"…Kurt, you've got to let what Dave did to you go. He isn't thinking straight. It's obvious that he's confused about what he's feeling."
"Please don't call him Dave. It makes him sound actually human and not like the monster he truly is."
A laugh. "He is human. He's just going through some tough stuff, and he's not handling it well."
" 'Not well?' If you call making my life a living hell day in and day out for months, only to then go and steal one of the most precious things a person has handling it 'unwell', I'd love to see what handling it well consists of…"
"Thanks for the help Blaine, I appreciate it. Really. But I don't think you get it. You had your first kiss with someone you loved. Someone you cared about, and you'll always look back on it with fondness. Mine? Mine was stolen from me by the one person I hate most in this world…"
"Finn? Are you okay?"
"What?" he said with a jump, whacking his knees on the bottom of the cafeteria table.
Rachel watched him strangely. "You were talking about something that happened at practice earlier, and then in the middle of the conversation you stopped." Her face changed from one of concern to distress. "Is it my fault? Was I not paying attention? You know, I try to listen to these things with as much interest as I possibly can, even thought I find absolutely no redeeming qualities about men tackling other men."
At that point, her voice just became white noise around him. All he wanted was to be able to hear the rest of the conversation, even though he was pretty sure he had gotten all of it in that last bit of eavesdropping. He turned to the table behind him, where Kurt and Blaine must've been sitting. It was empty.
Turning back to Rachel, the thought of what Kurt was saying kept running through his head. Just thinking about it made him feel sick.
"Rach," he started, effectively interrupting her. "What do you know about Karofsky?"
Her face contorted into a question mark. "Why are you asking me that? Aren't you better friends with him?" she asked quietly.
He sighed, the notion that the two of them being friends now making him nauseous. "Never mind that. What do you know about a fight between Karofsky and Kurt?"
At this point, her face lit up. She knew. "Oh, that? Karofsky and Azimio have been tormenting Kurt since freshmen year, but ever since Kurt came out, Karofsky's been exceptionally rough. You know, shoving him into lockers, threats of beating him up, that kind of stuff…" She straightened up in her chair, tossing her dark hair of one shoulder and poking at a piece of kiwi. "It all sounds really childish in my opinion. I mean, tormenting and bullying people. So first grade. If I knew any better, which I of course do, I'd guess that Karofsky had a crush…"
Her voice dropped out, and she stared up at Finn. Slowly, her fork dropped from her hand, mirroring the way her lower lip parted from her top. Her head began to shake in disbelief. "You don't think…"
He was up from the table before she could even finish the sentence. He didn't need to think. He already knew.
Practice wasn't starting for another thirty minutes, but Finn really wasn't planning on staying around. He only had one thing in mind. And football or the Beiste or being quarterback – those definitely weren't it.
When he walked into the locker room, at first all he could hear was his heart pounding uncontrollably in his ears. But as he walked back into the rows of lockers, slowly he heard shuffling, and then the slamming of a locker.
"Karofsky," he called out, the anger inside of his roiling and turning uncontrollably. But he knew he had to keep it under control. It wasn't worth it to go in there with guns blazing and then not get the job done.
"What do you want loser? Come to sing to me about believing in myself and all that shit?
Karofsky scoffed, throwing some stuff into his locker without even looking up at Finn.
"What happened between you and Kurt?"
Karofsky froze for a second, going pale, before he continued with what he was doing. "Whatever Ladyfabulous is saying that I'm doing, she's lying. That's what you get for trusting them homos."
Finn took a step closer, his jaw so set that he felt like it might crack. "Are you sure that's it?" At this point, the two of them were within a few feet of each other. "Are you sure it's not that you just don't want to say it out loud because you're the one who should be embarrassed? Because you're the one who did something wrong?" With every word, Finn's voice grew in decibel and in strength. "Because you're the one who's the hypocrite, torturing Kurt because you don't like yourself?"
The locker door slammed shut, Karofsky's fist still resonating against it. "Who the fuck do you think you are, Hudson? You think you can just talk all this shit about me?"
Finn laughed bitterly. "The fact that you haven't denied it yet is just making me believe it more," he spat, grinning darkly. Even though this was in no way his place to be defending Kurt's honor or anything like that – because they aren't even stepbrothers, what the hell – no one fucked around with anyone from Glee. Even more than that, no one fucked around with Kurt. Kurt was his, and only his.
