Actions

Work Header

Call It a Clan (Call It Family)

Work Text:

 

On any regular day, Kurt would claim to hate children. They're annoying, whiny, sticky, can't hold a conversation and have a complete disregard for anything that resembles a fashion sense. They're vile, small creatures that fool you with adorable, big eyes and only manage to make your life impossible.

But then, well, then there's Madeleine Smythe.

The day Kurt meets Madeleine Smythe, he's in the middle of a mental breakdown. It's a cold winter day in New York, he's sitting at a park bench and looking miserably at his phone when Maddy, two years old and already the most determined little person Kurt will ever meet, stops by his side with a curious look in her too wide eyes.

Kurt doesn't pay her any attention, not when he's feeling all alone in the world, and not when he's just had to call his last friend in the city so he stops him from doing something stupid, like running after his ex-boyfriend and best friend back into the town he'd escaped not two years ago. He doesn't pay her any attention, that is, until she hops on the bench next to him, scrambling up with too short legs just so she can swiftly punch his shoulder.

" Ow! What-" Kurt starts swearing, only to turn around and face the biggest, most beautiful grin in the universe.

"Sad?" she tells him then, quickly followed by, "Nooo!"

Kurt blinks, dumbfounded, and looks around him at whoever might be responsible for this child. The park is lonely around them, though, so he looks back at the little girl in polka-dotted tights and a big fluffy coat with a bunny on its front. Her pigtails are almost loose, as if she's been running around or as if they hadn't been tied properly in the first place, and there are dimples in her round little face. Her eyes, a beautiful shade of green, twinkle with curiosity.

"Um-are you-where are your parents, little girl?" he wonders.

She furrows her brows, like Kurt has offended her, and he promptly tries to settle her with an awkward pat to her head. She looks up curiously, and then sticks her tongue out at him.

"Hey!" he complains. "That's rude."

She apparently chooses to ignore him, soon enough changing the topic to something that clearly interests her more. With a tongue that's clearly trying to go above and beyond simple baby talk, she tries to inform him that:

"I'm Mad-Mad-Made-" She harrumphs, mad at herself and crossing her arms over her chest, and despite everything, Kurt can't help but smile. Finally, she concludes, "Maddy."

"Uh, that's a pretty name," Kurt answers, entirely out of his depth. "I'm Kurt, nice to meet you." He offers a hand, feeling stupefied, but smiles an even bigger grin anyway when she shakes his hand solemnly while nodding.

"'ou too," she tells him, and just when Kurt's about to ask again about her parents, a somewhat desperate yell cuts through the up until then silent park.

"Maddy? Mads!? Oh, God, Maddy, seriously!"

With the voice comes the running figure of an attractive young man, which Maddy is soon enough reuniting with after a squeal and shout of dad! Kurt sighs, relieved and momentarily distracted from his own predicament, much more so when he looks up at the clearly handsome newcomer who happens to be none other than Sebastian Smythe. Kurt stares, dumbfounded. Then he stares again, because this is either a joke or he just hit his head really hard and is having the most bizarre dream.

Doesn't look like a dream, though.

There, right before him, is one Sebastian Smythe, crouching on the ground and tightly hugging his new little friend as if he'd lost sight of her for a decade rather than just two minutes. His eyes are closed tight, his features locked in pure relief, and Kurt finds himself reevaluating his whole life up to that point.

"Oh my God," he says, whispery and astonished.

That is, of course, the moment Sebastian chooses to open up his eyes and look up. His eyes widen, as if caught but surprise, but the feeling seems to only last a second, which is how long it takes for Sebastian's features to turn into those Kurt knows so well: an irritating, overly confident smirk that makes Kurt want to punch stuff, preferably Sebastian's face.

"Christ, Hummel, you look like crap."

Kurt gasps, and quickly sets his lips into a tight line, getting ready to answer to that comment with some well deserved remark. Never mind that he's spent the last hour crying alone in a park and that he probably looks red, puffy and miserable, he won't have Sebastian Smythe commenting on it. His comments are cut short, though, when a severe, high voice berates:

"Daddy!"

Sebastian cringes, immediately correcting himself with, "No, right, that was a bad thing to say. Bad, awful, I'm so sorry." He says it all quickly, fumbling half the words and looking like a deer caught in headlights as Maddy gives him a most stern look.

Sebastian scratches the back of his neck like a little scolded child, and Kurt can do nothing but laugh. Maddy smiles at him and then makes her way to the small patch of grass that's behind the bench. Both him and Sebastian follow her bumbling steps with their eyes, Sebastian mumbling an almost hysterical careful! when she falls to her knees on the ground to pick something up. Soon enough, she makes her way towards Kurt with a small, white flower in her hand, a few grass leaves having stained her white gloves.

"Is that for me?" Kurt wonders, smiling softly when she nods. He takes the offering with a trembling hand, and speaks a very quiet thank you when her face takes on a satisfied big grin, as if she's just saved the world with her tiny gesture. For a second there, Kurt almost believes that she has.

They stay on a standstill for a second, the three of them, until Sebastian cuts the silence with, "Madeleine, bug, we have to go; grandma and granddad are waiting."

Sebastian's tone has a softness to it that Kurt hasn't heard before, and his eyes look brighter than ever when Maddy walks back to him, arms spread wide so that he picks her up the moment she's within reach. Kurt isn't really sure what just happened, but he's left lacking answers when Sebastian asks Maddy to say goodbye to her new friend. She does, waving her hand quickly and turning her grinning face one more time towards him as her clumsy tongue mouths goodbye, Kurt! Kurt waves back, throwing one last questioning gaze towards Sebastian, who just shrugs before they're both walking away.

It's only once he's left alone that Kurt puts his hand back on his lap, and wonders out loud:

"Did she really say dad ?"

   


 

               

"...and then she called him dad.”

