Author's Notes: GUYS, GUYS. I DID IT. I mean, I barely did it - by one day, from my perspective, which will be worse in the US - but still: I managed to finish this before season 2 starts and totally josses it. UP HIGH.

10: The Thorns

When Finn enters the Glee club room, he finds they're all staring at him. It makes him nervous, but he thinks it might not be so bad – when everyone's pissed at you. "Uh, hey," he says. They don't respond. "Okay, why are we all just staring? 'Cause, uh, I know you're pissed but did I grow an extra head or something because you're all looking like–"

"Finn, stop," Matt cuts them off. "I told them. They know, or at least know as much as I do."

"Finn, it's okay," Rachel says, slowly standing up. "Really; we just want to help–"

"No," says Finn, shaking his head furiously. This isn't happening. This can't be happening. "Look, he's lying to you!"

"Why would I lie?" Matt asks.

"I don't know, because you're pissed at me like everyone else is and making something up to fuck my life up further! Guys, I swear, nothing's going on; Sam never came anywhere near me–"

"If it's a lie, how do you know what we're even talking about?" asks Kurt, voice sounding scratchy and broken. His eyes are red like he's been crying, or at least trying really hard not to. "How would you know it has anything to do with Sam?"

Finn doesn't have an answer to that.

"I – I just–" he stumbles on his words as he stumbles forward. Suddenly, he gets mad – "You son of a bitch!"

He aims a punch at Matt's head, who is so surprised he just manages to duck in time. Mr. Schuester pulls him back, and Finn immediately breaks away from the physical contact, shuddering. Schue lets him go, and Finn doesn't have the energy to try hitting Matt again. The rest of the club just stares.

"I – They weren't meant to–" Finn doesn't know what he's saying, and looks up at the club imploringly. "You needed him to be the good guy. He was the good guy, before I..." Kurt flinches, and it makes Finn feels even worse.

"...I'm so sorry," he concludes, unwillingly letting out a sob.

"Finn," says Kurt, standing up and his voice shaking. "Tell us what happened."

Finn looks down, and Kurt slowly steps toward him. Finn's still looking down when Kurt is standing in front of him, and pulls his head up with one hand. Finn flinches a little, but Kurt doesn't leave. Their eyes meet.

"He hurt you, didn't he?" asks Kurt. Finn vaguely feels like he's being treated like a kid; in a 'show us where he touched you on the doll' way. "No, scratch that. He raped you."

Finn's shoulders slump in despair, and he can only nod helplessly. Kurt squeezes his eyes shut in anguish, and Finn's guilt comes back again.

"I'm so sorry," he repeats. "He meant so much to you, and I didn't want to fuck everything up, because you were happy for once and I owed you after everything, and I knew, if I went around yelling about the other gay boy r... doing that to me, it would start some kind of fucking crusade in this town about keeping the poor straight boys safe, and that would be so unfair because you didn't do anything wrong; you'd never do something like that, and I read somewhere that the majority of guys who rape other guys identify as straight anyway. So they'd totally fuck over your life, and Rachel's life too, 'cause of her dads; and basically everyone I care about would be screwed and I couldn't let–"

"Finn, stop," Kurt cries, on the edge of tears. "Dear Lord... you were trying to protect us. Finn... that was never your responsibility."

"I just... I wanted everyone to be happy," Finn concludes. Kurt sighs deeply at him.

"Come here."

With that, Kurt pulls him into a hug and Finn gives in, sobbing and burying his head into Kurt's neck. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the majority of the club looking like they want to be sick, and Rachel biting her lip.

And that's when the door swings open.

"Um, hey. So, you texted me and asked me to come here, and I don't know why, but I generally enjoy your music stuff and I try to be a good boyfriend so I thought I should–"

Sam's explanation is cut short by Rachel immediately storming right up to him and punching him square in the face.

"Son of a bitch!" she screams, shocking everyone who thought Rachel Berry had artificial preventions from swearing. "What the hell is he doing here?"

Finn's pulled away from Kurt at this point, and Kurt takes it on himself to explain. "I did. He's correct; I texted him," he says. Rachel gapes. "I wanted to hear what he had to say for himself."

Rachel seems to accept this, instead turning to glare at Sam some more. Then she punches him again. It doesn't have the same impact as it did the first time, and Rachel is small and doesn't do much damage without the power of surprise, but it pisses Sam off.

