Kurt and Blaine watched Santana slap the tall, confused-looking boy across the face, her eyes flashing with hurt, anger, fear and a whole host of other emotions that they could not name. The Latina ran out of the auditorium as Finn held his cheek in shock.
There was silence for a minute until Tina said quietly: "What just happened?"
"She's angry because of what I said to her in hall the other day," Finn replied. "But I don't know what she meant by everybody knowing…" he trailed off, the shock from Santana's outburst still prominent on his confused face.
"What did you say?" Blaine asked.
"She told me that I was fat, among other things, and so I told her to just come out of the closet already."
The members of the New Directions looked shocked while the Troubletones shook their heads angrily from onstage.
"Wait—" Kurt said, "Finn, you outed her?"
Finn shrugged nonchalantly. "Yeah, everyone knew already. It wasn't a big deal."
"Not a big deal? Finn, a person needs to come out on their own terms when they're ready, whether or not someone knows already."
"Why are you defending her, Kurt? She's been nothing but mean to us from the beginning, and so I decided to give her a little taste of her own medicine. I don't know what she meant by the entire world knowing, but it was probably an overreaction."
"What she meant, Finn," Mr. Schuester said, "Was that one of Sue's opposing candidates has a family member who goes here. She overheard that remark and told him, and now he's made an entire campaign ad centred around it."
"What?" Everyone gasped. There was horrified silence; nobody said a word until Kurt jumped to his feet.
"Finn, you're an idiot. We'll talk more later. I'm going to find Santana; she needs to know that we're here for her and that some of us aren't jerks." He glared pointedly at Finn. "Blaine, are you coming?"
Kurt grabbed Blaine's hand and strode out of the room.
They found Santana in a girls' bathroom, slumped on the floor beside the sinks, sobbing her eyes out.
"Santana?" Kurt asked softly, sitting beside her and tentatively putting a hand out on her shoulder.
She jerked away and said loudly. "Leave me alone."
Kurt removed his hand but made no move to leave.
"You don't really want that," Kurt said. "We know how you're feeling right now."
"Please, Hummel. You're like the gayest kid at school. You and everybody else have always known that you were out and proud."
"Not true. I only started coming out to my family and friends in sophomore year."
"Everybody already knew, though. Just leave me alone, Hummel. You can't even pretend to understand."
"I can, though." Blaine spoke up.
"Please," Santana scoffed despite the tears still rolling down her face. "You came from the dapper, no-bullies, all-boys prep school. Everybody there wouldn't give a fuck. Again, leave me alone. You two have no idea what is going to happen to me."
"You think that I always went to Dalton?" Blaine asked, his voice rising a little. "That it was always easy for me? Guess what, Santana? You're not the only person who's been outed in an unfriendly place. It sucks. And so you need to stop lashing out at us because, newsflash, it happened to me too."
"Blaine, you don't have to talk about this," Kurt said quietly.
"Yes I do. She needs to know that she's not the only one who this has happened to."
Santana looked up at them, a sarcastic almost-smile—more like a grimace—on her face. "Enlighten me then, oh dapper one."
"Fine. I only went to Dalton for a year and a half, you know. Before that I was at a public high school in Westerville. I realized I was gay when I was twelve and noticed that all the other boys were very interested in their secret playboys and I was more interested in the male models on TV. I kept it to myself, knowing that my classmates would make fun of me."
Kurt grabbed Blaine's hand, already knowing this story and how it would play out.
"I also knew that I couldn't tell my dad. He's really homophobic and I was afraid he would kick me out. So I kept it a secret. Then I got to high school. I was fourteen and still had no intentions of coming out. The people in high school were worse. You guys get slushied here, but there we got all the cafeteria leftovers from the dumpsters behind the school. It was awful. At least slushies don't stink."
Blaine chuckled humourlessly.
"So I went on, not telling anyone. The only thing I told was the journal I kept. I had been writing a journal since I was eight years old, and it was habit for me. It was the way I expressed my feelings back then. I made the soccer team my freshman year, and I thought that everything would be all right. I had lots of friends, and nobody ever needed to find out my dirty little secret."
