AN: Thanks for all of the great responses! They mean so much to me. A couple people have commented on my depiction of Sam. Thanks for the feedback- I was a little afraid to write him. I'm doing the best that I can given how Sam has been written on the show (unevenly, IMHO). I think that Sam has the potential to be really smart even though he's a huge dork ("I am Sam, Sam I am") and can also be comfortable with himself when it comes to things like sticking up for others, although he is very much into his own body image. So he's a mix. Basically I'm trying to turn all the different Sams into one person. If he comes off as weird, I apologize. With that out of the way…

The Truths that Come Out

Finn was welcomed home by the smell of his mom's pot roast in the oven. Burt was sitting on the couch in the living room going over some paperwork and the TV was surprisingly turned off. Finn had noticed that Burt only turned the TV off when he really needed to focus on something. Kurt was kind of similar in this way- he only turned his music off when something really serious was going on.

Burt addressed Finn when he heard the door close, but didn't look up from his paperwork.

"How was practice?"

"It was good." So far, he seemed pleasant. Maybe Burt didn't know that Finn had ditched his mom that morning.

"Good. Your mom wants to talk to you."

"Oh." So he did know. Maybe, a change of subject? "What're you working on?"

"Job applications. Need to find someone to fill in for the shifts that Kurt was working." Burt set down the papers and turned to Finn. "In the kitchen," he said pointedly.

"Right." Finn took a deep breath. What was that that he had planned to tell her? Oh, right. He hadn't planned anything.

Finn shrugged off his backpack and started slouching his way into the kitchen. Then he decided that made him look even more suspicious than he already did, so he tried to straighten his posture.

His mom was cutting open a bag of frozen peas to heat up on the stove. She set the scissors on the counter with maybe a little more force than was necessary.

"You could've said something before just leaving this morning."

"You were in the shower."

She poured the peas into a pot that was waiting on the stove. "I wish you would just tell me when you break things instead of trying to hide it. You know I always find out."

"What?" Maybe he should've broken something. "I didn't break anything." But even as he said it, he was running through things that he could break quickly and quietly just so he could have something to blame his absence on.

His mom clicked on the stove as she sighed out her disappointment. "I always know when you're lying. And I always find out what you're lying about. So you may as well spare us both the grief and just tell me. Are you and Kurt having problems again?"

They weren't… yet. But if this conversation with his mom continued much longer, it was only a matter of time before Kurt got wind of it.

"No. Haven't talked to him much. Sounds like he always has a lot of homework."

"Then if it isn't a problem with Kurt, I don't understand why you can't just tell me what it is."

"Just… Bad memories. I didn't want to think about it. Or talk about it," he added pointedly. His mom always made him feel so small. Like no matter how tall he got or how much facial hair he could grow (not a whole lot, yet) she saw straight through it and judged his maturity and life choices.

She sniffed as she stirred the peas. "Oh."

And she was always so good at making him feel guilty.

"You could've just said something."

"Mom, I just did." She opened her mouth to interrupt, so he quickly said, "I'm sorry that you think I'm keeping things from you. But sometimes I need to figure things out on my own."

"I thought it was just memories?"

"It's complicated."

She gave him a watery smile. "When did you get so grown up?" Before he knew it, her arms were around him.

He thought about trying to give her a time frame for when he had grown up, remembering how he felt when he thought he was a father, hating how it felt when it turned out he wasn't. Was that when he grew up? He didn't feel very adult. He knew the kind of man that he aspired to be, but he was far away and the image was unclear.

His mom just stood there clinging to him, not seeming like she expected any kind of answer out of him. So he didn't give her one.

Finn sprawled out on the floor in the basement, leaning against his bed.

Resting in his lap was an old portable CD player that he couldn't bring himself to throw away. Sure, he had an iPod just like everyone else his age he knew, but sometimes he missed the physical connection to music he got by popping the CD into the player's waiting mouth. He didn't even mind buying new batteries for the player.

All those hours spent draining the batteries? He had been doing something he loved.

He had so many memories of listening to his old CD player, rocking out on his drum kit, and simultaneously driving his mom crazy.