Wait. Not like that.
Where the fuck did that come from?
"Don't you dare even start to think that you know what happened to me. I'm not a fucking homo. And there's no way I'd ever kiss that dirty mouthed, cock sucking little faggoty tramp that you're trying so desperately to protect," Karofsky spat, getting in the face of Finn.
The next minute was really all a blur. One second, Karofsky was standing right in front of him, smiling stupidly like he had won some prize. The next, he crumpled against the lockers clutching his nose, and Finn's hand hurt like a bitch.
"You son of a bitch," Karofsky yelled, crimson seeping from his nose onto his lips, chin, and letter jacket. He tried to wipe it away, but only managed to smear it across his face like some sort of war paint.
"I never mentioned anything about you kissing Kurt. You came up with that all on your own," Finn replied, a soft smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Walking so that he was now standing over Karofsky, he made a fist threateningly. "Stay. Away. From. Kurt. Don't talk to him, don't look at him, don't even think about him."
This felt good. He started to turn on his heel and walk out. He had given Karofsky what was coming to him, and made sure that Karofsky knew that no one was allowed to mess with Kurt. Everything was going to be okay.
Until his legs went flying out from underneath him, sending him flying forward into a set of lockers. He smashed his forehead into the grate of the locker before sliding down it. Feeling warmth run down his forehead, he wasn't sure if that was a feeling of seeing stars or something else out of the ordinary. When his shaking hand came down smeared in blood, he closed his eyes, which seemed to open the cuts on his forehead even more.
"Get up, Hudson. You're tough enough to send a cheap shot my way, you should be tough enough to take one in return," Karofsky bellowed, now standing over him. "Besides, did you really think you could help LadyFace save what dignity he had left?" As Finn stumbled to his feet, Karofsky began to grin wickedly. "That went out the door when I pressed him up against these lockers," he whispered darkly, before taking another step towards Finn. By now, they were practically shoulder to shoulder, Karofsky's warm breath brushing across Finn's cheek. With a laugh, Karofsky leaned forward. "And it's only just a precursor of what's to come in the future."
Before he could even realize what he was doing, Finn tackled Karofsky to the ground, yelling incoherently mixed in with random obscenities. "No fucking respect… fucking no name loser… worthless piece of shit…" He felt his own fists breaking skin and even crack a few of Karofsky's bones, but it wasn't until he felt someone else's arms wrap around his upper body, pulling him off of Karofsky that he felt the bruises on his own skin.
"What the fuck is going on here?" Puck yelled, pulling back Karofsky, who was trying to lunge at Finn, who was currently being held back by Sam.
"Hudson's gone crazy! I'm in here cleaning out my locker, and he just starts wailing on me out of nowhere!" Finn struggled against Sam, trying to get out of the freakishly strong deathgrip.
"LIAR! Tell them what you just told me!" Finn yelled, pulling harder against Sam. Puck shot Finn a look, before readjusting his grip on Karofsky.
"That you're deranged?"
"That you kissed Kurt! That the only reason you make his life Hell is because you want to make out with him," Finn yelled imploringly. They had to believe him. If they didn't, this all would've been a lost cause. And worse than that, he'd have to face Kurt, letting him know that he just made the situation worse.
"Why would I do that? I'm not into kissing dudes. Maybe that's what you wanna do…" Karofsky spat, eventually pulling hard enough for Puck to let go of him. Slowly, Sam uncoiled his arms from around Finn, but still keep a hand just slightly poised above Finn's elbow. He couldn't tell if it was for comfort or a preemptive strike to hold him back. The fact that he couldn't tell left him feeling hollow.
Karofsky was grinning again, and the feeling of power that Finn had been feeling all throughout these past minutes was slowly beginning to deflate. His own friends didn't believe him. No one else would believe him. He'd just gone and made Karofsky more angry, and would take it out on Kurt.
"Looks like Homo Explosion really is where you belong."
"Mr. Karofsky." All of them turned, finding Coach Beiste standing in her doorway, arms crossed over her chest and a scowl imprinted on her face. "We have a problem here."
"Hey, don't look at me, Hudson started it," he replied, jabbing a finger in Finn's direction.
"I'm not talking about what just occurred here. I'm talking about you forcing yourself onto one of Coach Sylvester's Cheerios this past Tuesday in here. Caught on security footage," she stated simply.