Kurt finishes his tale to a bewildered looking Elliott a couple of cup of coffees later, the surprise in his tone mixed with something akin to glee. What he witnessed in the park may have just been the gossip of the century, but it all gets lost in the face of his friend, who doesn’t know the story behind Sebastian Smythe, and who had only come looking for Kurt after getting a disgruntled call full of tears.

Elliott humors him, though, because that’s just the kind of good friend he is, ignoring whatever reason Kurt might have had to call him in the first place in favor of listening to the story behind Sebastian the evil chipmunk and his perhaps daughter, even laughing at Kurt’s obvious enthusiasm in the subject. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that almost makes him forget about whatever is going with his life, in order to fill every corner of his being with the utmost curiosity.

“You’re the biggest gossip of the universe, Kurt Hummel,” Elliott accuses.

And that he might just be.

      


 

 

The excitement of his discovery is enough of a distraction that Kurt forgets about being sad for nearly two days. After all, it’s not just the bizarre situation that brought him and Sebastian back together, but the implications that arise before him all of a sudden.

Truth be told, and despite Sebastian’s seemingly sincere apology back in senior year, Kurt had been happy to think of him as nothing more than a cartoon villain. The swept up hair, the smirk and the painful remarks were still very clear in Kurt’s mind, so much that Sebastian had carved himself what Kurt might have called a permanent place in his list of Show Choir Psychopaths, somewhere in between Jesse St. James and the Gerber Baby. Now, inexplicably, Sebastian is a person.

Not just a person, but a person.

The brief glimpse of Sebastian hugging his supposed daughter, his face consumed by relief, is enough to send Kurt for a loop. Curiosity brims inside him, question after question that he’s bursting to ask.

The inquisitiveness of the whole situation, though, doesn’t take long to shift into the ugly feelings that have been pervading Kurt’s mood for the past few weeks. Having such a juicy piece of gossip that he can’t very well share with anyone from Ohio only seems to be another way for the world to remind him that Blaine’s left him, that Rachel is back home, too, that Santana didn’t even bother to say goodbye. He’s alone in the big city, feeling miserable, and the sudden appearance of Sebastian’s daughter is no longer distraction enough.

                


 

If there’s one thing to say for the Smythes, is that their timing is impeccable.

Kurt’s spent one more week wallowing in his own misery, only Elliott’s happy demeanor and strange antics keeping him from doing something utterly stupid, like calling Blaine to beg for forgiveness, or jumping on a plane back to Ohio. Saturday night finds him buried in his couch watching The Notebook and crying more tears than he ever thought he had. He feels alone, betrayed and left behind, and not even NYADA, Elliott and the sight of New York at night can convince him that happiness is something attainable.

He misses Rachel, he misses the easy feeling of having a group of people around him that are like family, and above all, he misses Blaine. He misses and hates him with the same determination and passion, and just when his mind is going through the most fantastic vendettas that somehow have Blaine feeling like the worst human being in world but back in his arms anyway, his phone rings.

Kurt flinches, surprised, and when he sees the unfamiliar number, sniffs sadly before picking up.

“Hello?” he asks.

“Right, hi, Kurt? It’s Sebastian.” A pause, and then, “Smythe?”

Kurt blinks, feeling a little stupid when his immediate reaction is to look at his phone as if it’s sprouted wings. He tsks, and asks, “How did you get my number?”

“I have my contacts. Listen, Ku–”

There’s noise in the background, and Kurt hears a tiny yet very clear voice demanding to ask him! Ask him! answered by what sounds like a very annoyed yes, yes, I’m on it, bug.

“Right, the thing is, princess–”

“I’m hanging up.”

“Kurt! Kurt! I meant to say Kurt.” Sebastian swears softly on the other side, and Kurt is convinced to keep the conversation going if only because this seems as close to torturing Sebastian as he's ever going to get. “Kurt,” Sebastian repeats, steadily. “We’re planning on a Disney marathon tonight, and Maddy wants you to come. Now, I figure, every normal twenty year old gay boy living in New York should be outside living the nightlife, but considering your prudish and uptight–”

“Is this you asking for a favor, Sebastian? Because you’re doing it wrong.”

Please.”

Sebastian’s voice is so pitiful that Kurt almost says yes then and there. Instead, he asks, “What Disney are we talking about here?”

“Uhh, Frozen, possibly Lilo&Stitch.”

“Is there ice-cream involved?”

“Strawberry cheesecake and cookies and cream.”

Kurt sighs, considering his actual predicament for a moment. He’s not particularly sure that Frozen and some ice-cream are enough to justify an evening with Sebastian Smythe. Then again, looking around himself and realizing that there are no better options, he can do nothing but take a deep breath, and say:

“Text me your address.”

 


 

Off Kurt goes, in his tightest skinny jeans and his most flattering shirt, only to be received by Sebastian Smythe in sweatpants, hair sticking all over the place and big, squared glasses perched on his nose. Kurt would be disappointed that he wasted such a good outfit, except that the moment he arrives, instead of the awkwardness that he expected, Sebastian says:

“Look who’s here, bug.”

With too big strides for such tiny legs and the solemn announcement of, “Kurt,” Kurt finds himself suddenly hoisting up a smiley little girl. He smiles back at her, incapable of stopping himself from doing so, and is promptly rewarded with a noisy kiss.

Just like that, Kurt finds himself spending his night with a small, jittery child cuddled against his side, Sebastian Smythe and his roommate ( Hunter Clarington. The Third. Ex-Captain of The Warblers. Not even remotely bisexual.) watching Frozen. It may just be the weirdest night of his life.

 


 

Kurt doesn't ask about the origins of Madeleine, and almost forgets about the movie marathon night once he's swept up in NYADA life and his own anguish all over again.

"This Blaine thing, sweetheart, it needs to stop," Elliott tells him very sternly.

