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Adam doesn’t ‘really’ meet Kurt until after Kurt’s first Christmas in New York.  He knows that Kurt’s dad showed up…and brought his ex as a ‘present’ as well as told Kurt he had cancer and was getting treatments.  And that Kurt’s ex hogged his dad’s focus half the evening, but he only heard about that from Kurt after he drank spiked punch at some shindig they went to for Rachel.  When he realized Kurt also had a step-mom and a step-brother, he always wondered why they hadn’t come instead of the ex.

However, even with that oddity Adam was always under the impression that family was very important in the Hummel clan.  Kurt was nearly frantic at times thinking about his father’s cancer and worrying about how it was going and the main reason he went back to Lima for the wedding was to see his step-brother. (Who came to New York to beat-up Brody but didn’t stop in to see Kurt at any point in time during that trip…which Santana rubbed in Kurt’s face whenever Kurt upset her.) Kurt called his father every Sunday afternoon at 2pm and if he was late his father called him. His father called him every Friday evening at 10pm. Kurt never missed answering those calls. His step-mother called him every Wednesday at 12:30, during Kurt’s lunch. They talked for exactly 15 minutes. (Adam was sitting close enough to hear the conversation once and they spoke mostly about famous people he’d met or seen and Rachel and whatever she answered when Kurt asked about her. There didn’t seem to be much discussion about what Kurt was up to or how Kurt was…like none at all.)

The two day trip to Lima to see if his Dad’s cancer was in remission was extended so he could spend time with his dad and step-brother.  Finn, however, chose to come home only for the Regionals performance and did not show up again even though he promised Kurt he was going to.  Kurt stayed, waiting for Finn and ended up somehow engaged to Blaine. His dad spent all his extra time at the garage and working there so when he went back to do Washington DC things he would feel like he’d done enough and Kurt worked a few hours so he could chat with his dad but not enough to cause pay issues or issues with hours. It left him with free time, though, and that was filled by his ‘glee family’. And that meant a lot of Blaine. (Rachel always called it the glee family…and Blaine and Sam and Tina and Artie…and Kurt when he was with them.) His dad said that he just couldn’t take off a whole day to do anything with Kurt…until it wasn’t Kurt asking, apparently. Adam learned from Kurt later that his dad had commented while driving Kurt to the Blaine’s Proposal Extravaganza, complete with four show choirs and a marching band, that he wished he had more time with his mom and that Kurt figured that that meant his dad wanted him to marry Blaine.  Kurt wanted to say not now…let’s fix things…we have so much we need to talk about and work through…so much to do before thinking about marriage and all that…we don’t even know we can make it three weeks apart…but his dad liked Blaine and had talked to Blaine about it all and then said he shouldn’t waste time and miss out on time together and used his mom as the example...and so Kurt said yes.  And Rachel and Santana and Mercedes and everyone was there and wanted him to say yes…and so he couldn’t really say anything else without upsetting the family. He never did see more of Finn over his trip. He never got a reason for Finn not showing up and coming to see him, either.

Finn’s death nearly broke Kurt...and none of his friends noticed.  Adam thinks Kurt would have made it through without his Apples discreetly keeping an eye on him, but he is never certain. More than once his apples made sure Kurt ate, or directed him to the class he was supposed to be in, or watched over him as he sat slumped in a chair at a table in a study alcove, asleep.  Rachel certainly hadn’t paid attention.  She was too involved in trying to get the school to let her have a pass in all her freshman year classes…even ones she didn’t actually take… due to Finn’s death even though they hadn’t been together for nearly a year at that point… because at one point they had been engaged.  She’d even had both of her fathers call.  She got an extension for projects and presentations and papers.  She whined on all the blogs and boards for the whole summer about that being all she got.  Kurt didn’t even enquire about the bereavement clause.

He knew from the Apples he had watching over Kurt that his ‘fiancé’ hadn’t even called Kurt once between his prom and the memorial, however he called to talk to and check up on Rachel at least once a day, most often more. 

He would be forever grateful Joey talked him into sending flowers to Kurt when he had heard about Finn’s death and again when he heard about the memorial at their old high school.  Because even after everything, Kurt was raised to be polite and called to thank him for the flowers and that meant Kurt and Adam started talking again. (And he was pretty certain he and the apples had been the only ones to send flowers…at least For Kurt.)

They started to get coffee together again after the second set of flowers.  And Kurt started to sing with the Apples again, even though he also started a rock band.  And Adam was there with them during the try outs (after a fight with Rachel and Santana about him being there and a half hour scream fest from Blaine over the phone) and talked him out of dismissing Elliot in the first place.

And they decided to stick out the rough patches…like the daily yelling fests from Rachel who constantly accused Kurt of cheating on Blaine with either Adam…or Elliot…or Joey…or Max…or Chase…or Salvador from the Diner they worked at…or whomever else she decided Kurt had spoken to for too long or of for too long or looked at for too long or went anywhere with.  Her yelling fests always led to calls from Blaine wherein Kurt was accused of the same thing…and during which he got to listen to Blaine talk about sitting on Sam’s or Ryder’s or Jake’s or Artie’s laps, hanging out with the Dalton boys again, and gay bar nights. For most of April and May those were the only phone calls Kurt received from the boy.

Kurt’s dad called maybe twice a month after the memorial while he was in Lima.  He stopped taking Kurt’s calls more often than that once a month unless Kurt called to the garage, but that interfered with work so Kurt was discouraged from actually calling there.  The calls picked up to once a week if his dad was in Washington DC, but those were short…so not to interfere with work.  His dad explained once early on that it was to give him and Carole some time to grieve Finn without being having Kurt pile on his own issues; Carole said her grief counselor suggested it. Kurt apologized for dumping his issues on his dad’s lap, ever, even if he couldn’t remember doing so. His dad couldn’t actually recall a time Kurt did that either, but still Carole’s grief counselor said it so they should follow along with him. Kurt’s step-mom called once and Kurt was so crushed after her call that Adam and Elliot had to pick him off the floor and feed him by hand and change his clothing and put him to bed and were too afraid to let him alone that night when he slept. It was a week before he wasn’t as white as a sheet and had any color back in his face at all.  They couldn’t get Kurt to tell them what she said.  They tried and tried, but he wouldn’t budge on the issue.

Kurt’s dad and step-mother were speaking with Sam and Blaine though, pretty much every day.  Blaine and Sam both made sure Kurt knew that they’d spoken with his folks every time they called.  Sam called more often than Blaine, and spent less time of the call yelling at Kurt.  However, he still made sure Kurt knew he’d talked to his dad and step-mom every time.

None of the behavior displayed really said ‘family’ to Adam.  Or Elliot or Dani for that matter.  Adam had asked.

Still, Adam was under the impression that Family was important, at least on Kurt’s end.  It was just a hard spot and they’d come out the other end just fine.  It couldn’t be how it ‘usually’ was. This couldn’t be Kurt’s family norm.

Kurt made it through summer. Much of the time Adam was certain he only made it through the summer because he had Elliot and Dani and the band to keep him busy and Adam and the Apples that were still around to keep him sane considering which school classes he was stuffing into the time.  Kurt worked and went to school and did homework and sang with the band and during the Apple pick-up sessions…and worked more. Adam is pretty certain Kurt was working three jobs...if not more.  They didn’t go out at night other than when the band performed. Rachel and Santana would NOT let Kurt go out with them…under orders of Blaine nor could Kurt go out WITHOUT them...by orders of Blaine. Kurt snuck off for lunches and coffees and practices during the day. Once a week he held evening practices as well, but they were attended by Rachel or Santana most of the time, so they could make sure Kurt was really there.  He only half-jokingly told Elliot one evening while they were practicing that at least now his ‘to read’ pile was down to five books and he’d reread all those books he only read in secret so not to get teased.  Some evenings he skyped with Adam if he wanted company as he watched TV shows or streamed Netflix.

Adam was still in New York when Kurt tried to visit Lima at the end of summer. Tried being the operative word.   Kurt called his dad to ask when he’d be in Lima, and his dad wouldn’t give a solid answer.  He called and asked several times over the summer but he was continually put off. Each time he was told not now…or that his Dad wasn’t sure when he’d be in Lima next (even those times he was currently in Lima), Kurt would fret.  Kurt was panicky for about half a week before Dani managed to talk him into just going home.  He was convinced his dad’s cancer had come back and his dad just wasn’t telling him. Kurt went. And Kurt caught a flight back to New York less than 24 hours later. Adam didn’t hear directly from Kurt what had happened, but Dani had stayed with him after he called her from the airport and asked her to come get him.

Dani said she got there and Kurt was drunk…and spilling things.  Carole had flipped out upon seeing him.  His dad had at him for upsetting his step-mom. Burt insisted that she needed time and Kurt shouldn’t rush her with the whole him coming back to visit thing. It was going to set back her therapy, his dad told him, and Burt was paying so much for it as it was that he was having to work longer hours…since she hadn’t been able to handle going back to work yet.  Blaine had tossed a fit because Kurt was ruining his last little while of ‘freedom’ before being off to university and expected to be a responsible student again.  Sam expressed disappointment that Kurt wouldn’t be staying long enough to be there for Friday Night Dinner at his house…the house Kurt hadn’t even been allowed to set foot into.  Kurt asked his dad to at least be able to get a few things from his old room…only to be informed that since it wasn’t fair and it upset Carole too much for Burt’s kid to have a room when hers could not anymore, Kurt’s room had been stripped and all his belongings boxed away in a storage place near the garage, as had anything of Kurt’s mother or any of the rest of that side of the family and a good chunk of Hummel family items as well. And yet, Sam’s room was still kept ready for him to stay there if he needed to, even though he’d moved in with Blaine even before the last Halloween.  Dani called an emergency band practice, plus Apples, that evening.  Kurt didn’t speak even once.  He didn’t sing.  He sat and stared. Rachel screamed at him for bringing her mood down and left to stay at a hotel where she could get the proper care. Santana bitched about Rachel not having left the rent. (She didn’t pick up the slack…Kurt always picked up the slack.)

