Kurt was beyond excited when the sign up sheet for a new glee club went up. He hadn't tried to join the old one, because the teacher leading it had a horrible reputation and he was already bullied enough as it was without glee club.
But this year would be different. This year the neanderthals at McKinley would not keep him from doing something he loved. He knew people often made fun of his speaking voice, but his former music teacher had always praised him when he sang and told him how rare his voice was.
He didn't expect to become the star of the club – he hadn't even heard the other students sing yet – but he was looking forward to spending time with people who shared his passion.
Only two other names were already on the list and while he didn't recognize the second, he flinched when he read the first. Rachel Berry. They weren't friends but they'd been going to the same school since they were six years old and Rachel had never missed a chance to tell him how superior she was.
When Rachel had made fun of his voice in junior high Mrs. Miller had assured him Rachel was just jealous he could sing high notes she couldn't reach yet, and he had believed her.
So even if he didn't like her, he would survive being in a club with her. As long as the choir teacher – Mr. Schuester – the top of the sign up sheet announced, was a fair teacher, everything would be okay.
When he came home after a visit to 'Between the Sheets', his father, Burt, was on the couch watching some fishing show while stuffing his face with greasy pizza. Kurt tried to cook healthy food for them when he had time, but his father was a lost cause; he just never listened to what Kurt was saying.
Kurt quickly grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, and after saying hello to his dad, went downstairs to his basement room where he practiced his audition song for the next two hours.
The lyrics really struck a chord with him, because he often felt like Mr. Cellophane. True he was never invisible, because if he were he wouldn't have bruises on his arms and back, and more ruined clothes than he wanted to count, but no one was ever interested in getting to know him, in finding out who he was.
When Kurt was finally satisfied with his performance, he finished the little homework he had and went straight to bed after his moisturizing routine. His father had come downstairs at some point and had offered him a slice of pizza, but Kurt had declined, because he didn't want to add fat to the list of slurs his bullies used on him.
When he got to the auditorium the next afternoon, the only person there was the Spanish teacher who agreed to take over glee club. Kurt introduced himself before he handed the piano player his sheet music and waited for his cue to start.
Shoulda been my name
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there...
I tell ya
Shoulda been my name
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there...
He held the last note as long as possible and when he finally finished he was slightly out of breath. The teacher was staring at him, an unreadable expression on his face.
"Thank you, ah, Kurt. I'll let you know." Mr. Schuester didn't sound very enthusiastic when he said that, but Kurt wasn't worried, because his performance had been good and he had hit all the notes properly.
That night, when he came home he was singing under his breath as he prepared dinner for him and his dad, which his father actually ate for once without complaining.
"You are in a good mood today," Burt remarked when they were doing the dishes. Kurt debated for a moment lying to his dad, because he never knew how his father would react to Kurt's hobbies.
"I auditioned for glee club," he admitted then, not wanting to keep even more aspects of his life from his dad.
"It's a singing group, like a choir," Kurt explained.
"Oh, good. You have a nice voice kid, they'd be lucky to have you." Kurt was surprised to hear his dad say this, but it made him happy nonetheless.
"Thanks, dad. I'm going downstairs now, homework." His dad just nodded and awkwardly patted him on the shoulder.
Since his mom had died when he was eight, it had only ever been him and his dad and for years they worked together pretty well. But the older he got, the harder it was to find things he and his dad had in common, and then there was of course the fact, that he had to hide that he was gay. He didn't have anyone aside from his dad and he had no idea what he would do if his father didn't accept him.
He had decided to keep it a secret, at least until he graduated high school, because what if confirming his class mates' suspicions would lead to even worse bullying. It wasn't like there were any out kids in school, and so there was no need for him to come out.
After finishing his homework he went online for a bit, but quickly shut his laptop when his facebook page reminded him again that he had no friends. But maybe when he joined glee club all that would change.
Kurt didn't hear back from Mr. Schuester the rest of the week but he didn't think much of it. It was only the second week of school after all. He spent the weekend working in his dad's shop like he did most weekends and when his dad asked why he wasn't doing anything with his friends he just made up another excuse.
If his dad suspected he was lying, he never mentioned it and Kurt was grateful for that. If his dad found out he didn't have friends he'd want to know why and then he'd have to explain that no one wanted to be seen with the homo.
Monday afternoon, he was already in the school parking lot, when he remembered that he had left his math book in his locker. He didn't like being in school after classes ended because of the football team, but he needed the book for his homework.
Luckily, he didn't run into anyone on the way to his locker and Kurt quickly retrieved his book. He was about to leave when he heard music coming from a room at the end of the hallway.
Curiosity got the better of him and he walked toward what had to be the choir room. Once he reached the door he looked in through the window and saw Mr. Schuester standing in front of Rachel and three other students he had seen before but never spoken to.
Before he could stop himself he opened the door and stepped inside. A boy in a wheelchair was the first who spotted and smiled at him.
"Hey, are you interested in joining New Directions? You'll have to audition, but it's really just a formality. Everyone gets in as long as they aren't terrible," the boy told him.
"I did audition," Kurt said in a small voice. "I just didn't think I was terrible." The boy suddenly looked very guilty and quickly rolled away. At this point, Mr. Schuester must have finally seen him as well, because he called out his name.
"Kurt, can we talk about whatever you want to talk about after rehearsal," he asked, dismissal clear in his voice. Kurt was about to agree, but then he squared his shoulders and shook his head.
"No, I want to know why you won't let me join glee club," he told the teacher. He knew he wasn't terrible, so there had to be some other reason.
"Alright, I didn't want to do this in front of everyone else, but if you insist. You sound like a girl and I already have three. What I need are boys. I need a male lead."
