Author's Notes: Written for the glee_angst_meme, the prompt: "Will loses Emma. Finn loses Rachel. Both of them are lonely and miserable, and end up gravitating towards each other, which culminates in a one night stand at Will's apartment. The morning after, Will is filled with fear, shame and self-disgust, and runs away for a while. Finn wakes up confused and hurt, and calls Kurt to pick him up. After getting the details and taking care of Finn, Kurt confronts his teacher. How this ends is up to filler, but the requirements are: Will/Finn angst, Kurt-Finn brotherliness."

Tactical Advantage

Kurt is more than a little surprised to be woken at seven by his mobile ringing. Okay, yes, his normal routine requires waking up before that point. But this is not his normal routine; it's winter break and he is home again accordingly. And he has the excuse to sleep in now. Who is calling him?

With a sigh and a groan he forces himself up, reaching for the phone. "Hello, who is this?" he answers. He then realizes he could have just checked the caller ID before answering.

There's an awkward pause. "Uh. Hey. It's, uh, me, dude. Finn." Kurt nods along.

"Why are you calling me? Aren't you just upstairs?"

There's an even more awkward pause. "...Er, not so much. That's kind of why I'm calling. Look, are Mom and Burt still out?"

Mom and Burt went out for a weekend away. They said they felt bad for going when Kurt was finally home, but he said it was fine – he already stole their honeymoon, after all, might as well give them something. "Yes. Why? Do you need to talk to them? Oh god, what happened?"

"What? Nothing!" The urgency off that has Kurt really doubting its validity. "...Well, okay, something happened. But, uh, I really don't want to talk to them 'bout... I actually asked to make sure you could sneak past them, and if they were up and had noticed I was kinda not there."

"Oh," says Kurt. "Wait – sneak past them?"

"...I need you to pick me up." His voice is starting to sound choked, and Kurt pushes the blankets off his bed by way of commitment.

"Why?" He gives a desperate look to the bathroom. "You'll make me skip my morning moisturizing routine. Isn't there anyone there you can ask for a lift? Or what about a taxi?"

Finn doesn't answer, but Kurt hears him badly smother a sob and suddenly feels like the worst human being to ever exist. "There's... no-one here." Kurt isn't sure if he wants to know the story behind the statement. "I, uh... kind of have no money. Thought... um. Just please come pick me up?"

Kurt bites his lip. To hell with the moisturizing routine. His fraternal duties are more important.

"Okay. Well, if I'm going to pick you up, you're going to have to tell me where you are."

There's yet another pause. This one seems to stretch out for an eternity.


"...I'm at Mr. Schue's place," Finn eventually mumbles, so quiet Kurt can barely hear him. And yes, it starts the alarm bells ringing it Kurt's head. However, he ignores that for awhile to focus on what Finn needs from him.

"Um, I don't actually know where that is, Finn."

There's another awkward pause, followed by a burst of faintly hysterical chuckling. It makes Kurt want to be sick. Finn gets himself back under control pretty quickly though. "Sorry. Just... 'course. It's, uh, thirty... Gregrith Street. Apartment number four. You got that?"

Kurt nods, although Finn can't see. "Apartment number four; thirtieth Gregrith Street. I'll just take a quick shower and I'll be there. Okay?"

"...Okay," says Finn. His voice still sounds somewhat broken and hesitant; child-like, too. It gives Kurt pause.

"Finn? Are you okay?"

"Not really," Finn admits. Kurt bites his lip. "I'm sorry, man. I'm not like, in danger or anything, don't worry... Just, could you get here quick?"

Kurt does so, knocking on the apartment door hesitantly. "Finn? Are you in there?"

Finn swings open the door, a cup of coffee in his hand. "Hey man," he says. He looks around for a second. "Okay, I would hug you if I could find somewhere to put this so I wouldn't like, burn you to death. Because ow."

Kurt looks at him closer. He looks like the living dead, honestly. He looks like he's been crying – his eyes are wide and red. He also looks like he's got the hangover from hell, but Kurt is somewhat less concerned about that.

