A/N: Written for the glee_angst_meme, the prompt: "Someone with power in WMHS (On the school board, old and respected professor, whatever) is using it to molest the kids that attend school. The person is pretty indiscriminant; chooses girls, boys, losers and jocks, he doesn't really focus in on one student, but he uses threats, punishment, expulsion, etc. to get his way, not violence. He has abused hundreds of kids over the years, and while some have tried to stop him and report him, no one has yet suceeded! Now, however he has finally been caught, the worst, most humiliating and devastating thing to happen in William McKinley history, EVER! Cue some of the glee clubbers, cheerioes and/or even jocks admitting to being molested! They've never been able to admit it before, now they are able to find comfort with the other abused, friends and family! Bonus Points for adding Mr. Shue and maybe Terri to the list (the guy has been around since their time). Super bonus points for Sue being really supportive and helpful!"
At Cheerios practice, Santana hasn't come out of the change room yet and her coach is frothing with rage. "Lopez!" Sue barges in, ready to unleash the Hand of Vengeance upon the girl who dares hold up her practice. Santana barely looks up when she enters, and just stays there, sitting on a bench and holding it so tight her knuckles go white. "What is it, Coach Sylvester?" she says, still not looking at Sue; her voice quieter than usual and – oh god–
She's not scared of me! Sue thinks. What has happened? Did I suddenly fall through a dimensional portal to a universe where I no longer hold my reign of terror? How could this have happened?
"Santana, what the hell are you doing?" Sue bites, only barely drawing her cheerleader's attention.
"I'm sorry, Miss Sylvester," Santana says, not moving. "I just… I can't just act today."
"Did you become paralysed for life or something? Because even that cripple in your stupid little Glee club pulls the moves; get out here."
"No, Miss, it's just… if I tell you something, will you not be you for three seconds?"
Sue gapes at the disrespect. "'Not me'? Of course I will be me! And I am a fabulous person to tell; I'm the one whose Cheerio routine is paying for this with every second you spend here!"
And Santana honest to god rolls her eyes. Sue must have entered some kind of parallel universe. There is no other explanation. "You heard about that guy on the school board; Howard Capton, right?"
Sue narrows her eyes – yes, she heard. Howard Capton was their former principal, and a respected member of the McKinley High School community. Well, at least until about a week ago until a student accused him of sexually assaulting her, and then a whole array of students and former students – male and female – started making similar accusations. Sue can't say she was all that surprised, but she's not glad this is suddenly one of her Cheerio's problems. She's not stupid.
"Santana, tell me he didn't do anything to you."
"That would be a lie."
Sue lets this sink in, and looks at Santana's shaking. She has always quite liked Lopez– the girl may be a little too attached to her tanning privileges, but she is cunning and ruthless and strong. A little like Quinn, before the blonde went all Lifetime Movie of the Week the pregnancy. Seeing Santana like this is getting to Sue more than she cares to acknowledge.
"I'm going to kill him," Sue says. Santana snorts.
"Like you care. I'm just one of the cheerleaders to you."
"Exactly. You're one of my cheerleaders," she explains, "And no-one goes near anything of mine if they don't want to be skinned, bathed in chicken fat and fed to lions."
Santana actually laughs. Sue, for some reason, doesn't mind the contemptuous attitude as much as she did before.
"You have to go forward. Testify against him at trial."
"I can't, Miss Sylvester."
"Why the hell not?"
Santana hesitates. "It's… It's too hard."
"You think that's hard? Try creating a successful sushi business with nothing but ten of those little models they use to prove Newton's third law, that's hard!"
"Miss, shut the fuck up," Santana bites. "You don't get it. If I go out in front there, I'll just be a cliché – the slut who accuses a guy of raping her to prove she's not. No-one will buy it. I'll bring the whole fucking case down."
"No, I am not going to let you get away with that," Sue insists. "Santana Lopez, you are one of my girls, and I have not trained you to run away and hide from taking down your enemies because you are scared of what people might think. You are better than that. Now let me tell you what you are going to do. You are going to go to all those people who have reported this pervert so far. You are going to tell them what he did to you, and then you are going to go to the police with them. You are going to testify against this guy, in court, and you are going to have him found guilty and sentenced to forever in a dank, dark cell with a three hundred pound roommate called 'Honeysuckle'. Understand yet?"
"I don't know."
"Then make up your mind and agree with me soon, because I only have so much tolerance for weakness."