From the corner of his eye he saw the other boy's face fall. Apparently Kurt wasn't the only one who wasn't considered lead material. For a moment Kurt felt actually jealous because he knew that Mr. Schuester would never dare to tell the kid in the wheel chair he couldn't join a show choir.
"You only have four members," Kurt reminded the teacher. "How do you expect to compete with four members?" Did he really sound so awful that the club would rather be another member short than have him?
"Don't worry, I'm working on it. I promised Rachel a male lead and I'm going to get her one. Now, you are welcome to audition again once your voice drops, but until then I have no use for you in this club. Maybe you can join the band or something."
Kurt didn't listen to the rest of what Mr. Schuester was saying and ran out of the choir room. He remembered a doctor's visit only six months ago that ended in tears, because he was told that if his voice hadn't changed much yet, it wouldn't anymore.
He could deal with people making fun of it, because even if it wasn't high, he was sure they would find other things they could make fun of. But not being allowed to join Glee club, because he could be – what? – competition for the other girls.
Out of the four members, only Rachel had looked happy when Mr. Schuester told him he couldn't join. The dark skinned girl in the back had even looked slightly murderous.
But fine, maybe he had to accept that his voice was shit and that now he was made aware of it, he'd better stop singing all together and find a new dream that would get him out of Lima.
That night, he let his father have his fast food dinner and fled down to his basement room. Instead of eating he started ripping his Broadway posters of the wall and stuffed them into the back of his closet. His iPod and CDs came next, and by the time he collapsed onto his bed he had rid his room of everything connected to music.
Kurt stopped cooking dinner for him and his dad and spent his evenings in his room staring at his blank walls. It didn't matter after all, he was sure his dad was much happier now that Kurt stopped bothering him.
It wasn't like he didn't miss singing, because it had been such a big part of his life for so long, but whenever he tried to open his mouth he heard Mr. Schuester tell him he wasn't good enough.
He also stopped participating in class because he didn't want to torture the other students with his voice any longer. Not that it made a difference. No one ever wanted to talk to him and his teachers couldn't care less as long as he didn't disrupt the lesson.
Sometimes he caught that dark skinned girl from glee club staring at him, but he always quickly turned away. He didn't need her pity.
Kurt didn't think his dad would even notice the changes in his behavior so it came as a surprise when his dad pretty much ordered him to join him for dinner one night.
"We haven't talked in a while Kurt. Everything okay?" his dad asked while Kurt pushed his food around on his plate. He quickly nodded, hoping he could leave soon.
"What about that singing group? You're having fun with them?" his dad tried again and Kurt forcibly staked a piece of chicken.
"I decided not to join them after all. I already have work at the shop and I need to keep my grades up if I want to get into a good college," he quickly lied. He didn't particularly like lying to his father, but his dad would never understand why singing was so important to him.
"You don't have to spend that many hours at the shop, Kurt. You're sixteen, you should be out with your friends instead of spending all your time with me."
Kurt felt tears well up in his eyes and he fought to keep them down. "That's okay, dad. You know my clothes aren't exactly the cheapest and I see my friends at school everyday. I don't mind being in the shop."
That at least was true. He didn't like the oil and grease but at least no one there dared to make fun of the boss' son. After being treated like garbage every day at school, the few hours he spent at the shop every week felt like heaven.
"Okay, if you say so. But you know you can come to me if something is bothering you, you know that right?" his father asked, worry evident in his voice.
Kurt swallowed down his tears before he answered. "Yeah dad. I'm okay though. I still have a lot of homework, so think I'm going to finish this in my room."
His dad nodded as Kurt took his plate and left the room. As soon as he reached his bedroom he dropped the fried chicken into the trash can and threw himself onto the bed, burying his face in a pillow as tears started running down his face,
Sometimes he wondered if things wouldn't be better if he just told his dad the truth about everything, but he was too afraid that his father would kick him out if Kurt told him about his sexuality.
Once he had gotten himself under control again, he sat down and did his homework, because as he had told his dad; good grades were the only thing now that could get him out of Lima.
Kurt was going to be late, for the third time this week, because of the slushie someone had tossed in his face, just after he had managed to crawl out of the dumpster Finn Hudson and his friends had thrown him into. Mr. Schuester, just like every morning, had walked by and done nothing to stop it. Not that Kurt had really expected him to.
His teachers never seemed to care that he was only late because of the jocks and if he got detention for it he might actually punch someone, because his week had already been bad enough.
He quickly ducked into a girls' bathroom to clean up the worst of the slushie when he heard the door open behind him again. He still had slushie in his eyes so he couldn't see who it was, but he just hoped the girl wouldn't start screaming, because the last thing he needed right now was being called a pervert.
"Sorry for being in here, but this bathroom is usually empty," he mumbled still wiping furiously at his eyes.
"That's okay. I come here as well when I get slushied because no one ever uses it," the girl assured him.
"You get slushied as well?" Kurt asked surprised, forgetting that he had planned not to talk to anyone anymore. He didn't think the jocks would stoop so low as to slushie girls as well.
"Well, I'm in glee club and that makes me a loser," the girl answered dryly. Kurt froze up when she mentioned glee club. Which of the girls was she? He knew it wasn't Rachel because for one he knew her voice, and secondly, she would never come after him.
Suddenly a wet towel was pressed against his face and Kurt took it gratefully. After washing out his eyes a couple of times he finally regained his sight and when he turned around he was faced with the girl who had been staring at him in the hallways.
"I'm Mercedes," she introduced herself when Kurt didn't say anything.
"Kurt," he answered because it was only polite after she had helped him.
