Chapter 17

"Anything worth having is worth fighting for." ― Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Heaven, Texas

Kurt looked at his phone for the umpteenth time that day. Blaine hadn't called him back after Kurt had given Hunter the spiteful message, and that made him distinctly nervous. He had no idea whether Hunter had passed on his message – he sincerely hoped he hadn't, but what reason did he have for not? – and that meant he couldn't call and apologise without telling Blaine what he'd said in the first place. Besides, did he even need to apologise? What he'd said, whilst being completely spiteful, hadn't exactly been a lie. In fact, it was most definitely the truth.

Also, Blaine hadn't called him. What did that mean? Did that mean that he just really didn't care about Kurt? He had everything he wanted with Sebastian so maybe he'd just ignored what Hunter had said. He knew it was horrible, but it angered him to think that Blaine hadn't even been in the least bit upset about what Kurt had said. Maybe Blaine had just cast it aside and gone back to whatever he and Sebastian had been doing. Except, Blaine had sent him a commiseration text…why not congratulate him? Unless Blaine hadn't wanted him to get in… Maybe, for whatever sick reason, Blaine was disappointed that Kurt hadn't failed.

Or, possibly, had Blaine not believed Hunter? He knew that Hunter didn't have a good relationship with, it seemed, the majority of the Dalton boys, so maybe when Hunter had said that to him Blaine had assumed he was lying. However, if that was the case, than why hadn't he rung Kurt to ask whether he'd gotten into NYADA, or to query it, or something?

Whatever Blaine's reaction, his silence didn't make sense – at least not to Kurt's mind.

Worse than all of that, though, was the fact that Kurt couldn't get Blaine out of his head. Despite all his resolutions and certainty that this was the moment that he moved on, he absolutely could not stop thinking about Blaine. He was stuck in his brain once more, and that was officially the last time Kurt was ever going to try and contact Blaine if this – a complete inability to get his mind to stop thinking about him – was the result. Honestly, the price that Kurt had to pay for being nice was extortionate. Why wasn't Blaine suffering?

He raked a hand through his hair and put his phone away because maybe if it was out of sight, the constant reminder of the latest development between him and Blaine would be gone and then, hopefully, his mind would be allowed to think about other things, good things like Christmas and NYADA and snow… Okay, that sounded a little bit desperate, but he liked snow.

However, it seemed that thinking about the fact that Christmas was near only served to remind him that something that he thought would be a new Christmas tradition: his duet with Blaine was not going to be happening. There would be no singing as the snow fell, no warm, crackling fire, no flirtatious smiles...nothing for either of them. Though he supposed that Blaine would find a duet partner in Sebastian just fine.

God, why was he torturing himself with this? It was over. Done. Ended. Finished. No more them. He should never have made that phone call. It seemed that communicating via mobiles was the Achilles heel of their relationship; him not answering them and then making them when he didn't have to. He really wished that there was an off button for his brain…ugh, what he wanted give to be some mindless, Neandethalic, slug with no care in the world or concern or the brain power to feel hurt. It was too bad suffering seemed to be inherent in his life; the storm clouds always rolled in.

"Hey, Kurt," he looked up and saw several people, including Chase, who had called his name, gathered around a computer. "You're from Lima, right?" Kurt nodded.

"Yeah, I am, why?" Chase beckoned him over.

"You should see this video; it went viral on Youtube in, like, a couple of hours or something. You are going to love it." Kurt pushed himself up from his desk and wandered over to the computer, peering at the screen. He felt his heart stop when he saw the channel belonged to Dalton Academy; he was so not going to love this…

"Um…" he said, trying to think of a reason for not watching the video, but Chase had already clicked play. The only thing that stopped him from backing away from the computer screen in that instant was the curiosity of seeing Finn standing on the courtyard steps in the snow, and the background track to Do You Hear the People Sing?. Kurt cautiously bent forward as Sebastian, Kurt resisted the urge to scrunch up his face and swear at him, came to the top of the steps, looking very sombre and serious.