Santana sighs, looking like she might cry. "Okay."
William Schuester will only tolerate so much from his arch nemesis. Sue Sylvester gets away with a lot at this school, but when one of Will's Glee club kids winds up crying on his shoulder after rehearsals, telling him how she was a victim of horrible abuse and is terrified of going forward, but has been pressured and intimidated into it by her cheerleading coach, Will has to do something. The worst thing is, Sue actually thinks she's doing the right thing – Santana probably should testify, but if she's not ready to do so she can't be forced into it.
He has all this in mind when he bursts into Sue's office. "Sue!"
"Well hey, buddy," Sue greets him, smirking like usual. "What can I do you for?"
"It's about Santana Lopez," he says, and Sue's face gets slightly harder, but does not lose it's smug edge.
"What about her?"
Will sighs. "Don't play dumb, Sue. I just spent an hour with her crying on my arm out of fear – We both know she was one of Capton's victims, and we both know she really just does not want to testify. I will not let you intimidate a vulnerable girl into doing something she's not ready."
Sue's mouth stretches into a thin line. "So you think she should just stay quiet."
"I didn't say that," Will defends himself. "Yes, it probably would be best for everyone involved if she went forward. But she needs to do so of her own volition, with support from friends and family – trying to make her to so will only hurt her more."
"So, you think she should go forward?"
"That's what you would do, if you were in her place?"
Will's mouth goes dry for a second. "…Yes?" he eventually says, weakly.
Sue clicks her tongue. "Funny. 'Cause look what I stole from when they were all investigating," she says, pulling out an envelope. When she opens it, he can see the backs of photos.
Oh god. Oh no.
"These. Photos, 1993," she tells him unnecessarily. "Turns out, everyone's favorite pervert had a thing for looking at himself. Found these photos of a high school senior giving him a blowjob; you can't see the boy's face, but with that hair, I don't understand why he would possibly put that head near his crotch – surely he'd be scared of animated insect characters crawling out and biting him in defense?"
Sue hands the photos to Schue, who reluctantly takes them, but does not look. He doesn't need to be reminded. Sue actually sighs, and when he looks at her, she seems somewhat sympathetic – or maybe she's just constipated, because he's not sure Sue is actually capable of compassion. "Look, Schuester, I don't like you. I find you arrogant, annoying, overly corny and I suspect your hair breaks the laws of physics, or at least the laws of how much product you can use without rendering yourself a vegetable," she says. "But you are a victim here. I'm not even all that sure why I care so much, but this Capton bastard has hurt people I know – people I'm meant to hurt – and no-one does that near Sue Sylvester and gets away with it. Not even to you, William."
He looks away. "You have good intentions. For once. But it's still not okay – if someone's not ready to testify, you support them. You help them until they are. But you can't just push them into the water and say sink or swim when it comes to this, because it will always be sink."
"Tell me about it."
He blinks. "What?"
"Well if you want to go up and testify, you should try it out first. Tell me about it."
He sighs. Sue Sylvester is not the first person he imagined ever confiding this in, but hey, what does he have to lose? "It was... just once. Senior year. I got called into the principal's office... they found marijuana in my locker. I knew it wasn't mine, so I was confused as hell, but I was also sort of terrified. And he struck me a deal. He said if I... did that... he'd let the whole thing go. I knew it was wrong, but I thought, if I admitted to drug possession... I'd be screwed. So I just did it. Didn't know he was taking photos. Hated it, but he left me alone after that. I tried just to not think about it, you know?"
Sue nods and grimaces. "I'm going to kill him."
"A) You hate me, and B) That's illegal."
She shrugs. "Talk to Santana, okay? I'm bad at sympathy. Make her talk, okay?"
The police seem regretful when they call her up, ask her to come to the station. Terri's actually surprised, although she has no idea why – she's known it was coming to this ever since that poor girl first accused the bastard publicly, after he had been doing this for years.
Okay, lie. Terri's known this was coming since she was fifteen years old and she got called into the principal's office over the finding of marijuana and a suspicious slip in her GPA.
"Thank you for coming, Mrs. Schuester," they say. She knows she should have changed back to her maiden name by now, but she can't bring herself to do it – deep down, she believes she is still Will's and vice versa. Maybe that's how she got herself into this whole situation in the first place, but she can't think anything else. She has allowed herself to be owned by him; his sweet understanding and endearing (but useless) dreaming, never her family's harsh expectations and certainly not the press of Principal Capton's fingers all over her.
