Author's note: Thanks for the help with choosing the baby's name. Thanks for all the reviews and support and encouragement. I appreciate it all.
EPILOGUE – August
He feels like his life has been nothing but cardboard boxes for the last few months. First helping Dave and his family pack, and now looking at his single dorm room, a blank canvas except for the multiple brown boxes stacked near the doorway. His dad and Terence are bringing up the final few things, telling him he needs to start unpacking and he's not looking forward to that at all. He'd tried to be brutal when it came to sorting through everything but it just doesn't seem to have helped. Dave is looking after Lily and Adam. Bringing them here would be the opposite of helpful. As if just thinking about him conjures his phone to ringing and he answers.
"Hi…" he says, smiling as he walks the four steps across to his bed before sitting down.
"How's it all going?"
He can't hear Lily or Adam in the background, can only assume that they are probably sleeping at this time of day, which is good news considering how badly their routine has been shaken the last few weeks with the move and arrival of the new baby.
"It's good. All my worldly possessions are now in one tiny room that smells vaguely of pot and pine freshener."
He feels warm all over as Dave laughs and smiles again as his dad and Terence walk in with the last two boxes.
"Well, I thought I'd offer you some motivation to get all your shit organized. How about as soon as it's sorted you come over?"
He groans, because it's going to take him ages to get everything unpacked and put where he wants it. "I didn't say you had to have it perfect and up to your exacting standards Kurt, just get everything out of boxes and clothes into drawers. You can sort everything later."
He narrows his eyes and looks at his Dad and Terence. Terence at least has wizened up in the last few months and starts edging toward the door, looking to make an escape and a part of him feels like laughing at the behavior.
"I'll call you back," he says to Dave, feeling a little bad about abruptly hanging up on him, but needs must. He really wants to see Dave.
"I need your help," he states, ignoring the muttering coming from both his dad and Terence as he instructs them to start opening boxes.
Oh god, he's not going to have any idea of where anything is.
Dave gets off the phone to Kurt and looks around his room. He loves his new room. It's actually more like an apartment, built over the garage of the new house. His dad had justified the expense of having it built by saying he wouldn't have to help pay for Dave's accommodation costs seeing as he was staying at home, which is a bit of a misnomer because it definitely doesn't feel like home. However his dad had also said it would increase the property value so he'd stopped arguing.
Everything is brand new; carpet, drapes and paint all making it smell new, despite having the windows open all the time. Kurt had had a field day, although of course he'd complained about not being able to properly envisage the space he was decorating, but it couldn't be helped. There had been plenty of photos exchanged between them but he can't wait to show Kurt the finished product in person. Not long now.
The house is out in the suburbs of course, so he'll have to drive to campus, but he doesn't care. He has his own little lounge area, separate bathroom and tiny kitchen where he can cook if he wants. Although Claire and Kurt have both told him he's not allowed to do anything more than boil hot water. He's fine with that though, just the sheer independence of it has him grinning every time he steps through his front door.
In between all the packing and moving over the last few months they'd had a big farewell party. In his mind Dave had also thought of it as a 'we survived' party, with it coinciding with Terence finally getting the cast of his leg, now just in a moon-boot to act as support while his physical therapy works to build back muscle tone. He knows Terence's siblings have visited him a couple of times, which he knows means a lot to Terence, although his parents haven't even phoned to ask how he's doing.
His phone beeps and he looks at the screen; 'Help!' from Claire. He heads down into the main house to find her sitting on the sofa surrounded by a moat of baby vomit. Ugh. He exchanges a scrunched up face with her. Lily and Adam weren't like this, a reflux and colic combination. He's just glad that at least this is only one baby. He goes and gets the old towels and starts filling the bucket with hot water, listening as Claire consoles Jess. He just hopes Lily and Adam stay asleep for a little while longer. Working quickly he mops up the vomit before spraying the floor down with a disinfectant, grimacing jointly with Claire as she stands, the bottom of her pajama pants damp.
"How about I take her and you go shower and change?"
"Are you telling me I smell?" Claire says, smiling weakly and he smiles back, knowing that Claire will get back to her usual self when she's no longer sleep deprived.
"You want to stay covered in baby vomit? Cause I'll just treat it as preparation for all the college parties I'm going to be going to…" Claire huffs in what he assumes is amusement and he's passed an only slightly-damp baby. "I'll go change her and check on the other two."
"Thank you Dave. Really. I don't know what we'd do without you."
He smiles self-depreciatingly, not comfortable with the praise, but not refuting it either. He knows his own value now, his therapist and Kurt telling him, reminding him, of how much he gives to those around him. He follows Claire upstairs, cradling Jess to his chest. He's much more confident now that he's had experience with Lily and Adam. He hums under his breath and bounces her ever so slightly as he steps into the nursery to change her.
