Warning this note is going to be just a little longer than usual. My last update, chapter 25, made this story just over 100K. My longest to date. When I started this it was going to be a short story, 25K words and around ten chapters. Then the characters start speaking and the story took on a life of its own. It's been a fun ride so far and writing this story has gotten me through so pretty rough times. It is my most viewed and reviewed story. I want to give you all a very heartfelt thanks. A few of you have been more than kind to me and have become important to my process for this story. So I send an extra special thanks out to JasonDragon64, lilybean queen of the i ocean, krynny, Utena-Puchiko_nyu, GirlInTheMirror121, Kittendragon, B00kw0rm92, Mischievous Gleek, Thegirlwholovespeanutbutter, WithDemonWings, SouthernHemmy, HinaLuvLuvChan, aedy, PUCKurt up buttercup, and mrscakeakajane. So of you I am thankful for your reviews and encouragement and others you inspired me with your writing. Thank you all for getting me this far, one more thing before the update. There is a reason JasonDragon64 is first, you've been with me from the very beginning, chapter to chapter and you always have a way of keeping me motivated. THANK YOU. ~~~Lady B.~~~
"Noah, wake up," he heard his mom say as she shook him.
"Ma, just let me sleep," he whined. Why on Earth was that woman bothering him in the middle of the night? Wait he didn't smell liquor and the woman wasn't slurring, then he remembered he was at Kurt's so it couldn't be his mom trying to wake him. He opened his eyes and saw Carole standing over him in her housecoat.
"What's wrong?" he asked still a little dazed.
"Kurt's having another nightmare. Burt headed on up, but he wanted you to go too," she said moving away from his bed.
"Shit! Sorry," he said as he jumped from the bed and hurried past her. He ran up the stairs as fast as possible. Sure enough Kurt was thrashing about and screaming. Noah wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but Burt was doubled over beside the bed trying to catch his breath.
"Mr. H, what happened? Are you okay?" he asked as he walked up beside the older man.
"I'll be fine, he caught me just right when I tried to wake him," Burt murmured between breaths.
"I'll get him," Noah said. He slowly approached the bed. He sure didn't want to give Kurt the chance to smack his family jewels like the boy had done to Burt. First he caught Kurt's hand that was closest to him and then knelt down by the bed.
"Princess, you need to wake up," he gently spoke as he placed his free hand on Kurt's chest and shook the smaller teen. "Come on, Princess, it's just a nightmare. Just wake up and everything will be fine," Noah kept talking and shaking his boyfriend.
Kurt slowly stopped moving and eventually opened his eyes.
"That's better," Noah said moving to sit on the bed.
"It was just a dream," Kurt sighed. Noah watched the terror fade from his beautiful, currently grey, eyes. He loved the way Kurt's eyes were never the same color twice.
"Yeah, just a bad dream little man," Burt said as he studied his son's face, even though he still couldn't stand up straight.
"Are you okay?" Carole asked Kurt as she took her place at Burt's side. It was clear she was just as worried about Burt as she was about the young man. She place a hand on her husband's back and made small soothing circles as she study the boy.
"I'm fine. It was just a dream, nothing for you guys to worry about," Kurt answered.
"Son, you were tossing around and screaming. I really think you need to talk to a counselor about what happened at Dalton," Burt said.
"It wasn't that," Kurt said as he sat up in bed. "This didn't have anything to do with that."
"Then what on Earth was it?" Carole asked.
Kurt still seemed very tense to Noah so he pulled his boy onto his lap and wrapped him in his arms. Noah had already learned that the more physical contact the two had with each other the faster they both seemed to calm down. It was a strange, but odd thing for him to depend on or care for another person in this way. For so long now all he really had was Sara and comforting him was not the child's responsibility.
"Go ahead and tell us about it, you know you'll feel better if you do," Noah said.
It took Kurt a few moments, but then he began to speak, "I dreamed that Sara was taken away from us because of me. It was all my fault and I couldn't stop it," Kurt was crying on Noah's shoulder by the time he'd finished talking. Noah rubbed his hand up and down Kurt's back trying to sooth him. He was surprised that Kurt was afraid of Sara being taken; the boy hadn't even known his sister that long.