Adam only had two weeks after Kurt got back to help Dani and Elliot try to navigate the fallout from that brief trip to Lima.  Adam had to go back to England at the start of Fall, but Elliot promised to look out for Kurt. And Kurt called him three times a week…from NYADA between classes.  That way Blaine wouldn’t know.  Adam knew all about Blaine and Sam moving into the loft, but not paying any rent or putting any money towards food or TV or anything, although he heard more about that from Santana, who also called at least once a week because since he was far away she could bitch to him about everything and not have to worry about blowing up at the people living there.  Elliot called him three to four times a week as well. 

Adam did everything he could to get a job that would take him back to New York…and he lucked out at the start of November.  His agent got him an audition and he got the part.  He would be back in New York to start rehearsals by the end of November.  Kurt made a big deal of making sure Adam knew he was to come and spend Thanksgiving with him and Elliot and Dani.

“It’s a family holiday and so you need to spend it with your family, the people who care about you.” Kurt said.

“Aren’t you going to Lima then?” Adam asked.

“No,” Kurt said. “I can’t afford to, not really, and…my dad and Carole are going to go to Hawaii. They never got to after they got married.  Their honeymoon funds went to sending me to Dalton. It’s fine.  It would have been weird for them anyway, without Finn there. It hasn’t been enough time yet. It would still upset Carole, Dad said. I’m sure I’ll see them for Christmas.”

“Well what about Rachel and Blaine? Or your other roommates?”

“Blaine is going to see Sam’s family with Sam and Rachel’s dads are picking her up here for a five day cruise. She’ll be gone from Friday night before Thanksgiving till the Sunday after Thanksgiving.   They are taking her on a Mexico Trip at Christmas…that might be a cruise as well, but this one is just around the Florida Keys and that area.  Santana said she was going to go see her family over Thanksgiving since her grandmother will be at an Aunt’s and so that tension won’t be too high.  She leaves Saturday before Thanksgiving and will come back the Monday after Thanksgiving. It will just be me for a bit more than a week. It will be fine…probably even wonderful.”

“Well, I can’t wait. I’ve missed you…and everyone else.”

They spoke of the meal options and Adam finding a place to live for a while before that call had ended.  Than Adam was moving and rushed and it had been almost two weeks before he spoke to Kurt.

He got in at 3am on Friday, Kurt’s last day of school before the Thanksgiving break, so Dani said she’d pick him up from the airport and bring him to her place until he could get into his new apartment.  Since he didn’t have to worry about being close to the school so much, he’d managed a great deal well within his budget and big enough to have two roommates to share costs with if he desired. It was even near the subway.  It was closer to Elliot and Dani than Kurt, but Adam was pretty OK with that. He could move in on the 1st of December, which just gave him a bit over a week and half to beg couch space off friends, since he didn’t plan on making Dani put him up the whole time.

Adam headed to NYADA as the midafternoon classes were just getting out. The last he’d heard, the Apples had a final practice that afternoon before the Thanksgiving break.  Kurt and Joey managed to get a Christmas season concert, although it was way early in the month.

Adam got there as people started coming into practice and just sat on the stage in the wings.  He wasn’t sure if Blaine or his shadow would show up and didn’t want to be seen by them if they did.  Kurt had told him about how Blaine would not join but how he would come and watch, often with Sam. On one bad evening skype session, after Kurt fought with Blaine about picking up after himself, Kurt broke down and told Adam he was pretty certain Blaine was there to make sure Kurt didn’t get to close to anyone and to make sure the Apples performances would not be an embarrassment to Rachel or himself. 

Kurt came in after about half the Apples Adam knew from the year before. Adam had to close his eyes and swallow.  Kurt looked like he had right after Finn died…when Joey was bringing him information and acting his spy…or when he’d come home from his quick trip to Lima.

Adam waited until he got to the stage before stepping out.

“Kurt!” He called.

Adam’s heart nearly broke when he saw the need on Kurt’s face.  But Kurt didn’t run towards him. Not right of the bat.

“Joey?  Is Malinda here?” Kurt asked softly.

Joey looked around before shaking his head. “Nope. She isn’t.”

Then Kurt ran towards Adam.  Adam held open his arms and Kurt threw himself into them.

“You’re here.  You are real and you are here.” Kurt kept whispering.

“You look rough.  What’s up?” Adam asked.

“Homicidal thoughts about roommates, presentations, sabotage, the Apple concert, Thanksgiving, thoughts on how to torture people…work, school.” Kurt listed off.

Adam just hugged him tighter.

“Well…what is pressing right now?” Adam asked.

“The concert. Sleep.”

“Then how about you relax and everyone can practice and you can sing your part from over here at the side of the stage with me.” Adam said. “You look like you’d fall if you tried to dance.”

“I second that.” Joey said.  Most the others agreed.

Kurt started out helping direct the Apples and run numbers but before they were even through the second piece Kurt’s voice had trailed off and Joey motioned for Adam to be quiet. Adam looked down and Kurt was asleep against his side. Joey came over between the songs.

“Do you want to stop?” Adam asked.

“I think if we did he’d wake up.  He is determined this concert goes well and his roommates have been giving him crap about how it will fail and how no one will come and see it. I personally don’t think it will fail.  Kurt got us permission to advertise all over the place here in the city.  We sent flyers to schools. We were asked to come to schools and do workshops, Adam. Kurt has four scheduled the first week of December. In two we will talk about what we study at an arts school and give demonstrations and at two we will talk about singing and what it means for us and give voice workshops. None of us ever even thought about anything like that before.”

Adam chuckled. “I was thinking that several numbers looked like they involved more drama than we usually included. And I have to say the dancing he has managed to get you guys to do is phenomenal.”

Joey laughed.  “He said we were from a school known for Musical Theater, and we should showcase that…but we are also a glee club and so we should embrace that as well and then we are doing two songs in a simple choir arrangement, minimal movement and everything. When he told us he could have us all dancing well enough to get parts on Broadway, I laughed. I shouldn’t have. It has done wonders for some of the girls. I mean, they get teased and stuff in dance class, we all do for the most part, but he got two friends to come in and they managed to get us dancing well enough that we could hold our own. It’s nice. I think the biggest thing was that they convinced us we didn’t have to be prima ballerina level to be good, you know?”

“Santana and the girl she used to date? Blonde?” Adam asked.

“No. Two guys.  A Mike and a…Puck? Mike is a really good dancer and Puck isn’t bad...but he isn’t great and that was the thing.  They weren’t intimidating.”

Adam smiled. “He’s good at the whole leading thing. I just wish he realized it.”

“He is, but he doesn’t even think he is our leader.” Joey said. “We’ll finish going through the numbers. Please tell us if you see anything that needs work. Kurt usually partners with Maxi or Belle, she’s the chubby one with glasses and the frizzy hair. Beautiful voice but so very shy.  She’s into costumes.”

Adam nodded.

The Apples practiced and Kurt sang his parts in his sleep.  Adam could see what Kurt was trying to do, and he admired the vision.

He reminded people to angle themselves so they were still singing to the audience instead of the wings or the back of the stage, he helped count out a dance sequence and then realized it wasn’t quite working because the timing of the dance and the music didn’t mesh…they added a side step to bring it in line. The others explained some of what else would be added…there were a few monologs and acting pieces tossed in the mix as well.  Adam beamed. Kurt had showcased each person’s talents and made the concert more of a show. He was certain Joey was correct in there being a bigger audience than some people were apparently suggesting to Kurt.

“The final song is a sing along medley.” Joey said. “Kurt wanted everyone going to the concert to feel like they had a part of it.  We think the whole concert will run about an hour and a half, which is long enough to have those paying to see it feel like they got their money’s worth, but not too long for younger kids to enjoy as well.”

Adam smiled. “Kurt is rather remarkable. It doesn’t surprise me he could be the one to make the Apples a part of this school that others will acknowledge as worthwhile.”

Joey smiled. “I just wish certain people would see it as well…and let him see it.”

“What’s been up?” Adam asked.

Joey looked around. “The only reason he is even sitting near you is Malinda isn’t here. She worships the ground Rachel Berry walks on and drools at the feet of Blaine Anderson. She started classes this year with Blaine. She hates everything we do here. She said she joined because she wanted to sing in a more relaxed setting than workshops offer.  She follows Kurt the moment he enters the room and does not stop staring at him until he leaves.  If he goes to the bathroom she asks where he is until he shows back up. But she doesn’t seem to approve of anything he does. She mocks every choice and sneers at his suggestions, before telling us that Rachel or Blaine would do something else and that those choices would be better.  Make us more popular. Kurt just has always glared at her and ignored her, but it was seriously freaking several other members of the group out.  Then Maxi heard her telling Blaine every detail about a practice a little over a week and a half ago.  Blaine wanted to know who Kurt spoke to and danced with and touched and looked at and sang towards.  He wanted to know what Kurt said and sang and even hummed. Maxi said the questions he asked Malinda were beyond intrusive. Maxi told Elliot and Dani. Kurt already knew.  He won’t confront either Blaine or Rachel or Malinda about it though because he can’t add that fuss to everything else.”

“Everything else?” Adam asked.

Joey shrugged. “That’s what he says but we don’t know what all everything else entails.  I can tell you Rachel is a new level of annoying and teachers let her get away with it. And Blaine Anderson is just as bad as Rachel, if not worse.”

“I’ll get it out of him, if not I’ll see if Elliot and Dani know.” Adam said.

“He does everything with everyone else in mind,” Joey said. “But I often think he doesn’t think of himself often enough to recharge.”

Adam stroked his hand over Kurt’s head. “You are very right.”

Practice broke up and the group decided on two rehearsals which were scheduled during the Thanksgiving break for those who could make them.  Adam didn’t wake Kurt up completely though, until it was just the two of them.

“Wake up, Darling. It is time to go home and Dani will be wondering where I am and where I’m staying for the next week of so.” Adam said.

