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Finn is the one who could have been there. Finn is the one who should have stopped it from happening. Finn is the one who is supposed to be the leader, and the brother. Finn is the one who finds him… Really, though, he has to.

 

Like it's Fate; like she has purposely intertwined their two souls and conjured a state of empathetic means. Since the whole ‘I Yelled at Kurt's Room and Got Kicked Out’ ordeal, a tie that could not be severed was formed. And in that, an unexpected brotherly sense of protection was born over the younger (despite the age gap more than minor), and grew into – unsaid – norms of friendship and family. And now, after the drama and hurt and complications, both Finn and Kurt would not have it any other way.

 

They simply wouldn't want to.

 

The lingering cold of the classroom settles into his skin, an involuntary shiver announced within his body, but he cannot find himself to care. With a watchful eye of the man at the chalkboard, he shimmies his phone out of his pocket, quickly stacking it into a sneaked position behind the folders positioned on the very edge of the table.

 

Hey dude, text me back

 

No response.

 

Where are u?

 

Ten minutes roll through, and it feels like a lifetime.

 

Blaine's worried

 

Maybe if he mentioned the boyfriend, (despite the fact he hasn't spoken to the black haired boy) his brother would get out of whatever mood he decided to be in today and actually respond to his more than frantic messages.

 

And yet, another ten minutes spark.

 

A sigh, and a hand brushes across his hairline.

 

If this is about me using your cream 2 put on my ankle, im sorry :(

 

Burt had told him Kurt bore supplements for just about everything in his room (no surprise there), and after Hudson sprained his ankle in practise, he sought the younger room, discovering he had a healing ointment just for that. When questioning the reason behind it, apparently Kurt came prepared after his first – and only – football game.

 

As the kicker.

 

Yes, Finn accidentally used the wrong cream, but 'accident' was the key word in the whole experience.

 

I didnt know it was apart of ur face-night time care

 

The class is half-way over. And even if Kurt was mad at him, the younger wouldn't resist an opportunity to rub it in Finn's face in a construction and language he would only pretend to understand. Even if he was mad, he wouldn't skip class, thus miss the opportunity to silently comment about their teachers fashion sense as he sits in the back with Mercedes.

 

"Ah," he would say, "today he has gone for the ‘please help me I’m homeless but apparently can afford to fuse a technicolour blazer with nothing but what seems to be Walmart trousers’ look. "

 

And yet… the opposite end was silent.

 

Dude, come on.

 

Finn is eventually pulled from his thoughts by the embarking stare of Mr. Greene, evidently having torn the device from his hands, confiscating it until the end of his English lesson. Not before he is able to grab a quick view of a message from Tina, something about Kurt not being in first class Home Ec.

 

The temptation to claim a family emergency is high within his bones, though he had no such evidence. For all he knew, Kurt would make an entrance in the next minute. It was his first English class back, and Finn should only expect Hummel to create the mood of a fabulous, arriving late and making a scene moment; it was merely in his nature. He stares at the door, willing for this to happen.

 

Soon, to distract himself, he instead drums his fingers against his thigh under the desk, mirroring the previous tapping of his index finger and thumb against the phone. Unconsciously, his attention continues to be drawn to the back corner seat of the classroom, where Mercedes sits in isolation as opposed to the usual company. She and Finn don't share concerned glances per say, but a mere sense of knowledge.

 

Knowledge that Kurt isn't there.

 

He gives Blaine a call when the class is let out, and while it turns straight to voicemail, he leaves a message.

 

He decides against calling Burt – there wasn't reason to call the man. If he called Burt, then it would actually, in a sense, seem real: that there was something wrong.

 

Hell, for all Finn knew, his step-father knows exactly where the boy is. Maybe he was feeling sick and went home. Maybe he's already alerted his father of the reason behind his disappearance and when Finn came home that afternoon, he would be met with the uptight attitude of his brother, still pissed about the minor loss of his cream. Albeit the strange, sinking feeling within the pit of his stomach shall not cease, and the boy can't help but assume the worst. Especially given the fact that a quick glance around the classroom before leaving showed a severe lack of letter men jackets.

 

Since Kurt's transfer back to McKinley, yes, Karofsky had died down, even begun the pathetic excuse of protection towards the boy, (along with Santana – he still didn't know where that came from). Though that didn't mean the rest of the jocks, that Azimio had halted his actions in continuing hierarchy within the halls of McKinley High.