Kurt agrees, but it's hard to forget when everything in his life seems to remind him of the possibilities and the missed chances of the past two years. He wonders if there was something he did wrong, or if perhaps not being with Blaine anymore is the best thing that could have happened after all. He's indecisive, lonely, and he feels as if he's walking a path that's somehow going to end with him back in Ohio apologizing. It's a painful idea, one that he tries to reject with all of his might, just because going back to the hell-hole he escaped from brings nothing but the worst memories back to the forefront of his mind. Bullying, loneliness and a general lack of understanding are what he attaches to Ohio.

He talks to Rachel, and she reminds him of his dad, of Blaine, tells him that the new Glee Club would be ten times better if he was back there with her. He sighs, and wills her not to convince him.

 


 

There's another call from Sebastian a couple of weeks later.

"Mads birthday is in three weeks; you should come," is what he says. He sounds tired, almost defeated, as if he whishes his daughter had gotten attached to anyone but Kurt. Kurt's a little smug about the whole ordeal, much more so because the child is completely adorable.

"I will, under one condition," he sing-songs, realizing that he feels happy for the first time in what feels like ages.

Sebastian groans on the other side, obviously pained. "Name your price, oh merciful Hummel."

"Please, Sebastian, you have a child, don't you think I want the scoop?"

Sebastian just groans again, before conceding with, "Oh, fucking fine."

 


 

They meet up for coffee at a little coffee house near Sebastian's apartment, and in the course of two cups each and three shared cupcakes, Sebastian tells his story. He talks about experimenting with a little bit of everything back in France, about getting a girl pregnant and about begging her to keep the child, provided that him and his family would take care of it. He skims through the nasty parts, but spends full, long minutes talking about the feeling of holding Madeleine in his arms for the first time. His features find the most genuine expression Kurt has ever seen on his face, and his heart softens unconsciously, his mind processing what's being told and silently readjusting everything he had ever learnt about Sebastian Smythe before.

Sebastian's story continues with Maddy being left behind in Paris with his grandparents while he was sent to Ohio to finish high school.

"It's why I was such an asshole, you know? I was just so fucking angry at the world."

It doesn't sound like a justification, but rather the statement of a fact, and Kurt listens, enraptured.

"But anyway, I convinced my parents to keep her with them here in New York, so they have her during the week, and she's with me for the weekends," he explains. "I just have to behave and keep my grades up in exchange which," he sighs, "well, the second part of the deal is easier."

Sebastian's story does something to Kurt's insides, and suddenly, he finds himself asking the most stupid little questions about Madeleine. There's something soft and caring in Sebastian's tone, honest and gleeful and slightly adorable, and Kurt would hate the way his perception of Sebastian is changing if only his speech wasn't filled with smug wit as well, making this new Sebastian somehow match the image he already had of him to begin with.

The conversation shifts and moves around various subjects, and Kurt finds himself smiling and answering Sebastian's good intentioned jabs with some of his own. They laugh, loud and carefree, and Kurt feels the constricted space that has been clotting his chest for the past few weeks unraveling. He breathes better, and when Sebastian poses the inevitable question of:

"So, tell me hot stuff, where's the ring and your little singing dreamboat of a fiancé?"

All Kurt does is shrug nonchalantly and say, "That's going to take more than coffee and cupcakes, Sebastian."

"Seriously? Those are some really good cupcakes."

Kurt laughs, and swiftly avoids the subject by saying, "This is really strange, you know? It's like suddenly, you're like, a human being."

Sebastian shushes him immediately, and leaning forward, says, "Don't say that so loud, I have a reputation to uphold."

And all Kurt can do is laugh.

 


 

Madeleine's birthday party is an affair to be remembered. Sebastian's apartment becomes balloon central, there's colorful taffeta all around, and along with what feel like hundreds of Sebastian's relatives, there's about a gazillion children running around. Kurt's a little scared, so he ends up hiding in the kitchen with Hunter, who quietly confesses that Maddy is the only child that doesn't make him cringe with her mere existence.

"They're just so sticky," he whines.

Kurt agrees, and soon enough, they've become friends, if only because it feels like they're comrades in the middle of a war.

They come out of their hiding place eventually, when the cake and the blowing of candles part of the evening is going on, and Kurt finds himself sharing a short conversation with Sebastian's mom. She's a small, gorgeous looking woman, dark hair pinned tightly up in a bun and clothes clearly expensive and mouth wateringly stylish. Her demeanor is sweet and quiet, though, and when her eyes turn towards her family, her smile shows the same dimples he's seen on Maddy before.

"It's good to know that my son has a friend like you," she tells him before she goes to attend to some other thing. "You're a sweet boy."

The party ends eventually, and the night finds him, Hunter and Sebastian sitting down on the couch tiredly, as if they'd just run a marathon. Maddy is cuddled against Kurt's chest, her own rising up and down slowly with her steady breathing, and Kurt feels as if he's never held anything as precious as her before. She's wearing the princess dress he made her as a present, too, the fabric of the fuchsia tutu spread all over Kurt's lap. Sebastian had thanked him quietly, almost shyly for the present, and Hunter had declared it so cool, dude.

"Does anyone else feel like we're in a scene of Three Men and a Baby?" Hunter wonders suddenly.

Both Kurt and Sebastian groan, and when they share an accomplice gaze, Kurt can't help but smile.

 


 

Life goes on, and soon enough Kurt finds himself in a routine that involves NYADA lessons, long chats with Elliott, coffee with Sebastian, and afternoons watching movies or walking around parks with Maddy, Sebastian, and sometimes Hunter, too. Something warm settles inside Kurt's heart at the development of his strange not-really-into-friendship-territory-yet thing with Sebastian, and he accepts it candidly, if only because he feels as if he's spent most of his life clinging to whatever seemingly good relationships have been offered to him.

He blames it on Maddy, mostly.

She's a wonderful child, spunky, creative and full of Sebastian's determination. At age three, she already seems to know what she wants out of life more than Kurt does, and so Kurt finds himself reading stories at demand, watching cartoons he's never heard of before and running after her whenever she decides that she needs to show him something.

