I cannot apologize enough for the ridiculous amount of time you've had to wait for this. I've been so completely stuck on it forever. It's a nice and long chapter though, if that's any consolation, and I think that the writer's block is done with.
What He Needs
How Kurt Hummel Finally Learned to Stop Planning His Life and Start Living it
No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need
- You Can't Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones
Kurt had known that it was only a matter of time before he had to have this conversation with his grandfather, but he had hoped that it would be under much better circumstances. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be possible. Even if his dad hadn't insisted on Kurt telling his grandfather about what had been going, he still would have since he wanted to seek legal action against the school.
When Kurt arrived at school on Wednesday morning, he had tried to be tentatively optimistic. Not only did he have a stack of fliers to hand out promoting the GSA, but he had the upcoming duet competition to look forward to. He and Sam had spent several hours the previous afternoon working on their duet, and he thought they had a really good chance at winning.
"Rachel and Finn will be our only real competition," Sam had told him when they were finished practicing for the day. "I mean, I don't know who else will compete, so I guess there could be more. Only I've never actually heard Mike or Brittany sing before. Tina's okay, but her voice isn't very strong. Mercedes is pretty good, but her style is completely different than yours or Rachel's. So, yeah, they'll be our biggest problem."
Kurt wasn't worried at all. Their song was great, and even though their choreography was fairly simple—Kurt had kept it as close to the original as he could—he knew that it was great as well.
His tentative optimism evaporated when he got called into Ms. Pillsbury's office during lunch.
"I didn't expect to see you again so soon," he said after sitting down in one of the chairs in front of her desk. "I've got some fliers to pass out, but I wanted to get your approval before I started putting them up."
That was when he noticed her frown.
"I turned in the paperwork for the Gay-Straight Alliance to Principal Figgins this morning, and I'm sorry to say that he won't give his approval."
Kurt stared at her for a moment. "Is it because of the funding? Because if it is, I told you that I didn't need the school to fund anything. The money isn't a problem. I don't like to talk about it, but I have a trust fund, and I am more than willing to cover whatever expenses we may incur. It shouldn't be too much anyway. At Dalton, we covered a lot of our expenses by fundraisers and donations, and I'm sure that once we have more support, I'll be able to do the same here."
"It's not that simple," Ms. Pillsbury said, her frown growing more pronounced. "Principal Figgins feels that a Gay-Straight Alliance would be detrimental to the student body."
"He—what? How could it be detrimental to the student body?"
She sighed. "He says that a school is not the place to discuss student sexuality."
"That's completely unfair!" Kurt exclaimed. "If the school isn't a place to discuss student sexuality, explain to me why he gave his approval for the Celibacy Club."
"I'm afraid that I can't, and without his approval, there's not much I can do. I'm so sorry, Kurt."
He slumped back against the chair. "It all comes down to homophobia. Even the faculty is guilty of it." A determined look settled on his face. "Are you still willing to be the faculty adviser?"
"I don't think Principal Figgins is going to change his mind, Kurt," she said reluctantly.
"Maybe not," he allowed. "But if he does, are you still willing?"
She studied Kurt for several moments. "Yes, if he changes his mind, I would love to work with you."
Kurt stood and walked to the door. Before leaving, he turned back to the guidance counselor. "What will happen to Noah Puckerman?"
He would be lying if he said that he hadn't been looking forward to seeing the other boy again, however rude he may have been before, and he definitely had been rude before.
"He'll stay in Juvenile Hall until he can find another community service project," she said slowly. "I'll start looking right away, but he'll have to be put on a waiting list until something else comes up."
Kurt frowned. That didn't seem fair. He wasn't sure what the boy had done to get put into Juvenile Hall in the first place, but it couldn't have been that bad. He and Sam were friends, after all, and Kurt didn't think Sam would be friends with a delinquent. According to Sam, he had gone through a rough patch the past year with little support from the faculty or his family. None of the glee kids—his supposed friends—had even seemed worried about him being in Juvenile Hall.
"I'm not sure what the proper procedure here is, but I think that I could help with that. I'm in contact with a number of organizations that would be willing to work with him if I gave him a recommendation. Westerville's chapter of the Trevor Project is always looking for volunteers. I have to go by there this afternoon for a vocal lesson, so I could stop by and talk to the volunteer coordinator."
Ms. Pillsbury looked torn. "You do understand that I'm not asking you to do this, right? I don't want you to feel like you have to continue to help Noah. I mean, I think it's wonderful that you're willing to, of course, but it's not necessary."
"I don't mind, really. I'll just give you Jeremy's—he's the volunteer coordinator—information, so you can contact him, and then I'll go by this afternoon. It's a win-win situation. The Trevor Project is one of my favorite organizations, and like I said, they are always in need of volunteers."
