Kurt was walking on air the day after the wedding. Everything had been perfect and gone off without a hitch. He had gotten the chance to slow dance with Blaine, even if Rachel had prevented him from telling Blaine how he felt in his one moment of boldness, and Finn had miraculously turned into the perfect brother overnight. He hadn't gotten the chance to thank Finn, because Finn and Kurt had driven themselves to their separate homes and the couples' limo had taken them to a hotel in Lima for the night (because their honeymoon had yet to be booked; that was the one detail Kurt took no responsibility for), but he would do so soon.
His day had been going fine as well until last period began. "Kurt," Melissa, a pretty Cheerio who tended to be Coach Sylvester's messenger grabbed him before he could walk into the classroom. "Principal Sylvester needs to see you in her office. Your parents will be here shortly."
"Why am I..." Melissa was already walking away by the time Kurt had started to ask his question, so he headed for Sylvester's office, assuming that Melissa had already alerted his teacher. She had been walking out of the room, after all.
Kurt knocked on the door to Sylvester's office, but her assistant frantically gestured him in, so he decided not to wait for a response. Coach Sylvester was sitting in an arm chair set up opposite of the couch in her office, and Kurt knew this couldn't be good. "What's going on, Coach Sylvester?" he asked.
"Sit down, Porcelain," she said, and she sounded grave. "I'm not supposed to inform you of any official decisions before your parents are here, but you're going to want to hear this for yourself." It was the first sentence Coach Sylvester had ever said to him that didn't contain some kind of insult, and Kurt's heart sunk as he sat on the couch. "Young Simpson has been reinstated to the school." Coach Sylvester continued talking, probably making more jokes about Karofsky or explaining how this had happened, but the blood rushing in Kurt's ears rendered her words useless. Karofsky was coming back. How was this... Kurt put his head in his hands, trying to breathe steadily. "Porcelain!" Coach Sylvester said firmly, taking on the tone she used with Cheerios who had made basic mistakes. "Pull yourself together and stop acting like a whimpering mess. You are a Cheerio and supposedly, but unconfirmed as, a boy. Do you want to be a stereotype or do you wanna man up?" Kurt took some deep breaths.
"How did this happen?" Coach Sylvester gave him a cold look which suggested she had been explaining this while he had been freaking out, but Kurt was feeling so numb he didn't even feel scared.
"Shockingly, none of the spineless cowards at this school spoke up about having watched you get pushed around for the last three years, and the school board said there was nothing they could do without proof. I fought the decision, but I lost only because the superintendent apparently has a mother-in-law." Kurt couldn't smile at Coach's joke. Sylvester was a lot scarier than any mother-in-law he had ever heard of.
His dad didn't even bother to knock. "Why am I here?" he demanded, and Kurt would have been surprised to see Carole there if he wasn't feeling completely numb. He was still adjusting to the fact that legally she was as much his parent as his dad was now. His dad took one look at his face and got angry. "What the hell is going on here?" he asked, sitting next to Kurt and resting a hand on his son's shoulder.
"Mrs. Hummel, please sit down." Kurt went to move over to allow Carole between him and his dad, which seemed like a fitting place for her, but his dad's firm hand stopped him. Carole sat on his other side, and he jumped about a foot when she placed a hand on his leg. "My decision to expel Karofsky has been overturned by the Lima School Board. There is nothing I can do about it." Coach Sylvester sounded disgusted with herself and humanity in general. It was a tone Kurt remembered from Cheerios practices.
"This is absolutely unacceptable," Carole said immediately, and Kurt had never heard her sound angry, but she did now, her face creasing with worry.
"This psycho," his dad began, not sounding angry yet, but Kurt knew the news was still sinking in, "threatens my kid's life, and some school board made up of a bunch of people I've never met tells me there's nothing they can do about it?"
"Oh, they could do something about it," Coach Sylvester corrected him, "they've just decided not to. No one reported witnessing him being violent, and there's no way to prove that he threatened you with violence. The school board president issued a verbal warning to Karofsky, and that's where we stand." That verbal warning meant absolutely nothing to anyone.