"But I didn't…"
Finn grinned. He wasn't sure who it was – whether it was Beiste or Coach Sylvester – but whoever it was was going to save Kurt. He turned back to Karofsky, still grinning. "Kurt was the Cheerios main flyer in the winter. He's still on the roster."
Sam let out a sound that resembled a groan mixed with a gasp, reaching out to grab onto Finn's arm. Puck was the one who lunged at Karofsky this time. "You fucking pervert," Puck spat.
"But what about Hudson attacking me?"
Beiste caught Finn's eye before turning back to face Karofsky. "From what I just saw, albeit a bit unruly and a tad aggressive, Hudson was just doing was we teach in the game – protecting what's rightfully his."
Beiste's words left him feeling strangely uneasy. As he drove home (after convincing Sam that he did NOT have a concussion nor was he going to die behind the wheel), he kept going back to the thoughts he had while Karofsky was badmouthing Kurt.
That Kurt was his. And only his.
And then again, Beiste mentioned how Finn was protecting 'what was rightfully his'. Why did everyone think that Finn needed an ulterior motive to be nice to Kurt? Beating up a bully is what any quasi-stepbrother would do for his gay quasi-stepbrother…right?
Resisting the urge to bang his head against the steering wheel when he pulled into the now joint Hudson-Hummel home after seeing Kurt's Navigator sitting quietly in the driveway, he realized that banging his head would just open the huge wound on his forehead. And walking into the house, coming face to face with Kurt as blood seeped down his face wasn't really a great first impression.
Climbing out of his car was actually more of a struggle than he intended. There were places hurting that he didn't even know existed. Getting up the stairs to the house caused him to break a sweat, his whole body now aching. All he wanted to do was sink into his bed and never get up. He didn't know if he could even make it that far.
When he opened the door, he automatically heard the buzz of the TV. He was almost never home after school, which was why he felt strange being here so early. Sometimes, he felt like he saw Kurt more in school than he did at home.
If he could just quietly make it past Kurt without making a big scene, maybe they could avoid the whole 'sorry I beat up the guy who bullied you and kissed you even though you thought he was a homophobe' speech. He could clean up a bit, making it seem like the fight wasn't as bad.
As he started to turn the corner that led into the den, where Kurt currently was, and up to the staircase, he turned the corner slowly, hoping to make it past Kurt without knowing. Kurt was lying on the sofa, eating popcorn and mindlessly flipping through the channels.
"What are you doing home so early?" Kurt mused uninterestedly, not bothering to turn his head around to face Finn. "Rachel not putting out as much as you want her to?" Once the words slipped from Kurt's mouth, Finn couldn't tell if that was meant to be a joke or an insult.
"What, do you have eyes in the back of your head?"
"I saw your car pull in the driveway," he said simply.
"Oh. Oh, you know. Just. Just an early afternoon," Finn muttered through gritted teeth, holding his left arm in his right one. His arm was shaking it hurt so bad, and as he felt something drip down his cheek, he was pretty sure his forehead was open again.
"You never have 'early afternoons'. What about football?" Kurt protested, now pausing the television. His voice sounded interested now, and Finn realized he needed to come up with a fucking good excuse or be prepared to face the wrath of Kurt.
"What's the matter with – holy shit," Kurt started to say as he turned around on the couch, finally getting an eyeful of the broken and bruised mess that stood in front of him. His jaw dropped, the room becoming silent.
"Hi?" Finn replied, waving with his bad arm, before wincing and clutching it.
"What the fuck happened to you?" Kurt exclaimed, jumping off the couch in an explosion of movement. "Don't answer that yet. Is anything broken?" he started without even giving Finn time to answer as he led him over to the couch. Finn sat down, watching as Kurt ran around grabbing a wash cloth and gauze and any thing else that resembled first aid.
When Kurt came back, arms full of supplies that tumbled down onto the cushion that was next to Finn, he sighed. "What happened?" he asked bluntly before beginning to press lightly at the cuts on Finn's forehead with the damp cloth.
"I fell down."
With a snort, Kurt rolled his eyes. He pulled the cloth away, which was now a pale pink color. "Please, I've used that one way too many times. Don't even think about trying it on the master."
"I got tackled a lot in football practice."
"By a lawnmower?"
"I got hit by a car." Kurt stopped, giving Finn a you've gotta be kidding me look. Finn eventually sighed, dropping his gaze.
