She, she ain't real,

She ain't gonna be able to love like I will

Kurt flinched as the back of his chair was roughly kicked as he and the rest of the New Directions watch the Troubletones perform. He turned around, annoyed, Blaine following suit, and looked up to find none other than Noah Puckerman.

'What?' He mouthed, not wanting to interrupt the performance.

Puck looked down at Kurt expectantly. "Dude, they're doing Adele." He said, as if it were the most problematic thing in the world.

Kurt nodded at him like you would to a five-year-old asking if birds could fly. "Thank you, Captain Obvious."

"No, thank you, Sergeant Sarcasm." Puck shot right back, but Kurt only scoffed and turned away.

…Only to feel another kick at the back of his chair.

Kurt turned back around. "What?" He hissed.

"Dude, what if they do-"

"Don't call me dude." Kurt snapped. "And they're not. They're doing 'Rumor Has It.'" He gestured to the stage.

Now rumor has it she ain't got your love anymore

"But it's a mash-up." Puck said. "They could still do-"

Don't forget me,

I beg,

I remember you said

Puck and Kurt froze at the sound of Santana's voice.

Puck looked down. "Told ya." He sing-songed.

Kurt turned around with wide eyes, finding his friend-in-secret's sad eyes. "Oh, no." He said, and a few of the gleeks around him turned to look at him, but he ignored them, watching Santana intently, Puck doing the same.

At the end of the song, Puck and Kurt watched in terror as Santana broke down in front of Finn and slapped him in front of everyone before running off.

Everyone immediately gathered around Finn, asking if he was OK, but Kurt refused to do the same.

He stood up out of his seat and glared down at his step-brother. "Finnegan Hudson, I cannot believe you." He said angrily, squeezing his eyes shut to keep his rage under control, but when he opened them, everyone was staring at him with confused or disappointed faces – all except Puck, that is.

"Kurt, how can you take Santana's side after what she just did?" Rachel asked.

"How can you all take Finn's side after what he did?" Kurt asked, and then turned, ignoring their gaping mouths. "Santana!" He called after his friend, rushing after her.

"What the hell?" Quinn said.

"You guys are idiots." Puck rolled his eyes before jogging after Kurt. "Yo, Princess, slow down!"

"Shut it, Puckerman!" Kurt's distant voice rang back.

"Why is everyone taking her side?" Rachel asked.

Blaine sighed. "You guys, Kurt has a point." He turned to Finn. "With all due respect, Finn, you did kind of out Santana."

"Uh, did you not hear what she was calling me in the hall-"

Finn's protests were cut off by the sound of loud sobbing and distant yelling.

-.-

In a matter of a minute the New Directions were outside of the hallway, watching Kurt holding Santana as she cried into his chest, Puck pacing in front of them.

"I-I don't," Santana hiccupped, "I don't know what came over me." She sobbed. "I mean, everything was, was great, I-I was apologizing to Finn, but then people were watching and I-I-I got nervous and, and then the insults were out before I even knew what I was s-saying." She struggled to say, Kurt stroking her hair as he cradled her on the floor. "And then he told me to just come out of the closet in front of everyone-"

"What?" Kurt gasped.

"-and someone snarked and now-now it's on National television that I'm-I'm a lesbian." Santana sobbed through her words. She rubbed at her eyes and pulled away from Kurt. "I haven't even told my parents yet." She said desperately. "And now they're gonna see it! What if they throw me out?" Her voice lowered. "What's gonna happen to me?" She whispered, giving into her sobs.

"Honey, if they throw you out, you'll come and live with me, that's all." Kurt said.

Santana looked up and sniffed. "Really? You'd-you'd let me?"

Kurt nodded. "Of course."

"But it's not gonna happen." Puck said, having halted his pacing. "Your parents will understand. I know they will."

Santana looked between the two of them and nodded, sniffing. "OK." She said, pushing herself off of the ground.

"Santana." Kurt said, causing her to look at him. "Why did you agree to sing 'Someone Like You?'" He asked. "That song never fails to make you cry after you came out to us over the summer when the song was playing in Puck's truck."

She smiled a little at them. "Because it reminded me that, no matter what happens this year, I'll still have you guys." She said, and then leaned down to kiss Kurt on the cheek. She did the same to Puck, and then excused herself to the bathroom to clean up.

After she was gone, Kurt sighed.

"She loves us." He said, hugging his knees to his chest.

"Yeah, she does." Puck said with a sigh, pushing himself off of the lockers to rub at the back of his neck.

