Author's Note: See? Not abandoned!
"Mom?" asked Santana, annoyed at the interruption and the fact that her parents had obviously been spying on a private conversation.
"What if you didn't have to deal with this Karofsky person?" Lydia repeated to Kurt.
He blinked. "I'm unsure that's an option," he said slowly. "So far, nothing has deterred him."
"And that's where I come in," Robert said. "Kurt, you don't seem to be aware that everything that young man has done to you is, in fact, illegal. It would be relatively easy to compel him to stay away from you. It's just a matter of paperwork."
Kurt paused to consider, truly consider, the man's words. "How so?"
Robert nodded swiftly. "He has physically and sexually harassed you. He has stalked you, both at McKinley and outside of it. He sexually assaulted you when he forced that kiss upon you."
Kurt paled and sputtered at the idea he had been sexually assaulted. "It was just a kiss," he whispered, ducking his head.
Robert raised a brow. "Was it? Did it feel as though it were only a kiss? Did you welcome it? Did you enjoy it?"
Kurt shook his head sadly, shuddering. "No."
"Kurt, honey," Lydia began, "he took away your choice. Now, I understand that many would not consider his actions to be assault, but you know that's not true. I've seen that boy; I know who he is. He's much taller and considerably heavier than you. You've admitted that you didn't welcome the kiss, that you were, in fact, frightened by it and of him. You were alone, trapped, and terrified."
She shook her head. "You're not responsible for his actions. You don't owe him anything because he's so tortured. He doesn't have the right to put his hands on you because he's frustrated and isolated. It's sad that he doesn't feel able to be himself, but that's in no way your fault." She raised a brow. "What if he had done this to Santana? Would you be arguing that she deserved it? That it wasn't any big deal? Why are you demanding less for yourself?"
Kurt slowly exhaled and peeked at Sam and Santana, who nodded desperately in a bid for him to accept Lydia's words as true.
"And it's more than just the kiss, Kurt," Robert said. "He threatened to kill you. Death threats are illegal and should be taken seriously. The boy is obviously unstable. I sincerely doubt you were the first upon whom he's fixated, or that you'll be the last. Or he could turn his rage even further inward and harm himself."
He held up a hand. "In no way am I suggesting you are responsible for his wellbeing, but you appear to be the only one who has the full measure of this boy. You may be in the best position to do something about this behavior and get him some help, but only if that's what you want to do."
Kurt bit his lip and sat gingerly on the edge of Santana's bed. "Hypothetically, how would I do this?"
Robert suppressed a sigh of relief, grateful that Kurt was at least willing to consider the possibility. The more he had heard about this Karofsky person, the more enraged he had become. It certainly wasn't out of the realm of possibility that there was a heterosexual version of the boy roaming the school, believing he was entitled to take what he wanted, and if such a person ever fixated on his daughter, well.
He shook his head to clear it. "Before we delve further into this, in order to plan effectively, I need to know your best-case scenario. What do you want out of this?"
"I just want him to leave me alone," Kurt said quietly. "I want to feel safe again." He blinked and then scoffed. "Not that I've ever really felt safe, but I would like to be able to leave my home or my school and not feel I'm going to be killed and left in a field somewhere."
Sam shivered as Santana mumbled unsavory epithets in Spanish.
Robert winced, but nodded. "Do you wish to remain at Dalton?" He watched passively as Kurt's eyes immediately darted toward Sam and Santana. "No, Kurt. They can't make this decision for you, and you shouldn't allow them to do so. If they're truly your friends, they'll support you."
He felt no guilt for potentially maligning his own daughter. He knew how Santana operated and that she was very manipulative. He wouldn't allow her to manipulate Kurt, not with something this grave.
"We are his friends!" Santana barked. She turned to Kurt. "Listen, Rainbow, the old man is right. If you want to stay at Hogwarts, I'm onboard. Even if Karofsky is taken out of the picture, there's not a lot of love waiting for you back at McKinley."
