Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
He glanced up from the paper he was grading to see one of his third-period students standing in front of his desk. "Sorry, I don't have your class's tests done yet," he apologized.
"It's not about that," she said. "It's, um…the gay boy is one of the glee kids, right?"
He frowned. "Yes, Kurt's in glee," he said.
She fidgeted anxiously with the iPhone in her hands. "I think something's wrong," she whispered. "He, um…Dave Karofsky pushed him into the lockers, and then he…Kurt, he ran after him. "
Will glanced around at his silent class, working on their study guides, and then back at the girl. "Is he okay?" he asked.
"I don't know," the girl said uncomfortably. She set the iPhone down on his desk. "He was yelling at Karofsky. He was mad. And he dropped his phone."
"Thanks for telling me," he said. "Where did this happen?"
"Um, the south hall, near the guys' locker room," she said. "Can you write me a late pass?" He nodded and filled out the slip of paper before handing it to her. She left the classroom, and he waited a minute before standing up.
"Guys, keep working on your study guides," he said. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
He left the classroom, pausing long enough to let the teacher in the history class next door know that he was stepping out for a moment. Then he slipped Kurt's discarded iPhone into his pocket before heading towards the south hall.
The halls were quiet and empty; fourth period had been in full swing for at least fifteen minutes. His shoes clicked loudly on the tile floor, echoing in the silence.
He wasn't exactly sure what he was going to do. Kurt was probably in class by now, and he probably hadn't even realized his phone had gone missing. He could have just waited until glee rehearsal that afternoon, just handed it off to him then. After all, Karofsky was always picking on Kurt. The jocks always did.
But…if Kurt got angry…
Kurt rarely lost his temper. He got upset easily, sure, but it was usually kept in check, left as a couple of well-chosen retorts and an angry flush across his face. Kurt had a better handle on his emotions than most adults.
But the last few months had apparently been a lot harder on Kurt than he had let on. Will had written it off as the stress of his father's illness, but it had to have been more than that. Suddenly his temper tantrum during the Britney Spears debacle and his icy attitude during the duet competition made a lot more sense.
He opened the locker room door slowly. The room was silent, but that could mean anything. "Kurt?" he called. His voice sounded strangely loud. "Hey, Kurt. It's Mr. Schue. Are you in here?"
He walked past the benches and towards the lockers. And he wasn't quite sure if he had expected to find Kurt or not, but whatever he had been thinking, it was nothing like this.
Kurt stood behind the lockers, his eyes wide, his shoulders hunched, his hand over his mouth. He didn't seem to realize anyone else was there.
"Kurt?" he said gently. "Hey. Are you all right?"
He just stood there, like he was frozen in place. He didn't answer. Will approached him carefully. "I heard Karofsky pushed you pretty hard," he said. "Are you hurt?"
Kurt didn't answer. Will wasn't sure if it was because he didn't want to, or he just couldn't. Carefully he took Kurt by the wrist and tugged his hand away, half expecting to see him missing teeth or bleeding from a split lip.
But he didn't really seem to have any injuries. His lips were slightly swollen and deep pink- pretty much the only color left in his face. He glanced up and blinked when his hand was moved away, but he still didn't say anything.
"Kurt, talk to me," Will said. "What happened? Did he hurt you?"
Kurt opened his mouth like he was going to speak, but all he did was take a harsh, shuddering breath. He shook his head slowly.
"He didn't hurt you," Will guessed. He put his hands on Kurt's shoulders, feeling him tremble violently. "But something happened."
Kurt nodded, biting his lip hard. His eyes welled up, but he still said nothing. Will mentally debated what he ought to do. He'd dealt with crying students before plenty of times- usually heartbroken girls who were fighting with their best friends, or students having nervous breakdowns about grades. Usually he patted the girls on the back and walked them down to Emma's office, or made the guys sit down until they got a hold of themselves and they could talk rationally.
What was he supposed to do about this?
Unwittingly his mind flashed back to last year, almost the same time, when Finn had walked backstage with his arms wrapped around himself and his reddened eyes staring down at the floor. Without thinking he had hugged him, letting the teenager burst into scared tears and blurt out the entire story of Quinn's pregnancy.
For a moment he felt guilty. He had hugged Finn to comfort him without a second thought, but he had to stop and think about Kurt. There shouldn't have been a difference.
Will pulled Kurt against him gently. He meant for the hug to be kind and relaxed, so Kurt could break away quickly like he expected. But nothing so far had gone like he imagined.
