Author's Note: Based on a prompt that went something along the lines of, "Kurt's got an eating disorder, and only Karofsky notices." This is now a multi-chapter story, and I've edited the first chapter to make it flow better.
When they first began the task of tossing Kurt into the dumpster, it took two of them. He was never fat or all that heavy, but he was still too cumbersome to toss properly with only one person. As the year wore on, Karofsky began to notice that he could lift the boy easily and toss him in by himself. He wondered when it had gotten so easy. Many people thought Karofsky big and stupid; this wasn't true at all. He might not've been very book smart, but he had common sense. He could see that Kurt was getting thinner and he looked awful.
The concealer under his eyes wasn't able to disguise the dark circles that shone clear through. The light makeup he wore didn't even match his skin tone anymore; he was getting paler. Karofsky had his suspicions, but he didn't want to say anything. That would imply that he cared about Hummel, the fag, the fairy. Of course he didn't. He just felt bad for picking on a sick kid when he was already so tiny and vulnerable.
And so began Operation: Stalk Hummel, as Karofsky had christened it. He just wanted to know if he was right, he assured his doubtful masculinity. He had decided that the harsh voice at the back of his head was his masculinity, wondering why the hell he was trying to look after the fairy kid. And Karofsky would snap that he wasn't looking after the kid, he just wanted to know if he was right. And that voice would laugh derisively, and he would wonder if he was going crazy.
The third day of Operation: Stalk Hummel, meant Karofsky was following the kid practically everywhere. He'd gotten good at this, knew Kurt's routes and everything by now, and he was actually attending lunch today. Karofsky liked to eat, but for the past few days, he'd noticed Kurt skipped lunch and hid out in the choir room. He was relieved that today, he'd finally get some food in his stomach. He got into line behind Kurt, watching as the boy bought a plain salad with no dressing and a bottle of water.
Kurt ignored him, only a slight tremble of his body indicated that he knew Karofsky was even there. And didn't that small boy's trembling just make him feel like the lowest of the low for being such a jerk. As Kurt went to sit with his friends, he wobbled minutely before adopting the I-will-own-you-all-one-day-holier-than-thou look that he usually wore. Karosky sat with the jocks, Kurt sat with the gleeks, and Karofsky watched Kurt push his food around while only taking one or two actual bites.
He was right; he knew it. Kurt never ate, as far as Karofsky could tell. His cheekbones used to be high and prominent, now they were just gaunt and sunken. His eyes, once a vibrant blue, were now dull and accented by dark circles that not even the best concealer could match, because his soft skin was now too pale for any makeup shade on the market.
Karofsky couldn't just watch the kid waste away to nothing. Then he'd feel guilty. And Dave Karofsky didn't like guilt. He caught the entire group after school, listening in on their conversation. "Kurt, what's up with Karofsky stalking you? Is he harassing you?" Finn demanded.
Kurt slowly shook his head, tired eyes looking anywhere but at them. "No. Maybe he just happens to be in the same place. He doesn't do anything other than the normal dumpster toss, and that's been a while, too."
"I don't like him being around you all the time, Kurt. He's dangerous. What if he hurts you?" Mercedes asked, putting a hand on Kurt's thin shoulder. The small, sickly boy jerked away.
"Kurt, are you okay?" Quinn asked, concerned.
"I'm fine," Kurt answered tersely.
Karofsky couldn't take it anymore. "Why don't you tell them the truth, Kurt?" he asked as he revealed himself to the group.
Kurt looked up, blue eyes wide. "What?"
"You're not okay. I don't know how I noticed and your best friends didn't, but whatever. The point is, Kurt, it's dangerous, okay? You have to stop, get help, do something." Karosky had never sounded so...concerned before, at least not in front of the gleeks.
"Let it go, Dave, please," Kurt begged, eyes locked on his. And no one had called him Dave in years.
"Kurt? White boy, what's he talking about?" Mercedes asked, looking between Kurt and Karofsky.
"Shut up, Aretha," Karofsky muttered, before turning his attention back to Kurt. "It's not safe, Kurt. You're going to die." Everyone gasped in disbelief.
"No I'm not. I've got it under control," he snapped back. "I hit eighty four last week. I'm weightless. Almost." Karofsky glanced at the assembled Glee club, most of them staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
"Kurt's anorexic, you idiots. And you call me a Neanderthal," Karofsky grumbled. Kurt's eyes widened and the little color left in his face drained away.
"You idiot," he snarled, in an entirely unKurt-like way.
"You're a liar," Rachel declared, stepping forward. "If one of my teammates were starving themselves, I think I'd notice."
Karofsky grabbed a hold of Kurt gently, afraid of breaking him, before turning him to face the Glee club. Puck and Finn had automatically moved forward, but Kurt didn't look scared. More like...resigned.
"Please, Dave. Don't...no one deserves to see this," he begged quietly, eyes never leaving the ground.
"They'll want to help," Karofsky insisted. No one seemed to know what to say, so Karofsky reached and pulled off Kurt's jacket, ignoring the fact that he was pretty much undressing the gay kid. He handed the soft garment off to Mercedes, who looked at Kurt's skinny arms in disbelief. Karofsky lifted one and wrapped his fingers around Kurt's wrist. They almost went around twice. Kurt was catatonic by this point, refusing to look at or acknowledge anyone around him.
He didn't protest when Karofsky lifted up his shirt, exposing his clearly visible ribs and counting them. "They're all there. Just suffocating," he said quietly, letting Kurt's shirt fall back down to cover his shame. And then Kurt was crying. Not loud, gasping sobs, just silent tears that fell in a steady stream down his face, eyes closed as they escaped from under his lashes.
Finn moved to hug him, but Kurt backed up quickly. "No...don't touch me," he said quietly. "Please, I just...don't." Everyone was shocked when Kurt turned to Karofsky of all people and held out his thin arms. "Please," he whispered. And Karofsky shocked everyone further by embracing Kurt carefully.
"I'm really sorry. So sorry, Kurt," he murmured into Kurt's hair, soothing him as best he could, wincing every time he felt the sharp prod of a bone.
The Glee club stood there, knowing they had failed Kurt. Instead, it was someone who had bullied him since the sixth grade that had come to his rescue, probably saved his life. They had never felt so useless before. Kurt's life had been at stake, and Karofsky had saved him. Now, there was a twist.