- Kurt and Adam either meet or
reunite while participating in a volunteer event.
fic, Kurt decides to spend Christmas Eve working in a LGBT youth shelter. Burt
comes along to help (no Blaine all up here in this bitch) and Kurt meets a kind
young man whom found his NYADA audition “Breathtaking.” ^_^
a few more switcheroos in this fic: Burt doesn’t tell Kurt about his cancer
until the day after Christmas. Kurt’s going to be seriously upset (and not
happy that Burt didn’t tell him immediately; I think I would be too) but I’ll
say that Burt wanted Kurt to not have to worry about it over Christmas (and the
kid DOES worry.)
Plus, on a
more selfish note, I have to keep this fic fairly short if I want to finish the
week’s challenge, and if Adam and Kurt wanted to talk shop about cancer, this
story would be considerably longer.
Kurt never believed he
would credit Sue Sylvester with having a good idea (let alone a philanthropic
one) but her enlisting the Glee club to volunteer at a homeless shelter last
Christmas Eve had been a surprisingly sweet initiative on her part. That had
lasted all of one day, but he thought it would be a good annual tradition to
When he thought he
would be spending Christmas alone this year, Kurt had signed himself up to work
at a halfway center known as the “Rainbow Connection,” a center which provided
aid to displaced LGBT youth in New York City.
But Burt had shown up
at the door with a tree, very nearly inducing a heart attack of Kurt’s own. After
the tree had been put up and they’d waved Rachel off for her cruise, Burt had
volunteered to come along with Kurt to the shelter. The man had signed up
considerably late, but none of the staff minded.
“We really need all
the help we can get,” said the curly-haired man whom shook both their hands at
the check-in desk. He was wearing a Santa cap. “We won’t be turning away anyone
today, that or any other day.”
Kurt looked around the
center’s reception room. It was a weathered place, bearing scratch marks on
walls with chipped and faded paint. Old pipes gurgled from the ceiling, and the
carpet was frayed and water-stained. He might’ve been imagining things, but
judging by its slightly lopsided halls the place seemed to be actively sinking
into the earth. Burt looked around too, brow furrowing.
“If I have anythin’ to
say in Washington about any gay kid shelter—and damned well I do—I’m not gonna
stand for Ohio’s shelters getting this beat up.”
Kurt thought the
building was in desperate need of a facelift, but the staff had tried cheering
the place with an explosion of color: There were LGBT flags and safe space
stickers everywhere you looked, a burst of silver and blue paper chains
surrounding a battered menorah on a crooked table, and a kenora surrounded by
red and gold tinsel not far away. Christmas lights were wrapped around the
battered old pipes, and down the halls were intermittent little Charlie Brown
trees the staff had likely picked from the remains of Christmas tree lots.
They’d been loved into life with handmade decorations, photos of staff members
and shelter comers. Kurt’s heart ached and his throat tightened as he looked at
them, looked at the resource posters for food, foster care, financial aid, and
STD prevention and care.
“I’m glad this place
“Me too,” said Burt
heavily. “But I’m real sorry that it has to.”
“We got a whole lot of
people coming in tonight and tomorrow,” said the shelter attendant, and they
turned to face him again. “The weather tonight is supposed to set a new record
for the coldest Christmas NYC’s seen in eleven years.”
Kurt felt a hot wave
of guilt. His dad had flown so far to see him, had saved him from being one of
the displaced teens coming in for a respite from the cold, to the only Christmas
they were likely to get. He stepped closer to his father, and Burt wrapped an
arm around his shoulders, hugging him.
“Now to find jobs for
you both. Can either of you cook?”
Burt muttered a “Not
really,” while Kurt nodded. “A little.”
“’A little’ meaning my
kid cooks better than anyone I ever met. Uh, don’t tell Carol I said that.”
The man sighed,
looking profoundly relieved. “Right then. Kurt, if I could just have you take a
right down the hall to the kitchen, they’ll put you to work. Mr. Hummel, if
you’ll just come with me, please…”
Kurt reluctantly waved
goodbye to his father, headed into the kitchen area, where he was pleased to
find lots of people already at work, bustling over trays of turkey, foil
casserole dishes of potatoes and cranberry sauce.
The man in charge
eagerly put Kurt to work on the Christmas cookies. As Kurt picked up an icing
bag, for one sliver in time, his mother’s hands were wrapped around his much
smaller ones, guiding his decorating for Santa’s cookies.
He blinked, and got to work carefully
decorating snowflake shaped cookies, making silvery curly-ques atop light-blue
icing, dotting them with glittery sugar and chocolate chips. He knew he was
being silly; people would be more interested in eating the cookies then looking
at them, but he didn’t want the dessert to seem perfunctory. He’d yelled at his
bemused father for trying to stick a plate of oreos in front of the fireplace
when that just wasn’t the same.
