Author's Note: This story is a tag from the Glee episode 'Bad Reputation', and there are direct spoilers for that episode, and the episode 'Home'. In the episode Bad Reputation, Kurt steals a tape of his Coach, Sue, dancing and singing along to Olivia Newton John's song Physical. Finn puts the video on the internet with the whole Glee club encouraging him. Sue is the laughing stock of the school for a day, but gets back at them when Olivia Newton John calls her up, and they remake the video together. After that, Kurt confesses that he stole the tape, expecting Sue to be angry, but instead she says 'I can't thank you enough.' My story mixes up the timeline of events.
"Our squeaky clean reputations are still intact." Kurt said with dismay. Him and his friends Artie, Mercedes, and Tina were trying to prove to their fellow students that they bad asses, instead of glee geeks.
"We have to do what we've been dreading," Artie said. "Something more terrifying then Rachel's personality. We have to go to Sylvester and admit we posted the Physical video."
Tina said, "But we'll get suspended."
"And it will be worth it," Kurt said. "Finally the entire student body will see us as bad asses."
After a short discussion, Kurt volunteered to be the one to confess.
"Remember," Artie said, "if Sylvester hits you in the face after you cop to posting the video, don't scream like a woman."
Kurt's eyes opened wide with surprise. The idea of Ms. Sylvester hitting him hadn't occurred to him, and now he was rethinking his plan. Maybe it wasn't that important for him and his friends to have a bad reputation.
Mercedes said, "You're so brave for doing this Kurt."
"I know," Kurt said, realizing that there was no backing out of it now. "Thank you."
"Oh… my… God," Mercedes said when Coach. Sylvester turned a corner and began walking down the hall towards them.
Kurt knew without being told that it was time, and went to confront the woman everyone in the school was afraid of. "Coach Sylvester, could I have just a minute of your time?"
"What do you want lady face?" She didn't bother trying to hide her annoyance.
"You're aware a tape was leaked onto the internet, causing you to become a national laughing stock?"
"We stole the tape from your syringe and pill drawer. We posted it on line. We'll accept whatever punishment you see fit."
"So it was you," she hissed.
"It was us. We did this," Kurt said, gesturing to his friends behind him.
Sue glared at his friends, and then turned back to him. "You expect me to believe that all of you went into my office, and stole the tape together?"
"Well… that was just me, but…"
Leaning into his personal space, Sue said, "Then I'm holding you personally responsible, and let me tell you, I've never missed corporal punishment more then I do in this moment."
Kurt swallowed convulsively, and his breathing became shallow. He thought, I've never been so glad it was banned.
"My office. After school. Be there!"
He watched her storm off, and sucked air into his lungs. His friends rushed up to talk to him once she'd left.
"What did she say?" Tina asked.
Trying to keep the fear out of his voice, he said, "She wants to see me in her office after school."
"Just you?" Artie asked.
Kurt nodded. "I told her we all did it, but she didn't believe me."
"Oh." Artie couldn't hide his disappointment.
"Do you think she's going to suspend you?" Mercedes asked.
"No," Kurt said, without conviction.
# # #
Sue marched to her office, shut the door behind her, and opened up her file cabinet. The thought of that kid taking her tape, and putting it out there for everyone to see made her blood boil. She grabbed his file, and scanned the paperwork he'd filled out to become a Cheerio. Slapping the file down on her desk, she reached for the phone, and dialed the emergency contact number.
After a couple of rings, a man answered, "Hummel Tires and Lube."
"Is there a Herbert Hummel there?" Sue asked.
"This is Burt. How can I help you?"
"This is Coach Sue Sylvester from McKinley High School."
"Is something wrong?"
"Oh yes, something is very wrong. I need you to be at my office at 3:30 sharp for a meeting about your son."
Through the years, Burt had been called into all of Kurt's schools at least once. Not because Kurt was a bad kid, but because he was different. Burt sighed and said, "Was he in the girl's bathroom again? Because I spoke with Principal Figgins about…"
Sue hung up on him, too angry to continue listening. After a second to calm down, she picked up the phone to call Principal Figgins' extension, but instead of a dial tone, she heard silence.
After an awkward pause, the person on the other line said, "Hello?"
