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Three's a crowd

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With a low groan and a pinched frown, Kurt McVeigh cast an accusational glance in the direction of his buzzing cell. The obnoxious ringing had been interrupting him all afternoon, call after call from his client, disrupting his work process and diverting his focus. It was as if he thought calling him constantly would make him work faster, when, in actual fact, it was the exact opposite. He really missed the days when signal didn’t reach this far out. Flicking the safety off on the nine-millimetre he was currently holding, he raised his arms and emptied the clip into the target in front of him loudly, deciding to ignore the call.

With a satisfied smirk, he lowered the weapon, beginning to dismantle it as the cell buzzed to life again.

“Son of a bitch!” he hissed under his breath, rolling his eyes as he moved toward the offending item, fully intending to throw it across the room or smash it into a thousand pieces. Picking up the phone aggressively, his eyes suddenly caught her name. 

Kurt grinned despite himself, his annoyance dissipated quickly as his thick, rough fingers fumbled to answer it.

"Di," he greeted softly, holding the phone between his shoulder and his ear as he walked back to the weapon, laying the pieces methodically into an evidence box.

"Hi," she replied, her smile shining through her voice. 

It had been four months since they’d decided to give their relationship a real chance, four months of trying and for the most part, succeeding. After she’d taken back her firm, her first call had been to him. They weren’t getting married and Costa Rica wasn’t happening, but they were putting themselves first and they were very much committed. Half the week was spent at hers, stealing late nights and early mornings, and then the weekends were reserved for his farm, shooting, relaxing, and other, more... salacious activities. 

“Almost didn’t answer, phone’s been ringing all afternoon.” he grumbled, scrawling his name onto the box with the date. Diane laughed softly through the phone, the joyous sound tainted with a hesitance he didn't recognise. 

He waited a good few seconds for her to say something. She knew how hard his client had been pushing him for results, knew how frustrating he found their constant hovering. He had expected a snarky remark or at least some words of encouragement, but the line remained quiet.

"What's wrong?" he finally asked, uneasy with her silence.

"Nothing," she tried, and he rolled his eyes, leaning back against the countertop. 

"Diane," he warned slowly. 

"Okay, something, kind of," she began hesitantly, her apprehension unnerving. Kurt frowned, it wasn’t like Diane to play games or whatever this was. "Have you left yet?"

"Just wrapping up, what is going on?"

"I need something from the store," she offered up after a long pause. Kurt scratched the back of his neck, waiting for more, but nothing came. 

"Okay?” he began after another pained silence. “Want to tell me what I'm buying? Or shall I just guess?" His tone was light, laced with amusement but there was still an underlying hint of concern.

"Tampons," Diane replied softly, so softly he wasn’t sure she’d actually said anything at all.

"Tampons?" he repeated the word, his nose scrunching as if he'd just eaten something sour, confusion and distaste etched onto his features. He could hear her gentle breathing through the mobile. He supposed he shouldn’t have been surprised, tampons explained her odd behavior for the last few days, all her morose lounging and the copious amounts of sex they’d been having, of course it was that time of the month... again. 

"Yes," she said in response.

"You need..."

"Tampons, yes." 

There was another awkwardly long pause, a moment where neither said anything and both their minds weighed on the significance of such a request. They'd only been back together for a few months, and despite their feelings for each other and the obvious history, this request was something of a milestone in their relationship.

It struck her, perhaps a few minutes too late, that maybe they weren't quiet at the stage where she could ask him to buy her sanitary products. Licking her lips, she finally managed to speak again.

"Look you know what,” she began uncomfortably. “We're not there yet, I shouldn't have asked, I can go out and get a box, you don't need to—"

"Diane," he cut off her rambling.

"Yeah?" she sighed, feeling bathed in embarrassment. It wasn’t so much the fact that she asked him to get her tampons, more the mortification of her realising their relationship still had a ways to grow. She’d thought they were pretty solid, after all, he’d practically asked her to marry him, but apparently they weren’t as sturdy as she’d thought, especially if something as ridiculous as tampons could rattle them.

"I'll get 'em. See you in twenty," he replied curtly, his tone giving nothing away before the line went dead. 

Diane smiled foolishly at the receiver for a moment, unsure of what this meant for them, what it said about their relationship, but infinitely grateful she could just lie in bed with a good book and hot water bottle until he arrived.

-0-0-0- 

Kurt frowned deeply, shifting awkwardly on his feet as a gang of teenage girls giggled beside him. Clearly, they could sense his unease. Setting his jaw, he tried to project some confidence as he looked back at the brightly coloured shelf. 

It wasn't that he minded buying Diane... tampons, he wasn't one of those men who were completely repulsed by the mere suggestion of menstruation, his mother had raised him better than that. However, standing here in a supermarket aisle, faced with so many options, it was a little daunting, not to mention the pack of rabid teenagers beside him wasn’t helping. He wished he'd had the foresight to ask her how many she needed or at least for a brand she liked before he’d hung up, anything that would make the selection process easier.

He knew she didn't want the pad things, but that was about it. Did she need small, medium or large tampons? Did she want a sporty fit or an everyday fit? Was it a heavy flow day? What even was a heavy flow day? Did she want Tampax, or Kotex, or some other brand entirely? What colour should he get? Did colour even matter? Surely they all ended up the same way? Did she want the expensive biodegradable cotton ones, or the cheaper mass-produced ones? Should he buy them scented? And if so, what scent should he get? Bright Meadow ? Was that even a scent? And what in the hell was an applicator ?

