and found her bottle of formula.

Just as Kurt was getting the stroller and Levi off the escalator, he looked up to see his brother walking towards him. He couldn't think of a nicer sight in all the world.

"Finn!" he shouted, hurrying to get to his brother, Levi jumping ahead as he saw his uncle. Finn scooped the little boy into his arms and gave him a big kiss on his cheek, then held out his arm to Kurt. Kurt melted into his brother's embrace, trembling with the release of some of the tension.

"Oh, my god, Finn, it's good to see you," Kurt said, holding tightly until he heard his daughter start to fuss. They hurried out to the parking lot, Kurt anxious to get home and see his dad and Carole.

As Kurt and Finn got the children out of the car, Finn took time to watch Kurt. He was painfully thin, and his movements were jerky as he unbuckled the carseat to take Holly inside. Kurt looked up at Finn, seeing his dom brother and feeling more comfortable as Finn made decisions about who would bring in the luggage and what they needed to eat for lunch. Making these decisions was something Kurt could do, but it exhausted him to do them. It had been months of this, and he was just so tired. He picked up the car seat with a sleeping Holly in it and walked into the house. Finn was carrying Levi and came right behind, a worried look on his face.

The truth about how Kurt was doing with his two children came out over the next week. While he was obviously doing his best, forcing himself to make decisions about the basic needs of food, cleanliness, and clothing were so hard for him, he was constantly a nervous wreck. He leaned on his parents and brother, paced the hallway at night, and jumped at every little sound. It was so obvious that he needed a dom to balance him, it was pitiful. Yet, his family was amazed at what he was able to accomplish, in spite of the chaos in his mind over not having a dom.

Burt was a dom, but not a strong one in the way some are. He was helped immensely by being married to Carole who, while being a sub, was a strong one and together they just worked. Burt had never felt he had a handle on what made his son tick. He accepted that Kurt was gay, it had never occurred to him not to, but he hadn't been able to help him in terms of what was expected from a sub. Elizabeth had died before Kurt's sub personality had been revealed and Burt had married Carole too late for her to have much influence on Kurt's upbringing. Without a sub there to help Kurt understand how it worked, he had been left to do things by instinct or to emulate those around him. He tried his best, but with some things, he was simply unable to cope.

Santana had seen this in him. She was a dom, and her mothering aspect had been such a big part of that, she had seen how much Kurt needed her. When the days for choosing her life mate went by, and she saw that Kurt was not chosen, it hurt her. When Brittany made her plans to start a new life in New York, Santana could see that the best thing she could do with her life would be to take Kurt, and she never regretted it. He not only obeyed her, doing everything she asked of him with a good attitude, but he did it as if he adored her. And maybe to a certain extent he did.

Kurt had no delusions that he would have been swept up by some dom knight in shining armor. He was lucky he wasn't taken by someone who would have abused his tender nature, and taken advantage of his willingness to please.

Santana might have appeared to be all rough edges and no soft corners, but Kurt had come to know she had them. In bed, she was gentle and did her best to make him feel good. He might dream of being with a man, but his Tana knew that and encouraged him to talk about it and to try fantasies with her. He came to like their nights in bed together and even looked forward to them after a fashion.

Kurt remembered the days when Tana was pregnant. He was so proud, knowing that baby she had inside her was his, that a tiny piece of himself, handed to him by his father, would go on to live on in this world. He became unbelievably cuddly and sweet during her pregnancy, taking tender care of her. When Levi was born, Kurt cried as much as Tana did with the birth pains, chewing his nails for the first and only time in his life as she struggled and cried out, Levi coming out with a gush of birthwaters and then into Kurt's loving hands as the midwife handed the baby to him.

Then with Holly, the same thing, Santana going through labor while Kurt held her and supported her until he was holding this little miracle of a baby and cuddled close to his Tana.