"Why would that be your fault, honey?" Carole asked.
Noah barely heard Kurt whisper, "Because I'm gay."
"What did he say?" Burt asked looking at the larger boy.
Kurt turned his head and spoke again, this time louder. "They took her away because I'm gay."
"That's no reason for Sara to be taken away and you know it," Burt said.
"I just…" Kurt trailed off. Noah had learned a long time ago that most dreams were rooted in what was happening in your life at the time and how you felt about it.
"Does this have anything to do with what happened this afternoon?" Noah asked. He should have taken the time to talk to Kurt earlier tonight like he had told Sara he would instead of playing that stupid game with Finn all night. It wasn't even a full week since the attack on Kurt; the poor guy was bound to be emotional. Any little thing could set Kurt off right now. Noah should have been more thoughtful and made sure Kurt had dealt with what had happened today before he went to bed.
"What happened?" Burt asked as he wrapped one arm around Carole's shoulders. It was touching how the two found support in each other.
At the same time Kurt said, "Sara told you."
"Kurt you better explain," Carole said.
"A man made a comment that fags shouldn't be allowed around children. That we could give them our disease," Kurt explained, but never looked at his parents.
"And Sara was with you?" Carole asked.
"They had stopped to get Sara a bottle of water after dance this afternoon," Noah answered.
"That's just awful. Kurt, honey, you're wonderful with Sara. One day you are going to be a great father. You can't take what those homophobic idiots say to you personally," Carole pleaded. Noah couldn't have agreed more.
"She's right son and I know you are too smart to believe that load of bull. I think a lot of this still has to do with last week. You really need to see a counselor," Burt said.
"I agree with Burt. I know you think you can handle any and every thing on your own, but you can't. No person can," Noah added. He really believed Kurt needed someone to talk things out with, someone he didn't know personally, and someone who would be impartial.
"You're right, it's not a bad idea, but can it wait a few weeks?" Kurt asked. "I'd really like to get settle back into school and work first. I think it would be best to wait until after Sara's pageant."
"I'll agree to that as long as you promise to go," Burt stated.
"I promise," Kurt said.
"Okay then," Burt said as he made his way to the stairs. "Noah, you go ahead and stay. Just remember if that monitor gets turned off I will know and I'll be back up here in no time."
"Goodnight boys," Carole said as she followed Burt out. Noah envied Kurt's relationship with his parents, then again any teenager he knew would. Burt and Carole were just awesome people in general.
"Let's get some sleep," Noah said as he moved to his side of the bed.
"I need to go to the bathroom first," Kurt said getting out of bed and going into the other room.
Noah settled into bed and waited for Kurt. After five minutes or so had passed and Kurt hadn't come back he got worried.
"Kurt," he called out. When his boyfriend didn't answer he got out of bed and went to the bathroom. He found Kurt sitting on the toilet lid crying into his own hands. Noah knelt down in front of him.
"Babe, are you okay?" he softly asked.
"I'm sorry, it's just that dream really scared me. I don't ever want to lose Sara. I love her so much already I can't image us without her," Kurt said.
"Come on let's clean you up," he said tugging Kurt to his feet. "No more crying," he said then softly kissed his boy. He lifted Kurt up onto the counter by the sink and then fetched a wash cloth. He wet the rag and gave it to Kurt to wash his face. He stood back and watched. As much as he wanted to wash Kurt's face for him like he would do Sara, he was positive Kurt wouldn't appreciate him intruding on the younger boy's independence. Noah understood it was very important to Kurt to be as strong as possible.
"She keeps trying to call me Daddy," Kurt said as he hung the rag up to dry and slid off the counter. He held his pale hand out and Noah wrapped his tan one around it. Noah loved the way their skin tones contrasted. The two walked back to the bed.
"I know, she keeps calling me Dad," Noah said as he got back into bed.
"In my dream we were her parents," Kurt confessed as he snuggled into Noah's waiting arms.
"What?" Noah was surprised. Honestly he had thought about adopting Sara several times over the last few days. The only thing that had kept him from sharing those thoughts with Kurt was that he was afraid that it would make Kurt change his mind about them being together. Kurt had big dreams and didn't need a family holding him back.
