Character/Pairing: Kurt, Finn, (Karofsky)
Disclaimer: I don't own these people, they own themselves and are just nice enough to let me spin them around the page now and then.
Summary: An advocate for Karofsky where one would least expect it…
Warnings: spoilers to SSS ("Thriller")
"You have got to be joking!"
He should have known something was up when Finn came home from school bearing mochachinos and the latest issue of Vogue…
Sure enough, no sooner had Kurt taken his first sip, than Finn had dropped the bomb.
"I think Karofsky is gay. It would explain a lot."
He said it very casually, as though his words should have had little impact on Kurt, considering Kurt's own membership in the "club," but it was all Kurt could do to hold in the spit-take. (Fears of Carole's reaction to coffee stains on the new tapestry sofa were what really kept him from spewing his mouthful of mocha…)
"Dude, he's really hurting – I think you should talk to him."
That was the comment that really got Kurt going.
"You have got to be joking," he gasped out after swallowing that mouthful of mocha. "Have you forgotten what he did to me, what he said to me? All the times he slammed me into my locker; the slushies, the death threat?" He stared at his step, incredulous, chest heaving. "I don't owe Karofsky anything!"
Finn just stood there, blinking and blushing, no doubt realizing he'd stepped on a landmine. It was the first time Kurt had felt the need to tell Finn off since their parents had gotten married and Finn was clearly taken aback, but landmine or not, he clearly felt compelled to keep talking…
"I just…I just think he's going through a lot right now and…" Finn trailed off, a sudden goofy smile quirking one corner of his mouth. "You didn't see him this week in glee. He stopped being an asshole and…he really seemed to get into it." Finn perched on the arm of the couch, watching him warily, but that smile hadn't faded and frankly, it had him more spooked than the prospect of talking to his tormentor.
Working to keep his face blandly disaffected, Kurt took a sip of his coffee.
"Sounds like you're falling for him, Finn. I can assure you, there'll be no resistance from our parents when you come out…"
Finn's tone cut through the snark, his expression deadly serious; he'd lost patience with Kurt, something Kurt wasn't accustomed to from him. Finn was always such an easily-intimidated puppy dog.
"What would you have done, Kurt, if you hadn't…if you hadn't been you?"
Kurt wanted to ask him just what the hell he was getting at, but Finn was on a roll now.
"What if you hadn't been strong enough to be yourself, if you'd felt you had to hide the fact that you were gay from the world?"
He was really starting to get annoyed at Finn. They'd been brothers for all of two months and now he thought he was an expert on being gay?
"Just what are you getting at, Finn?"
Finn hopped off the couch and started pacing. "Look, you knew your father would love you no matter what. That's what gave you the courage to not care what anyone else thought."
Okay. You're correct on that one, but…
"I don't think Karofsky has that," he went on, shaking his head. "I could see it all week, though; he was so hungry for approval; from Schue, from the team, shit, even from me." Finn's conviction was so strong, for a moment Kurt felt the sting of jealousy; where was that conviction for Kurt before he'd "officially" come out, when Finn had been spooked and tweaked about Kurt's being gay…
"You didn't see him, Kurt – it was like he came alive or something."
"Fine." Setting his cup down on a coaster, Kurt folded his arms across his chest and sighed heavily. "What has this got to do with me – aside from the fact that I already hold membership in the club?"
Finn didn't seem to have an answer for that, which was surprising, considering the run-off-at-the-mouth he'd just been treated to. Then Kurt noticed Finn was looking at him more closely, his eyebrows furrowed the way they were when he was trying to work out something particularly difficult. While he used to find all of Finn's expressions too cute for words, now he only felt spooked; what was he thinking?
No patience for it, he snapped.
"Oh, for pity's sake, Finn – what is it?"
Finn looked at him a moment longer, then spoke.
"How come you never asked me why I think Karofsky is gay?"
He'd slipped up and he knew it.
He would rather not answer that question, though, not because he still felt obligated to cover for Karofsky, certainly not, but because he didn't want to have to admit what had happened that day in the locker room – that Karofsky had kissed him, that it had all been about a kiss...
Fixing his face with his best look of annoyance, Kurt rolled his eyes.
"Naturally, because I don't care why you think Karofsky is gay, Finn." He huffed once, shaking his head. "Why you even came to me with this I don't know…"
Suddenly the tension between Finn's feuding brows disappeared – as though he'd had an epiphany.
"You already knew, didn't you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about Finn," he said, staring at him blankly. "You're making less sense than usual."
"No, no, actually it does make sense. I thought there was something more to what went down last fall than what you were saying. When I found out about the death threat, I figured that was it, but now…now I think there was something else." His eyes narrowed suddenly. "Did he…did he do something to you, Kurt? Something…s-sexual? D-did he assault you and Jesus, Kurt, why would you protect him if he did?"