Now, he dreamed about Santana at night, wishing he could tell her how hard he was trying, how much he missed her and needed her. Kurt knew he had to be strong for the children, he loved them so much and wanted the best for them, so maybe it was just fate that he move back here with his parents.

#*#*#*#

The first year of their married life, Kurt had made some adjustments. He was completely resigned to his fate, but he was surprised to find himself happy. The reasons for Santana choosing him were never discussed; it was her decision to speak of them or not and it would never occur to Kurt to question her.

The wedding night had been a revelation. He was gay, and had been attracted to boys for as long as he could remember. He never had that "Aha!" moment when something clicked in his brain and he discovered he liked boys, no. He had always liked boys from the time he could remember anything. So, when he had stood beside Tana at the Wedding Day Ceremony on June first he was terrified. The couples were all gathered in a large room at the Court House, holding hands and listening to the official reading the legal declaration. Sixty-two couples were married that day in Lima. Kurt wondered if any of them were as afraid as he was.

After the Ceremony, they went with Finn and Quinn to the Hummel house for a party thrown by Burt and Carole. Kurt's new in-laws were there and very nice to him, giving him formal hugs and Tana's mother and father both danced with him. The whole thing went by like the rest of the time since May Day – a whirlwind of emotion and confusion. When the party was finally over, Burt had driven them to the airport so they could catch their plane to New York. Tana had signed the record deal a few weeks before and had gone ahead to rent an apartment and get things ready.

The cab pulled up outside the building and Kurt saw the loft for the first time. He fell in love with it. As a part of this new part of their lives together, Tana had told him to decorate it in any way he thought she would like it. It sounded like an order, but Kurt saw through it, knowing instantly that it was her way of making him feel important and giving him free rein to make the space comfortable for himself.

That night, as he lay in the big bed waiting for Tana to join him, Kurt was shaking with apprehension. He was terrified that he wouldn't be able to perform his duties, and he closed his eyes and tried to conjure a picture of a gorgeous man so he could get hard. He removed his pajama pants and ghosted his fingers over his cock, willing it to get hard enough to please Santana.

She appeared a few moments later and he was scared. She was well known for being not only sarcastic and impatient, but caustic and mean in her words. He had witnessed countless times when she reduced a rival to dust with her ability to cut them down. He was genuinely afraid as he felt the mattress dip with her slight weight. It was dark in the room, he could hardly make out the edge of the blinds at the window and not much else, and he shuddered when she touched his shoulder.

"Kurt, don't worry so much. We are going to take things very slowly and I promise I will make if as good for you as I can," Tana reassured him. She stroked his cheek, gentle in a way he never thought was possible from her hands. Her kiss was strong and pulled emotions from him that he had never felt before. Her hands on his body were soft but strong and he began to relax.

Tana took her time, coaxing feelings from him, touching him in a way he could not resist. Then she began to speak to him.

"Kurt, I know this is not what you wanted for your life, and for that I am truly sorry. I didn't see an alternative and I think we can make the most of what we have. Is that okay?" she almost pleaded. It made him feel bad. She was the dom and here she was, not only asking him to act against his nature, but it was almost submissive. He lost the erection he had tried so hard to build and was ashamed, turning in the bed so he didn't have to see her disappointed face.

"No. Come back here, Kurt," she demanded. "We are going to do this. I can help you. Tell me one of your fantasies. I know you like boys..men...and while I can't grow a dick, I think I can do things to make this okay for you."

As her insistent and demanding voice came through, he was more relaxed in a way. Responding to exact requests was his nature and it made it easier, fulfilling a basic need in him.

"Now, tell me about your fantasy man, what he looks like, how his hands feel, what he does to you," she encouraged and Kurt told her. He thought it would be difficult to speak of things like that, but with Tana it wasn't. She was nurturing and loving in a way he had never dreamed of, letting him pretend and fantasize so that in his mind he was making love to that man. After a while, he thought more and more about Tana, and in years to come it was her that made him hard at night and no longer the fantasies of his childhood. While she never said it, he believed that she was happy with him, too. He had soft skin and a high voice, and he did his best to help her with her fantasies, too.