Sam nodded. "She's right, Kurt. That school has some serious problems, and they're not going to go away just because Karofsky has been leashed. You need to do what's right for you. If the right thing is Dalton, Santana and I have your back. Our friendship isn't contingent upon where you go to school."
Kurt and Santana stared at him.
Sam flushed. "I can know big words!"
Santana giggled and tickled his ribs, as Kurt shyly laid his head on Sam's shoulder, causing the other boy to blush more deeply, a happy smile on his face.
Robert was pleased the other kids had come across, and was particularly impressed with his daughter. He knew how jealous and possessive Santana could be; if she was actually putting Kurt's welfare ahead of what she thought was best for herself, that was a huge feat. He definitely wanted to encourage their friendship.
"Dalton is one of the premiere preparatory academies in the Midwest, Kurt," he continued. "The fact that you were not only accepted, but accepted as a mid-semester transfer student, suggests they truly wanted you to join their ranks because you make them look good."
An embarrassed Kurt squirmed.
"Well, of course he does," Santana said. "He's in advanced everything, led the Cheerios to a Nationals victory, helped New Directions win Sectionals, he's got a job, speaks a few languages, and did better than me on the PSATs."
Sam stared at Kurt, who, if possible, was blushing more than he himself was.
"How do you know my PSAT score?" asked a suspicious Kurt.
She shrugged. "Sylvester. You set the bar pretty damn high, and she let the Cheerios know it."
He rolled his eyes. "Great."
Robert cleared his throat. "What was your score, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Two hundred thirty-one," Santana promptly replied in lieu of Kurt.
Sam's eyes bugged out. "You know the maximum you can get is two-forty, right?"
Kurt buried his face in Sam's shoulder.
"So you're also a National Merit Scholar," Robert surmised. He shook his head. "I'm very surprised Principal Figgins didn't try to keep you," he said. "A loss of such a score is a real blow to the district's average."
Kurt gave a diffident shrug. "I didn't give him much of a choice," he admitted. "I didn't tell him until after the transfer had been accepted, but he didn't say anything. I think he was relieved to see me go."
"What an asshole," Santana murmured.
Lydia found she didn't have the heart to scold her daughter's language.
Robert nodded to himself. "I doubt you'll find Dalton as willing to relinquish you, Kurt. As a private institution, they receive no government funding and thus depend upon students like you to solidify their reputation. Are you happy there?"
Kurt fidgeted. "Not really. At least, not socially." He blushed and looked down at his hands, now in his lap. "I don't have many friends," he said quietly. His brow furrowed. "Of course, I haven't been actively trying to make friends, either." He bit his lip and sighed, shaking his head. "I've been so wrapped up in Blaine, I've pretty much ignored everyone else." He looked embarrassed and slightly ashamed.
"But the school itself?" Lydia pressed.
Kurt frowned and seriously considered the question. "It's a beautiful campus," he allowed. "There are many more clubs and athletic options than McKinley offers." He sagged. "And, if I'm being honest, I enjoy the classes much more than I did the ones here. I feel...challenged in a way I never did at McKinley. It's not that the curriculum is more difficult as much as it is more involved. Their facilities are far superior and the faculty more educated."
He slowly raised his head and looked at Sam, and then Santana, both of whom nodded.
"I want to stay at Dalton," Kurt said softly. "Not just because I feel safer there, but because I don't want to be thought of someone who runs away whenever they encounter problems, which is what I did before." He nodded to himself. "I want to go to a good college. Dalton will help me with that far more than McKinley ever could. Also, transferring schools twice in my junior year doesn't look good on my applications." He shrugged helplessly. "Let's face it: me leaving Dalton for McKinley would be viewed as a step down by many universities."
"I don't like it," Santana said mulishly, "I really don't like it, but I agree. Another year at Dalton with the grades you get, and you can pretty much write your own ticket."
"And just because you're staying there doesn't mean that Santana and I won't be in your life," Sam was quick to add, desperate to establish that they actually had a role in Kurt's life. "You come home for weekends, and we could always drive to visit you."
Kurt's face warmed at the thought. For whatever reason, Sam and Santana had become very important to him since last night, and he didn't want to lose them now.
