(original title: Who's the Big Brother?) I didn't like it as much in the end, but it's the question, isn't it?
Summary: Kurt and Finn grew up as brothers as their parents married when Kurt was 10 years old. Now they were both 17 and the boys are trying to navigate their teenage years and high school and they don't always agree but they always have each other's backs and love each other. Pre-season 1 to wherever it ends, lol.
AN: so this one is inspired by a random thought I had while reading another story where Finn was protective big brother but I couldn't help but think how quickly that came about and was adorable but was also a little hard to believe.
First story of Glee that's not a Song Title! Yay? Maybe I'll need to do a lot more songs within the story then, lol. There's a line BTW in the second paragraph that I hadn't seen before – Finn and Puck – Huck Finn anyone? Tom and Huck? Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer... lol! Then later in this chapter I was trying to tie their names together and I had only 2 options really if I used the names they were always using "Punn" or... ? You know what it is. :D Noah and Finn don't have the same ring to it, Nonn or Fiah, lol.
We are Family - Sister Sledge
When they were little, they were all little. There may have been a height difference but it hadn't mattered, they all seemed to be about the same size, none of them had had a growth spurt yet. Kurt had been a little guy wearing bow ties and button down shirts and slacks, even in the summer and wanted to have tea parties with his dad – who always did, even after he married Carole and brought the kind hearted but boyish Finn into the family. Soon the tea parties included both Carole and Burt but Finn was always off playing sports with Puck and some of his other friends.
Burt went to Kurt's ballet classes and recitals and Finn's football games and cheered them both on as if they were the same. Carole worked a lot but she was always there to help Kurt make whatever he wanted to make, be it food or clothes or a video. Kurt danced around Finn with his unitard of tight black pants and white T-shirt and he even wore tutus of different colors around the house and pretended to grant everyone wishes as if he were their fairy god-mother. Finn pushed game controllers into Kurt's hands so he could wipe the floor with him racing Mario carts or beating up random characters head to head. Kurt may have lost at first but as the years went, he started winning and actually becoming a challenge for Finn and Puck.
No matter what else happened, while they played video games, they were all one close family, even Puck, who viewed them as his family and they had engulfed him into their anything but typical family unit. There they were equals and anything wrong was wiped clean and forgiven.
Outside of that basement, they barely spoke with each other, Kurt was off to piano lessons and dance lessons and went off to watch musicals in the theater and became involved with that whole scene.
Finn played with Puck and did typical 'boy things', biked, played video games, played football and other sports for fun, pretended they were in a rock band, and just wasted their time goofing off and playing pranks on other kids.
Kurt was often their practice prankee and while he hated the jokes and pranks, he loved that the was included in their lives.
They were 12, the first time Finn and Puck stood up for Kurt was when they were biking all three together somewhere and Kurt was lagging behind, he wasn't really into this as much as they were and they stopped at a park that had different physical tests and Kurt sat there and watched Finn and Puck try to best the other and they ended up scuffling when they got into a fight about who did it best. They were going to ask Kurt who he thought won when they looked over to the abnormally silent Kurt who would either try to break them up in the past or chortle and have a running commentary on their fights. They looked over to see that Kurt was in the center of a group of boys taller than him and had to have just flocked around him silently because neither Finn nor Puck had seem them earlier but they didn't even have to look at each other to know that they were both going to go over there and stand by Kurt. Finn and Puck pushed two boys away to make room for them and they flanked Kurt with a determined look on their faces.
"Oh, so you know the little freak?" One of the boys asked menacingly. "We thought he was just spying on you." He reached out and flicked at the tassels on Kurt's jacket shoulders.
"Hey- stop that." Puck spoke to the older boy confidently, thinking and perhaps knowing that he could take him easily, despite the height and size difference. Puck had what was called gumption and scrappiness in his corner. He may still be somewhat scrawny but he and Finn wrestled all the time, trying to best the other and neither won every time. Finn nodded, feeling a little more intimidated by these boys than Puck but was trying to put on a brave face. He wondered if Puck was just really good at pretending?