They ended up the night of their wedding in a loving embrace, and while neither was fulfilled to the best of their dreams, they were both satisfied. Kurt fell asleep in the arms of his wife and he felt safe there for the first time in months.

#*#*#*#

It was late, maybe eleven when Kurt woke from a light doze. He wasn't sure for a minute why, then heard Holly fussing in her crib. Living with his parents again, Kurt was more secure and that made life easier. However, the house was not overlarge and so he had his old room, which was the larger of the two he and Finn had as teenagers. He still had his twin bed, but instead of the large oak desk of his youth, Holly's crib was in the corner by the window.

She was just beginning to fuss, not really crying, so instead of picking her up he shuffled to the kitchen to warm a bottle of formula for her. It took a few minutes, and he thought she probably went back to sleep.

Holly was a sweet baby, rarely making much noise or causing any trouble. Even at four months, she could smile when she heard her brother's voice and Levi loved her beyond measure. He would sit beside Kurt when he fed her, asking to hold the bottle and when allowed, he stroked her cheek as she drank, her eyes focused on his face.

Kurt wondered if this was an early indication of Levi being a dom and Holly a sub, but dismissed that. It was a well known fact that it was impossible to predict which way a child would go until puberty had set in. At least that was what the so-called experts said.

The water in the pan was getting hot and so the formula was probably warm enough. He took the instant read thermometer and tested it. Yes, just right. He took the bottle out of the warming pan and screwed on the lid. It was a small bottle, 4 ounces, but he thought Holly would be needing an 8 ounce one before too long and he had to plan to go to the store to buy one.

This was one of the things Kurt hated about himself. He knew full well that if Santana were here, she would just jump in the car, go to the store and bring home the larger bottles. But that was well nigh impossible for Kurt. He had to think about it, try to find a way to force himself to make the decision to do the required action, then execute it. It was exhausting. He had found that if he closed his eyes and conjured Santana to mind and imagined her telling him to go do it, it made it a bit easier sometimes. Kurt sighed and padded back to his room.

Holly was lying in her crib, a tiny smile on her pretty face. She looked so much like her mama. There were the sparkling eyes, not huge and round like some babies, but large and almost an almond shape. Her little pink lips were what his grandmother called a 'Cupid's Bow', soft and plump. She was darker in complexion than her father, even at this age, her skin a golden color that Kurt marveled at. Her soft wisps of hair were chestnut like his, but a bit darker in color and her cheeks had a perpetual pink circle on each one, as if someone had applied rouge to make her look like a china doll. Kurt was absolutely besotted with his baby girl. He picked her up against his shoulder, propping her against the soft cloth and rubbed her back. When that didn't produce the wanted burp, he patted her gently and she cooperated.

"Oh, that's my baby girl," he cooed at his daughter, kissing her sweet smelling neck as he supported her head against his chest. She smiled that baby smile he loved so much, his heart melting as he gazed at her eyes. "Oh, Holly, I wish your mama was here."

#*#*#*#

It had been two months now, and Kurt was even more lost than he had been the day it happened. He remembered the day his wife had been so happy when she found out that this time she was pregnant with a girl. Kurt had been happy, too, thinking of their son having a baby sister now. A picture of a perfect family – at least as far as any outside observer would think. Kurt thought that as far as the fates allowed, it was as perfect as it could be.

It was after Holly was born that things didn't seem right. Kurt was able to care for their children and Tana, but his wife just didn't bounce back like she had with the birth of their son. She was tired and irritable, finally telling Kurt to take Holly to the doctor to get her started on formula because her breast milk was failing. Worried, Kurt took Tana, too, and they found she had an infection from the birth. By the end of the week it was worse than originally thought and she was taken to the hospital where all the doctors and all modern medicine had to give wasn't enough. Kurt had left the children with his dad the last day and sat in the hospital room with Brittany, taking turns holding Tana as her life drained away. Santana died in his arms a few hours later. It was every bit as bad as the day his mother had died, he had the same dismal feeling of never being able to do anything. He was helpless in the face of illness and it scared him. He buried his wife in the grave next to his mother in Ohio, then took his children back to New York and tried to go on.