He took a piece of paper from his satchel and wrote the information down before sliding it across the desk.
Ms. Pillsbury took the proffered paper with a strange look on her face. "Thank you," she said.
She sounded so surprised by his offer of help that Kurt was taken aback. He was only doing what any decent person would do, wasn't he? If this had been Dalton, any number of people would have been willing to help—any number of people had done similar things in the past albeit not with their own peers, but Kurt could give several examples of his friends and classmates using their contacts to help someone out. This wasn't any different than that.
As he headed towards the cafeteria, he came across a flier advertising both the Celibacy Club and Christ's Crusaders. How could Principal Figgins allow the formation of religious student organizations, but then say that school wasn't a place to discuss student sexuality? Public school definitely wasn't a place to discuss religious matters; at least Kurt didn't think it was. The problem was that since Kurt hadn't attended a public school before, he wasn't very familiar with their policies, so he had no idea whether or not Figgins could legally discriminate against Kurt and the GSA. He snatched the flier off the wall before going to the school's library. That was about to change
A quick Google search told him everything he needed to know. Principal Figgins may not like the idea of a GSA, but under the Equal Access Act, he had no legal basis for not allowing one at McKinley High.
Kurt went straight from the library to the principal's office. This was beginning to be a nearly daily occurrence, something he could tell displeased both Figgins and his secretary as the moment the woman saw Kurt her look turned sour.
"Ah, yes, Mr. Hummel. Principal Figgins thought he might be seeing you. Go on in."
Kurt went in, but Figgins barely gave him time to enter the room properly before he began speaking in a weary tone. "I'll tell you the same thing I told Ms. Pillsbury, Mr. Hummel. I don't think that school is the proper forum to discuss sexuality."
"And yet McKinley has a thriving Celibacy Club," Kurt said, sliding the folded up flier across the desk.
Surprise flitted across the man's face, but he did not back down. "That's different."
"Not according to the Equal Access Act," Kurt countered.
Figgins's lips settled into a thin line. "I'm afraid my decision is final."
Kurt knew a dismissal when he heard one, so he didn't bother pressing the matter further. What use would it be anyway? In the short time he had been at McKinley High, the administration had proven itself to be beyond useless. If he wanted things to change—and he absolutely did because there was no reason for things to be the way they were—he would have to play hard ball, so to speak. It was more than a little frightening because he knew it would draw a lot of attention on himself, but he couldn't just ignore the things that had happened to him because if he did, he'd only be telling everyone around him that what the bullies—both faculty and student alike—were doing was okay, and it definitely was not okay.
So while it might be easier to just ignore the things that were going on around him, to allow himself to become as desensitized like the other students, he just couldn't do that. He had to fight back, and in order to do that, he would have to utilize all of the tools at his disposal. Namely his grandfather.
He opened the door to leave but before he did, he turned back to the principal. "I think it's only fair to warn you that you'll be hearing from my attorney. While I understand that you are only doing what you think is best for the school, I don't understand the blatant discrimination nor do I intend to ignore it."
He stayed long enough to see the worry on the principal's face but then slipped out the open door, passing a blonde-haired woman wearing a track suit as he did.
Lunch was nearly over, but he still had enough time to send his grandfather an e-mail detailing both the current situation and what had been happening so far. An e-mail may seem like such an impersonal thing, but it was often the best way to contact his grandfather who sometimes spent more time abroad than he did at home. With this, at least, luck seemed to be on his side because it didn't take long for his phone to beep indicating that he had received a new e-mail from his grandfather. The e-mail was fairly short, but it said enough. His grandfather had business at Dalton this afternoon—which likely meant a meeting with the Headmaster as they were friends—so he would meet Kurt at their normal spot at 4.
On one hand, Kurt felt almost relieved about having his grandfather's help, but on the other hand, he thought the entire thing would only go to prove his grandfather right about him leaving Dalton. Not that he thought his grandfather would insist on him transferring back—and even if he did, his dad wouldn't stand for it, nor would he—but Kurt didn't want him to think that he couldn't handle things for himself.
"Are you okay?" Sam asked when they met up after classes were over for the day. "You've been pretty quiet ever since Ms. Pillsbury called you into her office."
Kurt gave him a strained smile. "I'm just really tired. I think I'll skip glee today, so I can nap before my vocal lesson. Do you mind covering for me?"
"Yeah, sure, no problem," Sam said before pausing. "I'm sorry about the GSA. I know you must be disappointed, but maybe he'll change his mind."
"Maybe," Kurt echoed. Either he would change his mind, or things were going to get very messy. Either way, there was going to be a GSA at McKinley. He would have to fill Sam in on his plan, but this wasn't the time or the place. Not with all of the people lingering in the hallway. "I'll come by after ballet tonight so we can run through the duet a few more times. You sure you'll be ready to perform tomorrow?"
