Epilogue, or The One Time Kurt Really Lets Someone Have It
Kurt is having a really crappy day, the kind that gets progressively worse and worse, and shows no sign of any improvement. The kind that dangles little beacons of hope in your face before cruelly snatching them back and drop kicking you even further down towards rock bottom.
His third favourite sweater had lost a round to a grape slushie. His car, his baby, bore a large silver scratch from some jerk that did not know how to park. He'd switched the dates for two of his assignments and thus, while he had handed in his Spanish essay early, his Shakespeare analysis, worth a good twenty percent of his grade, was going to be late, and penalized for it. His hair was flat, the bangs falling into his eyes, and damn it, he'd just run out of hair spray.
There's more to add to that list, but frankly, the more he thinks about it, the more depressed and pissed off he gets, so he just leans against his locker, trying to concentrate on the fact that he just has one more period to go, and then he can head home, bury himself face first in a tub of chocolate Häagen-Dazs, and try his best to blank this day from his memories.
He turns to see his best friend and several other gleeks rounding the corner. Mercedes has a bottle of – no, could it be? Yes it is!
"Oh God, Mercedes, you are officially my personal saviour." He snatches the hair spray bottle away from her as she grins.
"I know, baby – worship me for the goddess I am."
Tina watches him fix his hair with a certain amount of awe – in less than a minute, it's back to its perfectly coiffed state and he's feeling marginally better. It almost makes the scuff on his brand new leather ankle boots acceptable. Almost.
"I figure with the lousy day you've been having, you're either going to go straight home to swallow your weight in junk food, or head to the mall to buy something worth your weight in credit card debt – either way, I'm in." Mercedes leans against the locker next to his, patting his arm sympathetically.
He nods, closing his eyes. "Yes to the first – but I've already called dibs on the entire tub of chocolate ice cream. You'll have to settle for French vanilla or strawberry."
"The whole tub, huh?" Artie is shaking his head. "Dude, this day really must've blown. The last time you downed that much ice cream was the day that famous designer died."
"Hey!" Mercedes turns to scold. "Alexander McQueen was his idol. The last thing he needs is to remember that."
Artie shrugs. "Or maybe the memory of a worse day will make this one seem more tolerable?"
Kurt ignores this debate, watching the interaction going on behind it. Puck and Finn were standing at the rear of the group, discussing something rather intently before Puck finally shoves Finn forwards. He looks distinctly like he's facing a firing squad as he walks up to Kurt.
Kurt feels his stomach flip – and not in the crush-worthy way – at the look on Finn's face. He grimaces. "Okay, let's hear it. Whatever it is, at this point, I can handle it. Have Dolce & Gabanna been given the Al Capone treatment for their tax evasion? Have acid wash jeans come back? What is it?"
Finn shoves his hands into his pockets, hunching his shoulders. "Quinn overheard Karofsky and his group of a-holes talking – they're planning something for you, so, Puck and I, we're gonna be watching your back, 'til after school, 'kay?"
Kurt rolls his eyes for what has to be the hundredth time that day, leaning past Finn to glare over at the so-called stud lingering uncomfortably behind the girls and Artie. "Seriously? This is what you're all wound up about? It's probably just the usual – a barrage of slushies or maybe pee balloons, they haven't done that for a while . . . you guys –"
"Look, Hummel, the last thing I need on my Jewish conscience is your pasty face bruised and bloodied when I could've done something about it." Puck scowls at him. "So shut up and deal."
The bell rings, indicating last warning to get to their final period, and the hall floods with students. Kurt sighs heavily as Puck and Finn do not budge, and the other gleeks watch him with concern, especially Mercedes, who looks as though she's gearing up to join his bodyguard detail.
As Kurt retrieves his books and slams his locker shut, he realizes that it isn't just Mercedes and the two jocks set on following him, but Tina and Artie as well and neither of them is in his last period class. He rolls his eyes again as they all surround him in a completely unsubtle manner, shooting glares or evaluating looks towards the sea of students around them. It does bring a short-lived smile to Kurt's face when Tina stares down the curious onlookers with her best 'I'm a scary Goth, and I eat kitten blood for breakfast' glare, coupled with Mercedes' 'I will take you to the carpet' narrowed eyes and pursed lips.
Once he reaches the door of his class, they disperse, Finn with a quick smile and a promise to meet him here right after the final bell (Puck gives him a stern look, implying he better be there, which leaves Kurt wondering if this horrible day is about to take wild, hairpin turn into an episode of the Twilight Zone because, seriously, what the hell?).