Do you hear the people sing?

Singing a song of angry men?

It is the music of a people

Who will not be slaves again!...

Kurt frowned at the screen, not entirely sure he got what was going on. The crowded courtyard of McKinley had all stopped to stare at the tall, rather imposing, figure of the Warbler, who stood in the snow without any kind of protective layer, and glared down at the people around him. Whoever was holding the camera, Kurt thought it might be Artie given that Tina was on his left, Sam on his right and it was clearly being held upwards at quite an angle, had zoomed in on his resolute face, whilst occasionally flickering around to show reaction shots of the crowd and Wade, who kept being focused on quite a bit.

It was weird, and Kurt hated himself for thinking it, but Sebastian definitely had the right presence for the song. He looked like an angry rebel, standing on the top of the steps, and the tone of his voice, so steely and determined, was just right.

Will you join in our crusade?

Who will be strong and stand with me?

Beyond the barricade

Is there a world you long to see?

The song stopped being good the moment Blaine appeared by Sebastian's side and put an arm around his waist. Kurt clenched his jaw involuntarily, even as he began to understand that this probably had a lot to do with homophobia and gay rights, because he did not need to see that, and he was not worrying for Blaine's safety for doing that in front of such a crowd.

Then join in the fight

That will give you the right to be free!

The appearance of a nervous looking Thad by Sebastian's other shoulder was what clinched it in Kurt's mind. This was definitely some form of gay pride statement. He had to admit that it was nice to see Thad looking healthy again as Sebastian looped an arm around his shoulder and tucked him into his side – he did look okay.

Do you hear the people sing?

Singing a song of angry men?...

Then something that Kurt hadn't quite been expecting happened; a whole host of Dalton boys – far more than just the Warblers – came marching down the steps. Some had banners that advocated LGBT community, but most where waving rainbow flags or ones with purple lambdas and other symbols. He let out an incredulous laugh at the continuous stream of Dalton boys that descended into the courtyard because it looked like the entirety of Dalton Academy had emptied itself into McKinley just to make a point. Sebastian, Blaine and Thad were still standing at the top of the stairs, together, and Kurt had to admit that, whilst he hated seeing Sebastian and Blaine with their arms around each other's waists, he did like, and admire, what they were doing, though he did wonder what on earth had caused them to make such a huge protest. Dalton were rather conservative, and they tended to keep themselves to themselves, and it didn't really seem like a them thing to do. He sincerely hoped that Sebastian hadn't organised this because then he might just have to start respecting him, and he wasn't sure he could do that.

Will you give all you can give

So that our banner may advance?…

Nick appeared, singing, with his own flag, Jeff's arms around him, and they were waving it together. Kurt had to roll his eyes, an amused smile upon his face, because only Nick and Jeff would decide that the best thing they could do was point out the words "humane" and "human" had a common derivative as well as pointing out that they were all "homos" because they were all Homo sapiens.

The blood of the martyrs

Will water the meadows of France!

Jeff took the last two lines as they came to a stop on the last step and, after Jeff had finished his very virtuosic last note, Nick grabbed by the face and kissed him. Had Kurt not been very worried for their safety, he probably would have laughed at the sight.

Do you hear the people sing?...

But, to his relief, nothing happened to either of them, there weren't even any derogatory shouts, as the Dalton boys began to march around again in a gigantic wave, the New Directions joining in and some other random people too, getting caught up in the music and the energy like Kurt knew was so easy to happen. He wasn't too surprised to see that Thad, Sebastian and Blaine remained at the top of the stairs – he knew that Blaine wasn't stupid enough to bring Thad into that kind of environment so soon after everything that had happened – and they sang along with probably as much gusto as Kurt had ever seen Sebastian perform with. He even had a sort-of-genuine smile on his face, part pleased with himself and part smirking but also with this little bit of something else, and Kurt just sort of knew that this had been his idea – Goddamn him for that.