Sam nodded. "Definitely. It's you that I'm worried about."
"Me? I'm fine."
"Yeah?" Sam's tone was skeptical.
Kurt sighed. His best friend knew him all too well. "I'll be fine, I promise. Do you think you could talk to Rachel for me? Tell her about the GSA? I've got a plan, so she shouldn't worry, but I know that she'll want to know what's going on."
"Don't you always?" Sam quipped with a grin. "But yeah, I'll talk to her. Now, come on, I'll walk you out."
He wanted to protest—he didn't need protection after all—but after the day he'd had, he could use the few minutes of normalcy that walking with Sam would afford him—especially before leaving for Dalton.
He would have had a bit of time in between school and his lesson, but since his grandfather wanted to meet him at 4, he would have to go straight to Dalton. He felt a little uneasy about talking to his grandfather before talking to his dad—almost as if he was going behind his back, something he knew that his dad wouldn't like—but there wasn't any time. Plus his dad hadn't exactly been the biggest supporter of the GSA to begin with.
"So, Finn tells me that you and Rachel are starting up one of those Gay-Straight Alliance things," he had said, casually, the previous night over dinner.
Finn and Carole were eating with them once again. They had been there when Kurt got home from ballet, and they hadn't been alone—they'd come bringing several boxes marked KITCHEN and LIVING ROOM with them. He supposed that he would have to get used to it, but was it too much to ask for one meal with just his dad?
Kurt nodded. "Yes, well, I think that education is the key to countering the homophobia at McKinley."
"And you don't think that starting this club might just bring more attention on you than you already have?"
"It might," he allowed, not liking the direction this conversation was taking, "but I don't really mind. Not if it means I have the opportunity to educate just one person or to give someone a place they can truly be themselves."
That was when Finn had interjected. "Why does McKinley even need a Gay-Straight club in the first place? Aren't you the only… y'know… gay person there?"
Kurt wouldn't have even answered the question only Finn didn't seem to be the only one thinking if the look his dad was giving him was any indication. "I highly doubt that. Even if I'm the only one out, there has to be, statistically speaking, at least a couple of others."
Finn looked like he was about to open his mouth to protest, so Kurt quickly continued, turning his attention to his dad. "You never cared that I was active in the GSA at Dalton. Why is this any different?"
The question was directed towards his dad, but once again it was Finn who answered. "Look, dude, I'm not sure how things were at your old school, but things are different at McKinley. You can't just… be whatever you want to be. I've already gotten a lot of flak just for defending you against Karofsky the other day. If you do this, it's just going to be way worse."
"For you," Kurt said quietly.
"Worse for you, you mean. If I start the Gay-Straight Alliance, things are going to get worse for you."
Kurt's eyes flitted over to his father, and he waited for him to say something—to say anything—but he didn't, so he finally took a deep breath, and when he spoke again, his voice wavered ever so slightly. "I'm sorry that you feel that way, but I'm not going to pretend to be something that I'm not just so things will be easier for you. You're right, though—things are different here at McKinley, but they shouldn't be."
His dad finally interjected. "We're not trying to say you should pretend to be something you're not. We're just saying that maybe you're trying to rock the boat a little too much."
"What happened to 'No one pushes the Hummels around?'" Kurt tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice but wasn't quite as successful as he would have liked.
"No one does, Kurt, but Finn explained the slushie thing to me. He said that the glee kids always get slushied. It's a social status thing, not a homophobic thing—"
"And the slurs? The jocks calling me Hummel the Homo, is that another social status thing? Being thrown into a dumpster this morning—while Finn and several other football players who happen to be in glee—watched is what? Just the way things go? Because I'm not one of the 'popular kids,' I should just expect to be treated that way? I mean, that's what the administration seems to think seeing as they ignore all of it even when they're witness to it themselves, so obviously that's how things ought to be, right?"
His dad had turned to Finn, then, with an unhappy look on his face. "You what? Throwing slushies around is one thing—and I'm not too happy about it either but I remember what high school was like—but throwing kids into dumpsters, Finn?"
Finn flushed. "It's just one of those things that the football team does. You know how it is…" he trailed off.
"I could have been seriously injured," Kurt said after a minute. "If I had landed the wrong way, I could have broken a bone. If I had landed on, let's say, a piece of glass, well, who knows what would have happened then? I don't think it's asking too much or rocking the boat too much to have a safe environment at school. I had hoped for some support from my father, but I wasn't asking for permission."
With that, Kurt pushed his mostly uneaten food away from the table and headed down to the basement. It didn't take long for his dad to join him, the shifting mattress the only indication he was no longer alone.
"You didn't tell me about the dumpster," his dad said.