"Not to be indelicate, Kurt," Robert interjected, "but will money be an issue for you at Dalton? I so, Lydia and I would be more than willing..."
Kurt inhaled sharply, as if stung. "Thank you, Mister Lopez. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your offer, but money is not a problem."
"Are you sure, Kurt?" Santana demanded. "I know you received a scholarship."
Kurt nodded. "I did, but it was based on merit, not finances. I have several trust funds that are more than enough to pay for Dalton, college, and professional school."
"I thought your dad couldn't take Mrs. Hud - Mrs. Hummel - on a honeymoon because of your tuition," whispered a confused Sam.
Kurt waved him away. "That's true, but it wasn't because we don't have money. You have to remember that they got married not long after his heart attack, and our insurance is a PPO, so we had large coinsurance bills to pay. It was a matter of timing and a lack of liquid assets."
He shrugged. "Also, Dad is very stubborn about wanting to pay for my education himself. He doesn't want me using my money to pay for what he deems his responsibility." A soft smile appeared on his face. "Which is very honorable of him, actually." He looked at Sam shyly. "That's something you have in common. I guess the adage is true; girls and gay boys are attracted to those who share traits with their fathers."
Sam blushed furiously, but couldn't deny that he was more than pleased by the comparison. Kurt had all but admitted that he was attracted to him! Sure, Kurt had said so before, but, at the time, it was as though he had some ridiculous point to prove, trying to provoke a reaction from Sam. Now, however, Kurt was acknowledging that he actually liked him.
Santana thought their little interaction was very cute, and therefore needed to be halted immediately before she slipped into a diabetic coma.
"What about Karofsky?" she barked.
"A restraining order would be simple to obtain," Robert said. "I think with a little... convincing... Kurt wouldn't even have to make a court appearance."
"But it would be a matter of public record," Kurt surmised.
Robert pursed his lips. "It very well could be. David Karofsky is eighteen. Even though you're still a minor and the system does its best to conceal the identities of minor..." he trailed off.
"Victims?" Kurt softly supplied.
"Well," Robert hesitated, "yes, though I don't believe that word is appropriate here, I can't guarantee your anonymity. I doubt we could get a gag order, and there's nothing to stop Karofsky from telling all and sundry that you swore out a restraining order against him." He cocked his head. "I can't really imagine why he would do so, however."
He sighed. "The important thing to remember, Kurt, is there's no reason for shame. Laws are put into place to protect people from violent individuals. You've done nothing wrong."
"He's right," Sam said.
Santana nodded, content for Hot Lips to take the reins on this one. If she pushed, Kurt might just push back, even if only to be contrary. She understood that a large part of his reticence and embarrassment was not from the discussion, but from the fact that she was part of it. He didn't want to appear weak in front of her, and she respected that. Her reaction, had she been in the same position, would have been similar.
"There's no need to make a decision right now, Kurt," Robert added. "Take some time and think about it. Just let me know."
"Thank you," Kurt mumbled.
Lydia cleared her throat. "Your father and stepmother should be here in a few hours, Kurt. Santana gave Robert your number and he called to set up a meeting."
Kurt swallowed heavily. "Does he know why he's coming?"
"No," Robert answered, "and he was very...annoyed...that I wasn't more forthcoming."
Kurt snorted. "I'm sure."
"You need to talk to him, Rainbow," Santana said. "Let him know what's going on in your life. He's your dad. Let him help you."
Kurt bit his lip and looked away.
Santana glared at her parents, who took the hint and left the room, offering banal pleasantries and the promise of breakfast.
"The Paternal One was right, Rainbow," Santana said quietly. "There's no shame in asking for help."
Kurt stiffened. "I'm...not used to doing that."
"Because you thought there was no one to ask?" Sam whispered.
Kurt said nothing, but his silence spoke volumes.
"Well, now there is," Santana proclaimed.
Again, Kurt looked away and a concerned Sam glanced at Santana. They both nodded.
