Title: Forget You Not
Characters: Kurt and Finn (Kurt/Finn), Burt, Carole, Puck, Quinn, Mercedes
Warnings: Bullying, bad language, use of the f-word, assholejock!Burt, suicide, sexual contact.
Spoilers: Kurt used to have a crush on Finn! And he's gay!
Disclaimer: I wish I had some claim on Glee.
Summary: Freshman year at McKinley is hard enough for Kurt without his father's sudden amnesia from a traffic accident. With his father reverting to his pre-Kurt asshole ways at home and the school's resident bullies Puck and Finn leading his harassment at school, life cannot possibly get any worse for Kurt. (Pre-Glee what-if)
Notes: This is the premise of my other story, Forget Me Not, but set a year earlier, before Kurt had Glee and great friends to support him. It was written for the Kurt Big Bang and is dedicated toscottishwillow for the inspirational comment that started it all.
FORGET YOU NOT
There was an unwritten code of conduct at William McKinley High School, and everyone knew it. There were certain things that you just did because you were as cool (or uncool) as you were. As the quarterback, Finn Hudson was automatically cool. And he was tall. That made him cool too. And Quinn Fabray was his girlfriend (though he didn't know how that happened). Even though she was only a freshman, she was the coolest girl at school, and that made Finn even cooler. Finn didn't have much else going for him, cool-wise. He wasn't a total stud like his best friend, Noah Puckerman. He didn't have a list of Cheerios he had tapped (or cougars), his arms were kinda skinny instead of big and thick, and he didn't have a mohawk that everyone else tried to imitate without actually shaving their heads. And he was nice. Too nice. As the quarterback, Finn was automatically the coolest guy at school, but as a nice guy, he kinda... wasn't. Not when standing next to Puck, at least.
Finn didn't mind, though. As the unofficial coolest guy at school, that meant Puck was the one who grabbed the scrawny dweebs around their chests and hoisted them into the dumpsters. Because that was what you did when you were cool. And being thrown in the dumpsters was what you did if you were a dweeb. Nobody minded, nobody cared. It was how things worked. No point in protesting.
Except Finn couldn't bring himself to do it. He could just imagine his mom's face if she heard he was trashing the geek population, quite literally. He couldn't bring himself to actually lift up the dweebs.
But he could watch. Supervise. That was the word for the leader who told others what to do but didn't actually get his hands dirty. There was only one thing he actually did, and that was when it was Kurt Hummel's turn.
Picking on Hummel was another thing that you just did if you were cool. The small boy was an easy target, with his prissy clothes and the way he walked around with his nose in the air. He acted like he was higher than even Puck in terms of coolness, but really, Hummel was lower than the special ed kids. They, at least, had an excuse for being unaware of the rules. Hummel was just an idiot. So picking on Hummel was what they did.
And it wasn't like Hummel minded. After they threw him in the dumpster, for example, he'd just hop out, snatch his coat out of Finn's hands, and stalk off toward the school. He never got upset over it. Or if they threw a slushie in his face, he just disappeared for ten minutes or so and came back wearing something different and still looking just as haughty and stuck-up as ever. Hummel knew that it was his job to be picked on, just as it was Finn and Puck's job to do the picking.
Today, though... today things were different. Hummel had been looking icker and icker every day he had come to school for the past couple of weeks, and the other guys had even taunted him about how his face was all white and kinda blotchy as he took his jacket off and offered it to Finn to hold. Hummel hadn't said anything, which was a bit weird, and had actually kinda flinched a little at the pre-toss round of insults. He usually just kept his nose up and insulted them right back, with big words that none of them would admit to looking up with Google afterward (because none of them could ever figure out how to spell the words).
After tossing Hummel into the dumpster (he was always the last of the morning), the other jocks filtered away and Finn would wait for Hummel to hop out before heading off himself. But it had been five minutes now, and Hummel was still in the dumpster. Finn shifted from foot to foot, glancing toward the school. Puck'd probably be laughing at him now, for waiting for the gay kid, but Finn wasn't about to steal his jacket. It wouldn't fit him, anyway. What was taking Hummel so long? Had he gotten hurt or something this time?
Tossing the dweebs in was one thing, but actually hurting them? Finn glanced toward the school again, then stepped over to the dumpster, climbing onto the side and looking down.