"Not yet. I was going to, but I had to practice for my duet and then I had ballet. There just wasn't time. What could you have done about it anyway? Principal Figgins says that without witnesses—that aren't me because apparently I don't count—he can't do anything. Or he won't."
His dad sighed, heavily, and dropped a heavy hand on Kurt's shoulder. "And you really think this Gay-Straight Alliance will help?"
"I hope it will."
"Then I think you should do it," he said. "But I also think that maybe it's time to talk to your grandfather about what's going on. I'm going to give Figgins a piece of my mind tomorrow, but we could use all the help we can get."
They sat there together for a while longer before his dad stood up to head back upstairs. Kurt stopped him at the staircase. "I understand that you love Carole and wish to build a future with her, but I'm uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a room with Finn. Out in the world, I have to expect a certain amount of homophobia. I shouldn't have to worry about that at home," Kurt took a deep breath. "Not from Finn and especially not from my father."
His dad's eyes widened. "I didn't—I would never!" He protested at once.
"It wasn't what you said, Dad, but what you didn't say. Finn must have told you about the Gay-Straight Alliance with the express purpose of hoping you would dissuade me from forming it because it would make things worse for him—being known as the boy whose mom is dating Hummel the Homo's dad is apparently toxic to his popularity—and instead of supporting me, or at the very least hearing me out, you sided with him. Not only that but you implied that just by being myself I was 'rocking the boat.'"
His dad looked stricken. "Kurt, buddy, you gotta know that I don't think that. I think you got as much right to love who you love as anyone else does."
Kurt nodded. "I do, but I also know that both times you've been faced with the options to choose between me and Finn, you've chosen him. I get it—he's the son you would have preferred. He's popular, into things that you understand and like, straight, and I'm me—"
He would have continued but his dad cut him off. "You are my son, Kurt. Not Finn. I'm sorry that I ever made you think otherwise. I'll clear out my office so that Finn can stay there until the addition is finished."
He wrapped Kurt up in his arms. "Love you, kid."
His dad had supported him in the end, but Kurt couldn't get rid of the feeling that he would have much rather Kurt not get involved in any of this, and he definitely knew that his dad would be unhappy with him involving his grandfather, but what could he do?
Kurt was meeting his grandfather at the small coffee shop near Dalton. He was a little late, but he'd stopped by the Trevor Project's office, and Jeremy was a bit of a chatter mouth, so it had taken a few minutes to get away from him. His opinion of Ms. Pillsbury raised even more when he discovered that she had called right after their earlier meeting to get everything started.
"I've already talked to both Noah and his probation officer," Jeremy said before leaving. "I was hoping you would stop by because I have a rather large favor to ask you."
Jeremy nodded. "You see, there's a slight problem. Having another volunteer would be wonderful, but I simply don't have anyone available to train him. I was wondering if you would be willing to do so."
Kurt thought of the multitude of things he had to do. He wasn't sure he could juggle one more thing, but he had put in the good word—so to speak—for the other boy, so it would be awful for Kurt to say no now.
"Of course," he replied. "Just say when."
"Wonderful! He's being released tomorrow, but I thought you could come in on Saturday morning and show him the ropes."
"I'll see you then."
He stopped at the counter to order his drink—a nonfat soy chai latte—before sitting down across from him. They exchanged pleasantries for several minutes before his grandfather brought up McKinley.
"I've read through the Equal Access Act, Kurt, and you are quite right. Legally, he can't discriminate against your Gay-Straight Alliance so long as there is at least one non-curriculum student-led organization simply because he doesn't feel that the school is the proper forum to discuss student sexuality, and when you take into an account that the other club in question, the Chastity Club, was formed with the express intention of discussing student sexuality? Well, he has no reason—legally—not to allow the club," he paused for a moment. "However, he would be well within his rights to forbid the formation of the club if he thinks that it would interfere with order within the school."
"I don't see how it would interfere any more than slushies being thrown in the hallways or any of the other number of things that go on there," Kurt said.
His grandfather sighed and ran a hand through his short hair.
To some people, Charles Prevot probably seemed incredibly intimidating. He was, after all, known for being particular ruthless in his business practices as well as being a staunch supporter of the arts and the gay rights movement in America—something that surprised a number of people as the Prevot family prior to his grandfather had been considerably conservative—but he didn't seem that way to Kurt. Of course, Kurt worried about disappointing him, and he had worried about how his grandfather would feel about him leaving Dalton especially as Dalton was his alma mater, but he didn't worry because he felt intimidated. He worried because he loved his him and because his opinion was important to Kurt.