"I, I heard your audition for New Directions. You were really good. I don't know what's wrong with Mr. Schue." Kurt looked at her in surprise.
"You really think so?" he whispered. Mercedes nodded.
"Boy, there were some killer high notes. We should sing together some time." Kurt shook his head.
"I don't sing anymore." Mercedes looked at him, clearly shocked.
"Then maybe we could hang out some time?"
"Why?" Was this some elaborate prank planned by the glee club?
"Because I don't have a lot of friends and you look like you could use a friend as well, no offense."
She wanted to be his friend? No one ever wanted to be friends with the freak.
"What would we even do?" he asked because she was right, he could use a friend.
"Maybe we could go shopping together. You like clothes right?" Mercedes suggested and Kurt said something he immediately regretted.
"Just because I'm gay doesn't mean you get to treat me like a stereotype." As soon as the words had left his mouth, he clamped his hand over it. He knew what was coming now. She would call him disgusting and tell him she didn't want to be friends after all.
"I, I didn't know you were gay. I just thought your clothes were awesome. This is actually pretty embarrassing for me right now, because I wanted to ask you out on a date." She did look more surprised than disgusted and he took that as a good sign. But then his eyes flickered to the cross she was wearing.
"So you don't think I'm a sinner and I will rot in hell for my 'choices'?" He didn't know where all his anger was suddenly coming from, but Mercedes probably didn't deserve to get attacked like that.
"I, I don't really understand it, but you seem to be a nice person and I believe only bad people deserve to be in hell," she explained after a few moments of silence.
This day was just full of surprises. Kurt briefly looked at his watch and realized that there was no way he was still making it to class on time.
"Hey Kurt, would you take me to the nurse? I feel a bit dizzy right now," Mercedes asked after checking her own watch.
Kurt shot her a grateful smile and after trying to fix his hair a bit the two of them left the bathroom together. Kurt couldn't keep the smile off his face on the way to the nurse. Was that what having a friend felt like?
The next day unfortunately sucked again. He arrived early at school, like he did on days when his dad left early as well, to avoid his morning dumpster toss, when he was stopped by a teacher and asked to deliver a note to Mr. Schuester who was in the auditorium.
Because he didn't have a good enough excuse not to do it, he accepted the note and walked over to the auditorium and entered through a back door.
He had barely taken two steps inside when he froze.
On stage Rachel and Finn Hudson of all people were trying to perform a song from Grease. Finn was stumbling around while Rachel's vocals were overpowering his mediocre ones terribly. To his surprise Mr. Schuester applauded enthusiastically when the number was over and announced that Finn would be their new male lead. He couldn't see Mercedes' reaction because she was sitting in the audience with the rest of the club, but he hoped she was as shocked as he was.
"Alright, before we run through it again I'd like to thank Finn for convincing a few members of the football team to join our club," Mr. Schuester announced next, while Kurt was still hiding in the dark.
"Let's give a warm welcome to Noah Puckerman, Mike Chang and Matt Rutterford."
The rest of the club was applauding politely as Kurt took in the group of jocks and cheerleaders on the stage. Did Mr. Schuester blackmail them to join Glee club?
"I have also spoken with the band, and Tom has agreed to stand in as twelfth member when we go to competitions. With that being said. We're going to Sectionals."
Kurt dropped the note on the floor and quickly left the auditorium. He had heard enough. They were going to Sectionals without him.
Saturday afternoon Kurt was kidnapped by Mercedes for a shopping trip. Ever since he had walked into glee practice he had been spending even more time in his room and so when Mercedes came by the shop to take him shopping with her, his dad basically forced him to go.
When they reached the mall, a black haired girl with blue highlights was waiting for them. Kurt was pretty sure she was one of the first members of Glee club as well.
"Kurt, this is Tina. She's really nice and when I told her about you she wanted to come along. I hope that's okay." Kurt just nodded, not really able to believe that more than one person wanted to hang out with him.
They had fun though trying on ridiculous outfits to make each other laugh, and Tina actually asked his opinion about a few pieces she considered buying. Mercedes told him she didn't need help, because she was already fabulous. Kurt didn't dare to disagree, even though he found some of her outfits a bit off.
Around six they stopped at the food court and for the first time in a while Kurt actually felt hungry so he got some Chinese. He was really enjoying himself until Tina started talking about Glee.
"You know, you should be glad you're not in the club, because Mr. Schue is just awful," she complained. Mr. Schuester was definitely not his favorite person right now, but he still wanted to be in Glee.
"Tina is right. I feel like I'm only some glorified backup singer for Rachel. I'm just as good as her and Mr. Schuester never gives me or the other members a chance to shine. It's always Rachel and Finn this and Rachel and Finn that. And Finn is the weakest singer in the group."
Kurt nodded. He hadn't heard the other members sing yet, but he had not been impressed by Finn's performance.
He also knew that Mercedes was insanely talented because even though he had refused to sing with her, he had asked her to sing for him.
"Mr. Shuester actually gave me a solo a couple of days ago, but Rachel got angry because she wanted to sing the song and stormed out after threatening to quit. The next day he took my solo away and gave it to Rachel," Tina told him.
Kurt shook his head. What was wrong with that teacher? If he gave Tina a solo in the first place he must have thought she was talented enough. It wasn't fair to take it away again, just because another member of a club – consisting of eleven members – was acting like a diva.
"And you know what is the worst?" Mercedes asked and Kurt shook his head, because he didn't think it could get any worse. "If any of us pulled the same crap Mr. Schuester would probably not even care if we left, as long as he has his precious Rachel."
Kurt knew Mr. Schuester was a jerk, but he hadn't expected that the members of the club would be treated that badly.