"It wasn't assault," he said too quickly to stop himself.
Finn's eyes grew wide. Though he'd been fishing for it, he still seemed surprised by Kurt's response.
"'It wasn't assault,' but something did happen? Jesus, Kurt! Why didn't you tell somebody? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't tell you because it was none of your business." And because Finn looked hurt, Kurt went on. "He didn't assault me, OK? He didn't hurt me, at all. At least, not that particular time."
"What the hell did he do, then?"
Kurt thought for a minute about lying, then decided it was pointless.
"He…he kissed me."
"He kissed you?"
Kurt sighed. "Listen, if you're just going to repeat everything I say, why don't we just stop this now? I already know my half of the conversation. I'll write it down and get it to you later."
"Stop telling me what to do."
"Look…" Finn sat down on the couch next to him. "You didn't tell me because it meant something to you."
"Don't be ridiculous; you think I wanted…" he trailed off, seeing his brother's earnest concern. "It was my first kiss, okay? Whether I wanted it or not, you don't get a second chance at first. But don't get me wrong, that's not why I didn't tell anyone."
"Well, why didn't you tell anyone?" Finn's voice was softer now.
"You wouldn't understand, Finn. You're not…you're not gay…" Kurt felt his voice catch on that last phrase; even now, he still felt guilty.
Finn's hand was warm and solid on his arm. "I know I'm not, Kurt, but I want to understand. You're my brother now and I…I know I was a jerk before."
At this, Kurt felt the tears start to well in him, but he fought them back, a half smile crooked on his lips.
"Okay, okay," he said, nodding. "Coming out is hard, Finn, and no one has the right to make that decision for someone else. I could have told everyone that day in the principal's office, it would have made things easier for me, but Karofsky wasn't ready. He was scared to death – I could see that. No matter what he'd done to me, I knew I couldn't out him like that. It wouldn't have been fair."
"He'd been bullying you for months. Why would you care about what was fair or not?"
Kurt just shook his head. "I told you, you're not gay, that's why this doesn't make sense to you." He sighed, wishing Finn would just drop it already. "I just couldn't do that to him."
Finn seemed to chew on this for a second.
"So…you have feelings for him?"
Kurt nearly choked. "Of course not!" His face flushed a bright red.
"Okay, then, maybe not romantic feelings, but feelings of solidarity, as one gay to another?"
Kurt shrugged. "I dunno. Maybe…"
Finn seemed to mull over his next statement before finally spitting it out.
"I think Karofsky has feelings for you."
Kurt had a sudden flash of strong fingers cradling his face, the desperation of that kiss, the tiny whimper in the back of the big jock's throat, the impulse, plain as day on his flushed face, to try for a second…
"That's ridiculous. Why would you even think that?"
"I dunno. I went to talk to him today about joining the glee club and he seemed interested until I mentioned your name."
Kurt felt a pang in the bottom of his stomach. "My name? Why would you mention my name?"
"Because I had talked it over with everyone and we decided he couldn't join until he apologized to you. I even offered to drive him over to Dalton to do it."
Kurt sat there with his mouth open, shocked that his brother would even think of doing that on his behalf.
"That's when he changed, got all stupid on me – the old Karofsky. He blew me off and walked away. I thought it was weird, but then I started to think back on stuff that he'd said; he always managed to bring your name up when we were arguing. I thought he was just trying to piss me off, but now…now I think he was just couldn't stop thinking about you."
Kurt was stunned and it took him a moment to respond.
"Look, I don't need to debate whether my bully has feelings for me or not," he said quietly. "But I would like to know why you think I should talk to him."
"Because he's not happy, Kurt. He's struggling with this and I think you mean something to him."
Kurt shook his head. "You've just told me why he'll listen to me, not why I would want to talk to him."
Finn smiled, then winked. "For the same reason you didn't out him when you could have. Gay Solidarity."
Kurt couldn't stop himself from laughing. Finn was just so goofy sometimes.
"I don't have all the answers, you know," Kurt said softly. "I'm not a social worker."
"No, but you're a good person." Finn's hand was heavy on his shoulder.
"Okay, okay. You can stop buttering me up now," he said, shrugging out from under that big paw. "I'll talk to your 'boy.'"
"My boy?" Finn was grinning. "You know something, when he's not being a total jerk, he's actually kind of nice. I really appreciated having him there this week. And I'll tell you something else that'll surprise you." He waited until he had Kurt's eye, then went on, nodding for emphasis as he spoke. "Dude can dance."
It was a good thing the mochachino was long gone.
"Okay, now you're just making stuff up…"
And then his brother pulled out his iPhone and proceeded to prove him wrong…