The first time he tucks her in, at her very strict demand, his heart nearly melts, and it must show on his face, too, if Sebastian's little smug smile is anything to go by. He's in over his head, but he doesn't truly mind, not when Maddy's enthusiasm is so contagious.

 


 

He finds out about Blaine dating Karofsky on a windy afternoon, and by the time he gets home it's raining, and the water from the sky gets confused with his tears on his face. It's not just Blaine, but also Karofsky, and Kurt may have thought that he was healing, but now his heart feels even more broken than before. He sobs, inconsolable, feeling betrayed, scared and pettily maligned.

He calls Elliott, but when he tells him about his date with that hot barista he's been chasing after for months, Kurt doesn't have the heart to interrupt him. He may well be close to declaring that there's no such thing as love in the world, but he can't bring himself to rain dark water on Elliott's excited blabbering.

It takes him over an hour to make the decision to call Sebastian. He's seen lots of him lately, he knows and loves his daughter and his parents, but for some reason, Kurt's just not sure he's this kind of friend. Eventually, tough, he makes up his mind, and when Sebastian picks up the phone, he says:

"He left me, you know?"

On the other side, Sebastian sleepily replies with, "Huh?"

"Blaine! Get with the program, Sebastian."

"Fine, God, go for it, babe, tell me your sob story, I'm all ears."

So Kurt tells him about Blaine leaving because he failed at NYADA, because the world wasn't as kind as he thought it would be, because Kurt's determination and success was a constant reminder of his own lacking character. He rants about the unfairness of it all, about his constant indecision between staying in New York or running back to Ohio to convince him that they're meant to be together, and lastly, about the Karofsky situation.

A few seconds of silence stretch between them, and then Sebastian eloquently says, "Well, that sucks."

Kurt huffs, annoyed that his great confession has only granted him that answer, and he hangs up right after saying, "Yeah, thanks for nothing."

A couple of hours later, Kurt's cried so much that he feels completely dried out, so when the doorbell rings, he jumps towards the door with unexpected glee. He hopes it's Elliott to tell him about his fabulous date, and would even be happy if it turned out to be his grumpy upstairs neighbor to complain about some inexistent noise. Instead, what he finds on the other side of the door is Maddy, wearing her princess dress and carrying a bouquet of colorful flowers that's bigger than she is.

"Kurt," she tells him, asserting her statement with a firm shake of her head. "No more sad," she tells him.

Kurt nearly starts crying then and there, but instead, he mouths oh, Maddy and hoists her up, crashing the flowers between them and almost hugging the life out of her. She hugs back, her tiny arms settling around his neck and making him feel better already. Soon enough, Hunter and Sebastian appear from behind the corner.

"We bring food for the soul," Hunter announces.

Sebastian tsks, and promptly clarifies, "We bring Chinese, cheesecake and Mulan to get you out of your pathetic state."

"Really, Sebastian?" Hunter counters. "We need to go over the whole cheering people up thing, 'cause you suck at it."

"You two are idiots," Kurt states. "Not you Maddy, you're fantastic."

The rest of the night goes by in a blur, and it ends up with Maddy asleep and cuddled next to him on his bed, Hunter in Rachel's old bed, and Sebastian conked out on his couch. Kurt couldn't have had a better cheering up committee.

 


 

Next Monday, Sebastian buys him coffee and a banana chocolate muffin, and sits him down at their favorite spot in their favorite coffee shop with an expression on his face that reminds him of Rachel in the middle of an intervention. And an intervention is exactly what he gets.

"There's a very nicely priced flight back to Ohio tomorrow morning; plenty of time for you to pack up."

Kurt furrows his brows at him, holding his cup of coffee midway to his mouth, and asks, "And what's that supposed to mean?"

"I'm just saying, Kurt, you've been pussying out of this decision for a very long time, and you may be a lot of things, but a scary little kid isn't one, so you get your bitchy, fighter mode back on, and make a choice already."

Kurt's frown deepens, a sudden surge of fury coming up inadvertently from deep within his gut. Sebastian seems to spy it, though, and lifts two surrendering hands before continuing with his speech.

"Look, you know the stakes, ok? You go back to Ohio, you have a small fucking town full of closed-minded people and some very limited opportunities, but also your family, your short, darling ex-fiancé and his perfectly rounded ass, your friends and your beloved Glee Club. You stay here and you have uncertainty, fear, loneliness and a whole bunch of opportunities that may lead to nothing, but also NYADA, the best city in the world, your glittery friend, Maddy and hey, now also apparently me, because for some reason we're doing this whole friendship thing." At that, he stops, as if in need of a big breath, and then, leaning forward as if making a confession, he tells him, "Not that I really know how to do that, because my only friend is Hunter, and you've met him, right? He's weird."

Kurt laughs, inadvertently, and honestly, only Sebastian would infuriate him and make him laugh in the span of five minutes.

"So, what?" Kurt asks. "What's your oh so wise opinion?"

"My opinion doesn't fucking matter, Kurt," Sebastian states. "That's your whole problem in the first place; forget about expectations, what ifs, family, friends or whatever. This is up to you. You know the stakes, so stop toeing around the subject and make up your mind. If you want Blaine, then jump on that plane tomorrow, get on your knees and beg for forgiveness," he says. Then, "and hey, if begging doesn't work, then there's all sorts of fun stuff you can do on your knees."

"Oh, God, Seb-"

"And," he interrupts. "If Blaine's not worth it, then cry your tears and move the fuck on already, sweetheart. Maddy's kindergarten has that play on Wednesday, and you know you have a seat reserved just for you, so there's that if you need an incentive."

 


 

Kurt doesn't get on a plane. On Wednesday, he wears his favorite outfit, buys some flowers, and goes see Maddy's performance with Sebastian's family and Hunter. After the play, Maddy smiles at him, gives him a big hug, and introduces him to her friends as my bestest friend Kurt. Over her shoulder, Sebastian looks at him, and offers him a smug little smile and a thumbs up. Kurt can't say that he has any regrets.