So, yes, Kurt actually waits for his 'gleeks in black' to show up, and show up they do – all of them. Even Santana. And Rachel. He stares at her for good long while before she throws her hands up. "Really, Kurt – I'm not to about to let those immature Cro-Magnons get the jump on a fellow Glee clubber. Not with Regionals coming up."
Ah, so all was still right in the universe. That was good to know.
Quinn is biting her lip. "I'm sorry if this all turns out to be nothing, but Karofsky's been getting meaner and . . . you're right, it may turn out be a slushie attack or something, but –"
"Yes, Puck already informed me that you do not wish to have your personal Jiminy Cricket tsk tsk you, don't worry about it," Kurt dismisses easily, allowing them to form ranks again.
He soon regrets it when he notices the stares they garner, especially when Puck almost knocks a member of the baseball team flat on his ass for trying push past the crowd by breaking through Kurt's line of defense. Kurt tells them all to back off as he gets to his locker, and they do, though barely, and Puck is still drawing attention by scowling menacingly and flashing his guns. Kurt knows Puck probably absolutely loves the attention and between him, Santana (who's frosty glares are equally as fierce and intimidating) and Brittany (who must've forgotten the reason for being here, as she's currently waving happily at random people), Kurt wonders despairingly what the hell he did to deserve all of this.
He's opening his locker just as Karofsky and his gang of bullying Neanderthals push their way through the multitude, and suddenly there's a veritable explosion of lace and satin bursting out of Kurt's locker, all over him and the floor, and the clicking of camera phones.
The entire hallway freezes, staring as Kurt, red in the face, knocks some lacy panties off his shoulders. Azimio and Karofsky exchange high fives, the hockey player crowing, "Dude, this is so going up on Jewfro's blog!"
"Little Hummel here is gonna be resident tranny cross-dressing freak by four today!" Azimio snatches another picture as Kurt digs through his locker, ignoring the jeers, feeling the angry flush spread up to his ears and down his neck. A few more unmentionables fall out as he grabs his books, leaving him standing ankle deep in thongs and frilly panties. There's another flash. He closes his eyes momentarily, trying to gather enough strength to push through to the end of this truly horrifying day.
"Real creative, douchebags." Mercedes glares at them, pushing past a shocked Finn, and elbowing by a knuckle-cracking Puck. "What? Did you raid your mommy's drawers for all this?"
"Nah, I don't recognize any of 'em – I would know, considering I've banged both your mothers." Puck smirks at them.
"Ha ha, manwhore, but that joke only works once!" Karofsky spits at him.
"Besides, we didn't do nothing," Azimio announces to the entire corridor. "We just got a tip that queer little Hummel was bringing his prize collection to share with his fellow homos." He leers at Puck, Finn, and even Matt and Mike, who Kurt sees are bristling with anger. "And decided to get some shots as proof!"
"I think the green would be your colour, Puckerman – maybe blue for you, Hudson." Karofsky kicks some of the scattered lingerie their way.
"Right, I'm going to –" Before Puck so much as raises a fist, Kurt inserts himself in-between the two mountains of jocks, pushing both Puck and Finn back, and Matt and Mike by default, who were standing just behind the first two.
"Enough," he grits out, and it echoes in the abrupt silence around them. "Honestly, the last thing I need today is my friends getting pounded into paste – just leave it alone."
"Listen to your girlfriend, pussies." Karofsky sneers. "And maybe the little fag will let you in on the cross-dressing – make a show of it or something."
Kurt's really had it with this day from hell, so when he whips around, fast and smooth enough to make a few people gasp, he barely hears it over the pounding in his head and chest. He has no idea what's about to happen – only that he is madder than he's ever been in his entire life.
He walks right up to the two, tall jackasses and their posse, and speaks in a voice as icy as a winter's night, "Say it again, Karofsky."
Karofsky looks down at Kurt with a combination of disgust and hatred, before leaning close and saying, in a perfectly clear and audible tone, "I said that your boyfriends here should listen to you so you'd want to reward them – don't all faggots like having big, manly studs to get down on their knees for?"
Kurt doesn't even give Finn and Puck a chance to rush forward and start a brawl – he does it himself. He's winding up and letting a fist fly, with all his weight behind it, before even he realizes it. There's a sickening crack, Karofsky goes down, and Kurt lets out a pained shout. He lifts his hand and sees his knuckles are bloody and cut – he must've sliced himself on one of the hockey player's expensive caps. When Karofsky jerks and stumbles up from the ground, Kurt and everyone present are shocked by the gap that now exists in his top row of teeth. He's moaning and leaning against the lockers opposite Kurt, Azimio trying to check out his teeth through all the gushing blood. There's no brawl – it seems the rest of the bullies are too busy trying to compute what they just saw, them and all the other witnesses.