The news was completely crushing after the wonderful week that had been life without Karofsky. This possibility had never occurred to him. "I can't go back to be terrified all the time," Kurt said before he could stop himself, shaking his head and barely able to feel where Carole was rubbing his leg. "I jump every time a locker slams shut... I-I flinch whenever I turn the corner. I don't feel safe at this school," he said, staring at Coach Sylvester imploringly. He knew there was nothing she could do, but she was the one with the most power in the room, and he needed her help, or reassurances, or anything.
"Kids who bully, for the most part, have been bullied themselves," Coach Sylvester said with a sigh. Kurt wondered momentarily who had bullied her. "And I for one don't flatter myself that that behavior can change. Now, this kid Karofsky isn't gonna all of a sudden be nice to you," or be nice to him at all, ever, "and I won't stand by unable to do anything about it." Coach Sylvester never looked truly angry (besides when she was rampaging around the halls), and she didn't look angry now. She just looked determined. "Effective noon tomorrow, Figgins is back in charge," oh, that was comforting, "as I have tendered my resignation as principal in protest. I can't help you behind that desk, but I can be an extra pair of eyes out in those hallways. Someone ought to have your back." Coach Sylvester was much better back up than the boys, no matter how hard they tried. "Besides, I miss my office. This room smells weird. I can't shake the feelings that I'm inhaling a lot of dead skin." That was supposed to be funny, but the circumstances just made it inconsiderate.
"This is it?" Burt demanded angrily. "This is all the school system that's supposed to be protecting my son can do? Say a few words to some idiot that didn't get it when Sam bashed his head it?" Kurt looked at his dad in surprise. Had Finn told him about that?
"Burt, honey, your heart," Carole said, stealing the words right out of Kurt's mouth. "Miss Sylvester, are you absolutely certain there's nothing else that can be done? Some sort of protective measure for volatile students?" Carole's words sounded logical, but Coach was shaking her head.
"He's not bad enough in Lima terms to be sent off to an alternative school, if that's what you mean, and we don't have the resources to have him watched. Frankly, the teachers at this school don't care enough to try." Kurt knew the truth in those words. He had experience it first hand with one of the school's most caring teachers, Mr. Schuester.
"I swear, if this kid lays one hand on my son-" Burt began, but Coach Sylvester cut him off.
"Then I'll be the first to know, and I can get him shipped off, but until he's caught there's nothing more I can do. I'm sorry, Mr. Hummel, Mrs. Hummel, Porcelain." Proving how distracted they both were, neither of them asked or even looked confused at the nickname. Kurt took it for what it was: Coach Sylvester's version of comfort and affection.
"C'mon, kiddo," Burt said, standing up. "You should get back to class." His father and new step-mother watched out of the office with him, Carole taking a moment to thank both Coach Sylvester and her very frightened-looking assistant.
Kurt led his parents to his locker, organizing his books for Glee and not planning to return to last period. His parents waited patiently, and the bell had just rung by the time he turned to say goodbye to them. "Well, I guess I'll try to enjoy the rest of the day before the terror starts anew," he said, resigned, as students began to swarm around them, several Cheerios moving a trophy from the principal's office to Coach Sylvester's old office. "I'll see you at home," he walked between them, not able to fight the flood on either side, and Carole squeezed his arm as he walked by. He was only a little ways down the hallway when his father's voice stopped him.
"Hey, Kurt." He turned to face his father. "Wait up a second. There's something we want to talk to you about." Kurt obediently walked back over to them, only for them to turn and head back to Coach Sylvester's office.
"Coach Sylvester, we need somewhere to talk to my son," Burt said coldly, barging into the ex-principal's office despite frantic protests from her assistant. Surprisingly, Coach relented without an argument, leaving the three alone in her office. "Kurt, this can't happen."
"Dad, there's nothing else to do," Kurt said, wondering what his dad was thinking.