Kurt tilted his head up and smiled. “You are here. I thought I dreamed you. I haven’t heard from you in ages!”

Adam chuckled. “I had to change phone providers back to an American based company, love and all my free time has been smack dab in the middle of your school time since I let my carrier go in Britain and my new program didn’t start until yesterday.  I have missed you though.  I managed to skype with Elliot and Dani during hours I was at work and could. I emailed you a few times. Haven’t had internet away from work in a month.”

Kurt sat up very straight all of a sudden. “It was full practice today. Malinda saw us!”

“Malinda never came in. Joey was looking out for you.” Adam said.

Kurt sank into Adam’s side in relief. “I owe Joey so much.”

“What is up?” Adam asked.

Kurt shook his head. “Not here. I swear the walls have ears. Let’s go grab some dinner and get ahold of Dani.”

Kurt and Adam left the auditorium, with Kurt keeping a person’s width between them as they walked through NYADA’s halls.

They ended up at a diner half way to Dani’s apartment. Kurt was greeted by name as they entered.

“We tend to eat here, Elliot, Dani and I and the band. The diner nearest Dani’s place has a waitress who dated Santana and remained friends and the one nearest Elliot’s has a waiter who has the hots for Rachel and talks to her a lot. We didn’t discover this place until after Santana and Rachel were out. I don’t know why you never joined us here in summer, except we tended not to eat out a lot in summer.”

“Is it that bad?” Adam asked.

Kurt just gave him a look and Adam knew it was probably worse.

“I went to the New York Public Library last week to look at a display of revolutionary war uniforms that was there for just two months. I have costume design this semester and we were supposed to be ‘looking at details’. I would have gone anyway, but this was seriously for a class assignment. I was gone two hours. I came home with about 75 sketches of detailing work on the uniforms. I had the brochure that talked about each item. Rachel screamed at me for an hour and then Blaine and Sam came home and Blaine whined at me for another two. Someone saw me talking to some guy and called Rachel and Blaine.  I finally figured out that the guy they saw me talking to was the employee who was answering questions about the display.  They don’t believe me.”

“That is…” Adam trailed off.

Kurt nodded. “The past two weeks were nasty.  The golden tickets went out for the Winter showcase.  Rachel didn’t get one.  Blaine didn’t get one.  Rachel went so far as stomping into Madame Tibideaux’s office to demand an explanation. The rumors I heard were that this year was focused on Seniors and Juniors and even then only a few Juniors who were hoping to graduate early got tickets. Rachel insisted that she should have had one because if she was the best last year, she is obviously still the best this year…since no upcoming person got one and Madame told her last year only the best got tickets. I said ‘Maybe the focus is different year to year.’ Rachel threw her brush at me.”

“And Blaine?” Adam asked.

“He pouted and whined.  He found it unfair that Rachel’s freshman year’s Winter showcase was a showcase of the best and this years is a showcase of people graduating.  He was mad that he didn’t get the chance to shine like she did…and of course he would have if it had been a showcase showing off the best.  And then he commented at how happy I must have been to realize I wouldn’t have to worry about not getting a ticket, since…you know…he and Rachel are both here now.”

“Ouch.” Adam said. “Has he heard you sing?  I mean really, I’ve heard him and you are much more talented.”

Kurt chuckled. “Neither thinks so. It’s been a hard semester anyway.  Rachel is furious that I am in second year classes…with her. Especially dance. Cassie July still picks on Rachel, but being in class with her now I can understand why.  Rachel’s ridiculous in that class. Yes, she has been in dance since before she could walk…according to her and her fathers…however, she was in Dance in Lima, Ohio for most of that. I was in dance in Lima, Ohio. I know the quality and it isn’t near what Rachel would like to dream it was.  Cassie July doesn’t mention me much.  What she calls me out for are things I need to fix and I fix them and she comments I improved when I do. No sass, no looks, no whining, no backtalk. Rachel still sasses and backtalks and whines constantly and every time she is called out…always for things she really does need to fix…Rachel glares at Miss July. No wonder Cassie July ‘hates’ her. I have heard Rachel rant at me every day after school so far this semester about how I am stealing her thunder, undermining her in the eyes of the teachers, brown nosing for the best parts, and probably sleeping with several teachers and staff.  I had to have done something drastic to be in classes with her after starting late.   I remind her I spent all summer going to classes and she just ignores me.  Her rants start Blaine ranting.  He is upset I am not in more of the classes with him, like Rachel said I would be…since she signed me up for them.  I should have just retaken them so I could be in class with him.  If I loved him I would retake them and get worse grades than I had before, so he could be the head of the class. “

“Have you told Elliot or Dani what’s been up?” Adam asked.

“They’ve heard some, but I haven’t told either that it has happened nearly every day.  We have stopped practicing at the loft. I let them think it was primarily because of space issues, it is crowded with Blaine and I and Rachel and Santana and Sam there. Mostly though, it is so I don’t have to subject them to life in the loft. Sam hasn’t found steady work.  Of course Sam also hasn’t looked into non-modeling jobs to tide him over until he gets a modeling job. Blaine doesn’t have a job.  His parents send him money to help with the costs, but he doesn’t see why he should have to pay part of rent when he is sharing MY room and I pay rent for it.  I’ve gotten some money for rent out of him once in the last four months, and that was because Santana threatened him.  People fight over food and space and TV time and bathroom time. Not to mention the dueling vocal practices that Blaine and Rachel get into, generally when others are trying to sleep.  And since Sam doesn’t have a job, Blaine thinks it is just fine to hang with him…often to the point of not going to class.  They stay up all night. Blaine reads Sam fanfiction so Sam can fall asleep. Half the time Blaine sleeps out in the living area with Sam on the blow-up mattress I bought so Sam would have a bed. They snack on cereal and popcorn all night, leave messes when they fall asleep, and get upset when I ask them to clean up. IF I use earplugs to block out the sound of Blaine reading fanfiction to Sam…his favorites lately have been Star Wars Gay Erotica and Avatar Erotica…I am yelled at for ignoring them and being rude and unsympathetic to Sam’s stress and depression about not having work yet. If I do not I cannot get to sleep because they are not quiet about it.  Rachel and Santana are allowed to use earplugs without being snapped at. And they are all constantly moving things about. Reorganizing rooms and spaces.”

“Oh Kurt.” Adam said.

“I have not had a full night’s sleep since Blaine and Sam moved to New York. Most nights I am lucky to get three or four hours. I am getting twitchy. I jump at random sounds. I don’t want to eat. I have lost weight. Twice a week Elliot makes me take a nap at his place…he lied about my work hours on the schedule at the house to cover them. I snap at people. I cry easily. I complained earlier this month about not having enough hours in a day and being tired. Rachel told me that I needed to rid myself of the Apples and the Band and then told me I should use the time I gained by quitting them to spend with her and Blaine out having fun at Callbacks or any of the other bars they have found that do karaoke nights. They rotate through bars, every night they are out.  Blaine has called multiple times to try to tell Gunther at the diner that I am not coming in for work for the evening…luckily after the first time I told Gunther that when that happened to call me and talk to me alone or to a hospital worker. The only reason they haven’t messed with Vogue is because I work that during the weekend and during the day when Blaine has classes.  Then Blaine found out I took early presentation spots for all my classes. This week I had two.  I spent every night last week at home putting together my stuff and writing the papers attached to the presentations. Blaine wanted me to go out with him…every night. I worked all weekend to make up hours that I had taken off to work these presentations.  Someone in the loft has to bring in money and right now Santana and I are it.  I mean Rachel gets paid and has her fathers help with funds but she rarely remembers to put money towards things like heat, food, electricity, water…anything other than part of rent…one fifth of it since her fathers know who is all living in the loft. Blaine tossed a fit.  He spent so much time staying at the loft screaming at me for not dropping everything to go out with him that he missed all of Karaoke night at their current favorite bar two Thursdays ago. I told him…if I got the paper done I’d go out with them Friday, but I could not finish with him screaming and tossing his fit.  Sam tried to guilt trip me that Friday into going out but I asked him to think about things from a point of view not Blaine’s and then speak to me. Rachel screamed at me all weekend when I was home. Sunday was all day of hearing and reading ‘Don’t you love me? I’ll be gone for more than a week and you are spending no time with me before then. We never have any alone time.’ In various forms. Monday I caved and told Blaine I’d take him out for dinner. He ended up insisting I take Sam out as well. Blaine choose a dinner out that set me back 120 bucks…and then whined at me when I refused to skip class on Tuesday so we could have some naughty alone time without being interrupted.  He wanted me to skip the class I was presenting in and tossed a huge fit about how I didn’t love him when I said no. He left Wednesday to go spend Thanksgiving with Sam and Sam’s family.  Fine, I thought, a full week and a half with Sam’s mom and dad and little sister and brother would be good for Sam and of course Blaine wants to go with Sam. I thought at first they were flying, but no.  Blaine’s folks had a car for them…which apparently has been here the whole time if Blaine wanted it. Well they stopped in Nashville.  They checked from there via their Facebooks at about 8pm.   They decided to stay there a day or so to see the sights.  Last few nights the sights involved lots of beer and bars. Blaine was in pictures hanging all over other guys.”

Kurt leaned back into the booth and looked up. “I’m just so tired of it all. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.”

“What was?”

