Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
Kurt is sitting at his desk, working on a complicated math problem and steadfastly ignoring Finn and Puck, who have suddenly become best friends again–he thinks it's a combination of the tire slashing incident and getting a job together to pay for it–when his Dad comes stomping down the stairs.
Kurt turns and barely has time to focus on his Dad's angry face when a piece of paper is shoved in his face.
"What the hell is this?"
Kurt leans back, blinking, "I think it's my cell phone bill."
"Yeah," Burt is trying to keep calm, Kurt can see that easily, "What is all of this?" he gestures to a couple things on the list, "Two hour phone calls at one in the morning! Two or three times a week since last May, Kurt!"
Kurt pales. He glances sideways at Puck and Finn, who are stiff on the couch. He catches a glimpse of Finn's face; it's pinched and he's staring at the ceiling, trying to pretend he's not listening, "Dad, can we do this upstairs? Please."
"No," Burt puts the paper down on Kurt's desk, "If you don't tell me who you're calling right now, not only will I take away your cell phone for a month, but when you get it back that number will be blocked."
Burt stares his son down until he's sure Kurt isn't going to say anything, "Where is your phone?"
"Dad, you can't..." Kurt's voice is small and pathetic, but his Dad doesn't notice, he just starts looking around the room for Kurt's phone.
"I don't care what you think is fair or not, Kurt. I will not have you calling some number in the middle of the night." He snatches it off Kurt's dresser when he sees it, "Is it some long-distance boyfriend, or what? Cause you know that's not safe, calling some guy you've never met in person."
He turns and makes it to the foot of the stairs before Kurt blurts out, "It's called The Trevor Project."
Burt pauses on the stairs, turning around and trudging back to Kurt, who continues in a lowered voice that he wishes Puck and Finn couldn't hear but knows they can, "Trevor was a movie about a boy like me who... wasn't accepted by the people around him and tried to kill himself. It's an organization dedicated to helping kids like me," he kept his eyes focused on the handrails on the stairs past his Dad's elbow, "They try to promote acceptance and prevent crisis situations."
"Crisis situations," Burt repeats the words, quietly, "You're... You're calling a suicide hotline?"
Kurt glances up, blinking hard to prevent the tears from spilling down his cheeks. Burt sits on the end of Kurt's bed, dropping his head into his hands, "Dad, it's not like that. They help kids deal, even if they're not–"
"Suicidal." Kurt nods as his Dad looks up at him through his fingers, "So you're not..."
Kurt shakes his head, "No, Dad. I'm fine. I just... Sometimes I need somebody to talk to." Burt looks hurt and about to argue, so Kurt continues, "It's not that I don't think you can handle it, but it hurts me to see you upset about this stuff and the people at the Trevor project... Dad, it's why they're there."
Burt nods once. He stands and moves in front of Kurt again; he reaches down and clasps a hand on Kurt's shoulder, firm and comforting, "You know you can talk to me about anything, right?"
"Yeah, Dad, I–" Burt holds his hand out, offering the phone back. Kurt takes it gently, dropping his hands to his lap and watching them intently.
"You keep calling that number if it helps you, kiddo. Just... Remember that I love you, okay?"
"Okay. I love you too, Dad."
Burt leaves, climbing the stairs slowly. Kurt hears the door close softly at the top and then hushed voices from upstairs: his Dad telling Carole.
Puck's got his head down, but Finn isn't being subtle about staring at Kurt, so he stands and walks calmly into the bathroom. He closes the door behind him and sinks down against it, bringing his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.
He drops his head down in between his knees and lets himself cry. It doesn't matter that Finn and Puck are in the next room, likely listening to him; they already know he needs to call some stupid helpline to get by, what does it matter if they hear him breaking.
He stays there for a few minutes before there's a quiet knock on the door, "Kurt, dude, are you okay?"
Finn tries the door but Kurt pushed back against it and it closes again with a tiny click, "I'm fine, Finn. Please just leave me alone."
Puck's voice cuts through his tears like glass, "No way, man." Kurt reaches up and flicks the lock on the door, effectively blocking them from coming in. He ignores them talking through the door at him. He hears Finn drop clumsily to the floor and Puck slides down the wall next to it, "I used to call a helpline."
Kurt lifts his head and wipes at his eyes, leaning back against the door, listening.
"When my Dad left, I blamed myself," Kurt doesn't say anything, but Puck doesn't seem to care whether he's listening or not, "I called that helpline every couple weeks for almost a year, whenever my Mom would lose it and I had to take care of Sarah. After a while, I got better, because Mom stopped drinking."
Kurt sniffs loudly in the bathroom; it's typical that Puck would think he understands.
"I get it, it's not the same, but I mean, I understand the need to talk to someone who gets it. And I'm sorry that I was ever part of the reason you called–that I probably still am part of the reason–"
Finn chimes in quietly, sounding upset, "Me too, Kurt."
They're all quiet for a long time, until Finn and Puck seem to give up. Puck mumbles through the door that they're going to play video games and if Kurt wants to come out, he can play too if he wants, and then they're gone from the other side of the door; Kurt gets up after a few minutes, washes his face in the sink, and opens the door slowly.
The other boys pause the video game immediately and Finn moves over on the couch so Kurt can sit between them. Kurt lifts a hand, "I do not want to talk about it," and then sits down between them, feeling irrationally safe squished between the two massive football players.
He doesn't tell them for a long time, but when Puck starts beating up anybody who looks at him wrong and Finn manages to convince half the school that "fag" is a terrible word, it changes Kurt's life. His calls dwindle from eight or nine a month, and by the time he graduates he's calling once a month and doesn't even care that the only boyfriends he's had have been scared away by his step brother and his step brother's best friend. Because Puck will realize eventually, and Kurt doesn't think Puck is very scared of Finn at all.