Title: "Bury Me In Satin, Lay Me Down On A Bed Of Roses"
Characters: Kurt Hummel, Noah Puckerman (pre-slash if you squint real hard at the end)
Rating: NC-17
Warning: Allusions to violence, suicidal thoughts, and general angst, with a few choice swear words (courtesy of Puck) thrown in for good measure.
Spoilers: None that I could think of
Summary:

He was known to keep things to himself; every cutting remark, every retort, every slip of a note, every healing scar, every mottling bruise...he harbors them, tucks them neatly into his subconscience and into rather sophisticated designer wear because he was Kurt Hummel, and Hummels don't let others get the best of them physically or emotionally. But in truth, he's been asking...screaming...begging for help and really, it doesn't take much for anyone to notice. That is if they bother to notice at all.

Disclaimer: Not my sandbox.
A/N: My first songfic ever and an entry to my H/C prompt card (which I have yet to figure out how to post)! So this is one of the fics that barreled through my writer's block and as a consequence, the characters may come off as OOC and I apologize. Completely unbetaed, so all mistakes (and there may be a lot) are all mine. The song featured is "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.

-o-

if I die young, bury me in satin
lay me down on a bed of roses
sink me in the river, at dawn
send me away with the words of a love song

-o-

Kurt ran. He ran as fast as his feet could take him, ignoring the sharp jabs of pain everytime he collided with the wall as he rounded each corner. Away from those boneheaded jocks...away from their threatening fists, and into the safety that was Glee Club.

It was almost comical, how Kurt found himself runningstumbling his way along the corridor. It was already way past school hours, but with Regionals coming in in a month, Rachel thought it best that the more after school practices they have, the better prepared they'll be, which is ridiculous as far as Kurt is concerned. He did get the drive to win. Their loss to Vocal Adrenaline the year before had crushed them all and none would like a repeat of that. But knowing that that group wasn't even in the running for the Regionals title ever since they lost Jesse St. James to some posh European boarding school across the pond, and eventually losing to some little known show choir that showcases more skin than actual talent, the daily practices were a little too much even for Kurt.

Because these after school practices only gave the jocks some ample time to jostle him about despite Coach Sylvester's warnings about how students who'd even so much as touch any one of her Cheerios, they would certainly have to resign to the fact that they may or may not be able to bear children in the near future.

But even the very real threats of castration (Kurt's seen the 'instruments', just don't ask him how) never really got to the likes of Karovsky and Azimio and the rest of the hockey thugs, and that's how Kurt finds himself running a marathon every after last period alone (He has English last, a class he shares with no one from the Glee Club). Sometimes he'd sneak under their radar, other times, God would grace him with an empty hall to pass through; but that didn't stop Kurt from running to the music room either way.

The other times that Kurt would find himself surrounded by the jocks weren't as disconcerting as they should be, save for the fact that the side checking became face planting into the lockers and that they'd started to throw the punches they've been waving about most of the time. Kurt wasn't sure when things started to escalate from schoolyard antics to actual violence, but he should have known better. He wasn't exactly subtle about anything either.

And it had started small. A punch in the gut usually satisfied the lugs, but now, it takes at least 2 or 3 punches to his midsection and a kick to the side before they would unceremoniously drop him to the ground, giving each other high-fives as they make their way out the school, leaving him gasping for breath on the cold hard floor.

And Kurt was quite able to suck it all up (he was used to this...expected it even), that is up until recently when they started to drag him into the bathroom after being treated like a punching bag, disbelieving that somebody like him could withstand the physical punishment.

No, they don't touch him that way...at least not yet, but they do find it funny when they dump his face into a clogged up sink that Kurt could only guess what it contained, holding his head in place before pulling him up at the last minute when Kurt couldn't hold his breath anymore.

And Kurt always comes out of it fine, a little wet at times, but fine nonetheless. He's prepared himself for these types of things, shielding his heart from the psychological blows though with the exceptions of a few physical manifestations of scratches and bruises; all of which could be easily covered with some heavy duty concealer and the appropriate shade of pressed powder. But sometimes, a particular gash or a swollen lip just couldn't be hidden that it should have raised some alarms within his little group of friends right?

Wrong.