 

Finn had promised, twice, that he would keep Kurt safe. And since he failed the first time he wouldn't do it again.

 

So, with a heartfelt dedication, he directs himself towards the cafeteria, trying to rid the worrisome boy from his mind. And, momentarily, he manages to. Scooting in upon the groups table, he automatically shifts into Quinn's side, pushing the practical slop upon a tray into the centre to indicate it was up for grabs. It wasn't only the foul smell and sign of unholy mixtures that turned him off it; he just wasn't feeling up to his normal appetite for the day.

 

"Where's Hummel?" Noah soon questions after the topic of conversation is changed (Finn unaware of what it was), muffled by the food in his mouth, lips slightly drooled of the flowing liquid that could not be contained. A snarky, 'would you jump in his grave that quickly?' from Santana, watching in disgusted hues and furrowed brows as he took no time in calling Finn's meal his own. Though the taller takes no notice to it, or to anything for that matter. Dazed momentarily, his oculars instead find landing upon the window straight ahead of him - the one just above the table that no one sits at because its heated rays are far too much on a summer's day.

 

Kurt had taught them that: claimed he was saving them all from slowly developing skin cancer.

 

"-inn. Finn. Finn. Finn!"

 

Snapping from his seeded thoughts, he distantly hears Mercedes explain that Kurt is a social hoe and shouldn't be surprised if he doesn't sit with them, and that most lunches he is on the phone with Blaine, anyway. He is also met with the sharp glare of his girlfriend, 'are you even listening to me?' and the raised brows of the other New Directions.

 

Before he has even a chance to open his mouth in response, the vibration from his phone alarms against his leg, and without a breath he scoops it up.

 

"Blaine! Is Kurt with you?"

 

Hudson manages to ignore sudden pang of concern spread amongst each of his friends faces – even Puck – but brushes them off as soon as the calming tone from the other end corners him.

 

"No, Finn – what's wrong? What's happened to Kurt?"

 

The message left on Blaine's phone, he now realises, was perhaps a tad dramatic. Already placing Kurt into the position of an injured state, where, really, no one could find him. That was all. He wasn't even gone long enough for it to be considered gossip yet. Finn can sense the concern ridden behind the boy's words, though he manages to keep just like the Dalton uniform: stable, calm and poised. He'd really have to ask how he does that.

 

A breath, "I just can't find him… have you spoken to him?"

 

A pause, and it is the longest, most daunting endurance he thinks he has ever experienced.

 

"You- you can't find him? What… where else would he be, apart from being with you, Finn?"

 

The boy decides to brush past the accusatory timbre in the other's voice; this was not his fault. Blaine was more than hesitant about Kurt transferring back, not in the slightest believing Karofsky’s apology, and that he was going to leave the bullying and hate behind. Dave promised and Kurt believed him (or perhaps he was just clouded by his sheer desire to return to his friends), and Finn, for the first time, followed in Kurt’s actions.

 

Blaine, however…

 

"Look, dude, I was just wondering if you've spoken to him. I know he's been catching up on some school work with his teachers, so he's probably off doing that. I shouldn't have called."

 

Finn can practically see Blaine brush a hand through his hair, accompanied by furrowed, worried brows, "yeah, that sounds like him. Would you- would you get him to call me when you talk to him next?"

 

The phone conversation ends with Finn assuring him, 'yeah man' and he hangs up with a smile. Quickly fading as he turns back towards his friends.

 

Unconsciously clenching his teeth behind sealed lips; afraid that if he opens them, desperate confessions will ramble out. He squirms a little in his seat. He had convinced himself that Kurt was off doing who-knows-what with his boyfriend but that idea practically broke apart in front of him when contacting the Warbler. And even so, Kurt had never skipped a class in his life, and English was one of his favourites.

 

He takes charge however, after a quick review of the morning (backed up by Tina, who explained Kurt wasn’t in first period, either). He instructs a split group amongst the teens, simply with the aim of stalking school and finding Kurt.

 

Puck claiming they skip the next class as the halls would be empty, and it would be easier to find the kid. And if he needed to hit anyone it could be done without swarming crowds of infesting students, the ones who feed upon the slightest taste of disorder. That would have to be considered development for Puck, as these days he preferred to have a reason to ‘beat the crap’ out of someone; rather than just doing it.

