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Kurt watches a male cheerleader on the opposing team skip off the court and bend to kiss a boy sitting in the bleachers. Brittany nudges him, pointing openly.
"Brittany," he hissed, "Stop it. I see the openly gay couple, thank you."
Santana turns her head away on Brittany's other side, and Kurt knows she's laughing at them. It's the end of half-time, and both cheerleading teams have moved to the edge of the court to cheer while the announcer brings the basketball teams back out.
Kurt sits it out; he's reserved for singing numbers and is not allowed to touch the pom-poms for some reason that Sue Sylvester has failed to explain to him.
He smiles and lifts his hand as Finn passes; three other teammates high-five him, including Puck, who then shoves a fellow teammate to compensate. Kurt settles back, surreptitiously watching the couple across the gym.
He's surprised how much it hurts to see a gay couple so happy; why can't he have that?
Burt leans over a bent-out-of-shape Chevy.
Carole sits on the couch a few feet away, reading a book and humming along with the radio. It makes Burt smile; he hasn't been this happy in years.
But that's not to say he's not happy with Kurt. The boy makes him buoyant with pride–his bravery, his determination, his grades, and hell, his voice–but having somebody to hold at night, to talk to about how hard it is to let Kurt leave the house, how hard it is not to follow his kid around with a shotgun just to protect him.
He glances over at the clock. It's nearly six o'clock, which means the game is half over. He knows the boys should be home by seven; they've already agreed to order pizza.
"Carole, could you turn on the news?"
The doors to the gym bang open. It's not unusual–people come and go from games all the time–and Kurt isn't sure what makes him look over, but he does.
The boy who comes in looks disgusting, and not just because his clothes are last season Target clothes, but because his clothes are ripped and he seems to be unwashed. That isn't what makes Kurt stare in horror.
The boy has a gun; Kurt has no idea what kind of gun, but it's a gun and it's real and he's already walking to the other side of the gym.
Somebody screams, and then the boy is yelling and the game freezes on the court. The gay couple across the gym stand up together, holding hands. One of them stares bravely into the face of the crazed boy, while the other stares across the gym, directly back at Kurt.
Kurt hears the first shot and the boy staring at him falls. Blood splatters across the students that remain behind them. He hears the second shot and feels like he's been run over by a herd of wild animals.
Burt sweeps Carole off the couch, twirling her once before turning towards the door.
The woman on the news starts talking and Carole lifts the remote, "Breaking news, a shooting at Arden High School in Fort Shawnee leaves two students dead and even more in danger. We'll have live coverage after the break."
Carole drops the remote and nearly falls over in her attempt to pull her cell phone out. Burt launches himself at the garage phone before he can register that it's not just Kurt in danger here.
Santana's hand has a vice grip on his arm; she's dragging both Kurt and Brittany out through the girls' locker room.
Kurt registers vaguely that Brittany is crying.
He tugs his arm weakly, trying to break out of Santana's grasp, but she keeps going and he's in too much shock to really fight, "Santana, we need to go back and see if they're okay."
She doesn't even spare him a glance, "Look, I know you're like an angel or whatever who cares about people, but if that guy sees you, you're dead."
He stays quiet, letting her drag him, and then she glances at him. He's paler than usual, and she heaves an exasperated sigh and stops them, opening her mouth to say something.
She barely gets his name out before another two shots ring out and then Brittany screams and they're back to running.
Finn punches Puck in the face as soon as they're out the front doors of the school. The other boy takes a few unsteady steps backwards and shouts, "What the fuck, dude!"
People all around them are crying and Finn doesn't have a chance to say anything to Puck when some officers are shoving them backwards out of the way and storming into the school. One of them shouts over his shoulder for them to get away, and Puck catches Finn around the waist and hauls him away, his free hand on his nose.
"Dude, we've got to get out of here!"
Finn is looking around frantically, "He killed them! He killed them cause they were gay, and Kurt is–"
"Kurt's fine. Santana dragged him out of there, man." Finn stares, momentarily uncomprehending, "Kurt's fine."
Burt is staring at the television screen blankly. He's not crying, which is terrifying Carole. She's still got her phone out, alternating between calling Finn's cell phone and Kurt's, but neither have picked up.
She's heard the words "hate crime" too many times and according to a crying girl on the news, two openly homosexual boys have been shot. Burt stopped trying to call Kurt as soon as they'd said it; he's sitting on the couch with the remote in his hand, looking catatonic.
