Rating: PG

Characters: Kurt, Burt & Mrs Hummel. Schue and members of New Directions.

Warning: Death of Mrs Hummel

Spoilers: Season 1 only

Disclaimer: Much as I might wish it, Glee does not belong to me.

Word Count: 1,900 ish

Author Notes:

Kurt's mother's name in this story is Caroline, pronounced in the French way - Caro-leen. Like the character in Chocolat. As requested by the prompter, Caroline Hummel is French, and Kurt is fluent in the language by the time we see him in Glee.

I apologise for any mistakes in the French, I did study it for a long time, but stopped three years ago and haven't done much revision since. If any French speakers find any glaring mistakes, please do point them out and I'll correct them.


When Mr Schuester asked the Glee clubbers to each perform a solo of the song they listen to when they're sad, Kurt knew immediately what song he would sing. There was only one song that he listened to when he was feeling low, and that was his mother's song. When she had been alive, she would always sing to him. Whenever he'd been upset, or hurt, or the bullying had got too much, she had sung this song to him.

One day he'd asked what the beautiful words meant, so Caroline had explained.

"It's a song about a boy, who, ever since he was small, grown-ups told him not to ask questions. They told him to accept whatever life gives him, that he shouldn't ask why bad things happened. That he should be grateful for what he has. The grown ups always told him wonderful stories about the world, but when he grew up he found that it wasn't. And the song asks who has the right to tell that to a child. Who has the right to tell someone to accept injustices, and not to ask why they are so. To tell them that those injustices are part of a good world."

"What's an inji… inj… injustice, maman?" The four-year-old Kurt stumbled over the unfamilar word.

"It means when something is unfair and wrong, mon cheri. Whenever someone is cruel or hurtful, that's an injustice. But the thing you must know, Kurt, is that I will never lie to you. Some things are bad in this world, and one day you may have to fight them. That's what this song is about."

Kurt nodded. This time when she sang, he sang along. He still didn't know what the individual words meant, but he knew what the song meant, and he wanted to sing it with her. He wanted to show her that he was strong.

When she had been lying in bed, dying from that horrible disease, he had asked her to sing it, because he was so sad to see her like that, so pale and ill. Caroline Hummel had asked Burt to find a tape recorder, and she had struggled to her feet, and made her way to the piano in the corner. She had sung the song for him, playing the piano as she always had done, though her fingers were weak, and it pained her to do it.

She had given him the tape as he'd sat at the edge of her bed, and told him to listen to it whenever he got sad, and think of her, even though she couldn't be there to sing it. Kurt could remember the tears falling from the end of his nose as he asked her why she wouldn't always be there to sing for him. She'd explained that she had to go soon - she didn't want leave him, but God was calling her home. She was going to live with the angels, she said, where it was golden and beautiful all the time, and she could sing forever. Kurt remembered her warm embrace, the soft smell of vanilla flower, the strawberry gold curls of hair.

"Maman, I don't want you to go."

"I know, my darling, but I must. One day, a long, long time away, you'll join me there. But you have to be strong until then. Be strong for me, mon fils courageux."

Kurt curled up in her lap, burying his tear-streaked face in her shoulder. He whispered, "Je t'aime, Maman. Je t'aime beaucoup."

Caroline wrapped her arms around him, completely enveloping her small son, and rested her head gently on his. "Je t'aime aussi, mon cheri, mon petit Kurt."

Twenty minutes later, Burt peered around the door to see mother and son asleep, peaceful in each other's arms. As the days wore on, Caroline got weaker and weaker, until she couldn't even lift her head to kiss Kurt's soft locks. Every night, Kurt curled up with them, terrified to leave lest God take his mommy whilst he was gone. The three of them would fall asleep as Caroline hummed her song, doing her best to comfort the two men she knew she was leaving behind. Every morning she woke up one step further from this life, and one step closer to the next. One morning, only two of them woke. Caroline had gone to God, leaving her small son one precious gift. A song.

A song to which her son would listen whenever he was sad, a song that gave him strength. A song that gave him a reason to keep fighting. A song that kept him going when times got tough. Because he was never going to let anyone tell him that he couldn't change the world.

That was the song that Kurt was going to sing today.

As Glee club had gathered, Kurt had sat apart from the others, smiling wanly at Mercedes as she entered, gesturing to her to sit with Quinn. Normally he'd have wanted his best friend's support for a solo like this, but this was his mother's song. She might not be present, but it was her strength that was going to get him through this.

Kurt sat quietly through the others' songs. Tina's heartfelt rendition of Send In The Clowns brought most of the girls nearly to tears.

When Puck stood up, he turned to the group and explained his song choice: "When my dad left, my mom was really hurt and I got really angry. She used to play Joe Cocker's version of this to help her get through it, and I guess it kinda helped me calm down, too." He then picked up his guitar, and sang The Beatles' Let It Be. By the end of the song, almost every member of the group had a contented smile on their face.

Rachel's unexpected performance of Dolly Parton's Better Get To Livin' (prefaced by an explanation of why listening to sad songs only makes you sadder) brought down the house, with everyone but Kurt dancing in their seats.

Finally Mr Schue called Kurt's name, so he rose and walked to the front of the class. The others looked confused as he handed out sheets with song lyrics on – this was supposed to be a solo assignment, wasn't it?

Their confusion vanished as Kurt spoke. "The song that I'm going to sing is in French, so I'm giving you all a translation of the lyrics. This song was my mother's favourite song; she would sing it whenever I was feeling down. When she-" Something caught in Kurt's throat and he swallowed before he continued, "When she was... dying, she recorded her singing it so I could play it whenever I was sad, and could pretend she was singing it to me."

The cheerful expressions after Rachel's song had turned melancholy, and in the some cases, sympathetic.

