Leo is a very good student, but he's not a kid who likes school. All his motivation to get excellent grades comes from the fact that he hates begin scolded way more than he hates studying. And even more importantly, his parents' permission to go visit Blaine doesn't come for less than A+. So, being a top student is not much of a choice for him. And since he really needs his school career to be spotless, there are very few things that would convince him to break school rules and jeopardize his conduct grades.
One of these things are jerk teachers.
Despite what his father Kurt says, Leo has never had any problem with authority. He recognizes it, he respects it and he's generally a very polite kid. The only authority he's ever had problem with is Kurt's after Blaine came into the picture, but that's another story – one his father refuses to even take into consideration. His teachers have never had any reason to complain about him and they're used to his occasional sarcasm or to the fact that he tends to attract attention on himself, especially when the Double A's are with him. So, when Mr. Yeaple comes along, Leo is 100% sure the reasons behind his war with him has everything to do with Yeaple being a jerk and nothing to do with his non-existent problem with authority.
Mr. Yeaple is a forty-something, average-looking man with salt-and-pepper hair and the face of someone who hated life even before it gave him lemons and he's now hating it even more because the lemonade he made with them sucks big time. He came in on a Monday, replacing Mrs. O'Hara, the history teacher, who funnily enough, broke her leg while playing Scarlet in the local production of Gone with the wind. Leo swears he wasn't doing anything particularly annoying, the man just read his name during roll call and started hating his guts.
For the next two hours, despite having a class of twenty students, Mr. Yeaple asked every single question to him, with the result of annoying Leo to no end and himself because Leo knew every answer – he's got the habit of memorizing basically everything on the program because he hates history and that's the only way he knows to get the grades he wants.
On the second lesson, which unfortunately took place three days later, Mr. Yeaple seemed convinced that the place he was sitting at was detrimental for the whole class. “I don't trust you with your quarterback friend,” he said, as if being a quarterback was symptomatic of something else he wasn't actually saying. That for Leo was completely ridiculous. Adam is so rigid and disciplined that he would not make a fuss in class even if the teacher asked him to. And he's probably the only person who needs good grades more than Leo, since his chance to go to college relies solely on a scholarship. Leo protested, but it was pointless and Mr. Yeaple made him sit next to Morgan, who's the closest thing to a nemesis Leo has in real life. That kid is evil and Leo takes having to be in close contact with him as a personal offense.
But what really sets Leo off is something that happens on the third lesson, right when he thought Mr. Yeaple couldn't become any more annoying. The man is already in class way before he is supposed to, which is a jerk teacher move in and of itself; cool teachers doesn't have time to lie in ambush for their students because they actually have a life and things to do. Most of Leo's classmates are entering the class and he is on his freaking way. He sets foot in the room as the bell rings, but the man seems to be outraged by his mere presence.
“Mr. Karofsky-Hummel,” he always calls him by his full last name – nobody does – as if it was a title Leo chose for himself and he wanted to mock him by fully pronounce it. “Is this the time to come to my class?”
“Well, it was last time I checked,” Leo says. “I didn't make the timetable.”
Part of the class laughs, but Adam pitifully rests his head against his desk. He knows Leo well enough to recognize his boiling point and to know that it can only go downhill from here. Leo rarely lets something go if that something annoys him, and Mr. Yeaple already qualifies as way more than just a nuisance in Leo's book, which might be too oversensitive as far as books go, but it is what it is and Adam can only brace for the worse.
Mr. Yeaple doesn't seem to laugh either. “You were late,” he states more clearly, as if Leo was slow and didn't get the meaning of his words the first time.
Leo seems baffled. “No, I wasn't. The bell was ringing.”
“You are supposed to be here before it does,” Mr. Yeaple continues.
It's unnerving how he's keeping this going, stealing time to the actual lesson, for such a triviality. Besides, he wasn't exactly hanging out in the hall. “Professor Hudson wanted to talk to me,” he explains.
Mr. Yeaple clicks his tongue, nodding not like someone who suddenly understands the situation, but like someone who was just made sure that what he thought was right. “Right, because you are the lead singer of the school's choir, so everything is permitted to you.”
But the man is clearly ready to go on a rampage and there is no stopping him now. “I know all about you, Karofsky-Hummel. The director of the choir is actually your uncle, the school coach is your father and you're both son and nephew of two Broadway stars. You're basically royalty, aren't you?”
Leo looks at him in shock, his eyebrows perfectly arched over his blue eyes. He can't believe this is happening for real, nothing of this conversation makes any sense at all. Besides, if this man thinks that being related to a few teachers and to a couple of Broadway stars – who nobody under the age of thirty knows anyway – had made his life any easier, he's deluded. If anything, being the son of a teacher means you're supposed to do better than anybody else, to set the example.