She had been wrong about one thing. He wasn't deaf yet.

He had laid out the household's few Beatles CDs. Burt and his mom both had copies of "The Beatle's 1" (they had laughed about this to each other and then kissed. Finn had snatched one of the copies and evacuated the room). Kurt had "Abbey Road," ("The best Beatles album, really, Finn") and the "Across the Universe" soundtrack, along with a couple others that Finn wasn't as familiar with.

"The Beatles revolutionized classic rock and reached out to people on an international level. So I want you to pick a song of theirs that you want to reach someone with."

He scanned the tracks on "The Beatle's 1" first, because he was the most familiar with that CD. A few titles stuck out to him, but nothing that he felt like singing.

"I Feel Fine," "Eight Days a Week," "All You Need is Love…" They all just reminded him of Rachel.

He slid the CD across the room. He wouldn't give her the satisfaction of singing to her. Unless it was about how much he felt like tearing out her vocal chords and strangling her with them.

No… he wouldn't do that. Even he wouldn't be that mean.

He probably wouldn't tear them out completely.

Or he could just sit in a corner and cry about how all of his girlfriends cheated on him with Puck.

Maybe he could just shave off Puck's mohawk again. But Puck had been the one to say "no" to Rachel, so he didn't really deserve to be punished for that, but then again the Quinn thing was as much his fault as it was Quinn's…

God, he was pathetic.

He picked up "Abbey Road," his eyes stopping at track 5: "Octopus's Garden."

That sounded awesome. But none of his friends really reminded him of an octopus, and as far as he knew, they didn't garden. So much for that.

Maybe it was better to go with the unfamiliar CD. Rubber Soul.

He didn't bother with track listings this time. He just popped the CD out of the case and held it in his hand for a few seconds, enjoying the feel of the smooth, curved edge on his fingertips.

Then he inserted it in his CD player and closed his eyes.

Glee was different without Kurt. And not just because it meant that Lauren Zizes was there. Although, if Finn was being honest with himself, she was actually kind of similar to Kurt in a couple ways. It was her sarcasm, and her "I'm better than you without even trying" attitude. But she lacked his passion.

Rachel got most of the solos without even having to fight for them. Mercedes just seemed… ruder than usual. And like she didn't care anymore.

People were giving up.

Some people had already given up.

People like Karofsky.

Finn was the last one to Glee that day, excluding Mr. Shue.

Everyone was huddled in the center of the room, except for Lauren, who looked like she really couldn't care less about whatever they were talking about.

When Finn walked into the room, all conversation stopped.

Quinn spoke up first. "You knew why he was harassing Kurt, and you didn't say anything?"

Mercedes was next. "Of course not. Not like he's ever really cared about Kurt's feelings."

Wait, what? "Of course I do! And how do you guys even know about Karofsky?"

"Oh, so you admit to knowing what we're talking about," Santana said.

Finn gave Sam a death glare. "You told everyone?"

"No. Are you crazy? I just told Quinn."

"I only told Mercedes. And Santana. And Brittany."

"I told Tina," Mercedes said. "Not that it's any of your business."

"And I told Mike and Artie. I thought if we were spreading it around, everyone in the club should know. We're all friends with Kurt."

Brittany looked up at Finn, her eyes sad. "I didn't tell anyone, Finn."

"And no one told me," Rachel spoke up, her voice angry and her cheeks red, "not that people should be telling anyone. Sexual identity can be very difficult for people to accept, I can't even imagine what Karofsky would do if he found out that so many people knew. The outcome could be catastrophic, he should really be in therapy or getting help somewhere, because-"

"Rachel," Sam said, standing up, "he threatened Kurt's life. And Finn knew."

With everyone's eyes on Finn, words failed him. Not that they were much help in the first place, but still.

He opened his mouth and hoped that something would come out that didn't make him look like a complete asshole.

"Yeah, but… I didn't know why."

Mercedes scoffed. "That makes it better."

No one had any right to judge him like this. They hadn't seen the look on Karofsky's face as he asked about Kurt. The longing, the fear, the all-consuming self-hatred. The need.

