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"Hey, Kurt, wait up!" Finn shouts down the hallway and Kurt stops mid-jog, turning back to face him. He bounces on the balls of his feet, looking nervous. Finn doesn't blame him, and when he catches up he claps Kurt on the back, "Thanks for waiting. I figured you could use company."

"Yeah, it's not a problem." They break into a brisk walk; Finn doesn't really have to try to keep up with Kurt, "But if we aren't back in five minutes, Coach is going to burn my new hat."

Finn doesn't want to know how she even managed to get a hold of Kurt's hat, but he nods anyway. He'd seen Sue send Kurt out mid-assembly, and he'd followed because he knew for a fact that Karofsky and several other jocks had skipped out of the assembly.

They didn't talk at all on the way there; Kurt was walking too quickly to talk and Finn didn't have much to say.

When they turn the corner, Kurt stops short and Finn nearly runs into him. Karofsky and six others are standing around, smoking. One of them smirks and motions with his hand.

Kurt seems to shake himself out of it and starts walking again, purposeful and confident.

The boys step in front of him and he sighs. Finn stands beside him, feeling more scared than he wants to admit. Sure, he can defend Kurt against one or two–maybe three–of these guys, but not seven. No way in hell.

"Boys, I'm running a vital errand for Coach Sylvester, and I'm sure she would be displeased if it took longer than she designated."

One of the boys laughs stupidly and only stops when Azimio smacks him upside the head. Karofsky steps forward, staring straight at Kurt, "Too bad. We wouldn't want anybody to be displeased with our resident faggot." He spits the last word and Kurt flinches, reaching up to wipe spit out of his eye.

Finn moves forward, stepping half in front of Kurt, "Don't call him that."

"Or what, Hudson, you gonna take on seven of us with your fairy stick?"

Kurt scoffs behind him, and Finn knows it's because he thinks they're stupid–he can't blame him, really, because fairy stick?–but Finn just wants him to shut up.

"Leave us alone, boys," Kurt pushes past Finn and he wants to yell at him not to get right in the middle of all these assholes, but he does, shoving two of them in the process, "I have a job to do." He makes it through most of them and then the two at the back grab him under the arms.

"Hey!" Finn shouts, shoving Karofsky with both hands and trying to push past. Four of them descend on him–he manages to fend pretty well for himself against the four of them, but he's watching Kurt as much as possible. They've got him against the locker, one on each side, and the other is laughing and taking his time punching Kurt repetitively in the gut.

Finn ducks a punch that is directed at his face and then gets one in the stomach. It's hard, and knocks the wind out of him, but he launches himself forward and gets a couple hits in on a guy he knows is called Tyler, and then he hears Kurt.

It's the first time he's made a noise, but it's half-way between a shriek and a groan and he knows they've really hurt him. He turns, trying to figure out what happened, and something hits him in the back of the head.

He falls, barely thinking to put his hands out and prevent major damage to his face. Not that it matters. He tries to push himself upwards to get back into the fight, but the four of them aren't fighting fair. They start kicking and he curls sideways, trying to protect his face.

He broke his arm once, falling off the monkey bars at the playground, and he remembers feeling like he could keep breaking bones and it wouldn't feel any worse because it hurt so much.

But Finn can feel everything. He feels it when a boot comes down on his wrist and then his nose, when what he thinks might be a bat shatters his kneecap, and when ribs snap, one after the other. He hears Kurt yelling, screaming for them to stop hurting him, and Finn smiles through the pain, because this is why he came–as long as Kurt is still yelling, still coherent, he's okay and that's all that matters to Finn.

Kurt hears the final snap and doesn't really process what has happened until somebody screams, terrified and anguished, and then he realizes it's him and the other boys are running, flying down the hallway.

Nobody is holding him up anymore, and Kurt drops. He knows he should feel something–pain in his stomach, in his knees from hitting the floor so hard–but there's nothing.

Nothing as he crawls, on hands and knees, through the pool of Finn's blood that's slowly spreading from where he lays. Nothing as he presses a hand to Finn's neck and recoils because a bone juts out against his palm. Nothing as Finn's chest and eyes remain motionless.

Nothing as he grabs at Finn's clothes, shaking him, begging him to wake up.

Kurt Hummel doesn't feel anything for a long time.