The video came to an end as the majority of the courtyard was filled with cheers and whoops from the Dalton boys, and Chase and the others turned to him with grins. Kurt gave them a smile that was partially fake and partially genuine.

"That was your school, right?" Kurt nodded, taking a deep breath and trying very hard to forget the last time that he'd seen Blaine performing on those steps.

I get a little bit bigger, but then I'll admit I'm just the same as I was. Now don't you understand? That I'm never changing who I am…

"Yeah," he said, adding a little bit more fake-smile to make the smile stick on his face because it was unbelievably painful to think about how much of lie that had been, or, even worse, how maybe it wasn't lie...Blaine was the same person, but he was horribly different. "and, um, I went to Dalton at one point too, they're ones in blazers, when the bullying was at its worse." There were some understanding nods, sympathetic looks, and Kurt had a very strong urge to run away back to his desk and find something to do with himself that didn't involve thinking of Blaine.

"Oh, so you know all of them." Kurt gave a nod, trying to get rid of the grimace on his face.

"Most of them, yes. I wasn't actually there for very long."

"Say, do you know the hot guy? The one that started it." Kurt clenched his jaw, sick of the fact that Sebastian was apparently better looking than him and that that was all anyone could focus on, and what had happened to Blaine to make him so shallow and only go out with someone for their looks? Except Sebastian wasn't that guy anymore… Now, he-

"Kurt?" he blinked, tearing himself away from his bitter thoughts and looking back at all of them, who were staring at him in a curious manner. Kurt swallowed.

"He's Sebastian. I think he's Senior, but you, err, might have some trouble getting with him; he's dating my ex." There was a shocked pause from the others, and Kurt felt savagely glad at the way their faces fell because he didn't feel good inside. He felt ridiculously stung because even here, in his work place in New York, people were more interested in Sebastian than him.

"Your ex?" exclaimed Chase. Kurt nodded, tensely. Chase's eyes wandered back to the screen, and Kurt knew that he was putting it all together in his head. "So, he was the guy that sang second?" Kurt nodded once more.

"Yeah, that's Blaine…" There was a moment in which everyone frowned between him and the screen, clearly at a loss for what to say, something that Kurt was glad for because he didn't want to be the only person that felt like they were on thin ice. "What are the comments like?" he asked, suddenly, in an attempt to put an end to the awkward silence.

"Oh," most of them jolted, and Chase scrolled down on the web page.

"That same mix that you get on the internet: mindless thugs slagging them off, religious battles, people telling them they were so brave and those heart-breaking stories you get about people who've been bullied or whatever." Kurt nodded, noting that many comments had been disliked or flagged and that the like bar was predominantly green, though there was obviously a strong amount of opposition for what they'd done.

"What does the description say?" he asked, noting that there was a considerable amount of text in the box underneath the video. Chase obligingly clicked "show more", and Kurt bent forward to read;

The revolutionaries of France were people that stood for equality – many of them were starving and struggling to get by, and they saw the injustice in a society that benefitted only the rich – and nothing has changed since then; we are still searching for equality and justice. We pride ourselves as living in a nation that is FREE and EQUAL, but there is no equality in people having their lives threatened for standing up and admitting and accepting that they're different. Just like in 'Les Miserables' where the students stood up for change, it's our responsibility as the next generation to push through new ideals. We're not advocating violence – God forbid anyone should feel the need to sacrifice themselves for justice – but this is OUR stand. We're lucky enough to go to school in an environment that has a zero-tolerance for discrimination, but many people aren't that fortunate. However, that doesn't make it hopeless, it just means YOU have to do something. YOU can enforce, in your own world, a rule of no intolerance. THAT will be how we make change; through our individual actions. And for everybody and anybody who is out there; don't give up and have courage because you are NOT alone and you are LOVED.

Disclaimer: this song doesn't belong to us (thankfully, because we'd never be able to write anything that good and inspiring) but to Claude-Michel Schönberg (music) and Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics).

