take a sad song and make it better
Summary: "No matter what happens, I've got your back." Karofsky makes good on his threat to kill Kurt by bringing a gun to school. Finn intervenes, and New Directions suffers the consequences. Angst. Furt bromance; background Finchel and Klaine. Speculative S3 fic.
A/N: Psychopath!Karofsky is my favorite brand of Karofsky. I'm all for redeeming him on the show, but in my honest opinion he'd be a much more effective—and downright creepy-villain than Sue Sylvester if they developed him enough.
Anyway, I don't think this will ever happen on the show, I just have this episode list of "what season 3 would look like if I wrote it" going on in my head, and this one was just begging to get out. Hope you like it.
Title comes from the lyrics to Your Guardian Angel from Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Song lyrics in the fic are Hey Jude from the Beatles, chosen simply because it sounds melancholy and I'd kill to hear Chris Colfer sing it.
This was inspired by two glee_angst_meme prompts, but it doesn't fill either of them exactly:
"From now on, no matter what it costs me, I'll got your back."
- Finn Hudson, 2x08 "Furt"
Finn takes a bullet for Kurt. It's not immediately fatal, but the gunman doesn't know that Kurt is hidden beneath him, so he continues shielding him with his body even as he slowly bleeds out. The whole time, he is muttering quiet reassurances to Kurt, who is trying not to sob too loudly.
Up to you whether he survives.
When there's a tragedy at the school (shooting, fire, etc.) Finn and Rachel each rush to check on other people before they even think about whether the other is OK. When they realize this they have to accept the reality that their relationship might not be devoted as they thought.
You've had this nightmare before.
You're standing there, minding your own business, talking to Blaine or Mercedes or Rachel, and then there is Karofsky, out of thin air, looking at you, touching you, and suddenly you are alone and Karofsky has a gun.
"I told you," The Karofsky in the dream tells you. "I told you if you told anyone, I'd kill you."
But I didn't, you sob inside your own head, unable to get the words to leave your mouth. I didn't tell anyone. Please don't kill me. Please don't. Please don't.
Then Karofsky shoots you, and you wake up alone in a cold sweat that has haunted you since That Day, when you got kissed by a boy for the very first time.
But this isn't a dream. You know this isn't a dream because you're in French class, talking circles around Azimio that he can't keep up with. You know this isn't a dream because when some of the hockey players were walking by you this morning they shoved you into a locker and it hurt. You don't get hurt in dreams.
Especially not when David Karofsky walks into your French class, pulls out a gun, and points it at you.
"You don't have to do this," You whimper, the cold steel freezing everyone in the room. "I never told anyone. Y-you have nothing to worry about. I-I thought, a-after prom, you s-said you were s-sorry—"
"I am sorry." Dave tells you, his voice low and cold. "That's why I'm doing this. I'm giving you a better life, a chance to be happy."
"I don't want to die."
"I'm going to shoot four people," Karofsky says calmly, rationally. "I'm going to help them escape this place. You first, Kurt, because I've hurt you the most, and you deserve to be free. Then Santana. Then Anderson. Then me." He looks at you softly, like he's seeing you for the first time. "It's the only way we're ever going to get out of here, Kurt."
"For you, maybe," You bite back, because you're hurt and angry and scared, and in these sorts of situations bitchy becomes your default. "But I have plans. Dreams. Goals. I'm going to New York City, and I am never—"
"You think there won't be people who hate you in New York City?" David laughs. "You think there aren't homophobes in New York? You think people will accept you there?"
"Yes." You says, because it's the only thing you can believe in.
"You're fooling yourself. The people who hate you in Ohio will hate you in New York." He points the gun back at your face, and you forget to breathe. "My own brother found out what I am, and he couldn't accept me. Why the hell should anyone else be any different?"
"You don't have to do this."
David laughs, and it's the saddest sound you've ever heard. "Yes, yes I do." He cocks the gun. "Get on your knees, Kurt."
You're crying openly, but you do what he tells you to without complaint. "Now, I want you to pray. I want you to ask God to forgive you, so you can go to heaven."
You blink up at him. "I don't believe in God."
So you get on your knees and beg for forgiveness from a God you don't believe in for sins you've never committed.
And that's it. That's the end.
Except, it isn't.
