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Author's Note: Kira's request was for R or NC-17 Kurt/Neil hurt/comfort fic. Hope this satisfies.

Scientific Method
by Tiriel

Neil showed up at Kurt's apartment unannounced. He looked like hell, hair standing on end and dark circles under his eyes. "Still willing to pour a drink for a seventeen-year old?"

"Certainly, as long as he's twenty-two under the skin." Kurt walked to the kitchen and poured two glasses of Scotch.

"Thanks." Neil took one and drank it in one gulp.

"Slow down, slow down. Or if you're going to drink like that, at least let me get out a bottle of the cheaper stuff. This bottle is older than you are. Either of your ages." Kurt took a sip of his own drink, taking a moment to enjoy the smooth flavor of quality Scotch, then poured a refill for Neil anyway.

"Thanks again." Neil sat down on a stool and took a long look at the glass this time before knocking it back in one gulp.

"So, if I may ask, and I think the fact that you're drinking my liquor gives me the right to, what has brought on your liver's sudden death wish?"

"You want a list?" Neil held out his glass for a refill. Kurt obliged. "In the last few months, I've watched the earth blow up, been sent back in time to try to save it, and wound up having to take my junior year of high school all over again. I'll have to repeat college, too, before we're done, and I've gone from living in my own condo and driving a Porsche to living at home and riding a bike that is nothing like the Harley I used to have. Meanwhile, I've screwed up my second chance with Holly, gotten hooked on Rapture, been visited by the ghost of a childhood friend, watched my dad turn into a machine and back again, been stalked by a Sentient, and watched my asshole brother fuck up my entire family for a second time. My mother died right in front of my eyes, and right now my dad is at The Canary after closing, again, probably fucking that new waitress like none of it ever happened."

Kurt drained his own glass and poured refills for both of them. "Chuck and the new waitress, hmm? I'm all in favor of gathering ye rosebuds while the earth is still in one piece, but it does seem a little soon for that sort of thing."

Neil took another drink. "We barely picked out a headstone, for Christ's sake. It's just not right."

"Well, I certainly don't have a moral high ground to stand on myself, but I can appreciate your feelings." Kurt poured Neil another refill. "No offense, but what, other than my well-stocked liquor cabinet, brings you to my door with all of this?"

"Oh, did I forget that one? Holly broke up with me. Again. She doesn't want to see me, my friends from school all think I've had some freaky religious conversion, and I couldn't sit at home and stare at the walls any longer. Especially not when I wasn't too excited about seeing Dad when he finally decided to come home. So here I am. You don't mind?"

"Mi casa es su casa." Kurt took another drink. "So what happened with your lady love?"

"It just wasn't the same, no matter how much I wanted it to be. It's not much of a second chance when I'm 22 and she's still 17. She's been talking a lot about how she doesn't feel connected to me, doesn't feel like she knows me. And how could she? I can't let my guard down with her. When I'm not talking to one of us, I have to watch every word I say so that nobody finds out what we're doing or that I'm not really a high school slacker. Or thinks I'm crazy. How can I possibly be real with her when there's all that to deal with?"

"And the fairer sex can be so particular about that sort of thing." Kurt poured another refill for Neil and topped off his own drink, emptying the bottle.

"Oh, yeah." Neil picked up his drink and walked unsteadily to the couch. "Speaking of, what's up with Angela these days?"

"What about her?"

"Oh, please. You and her."

Kurt sighed. "Angela is Angela. I used to think that giant chip on her shoulder was my fault, but this time through I see that I had an inflated sense of my own importance. It's complicated."

"You going to work things out?"

"That remains to be seen. First things first?"

"Saving the world!" Neil raised his glass in a mock toast.

"No. Finding a lady to take your mind off of things. Let me get my address book, I'm sure I know someone suitable."

"You really don't have to do that."

"Nonsense. You're at your sexual peak, it's a shame to waste it. If I'd known at your age all the things I know now..." Kurt retrieved his little black book from his desk and started to flip through it. "Tiffany likes them a little less innocent than you, I'm afraid. Hmm, maybe Vanessa? You mind a little light bondage, Neil?"

"No thank you," Neil replied, leaning back into the couch, "I'm not into the kinky stuff."

"No kinky stuff, got it." Kurt flipped through several pages rapidly. "That narrows the choices considerably."

"What kind of weird shit are you into, Kurt? Wait, never mind, I don't want to know."

"I'm a big fan of the scientific method, Neil. Observe, hypothesize, experiment... Missy might do. You like redheads, right?"