"Holy crap," comes from somewhere up and over Kurt's shoulder – probably Finn.
"Shit, Hummel that was . . ." That was definitely Puck.
Everyone else was pretty much speechless – including Kurt.
Azimio helps Karofsky up, and their group of letter-jackets just stare over at the gleeks, equal parts shock, horror and anger on their faces . . . but still, nobody makes a move and nobody says anything.
Kurt is staring from the blood coating the bully's shirt, to the blood dripping lazily from his hand and he feels hollowed out – the rage has just completely disappeared, leaving him feeling disoriented and empty. He has never resorted to such violence before – ever – and he's reeling, confused as to how he managed to tap into such blind fury. But then he looks up at Puck and Finn, whose jaws are somewhere around their waistline, and he starts to understand his reaction a little more. He squares his shoulders and stares coolly at the surrounding crowd.
"What is going on here?"
The crowd parts and Principal Figgins is on the scene, eyes wide, landing first on the more noticeable spectacle of one of his students, blood all over his shirt, cupping his mouth and eyes teared up in pain. Then he catches sight of Puck and Finn standing opposite the wounded teen, and opens his mouth to no doubt demand an explanation, but before he can, he sees Kurt's bleeding knuckles.
"Mr. Hummel, Mr. Karofsky – follow me."
In the end, Kurt gets off relatively easily – the fact that he was being harassed for his sexuality has Figgins probably thinking of his last encounter with his dad, therefore two days suspension (which Karofsky also gets), and a notation in his record for fighting is fairly tame. He is also warned that Karofsky's parents may want to pursue assault charges, but Kurt considers that that would involve telling them he got punched out by a boy half his size and weight who's been known to wear corsets to school, and thinks he might be safe in that regard.
His father has to come and get him from school, and this could have been the ultimately atrocious end to this catastrophe of a day, but the flash of pride in his dad's eyes once Figgins explains the situation, and the way he tugs him close as they walk out to the car – that sort of makes the whole thing worth it. The punching thing. Not the scuff on his boots, the loss of his sweater and now, the blood on his pants . . . but it was a start at least.
They reach the parking lot and see all his fellow Glee members are gathered around his SUV, chatting. Kurt furrows his brow. "Uh, why are you guys still here? The threat has been eliminated, and my dad's going to escort me home."
"Hi Mr. Hummel." Tina waves before turning to Kurt. "Well, Mercedes said she was going over to your place to pig out on ice cream with you, and I kinda wanted in on that."
"And, uh, well, we just want to make sure you were okay?" Finn asks uncertainly, shuffling his feet.
"It is entirely possible that there will be some sort of vengeance for this," Rachel announces. "And while your father does appear to be formidable, there is strength in numbers."
"And Brittany says you have, like, a 55 inch TV in your house, and there's a game on tonight." Puck is leaning against the SUV.
"And, we're your friends, Kurt, and you've had a lousy day, and now it's time to go home, and get hopped up on sugar and forget about it." Mercedes walks over, giving him a warm hug before pulling back.
"Not to mention potentially plot for further retaliation because there will be more trouble once this goes up on the blogosphere," Artie adds, and then ducks as Tina tries to smack him for bringing it up. "But, I think the fact that you flattened a jock with one blow will totally take over any reference to you being a closet cross-dresser with a fetish for women's underwear. Ow!"
Kurt's looking over at everyone, who either smiles or smirks back and no, he is not tearing up at this gesture. He is not. He's just tired and emotionally wrung out. And his hand is still really throbbing. He glances up at this father, who's looking bemusedly over at the rag tag group of teens before meeting eyes with his son.
"It's fine with me, Kurt. Whaddaya say we swing by the supermarket, pick up some more ice cream, and chips and soda? Make a party out of it."
There's some enthusiastic agreement from the eleven other teenagers and Kurt nods, swallowing hard.
Everyone starts piling into cars – either Kurt's or his father's, or Mike's, it seems. While all this is going on, and various people are shouting 'shotgun!', his dad pulls him a little further from the crowd.
"Kurt, I just want you to know that I'm real proud that you stood up for yourself – but, I mean, you've always been so good about not letting them get to you –"
"I know, and I'm fine, dad." Kurt smiles genuinely. "I was having a bad day, and I snapped. I promise that's all it was. And . . . it doesn't get to me anymore. Especially considering who I get it from. Like I'm going to take anything personally from a selection of missing links who don't even know the difference between plaid and paisley."
His dad blinks a little, probably considering that he himself has no clue what the difference is, and Kurt just laughs. "Dad, seriously. It's fine. I have you, and I have those insane people over there . . ." He trails off, glancing over at his friends, who are engaged in rock, paper, scissors contests over the shotgun issue, and he smirks at the image of Karofsky going down.
