Chapter 9

Kurt's coming home party was so much fun, it was almost worth all of the crap he had left for in the first place. Even Mr. Schue had shown up, along with Ms. Pilsbury and her super adorable boyfriend. Carole had made a pan of lasagna so good, it nearly put his mom's to shame. Then she and his dad had stood there holding hands, watching the singing and dancing the followed dinner with bright eyes and happy smiles. Mercedes, Finn, Rachel and Artie broke out with a hilarious rendition of John Sebastian's "Welcome Back", and Kurt returned the favor with his take on Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home".

The party was starting to wind down a little, but no one really wanted to leave yet. Kurt plugged his iPod into the stereo and hit shuffle, then flopped down next to Mercedes on the couch. She squeezed him for what must have been the hundredth time, but when he laughingly complained she told him to shut it, as she was making up for lost time. Faintly, he thought he heard the doorbell ring over the din of conversation, so he extracted himself from Mercedes's embrace. He hoped it wasn't the neighbors complaining about the noise. He plastered a mollifying smile on his face and opened the door. The smile turned into a look of utter shock as he realized Dave was standing in his doorway.

"Jesus, Dave, what are you doing here?" Kurt couldn't believe his eyes.

Dave looked nervous as hell, but gave a small smile. "You invited me, right?"

"Well yeah, of course! But you said you weren't coming. I didn't expect you at all."

"I know, and I was sitting at home thinking how sad that is. That you wouldn't - couldn't - expect the guy you've been seeing for months to show up at a party you were throwing. I've been sitting in my car out front for over an hour, trying to work up the guts to ring the bell." He made no move to cross the threshold.

Suddenly Kurt felt someone come up behind him. "Why is the door still open, Kurt?" he heard his dad say. "You're letting all the heat out, and it's freezing out there." He peered over Kurt's shoulder at Dave. "Who's this?" Neither boys answered; Burt noticed they appeared to be frozen in place.

"Well, whoever he is, he might as well come in. There's still plenty of food and drink left."

Kurt turned to say something, to his dad, although he had no idea what was going to come out. Then, to his horror, he saw Finn's large frame loom up behind Burt. Kurt watched Finn's face change from amazement to confusion to rage in all of 10 seconds. Finn brushed Burt and Kurt aside, grabbing Dave by the arm and pulling him inside. Dave looked like he was going to pass out, and Kurt cringed when he realized that Finn was beginning to yell at him at the top of his lungs.

"What the HELL are you doing here? Couldn't even wait until he came back to school, you had to show up here and start pushing him around again? Don't even THINK about it, Karofsky!" Finn's face was red, but it was nothing compared to the flush that spread over Burt Hummel's face when he heard the name of Kurt's bully come out of Finn's mouth.

"Karofsky?" Burt said, meeting Dave's eyes with a deadly stare. Dave nodded his head, eyes as big as plates. Kurt was just about to unfreeze his tongue and attempt to defuse the situation, when Burt grabbed Dave from Finn with both hands by the front of his letter jacket. Oh shit, Kurt thought, this is not going to be good.

Burt slammed Dave against the wall so hard, Kurt could feel the vibration in his feet. His dad was screaming at Dave. Everyone had crowded into the opening to the foyer, mouths hanging open. He felt like he was trapped in some terrible nightmare.

"Who the FUCK do you think you are, to come into MY house after what you've done to my son!" He pulled Dave off the wall slightly, then slammed him up against it again. "You TOUCHED him. How dare you put one FINGER on my boy, you miserable piece of SHIT."

Carole came running up to Burt, trying to pry his hands off of Dave's jacket. "Burt, stop it! Your heart!" she cried. Kurt's went numb, the situation escalating from embarrassing and slightly scary to terrifying at Carole's words. It was as if all of the anger his dad had dealt with so stoically over the years had all boiled up at once, causing him to completely lose it for the first time in Kurt's experience.