"Why, are you into lady-boys?" The guy asked, turning his attention to Puck and something in his face had him removing his hand. "Just keep him away from us. We wouldn't want him looking at us. If you're fine with it, that's your business."
It was the first time someone had commented on Kurt's uniqueness in front of them. They were all in the same grade in school but Kurt and the other two didn't share a class together, Kurt was by himself while the other two were in every class together. He had been made to feel like a loser and left out and that his life choices were lacking and his personality was bad and that he was weird for being into whatever he was into even though if he'd been a girl it would have been fine and he'd have been complimented.
He'd been teased mercilessly but he didn't let it get to him bad enough that he changed who he was because his family, his dad – the biggest of the guy-guys he'd ever known had always encouraged him to do what he wanted, his mom before she died had inspired and introduced him to this world even before he had known that he liked it even without her input, his step-mother had helped him when his fingers were too clumsy to do it himself to make his outfits and taught him better stitches to keep it from falling apart and yet do everything he wanted to in them.
His brother Finn had never teased him or said anything against anything he'd ever done other than question why Kurt put that pink shirt together with the paisley purple and green pants and Kurt had looked at it again and shrugged and said it was Fashion and Finn had just shrugged too and let it go. Puck had teased him but the second Kurt started dressing more like them he'd harassed him to change until he went back to his own style, saying that it was their thing, he had his own and they didn't need another Punn. Kurt had been upset about that comment but it was such a Puck comment that Kurt didn't dwell on it long because he soon saw that it was a compliment, not an insult, not Puck trying to exclude him.
So he had rolled with it once he knew he was safe and they weren't going to do more than circle him and insult him. He had totally forgotten about it but when Burt asked how their day was, both Finn and Puck had spilled all the details. Kurt had been surprised that they'd told or had even noticed it other than to make sure he hadn't gotten hurt. He was even more surprised by how upset his dad got about it and it took Carole most of the night to calm him down, they hadn't known who those kids were and so it wasn't possible to reach their parents.
Of course it wasn't the first time Burt and Carole had heard anything mentioned about Kurt's personality either. Kurt had seen the looks, had heard the whispers and giggles the first time he walked into that ballet class. He rolled it off and continued, he was there to shine and he did. He was always praised by the dance and music teachers and was always in the front of the class during recitals, put there by the teachers. He would have been happy anywhere as long as he got to dance.
It wasn't the last time any of them heard comments or suggestive words about Kurt that year or ever again in his life.
When Kurt was 14, his teachers had all banded together and suggested that Burt enroll Kurt into a special school for the artistically gifted. He hadn't been able to pay for the school in question and part of him wanted Kurt to be exposed to regular life so it didn't slap him in the face when he was an adult, because when Kurt was an adult, it would be a lot harder to protect him.
So Kurt did those classes very part time and continued with his public school education. Rumors got around the school though that he'd been accepted into a fancy school but hadn't been able to afford to go and they started teasing him everywhere in the halls then but made sure it was out of Puck and Finn's earshot. The boys didn't understand Kurt at all and started bullying him in worse ways, their lack of understanding causing fear and hatred in equal measures and Kurt was the most different from them than anyone else in the school and while he kept to himself most of the time, he did have 2 'brothers' and he was witty, quick, and sharp-tongued and that only caused him to gain a bigger bullseye on his back.
Everyone thought he thought he was better than the rest of them and over time, Kurt started to realize how true that was, about most people in that school, especially the bullies.
He was 14 when he got his first bruise and it was a black eye, he'd talked back to the wrong bully and a fist ended up in his face. Thankfully it didn't do any damage to his eye itself but Finn and Puck had been pissed. It was around then that Puck shot up at least a foot and was broadening across his shoulders and was gaining muscle all over his body. He'd already had a six pack while they grew up but now the muscles were much more pronounced.