He walked over to the piano, and asked, "Brad, do you mind if I...?" he gestured at the piano. Silent as always, the bearded man rose from his seat and smiled a reassuring smile at Kurt, who seated himself and took a breath. He placed his hands over the keys for the first notes, then paused and turned back to his friends.

"Just, you know, to warn you, I will probably cry at some point, but I will finish the song."

Kurt took another breath, played the first notes, and began to sing.

On m'avait dit tu poses pas trop de questions

Tu sais petit c'est la vie qui te réponde.

À quoi ca sert de vouloir tout savoir?

Regarde dans l'air et vois ce que tu peux voir.

On m'avait dit il faut écouter son père;

Le mien a rien dit quand il s'est fait la paire.

Maman m'a dit t'es trop petit pour comprendre.

Et j'ai grandit avec une place à prendre.

As Kurt reached the chorus, his voice soared, pure and clear as a choirboy's.

Qui a le droit ? Qui a le droit ?

Qui a le droit ? De faire ca

À un enfant qui croit vraiment

C'que dissent les grands.

The words flowed from Kurt's lips as naturally as if they had been English.

On passe sa vie à dire merci

Merci à qui? À quoi?

A faire la pluie et les beaux temps

Pour des enfants a qui l'on ment.

Those who had looked at the sheets in their hands realised that Kurt meant every word he was singing.

On m'avait dit les hommes sont tous pareils;

Il y a plusieurs dieux mais il y a q'un seul soleil.

Oui mais le soleil, il brille ou bien il brûle

Tu meures de soif ou bien tu bois debulles.

Tears appeared in Kurt's eyes as he sang the second verse.

A toi aussi c'est sûr qu'on t'en a dit

Des belles histoires (tu parles que des canneries)

Alors maintenant on se retrouve sûr la route

Avec nos peurs, nos angoisses et nos doutes.

As he sang of the fears he had felt, his voice cracked. Only slightly; he swallows and carried on to the repeat of the chorus.

Qui a le droit? Qui a le droit?

Qui a le droit? De faire ca

The tears were falling fast by now, as Kurt asked who had the right to lie to a child. He played by touch alone, his fingers finding the keys as they had on his mother's piano.

À un enfant qui croit vraiment

Ce que dissent les grands

On passe sa vie à dire merci

Merci à qui?

Kurt's voice hit the high note with ease, even through his tears. The sound echoed ethereally through the quiet classroom.

À quoi?

A faire la pluie et les beaux temps pour des enfants

Pour des enfants a qui l'on ment.

Kurt sang the last, low note, and played the last few bars of the accompaniment, blinking hard as he did so. He finished the piece and whispered to the silent room, "Tu me manques, Maman."

Kurt folded down the lid of the keys, and took a deep breath.

There was silence for a moment, then Kurt heard a sniff, then he heard Mr Schue slowly applauding. He looked up. The applause grew as each member of New Directions, one at a time, rose to their feet and clapped as well. Every single one of them had tears running down their faces. Mercedes was the first to stand, Quinn, Tina, Brittany and Mike all fast to follow. Santana and Matt stood at the same time, followed by Puck, whose face wore an expression no-one had seen since he had said goodbye to Beth. Rachel stood as well, gently pulling Finn to his feet. Finn had been crying more than of any of them, and had been staring at the floor as the salt water ran down his cheeks. He looked up with bewilderment at the pull of Rachel's hand, then as he registered what was happening, he started to clap as well, joining his applause to the group's.

Mercedes stepped forward, and held her arms wide. Kurt fell into them gratefully, feeling the same love and protection her arms as in his mother's. The rest of the group approached, all patting his back, or stroking his arm - showing their appreciation of his baring his heart to them, and reassuring him that he wasn't about to be mocked for it. Mr Schue rested a hand on Kurt's shoulder and squeezed gently.

"That was beautiful, Kurt," he said simply.

And with all his friends gathered round him, Kurt knew that somewhere, his mother was sitting watching with the angels, and had been singing along with him.


Translations:

La Chanson De Ma Mère = The Song of my Mother

"Maman." = "Mom"/"Mommy"

"Mon cheri." = "My darling."

"Mon fils courageux." - "My brave boy." Literally, "My brave son."

"Je t'aime, Maman. Je t'aime beaucoup." = "I love you, Mommy. I love you lots."

"Je t'aime aussi, mon cheri, mon petit Kurt." = '"I love you too, my darling, my little Kurt."

"Tu me manque, Maman." = "I miss you, Mom."


The song is Qui A Le Droit, by Patrick Bruel. There is a fantastic version of it on Youtube with Jean-Baptiste Maunier. This translation is a combination of various translations that I found on the internet, I've tried to make it flow as well as possible:

I had been told : Don't ask yourself too many questions

You know, young boy, life will answer you

What's the use of wanting to know everything?

Look up and see what you can see.

I had been told : Fathers are to be listened to.

Mine said nothing when he left us

Mother told me : You're too young to understand

And I grew up with a place to take.

Who has the right, who has the right?

Who has the right to do that ?

To a child who truly believes

What grown-ups tell him.

You spend your life saying thank you:

Thank you to who, to what?

To make it rain or the sun to shine

For the children to whom you lie.

I was told: Men are all the same.

There are several gods but just one sun.

Yes, but the sun shines or burns,

You die of thirst or you drink bubbles.

To you too, it's sure that one told

The beautiful stories (you're talking nonsense)

So we're on the road now

With our fears, our anguish and our doubts

Who has the right, who has the right?

Who has the right to do that?

To a child who truly believes

What grown-ups tell him.

You spend your life saying thank you

Thank you to who, to what ?

To make it rain or the sun to shine

For the children to whom you lie.