He only feels partly like a horrible son and person when he deserts his dad and Terence, giving them both tight hugs and telling them to at least go to somewhere decent for dinner before driving back to Lima. His drive to Dave's takes longer than the expected twenty minutes that the map app on his phone estimated, and he suspects it's because he's gotten lost a couple of times. However he figures he needs to learn his way around Columbus and there's nothing better than getting lost a couple of times to help.
He's driven to Columbus from Lima a few times, but not since Dave's room has been finished. He's visited the campus, the dorm rooms. Fitting the trips back-and-forth around a trip to New York which had been his graduation present from his dad. Of all people Nate had gone with him, introducing him to his mother; only for Kurt to realize that she was a Broadway star. Nathan had been far too smug. Of course then Claire had had her baby, a little girl that Kurt had fallen in love with instantly, telling Dave jokingly that he'd have to break up with him.
He'd never thought he would like kids, and then Lily and Adam had made him realize that they were pretty amazing. And then he'd held Jessica, and it had been a little surreal as his mind tried to grasp how tiny everyone starts out. He can't wait to see her again although it's been fifteen days since he last saw Dave, which is the longest they've gone without seeing each other since they started doing cake-Tuesdays. He comes to a stop outside, wondering whether he can possibly sneak up and surprise Dave. And finally get a look at the apartment he's been helping decorate remotely.
He knows better than to knock or ring the bell when there are potentially sleeping children so he just tries the door, not surprised when it opens. He stops and listens, it's unerringly quiet. He knows he's likely missed Lily and Adam, that they're already in bed given the time of night. But there are not even the mumbling noises of quiet adult conversation. He steps through to the living room to find Dave on the sofa, chest bare, a sleeping Jess resting on him and he has to bite his lips to stop an aww come out.
"That look suits you, you know."
Dave's eyes flick open and his skin prickles at the warmth in Dave's eyes.
"Hey. Just let me go give her to my dad. He's looking after Claire. She's exhausted."
"Can I have a little hold? Just before you take her?"
"Sure. Although you wake her you take her…"
He lets Dave place Jess in his arms and he can't believe how much she's grown in a few weeks. He rocks her gently, again just amazed at the tiny life he's holding.
"Suits you too."
"Holding a baby. You look good."
"I look good all the time David."
"Mmm. I can't disagree with you."
They're both smiling when Dave kisses him softly.
Fortunately his dad comes and takes Jess from them, shooing them away and he can't help the bubbling excitement and nerves as he walks up the steps to his apartment, he can't wait to see what Kurt thinks.
"Have you eaten?"
"No, I was kind of in a hurry to get here."
"You want me to order something?" Dave offers.
"I thought you were going to offer to make me something for a second there."
Kurt's hand on his wrist stops him just before he opens the door, and then he's being kissed, a lot more insistent than down in the house and he kisses back, letting Kurt lead. They've talked about it. They've talked about everything, after mutually deciding that if they couldn't talk about it together then they definitely weren't ready to do anything. Of course they'd managed to get over the embarrassment. It's not embarrassing anymore; rather he finds it kind of hot when Kurt just mentions sex.
They haven't done anything more than hand jobs, which had come about due to him embarrassedly admitting to Kurt a few weeks before getting his cast removed that jerking off with his left hand was difficult. Kurt had climbed onto his bed and then rubbed him off through his jeans. They've graduated to not wearing pants, but it's still new and neither of them are ready for it to progress further. They talk about it though and he knows that when, if, they ever get to that stage then they'll be on the same page. Kurt and him have both got a new therapist, one that has been recommended to them from his school counsellor at Carmel. They're planning on having their first session together in a weeks' time, which Kurt had jokingly called couple's therapy.
"So, you wanna keep making out or go inside and see my place?"
"That… sounds incredibly suggestive. But is also a difficult decision. A tour, and then more making out while we wait for food. Pizza? Can it be pizza? I'm hungry."
"Sure we can get pizza, you're the boss," Dave says, hiding a grin because he can't wait for Kurt to find the Mr. Bossy mug he had made which has joined Kurt's Mr. Strong mug in his little kitchen area.
"Oh my god Dave, it's… it's gorgeous. Oh my god. You have a deck."
He tries to see the space as Kurt would; wooden panel flooring, light-blue walls with white detailing and doors along one side that open up to a deck over-looking the backyard. The drapes are some fancy type of baroque style with dark-blue and white, which Kurt picked out online. It looks good, but it still needs some pictures on the walls and maybe a couple of pieces of Lily and Adam's artwork on the walls before it'll start feeling like his new home.
"Are you staying?"
"Just try and make me leave."
He smiles. That's never going to happen.
Author's note: The title of this fic is from a song called "Light Surrounding You" by Evermore (a New Zealand band). It's what I consider my Kurtofsky song and I listened to it a lot while writing this – and it fitted the previous two parts of this series.