 


 

After that, they become friends. Like friends friends.

They begin to spend more time together, not just the two of them, but also Hunter, Elliott, and obviously Maddy, whom Kurt is simply crazy about.

Suddenly, Sebastian is no longer a sort of friendly acquaintance with a life full of mysteries, but a tangible, friendly human being that Kurt finds himself equally fascinated by and frustrated with most days of his life.

Sebastian is... well, weird is a nice way of putting it. He has a sort of obsessive character, and he can talk for hours about whatever subject he's interested in at the moment, never mind that his conversation partner isn't interested in the least. His interests range from politics to music to sports, changing in a way that should be obnoxious, but that makes Kurt feel as if he's witnessing the adult person Sebastian is going to become.

Surprisingly enough, he's also quite the good listener, even if the subject at hand is something that he couldn't care less about. So Kurt feels free to talk fashion, gossip, his latest read, or whatever is going on in his classes at NYADA without feeling judged. Not that Sebastian is the quiet, disinterested type, because if there's one feature that summarizes his entire personality, then that's unbridled, brutal, upfront honesty. It's what has them fighting more often than not, what with Sebastian's penchant for calling Kurt on his pettiness or childishness whenever he sees fit.

It's good, though, the way Kurt feels free knowing that there's no such thing as hypocrisy between them. Considering the way their relationship started back in Ohio, he's not even surprised.

One thing they always agree on, is food. Whether they're feeling good, bad, or anywhere in between, they're the kind of people that fix and celebrate anything with food, and so they find themselves discovering every little spot New York has to offer them, and almost make a game out of surprising each other with newfound restaurants or cafés. The first time they share a birthday - Sebastian's - Kurt takes all of their little makeshift family to a small café he finds at some dodgy corner of the Financial District that he's sure can rival the best Parisian patisserie. Sebastian's smile is enough to send Kurt's stomach for a loop.

They find themselves sharing strange schedules, and meeting each other at the early hours of the morning in empty coffee shops to study for finals, or to finish projects. Sebastian's at his softest then, and Kurt loves it because it always prompts him into his most genuine confessions, most of them lacking the usual smug air he insists on putting up just to pretend that he doesn't care much about the things he so clearly loves. It's then when he talks most about Maddy, and when it's so clear that despite the circumstances of her birth, she's the best thing that has ever happened to him. It also makes Kurt loose enough to share his own confessions, and speak about the times he still misses Blaine, about his doubts on dating again, about missing his family.

One of Sebastian's favorite topics of conversation, is music. He gets obsessed with just about every group that he comes across, and both himself and Hunter find themselves the unwilling students of long-winded music lessons. The week that Sebastian keeps playing Frank Zappa nonstop while laying on the floor of his apartment and singing loudly, Kurt almost ends their friendship then and there. He learns, though, that nothing beats T-Rex in Sebastian's heart, and finds joy in antagonizing him with the constant singing or playing of show tunes and current pop.

One of the best things about Sebastian, though, is one Madeleine Smythe. She's smart, a little crazy, and in the hands of a father like Sebastian free as a bird. Kurt loves every smile, every squeal of excitement, and as time goes on, seeing how her character becomes creative, cheeky and unstoppable. Most of all, there's the way in which Sebastian's eyes light up in her presence, the way he shines whenever she looks up at him.

And so, time goes on, and Kurt finds himself with a life fully intertwined with these people in a way he never thought possible.

 


 

A year goes on easily and unnoticeably, time slipping by Kurt's fingers as a new period of his life shapes itself around him. By the time Maddy's fourth birthday comes around, the memory of Blaine is nothing but exactly that, Kurt's only two years away from finishing his studies at NYADA, and his family is now comprised of his high school nemesis, his adorable daughter and his karaoke-crazed roommate. He hasn't spoken to Rachel or anyone else from the Glee Club for months, and the only thing he keeps from Ohio is his dad and Carole.

Maddy's birthday is even more spectacular than last year, and perhaps even more tiring. This time, once everyone has left Sebastian's apartment, Hunter's curled in a ball on the couch and Sebastian's eating some leftover cake while Kurt sways to soft music with Maddy nearly asleep in his arms. She'd been asking for a dance all night, and Kurt can do nothing but oblige, even if he feels tired enough to pass out.

Sebastian's looking at him, the hint of a smile curling the side of his mouth upward and his eyes closed at half mast and somehow dreamy in the low light.

"She loves you very much," Sebastian whispers, the small concession making Kurt smile.

"Very much, very much," Maddy confirms against his chest, hugging her tiny arms around him tighter.

"I love you too, sweetheart."

When he says that, Sebastian's mouth turns into a full smile directed his way, and Kurt's stomach does the weirdest of flicks.

 


 

"You do know you have the most epic crush on that man, right?" Elliott tells him one day over coffee.

Kurt feels himself blushing, but dismisses the idea quickly with a wave of his hand. "We're just friends."

"Uh, huh, whatever you want to tell yourself."

 


 

It's not that Kurt has a crush on Sebastian. Hell to the no.

It's just that... well, he's suddenly very aware of him. Of the way he moves, and the way he looks, and the range of expressions his face can attack him with. He's always known, somewhere in the back of his head, that Sebastian is an attractive man. It had been an annoying fact for very long when they were back in Ohio, and later on, it had turned into an objective observation of sorts. It's only lately that Kurt's been realizing that Sebastian is no longer attractive in an abstract way, but actually attractive to him.

He's not regularly handsome, not with his sharp features and stupid hair, but his smile is out of this world beautiful and the downturn of his eyes is both alluring and adorable. He has this way of looking at Kurt that leaves him undeniably breathless, and when Kurt sees him holding Maddy, he can't help it if his heart insists on doing a little flip inside his chest.