The first thing you notices when you open your eyes is the look of shock on Karofsky's face.
The second thing you notice is Finn, bleeding to death in front of you.
How did this happen? Finn, you're pretty sure, isn't in your French class. You didn't even hear him come in, though admittedly, you were a little distracted thinking about how you didn't tell Dad you loved him this morning and how, if you could go back and do anything else in your life you would go back and tell him how much you love him.
(Actually, that's a lie; if you could go back in time you'd go to the police and tell them that David Karofsky is planning on bringing a gun to school today, and then you would grab Blaine and Santana and run.
But first, you would tell Dad you loved him.)
But unless your eyes are lying to you, Finn is here and he just got shot and, oh God, he took a bullet for you. Finn Hudson jumped in front of you and took the goddamn bullet meant to kill you into his chest and saved your worthless life.
Karofsky drops the gun in shock, and Azimio of all people tackles him to the ground, and your teacher puts her hand on your shoulder and tells you to calm down, the police are on their way and they're bringing an ambulance, they can save him, but you aren't listening because Finn Hudson just saved your life and you can't stop crying.
You take off your sweater and wrap it around his wound; you don't even care that it's an Alexander McQueen sweater that you worked all summer to buy—if it might save Finn's life, you'll sacrifice every piece of clothing in your wardrobe. You run your fingers through his hair and tell him it will be okay, everything will be okay, even though you don't know that. You tell him that you love him, that he's the greatest brother you could ever ask for, that he can't die because he'll break his mother's heart and Rachel will be devastated.
Mostly though, you just want him to open his eyes again.
The next week passes with a blur.
Lima has made national news, and David Karofsky has been turned into a martyr, a sign of what the rampant homophobia in this country is doing to our youth, about how we should enforce tolerance, especially in schools.
Finn Hudson is a national hero, and the LGBT community reveres him: a boy who was willing to take a bullet to save his gay stepbrother. How noble and good and wonderful he is: every child should be brought up to be as open, loving, and accepting as Finn is.
Rachel Berry cries on television.
You just want him to wake up.
You have to go back to school eventually.
You walk down the hallways and no one pushes or shoves you. As a result of this bad publicity, Figgins has enforced a zero-tolerance bullying policy, but you don't think that's why everyone is looking at you with kindness and pity.
Finn still hasn't woken up.
Girls you've never met come up to you during class and hug you; boys who used to slushy you daily apologize and ask how Finn is doing.
In Glee club, no one sings.
You open your locker gently, trying not to look at her. "Stop what, Santana?"
But the Latina girl merely pokes him. "Stop moping."
"You heard me," Santana crosses her arms like she means business. "Stop moping. Finn got shot. He's not dead."
You slam your locker shut with more force than you mean to. "He could die, Santana, at any moment. Now I know you don't have a soul because you are, in fact, secretly the devil in disguise, but some of us are upset."
"That's not it, though." Santana argues. "You're blaming yourself."
You slam your fist into the locker, not caring that you broke your skin or dented the locker. "Of course I'm blaming myself. It's my fault. If it hadn't been for me, Finn wouldn't have gotten shot."
Santana pushes you against the locker. "Let me tell you something, and I'm only going to tell you this once so you better listen to me: yeah, it's your fault Finn got shot, but you know what? There are twelve other people, who, at any minute, would have done the same exact thing as Finn. Any one of us would have stepped in front of Karofsky for you. Finn just…got there first." She squeezes you tightly on the shoulder. "Stop blaming yourself. It's what he would have wanted."
It's been two weeks, and Finn is still in the hospital, still unconscious.
You're supposed to perform at Sectionals this Saturday, but no one has done so much as hum in two weeks.
"I'm withdrawing us from the competition." Mr. Shue announces, to no one's surprise. "We can't—we don't feel like singing, and it feels…wrong to do this without Finn. Principal Figgins won't disband the club because of this—he'll understand."
"No." You say before you can stop yourself. It's the first time in two weeks that any gleek has said a word during their meetings.
Mr. Shue raises an eyebrow. "Kurt?"
You shake your head. "We have to perform. More than that, we have to win. Nationals are at Disneyworld this year, and Finn was—Finn is so excited about that. We have to perform at Sectionals, and we have to win so we can win at Regionals and go to Disneyworld with Finn. He'd be so disappointed if we didn't."