Kurt buried his face in his hands and leaned heavily into Will's shoulder, his whole body shaking. Will closed his arms around him involuntarily.
Whatever had happened, it was bad. The only other time he had ever seen Kurt cry was when his father was still in the hospital, and that had been shy, self-conscious, easily brought back in check. But now Kurt was sobbing silently into his hands, all pretenses dropped, letting the teacher he ordinarily didn't trust hug him.
Will rubbed his back. "It's okay," he murmured. "It's okay." Kurt slumped against him, actually slumped, crying hard enough to make his shoulders shake but somehow not making any noise.
It didn't last for very long, though. Kurt pulled away, his hands still covering his face, furtively swiping the sleeves of his sweater against his damp cheeks. "I'm sorry," he rasped.
"Don't apologize," Will said firmly. Kurt rubbed the sides of his nose, careful to keep his gaze on the ground. "Now, do you want to tell me what happened?"
"Not really," he whispered.
"Kurt, it had to have been something bad to make you break down like this," Will said. "I've never seen you look so…so terrified."
Kurt smiled ruefully, his lips twisting. "Terrified, hm?" he said. He took a deep breath that ended in a half-choked, involuntary sob. "I guess that's a good word for it."
Kurt agreed with him about something for once. That alone was enough grounds for concern.
"If you can't tell me, you need to tell someone," Will said. "Do you want to see Miss Pillsbury?"
"I don't think she'd be comfortable with…my situation," Kurt said. He ran his hands through his hair, trying to make that awful forced smile look like his usual proud expression. "Besides, I don't think she's forgiven me quite yet for throwing up on her shoes."
"Tell your dad," he suggested.
Kurt shook his head. "I don't want to bother him with something like this," he said. "He's finally getting better. I don't want him to worry about me."
"Then tell Mercedes," Will said. "Tell Finn. Tell somebody."
Kurt actually flinched. "Finn Hudson isn't really a good choice for a deep conversation," he said. "And Mercedes…well, we haven't really been as close as we were last year." He clamped his mouth shut, as if he had said something he regretted.
"Stop pushing everyone away," Will said gently. "Nobody will ever be able to help you if you hold everyone at arms' length."
Kurt backed up. "I have to," he said softly. "None of them…nobody ever notices…" He paused and swallowed hard. "I have to fight my own battles."
He turned to walk away, but Will caught him by the arm. "You dropped this," he said, pulling the phone out of his pocket and handing it to Kurt.
Kurt stared at the text message on the screen, a strange look in his eyes. Will couldn't tell if he was relieved or going to start crying again. "Thanks," he said, clutching the phone tightly like a frightened child would hold to a security blanket. "Could you not…mention this to anyone else?"
"I won't," Will promised. "But you have to tell someone, okay? Someone you can trust." Kurt nodded, dazed but obedient. "And if things get worse, come find me. I want to help you, Kurt, I really do."
Kurt nodded again and bolted out of the locker room, his knuckles turning white as he gripped his iPhone. Will sighed heavily. He couldn't tell if he'd actually helped him, or if he had just made things ten times worse.
Oh my heck, you guys. The new episode just about killed me.
I feel like there's so much that we didn't get to see. So I'm going to have to write about it, obvs. I already have about three or four more things planned, based on the episode. That's how crazy this is.
The idea for this oneshot came from two things. One, I wish I knew what happened. Did he just go home? Did he find someone or someone find him? Did he go through the rest of the school day like nothing was wrong? Ugh. Somebody just give the kid a hug already.
The other idea came from the girl in the hallway. Right before the the Most Terrifying First Kiss Ever, when Karofsky shoved Kurt into the locker for the umpteenth time, I noticed that not only did Kurt just leave his phone on the ground, but there was a girl caught between them who kind of glanced nervously between the two of them. I wondered if she would pick up the phone and either go find Kurt herself, or go find a teacher. It made more sense that she would find a teacher. And so, Random Schoolgirl Extra on Glee, you have ended up as a character in this story. Congrats. I think.
Also, someone please give Chris Colfer an Emmy. I think he covered every emotion imaginable in this episode.
But yeah. Still reeling a little. Off to write more. I feel like such a creepy fangirl for writing so much...
...but maybe my dreams will come true, and someone from Glee will read my stuff, and they'll be like "oh hey, she should totally come write for us."
And I will say "YES, I WOULD LOVE TO, THANKS VERY MUCH" and run away to Hollywood and write Glee episodes and live happily ever after. And I would drag my husband along too, because I don't think he'd want to get left behind. The end.
Sigh. Oh, pipe dreams...