"Ow! Okay, what's going on? Why does she keep doing that?"

"Because Berry's a little girl, and she can hit you as hard as she likes without accidentally taking it to federal offense levels just by the power of being fucking pissed," Puck says, punching his hand threateningly. "We know, you bastard."

Sam seems confused. "Wait, what?"

"Do not play dumb," says Matt. "I saw, you asshole. I figured it out. I told them all; we know exactly what you did to him."

Sam gets the 'oh shit' look across his face for a second, but covers it up brilliantly – if they didn't already know, no-one would notice. "Okay, I am seriously needing an explanation here. Would someone just tell me–"

Rachel cuts him off by punching him again. She takes Sam by surprise again, and he stumbles backwards. Finn's starting to notice he has the best (ex? He doesn't really know now) girlfriend ever. "Alright, if you insist on an explanation. You are a perverted rapist. We know what you did to Finn now, as well as knowing what has motivated his recent behavior. Not only are we horrified by your crime, but your callousness in isolating a target who would feel the least able to report you and bring you to justice is astounding. Finn Hudson is one of us; he's my boyfriend, and every single one of us would fight to death for his sake. And that, my dear Sam, is why I will keep punching you as long as I can possibly get away with it."

She finishes it off with another blow, and Sam grips his nose. It looks like bruises are starting to form. "Okay, this is insane," he says. "It's ridiculous. I would never – come on, you see the way Finn's acted around us for a while. You really think he wouldn't lie to you out of his own prejudice, just to fuck me over?"

"Er, Finn didn't tell us," Artie points out. "Were you paying attention? Matt saw what you were pulling and told us about it. Finn was trying pretty hard to deny what just happened before you came in, then he had something of a breakdown and Kurt hugged him, so he confirmed it for us."

"You suck," Brittany blurts out, glaring as hard as she possibly can.

"Oh, why is it such a big deal?" Sam yells. Everyone stares. "Seriously. Okay, I'm sorry. I was horny, he was there. You're taking this way more seriously than you need to."

"You drugged me!" Finn yells. "If that was an excuse – which it's not, by the way – you can't just claim it was something you did on impulse. If you had the drugs, it meant you were planning on doing this to someone, even if it wasn't me."

He can't help but feel like some kind of weight has been lifted.

"I think the general conclusion is he's completely insane, not to mention psychopathic," says Rachel.

"Yeah. And seriously, if you don't think this is a big deal..." Finn trails off, holding back tears, " might wanna adjust. Pay more attention to stuff. I might think you'd be a bad boyfriend to Kurt or something."

Sam rolls his eyes. "And as I expected, you're entirely overdramatic. And you've roped everyone else in it with you," he says. "Hate to bring this up, but what are you going to do about it? You've got no physical evidence; you'd be too preoccupied with denial and protecting everyone to even want it. You've got your word against mine, and a whole bunch of hearsay – what can you do?"

Everyone's a little surprised when Mr. Schue steps forward and throws Sam to the ground. "Okay, now, let me explain something," he says, looming over Sam warningly. "I'm one of those teachers who gets entirely overprotective over the students they know well. That, and I'm a decent human being. I don't know what he's going to do about you in the end, but you are not walking around this school like anyone else. You are being expelled, if I can't do anything else. Now we're going."

"Wait, Mr. Schue," says Kurt, gingerly walking over to them. Sam stares.

"So, are you going to react like the rest of them?" asks Sam. "It's really not that big a deal; especially given the way Finn's treated you in the past," and then, with a small smile, he adds, "I love you."

And Kurt spits in his face.

"Stay the fuck away from me, and my family, Sam Evans," he says. "Now Mr. Schue, you can go."

Schuester physically pulls Sam off the ground and pushes him out the door. Kurt breathes in heavily, folding his arms over his chest. Finn sinks into an empty chair – he's pretty sure it wasn't his, but whatever – and someone gently puts a hand on his shoulder.


He breaks into tears.

A while later, he's sitting just outside the choir room with Rachel, and she holds his hand. Everyone's mostly giving them some distance, but they keep coming in and out to check up on him. He doesn't mind.

"I'm really, really sorry," she says.

He raises an eyebrow. "You've said that like, fifty times, Rach."

