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When Blaine left to spend Christmas with his family the first year Blaine was at the loft (early, and for a whole month and a half….Blaine would get back just the day before classes started up again.  Kurt had no idea how he managed his finals…just that it was all apparently managed and Kurt wasn’t to ask or fuss.), he left Kurt, who was staying in New York since his folks were going to spend Christmas with Carole’s family elsewhere, a list of ‘Things Blaine Expected To Be Done Before Blaine Got Back’ and a list of ‘Things Kurt Was Allowed To Do’.  He left Santana at the loft to ‘watch over Kurt’ and ‘make sure Kurt didn’t get himself into trouble’.  He also left Santana a list of what Kurt could and couldn’t do.  Kurt suspected he left Rachel lists of things Kurt could and couldn’t do as well…but Rachel was Rachel and already had her own versions that she harped at him about it so Kurt never really knew for sure. (And Rachel was taking off nearly as much time as Blaine…so he probably figured she wasn’t any use in keeping Kurt ‘in line’. Kurt knew how she managed her finals…she got permission to take three when she got back and had to do two early. She complained about it so loudly that everyone in the whole building knew.)

On the first list were things that were down right ridiculous, like replace all the furniture in the living room area with furniture that would make staying at the loft more comfortable for Sam. Blaine wanted NEW sofas and a NEW TV that was larger and that could be gamed on better, and he wanted a NEW gaming system for him and Sam to play.  He wanted Santana’s little corner that they had carved out so she could have some privacy to sleep in moved to being part of Rachel’s room area, so Blaine could use that area and sleep out in the living room space with Sam more often since Sam got lonely. Blaine wanted Kurt to remove all the shelving that was being used to make the room partitions and to have someone come in and build actual walls.  He wanted a NEW shower with ‘rainfall’ heads and a NEW bathtub that was separate and had the ability to be a Jacuzzi. And he wanted sinks for three and not to have to share his sink at all.  He wanted Kurt to buy a new dresser just for his stuff and make sure that it was FULL of top designer items, not found at discount.  Kurt should use his contacts at to buy for Blaine.  Kurt was NOT to have added anything for Kurt over the vacation, at all.  Even if he got Christmas money he was supposed to use that for things for Blaine.

Blaine also wanted a whole list of other expensive and ridiculous things, all just as crazy, but more within a realm of reality.  Those were his Christmas List and he expected ITEMS, plural, off of it. He told Kurt that the year before he had 28 gifts under the tree and Kurt, being his soulmate, should aim to match or beat that number.  Kurt went out the door of the loft and the building to check the address, as he was certain he’d somehow ended up in a Harry Potter book.  Blaine hadn’t thought it funny, although Kurt was then subject to the ‘I look just like Harry Potter, though, don’t I?’ monologue, which was followed directly by the ‘I look like Prince Eric and here is why he was the best Disney Prince’ monologue and the ‘why dark haired Disney princes are best’ monologue.

Kurt’s list of things Kurt could do was just as ridiculous.

Kurt could go to work, only if Kurt waited until Blaine was home to cash his paychecks or deposit his tips.

Kurt could go shopping for Blaine and Sam.

Kurt could sing songs around the loft, but only those Blaine had listed. 

Kurt could ONLY light candles that were “manly” scents.  He was NOT allowed to light non-scented candles, either.  Blaine had left two that were allowed.

Kurt could only watch shows Blaine had said were ok for him to watch, the list was on top of the TV.  There was also a list of shows Kurt was to watch so he could tell Blaine and Sam what happened in them. 

Kurt’s showers were to be no longer the ten minutes and he was to only use the hair products Blaine had left for him.  Blaine was determined Kurt’s own choices would be replaced by Blaine’s options by the time he got back.  Kurt’s were too expensive and cut into the price Kurt should be spending on products for Blaine.

Kurt could NOT go to NYADA until Blaine got home, not for any reason.  Kurt had finals in the time.  He was supposed to miss them, because Blaine said he was not to be at NYADA without him.  He could not attend the winter showcase, he could not attend any holiday party or function or show.  Kurt COULD speak to three of his teachers but none of the others.  He could not talk to Cassie July without Blaine with him. Kurt could not buy his materials for the next semester but he could buy Blaine’s...and Blaine would not be paying him back.

Kurt could not go out with the band unless Santana accompanied them and they let Santana manage the songs and venues and sing lead on most of them.  He could not see the band outside of gigs.

Kurt could sing at the diner if Santana said it was OK.

Under no circumstance was Kurt to be at any other campus of any sort in New York.

Kurt could go to callbacks, but he couldn’t sing.  He was to remember he wasn’t supposed to sing there without Blaine or Rachel.