"I'm going to be honest with you, Kurt. When you told me that you wanted to transfer, I had many misgivings about it, but I put those aside not only because you seemed to genuinely want to leave Dalton, but also because, after talking to both Arthur and your father, I thought that perhaps McKinley would be a better place for you in the long run. I am less than pleased with what has transpired in the incredibly short time that you've attended the school.
If it were up to me, I would pull you out immediately, but as it is not, I must acquiesce to your decision. However, I cannot, in good conscience, ignore what you've told me today. As a concerned citizen, I am appalled by the running of what is a publicly funded school. As your grandfather, I am beyond angry that your complaints are going unheard. That being said, you need to think long and hard about where you would like to go from here. Do you want to simply pursue the implementation of your Gay-Straight Alliance, or do you want to go further than that?"
Kurt sat quietly for a while, letting his grandfather's words sink in. "Go further?" he finally asked curious by what his grandfather might have meant by that.
His grandfather took another sip of coffee before nodding. "Yes, with the recent influx of teen suicides, there has been a national outcry against bullying in schools. If the practices of the faculty and administration at McKinley were to, for instance, be placed under scrutiny by the media, well, then, I would be willing to wager that a great number of things would change."
Kurt chewed on his lower lip and fiddled with his empty cup. He thought about what his dad said before about rocking the boat, about how the slushies were because of his social status and not because of his sexual orientation. He thought about how he had felt during the conversation at dinner the previous night—like somehow everything that had happened so far was his fault for daring to be different, or that Finn's reputation and popularity was more important to his father than his own comfort and well-being. Then he thought about how blasé Tina and the other glee club members had been about being slushied, how indifferent Principal Figgins had been about everything. He thought about how surprised Artie had been about Kurt's perseverance in dealing with Figgins. He thought about how outraged he had been the first time he was slushied, how shocked he had been that a teacher had seen it happened and yet done nothing. No matter what he thought about it all came back to the inevitability of it all.
"It's a social status thing, not a homophobic thing."
"It's just one of those things that the football team does."
"Things are different at McKinley."
"All of the glee kids get slushied."
Blaine's words echoed the loudest. "That kind of hatred, it whittles away at you, Kurt. It changes you. You are the most effervescent person I have ever met. I don't want you to lose that."
If things continued as they were, would he lose that? If he just fought for the GSA and things stayed the same, would he eventually become as desensitized as the others were now? He didn't want to find out.
"I want things to go further."
His grandfather had the same look on his face that he sometimes got when they placed chess together. He had taught Kurt how to play when he was only five, and it had taken several years for Kurt's skill to exceed his own, but once it had happened, a friendly rivalry revolving around the game had developed. The look was one indicating that he knew there was a challenge ahead but he was definitely looking forward to it.
"I want you to be very sure, Kurt, because things are likely to get ugly once the media gets a hold of things. I'm not trying to discourage you, by any means; I only want you to understand what the consequences of doing this will likely be. How do you think your father will feel about it? You have talked to him about this, haven't you?" His raised eyebrow was enough to tell Kurt that he knew the truth. He waited for Kurt to admit it though.
"He knows what's been going on, but I haven't talked to him about pursuing legal action. I know that he won't be happy about it. He didn't want me to start one in the first place."
His grandfather pursued his lips. "And why not?"
Kurt knew that look as well. His grandfather was not his dad's biggest fan on the best of days, and this certainly was not the best of days. "He's dating the mom of one of my classmates, and Finn—that's the son—wasn't too crazy about the idea. Dad seemed to agree with him at first. I'm not sure how he would feel about me doing this."
"Talk to him. Your father, for all of his faults, does care for you. Once you've talked to him, I'll call Landon and begin the process."
He nodded. Landon was the Prevot family attorney. During the settling of his mother's estate, Kurt had spent a ridiculous amount of time with the man. "So what do I do now?"
His grandfather cocked his head to the side. "Nothing," he said simply. "I will take care of it from here. All you have to do is concentrate on your schooling and your lessons. In fact, unless it is necessary for your role as a student, I don't want you to speak to Principal Figgins unless either Landon or myself is present. Speaking of lessons, do you mind if I sit in? Arthur says that you've chosen a piece from Akhnaten, and I would love to hear it."
It was amazing how wonderful it felt to hear those six words—I will take care of it. Kurt felt like a weight had been lifted off of him. His grandfather would take care of it—all of it. There was no reason for him to worry. Well, except for telling his dad, but he knew that his grandfather was right. His dad did love him, and he was fairly certain that if this was what Kurt wanted to do—and it was—that he would support him.
"That would be great. I've also chosen "Delizie, contenti" from Giasone and "The Fairies Dance.""