A big thank you to the New Directions, who are strong enough to stand up against the flow of popular opinion and whose idea this really was, and who are also the ones that will suffer any negative consequences.

Love from,

Blaine, Sebastian, Thad, Nick, Jeff, David, Trent and the boys and staff of Dalton Academy.

Kurt found a smile twisting its way onto his lips at that. He sniffed, knowing that reminiscent, moved, tears were making their way into his eyes. He couldn't say quite what it was about the message that had touched him, but it was probably how genuine it was. He, strange as it was to think about, had missed that side to the Dalton boys. He had missed being able to think that Blaine was a good, brave, person that believed in change and stood up for equality. He'd missed being able to remember that Blaine had been one for acting now and making change happen, not content to sit back and take it all.

However, scanning over the text again, something suddenly struck him.

…"…there is no equality in people having their lives threatened…"…

He could feel his heart beating a little bit faster in fear as he re-read the words one more time, just to make sure that he hadn't misinterpreted it. He highly doubted that that was a reference to what had happened to him and Karofsky, which suggested – unless they were simply using it as an example of the worst thing that couldn't happen, which didn't make sense because that wasn't the worst thing that could happen – that this had been sparked because of a threat to someone's life. Someone who was at McKinley

He swallowed, taking a couple of steps backwards and mumbling for them to excuse him. Even as they called his name in confusion, he dashed to his desk and pulled back out his phone. He hurried out of the office, heading straight for the lift and letting it carry him down to the ground floor. He came to a stop in a corner of the lobby, looking out onto the busy street, and rang Finn's number. It rang for quite some time, and Kurt was about to hang up and try someone else when Finn answered.

"Kurt? Hey, what's up?" Kurt swallowed, not entirely sure how to phrase what was worrying him. "Kurt? You still there, man?"

"Yeah," he said, blinking and refocusing his gaze. "I just- I saw the video." There was a confused silence, and Kurt rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "The video of Do You Hear the People Sing? – it's on Youtube."

"Oh," said Finn in understanding, but then didn't offer anything more. Kurt rolled his eyes and sighed because did he have to do everything? "So, um, what did you think of it?" Kurt paused, not really sure that he had an answer to that question.

"It was good," he said, eventually. "It was…courageous, but…why?" There was a long silence, and Kurt got the distinct impression that Finn was mulling over what Kurt had just asked, trying to work out what to say.

"It was Wade," said Finn, slowly, and Kurt nodded, having already half guessed that. "he was getting even more hate since we crashed out of Sectionals for being, you know, dressed like a girl…I didn't know what more I could do so I went to Blaine…" Kurt nodded, for some pursing his lips. "I'm sorry," offered Finn. "I just- I didn't know who else to go to." Kurt nodded again, even though it was a completely pointless action.

"Did he have his life threatened?" There was another long silence. He sighed, mentally urging Finn to speak.

"I don't- I don't really know…He just got cornered by some guys from the hockey and Football teams. I don't really know what went down, but it shook him up really badly, man…I took him to Dalton, and, after they talked to him, Blaine met up with Artie and Tina and Sam, and they brainstormed ways to make a point – as far as I know if anyone touches him then they have to deal with the wrath of all those guys…and they're kind of scary when they're pissed. I mean, Sebastian threw Hunter over a table when he called Thad a "faggot" so I-"

"What?" exclaimed Kurt, eyebrows leaping up in shock at the news. There was a long pause in which Finn obviously seemed to struggle for words, and Kurt's mind seemed to have ground to a halt because that did not make sense. Hunter had been right there in the video – holding a banner and protesting with the others – so how could he discriminate against one person and not another…though that did explain what the "incident" had been.

"You didn't know that?" asked Finn, tentatively. Kurt shook his head even though the action was completely redundant.

"No, I didn't."