And that, in Kurt's opinion, is what hurts the most. The physical pain, he couldwill bear, but it's the thought that his friends barely bat an eye toward him every time he comes to Glee 5 minutes late (they should have noticed, Kurt's never been late to Glee. He always managed to get in at the last minute, but Kurt Hummel was NEVER late...up until now), nor were they even asking since when blood ever was a fashion statement. But it's happened countless times already that Kurt found himself resigning to the fact that everyone's too focused in winning Regionals...and Kurt gets that. So he doesn't whine, he doesn't try to catch Mercedes' attention anymore, nor does he make a sound when a certain piece of choreography makes his chest burn with every twist and clap.

And it's not to say that he didn't try per se, because he did. He tried to let them see past the make-up, past the fake smile he puts on. He had tried so hard to get even just a minute of their time that he even spoke to Rachel with something non-Glee related for godsakes! But none of them worked. Mercedes was too busy practicing her solo (Mr. Schue finally relented to the power of her Chocolate Thunder), Tina was too busy designing and redesigning a choreography with Mike, Matt, and Brittany so they could showcase Artie a little bit more, rather than just have him either wheel around straight and across the stage or at the sidelines playing a guitar (They're planning on lifting him off his chair. Admirable, but come on. Rachel's in on it though); Santana and Quinn, on the other hand, were assigned to helping Finn with his footwork, while Puck simply watches them...or more specifically just the girls, and even more specifically their boobs.

And that left Kurt with no one. It's disheartening and it hurts, but sometimes when he's practically stumbling through the door and no one even acknowledges his presence, Kurt just thinks of how easy it would have been to just drop to the floor and not move until somebody does see him.

and he's actually planning to do that now as he feels his lungs burn because of the running (he had to go through the back twice this time). He watches the ground intently as if it's beckoning him to it as he clutches the door frame with scraped hands, as he hears the chorus to another revised version of Somebody To Love waft through the door. Kurt wishes hard that he could just lie down because God knows he's tired with this. He's really really tired and he can't think just how much longer he'll be able to keep this up, or just how much longer Karovsky and his goons go a little too far with their so called 'games'.

But Kurt thinks that maybe, just maybe, his friends might notice him now, might see his disheveled hair, his bruised lip, or the tears stinging his eyes that he takes a deep shaky breath and cautiously pushes his way into the room.

"That was great you guys! But there's still a few rough parts..." Mr. Schue clasps his hands together before motioning the group back to their first position. "We need to fill this spot up during the second verse. Think you can do a little improv for us, Mike?"

"Will do, Mr. Schue!"

"And could you sing that part with Quinn? It's missing something..."

"Hell, yeah!"

Kurt watches Mike fistpump the air at the chance of a little dance solo and his first lines of a song, and everyone's in a congratulatory mode, whooping and patting Mike on his back, that Kurt couldn't bring himself to spoil their fun despite the growing weight in his stomach. So he simply makes his way to the back of the group, standing as if nothing had happened, ignoring the searing pain as his shoulder collided with Puck's.

"Watch it, Hummel."

Puck simply nudges him away without even sparing him a glance. And Kurt knew that he shouldn't be hurt by this, he and Puck aren't exactly friends, and he didn't take the jock to be the observant type, but he wished so bad that Puck would have at least insulted his hair, clothing, anything...but, no. He's shrugged off yet again, and everyone's back at their starting positions.

The song starts up again, and New Directions was sounding better than ever; everyone had a gleam in their eyes save one Kurt Hummel. He swayed mechanically to the music and sang what he needed to sing. But if you listened closely, you'd hear him let out a few sobs in between lines as he watches Mike take his mini duet with Quinn, and dance on the very spot where he was supposed to stand.

That when the final chords of the song ring in the air a few seconds longer before everything comes to a silence filled with huffs and puffs, Kurt drops his gaze to the floor. And despite the few hollers from every one else for a job well done, all Kurt hears is his heart finally breaking.


The next day was just as bad as yesterday. They still dragged him up into the boys' bathroom at the end of the hall, and Kurt didn't even fight this time. He'd let them take him by his arms, and Kurt could only hope that somebody hears the squeaks of his shoes on the linoleum floor.

Nothing differed from what had occurred yesterday. They let out a few punches here and there, ramming his back up the wall, smothering him up with a dirty rag 'til he started seeing spots before turning to each other to gloat...it was the same routine.

Except that this time, the jocks had a camera.

They'd let him go eventually with nothing more than a torn jacket (which he easily hid in his messenger bag) and a few embarrasing photos for remembrance (he'd burn them later). And he made it to the music room with a minute to spare.

But the fact that he wasn't late for the first time in a long while didn't stop Rachel from grabbing him by the elbow and taking him aside. Kurt had to stop himself from grimacing outwardly when his body twisted at the movement.