"What your father means is, we don't want you at this school, Kurt," Carole said gently. "We don't want you to spend the rest of your high school terrified to be yourself because of a bully the school system is unwilling to restrain."
"And we're not going to let you stay here. We have mutually decided," his father wrapped an arm around Carole, "that we want to send you to Dalton Academy." Kurt sighed.
"Dad, you told me yourself that we can't afford that." Yes, this idea of going to Dalton would be a dream come true at this point, with Karofsky once again a factor, but it was impossible.
"Perhaps not on our normal income, especially with us having made a bid on a new house," this was news, but it wasn't important at the moment, "but we do have some savings." It took Kurt a minute, but he suddenly knew exactly what savings his father was talking about.
"Dad, I couldn't ask you to-"
"You didn't ask," Burt said firmly.
"We're offering," Carole added.
"I couldn't let you-"
"We're not offering," Burt corrected. "We're your parents, and we want what's best for you. We're telling you that this is the way it's going to be. If it means Carole and I can't take a honeymoon right away, so be it. Your safety is far more important." Kurt didn't particularly appreciate the sudden parental authority, but he was choking up a little at the sentiment.
"D-Dad..." he said hesitantly. "There has to be another way. I could go to Lima Vo-Tech..."
"That's not far enough away," his dad said, shaking his head as Kurt tried to hold back tears. "That psychopath would still be close enough to harass you, and I can't have that."
"I suppose we can talk about it for next semester," Kurt said, thinking he could survive the next month or so, but Burt was shaking his head again.
"That's not good enough."
"I can help with that," Coach Sylvester said from the door. Kurt had seen her eavesdropping, but he figured she probably had cameras in her offices anyway, so what was the harm in letting her see it first hand? "I doubt the Catholic administration of any school in Columbus has the chops to deal with a six-time National Championship cheerleading coach with a slight to solve." Coach Sylvester stormed into the office, opening her computer. "I'll start the process, you two should probably get your finances in order, and isn't there practice for the big gay musical right about now?" Carole looked confused, but Kurt knew what Coach meant.
"She's right," Kurt said. "I should go to Glee club, you two should go home." Carole and Burt didn't argue, Carole kissing his forehead as they walked out, and they began to talk as soon as Kurt was out of earshot.
"Get out of my office," Coach Sylvester said as he turned to say something to her, dialing a number on the phone. "I have religious sycophants to attend to and you have Glee clubbers to reduce to sniveling, useless inadequacies. Shoo." Her tone brooked no argument, and Kurt prepared himself for what had to happen next. He had to tell the Glee club he was leaving.
Kurt could hear Mr. Schuester's booming voice halfway done the mostly empty hallway. "...Sectionals next week," he finished his sentence as Kurt walked in the room, braced for one of the most poignant goodbyes of his life. "Kurt, good, I want to talk to you about this amazing idea I had for a solo for you at Sectionals." Of course, the moment he decided to leave. Kurt tried to convince himself it wouldn't have worked out anyway to strengthen his resolve.
"Can I make an announcement first?"
"Yeah," Mr. Schuester said, gesturing to the club. The choir director probably thought he wanted to say something about the wedding, since it was highly improbable that he had picked up on Kurt's mood. He probably should say something about the wedding. He hadn't talked to any of them yet.
"First, I wanted to thank everyone for what you did at my dad's wedding, especially Finn." Rachel looked ridiculously proud of Finn, as if his speech had been her doing. He would even miss how self-centered she was. "It's nice to know that I have great friends here, as well as a true brother..." Finn smiled at him, "which is why it's so hard for me to leave." The surprise hit everyone at the same moment, they all looked confused.
"What do you mean 'leave'?" Quinn was the first to speak up, half-in Sam's lap. Kurt was glad to see that they had worked out after all. Quinn had issues trusting men, but clearly Sam had managed to get through to her. They made a good couple.