He made rainbow
cookies with gender symbols atop them, cookies in the shape of an ace with
black, blue and purple frosting, glittery blue, pink and white striped stars to
represent the transgender flag. Perhaps he went a bit too far by making little
gingerbread men in frosting tuxedos holding hands with each other, but he could
not resist. Soon he made little gingerbread women with icing skirts doing the
same, followed by large heart cookies. Feeling sheepish, Kurt nonetheless got
to work writing on the hearts, wondering if they seemed too much like
“These are all
Starting, Kurt whirled
around, nearly knocking the young man beside him in the ribs with his
elbow—there really were too many cooks in the kitchen. “Oh! Oh, I’m sorry. And
The young man smiled.
He was a tall bean pole, with dark blond hair tousled beneath his beanie, with
light-blue eyes and a small cleft in his chin. Kurt felt the bottom briefly
drop out of his stomach. “It’s quite alright. I’m sorry; there isn’t too much
space here.” He had a British accent.
He took a careful step
back, still smiling down at Kurt’s cookies, expression soft. “Oh, these are
wonderful. You make pastries as well as you sing, Kurt. People will be fighting
Kurt’s face was
suddenly as flaming as his cookies and he looked away, smiling broadly.
“I hope not. And thank
you again, ah—“ His eyes widened in surprise as he realized that while the
stranger knew his name, Kurt didn’t know his. And certainly he wouldn’t forget
a face like this one.
It was the stranger’s
turn to flush. “I’m sorry; I’m a fan, not a stalker.” He frowned. “Stalkers
aren’t allowed to say that, are they? Ah, well. Adam Crawford.” He extended a
floury hand, and Kurt took it with a bemused smile. “I forget you’re not a
NYADA student just yet.”
“How did you know I
got in?” Kurt asked wonderingly.
“I heard your
performance at the Winter showcase.” Adam smiled again, eyes warm and bright.
“If Madame T didn’t let you in after
that, I can only conclude she’d need to be shut in an asylum.”
Kurt laughed aloud at
that, surprising himself. “Well, thank you. I think Rachel was the showstopper
“Rachel Berry?” asked
Adam, brow creasing. “She was fine. But the way you sang…” Adam shook his head
in stunned amazement. “It was positively…breathtaking.”
Kurt colored a little
more, knowing he ought to get back to the cookies and yet rooted to the spot.
“Fair warning,” said
Adam, moving to check the bubbling pot he’d been working over. He scooped out a
ladleful and after blowing on it for some time took a tentative sip. “The moment you finished singing the Apples
gathered outside to discuss potential tactics on how to recruit you. I likely
would’ve discovered where you lived and shown up on your doorstep with my
homemade apple pie. You wouldn’t have stood a chance.”
“Wait, what? The
Apples? And recruit me for what, being gay?”
“Of course you can’t
recruit people into being gay. You can only become gay by sitting too close to
the telly,” Adam said seriously. Then his face fell and both he and Kurt burst
out giggling. Adam wiped his eyes.
“The Adam’s Apples are
the show choir group I founded.” Kurt’s eyes lit up at once. “I thought you
were remarkable, but to be honest, I didn’t have much hope, considering how
good you are and we’re…” Adam shrugged helplessly. “Well, show choir. Even amongst misfit artists, show choir members are
treated anathema at NYADA.”
“That’s okay. I was
part of my high school glee club, and even nerds threw rocks at us from cars.
But pie and show choir both sound excellent to me.”
Adam opened the oven
and Kurt got a hot waft of decadent cinnamon and melting brown sugar, along
with the gentle smell of apples. “Come to the dark side, Kurt. We have pie.”
“As long as it’s not
“And try a bit of
this,” Adam offered, fetching another saucer and offering Kurt a small scoop of
soup. Throwing Adam a dubious look, Kurt blew on it and tried, eyes closing.
“Oh dear God, that
chicken and dumpling is divine.” He laughed and shook his head. “Did you follow
me here so that you could win me over to your show choir with food?”
It was stupid, but he
couldn’t help but wonder if Adam maybe cooked this way for someone else.
“Is it working?” Adam
asked innocently, chuckling when Kurt nudged him playfully. “No, dear. I come
here often. I only just so happened to recognize you.”
“Are you…are you a
volunteer as well?”
“Yes,” said Adam,
stirring the pot and adding pepper. “School and the Apples keep me busy and I
can’t come as often as I like, but I like to volunteer as a day camp counselor
here. The facility works with the state to find lgbt-friendly foster homes for
minors, but lots of them like to come here and participate in therapy or art
“Are you…” He ought
not to ask, not to ask— “Are you here with your family tonight?”
Adam smiled and shook
his head. “No, they’re back across the pond in Wessex, but no one minded a bit
when I came out, not even my gran. I’m afraid I’m saving my money in the kipper
for a longer vacation opportunity in the summer, so I won’t be with them this
year.” He exhaled, and looked at the window, beckoning Kurt over with a finger.
The sight knocked the
heart out of him; there was already an enormous line of people outside the
shelter. Attendants were trying to shepherd people inside, but the line wrapped
around the block. People were huddling together, all the while the wind was
whistling and the world was being pillowed with snow. Kurt blinked again and
prayed Adam didn’t notice him dab at his eye.