He steps in cautiously, looking down the hall. He sees the remains of a wide assortment of alcoholic beverages on the coffee table, which would probably explain the hangover from hell look Finn's wearing. He turns back to his stepbrother.

"So... What happened?"

Finn winces. "Can you not... ask that, right now?"

Kurt blinks, but nods. Finn sighs and turns away from him, slowly walking towards what turns out to be the kitchen. Kurt follows him. Finn downs the last of his coffee, and puts down the cup. The movement reverberates through the eerily still kitchen. Kurt thinks he may be letting Finn's misery infect him a touch too easily.

"So..." he says, biting his lip, "...if this is Mr. Schue's apartment, um, where is Mr. Schue?"

He hears Finn sniffle again. "I don't know," he says. "Not here?"

Kurt's worried now. Why is Finn so hurt by Mr. Schue not being here? Why is Finn here anyway?

As soon as Kurt thinks, he gets a suspicious theory – why would anyone stay at someone's house for a night, and be devastated when said someone runs out the next morning?

Don't be ridiculous, Kurt tells himself. Finn's straight; he proved that pretty thoroughly. Besides, Mr. Schue's a teacher. He wouldn't.

But Finn still won't turn around and look him in the eye, and it makes Kurt antsy. "You know, if you were a different sort of person I'd be a little suspicious of you spending, apparently, the whole night at a teacher's house and seeming so hurt when he's not there anymore," Kurt says in a very obviously joking tone.

Finn doesn't laugh, or even answer – Kurt would be more than willing to put up with a resurgence of Finn's casually homophobic I AM NOT GAY! attitude right now if it just meant he would refute Kurt's suspicions. He doesn't.

"Finn? You can turn around, you know. I'm not Medusa; there's no way I'd put up with snakes for hair – how would I ever find the right products?"

Finn still doesn't laugh, but at least he actually does turn around. However, he's still staring down at the floor, not meeting Kurt's eyes. His arms are folded over himself defensively.

Kurt sighs. "Okay, Finn, what happened? You're scaring me. Why are you here, why isn't Mr. Schue here anymore, and why is that so awful?"

Finn bites his lip. "...You just said, dude. What do you think? Didn't you just figure it out?"

Despite himself, Kurt gapes as any ability to deny it fades into the distance.

"You slept with him," he blurts out.

Tactful, Hummel.

Finn shudders and all his remaining energy seems to slide right out of it; he pulls out one of the kitchen chairs and collapses onto it, arms still wrapped around himself. "Yeah," he admits. "I – I'm sorry, man. It was dumb and I get if you're–"

"You don't have to apologize to me," Kurt cuts him off, quickly pulling out a chair. "Just... god, Finn. I mean, he's our teacher, for christ's sake."

"I didn't plan it or anything," Finn says. "And I thought you were an atheist?"

"It's an expression, Finn," Kurt says. "And I guessed as much. I just... don't understand what happened?"

Finn bites his lip. "Well I, uh, always had sort of a guycrush on him, I guess? And I didn't like, think about the implications or whatever... Honestly, last year, my world of gay was kind of you. So if I didn't like, like you back... I thought that meant I was just straight. Actually, I was kind of expecting you to be pissed about this for that reason – like, yeah, you had a shot after all but not really because I just didn't like you. Which makes me sound like a douchebag. So, uh, sorry."

Kurt rolls his eyes. "Finn, I am over you and over my own entitlement complex enough to recognize that me liking you did not mean you owed me any kind of reciprocation, no matter what your sexuality. It doesn't work that way. You don't have to worry about me."

"...Okay, I don't really understand what that means but whatever," says Finn, and Kurt smiles. God bless Finn and his charming stupidity. "Sorry I dragged you all the way out here... I was just being dumb in the first place."

"Finn, don't," Kurt warns. "I don't want to hear you talk about yourself that way."

Finn sighs. "I guess I should have guessed he'd run off. I mean, it's not like this was a thing, right? Plus, y'know, he could get fired or sent to jail or something so it's hardly like you can blame him for freaking."