Plus, the man doesn't know about Blaine, as far as fatherly figures and Broadway actors in his life are concerned, and he's another kind of problem in and of itself.
“Mr. Yeaple, I was just summoned in the choir room by Professor Hudson. It was a two minutes conversation about the incoming—“
“I know people like you,” Mr. Yeaple continues as if Leo's contribution to this exchange was totally inconsequential. “You think you're above the law, that school rules don't apply to you.”
Leo feels like he's saying this a lot, but, “Actually—“
“This ends now,” Mr. Yeaple cuts him off again. “You must be in class before the bell rings. As long as I'm here, you will be expected to follow this and all the other rules like everybody else. ”
So, not for long, just until Mrs. O'Hara gets back on her feet, Leo thinks. “Understood,” he hisses. “Can I get inside, now?”
“No, what you can do is take yourself to the headmistress's office,” Mr. Yeaple says.
“You must be joking!” Leo bursts out.
But Mr. Yeaple is not, and Leo ends up in Headmistress Sylvester's office. The woman is never happy to see him – she says that seeing him in her office is like looking at the fifteen years delayed result of the sexual tension between his two fathers that time she had them both in her office – and she's quick to send him away, but the stings keeps burning for the next few days.
It's time enough to plot revenge.
“You can't be serious.” It's been three days since the incident and Adam is speaking with the voice of a man who has other problems in his life to take care of and yet is forced to tend to this one too. “You're not doing it for real, aren't you?”
“You can bet your scholarship that I am,” Leo says, staring at the door of Mr. Yeaple's class as if he was ready to set it on fire.
“Don't ever joke about my scholarship, Hummel,” Adam says, sternly. “You could jinx it.”
“How?” Leo squeaks, turning towards him. “Giving the Lima college scholarship committee the evil eye? What are you even talking about?”
“Just don't talk about it!”
“Fine!” Leo snorts. “Anyway, you can bet whatever you want that I'm going to go through with this.”
Annie, who's been quiet so far, sighs patiently. “Leo, you know I'm always with you whenever you decide to do something—“
“That's pretty much the problem, Annie, you wind him up.”
“Shut up, Adam,” Annie says. “As I was saying, I'm always with you, but isn't it a bit pointless? That man is gonna be gone in less than a month anyway.”
“You're missing the point,” Leo explains. “It's not about him, it's about sending a message.”
“What message? To whom?” Adam cries out, flailing his arms. “You're crazy.”
“I'm not. And you can go inside,” Leo says, stubbornly. “Annie, you too. Please, I need to do this.”
They're both used to his randomly dramatic behavior, so they don't insist any further. After all, any minor inconvenience becomes a tragedy with Leo, so it's not surprising at all that this – all this, whatever it is – has so horribly blown out of proportion in his head. Adam and Annie cross the threshold together, but Annie seems to hesitate. She pauses and half turns towards Leo, but Adam is quicker and closes his hand around her arm, pulling her inside.
He spent the last three days counting the seconds and noting down the exact time the bell rings at every hour. He can do this and he will. If he has to be in class before the bell rings, he'll set step inside one second before it happens, not one moment earlier, and that man will have to suck it up.
He leans against the wall, ignoring the people passing him by to go inside and casting puzzled glances at him. Harper looks at him with such disgust that he could not be more proud; when Harper finds him disappointing, he's usually doing the right thing.
His whole body is tensed. He's nervous, but also thrilled. He could be sent to Headmistress Sylvester's office again – and that would be bad – but he can't wait for the pinched expression on Mr. Yeaple's face. It's gonna be hilarious and—
“Leo, are you trying to hide and failing miserably or what?” Mrs O'Hara's voice is so out of place right now that it takes Leo a few seconds to understand what is going on. He even misses the moment and the bell rings.
“What are you doing there?”
Mrs O'Hara, sitting at her desk with one leg propped up on another chair, leans forward to look at him. “I could ask you the same question,” she says. “Now, would you mind getting inside so I can start my lesson? I already have my leg in a cast, don't make my life harder than it is.”
Leo enters the class slowly, looking confused. “You were supposed to be home for at least a month.”
“Yeah, well, I was bored and I don't need to walk around to teach you history,” she says curtly as she goes through Mr. Yeaple's notes. “Now sit down, standing won't make you taller.”
As the class laughs, Leo sits down next to Adam. “You knew it,” he hisses.
“No, I saw her when I entered the class,” Adam chuckles. “As you would have, if you hadn't gone through with your silly plan.”
“You could have told me.”
Mrs. O'Hara looks up at them, so Adam lowers his voice. “And miss your face when you saw her? Nah.”
Leo opens his book as if he wanted to murder it. “Adam, you're gonna pay for this.”
And just like that, the target of his revenge has changed.