"Who the hell is this?" Sue asked.
"This is Olivia Newton John, star of Grease the most popular musical of all time."
"How dare you prank call me. And that's a ridiculous accent."
Sue slammed the phone down, more angry then ever. But then paused, wondering if she'd been to quick to assume it was a prank. The phone rang again.
# # #
Burt made his way through the familiar halls of McKinley High, and quickly found Sue Sylverster's office a few seconds before the last bell rang. He knocked on the doorframe before walking in, but found the office empty. He took a seat to wait.
Kurt had worried himself sick in his last class, trying to come up with a way to convince the coach to give him detention instead of suspending him. Detention would show everyone in the school that he was a bad ass, but he could easily hide it from his father with excuses of staying late for Glee or Cheerio practice.
His plans were dashed when he walked into Sue's office and saw his father there. "Dad?"
Burt turned and said, "Your coach called me."
Feeling sick to his stomach, Kurt wondered how much his father knew. "Oh," was all he could say, clutching his books closer to his chest.
"Um…" He couldn't force himself to confess, while his father was looking at him with concern.
"Are you okay? Did someone hurt you?"
"No, no. Nothing like that." Forcing his feet to move forward, he went to sit in the chair next to his dad. "It's something I did."
"What did you do this time?" Burt asked with a sigh.
Before Kurt could answer, Sue walked into her office with a large grin on her face. Her grin turned to confusion when she saw the two Hummel's in her office.
Burt stood, and his son followed his lead. Burt held out his hand and said, "Nice to meet you Coach Sylvester, I'm Kurt's dad, Burt."
Sue's grin returned, and she shook his hand firmly. "I completely forgot that I'd called you." She let go of his hand, walked around her desk, and took a seat. The Hummels sat as well. "Earlier today I was ready to demand your son's head on a platter, but as it turns out, I should be thanking him."
"I'm sorry, I don't follow," Burt said.
Sue stared through her office window to the remaining kids and faculty walking through the halls. "They're all laughing now, but mark my words, I'm going to be having the last laugh. Sue Sylvester always comes out on top."
Edging forward in his chair, Kurt asked, "Does this mean… you're not angry?"
"I can't thank you enough," she said with a smile.
Kurt took a deep calming breath, and smiled back. "Well, I'm happy to be of assistance."
"I closed up shop early to come here today," Burt said, "so someone better tell me what's going on."
"My newest Cheerio here," Sue indicated Kurt with a fond nod his way, "took one of my private videos, right out from under my nose, and proceeded to post it on the internet for everyone to see."
Burt's eyebrows drew together in confusion. "He what?"
Sue ignored them, and chuckled to herself. "I guess it's a good thing corporal punishment has been banned, because now I might actually feel bad about it."
Kurt's face heated up, and watched his father's expression change from confusion to anger. Burt's head snapped around to meet Kurt's stare. "You stole her video?"
The kid's eyes betrayed his nervousness. He said the first thing that came to his mind. "I already gave it back, so technically I borrowed it."
Leaning towards his son, Burt said quietly, "It's not called borrowing when the person you're borrowing it from doesn't know about it."
Unable to find an adequate response, Kurt broke eye contact, and stared at the books in his lap.
Turning his attention back to Sue, Burt said, "He stole your video and put it on the internet without your knowledge or permission?"
Sue nodded. "Normally that's the kind of bold initiative I look for in one of my Cheerios."
Burt shook his head. "Bold initiative?"
Sue continued to smile, and after an awkward pause Burt said, "Let me get this straight, you're not angry, and you don't plan to give him detention or suspend him?"
"Got it in one," Sue said, and started collecting her things. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting to get to."
Burt sat in a daze, unsure how to respond. When he saw Sue head for the door, he came to his senses and stood, getting the coach's attention. "Let me assure you that it won't happen again," he said, and then turned back to his son, "will it Kurt?"
"No. Definitely not," Kurt said softly.
Sue waved them off as she walked out the door. "Sounds good," she said over her shoulder.
The room grew silent, and Burt sat back down. Kurt darted a look at his father, but couldn't bring himself to speak. Burt said, "I don't understand Kurt. You've done a lot of odd things over the years, but you've never done something so... so deliberately bad before. What's going on?"