Hummel was curled up in a little ball, shaking. He had his arms wrapped around his head, and occasionally, he made this little sound kinda like he was crying but trying to hold his breath at the same time.
At the sound of Finn's voice, Hummel snapped his head up, looking straight at him. And he looked scared. Finn had never seen Hummel look anything other than mildly pissed off before. And Hummel's face... if it had been blotchy before they threw him in, it was just a mess now, all mottled pink and red and white and very wet. He was crying.
This wasn't how it worked. The cool kids tossed the uncool kids in the dumpster. The uncool kids climbed out and went about their day. They didn't curl up and burst into tears.
His mom would not be happy with him.
Finn looked around wildly for someone else to help, but he was alone out here with Hummel. And Hummel was shaking again, shaking pretty badly, too, reaching up and trying to wipe his face dry with his fingers as he gulped down breaths. He knew this wasn't how things were supposed to go either. Their balance was all out of whack.
"Uh..." Finn thrust out his arm, still holding Hummel's coat. "You want your jacket back?"
Hummel's eyes darted to the jacket, and he gave a little nod, his tongue flicking out over his lips before he rocked forward, fingers curling around the sleeve. He didn't pull back, though, just froze there, looking up at Finn.
This was the first time, Finn realized, that he had ever looked into Hummel's eyes. They were kinda a bluey-grey right now, and bloodshot, and filled with tears. Hummel looked absolutely crushed. And wanting. Something about Hummel's eyes, and his face, and the way he was holding the jacket draped over Finn's arm but not trying to pull it off, all seemed to be pleading with Finn. Begging him.
The little gay kid wanted something from him. Finn felt his face flush. Of course he did. Finn was the official coolest guy at school, and definitely hunkier than Puck (according to Quinn, who was the official keeper of the ranking of the hotness of guys at McKinley). Every girl had a crush on him. It made sense that the gay boy did too. "Take your faggy jacket!" He tilted his arm, dropping the coat onto the trash bags, and shoved away from the dumpster before Hummel tried to kiss him or something. As he jogged off toward the school building, he tried to ignore the broken sob that followed him.
Finn didn't tell Puck that he was looking for Hummel as he craned his neck to see around the crush of students in the cafeteria. Nor did he mention that he was worried when he glanced over to see Hummel's seat empty during Spanish. And after school, when Puck and Karofsky were laughing over how Hummel hadn't been there for his end-of-school slushie, Finn just shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced guiltily toward the dumpsters.
"Think he finally learned his lesson?" Puck asked, fist-bumping Karofsky. "Queer little freaks like him aren't welcome here!"
"Yeah," Finn said. "Not welcome..."
Finn got halfway home before he couldn't take it anymore, and he turned around. By the time he had returned to school, just about everyone had cleared out. There were no witnesses to squeal to ben Israel about how Finn pulled up close to the dumpsters and carefully climbed up onto the side, peering over the metal edge.
Hummel was curled up in a corner, his jacket wrapped around him like a blanket, a bag of trash over his legs. He had his head pillowed on his arm against the side; those pleading eyes of his closed. He looked like he was only sleeping, except his face was now all white and his lips were a little blueish. It was cold, late in the season, even if the dumpster blocked most of the wind, and if Hummel had really been out here all day...
"Psst!" Finn leaned in closer, flexing his fingers over the lip of the dumpster. "Hummel!" He dropped down, moving over to the corner Hummel was curled up against, and climbed up again. "Psst!"
When Hummel didn't stir, Finn took a deep breath (ooh, mistake. It took a moment for him to stop gagging on the smell) and reached in to tug Hummel's hair. Hummel did wake up at that, giving a squawk and flailing back and falling onto a black bag of trash. His eyes were open now, and that scared look was back.
"Were you seriously asleep?" Finn asked, staring incredulously at the smaller boy. How could prissy Kurt Hummel have fallen asleep someplace that smelled this bad?
"I-I-I..." Hummel was starting to shiver now, as if he had only just realized how cold he was. He pressed his hands together, rubbing white fingers. "W-w-what time is it?"
"School's out," Finn said, leaning on the dumpster's edge. "You've been in here all day."
Hummel's mouth dropped open a little, his hands stilling their frantic twisting. "All d-d-day!"