"But I developed a crush on my teammate Kyle. He was handsome, funny and smarter than a lot of my other friends. I really liked him. But he was straight with girls falling over themselves to get to him. I had no chance in hell. So I vented to my journal. One day, I had my journal with me. I didn't usually, but I was going to my grandparents' that night, and I had all of my overnight stuff. I took out the journal when I was looking for something else and my so-called 'Friend' Liam took it, thinking it'd be a funny prank. I didn't notice that it was gone until after he had started reading it out loud. He could have chosen the page that just had me venting about Cooper being a pain in the ass, but instead he had to choose the page where I went into a long, ridiculous rant about how amazing Liam was; the kind of thing that only a dramatic fourteen-year-old could create."
Blaine laughed humourlessly again.
"I was shocked when I heard Liam reading it, and made a grab for it, but he was taller than me and held it out of my reach. He kept reading. Kyle was right there, listening to every word. He looked horrified. Everyone was laughing, I was yelling to give it back, and Liam was reading louder, over my yelling. Eventually he gave it back, but it wasn't soon enough. Everyone knew now. I grabbed my stuff and ran, too embarrassed to look at anyone. I went to my grandparents' and pretended like nothing was wrong. I hoped that everything would blow over by Monday. I walked to school on Monday convinced that nobody would even remember the journal. I was so wrong. All of my former friends, even Liam and Kyle were standing there with Friday's rotting tuna surprise in their hands."
Blaine gagged a little. Kurt rubbed his back soothingly and murmured, "You don't have to keep going."
Santana was gazing up at Blaine, transfixed and hanging on to his every word.
"I'm all right," he said. Then he continued. "They covered me with it. Somebody had even found some rotting milk from one of the dumpsters and poured that all over me. To this day I can't drink milk. Liam and all my other teammates pushed Kyle forward, egging him on to say that words that I don't think will ever leave me: 'Go away, Fag, nobody wants you here', and he dropped the finale: a rotting fruit salad on my head. They all laughed, high-fiving as they went. I eventually picked myself up off the ground. I was so numb from the shock that I couldn't even think about what had just happened. Instead, I tried to go to the locker room where I had my gym clothes and a shower. But when I got there, the boys were already there, blocking me. You can probably guess what they said: 'Sorry, no fags allowed. We don't want you in here watching us when we're naked.' So I left. I couldn't go home, my house was too far away to walk, and I didn't want to call my parents and explain to them what had happened so I stayed in my disgusting clothes all day."
Blaine shuddered at the memory.
"School was torture after that. I suddenly had no friends and was constantly being harassed. I was pushed into lockers, drenched in rotting food every day, punched and kicked. Not only that, they would hiss things at me as I walked by. Thinks like 'go die in a hole, homo. Nobody wants you here.' I quit the soccer team, but didn't tell my parents. My dad was so happy that I was playing sports that I couldn't disappoint him. So I sat in the library doing homework every night until he came to pick me up. I went so far as to make my hair wet in the sinks at school so that it would look like I just came out of the shower. But one day I slipped up and the team got let out early. My dad was waiting for me in the parking lot and asked the guys where I was. Apparently one responded with these exact words: 'Didn't you know that your homo son doesn't play with us anymore?' My dad was furious. He dragged me into the car and demanded to know if it was true. I said it was and started to cry. Dad was so angry, he kept saying awful things about how stupid I was. How I was choosing something stupid and that he—as my father—wasn't going to let me ruin my life by being a filthy fag. He never treated me the same after that. He didn't kick me out but tried to make me do manly things with him like rebuilding cars and setting me up with girls in hopes that I would, and I quote, change my mind."
Kurt continued to rub Blaine's back soothingly as Blaine took a deep breath.
"Then I met someone. I made a friend named Danny. He was gay too, but we weren't interested in each other. He was tormented just as much as me, and so we were able to bond over that. There was a Sadie Hawkins dance coming up, and so he asked if I wanted to go with him to prove a point. I agreed, stupidly thinking that they wouldn't do anything to us. I let myself get excited. I was going to my first dance with a guy. I got all dressed up. My dad wouldn't speak to me. But I ignored him and Danny and I set off. We had literally just pulled up when we were surrounded by our usual tormenters. I expected a usual food attack or something, but instead they came forward and punched Danny so hard that he fell to the ground. They told him that it was for 'daring to show up at a dance with another guy.' I was next, one of the others hit me and I fell to the ground. They punched and kicked us both for what felt like hours. They only stopped when Danny was unconscious and I was nearly so. I guess they realized that they were going too far. So they stopped. I must have passed out because I don't remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital three days later."