Almost immediately, Rachel comes alive. "Kurt's right. We have to perform so that when Finn gets better, he can sing with us at Regionals. At Nationals."
Mr. Shue sighs, but you can see a hint of light in his eyes that wasn't there before. "Do you have a song in mind, Rachel?"
She shakes her head. "No. But I think Kurt should sing the solo, this time."
You whip your head around and stare. It is not every day that Rachel Berry volunteers you to take her solo; you're not going to waste it.
She smiles at you softly, and for the first time in two weeks, you smile back.
You end up picking the Beatles to sing, because any time you've ever been upset in your life, you've sang the Beatles. This is no different.
This is for Finn, you think, looking at the audience of hundreds, knowing New Directions is behind you.
You open your mouth and sing out your soul.
Don't make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better.
By the time you're done singing, half the audience is in tears.
New Directions wins by a unanimous vote.
For the first time in weeks, the glee club smiles.
Rachel delivers the trophy to Finn's hospital room. She thinks you're asleep, slumped over in the chair beside his bed, but you aren't.
You keep your eyes closed anyway.
The first thing she does is squeeze his hand. "Hi Finn. I—I brought you something."
She sets the 1st place Sectionals trophy on the table near his bed, where all the flowers and presents are sitting.
"We did it for you, you know." She tells him, holding his hand and looking at him like she can't believe he's not awake yet. "Kurt said—Kurt remembered how much you want to go Disneyworld, so we sang for you. Or Kurt did, at least. It was beautiful—I cried."
That might be the nicest thing Rachel Berry has ever said about you.
"You know, you and I didn't even try to look for each other, did we?" She asks, laughing sadly. "When the shooting started, I mean. We both went after Kurt. Well, I did at least. And you did too." She squeezes his hand tightly. "What does that say about us, I wonder?"
She leans forward and kisses him gently on the lips, lingers a little afterwards, as if hoping to wake the sleeping prince.
When he doesn't wake up, she merely sighs and squeezes his hand again. "Please wake up, Finn. We need you."
(You don't go after her when she leaves, and you don't tell her you were awake while she was talking to Finn, either. The next day, though, you go up to her and hug her, and she breaks in your arms, sobbing uncontrollably. You let her, even as her snot stains your vest. You think that its things like this, holding each other, crying on each other, comforting one another during a crisis, that's what makes friendships permanent, more than singing on a Broadway stage together ever could.)
Blaine is going to Mass, and he wants to know if you want to come.
Were it anyone else in the world, you would have jumped back, acted hurt and put out. As its Blaine, you don't; you just stare up at him from your place beside Finn's bed in wonder.
"You don't believe in God," you tell him plainly, curiously repeating what he's told you before. "You haven't gone to Mass since you were ten. Why on Earth would you go now?"
Blaine shrugs. "I want to pray for Finn."
"Because not praying for Finn has really helped so far." Blaine snaps, and then recoils. "I'm sorry, I just—I know you don't believe in God. I'm not going to make you come. I just want to pray, and I wanted to let you know that I'd appreciate your company, if you want to come."
If it were anyone else, you'd tell him no.
As its Blaine, you tell him yes.
You hold his hand the entire service, and to your surprise, no one says a word about that to either of you. Blaine prays, and you hold his hand, listening to the Latin scripture you don't understand, but thinking it sounds beautiful just the same.
You don't believe in God; you may never believe in God, and quite frankly if there is a God, you think it's rather shitty of Him to keep putting your relatives in these sorts of situations, tethered between life and death and places you simply can't reach.
You don't believe in God.
But you're starting to realize that you believe in Finn. That you believe in the bond between the two of you as brothers, that you believe if the roles were reversed and he was the one with a gun pointed at his face, you would have stepped in front of him without hesitation.
You believe in Finn, and you believe that he can get better.
And any time you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
A week later, Finn wakes up.
A/N: I like to think that it was ND who did all the "na na na na na na" s for Hey Jude.
A/N2: I'm not a doctor; I don't know how long you'd be in a coma after getting shot. Google was frustratingly vague on the details there.
A/N3: I don't want to imply that Kurt went to church and then Finn woke up; that's not my intended moral of the story at all. The moral to this story, if there is one, is that love is awesome.