 

They would find Kurt, and then 'grill him' (as Mercedes so pleasantly suggested) for making them worry. Even if there was nothing to really worry about. He had only been back a week, and consistent supervision was still settling within each member of the Glee Club – he needed to be safe. Finn knew this better than any. He was just freaked because he was back, and a minute in separation without one member of the group by his side formed silent chaos. He has assumed the worst, and evidently planted the same fear into the heads of his friends.

 

Kurt was fine. Kurt was always fine.

 

And if he wasn't…

 

Finn might just have to kill the entire football team for messing with his brother, assuming this is what has happened. And it physically pains him that this is where his (and he is sure everyone else's) mind wanders off to in their sudden haste and departure from the cafeteria…

 

In the end, before his life evidently changes, and he is provoked to an image that shall never leave his conscience, he leaves twenty one missed calls, sixty messages, and eleven voice messages.

 

And all he wants is for Kurt to yell at him for taking up so much space on his phone, and then him having to grudgingly delete the unneeded content.

 

He wants Kurt to yell at him so that he can rid himself of these sickening ideas that continue to swarm his head.

 

The classrooms are briefly checked, sticking his head into the doorways without care that the classes are progressing. When the block is checked, he rounds the corner and follows up the next row. Expecting to hear some sort of theme music that accompanies him like a horror movie; daunting and expressive, like something is going to jump out and give him a heart attack.

 

'I'll Stand By You' is alternatively heard from a distance and Finn recognises it as the allocated ringtone his brother chose for him no more than a week after he sung it. In its thirty second duration, Finn automatically presses the 'call back' button, though he is met with voicemail immediately, and his heart jumps off a cliff.

 

Instead, 'Bitch' is played, and he remembers it's the song Kurt used for Santana because he likes to play with fire. He follows that, phone clenched harshly in hand, as he hurries through the now cleared hallways. Thankful for third period, that the halls are empty and he can hear the slowly rising music. Finn suddenly stops, not realising - and he wouldn't until he searches drastically and helplessly later on - his phone slides from his suddenly numb fingers and crashes upon the floor.

 

The boys locker room. He should have known. Why didn't he sense it?

 

With a shaking hand – geez, he doesn't remember being this freaked, this angry since the truth about Puck and Quinn came to light: maybe he's even more freaked, now.

 

He crouches to the floor, not to retrieve his own phone, but the one that lay scattered in the bare distance from the doorway. The one that is on two percent of charge from the screen (still) lit mercilessly from calls and messages of worry. The phone, that Finn barely takes a glance at to recognise the (now) cracked screen and the case slightly peeled off – as though it has been thrown, or dropped and kicked away, Finn silently brainstorms.

 

He shuffles the phone into his pocket, just as the light fades to black. Kurt would hate that. It took so long to reboot once it lost complete charge.

 

His own phone lights up from Quinn, Finn… check the locker room, yeah? I don't want to think it… but, just do it, okay? Love you.

 

Finn didn't have the opportunity to read the message, or to marvel at the genius mind of his girlfriend, for he steps past the phone, and opens the door instead.

 

He doesn't even hear his exclaimed 'oh god!' echo throughout the thin walls, nor the continued running water that splashes in the first shower stall.

 

For a good two minutes, perhaps even five, he simply stands there – completely and utterly dumbstruck. A shattered exhale of breath and a quiet 'Kurt?' is sounded before he stalks towards the boys limp form.

 

Hands completely useless, shaken and suddenly frozen, Finn hardly remembers the next few minutes, though concentrates on it like it's his lifeline. He remembers stringing a phrase of useless reassurances together; he remembers cupping the boy's wet cheek and a few questions of his name. He doesn't even notice that his own clothes and warmth are becoming victim to the running shower. More like a prison than a school's locker room, he suddenly realises. Kurt's entire body is utterly shaken, shivering uncontrollably beneath his gentle touch, and yet no sign of life is offered. Hair flattened against his forehead, individual droplets plummeting towards the ground.

 

And that is when Finn notices it.

 

The odd and inhumane poise of his usually upright, chin high, back straight and confident brother. This… this was not Kurt. From the stressing limp, to the odd colouring of the water that swirls down the drain without care or caution. To which, Finn quickly recognises the pinkish tint that is devoured in the blink of an eye by the swimming surface.

 

Why is he analysing this; why can’t he move quicker?

 

His brother looks like some kind of wounded animal.

 

He remembers, only a few nights prior, flicking through the night stations when he couldn't sleep, and instead becoming traumatised when he decided upon the news and it revealed the butcher and torture of an endangered species Finn can't remember the name of. He does, however recall the picture of the deceased animal, hanging to its last limbs as it shadows in the face of death. Finn shut it off as quick whence it came – though he is seeing it all over again.