It's funny, though, because Kurt thinks he might be one of the few people that get to see Sebastian at his most raggedy and nonsexual, what with the way they usually meet in each other's apartments and tend to wear comfortable clothing most of the time.

Maybe he's just generally horny. Truth is, Kurt's foray into dating for the past year has led only to the most awkward four dates in the universe, so it's not that strange that he would rather spend his evenings at Sebastian's, studying, drinking too much coffee, or playing with Maddy at whatever game she invents next.

So, see? Not crushing on Sebastian, at all.

 


 

One night, out of the blue, Sebastian asks him, "What are you doing here, Kurt?"

Kurt stares, wondering what moment in time would be the ideal one to get offended by the question. He considers his surroundings, looks at the game of Pretty Pretty Princess that they've both been playing with Maddy for the past half an hour and that has Sebastian wearing a pair of ghastly, plastic, blue earrings. He looks genuinely curious as he asks, and even Maddy, already smart and inquisitive enough to pay attention to everything that goes on around her, looks up at her dad.

It's enough that Kurt quietly wonders, "What do you mean?"

Sebastian shrugs, and then looks down, as if suddenly shy. Shy just isn't something that defines Sebastian, so he quickly says, "I mean, it's Saturday night, shouldn't you be out partying or something? Even Hunter has a date."

Kurt frowns, and without a quavering doubt in his voice, he says, "You're family; you both are," he clarifies, putting his hand to Maddy's hair and ruffling it carelessly. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to spend my time with you."

It's more than he's ever said to Sebastian or to Maddy, but he hopes it's enough to make them understand what being a part of their life means to him. He can hardly bring himself to say more, not when Sebastian would probably accuse him of being too much into the mushy shit and dismiss the feelings that make him so uncomfortable.

"Is that ok?" he wonders.

Sebastian nods, as if a little taken by surprise, his eyes big and full of something Kurt doesn't actually know how to describe but that turns into shameless mirth when Maddy dives for Kurt instantly, hugging him as tight as she can. The three of them laugh for a minute, and when they get back to the game, Kurt realizes that, oh shit, I have a crush on Sebastian.

 


 

Next day, when he meets Elliott and Hunter after class for a late lunch, he tells them:

"I think I have a crush on Sebastian."

They both laugh, and Kurt can do nothing but despair.

 


 

After his rather unsettling realization, Kurt does the only logical thing he can think of: he starts dating someone else. Jason is a cute guy he shares a few of his classes with, and who's asked Kurt out more than once, only to be rebuked kindly. He's handsome, seems sweet and smart, and Kurt has no idea why exactly he has been saying no thus far (and if he does, well, he chooses to ignore his own thoughts).

On their first date, Kurt finds out that Jason is indeed sweet and smart, but also perhaps the most boring person in the universe. There are no quirks to him, no weird obsessions with seventy's rock bands, no unlimited love for Lilo&Stitch, no passion for a random sport he's just discovered that week. Kurt doesn't kiss him that night, but he does promise a second date.

The truth is that Kurt finds himself suddenly scared by his own feelings. He's not ready for feelings, much less feelings for Sebastian, who doesn't even date at all. Kurt knows that he doesn't want to bring someone into Maddy's life that may go away really fast, and that he's more than content with the occasional quick tryst to get his rocks off. Kurt's not sure where he fits in the picture of Sebastian's life, or whether he truly wants to, so it seems easier to stay right where he is.

If he doesn't tell Sebastian about Jason, well, that's just something he can't even justify to himself.

 


 

Two weeks and four non-confessed dates after, Maddy comes out of her room dressed in a ghastly red affair that has Kurt's eyes almost bugging out of his eyes.

"What's that? " he asks, his fashion sense offended beyond repair.

"I'm a lobster!" Maddy answers quite cheerfully, jumping around the living room and happily unaware of the horrible thing she's wearing.

"It's for the play," Sebastian explains.

"I thought it was a nativity play."

"It is."

"There were lobsters there?"

"Shut up," Sebastian says, rolling his eyes. "She's the prettiest lobster ever, anyway. You'll be there, right? It's Friday."

"Oh," Kurt mouths, the letter shaping his lips for a beat too long before he answers. He stops himself from agreeing just in time before saying, "I can't actually, I have a, uh, date."

Sebastian just looks at him, his eyes turning an almost threatening shape that has Kurt taking a step back and scratching the back of his neck, as if admonished. He could very well change his date with Jason, but he feels that if he does so, he's never going to get over his thing for Sebastian.

"A date?" Sebastian questions.

"Yes, with Jason... I've told you about him."

Sebastian shrugs one shoulder, and then crosses his arms over his chest, dismissive and blocked at the same time, his expression speaking clearly of his disapproval. "You said you'd be there."

"Well, I can't," Kurt replies, a little harsher than he intended, because he's suddenly feeling anger at Sebastian's attitude. "It's not like you need me there."

"No, but we want you there. Besides," Sebastian points out yet again, "you said you'd be there."

"I'm sorry, ok?" Kurt counters. "It's not like I need to be everywhere all the time, Sebastian. I'm not her father."

The moment the words are out, Kurt's already regretting them. There's no going back, though, much less when he looks at Maddy's little face scrunching up and turning red, right before her longest strides take her all the way to her room, where she closes the door forcibly.

"Maddy!" both him and Sebastian exclaim, almost at the same time.

Sebastian walks towards the door of Maddy's room, but when Kurt starts doing the same, he gets an angry glare for his efforts.

"Look, Sebast-"

"No, just, don't bother, ok? I mean, if you're not supposed to be everywhere all the time, then maybe you shouldn't be here at all."

 


 

Kurt spends the next few days sulking, feeling like a horrible person for saying what he did, and at the same time being angry at Sebastian for putting him in the choosing position. He may have been harsh in his choice of words, but he wasn't completely wrong when trying to say that Maddy isn't his responsibility. Just because most of the time he feels like she is, Sebastian shouldn't be allowed to make any special demands of his time and choices. He tells all of this to himself over and over again, assertively, in a futile attempt at feeling better about the whole ordeal.