"Ladies, that calls for some ice cream and trashy movies. Would you like to come over to my house?" he asked, hoping their answer would be yes, because he hadn't had friends over since he was thirteen.
He was relieved when they both immediately agreed and they went back to his house together. His father did a double take when he went downstairs with the two girls in tow, but he just smile at his dad, a genuine one for once and promised they would keep it down.
They ended up watching 'Hairspray' and after much begging from Mercedes and Tina, Kurt finally agreed to join them on the last number.
The best part of the day - he was singing again and no one made fun of him.
Monday morning found Mercedes, Tina and Kurt talking in front of his locker. They were just gossiping, but for Kurt who had never had anyone to gossip with before, it was the greatest experience ever. Until Rachel Berry showed up.
"Why are you talking to him? He's a loser," she accused the two girls standing next to him.
"In case you hadn't noticed Rachel, we are all considered losers here because we are in Glee," Mercedes immediately shot back, but Rachel just scoffed.
"It least we could get into glee club. I remember his voice from junior high and I'm glad I'm not subjected to his screeching again," she continued her insults and Kurt wanted to strangle her.
He spotted Mr. Schuester standing close by observing the argument, but it didn't look like he had plans to step in.
"I don't know what your problem is Rachel, but I heard Kurt's audition and he was great," Mercedes jumped in to defend him and Tina joined her.
"Ye, yeah, I, I heard h, him sing the other day and h, he sounded re, really good."
"God, Tina. You can't even talk straight and expect to deserve my solos," Rachel insulted Tina and Kurt couldn't take it anymore, because Mercedes and Tina were his friends now.
"Listen Rachel, you're nothing but a whiny little bitch who can't stand the thought that someone might be more talented than you. And somehow you have managed to wrap your teacher around your little finger - and I don't want to know what you had to do for that - and now think you're just oh so special," he practically yelled in her face.
"Well at least I am normal and the only one who is jealous is you," Rachel yelled back, really getting in his face now.
"That's enough," Mr. Schuester suddenly interrupted and for a moment Kurt thought he had addressed Rachel, before Mr. Schuester ordered him to go to the principal's office.
Luckily, another teacher, Kurt thought she was the guidance counselor stepped in as well. "Will, they both said some things they shouldn't have in a school hallway, so if you want to send Kurt to principal Figgins, I insist that you send Rachel as well."
Mr. Shuester was speechless for a moment. "Emma, you don't understand," he whined then. "Rachel didn't deserve to be attacked like that."
"Well, neither did Kurt, Mercedes and Tina." Kurt had no idea how she knew their names, but he was grateful that a teacher was defending him for once.
"Fine," Mr, Schuester finally agreed. "But if I catch you again, I'll send you straight to the principal's office," the teacher threatened him before leaving with Rachel in tow.
The warning bell rang and Kurt wanted to leave with Mercedes and Tina but the red haired teacher asked him to stay behind.
"I'm Emma Pillsbury. I'm the guidance counselor here at McKinley. Would you come to my office with me? I think there are some things we should talk about."
Kurt wasn't really in the mood to talk, but after she had defended him, he figured that was the least he could do.
Kurt was sitting on a chair in Ms Pillsbury's office fiddling with the scarf around his neck while the counselor arranged pens on her desk.
"I take it you're having trouble in school?" she finally said once she was happy with her pen arrangement. Kurt looked up at her in surprise.
"I, yeah. But no one has ever notice so far," he whispered.
"I'm sorry I'm not out in the hallways more often, but when I am I do notice and I tried to bring it up with the other teachers but they weren't much help."
Kurt shrugged his shoulders. He had tried to complain once during his freshman year but no one had been willing to help back then either.
"Do you want to tell me what that argument in the hallway was about?" Ms Pillsbury asked after a moment of silence. Kurt didn't really want to tell her, but he knew he couldn't hide all his issues much longer.
"I auditioned for glee club a few weeks ago and Mr. Schuester wouldn't let me join. I don't want to sound arrogant, but I'm really good, but he told me I sound like a girl and he already had enough of those in the club."
The guidance counselor gave him a sympathetic smile. "And then Rachel came over, and she insulted me and the first people who ever wanted to be my friends, and I guess I just snapped and fought back for once."
Kurt had heard about the counselor's infamous pamphlets and he expected her to give him one about anger management, but instead she leaned forward and briefly put her hand on his, before taking it back and wiping it clean.
"You are not the first student who is complaining about glee club you know. I don't know what methods my colleague uses but it apparently doesn't sit well with the majority of his students."
Kurt was surprised to hear that people had actually started complaining about Mr. Schuester.
"Have you talked to your parents about this? Maybe they could get Mr. Schuester to change his mind," Ms Pillsbury suggested, but Kurt just shook his head.
"It's just me and my dad. And we have nothing in common. He lets me have my silly obsession with music, but I know he would prefer it if I joined a sports team. I don't think he would get involved just because I wasn't allowed to join a singing club."
Kurt felt tears well up in his eyes, but he had no intention to start crying in front of a teacher. He was used to adversity by now.
"Well, I have an idea. Could you ask your friends to join us in here tomorrow afternoon? I think you are going to like what I'm going to suggest."
Kurt nodded, because right now it couldn't get worse and he had to trust the one teacher who was looking out for him.
"Why are we here Ms P?" Mercedes immediately asked once they had all squeezed into the tiny office.
"I was listening to people complaining about New Directions and I thought why not found a second Glee club. Now I'm not telling you to leave your club because your competition is in a few weeks and that wouldn't be fair to your team mates, but I checked the rule book and as long as students don't sing lead for two different clubs there's no rule that says you can't be in two different clubs at the same time," Ms Pillsbury explained.