 

Kurt looked dead.

 

And his face – god his face. Red rimmed, purple splotches and gentle cuts spur amongst his pale features. He was always pale – but this? He was so damn picky about the products he used each night that he practically spends hours before bed sorting and rubbing. Now, however, he looked nauseated, and Finn wouldn't have been surprised if he had have thrown up already.

 

Of course, Finn only sees a bare minimum of this through blurred hues, and he can't decipher the difference between the tears and the dripping water from the oddly spraying shower head above. As if endurance was not enough, but Kurt’s clothes had to be drenched perhaps beyond repair?

 

Right. He really needed to turn that off.

 

"I've got you, Kurt, I've got you you're okay you're going to be okay, I promise I promise…"

 

He is unaware if his words are spoken aloud, and if they are directed to his brother or for his own attempt at some sort of comfort.

 

The butt of his pants are soaked in the surface of the shower, leaning desperately against the wall of the confined space, he realises he would never again be able shower after training. Not with this image already burned into his mind. By the shoulders, he draws Kurt to his body attempting to provide even the slightest simmer of heat, a clumsy dead weight in his arms. Finn relentlessly shakes the kid in the grave strive for the opposing to stir to life – to no avail. Holding him as though he is precious cargo, (which in this case, he was) Kurt's face is pressed into his broad chest, hands tucked between the two bodies.

 

The next few minutes are without a doubt, a pained, yet slightly forgotten memory.

 

Using his free hand, the one that is not pressed so tightly against Kurt's back, that he fears if he releases it the younger will fall from his grasp and never return. He checks his pocket for his phone, cursing louder than intended as he remembers its position stranded outside the room. And Kurt's phone was out of charge.

 

But he wasn't going to leave Kurt. Wasn't going to leave his family. Finn is paralysed — he doesn’t know what to do but hold Kurt and will him to wake up. To offer a sign of his quirky tone and bask in speech Finn would roll his eyes at.

 

When asked later by his step-father at the hospital, he genuinely doesn't remember Quinn entering the scene (she would later explain that she and Puck – Puck was there? – grew intense worry when no response was given to her text so they confronted the locker room themselves).

 

He can't recall Quinn calling out at Puck to contact an ambulance, nor her gentle, prying fingers and soothing tone to look over the boy in his arms.

 

Finn, however, does remember screaming like a child who is being stripped from a candy bar when Quinn first tries to take a glance of the vulnerable friend. Perhaps he yelled so drastically, however, as his hand is drawn back from the back of his brothers head. His palm is met with unrealised red; he can't comprehend the sticky yet odourless element.

 

Quinn's voice is gentler than his; she doesn't yell like he did when he first saw him. The way she holds him, brushes with only her index finger and thumb, the brunette tresses from the ruby laced forehead... he was convinced that he provided further harm towards Kurt when handling him, for Quinn looks practically angelic.

 

She is barely touching him, yet the stained crease of strain between Kurt's brows and beside his lips already seem to fade. As the edges of her skirt become plagued with the shallow line of dirty water, she continues to whisper in that light, fluttering tone that could be performed in such condescending means - it has been a long time since he has seen her so scared, so unguarded. Clearly keeping herself in somewhat of a dignified state for the position of the youngest.

 

She orders for Puck to give her the phone as she seemingly is aware of what to say to the officials. The way she passes off Kurt, like he is a valuable party favour towards Noah only briefly, requesting he take him away from the showers floor as she pulls a red, fluffy towel from one of the banisters. Softly demanding placement and the best sense of comfort to the unconscious.

 

If he thinks hard enough, though, he recollects his best friend hauling him from under the arms after looking more than uncomfortable holding Kurt, (and thankful when Quinn's opened arms take the boy back), and pulling his numb figure from the floor. Eyeing as Quinn completely takes over, comforting Kurt and speaking into the phone in a calm yet pressed tone.

 

As if it mattered. As if any of it mattered.

 

It still happened in a place Finn spent hours convincing Burt would be safe. Quinn's words of kindness and a confident demeanour that everything was going to be okay flew over his head like those birds did when he went out skateboarding. She didn't see what he did. Didn't witness the awkward position that gave the impression his brittle bones were to break in half if handled the wrong way.

 

Kurt was supposed to be safe here; he wasn't supposed to need Dalton anymore.

 

How wrong he was.