A/N: So there's not a pairing for this one because, while there is some Kurt/Blaine, the fic isn't about their relationship. I hope you like it. And can I just say, It's really hard to write for boys.
Disclaimer: I don't own Glee, duh.
It had been just a few weeks since Kurt had transferred to Dalton. And while he was happier at Dalton, he missed his friends in New Directions. Finn did his best to keep him in the loop with what was going on with everyone in Glee club, but it just wasn't the same as being there.
One thing he did not miss, however, was the fear he faced when he walked down the halls. Dalton was completely Dave Karofsky free. In fact, none of the Warblers ever asked about what made him transfer; they all trusted Blaine's word when he said that Kurt was tired of the intolerance he'd been facing at McKinley.
On this particular autumn day, he'd gone to get the mail as soon as he'd gotten home from school, as usual. Kurt flipped through the items, just to see if anything was for him. Usually it was all bills and junk mail for his dad and Carole, but today, there was a letter for him. It was in a standard white envelope but had no name with the return address. He noticed that the address was from a street about 6 blocks away from his own home. He figured it was one of the glee kids, or even Mr. Schue, just writing to see how he was doing at Dalton.
When he got in the house, he dropped the rest of the mail on the kitchen counter and headed downstairs to his room to read the letter.
He sat at his vanity and ripped open the envelope. The letter was written on cheap Wal-mart stationary, but it was still better than the lined notebook paper he'd been expecting. He didn't recognize the chicken scratch handwriting scrawled across the paper, but he began to read:
It's hard for me to write this letter to you. I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I don't know how to handle this. I've always been told to like girls and when I figured out that I like guys, I thought there was something wrong with me.
Kurt froze as the letter fell out of his hands. He knew exactly who was writing to him. Dave Karofsky. He let the letter lie there on the floor for a good 5 minutes before he had enough courage to pick it up and continue reading.
The only way I knew to handle it, was to fight it. And in doing that, I ended up fighting you. I don't mean to be a dick, but you were exactly what I was afraid I was going to be. I mean, I grew up being the All-American, football-loving guy, going to church every Sunday with my parents and little sister; I was always told that being gay was wrong. Then, I saw you in school, the total opposite of everything I was told. It was weird. You were able to be who you wanted to be and I was jealous. I wanted you to feel the way I do; like I'm being pulled in 2 totally different directions; my heart telling me one thing and my head another.
I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I'm gay. Thanks for not telling Miss Sylvester, Mr. Schuster, or my dad when we were in the principal's office. I haven't told anyone yet, and I want to be able to tell them, especially my parents, in my own time. I wanna be able to be as comfortable with myself as you are.
Kurt sat at his vanity on the verge of tears. He was angry at Karofsky for writing the letter, but he felt sorry for him at the same time. He knew what it felt like to be afraid of coming out to friends and family; he'd been afraid he would disappoint his dad, especially. Kurt knew that he was lucky that his dad and friends had been so comfortable with him being gay. Even Finn was all right with it now. It took Kurt several minutes to decide to leave the letter alone for now. He had to get his emotions in check before his dad got home from the shop. If he saw even a hint of sadness or frustration in Kurt's eyes, he would know immediately something was up.
Kurt didn't reply to the letter for several days. He really wasn't sure how to respond, anyway. Should he be angry at Karofsky for contacting him after he'd caused Kurt so much pain? Should he feel sorry for him? Did he want Karofsky to reply to him? There were so many questions running through his head. He re-read the letter almost every night, just trying to think of a way to respond. Finally, after several rough drafts, he thought he had something that worked. He pulled out the personalized stationary Carole had gotten him for his birthday last year and began to write:
I don't mean to sound harsh, but I don't know what you expect to gain from writing to me. I understand that you're going through a hard time and I know that I'm really the only one at McKinley who can relate at all, but I can't forgive you just yet. I didn't want to leave McKinley, but your aggressive behavior towards me gave me no other option. If you wanted me around to help you, you shouldn't have threatened me to make sure I kept your secret.