They spent the next half hour talking about his upcoming auditions as well as the upcoming opera season. By the time they arrived at his vocal lesson, Kurt felt lighter than he had in months. The lesson itself went by in a whirl. His grandfather was suitably impressed but not too much that he stopped from pointing out that Kurt had been a little sharp at the beginning of "Hymn of the Sun" He didn't mind the criticism because he knew it to be true. Afterward, he stood around and listened to Arthur and his grandfather swap stories of their early years. It reminded him so much of how he had spent countless hours as a child—listening to his grandfather and his various associates—that Kurt expected to hear his mother scolding his grandfather about his language.
When it was time for him to leave for his pointe class, his grandfather walked him out to his car. Kurt gave him a hug. "We should do this more often. I've missed you."
He got a warm smile in return. "Call your grandmother, hmm? You know how she worries."
Kurt promised he would before climbing into his car to drive the 76 miles back to Lima.
Pointe with Isabella was brutal. She had started him off doing some barre work before having him switch shoes and then doing fifteen minutes of pointe work.
"Only fifteen?" he had asked. It seemed a little ridiculous to do so little.
Isabella had only smirked. "Let's just see if you can handle that."
He had handled it. Badly, painfully, but he had handled it. Except for the part where the big toe on his right foot was bruised.
Isabella had clucked disapprovingly when she'd seen him take the shoes off at the end. "Got to make sure to keep those toe nails trimmed, Hummel. You should go home and ice that. If you're lucky, you won't lose the nail."
He called Sam on the way home and told him about his toe problem as well as about seeing his grandfather.
"Wow…that is just…wow," he said when Kurt was finished. "Are you sure about, you know, everything?"
"Yes. I wish I didn't have to do it this way, but Figgins hasn't given me many options."
Sam sighed, and Kurt could almost hear the frown over the phone. "I know. Don't worry about practice tonight, just come over a little early in the morning, so we can get another practice in before we perform. We had two groups go today. Mercedes and Santana and then Mike and Tina performed today. They were all really good. We need to make sure we're flawless."
Kurt scoffed. "Me? I know I'm flawless. You need to make sure you can keep up with me."
"Yeah, yeah," Sam said, laughing. He paused. "I talked to Blaine today. He was acting a little… weird. Even for him."
"Weird how?" Kurt asked cautiously. The last time he'd seen Blaine had been on Monday, and he'd definitely acted weird then.
"I don't know. Kinda…nervous maybe? Mainly he just asked about you. A lot."
If this had happened even a month ago, Kurt would have been over the moon, but now? Now he wasn't so sure.
He heard a loud thump over the line. "Crap, I gotta go," Sam said. "Stevie and Stacey just knocked over an entire pitcher of Kool-aid. See you in the morning!"
Kurt was incredibly surprised to find no Finn or Carole at the house when he got home. His dad took one look at him limping and quickly ushered him into the living room.
"Damn, kid, that looks like it hurts," he said, wincing, as Kurt eased his shoe off his foot.
"Yeah, it does. Isabella says that icing it will help. If I'm lucky, I won't lose the nail."
"I'll go get you an ice pack," his dad said before disappearing into the kitchen. He returned a few minutes later with the ice pack, some aspirin, and a bottle of water. Kurt stretched his legs across the couch so that he could place the pack on his foot.
He groaned a little when the ice pack made contact with his foot. "Pointe work is going to be the death of me."
"Here, take two of these," his dad said, handing him the aspirin and the water.
"No problem. I wasn't sure when you would be home, but I made some dinner if you're hungry. It's that macaroni and fake cheese thing you like. Your friend—Sam—his mom gave me the recipe for it." He shuffled back and forth nervously. "Not sure how good it'll be, but I hope you like it. Molly said it's pretty hard to mess up."
Kurt gave his dad a wide smile. The fact that he had actually reached out and called Molly for the recipe to one of Kurt's favorite foods really meant a lot to him. "I'm sure it's fine."
"I'll just go, uh, get it for you. We can eat it out here on the TV trays."
He nodded and watched as his dad left the room. He was glad for some time alone with his dad, especially since he needed to talk to him about the GSA and Figgins, and he knew that it would be much easier to do without Finn around.
The opportunity came while they were eating. The dinner, while different from when Molly made it, was actually quite good. He was surprised, pleasantly so, by that. He was even more surprised that his dad seemed to enjoy it.
"How was school today?"
Kurt took a deep breath. "Not very good. Principal Figgins won't sign off on the Gay-Straight Alliance."
His dad's brow furrowed. "He say why not?"
It took a few minutes, but Kurt explained everything to his dad. About the discrimination, about the law Figgins was breaking, and then finally about his grandfather. He told him about the man's plans to sue for the right to form the club as well as pushing for a change in the way things were done at McKinley. When he was finished, his dad didn't say anything at first. He just stared ahead at some fishing show that was on the TV. Finally, he ran his hand over first his face and then through his hair.
"This really means a lot to you, doesn't it?"