"What do you want Rachel?"

"You're slacking." Kurt merely blinks at her which prompts Rachel to explain further. And Kurt very nearly laughs at her because the feel of an impending headache is barring him from listening to her properly. But her being Rachel, his obvious inattentiveness only spurs her on.

"This is Regionals, Kurt. We can't risk losing, not this time. And as usual, it all comes down to me. Well, to me and Finn...and a few others." Rachel tightens her grip on his arm, disregarding his flinch. "As I have said, we need to win this and that means we have to put out 110% and as far as I can see, you're not even trying."

"Kurt, I know that you're not happy with the way the solos were handed out and I know that you think you could handle even just half a song but you just have to accept the fact that you can't. I'm clearly the most talented around here and it's only natural that I get the solos, but just because you can't see past your envy for me doesn't mean that you have the right to slack off." Rachel says this which such naivety that it seemingly hurt more than his headache.

"What makes you think that this is about you, Rachel?"

Rachel stares up at him, mouth agape. She seems to have noticed her unbecoming look when she glares up to him, her lips now pressed into a thin line. She huffs and crosses her arms before turning back swiftly and crossing the room towards the others. And Kurt could only watch her retreating back with a sigh.

He'd wished Rachel probed more and hadn't given up so easily after one snappy retort. But he couldn't really blame her. Not when Finn's tripping over his own feet and very nearly plows Santana to the ground whilst trying to dance.

So Glee goes on and ends rather uneventfully, though they've made progress with the choreography (it still hurt like hell though). No one still came up to him and asked him if he was okay (he was pretty sure that the stumble he nearly took just minutes within the first chorus should have at least warranted a concerned look from his friends...but he was wrong), though he might have thought he'd caught Puck staring his way. He shook it off though. I mean, since when did Puck care about him anyway?

Kurt lets out a small whimper when Finn managed to barrel his way toward him, smiling jovially, his eyes bright with anticipation. And Kurt could only dig through his messenger bag and hand him the keys, managing well enough to not roll his eyes as he sees him practically skip out the room.

Finn's been driving the Navigator for a week now. Kurt doesn't trust himself to drive properly anymore, his shoulder has been a wreck for days now, so he's happy to delegate the driving duties to somebody else. Though he'd been wary at first, letting Finn drive and all (he's heard the infamous tale of the mailman from Carole), but it seemed that when given the task, Finn's extra careful in driving now because as he says: "To damage this baby? That's a crime punishable by death!"

And Kurt still holds him to that. But as he leans on the window, his gaze falls to his almost step-brother and the delight in his face only manages to bring a frown to his. He's looking awfully worse for wear, yet Finn doesn't see it despite their rather close proximity. And this time, Kurt couldn't shake away the thought that maybe he wasn't as important as he thought he was. Nobody seemed to care about him, the past few weeks were proof enough; hell, even Finn cares more about his car rather than the person he's beside with.

A billion what if? scenarios flow through his mind, and every thought was as depressing as the other. And when he barely gets a pat on a back as a greeting from his father when he gets home, his thoughts only grew. But his eyes fall onto a framed picture and he sees his mother's smiling face and he thinks warily that maybe everything's going to be alright.

When Kurt comes up for dinner though, he sees Finn and his dad so into a baseball game that he doesn't have the heart to disturb them. He jumps when he feels a hand on his shoulder, but relaxes when he finds that it's only Carole.

"Are you okay, sweetie?"

"I'm fine, Carole." And Kurt very nearly breaks down right then and there in front of her. She's the first one to ask him how he was; and the thought that it was her and not his dad, not Finn, not Mercedes, Artie, Tina that had asked him that one simple question, made Kurt want to bawl like some toddler but he's not going to cry. He's gone through much worse he thinks and he won't cry, at least not in front of anyone.

"I just set up dinner. Why don't you head down to the table first while I get those two into the kitchen?"

"Thanks, but I'm not hungry. I think I'll be heading in early tonight." Kurt follows her gaze towards the living room, and his chest tightens at the scene that he quickly drops his eyes to the floor.

"Are you sure?" He feels Carole squeeze his shoulder gently and he's tempted to shrug it off but he doesn't want to come off as rude. Carole's incredibly nice to his dad and to him and he owes her just as much. Kurt bites his lip to stop it from quivering when Carole's hand reaches up to his chin and she looks over him with that motherly gaze. "I could bring you some soup downstairs, you know. At least get something in your stomach before you head to bed..."