"Uh, yes, I can!" Kurt yells. "Do you not see he did you wrong? He seduced and abandoned you. If he wasn't ready to deal with a consequences he simply shouldn't have done it in the first place." Kurt pauses. "And actually, he can't get sent to jail for this. You're seventeen and the age of consent in Ohio is actually sixteen; it's just that it's eighteen in California where all the TV is made, so that makes everyone think it's eighteen."

"Really?" Finn sounds surprised.

"Yes, but we're getting distracted," Kurt says. "Technically legal or not, what he did to you was immoral and awful and I really want to punch him in the face about now."

Finn looks uncomfortable. "Look, dude, it's not like he... took advantage of me. I mean, we've both been crazy depressed – he's still caught up on Ms. Pilsbury; I've got Rachel issues – and, uh, we spent time together. We helped each other. He invited me over... you know, to talk. There was booze and okay, my memory's getting fuzzy at this point, but it just sort of... happened."

Kurt swallows hard. "He manipulated your troubles to get closer to you, lured you to his house, got you drunk, used you for sex and left the next morning. It's exactly like he took advantage of you."

"No!" Finn insists. "I mean... it's Mr. Schue, Kurt. He's not the kind. He's the good guy."

Kurt sighs. "Oh, Finn," he says. "If he was the good guy, no matter what your opinion on the morality of teacher/student relationships, there'd be no reason for him to run away like this. Well, there would be, but he wouldn't do it."

Finn flinches and doesn't answer for a second.

"Maybe I'm overreacting; maybe he's just gone out to get coffee or something and he'll come back. And then it will be so awkward when he sees you're here."

"You were drinking coffee when I came in."

"Or something."

"How long have you been waiting for?"

There's an awkward pause. Finn looks... guilty.

"...An hour."

Kurt really wants to give him a hug right now.

He sighs loudly. "Were you at least... safe?"

Finn practically chokes on his own tongue. "What? Yes! Dude, how do you just ask that?"

"It's important to know, Finn; I know you're struggling with the emotional side of all this, but I wanted to make sure we wouldn't have to check you for diseases or anything, because that would make things even worse. Honestly, given Ms. Pilsbury's rather forthright description of him, it's worth worrying about."

Finn scowls. "Could you not?" he asks. "Look, dude, I know you're going all psycho big brother over me and hate him right now and want to find whatever reason you can to hate him, but... I just can't deal with that right now, okay? So, like... don't."

Pretty much all trace of Finn's anger disappears midway through the speech; he just looks... defeated. Kurt sighs and leans in, resting his head on Finn's shoulder. He just hopes the proximity is comforting.

"Okay," he says. He raises his hand and fixes it over where Finn's hand lies on the table. "Come on. Let's get you home."

Despite himself, Kurt needs to harass Mr. Schuester over this. It's his duty as a brother, and even if it's not, if Finn just keeps sitting there on Kurt's bed (Kurt didn't want to leave him alone and Finn didn't particularly want to be left alone, so Kurt's letting him wallow in the basement) in misery without Kurt being able to do anything about it, Kurt's head might just explode. Which sounds like a negative experience for all parties.

Kurt sighs and turns to Finn. "Do you have Schuester's phone number? Landline."

Finn blinks at him. "...You know, I've heard people use that term for a type of phone for like, ever, and I've never bothered to figure out what it means. What does it mean?"

Kurt rolls his eyes. "A home phone, Finn. Not a cell," he explains.

"Oh," says Finn. "Uh... no. And I don't have his cell either. Um... sorry."

There's a pause. Then Finn presses his palm against his mouth, stifling laughter. It soon starts to sound like sobs again, and Kurt has to close his eyes for a second. It hurts to see Finn hurting.

"Finn? What is it?"

"Wha?" Finn asks. "Oh, uh, nothing. Just... I – I fucked him before I even had his phone number. Guess I'm kind of a slut like that, huh?"

Kurt wants to cry. He really has to stop feeling these insults Finn aims at himself like a punch to the gut – Finn's probably feeling enough of that on his own.