“My folks left for their trip Wednesday as well. Tuesday night I answer my phone and it’s my dad.  I had called on Sunday and wished him and Carole a safe trip but figured maybe he called to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving or check in one more time or something. No. Carole hadn’t been able to get through to Blaine’s or Sam’s phones and so asked Dad to call me so she could talk to them. They put it on speaker phone.  She called them sweeties and dears and honeys.  She told them to make sure to have fun and not get too tied down in the effort of making Sam’s family holiday good and forget that it is their vacation as well and they needed a good holiday, too.  She reminded Blaine to call his folks, after all Holidays are for family.  Then she told my dad to hang up.   She said nothing to me.  My dad turned the speaker off and told me not to expect to hear from them until they got home, although he’d text me to let me know they got there safe and when they left and under no circumstances was I to call or even send any texts on Thanksgiving…Carole wanted it to be just them. I said ‘But she just said it was about family.’ Dad answered Carole wanted it to be about Her and Him, her therapist had insisted they use the holiday as a time to connect again, without others interfering with their reconnection as husband and wife. Then Carole yelled for him and he had to go.  He hung up before I could tell him Happy Thanksgiving.  My dad never texted me. I didn’t sleep at all Wednesday Night, because I was expecting the text from my dad.  I waited until noon yesterday before calling the shop.  Dad called Jake when they got in to let him know they had arrived safe and sound, just before 10pm in Ohio…It wouldn’t have been too late for a text. I hope Dad has fun explaining to Jake why he didn’t even text me, because Jake was none too happy about that.  Jake can’t explain Dad’s behavior, either, except he knows that Carole stopped seeing the people recommended by the hospital –the group therapy and couples counseling people- and the grief counselor that she had been set up with by the hospital and has started going to this church in Findley that is one of those pay to go and pay to pray and pay for everything mega churches.  Jake thinks she did so like way back in late April, maybe she went twice to those the hospital recommended…but he’s not sure she went more than that.  She’s gone into the shop and demanded money while Dad was in DC more than a few times. Dad just shrugged it off and told Jake to give her a fifty for her session but no more and send her home if she shows up more than once a week, since the insurance will cover most of it and the group sessions are supposed to be free. Jake said Dad assured him it would get better soon; Carole is just taking a long path in her grieving. But Jake thought Dad was still talking to me all the time, since he tucks into his office to call someone Tuesday afternoons every week.  Blaine doesn’t have an afternoon NYADA class on Tuesdays.”

 

Adam reached his hand out and rested it on the table for Kurt to grab if he wanted.  Kurt’s hand was in his in seconds.

“So, I texted Dad.  He texted back and reminded me not to bug them, that they were there and going to concentrate on them. I get home from class and open up Facebook and see Blaine and Sam still stopped in Nashville, posting all sorts of pictures and updates.  And Carole commented on them all, about how happy it made her to see them having fun and enjoying themselves, calling them good boys.  There was a picture with Blaine wrapped around a man with huge arms, drinking a huge mug of beer and Carole commented that she thought he was looking cuter than ever in that picture and she was so happy he was out having the time of his life and how happy he seemed when hanging with Sam compared to when he was so burdened here in New York with all he has to deal with here.  All night long, Carole commented within minutes of the posts going up.  All night I watched those damned posts go up, one after another until like three am. I couldn’t sleep afterwards, I was so hurt. One of Blaine’s Warbler friends commented on one of the more risqué photos of Blaine enjoying himself, asking when we broke-up, at some point last night.  I don’t know when as it was deep into the comments, I didn’t see it until this morning and didn’t look at the time.  Dad called at lunch time.  Dad called at lunch time to yell at me for setting Blaine up to be upset by making sure Dalton kids and other people he knew saw those pictures, just because Carole told Blaine he looked happy there without me.  To yell at me for being selfish and a jerk and hateful.  I asked Dad how I had done so…I didn’t share them with anyone, I didn’t comment on anything, I hadn’t even liked them.  I had done NOTHING to make others notice them, but Carole said I had to have been the one to do so and therefore logic about how Facebook works didn’t mean a damn thing. He yelled about Carole’s fragile feelings and how I needed to stop harassing her and stop picking on Blaine and I could hear Carole in the background just telling him all these things I was supposedly doing.”

Adam moved to the seat next to Kurt and pulled him over until he was leaning against him.

“I finally yelled at him.  I told him to PROVE any of what he was saying.  I told him to prove it all.  I told him to have Carole prove any of what she was saying had happened. I told him I could PROVE it hadn’t, that I was willing to turn over records of phone use and get signed legal witness statements to show NONE of what she was accusing me of had happened.  That I would have the facts and could produce them.  I reminded him he taught HIS SON how to keep records, HIS SON had been doing so for ages, long before Carole even entered his life.  That his SON, the one who loved him with everything he had and worried about him and tried so hard to be there for him, was willing to bare it all for his dad.  Because HIS SON loves his dad so much and being treated like his son was being treated was causing him pain.  Dad stopped talking, I knew he could tell I was crying.  Carole just kept on and on in the background, her accusations getting wilder and wilder and several were simply impossible.  We sat like that for ten minutes.  I finally told him I had to go, I needed to get to class and that I loved him and hoped he had a great Thanksgiving.  Then he snapped at me for lying about being at the school, after all, Blaine had left for vacation already.  I ended up grabbing a random student walking by and having them tell my dad that it was the last day before Thanksgiving break started and most kids had presentations and things like that to get through.  We already got the full next week off, so teachers did NOT sign off on early vacations.  Dad simply said goodbye and hung up when I got the phone back.”

Adam just hugged Kurt closer.

“I don’t know what I did wrong, Adam. I just don’t.  I’ve done everything they wanted.  I’m engaged to Blaine, even.  I just don’t understand why it is never enough for them to love me all the way, without strings attached.”

Adam brought his hand up to card through Kurt’s hair.  He had no clue what to say because he could not understand how Kurt’s family could be treating him like they were.  After a few minutes he looked at the remnants of their meal….Kurt had eaten about half his food, which Adam knew was probably all he could eat in the state he was in.

“Let’s pop into Dani’s and then get you home.” Adam said.  “Has everyone left already?”

Kurt shook his head.  “Santana leaves tomorrow.  Rachel leaves tonight, but late.  She is supposed to meet her dads at the airport at 11:30pm.”

“We’ll hang with Dani until then, definitely.” Adam said. “Maybe we’ll even stay.”

Dani met them at the door with hot chocolate and offers of control of the TV.   They settled down for some old Brit Coms and talked band news.  Within twenty minutes Kurt was asleep again.

“What’s up?” Dani said.  “He looks awful.”

“Family issues and Blaine.” Adam replied. “Blaine and Sam stopped off in Nashville for a few days, and have been posting Facebook pictures of their good times.  Kurt’s step-mother, who wouldn’t even let him call for Thanksgiving so the holiday could be about just her and his dad and prevented his dad from even texting Kurt that they got to Hawaii safely spent all evening commenting on them.”

“Facebook?  How about we do a little spying?” Dani said. “Kurt’s still logged into Facebook on my old laptop, he used it last weekend when he wanted to look up a song for us to do and my new laptop was busy.”

“But, wouldn’t that be…I don’t know…an invasion of Kurt’s privacy?” Adam said.

“Oh, we are just using Kurt to look at Blaine and Sam and others pages…we’ll not look at Kurt’s page much.  Not that we couldn’t see his page anyway…we’re friends with him. We just aren’t friends with the others.”

True to her word, they were only on Kurt’s page long enough to get to Blaine’s page.  Dani and Adam were both shocked by the sheer debauchery being plastered all over it by Blaine.  They could tell both he and Sam were drunk, but both could also tell that the blatant sexual behavior with all sorts of other men started long before they had been drinking.  Adam found the picture with the comment that spurred the phone call from Kurt’s dad, a picture featuring Blaine without his shirt on dancing with a man who had his hand down the front of Blaine’s jeans while wrapping his other arm around Blaine’s chest and into his gel free curls.  And maybe, had Blaine’s hands not been wrapped around the other man’s neck and Blaine not been kissing at the other man’s neck, the picture might have been able to be passed off as Blaine being taken advantage of, but Blaine was obviously encouraging.

The most striking comments, at least to Dani and Adam, on all the photos were those from Carole.

“She does remember Blaine is supposed to be engaged, doesn’t she?” Adam asked.  “To her step-son, no less.”

“I would think so, but she certain makes it sound like she all for Blaine having all the fun he can have while young.  Look at this one…’Those Oats won’t sow themselves. Do some seeding in honor of my poor sweet baby.  The more the better.’”

“To be fair, I think that comment is directed to Sam in the arms of that dark haired girl.” Adam said.

“’Grab that hunk of man meat and make him beg for it’ wasn’t.” Dani said, pointing to another comment. “It is very disturbing she is into their sex lives that much and encouraging them to be so irresponsible about things.”

They looked at Blaine’s page a bit longer, noticing that he’d been posting pictures of outings with Sam…and other guys…a lot longer than just the last few days.  They even found a post a week and half before from a Jeff asking if Blaine and Kurt were still together and if they were why was Blaine posting pictures of himself with other guys all the time, to which Blaine replied that Jeff didn’t see a ring on HIS finger therefore as the guy in the relationship he didn’t belong to anyone and was free to do as he pleased.  Carole had liked Blaine’s reply.

From Blaine’s page they went to Sam’s, which was disturbing in a different way.  Carole posted things to him all the time. Notes to say Hi and tell him she was thinking about him, to wish him luck on job hunts and to tell him not to stress because Kurt would take care of him without any sort of help if Kurt knew what was good for him…like a brother should.  Notes to tell Sam to have fun and that care packages were on their way to the Post Box Carole and Burt set up for him.  Pictures of him were gushed over, telling him how hot he was and musing over how popular he must be…how he was taking up Finn’s mantle so well and doing such an awesome job of it.  Pictures of him and girls were raved about and he was told to ‘go get them’ and ‘make life count’ and ‘have fun and live while he could’ and ‘make all the pleasure count’. A few had comments like ‘she could be a keeper, but make sure she doesn’t hold you down and stop your fun’ or ‘this one would be a lovely constant side piece, but remember now is not the time to be pinned down to one person but the time to live life in the fullest by stuffing all the pleasure in you can’.

“Is Kurt friends on Facebook with his step-mom?” Dani asked Adam.

“He was and I doubt Kurt stopped being friends with her.  He depended on Carole’s posts for information on his dad when he was doing his cancer treatments.  Burt would only ever tell Kurt he was fine and not to worry.  Kurt got his real info from Carole’s posts and the guys at the garage.”