“Here I’m reminded it
could be worse,” the taller boy said quietly, going back to his cutting board
to slice potatoes. Kurt turned back to the cookies, tracing words on the
desserts as quickly as he could. “I feel guilty.”
“I…my dad struggled
with my coming out, it was so different than everything he ever was, and yet he
took me exactly as I am, unconditionally.” Kurt palmed his eye. “I was so
afraid when I told him that I’d…well, my friend Mercedes offered to let me stay
at her place, if…”
Adam looked over at
him, expression serious. “You shouldn’t have had to worry about that at all,
Kurt.” Adam pronounced his name Kuht,
and Kurt liked how it sounded. “No one deserves to be thrown out of their home
for something they simply cannot help. While I’m very happy your dad is
supportive, I wish that support were simply expected, rather than being an
instance of sheer luck.”
Kurt smiled sadly. “My
dad said something along the same lines.”
Suddenly he got an
idea, and seized a package of paper cups and ripped off the plastic. Kurt
grabbed a tray from a shelf beneath him, and after setting the cups upon it
started filling them all from an enormous dispenser with cocoa. Adam watched curiously
as Kurt feverishly sprinkled cinnamon in them all, grabbed his coat off the
hook and started buttoning. “What are you…” He looked outside and his eyes
widened with understanding. “Oh…”
“I know I probably can’t
give one to everyone in time,” Kurt said breathlessly, bustling for the
emergency exit. “But I have to at least try.”
Stunned, Adam watched
as Kurt headed out, the wind buffeting him as he did so. A second later Adam turned
the burner and oven off, and started stacking a tray of his own, curiously sampling
a hot cocoa with cinnamon. He closed his eyes. God, but that was delicious.
He hurried out
afterwards, the chill knifing into his bones, making him seize up. He’d been in
such a rush to follow Kurt that he’d forgotten his coat. Kurt was already
making a beeline for the line, his face flushed pink. Adam watched it for a
stupidly long moment, then jolted and followed suit.
By now the line was moving and more people had
made their way inside, but no one rejected the cocoa, some sipping cautiously
while others simply moved their faces over the steam, wrapping icy fingers
around the hot cups.
Soon after the boys
rushed in again, and again, and on the sixth time Kurt thought at least he was
getting some exercise this Christmas. He and Adam kept bumping into each other
as they served chocolate, and Kurt couldn’t help but huddle closer to the other
boy—it really was bitterly cold out.
By the time they’d
served cocoa to the last person heading inside they staggered back into the
kitchen, exhausted, very flushed, very cold and cracking up. “Dear God, your
hands,” Adam exclaimed, taking Kurt’s flushed hands in his own.
“Hello, pot. I’m
kettle. You’re pink,” pointed out Kurt, and started giggling when Adam swatted
at him affectionately.
Soon the food was
moved to the counter, where the line was already waiting. He looked over at
Adam. “Do you have any plans for Christmas?”
“Oh, I’ll…enjoy some
movies and soup in bed. Catch up on my reading.”
Kurt said nothing to
that for a few moments. Hours ago he’d expected a quiet day himself, had been
able to excuse his not-returning to Lima on lack of funds (and a desire to
avoid his ex.) But after Burt had appeared, the idea now seemed inexplicably
“Well, you’re sitting
with us at the volunteer’s table tonight.” Kurt said crisply, voice leaving no
room for argument. “Those are my terms if you want me to join the apples. Take
it or leave it.”
Adam looked bemused,
then amazed, and then laughed gleefully.
“You drive a hard
bargain, sir. I’ll take it.”
Later that night, Adam would pass a cookie to
Kurt that he’d made himself. It simply read, You’re Adorable.
And Kurt would stutter
and look away, and Burt would lift a brow and throw an inscrutable look at his
son, whom was glugging down cocoa to avoid answering. Burt’s uncertain
expression would thaw (albeit begrudgingly) as Adam described his work as a counselor
in the youth programs at the youth center, and his ragtag showchoir at NYADA,
and how Kurt sounded like a silver bell at the winter showcase. (If Kurt hadn’t
been red before, he was scarlet then.)
And Burt would invite
Adam to take the Rockettes ticket he’d bought for Rachel before he knew she was
leaving town. And Adam would stammer that no, he really couldn’t and Burt
Hummel said calmly that he damn well could, and would because the tickets were
non-refundable and ‘my kid just lit up
like the star of Bethlehem, so will you not ruin my kid’s Christmas?’ And
Adam was speechless, though he was already understanding that a wise man does
not argue with Burt Hummel.
And Kurt would squeeze
his hand underneath the table, and offer Adam the opportunity to come back home
with them afterwards and eat too much food while they watched basketball (while
his father did, anyway) and that sounded perfect, so of course Adam said yes.
And of course Kurt would smile, eyes shining.
That would be their
first Christmas together. It wasn’t their last.