"As if any of us are getting a solo in glee," Mercedes scoffed. "As long as we show up to sing backup, Mr. Schuester is content to let glee club be the Rachel and Finn show."
"But what about funding? Principal Figgins barely allows the one club," Tina interrupted Mercedes' rant.
"Well, I have a friend who offered to play piano for rehearsals and maybe you can convince the band kids to play for you as well. Most of you are already going to Sectionals on a bus sponsored by the school, so we wouldn't have to worry about transportation and as for costumes, I'm sure we can figure something out."
Kurt immediately volunteered to be responsible for costumes because he was exited about the prospect that he might be able to sing in a club after all.
"So what do you say? Are we having a second glee club?" Kurt, Mercedes and Tina immediately agreed.
"And if we don't get enough members to compete, that's okay as well. I want you to have fun, give you a place where you can be yourself and everyone gets a chance to be in the spotlight."
Kurt thought Ms Pillsbury was seriously the best teacher McKinley had to offer.
"What about a name though?" Tina asked once they had quieted down again.
"How about 'Glee', because that is what music is supposed to be all about," Kurt suggested. To his surprise everyone in the room immediately agreed, and once they left Ms Pillsbury's office, Mercedes suggested that they start recruiting for their secret club immediately.
Kurt offered to start working on costume ideas because he didn't have any other friends in school he could ask and Mercedes promised to ask the other members of New Directions who were fed up with Mr. Schuester as well.
The last people Kurt expected to come to the empty classroom they were using for their first meeting were three girls in cheerleading uniforms who looked like they wanted to be anywhere but here.
"You Hummel?" the dark haired one asked while the other two sat down on the teacher's desk. Kurt nodded.
"Okay, listen up. I'm only here on coach's orders. Sabotaging Schuester from the inside didn't really work out, so we're trying your approach now," the scary girl continued.
"Whatever your reason, we'd love to have you here," he squeaked out, mentally preparing himself for her taunts but aside from a raised eyebrow nothing came.
"As long as I don't have to watch Rachel Berry flirt with my boyfriend anymore, I'm happy to stay as well," a blond girl Kurt recognized as head cheerleader Quinn Fabray said.
Kurt couldn't believe her boyfriend was flirting with another girl right in front of her after he had gotten her pregnant. He wasn't usually in the loop when it came to gossip at McKinley, but even he had heard about Quinn Fabray's pregnancy.
The third cheerleader was chewing the end of her ponytail and Kurt resisted the urge to smack her hand away. "Why are you here, then?" he asked her.
"San's here," the blond answered before she eyed Kurt curiously. "Are you a dolphin?" Kurt had no idea how to answer that but was saved by Mercedes, and Tina who was pushing the boy in the wheel chair through the door.
"Kurt, sorry I'm late, but I guess you already met, Santana, Quinn and Brittany," she apologized while she pointed to the three Cheerios.
"Yo, I'm Artie," the other boy suddenly rolled in front of Kurt to introduce himself. "What Mr. Schuester said to you – not cool."
"Thank you", Kurt whispered because it still took him by surprise when people stood up for him.
Ms. Pillsbury arrived a few seconds later and seemed surprised to see so many faces in the room as well. Just as she was about to close the door three football players stepped inside and Kurt immediately took a step back when he recognized the one with a Mohawk as one of his dumpster bullies.
"Relax Hummel, we're here for the club thing." Mohawk boy shot in his direction when he noticed Kurt.
"What the hell are you doing here, Puckerman? Shouldn't you be with your buddy Finn," Santana advanced on the tall jock and Kurt had to give him credit for not flinching.
"I have my reasons," he told her and Kurt caught him looking at Quinn with an expression he couldn't really place. It almost looked like longing.
When Ms Pillsbury closed the door he grabbed a seat and dragged it upfront and most of the other people in the room followed suit.
"I'm guessing you are all here because you're not happy in New Directions. Can you tell me what you don't like so we don't make the same mistakes in this group," she asked once everyone had sat down.
Immediately chaos broke out with everyone shouting out their problems until Santana got up and ran her nails over the blackboard. It was followed by silence and Ms Pillsbury gave Santana a grateful smile after she took her hands off her ears.
"Why don't you start, Artie?" she asked pointing at the boy next to Kurt.
"I'm pissed Mr. Schuester doesn't consider me leading man material. My vocals are a lot stronger than most of the other guys and I can do choreography just as well as the others with my chair, probably a lot better than Finn."
"Thank you, Artie. Tina?"
"I don't think it's fair to take away someone's solo just because another student threatens to quit if she doesn't get the solo. I work just as hard and I don't understand how Mr. Schuester expects me to become more confident when he does things like that."
One after another everyone in the group explained what their problem with New Directions was and in the end it simply boiled down to this. They didn't feel like they were a team, but just there to make sure they had enough people to sway in the back behind Rachel and Finn for competitions.
That brought them to discussing song selection for Sectionals.
"I think show choir should be a group effort, hence the choir part," Kurt spoke up. "Maybe we should do three group numbers where everybody gets a chance to shine instead of solos because we all know that Mr. Schuester is going to rely solely on his soloists."
Surprisingly no one protested and demanded they'd get the solo they didn't get from Mr. Schuester, because apparently most of the group wanted to beat New Directions at Sectionals.
"Only one problem Ms P," Mercedes said before they could get started on song selection. "We're only ten people and I don't think we can ask the band dudes to help us out again. They are already nice enough to play for us as well and keep it a secret."
Santana, who had been absentmindedly filing her nails, looked up. "I got it covered Aretha," she said in a bored voice. "Tell me how many people you want and Quinn and I will get them for you."