A look of murder crossed Kurt's face. "I am so gonna kill Finn the next time I see him."

Puck rolled his eyes. "Hummel, c'mon." Kurt looked at him in surprise. "What Finn did was horrible, and, yeah, it makes me wanna kick his ass for making Santana cry like that, but don't you think she kinda had it coming from all the things she said to Finn?" He tried.

Most of the New Directions nodded to themselves in unseen agreement, while others only watched.

Kurt looked up at him angrily, opened his mouth, but then closed it and looked away with a scoff. "Forget it."

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Why won't you tell me?"

"Because fighting isn't going to help Santana right now." Kurt snapped.

Puck was silent for a moment before walking over and sitting in front of Kurt. "So don't fight." He said. "Talk."

Kurt sighed and turned his head from Puck. "You just don't understand. You don't know what it's like to be closeted; to every day worry if you'd be outed, if someone would figure you out, if you wouldn't be accepted by someone you love." He closed his eyes, still not looking at Puck. Then he opened them. "I chose to come out because I was ready and did it on my own. I was lucky. So was Blaine. Santana wasn't." He paused. "In seventh grade, when my bullying started, I knew that it was because I'm girly, because I like show tunes, because I got sent to the office for wearing a skirt." Puck snorted. "But back then it was only the name-calling. And that I could ignore." He shrugged. "What Santana said to Finn was horrible, I know, I understand. She had absolutely no right to tear down each and every one of his insecurities, I know that, but what Finn, what everyone needs to know is that two wrongs, do not, make a right, and what Finn did was so much worse, because he can ignore what Santana was saying. He should know that he is not fat, that his singing is amazing and that his dancing is progressing every day." Kurt slowly, finally, turned to look at Puck, whose eyes were focused on him intently. "And even if he was fat, he can control it. Even if he was a terrible singer, he could control it. And he is controlling that he's a bad dancer." Kurt sighed. "But being gay isn't something you can control. So, as a defense mechanism, Santana throws out some insults. Yeah, it was wrong, but like I said, he can ignore it." Another deep breath. "But the physical stuff. That's what you can't ignore. When I entered high school that was when all the physical stuff started. Locker slams, slushy facials, dumpster dives." He offered a small smile towards his ex-bully, who made a guilty expression. "That I couldn't ignore. And what if that starts up again when everyone learns about Santana? Or even if it doesn't, she lives in Lima Heights Adjacent. You and I both know that she wasn't kidding when she said it was a bad side of town." Puck nodded a little. "And what if she's right? What if her parents do kick her out? She'd come and live with me, yeah, but how would she feel about it?" Kurt paused for a while. "Santana could get thrown out, bullied, beaten, hell, where she lives, she could get murdered." Kurt whispered the last part, not wanting Santana to hear, but everyone in the New Directions gasped quietly – they hadn't thought about that. "Murdered, Puck. Murdered, because Finn decided he wanted to get her back for calling him fat." Tears started welling up in his eyes, and he turned his head again, willing himself not to cry.

Puck leaned forward and placed a hand on Kurt's shoulder. "Hey. Look at me." He said, and, hesitantly, Kurt did. "None of that is going to happen, OK? None of it. To either of you." He said, and Kurt blinked away a tear, looking down. "I know I haven't really ever acted like it, but you and Santana are the most important things in the world to me. It's my job to keep you both safe, and I'm not gonna let anything happen to either of you." He leaned down, so that he was looking up at Kurt, and that his gaze was more intense. "OK?" He asked.

Kurt swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. "OK." He sniffed, and then looked back up and sighed. "We should probably check on Santana, she's been in there for a while."

"She'd better not be vomiting again." Puck grumbled, getting up, and Kurt laughed. Puck took his arm and helped pull him up.

Once Kurt was standing, he brushed himself off and smiled at Puck. "And, thank you, by the way. You're really important to me, too."

Puck nodded once. "Hey, a pact is a pact, and we have one. Plus, you and I are, like, blood brothers. We did that handshake thing with blood and spit and stuff."

Kurt wrinkled his nose. "You made me do some pretty disgusting things." He said.

"You made me do some pretty girly things."

Kurt laughed. "Touche." He lowered his head. "But you'd better not just be hitting on me right now, because I'm with Blaine." He smirked a little.

Puck laughed. "Wouldn't dream of it, doll face."

Kurt punched his shoulder, glaring at the name, and Puck laughed again before they disappeared into the bathroom.

The New Directions stood quietly, awkwardly, in the doorway of the auditorium.

Rachel was the first to speak up. "Finn, I should really smack you right now."