Kurt was not to attend any holiday party without Blaine’s permission and without taking Santana with him and under no circumstances was Kurt to participate in any gift exchange.

Kurt didn’t know what Blaine was bribing Santana with to spy on him but spy and tattle she did.

When Kurt attended the office party, Santana told Blaine and Kurt got texts messages every five minutes for three hours, until he called on the way home.  Then he got a forty minute lecture on how Kurt wasn’t supposed to go to things like that without Blaine.  Except, Blaine wouldn’t go with him because he thought they were stupid when it involved Kurt’s work…however Kurt had been dragged to Blaine’s father’s business partner’s party with Blaine BUT not to acknowledge their relationship in any way, shape or form, at the start of December right before Blaine left.  Santana was smirking when Kurt entered the loft.  Kurt ate out for the next two days and refused to do any grocery shopping and made Santana find her own food.

Kurt got tattled on for taking extra shifts at the diner.  Kurt got tattled on for going to the workshop at NYADA about adding Holidays to plays without them in it. And for the workshop on putting together stunning Christmas Party makeup looks and Christmas Costuming. He got tattled on for going and taking his finals and attending the last few weeks of class.

Kurt got tattled on for working extra at Vogue.  He got tattled on for going to eat out. He got tattled on for having the Band over to the loft for practice.  He got tattled on for going elsewhere for band practice.

Kurt got tattled on for attending the Winter showcase, because since Blaine didn’t get a spot and Rachel wasn’t offered a spot he was a traitor for attending.

Kurt got tattled on for eating lunch with Dani and Elliot, at the loft, after practice.

Kurt hadn’t had a single call from Blaine about anything other than yelling at Kurt for living.  By the end of the first week, Kurt had received over 900 texts from Blaine complaining about whatever Kurt was doing that was wrong and yelling at him for doing things NOT OKAYED for him to do by Blaine.  Kurt quit counting after that…other than to note that he hoped Blaine was getting just as much fuss thrown his way due to the bills he was racking up with all the calls.

By  the week before Christmas, Kurt had taken to just answering the phone and setting it to his side…when there was a pause he’d pick it up and if it was long enough he’d say something like “How was your day?” or “Did you do anything fun today?”…and generally Blaine would answer and be distracted from his rant, but sometimes he was not and just started more ranting…and Kurt just set the phone back down. Christmas was No Better of a day.  It started with Santana complaining that Kurt dropped the ball on her gifts.

Kurt told her that if she couldn’t be happy with a designer dress and new shoes and designer gloves, hat, and scarf and the necklace he bought her, he was buying her socks next year and that was it.

She hadn’t bought him anything.

Blaine called at noon and demanded to know where the rest of Sam’s gift was.  Kurt replied that again, if they couldn’t be happy with the designer clothing Kurt got for them, then Kurt wasn’t getting anyone anything more than socks the next year. The suit he bought Sam was nothing to scoff at and was fancy enough that he could wear it to the types of parties a high end model would attend.  Then Blaine blew up at him because he realized that his gift from Kurt, a suit with two jackets, two pairs of trousers, three button down shirts, two vests, a pair of shoes, a full dozen ties, and a scarf and gloves that would go with it was Blaine’s gift…and that was all.

Then he screamed at Kurt because Kurt asked if Blaine was bringing Kurt’s gift back to New York when he came home or if Kurt’s gift was tucked away at the loft somewhere and Kurt needed to find it.

Blaine wasn’t planning on getting Kurt anything.  He just couldn’t afford it; he needed to be able to get all his friends souvenirs from all the amusement parks they were going to in California.  He would bring Kurt home something from one of a keychain.

Sam decided he could talk to Kurt for a while and went on and on about how Blaine had bought him the entire set of Star Wars Potato Heads that were carried in the Startrader shop at Disneyland and wasn’t Blaine the coolest.  Oh and Blaine had bought them two extra days at Disneyland.  And they had brand new matching Mickey Mouse Jackets and …

Kurt sighed and just let Sam go on and on until Blaine got back on the phone to tell Kurt he needed to go out and buy Blaine more items for Christmas since the suit simply wasn’t enough for one’s fiancé.

Santana was smirking again when Kurt was finally done talking with Blaine.

“You should get me more stuff, too. I want a spa day and some really nice perfume and I think I’d really adore some sexy undies.”

“No.” Kurt said.

Santana texted Blaine.

Kurt ignored his phone ringing.   He was planning on ignoring it the rest of the day, but Santana took it and answered it the next time it rang. And then threw it at his head.

“It’s Elliot.” She said. “I’m telling.”

Kurt sighed and answered the phone.

