Title: The Few, the Unhappy Few
Characters: Ensemble, but primarily Kurt.
Spoilers: Everything up through the end of The Power of Madonna, and then AU.
Word Count: ~ 2200
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Snippets of dialogue may be incorporated from the original canonical episode(s) and belong to their respective authors/creators. The original characters and plot are the property of the author(s). The author(s) is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended, nor should any be inferred. No profit is being made.
Distribution: My LJ.
Summary: When Kurt openly challenges Will's directive, he unwittingly sparks a rebellion. In a nutshell, this is Kurt vs. Will.
Author's Note: I wrote this because I was supremely unhappy with the storyline surrounding "What It Feels Like for a Girl." Why was Kurt there? Does he really need to be told how to treat women, by Will of all people? Don't get me wrong, I love me some Will, but he can also be very obtuse and frustrating. :P
After the first run through the song, Kurt was bored, and rather angry. He wondered, not for the first time, why his presence was demanded for this particular Schuester Moral Lesson.
Intellectually, he knew what Mr. Schuester was trying to accomplish, and he even approved: the male members of Glee desperately required guidance in how to treat their female counterparts. He frowned. Well, Finn and Puck did, at any rate. Finn's clueless nature was both adorable and reprehensible at the same time, and Puck was just a sleaze. He didn't know enough about Mike Chang or Matt Rutherford to form an opinion of their alleged deficiencies, but both were friendly with Mercedes. That was enough for Kurt, for he knew she didn't tolerate fools gladly. Or at all.
His frown deepened. Why was he there? What, exactly, was Mr. Schuester trying to suggest? His eyes narrowed. He sincerely hoped that Schuester wasn't obliquely implying that Kurt himself was in anyway misogynistic, because that was not only ridiculous, but offensive. That Schuester himself was also taking part in the song certainly begged the question as to why. If the man was having his own doubts about how he treated women, that was his trauma, and Kurt was not about to be forced into some asinine male bonding ritual simply because he was in possession of a penis.
This entire activity was idiotic. People didn't change their prejudices because of a song. If the emotion and understanding that was supposed to fuel the lyrics was absent, what was the point? It was obvious that Puck resented being here. Finn, as per usual, had jumped on the Schuester bandwagon and demanded everyone navel gaze, though it was apparent he was unsure as to just what he was supposed to glean from this breast-beating exercise in futility. Mike and Matt were going along to get along, as they so often did.
Well, Kurt had had enough, and felt no compunction about calling an immediate end to this farce. He looked up and glared at Schuester, his eyes turning a flinty gray.
"Why am I here?," he demanded.
Will gave him an exaggerated blink and then sighed in disappointment, which only served to stoke further Kurt's ire. "I thought I made my intention clear."
"To everyone but me," Kurt replied, nodding. "Mr. Schuester, I am not a misogynist. My best friend is a woman. In fact, all of my friends are women."
Finn frowned. "I thought I was your friend, Kurt."
Kurt spared a glance at the boy. Yes, they were friends, if friendship was measured by the amount of time one friend spent listening to the other whine about the two women in his life who now would not give him the time of day.
"Kurt," Will said patiently, "we all have something to learn here."
Kurt raised a brow. "And what, precisely, am I to learn from this, Mr. Schuester?"
Will's mouth fell open. Faced with a pointed question, he found he had no ready answer. He was so lost in thought, he missed the girls silently filing into the room.
"Am I to assume, then," Kurt continued, "that your singing sermons will be extended to the other minority members of Glee?" He folded his arms across his chest and cocked his hip. "Will we gather around this piano and sing the score of Fiddler so that we can all better understand what it feels like to be Jewish, à la Puck and Rachel?"
Puck swung his gaze from Kurt to Will, a quizzical look on his face.
"Or perhaps, as the Spanish teacher, you have some suggestions about Latin songs we can co-opt so that we might understand how it feels to be Santana Lopez, one of the few students of Spanish descent at this school."
Santana leaned back against the jamb of the door and smirked.
"What next?," Kurt asked. "Are you going to aid us in discovering how it feels to be black? Asian? An unwed teenage mother?" He shot Will an icy smile. "Gay?"
Will set his jaw. "What are you trying to say, Kurt?"
"Was I unclear? Allow me to rephrase: you are my teacher, not my pastor. I resent your innuendo that because I am a man…"
"I thought you were an honorary girl," Puck drawled.
Kurt's eyes flashed at the interruption and he turned toward the annoyance.
"Do you know why all of my friends are women, Noah Puckerman? Because women are the only ones with balls big enough to understand that my sexuality has nothing to do with them." He raised a brow. "I may be an honorary member of the sisterhood, but I am very much a man, one who just so happens to be attracted to other men." He put his hands on his hips. "Tell me, Puckerman, self-proclaimed stud of the school, just how does my being gay affect you? Unlike you and your fellow knuckle-draggers, I am not interesting in having sex with every person who crosses my path, and I am more than capable of controlling myself." He snorted. "And I'm certainly not interested in you. Even if you were gay, you would be the last man I would pursue. So why don't you do us both a favor and take a moment to consider why my being gay bothers you so very much?"
He watched with satisfaction as Puck dropped his eyes to the floor, a blush slowly creeping up his neck. Kurt turned back to Will.
"I do not require you to teach me how to treat women with respect. I have been doing so all of my life. I had a mother, an amazing mother, who, along with my father, taught me that all people are equal."
"And you always treat everyone the same, is that it?," Will asked, growing angrier by the second at the boy's very valid points.
