Author's note: Kurt's POV for Thermodynamics.
He's always had to fight. Sometimes it's himself, but more often it's the people around him. Or rather their expectations of him. Now he's fighting again, the same expectations that he's propagated since the start of high school. In middle school he was teased and bullied and the only thing he really learnt there was that he wasn't going to spend his next four years at high school the same way. So his first week at high school he watched and learnt that it was exactly the same, unless you were popular. Then you had power and could consider yourself above everyone else.
He's co-leader of the Cheerios with Rachel. His almost-step-brother is the quarterback and captain of the football team. While he doesn't consider himself above anyone he knows he has power. Stopping the slushy-attacks and dumpster tosses had been the result of one well placed threat. He has a sort of power over the Cheerios, he isn't Coach Sylvester's understudy for nothing, and he has never used his power this way before. He'd instructed them to withhold certain favors from their boyfriends if they, or any of their team mates committed an act that could be considered bullying.
Of course it had helped having Coach Beiste on his side, informing the team their energy had to be focused on training and the game, and not wasting it roughing up people. She'd said anyone caught bullying would be benched, and he had to admit the coupled with the threat of no sex the boys were bound tightly. He'd originally gone to her hoping that she would maybe help, put on a slightly simpering act, saying he's noticed that some kids were getting bullied, and that he didn't think it was right. Of course he didn't mention the verbal bullying.
He hadn't even thought of the verbal bullying, the names and taunts that are thrown around the hallways like pieces of trash. He doesn't consider himself above anyone, but the peer pressure and the common acceptance that that type of behavior is not only normal, but expected… He hadn't been faced with the reality that he had turned into a bully until his dad pulled him up. Reminded him that he used to be teased and bullied, and that while bruises might fade the cut of words can leave wounds that might never heal; that just because someone might look big and strong doesn't mean they're any less capable of being hurt.
That had made him recoil, because he knew that his dad was talking about Karofsky, and he really wants to know what the hell he said to his father. After that verbal dressing down he'd been angry and frustrated, and also deeply ashamed. He wants to make his dad proud of him and he's never felt like such a massive failure before.
So he's trying to be polite. Which is harder than he thought, especially when Karofsky seems so distrustful of him. Okay sure, he hasn't exactly given the guy any reason to trust him, but he's trying. When he'd first approached him he'd expected to battle against the same homophobia he's experienced among the football team, so he'd been on the attack, which had back fired horribly. Karofsky just seemed so… unruffled. Like he didn't even matter. He'd thought it was because he was gay, the whole cold shoulder attitude, but then seeing him with Anderson…
That makes him ache for that kind of friendship. Karofsky clearly isn't homophobic, the way he slings an arm around Anderson, or ruffles his hair, so Karofsky's problem is actually with him. Not his sexuality. It makes a nice change, although he knows letting down his barriers and becoming friends with someone, letting them see him without the persona he takes on simply to manage at high school just makes him feel too vulnerable. Although a lot of things about Dave Karofsky make him feel vulnerable.
The guy is smart. It had been intimidating but his patience has actually made him relax. Unfortunately no longer being intimidated means that certain other emotions come to the fore occasionally, and they are just as frustrating. He's had his fair share of crushes on straight guys, and it seems Karofsky is just another in a long line. Of three. Still, he's trying to not let his slight obsession with the guys arms distract him when he's trying to learn things which he will no doubt never need outside of high school.
It's confusing. He swings between wanting to snap at him, to admiring him. He sometimes hates the person he's become in high school just to survive. He hates that he needs his help but he also wants to befriend him, just so he might have a little of what Anderson gets effortlessly. He hates the fact that he's gay and the only other out gay kid at school is someone he could probably basket toss single handedly. He hates that Karofsky doesn't even seem to like him. But he can't blame him. Right now he barely likes himself.