“So, that was when?” Dani asked.

“Hmm…January and February mostly. Kurt left Tuesday the 5th of March for his dad’s appointment on Thursday, stayed for regionals on Saturday the 9th, was talked into staying longer by Finn that evening….agreed to date Blaine on Wednesday and was proposed to Friday, the 15th, in the morning before his one pm flight, which he caught.  Blaine didn’t even go with him to the airport…the McKinley kids threw a party right after the proposal.  No one from Lima called the next week, not even Blaine. They had to get ready for Prom that week and had no time to spare.  Finn died that weekend of prom...Sunday, I think.  Burt called Kurt at 2am Monday morning, so he would already know and be prepared to help Rachel when her dads called later Monday morning.  Our spring break was the week that had the 15th in it, so Kurt felt he was missing nothing by staying longer. McKinley’s was the first week in April…so the week after Finn’s funeral the kids were out of school.  Kurt went back for the memorial which was the 15th through 19th of April, so they could have a week back to get things organized.”

“Yeah, he put together the band the weekend with the 26th of April. I think.” Dani said.

“Yeah.  We’d only been out for coffee again like three times before he started the band.” Adam said. “Rachel was leery about him starting it. She kept telling him it would take too much attention and something would fall by the wayside. Santana was oddly encouraging.”

Dani snorted. “Rachel was worried he wouldn’t be there to cater to her whims and pamper her constantly.”

 Adam nodded. “Then he was swamped with school stuff and summer happened.  I don’t think he’s unfriended her.  I mean he said he needs to do a clean out of his Facebook friends list but he’s not had time to do so yet, really.” Adam added.

“So…we should look at Carole’s page.” Dani said.

They looked through Kurt’s friend list until they found Carole’s name.  As soon as they went to her page, Adam snorted and Dani looked at him with a question in her eyes.

“Burt called so Carole could talk to Blaine and Sam on Tuesday and told Kurt not to expect to hear from them at all…Carole wanted the holiday to be about focusing on her and Burt.  Kurt did text to make sure they were safe after his dad didn’t text like he said he would.  His dad called at lunch today to yell at Kurt for upsetting Carole…because Blaine got upset at something one of the Warblers had posted and that upset Carole and she blamed Kurt…somehow. It’s just…the first things you see on her page are these articles she is sharing and tagging Kurt in…articles about the evils of homosexuality and religious articles about gays going to hell and bible verses and just…if anyone is harassing anyone, Carole is harassing Kurt.  And this is just the last day or so, while she is supposedly on vacation.  What has she been doing when she isn’t off on vacation?”

They scrolled back on her Facebook for a while, with Dani taking notes in a notebook she had fetched after seeing the fourth article of conversion therapy and how it could fix her sinful step-son and make him right and worthwhile to carry on the family if he’d just accept his fate.

“She is very chatty about what her activities are during the day isn’t she?” Adam said.  “And who is ‘leading her back to being herself’ after her son was tragically called to his father’s home so suddenly.”

“And it isn’t any sort of therapist recommended by anyone rational, either.” Dani said.

“I wonder…did she post about when she decided to not see the recommended therapist anymore?” Adam asked.

“And does Kurt’s dad know she isn’t seeing anyone other than this pastor and his ‘healer of souls’ who costs 300 bucks a pop for a 20 minute session?” Dani asked.

“She gives an amount that sessions with him cost?” Adam asked.

“Oh, yeah.   She is having issues coming up with the money, since she can’t work anymore because her grief is too encompassing. Last month she started running into other issues as well. She talks about wanting to join with the congregation members on trips and get a-ways and retreats that run in the thousands instead of just the local bible study classes and women’s group activities, which generally run 100 bucks a pop, and having to find a way to get her husband to not notice the money she is spending or the fact she is not home. Apparently Burt did catch wind that she joined with a group from her church to go picket a school which was starting a gay-straight student alliance group and told her if she could stand in the cold and wind for six hours she could certainly go back to work. She complained for a day online about how unfair he was about that.”

“So he might suspect things are not quite right?” Adam said.

“So we need to find a way to make him see how not right things are without Kurt being blamed?” Dani said.

Adam sighed. “And I’m so irate I can’t think rationally.  Seriously my favorite option is kidnapping Burt and tying him up and shoving him a closet and forcing him to listen to the goings on in the loft for 48 hours and making him read everything his wife is posting.”

Dani snickered. “Yeah, but somehow I don’t think that is the best option.  Maybe Elliot will have some saner ideas. Any good ideas for something to watch?”

Dani kept the laptop open to Carole’s page and set it aside so Elliot could see it when he came by. They ended up watching crime shows and Kurt slept…poorly.  Elliot got there near eleven, coming to Dani’s straight out of work.  Dani handed him the laptop and they watched his face as he read through it.

“Before you close it, look through Sam and Blaine’s Facebooks.” Dani said.

He went to take a look, snorted several times, and then went back to Carole’s page.

“We’ve been trying to think of a way to get Kurt’s dad to see or understand or know what his wife is doing, including the part where she isn’t really going to therapy.” Adam said.

Elliot hummed, opened a new window in the browser, and then started smiling.

“The church runs non-profit supposedly.  Look at the wording…they ask for ‘generous donations’ of certain amounts, but never refer to it as a fee.  Have someone at Kurt’s dad’s garage request a detailed accounting of the donations made by Hummel Tires and Lube, Burt Hummel and Carole.  They will have to give one, because it is a huge way their wealthier congregation members get out of paying taxes.” Elliot said.

“Call Jake.” Kurt muttered, sounding still mostly asleep. “And I’m not mad at all. Now shhh…we’ll call in the morning.”

“We’ll make it a slumber party.” Dani said. “Elliot, grab blankets and pillows.  I’ll get some snacks and drinks. Adam, pick some movies…fluffy ones.  Kurt, go back to sleep.”

Kurt stuck his tongue out in the direction of Dani’s voice and moved until he was leaning on Adam.

“Ok, Adam…you are Kurt’s pillow, we’ll pick the movies.” Dani amended.

Adam made it halfway through the first movie before he succumbed to sleep as well. Dani just laughed and tucked Adam and Kurt under another blanket.  Elliot was asleep in the recliner he usually took over when visiting before the movie was done as well.  She covered him with blanket and then went to bed in her own bed. Knowing Kurt, morning would be bright and early.

She nearly panicked when she woke at half past nine and Kurt was still sound asleep, curled up against Adam.  He woke when the coffee was near ready to drink though, as did the other two. They discussed Elliot’s suggestion over breakfast.

“Wouldn’t the request be suspicious?  I mean, timing wise?” Kurt asked.

“Not really.  It’s about perfect.  December 31st is the last day to donate if you are taking the tax break from it, so a lot of people ask for records of how much they have donated so they know how much more to donate to be able to get the biggest break right about now.  It will be perfectly normal.” Elliot said.

“Doesn’t my dad need to make the request?”

“Is your dad ALWAYS the only one who prepares taxes or deals with money?” Elliot asked. “And is Carole, and more importantly the reverend or whoever, likely to know?”

“No.  Jake and Dad share the responsibility now that I am not there.” Kurt said.

“There you go.”

“Ok…we call Jake.  YOU get to explain it to him and walk him through what the request letter should say.” Kurt said.

Kurt called to the garage as soon as they were done eating.  He introduced Elliot…who explained exactly what they were hoping for as a start and who helped Jake write the letter.  Jake then came up with another idea to help.  Several of their customers kept telling them they needed a Facebook page for the garage.  Jake would make it.  He would also make Burt one.  Burt’s would become friends with Carole.  If Carole didn’t accept the friend request right off the bat, Jake would make sure Burt knew that and have her explain to him why she wouldn’t.  Before Jake got off the phone, he asked Kurt if Kurt would show the garage guys around town if any of them ended up in New York City for a Holiday.  Kurt told him of course, they were all as much of his family as anyone else, really.  Kurt would make sure they had a grand time, but they needed to let Kurt know when they came so he could get time off and they needed to let Kurt know what type of things they’d like to see.  Then Kurt and Jake talked shop for another half hour.

Kurt was teary eyed when he got off the phone. 

“So…do we need to find some museums or tours about Taxis and Subways and such?” Adam asked.  “I bet we can.”

Kurt started to laugh.  “They would all love it.  Jake would love to see a baseball game, he wouldn’t care who played, but he’d like to see one.  If Wade came with his family we’d have to go to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. His kids LOVED the book about the kids hiding in there.”

Adam smiled. “Are you feeling a bit better?”

“I’m feeling a lot better.  I don’t feel like I’m just sitting there taking it anymore…like I’m just letting people punch me in the face over and over.  Even if nothing comes of it, I’ve done something.  Thanks guys.”

“We still need to think of something to do about Blaine.” Elliot growled. “That shit is not all right.”

“Isn’t it? I mean, he is the alpha male in the relationship.” Kurt said.

The other three’s heads turned to Kurt swiftly and the just stared at him.

“What?” Kurt said.

“Kurt,” Elliot asked. “What do you mean?”

Kurt rolled his eyes. “Blaine is the manly one.  He looks more manly than I do and passes as straight better than I do. He likes football and other sports.  He was in fight club. He boxes.  Straight guys like to hang out with him.  He’s an alpha gay male, not like me, who isn’t.”

“Where did you get the idea there even is an ‘alpha’ male?” Adam asked.

Kurt shrugged. “Blaine.  But Finn and Puck and Artie all backed him up!”

“And where did they learn anything about gay relationships and there being an ‘alpha’ male?” Dani asked.

“Blaine.” Kurt whispered. “They certainly never asked or spoke to me about it.”

“In what world does Blaine think he is the more manly of the two of you?” Elliot finally yelled.

“He has a deeper voice.” Kurt said.

“He dresses like his crayon box threw up on him or he learned to match from a clown!  It is not even tasteful.  HE hurts peoples’ eyes.  He makes people dizzy and feel ill.”