When he faces his father again, that proud light is back in the man's eyes, and there's some nodding, and some neck rubbing before his dad, smirking a little himself, says, "I never thought I'd see the day you'd actually use the right hook I taught you."
Kurt holds back his billionth eye roll. "Yes, yes. 'I am man, hear me roar.' My hand really hurts by the way – you never mentioned that in your lessons." He holds up the hand that was disinfected and bandaged by the school nurse – he is beyond grateful that stitches were not needed, but now he has to find a way to coordinate the bandage with his wardrobe, and that was going to be a challenge.
"I said it would sting a bit," his dad protests. "But I also never thought you'd full on knock someone's teeth out. And damn kiddo, I'm real impressed."
Kurt scoffs, but there's warmth spreading all the way down to his fingertips and toes. His father shoots him a side-glance as they start walking back towards the cars. "But, uh, Kurt, I have to tell you – I don't want you thinking that throwing a punch is the best way to solve all your problems –"
"Dad, really? Are you expecting me to start brandishing brass knuckles and taking away their lunch money?"
His dad grins. "I know, I know. Sometimes you make this parenting thing a little too easy – good student, almost perfect attendance record. Now you're in trouble, for once, and I had to say something – fulfill my fatherly duty, you know?"
"Consider it fulfilled." Kurt nudges him with a shoulder as they walk to their respective vehicles. "And thanks for letting my friends come over."
Burt nudges him back. "No thanks needed – just uh, warn me if you're gonna break out the unitards." Kurt takes a minute to picture the rest of the Glee boys in unitards and doesn't know whether to crack up or blush. No, wait, definitely crack up. Just the same, he files the idea away for a later date. "And you all can do whatever you want unless it involves fire, alcohol or drugs."
Kurt nods seriously. "Agreed." He makes a mental note to hide the matches from Puck. And any potential accelerants.
"And, if you want to, you can hang out at the garage with me during your two days suspension. Like part of your punishment, but I can pay you for it and –"
"Dad, consider me free labour." Kurt grins. "But I get to bring my iPod speakers over and listen to my music. Loud."
"You leave out that Gaga chick and it's a deal," his father agrees, and Kurt finally feels his day looking up.
It isn't until he's laughing to the point of tears watching Tina and Brittany determinedly trying to teach Puck and Finn the dance moves to Shakira's Hips Don't Lie (which Mike and Matt got down after only a few tries and were now sitting back, pointing and catcalling, while Puck gives them the finger, still dancing), Artie sneakily taping it with his camera phone, and Rachel demanding that they try and sneak in some actual practice while they're at it, that Kurt realizes that he hasn't once thought of what Karofsky said to him.
Mercedes is choking on her ice cream, Santana is trying to look disdainful of it all, but failing miserably, and Brittany is tying a couple of Kurt's older scarves (that he gleefully provides since they were going to Goodwill anyway) around the two boys' hips, over their jeans, in lieu of actual hip skirts. Kurt finally has enough of watching their pathetic lumbering and takes the lead on the lesson, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes as he gets into position. Everyone joins in, Rachel giving up, grabbing a scarf for her own hips and assisting Quinn in tying hers beneath her belly. Artie is cheering loudly, singing the male vocal parts and taping it all openly now. When Kurt's father walks into the living room, catching sight of the craziness, all he does is walk on into the kitchen to grab a drink, and then come back. He leans against the wall and watches it all unfold with a fond smile on his face.
Kurt thinks he will never be so happy as he is right this second, in this town, in this house, being his fabulous self with these equally fantastic gleeks and his epically awesome father.
There would be more days like the one he just had, and worse people than Karofsky to deal with – but he's never cared less about the insults and slurs he knows he's going to have to face. And they've never held less meaning than they do, in this moment, with all of this laughter surrounding him.
But the next time someone involves either his friends or his family in their little hateful diatribes – his father would just have to understand . . . because Kurt was totally taking them down. Maybe it was time to invest in a set of brass knuckles, just in case . . . he definitely owned a jacket or two that would match incredibly well . . . and you could surely get them in various colours . . .
Author's Note: *sigh* It's done. I'm sorry for any lateness, the editing/proofing took forever. And I think I had too much fun socking Karofsky in the mouth, via Kurt :)
In regards to Kurt's punishment, I know someone who works in the school system, and I asked what would be one of the most realistically lenient punishments for something like that. Mind you, I live in Canada, and I couldn't find anything about the consequences for fighting in Ohio schools, in my, admittedly, limited research.
I hope you all enjoyed this, and thank you for reading. Reviews, comments and critiques are welcome!