"Sorry," apologised Finn, sounding kind of sheepish. "it just- it happened that day you got rejected so I kind of assumed that you'd have heard about it from Blaine…" Kurt swallowed, feeling angry at Blaine for lying to him once more about something. Why was it just his default action towards Kurt nowadays? Even over things that weren't to do with either of them, like Thad.

"No, he- he didn't mention it…He actually said that Thad was- was better." There was another long silence between the two of them in which Finn cleared his throat several times.

"Ah, sorry, I just…Um…I have no idea what to say," admitted Finn, eventually, and Kurt rolled his eyes.

"It doesn't matter, I suppose…just, Finn…"

"Yeah?" Kurt took a deep breath, swallowing.

"Why didn't you contact me?" There was a long silence between them. He heard Finn sigh, heavily.

"I just- I know that you want to put Lima and Blaine behind you…I figured that telling you that wasn't exactly going to help with either of those things, given how you became friends and all." Kurt swallowed, sighing because he knew that Finn was trying to do the right thing, but…if Wade needed help than Kurt ought to be one of the people that gave it to him, having been there himself.

"I appreciate that, Finn," he said, running a hand through his hair. "I really do, but, if it's something like that, how I feel about the situation isn't really important."

"Okay," replied Finn, and Kurt could imagine that he was nodding in a very deliberate manner, carefully taking note of what Kurt had said so that he didn't forget in case he needed it. "I just- also, Blaine's, you know, there… They can talk to each other face to face and whatever, that's better, right?" Kurt let out a sigh through his nose, having to agree that having someone there – a physical person that could hold your hand and provide comfort – was almost as useful as the advice that they might offer.

"Yeah, that's true…" he sighed, knowing that part of what stung him was the fact that Finn had gone to Blaine, who had betrayed Kurt and lied to him and hurt him so badly, over Kurt himself. "Just, if you need me, Finn, I am only a phone call away. I want to forget about Blaine, but I don't want other people to suffer. I'm here to help because," he shrugged. "what else can I do?"

"Yeah, right…I'll bear that in mind…sorry," Kurt sighed, shrugging because it didn't really matter; all that mattered was that Wade was safe and able to be whoever he wanted to be.

"It's alright, Finn, really. I just- it was just a bit of a shock. You do know it's gone, like, viral. I think your message really reached out and touched people."

"Well, that's great!" exclaimed Finn. "I mean, that was the point…I think," Kurt snorted, slightly, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

"Yeah, I think it was…well, I should probably go…"

"Alright, dude, see you whenever."

"Bye," Kurt hung up, lowering the phone from his ear and exhaling. He slipped into his pocket and thought over the conversation that he'd just had, wondering whether anything had changed towards his feelings to Blaine. He supposed, on balance, he didn't find himself quite as angry as before… He supposed that it was hard to be angry with someone who was so obviously trying to do good, just not towards Kurt… He couldn't escape the fact that, take away what he'd done to Kurt, Blaine didn't exactly have many faults – his main fault being his complete and utter ineptitude in controlling his emotions.

His phone chimed, jerking him from his thoughts about Blaine, and alerted him that he'd just received a new text. He looked down at it and was surprised to see that it was from Karofsky and simply asked;

Are you available to talk?-Dave

Frowning in mild worry, he went to the contacts and flicked to Dave's number. He was mentally crossing his fingers that Dave was okay, but he wasn't particularly counting on it; he hadn't really been in touch with Dave since the beginning of the year, and Dave had promised he'd call Kurt if he needed something, and Kurt was sure that Paul would have called him if anything had happened, so he'd taken no news as good news...

"Kurt!" came the sound of Dave's relieved voice. Kurt frowned.

"Are you alright, Dave?" There was a long pause that served only to heighten Kurt's worry for him, but he didn't say anything, knowing that it was best to just wait until he was ready to talk.

"Um, did you see the video from your school?" Kurt frowned a little bit more, taken aback by the question.

"Yes, what about it?" He heard Karofsky take a deep breath.