Kurt didn't even think about ratting out his bully but Finn had found out who it was and Burt had gotten him suspended despite Kurt's protests. He got threats from the bully that he'd get him back for that and Kurt had been moved into Finn and Pucks' pod of classes, despite the fact that Kurt had been doing well in his own and had liked the classes themselves. This way he was moved to an entirely different floor and bank of lockers and with different students than he had been. A few of the girls had taken notice of him and started becoming friendly and chatting with him and complimenting his style. A few of the boys had as well but they were not pleased by what they saw.
A few of the kids had misunderstood what the girls were doing with him, they were always hanging around and Puck had complimented Kurt on becoming so popular with the girls. Kurt didn't correct him and spent some time in their houses practicing choreography for some of the most popular and famous music videos with them.
One of the girls didn't like Kurt and had posted the videos online and had he felt like gaining a social media following and cared about it, he would have cared about all the comments from students and non-students alike but he had only glanced at it when Finn brought it to his attention. "Oh, we look good." Then he wandered off while Finn got steamed up but Kurt cried because he hadn't believed people could be so cruel, especially the girl who posted it.
The girls who were friendly with him all kind of abandoned him at that point. He had been flamed down so hard online though he never once went on to look at it again or read the comments. He didn't care what any of them had to say about him, not really. He was glad he couldn't read all the threats or crass comments both for and against him but that's all it was, nothing positive or uplifting or genuinely supportive; no Kurt didn't read the comments but Burt read every new one that popped up and he got more and more agitated as he realized just how sick people out there were and just how vulnerable and exposed his son was.
Finn begged the girl to take the post down and she eventually did when he asked her every day for two months and she just got sick of hearing it from him. She'd started the ball rolling with the mean commentary but hadn't bothered looking at it again and had felt a little bad when she read a few of the first comments and then was scared for Kurt and the girls and disgusted by what was said and took it down immediately but it was still probably out there somewhere.
Puck scowled at anyone who went near Kurt after that and while his intentions were pure, it dissuaded the good and bad from engaging with Kurt so he was left alone and lonely.
Freshman year brought about all new problems for the trio of boys.
Finn and Puck were picked for JV football and had practice daily after school and on Saturdays and games on Fridays too. So they were pulled away from Kurt who then had to walk home from school on his own or take the bus. Both options were less than ideal.
It also brought Finn and Puck a whole new group of friends who liked to party and hang out after the practices and on the weekends so Kurt saw even less of his 'brothers' than before.
Also they weren't in groups anymore, no each student got to pick their schedule and classes and Kurt signed up for all the arts that he could and had to also attend some mandatory classes but there were 5 different Freshman options for the same course and they never overlapped with each other's schedule and they were mixed in with Sophomores for a few of their courses and some of Kurt's classes included Juniors and Seniors too. He was dwarfed by the upperclassmen in every class but thankfully most of them were just girls who'd hit their growth spurts early, always earlier than boys did. They didn't always interact with the lowly Freshman but that was ok, Kurt showed them all up in every subject and looked Fabulous while he did it.
He never wore the same outfit twice; and while that would have been his personal choice anyway, it was incredibly difficult to do so when most of his outfits got torn or stained. He was welcomed to ice cold slushy baths at least once a week, catcalled on his way home and roughed up just as often with the bullies tearing some of his most impressive works while on the street. The bus wasn't much better, it only got him most of the way home and he still had to walk through some areas that wanted to teach him lessons that he could never quite learn or even begin to understand; they weren't very clear about what they wanted to teach him other than don't walk over there.
Burt noticed and he always questioned his son when he left in the morning in 1 outfit and then when he got home from work, Kurt would be in a different one. Kurt always claimed that he couldn't possibly be caught dead in the same outfit for more than 8 hours. Plus he had his own classes that he had to get to and couldn't possibly wear the same outfit to different venues, different places called for different looks. Burt rolled his eyes, Kurt wore whatever he wanted all the time and so it wouldn't matter to him if he wore it to a football game or a movie theater or an opera, it would be classy and fashion-forward at the same time and would always be over-dressed for the location. Yet every day Kurt said the same thing and never slipped up and told Burt the truth. Some days he wore more makeup than others and Burt could tell, he noticed even with the best make up job.