“He passes.” Kurt said.

“He doesn’t.” Adam said. “The only reason your male friends at your high school made friends with him and made him think he did was because he wasn’t just like you and they had gotten used to you, but weren’t willing to admit that they had indeed held your sexuality…real or supposed…against you for all that time. If they welcomed you like they did Blaine, they might have at some point had to admit to it and apologized for it.”

Kurt leaned back with his eyes wide open and a shocked look on his face.

“Huh.” Kurt said. “That actually makes a great deal of sense.”

“What do you mean?” Elliot asked.

“Blaine used to hang out with them.  They’d go to the movies…superheroes and action flicks. I was never asked. I said something once…at dinner.  Sam said they never asked me to the movies because they knew I didn’t like action movies or superhero movies.  My dad laughed and asked who told him that. Finn responded that everyone knew that and Dad told Finn maybe he should ask me instead of depending on things that everyone thought they knew. Nothing happened, nothing changed. Finn never asked and Sam never stood up to Finn.  Blaine played video games with them all the times.  Again, I was never asked.  Why?  Because it was obvious I couldn’t like the types of video games they did.  Artie knew I did, but Artie also knew I could beat the pants off him so that was probably that. I was never invited, because they just ‘knew’ I didn’t like those things and even those who knew I did, actually, never spoke up about it.”

“What is this about liking sports?” Adam asked.

“Blaine likes to watch sports on TV with the guys and my dad.” Kurt said.

“Did he ever play any?” Elliot asked.

“I don’t know.” Kurt said. “I don’t think so.  I think he cheered for a bit his senior year.”

“Did cheering count as a sport for you when you cheered?” Adam asked.

“You cheered?” Elliot asked.

“Oh yeah, didn’t you know?” Dani said. “Kurt cheered with Santana when they won Nationals in 2010.”

“I also played football for three weeks that school year.” Kurt said.

“I know you like watching soccer and you’ve watched Basketball games with me.” Elliot said.

“You’ve watched rugby matches and Australian Rules Football with me.” Adam said.

“Those aren’t BORING.  Those games tend to move along quickly.  I also don’t mind watching hockey.  Did not like 99% of the Hockey Players at McKinley at all, but didn’t hate the game.” Kurt said.  “I almost played when I was little, but I liked going fast or the dance aspect of figure skating better than hitting a puck about.  Especially since you could not hit other kids with your stick.  That was disappointing. I also played soccer and swam on a team when I was little.”

“See.  I would love for you to ask what sports Blaine played when little.” Elliot said.

Kurt laughed. “He still did fight club at Dalton, supposedly, and boxed at McKinley.  Not on a team or anything, but he’d go hit the bag in the gym.”

“So?” Adam asked. “Did you stop the tumbling and such associated with Cheer when you were no longer a cheerleader?”

“No. I was ‘on reserves’ anyway so Coach Sue wanted me ready just in case. I ran and tumbled and took some dance classes and did yoga.”

“And you worked at the garage.” Dani said. “Santana told me.”

Kurt nodded.

“So what about boxing…which he didn’t even try out for or find a club to compete with…makes him more manly than your gymnastics and dance?” Adam asked.

“It is hitting stuff, I guess.” Kurt said.

“That’s not manly, that is just a violent tendency and a possible cry for anger management therapy.” Elliot said.

Kurt snorted.

“He doesn’t wear much make-up.” Kurt said.

“He wears more hair product than you, Santana, and Rachel combined and none of you go easy on it.” Dani said.

“He takes a whole 40 minutes to an hour longer in the bathroom than YOU do.” Elliot said.

“Isn’t your make-up also your sunscreen and such?” Adam asked.

Kurt nodded.

Dani was sitting with her head tilted, thinking. “You know, I bet he puts as much stuff on his face as you do, even if none is ‘make-up’.”

“Yeah, probably.” Kurt said.

“There you go.” Elliot said. “If you were going to use that excuse, he could put nothing but zit cream on his face.  Blaine uses much more than that, therefore…that excuse does not count.”

Kurt smiled.

“He sings ‘boy songs’.” Kurt said.

“Does he?” Elliot said. “Really?  He might not sing as much Broadway, but does he sing less ‘girl’s songs’? Should we start a list?  I bet you would be very surprised when it came down to it.”

Kurt sat down hard on the couch. “You are right.  Probably some of the songs he’s best known for aren’t ‘boy songs’.  I mean, he probably sang more boy songs than I did…because he tended to sing more than I did.  He and Rachel were rather large song hogs.  BUT…he sang girl songs all the time and no one fussed at him. Huh.”

“So what makes an alpha male?” Adam asked. “Not a damned thing.  Straight men like to use the term as an excuse to push and bully and abuse people. ‘Oh Look at me!  I’m an alpha male…you must listen to me and I must be in charge at all times and I simply CANNOT be asked to listen to anyone else, let alone do as anyone else suggests…oh and I can do whatever I want to women because they are simply here on earth to be my toys…they are simple objects for me to use and abuse for my pleasure alone.’” Adam delivered the last part in a deep dumb voice after having puffed himself up and clenched his fists.

Kurt giggled.

“They are simply men…and women…who were never taught any manners, told no, or faced any consequences and so they think they should get everything they want…and to hell with anyone else.” Adam continued.

“So there isn’t always an alpha male in every gay relationship?  One that sets the terms and says how everything goes?  Says when and where and what is done?  Dictates …sex?” Kurt whispered.

“No.  Would that be acceptable in a male/female relationship?  If your friend Mercedes was seeing a guy who told her who she could see and what she could do and what classes she could take and who she could talk to, would that be acceptable to you?” Dani asked.

“No.  That’s abusive.” Kurt said.

“If sex was when he wanted it and how he wanted it and over when he was done and her pleasure was never considered, would that be ok?” Adam asked.  “And when she tried to initiate anything, even holding hands, she was rebuffed and scolded…told she was making a scene or asking too much, would it be ok?”

“No.” Kurt said.

“If that boyfriend went off on a trip without her and posted photos of himself kissing, touching, hanging on other girls and touted to all who knew him how much ‘fun’ he was having. Would that be all right?”  Elliot asked.

“No, that would be cheating…Oh.” Kurt said.

“Would it be OK for anyone to treat Santana like that?” Dani asked.

Kurt shook his head no, but snorted.

Dani chuckled. “Or rather, would it be all right for Santana to treat anyone like that?”

“No. It would not.”

“There is no alpha gay man who gets to do it his way and gets what he wants because of that status.  There are only jerks and bullies, or worse…abusers.” Elliot said.

“You are just as ‘manly’ as any of the men you see or date.  Even if you end up dating a huge buff bear covered in a pelt and you never get to the point where you have to shave more than every other week.” Dani said.

Kurt chuckled.

“I’m not supposed to feel constantly anxious or paranoid or like I’m always on the verge of doing something wrong in a loving relationship, am I?  I’m supposed to be happy, not defensive and on edge and afraid.” Kurt said quietly.

“You are supposed to be happy.  You are supposed to shine. You get to have friends…who you choose.  You get to enjoy activities YOU choose. You should not be a slave or someone’s toy or chess piece or prop. Not in ANY type of relationship.  Even friendships are not supposed to be like that.” Adam said, sitting down besides Kurt.

Kurt started to cry and Adam moved to where he could hug him.

Dani and Elliot tidied up around the apartment while Kurt cried himself out and into a nap curled up against Adam. Kurt didn’t wake again until the soup Dani made for lunch was nearly ready.

Elliot set the table and Adam sent Kurt of to the bathroom to wash up while he helped get the food on the table.

They were half way through the soup and sandwiches when people spoke again.

“Do you think I’ll have any friends left if I decide I’m done with it all?  With Blaine and Rachel and most the whole lot of them?” Kurt asked.

“I think you have loads of friends.” Adam said. “I think you’ll find ones who’ve been biding their time until they could be friends without being run off.”

Kurt nodded. “Like with the Apples…and the guys from stage combat class?”

“And people at work.” Eliot added.

Kurt sighed.  “At both jobs.  I wasn’t supposed to work late or attend functions that didn’t directly involve my exact job. Blaine had Rachel and Santana convinced that my working at Vogue.com and attending things I didn’t really have to was the reason he cheated…I haven’t attended anything other than exact work hours since I started dating Blaine again.  Rachel or Santana would find a way to keep me from doing so. I never realized how much they control who I spoke to and who could speak to me.”

“I’ve always wondered how you managed to start a band.” Adam said.

Dani laughed.  It wasn’t a happy laugh. “Rachel planned on it being HER band once we started doing well.  She planned on taking over.  The startup was too time consuming and difficult, though, and she was ‘Franny’ and just could not put the work into startup.”

“And Santana was planning on taking lead and calling it hers if Rachel was out. Rachel didn’t except us to have the gumption to kick her and Santana out when they went on their little war path.” Elliot said.

“I was to do the hard part and then step aside when commanded…or rather when they reminded me of how ill-suited I am to be front man of a band.” Kurt said. “Of course I didn’t know that until in a fight about how much time I spend with the band this fall. Blaine was willing to let me ‘have the band’ for a while to keep me ‘occupied’ in my grief and less likely to need to find someone to turn to. And I was to have discovered how much I didn’t need to sing because of how badly the band would do…so I would always be content in the background where I belonged.  That was all spilled in a different fight.”

Adam sighed. “I hope you realize how ridiculous that all is.  You guys sound fabulous and everyone who comes out to see you has fun.  And I know at least four dozen people who would create riots if Kurt quit singing with the band, especially if he turned the lead over to Rachel, or Blaine…or even Santana.”

Elliot laughed. “This is true.”

Kurt sighed. “Only about half the time.  Other times their voices in my head yell too loudly.”

“I think we’ll have to start yelling at you more, then.” Dani said. “So we can drown them out.  I have no problem whatsoever screaming ‘Hey, Kurt, You Are AWESOME!’ at random times and places throughout the day.  I could even phone you and remind you.”