Now, if I'm correct in my assumption, you are afraid of how everyone will treat you if you come out to them. I know how this feels and I will not throw open the proverbial closet doors without your consent. Like you said; you have to do it on your terms. Just know this: as long as you're "playing straight" you will be unhappy. Trust me, I've been there.
We can continue, if you'd like, to talk via letters, as I don't think I'd be able to handle actually seeing you in person. Nor would you want to be seen talking to me in public.
Kurt E. Hummel
After writing the letter, it took several more days for Kurt to actually mail it. He re-read his letter quite a few times to make sure he'd balanced the understanding with anger in the letter. He didn't want Karofsky to think he was getting away with terrorizing him, but he didn't want to sound threatening and have Karofsky come to his house and beat the living daylights out of him.
About a week after he received Karofsky's letter, he slipped his response in to the mailbox just before he left for Dalton one morning.
Karofsky's response came just 3 days later. Once again, Kurt took the letter to his room before opening it.
Whoa. I can't believe you actually wrote back. I really wasn't expecting anything when I wrote you. I just knew I needed to apologize for being such a dick.
I don't want people to give me shit if I tell them I'm gay. I think the glee guys would understand, but I don't think the rest of the football team would. I know I'll be unhappy playing straight, but it's the only thing I know and right now, I think it's safer for me to keep up the act. I am a little confused, though. When did you pretended to be straight?
Finn probably told you, that things really aren't the same at McKinley since you left. The football team is kind of divided. The glee guys still have your back; those dudes are true friends to you. No one on the team can say anything negative about you, or gays in general, without getting a severe glare from one or all of them.
Coach got the entire football team to go to sectionals, too. Your song with those Dalton guys was pretty cool, but I couldn't help feel guilty for wanting to see you represent McKinley and not Dalton; knowing that it was me who'd made you switch schools.
I wanna keep talking by letters. It may not seem like much to you, but I think it will really help me.
This time, Kurt decided to be more prompt in his response. It was obvious that Karofsky was in need of a friend who had some idea about what he was going through. Kurt thought of his relationship with Blaine, who was his own mentor. Though he swore to himself that his relationship, or whatever it was, with Karofsky would not develop romantically. That would open up a whole new can of worms.
I had no idea Coach Bieste had the entire football team attend Sectionals. I didn't see any of you in the audience; not that I could see much due to the stage lights. I'm glad you enjoyed the performance.
To answer your question, I briefly dated Brittany last year. I mainly did it because I thought I was disappointing my father by being gay. Brittany also wanted to claim that she'd made out with every guy at McKinley. It was a giant mistake.
I'm sad to hear that the football team is divided. I hope your winning streak hasn't been affected by the riff, but I'm glad that the glee boys still have my back, even if I am technically competition now.
I should let you know that I don't have all the answers. I, myself, am new to many things, but I do have a mentor, of sorts, in my friend Blaine, who also goes to Dalton. You saw him at lunch a few days after the locker room incident. If it's ok with you, I may ask him for some advice for you, if I can't help you myself. I feel like he's in between extremes in the gay community, so you might be able to relate to him a bit better than you can to me.
Karofsky had no problem with getting advice from Blaine. In fact, he was glad to have more than one person going through the same thing as him. The letters continued for about a month before Kurt had to ask Blaine for some advice for Karofsky. Of course, Kurt was worried about how Blaine would feel about giving advice to the guy that terrified Kurt into leaving McKinley, especially since Kurt and Blaine were now dating. He decided to approach him after Warblers practice two days after he'd gotten Karofsky's most recent letter.
"Blaine," said Kurt timidly. "Karofsky wrote me a letter a few weeks ago."
Blaine stood there in silence for a moment before saying, "Ok."
"Well, I wrote back to him. We've become sort of pen pals, I guess."
"Wait a minute. He's the reason you left McKinley and now you're pen pals?" said Blaine, obviously bothered by the news.
"I didn't plan on responding to him, at first, but he's just so confused and hurting," said Kurt, a sad look in his eyes as he remembered how he felt after he read the first letter. "We've both been there, Blaine. I think you should read them, especially the first one, so you know where he's coming from. He apologized for everything he did."