"Yeah." Finn frowned a little, not sure what to do in this situation. "Uh... you, uh... got a ride home?"
"I w-w-walk." Hummel was moving again, pulling his jacket on, rubbing his hands together more, rubbing his legs and trying to stand up. He stumbled as he tried to find footing on the uneven garbage, and Finn grabbed his arm before he could fall again.
"I'll, uh... give you a ride." Finn tried not to blush as Hummel stared at where he was holding Hummel's arm, and then at his face. "Since you're, er, turning blue. But don't tell anyone."
"As if anyone would b-b-believe me," Hummel whispered.
Hummel moved as if he were half-frozen, and Finn actually had to help him climb out of the dumpster, which was a first for him. By the time Hummel was standing on the solid asphalt again, his face was pink and he was staring very determinedly anywhere that wasn't Finn. Finn coughed nervously and dragged Hummel's bag out from behind the dumpster, thrusting it out at him before heading toward his car. He didn't bother helping Hummel in, waiting while the other boy fumbled with the handle and climbed in slowly, eying Finn as if he were expecting to be bitten or something.
"Where do you live?" Finn asked, drumming his fingers nervously on the wheel and adjusting the rearview mirror. Hummel was checking over his shoulder, glancing in the backseat, and Finn frowned. "Look, there's no one else in here. I'm not gonna beat you up, okay? Just trying to do a good deed here."
Hummel shrank back a little at the words, nodding and buckling himself in. He whispered an address before pressing his hands between his knees, rubbing them together.
Finn leaned over to turn the heat up as he pulled out of the parking lot, just giving a nod to Hummel's silent look of gratitude. "You can mess with the vents if you want," he said. "I don't care." Hummel nodded in return and started shifting all the vents to point straight at him, holding his hands over one of them when he finished.
By the time Finn found Hummel's house (only requiring a few directions when he was about to make a wrong turn), Hummel was no longer blue-tinged, though he was still sitting quite tensely on the seat beside Finn, glancing over his way every few minutes. He unbuckled when Finn pulled into his driveway, gathering up his bag. "Thank you for the ride." Hummel took a deep breath, turning to Finn, his expression much more like his usual self: haughty and superior, except for the mottled color on his slowly-warming face and his damp cheeks kinda made him just look sad and pathetic. "Did you... um... want to come in?"
Finn knew, from what manners his mother had taught him and the way Hummel asked, that the other boy was just trying to be polite and didn't actually want him to come in. At the same time, though... Finn glanced up at Hummel's house. It was at least twice the size of his own and looked expensive and fancy. Kinda like Quinn's, only a new sort of fancy instead of an old sort. Finn was curious: what did it look like inside? "Got anything to eat in there?"
Hummel's mouth actually dropped open for a moment, and then he nodded slowly. Finn gave him a grin and shut off the engine. "Then yeah. I'm game. Never turn down free food..." And he could also use this as a chance for reconnaissance, should the guys ever want to do a sequel to the lawn-furniture-on-the-roof thing (that had been all Puck's idea, and Finn had already been grounded that night, so he could only hear about it second-hand). At least, that was the excuse he could give if they found out that he'd gone inside gay kid's house. Hummel was half his size, though. He'd be able to make it out unmolested.
Hummel was all twitchy as he unlocked the front door and pushed it open. "Dad?" he called out, glancing nervously over at Finn. "I'm home..."
"About time!" Hummel actually flinched at the return shout. Mr. Hummel sounded like a big man, from the sound of his voice. It wasn't high and wussy like Hummel's. "I've had Jason calling here to find out where you were!"
"Jas-crap!" Hummel dug in his pocket, pulling out his cell and sending a quick text. Finn frowned curiously at him, and Hummel shrugged, shoving the phone away again. "I work at the garage after school. Completely forgot..."
"Uh... did you need a ride there?" Finn asked. Hummel worked at a garage?
Hummel was shaking his head, though, gesturing at his pocket. "No, just told him I wouldn't be in today, sorry for worrying him. You wanted something to eat?"
"You can just skip work like that?" Finn asked, trailing after Hummel as he led him, presumably, toward the kitchen. Hummel's house was big, big and expensive-looking. The floors were wood and the furniture had a lot of black and glass and metal.