"Finn, don't," he says. Finn looks guilty again.

Logically, Kurt knows none of this is new – Finn has terrible self-esteem problems; Kurt's slowly grown more and more aware of that over recent months. He was already in a low spot thanks to the second girlfriend he's ever really had also cheating on him, with the same guy as the first one did, too boot. He can't say this is all thanks to Schuester's abandonment; it's just made things worse right now. But Kurt can't think logically, and can't see that. He just sees how much damage Schuester has done to Finn's ego in a few hours, or at least under a day, depending on from when you start counting.

"Oh, uh, sorry. Forgot you get all mad when I bitch myself out. Although I am lost as to how it's not true..."

"It's not true, Finn, because – well, to me the insult seems somewhat meaningless anyway," Kurt says. "Really, it can be applied to any sexual behavior – or even just interpretations of sexual behavior – of which the speaker disapproves. Which makes it sound impossible to prove accuracy one way or the other. But, in my interpretation of events, you were in a great deal of emotional pain and he used that – I know you disagree, but I don't care – and there is no way in hell I'm going to let that be a basis for judging you."

He exhales heavily. He really wasn't meaning that to turn into a whole speech thing. Finn looks confused, but grateful.

"You've really got to start speaking with words I understand, dude," Finn says with a small smile, which relieves Kurt slightly. "I mean, you're telling me I'm not a whore, which I can get and am totally yay about – but I'm kind of lost with everything else."

"Well, that was mostly the important part, so don't worry about it," Kurt says, lying back against the wall.

Finn nods along. "So... why did you want Mr. Schue's number in the first place?"

"So I could call and figure out when he gets home, then go back over there to harass him about what he did to you."


"I know. I know." Kurt breathes in. "It's stupid and likely pointless. But I can't let him not know how awful what he did to you was, and that people want him to have to pay for it."

Finn doesn't answer, staring down at the bedcovers.

"Look, Finn, if it's that horrible for you I won't go," Kurt says. "I just need to prove that this isn't okay. You're worth fighting for."

"It's okay," Finn says. "I... I get it. I don't wanna be there, but... it's cool. Or, uh, it would be if you had the number and could show up at the right time. 'Cause you could just wait there, but you couldn't get inside and that would be creepy. Actually, the phone calls would probably be creepy too, but–"

"Finn. Phone books. The internet. One or the other exists."

"Don't both?"

Will Schuester is scared. He's fucking terrified. He only dared to return to his apartment a few hours ago, desperately praying Finn would have taken the hint and left. Thankfully, his prayers were answered. He was allowed to linger in fear and self-hatred on his own, without having to play the good guy for Finn – because Will's not a very good liar.

Didn't stop him practically jumping out of his skin half an hour ago when the phone rang. That wasn't Finn either, at least as far as Will knows; no-one actually spoke, and that's usually annoying or unsettling, but at that point he was too relieved to even care.

But he practically jumps out of his skin again when someone knocks on the door, loud and insistent. Shit. For a second, he just sits there staring at it from down the hall, and the knocking comes again. Will sighs and walks over to open it.

Please don't be Finn, he thinks as he grasps for the knob and twists. Please. I can't handle explaining this to him right now.

The door opens.

It's not Finn.


Said boy just blinks at him, face decidedly blank. "Mr. Schuester," he says flatly, "Can I come in?"

Will looks nervously over his shoulder. "I'm not sure that's a good idea..." Okay, now you remember how inappropriate it is to have students in your apartment. Good going, Will.

Kurt raises a skeptical eyebrow. "Somehow, I think it's the least of your worries."

...Shit, does he know?

Will sighs and reluctantly steps aside, letting Kurt in. Kurt practically snatches the door from his fingertips and slams it shut with a bang! that makes Will wince (he's got a bit of a hangover). They just stand there in the hallway, staring at each other uncomfortably.

Will, against his better judgment, has to break the silence. "So, um... why are you here, Kurt?"

