The paperwork at the shop had been switched over to a computer a few years ago, ever since Kurt had began lighting things on fire, so Finn stayed most nights at the shop. He was squinting at the screen, slowly typing out a work order on the keyboard, when a knock on the plate glass window of Burt's office-Finn's, now-startled him.
Cameron, one of the newer guys, leaned into the room. "Hey, boss. There's a girl here wanting you to take a look at her tires."
"What?" Finn frowned. "It's late. Did you tell her we're closed?" The sign was out and everything.
Cameron shrugged. "Said she knew you. Her name Quinn or Kwan, maybe-"
"Okay. Tell her I'll be there in a minute."
Cameron paused to wink at Finn. "She's real pretty boss."
Finn waved him away and slowly moved the mouse around, clicking out of the program he'd been using. Kurt was the one who'd taught Finn, however resentfully, to take care of these things when he couldn't be trusted to do them himself anymore.
Kurt had always been a little...weird. But sometime around their Junior year of high school, he'd started to get even weirder. He had mood swings, fits of violence, and any sort of brain-to-mouth filter he'd previously possessed disappeared as if he'd never heard of the word 'tact'.
The voices were the worst, though. Kurt didn't hear them very often, not after getting on medication, but watching him when he did hear them was frightening. All Finn could do in those moments was step back and leave him alone. Trying to talk Kurt through it only made things worse. The first time it'd happened, Burt had to call the hospital and watch his son get taken away in an ambulance.
Finn wished Burt were still alive.
Quinn waited for him at the front desk and smiled when she saw him. Things were still strained between them, though it'd been four years since high school ended, five years since they'd broken up. They weren't enemies but he didn't know whether or not to call her a friend. The two of them hardly ever saw each other, except for occasionally crossing paths at the supermarket.
"Quinn. What's up with your car?"
Quinn shook her head and shifted nervously. "I don't know. It's making this rattling sound and I can't get it to go over thirty. It took twenty minutes to get from here to work."
"Hmm." Finn paused to think. "It's kind of late, but if you want to leave it overnight, I can look at it in the morning, see what's wrong."
"That'd be great. Uh..." She gave him a flirty grin. "Care to give a girl a ride home?"
Quinn didn't live too far from the shop. After graduation, she'd gotten herself her own apartment, a job, and, last Finn heard, she was rounding out the last of her classes at the local community college.
He'd stayed here. At the shop. Not that he minded, of course. He could no more sell Burt's shop than he could send Kurt to the group home Kurt's doctor kept hinting at.
When Finn dropped his ex-girlfriend off, they both stood at her door all awkward until Quinn laughed and shook her head.
"Thanks," she said, reaching into her purse for the house key.
"Sure. I'll give you a call tomorrow." Finn felt like he should kiss her, like they were on a date or something, but knew that would just make things weirder between them.
Once Quinn was safely inside, he went back to his car. Girls were so complicated. At least with Rachel he'd known flat out what she wanted-fame above all else. Love took second place.
She was probably happy now, hanging out with her artsy New York friends, but Finn wouldn't know. She'd cut off all contact when she left. Even with Kurt. To be fair, Kurt had thrown a lamp at her head when Rachel told him she was going to pursue their dream without him.
At home, Finn sat outside in his car, trying to steel himself, uncertain what he'd come home to today. Burnt curtains? Broken glass? Or would it be quiet this time, a rare moment of calm in a sea of chaos?
A shout from inside answered his question. It could have been either Kurt or Mrs. Stacie, since they both had high-pitched voices. Finn make it to the door in time to hear the housekeeper say, "Kurt Hummel, don't you dare."
The sound of glass breaking was sharp and angry. Finn closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and stepped into the kitchen just as Kurt's feet disappeared up the stairs.
Mrs. Stacie glared at him, then snatched her purse from the counter. "I quit."
Finn gaped at her. "What? But you just can't-" He trailed after her as she marched to the door.
"I most certainly can. Your brother is rude and unmanageable. I would suggest a policeman watch over him, not an old woman like me."
"Hey, that's not-"
"Goodbye, Mr. Hudson. And good luck. I suspect you'll need it."
Finn leaned against the window to watch her drive away in her little station wagon. He felt exhausted already.
The night ended like it always did. Finn heated up two glasses of milk, got Kurt's pills out of the locked medicine cabinet, and headed upstairs. Kurt was already dressed in his silk pajamas and putting moisturizer to his face when Finn came into his bedroom.
"So what was wrong with this one?" Finn handed Kurt a glass, along with his pills.
"She has dirty fingernails," Kurt murmured. He downed the pills with a grimace. "Who knows how many germs she's been spreading around the house?"
Finn shook his head. "Germs. What about that last lady? She was nice."
"There was no way her hair was natural. It was creepy."
Kurt suddenly yawned, a sure sign his medication was kicking in. Finn patted the bed but Kurt just smiled at him from his spot at the vanity table.
"I have to brush my teeth." He pecked Finn on the cheek and hurried to the bathroom.
Finn waited, staring around the room. It hadn't changed much since the combined Hummel-Hudson family first moved in. The decorations were still how Kurt like it, sparse, and his mother's vanity table arranged just so. The only thing that had changed was the wedding photo now sitting on Kurt's bedside table.
Both of their parents were smiling into the camera, unaware that in just two short years their lives would be over, snuffed out by a drunk driver on a rainy night away from home. Finn wanted to reach out and touch them but Kurt didn't like his things touched and Finn was too clumsy to be sneaky about it.
When Kurt returned from the bathroom, Finn tucked him into bed. He would have thought Kurt would hate someone putting him to bed like a child, but he seemed to like the attention, so it, too, became part of their nightly ritual. Kurt rolled onto his side and stared at the wedding picture on his nightstand until his eyes grew too heavy to keep open.
Finn stayed with him for a few minutes more, watching how his face softened into sleep and his breathing evened out. Kurt looked almost like his old self when sleeping. Finn had a fantasy that Kurt would wake up one morning and be the way he used to be, funny and snappy and, most important of all, sane. But it never happened. Kurt was sick. He was never going to get any better than he was now, no matter what anyone wished for him.
Finn shut off the light and plunged the room into darkness.