He finally moved, running over to his dad and trying to yank him off of Dave. "Dad! Stop it, please!" he begged, but Burt wasn't hearing him, and Kurt wasn't strong enough to pull him off. He didn't even realize he was starting to cry.

Burt rammed Dave into the wall again. "Just tell me why, huh? Why do you hurt him like that! Does it make you feel like a big man, picking on someone so much smaller than you? Tell me why, asshole!" Dave stared at Burt, trying to move his mouth but too scared to actually form words. Kurt was relieved to see Blaine approach, hoping that he could help pry Burt off.

Burt actually lifted Dave up so that he was standing on tiptoe, which alarmed the petrified teenager so much he managed to finally blurt something out. "No…it's not...it's not like that…" Instead of helping, however, his words seemed to enrage Burt even further.

"It's not LIKE that? What the fuck does that mean? Why don't you tell me what it IS like, you punk! What is it LIKE? TELL ME!" he roared.

Dave's expression immediately changed from scared to something Kurt couldn't identify. In fact, he wasn't sure he'd ever seen that look on a person's face before, and had no clue how to interpret it. Dave lifted his arms, grabbing the hands fisted in his jacket. He returned Burt's glare for the first time, and screamed, "BECAUSE I'M GAY!"

Kurt was familiar with the phrase "so quiet you could hear a pin drop", but he'd never actually heard a room fall completely silent so suddenly in his life. After a beat, Burt dropped his hands from Dave as if the letter jacket had become burning hot, backing away with wide eyes of his own. Dave stumbled back and hit the wall a final time.

Kurt approached him slowly, carefully. "Dave?" he said, just above a whisper. He held out his hands to him, licking his lips nervously. Dave was looking at the floor and shaking so hard, it broke Kurt's heart. He picked up the other boy's hands and held them. "It's okay, Dave. Just look at me for a minute."

He raised his head, eyes wet with tears. He looked like a little kid who had fallen off his bike and gotten a wicked nasty scrape, hoping his mom could kiss it better. Kurt thought everything was going to be okay, but then Blaine attempted to draw closer, catching Dave's eye. Suddenly his was on his feet, eyes darting wildly to the astonished faces all around him. He made a whimpering sound, shoved Kurt aside and went running out the door. Kurt went flying after him into the dark front yard. It was hard to see, but he spotted Dave and watched as he tripped on something and fell to the ground. He curled into a tight ball and began sobbing loudly. Kurt walked up to him and bent over to put a hand on his shoulder, but before he could say anything, Dave rose to his knees and threw his arms around the slender legs in front of him. Kurt tried to understand what he was saying, though his voice was muffled by tears and denim.

"Oh God, Kurt. Oh God…" he wept. "I never, never...oh, Jesus!" He clung to Kurt like one would hold on to a life raft in a stormy ocean. Kurt pushed gently on Dave's arms so he could kneel as well. He barely registered the cold wet from the muddy lawn seep into his favorite Seven jeans.

He took Dave's face in his hands. "Never what, baby?"

"Never said that before! Not out loud, not even to you. I never said those words before." He looked into Kurt's eyes, and Kurt brushed the tears off his cheeks with a gentle smile. He reached up and took hold of Kurt's face, so they were now holding each other's. "I'm gay. I'm gay, Kurt" he choked out.

Kurt smiled more widely now, tears of his own starting to fall. He pulled gently on Dave's head, bringing their faces closer together. "I know" he said, and brought his lips to Dave's for the sweetest kiss either boy had ever imagined.

THE END

(or as Kurt would probably say, FIN)

I want to thank everyone who read and liked this story from the bottom of my heart. Knowing that people were reading and enjoying it was one of the best part of this week for me. Every time I get an email that there's a new review, or favorite, or alert, it makes me feel so good.

I'm not sure where Ryan Murphy is going to do with our boys, but at least in this fic, I had to give them a shot at a happy ending. I hope you all liked reading it as much as I loved writing it, and hopefully it won't be another 12 years this time between fics.