"Don't play dumb, Mr. Schue," Kurt snaps, eyes narrowing in anger. Shit. "In case you need a clue – well, it isn't the first time I'm been here today. But you weren't the one letting me in last time. Someone else was here, when they really shouldn't have been. And they were alone. Are the pieces starting to fall into place yet?"

Will's stomach sinks in dread. "Look, Kurt, let me explain–"

"I don't need an explanation, Schuester," Kurt says, shaking his head. "You seduced and abandoned my brother. All I need is a chance to be seriously violent towards your person."

"I wasn't like that!" Will has to choke back the urge to vomit – although not in so many words, Kurt has just told him exactly what a creep he is for doing that with Finn and it's all true. "Look, Kurt, I swear, I didn't plan this. We've just... We've both been under so much stress, we had gotten closer. I only meant to talk when I invited him back here, I promise. Then, I don't know, we drunk and I lost my inhibitions and I'm sorry; I know it was wrong, I just–"

"Why would you give him booze?"

Will blinks at that. "Huh?"

"Why would you provide alcohol, Mr. Schuester?" asks Kurt, rather unsubtly balling his fist in rage. "He's seventeen. A minor. Even beyond the skeeviness of him being there at all, giving him alcohol is downright illegal. I think. Whereas the sex... wasn't. That makes no sense."

Will groans and buries his head in his hands. "I wasn't getting him drunk or anything," he defends himself, although he highly doubts Kurt will believe him. "I was just... trying to make him feel like I'd treat him like an adult. Yeah, I knew I really shouldn't, but it didn't seem like a big deal – he's seventeen, after all; Kurt, you can hardly say you've been the patron saint of sobriety yourself."

Kurt shakes his head again. "I can't believe I'm hearing this," he says. "Fine then. If you are so morally righteous, why did you leave? Why would you just abandon him?"

"Why do you think?" Will blurts out. "He's my student. I panicked! I mean, if anyone found out, I'd get..."

"So you run away and pointlessly break his heart," Kurt says. "Believe me, I've been dealing with his borderline catatonia all day. As if I didn't hate you enough for this already."

"Kurt, please, you've got to understand–"

"Don't, Mr. Schue!" Kurt yells, gesturing with outstretched palms. "Okay, I don't need to understand anything you say. It's not about you. It's about Finn, because he's my brother, and he's hurting. I only came here so you'd know there's someone who distinctly does not want to let you get away with this."

Will gulps. Let you get away with this. Someone who will prosecute him for his crime. "What are you going to do?" he asks, lump in his throat – he won't cry, he can't; Kurt will just say he's playing the victim, which he guesses he kind of is. "Report me?"

"Maybe." Will's never felt worse in his life. "I'm considering it. I haven't decided. But if I don't?" Kurt steps forward, raising a finger for emphasis. "It's not for you. It would never be for you. I'm just worried Finn might kill me."

Will flinches. "Why would he even care?" he can't help but ask.

"Are you that stupid?" Kurt aims back. "Okay, fine. Since you can't understand this – Finn, in all his adorable foolishness, still cares about you and doesn't want to believe you're the bad guy in this situation. He keeps giving you excuses; trying to convince me that when you slept with him, it was just fine, despite... well, everything. He doesn't want you to suffer for this. He should. But he doesn't."

Will flinches under Kurt's unbreaking gaze. The boy despises him. Will has always tried his best to care for his students; to be there when needed. He may not have always been perfect – especially in the case of Kurt Hummel – but he's always tried. He did his best to make sure Kurt was okay when his father was in hospital; he took Kurt to the principal (Sue, of all people) when the Karofsky situation was getting out of hand, for what little good it did. He thought Kurt liked him – at least, enough to hug him when he showed up at Dalton and help him shop for Sue. And now, he's made one mistake and that's all just... gone. Somehow, it seems unfair.

Okay, all that's the most self-righteous self-important self-pitying thought process he's ever had. But as long as he doesn't say it aloud, he's good.

Instead, Will sighs in Kurt's face. "I can't explain myself for this," he admits. "I can't. I did something hopelessly, thoughtlessly wrong... and that's that. I'd love it if you didn't feel the need to destroy my life over this, but..."