Kurt was attempting to distance himself from them, mortified by what he conceived was weakness. Admittedly, Sam and Santana didn't truly understand this. It wasn't simply a matter of pride, but of Kurt truly believing that no one, not even his own father, cared enough about him to protect him. In the end, it didn't matter whether or not that was true, only that Kurt believed it to be.
How could they convince him they actually did care? He wouldn't accept it just because they said it.
Santana repressed a snarl of frustration. This was going to take a lot of effort on her part. She had realized it last night, of course, but now she was confronted with the reality and it was bothersome. She wanted Kurt to trust her, but didn't know from where she would summon the patience this was going to require.
Sam stared at Kurt, not understanding how someone so beautiful, so smart, and so kind, could be so very lonely. He knew that most of it was because of how their peers, how their society, treated someone like Kurt, someone who was not only openly gay, but couldn't have passed for straight even if he'd tried.
Sam thought about that and wondered if Kurt's voice were deeper or his fashion choices more pedestrian, if people would have dismissed his sexuality rather than antagonizing him because of it. The thought that they might have depressed him.
Of course, Kurt was also partly responsible, because he tended to push people away from him. Sam didn't know the deal with Kurt's dad, but he knew Kurt was fiercely independent and didn't want to appear vulnerable to anyone. It wasn't a big leap to believe Mr. Hummel was a part of that group Kurt wanted to impress.
And impressing others was something to which Kurt fell prey, no matter how much he denied it. Sure, there was some very real truth to the idea that Kurt was mostly uncaring about how the world at large viewed him, but there was a select few about whom he did care, whose opinions matter to him, and he usually went out of his way to dazzle them. Whether it was with the highest notes or the highest grades or the most expensive outfit, Kurt was more than a little desperate for people to acknowledge him as something other than Gay Kid.
Sam wondered if Kurt thought of himself as something other than Gay Kid, or if he had allowed the narrow minds of a tiny homogenous town to strip him of everything but what made him stand out the most.
Suddenly Kurt looked so small to him, a tiny and fragile thing. He knew it wasn't true, that Kurt was larger than life, more than his body could contain, but glimpsing him in these unguarded moments during the last several hours had been humbling. That such a force of personality, a mind of such precocity, could be dimmed because of the words and actions of people who were ultimately irrelevant...it hurt him.
And if it hurt him, he couldn't imagine what it did to Kurt.
"Can I hug you?" he blurted.
Kurt abruptly swung his head around to stare at Sam, shock plain on his face, though he said nothing.
Sam was afraid to let Kurt think twice about it, so he gently wrapped his arms around the other boy and carefully pulled Kurt against him.
When was the last time someone had hugged Kurt, Sam wondered. Kurt wasn't a physically demonstrative person from what he had seen and heard, and Kurt felt stiff and tense in his arms, as though waiting to escape, or perhaps to be struck.
Now that he thought about it, he couldn't remember seeing Kurt hug anyone before. He had seen Kurt being hugged, usually by Brittany or Mercedes, and once by Blaine, but Kurt had barely reciprocated, as though the thought of it pained him or he was unsure what to do. Kurt would smile and nod and joke and laugh, and it was only now, in hindsight, that Sam realized how much of it had been forced.
It made him sad. In response, he hugged Kurt more tightly.
"I won't hurt you," he whispered. "I promise I'll never hurt you."
He knew Kurt didn't believe him, but one day he would. Sam would make sure of that.
Kurt said nothing, his chin resting on Sam's shoulder.
Santana stared at him, as he stared at a spot on the wall just to her left. His eyes were vacant, though red and filled with tears which she knew he wouldn't allow to fall. There was a trace of bewilderment in those eyes, though she could see he was trying to repress it, most likely for her benefit, even though he hadn't acknowledged he knew she was staring at him.
It was horrifying for her to realize that Kurt had no idea why on earth Sam was hugging him. She watched as Kurt raised a hand and tentatively patted Sam's shoulder, as though he felt it was Sam who needed to be comforted.
She was furious when she realized she was shedding the tears that Kurt Hummel couldn't.