"Finn, everything going ok with Kurt?" Burt asked one night about 2 months in Freshman year, football season was in high swing and Finn glanced at his brother as if surprised that it was even a question. Kurt was playing a card game with Carole. It was one of the first nights that Finn had been home at the same time as Kurt. He was usually getting back from football practice shortly after Kurt left for his own lessons and extracurricular classes.
"As far as I know?" Finn looked closely at his brother, watching him, trying to figure out why his dad asked about Kurt. Kurt was being careful with every move he made and if he did something that wasn't perfectly timed and thought out then he would retreat instantly. Finn scowled, something was wrong. "I'll find out."
Puck was home for the first time in weeks, his mom needed something from him and he had to go deal with it. If Puck had been around then he would have convinced the other boy that they needed to tackle Kurt together. Puck didn't shy away from touching Kurt but he was always careful to not hurt the other boy by being as aggressive with him as he was with Finn.
So Finn reached out to Kurt in one of the other ways that he could with his brother, through a game of Mario Cart. Kurt won, of course, he'd gotten the hang of the driving game easily and had mastered it even though he only played it when Finn wanted him to play. But this time Finn wasn't trying to win, he wanted to gauge every word Kurt said while he was somewhat distracted. "Been a rough couple of months of high school?" Finn asked not even trying to hide his intentions or couch his question.
"It's high school, that's what it's supposed to be like."
"Been making any friends?"
"Oh loads, they want to meet up with me right away in the morning and greet me in a way that only they can and then later on too, they join me on the way home." Kurt bent to do a sharp turn and his shirt pulled across his chest and the collar pulled down just slightly and dark purple bruise was noticeable on his collar bone and shoulder but it was just a brief glimpse down his shirt that it was over the second he moved even slightly, it had been cut through with his under shirt covering part of it but that's just what Kurt usually wore underneath.
Finn grabbed a handful of the shirt at Kurt's back and hauled it up and it was for a change loose enough to do so and saw the black marks all over Kurt's back and he gasped even as Kurt fought for control over his clothing again. "Finn! What are you doing?" They'd grappled before, Kurt hadn't wanted to but Finn and Puck didn't take no as an answer and were always trying to get him to loosen up and wear fewer layers over the summer so he could join them at the pool or beach and were always messing with him and he always had the excuse that he didn't tan, he burnt, badly and if he didn't, then he freckled and he'd rather it stay white if those were his only options.
He had gone with them a few times to the beach and wore long sleeves then too, usually a lightweight button up and they got him soaked so he had to take it off or be sticky; sometimes he wore a rashguard that was designed to be wet. He was a small guy, smaller than the other two and now that Puck was continuing to get bigger, the other two seemed even smaller but Finn held his own still, he had never been tiny, just average to on the smaller size. Except he was eating, a lot, and Carole had commented off handedly that Puck had done the same when he started growing and their grocery bills would be sky high when all three did.
Except, Kurt didn't each much and Finn had noticed that too, he just pushed his food around and took bites when others were watching him. He never took a big portion to start with and spread it out so it looked like more and even then a few times he left little piles that he offered Finn and Puck to finish. Puck always ate it.
Finn had wanted to tell him not to, because then he would have proof that Kurt had an eating disorder but on the other hand it was a waste of food to let it just go in the trash. He had to be conscious that they weren't the wealthiest of families and had to be careful to not over spend or spend foolishly. They'd practically taken Puck in too and they always said they could swing it and never once even hinted that Puck was a drain on their finances. Sometimes Carole picked up a few extra shifts or Burt stayed longer at work or went in on Saturdays or worked part time elsewhere.
Puck had started a pool cleaning business over the summer and when it was just the 3 of them at one of the pools Puck was cleaning, then his brother relaxed more and even unbuttoned his shirt, he had the under shirt underneath but he at least looked more comfortable. Finn had never seen a single bruise on Kurt's body the whole time he'd known him other than that bully who got suspended for it. He had never seen Kurt even try to cover it up or move awkwardly as if hiding something. These bruises were all at different stages.
