Title: Always Shout Fire
Warnings: Adult themes (now with smut), some violence and bad language and set in season 2
Spoilers: Spoilers for up to Duets
Summary: Kurt decides further investigation is needed regarding the Puckerman situation. He is both surprised and shocked to find his former nemesis brought low and how it changes them from team mates, to friends and perhaps...
It seems I'm adding a B storyline in this chapter, or really I introduced it a few chapters ago - only now it becomes more obvious. Oh come on, how can I resist?
“Ouch,” commented Puck, giving Sam’s stitches a close inspection. “Never thought you could do anything to take the focus off those lips but guess I was wrong.”
“Still not gonna happen, kiss me once fool on me – you know the rest.” Sam managed to say it with a flat stare and from the corner Kurt giggled then stopped as soon as Puck turned his way.
“I was not making a move on him,” Puck said, as if having to explain himself. Part of Kurt worried that if this continued Puck would have none of his bad ass left – Puck making excuses was like Kurt wearing polyester blends... just uncomfortable.
“Tell it to someone that cares Puckerman, like Quinn,” Kurt winked at Sam, “Or maybe Blaine.”
Sam studiously tried to wear a confused expression but to Kurt’s trained eye he failed miserably.
“So Sam,” Kurt said, moving up to join Puck. “While I am very pleased to see you on the mend, why was our presence required?”
Sam was busy typing away on his laptop and turned it around with a flourish as if to say ‘ta da!’, of course Sam being who he was actually said ‘ta da!’.
Kurt could see it was a webpage, with various graphics of video links and headings – along the top was the name of the site and when he read it Kurt turned to Puck.
His boyfriend somehow looked both chagrined and proud.
“Its the anti-bullying website,” announced Sam. “And apparently all we have to do is click on that activate button and its a go – I’ve already entered all the passwords.”
“Wait,” Kurt shook his head. “You want me to turn it on?”
“Its what you’re good at.”
Kurt sat down next to Sam and pulled the laptop over. The graphics were very good. The title page looked like a slushie machine, the links being the various flavours. There was a ‘Rainbow Slushie Explained’ handle, ‘Evidence’, ‘Blog’ and ‘Sign-up’ handle.
“Its just the start,” said Puck, sitting beside him. “The IT geeks tell me they can change the links and let it evolve depending on what kind of response we get.”
“But how will it do anything – I mean how will people know about it?”
“Where have you been living,” Sam chuckled. “All it takes is a few facebook comments and links and the whole world will know.”
The whole world will know.
Kurt wasn’t sure he liked the sound of that. In theory this site sounded good. A way to fight back, to highlight the problems ordinary students faced and the wall of indifference from the establishment – but it would also bring the focus onto their little town. A lot of people wouldn’t like that.
“I can’t,” he whispered.
“Say again?” asked Puck.
“I’m sorry,” said Kurt. “But look what happened to Sam just because of the rumour of this site – if we put it up who knows what could happen?”
“Jeez,” sighed Puck, burying his head in his hands. “You sound just like Finn.”
“Maybe he’s right,” Kurt said, his voice heating up. “You know the main reason I left McKinley? It wasn’t just the threats but the fact that I knew it was easier to change the one thing – me, than the culture of bullying at the school. Everyone in Glee and even some of the Cheerios offered to protect me, to stand up to them – but it was an empty offer because all it would do is antagonise the bullies and sooner or later they’d get me alone... or worse someone else.” He looked pointedly at Sam who was absently touching his blackened jaw.
Puck shot up and paced in front of them. “I can’t believe you – do you know how many people are in on this, how much work has gone into it?”
“I’m not saying don’t do it,” Kurt hissed back. “Just that it can’t be me – I can’t take being responsible for anything bad that happens.”
“I thought you were stronger than that,” growled Puck, crouching down and staring into his eyes. “The Hummels don’t get pushed around, didn’t your Dad say that?”
“But its just not about me,” Kurt said, his voice raised.
“Exactly!” shouted Puck. “This is not just for you! You think you were the only kid I threw in the dumpster? The only one I shoulder charged or left crying in the bathroom after a blue rinse?”
“That’s not who you are anymore Noah – you’re better than that now!”
“But I can’t take it back,” Puck grabbed his hands, tears in his eyes. “I can’t change the past, not even sure I can change the future but I gotta try – I’ve got to make things right or what was the use of me living?”
“You survived Noah, isn’t that enough!” Kurt said angrily, throwing Puck’s hands away.
Puck stood, glowering down at him until his expression softened and he smiled strangely. “Survival’s not enough.”
“Uh guys, not to ruin this special moment,” muttered Sam, who without Kurt realising had leaned over and tapped at the keyboard. “But too late, I activated it.”
“Oh,” said Kurt deflated. All that and suddenly it didn’t matter. “Aren’t you worried this might happen again?” he asked, almost touching Sam’s bruised face.