They're saying that the shooter is a student–an angry student with a history of mental illness–and that he's injured several other students in addition to the one that is confirmed dead.
Finn's answering machine picks up, much too happy, and she hangs up in time to hear the woman on the news saying the shooter has been apprehended but the victims' names will not be released until family has been notified.
Puck drags Finn by wrist so they don't lose each other, and weaves his way through the panicking students until he sees the McKinley cheerleaders, who fled together through the locker rooms.
"I don't see him! Puck, I don't see him!" Puck tries to stop him, but he launches forward, shoving cheerleaders out of the way, "Kurt!"
Puck hears him shout one more time before he breaks through the crowd and sees Santana sort of half holding Brittany and keeping a hand closed around Kurt's wrist. For a moment, Puck sees that Kurt looks stricken, tears streaming down his face, and then Finn is there, pulling Kurt into a hug.
When Puck gets close, he hears Kurt whispering, "I'm fine, Finn." His voice is weak and Puck knows he's terrified, but there's not really anything he can do, so he leaves the two almost-brothers and wraps his arms around Santana and Brittany.
"Burt, I'm sure he's fine."
Burt stands and starts to pace. Carole starts to cry watching him, lifting a hand to cover her mouth.
"Why hasn't he called yet?" Burt looks so defeated; she doesn't know what to do. But she stands anyway, tugging his arms around her and squeezing like she does with Finn, who is bigger than her too.
"I'm sure they're both fine."
They all stand in silence for a while; Finn still hasn't let go of Kurt, which Puck thinks is a good idea because he doesn't think Kurt can stand on his own anymore.
Kurt is staring at something, and for a while Puck thinks he's probably in shock and they should maybe try and find out how traumatized he is, and then he opens his mouth, "Oh my god, this was on the news."
He pushes away from Finn, "This was on the news." He pats his track pants and then stares up at Finn, "We have to call my Dad."
Puck frowns. None of their parents know if they're okay, but he realizes right away that the news reporting a hate crime on openly gay students is going to be worse for a guy with an openly gay son, so when Santana pulls her cell phone out of her bra, he grabs it and hands it to Kurt, who flips it open and starts dialling.
Santana doesn't protest or make a bitchy comment; she just drops her head against his chest and starts crying.
The phone starts to ring and they separate.
Burt stumbles over, Carole's hands on his arm, desperate and clinging. He picks it up and hits three buttons before he manages to hit the answer key, "Kurt?"
Carole watches his eyes close in relief and she sighs, feeling the tears starting again.
"I'm not mad, okay, I'm just glad you called." Carole rests her forehead against his shoulder, "Finn's okay, right?" She watches his mouth quirk up in a smile, "Alright. You just stay with him, okay? Sure, yeah. Here she is."
He hands the phone down to her and she takes it, relishing the sound of her son's voice rumbling over the phone, reassuring and tired.
It takes a couple hours, but eventually, Sue and Tanaka have finished talking to the police and rounding up all of the McKinley students, who are all, mercifully, okay.
They start to round them up onto buses and nobody protests when Finn and Puck follow onto the Cheerio's bus; Sue just nods at them and shouts at Tanaka that she's got them.
Finn and Kurt sit together and Brittany practically crawls into Santana's lap; Puck takes a seat to himself and growls when a cheerleader tries to latch onto him for comfort.
"I'm here for them, sweetheart."
She looks sad but moves on anyway, and Puck reaches out to catch Kurt's hand in his own. It says something for how scared everyone is that Puck is even doing this, but it makes it worse for him when Kurt doesn't even pull away; he just squeezes his hand and peeks out from under Finn's arm to smile at him.
The four in the Hummel-Hudson house fall asleep on the couches upstairs that night, and the next day at school is surprisingly quiet.
Everyone gives them a wide berth, except for Jacob, who Puck shuts up pretty quickly but slamming him into and then over the wall of the dumpster.
Mercedes won't leave Kurt's side all day–neither will Santana, which freaks a lot of people out–the entire glee club skips the afternoon to see a movie and Mr. Schuester even writes them passes to get out of their last two classes.
Nobody says anything as they walk to their collective cars. Puck knows that nobody in glee club is ever going to let anything like that happen to Kurt; and he's pretty sure that Kurt knows it too, the way he's smiling and the way he doesn't fight when Rachel latches on for a hug and doesn't let go for a long time.