Kurt smiled. “It would be different.”

Dani smiled back. “I wonder if it would catch on…I bet I could get Isabelle and Chase to join in.”

Kurt sighed. “I will have to go home today at some point. I have work at Vogue tomorrow. I need clothes.”

“I thought everyone was gone for the next week?” Elliot said.

“After Santana leaves this evening, yeah….it is just that the loft is feeling so...claustrophobic lately.  Like it is always closing in around me.”

“That’s because you are covering way too much of the finances.” Dani said. “Santana complained about how much she had to put towards rent and food and so I asked about other things…and found out she put nothing towards anything else. So I looked. Your water bill has tripled, your electricity has gone up by seven, your internet has tripled and your cable bill is ridiculous. And I doubt either Rachel or Blaine is helping with them. And ok…she might have a point about putting so much towards rent when she had no real space, but she is still paying so much less than if she had a room of her own off somewhere else.”

Kurt sighed again. “I should find a way to fix all of it.  I just fear carving out a room for Santana from the living room would make it too small for everyone to gather. I carved out a closet area from my room for everyone to have places for their stuff and so I doubt I could carve a bedroom out of it anymore.”

“What about Rachel’s?  She could share.” Elliot said.

The laugh that came out of Kurt nearly broke Adam’s heart, it was so bitter. “That’s funny.”

“Is she paying more to have all that space?” Elliot asked.

“No, she pays less than Santana.” Kurt said.

“Then she doesn’t get it.  I do believe I heard that it was your name on the lease…so that is what we are doing this week.  We are reorganizing…or at least planning a mass reorganization of…your loft. And Adam can stay with you all week so you don’t chicken out.  I have a friend who works with law stuff who might be able to help us with advice on what we can ask and require, too.” Elliot said.

“I have loads of tape measures and such, I started an interior design course at one point. Too many gay guys but too few lesbians in attendance at the time. I wonder if I should reapply and take it back up. I wouldn’t mind the lack of lesbians anymore, I can find enough other places now. It was interesting.” Dani said.

Kurt laughed and Adam smiled, it was a much nicer laugh than earlier.

“Ok….I’ve sketch books we can put towards the task.”

“Then…tonight we head to the loft and figure out how to work easing your feeling of claustrophobia and plan out our thanksgiving…like are we even having a Turkey?” Elliot added.  “And maybe I’ll even head to my place at some point over the week…or maybe not.  My roommate did not get to go home and is taking it out on everyone, mostly because his girlfriend did go home and didn’t invite him after promising she was going to.”

Kurt smiled. “There is room enough, generally.  You can even sleep in my bed…I don’t think I can stomach it anymore. I’ll change the bedding to something less…stained.”

“Where are you going to sleep then?” Elliot asked.

“On the extra air mattress.  Adam can have Rachel’s room. It will be fun.” Kurt said. “Even if I can’t actually do it…it will be great to plan it.”

“Oh, you’ll be actually doing it.  Letters will be going out, official ones, that will tell those living with you what they need to pay and how sleeping arrangements are going to be working. I’m calling Jonah in the morning.” Elliot said.

“Can we change the sheets in Rachel’s room? Last time I was there they made me itch.” Adam said.

“Oh, I forgot her stuff made you itch.  I’ll change all the stuff out to my linens. Then you and Elliot can duke it out to who sleeps where.” Kurt said.

“Why doesn’t everyone stay here one more night?” Dani said. “Then we can head over tomorrow and wash stuff and everyone is sure to be gone.  I am sure Kurt can borrow something. We’ll leave early enough for Kurt to shower and change and get to work and the rest of us can look and plan.”

Kurt nodded.

They played around with music for most the rest of the day…Elliot and Dani leaving the apartment to find food for dinner.  Kurt fell asleep early again, but Adam followed into dreamland right closely afterwards.  Dani and Elliot stayed awake longer and plotted…as was attested by notes and sketches done and waiting to be taken to Kurt’s loft sitting there next to the couch when Adam and Kurt woke up.

The loft was free of others when they got there. Kurt settled Adam’s stuff into the closet room and everyone was reminded how to work the TV and Adam was hooked up to the internet while Kurt also got ready for work.  It wasn’t a full work day for him, but he’d be at Vogue until after lunch, so Dani sent Elliot to do some grocery shopping while she washed sheets and bedding and anything else that smelled like Rachel’s stuff. Adam started taking a good hard look at the loft and how the spaces were carved out.

The bathroom was the only section with actual walls.  The rest of the walls were either created by shelves, cloth, or constructs that screamed stage flats. Nothing permanent.  All easily moved. Adam got out the tape measure and other tools Elliot had owned and brought along and started measuring.

By the time Elliot was back with groceries and Dani was back from the laundry room, Adam had several sketches finished and waiting for them to look at.  He’d pulled up interior design and architect pages on his laptop. Elliot called his friend as soon as he got back. They curled up and watched movies while they discussed the space.   Adam cooked and Dani had the washing done and everything reorganized by the time Kurt got home.

At Kurt’s request, they didn’t look at social media or talk about the reordering of the loft.  They instead spent the night watching (reclaiming) movies and singing songs the band might do.  Elliot’s friend called and said he’d come to the loft to discuss things and asked Kurt to have his contract ready to look over.  Kurt called in to work and got all of Monday free.  Isabelle even told him that it was about time he took action.

Kurt set up the spare air mattress for himself and Adam took the one Sam usually slept on.  They put both in Kurt’s bedroom, where Elliot was sleeping on the bed. Dani stayed the night and slept in Rachel’s bed.

Kurt then proceeded to chatter for half the night. Elliot finally called him out on it.

“What is wrong? Something has to be.  Dani went to bed almost two hours ago and you haven’t stopped talking since then.”

Kurt sighed.

“I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t change things here.  I still have two years on the lease.” Kurt said.

“You throw them all out and get new roommates.” Elliot said.

Kurt snorted.

“No, seriously,” Elliot said. “Did you ever have anyone sign anything?”

“No.”

“There you go. And if you can’t, we’ll find out in the morning. You’re giving me an ulcer with your stressing…I do not even want to think about the state of your body.  I’m signing you up for yoga classes tomorrow, too.  I’ll even cover them for two months.  Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.  Go to sleep.  Adam…rub his back or something.  Magic that boy to sleep.”

“but…” Kurt started.

Adam pulled his mattress until it butted against Kurt’s and followed Elliot’s orders.

“Close your eyes.  If you are not asleep in ten minutes, we’ll go do something like bake.  Ten minutes…eyes closed, no talking.”

“Fine.” Kurt sighed.

It took two minutes for Kurt to be out.

Kurt slept through Elliot and Adam waking up and showering.  Elliot even managed to call the studio where he did yoga and book Kurt into classes before Kurt woke up.  Dani finally starting the coffee was what woke him.

Elliot’s friend showed up at 10am, just after Kurt had finished cleaning up from breakfast.

It turned out that legally, Kurt had a great deal more options that he had expected, because NEVER at any point had Rachel paid half of rent. Or half of anything else. So her use of a full half of bedroom space was not a ‘right’ of any sort.  Elliot’s friend helped Kurt create the letters to be sent out, informing all those living in the apartment of the redistribution of space and advising them that if they didn’t like it, they had a month to find new lodgings. It also stated that rent, all utilities and amenities, groceries, and any other funds accrued as roommates would be split equally by those staying in the loft.  Arrangements could be made for another  or the others to cover a part of rent but it had to be agreed to and some form of payment in kind must be given…this could be cleaning or cooking or some other such valuable task and again it must be agreed to and a suitable exchange documented.

Elliot’s friend took the letter with him and the addresses and names and would get another of his group to look them over and make sure they weren’t missing anything.   Then he would make the number of copies needed and mail them so they would be received by the 1st of December.

The rest of the day was spent looking over sketches and even moving furniture about to see how it would work.  They also solidified Thanksgiving meal plans and went grocery shopping.  It was the kind of day Kurt missed dreadfully. It was full of friends just hanging out and no fighting or whining or drama.  Kurt could not remember a day in the loft like it…not really.  The only days that came close were with the band and without Rachel and Santana.  It was a very illuminating conclusion.

As everyone, minus Dani who had work the next day so went back to her place, was settling down for the night Kurt looked at Elliot and Adam.

“How many roommates do you think I’ll have left after those letters go out and after I break it off with Blaine?”

Elliot snorted.

“I doubt Blaine and Sam will stay.” Adam said.

“I don’t know, you haven’t met Blaine.  He’ll probably stay just so he has a place in Kurt’s life where he can badger him from.” Elliot said.

“Oh God.” Kurt moaned.

“If it comes to that, we’ll find a way to get you out of your lease and move you somewhere else.” Adam said.

“And you are putting in nearly the full amount of rent money towards the loft right now, taking into account all the other bills you are covering…so if people move out you can cover things while you find new roommates or another way to add to funding the loft.” Elliot said.  “Like renting out practice space for other small groups or for study sessions…I know several people who’d pay 15 or 20 bucks an hour for space that is quiet and open enough to do stuff in.  It would be cheaper than renting space at the community center like my movement group has been doing.”

“I knew Apples who were majoring in costuming who would have paid that much or more for someplace to cut fabric or sew.” Adam added.

Kurt tilted his head. “Hmm….never thought about that.”

“And you can come stay with me for the first week if you have to,” Elliot said. “Get away from it all while things are being settled.”

“And by the end of that I’ll have moved to my place and you can crash there if need be.” Adam said.

“You’ll have someplace safe…we promise.”

Kurt smiled. “I am so lucky to have you guys.”              

Adam snorted.

“No, really.  I couldn’t be luckier.” Kurt insisted.

“Maybe, maybe not. Now go to sleep, you work tomorrow.” Elliot said.

Kurt nodded and snuggled into his blankets more. “I have to find a new person to take to the vogue holiday party.” Kurt muttered.

Adam chuckled.