His words came out in a rush, "When I first noticed the tape, I was just curious. But then when I saw what was on it, I couldn't stop laughing, and wanted to show my friends. Then when they saw it, Finn wanted to put it on the internet, and everyone thought it would be funny. It didn't seem wrong at the time, and I wanted…"
Burt wasn't happy to hear that Finn had been a participant in this as well. "What did you want?"
"You can tell me."
"Everyone was laughing and having fun even though Mr. Schuester wasn't there yet, and it felt like we were all friends."
"You wanted to fit in," Burt said, knowing that his kid rarely felt like he fit in.
Kurt nodded. "I'm sorry."
Needing time to think, Burt said, "Go get in the truck, I'll drive you home."
"But I have Glee."
Burt seriously considered telling Kurt he couldn't go, but decided he could use the time to think it through. "Right, I forgot. I'll pick you up in half an hour."
Kurt walked into rehearsal a few minutes late and took his place next to Mercedes. She leaned into him and whispered, "What happened?"
"I'll tell you after class," he said.
# # #
Thirty minutes later, when Will called an end to the rehearsal, Kurt found himself surrounded by his friends. He quickly told them about the strange meeting he'd had with Coach Sylvester. Tina asked, "Do you think she has a date?"
Before Kurt could answer, he saw his father come in. "I gotta go guys."
He walked towards his father, but to his surprise, his father walked up to Finn.
Finn smiled, "Hi Burt, what's going on?"
"Hey Finn, I wanted to talk to you for a second. Could you wait here until everyone clears out?"
"Sure." Finn's smile dimmed. He looked towards Kurt for some kind of explanation, but Kurt just shook his head with a worried expression.
Burt went up to Will and said, "Hi Mr. Schuester, I'm not sure if you remember me. We met at parent teacher conferences."
"You're Kurt's father, right? Burt?"
"What can I do for you?"
Burt checked to make sure everyone was out of the room except his son and Finn, and then waved the two of them over.
Finn saw Kurt gulp and wondered what could be wrong.
Burt directed his comment to Will. "I had a meeting with Coach Sylvester today, and I thought you should know that Kurt, Finn, and some of your other Glee kids posted a video of her on the internet."
Knowing exactly what video he was talking about, Will turned to the boys with surprise. "Is this true? You guys did that?"
Finn's face heated up, and he rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, while he tried to decide how to answer that.
Kurt quietly said, "Yes."
Finn could feel both of the adult's eyes on him. "Yeah, we did, but it was just a harmless prank."
Will sighed, "What were you guys thinking? You know Coach Sylvester has it out for us. Why would you antagonize her like that?"
"She antagonizes us all the time." Finn muttered.
"So that makes what you did right?" Will asked.
"Well… it makes it a lot less wrong," Finn said.
"He has a point there," Kurt said. "And Coach Sylvester isn't even angry, she's happy about it."
Will turned to Burt, "She's not angry?"
"She was plenty angry when she called me earlier," Burt said. "But by the time I got here she'd gotten over it."
"She even thanked me," Kurt added.
Burt's eyebrows drew together in irritation. "Just because it happened to work out for you kids this time, doesn't mean things won't go horribly wrong the next time you pull some hair brained stunt. The point is that you shouldn't have done it in the first place."
"That's right, guys," Will said, "you need to think these things through. Something that seems harmless at the time, can seriously backfire on you later."
Wanting to end this talk as quickly as possible, Kurt muttered, "Sorry."
Finn said, "We didn't think she'd be able to trace it back to us."
Kurt closed his eyes and thought, 'How can someone so attractive be so thick headed?'
Exasperated, Will said, "So it's okay to do something wrong, as long as you can get away with it?"
"No it's not. But why is it wrong to make Coach Sylvester suffer a little after everything she's done to us?" Finn asked.
Will said gently, "Because revenge is a dark road to walk down, and the other kids follow your lead, Finn. Do you really want to take them down that road?"
Feeling his face heat up, Finn said, "No."
"That's why it's not okay."
Finn muttered, "Sorry Mr. Schue."
Thinking he'd gotten his point across, Will patted Finn's shoulder, and said, "Just don't let it happen again, okay?"