“Kurt, get your winter gear on and be down stairs in 20 minutes. Dress like…warm.  We are going OUT!”

Kurt sneered at Santana and went to change into clothing that could be worn to battle the chill outside.  He pulled on his winter boots, which were more functional than fashionable.  He pulled out gloves and mittens and a scarf and a hat, and tucked the mittens into a small bag with an extra scarf and extra socks. He pulled out his outdoor play coat, which was again not fashionable really, but warm. He took his IPod and a book and grabbed his phone and wallet and left.  He figured if he so chose to after Blaine’s whining was done, he could BUY himself some sweats and a sweat shirt to sleep in and stay at Elliot’s place.

Elliot had a car parked in front of the loft when Kurt got down stairs.

“If you don’t have what you need to be gone a good several hours, go back and get it. We are driving out of the city and heading someplace to go sledding.”

“I’m good.” Kurt said.  “Even if I wasn’t, I’ll be good.  I’m not going back into the loft for the rest of the day.”

Elliot beamed.

The radio went on and everyone sang with it as they drove north and city gave way to not-city.

They weren’t rural when Elliot turned off into a town, but they had moved well into small towns with open spaces.   Elliot drove through the town towards the side of town farthest from the highway. They drove through neighborhoods and to the edge of town and a small housing area off to the side of what looked to be a huge school complex.

There were several cars parked in front of the house Elliot eventually pulled up in.

Elliot bundled them all out and went to the trunk where he pulled out saucer sleds for each of them.  Then he dragged Kurt by the hand to the front door.

The door was opened just moments after Elliot rang the doorbell.

“Elliot!” a pretty women with dark hair shouted and pulled him into a hug.

“Aunt Anne Marie.  We made it.  You’ve met everyone but Kurt before…so this is Kurt.”

Elliot pushed Kurt forward and Kurt smiled.  He was pulled into a hug as well and passed by into the house.

“Go straight through to the back. Everyone is out there.” Anne Marie said.

Elliot took Kurt by the hand again and led him straight through.  Anne Marie hugged each band member as they came in and sent Dani to the bathroom before she headed out.

The backdoor led to a deck overlooking a huge yard that ended in a large sloped hill that stopped in a large field just outside the school complex’s fields.

People of all sizes were sliding down the hill all along the ridge.  There was a fire bowl off to one side surrounded by lawn chairs and on the other side a fire pit which had people making s’mores at it provided another warm up spot.

“Uncle Joey!” Elliot yelled.

A man who looked a whole lot like Gomez from the Adam’s family came rushing over and after seeing him greet Elliot Kurt steeled himself for another round of hugs.

“You know the rule, Elliot. Down the hill 10 times before you can enjoy any of the topside entertainment.” Joey said.  “I’ve toboggans and old fashioned wooden sleds stacked off to the side if you tire of the saucers.”

Kurt hadn’t been on a sled since he was about twelve. It was one of those things he had done with his dad every year and that had continued after his mom died that fell to the wayside as he got older and his dad got busier at the shop.  His dad had always taken him out past Findley to a friend’s place, and then the friend had moved and Burt never liked Lima’s local spot and had never found a new spot.

Kurt hadn’t minded at the time.  Those early teen years were hard on him body wise and the winter was not good to his skin.  Kurt stopped quite a few winter activities that he enjoyed for a few years until he could go out the door for any length of time without having a chapped face for the next week or two.  And when his dad didn’t pick sledding back up and find them a new place to go, it just didn’t happen.

Now, Kurt found he couldn’t wait to be sailing down the hill.

“Anything I need to know before we get started?” Kurt asked. “Like if there are fences or anything?”

“Nope. The biggest reason we sled here is there is nothing until the fence at the school and it’s far enough out no one has ever reached it, even sleds have never reached it. There are no trees or bushes or pipes or anything…just space.” Uncle Joey said.

Kurt smiled. “I’ll race you!” he shouted and grabbed a green saucer and ran to the hillside.

Kurt had forgotten how freeing sliding down a hill felt.  He’d forgotten how the snow flying up into his face felt and how the wind rushing by him felt. He’d forgotten the jump in his stomach when the sled left the ground and he was flying for those few seconds. He felt…unshackled. It was liberating.

Elliot slid to a stop beside him at the base of the hill and Kurt looked over at him.  The laughter just bubbled out Kurt and Elliot beamed at him.

“Again!” Kurt shouted, picking his sled up and chasing up the hill.

The ten times turned into ten on the saucers and ten on the toboggans with others and ten on the old wooden sleds before Elliot dragged Kurt over for hot chocolate and s’mores. They chatted and talked around that fire for a while before heading over to the fire bowl and the lawn chairs.  Elliot shouted a hello back when several young adults shouted his name as they came closer.

