A/N: I'm not really sure where this came from, except that I really like Kurt and Mercedes and I wanted to explore Mercedes' early feelings for Kurt. I don't think she's secretly pining after him or anything like that, but this 'What if?' scenario came into my head and I had to write it.

Takes place early Season 1, when Will and Terri are still married.

Disclaimer: I do not own Glee.


I Want You To Want Me

He is not in love with her and can never be in love with her.

That hurts.

It hurts more because she isn't even allowed to hate him. Because it isn't his fault.

He can't help it.

He likes flat chests and broad shoulders…and penises.

She does, too.

And sometimes she wishes, oh she wishes, that she had those things instead of what God gifted her with.

Because she wants him, more than she's ever wanted anything in the world. And then she hates herself for it, because she is stronger than this! They're right—she can do better.

But she still finds herself thinking about him, imagining them together, envisioning what it would be like.

When they go to the mall, the movies, each other's houses, and link arms and cuddle—she pretends it's more than platonic. She pretends they are boyfriend and girlfriend.

She'd give anything to feel those lips on hers. She knows why he never went out with her before he came out publicly—he thinks too much of her, expects she would not have agreed to be his "gay beard."

But she would have.

And it would have broken her heart when things inevitably didn't work out.

Kurt Hummel is gay.

And there is nothing she can do to change that.

:

Emma Pillsbury looks up at the knock on her door. She frowns internally as she recognizes the girl standing there—not someone she would expect to visit her office. Nevertheless, she smiles brightly.

"Mercedes. What can I help you with?"

Mercedes steps inside uncertainly, then falters.

"I shouldn't have come. I'm sorry, Ms. Pill-"

"Mercedes." Emma uses the Tone that is meant to comfort students, reassure them that her function at the school is to help with whatever problem they face. "Please, sit down."

The girl hesitates before dropping into a seat quickly, as if planting her behind in the chair will prevent her from running away.

"I like someone," she says quickly.

Emma smiles; she knows how to deal with this one.

"Well, have you told this person how you feel?"

Mercedes frowns and stares at the desk. "…sort of. I mean, one time I thought we were dating. So I think he knows, but he might think I'm over it. I'm pretty sure that's what he thinks." She nods and chances a glance up at her counselor.

"And how does he feel about you?"

Mercedes' shoulders slump and she looks away again. "He doesn't like me that way."

Emma nods. Unrequited love. She knows all about this. Her thoughts flit to Will and away again; now is not the time.

"Have you tried spending some time away from this person? To get over your feelings?"

Mercedes looks uncomfortable. "I can't. I mean, we kind of see each other a lot."

Oh, does she know about this...

"Well, what about other boys? Are you attracted to anyone else?"

The shake of a head is the response. "And none of them like me. I'm in glee, Ms. Pillsbury. And I'm…well, I don't exactly scream girlfriend material."

"You are not fat, Mercedes," Emma says quietly, half-reaching for the teenager's hand.

Mercedes holds her head high and crosses her arms. "That isn't the problem. I like myself the way I am. And he does, too."

"But not in that way?"

The girl deflates. "I can't even be mad at him," she mumbles. "How is that fair?"

"Maybe it would help if you tried to feel angry. Maybe that would help you keep away from him more?" Emma suggests hopefully.

"You don't understand," Mercedes groans, putting her arms on the desk and nestling her head in them. "I'm being unreasonable. I'm being stupid. I'm being pathetic! I'm crazy about this guy, but he's my best friend and that's all he's ever gonna be!"

"Sweetie, I just don't quite understand-"

"He likes boys."

And Emma suddenly gets it. And she suddenly feels selfish and very sorry for the girl in front of her, because while she herself pines away for a married man who she just might be able to be with someday…Mercedes is right. She can never be with her crush.

"Kurt?" Emma can't help but ask, even though it isn't really a question. Kurt Hummel is the only out gay kid in school, and Emma barely sees him without Mercedes, and vice versa.

"Yeah," Mercedes whispers, and Emma suddenly realizes a tear is making its lonely trek down the student's cheek. She reaches for the tissue box and places it before the distraught young woman.

"Oh."

"It's so dumb," Mercedes says, dabbing at her cheeks. "But no one makes me feel the way he does, like it's okay to just be me, like he loves me no matter what. And we say it all the time—'I love you.' But in a playful, friendly, best friends way. We tell each other everything. And we gossip and have sleepovers, and he's like one of the girls. Only he isn't. He's so cute and he's a guy in the ways that matter, you know? And I know he's off-limits to me, but that doesn't change how I feel about him. We're friends, but I want so badly to be more. You know?"

"Yes," Emma says honestly.

Mercedes sighs and balls the Kleenex in her fist.

"It doesn't matter. I'd rather be his friend than nothing at all. Thing is, he's one of the only friends I've got. And I'm thankful for that. But…I wish it wasn't so hard to act like everything's okay the way it is." She laughs bitterly. "Hey, for all I know he's totally onto me already, and he's trying to figure out what to do. Trying to get away."

"I don't think you have to worry about that," Emma says gently, looking Mercedes straight in the eye. "You said you told him how you felt, once. Kurt is an intelligent young man, and he probably knows your feelings for him haven't entirely gone away. You said it yourself, that you're best friends, and some of the only friends each other has. I don't think Kurt would lose that friendship for anything." She sighs when Mercedes doesn't look convinced. "Look, I don't have a pamphlet on how to deal with feelings for people who can't return them…but it might help if you told Kurt the truth about how you feel."

"I can't!" Mercedes looks horrified. "That would ruin everything."

"And if he already knows?" Emma presses, and the other falls silent. "It's only a suggestion. Mercedes, what ultimately happens is up to you. You can hide your emotions and be miserable or you can get them into the open and at least you'll know."

There is a long silence. Finally, Mercedes stands up, pulling her bag with her.

"Thanks, Ms. Pillsbury. I'll think about it." She turns to go, but looks back one more time. "You might think about taking your own advice sometime."

Emma can only stare.

Am I really that obvious?