He nodded. "It does."
"I'm not gonna lie to you, kid. I don't like it. I think it's gonna piss a lot of people off. Not that I really mind you pissin' anyone off; I just don't want you to get hurt," he sighed. "But if you think this is something you have to do, then that's what we'll do."
As far as declarations of support went, it wasn't much, but it was more than he had hoped for.
School the next day went as well as he thought it would. Sam had apparently filled Rachel in on the situation because she had been texting him since nearly dawn with ideas for what they could do and the number of the local ACLU chapter. She was so up in arms about it that it was all she could talk about throughout the day, even going so far as to meet him between classes to strategize.
It wasn't that Kurt didn't appreciate her efforts—because he did—it was that he had so many other things going on. That was why he had been so relieved that his grandfather said he would take care of it in the first place.
"We don't need to do anything, Rachel," he finally told her during lunch, irritation bleeding into his tone. His foot was aching, and he was only halfway through the day. He had no idea how he was going to make it for the rest of the day let alone his duet. To top it all off, he had ballet again tonight.
The expression on her face was so scandalized he almost wanted to laugh. "Of course we need to do something!" she exclaimed. "We can't just sit back and do nothing."
He sighed. "I told you that I had taken care of it. My grandfather is meeting with our family attorney today about the situation. He has it entirely under control."
When Rachel still seemed uncertain, Kurt pulled one of his grandfather's business cards out of his wallet. "Here. You can contact your grandfather yourself and ask for updates on the situation if you'd like, or you could have your fathers contact him. They may want to be involved as well."
Rachel stared at the card and then back at him. "Charles Prevot is your grandfather?"
"Yes," Kurt said simply. "He is. Now, I really have to go. Sam and I want to get in one more practice before we perform today in Glee."
Rachel nodded absently. "Thank you," she said. "And try soaking your toe in vinegar, it'll help."
Kurt's brow furrowed. "How'd you know?"
"Well, I've always been a bit psychic, but mostly it's because I've been there before," she said before giving him a bright smile. "Good luck this afternoon."
The rest of the day went by in a blur of classes during which Kurt spent most of his time thinking about their upcoming duet and ballet practice that would follow after that.
"You nervous?" Sam asked as Kurt adjusted his bowtie. It was nearly time for them to perform; they only had to make a few minor adjustments to their costumes—namely fixing Sam's bowtie.
They were both wearing the same outfit—a tuxedo with tails and cowboy boots. The only difference was that Kurt's bowtie and cummerbund were a vibrant shade of purple whereas Sam's were white.
Kurt shrugged. "Maybe a little. Now, then," he said, stepping away from Sam. "Try not to mess it up."
Sam gave him a wide grin. "I make no promises."
They waited outside the door until they heard Mr. Schuester announce them. Sam had wanted to just wait inside, but Kurt was incessant that he didn't want the rest of the club to see their costumes until it was time for them to perform.
Kurt took a deep breath and entered the classroom with Sam hot on his heels.
"That suit sure had me fooled," Sam exclaimed. "For a minute, I thought you were getting to be a gentleman! Gonna be a pleasure to give you a lesson in marksmanship."
Kurt scoffed with a flick of his wrist. "You couldn't give me a lesson in long-distance spitting." He poked Sam hard in the chest and began to sing. "Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you."
Kurt tried to walk away, but Sam followed close behind him. "No, you can't."
The two friends stood chest to chest, each looking increasingly irritated as Kurt countered with. "Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can, Yes, I can!" Kurt finished with his hands on his hips, a smug look on his face.
Now it was Sam's turn to look smug. "Anything you can be, I can be greater. Sooner or later, I'm greater than you."
Kurt gave the Glee Club a disbelieving look before turning back to Sam. "No, you're not.
"Yes, I am."
"No, you're not," Kurt sang with a huff, folding his arms across his chest.
Sam grinned and arched a brow. "Yes, I am."
"No, you're NOT!"
"Yes, I am. Yes, I am!"
With each repetition, they got closer and closer to one another until Sam practically snarled the last words in Kurt's face.
Sam took several steps in the opposite direction from where they had been standing. "I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge."
Kurt flicked his shoulder. "I can get a sparrow with a bow and arrow," he countered, mimicking shooting a bow and arrow.
Sam pretended to think for a minute before singing, "I can live on bread and cheese."
"And only on that?" Kurt asked skeptically.
Once again, Kurt scoffed. "So can a rat!"
Sam tapped his chin for a minute before his face lit up. "Any note you can reach, I can go higher. I can sing anything higher than you."
This was the part where Kurt's range played in his favor because he could definitely go higher than poor Sam. "No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
Once again, they had moved closer to one another with each repetition, and by the end, they were standing nose to nose. When it came time for Kurt to belt out the last portion, he turned away from Sam to face the audience.