"That's okay, Carole. Thank you." And Kurt is relieved when she lowers her hand and nods quite hesitantly before giving his shoulder one more squeeze and sending him back to his room; his eyes threatening to spill tears.

When Kurt reaches the bottom step, his will to stop crying collapses easily as he does on his bed and he could only wish that no one would hear his pathetic sobs. But somehow, in the back of his mind, Kurt's sure that no one ever will.

-o-

gather up your tears and keep them in your pocket
save 'em for a time when your really gonna need 'em
oh, the sharp knife of a short life
well, I've had just enough time

-o-

The next time he heads to the music room, he finds himself come in later than usual because today the jocks found it incredibly funny to lock him in the utility closet, his head colliding with something solid as he was pushed back. But good thing the janitor came round earlier than expected though. If not, he'd be locked in that closet until the evening...and Kurt hates closed spaces. It's the reason why he's got the basement as his bedroom; it's fairly large and it doesn't feel as enclosed as his old room upstairs.

But the thought that he wasn't as disturbed as he should to be stuck in such a small room stood out in his mind. It was in that closet, that for the first time ever, Kurt felt like he was safe. It was ironic (and it made Kurt smirk) at how much he hesitated to come out of the closet once the janitor finally decided to make his appearance. But once he was out of the cramped space, it didn't stop his hands from unconsciously rubbing his arms, the feel of the cobwebs and dust still stuck on his skin.

And as he crosses the threshold, Kurt's surprised to find Mr. Schue, Rachel and the rest of New Directions waiting for him. His eyes quickly drifts towards the clock and he sees that he's 30 minutes late into the meeting. He glances towards Rachel, her expression is that of annoyance. He swallows a lump when he hears Mr. Schue clear his throat as if to ask him what his explanation would be.

"Kurt, you're half an hour late. Didn't I make it clear yesterday that tardiness will not be tolerated around here anymore? Is there something you'd like to tell us?"

Kurt feels himself shake in ire...and in fear. How dare they?, he thinks. Are they blind! He feels the wave of anger bubble within him at their ignorance, but as his eyes scanned the room, meeting the gazes of his friends, his growing anger only dissipates when he sees, not looks of concern, but expressions that match Rachel's. Oh, God. They hate me.

A cough brings him back. "Well?"

Kurt tears his eyes away from his friends and his hands busy themselves with the strap of his messenger bag as he shifts from foot to foot. Of all the times his quick mindedness decided to disappear, he couldn't really think of how he was going to tell them, he wasn't so sure anymore if he wanted to tell them. His mouth opens and closes in an attempt to find an excuse, but all that comes out are unintelligible babbles. Kurt's never felt more humiliated than now. It doesn't help that he could already hear them whispering to each other.

Can we start now? We're wasting time.

He doesn't look like his about to talk?

Can we just skip this? I need to get home early.

Boy, just say something and get this over with. I gots a solo to kill.

And suddenly he feels small, and somehow it's a little too hard to breathe, but Kurt wills his respiration to remain steady, not wanting to give anything away. He tries to pretend that he hadn't heard the words.

Another cough brings him back. When he looks up, he's surprised to find that Mr. Schue has made his way to him and is standing right there with his arms crossed, his expression expectant.

"You better explain this, Kurt. Rachel's told me that this isn't the first time. This behavior is rather unbecoming, it's not exactly what we need-"

"Igotasmudgeonmtjacket."

"Excuse me?"

"I got a smudge on my jacket." Kurt kept his head up but his eyes didn't try to meet any of the glares. It didn't matter though, he still saw Rachel's eye roll, Finn's confused look, Puck's smug face, and the rest's sympathetic yet slightly annoyed looks. "Clean up took longer than I thought. It clashed with my color palette, I had to get it off or it'll ruin my outfit."

Kurt hears Mr. Schue sigh as he reprimands him on the value of time, but it all goes through his head. And when Mr. Schue finally decides that they've wasted enough time, Kurt finds himself lost. And as he watches them take their positions, he briefly wonders just when they had new choreography. A bump jolts him out of his reverie.

"Watch where you're going, Hummel!"

Kurt mumbles an apology. It doesn't matter though, Santana wasn't even listening. His momentary pause causes another bump and in just a few seconds, all of New Directions has in some way collided with each other, a few profanities infiltrating the air.

"Alright people, calm down...I said calm down!" Mr. Schue got up from his position by the piano, before making his way into the middle of the group. He grabs Kurt by the arm and gently guides him to a chair.