#*#*#*#*#

"Daddy?" Levi called, sneaking down the hallway to his father's room. It was three in the morning and Levi knew he should be in bed asleep, but the tigers came to his dreams and he was afraid. It wasn't as good to come to Daddy as it had been to come to Mommy. Somehow she was more of a tiger-fighter, but now she was gone, so he had to depend on his father.

"Daddy?" The little boy called again, pushing the door to the room open and tiptoeing in to climb up on Daddy's bed.

"Hey, Levi, what's going on?" Kurt asked, though he could see the boy's eyes, huge and wet with fright, his lip quivering. "Aw, did those tigers come back?"

"Yes, Daddy. I wanted Mommy, but can you get rid of the tigers? I'm scared," Levi said, and who but a two year old could be so truthful?

"Oh, I don't think tigers can come in here. Mommy would have kept them out, and I know she's looking down from heaven to make sure you're okay. Hey, how about you come under the covers with me and we can go back to sleep, okay?"

"Okay, Daddy."

Kurt pulled the boy next to him, stroking across his eyebrows with the tip of his finger until Levi fell back asleep. Kurt sighed. He wished Tana was there to keep his own tigers at bay, too. He waited until Levi was sound asleep before getting out of bed to go make a bottle for Holly. The baby would be awake within the hour, expecting her breakfast. He would rather get this done now than go to sleep and have to wake up again to feed her. He yawned and walked to the kitchen.

#*#*#*#*#

Finn and Quinn were over for dinner, Finn trying to spend as much time as possible in supporting his brother. He was sitting in the family room, showing Levi how to kill zombies in Dead Island on his Playstation3. Not that the little guy understood what a zombie was, or anything else about it, but he was thrilled to have his uncle paying attention to him. The doorbell rang and Finn scooped Levi up and walked to the door, carrying the little boy like he was a sack of potatoes. He opened the door and, seeing who it was, said, "Catch!" and pretended to throw Levi to Puck. Puck grabbed the boy and swung him around before hugging him to his chest and grinning.

"Levi! Hey, Dude, are you playing a zombie game with Uncle Finn here?" Puck asked, tickling him lightly. Levi giggled.

"Yes, Uncle Puck. Oh..." the boy looked like he'd been caught doing something bad. "I mean Uncle Noah," he corrected himself. Daddy had just told him that morning that he should call this man "Uncle Noah", even though everyone else got to call him 'Puck'.

Puck rolled his eyes, but didn't say anything. He didn't want to confuse the kid. Kurt was having enough trouble giving the kid boundaries without undermining him in any way. As a dom, Puck understood how hard it was for Kurt to set these boundaries, and he needed all the help he could get.

Puck walked into the kitchen sitting down at the table and sending Levi off scurrying to find Carole to play with him. Finn sat down across from him. He'd asked Puck to come over today to talk over something very serious.

"So, how are you getting along? I was sorry about your divorce, but can't say I'm surprised," Finn started. Puck was a dom and had married one of his pool clients, a dom with too much money on her hands and too few ways to spend it. It had worked for a while, but in the end they didn't travel in the same circle of friends and had so little in common...it just wasn't a good fit. They parted as friends and Puck got a settlement from her, so he wouldn't have to work for a year. Of course, that wasn't his style, Puck liked to work and in addition to the pool business, he worked part time at Burt's tire shop. Business was booming and Burt was thinking of opening another one.

"Finn, I think I'm okay. I have someone in my life, and we see eye to eye on so many things, you'd be surprised," Puck said, looking at his best friend. Finn grinned at him.