Kurt's face flooded with color as he slowly exhaled through his nose. Mercedes recognized what was about to happen and began pulling people to safety.
"I treat others with the same respect they pay to me," Kurt said darkly. "And right now, Mr. Schuester, you are firmly in my red column."
"Kurt, listen to me…"
"I think I've listened to you long enough. It has become painfully clear that you plan to run this club without any input from its members. In fact, I would argue that the sole reason you took the position as faculty advisor was to relive your glory days of when you were a member. You don't bother to allow us to audition for solos, you simply give them all to Finn and Rachel. That is, when you're not splitting us up along gender lines for mash-ups." He raised a brow. "Which renders this particular endeavor rather pointless, wouldn't you agree?"
Will tried to interrupt, but was summarily cut off.
"You pick the majority of our songs, choreograph most of our dances, and disregard any feelings we might have about your choices, despite the fact that we are the ones who have to go out on that stage; we're the ones who have to do all the work. And what do we get for it? The privilege of standing here and listening to you lecture us on how we treat one another? What about the way you treat us? When will we get around to discussing that?"
"What do you mean?," asked a confused Will.
Kurt stared at him in shock, before throwing up his hands. "Oh, I don't know. How about that you have yet to deign to acknowledge that the rest of us have merit as anything other than glorified backup singers and dancers? Or how you bring in a new member, who just so happens to be one of our fiercest rivals, and dismiss our concerns out of hand as petty and beneath you, without even bothering to contemplate what we have to say?
"Where was all of your righteous indignation when Puck was throwing me into dumpsters every day and calling me a fag? Why did it take my father coming down here and threatening to sue you and the school to allow me to audition for 'Defying Gravity'? Why didn't you ask me why I blew that high F, when you know it's well within my range? Where was your concern then?" He shook his head. "The fact of the matter, Mr. Schuester, is that you care very little for us as individuals. You want us to win, and I respect that. I enjoy winning." He shook his head. "But not at the expense of what little self-respect I have left."
Will calmly planted his hands on the piano. "Then perhaps it would be best if you were to remove yourself from such an untenable situation." He knew he made a mistake the moment the words left his mouth, he regretted them instantly, wincing when he heard the audible collective gasp.
Kurt said nothing for a long moment, merely appraising Will with cool, calculating eyes. He nodded once. "You're right. I quit." He turned on his heel and began stomping toward the door.
"Kurt, wait!," Finn called out.
Kurt stopped and slowly turned around. "For what, Finn? This club only needs twelve members to compete at Regionals, and even though I'm leaving, the rest of you still have Jesse." He slid his eyes over to Will and smirked. "Perhaps Mr. St. James has some other refugee friends, Mr. Schuester, should you feel the need to replace anyone else who dares question you." His mission accomplished, he grabbed his bag and quietly left the room.
"Screw this," Mercedes announced to no one in particular. "If Kurt's gone, so am I. I don't need no damn club to tell me what to sing and how to sing it." She snapped her fingers at Will and then flounced away, slamming the door behind her.
Tina and Artie exchanged worried glances, Mike and Matt frowned, Rachel appeared devastated, and Quinn was livid.
"I don't need this drama," she spat. "I have enough going on in my own life." She looked at Will. "He was right, you know. I hope it was worth it." She raised a brow. "Next time, why not just get a ruler?" She smirked. "Of course, I'm betting Kurt would still win." She left without looking back.
"Me too," Brittany said. "I quit, too." She looked at Santana. "I only joined so I could be with you, but this isn't fun anymore. I like Kurt. He's my friend, and he's always been nice to me, even when other people aren't, and even when I haven't always been nice to him."
Santana shrugged. "So let's go." And with that, they left.
Artie sighed, flustered when everyone turned to look at him. "I want to be with my friends, and most of them just left." He stared up at Tina. "There's no rule that says we can only have one Glee Club at this school. There's nothing saying we can't continue to sing together outside of school. Brittany was right. This isn't fun anymore."
"No, it's not," she softly agreed. She opened the door, put her hands on his wheelchair, and guided them out of the room. "Good luck to the rest of you," she said over her shoulder. "And I really do mean that." The door shut quietly behind them.
Rachel burst into tears. Finn was hopelessly confused. Mike and Matt looked supremely uncomfortable, and Puck was still smarting from Kurt's attack.
Will put his head in his hands and shut his eyes. Things had been going so well. How had they turned so quickly? He sighed. He was unable to construct any logical defenses to Kurt's arguments. He had no business acting as the moral police; he was still legally married to a woman he no longer loved nor trusted, and had been engaging in an emotional affair with one of his colleagues. And it was very true that he governed Glee Club as an autocratic institution. He encouraged the kids to express their individuality, but not when it came to competition. He paired them up haphazardly rather than by complementary voices, and had been insensitive putting Kurt with Finn, on whom he knew Kurt had a hopeless crush.
Yes, he had tried to get them to open up to each other, but when had he taken the time to get to know them? Arguably, he knew Finn and Rachel well, but only because they had been the ones to initiate relationship. And hadn't he blackmailed Finn into joining the club in the first place? He did ignore the other in favor of Finn and Rachel, and he had done so because he wanted to win, not because it was best for the other members. He should have seen this coming, he now realized. Kurt and Mercedes had strong personalities, and they were talented and knew it. They had tried to approach him before about their issues with the way he ran Glee, but he hadn't been receptive.
Now, everything was falling apart, and he only had himself to blame.