"My dad owns it," Hummel said, pausing for a moment outside a den. He pressed his lips together, then held up one finger to Finn and stepped inside. "Dad? Did you want anything?"
"I thought I told you not to call me that," a big man in a recliner grumbled. He was watching some football game on a massive tv (Finn ached for that tv. What was it, fifty, fifty-five inches!), a tray of dirty dishes sitting on the table beside him. His right leg was propped up on a stack of pillows on the footrest of the recliner and wrapped in a cast from ankle to mid-thigh, and some crutches leaned against the wall beside him.
"And the therapist told us it might help," Hummel answered, not looking at Finn as he restacked the dishes so smaller ones were on top.
"That therapist is a quack," Mr. Hummel grumbled. "I want a different one."
"You've been through three in three weeks," Hummel murmured, adding a half-drunk bottle of water to the tray. "How about you give him more than one appointment?"
"If I wanted your opinion, I'd ask for it. Now go do something useful for once and make me a sandwich. And not one of those prissy vegetable ones. Make it a BLT."
"The cholesterol will-"
"Kurt." The older Hummel was frowning at the boy, and Finn shifted awkwardly. This was probably why Hummel hadn't wanted him to come in. "Bring me a beer, too."
"Not with your meds."
"Kurt," Mr. Hummel growled, actually growled.
"No." Hummel popped open an orange bottle, dumped several pills into his hand, and thrust them toward the man. "Just swallow these. I'll bring you a sandwich."
Mr. Hummel gave a disdainful snort as he took the pills from Hummel, but then he noticed Finn lingering in the doorway. "Who's that?" he asked, nodding toward Finn. "You bringing your boyfriends over now?"
"Dad!" Hummel's face went absolutely red now, and Finn looked between them in distress. Whoa there! He was not Hummel's boyfriend! "I told you, I'm not gay! I'm just... Finn's a... from school. He gave me a ride home. He... I'm going to make you that sandwich now. Take your meds."
Hummel snatched up the tray and pushed past Finn, stalking off down the hall. Finn glanced back at Mr. Hummel. "I'm totally not a fag, dude," he said, shaking his head, before he hurried after Hummel.
"I'm sorry you had to see that," Hummel said, when Finn had found him in the kitchen (it was huge, and all the appliances were stainless steel, and there wasn't a crumb to be seen. The only thing out of place was the tray Hummel had just brought in, but he was already rinsing the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher). "My dad, he's... he's not himself..."
Finn hoisted himself onto the counter, frowning a little at Hummel's back. "What's wrong with him?"
Hummel sighed as he closed the dishwasher and moved to the refrigerator. Everything in there was neat and organized too, Finn noticed. "He's... there was an accident, almost a month ago." Hummel's voice was wavering a little, thick and heavy. "Car accident. His right leg's broken in three places—you saw the cast. And various other injuries make it hard for him to get around. And..." Hummel took a shaky breath, pulling sandwich meat and cheese out of the fridge. "Brain damage," he whispered, not even glancing Finn's way.
"Brain damage!" Finn glanced back over his shoulder, toward the den. "So your dad's, like, retarded now or something?"
"No," Hummel snapped, shooting Finn a glare over his shoulder. "He's just... it's amnesia. Selective retrograde amnesia." He drew out a knife and a cutting board, moving fluidly through the kitchen.
"So he doesn't remember anything?"
"No..." Hummel's voice was growing softer. "He remembers everything just fine. Except..."
Hummel paused, his knife halfway through the cheese, and Finn could see him close his eyes and swallow hard enough to make his Adam's apple bob. "Me," he whispered. "He doesn't remember me."
"Dude." Finn shook his head slowly. "That's gotta be harsh, man."
"We're surviving." Hummel opened his eyes, turning his attention back to sandwich making. "Would you like a sandwich?"
"Yeah, sure," Finn said. "Thanks. Does he always talk to you like that?"
"Ever since the accident," Hummel murmured. "He doesn't believe that I'm his son. I had to show him my birth certificate, and he still..." He shook his head, pressing his lips together and reaching for a loaf of bread.
"Why doesn't your mom just tell him to shove it?" Finn asked. "Wouldn't he believe her?"
Hummel looked sharply at Finn, then softened, shaking his head and turning aside to pull some plates out of a cupboard. "My mom is dead."