"I dreamed that we adopted Sara and took her to New York with us," Kurt continued. "It was so wonderful. We all three went to school during the day and Sara still had dance and scouts. You and I both found decent paying online jobs so we could both be home with her as much as possible. Everything was perfect. Then the police came and took her from us. They didn't care that you were gay because you were her brother. They said it was my fault entirely, that you both were victims. That I had infected both of you. I was gay first so it was my fault, it was horrible."
Noah was amazed that Kurt had thought of them still being together after high school. They hadn't been together a week yet and Kurt saw them two years down the road in college together, in New York together with Sara. Everything about Kurt, everything about this relationship amazed him.
"You plan on me going to New York with you?" he asked.
Kurt rolled over in his arms and looked up at him. "Yeah, I mean, I assumed you would. You don't have to if you don't want to. We still have an entire year to decide and plan what we're doing," Kurt said.
"I want to go where ever you go. I know it's probably too soon and I'm going to sound crazy, but I would follow you to the ends of the world if that's what you wanted," he confessed.
"I love you too Noah, but I don't want you to just follow me. I want you to go with me. I want you to be the man you want to be, I just want to be a part of your life. I just assumed that whatever you want to do can be accomplished in New York too. Noah, what's your dream?" Kurt asked.
"Honestly I'm not sure. I've never really thought that far ahead. I know I want to raise Sara and that I'm going to need a good job for that. I also want to remain a part of Beth's life. Maybe I could be an attorney or a social worker. I'm not really sure, but I'd like to help others like Sara and me. There are so many neglected or abused children out there that need someone to step up and help. Seriously up until last week I thought I'd be cleaning pools for the rest of my life," he explained.
"Those are wonderful ideas, Noah. You're a very good man and I know no matter what you decide you'll be great at it," Kurt told him.
"Well I'm not sure, but like you said I've still got a little time to figure things out. I just hope whatever we decide will include Sara. I've taken care of her since the day she came home from the hospital and I don't think I can survive without her," he said.
"Well I've only known her a few days and I can't image life without her. I promise whatever we do and where ever we go Sara will come with us," Kurt vowed. At least it sounded like a vow to Noah and it made his heart soar.
"I don't think I could love anyone more than I love you right now," Noah said and kissed the boy.
They were quite for a few minutes before Kurt spoke again, "Noah, I wish things had gone different with Quinn and Beth. You really deserved the chance to be Beth's father. I wish I had known the real you back then. If I had known who you really were nothing would have stopped me from keeping you and your daughter together." Kurt had so much passion and conviction in his eyes and voice Noah couldn't help but believe that the younger boy would have done anything for him.
"Thank you. I'm still her father. I just don't get to be there every day. Shelby really has been great at letting me visit. She even tells Beth I'm her father and has pictures of me. I know it's not perfect, but I have to take what I can get. I've been thinking about asking Shelby if I can have Beth for a week or two during the summer. I thought it would be nice if Nana, my uncles, and you guys got to spend some time with her," Noah explained.
"That would be wonderful," Kurt responded.
"I was supposed to go to Shelby's on Saturday, but how about I call and see if we can go together on Sunday instead. That way we can still have that glee party Finn was talking about and you can meet my daughter," Noah suggested.
"I think that would work out just fine," Kurt said brightly smiling at him.
"That's enough planning for tonight. Tomorrow, well today, is going to be a long day. Sara has scouts tonight at seven. I thought if you wanted you could go with me and me the other parents," Noah said.
"We'll see if I'm up to it after the meeting at Dalton," Kurt sighed.
"Oh yeah, what time did they set that up for?" Noah asked.
"It's at two. We'll all ride to school together and then come home at lunch," Kurt responded.
"I'll have to tell Artie that I'll miss our glee meeting and I'll need to make arrangements for Sara to go to Nana's," Noah said.
"Carole already talked to the school today. They know to put Sara on the bus if we don't call ahead and pick her up," Kurt told him.
"Good to know," Noah said. He was going to have to get used to being a part of a real family. He needed to learn to communicate better with others and not be upset when other people did things for him or Sara.