Most of the group looked at her with wide eyes and when Tina spoke up her stutter was more pronounced than usual. "You, you're n..not p...p paying someone, right? That's go going to get us disqualified."
"Relax other Asian. Let's just say that if the other Cheerios know what's good for them they will be volunteering their services before we have finished asking."
No one dared to question Santana's methods and before he knew it Kurt was shouting song ideas along with everyone else. In the end they decided they would do a number that featured the girls and Kurt because there was no way in hell that he would give up on a Lady Gaga number, a number featuring the guys and one big group number at the end where everyone would sing together.
They had five weeks till Sectionals and everyone was optimistic they could make it work because New Directions didn't even have a set list yet. Kurt knew they wouldn't have much time to rehearse because all the others had football or cheerleading practice and still had to show up for two glee rehearsals.
In the end they agreed to meet separately at first to work on the girls and boys number and to meet once a week for the group number. Kurt, Tina and Mercedes were in charge of costumes, while Artie promised to talk to the AV club to get them some special effects. Santana had the Cheerios covered and Ms Pillsbury provided the piano player and rehearsal space.
Kurt couldn't believe how much they had managed to accomplish in one single meeting. Granted they had spent at least three hours together but still.
When he came home that night he was smiling and even joined his dad on the couch for a bit as he watched some fishing show.
"You're in a good mood," his dad remarked during a commercial break. "Not that I'm not glad that you're happy, but did something happen?" his dad asked when Kurt didn't comment on his first statement.
Sometimes it felt as if his dad was waiting for him to say something but Kurt just didn't know what his dad wanted him to say. He wanted to tell his dad about the new glee club, but then thought about the heels he planned to wear with his outfit and decided it was better if his dad never found out about the competition, because who knew, he might actually want to attend.
The next few weeks were stressful for most members of 'Glee', because of double rehearsals and other after school activities, but Kurt tried to help them out as best as he could.
They had decided on a simple jeans and black jacket outfit for the boys number, but wanted to go all out on the costumes for their Lady Gaga performance. So it wasn't uncommon for Kurt, Mercedes and Tina to spend hours in his basement sewing dresses and making accessories, but luckily his dad mostly stayed out of the way and let them be.
It was such a rare occurrence for Kurt to have friends over that his dad probably didn't want to ruin it for him and as long as they kept it down they could do what they wanted.
Rehearsals didn't always run smoothly because people were still fighting over lines or complaining about the choreography Mike, Matt and Brittany had come up with, but all in all they worked well together as a group considering that Ms Pillsbury rarely got involved and usually just let them be.
Mr. Schuester, Rachel and Finn were still in the dark because to Kurt's surprise no one had spilled their secret yet. Principal Figgins had allowed their club as well after Ms Pillsbury had told him it wouldn't cost the school a cent.
Kurt couldn't remember the last time he had been this happy. Sure he was still bullied at school, but Puck didn't participate in the dumpster tosses anymore and he had friends now who helped him clean up after he got shlushied.
For the first time in years he had plans most weekends, be it going to the movies or window-shopping at the mall with Mercedes and Tina. Even Santana, Quinn and Brittany had joined them once, after they had realized he had an eye for bargains.
Still he was nervous about his performance at Sectionals, because what if people in the audience started laughing when he sang. He didn't want to ruin 'Glee''s chances, but maybe he just had to start believing his friends when they told him he sounded good. Mr. Schuester's opinion had just been one of many and he had to learn not to put too much weight on it.
A week before Sectionals his dad told him he could have Saturday off if he made plans with his friends again, and Kurt was glad all he had to do was nod instead of come up with some elaborate excuse why he couldn't come to the shop.
The rest of the week passed way too fast for Kurt's taste and before he knew it, it was the night before Sectionals. His last thought before he fell asleep was, please don't let me screw this up.
Saturday morning, Ms. Pillsbury picked him up from his house because the rest of the club had gone on a bus with the New Directions. After two trips to his bedroom they had finally put all the costumes in the counselor's car and were off to a school in Dayton that was hosting Sectionals.
The drive to Dayton was mostly silent, with the radio playing quietly in the background, but he was thankful for Ms. Pillsbury's encouraging words before he got out of the car.
"It's amazing that we could keep this a secret, isn't it," he told her on the way to their green room.
"I guess we are lucky that they don't announce the schools the choirs are from, just the city. Will, I mean Mr. Schuester probably thinks we are from North Lima High," she grinned and Kurt raised an eyebrow at her because he hadn't really expected her to have a diabolical streak.
While they waited in the green room, members of 'Glee' occasionally dropped by to say hello, but most of the morning was spent waiting because they had drawn the last slot.
When it was time for New Directions to perform Kurt snuck into the auditorium to watch the performance.
Rachel opened their set with "Don't rain on my parade", which was followed by "Faithfully" sung by Rachel and Finn. During both songs the rest of the club was still backstage and Kurt started to wonder if they would come on stage at all.
Only when the opening notes for "Don't stop believing" started, did the curtain in the back rise and the rest of the club appeared. They didn't do much more than sway in the back and sing backup though, and all Kurt could think was that it was such a waste of their talents.
He reported back to Ms. Pillsbury when the song ended and only a few minutes later the members of 'Glee' ran into the green room to get changed for their next performance.
They had agreed to start with "Bad Romance" because the girls and Kurt would need time to get changed for the group number, while the boys would leave on the costume they were wearing for "It's my life."
When they announcement came that they had five more minutes they all came together for a group hug, careful not to ruin their costumes, before slowly making their way to the stage. Kurt nearly stumbled a few times in his heels because he was suddenly feeling very nervous, but he hoped that his nerves would settle by the time the curtain went up.