God, this was torture, absolute torture.

His hand hovered over the pocket his phone resided in as he contemplated calling her back for more information. No, he wouldn't call. He could do this, he just had to pick one, surely just a basic box of ' regular ' would do? He suddenly wished he'd paid more attention to her bathroom cupboard, but besides an impossible number of nail polish bottles he couldn't recall if she'd even had a box in there. 

Glancing to the side, he let out a sigh of relief. The group of giggling girls had finally left, now he could at least struggle in peace. Glancing back at the boxes, he reached toward a simple blue box with swirling green stars... Maybe these would—

"McVeigh?" Kurt's heart fell through his feet, his eyes sliding shut. Of course, it was just his luck he’d run into someone. And of all the people he could have run into, it had to be—

"Will," Kurt greeted, meeting the other man's eyes with a tense smile, the awkwardness of the tampon aisle suffocating them both. Will let out a short, uncomfortable laugh, his hand snaking through his hair.

"What are you doing here?" the younger man asked, instantly regretting it.

Kurt shot him a curious look, his eyes thinned and a smirk tugging at his lips. 

"Right," Will said, gritting his teeth as he glanced around the aisle. "Stupid question." 

Kurt felt a small sense of relief, at least he wasn't alone in this god-awful situation. Someone had obviously sent Will here too, and Kurt found solace in that. There was a long silence between them as they both contemplated how best to handle this heinous coincidence.

"I'll uh,” Will began finally. “I guess I'll see you around," he decided, putting an end to their mutual suffering and reaching for a non-descript box off the shelf. His fingers gripped the bright little box as he turned and made to walk away.

Kurt exhaled heavily and closed his eyes. He knew what he had to do next, his desperation outweighing his pride as he opened his mouth,

"Will?" he called before the man could round the corner and leave the aisle. The lawyer spun back quickly, a look of surprise splashed across his face. "Do you, uh, do ya know which...?” He awkwardly gestured at the brightly decorated shelf as Will walked back toward him slowly. 

"First time?" the younger man asked, letting out a breath of sympathy, his smile less forced this time. 

"Buying for her , yeah," Kurt replied and Will nodded.

"Well, it really depends on the woman," he tried, his brow scrunched as both men turned back to the shelf, studying it seriously. 

“She want tampons or the other kind?” the lawyer asked pragmatically.

“Definitely not the other kind,” Kurt replied, confident for the first time since he entered this godforsaken aisle. He may not know much, or really anything, but he knew this.

The pair stood shoulder to shoulder for another minute, both sets of eyes dancing over the shelf.

“What uh, her, uh, what size is she?” Will asked pensively and Kurt’s eyes snapped to his almost violently wide with incredulity. The younger man gulped under the formidable glare, uncomfortable. 

It took a while for Kurt to process the bizarre question. Of all the things he’d thought he’d ever discuss with Will, Diane’s uh, size wasn’t one of them. 

“Are you asking?” He frowned deeply, not entirely sure he understood what Will wanted to know. Did he mean her physique, or…?

“Oh!” Will gasped with equally wide eyes, catching on to how his question could have been interpreted. “No, not like that, I mean is she athletic, or—"

“Slim,” Kurt replied with a look of relief. “She works out, but she’s slim, tall too.”

Will nodded seriously turning back to the wall of tampons. In all honesty he wasn’t sure that information helped him all that much, but at least he sounded knowledgeable... sort of.

“Well, maybe just go for a standard box of those?” Wil offered up, gesturing in a general direction.

"These?" Kurt asked, pointing out the box of 'regulars' he'd been leaning toward before. Will shook his head almost violently, his eyes wide.

"Oh no!” he exclaimed. “No, not the scented ones, women don't like them," he continued very seriously, and Kurt almost let out a laugh. This was ridiculous.

"Okay," the older man drawled back, slightly despondent at the fact that his choice was wrong and he'd have to start all over again. 

"Maybe just," Will said, grabbing a box that matched his own. “Maybe these."

Kurt nodded, taking the tampons from Will with a grateful exhale. 

"Thanks," he said tersely. "Diane just called out of the blue and I—" he tried to explain, hoping to ease some of the awkwardness between them. 

"Diane?" Will queried with a shocked look and Kurt could have kicked himself. He wasn't sure if Diane had told her partner about them, and now, here he was outing them. Shit. 

Will made a curious face and turned back to the wall quickly. In one swift swoop he’d crouched down and snapped up a black and pink box, before standing and handing it to Kurt.

"She likes these," the younger man said blandly, his tone as casual as the shrug of his shoulders.

Kurt gaped at him, his eyes wide and jaw hanging slack. He hadn’t expected that. 

The men stared at each other for another tense moment before finally, Kurt shook his head, allowing the amusement and awkwardness of the moment to dissipate some and reach for the new box of tampons. Will nodded as he handed them over, taking a half-step back, more than ready to leave.

"Look, we never have to..." Kurt started in his usual drawl.

"Tell her?" Will piped up.

"I was going to say speak of this again, but that works too." 

Will chuckled, shaking his head and meeting the older man’s eyes fondly.

"Good," he added with another nod, smiling before spinning on his heel and heading down the aisle, leaving the ballistics expert behind him.

"Yep," Kurt exhaled lowly, shaking his head in disbelief, his body deflating some as he once again found himself alone.

"Oh, and McVeigh?" Will suddenly called, and Kurt turned to look over his shoulder, meeting the lawyer’s steady, almost amused gaze. "Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Chip," the younger man said. "Don't show up without at least two pints!"