Will turned to Burt. "Thanks for letting me know what was going on. I'll mention it in class tomorrow, to let the other kids know that I don't approve."
Relieved that Will was taking this as seriously as he did, Burt said, "Thanks."
Will nodded in understanding.
Burt turned to Finn and said, "You want me to give you a ride home?"
"No thanks." Finn was already uncomfortable around Burt, because the man was dating his mother. But that discomfort had reached a whole new level while his favorite teacher had lectured him in front of Burt. He didn't think he could stand sitting in the car next to him for the fifteen minutes it would take to get to his house.
"Are you sure? We're going that way."
Finn shook his head. "I'd rather walk." Realizing that could be taken the wrong way, he quickly added, "I need some time to think."
"Okay." Turning to his son, Burt said, "Ready to go?"
They followed Finn out the door and into the hall. Kurt watched Finn's back, and fervently hoped that Finn wasn't angry with him.
Just before Finn reached the school's front door, he was struck with a thought, and stopped in his tracks. He turned to Burt and said, "You're not gonna tell my mom, are you?"
Burt's eyebrows drew together, and the corners of his lips turned down. Before he had a chance to answer, Kurt jumped in.
"What?" Kurt forced a chuckle, and waved a hand in the air, to show how ridiculous this idea was. "Of course not." He turned to his father, and said, "Tell him you're not going to do that, Dad."
Burt had had some time to think while the boys were in Glee practice, and he already knew what the answer had to be, even if both boys were going to be unhappy about it. Addressing Kurt first, he said, "Don't answer for me, this is between me and Finn."
"No." Burt could tell Kurt was getting worked up about it, and said. "Why don't you go wait in the truck, so I can talk to Finn."
"Kurt!" The second it came out of his mouth, Burt knew that had come out sharper then he'd wanted it to.
Kurt's eyes widened in surprise for an instant before squinting into a glare. "Fine," he hissed, "Why don't the two of you have a man to man conversation, while I go wait in the truck."
Kurt turned to storm out, but Burt stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. Kurt tuned back around, still glaring. Burt kept a level voice and said, "We're not going to have a man to man conversation, we're going to have an adult to teenager conversation, and I'd appreciate some privacy."
Kurt's anger faded as quickly as it had come. Darting a glance to Finn, Kurt could see a blush creeping up his cheeks, and realized he was making the situation worse, not better. With a nod he mumbled, "I'll be in the truck."
Once the door shut behind his son, Burt turned to Finn and said, "Look Finn, I know I told you I wasn't trying to replace your father, and I meant that. But I'm not going to lie to your mom."
"No, I'm not asking you to lie," Finn said, "I'm just asking you not to tell her."
"So you're not planning to tell her yourself?"
Finn opened his mouth to say no, but the disappointment was so clear in Burt's face, Finn found himself hedging. "Well… I'm not sure. I need to think about it. But it's none of your business whether I tell her or not."
"You know I talk to your mom every night, even if we don't go out, right?"
"Yeah, I know."
"She always asks me how my day was, and I'm not going to tell her it was fine when it wasn't. When I tell her I had a rough day, she's going to ask me why. When I tell her I had to close shop early for a meeting with Coach Sylvester, she's going to ask what it was about. You see where I'm going with this?"
Finn's stomach lurched when he thought about his mother finding out what he'd done from her boyfriend, instead of from him. "Yeah, I guess."
Burt sighed, and said gently, "She'd rather hear it from you."
Nodding, Finn made eye contact and said, "I'll tell her when she gets home tonight."
With a smile of approval, Burt said, "I think that's a good decision."
After an awkward pause, Burt said, "Well, if you're sure you don't want a ride home, I should get going."
"Right. Me too." They both walked out the door together, and then headed their separate ways.
# # #
Before Burt had the door shut on his truck, his son asked, "What'd you say to him?"
"I told him that I wouldn't lie for him."
Kurt closed his eyes, and leaned his head back onto the headrest. "Dad, you know Finn already has a hard time dealing with you dating his mom. Couldn't you have just agreed to keep Carole out of this?"
Gripping the steering wheel tight, Burt ground out the word, "No," and started the engine.
Kurt looked at his father's profile, and decided it would be best to keep his mouth shut for the ride home. An uneasy silence filled the cab of the truck for the entire drive.