"Kurt, I don't care what he wrote to you," said Blaine, who was now getting extremely upset. "He physically hurt you! You can't ignore that fact."
"I'm not ignoring it. I'm trying to make sure it doesn't happen again!"
After a few moments of silence between the boys, Kurt spoke again.
"Blaine, the physical pain he caused me will heal. The emotional pain that he's going through right now could last for years. You're the one who told me to have the courage to stand up to Karofsky in the first place. And I did that. But now I think I need to stand up for Karofsky." Blaine gave him a confused look. "Karofsky is just as scared as I was when I was coming out to my friends and family, if not more so. I think he needs someone to be on his side, like you are for me. Granted, I've known I was different from all the other boys since I was 5, but Karofsky was raised the complete opposite of me. He's been forced to fit into a mold that isn't him and he needs help to break out, and break the gay stereotype."
Blaine was unsure of what Kurt's plans were for Karofsky, but after a few moments of thinking about what Kurt had just said. He sighed, then asked, "What do you need me to do?"
"Well, he's thinking about coming out to the Glee guys on the football team, but he's afraid that, if the rest of the team finds out before he's ready, they will treat him differently."
"So you want me to tell him how I dealt with be being on the baseball team at my old school and how my teammates reacted?"
"Exactly. Show him that not all gay men are fashion conscious, flamboyant and excellent dancers."
"Not an excellent dancer, ha. Speak for yourself," said Blaine with a laugh as he grabbed both of Kurt's hands and pulled him close, spinning him around.
"Don't get me started on that pigeon-toe step thing you did during 'Teenage Dream.' I wasn't specifically talking about you, anyway."
"Touché. So are we meeting him for coffee so we can chat, or what?"
"No, Dave and I have agreed that it is best for us not to actually see each other. We only talk via letters. That way his social status isn't harmed and I don't feel threatened."
"All right. So, do you want me to tell you what I did, or do you want me to write it down and you can add it in with you normal letter?"
"I think you writing it would be best, so he knows it's not coming from me."
"Sounds good. I'll get it to you by tomorrow."
The boys continued to dance around the room without music until Kurt felt his cell phone go off in his pocket. They broke apart so he could answer it. Then they walked out of the school hand-in-hand.
Kurt read Blaine's letter to Karofsky before sending it. He just wanted to make sure that Blaine hadn't threatened Karofsky in his letter; knowing full well that Blaine wouldn't stand a chance if Karofsky came after him. Blaine's letter was respectful and to the point, though he did refer to Kurt as his boyfriend, a fact that Kurt had left out of previous letters to Karofsky. He was pretty sure that Karofsky had feelings for him and he didn't want to shove his relationship with Blaine in Karofsky's face. Kurt wasn't ashamed to be dating Blaine, but he didn't want to be inconsiderate of Karofsky's feelings, either.
Kurt decided to mention, in his own letter, that he and Blaine were dating, in the hopes that Karofsky would see that things would work out in the end.
I finally had to ask Blaine for some advice. Blaine was on the baseball team at his former high school and I felt he could relate better to you than I could in this situation. Coach Tenaka practically gave me my own locker room while I was on the team, so I really didn't have any issues. I've enclosed his letter with mine for you.
Just so you know, Blaine and I have officially started dating. I'm not trying to brag about this, but I thought it would be courteous of me to tell you. I hope that you will see that there are good things to be had in the future, including relationships. I wish you luck if you do decide to come out to the glee men. If they're the good people I know they are, they shouldn't treat you any differently. Though, on second thought, I suggest you explain to them your reasons for terrorizing me.
Now, without further delay, go read Blaine's letter.
This is Blaine. Kurt just told me today that you two have become pen pals. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I've agreed to help him give you advice.
Now, I know exactly what you're going through with coming out to the football team. I was on the baseball team at West Appleton before attending Dalton. I played 3rd base. I'd already come out to my parents and I decided I needed to come out to 3 members of the team in the middle of the season. These guys were the ones I was closest to on the team; my best friends, almost. After practice one day, I pulled them aside and told them. Thankfully, they were all accepting of me being gay. And everything went along as normal.