"Stop trying to make yourself the victim here!" Kurt shouts. Guess he noticed that. "You fucked him and abandoned him. Seduce and destroy, right? You crushed him. You are the one who–"

"I don't care, Kurt!" Will blurts out, gesturing wildly. "Do you have any idea how scared I am? What I did? Finn's seventeen. Heartbreak happens. It's awful, but he'll deal. This is... everything I never wanted to be. You can hate me for hurting him all you want, but you can't say I had no reason for what I did."

Kurt just stares at him. Will suddenly feels like the world might be ending.

"You know, I've long since acknowledged you're not perfect, William Schuester," says Kurt. His voice sounds choked and hoarse. "Not as a teacher, and not as a person. You're ignorant. Naive. Practically drowning in your own privilege and inability to see past it. You play favorites. And if I'm being honest, you always did seem to push boundaries of what is and is not appropriate." Kurt pauses, taking in a deep breath. "But I never thought you could be that... honestly, selfishly cruel."

"Kurt, I didn't mean all that–"

"Don't, Mr. Schue," says Kurt as he moves for the door. "I ought to get back to Finn. Poor boy has so many self-esteem problems, both old and new... he really should feel like someone cares about him."

The door slams closed, and so do Will's eyes. Fuck.

As is, eventually the winter break ends and everyone has to go back to school. Will remembers he set a brief assignment for the period. That fills him with a sense of dread different to how he normally regrets the fact only a third of his class is ever going to do the damn work.

He gets through the class without asking them for their homework. They seem mostly confused, but grateful. Finn keeps trying to catch his eye, which makes him stumble over his verbs, but me manages not to go into a complete psychological breakdown, so he's calling it a win.

"Not so fast," he says as the bell rings and his students try to file out. "No, I didn't forget about your assignment. Leave them on my desk on your way out. I will notice the names not in the pile."

The students share disappointed grumbles, but a good few of them leave the assignments on his desk, as asked. As much as he tries not to, Will notices someone lingering at the back behind his classmates, getting more and more obvious as everyone leaves. Finn.

Will swallows hard, and forces himself to go sit at the desk.

Will absentmindedly fills out some piece of paperwork, but out of the corner of his eye he can see Finn waiting until everyone else is gone to approach him, tentatively holding out his own assignment.

"Um. Here," Finn says.

Will barely looks up as he snatches it out of Finn's hands. "Thanks."

He keeps his eyes so firmly on the paper (what is he writing, anyway?) he might leave holes in it. He just hopes Finn will take a hint and go away. However, Finn doesn't move.

"Mr. Schue?"

Will sighs and forces himself to meet Finn's eyes. The look of open vulnerability on the boy's face makes him want to cry.

He doesn't let himself, however. "What is it, Finn? Did you want something?"

Yes, it's cold. But he has to be.

Finn looks over his shoulder uncomfortably, and leans forward. "Mr. Schue," he says, voice hushed to a whisper. "Don't you think we should talk about this?"

"No," Will says. Finn looks like he's been slapped, and Will sighs. "Look, Finn, I'm sorry but... what happened over the holidays was a mistake. I just want – need – to forget about it. You should do the same. Could you please go away now?"

Finn blinks. "But that's not fair," he says. "I'm... I don't know. But you owe me. You ran out, dude. You can't just... do this to me and drop me when it freaks you out. I'm seventeen; I don't get it, Will."

"Don't call me that!" Will snaps. Finn flinches. "I'm sorry. That was out of line. But... god, Finn, this is... Like you said, you're seventeen. A guy slept with you and hurt you. It's awful for you, but something like it happens to pretty much every teenager – Rachel broke your heart a few weeks ago! You'll live with it. But me... This is complete identity crisis for me, Finn. I never wanted to be that guy. It's selfish, but I need to ignore you, to help myself."

Finn seems confused. "I don't get it," he says. "Wouldn't talking to the other guy involved, y'know, help with your whole identity thing? 'Cause my feelings on what happened are probably important to, like, what actually happened." He hesitates, biting his lip. "Or was I just, I dunno... bad and you're trying to let me down easy?"

