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A Heart Wide Open- Chapter 1

A re-take on the Season 4 episode "Shooting Star". Will contain discussion of gun violence at school. May feature character death(s). Please do not read if this is triggering for you.

This work is un-beta'd and any mistakes are my own.

Chapter 1- Gun Shots Ring Out
When something unthinkable happens, Kurt and Finn both have way too much time to think about other things.

Chapter 2
Chapter 3

[Read More]Chapter 1- Gunshots Ring Out

Finn Hudson slouches in the stiff auditorium chairs. He’s set up the couple of things Mr. Schue- Will- has asked him to and it didn't take as long as he thought it might, so he’s just going to sit in the quiet of the empty auditorium for a bit. The place holds sentimental like value to Finn; so many memories. Maybe that is the problem with helping out at McKinley; he’s surrounded by memories and ghosts of his former life. He half expects to see Rachel step into the spotlight; to hear Kurt complain about someone’s clothing choice; to feel Puck throw an arm around his shoulders or clap him on the back. However, they’re not here, not anymore. Sometimes Puck will swing by to see Finn himself or Jake, but he hates being here. And it doesn’t help that Finn still does see Sam, who lived at Hudson-Hummel house with Kurt and Finn last year, and still lives there now. That he still hears Blaine and Tina gossiping and giggling on an almost daily basis. Plus, Brittany hugs him every time she sees him now, as if she is afraid he might disappear.

Finn hasn’t been sleeping well. He’s not even sure how long it’s been, but it seems like a long time. When he can fall asleep, he has such strange and vivid dreams that Finn wakes up tireder than when he went to sleep. Likely, it is that he just can’t seem to shut off his brain. Finn remembers suffering similarly in his sophomore year. For a while he thought his girlfriend was pregnant; plus being in glee club, and a jock were difficult to pull off at the same time. He’d spend hours awake at night, usually resulting in him playing his Xbox until the wee hours of the morning, or watching tv hoping to find some late night tv nudity. Finn suspects that talking to someone might help, but maybe not just anyone. There is someone specific Finn thinks he could talk to about this; should talk to about this. However, this isn’t a conversation Finn wants to have via email or the telephone and that person is currently in New York while Finn is stuck in Lima. But, in just a few short weeks, they’ll both be in Lima. Finn can wait until then. He doesn’t have a choice really.

Finn is still sitting in the McKinley auditorium when he hears it. A sound so foreign and bizarre in that environment but not one Finn is unfamiliar with; so it takes him a couple of minutes to realize a gunshot shouldn’t be heard in a school. His first instinct is to go make sure everyone is all right, but as his hand lands on the handle of the auditorium doors, he sees his mother's worried eyes when he’d returned from Georgia. He hears Kurt clucking his tongue as Finn shows off his stupid self inflicted gun shot wound. Finn is suddenly terrified; more terrified than he has ever been. He drops to his hands and knees and crawls over and wedges himself under a row of seats. He feels in his pocket for his phone, turning it off so it doesn’t accidently go off and give away his location and so that he won’t be tempted and distracted by it. Finn doesn’t even register the tears leaking out of his eyes until they hit the backs of his hands, pillowed under his chin.


Kurt stretches and yawns as he leaves his last class for the day. He’s glad it’s almost the weekend. There is something that just feels off and Kurt wants to curl up with his favorite movies, some ice cream, some cheesecake, and fresh baked cookies. Kurt pulls his cell phone from his bag to start making a list of ingredients for cookies. He turns his ringer back on and almost immediately it begins to ring. Kurt flashes a quick look at the caller id and notices it’s his step-mother, Carole, calling.

“Carole,” Kurt says almost breathlessly. It’s not his fault; a call from Carole always scares him into thinking something is wrong with his dad.

“Kurt, hi,” she says, and Kurt can pick up on something in her voice. It makes his blood run cold.

“What’s wrong?” Kurt asks anxiously as he stops and leans up against a wall, not trusting his own legs to keep him standing upright.

“Sorry,” Carole says apologetically. “I don’t mean to scare you Kurt. Your Dad is fine.”

Kurt hears Carole cover the mouthpiece of her phone, then a couple of hushed words between Carole and his father before Burt speaks to his son.

“I’m fine kiddo- I swear,” Burt says. Kurt can hear a tone in his voice too- one that Kurt knows means something is up. “I can hear you worrying over the phone. Stop it!”

“But something is wrong,” Kurt says. “I can feel it. I can hear it in both of your voices.”

Burt sighs into the phone. “Have you heard from Finn or any of your glee club friends back here today?”

“No,” Kurt says, relaxing a little. This doesn’t sound as bad as the scenarios that had flashed in his head. “I mean, I just got out of class and they’re all still probably in class too. And Finn and I don’t talk on the phone that much really. Just lots of texts, emails, facebook posts, you know.”

“Have you heard from Finn in any of those ways today?” Carole asks softly.

“I think he posted something on my facebook wall early this morning,” Kurt says. “Did you loose Finn or something?” Kurt can’t help but chuckle a little because the thought of his 6 foot everything brother being ‘lost’ is ridiculous.

However, the muffled sob that escapes Carole stops Kurt. “What’s going on?”

“The school, McKinley, it’s on lockdown right now,” Burt says. “Apparently there were gunshots.”