"Who is doing this to you?" Finn demanded as he let Kurt pull the shirt from his grasp and he smoothed it back into place before tucking it in again, always coiffed perfectly.
"Doesn't matter." Kurt ignored Finn's outraged glance and went back to the game. "Aren't you going to play?"
"No, not until you come clean with what has happened."
Kurt's lips pressed together not pleased in the slightest about having this conversation and Finn wanted to tell him tough, you're going to tell me and tell me everything. Finn was going to kill the bastard(s) who had done this to him.
"I was jumped walking home from school. They didn't like the way I looked or something." The something might have been him humming show-tunes to himself and practicing dance moves; or at least that was what happened the first time. He'd said he'd gone to dance class but he called them and apologized but said he had sprained something and wouldn't be in. Instead he'd gone to the movies and watched something overly sappy and pretended that's why he was crying.
The other times were just because of how he was dressed and they knew who he was by then and were watching for him. He changed up his route home though to avoid them and most days he got away with it but they were always out prowling for someone to beat up. He never had anything they wanted but they got pleasure out of hitting him.
"Dad!" Finn shouted on the top of his lungs and Burt was suddenly at the door to the basement and his steps were heard as he came down, heavy but not as heavy as Finn's even then. He looked around the room, expecting someone to be bleeding or unconscious but Kurt was just looking annoyed and maybe a little fearful but Finn was looking pissed off.
Burt sighed and ran a hand over his bald head, knocking his hat off while he did so but he caught it with his other hand and put it back on. "What's wrong? Did you two start arguing about something?" They were teenage boys, they weren't always going to get along and sometimes they argued and fought and shouted at one another and often tried to get their dad to intervene on either's behalf but he usually tried to stay out of it or punished both.
"No." Finn grabbed Kurt's arm and pulled him to stand up and closer to Burt who started to say something about not pulling his brother around like a rag-doll and to be gentler on the smaller boy but then Finn was pulling Kurt's shirt out of his waist-band again and fought against Kurt who was trying to get loose and keep his shirt down at the same time. Finn managed to pull it up and over Kurt's head and trapped him somewhat in a tangle of several fabric layers and his back was to Burt, Finn showing Burt exactly what he wanted him to see. "Dad- we need to do something."
Burt's hand reached out and laid his palm over the angry flesh and Kurt hissed in pain and tried to cover himself up or at least hide by turning but he only revealed more bruises. "Why are you hiding these? The jerks need to be dealt with."
"I don't know who they are, they're not school boys you can just expel or suspend." Kurt was still struggling with the shirts wrapped around his arms and he glared at Finn. "Would you help me out?"
"No." Finn shook his head. "This way you can't storm off or cover yourself up or hide or deny what has happened."
"Have they threatened you or something?" Burt asked taking stock of what Finn had, this wasn't the first time, not even in the slightest. "Is that why you haven't said anything?"
"Of course I've been threatened. They have attacked me a few times now, if I were to say anything it'd be worse."
"They've been getting away with it and so they keep doing it. This ends now Kurt, I thought I taught you better than that?" Burt shook his head. "I knew there was a reason you kept changing clothes in the middle of the day. I should have pressed harder earlier."
Kurt closed his eyes, none of them understood. They didn't live with the torment, any time he spoke back to a bully, they attacked back harder than before and he ended up even more hurt. "Is there more?" Finn asked, reading his brother fairly well even if he hadn't lived the same life, he'd lived his with Kurt and been there through a lot of it.
"No?" and it was because Kurt really had no idea if there was. He was so numb to the bullying now that he didn't even know what constituted bullying anymore.
"You said you have new 'friends' that wait for you to show up in the morning. They're not friends, are they?" Finn questioned seeing too much and Kurt breathed deeply and shook his head. "What have they done to you?"
"Mostly just dumped me in the dumpster. Sometimes they trap me in the port-a-potties near the field."