“Should we break out the sounds?” one young man who looked a bit like Elliot asked.

“I think it is too cold for the instruments, but the outdoor system should work.  Set it to something that we can sing with though.” Elliot said.

Soon music filled the area, some sort of 80’s station, and people were singing along. Kurt sighed and then smiled. It reminded him of how he thought living in New York would be…groups getting together and singing and goofing off.

Madonna’s True Blue came on and Dani and one of the girls stood up and did the background bop to it.  Kurt through back his head and laughed.  He nodded to Dani’s wave and took the lead, over acting the whole thing while singing it perfectly on key.

Everyone was giggling and clapping when they finished and Kurt plopped into the lawn chair next to Elliot again.

“God, I needed this.  Thank you for thinking about me, Elliot.” Kurt said turning to face his friend.

Elliot smiled. “I’ve been trying to get you out to one of these gatherings for months. You work too much.” Elliot said.

Kurt laughed. “Someone has to pay the bills.  Next time, tell me what you want me for and I’ll make the time.  I’m very convinced I’m going to need run away time this next semester.  Everyone is just being ridiculous and the closer to Rachel’s opening night we get the more insane she gets.”

“She been bad lately?”

“She’s been on vacation lately, making her bosses quite irate.  But they had listed in the contract a winter holiday period, so they couldn’t fuss to badly.  Rachel is the only one of the cast to actually LEAVE the city though. Holiday Cruises trump jobs, even Broadway jobs, in Rachel’s world.  Of course, everyone should have consulted her, ‘the star’, before scheduling anyway, didn’t you know?”

“Did she actually say that?” Elliot asked.

“Some version of it, apparently.  Understand, she had lawyers with her contract there to point out the holiday vacation point…so, of course nothing happened.”

“This whole Blaine ridiculousness then?” Elliot asked.

“Yes. Santana’s joy in texting Blaine every time I do anything is starting to grate on my nerves.  I mean, it was exasperating for a while, then annoying but it’s reached irksome and infuriating and I’m nearly ready to toss them all out.  Except I can’t afford the place entirely on my own. The other option is murder and somehow I think my father would disapprove.”

Elliot chuckled. “We’ll just have to take more time for practice and such, even if we don’t really.”

Kurt smiled. “I’d suggest making up gigs as well, but Blaine wants to be able to hang with me when I deposit any income I get.”

“You do realize that is creepy, don’t you?” Elliot asked quietly.

“I’ve come to a whole new level of realization of creepiness these last few weeks” Kurt replied. “I didn’t say I was going to follow through with Blaine’s wishes.  In fact I plan on not following through on any of them. I’m not buying anyone but ME more Christmas gifts and I’m buying every single long burning fruity smelling candle I can find when we head back. It is just harder to explain away the extra income a gig would give. Rachel and my Dad keep telling me he just needs to settle in better and it will get better.”

“I’m not so sure. You know what though; we could just book some extra gigs for real.” Elliot said. “I mean we’ve been keeping them to just two or three a month during school time, but we’ve had offers for once or twice a week.”

“We have?” Kurt asked. “I thought the extra gigs this month were just due to the holidays.”

“Yeah. Dani tries to pick the best options without over taxing us students. She figured with us out of class we could take more on.  We did get extra requests due to the holidays though.  She said she ended up turning down at least six more requests.” Elliot smiled.

“Wow. Would it be too much for you?” Kurt asked.  “If we managed once a week or twice a week?”

“No. I work mornings before class and a few afternoons.  Evenings are almost always open.”

“And I can make sure my evenings don’t conflict with a gig.” Kurt said. “Tell Dani we can take more gigs.”

“Awesome.” Elliot replied. “And we’ll have to see each other more because of it.”

Kurt laughed.

“Won’t it be wonderful?” Kurt said. “Hmm…do we head back to the city tonight?”

“Generally.  We tend to get in about 10 or 11.” Elliot said. “It gets too dark to safely sled soon.”

“Is your place full?” Kurt asked. “Or could I stay over? We can stop some place horrid and buy sweats for me to sleep in.”

“You can borrow gear to sleep in and crash at mine and tomorrow we’ll go buy you all the stuff you’re not supposed to have or buy.”

“Perfect.” Kurt beamed. “So…race you to the hill.”

Elliot laughed and chased after Kurt who’d taken off.

If Kurt could keep Elliot and Dani in his life he just might survive the insanity that was the loft and his relationships there after all. It would be a fight, but Kurt was determined to manage it.  He had a feeling a good life depended on it.