He said it so quietly that Finn almost missed it. Almost. He didn't, though, and the words hit him like a punch to the gut. Three weeks ago, there was a car accident, and now Hummel's mother was dead and his father didn't remember him, and Puck and his friends still threw him in the dumpster. Little surprise Hummel hadn't tried to climb out today. "Oh shit, man, I'm sorry. I didn't know... in the accident?"
"What?" Hummel looked toward Finn again, looking confused for a moment, before awareness dawned and he shook his head quickly. "Oh. Oh, no, she died years ago. When I was seven."
"Oh." Awkwaaaard... "My dad died when I was a baby." Finn fidgeted, unsure why he had volunteered that information. That was something not even all his friends knew; they all knew his dad wasn't in the picture, but they didn't know what had happened to him. Puck knew, but that was about it. "I can't imagine not having Mom around..."
"I don't have to imagine," Hummel whispered, his hands stilling again in the process of assembling the sandwiches. "Here." He picked up one plate, offering it over to Finn, before putting the second on the tray, along with a fresh bottle of water from the fridge. "I'll... be right back. Just going to run this down the hall."
Finn nodded, watching as Hummel slipped out of the kitchen. He frowned to himself as he took a bit of his sandwich. It tasted pretty good, actually, even if Hummel had added lettuce and tomato to it. And was that a pickle! He only ever got pickles on his sandwiches at restaurants!
"What took you so long?" Finn could hear Mr. Hummel's voice even from the kitchen. "You'd better not have been fucking that Finn kid..."
Hummel's protest was too quiet for Finn to hear, but he didn't need to make out the words to make up his mind. When Hummel returned a minute later, his face all red again, mouth in a tight line, and those pale eyes of his brimming with tears, Finn shook his head. "You can't stay here."
"Excuse me?" Hummel had turned away from Finn, busying himself with putting things back in the fridge, but Finn could see Hummel's hand lifting too close to his eyes to be just cleaning up. "I live here."
"Yeah, but your dad's an abusive pig." Like Puck's dad had been, before he cut out. Finn barely remembered Puck's dad, but he had never liked the man who had smelled of smoke and booze and clapped him on the back too hard.
"He is not!" Hummel turned sharply, putting his hands on his hips. "My dad is amazing, Hudson!"
"Yeah. And he doesn't even let you call him 'dad.'" Finn took another bite of his sandwich. "Just sayin'..."
Hummel deflated, turning away and bracing his hands on the counter. "My dad is amazing," he said dully. "But that man isn't my dad anymore..."
"You need to get out," Finn said. "Stay with some friends or something."
Hummel gave a dry laugh. "You think I have friends?"
Finn frowned. He was afraid of that. "You could... crash at my place for a bit. I mean, that doesn't make us friends or anything. You just... dude, you fell asleep in a dumpster today!"
Hummel's open-mouthed look of shock didn't seem at all faked. Finn couldn't blame him. Just this morning, he'd been supervising Hummel's daily dumpster-toss, and now he was offering the other boy space on his couch? Puck was going to laugh at him. And then make Hummel's life miserable.
Hummel seemed aware of that, though, and was already recovering, closing his mouth and shaking his head. "I can't. Couldn't. Dad... I can't leave him. He can barely make it to the bathroom on his own. He needs someone around to make sure things get done, like cooking and laundry and... he can't be on his own. I have to take care of him."
"You're gonna run yourself into an early grave like this, Hummel."
"Why do you even care?" Hummel asked quietly. "It's not like you like me or anything."
"I..." Finn took another bite of his sandwich, frowning. "I just... I do, okay? This sucks, that guy sucks, and it's not fair that you've got to deal with all his crap on your own. I mean, you're my age. I couldn't do all this."
"I have to," Hummel said. "Because no one else will."
"Then... then bring him too." Finn was nodding now. "Yeah. Yeah, you and your dad, you can come stay with Mom and me, until your dad's leg heals."
"My house is smaller than this one," Finn said, "so he wouldn't have to walk so far to the bathroom or anything, right? And my mom works at Lima Memorial, so she knows how to take care of people and stuff. So you don't have to do everything. And then you don't have to be alone either."
Hummel was staring at Finn in shock again, and Finn dug out his phone. "I'll call Mom right now," he said, already punching in her number. "You'll see..."