"Well, just making sure it sinks in," she says with a teasing smile. Then she gets serious again. "Seriously though. I should have known. You were so angry, and scared... and I was me again; I was too self-absorbed, and selfish, and insecure. I made it all about me again, when you really needed me to notice what was wrong. So I'm sorry."

"Rach, you can stop," he says. "It wasn't your job to save me."

"And it wasn't your job to save everyone you knew, but that didn't stop you trying like a madman, did it?" she says. He smiles.

"Fair point," he says. "I'm sorry I was such a dick to you."

"I think you have more than enough excuse, Finn."

"I was just... so scared," he tries to explain. "That if you knew, it would hurt you. You'd be hurting for my sake; because of me, and I couldn't stand that. Not after how much pain I put you before; I mean, with the time I was just one of those jock douches who didn't really know you and made your life hell anyway, and all the time I liked you but was with Quinn, and that whole mess after Quinn when I dumped you because I was too fucking obsessed with my reputation... It's felt like I owed you that much, you know? To be the perfect boyfriend; make things easier for you."

"A rose without a thorn," she sums up. "I want to help you Finn. I'm better than that; to run away from your problems."

He shrugs. "Well, I suck."

She leans in and kisses his forehead. "I love you."

"I know," he replies. "So, are we back together now?"

"If you want us to be."

"I want us to be," he answers. She can't hide her beam.

They're interrupted by the entrance of Kurt. "Rachel, hey," he says. "Could I talk to Finn alone for a minute?"

She nods. "Alright," she says, standing and walking back into the choir room. "Bye."

Finn smiles at Kurt. "Now I know it's serious. You two are being nice to each other and doing what each other asks and everything."

Kurt quirks his lip, sitting down next to Finn. "Just so you know, this floor is disgusting," he says. "I'm going through a lot for you."

Finn shrugs.

"Are you okay?"

Finn bites his lip. "Uh... No," he says honestly. "I still feel like absolute shit."

"...Yeah, that was a stupid question." Kurt breathes in deeply. "So, uh, I called our parents," he says. "Told them... what we'd found out. I thought you might be mad, but... it seemed important."

Finn shakes his head. "No man, it's cool. I, uh... guess they needed to know."

Kurt shrugs in response. "My dad was... pretty shook up, when he found out the real reason you were acting that way. He wasn't saying anything different than he would if he felt like he'd done nothing wrong – promising fiery vengeance and death upon Sam – but I can tell the difference. The inflections than represent 'I am furious as hell about this and feel guilty for just assuming it was another bout of homophobia', as opposed to just 'I am furious as hell about this'."

Finn flinches. "I don't want him to feel bad," he says. "I mean, he had his reasons. Not like I haven't done it before."

"Finn, would you stop?"

"Stop what?"

"Stop acting like this is somehow punishment for everything you've ever done wrong!" Kurt cries. "Finn, nothing you could possibly do would ever make you deserve this. Okay?"

"Okay," Finn answers. "I just feel so..." he trails off. "You were happy with him."

Kurt reaches across and takes his hand. "I was happy with a lie, Finn," he says. "Do you think I'd ever want to be with him, knowing what a monster he really is?"

"No, of course not!"

"Exactly," says Kurt. "Not to mention, the fact he already had the drugs makes me vaguely paranoid I may have been his original target... I don't see how he would have known I'd be out that night."

Finn winces. "Actually, he said he was looking for you when he showed up – he had flowers and everything. That actually makes a lot of sense. Fuck."

Kurt nods.

"But, in it's own way..." Finn's not sure how to put this. "It kind of doesn't. Because he's a fucked up psycho, but I asked him if he'd do something like that to you... He seemed genuinely offended. Like he wouldn't do it. Like he meant it when he said he loved you. Man, this doesn't make any sense."

Kurt shrugs it off. "He probably would have just fooled himself into thinking I was consenting. He seems the kind who could convince himself of anything to excuse his own selfish desires."

Finn nods. "Yeah," he says. "Fuck, this sucks. I just want... I want to stop feeling like this. I feel like I've been torn in two, and I don't understand why. And it's sort of like, if I feel like this, he's won, but I can't stop."

"Finn," Kurt says. "You don't owe anyone anything. You don't have to beat anyone. You need to get better, and that's all. And we'll help you through it, okay?"

"Okay," he says. Kurt squeezes his hand tighter, and Finn's calm for the first time in weeks.