As soon as the truck came to a stop, Kurt rushed into the house, and went downstairs to his room. He tossed his books onto his desk, sat on the edge of his bed, and started texting Mercedes. His fingers halted in mid text, when he heard his dad's footsteps on the stairs.
Burt stopped at the bottom of the steps, resting a hand on the railing. While Kurt was in Glee, Burt had thought about his relationship with his son. When his wife died, he'd put effort into becoming more lenient and understanding with Kurt, figuring he needed to compensate for the loss. And while Kurt had done plenty of odd things, he'd rarely done anything that Burt would label as bad. And when he had done something wrong, a sharp word or two from his father would have him in tears and apologizing so quickly, that Burt had never thought stronger measures were necessary, until today. With a sigh, he said, "We need to talk about this."
Setting his phone down, Kurt reluctantly looked up at his father. "Okay."
"You stole something Kurt. I never thought I'd be called to the office for something like that."
"I said I was sorry," Kurt whispered.
"When you took it, were you angry with Coach Sylvester? Did she do something to hurt you?"
"No. Well she's always mean, but she didn't single me out. I don't know why I took it. I guess I wasn't thinking that much about it at the time. I just wanted to know what was on it."
Shaking his head, Burt said, "Maybe being grounded for a week, will make you think twice about it the next time you want something that isn't yours to take."
"Grounded?" Kurt squeaked, his stomach twisting. This wasn't something he'd ever imagined happening when he'd taken the tape. He knew his friends got grounded sometimes, but he'd never expected his father to do it to him.
"No computer, no cell phone, no TV, no music. And you're going to volunteer at the shop with me every day after school for the whole week."
Putting a hand over his cell phone on the bed, Kurt said, "No cell phone?"
"That's right," Burt said. He put his hand out, palm up, and waved Kurt forward. "I'll hold onto it for you until the week is up."
Kurt held the phone to his chest, and said, "Don't you think that's a little harsh, Dad?"
Glaring at his son, Burt put his hands on his hips. "Harsh? No Kurt, I don't think it's harsh. Harsh would be taking a page from my father's book and paddling you."
Kurt's eyes widened with surprise, and he shook his head no.
His father continued, "Ever since Coach Sylvester mentioned corporal punishment today, I've been considering it. And if you give me a hard time while you're grounded, I just might do it."
Shocked that his father would even think it, let alone threaten it, Kurt whispered, "You wouldn't."
"Normally I wouldn't. But you're sixteen, Kurt, practically an adult. Old enough to know that stealing is wrong, and yet you did it anyway, without a second thought."
Kurt blushed with shame.
"That makes me think I've been doing a lousy job as your father. Maybe if your mother were still here, she'd know the right thing to say or do in this situation, but I…"
"No," Kurt interrupted. He stood up and took a couple of steps towards his dad. "You're a great dad. The best. And if Mom were here…" a tear slipped down Kurt's face. He took a deep breath and said, "If Mom were here, she'd be ashamed of me, too." He handed over his phone and said, "I am sorry, and I'll never do it again."
Softly smiling with pride, Burt took the phone, and put a hand on Kurt's shoulder. "Ashamed is too strong. Disappointed and surprised, but not ashamed." He gave Kurt's shoulder a quick squeeze, and pocketed the phone. "Unplug the computer, so you're less tempted to turn it on, and hand over your ipod."
Feeling better then he had since confessing to the coach, Kurt did what his father asked. Burt pulled him into a tight hug once he had the ipod in his hand, and said, "I love you, you know."
Hugging back just as hard, Kurt said, "Yeah, I know."
Letting go, Burt put an arm around his son's shoulders, and headed the two of them towards the stairs. "Let's go see what there is for dinner."
Burt stopped. "Really what?"
"Well, I'm grounded right?"
"So I thought that meant I'd be stuck in my room for the next week."
Burt started them walking again. "Why would I let you stay in your room, when there are so many chores to do around the house?"
Kurt stifled a groan when he thought about the damage said chores would do to his manicure. But instead of complaining, he simply said, "I'd rather hang out with you anyway."
While the two were making dinner together, Burt could tell that his son was going to be a perfect angel for the next week, trying to make up for what he'd done.