Stop Loss: Chapter 31, Part 1

Aug 06, 2012 11:30

It's the longest chapter in the woooorrrrlllddd, and I'm so sleep deprived from all that editing :/

31/33, and definitely the longest chapter yet. Buckle up, kids, we're experimenting with format in order to balance out all the Sheer Content that managed to worm its way in. That, combined with the Olympics, my birthday, and some good old fashioned bone breakage, doth contribute to the week-lateness of this chapter. Sorry sorry sorry you're all pretty. (And review responses are coming as soon as I'm back from physical therapy, promise!)

I don't own Glee (which last year was a tragedy; this year, it's a clever way to avoid the hate mail) or the ACLU, and I don't even know if Lima has a zoo. Whoops.

The first page of post it notes in Blaine's notebook didn't seem to be in any sort of chronological order; at least, not as far as Kurt could tell:

My new math tutor is a junior at Crawford, one read. I think they make the Homework Resource Center co-ed to encourage more of us to use it, but it's just making me miss your brain even more. Also, you would hate the uniforms those poor Crawford girls have to wear to school every day.

I tripped over a tree root when I was running today and almost fell on my face. I'm glad you didn't see me wipe out, but I wish I had some of your aloe balm for the scrapes on my hands right now :(

Everyone in my Chem class screwed up the metric system but me this morning. I'm trying not to rub it in, but it feels good to be King.

I miss kissing you even more than usual today. I don't know why. I just do.

I almost forgot that I had a Skype appointment with Dr. Ramirez earlier, and I had to run across campus to make it back to my room in time. I wish you were here.

The day after Kurt went to visit Blaine at Dalton, Shelby sat the entire team down onstage at the end of rehearsal and announced her imminent retirement from Carmel and Vocal Adrenaline.

"I'll be moving to New York at the end of July," she informed them all, voice steady and calm despite the enormity of her declaration, "so your new director and I will be running the training camp for incoming students together for the first two weeks, before he takes over completely."

Kurt, forewarned about the announcement back in Los Angeles, watched as the entire room erupted into chaos. Though a few of the graduating seniors looked thrilled by the news-especially Ben, who had danced his way into several choice universities (and their obscenely large scholarships) in New York City-nearly everyone else was on the verge of panic, eyes wide with alarm and voices shrieking over each other as the whole team simultaneously tried to figure out what the bombshell meant, and why Shelby was leaving, and who their new director was, and whether he had the credentials to lead Vocal Adrenaline, the premier show choir in the entire nation (and possibly the Western Hemisphere).

Gaze drifting aimlessly through the mild hysteria, Kurt's eyes fell on Jesse.

Jesse, who was sitting quietly on the opposite side of the stage, observing all the noise and confusion in the same way that Kurt was doing. He looked up without warning, as if he'd felt Kurt watching him, and their eyes locked. With a slow smile, he nodded at Kurt, confirming what he had already suspected-that Shelby had warned him about her decision ahead of time, too.

A sharp jab at his ribcage from Sasha distracted Kurt, and he tore his gaze away from Jesse and grabbed her fingers before she could poke him a second time. By the time he glanced back, Jesse was deep in conversation with Andrea.

If he looked back at Kurt again, Kurt didn't see it.

There weren't any post it notes on the ninth page of Blaine's notebook. Instead, Blaine had taped in a sheet of paper with two jagged edges that had clearly been torn from somewhere else; a sketch of two stick figures lying on the beach underneath a giant umbrella, holding hands and smiling. One of the stick figures was wearing what looked like a giant parka with a fur-lined hood, and was holding a bottle that was the same size as his little ink head. It was labeled 'SPF 10 Million'.

Kurt laughed until his stomach hurt.

Shelby eventually managed to calm everyone down, and ended rehearsal with a promise to bring their future coach's performance reel and resume-the ones that had firmly vaulted him into first place for her personal choice for her replacement-in for them to view on Friday. A betting pool was formed by a number of the juniors over who the new Vocal Adrenaline director would be-Kurt was privately certain that Andy would win, since Sarabeth's obvious (and hopeless) crush on him would probably result in her offering him help-and as the team exited the school and spilled out into the parking lot, Kurt took his time following along, listening to their increasingly outlandish and unlikely guesses.

Waving goodbye to Sasha and Ryleigh, who were bickering good-naturedly over the likelihood of Hinton Battle coming out of retirement to move to Ohio, Kurt headed down the third row of cars to his parking spot.