"You know, Kurt, I appreciate the thought, but no. If I can't connect with Holly, how the hell am I supposed to with a total stranger? You know, every now and then I think... we didn't really have time to accept, to assimilate what happened then, when the world blew up, but there's been plenty of time since then for it to sink in. Sometimes it's almost like the five of us are the only ones who are really alive."

"That's it, no more alcohol for you," Kurt said.

"No, seriously. Everybody else is a dead man walking. That's why it took so long for my mom's death to sink in. That's why my dad's doing this. It just doesn't feel real. And if we fail, none of it will be."

"Normally I'm not much for optimism, but I like to think we won't fail."

Neil drained his glass. "Well, that's good, because I don't do failure. I'm the youngest man in space. But sometimes I wish I wasn't. Do you ever want your regular life back? Wish we were normal people, just like everybody else?"

"I don't know, I'd say that getting drunk as an attempt to forget your problems is pretty much what 'normal people' do."

"I'm not drunk." Neil started to stand up, then sat back down again. "Okay, maybe I am. Can I crash here?"

"Well, you're certainly in no condition to drive. I'll get you a blanket."

"Thanks, Kurt." Neil stretched out on the couch.

Kurt went to the linen closet and pulled out a blanket. By the time he came back to the couch, Neil was already asleep. Kurt draped the blanket over his sleeping form, picked up the empty glasses, and took them to the sink. Then he turned off the lights and went to bed. He hadn't tried to keep up with Neil's drinking, but he'd had enough to make him sleepy, so not even the snoring that soon started to emanate from the man on his couch could keep him awake.

Kurt woke up with a warm body curled up next to his and someone stroking his shoulder. Not someone, Neil. Neil was stroking his shoulder tentatively. Kurt caught Neil's hand in his own. His skin was still sleep-warm. "What are you doing?"

"I'm not sure. You were there. You saw what I saw. You came back in time. You've been through your share of weird shit, hell, you joined a cult."

"Briefly, yes."

"If there's anyone who—I just need to know if it's just the situation that's fucked up or if it's me, too."

"You're still drunk."

"No, I'm not. I've got a little bit of a buzz left, but not enough to matter."

This time, Kurt believed him. "I should be responsible and send you back to the couch right now. Truth be told, you're one of my best friends, and so is your father."

Neil sighed. "You, too. That's why I came here."

"What, I'm not just a last resort and an open bar? I'm touched."

"Kurt." Neil paused. "So, are you going to be responsible?"

Kurt considered the question for a moment. "It's a bit late in my life to start now. And there are different kinds of responsibility. What do you want, then? How can I help?" He might regret it later, but it felt like the right thing to say. He'd hungered for the kind of connection Neil was talking about from time to time, too. And if he was to be honest with himself, he'd have to admit that letting Neil stay wasn't entirely altruistic. He'd been accused of following the lead of his dick on more than one occasion, and while this didn't fit his usual pattern in one way, it did in others. Neil was attractive, young, smart, all things he usually found appealing, usually in that order. While he hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not he might like the same things in a man, he did find himself responding to the possibility of what Neil was suggesting.

"Like I said, I need to know if it's the situation, or if it's me."

"Ah, I see. An experiment." Kurt smiled. He heard a nervous chuckle from Neil in the dark.

"Yeah, something like that."

There was a rustle of the bedcovers as Neil moved closer, pressing his body against Kurt's from head to toe. Then their lips met, warm and gentle at first, but then with a quickly building heat that took Kurt by surprise. They wrapped their arms around each other, and Kurt had a sudden, vivid recollection of what his early experiences with women had been like—makeout sessions that seemed to last forever, the thrill of heavy petting, the tantalizing promise of more.

It was inexperience, he realized as he helped Neil struggle out of most of his clothes. Enthusiasm without skill. Neither he nor Neil knew what they were doing, so they were sticking to familiar territory. And familiar or not, it was good. Neil finally reached into Kurt's boxers, and Kurt returned the favor. Not quite familiar territory, but close enough.

There the inexperience factor seemed to fade away, and expert hands and rough kisses brought them both to climax sooner than Kurt would have expected.

Later, once they'd taken separate showers and curled up together in the bed as if by some unspoken agreement, Kurt remembered with a wry smile his earlier comment about Neil being at his sexual peak. He wondered whether or not there would be more "experiments" to conduct later. Then he pulled Neil close and let himself drift back into sleep.

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