"You realize you could just tell me the truth," Kurt said softly. "It's not like I'm going to go spread it around the school."
He was right. Finn had done this for Kurt. He had rushed into the fight wanting to get revenge for Kurt, but now he wasn't even okay with telling him what had happened. Even though he would've like the fight to be a little less bloody on his end of it, Karofsky got what he deserved. And if Finn couldn't at least tell Kurt that, then what was the point of the fight?
"It was Karofsky, okay? He and I got in a fight, and it got pretty physical." As soon as Finn had mentioned Karofsky, Kurt let out a noise that resembled a gasp, but continued on with cleaning Finn's cuts. His whole body had become rigid with tension, but he still was gentle as he wiped the washcloth against Finn's forehead.
"And what was this fight about?" he asked. "Close your eyes," Kurt told him before gently wiping something cool onto the cuts. Finn could tell that he was trying to sound uninterested, but he could still sense the hurt that lingered in Kurt's voice. He wanted to make that go away. That was why he did this. These bruises, these scars that might come to be – they would all be worth it. He could see it now, and he didn't like the person that he saw behind Kurt's eyes. It wasn't who Kurt actually was.
"If I said I knew what Karofsky did to you, what would you do?" Finn asked quietly, opening one of his eyes. This time, Kurt froze, his hand with just one of the fingers pressed softly against Finn's temple. His face was drawn in anguish, skin going extremely pale. He stayed like that for a while, before Finn broke the silence. "Kurt?"
Kurt jumped, pulling away from Finn and busying himself. He wiped his palms on his jeans. He cleared his throat, looking away and stepping back. "How, uh, how did you find out?" he asked. Not even waiting for Finn to answer the question, Kurt meticulously grabbed the roll of gauze and cut a piece. But even as he did so, Finn could see the whole time that his hands were shaking uncontrollably.
"I overheard you talking today at lunch. After I heard you, and how sad you sounded… I had to do something – ow," Finn hissed as Kurt pressed the bandage against his forehead, taping it down.
"Sorry," Kurt muttered. This wasn't the reaction Finn had been expecting. Even though he went in there with good intentions and was hoping that Kurt would be eternally grateful, he always had figured in the back of his mind that Kurt would be eternally pissed off that he did this and most likely never forgive him.
But this was neither of those reactions. This was subdued Kurt. A Kurt who couldn't seem to come to terms with what had happened.
Who couldn't believe what Finn had done for him.
"It's alright," Finn said softly. "I'm sorry. About everything…" Kurt caught his eye and for a second, it almost seemed like the look in his eyes was gratitude. Which wasn't possible. Because Kurt would usually throw a tantrum in this situation.
The room stayed silent for a few minutes. As Kurt bandaged Finn's bruised knuckles, his fingers gracefully running over the swollen knuckles, Finn had the strange desire to grab onto his hands. Before he could even come to terms with what was running through is mind, Kurt was stepping back again. With a sigh, he crossed his arms. "Why did you do it? Why do you care?" he whispered, his face an unreadable expression of pain.
Finn shrugged, despite the horrible pain that was shooting up his shoulder into his neck. "Because I care about you. That's what any person who cares about you would do. You're my friend. You should be happy and feel like people care about you. What Karofsky did isn't cool, and he needed to know that he can't just fuck around with you," he mumbled. Kurt tore his eyes away from Finn, hugging his arms across his body. At that moment, he looked so small, as if he wanted to curl up into himself and disappear.
"Thank you," he said softly.
"You don't have to thank me, Kurt. I just wish you had told me earlier…"
Kurt shrugged indifferently. "I didn't think it would do any difference. I mean, considering what happened after Sam moved here… I half-expected you to be rejoining them."
Well. That was a different way of saying thank you.
He wasn't expecting that. Not in the least. Sure, he and Kurt had had some disagreements since thir parents had moved in together, and even more since Finn had come to figure out that Kurt may have sorta had feelings for him at one point. But that in no way was equitable to Azimio and Karofsky's daily torment of Kurt…
"Kurt, I would never do that…" Finn started, trying to stand up from the couch so he could be eye to eye with him. The pain that overtook his left side flared like a white hot poker. He winced, feeling a wave of dizziness wash over him. "Fucking hell," he muttered, grabbing onto his left arm.