And somehow, he wasn't surprised to see Jesse there, casually leaning against the front door of his Navigator.

As Kurt approached him (and the car) with a light sigh, Jesse glanced around the parking lot at their chattering teammates, before looking back at Kurt and raising an eyebrow significantly. Even after everything that had happened between them, Kurt didn't have to ask what he'd meant by that. Instead, he stopped a few feet in front of Jesse and waited quietly; wrapping his hands around the strap of his book bag and watching Jesse watch the parking lot as it slowly emptied.

When they were finally alone, Jesse turned back to Kurt, his eyes bigger and darker than usual. "Congratulations on being made the lead singer," he offered, no trace of sarcasm or patronization in his voice.

Kurt frowned for a moment, wondering at first how he'd known that, until... "Shelby told you," he figured it out.

Jesse smiled wryly. "She told me that she was going to offer it to you," he corrected. "And I knew that there was no way that you'd turn it down." He shrugged awkwardly. "I was surprised that she didn't mention it today, though," he added. "Perhaps she thought that her retirement was enough explosive news for one day."

Kurt could have told him that he'd asked Shelby not to announce it yet, when she'd passed him in the hallway between classes that day and had mentioned it to him as a possibility. But he wasn't entirely sure himself why he had asked her to wait, and Jesse would never get around to saying what he'd waited by Kurt's car to say if Kurt offered him a weakness to latch onto, like a shark sensing blood in the water.

He stood quietly instead, gazing at Jesse expectantly.

Either noticing his expression, or realizing that Kurt wasn't planning on indulging his procrastination, Jesse sighed heavily, letting his shoulders drop. "I'm not good at apologies," he reminded Kurt, admitting the fact in an almost resentful tone. "It's one of the few things that doesn't come naturally to me."

Kurt nodded slowly, not breaking eye contact. "Normally, I suppose I'd tell you to say it like you mean it," he replied carefully, choosing his words with a precision that was becoming sadly familiar, given the alarming number of important conversations that had occurred that week. "But I know how talented an actor you are. And I'm not interested in hearing that you're sorry if it doesn't really matter to you."

Jesse's eyes flashed. "It does, though," he argued, frustrated. "I don't like hurting you, you know."

His voice softened, and he looked away from Kurt. "Maybe my reasons…" he began, before breaking off, clearly struggling to articulate his thoughts much more than Kurt had. "But I never did anything with the intention of hurting you," he tried again, gazing back at Kurt imploringly. "You have to know that."

Kurt's hand tightened around the leather strap of his bag. "Hurting me was just a side effect," he finished drolly, looking at Jesse for confirmation.

He received it. "Exactly," Jesse agreed with a slight smile.

Kurt closed his eyes.

And the sad thing is, he thought, I'm almost positive that that's a reasonable justification to him.

Kurt tilted his head from side to side, loosening muscles that were starting to become almost painfully tight, before opening his eyes. Jesse was watching him steadily, clearly waiting for Kurt to reply.

He did. "You have to understand that that's not going to be good enough for me, anymore," he told Jesse, keeping his face and voice as solemn as he could, wanting to impress upon him how seriously he meant it. "You…mean more to me than I'm comfortable admitting sometimes, but if we're going to be friends, you can't-"

He paused, thinking.

"I need to decide what's right for me, not you," he said finally, bluntly. "I'll always listen to your advice, if you have it, but it isn't your job to run my life, and I'm allowed to make choices that you don't like without your interference. I want to be your friend, Jesse; I really do. But I won't be your puppet."

It was Kurt's turn to stare at Jesse, waiting for a response. And at first, Jesse was so still and expressionless that Kurt wasn't sure if he was going to get one. Several seconds later, though, a familiar warmth flooded Jesse's eyes and, slowly, slowly, he began to smile.

"Kurt Hummel," he said softly, shaking his head in disbelief. "You're all grown up now, Grasshopper. When did that happen?"

Jesse's car was parked at the farthest edge of the parking lot, and Kurt ended up walking him over to it. "You know that I'm not the only one you need to apologize to," he stated frankly, glancing over at Jesse before looking back down at the pavement, kicking a piece of gravel out of the way with the tip of his boot.

Jesse groaned childishly. "You're going to make me apologize to your unfortunately fragile little ex-boyfriend, aren't you?" he guessed, frowning.