They play her the tape – she guesses they have to. She doesn't feel like she needs to see it, but the more rational part of her mind whispers that she needs to know details, for... some reason.
So she watches. She didn't remember certain things the tape shows her; like the broken clock in the corner, or the fact the walls were two slightly different shades of blue – powder blue and dream blue, her outstanding work at Sheets n' Things tells her – or even that there was a camera. But she remembers the important bits; the graze of that table's wood against her back, the bruises he left on her thighs, his dark whispers of 'There slut, you can't let anyone know; they'll never think you're the victim, your family will hate you, that boy will leave you, they'll all think you're mine; you are mine,' as she closed her eyes and tried to imagine being anywhere but there. Tried to imagine it being Will on top of her, fucking her; no, making love to her, with constant soothing whispers that it would be okay. Tried to imagine her friends and family holding her, telling her they understood; she was the victim here. Tried to imagine being supported. Tried to imagine everyone beating the everloving crap of of this monster for her sake.
She closes her eyes and tries that again, but it doesn't work so well. The constant sound from the tape – her terrified whimpers, his grunts and mumbling – flood her ears, and all it does is make the memories come back, more painful than ever.
The policemen shut the tape off, and she opens her eyes. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Schuester," the younger one says, looking professionally sympathetic.
She smiles shakily. "It's okay," she lies.
"Do you wish to make a statement?"
She nods, but doesn't outright say yes.
It almost makes him want to laugh, when he sees her – he found out Lopez was another one of them a while ago, but Mrs. Hoover? He's now fucked two of his fellow victims and it's creeping him out; maybe like attracts like. He doesn't know.
"Hey," he says, and she does a double take. The rest of the group is busy discussing some legal matter – holy crap, that's Mr. Schue – but she chooses to distract him.
He nods. "The one, the only. So, what's a girl like you doing in a place like this?" he asks with a wry smile. She looks away.
"What do you think?" she says. He bites the inside of his cheek – he wishes he could be more surprised than he is. He dealt with some weird shit from his MILFs, but they all seemed more or less okay. Not Mrs. Hoover, though – there was always this incredible sadness in her eyes, and the sex seemed to repulse her as much as it excited her. She liked it – he made sure of that – but she never seemed quite okay, and he'll never forget that time they tried bondage and he realized there were tears in her eyes.
"What about you?" she asks, snapping him back to reality.
"Disaster voyeur. No, what do you think?" he says, and yes, Puck does actually know what the word 'voyeur' means. Tell no-one. She sighs and nods.
"Okay, am I terrible if I'm not surprised you're here? Or if I kind of figured something like this happened to you ages ago?"
Puck blinks. "Uh, not really, but... dude, I am not some weepy victim. How'd you figure it out?"
"You're not a weepy victim. You're the other side of the spectrum. You went crazy during the sex, but after you'd always look a little like you wanted to be sick. I heard about you from all over Neptune, how you'd sleep with pretty much all the women because of your 'business'; face it, Puck, when a high school kid is playing a glorified prostitute, something's up."
"I am not a prostitute!"
She raises an eyebrow. "You think anyone hired you to clean their pool? I don't even have a pool."
He shrugs. "Whatever. It's only prostitution if I don't enjoy it."
"You kind of looked like you didn't enjoy it."
"...Sometimes. In my more chick moments. Okay, I'll rephrase – it's only prostitution if I don't want it."
She nods, and laughs a little. "God, what a cliche," she muses. "The poor hidden-depths victim, fucking everyone he can get his hands on to try and forget, try and feel slightly better about himself."
His stomach lurches and he looks away, eyes roaming their fellow victims. Mr. Schue spots him with a small gape, and Puck shrugs sadly. Schue nods, and turns back to whoever he was talking to before. Puck does similar, focusing his attention on Mrs. Hoover again.
"Maybe," he says. "But you're not much better; fucking said victim for similar reasons. Got a feeling we didn't do each other much good in the long run."
She shrugs, tracing patterns on the arm rest of her chair with a long, manicured fingernail. "I guess. After all, who could not say of you, "'tis a pity he's a whore?""
He doesn't get the reference, just frowns a little.
Kurt Hummel is only so good at keeping secrets. He will hold onto them like lifelines when there isn't any pressure, people acting like they could find out, but whenever something happens to shine the light on the possibility he has a secret, he just crumbles. It was the same with his sexuality. Mercedes was so sweet and so genuine, and felt really bad about busting his window, so he felt like he owed her the truth.