By next Friday, the day of the play, he's broken off his commitment to Jason, and has told him that their thing isn't going to work. He's calm and polite about it, and it only reaffirms Kurt in this being the right decision.

That morning there’s a knock at Kurt’s door, which upon further inspection, reveals Maddy at his door, closely followed by Hunter.

"I ran away from home and I'm moving in with you," she informs him matter-of-factly, her tiny features set in a determined gaze that has so much Sebastian in it that Kurt can do nothing but sigh.

It's seven in the morning, Kurt's in his pajamas and he still hasn't had his first cup of coffee of the day; he's not ready to deal with this.

"Maddy," he says, rubbing his eyes even as he's stepping away and letting both of them inside his apartment. Maddy trudges in, rolling a Hello Kitty suitcase behind her, nose up high in the air, like a small yet powerful queen, and Hunter follows with a tired shrug, as if he's been trapped into the whirlwind that are the Smythes without ever being asked.

Maddy doesn't acknowledge them, instead going for Kurt's Disney DVD's, which he only has because of her in the first place, and popping one in while making herself at home. She knows enough about his apartment to make herself breakfast, and even knows that Kurt keeps some mugs in one of the lower cabinets just so she can reach. He tsks, and when she gives him her best big, dimpled smile, Kurt closes the door behind him and accepts his fate with a defeated shrug. He's not sure when this became his life, but here they are nonetheless.

Kurt pads into the kitchen, keeping an eye on the tiny four-year old now contentedly eating cookies on his far too expensive vintage couch while watching Lilo&Stitch for what must be the hundredth time. He prepares himself some most needed coffee, offering one cup to Hunter.

"Does Sebastian know you're here?"

Hunter shakes his head and says, "Didn't have time to let him know, and he won't pick up his phone. You try him."

Kurt does so with a sigh, biting his lower lip unconsciously as the phone rings.

"Kurt, fuck, can't talk right now," is what greets him, "I'm-"

"Desperately looking for your daughter who just so happens to be in my living room?"

"Oh, thank God."

"I've been told she's my new roommate."

On the other side, Sebastian sighs with the kind of patience that only a parent can develop. "I'll be there in record time."

Kurt doesn't wait for a goodbye, and instead hangs up and promptly walks back into the living-room, where he plops down on the couch next to a seemingly happy Madeleine and to a certainly sleepy Hunter. They let the movie play before their eyes for a minute, and Kurt even allows himself a smile at the antics on the screen; Lilo&Stitch is both his and Maddy's favorite.

Then, he turns to her, and with a disinterested drawl, wonders, "So, what did your father do this time?"

She doesn't answer immediately, but when she does, she's looking at Kurt, and her eyes are downcast and sad, the way Kurt wishes he never had to see them. She says, "He doesn't love me anymore."

"Oh, sweetie, of course-"

"No! He doesn't!" she counters, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting, her eyes now set determinately forward.

Kurt sighs, and murmurs to himself, "I do wish you weren't so much like your father."

Hunter is the one to finally explain with, "He yelled at her. He was studying and he was all pissed off and he yelled at her."

"Sweetheart," Kurt says immediately, turning back towards Maddy, "your dad is probably very sorry that he yelled."

She shrugs, as if she doesn't care, and doesn't look Kurt's way at all. Kurt plows on, though, because he was a stubborn child himself, and he knows there's no other solution for this but to keep on trying. He puts his hand to her hair, and caresses the loose strands slowly until she's looking up at him, her eyes soft and close to tears. She's so smart and out there that sometimes Kurt forgets she's only four years old.

"Let me tell you a story," he says, leaning back on the couch and sliding down until he's closer to her, so he doesn't seem so big in comparison. When he's sure that she's listening, he continues with, "When I met your dad, he was a complete idiot, you know? He was mean and evil, and I disliked him so much. " She nods at this, as if of course her dad can be that kind of jerk, and Kurt can't help but smile. "Anyway, do you know why he was so bad?"

She shakes her little head, and mouths a nearly silent, "No."

"He was so bad because he was angry, because you were all the way in France, and he was all the way here, and he couldn't stand being without you. So you see, your dad loves you very much, and you need to love him very much, too, so he doesn't turn into a total imbecile."

She says nothing, and Kurt takes a minute to just keep on caressing her hair soothingly. Eventually, though, he asks, "So, will you forgive him?"

"Yes," she answers.

"And will you forgive me, too, sweetheart? I'm sorry about what I said the other day; I always want to be there for you."

She smiles at that, and promptly breaks her stance to throw herself at Kurt, and hug him as tight as she can, while mumbling. "I love you, Kurt."

"I love you, too, Madeleine, so very much."

"Oh, I see," Hunter pipes up then, and when they both look at him, he has one hand thrown melodramatically over his forehead. "I'm the only one who doesn't get any love."

Maddy squeals with delight, and then she's climbing over Kurt so she can reach Hunter and throw her arms around his neck. "You're my favoritest, Uncle Hunt!" she exclaims, and when Hunter starts tickling her, Kurt's lonely apartment gets filled with uproarious laughter.

They're coming down from their laughing fit when the doorbell rings for the second time that morning, announcing Sebastian's arrival. When Kurt opens the door, he finds him disheveled, his features showing signs of hurried desperation. He barely looks at Kurt, going towards Maddy as soon as he spots her. Maddy goes to him, too, hugging both his legs before he has time to crouch down to her level.

"I love you , daddy," she says, vehemently.

"Love you, too, bug."

Five minutes later finds Sebastian sitting on the floor, Maddy still between his arms, as he mumbles apologies into her hair. It's very hard to stay mad at him when he looks like his world has crumbled and been rebuilt in the span of a few hours, so Kurt's happy to smile stupidly as he lets them have their reunion. Hunter, obviously happy with the situation as well, chooses to close his eyes and fall asleep on Kurt's couch.