Kurt frowned back, refusing to respond to Jesse's description of Blaine. "I'm not going to make you do anything," he disagreed, "and I don't think he's ready to hear it from you, anyway." He paused. "Mostly, I was talking about-"

"I know who you were talking about," Jesse interrupted, before Kurt could say 'Rachel'."And that's a conversation I'd be happy to have with you in the future; maybe around your 30th birthday when I need to distract you from your inevitable decline into wrinkles and old age."

Kurt, recognizing the obvious dismissal for what it was, let the subject drop.

Fishing his keys out of his pocket, Jesse tapped a button and unlocked the doors of his car with a soft click. "So," he asked Kurt softly, an enigmatic smile on his face, "does this mean we're associating in public again, then?"

His stare was as hypnotic as it had ever been, but Kurt found it easier to pull his gaze away than usual. "Almost," he answered, glancing at his own car across the parking lot before turning back. "First, I need you to do something for me."

The first picture text that Kurt received from Blaine arrived early on Saturday afternoon, when Kurt was just getting back to the shop with everyone's sandwiches (all on whole grain bread and with mustard instead of mayo, a show of solidarity from the mechanics now that Burt had changed his diet completely around that had made Kurt choke up the first time he saw it): a wide shot of Niagara Falls, a boat visible through the resulting spray and a few drops of mist clinging to the screen.

The second arrived nearly two hours later: Blaine, standing underneath the belly of a giant, vicious-looking T-Rex, holding a golf club and smiling beneath a new pair of sunglasses.

You are such a dork, Kurt texted him in return, setting the picture as his phone's background.

Blaine's reply came almost immediately: ;D

With only a few days of school remaining, Kurt had less homework than ever to worry about, and was able to devote more of his time to other things. Most notably, getting a reluctant Burt in shape.

"I'm telling you, Kiddo, I'd feel a lot better about this if I could do it in normal clothes," Burt grumbled on Sunday, eyeing Kurt's arms and adjusting his own position slightly. "It's not like the fitness police are gonna bust in here and drag me off to jail for wearing real pants."

Kurt rolled his eyes. "Denim doesn't breathe well," he explained for what felt like the fiftieth time, glancing at the screen and sliding fluidly into the next stance. "And you're lucky that I bought you yoga pants-I could have asked Jesse for one of his Tai Chi outfits, too, and stuck you in that."

When Burt had been cleared for a larger amount of exercise at his latest doctor's appointment, he'd rejected several of the activities on the physician's list out of hand, claiming that "I'm gonna need another kind of doctor to untangle me if I break my back trying to do yoga", and that "nobody wants to see a guy my size in a Speedo, Buddy; let me lose a little more of the old Beer Gut, first".

He'd briefly considered powerwalking, until Kurt had jokingly threatened to set him up with the group of stay-at-home-moms and bored housewives that banded together every morning in an unholy congregation of animal-print spandex to speedwalk around the neighborhood.

That left table tennis and Tai Chi on the list of suggested exercises, and fortunately for Burt-"They can call it 'tennis' all they want to; it's still just Ping-Pong"-Jesse had come through with half a dozen Tai Chi for Beginners DVDs.

"Yeah, like that skinny twerp has any clothes that would fit me," Burt retorted grumpily, frowning back and forth between Kurt and the television before attempting to copy Kurt's position.

Kurt, privately agreeing, wisely chose not to comment.

Halfway into the 45-minute video, Kurt paused the DVD and passed his dad one of the two chilled bottles of water that he'd placed on the coffee table. "Only five minutes," he warned, cracking the seal on his bottle and taking a sip. "And we're working up to doing the whole thing without a break, so don't get used to resting."

Burt rolled his eyes skyward. "How did I manage to raise a kid with no sense of fun?" he asked the ceiling rhetorically, plopping down on the couch and opening his own water. "It's like living with a 95-lb drill sergeant."

Kurt closed his eyes. "Yes," he deadpanned, "because the military would love me. And I'm just doing what the doctor said. Do you miss the hospital so much that that's a better choice than developing your cardiovascular fitness?"

Burt snorted, gulping his water. "Nurse was pretty," he admitted after a minute, not quite looking at Kurt. "I ran into her at the store yesterday, while you were out. She's got a kid your age, but way bigger." He held his hand in the air as high as he could reach to show Kurt. "Built like The Hulk. He had to bend over just to push the shopping cart."

Kurt almost choked on his water at the image.