"I think it's best if you sit this one out, alright Kurt?"

Kurt nods, because what else can he do? The steps seem foreign, the song coming in muted jumbles in his head. He doesn't know what exactly prompted him to get up and walk out the room, but as he reached a point where the music from the room has dissolved into nothing, he gets to thinking that he really is just as invisible. No one's even realized that he's gone. And that just drives the knife deeper.

His walks along numbly though quite aware that the single set of footsteps (his own) would be what the rest of his life would be like, it's staccato providing the blueprint to his rather (as he now clearly knows) meager existence.

Mocking...

Broken...

Detached...

Abrupt...

Short...

Forgotten...

Solitary...

Alone.

-o-

if I die young, bury me in satin
lay me down on a bed of roses
sink me in the river, at dawn
send me away with the words of a love song

-o-

His hands are shaking. In fact, his whole body is shaking ever since he stepped into the empty house, as he read his father's note (he doesn't even realize he's crying until he saw a few of them drop and stain the note) that he'll be out with the Hudsons tonight, and he's still shaking as he rummages through his father's dresser and finds his Glock among his ill-patterned socks.

But as he squeezed himself into one of their small closets, his back on the wall for support, Kurt couldn't stop the images that flew in front of his vision, one after the after, coming in in short bursts as if they were photographs.

His mother's kiss

His first set of sensible heels

The first designer article he owned

The first time New Directions came together

Mercedes becoming his best friend

The pride in his father's eyes when he first tries on his football uniform

The adrenaline of his game winning field goal

Winning Sectionals

His first solo with the Cheerios

Coach Sylvester's smile as he wins her Nationals

Seeing his dad, Carole, and Finn sitting around the fire looking incredibly happy

And by the time his visual onslaught comes to a halt, Kurt's breathing heavily, working for each breath as he stares at the old boxes, the muted colors surrounding him only reminding him of what his life has become. The thought only spurs him on, the weight in his hand nearly forgotten as he feels the cold metal against his temple.

Kurt takes a deep breath, his eyes wide in anticipation, his finger steady.

-o-

A sharp knife on a short life
Well, I've had just enough time

-o-

He can't go through with it.

Once the fact that he actually had the barrel pressed against the side of his head, his finger twitching against the trigger, finally became clear in his mind, it horrified him.

What am I doing?

His erratic breathing interspersed with pathetic sobs wracked through his body and echoed along the empty house. He dropped his father's gun, ran to that one room and as he reached the dresser and dropped to his knees, cradled the picture frame that held his mother's smile and this just brings a new wave of tears that he didn't know he still could give.

Kurt didn't even bother to wipe them away anymore. No one was there to see them anyway. He lowers himself to the ground, draws himself in, mentally smacking himself for ever thinking that he'd ever kill himself.

It's far too selfish of him, he can't do this to his dad. But a fleeting thought that his dad would be fine after the initial shock floating through his mind, and he nods to himself. He's got Carole and Finn now...he'll get over it.

He'll be fine, right?

But one look at the picture had him doubt yet again as he placed the frame in front of him and tracing that beautiful face with a shaking finger.

"Please tell me it gets better, mom." Kurt whispers, his voice breaking. "Please..."

-o-

Lord, make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my father
He'll know I'm safe with you and he stands under my colors
Oh and life ain't always what you think it ought to be

No, it ain't even gray when he buries his baby

-o-

"Where is he? He's supposed to be here. He's late yet again and I will not tolerate this type of behavior. Not when we're thisclose to winning Regionals!"

"I'm sure he's already on his way, Rachel. Kurt would never blow us off." Finn gently squeezes Rachel's shoulder, reassuring her that everything's gonna be fine; that Kurt would stride in just like he used to.

"He probably caught wind of that sale at the mall."

"That's ridiculous. We just ended class anyway. And there's no way he's ditching us for that..."

"But Kurt's known to become a little bit irrational especially when it comes to that."

There were a few murmurs of agreement, then the room fell silent once more.

"Somebody could have jumped him."

Santana looks up from filing her nails to find everyone looking at her with varying degrees of horror. She merely rolls her eyes and shrugs. "Can't you guys take a joke?"

"That was horrible." Artie scrunched up his face.

"Oh, come on. Lighten up a bit. He's probably still in some bathroom being all vain." Santana looks at them, incredulous. "Like I said, it's a joke."