"Look," he said, getting really pissed now, "Kurt's not here anymore, so it's not like it matters right now. And I knew, but so did our parents. And really, that's everyone who needed to know."

Lauren just sat there, regarding the situation with a smirk.

Finn had so many more emotions that were ready to burst out of him, but they weren't coherent and probably shouldn't be expressed in the first place, especially not in front of the whole club.

Mr. Shuester's footsteps fell behind him.

Finn was so glad of the timing, because it spared him from having to continue his monologue. So instead of standing there spewing words that shouldn't be said, he was just standing there, feeling awkward and deflated.

"Guys… what's going on?" Mr. Shue asked, meeting Finn's eyes as he turned around.

"Nothing, Mr. Shue," Finn said, scrambling for the closest seat that was still away from his friends, but hopefully not so far away that it would look like he was trying to sit far away.

And people thought he didn't over-think things.

"With that over," Mr. Shue continued, still looking puzzled but not questioning it any further, "who wants to get us started on our Beatles tribute?"

Rachel practically leapt out of her seat, she was raising her hand so high.

"How about someone who doesn't usually go first? Brittany?"

Brittany looked surprised for a moment, then turned around and glanced behind her. Maybe she was checking to see if there was another "Brittany" in the room.

She walked to the front of the room and gave a vacant smile to everyone, then waved to Artie (even though she had just been sitting by him). "I picked this song because everyone lives happily together. And because yellow is my favorite color."

A mostly reasonable explanation, coming from Brittany.

Finn acted like he was paying attention, but mainly he was just trying to figure out how he could get out of singing his song. He was fine with it originally, but after the club's reaction to Karofsky… Even if the connection to him wasn't that blatant, he was afraid that people would suspect and then he would have to hear about it all over again.

He started counting down the minutes. There was a good chance that they wouldn't be able to get through everyone. Maybe he could go next time, with a different song prepared.

It helped that Brittany had to start over a couple times because she forgot the lyrics and kept switching to different songs in the middle of her verses.

Rachel raised her hand to go second.

Mr. Shuester scanned the other kids, trying to ignore her, but eventually gave in because no one else looked so enthusiastic.

If Finn had been reading the tracks on the other CDs a little more closely, he could have predicted that Rachel would sing this. Without a doubt.

He hated that she chose that song.

"Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Think of what you're saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it's all right.
Think of what I'm saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night…"

The lyrics were so perfect and she sang them so flawlessly, with both mechanical perfection and the emotional connection to make the song hit home.

He turned his head away and tried to block it out. He'd heard it all already.

He zoned out for the rest of the period, staring at his friends singing but not really seeing them. Why was the clock going so slow? Shouldn't seconds be faster than this?

Ten minutes left. Enough for one more person, but two was probably pushing it. So all he had to do was wait for someone else to volunteer…

"Finn, would you like to go?"

Mr. Shuester was talking to him.

"What? Oh, um. I… Sure. OK." It wasn't OK. He didn't want to sing this song anymore. But he supposed that he didn't really have a choice, so he slowly stood up and approached the front of the choir room.

Then he remembered that he had to tell Brad what song he was singing, and with his face reddening, leaned over the piano so he could whisper the title to him.

Brad flipped through his Beatles Fake Book and gave a short nod to signal that he was ready, and Finn started singing.

"He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.

Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man please listen,
You don't know what you're missing,
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!

He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

Nowhere Man, don't worry,
Take your time, don't hurry,
Leave it all till somebody else
lends you a hand!

Doesn't have a point of view,
Knows not where he's going to,
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere Man please listen,
you don't know what you're missing
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!

He's a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.

Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody!"

It was really too much to hope that the others wouldn't notice who Finn was singing about.

They all seemed to be judging him. At least all of the people he glanced at. Everyone except Rachel, really. He didn't want to look at her if he could help it, so he couldn't really tell what her reaction was. And OK, Lauren wasn't judging him anymore than she ever did. She looked at him the same way she always did. Like she was bored out of her mind.

There was very slight, scattered applause, then Mr. Shue struggled to say something about his performance. "Wow, Finn. That was… not the most uplifting song."