Burt nodded. "I don't know," he added. "I don't know if you'd like him or not, but I thought maybe we could ask them over for dinner sometime, to say thank you for taking care of me when I was in the hospital, and then again when you were on your trip. I don't know if they'd come, but…"

His dad trailed off nervously, and Kurt stared at him sharply, not sure if he'd heard what he thought he'd heard. "Dad," he asked slowly, putting his water down, "are you asking my permission to start dating again?"

Burt scoffed. "You boss me around enough these days as it is," he pointed out. "I'm not putting you in charge of anything else."

Kurt nodded, and they were both quiet. After a moment, however, Burt rubbed the back of his neck. "How weird would it be for you if I did want to…I don't know, maybe think about seeing someone again?" he asked Kurt carefully, watching him as Kurt looked down at the folded hands in his lap.

Kurt thought about it honestly. He'd read enough fairy tales with evil stepmothers in them when he was little that, had Burt asked him five years earlier, the question would have been met with a resounding tantrum. And in the years since then, the two of them had settled into such an interdependent dynamic that it was hard to imagine shaking it up and allowing anyone else-and, potentially, her gigantic offspring-in. But even if Kurt mildly resented the idea of having to change their home life to accommodate girlfriends or families, the truth was that he had considered the idea before, and had always grudgingly concluded that he'd undergo whatever discomfort and awkwardness that he had to in order to make sure that his dad was happy. Burt had devoted years of his life to taking care of Kurt and making sure that his needs were met, even while grieving the loss of his wife. He deserved to find someone that would make him happy, especially given that Kurt would be going to college within a few years (and had no intention of staying in Ohio when he did).

And, he realized, looking back at his dad, it's not like everything isn't changing for us now, anyway. He could do a lot worse than a nurse.

There was only one thing that truly bothered Kurt, and had bothered him every time he'd considered the possibility of Burt finding someone new. "I'm not calling her Mom, if the two of you get married," he warned, meeting Burt's wary gaze. "I had a mom, and nobody can replace her for me, even if we become a new family."

Burt laughed. "Who said anything about getting married?" he wondered out loud, grabbing Kurt's shoulder and shaking him affectionately. "I just wanted to have her over for dinner, maybe give you a chance to test out that lasagna recipe you've had clipped to the fridge for a week."

"It's heart healthy," Kurt protested, but without venom-his dad had put down his water bottle and was holding out his arms, and Kurt, like the little boy he once was, leaned into them.

"I'm glad you're still here, Dad," he said after a minute, and smiled as Burt squeezed him a little tighter.

"I know, Buddy," his dad replied, resting his head on Kurt's hair. "Me too."

"I don't want to keep you up too late," Blaine pretended to worry, his voice warm and familiar in Kurt's ear. "You have school in the morning, and I don't want you to be too tired to get up at 6:00am and go to all of those classes, do all that learning, maybe take a quiz or two…"

Kurt scowled at him, forgetting briefly that Blaine couldn't see him over the phone. "You are not funny," he informed Blaine, who laughed in response. "You are not funny, and your concern is clearly a deflection: you're pretending to worry about me so that you don't have to worry about you being too tired to ride a moose or drive your dogsled team to the General Store to procure more flannel shirts and maple syrup. I'm onto you."

Blaine continued to laugh. "You're going to be so disappointed if you ever come visit me here," he told Kurt. "The Mounties only bring the mooses around twice a month for us to ride."

By the time Kurt realized that Blaine had tenuously implied a future for them that involved international travel, Blaine had already spiraled off on a tangent, trying to figure out what the plural for 'moose' really was.

Wednesday was the last day of school at Carmel and, despite Blaine's teasing, none of Kurt's teachers handed out any quizzes. Instead, they used the time to pass back stacks of assignments and report cards, show movies, collect textbooks, or allow the students to take turns signing each other's yearbooks.

Kurt spent the better part of first period with his arms wrapped around Sasha, absorbing her presence while he still could-her mother, after two weeks of hemming and hawing, had accepted a job offer in Monterey, and Sasha's entire family was moving across the country in August.

"Cheer up, Ladybug," she snapped at him from his lap without malice, after Kurt had squeezed her so hard that her ribs had begun to creak audibly. "You're going to come visit me over Spring Break next year, and we'll take turns tossing each other into the ocean. Even if it is on the wrong side."

Her grudging tone made Kurt smile-Sasha had moved to Ohio before starting the 6th grade, but had spent the first eleven years of her life in Virginia Beach.

"Then in two years, we'll be together again," she promised, poking him in the abdomen. "New York or L.A., remember?"