However, a few weeks later, the rest of the team found out. Most were cool with it. But there was this one guy, Rick, who couldn't deal. He gave me crap during practice and he'd ignore me on the field during games. My coach couldn't do anything about it, my other teammates couldn't do anything about it. I guess he just had a vendetta against me.
Eventually, the entire school knew I was gay and it wasn't just Rick, but guys I didn't even know giving be crap all day, just because I was different.
I applaud you for wanting to take the first steps and come out to the guys in New Directions. You know firsthand that they stood up for Kurt when people tried to knock him down and I'm hoping that, if they are understanding, they'll do the same for you.
Kurt knew the day Karofsky came out to the glee guys. When Finn came home, all he did was sit on the living room couch; staring at the family picture Carole had insisted they take after she and Burt had gotten married. Kurt wasn't sure how Finn, or any of the glee guys, had taken the news, and he was almost scared to ask.
"Hey, Finn," he said as he sat down in the chair across from him. "How's football practice going?"
"Huh? Oh, it's fine."
"Are ya sure? Cause you look like you're mind is a thousand miles away from here."
Finn was silent for a moment. He was thinking about something.
"Karofsky's gay," he said, deadpan, still staring at the picture.
"Really?" asked Kurt, playing dumb. He wasn't ready to let Finn, or anyone besides Blaine, know about their correspondence.
"Yeah," Finn said, finally looking at Kurt. "He said that was the reason he terrorized you. He was jealous of how you were able to walk down the halls, completely comfortable with yourself. He feels awful about what he did to you. He asked us, the guys in glee, not to tell anyone, because he wasn't ready for the whole school to know, but I really thought I needed to tell you."
Kurt smiled. He knew Finn was a good person and a great brother.
"Thanks for telling me. But I've got to ask; how did the other guys react?"
"Well, Puck kicked a chair, mainly because he didn't want to go back to jail; Sam got all up in Karofsky's face before he even finished explaining himself; Artie and Mike didn't say anything, just nodded; and I just sat there, trying to take it all in. I'm sure I had a pretty dumb look on my face."
"So what are you going to do? Are you going to treat him any differently?"
"Huh? What do you mean 'treat him differently'?"
"Well, he's the only gay member of the football team, and while he's nowhere near as flamboyant about it as I am, I think it might make some guys uncomfortable."
"Well, you were on the football team last year and it didn't change anything about the way we treated you. We just accepted it and moved on. I guess we'll do the same with Karofsky."
"I'm glad to hear it," said Kurt. He put his hand on Finn's shoulder and said, "Thank you."
"What are you thanking me for?"
"For not beating up Karofsky when he came out to you. If you had, it would have just perpetuated the cycle."
"Did you know?" asked Finn, looking at Kurt with questioning eyes.
"Yes. I've known for about 6 weeks."
Kurt breathed in deeply. He knew he had to tell Finn. "I decided to confront him about the bullying after the 400th time he slammed me into a locker, about 3 weeks before I transferred to Dalton. It was just the two of us in the locker room and we were both yelling at each other. He kept telling me not to push it, but I just really wanted to get my point across to him. I swear he was going to hit me, but, instead, he kissed me. Then punched a locker and ran out."
Kurt paused for Finn to respond, but he just sat there, stunned. Kurt continued.
"That's why he threatened my life. He said he'd kill me if I ever told anyone about it. He didn't know how to handle what was going on in his life, so he took it out on me. I was everything he was afraid he was going to become, so he wanted to fight it. It makes sense, if you think about it."
"How do you know all of this?"
"Well," said Kurt, not sure if he wanted Finn to know about the letters. "Karofsky wrote me a letter about a month ago. He wanted to apologize for being a jerk to me and explain why he'd done the things he had."
"Did you forgive him?"
"No. Not yet. I still need time to heal, but I did write back. He really needs people to be there for him, Finn. I'm hoping that you will be able to do that for me and encourage the rest of the glee guys to be there for him, too."
Finn was silent for a moment. Then, he nodded and said, "Ok."