“Gunshots?” Kurt says, maybe a little too loudly if the reaction of the people passing him in the NYADA halls is to be believed.

“Gunshots,” Burt confirms. “And we haven’t been able to get a hold of your brother.”

Kurt feels himself sliding down the wall until he is sitting on the floor. “You haven’t heard from him? You don’t know if he’s ok?”

“No,” Burt’s voice is soft and thick with emotion. “So if you hear from him, make him call his mother.”

“Ok,” Kurt says softly.

“Don’t worry about it,” Burt says. “I know there was glee club practice today but your brother is not the most punctual person. Maybe he didn’t show up until after the lockdown, and he’s fine- just forgot his phone in his dorm or something.”

“That does sound a little like Finn,” Kurt agrees softly.

“And even if he is in there, I know he didn’t make it all the way through, but he’s got some military training,” Burt says. “He might not be a great academic, but this is the kind of thing Finn is very smart at.”

Kurt nods even though Burt can’t see him. “You’ll let me know what happens.”

“I will,” Burt agrees. “Bye kiddo- I love you.”

“I love you too Dad, Carole,” Kurt says quietly.


Kurt sits on the floor for a few minutes before he stands up and dusts himself off. He walks out of the building and across campus, heading towards an atm where he withdraws some cash because he was making a grocery list before his phone rang after all. He heads for the subway and gets all the way down in the tunnel before he turns around and heads back up above ground. He hails a taxi; when the driver asks him where to, the answer surprises Kurt himself.

“Laguardia,” he says in a monotone voice.

The drive is uneventful; Kurt spends it wavering between staring out the window and staring at his phone, willing it to ring. When he arrives at Laguardia and is dropped off the domestic departures terminal, he walks up to the first ticketing agent and begins to ask about the next available flight to Columbus, Dayton or Toledo. In the end, Kurt gets on a flight headed for Dayton because it will get him back in Lima the fastest assuming there are no problems renting a car in Dayton. Once he has boarded the flight, Kurt turns off his phone when they tell him to and he hopes Burt and Carole don’t try to call while he is en route and worry when he doesn’t pick up.

Kurt spends the just over four hour flight, including a brief stop in Philadelphia, thinking about Finn. Kurt remembers the first time he ever saw Finn Hudson; the first time Finn inadvertently stuck up for him, the first time he realized he was crushing on the boy and the first thing he ever said to Finn and Finn said to him. Kurt does remember the last time he saw Finn; at the doomed Schuester-Pillsbury wedding, but Kurt can’t remember the last thing he said to Finn or Finn said to him. Kurt can’t remember the last time he told Finn he loved him, and he’s allowed to say that, they’re brother’s after all and their relationship has changed dramatically since sophomore year. Kurt doesn’t remember the last time Finn’s said that either, but Kurt knows it’s true. Finn wears his heart on his sleeve, and his love is shown continuously through his actions; both grand over the top gestures and silly, acts of kindness. It’s something Kurt knows he could easily stand to learn from Finn. He just hopes that Finn has never doubted what he means to Kurt.

When Kurt lands in Dayton; he rents a compact car. It doesn’t take very long thankfully, and Kurt is on the road, heading towards Lima even quicker than he had anticipated. He opts not to turn on his phone because he knows he is already distracted enough, he doesn’t need bad news or a lack of news to cause him to have an accident. He opts not to listen to the radio either; in case there is news coverage and since his phone is off he can’t just listen to it, so instead Kurt sings out loud in the car for the hour or so it takes to drive from the Dayton airport to his house in Lima. Arriving at the Hudson-Hummel house, Kurt feels his heart constrict. The driveway and all up and down the road are filled with vehicles. Kurt recognizes Blaine’s car, Sam’s jeep and Tina’s vw beetle. Kurt ends up having to turn around and park across the street in front of the White’s house.

Kurt opens the door and calls immediately for his dad and Carole, but before they come out, Kurt sees Blaine, Sam, Brittany and Tina all huddled together on the couch, talking softly, sobbing a little and touching each other comfortingly. It’s like a punch to the gut, and Kurt feels his heart begin to race. It was like awaking to a house full of relatives when his mother had passed away. Blaine sees Kurt, and he stands up and walks over to him. Kurt lets himself be pulled into Blaine’s embrace, neither of them says anything but Kurt finds himself suddenly in the middle of a four sided hug. Kurt can’t even vocalize his distress, and he knows if it were not for all of them holding him up, he would have already crumpled to the floor.

Burt and Carole emerge from the kitchen; red eyed.

“Kurt,” Burt says as he pulls his son from the pile of teenagers and holds him tight, Carole by his side.

Kurt begins sobbing. “I’m sorry Carole; I’m so sorry. I just went right to the airport after we talked. I’m sorry Dad.”

“Its ok kiddo,” Burt says nodding. “It's understandable that you want to be here now. You could have called; I would have picked you up.”

“No, no,” Kurt insists. “I couldn’t take you away from Carole right now.”

Burt turns and looks at Carole over top his son’s head. He holds Kurt out at an arms distance. “What?”

Before Kurt has a chance to say anything else though, a voice booms from the top of the stairs.

“Did I hear Kurt’s voice?”

Kurt looks up, his eyes roll back in his head, and he faints.