Blaine rubbed his ribs absently.
"I had four broken ribs, both my arms were broken, my nose was broken and I had two very black eyes. My lips were swollen to the point where I could barely talk, three of my teeth were knocked out and I had a concussion so severe that I was in a coma for three days. Dad was furious. He kept telling me about how I shouldn't have gone. All I wanted was to see how Danny was. It turned out that he had been released the day before and his parents weren't letting him come and see me. Apparently it was too much of a risk for us to be together. Both of our parents made sure we kept apart until Danny moved to Tennessee and I was sent to Dalton. I lived close enough to commute but my dad was so disgusted with me that he made me live there with all the others. He told me that I would be safe with their anti-bullying policy, but I was free to be as gay as I wanted with all the boys as long as it wasn't under his roof.´ So you see, Santana, you're not the only one who's been outed. I'm sorry that this happened to you, I really am, but trust me, you're not the first person who's had to deal with it, and you won't be the last. So stop forcing people out of your life when they only want to help. It's miserable when everybody's being awful to you and you have nobody to talk to. Trust me, I know. Be grateful that you actually have people who care for you. I didn't. You do, so embrace it and stop bitching about how nobody understands you."
Blaine let out a deep, angry breath. Kurt's eyes were filled with tears, as were Santana's. Blaine, at the sight of the other two, also started to tear up.
"I'm sorry, Blaine," Santana said. "I didn't know any of that."
"It's not something I advertise."
"I know. You're right, I shouldn't push you guys away. You're probably the closest two to know how I feel, especially Blaine. But I don't know what to do. I don't know how I'm going to do this. I can't deal with what you two have both dealt with. I'm not as strong as you two. Sure, I have all the smartass comments and insults, but I couldn't put up with all the shit people throw at you at a daily basis. Why do you think I clung to my cheerio title? "
"You'll get through this, Santana," Kurt said. "We'll help you. You've got us, Brittany, the Troubletones and New Directions. Finn will come around. He honestly had no idea what was happening, and while it was incredible stupid of him, he'll be on your side now. You'll get through it with the help of your friends."
"But I've been such a bitch to all of you guys. I mean, Brittany maybe, but everyone else was secretly just waiting for me to fall. They're not going to care."
"Like I said, the New Directions have been putting up with your crap for years. They know that you don't mean it. The Troubletones will have to accept you because you, Mercedes and Brittany are their only soloists. Everyone else just doesn't matter."
Santana nodded weakly. "I guess. I'm sorry for what I said to you about not knowing, Blaine. Thank you for telling me."
Just then, the Troubletones all burst in, followed by the entire New Directions, minus Finn.
They all froze at the sight of all three with tears running down their faces.
"Is everything okay in here?" Shelby Corcoran said, rushing in behind everyone else.
"We're fine," Santana said. "Thanks. Now if you all don't mind, I think I just want to go home now."
She stood and brushed herself off.
Before she could stop him, Kurt had wrapped her into a hug. She settled into his warm embrace before turning to Blaine, who held his arms out too.
"I won't tell anyone," she whispered in his ear. "I know that you don't want everyone knowing. And thanks. Seriously."
Blaine nodded and let go of her. She straightened her clothes one last time before leaving the bathroom, the rest of the people following behind, except Blaine and Kurt.
"You were so brave, telling her your story like that," Kurt said softly.
"She needed to know how good she has it," Blaine replied.
"I love you," Kurt said and they both hugged tightly. Neither knew what was to come with Santana, but both knew that right now, in this moment, they would be okay.
And there's the end. I've always thought that Blaine is a far more complex character than the makes of Glee give him credit for. Also, I apologize for the language. I absolutely detest those gay slurs, but in the case of this story, they work, unfortunately, too well.