"I only know because I walked in on Dad and Mom talking about it. They would have gone over everything in the morning with us. Around here we do most of our talking at meal time, other than that we kind of do our own things. It's not perfect, but it works for us," Kurt explained.
"I'm adjusting, it's just going to take a little time," he said. "Now we really need to try to sleep."
"I know. I love you," Kurt smiled and pecked him on the lips.
"I love you too. Night, babe," Noah said. He shifted onto his back dragging Kurt with him. Once they were settled sleep came quickly.
Up until now Kurt's day had been perfect. He had woken up in the arms of the man that he loves, always a plus in his book. He had gotten through his morning routine ahead of schedule. Carole and he had made oatmeal, toast, and fresh fruit for breakfast. The family had gone over the days schedule and everyone knew what was expected of them. Everyone even got out of the house on time today. Carole had even volunteered to do the laundry since she would be home all morning.
They had gotten to school with time to spare and had visited with Rachel, Artie, Mike, Tina and even Lauren before classes started. Morning classes had gone well. He was really enjoying classes with Noah, Artie, and Matt. AP classes were so much better than normal classes. It didn't matter what grade you were actually in, if you qualified for the course you attended it.
He had made it through the entire morning without any slushies, locker checks, or even any name calling. No bullying at all. He knew it wasn't going to last forever, but he decided to enjoy it while it did.
As for his other glee mates, Brittany kept waving at him every chance she got, but never left Santana's side. He had noticed Santana watching him during every break that morning, but wasn't sure what to make of it. He thought she looked sad and angry at the same time. Quinn and Mercedes still seemed as thick as thieves and were ignoring him completely. The two had gone so far as to turn around and take alternate routes to their classes. He was just thankful that they were leaving him and Noah alone, even if their actions did hurt a little.
Ms. Pillsbury had been kind enough to collect all three boys' afternoon assignments for them so that they wouldn't be behind tomorrow. He figured that if they worked hard enough tonight they could get it all done.
When they got home at lunch Carole had laid out sandwich supplies on the counter and they had sat down for a short lunch before hitting the road for Westerville. All in all it had been a very good morning.
However, things were changing. Kurt was currently sitting in the backseat of his baby between Noah and Finn. The closer they got to Dalton the more nervous he became. He really didn't want to face John again. He was pretty sure he was going to lose his lunch before they reached Westerville. Noah and Finn were trying very hard to keep him calm. Noah held his hand and made soothing circle motions on the back of it. Finn would reach over every few minutes and pat him on the knee, it was sweet. Everyone in the vehicle tried to keep up a conversation to distract each other and pass the time, but nothing was helping his nerves.
"Hang in there, honey," Carole said from the front seat.
"It won't be long and we'll be at the coffee shop where we're meeting Perry and Ms. Porter," his Dad added.
"I'm fine," he lied and Noah squeezed his hand.
It didn't take much longer for them to reach the coffee shop. Once there they all got out and filed into the shop. Mr. Wayne met them at the entrance.
"Why don't you all get a cup of coffee and a snack? When we're all done we can head to the hotel next door. Ms. Porter was able to reserve us a small conference room so we could have some privacy," the well-dressed man explained.
"Good thinking," Burt said as Carole herded the three teens into line.
They all ordered coffee, but no one got food. Kurt supposed his family was just as nervous as he was. They all made the short trip to the hotel in silence. Ms. Porter was waiting on them as they entered the conference room. There was a decent sized boardroom table in the center of the room. Ms. Porter motioned for them to sit on the left side. Carole led the way followed by Burt. Kurt sat by his Dad and Noah sat on his other side. Finn took the last seat. Mr. Wayne and Ms. Porter sat on the opposite side. Once they were all seated Ms. Porter passed each of them a folder.
"Shall we get started?" she asked.
They all nodded their agreement and flipped open their folders.
"The first thing you see is a copy of the letter Mr. Wayne delivered to the Headmaster of Dalton last Friday. A copy was also sent to the school board," Ms. Porter explained.