"Good to hear it. Well, I was just wondering how things are going..." he trailed off. Puck was no idiot, he knew there was a reason Finn would call and ask him over.

"How is Kurt doing?" Puck asked. He had seen Kurt at the grocery store the night before and he looked bad. Worn out, too thin, frazzled, and Puck was worried. It was the main reason he came over when Finn called. He had an idea, but wanted to run it by Finn first.

"Kurt? Not so well. I think he's still grieving for Santana. We might not have understood their relationship, but I think they did love each other. Plus, with her gone, there is nobody to dom Kurt, and I think he's falling apart," Finn said bluntly.

"I was wondering about that. Finn, I think of Kurt as more than just a close friend, like a brother really, but I can put aside those feelings to help him. Do you think a temporary solution might help him pull himself together?"

"I couldn't ask you to do that, Puck. You might be a dom, but you're not gay. We'll think of a solution," Finn argued.

"I might not be, but Kurt was married to Tana, if he could do that, I think I can put aside my preferences long enough to help someone I care about as much as I care about Kurt. Honestly, Finn, I can't just sit by and see him struggle like this. And that's not to mention the kids. They need him to be as strong as he can be – and without a dom, he's losing it fast. Even I can see that," Puck told his friend. He had made up his mind.

Finn didn't like it, it was just another temporary solution, but it looked like Kurt would need it before it was too late.

"Just ...just be careful. He can't take much more, Puck. Why don't you talk to him tonight, Quinn and I will take care of the kids."

#*#*#*#

Kurt was sitting on his bed, exhausted from taking care of a 4 month old baby and a two year old. He was working at his dad's tire shop doing the inventory, ordering, and accounting, and he was so tired. He knew in a few minutes he would need to go in Levi's room to try and decide what clothes to set out for him to wear in the morning, but even that sounded like too much right now. He closed his eyes, beginning to doze when there was a knock at the door.

Puck came in before Kurt had time to ask who it was, and he wasn't too happy. He was tired, but couldn't bring himself to say that to the dom that he had known for so many years.

"Hi, Noah," Kurt said, trying for a smile but not quite making it.

"Kurt, how are you?" Puck asked, sitting down on the bed next to Kurt. Kurt made a sort of noncommittal noise and looked down. Puck sat on the edge of the bed and removed his shoes before climbing up next to Kurt to see what he was watching on TV. It was an old movie from the 1940's. Puck moved so he was right next to Kurt, his leg pressing against Kurt's and his arm going automatically around Kurt's shoulders.

"You look kind of tired, Kurt. Are you taking care of yourself?" Puck asked, looking straight into Kurt's eyes.

The tingle that started with the first touch was running down Kurt's spine now, warmth gathering in his stomach as he wondered what Puck wanted.

"Yes, I think so...but it's hard with the two kids, you know," Kurt found himself telling Puck.

"Well, you don't have to worry tonight, you can relax because Finn and Quinn have offered to care for them for the evening," Puck assured the young father. Kurt smiled, he knew how much Finn loved his kids.

Puck leaned closer to Kurt. "Can you turn off the light now?" he said, but it really wasn't a question and Kurt found himself doing as he was bidden before he even gave it a thought. It was so easy to follow what a dom told him to do. He sat back up on the bed and Puck took Kurt into his embrace, leaning forward and catching Kurt's lower lip between his teeth and biting softly, then kissing Kurt. Kurt kissed back, his body responding in ways he had almost forgotten.

Puck deepened the kiss, then gently shifted their weight and moved Kurt until he was lying down on the bed, Puck covering Kurt's body from shoulders to hip. The more Puck kissed him, the more Kurt relaxed, not thinking about why Puck was here, what would be the purpose of this - Kurt was well aware that Puck wasn't gay. Kurt thought about it, but it was too hard to try and rationalize it.

"Kurt, you know you need this, and as one of your closest friends, I can give it to you. Are you okay with that?"