Luckily their performance went off without a hitch and when they finished they received a standing ovation from the audience they unfortunately couldn't really appreciate, because they had to make space for the boys.
Kurt only saw the last part of the performance because he, like the girls, had to change into his final outfit, but the boys looked like they had a lot of fun and Mike and Matt were even break dancing in front of Puck and Artie who were singing lead.
The girls arrived just in time, having changed into dark blue jeans, black converse and black tops as well, and they formed a line backstage before the curtain rose again.
For their final performance they had chosen Queen's "Somebody to love" because they all liked the song and it was easy to split lines between the members of the club.
They received another standing ovation, but before Kurt left the stage he spotted a furious looking Mr. Schuester storm out of the auditorium. He told the others about it and they agreed to get back to the green room as fast as possible because they didn't want to leave Ms Pillsbury alone with an angry Mr. Schuester.
When Kurt and the rest of the club reached the green room they could already hear shouting coming from it.
"How could you do this to me, Emma? I thought you liked me!" Mr. Schuester yelled.
"This has nothing to do with my feelings for you, Will. This is about the kids. They were unhappy and I offered them a chance to do what they want without just having to stand in the back," Ms. Pillsbury answered rather calmly, while they were all crowding the entrance.
"If they were unhappy, they should have said something," the Spanish teacher argued and Kurt was suddenly pushed aside as Santana stormed into the room.
"Hijo de puta!" Mr. Schuester looked at her confusedly, but even Kurt who didn't take Spanish understood what she said.
"We told you time and time again that we had enough of swaying in the back, but did you listen to us? No. All you cared about was making Rachel happy," Santana continued and the other people next to Kurt nodded.
"You," Mr. Schuester suddenly pointed at Kurt. "This was your idea, wasn't it? Just because I wouldn't let you join glee club you had to create your own one." Kurt took a step back as the teacher advanced on him, but Puck suddenly stepped in front of him to shield him from Mr. Schuester.
"Leave Hummel alone. We all decided to join 'Glee' because it gave us what you wouldn't give us – a chance to shine. I'm not just some dumb ass jock. I play guitar and I'm a decent dancer. Did you know that? Of course you didn't," Puck growled.
Suddenly, Kurt registered the sound of high heels approaching, and before he had a chance to stop her, Rachel Berry slapped him right in front of everyone.
"You always have to ruin everything for me. You got the solo in junior high that I wanted and now you're trying to take away my win at Sectionals. I thought I finally got rid off you, but you just don't give up, do you?"
Kurt was speechless for a moment as he pressed his hand against his cheek. He was used to being pushed around, getting slushied and being thrown into dumpster but no one had ever actually hit him.
"What do you mean, got rid off me?" he finally managed to ask.
"I told Mr. Schue that if he wanted to have me as his star he couldn't let you into the club. It wasn't hard to convince him though because he never wanted to have you anyway," Rachel yelled, clearly forgetting that everyone could hear what she was saying.
"That's enough," Ms Pillsbury suddenly cried out. "Will, take Rachel and leave. You seemed so sure that your strategy of featuring only two members of your club would make you win Sectionals, so you should have nothing to worry about. We'll just have to let the judges decide who the better team was."
Mr. Schuester glared at the teens in the room and led Rachel past a dumbstruck Finn.
"Finn, let's go!" Mr. Schuester yelled, but Finn hesitated for a moment.
"For what it's worth, you were really good guys. I wish I could have sung 'It's my life' with you. It's an awesome song."
"Maybe another time," Ms Pillsbury offered and when she saw Santana glare at her she added. "Everyone who is willing to work as a team is welcome, remember?"
Finn gave her a small smile and hurried after Rachel and Mr. Schuester.
The next thing Kurt knew was that Mercedes guided him over to one of the couches and pressed a cold bottle of water against his cheek. "You okay?"
Kurt nodded. It didn't really hurt, but he was shocked that Rachel had gone as far as hit him over this.
"Oh, before I forget. I have something for you for after the competition so don't run off, okay?" she told him as she sat down next to him. He tried to get her to tell him what it was, but Mercedes remained tight lipped until they were asked to go back on stage for the results.
Luckily the two other choirs were standing between them and Rachel, Finn and Mr. Schuester as Kurt's team members had decided to stay with him and Ms. Pillsbury after what had happened in the green room.
The MC announced the judges, a bored looking woman working for the DMC, a local celebrity and a former beauty queen. After a few horrible jokes the MC finally pulled an envelope out of his jacket pocket and proceed to announce fourth place.
"From Dayton, Ohio and host of this years Sectionals, Haverbrook Deaf Choir." The audience was applauding politely and some people even used sign language to show their appreciation of the choir's work. The choir then quickly shuffled off stage, leaving the other three.
"In third place," the MC continued, "from Lima, Ohio. The MC paused for a second and Kurt saw Rachel smile brightly already sure of her win. "And that is interesting because we have two choirs from the same school. Monday morning is going to suck for some people," he laughed at his own joke before he finally pulled a card fully out of the envelope, "the New Directions."
All around him, people were already jumping up and down because whatever happened next, they had already beat New Directions. Rachel looked close to tears but Kurt just couldn't feel bad for her after everything she had said to him in the past.
"And now, the winner of this year's Sectionals, a first time participant as well, from Lima, Ohio, 'Glee'."
People were hugging him and he was pretty sure Brittany had tried to kiss him at some point but Kurt remained frozen on his spot. They had done it. They had won Sectionals and would go on to Regionals, with a club that hadn't even existed five weeks ago.
He had sung a part of a song and no one had laughed at him or told him to get off the stage because he sucked. Tears were welling up in his eyes yet again as Mercedes dragged him off stage and straight into his father's arms.