Kurt read over the letter carefully. Mr. Wayne had done an amazing job of threatening everyone involved along with creating solutions for the issues. He played up Kurt's vulnerabilities and outlined several of John Johnson's past misdeeds as well.
"Next is a copy of the report from your doctor along with three other opinions of your injuries and the validity of your statements according to the injuries. Two of the reports come from trustworthy colleagues of Dr. Webb and the other is from one of the county medical examiners," Mr. Wayne explained after they had all had time to read the letter.
"You've been very thorough," his Dad said.
Kurt flipped through all the reports. Everything he read confirmed what had happened to him. The reports made everything seem more real, but it was the pictures that Dr. Webb had taken that brought him to tears.
"I want to go home," he said in a panic. He wanted out of this room and back in his baby. He wanted to go home and hide in his room. Maybe play with Sara or just let Noah hold him.
"Kurt?" They all said at once.
"I can't go through this again. Can't you guys just go without us? I mean you have all the evidence, you really don't need me," he rambled on.
"Kurt if you don't go they aren't going to take this seriously. You have to be there, they have to see you," Mr. Wayne told him.
"I just can't do this again," he said.
"Kurt Elizabeth Hummel," he heard his father say. "You look at me." Kurt turned and looked at his Dad. His father looked into his eyes and placed a hand on either side of Kurt's face. "You can do this. I've never met anyone else as brave or as strong as you. You will not give up. You will not let that little bastard win. I know you are scared, but you can do this. You're a Hummel through and through and Hummel's never give in." His Dad moved his hands down to rest on Kurt's shoulders. "Look around you, son. All these people here care about you and want to help you. We are all going to be there with you. You can do this."
"I'm so scared," Kurt whispered. It was the truth, the only time he had felt this scared was when Johnson had him pinned to that floor. He just wanted to forget the whole thing and never look back.
"And that's fine, it's expected, but you can't let fear rule your life. Last time you gave into your fear that Karofsky kid threatened your life, this time you're not alone. If you don't do this then that Johnson boy is going to think he can do this again. Do you want that?" his Dad asked.
"No," he said, his voice was weak.
"Do you want him to hurt someone else?"
"No," he said, this time a little louder and more firmly. He couldn't be the reason for Johnson even having the opportunity to attack some other person.
"Do you want the other boys at Dalton to think that what Johnson did was okay? Or even that it would be okay for them to do something like that too?" His Dad continued.
"No, no to it all. What he did was wrong and he has to pay for it. I can do this, I will do this," he stated as firmly as he could. His Dad was right.
"All right then," Mr. Wayne said. "Let's get through the statements from the boys and then we'll go over a few questions that might be asked. By the way Burt, have you ever thought of going into politics?"
They all laughed a little and got back to work.
They all sat in the hall outside the Headmaster's office. Not one of them spoke; there was no noise at all. Kurt just couldn't take the stillness and silence any longer.
"I'm going to the restroom," he said standing up. He had to get rid of some of his nervous energy.
"I'll go with you," said Noah and his Dad at the same time.
"I'll be fine. The restroom is right around the corner and everyone is in class right now," he responded and took off down the hall.
He had to admit he missed the beauty of this old building. He always thought of Harry Potter and Hogwarts when he was walking through the halls here. He really was happy to be back at McKinley, but he had had some good times here before that horrid night. He had even thought he had made a few new friends, but that last night here had changed so many things.
Kurt went into the restroom and decided to just check himself over in the mirror and get back to his family. He had to correct a few strands of hair before leaving, he always felt better when he knew he looked his best. As he reached the door Blaine walked in.
"I really was surprised you left the rest of the group. I'm so lucky you chose to come here all alone without anyone to watch over you," Blaine said as he locked the door behind him.
"Blaine I don't want to fight with you again, so just let me out of here," Kurt said. This wasn't a good time and now he wished he'd let his Dad or Noah come with him. He really wished he hadn't let his restlessness get the better of him.
"Oh, don't worry, I just want to talk privately," Blaine said smiling at him. "We, the Warblers that is, want you back. We're willing to give you anything you want."
"You guys don't have anything I want," Kurt said as defiantly as possible placing his left hand on his hip and making sure his bitch face was in place.