"That was a joke!" Mercedes went up to Santana, but Tina holds her back by her forearm. "Do you see me laughin' Lopez?"

The smaller girl manages to tug Mercedes to the far side of the room where Quinn was ready to take over in calming down the diva. But another 15 minutes of waiting and still no sign of the soprano prompted the group to start without him.

It bothered Finn. This really wasn't like Kurt. He stares at the door just a little bit longer, expecting his almost step-brother to waltz into the room with a rather fashionable excuse. But still no Kurt. Then again, Finn doesn't remember the last time Kurt strode into the room at all. He glances towards Mercedes and sees her distraught face, her hand clutching her phone in a vice grip. And Finn catches Quinn's eye and she shakes her head that no, they still hadn't heard from Kurt.

"Did you notice anything wrong with, Hummel?"

Finn spins around and sees Puck of all people, speaking in an uncharacteristic low tone and this catches Finn off guard. "Wh-what?"

"Was wondering if you noticed anything off with him. You do live with him don't you?"

And the question is like a slap on his face because yes, he lives with the Hummels now; but no, he hadn't noticed anything at all. Finn suddenly feels his throat go dry as he shakes his head no. And this just made his guts grow heavier with worry because this really wasn't like Kurt. He'd never miss Glee. Never. But before Finn could think of anything else, he feels Rachel take his hand leading him into another rousing rendition of Don't Stop Believing.


Kurt watches his reflection, his gaze trailing the drops of water that drips from his face down to the collar of his Armani shirt. He scoffs as the fabric becomes somewhat translucent as the wetness spreads further, the intricate patterns becoming visible. He's got his sleeves rolled up and he's leaning against the sink, letting the water run through his fingers, numbing them.

Today had been rather mediocre, no slushies, no dumpster dives, not even the mandatory name-calling. And it's unsettling enough that it constantly brings a wave of nausea, making Kurt gag. And the pounding headache he's had since yesterday's little closet rendezvous didn't help in the matter at all, it merely added to the situation that makes Kurt's stomach gnaw. He's been dry heaving for the past couple minutes and it was so bad that he didn't even care how his trousers got sticky, how the immaculate white shirt got dirty. He just didn't care anymore.

Kurt lets his eyes close to battle another bout of nausea, but they quickly snap open when he hears the door slam open. He's still got his head down and the only thing he sees are a pair of whitewashed jeans on the moldy mirror. The steps come slowly, as if taunting him to move, and it takes a lot from Kurt to not panic right then and there. He's weighed his options, calculating just how much of a possibility an escape would be, but what he ends up is not promising. Sure, there's only one guy (Kurt couldn't be sure if he was a jock...this guy isn't parading around in his letterman jacket), but the dude is huge and could easily take him down. Kurt could scream, but his voice is too hoarse from the heaving and he's in the bathroom that's in the abandoned wing...nobody's going to hear him at all. Kurt risks a glance to his bag to where his phone is, but the man is already right behind him and all he could do is close his eyes and hope for the best.

He doesn't expect him to laugh though, but Kurt didn't even have the chance to process even a single thought when he feels something heavy against the back of his head. His vision swims in and out, his view dances around as if he were seeing through a kaleidoscope. And when it does become steady and clear, Kurt has a deplorable view of the numerous tissue blobs that's stuck on the ceiling; and everything suddenly slows down at a snail's pace, his senses heightening.

He could hear the way the man's boots scruff against the cold tiles. The minute tinkling of keys. The hot tears that streak down his face. The taste of something fairly bitter on the rag that's been shoved into his mouth. The stench of newly smoked tobacco, as well as the distinct smell of alcohol pervading the air. The rough hands that proceed to bind his wrists. The beefy arms that hauls him off the floor. The gush of wind that hits his face. The smell of an oncoming storm. The cold, hard, musky interior of a baggage compartment.

But the last thing he sees though is the glint of a knife before his vision goes black.

-o-

if I die young, bury me in satin
lay me down on a bed of roses
sink me in the river, at dawn
send me away with the words of a love song

the sharp knife of a short life
well, I've had just enough time

-o-

It's way past midnight and the rain is pouring but that didn't dampen Puck's spirit. No, not at all. Besides, he'd just won a shitload of money and he's got plans on squandering it all off on some nunchucks and dip.

Although his knuckles are scraped and torn, his hands are firm and steady on the steering wheel, adrenaline still coursing through his veins as he relishes in his victory.