"Yes, I CAN!" he sang with his arms spread wide.
Sam huffed and stuffed his hands into his pocket while Kurt circled him. "Anything you can buy, I can buy cheaper. I can buy anything cheaper than you."
Sam asked with an air of boredom, picking lint off of his shirt as he did.
"No, you can't!" Sam said, shrugging him off.
"Yes, I can. Yes, I can!" Kurt put his hands on his hips and stomped his foot, feeling—and no doubt looking—like a petulant toddler.
Sam ignored Kurt's theatrics. "Anything you can say, I can say softer. I can say anything softer than you."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can." With each repetition, they got not only closer and closer together but their voices got softer and softer until you could scarcely hear them, and then Kurt belted out the last sentence. "YES, I CAN!"
Sam rolled his eyes before turning to the Glee Club. "I can drink my liquor faster than a flicker."
Not one to be outdone, Kurt did the same. "I can drink it quicker and get even sicker!" he sang holding his stomach and grimacing.
"I can open any safe," Sam sang as he swaggered across the stage.
"Without bein' caught?" Kurt asked with a lifted brow.
Kurt's eyes narrowed. "That's what I thought-you crook!"
Sam walked a wide circle around Kurt before singing, "Any note you can hold, I can hold longer.
"I can hold any note longer than you."
There was never any doubt in Kurt's mind that that was true. Of course, being classically trained gave him an advantage that Sam didn't have. Still, he loved how arrogant Sam managed to be throughout the entire song—it was so completely different from his normal personality, but still, he loved it.
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"No, you can't."
"Yes, I can."
"Yes, I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I CA-A-A-A-N"
Kurt sang at the same time as Sam sang, "No, you C-A-A-AN'T," before dissolving into a coughing fit
When Sam recovered from his fit, he sang, "Yes, you ca-a-a-an!"
With that, they turned back around to the glee club and gave two little bows.
Everyone clapped loudly, and Mr. Schuester gave them both wide smiles. "Now that was a duet! Who's next?" he asked as Kurt and Sam took their seats.
An oddly dressed Rachel and Finn headed to the front of the choir room. They were dressed in what appeared to be versions of a nun's habit and a priest's habit. His mouth fell open as they began to sing. He wasn't a religious person by any means—he didn't even believe in God—but their song choice and what they did with it was highly inappropriate. He wasn't the only person to think so either, if the looks the other members were giving the duo was any indication.
When they were finished, there was absolutely no applause. In fact, no one said a word until Mr. Schuester stood up. "That song was a wonderful duet, but what you guys did to it…" he shook his head. "Okay, is anyone else competing?"
A handful of people—Artie and some others whose names Kurt was still struggling to learn—shook their heads.
Mr. Schuester clapped his hands. "Alright, it's time to put it to a vote!"
The club took a few minutes to write down their choice on a slip of paper. It felt almost silly to vote for himself, but he just couldn't vote for Rachel and Finn, and since he hadn't seen any of the others, he was left with no choice.
It didn't take Mr. Schuester long to tally up the winners. "Even though nearly everyone voted for themselves—even those of you who didn't compete—we still have a winner." He paused for anticipation. "And the winner is: Kurt and Sam!"
The choir room exploded. Some—the Latina cheerleader—were furious while others—Rachel, for one—looked satisfied.
"You really are very talented," she told him afterward as he and Sam walked to his Navigator.
"Thanks," Kurt replied, pleased.
"Even if I would have chosen a different song, one that would have better showcased your abilities," she continued.
Kurt just gaped at her before laughing heartily. "I don't think you have any room to talk about song choices," he said through his laughter.
She at least had the decency to blush. "Well, no, I suppose I don't. Remember what I said about your toe," she told him before hurrying off to where Finn was waiting for her.
"Like I said," Sam started as Kurt drove him home. "Completely insane."
Ballet that night was every bit as excruciating as he thought it would be. Luckily Isabella wasn't completely heartless and sent him home early with strict instructions to spend the next couple of days icing it.
Carole and Finn were there watching the news with his dad when he got home. After saying hello to them, he headed into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. He was in the middle of taking a large gulp when his dad yelled for him. When he got back into the living room, everyone was staring intently at the television. That was when Kurt noticed his grandfather standing next to a reporter.
The reporter smiled into the camera before speaking, "Coming up tonight, prominent business man and lobbyist Charles Prevot talks about corruption in our local schools. Are our tax dollars being used to promote a political agenda within the Allen County School system? Are the teachers and administration at our local high schools turning a blind eye to violence against minority students? Find out at Action News 12 at 10."
Kurt's eyes widened as the news went into a commercial break. A second later both the house phone and his cell phone began to ring.