Kurt got another letter from Karofsky 3 days after he talked to Finn.
Thanks for pushing me to tell the glee guys. They were all pretty understanding, though I think Puckerman wanted to punch my lights out. Finn said he talked to you about what'd happened and that you wanted them to be supportive of me. I feel like I need to buy you a burger, or something to say thanks. And I'm serious. If you're game, I really want to buy you at least lunch. Bring Blaine, too. I want to meet him for real this time.
I'm thinking about coming out to my parents, too. I know it's going to be tough, but it's something I know I have to do. I'm probably going to have to wait until after the holidays, since I'm not sure about how the rest of my family will take it, but it'll happen soon.
Let me know about lunch.
With Blaine's encouragement, Kurt decided to have lunch with Karofsky on the following Friday, since it was a half day for both Dalton and McKinley. They met at the 50's themed diner on Main Street, along with Blaine and Finn.
The boys got a booth near the back, just in case anyone from McKinley ended up eating at the restaurant. Kurt and Blaine sat on one side, Finn and Karofsky on the other. The lunch started out awkwardly, with only small talk, then out of nowhere, Blaine and Karofsky got to talking about the latest Ohio State game.
"Anybody who's an Ohio State fan is good in my book," said Karofsky, as their food arrived.
Kurt rolled his eyes as he picked up his turkey burger and bit into it. Blaine had opted for the bacon-cheeseburger, while both Finn and Karofsky went with the double bacon cheeseburger, the house special. Obviously, Kurt was the only one who didn't want to make a giant mess while eating. Blaine, Finn, and Karofsky all continued talking while they ate. It was only when they were almost finished when Blaine nudged Kurt in the side.
"What?" whispered Kurt as he leaned over to Blaine.
"You wanted to talk to him in person, and you haven't said anything since your Diet Coke got here."
Kurt sat up and looked at Karofsky.
"So, how's the football team treating you?"
"Oh, pretty well, I guess. I've only let the glee guys know, but I'm gonna tell the rest of the team after I come out to my parents. I've gotta take it in baby steps, ya know?"
"Yeah. I kind ripped open the closet doors, but I've always been one for dramatics."
Finn laughed. "I think that might be the understatement of the year."
"Well a little theatricality never hurt anyone," said Kurt as he thought back to Finn wearing the giant, red, Gaga-inspired shower curtain. He tried to keep from laughing, but the image was too funny. Finn and Karofsky joined in, knowing exactly what Kurt had pictured.
"I'm never, ever wearing that stupid Gaga outfit again. Even if it saved your butt."
"I'm confused," said Blaine. "What happened?"
"Last year, glee did a Lady Gaga inspired routine. I was, of course, totally game for anything Gaga, but the boys chose to perform a KISS song instead, being able to relate to it better. Anyway, Karofsky was about to slushie me and out of nowhere, Finn appears wearing a fire-engine red dress, inspired by Lady Gaga, complete with sequins around his eyes."
"Then the rest of glee club, still in their Gaga and KISS outfits, joins our little group and I just didn't know what to think," finished Karofsky. "I've got to tell you, I've never seen anything funnier, than you in a dress, Finn."
"Well, trust me, there will not be a repeat performance of that."
"Please tell me you got pictures," said Blaine, laughing as he wiped tears from his eyes.
"Finn in KISS garb, yes; Finn as Gaga, no," said Kurt.
"Damn, that would have been something to put in the yearbook," said Karofsky.
The boys sat there laughing well after they'd finished their meal. About 1:30, they finally decided they should leave.
"We should do this again," said Karofsky as he shook hands with Kurt. "We really aren't all that different."
"I think I'd like that," said Kurt as he smiled.
Things were nowhere near fixed between the two boys, but they were definitely on the mend.
A/N: Karofsky is kinda hard to write for, but I imagined him speaking/writing like he did in the principal's office, instead of when he was bullying Kurt. The original plot for this was to have Karofsky writing Kurt the first letter because his parents made him, but it obviously didn't turn out that way. I hope you liked this. And if you did or you didn't, reviews would be great.