Kurt sniffed. "I remember," he acknowledged wearily. "I'm just going to miss you. And I hate that everyone's leaving-you, Blaine, Jesse, Ben, James, Shelby…"

He trailed off, blinking rapidly. He'd thought about the implications of each one of them leaving or graduating on an individual level, but hadn't realized just how many people he was losing at the same time.

It was a daunting list.

Sasha let her head fall onto Kurt's shoulder, reaching up lazily to tousle his hair. "Don't whine; it's unattractive," she advised him, and he glared down at her while fixing his hair with one hand. "And I'm not crazy about leaving everyone behind, either. But we have most of the summer together, and if you really miss me, you'll write back when I send you letters and call me when you promise that you're going to."

She fluttered her eyelashes up at him, smiling. "That's how I'll know you're really my Prince Charming," he informed him sweetly. "Anyone can be your friend when they see you every day. True love requires work, Hummel. Make sure you're worth my good graces."

Gym class here is very civilized, the post it note read. I know how to play Polo now; in theory, at least. I keep thinking about the time you did a headstand in my room for over four minutes, just because I said I didn't think you could hold it for more than two. Your face was so red, and when I made you lie down on my bed afterwards, your heart was beating faster than I'd ever felt it.

Kurt was surreptitiously reading the signatures in his yearbook under the table, ignoring the ending of the bland, uninteresting movie they'd been watching in Chemistry all week, when the classroom phone rang with instructions for Kurt to head down to Shelby's office as soon as he had the chance. Receiving permission to leave from Mr. Michaels, Kurt quickly tossed his things into his book bag and rushed down the stairs toward the music wing, both curious and hopeful for a short meeting-8th period was nearly over, and Coach Walker had them doing yoga in gym class. When he reached the doorway to Shelby's office, however, he stopped short, previous thoughts forgotten.

The room had been ransacked, with Shelby's personal items stowed in two large boxes next to the filing cabinet, the recycling bin overflowing with discarded paperwork, and several storage bins filled with costumes and other items belonging to Carmel or the music department stacked against the closest wall.

On her desk, the only remaining item on the dusty wood grain besides a set of keys, was an impossibly tiny baby, asleep in a sturdy-looking car seat.

Kurt stared.

The baby was clearly a girl, dressed in a snug, pink-striped outfit-unless Shelby was having fun messing with everyone's gender expectations, which was always a possibility. Her nose was little, barely there in between her chubby cheeks, and while her eyes were closed-Kurt thought he'd read somewhere that babies started out with blue eyes, but couldn't remember why, or even if it was really true-the slightest hint of blonde peach fuzz was visible underneath the hot pink hat that had slid off of her head at some point.

Hesitantly, so as not to wake her up, Kurt reached into the car seat and carefully slid the hat back into place. The baby stirred slightly, but kept sleeping, and Kurt let out a nearly silent sigh of relief.

"That's Beth."

Kurt flinched sharply-surprised at seeing the baby on the desk, he hadn't even thought to look around the office for Shelby when he had arrived. Heart pounding in his chest, he looked down at his hands, then at Beth. Luckily for everyone, Shelby had waited until he'd pulled away from the car seat to scare him, or he might have knocked the whole contraption, the baby included, onto the floor.

If Shelby noticed her daughter's near-death experience, she didn't mention it. "Her birth mom has blonde hair, too," she said instead, reaching out and gently stroking the baby's cheek.

Kurt turned slightly to look at her. Shelby was watching Beth sleep with an enchanted expression that he'd never seen on her face before.

"I know most parents want their baby to look like them," she continued, not taking her eyes off of Beth. "But I wouldn't mind if she stayed just like this."

Kurt couldn't blame her. He had almost no experience with babies-or new mothers, for that matter-but Beth was far more adorable than he'd been in his baby pictures, squalling and red and eyes squished shut. Soft and delicate-looking, Beth could have been a baby model, staring in Pampers or formula ads across the country.

And who knows, he remembered, if Shelby's about to move them both to New York, maybe she will be.

Shelby shook her head, recovering. "I have something for you," she told Kurt, turning away from the desk and grabbing an oversized manila envelope from the top drawer of her filing cabinet. "It came yesterday. I meant to give it to you after rehearsal, but as you can see, it's been a little chaotic in here."

Smiling unapologetically at Kurt, she fished through the envelope with one hand, pulling out a crisp, folded piece of stationary with his name on the outside. Curious, Kurt took the paper and unfolded it, sitting down in Shelby's desk chair to read it while Shelby sorted through one of the massive bins by the door.