He's not sure if he owes anyone the truth about this, but he's telling the whole family unit anyway.
"...Dude, that's fucked up," Finn whispers. "I'm sorry."
"How is it your fault?" Kurt shoots back. Finn shrugs.
Burt shakes his head and sits down next to his son, asking "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I was terrified," Kurt admits, his voice cracking. "I was fourteen and already the resident fag–"
"Their words, not mine. Anyway, I kind of knew if I said anything, it would backfire terribly – who do really expect in this town to think a gay guy can be forced into sex with a man? It'd just make everything worse. If I did come out, I'd be carrying that around too – and everyone would think it made me the way I am; like a walking unfortunate implication – sexual abuse makes you gay. It was fair and I knew it – I knew who I was long before that bastard came near me, but it doesn't work that way. I'm not naive, I just went on with my life like usual."
"I shoulda known," Burt mutters, more to himself than anything. Kurt shakes his head.
"Stop there, Dad. You do not get to blame yourself for this."
"Why are you telling us this now?" Finn asks curiously.
Kurt hesitates. "I... Look, there's going to be a lot happening. Investigations and trials and the like. I know, if I just watch all that unfold – I'll crumble. Probably break down incredibly ungracefully, and it won't be good for anyone in the long run. It's best to tell you now, at the start of this public revelation, so you can convince me to be part of this whole snowball and put the bastard away – I know I should testify, but I can't work myself up to it. So it's your job now."
They all nod absently. "You poor thing," Carole cooes.
"Don't patronize me."
Will finds him in the choir room, staring off into space and digging his nails into his palm so hard he might hurt himself. "Artie?"
The aforementioned boy looks up, startled, his eyes red and puffy. Will thinks he's been crying, and sits down beside him, concerned. "Mr. Schue?" he responds.
"Were you just crying?"
Artie sighs, looking anxious. "If I say no, will you believe me?"
"Okay," and then Artie looks away again, scrunching his fists up tighter.
"Stop that Artie; you're going to hurt yourself."
Artie shrugs, but complies anyway. Will bites his lip, dread settling over him. "What's wrong? Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," says Artie, vehemently shaking his head.
"Okay," says Will. For a few seconds, they just sit there in uncomfortable silence.
"...Look, I can't lie to you, can I?" Artie eventually asks. "Mr. Schue... You've gone forward with what happened to you, everyone knows," he says. "You can tell, I know you can. I don't know why, but..."
"I was getting kind of suspicious," Will admits. "I've seen a lot of people, good people crying over what this bastard did to them – I've been one of them. I wish I could be surprised, but..."
Artie nods. "Yeah. Guess I'm fucked up whether you know the truth or not, right?"
"Don't, okay? I get the point of all your pep talks, Mr. Schue, but I just don't want to hear it right now."
"Okay," and Will can't blame him for that. He thinks if people had tried pep talking him about this – they haven't actually, mostly because he's taken on the responsible leader role, and its up to him to support and understand everyone else – he would have just punched them in the face. This can't be just talked out and he knows it.
"Do you realize there's a stupendously high percentage of our Glee club that were his victims? You, me, Santana, Puck, Kurt... five out of thirteen; not half, but still not a good sign."
Will nods. "Yeah, I guess not," he says. "Somehow I don't think this incident will make our club any less of a target around this school."
"Or, you know, to future sex predators."
"Okay, stop it, Mr. Schue!" Artie exclaims, catching his teacher off-guard.
"Wait, Artie, stop wha–"
"Stop trying to calm me down; make me feel better about this whole damn thing!" he elaborates, hands flailing wildly. "It's not any better Mr. Schue, it's never going to be, and talking in soft tones doesn't change that. He used us, and abused us, and assaulted us, and we were just kids; I'm still a kid; I was just the little wheelchair freak who was fucked up enough already and too weak to do anything, so tell me, what chance did I have to fight back? How is that fair?"
Artie looks away after his uncharacteristic outburst, those tears brimming in his eyes again. Will breathes heavily, taking a few seconds to appreciate everything Artie just said.
"I'm your teacher," Will starts. "As your teacher, part of my job is... peddling cliches," he adds with a wry smile, catching Artie's eye again. "Life's not fair, Artie."
The aforementioned boy actually laughs.