“Actually I think I was more frightened before it ever happened,” said Sam softly, his normal ‘easy going happy’ persona sliding away for a moment. “Its made me realise we can’t let them win – and if I do nothing, especially after they did this to me, then its the same as giving in... sometimes when its right you gotta fight, no matter the cost.” He looked so sad that Kurt wanted to ask more but something made him stop, this was Sam’s moment.
Puck sat back down, squeezing up against Kurt and resting his head on Kurt’s shoulder.
No words were needed as they stared at the screen.
Nothing had changed but Kurt knew everything had changed.
Hopefully for the better.
“I think Figgins might pop a vein,” sniggered Puck into the phone.
“Has he got the whole Glee club there?” asked Kurt on the other end.
Puck counted off heads. “Everyone but Sam and Quinn, nobody could find them.”
“Sorry princess, have to go or he might go all Bollywood on my ass.”
“That’s kind of rac-.” Puck clicked his phone shut and tried to stare innocently at the principle, of course he’d been unable to pull off that look since middle school.
“As I was saying,” continued Figgins, nervously toying with his jacket lapels. “It has come to my attention that certain students in this club may be involved with the website which has caused so much controversy this week... controversy that we simply cannot afford!” He tried to be tough by slapping his palm on the table but his wince at the pain ruined the effect.
Puck most definitely did not laugh.
Maybe a little.
“I have the district supervisor demanding answers because his supervisor is demanding answers.”
“Sucks to be on the bottom of the pyramid doesn’t it?” sneered Santana, twirling her own hair.
Figgins ignored her.
“Mr Shuester, I demand that the students responsible step forward now.”
Mr Shue, sitting with the students shrugged his shoulders. “I’m not sure I could help you, you really think I would know who’s involved?”
Wow, thought Puck, way to avoid the question.
“That website must be taken now immediately,” announced Figgins. “Heads will roll, I guarantee it,” he said, holding up his finger for emphasis. “This is your only chance to admit guilt with minimal consequences.” His bulging eyes swept the room and Puck was confident no-one would say a thing.
He was wrong, but in a good way.
“Um, Mr Figgins,” said Rachel holding up her hand. “If I may. As you probably know my Dad’s are very good friends with a lawyer at a top New York firm.”
Figgins wince and scowl indicated that he had been made aware of that, probably on multiple occasions.
“So I’m just wondering the legality of punishing students for exercising their constitutional rights?”
“Constitutional! Rights!” Puck watched the vein pulse on Figgins head as he spluttered out the words, this is it – blood vessel busting time. “That site makes it seem our teachers are compliant in acts of assault and portrays our sports stars as a bunch of thugs – saying such things is not possibly covered in the constitution.”
“I’m pretty sure the first amendment covers all that,” said Brittany vaguely. The room went quiet, even Figgins, as everyone tried to reconcile the comment coming from her.
“Um, I never thought I’d say this more than once a year... but Brittany’s right,” said Mr Shuester. “Whoever is responsible for the website is just exercising their freedom of speech and maybe even freedom of the press, I mean are the videos showing anything that is false?”
“Its making McKinley seem like the most brutal school in America,” said Figgins in exasperation.
“One hundred and three slushie attacks, thirty blue rinses, ten patriotic wedgies and over fifty dumpster tosses – and one serious assault, as yet not investigated,” Puck looked around but Sam had still not arrived. “And that’s just in the last ten days and the incidents that were reported... according to the website,” he added, trying the innocent expression again.
“I knew you would be involved,” spluttered Figgins, pointing at Puck. “Consider yourself suspended Puckerman.”
“Mr Figgins!” exclaimed Shue but Puck shook his head at the teacher.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got some serious nap time to catch up on anyway.”
“Really,” Figgins smiled. “Given your recent absenteeism your suspension will mean an automatic fail for this year, do you enjoy repeating yourself Mr Puckerman?”
“Absenteeism?” yelled Rachel, leaping to her feet. “Noah was sick you intolerable little man-.”
“Ah, suspension for Miss Berry as well,” Figgins said with triumph. “I imagine that makes it very hard for the Glee club to perform at competition level.”
“Ooh,” squealed Tina, holding up her phone. “The slushie ap is active, now we can report bullying as it happens.” She stopped and looked around the room as if surprised. “Would threatening students with academic penalty with no evidence count as bullying?”
A roomful of nods answered her so she started tapping away.
“Miss Cohen-Chang!” said Figgins fiercely.
“One moment,” she held up her hand. “Is principle spelt with a capital if you use a surname as well?”
Figgins seemed to shrink in on himself and huffed loudly. “Fine, no suspensions but if that website remains active don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
He stalked from the room and the students erupted in cheers, most patting Tina on the back or giving her a hug.