The letter was handwritten, and the spidery script was unfamiliar, but somehow Kurt knew just by looking at it who the writer was.

Dear Mr. Hummel, Sarita wrote,

My congratulations on your second National Championship win; I hope that it's a trend that will continue for you in the two years to come. After giving more thought to your personal circumstances, I've been in touch with Kenneth McClaren, one of my closest colleagues and a personal friend, as well as a sometime-instructor here in our Voice and Muscial Theatre programs. Kenneth is a private vocal instructor and, after discussing your abilities with me, has agreed to take you on as a student for the summer. He's worked with a great many countertenors in his years of teaching, and is always my first choice as a coach for students with more unique ranges. I've written his contact information below, and he's expecting to hear from you before the end of the month to schedule your first lesson.

Disappointed though I am not to have you in the program this year, I fully expect to see you at auditions next spring. Though I cannot, as a matter of policy, hold a space open for you in next summer's Musical Theatre class, I can hint to you that, should you perform at least as well as you did before-though given that you will have had another year to grow and develop, I expect to witness continued improvements-you may find that your audition is something more of a formality than the last time.

Best Wishes to you and your family,

Sarita Jackson

Director of the Young Pre-Professional Summer Performance Academy

When Kurt looked up, wide-eyed, Shelby was watching him. "Sarita wrote to me as well," she told him, before he had to ask. "And I've met Kenneth. It's a bit of a drive out to his studio, but he's excellent at what he does, Kurt. And he rarely takes on new students, or I would have mentioned him to you and Andy before."

Kurt took a deep breath. "I really want this," he admitted, glancing back down at the letter and eyeing the postscript, where Sarita had written the phone number and address of Kenneth's studio. Bellefontaine, he read, calculating feverishly. That's not even as far away as Blaine and Westerville.

Shelby was nodding. "I don't blame you; this is a marvelous opportunity, Kurt," she agreed. "Probably the best vocal instruction you're going to get without studying at an intensive program."

A sudden thought occurred to Kurt, making his stomach twist and his palms sweat. "He's never heard me sing," he pointed out worriedly. "What if he doesn't like my voice?"

Shelby looked at him skeptically. "What happened to the Kurt Hummel who believed in himself?" she countered. "If he doesn't like your voice,make him change his mind. Sweetheart, I know you're trying to take care of everyone else in your life right now, and that's great, but don't swing so far in the other direction that you don't go after the things that you want for you, too. You're better than this."

The bell rang, waking Beth and distracting Shelby, before Kurt could figure out what he wanted to say in response.

"I've been setting all of my change aside," Blaine murmured quietly into the phone late one night. "Not the loonies or toonies, because they're more like dollars, but all of the other coins. On my birthday, I'm going to dump them all into the fountain in handfuls and make a wish."

Kurt laughed softly, closing his eyes. "What are you going to wish for?" he wondered sleepily, stifling a yawn as he burrowed a little further into his pillow.

Blaine's voice was reproving. "If I tell you, it won't come true," he reminded Kurt. "That's, like, the cardinal rule of birthday wishes."

Kurt scoffed lazily. "Fine," he retorted, "don't tell me. I still hope it comes true, because I'm not a vindictive person, but see if I tell you my birthday wish in the fall."

He could practically hear Blaine smiling. "I would never ask," Blaine pointed out. "And I hope it comes true, too."

The silence that followed was thick with some emotion that Kurt was too tired to decipher. When he woke up the next morning, he'd forgotten it entirely.


When the mail came and a shoebox-sized package addressed in familiar handwriting arrived on the doorstep, Kurt sliced at the packing tape with a box cutter as quickly as he could without cutting himself, biting his lip in anticipation. When enough of the tape had been severed, Kurt pried open the lid to reveal a tin of maple sugar candies that had been molded to look like little maple leaves, fourteen gingersnaps made with backstrap molasses, and a neatly folded, well-worn blue flannel shirt. When Kurt lifted the shirt out of the box and shook it out, a sheet of paper escaped the fabric and tumbled to the floor.

If Burt had any questions about the sudden appearance of a new drawing on the refrigerator-two stick figures in Mountie hats, smiling and sitting on top of a moose-he kept them to himself.

fanfiction, warbling on, writing, klaine, lungs + vocabulary, glee, rad bromance, "jesse st james jesse st sucks", not on kurt hummel's bucket list, oh blainers

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