"Don't run away from me like that again, ok?" Sebastian says after a while, nodding along with Maddy as she makes the promise that she won't.

Eventually, Kurt's the one to break the silence, standing up and saying, "I'm going to get changed, and then we can all go and get some pancakes, ok?"

"Pancakes!" Maddy exclaims, and as she does so, Sebastian looks up and at Kurt for the first time since he entered the apartment. He offers him a sheepish smile that Kurt counters with one of his own, right before disappearing inside his bedroom.

Kurt's already almost completely dressed, and only choosing the right colored scarf for his outfit, when there's a knock at his bedroom door, immediately followed by Sebastian pushing it open and leaning against the frame, eyes downcast and one hand scratching the back of his neck. He's the perfect picture of shyness and sincerity, and Kurt doesn't buy it for a second.

"Kurt, about the other day-"

"Look, can we agree that we were both stupid and just go out and get some pancakes? Conversations about feelings with you are always so painful."

"Hey! I'm extremely in touch with my feelings, thank you very much."

Kurt snorts, and when he looks at Sebastian, he's poking his tongue out at him. "Anyway, let's have some pancakes, and later this afternoon we'll go see Maddy's play."

"Kurt, you were right, you don't have to be there."

"No, but I want to," Kurt replies sincerely.

Sebastian smiles briefly up at him, the one that's tiny and sincere and that makes him all kinds of handsome. Kurt wishes his heart wouldn't jump like that inside his chest at the sight, but at this point, he might as well surrender to the reality: he has it bad for one Sebastian Smythe.

"What about your date?" Sebastian wonders.

"Oh, that's nothing; the thing with Jason wasn't going anywhere. So boring, oh my God."

Sebastian laughs, and with what's now a smirk, asks, "Pancakes to cure the heartbreak, then?"

"Pancakes to compensate for the hours of terrible conversation."

"Yeah, that will do."

            


 

               

They spend their whole day together, pancakes followed by a walk in the park, an early, quick lunch, preparing Maddy in her still ghastly dress, the play, and later in the night, Chinese and The Princess Bride. During the day, Kurt catalogues every single one of Sebastian's casual touches, from the way he likes to guide him with a soft hand at the small of his back all the way to how he leans perhaps closer than someone would to whisper in his ear when they're watching the play.

It's not the only thing he does, though, instead cataloguing his own touches as well, how he constantly rests his hand on Sebastian's knee when they're talking, or how he unconsciously presses himself tightly to his side when they're sitting together in the couch.

It's mutual, then. Mutual, stupid, scary and with a little girl they both love in between. Kurt's in over his head, but for some reason, he doesn't think he could be happier.

          


 

               

For Maddy's fifth birthday next month, instead of the usual big, fancy party, they have a quiet dinner with Sebastian's parents, and later on, with Hunter's help, they build a blanket and pillow fort that covers all of Sebastian's apartment. Maddy's been going through a superhero obsession phase, and since The Flash is her favorite, Kurt has fashioned her a set of red and gold pajamas that she puts on gleefully before she proceeds to run from one end of the other of the blanket covered space, smashing into pillows as she goes.

They laugh, eat entirely too much cake, and when Maddy finally tires herself out, they watch the glowy stars Sebastian has managed to stick to one of the blankets, creating a false, bright sky. They stay quiet for a long time, just the four of them, content and full, and Kurt feels elated, as if these three people are indeed his family. He finds himself thinking of the possible future, of seeing every milestone in Maddy's life and watching Sebastian's eyes shine bright along with them. It doesn't feel like a bad future at all.

Eventually, both Maddy and Hunter fall asleep, curled against a mountain of pillows.

"I swear, he's like a second child," Sebastian murmurs, looking at the two of them before he moves his eyes back towards Kurt.

Kurt just nods, smiling the smallest bit, and worrying his lower lip when Sebastian turns his eyes back up and towards the glowing stars.

"I talked to my parents about having Maddy come live with me full time once I finish with school," he says after a while.

"That's great, Sebastian," Kurt replies, knowing full well how much better Sebastian functions when Maddy is around. He never would have guessed, definitely not when he met Sebastian back in senior year, but also not when they found each other again. Sebastian is so young after all, and back then, Kurt didn't think he could possibly think beyond the necessities of his dick, so his title of father didn't really sit well with the image of him Kurt had. Time, though, has proven different.

They lapse into silence again, and then, for no apparent reason, Sebastian turns on his side and stares at him, eyes open wide and steady. Kurt blinks, nearly surprised at the intensity of the gaze, and then wonders if Sebastian is trying to tell him something, if he's supposed to gather everything he never dares say on those big, green eyes.

Eventually, though, what Sebastian says is, "I'm going to kiss you."

"Oh."

"Then I'll ask you out on a date, but first I'm going to kiss you."

"Okay."

Then Sebastian does. Kiss him, that is. He leans forward, the distance shorter than Kurt had noticed, and presses his wet mouth to his, nothing but soft pressure as his upper lip curls around his lower one, slotting them together as if in a perfect puzzle. It's just a soft, lingering touch, but Kurt feels it all the way down to his toes.

Sebastian breaks away, a soft plop sound following his separation. Almost immediately, though, he leans forward again, only to be stopped swiftly by Kurt's hand on his chest.

"I thought you were going to ask me out."

Sebastian rolls his eyes, and murmurs, "You're going to be so high maintenance." He smiles when Kurt smacks his chest, and then says, "Thursday, dinner, what do you say? And on Friday we can take Maddy to the movies."

Kurt smiles, reaching a hand up to cup Sebastian's cheek, and replies, "Sounds like a plan."

              


 

 

Now, on any regular day, Kurt would claim to hate children. But then, well, then there's Madeleine Smythe. And her father. And her crazy not really her Uncle. And the stupid way in which they all become his family.