Puck sighed and lounged back into his seat. Repeat a year? He didn’t think anything Figgins said could intimidate him but that had stung. A wave of weariness swept over him as the room settled down to a dull roar of Glee members chatting. He closed his eyes and rubbed his temple, the surgical scar still tender.
“Puck?” Mr Shue was standing before him, a hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, sure,” he nodded.
Shue didn’t seem convinced but nodded anyway. “You did good, standing up to him like that but you know this won’t get any easier anytime soon. A lot of teachers may lose their jobs and its no secret you led this little uprising – not to mention the other students who appear in those videos will be looking for revenge.”
“I know,” sighed Puck. “But we can’t give up, not now. Its gotta get worse before it gets better right? So let’s remember it will get better.”
Squeezing his shoulder Mr Shue nodded in respect. “Kurt’s a lucky guy and you’re doing a good thing... but take it easy – you’re still recovering you know.”
“Sure,” Puck said. “Just tired that’s all, a lot of late nights.”
Shue gave a last nod and went back to the front of the group. “Right, let’s remember why we are really here – rehearsal time! Yes Rachel?”
Quinn glanced up at the hanging spheres then back at Sam.
“Going to seduce me with planets again?”
“This is where we first made a luurve connection,” Sam made jazz hands which made Quinn smile but not laugh. He could be very cute when he was nervous but if he was nervous she knew it was because he had something difficult to say.
Her raised eyebrow said ‘get to the point’.
“Planets!” he said loudly, snapping his fingers as if he’d remembered something. “Did you know celestial bodies are the only things that can bend light, well not the bodies themselves but gravity, gravity bends light.”
“I’m not sure about that, I mean did you learn that in physics class or on SyFy?”
Sam smiled, probably more at the fact that she had said it with y’s than the fact she knew it existed... SyFy, not physics.
“Of course its true,” he explained, again using his hands in that adorable way. “We can reflect light and refract it but only something with really powerful gravity can bend light, which kind of lends to bending time-.”
“Samuel, a point would be good before I remember how incredibly hot I am and find a new boyfriend.” Adorable or not if she didn’t stop his rambling it could last hours.
“Um,” he looked really embarrassed, or maybe worried – no Quinn decided, scared. “That’s kind of what I’m trying to say.”
“What?” she held a hand to her chest and said all too softly, “You’re breaking up with me?”
His mouth opened but nothing came out, he tried a few more times then finally just nodded. She walked up and put a finger to his chest. “You-are-breaking-up-with-me?” punctuating each word with a nudge. He flinched and bit his lip hard, Quinn realising too late about his bruised torso. She wanted to apologise but couldn’t – after all it was him doing the breaking up.
“You see, I wish I was a planet,” he said, rubbing his injured chest with one hand while gesturing to the sphere’s with another.
Quinn was pretty sure her hand on hip and glare of perpetual doom convinced him to speed up his justification.
She could have stopped him since she had a good idea what it was but he deserved to suffer a little bit more.
“Cause then I could bend light, maybe time and if I tried real hard I could bend time back on itself and be able to change the past.”
“And what exactly would you change?” Like she didn’t already know.
“A single word... an answer to a question that led me to hurting someone I genuinely care about,” he took her hand and smiled, even though she knew the act must be painful due to his injuries. “I think you know what I’m talking about because while I might be good at fooling myself Quinn Fabray is not that stupid.”
“No,” she said and kissed his hand, a kiss for regret and a kiss goodbye. “No I’m not.”
They sat on the desks for while in silence, too late for Glee but too early to leave. She wondered about many things and what this meant for her reputation, before remembering that she didn’t care so much about that anymore. How could she support Puck in one breath while condemning her now ex-boyfriend with the other?
“Sam,” she whispered. “You have to say it, not for me but for you – you have to make it real.”
He breathed deeply, she could feel it with him pressed this close. Strangely she felt nearer to him now than their whole relationship.
“Quinn, I’m gay.”
She couldn’t help it but burst out laughing.
“That’s... not very nice,” he said with a pout.
She clutched his arm, still laughing a little. “Sorry, at least I’m not slapping you or,” now she did stop laughing as his expression darkened. “I am sorry Sam,” she said solemnly. “About this and about what happened to you, I don’t hate you and I was laughing because you’re right.”
“I don’t think I knew for sure but let’s face it – intimacy has not been our strong point.”
“That’s because you’re a good girl,” he said with more of a hint of his usual spark.
“I think there is enough evidence to the contrary.”
“So... I wasn’t the only one hiding in this relationship?”
“I wasn’t hiding,” stated Quinn, slightly offended. What could he mean by that anyway?
“I was safe, a misdirection,” Sam gently nudged her shoulder to let her know he wasn’t being nasty. “We have to admit it was never about me and you.”
“Because you were busy checking out other guys?”
“And you’re still in love with Finn.”
Quinn couldn’t answer that and sat in mild shock.
Still in love with Finn?