"Are you sure nothing's broken?" Kurt asked, raising an eyebrow casually. Finn looked up at him, and slowly realized that his vision was swimming. Dots of black were moving in front of Kurt's face, which Finn knew was not supposed to be happening. "Finn?" Kurt asked, his voice growing louder with fear. He stepped closer, grabbing onto the zipper of Finn's sweatshirt jacket. Normally Finn would've made a fuss. But he was in so much pain he couldn't think straight.
And this was Kurt. He trusted Kurt. The jacket slowly slipped off of his shoulder, down his arm. It exposed his bare arm, which felt like his was on fire at this point.
"I'm just going to try and figure out what's wrong… tell me if it hurts," Kurt said softly, taking another step closer and leaning down. Bracing one hand on the side of Finn's neck and jaw, he held his head still while his other hand began to gently press. Finn let out a hiss, which turned into a groan. Kurt slowed his pressing, watching Finn carefully as he slumped backwards into the couch, his eyes slowly slipping shut. Feeling the soft fingers press into the warped muscles, Finn felt his muscles relax.
"Are you okay?" Kurt hummed, moving closer to Finn. Finn was really more than okay. With the warmth radiating from Kurt onto his bare skin, he felt satiated. It was strange, but it was a feeling that he never wanted to stop. Opening his eyes, he found himself face to face with Kurt, who was still kneading into his neck, biting down on his lip and watching Finn with a worried expression. "Finn?" He slowly let go of his hold on Finn.
At this point, Finn forgot about everything that was in his head, and just acted on everything that was thrumming heatedly through his veins. As his hand wrapped around Kurt's wrist, pulling the smaller boy closer, nothing in his body even put up a defense. It led him to think; maybe this is how its supposed to be. In his life, very few things stayed constant. There was his mother. There was football. And for a while, that had been his whole existence. Now, he had Kurt too. Unlike Rachel or Puck or Quinn, Kurt was always going to treat him the same. Their friendship wasn't taken for granted or used to benefit him in some way. Kurt actually cared about him. Who else wound be bandaging him up?
All he could think was how right this felt. How right it felt to have him near. And how Kurt needed this, and he wanted to give it to him. Maybe this was wrong, and maybe he was going to come to regret it. But at this moment, he couldn't think of a possible time in which he would regret it.
"What…?" Kurt whispered, staring at Finn's hand enclosed around his wrist.
"Forget what Karofsky did. Forget about the kiss, forget about him, forget about everything. It doesn't matter," he started, running a thumb along the veins in Kurt's wrist. Kurt just stared back at him, his mouth slightly parted. "A first kiss is supposed to be something to remember. With someone you care about and who cares about you."
"You're scaring me now, Finn. Should I call a real doctor?" Kurt asked, his voice wavering uncontrollably. Yet he didn't pull his hand out of Finn's grasp. He looked back and forth from the grip to Finn, watching and waiting to see if this was really real life.
With his other hand, Finn tugged on Kurt's upper arm, pulling him down in a jerky movement. Kurt gasped, falling on top of Finn in a heap. His hand clasped down on Finn's good shoulder, bracing himself before the fall while one of his legs slid on top of Finn's thigh to the point where he was practically sitting on him. He opened his mouth to start to say something, the fear in his expression no doubt about to be mirrored in his voice.
"Don't do this," Kurt whispered so soft it was barely audible. Shutting his eyes, almost like he was in pain. "Please. Please don't do this to me if you don't mean it. You have no idea how much you'll hurt me if you do."
Without a word, Finn leaned forward, and before he could even stop himself, his hand wrapping itself lightly around Kurt's neck, cupping his cheek. As he stroked his thumb across Kurt's cheekbone, causing Kurt's breath to hitch, he realized he couldn't go back from this point. It was either he broke Kurt's heart. Or he broke Rachel's.
And even with that thought racing through his head, Finn kissed him harder than he'd kissed anyone ever before. With the taste of him on his lips and the feel of his skin against his own, Finn had never felt so right.
When Kurt had fully climbed on top of Finn, arms thrown around his neck and legs burrowed into the couch, he could finally feel the smaller boy smile against his lips. He knew at that moment that this was in no way a mistake. Not on anyone's part.
Pulling away for just a second, Finn whispered softly, "There. That's your first kiss. That's the one you can always remember."
Kurt laughed softly. "Exactly how I hoped it would be."
And honestly, Finn couldn't disagree.