Title: Keep The L Up in the Air
Inspiration: Listening to "Loser Like Me," rewatching "Furt" and tomorrow being one week away from the Regionals episode
Disclaimers: I don't own Glee, its characters, the lyrics to its original song "Loser Like Me" or P!nk's song "Raise Your Glass."
Notes: This is just how I think Regionals should go down. ^^


"Oh. My. God."

Kurt's expression is a cross between disbelief and utter disgust. Mouth dropped open and ever-texting thumbs stalled over his keypad, his eyes are set to the center stage where one Rachel Berry is still, back turned to the audience, as the first strains of some sugary pop song filters through the auditorium.

"What?" Blaine whispers, leaning close to him.

"What is she wearing?" Kurt responds, blinking several times in quick succession as if he can will the outfit to change.

Blaine just laughs at the utmost offense that has worked its way into Kurt's voice, nudging his friend. "Be nice," he admonishes teasingly before turning back forward to watch the rest of the performance.

Kurt screws his mouth into a little quirk of unimpressed, eyebrows practically hidden by his perfectly styled bangs. Soon enough, Rachel whirls around (the truly atrocious sea-foam monstrosity of a skirt swirling around the cheap, black leggings) and starts singing. It's something close to P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" but with a flair of something more genuine, less punk and sweeter. Her smile never falters and yes, Kurt can tell it's her show-smile but it's not just her show-smile. If Rachel Berry were singing this song for no audience at all, she would still be smiling broadly. Well, of course she would: Rachel was never not performing. But that doesn't take away from the fact that Kurt thinks she's having real fun up on stage.

Whispers are rippling the Warblers at the lyrics and melody. Because this isn't a song they recognize. This is an original song. Kurt's disdain for their costume choice melts away as the rest of New Directions grooves onstage, singing back-up for Rachel. He can't help but bob a little to the music, smiling brightly. All right, it's a little bubble-gum and a little High School Musical but it's fun and his friends look like they're having fun up there. He stops though, because the Warblers are looking a little worried and shoulders are starting to tense.

They burst into the chorus and the crowd is rocking along. Their performance is loose and the dance moves aren't completely in sync but it doesn't matter because it's like they're singing their lives out. And they are, really, Kurt knows as much. When Blaine glances over, he can't help but mirror the grin on his friend's face, even if it is their competition.

Finn bounces down the stairs of the stage and apparently this Regionals performance is going rewind of the previous year's; starting on stage and then moving to the aisles. But then Finn is singing and he's a foot away from the Warblers and he's only got eyes for Kurt.

Push me up against the locker
And hey, all I do is
shake itoff
I'll get you back when I'm your boss

He's grinning wide and singing straight to Kurt because he's singing Kurt's life now. The Warblers are confused around him, except Blaine who's just got a half-curious look on his face. And Kurt is frozen because he knows the ache of metal ridges biting against his shoulders. He knows the half-inhale to prepare yourself before pushing the pain and humiliation aside and just walking on to class. He remembers being a scared little kid at the beginning of last year, before Glee Club, shoving his bag to some Neanderthal with fake bravado and announcing "Someday, you will all work for me," with an air of condescension to mask the hurt and fear.

'I'm not thinkin' 'bout you haters,' Finn sings on, smile knocking down a notch, to something softer and filled with hope. He sort of laughs into the opening of the next line. ''Cause hey, I could be a superstar.' On the last word, Finn lifts a hand to his forehead, thumb swiping lightly across his hairline. Fixing his bangs in a signature Kurt Hummel move. He doesn't quite manage all the flair of Kurt, but he comes damn near close. Finishing with 'I'll see you when you wash mycar!' Finn pops a defiant hand to a jutted-out hip and Kurt thinks that maybe his step-brother was watching him closer than he originally thought. Because he may not have the fabulous fierceness that Kurt was born with, but Finn is running a close second at the moment.

He's beaming, probably from the look of surprise-grateful-adoration that Kurt has on his face, and gives a little nod before bounding back to stage, joining the rest for the chorus. And they're all smiling up there but they're smiling directly at Kurt and maybe they had been all through Finn's verse but Kurt hadn't been able to look aware from his step-brother's earnest expression. Slowly the outside world comes back and Kurt realizes just how big he's smiling. Bigger than Vocaline Adrenaline's scary, "so optimistic it could cure cancer" show-smiles, bigger than "you make me feel like I'm living a teenage dream" and bigger than "And you're gonna dance with me, dude."

Somewhere in the whole thing, Blaine must have grabbed onto his elbow and Kurt is only registering it now and pretty much all of the Warblers are looking at him, some fondly, some confused. But Blaine has this smile on his face like he knows what Kurt knows and maybe he does.

"What was that?" one of his classmates asks as New Directions bops in time together to a sort of rap breakdown.

Kurt just smiles and shakes his head. Because it was an apology, it was an "I love you, man," and it was "Furt." It was Finn – and all of New Directions – reminding Kurt that they remembered him, that they cared about him and that they knew what happened and why he left and that they didn't hold any hard feelings. That they were here on opposite teams for Regionals but they were all still on the same side, together.

And when the time comes, he gives them a standing ovation.


AN: Hope you enjoyed. ^^ Let me know, please!
Thanks for reading! -ProbDef