And it's that same adrenaline that gives him the focus, and keeps himself in the right mind to slam on the breaks when a drunkard wanders himself into the street and making a home for himself on Puck's hood.

"Damnit hobo! Get your ass off the street and keep your hands off my car!" Puck slams on the horn, clearly annoyed, but when the man, no-boy looks up, Puck's breath is caught in his throat as he's staring in familiar blue orbs. Shit.

Puck's hands are gripping the steering wheel that his knuckles have turned white and he's staring. And Kurt just seemed to stare back at him, his eyes wide, his face gone ashen gray. Puck doesn't make a move, it's like he's cemented in place; but when Kurt starts to slip down from the hood and unceremoniously drops to the asphalt with a muffled thud, Puck's out the door within seconds, ignoring the way the rain completely soaked his clothes the moment he takes a step.

When he nears Kurt, he want's to disregard the sick feeling that's coming up. He tries to cajole Kurt, his voice unconsciously hitching as he asks him to stand, to stop fooling around. That is until he sees a dark stain (which he'd thought was some odd pattern, but Kurt's been known to wear odd things and this shouldn't have been an exception, but since when did patterns change?) on Kurt's white shirt.

He drops to his knees and before he knew what he was doing, Puck has his hands against against Kurt's chest, cursing under his breath. His hands are instantly covered in blood. His hand immediately flies to grab his phone and with blood slicked fingers, he dials for help...he thinks he probably sounded crazy and incoherent but the responder at the other end of the line seemed to have understood him. And when the line closes, he drops his phone and continues to apply pressure against Kurt's wounds. There were so many.

"Shit Hummel." Puck sees a particularly ragged cut across the boy's abdomen that when he presses against it, more blood only comes pouring out. "Who the hell did this to you?"

Kurt only looks up to him with half-lidded eyes and shrugs...or at least attempts to shrug. His shoulder is obviously dislocated. Puck shakes his head, he's been doing it since he got out the car, and gingerly takes the limp arm in a firm grip. Puck leans over, willing Kurt to look at him, his voice eerily gentle.

"I'm going to set your shoulder alright? It's going to be-" Puck sighed, his grip tightening. "Hell. It's going to hurt like hell."

Puck takes a second to wipe the rain off his eyes, watching Kurt's face intently. All he gets is a blank expression. Puck takes this as the signal to pull and when he does, the sickening pop makes the bile rise up in his throat...but Kurt barely flinches and that's not good. Just how much pain is he in that he barely registers him popping his shoulder back into its socket?

And that's just wrong. Puck maybe a bad ass bully, but he never resorts to this kind of violence. Never this.

The questions of 'who?' and 'why?' linger in the air and Puck only draws blanks. He asks Kurt once more, desperate for an answer, but all he gets is an unintelligible gurgle, and Puck gets it. Kurt honestly doesn't know. He gets it and his chest tightens, though the questions still remains, yet all he could do is grab the boy's hand in his free one, and for the first time in a long while, Puck started to pray.

-o-

I've never known the lovin' of man
but it sure felt nice when he was holdin' my hand
there's a boy here in town
who says he'll love me forever
who would have thought forever could be severed
by a sharp knife of a short life

-o-

"Was it Karovsky?"

"Azimio?"

Kurt merely blinks. His silence only reinvigorates Puck's ire.

"Damnit, Hummel. If those guys were still harassing you, you could have told us!"

But one look from Kurt and Puck had to bite back his words. His mind racks through the previous weeks and he sees it. Clearly. The tardiness, the sagging shoulders, the frequent stumbles, the dark circles under his eyes and the bruises pathetically covered in caked powder, the split lip, the disheveled hair, the torn garments, the short, quick breaths that were taken so as not to disturb what would be bruised or even broken ribs, the grimaces with every pivot, the way his eyes had become duller each and every day.

Puck recalls them clearly.

And Kurt barely flinches when Puck drives his fist to the asphalt in frustration. He calmly watches the mohawked boy let out a frustrated groan, his eyes feeling heavy as lead as every minute passes.

It sickened Puck. The way they've all been blinded by the potential of winning some crappy choir contest that they disregarded the one person that needed their help. There was no doubt that the smaller boy had needed it desperately, and what do they do? Shove him aside and just watch him break before their eyes. Kurt has been telling them all along. Not in words, but it was so clear that Puck couldn't help but feel nauseated. He feels his chest tighten, but he forces an "I'm sorry" all the same.

"It's fine." Kurt gurgles through the pool of blood that's risen in his throat. And a particularly violent cough spews blood onto Puck's horrified face.