"No!" Will cries. "Finn, this isn't about you. It can't be. You're just a student, nothing more to me. You can't be if I'm ever going to come to terms with what happened. And yes, I'm kicking you out in the cold. But that's okay. You have people to help you through this – Kurt damn near terrified me, no lie. Maybe this is awful of me, but... how I feel is more important than how you do right now."

Finn looks like he's about to cry now. Will wants to take it all back, but he forces himself not to. Even if all that was unforgivably cruel of him, it should make Finn back off – which is what he needs. It's what they both need, most likely.

"Fine," says Finn. "I'll see you at Glee, Mr. Schue."

He storms out, and Will pretends he can't see how Finn covers his face with his hands and runs into the nearest bathroom as quick as possible.

Finn backs off. It's a little frustrating, but probably does a lot of good in the long run. Will's still on edge every staff meeting, terrified his secret will be discovered. If he and Finn don't maintain as much distance as possible, it probably will be discovered. Since he did apparently break Finn's heart, he's not entirely sure why Finn is covering for him, but he calls in a gift in a horse's mouth and tries to move on.

It's just hard to pretend like everything's normal again when the boy who was his favorite student won't even look him in the eye.

(He knows he shouldn't play favorites – or at least, admit to himself he plays favorites – but really, he's done worse.)

Everything's just fine until one day at Glee. They're keeping the same distance – Finn talks to him like any student, and Will doesn't touch him, not even to show him the dance steps. But once he dismisses everyone, Finn gets a weird look and starts lingering. Again.

Will is so screwed.

Rachel is the last one to leave, shooting a sad glance over her shoulder at Finn before she goes. And then they're alone. It's just Will and the kid who represents everything he now has to hate himself.

Can you blame him for trying to duck for his office?

"Mr. Schue we need to talk," Finn blurts out as soon as Will gets the door open, striding up to him. Will can't tell if he's pleading or furious. Can he do back?

Will shoots a look back at the safe, authoritarian confines of his office. "Finn, I have a lot of work to do... papers and such."

Finn slams the door shut and makes Will jump. "Fuck you, it can wait."

He looks like he's about to cry again.


Will sighs and pauses for a second. "Fine," he says. "What's wrong?"

"Mr. Schue, you know what this is about," says Finn.

"We talked about this, Finn. It's not an issue." Will reaches for the door again, but the look on Finn's face stops him. He seems... hurt.

"Uh, more like you bitched at me until I agreed not to talk about it 'cause that'd make you uncomfortable or whatever," Finn points out. "But I kind of just realized that was making me crazy, so yeah, we need to talk about this. Or, uh, I need to. Hey, if you can be a selfish bastard about this so can I."

"Finn, I meant everything I said there." Really, he's not sure he did. "You're seventeen. You're a strong kid. You'll live with what happened. I'm terrified, and I need space to deal with this."

"It's not all about you!" Finn yells, gesturing wildly. "Okay, yeah, maybe I can deal with this on my own. But maybe not, and even if I can, I shouldn't have to. I didn't fuck up, Mr. Schue. You did. You screwed me and abandoned me; everything wrong there is your fault, and it's your responsibility to deal with it."

Will shakes his head. "Finn, I'm sorry," he says. "But I can't. I just can't."

Finn nods. "Okay. Do you want to know why you were always my favorite teacher, Mr. Schue?"

Will blinks. What?

"It was because... you went out of your way to help us. Things could really suck, and there wasn't always that much you could do, and sometimes you and us were thinking completely different things, but... it always mattered to you, fixing things for us. Being there when we needed you. Even if it was bad for you sometimes. And this is a thing... I need you to be here. And you are so not, it's not even funny."

Will flinches. He knows he's being awful and selfish, and he can't afford to care. But he hears there exactly how much faith Finn had in him – and how he crushed that. Suddenly, he feels like he might not survive that.

"Finn, I..." He sighs and squeezes his forehead. "I'm not perfect. I've never pretended to be. Quite frankly, this hero worship of me and expecting me to react to everything perfectly? Probably a little unhealthy."