"Kurt, you were great. Why didn't you tell me about this," his father asked once he released him.
"Dad, how, what are you doing here?" Kurt stuttered out, tears streaming down his face.
"Your friend Mercedes invited me. She thought it would be a nice surprise." Kurt turned around to Mercedes who just smile at him and raised her hands in surrender. He couldn't really be mad though, because his father had come to hear him sing and he had like it.
"I don't know what your plans are, but how about you and me, we go get some dinner together. I'll even let you chose." Kurt nodded, still in a daze and quickly said goodbye to his friends before leaving with his dad.
All evening long, his dad looked at him with such a proud expression on his face that Kurt wished he could just come out and tell his father the truth about his sexuality, but he didn't want to ruin an evening that was so far perfect.
Soon he told himself though, because if had learned one thing, it was that he could be true to himself and still succeed. The Mr. Schuesters of the world be damned.
Will sat in Figgins office together with Emma, staring at the principal in shock.
"My hands are tied, William. We made a deal at the beginning of the school year and you didn't deliver. If you want to keep your little singing club, fine by me, but your funding will go to Ms Pillsbury who has proven to be a much more successful teacher."
"But you can't do that. She knows nothing about music! She's a guidance counselor." Will exclaimed, not caring anymore that he was yet again insulting the woman who had once encouraged him not to give up teaching for a job in accounting.
"This is my final decision, William." Figgins said and Will stormed out of his office nearly colliding with his star pupil. He shook his head and her eyes widened.
"I'm sorry Rachel, but without any funding or kids there's nothing I can do. I thought you could carry us through Sectionals but apparently I was wrong."
He quickly left before he had to deal with another one of her diva outbursts and headed home to his wife, who would be glad he wouldn't spend time on glee club anymore.
Mike and Matt were trying to teach Finn the steps for their newest song when Rachel walked into the choir room.
"I want to join 'Glee'," she said. "It's clear to me that you had to resort to split leads because you didn't have a strong enough vocalist to sing a solo, but I'm here now to help you out."
Kurt rolled his eyes and went back to discussing the newest Vogue with Mercedes.
Luckily, Ms Pillsbury decided to tackle this one.
"Listen Rachel, we work as a team here and once you decide you can be a team player you are welcome to come back and we'll talk again. But right now, we're doing just fine without you."
"You're going to regret not letting me join when you get to Regionals," Rachel yelled before storming out of the choir room. No one paid much attention to her though and rehearsal quickly resumed after she left.
Rachel had been right about one thing. They didn't win Regionals, but they came in second after Vocal Adrenaline and every one was proud that they had come this far in such a short amount of time.
Kurt was backstage gathering up their things while Puck, Mercedes and Ms. Pillsbury rushed Quinn, who went into labor shortly after their performance, to the hospital.
The atmosphere in the choir room had been tense for a while when Quinn had finally confessed that Puck was the father of her baby, but they had pulled together as a team before Regionals and Finn and Puck had managed to bury the hatchet for the good of the team.
Once all their costumes were packed up Kurt made his way to the concession stand to get some coffee. He had only taken a few step when another boy suddenly ran into him and caused him to spill his coffee over his shirt.
At Regionals, Kurt met a boy named Blaine who was in a rival show choir. A boy how took him out for coffee to make up for the spilt one, after Kurt texted his dad, who had come to hear him sing again. A boy who was out and proud and told Kurt to have courage and to just be himself. They exchanged numbers and agreed to meet again.
Later that night Kurt was sitting in front of his vanity, Blaine's advice running through his mind. He was broken out of his reverie by his father's hand on his shoulder.
"Hey, you did great today kiddo. You'll win next year I'm sure," his dad said before ruffling his hair. Kurt quickly swatted his dad's hand away and his dad laughed.
"Well, good night Kurt, I'm really proud of you for not giving up." Kurt turned around and stared at his dad.
"What do you mean?"
"You're teacher, the red head, she told me about what happened early this year. I'm sad you didn't trust me enough to confide in me, but I'm so proud you pulled through and showed everyone that no one pushes the Hummels around."
Kurt was close to tears again. "Thanks, dad," he whispered. His dad gave him an encouraging smile and turned around. He was about to walk away when Kurt stopped him.
"Wait. There's something I want to say." His dad came back and sat down on his bed.
"What I learned from all this, is that I can achieve more if I'm true to myself and don't let others get me down. And I don't want to hide anymore. I want to show you the real me. The boy who likes fashion and music, but also loves to help his dad out with cars. The boy who is gay."
Kurt averted his eyes as soon as he finished not wanting to see the look on his dad's face after his confession.
"I know," his dad replied and Kurt raised his head in surprise. "I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels." Kurt couldn't stop the laugh that escaped him.
"So we are okay?" he asked tentatively and his father nodded.
"I'm not totally in love with the idea, but I love you just as much. You don't know how long I've waited for you to tell me so I could tell you this. You are my son and I love you."
Kurt threw himself into his dad's arms, sobbing into his shoulder. All this time he had been so afraid to tell his father and his father had just been waiting for him to be ready.
Later that night when he was in bed, Kurt thought about the past couple of months. Not only had he overcome adversity, but he had also made real friends. He knew his life wasn't going to be all sunshine and rainbows all of a sudden, but he was not alone anymore. He had his dad, he had his glee club and maybe somewhere along the road he and Blaine might become more than just friends. Kurt Hummel was done with hiding and if others had a problem with that they better watch out.
Just as he was about to fall asleep his phone alerted him to a new text message.
Kurt read his message from Blaine before falling asleep with a smile on his face.