“We’ll discuss that tomorrow.” Adam said.

There was no answer, Kurt was sound asleep.

“We must have eased enough of his worries.” Elliot said.

“Now we just make sure he can sleep like this for the rest of the week.”

Elliot headed back to his place the next day while Kurt was at work, so he could pick up his clothing for his job and a few other changes of clothes while he stayed at the loft with Adam and Kurt.  Adam cleaned.  He tackled the bathroom first, scrubbing everything completely.  He found Kurt’s ‘bathroom’ bins, which each person’s name labeled on them and that were supposed to contain each person’s bathroom supplies, and placed items that were obvious in each…he’d let Kurt take care of the rest when he got home.  He showed great restraint and didn’t toss items he knew belong to Blaine that he considered horrid and should be tossed…like all fourteen different hair gels…for different hold and mood.

He then hit the kitchen.  There he wasn’t so nice. He boxed things that he didn’t deem necessary and threw out any food type items that were way out of date.  There was salad dressing in the refrigerator nearly a year past its date, that Rachel bought because it was all the rage...and used once that he was aware of…and refused to let Kurt toss because having it made her like those super Broadway stars she read about. Cupboards were cleaned out and washed out and restocked like he knew Kurt preferred.

Just about an hour before Kurt was due home, Adam got a text from him.

It told him to log onto his Facebook page and like the garage’s page.  While on Adam noticed Kurt had changed his relationship status.

He wondered when Blaine would notice.

Kurt got home with the news that Jake had indeed texted his dad and told him that if he didn’t have a Facebook page set up by the time he got home, Jake would be helping him set one up when he got home…his costumers wanted to see one.  (Turns out his Dad had a political page run by an intern who texted him daily for what he’d like put out on it…and his Dad figured that was enough.  However customers of the garage asking for him to get a personal page was enough incentive to make a personal page, even if Kurt asking him to get one wasn’t.)

On Wednesday Kurt’s dad sent him a Facebook friend request.  Kurt worked both vogue.com and the diner jobs, and accepted his dad’s request between the two. Adam accompanied Kurt to the diner and managed to score a part time job for the month of December when Gunther found out Adam could sing and wasn’t planning on leaving New York City for a vacation.  Adam made sure it wouldn’t conflict with the job he was starting up before agreeing.  He sang with Kurt and Salvador that afternoon. Gunther insisted he take the tips left for him at the counter.  Kurt bubbled all the rest of the time about how glad he was to have opportunities to sing with Adam again.  That evening the Apples had practice, which Kurt invited Elliot and Dani to so they could give feedback.  Elliot talked Kurt into doing a monolog and Dani suggested a few different Christmas Songs for their singalong, which Kurt went to check if they could legally do them.

 On Thursday, Kurt texted his dad and wished him and Carole a Happy Thanksgiving and sent his wishes for a fabulous vacation as soon as Kurt got up, which was ridiculously early.  Kurt and Adam spent all day cooking, with Elliot switching between joining them in the kitchen and playing either music or games with Dani and the band, several of which brought significant others as well.  The loft was filled with songs and laughter and the wonderful scents of great food.

The only time Kurt remember the loft this fun was the Thanksgiving before when Isabelle brought her friends over.

They had finished dinner and were getting ready to set up bingo, which Dani brought over…along with several dozen prizes, when Kurt’s phone rang.

“Dad?” Kurt said as he answered it.

Kurt mouthed to Adam to head to his bedroom and bring his laptop.  Adam picked up the laptop and followed Kurt.

“You mean Skype, dad.  But I thought you said…” Kurt was saying.

Adam opened the laptop and got it turned on and Skype set to open.  Kurt motioned for him to sit facing Kurt, where his dad couldn’t see him but Kurt could.

“Dad, I thought you were spending the day with Carole?” Kurt said once his dad had connected.

“Yes, I am, but I figured I needed to call you and apologize first.  I knew something was fishy.  I mean, I was with Carole the first time we talked to the grief lady at the hospital and I heard what she said. I remember when I went to counseling after your mom died.  I know what they tell you, I still have books about it. I should have questioned more when Carole started spouting off all this other stuff.  Stuff that I knew was wrong…but I didn’t.  It was easier to just let her have her way and do it her way.  It was easier to not deal with the screaming and yelling and rage directed at me and then the tears and guilt directed at me.  I did take to basically hiding out in Washington, but I was feeling guilty for that and so still listened to her mandates. I forgot you were hurting, too.  Just like after your mom died.  You are always so strong and I knew you could keep it together, but it should have never been up to you to do so….not for Carole and me and not for Rachel and Santana and anyone else.”

“Oddly enough, I had some friends who helped me along, Dad, despite Rachel and Blaine.”

“I know, Buddy.  Jake read me the riot act.  As did Cassius and Robbie and Hank and pretty much everyone else.  I am also sorry I hadn’t realized what Blaine was up to.  I didn’t realize a lot of things I ought to have.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“Kurt, work with me here.”

“Dad…have you or have you not been calling Blaine every week, even when you weren’t calling me that often?”

“Well, yes...I guess…it’s just...Carole isn’t upset if I call Blaine.  She likes Blaine.”

“And she doesn’t like me.” Kurt said.

“I…” Burt started, before stopping.  “I don’t know, Kurt.  I’m sure it’s just because this is just really hard on her, and not really anything to do with you yourself.”

Kurt shrugged. “Still…I’m your kid, Dad.  Not Sam or Blaine.  I just...I don’t…”

“Kurt?”

Kurt shook his head. “Anyway, you might be getting loads of complaints soon. I talked to this lawyer guy about changing some things around the loft.  If five of us live here, five of us will cover all the expenses of living here equally and share space much more equally.  I’m not heartless, I know Sam will have a harder time, but I’ll figure out some way for Sam to cover his share in kind…maybe chores or something.  But all those who have folks paying for them or have jobs that make good money will have to pay their fair share.”

“Why do you think I’ll have complaints come my way?”

“Not a single one of the others had paid a fair share yet…and Rachel isn’t going to be having the whole space she has been using any longer.”

“Blaine said you are asking too much of them as it is?” Burt said.

“Blaine has paid rent once and that was because Santana threatened to kill him if he didn’t.  His parents send him money for it…he just doesn’t use it for rent.  He has never helped with utilities, or the TV or the Internet or the water or anything else.  He has never added money to the grocery jar. He hasn’t even tried to find any sort of job, not even part time. Rachel pays 1/5 of rent...and every once in a while adds to the grocery jar or helps with other bills…if I talk to her dads about it first.  Santana has been covering ¼ of the rent and is good about putting her share towards food about half the time, but never anything else.  I don’t see how I’m asking too much.”

“But Blaine said…”

“I’ll send you the bookwork.”

“Kurt..”

“Dad! This is what everyone is talking about.  Jake, Cassius, Robbie…all of them…this is what they read you the riot act about.  Ask me.  Don’t take what Carole says…or Blaine says…or Rachel says…as the word of God and some sort of set in stone reality.  Ask me. For God’s sake…what’s wrong with talking to me and believing me?” Kurt yelled.

“I do believe you.”

“And I don’t even understand how you can say that, because every time someone else tells you something you always believe the worst of me and take their word for it…even when you know they have been known to lie and over exaggerate and ignore facts. Always.”

“I didn’t realize…” Burt said. “I’m sorry.  When I get back, I’m going to come and see you, OK?  And…we’ll talk some of this out…better than like this.  You can explain to me why you think I always take other’s sides over you and I’ll try to convince you I believe you. OK?”

“Ok Dad…You’d better go.   Happy Thanksgiving.  I do love you, you know.”

“I love you, too, kiddo.  Talk to you later.”

Kurt signed off and turned off his laptop.  He stared at it for a while.

Adam wasn’t sure what to do, other than offer Kurt his hand.

Kurt smiled and took it, squeezing it to show he was glad Adam was there. 

“Come on, if we sit here much longer we will have missed Bingo and spending time together with everyone.  After all, holidays are supposed to be spent with your family.” Kurt said. “And I’m beginning to be convinced the best family is that you carve out for yourself. Hmm, I wonder if I should have warned Dad I was breaking up with Blaine?”

“If he can’t figure out that that would be your response to Blaine’s behavior, I don’t think he’s paid attention to you for a long time.” Adam said.

Kurt nodded. “This is the same man who brought me Blaine as a Christmas Present when we were broken up because Blaine cheated on me and when I’d told Blaine all I wanted was time and space before even talking to him again….which he didn’t give me any of.  And who drove me to the engagement spectacle while telling me I looked like he was driving me to my execution and insisted there wasn’t another answer other than yes or no…just two days after I agree to give dating another try.  Under conditions…none of which were ever even attempted to be met once Blaine got his way.”

“Point.”

They joined the others and used the rest of the round of Bingo to get dessert ready.  They played bingo until nearly midnight, interspersing singing and dancing between rounds. It was fun and as every hour passed Kurt became more and more relaxed.

“We should do this again at Christmas,” Kurt told Adam and Elliot as he shut the door after their last guest had gone.  Dani was in the kitchen cleaning up and was staying over again.  They were all heading out in just a few hours to do Black Friday shopping. “It will be ever better.”

“How do you figure?” Elliot asked.

“Most my huge stresses will be taken care of one way or another…I’ll either have less stress about finances or know when that state will be likely, I’ll be single, and I’ll hopefully have had a discussion with my Dad face to face…and if I haven’t well, I’ll know where I stand.  And the semester will be over.”

“We can work with that.” Adam said.

“We can.” Kurt said.  “Thanks for being the best family a guy could want.”

“Sappiness needs to be done closer to me so I can give you attack hugs!” Dani yelled from the kitchen.

That set Kurt off in giggles, which set of Elliot and Adam.

They watched as Kurt scampered off towards Dani.

“He good?” Elliot asked quietly as they moved towards them.

“He will be.” Adam said.  “We’ll make sure of it.  He’s decided we are his family after all…and real family takes care of each other.”