Finn quirks an odd half-smile. "Think that's why I slept with you?" Then he frowns and shakes his head, looking angry again. "Wait, stop trying to make this my fault!"

"I wasn't..." Okay, he kind of was. "I'm sorry," Will says. "But since I crushed your delusions, you have seemed pretty determined to avoid me."

He frowns further. "That's what you told me to do!"

"Finn, I didn't tell you to..." Will trails off and bites his lip. He didn't tell Finn anything specific – he just said back off. He didn't mean... "I never wanted you to... just, stop. I thought it might help in the long run, while you were, but it wasn't what I wanted. Finn, I'm sorry."

Finn seems even more confused. "Then... what did you want?"

Will sighs. "I wanted... I want you to just... treat me like you used to. Look at me like you used to. I don't want to act like this ever happened."

Finn shakes his head. "I can't," he says. "You... you hurt me Mr. Schue, and I'm still angry about it, dammit. I'm not just gonna forget everything to make you happy. I really need to talk this out, or... I just can't look you in the eye anymore."

Will sighs. "Finn, I explained the way I feel about all this. Talking makes me panic. You staying away... makes me hate myself. I know I don't deserve it, but could you try – just for my sake? Kurt said you don't hate me, and that's something."

Finn gapes at him. "You don't feel guilty, do you?"


"All this – you don't feel guilty. You don't care what you did to me," Finn says. "I mean, you abandon me the morning over and worsen my already pretty massive issues – that's not about me; it's all you and your drama. Even the fact you're freaking 'cause you... You're not worrying because you could have taken advantage of me or anything. You're just all stressed about what it means about you. I don't matter."

"Finn, that's not what I meant–"

"Just, stop, Mr. Schue." Finn takes in a deep breath. "You asshole."

He starts turning around and Will grabs him by the arm, panicking – he didn't want to talk, but now he's gotten forced into it he can't let it end like this; can't let Finn walk out on him knowing he's nothing but a–

Suddenly, they're kissing. They're right in the middle of the choir room and they're kissing, like got them into so much trouble that time, but that's not the point. Because this is wrong, but it might just make Finn forgive him; he's doing this for Finn, because he was Finn's hero and he can't lose that – that–

"I can't," Finn blurts out, pulling away from him.

It takes Will a couple of seconds to get his bearings. "I thought... I thought that was what you wanted."

Finn frowns at him in confusion. "No. No, Mr. Schue." There's a pause. Finn laughs a little. "God, don't you get how... fucked up I am about all this?"

Will can only stare at him. Finn sighs.

"Look. My first girlfriend cheated on me with my best friend, got pregnant and tricked me into thinking the baby was mine for months. My second girlfriend hooked up with the same guy my first one did because she knew that'd hurt me the worst. The first girl I ever slept with would probably walk over my corpse for free gum, seems to get off on using what happened just to hurt people, and generally when I think about it I feel kind of sick. The first guy I ever slept with... was a teacher, who ran off the morning after, and told me everything I felt was less important than what he did."


"You have no idea how I feel sometimes, Mr. Schue," Finn says. "How freaking hard it is to tell myself I'm not that bad; I'm an okay guy sometimes. And yeah, the way you've acted? Really hasn't helped all that."

Will bites his lip. He knew Finn struggled with his self-esteem; who is high school doesn't, but–"

"Mr. Schue, I wanted – I wanted you to tell me it wasn't my fault. To make me feel like I was worth sticking around for. To say you were wrong. I mean, my crush on you was kind of shallow, but you just... running out..." Suddenly Will wants more than anything to hug him. He can't though. He doesn't have that right. "And now, you just hit on me like you can take it all back. Like we'll just hook up while you sort out your issues. Well, sorry Mr. Schue, but no. I... I'm not the guy who'd let you do that. I can't be."

Will nods. "I understand."

Finn sighs and starts heading for the door. "'It's not you, it's me,' huh?" Will muses.

Finn looks back at him. "No," he says. "It's definitely you."