"You can have the lead in the next competition," Blaine said in a sickly sweet voice.
"No thanks," Kurt rejected him. He'd rather be stuck in the choirs of the New Directions for the rest of his high school career then be the lead for the Warblers. Those boys were all naïve traders. Even with things not quite right with the New Directions, he knew who his true friends really were and he wasn't leaving them again.
"We'll arrange for you to have a senior suite instead of a regular dorm room," was Blaine's next bride.
"I don't need it, I have a whole floor myself at home," he threw back at the hobbit. After all the time he had spent with Blaine he couldn't believe the boy thought him that shallow.
"We'll cover your tuition and any other cost you accrue here. That would include clothing and coffee," Blaine added. It only got worse every time the Warbler opened his mouth. How could Kurt have misjudged the other boy so badly? Had he been that starve for attention from a peer or had he really let a pretty face blind him? Either way he was disappointed in himself.
"Well, that is a generous offer, but still no. Like I said there's nothing here I want," he responded and he truly meant it.
"Not even me?" Blaine said stepping closer to him and arching an eyebrow.
"What?!" Kurt was shocked by that one. How can Blaine believe that he was still interested in him after everything that he had done to him since the incident? Blaine had called him a liar and that had really hurt him.
"It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the team," Blaine said smugly as he reached for Kurt.
"I don't fucking think so," Kurt snapped as he moved around Blaine and unlocked the door. He faced Blaine again. "All this time all you wanted was to keep me away from New Directions. You played me, I see that now. I was so desperate for an escape I took the first one without even thinking it through. And you know what? I'm stronger than that and I'm much braver now," Kurt shouted.
Kurt exited the bathroom and started down the hall.
"You will never have a boyfriend in Lima. I'm your best shot," Blaine said loudly as he followed Kurt.
Just before Kurt made it to the corner Noah rounded it first. Kurt knew the jock had heard what Blaine had said by the look on his face, absolute fury burn in those beautiful chocolate eyes. Kurt put his hands on Noah's chest, "Don't lay a finger on him. He's not worth it, none of the Dalton boys are."
Noah looked him in the eyes and most of the anger seemed to melt away from the older boy. He was very proud of Noah for listening to him.
"You listen here you fucked up a little hobbit. Kurt has me and I'm never letting him go," Noah said and took one of Kurt's hands and turned to leave.
"I knew you were a slut the whole time. First that poor jock you forced yourself on at McKinley and now you've tricked John. You're nothing but a cheap whore," Blaine yelled after them.
Before Kurt knew what was happening Noah had jerked away from him and lunged for Blaine. Kurt looked on in horror unable to move, but somehow his Dad and Mr. Wayne managed to snatch Noah from behind before he could get to the younger boy. Honestly he wouldn't mind seeing Noah beat the crap out of Blaine, but Noah didn't need to put himself in that kind of situation. Noah had his sister and daughter to look out for and needed to stay out of trouble for their sakes.
"Take him," Mr. Wayne said to Kurt's dad.
"Finn," his Dad called.
Finn had been right behind him and he hadn't even notice. He had been completely focused on his boyfriend. As Finn helped wrestle Noah back around the corner Kurt watched Mr. Wayne whisper harshly to Blaine.
Carole touched his elbow to get his attention. "Honey, you need to go help with Noah," she told him.
"Right," he said.
As he turned to follow his Mom, Blaine yelled out one more time, "Kurt you will regret this."
Kurt froze and started to turn, but Carole stopped him.
"Honey, he's not worth it," she hissed. "And Noah needs you."
She was right, Noah was far more important than Blaine Anderson ever was. When he rounded the corner and saw how Noah was sitting in his chair with his legs bouncing and his hands clenched into fists. Kurt rushed forward totally forgetting Blaine in his worry over Noah. He sat down next to his boyfriend and placed one hand on Noah's leg and wrapped his arm around the larger teen's shoulders and laid his head on the closest shoulder.
"He's not worth it, love," Kurt whispered into Noah's ear trying to calm both of them. Slowly Noah's legs stop moving and he took a deep breath. The two stayed that way until the Headmaster's secretary came to fetch them.