"I'm transferring to Dalton Academy... immediately." Kurt's throat closed up. "My parents are using the money they saved up for their honeymoon to pay for the tuition." That probably wasn't something eh needed to tell the Glee club, but it only emphasized how awful he was feeling, and the next thing said only made it worse.
"Kurt, you can't leave," Tina said, as if there were no question of his safety involved.
"What the hell, dude?" Finn asked, standing up and sounding unreasonably angry. "How about you talk with me about this first?" he asked, approaching Kurt, but the countertenor didn't have the energy to care that Finn was hurt he had been left out of the family's decision. There was no choice.
"I'm sorry, Finn, but there's nothing to talk about. Karofsky's coming back tomorrow, so that means I won't be."
"We can protect you," Sam said automatically, focusing more on the club's joint objective than the reason he was leaving. That was a little self-centered, but understandable.
"Seriously, we can, like... form a perimeter around you, like the Secret Service."
"Yeah," Finn said in support, but Kurt knew that promise would never be good enough for his dad, and they couldn't be around him all the time. He would never be safe at McKinley.
"The only thing that can really protect me is what they have at Dalton: a zero tolerance, no-bullying policy. It's enforced." He looked to Mr. Schue as the only one who was being logical right now, and the teacher nodded. Kurt chose not to make his words an accusation, because even though Mr. Schue hadn't done the greatest job of protecting him, he really was the best and most caring teacher at the school.
"Um, does this mean that you're gonna be competing against us at Sectionals?" Rachel asked, and okay, maybe Kurt wouldn't miss that level of self-centered-ness. Still, this thought had only occurred to Rachel. Even Kurt hadn't thought about it yet.
Kurt turned to look at the only person who didn't seem to be reacting, the person he had expected the greatest reaction from. "Kurt..." Mercedes said, seeming at a loss for words as she stood up, gesturing helplessly. Kurt just shook his head, having nothing to say to her.
"I'm sorry," he choked out as he started to back out of the room. "I have to go." He turned around and left, unable to face the group he considered his family as he abandoned them.
Carole was cooking dinner when he arrived back home, and neither her nor his dad asked why he hadn't stayed for Glee club. They probably didn't need to. His dad patted the spot on the couch next to him, and Kurt curled up next to his dad, not even caring that he was acting childish and being clingy. He needed his dad, and Burt knew that. Kurt chuckled dryly as his dad turned on America's Next Top Model, knowing exactly what he needed, but that quickly turned into choked sobs, and his dad wrapped an arm around him, not saying anything as he let all of his emotions out. Carole left after she had finished making them dinner, going home to a probably very upset Finn, and they ate dinner just the two of them in front of the TV, like they had when Kurt was in middle school and people had spent the day harassing him. He had never told his dad how bad things really were up until this point, but he got the feeling that his dad had always known.
Coach Sylvester called the house a little later to confirm that she had started the application, and while Kurt couldn't attend Dalton the next day, the day after was definitely a possibility. They didn't allow mid-term transfers except in extreme circumstances. When Coach Sylvester had asked for the definition of 'extreme circumstances', they had told her a story that made it clear to Kurt that Blaine had been the last mid-term transfer, two years ago. However, Coach Sylvester had managed to convince them that these were extreme circumstances (Blaine's parents had bribed the school, Kurt didn't ask how Coach Sylvester had done so), and they could get everything sorted out the next day.
The main question that hung over the family's head was if Kurt would be a part of the Warblers, or so Coach Sylvester informed him. Kurt could get a considerable scholarship if he was a part of the Warblers, maybe enough for his dad to salvage his honeymoon. Burt told Kurt that he didn't have to make the decision right then, but Kurt knew it would be the best for everyone. Plus, he loved performing, and the New Directions would get over it eventually.
Dalton had his transcript, and it wasn't entirely certain at that point if he would be accepted, but with Kurt's extra-curricular activities (show choir was big there) and his excellent grades it probably wouldn't be a problem. Commuting versus boarding was also a big decision, but Burt said without even consulting his son that Kurt would be commuting. Not only was it cheaper (finances weren't a major issue at that point, but Burt and Carole still needed time to get everything in order), there wasn't much left of the semester anyway, and the decision could always be changed after Christmas.