"It's not fine!" With shaking hands, Puck position's his head to the side, swallowing the bile that started to come up as he sees the blood drain from Kurt's mouth. "It's never fucking fine!"

Puck tries hard to shield Kurt away from most of the rain, assessing for further injuries...thankfully there's nothing else that's new.

No other new injuries, but a whole lot of old ones.

Puck feels disgusted with himself, gingerly shrugging off his jacket to press it against Kurt's bloody, slashed up shirt. The blood seeps easily through. He looks down and sees how much red has covered his hand, how it easily escaped his fingers, how the rain was diluting the blood, which made it all look a lot more. He reflects on how immaculate the lithe boy seemed, the light from his floodlights illuminating them both, but moreso punctuating just how pale the soprano already is.

Puck feels Kurt shiver under his hands and he wishes hard that help better be near because as much of a bad ass Puck thinks he is, there's one thing he's not, and that's a liar. He doesn't know just how much longer he could keep up in telling Kurt that help is near. Puck tries not to think of the way his hands constantly slip, and just how much blood drains every time he does. And he wants to desperately forget the picture of jagged cuts on porcelain skin that he sings. A few lines here and there, just so he could distract himself and Kurt.

It's only been 3 minutes, and Puck's gone through their whole set list when Kurt gives a sudden jerk that catches his attention and he sees Kurt's ragged breathing subsiding. Puck can't tell if this is good or not, but it's all he hears now. He slowly brings a hand up and brushes away the bangs that's now plastered over Kurt's eyes and apologizes once more, but then he feels a rather strong grip on his wrist; surprised at the strength it held. He looks down to a surprisingly clear gaze and all Kurt could manage to say through the cold is "Dad."

Puck nods in understanding, patting the boy's pockets to find his phone. He finds it in one of Kurt's trouser pocket, but just when he's about to place the call, the clarity in Kurt's eyes disappears, glazing over just as quickly as it cleared, the grip on his wrist loosening and Kurt's head lolls to the side just as the first sounds of sirens infiltrate the air.

"No, no, no, no, no!"

He gives the smaller boy a shake, willing his eyes to snap open because God damnit he can't die! He stills for a moment, watching for any sign of movement; the slow rise and fall of his chest not so reassuring. But Puck watches on, counting each slow breath:

one...two...three...four...

His stomach drops and Puck suddenly feels like he's miles away from Kurt as the boy goes limp in his arms.

-o-

so put on your best boys, and I'll wear my pearls
what I never did is done

-o-

Puck doesn't let go of him easily, but he feels himself being harshly pulled away and all he could do is helplessly watch as the EMT's take over and rush Kurt to the hospital. And Puck lets out a breath he hadn't knew he'd been holding as he sees the paramedics secure Kurt onto a board, hooking up wires to his bloodied chest. He's going to be okay, he's going to be okay. Puck repeats the mantra in his head as he watches them load Kurt onto the ambulance.

But then a loud shrill rings through, and soon there's a blurry of movement that Puck can't quite make out, but all he knows is that the small body on the bed is just a little bit too still and Puck feels his heart drop. The doors are soon harshly slammed, and Puck could only look on as the ambulance sped on, its wailing sirens cutting through the silence of the night.

Puck's still on his knees as he watches the ambulance disappear, the sirens drown into nothing. The rain is cold against his skin, the asphalt grainy on his knees and he shivers because it's unfair. He could feel so much when all he wants is to be numb. Puck's so caught up in his thoughts that he doesn't even realize the hand on his shoulder and a steady voice asking him if he's alright. He nods, his gaze falling on his hands that were covered in blood...Kurt's blood, before his eyes trail along the dark liquid from his hands down to the asphalt; the rain effectively leading it to and down the gutter by the side of the road.

He still feels. And he hates it. He wants to be numb so he can forget how his teeth chatter in the cold, how the loose gravel dig into his knees. But most of all, Puck does not want to feel the hot streaks on his face as his tears freely fall.

-o-

A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I'll sell them for a dollar,
they're worth so much after I'm a goner.
And maybe then you'll hear the words I've been singing,
funny when you're dead how people start listening.

-Fin-


A/N: Ah, yes...writer's block is finally clearing. And that means I can finally get on with my WIPs. But as of the moment, I hope this fic entertains you guys while I sort the other fics out. I may cross-post some of my fics from LJ, so you can look out for those soon too.

Aaaaaanndd...Reviews are always appreciated :D