Finn shrugged.

"OK, guys, those of you who didn't perform today, I want you to be ready next week, and then we'll practice some songs for Regionals."

Mr. Shue put his hand on Finn's shoulder as everyone made their way out of the room.

"Are you OK?"

"Yeah, there's just a couple things that…" He attempted to give him a reassuring smile. "It's just different here, without Kurt. It's weird, living with his dad while he's off at Dalton. Singing with another glee club."

"Well, OK, I just… that song has me a little worried. Is there anything I can do?"

"I don't think so. It's not like he wants to talk to me about it, and he has no idea that all these other people know, which will probably make it worse, and-"

"Wait, slow down. Who are you talking about?"

"Kar-" He clamped his mouth shut. "Um, no one. Who did you think I was singing about?" Then it hit him. "Mr. Shue, the song wasn't about me. I swear."

Mr. Shue laughed, looking embarrassed and so relieved. "Of course it wasn't." He took his hand off of Finn's shoulder. "But if you do need to talk, the offer still stands."

"Thanks." Finn forced a smile. He wasn't going to talk to Mr. Shue. Not about this.

Far too many people knew already. And even though it wasn't his fault that they knew, wasn't his fault at all, he still felt so responsible.

Mr. Shue began quietly gathering his things. Finn went to retrieve his backpack and found Rachel standing next to it, waiting for him.

"If this is about your song-"

"It's not about that," she cut him off, shaking her head. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her mini skirt, back overly straight. "It's about yours."

God, here it comes. His defenses started to rise. "Yeah? What about it?"

"Can we sit?"

Sitting meant a long conversation. "No."

"OK," she said, seeming to expect that, "I just wanted to tell you that I think it's important for people who are struggling to have someone there for them."

"But…" Finn continued for her, sensing it."

"But Kurt's your stepbrother, and you should think about how this is going to make him feel."

"Kurt has so many people. His dad, me and my mom, all of glee, probably people at Dalton, too… Karofsky doesn't have anyone, as far as I can tell."

"Finn, I think it's so great that you care so strongly about this. And I understand why you want to help him."

"You do?" No, she didn't. She didn't know the half of it.

"Yes. Because growing up in somewhere like Ohio… It can be really hard. My dad…" She swallowed and shook her head.

She was making him sound so selfless.

"I'm not sure that Kurt will understand. You may be sacrificing your relationship with him for this. Do you realize that?"

He did. He really, really did.

"I have to try. And thanks. For getting it."

Before he had time to process it, she hugged him and was walking out of the room.

"I have information on several organizations and help lines, if you wanted them," she spoke up, defaulting back to her blunt and conceited self.

"I'll let you know."

And she was gone.

Finn had no idea how to talk to Karofsky outside of football practice, and the chances that he would have opportunities to talk to him in private were few and far between.

That meant that Finn had to come up with a way to see Karofsky outside of school.

Other than what position he played on the football and hockey teams, Finn didn't know anything about him.

Well, that wasn't true. He knew one thing. But it wasn't exactly something you brought up in casual conversation.

Should he just call him up?

Yeah, because that would go over well. "Hey, so you're gay, and probably need a friend…"

He laughed quietly to himself humorlessly.

It wasn't even like he had his number.

Except that… he did. Have his number.

It was on his football roster, in case they needed to schedule emergency practices.

Finn raced to his desk and started digging through the drawers until he found the blue piece of paper with everyone's numbers listed on it.

He scanned the list until he reached "K," then programmed Karofsky's number into his phone. It was just his home number. Not everyone had listed their cell phone numbers. (Probably wise of them.)

Finn just stood there, feeling like an idiot for programming the number of some guy who hated him into his phone. Was he seriously going to call him? And say what, exactly?

He ran his thumb across his phone absently, thinking it over. There was nothing good for him to say.

The distant sound of ringing snapped him out of it and brought him back to his room.

He had accidentally pressed "send."

AN: Sorry about the long wait! But a longer chapter, so hopefully that makes it better. Reviews are always nice. And they always, always make me smile.