The next day was the loneliest Kurt had ever been. He had managed to convince his father to go to work, but it wasn't an easy battle. Burt wanted to stay and help in case anything else with the admissions process happened, but all Kurt was expecting was a phone interview with the Dean of Admissions, and that was something his father couldn't help him with. Burt had sent off all of the financial pieces that morning, doing his best to assuage Kurt's guilt as he did so, and they would receive a refund when Kurt joined the Warblers for a musical scholarship. Kurt had been surprised to learn that he would also receive an academic scholarship based on his grades at the end of the semester (which was Dalton's version of a need-based scholarship, offering academic scholarships to students on the lower end of the economic spectrum), but it certainly put the pressure on.
Rachel had been texting him frantically all day, but Kurt had a feeling the message of all of those text messages was the same ('don't join the Warblers!'), so he did his best to delete them without opening them. About a thousand times that awful, lonely day during which Kurt sat home and wondered if he should never have said anything about Karofsky's escalation and watched the entire second season of Project Runway, Kurt considered texting or calling Blaine to tell him that he was transferring, but he wasn't sure he was ready to repeat the reason why he had to. Although Blaine would never push Kurt to tell him, Kurt decided just to let it be. The surprise on Blaine's face when he saw Kurt on his first day would be worth how awful he was feeling.
Kurt had just finished lunch when the Dean of Admissions called him. He was surprised when the woman first quickly asked about what had been happening at his school that he was requesting a mid-term transfer, but she had been perfectly pleasant, and it was the first indicator of how different life at Dalton was going to be for him. The phone interview had gone well after that, the woman appreciating his sense of humor and being very impressed with his list of extra-curricular activities (not many people were both football payers and cheerleaders, after all). Kurt felt confident enough after the woman hung up on him to call Mercedes, which was a mistake.
It was the first time in their entire friendship that she hadn't answered the phone when he called. She had answered at all hours of the morning and no matter what she was doing. The fact that she was consciously ignoring his call was the worst feeling in the world. The New Directions viewed him as a traitor, and Kurt wasn't sure that he could handle that. Transferring to Dalton was enough of an adjustment, he wasn't sure how he would be able to cope without his motley collection of best friends.
Carole and Finn elected to join him and his father on their first early morning trip to Dalton, although Kurt wasn't sure Finn had been given a choice. His father had insisted on dropping him off for his first morning, even though it was four hours of unnecessary driving for his dad. Burt sighed when he parked Kurt's navigator in the school parking lot. Kurt needed his car, so Carole and Finn had actually driven the two hours in Carole's car behind them, and they were really just there to say goodbye.
"Good luck, kiddo," his dad said, giving him a quick hug. Carole was looking a little teary, and Finn just looked annoyed.
"Thanks, Dad," was all Kurt managed to say in reply before Carole squeezed the breath out of him.
"Have a good first day," she said, the stereotypical mom line.
"Carole, I'm not going to kindergarten," Kurt said with a smile, fighting back tears. This was possibly the hardest thing he had ever done.
"Bye, dude," Finn said coldly. Kurt didn't even try to get a hug out of his step-brother.
"Finn," he said, and it was amazing to him that Finn even acknowledged him. "I am sorry. Please know that." Finn didn't say anything, and their parents chose not to comment on their exchange, the three piling into Carole's car, his step-mother giving him one last breath. The countertenor took some deep breaths as he watched the car drive away, took a deep breath, and turned to face his new home. Kurt stared up at the intimidating doors of Dalton Academy.
A/N: And that is the end! I know this was considerably fast (go me!), but this ending isn't very long. I just needed to wrap up the last few minutes of Furt, get through the admissions process, and get Kurt to the point at which Meet the Warblers starts :) I hope you all enjoyed this story.
Reviews are Love.