"You know that I'm repeating my Senior year at another high school?" Kurt frowned some more, wondering why Dave was taking such a roundabout route to his question.

"Yeah…" Kurt could find himself getting more and more nervous; had something happened there too? Had he been outed again? Had that video managed to do more harm than good?

"Well, I've been really enjoying myself. I've made loads of friends, and I'm on the Football team."

"No more panic attacks?" he asked, hope in his voice because maybe this wasn't a bad phone call; maybe he was calling to say that his school wasn't homophobic.

"Nope…Those months out really did me some good…Anyway, my friends saw it, and they- they said it was a pretty brave thing to do…" Kurt frowned, not sure what Dave wanted from him; them saying it was a brave thing to do implied that they knew about the prevelance of homophobia and disagreed with it. He was glad, obviously, but he knew that Dave wasn't calling him to tell him that because then he wouldn't sound so nervous. He would be overjoyed, probably, not scared. "Well- I…I thought…how do I come out?" Kurt froze, not sure what to say, but then found a smile spreading across his face because Dave had finally found somewhere that he felt safe and able to be who he really was.

"Look," he said, sighing. "there's no easy way to do it, but…honestly, just say it." He knew that it sounded like poor advice because Dave could have thought of that on his own, but there wasn't any other way to do it.

"Just say it?" he repeated, sounding hesitant and nervous, and Kurt knew that it was hard, but it really was the only way.

"Yeah…Say you have something really important to tell them, and then say it. It sounds like they're going to take it perfectly well, but if they don't it's there loss, and you call me straight away, or your dad, and you do not do anything stupid." He swallowed, remembering Thad and the fear that had kicked in after he'd come out. "Even if you're worried about what they might say…" He heard Karofsky swallow and take a couple of steadying breaths.

"Will you stay on the line?" Kurt nodded.

"Of course…if you put it on speaker I can hear the whole thing…and yell at them if needs be." He heard Dave laugh and was glad that he was still able to offer Dave advice and support. "Good luck," he heard Dave mumble something in response and tried to breathe quietly as he heard Dave's footsteps tread across the floor boards, a door creak open and then confused, but pleased, greetings;

"Hey man, you alright? You look abnormally pale for some guy that spends, like, all his time outside." He heard chuckles and the sound of bedsprings squeaking. There was a long silence and then more questions as to whether Dave was alright.

"Guys, there's something I need to tell you all." There was a silence before someone said;

"No offence, dude, but that sounds rather ominous…You're in good health, right?"

"Yeah, it's- it's not that…I- I- I'm…I'm gay…" Kurt sucked in a breath, waiting for a response. There was some awkward shifting around. "Guys?"

"Dave, we already know." Kurt found his eyebrows shooting up his forehead as Dave choked in shock.

"You- you what?" There were some sighs.

"We knew guys at Thurnston…We stopped talking to them after we found out what they did to you…That and you're kind of…You don't talk about girls, you're nervous in the locker rooms…We didn't say anything 'cause of what had happened…figured we should just let you come out." Kurt let out a long laugh of relief at that, glad that they'd managed to understand that springing the fact that people at the school knew about his sexuality was not the right thing to do, and pleased that they'd had the strength to turn their backs on the arseholes from Thurnston for Dave.

"What the-" came the exclamations from the other boys, and Kurt suddenly realised that they would have heard his laughter.

"Oh, that's Kurt…he's my friend…He's gay, I called him for advice." Kurt pursed his lips, aware that this was weirdly awkward, and bizarre, situation to be in. He knew that the best thing to do was let them talk in private.

"Hi," he said and got some puzzled greetings in return. "um…I'm going to hang up now and let you guys do whatever it is that you do…See you, Dave."

"Bye, Kurt, thanks for…everything."

"It's nothing," he said, firmly, and, when he had heard some more chuckles and laughing, he hung up, unable to stop smiling because good things did come to those who deserved it.

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