Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. No money is being produced from this page.

Timeline: Takes place during "Laryngitis", directly after Kurt's rendition of "Rose's turn", which itself followed the argument between Kurt and Burt.

A/N: First Glee fanfic, so please give feedback if anyone if OOC.

Rating: T, for a minor instance of racism.

The rush of adrenaline that always pumped through his veins whenever he sang began to ebb away, and Kurt felt his exhilaration start to fade as he descended back down to earth. The independence and freedom he had briefly gained upon the stage was replaced by the raw hurt that refused to depart.

A noise in the otherwise silent auditorium caught his attention as he returned to reality: the sound of unhurried, leisurely clapping.

His eyes took a moment to focus; from where he stood under the bright, stage lights, it was difficult to see the audience section.

"Nice job, Hummel," said a female voice with an undercurrent of faint amusement.

Kurt stared out into the darkness. "Santana?"

"The one and only," Santana's disembodied voice affirmed. "Hang on for a minute."

Soft footsteps sounded on the carpet, and then clomped up the stairs to join him on the stage. For a moment as she emerged from the darkness, the bright lights produced a solar eclipse effect and Kurt could only see her silhouette before she sauntered into full view.

As always, Santana sported her Cheerios uniform, her sleek black hair pulled back into a ponytail. However, there was an unusually serious expression on her face.

She strode to the edge of the stage, only a few feet away from him, and then sat down with her feet dangling over the side. "Sit down."

Kurt stared at her, too surprised to move.

"That wasn't a request, Hummel." She scowled at him.

Good Gaga, she sounded like Coach Sylvester, and only slightly less scary. With a sigh, Kurt walked over to her and sat down, but was careful to leave a good twenty inches between them.

Santana's dark eyes zeroed in on him. "You know, I came after you because I heard how you spoke to Brittany, and I didn't like it. But after listening to that argument between you and your dad, I can kind of understand why you were so upset."

"Understand?" Kurt was startled at the ferocity in his own tone. "Really, Santana? You understand what it's like for me? You know how much it hurts that my father prefers someone else over me, his own offspring?"

"Yes," Santana replied calmly.

Kurt had opened his mouth to continue his tirade, but quickly closed it to avoid gaping like a fish. "What?"

"I know how much it hurts when your father loves someone else more than you." Santana shrugged, but Kurt recognized the gesture as an obvious attempt to alleviate her discomfort of the situation.

So. Santana Lopez, bitch supreme, was not only fraternizing with the gay kid, but also deliberately entering a situation that made her feel uncomfortable. Kurt wondered why she was bothering in the first place. Santana wasn't exactly the most charitable of people, as displayed by her blunt admittance of the reality of the situation between himself and his father. While anyone else would've rushed to reassure him that his father did still love him, Santana didn't hesitate to give her honest opinion on the matter.

"It really burns you up, doesn't it? The way he just ditched you for Finn," Santana continued.

Kurt exhaled wearily. "Well, you seem to know my story, but it doesn't seem fair that I don't know yours. That is, if you actually do comprehend my situation."

"My parents divorced when I was ten," Santana stated flatly. "My mom moved out to California to join her best friend and become a partner in a chiropractor practice. She remarried and had a couple kids with a very successful lawyer.

"After the divorce, my father became a workaholic, working fourteen-hour shifts and almost was never home from the hospital. Me and my two brothers were pretty much on our own." Santana didn't meet his eyes and Kurt knew she was uncomfortable talking about this.

Despite his awareness of her agitation, Kurt couldn't resist trying to satisfy his curiosity. "Is that why you try so hard to be a bitch?"

"What." Santana's demand for an explanation was more of a flat statement than a question.

"It doesn't sound as if your parents are around much, and in that case, the only adult you would see for prolonged amounts of time would be Coach Sylvester. So do you try to emulate her actions by making such bitchy comments because you see her success and want to be as tough as her and get your way all the time?" Kurt looked Santana in the eye.

"That depends, Hummel," Santana sneered in return. "Do you make bitchy comments as a smokescreen to hide how lonely you really are?"

There was a tense pause; both knew they had crossed a line with their questions.

"How old are your brothers?" Kurt asked, in a transparent effort to change the subject.