Puck would have laughed and wished he'd thought of that himself until the realization hit that it was Kurt they were doing that to and then would be livid. Finn thought about that. "Not when we're there, surely?"
Kurt shrugged. "I'd stayed and watched a few practices but they thought it was creepy for me to be watching and so locked me in there once or twice while you practiced. I stopped coming to them because I never knew how long I'd be stuck in there."
"Who are these bullies, at least?" Burt wasn't pleased that there were unknown adult assailants out there but he'd deal with one thing at a time."
"I think they were football players. I can't be sure, everyone just seems like big jocks to me when they wear their letterman jacket." Finn shifted uncomfortably in his and Kurt sighed in exasperation. "Not you or Puck, idiot."
"Dad!" Finn protested and Burt only shook his head.
"Kurt, that was uncalled for," but kind of funny and so Kurt. "So still have no idea then?"
Kurt shook his head and Burt and Finn shared a glance, they were communicating quite literally over Kurt's head. "What are you two planning?" He asked warily.
"Finn will walk with you to school for now. You'll stay on while he's at practice and then he'll walk you directly to your classes and then I'll pick you both up from there."
"That's a bit too much." Kurt tried to protest but the other two wouldn't hear any protest or arguing.
"Then this weekend, we're going to go shopping for a car. I'll find some that I know are reliable and in good shape and in a reasonable price range and we'll get you a car." Thankfully Kurt's birthday was early in the year and had already come and gone and now he was 16 and had his license, it was time to just get him a vehicle. He'd understood that they wanted to wait until Finn was too and then have them share one car for when they needed it rather than use all the time, now Burt was talking about getting just Kurt the car who would then be using it everywhere he went.
"Now that is too much!" Kurt protested earnestly. "We can't afford it."
"We can afford whatever we need to to make sure you're protected and safe. We don't want to waste all that time and energy and money we put into you, do we?" Carole's voice was teasing and she and Puck had a somewhat similar sense of humor, which is why Puck had always been over even before their families joined. "We'd rather spend money on safety precautions than medical bills."
Kurt couldn't argue with anything she said and he sighed and his shoulders sagged. "Thanks mom and dad." He looked over to Finn but the angry annoyance was there and replaced with something else, hope? He hadn't realized his brother was that down trodden and wondered how long he'd been putting up with stuff like this and how bad it really was. "Thanks Finn."
"Any time, little brother."
"Little brother?" Kurt asked back shocked. "You're younger than I am!"
"Yeah but you're so tiny." He ruffled Kurt's hair who tried to put it back in order but forgot he was trapped by his own clothes. "Now I'll help you." Finn worked on releasing Kurt from his prison, laughing the whole time.
"You'll let us know if something more happens?" Burt wasn't actually asking and Kurt made a face, he wasn't a tattletale nor was he much of a talker about anything other than his interests, he was quiet and kept to himself on important matters. "Kurt."
"Yes, ok." Kurt rubbed the back of his neck, wondering if this plan was going to change anything.
It protected Kurt from everyone almost too well, Finn rode with him to school and Puck sometimes did too when he slept over the night prior but that wasn't often. Once he got the car he was free to go wherever he wanted after school and he thought about joining the school theater department but he'd gotten a few looks from Sandy and the guy was handsy as he tried to show Kurt where to breathe but he already knew and had backed up in shock at someone trying to touch him. Sandy was fired weeks later when he did it to another boy and the boy actually had let him and hadn't fought or walked away and Kurt felt gross and wrapped his sweaters around him more firmly as the seasons changed and the weather got colder.
Kurt closed his eyes, nothing had happened so hadn't reported it, he hadn't been able to prove intention or if he was even positive that had been where that hand was going to go. Now he felt guilt for not coming forward sooner and another boy was touched; and shame that someone would think it would be ok to do so to him just because he was artistic and a little different than those around him and small and non-threatening. He had been expected to keep quiet on the matter; and he had. When was Kurt going to learn that he needed to speak up and be heard? The problem was, his voice had been squashed for so long in school that he didn't know how to find it again.