"Jorge is three years younger than me and Carlos is two years older than me," Santana responded. She sighed. "We tried to make it work when my dad wasn't around. Erin, a college student, boarded with us in exchange for cooking and cleaning. She was really nice and fun, but it felt empty without either of our parents.

"My father remarried a white woman, Laura, when I was twelve. Despite being Catholic, this gringa has a bastard child, remarkably similar to Quinn." A scowl overcame Santana's pretty face.

"Is the kid really annoying?" Kurt asked, smiling faintly. It was somewhat amusing to picture Santana being pestered day and night by some little brat.

"You could say that," Santana rolled her eyes disgustedly in her signature style. "It's name is Megan. Being a good little Catholic girl, she attends the Catholic school nearby here. She's our age."

"Aren't you a Catholic as well?" Kurt inquired tentatively.

"Yeah," Santana shrugged, tugging the top half of her uniform down over her generous chest in a failed attempt to hide her uneasiness. Kurt wondered if her discomfort was the prospect of a conversation with an openly gay peer or if Santana just found the subject difficult to discuss. "But this kid is hardcore. She goes to youth group all the time, always wears a crucifix and all that stuff."

"And that's why you don't like her?" Kurt studied Santana.

"Look Hummel, I know I give you crap about your sexual attraction to men, but it's like all of those psychology books say: bullies tear other people down to feel better about themselves. My relationship with Brittany . . . worries me sometimes. My dad doesn't know, and I don't want him to find out. So I give you grief about being gay.

"It really freakin' hurt me when my dad remarried. First he was always a work, then he was dating Laura, and then they getting married. It was as if he was trying to replace us, his children. And now he still barely pays any attention to us; he's always going to Megan's field hockey games or tennis matches or chaperoning her youth group retreats. All those things he never did for us, his actual children. But he hasn't been to any of Carlos's basketball games or Jorge's soccer games or my Cheerios competitions. And it just sucks," Santana concluded.

"Yeah." Kurt bit his lip to stop it from quivering. "But at least you have your brothers. I'm an only child, and I only have my dad."

"Do you have any other relatives?" Santana asked, her voice unusually soft.

"Not really near here," Kurt replied. "Most of my dad's family lives down by Cincinnati. My mom was French. Her parents moved to the U.S. to be closer to her, but she died shortly afterwards. Now they live in Florida."

There was an awkward pause; Santana seemed to be at a loss about how to respond. In the end, she settled for clapping Kurt on the shoulder.

"I'm sorry," she told him. "I know that must be tough. I lost my mom too, even if she didn't die."

"Thanks," Kurt did his best to smile. "I really appreciate you talking to me, Santana. But if you don't mind, I think I need some time to myself to sort a few things out."

Santana nodded. "I understand, Hummel."

"But before you go . . ." Kurt extended his hand. "Hello, I'm Kurt Hummel. You can call me Kurt."

Her eyebrows rose slightly, but Santana still smiled. "Hey, Kurt. My name is Santana Lopez. Call me San or 'Tana. Just so long as you don't call me your bitch."

Kurt couldn't hold back a chuckle. "Hello. Nice to meet you, 'Tana."

"You say hello, and I say goodbye," Santana said teasingly as she rose.

"Shouldn't it be the other way around?" Kurt questioned playfully.

"Details, details," Santana breezed, walking away. She stopped at the stairs. "Kurt," she said seriously.

"Yes?" Kurt turned to look at her.

"If you ever need to talk anyone, about this or anything else, just call me or come to my house, okay?" Santana nodded at him and began to leave.

"Wouldn't your stepmother and stepsister object to a gay kid coming to your house?" Kurt asked half-seriously.

"Don't worry about it," Santana informed him without turning around. "Each of them already tell me that I'm going to hell twice day, anyway."

Kurt smiled as she disappeared into the darkness. His father still preferred Finn over him, but somehow, his heart felt lighter than it had just several moments ago.

"Gringa" is an offensive slang term that means "White woman" in Spanish. I don't think that Santana is a racist, I just think that she doesn't approve of her father's second marriage, nor does she get along with her stepmother. Also, she's been known to make some nasty insults, so I don't think that this is too unbelievable.