AUTHOR'S NOTE: Much of this story's formatting was *horribly* ruined when uploaded to fanfiction[dot]net. I HIGHLY suggest that you read it at:


(replacing bracketed words with the symbols)

You will have a much better reading experience!

Summary: Seven years since graduation and Mr. Shue and Coach Beiste have finally overcome Sue's attempts to curtail their plans for a Class of 2012 reunion. Now that Kurt, home from Hollywood to help his ailing father, is getting a chance to see all his old friends once more, will his heart be swept away by the first boy to give him COURAGE? Or will his old foe—now a *professional* sweaty, chubby bully (for the NFL nonetheless)—intercept his old crush and run with him, straight for a touchdown? Written for this meme, slightly altered from NHL to NFL.

Not mine. None of it. I don't own Glee, I don't own the Dallas Cowboys. Those are Ryan Murphy and Jerry Jones' to do with as they please! All I own is an iPod and season tickets to the Cowboy's stadium. So if ya sue me, well, that's all you get. (Actually, no, you will not get my tickets because I will run from the law before giving them up!)

I decided to make Dave a tight end even though he played right guard in high school mainly because he's just plain not big enough to be a pro offensive guard. High school, sure. Pro… you kinda have to be the sort of guy that ducks and turns sideways when entering through a door. He could have grown a few inches after high school, but not enough to match the gladiators we call guards and tackles! Tight ends are kind of like offensive linemen with catching abilities. Big, able to slam the crap out of you, but can run and catch, too. Plus I just like to talk about his tight end. ;P

NOTE ON CONTENT/RATING: Most of this story is an R-level rating. What smut there is has been edited down to a R/M rating. I will make a note in these edited chapters. If you are of legal age in your area of residence and would like to read the un-edited story, you can find it at sparklybat [dot] livejournal [dot] com [slash] tag [slash] homefieldadvantage

Ch 1: Kickoff

It was time to get his badass on.

Dave Karofsky tightened his fists, grinning a little maniacally at the small mirror he'd stuck onto the inside of his locker door. He took in a deep breath as he rolled tense shoulders, the adrenaline shooting through his veins causing sweat to drip down the side of his face. He glared at his reflection for a moment longer before letting out a little huff of laughter. Still a sweaty, chubby bully. It was amazing how both everything and nothing could change so much.

He studied the mirror, not taking his eyes off of his reflection as he tossed back a shot of Gatorade, adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed, and yanked a small towel from the waistband of his pants, running it roughly across his stubbled face to palm away the sweat. Yeah, he was a sweaty, chubby bully, alright. That's what they damn well paid him for.

He could do this. He would teach those bastards a lesson once and for all about pissing off one Dave Karofsky. They thought they could just waltz in, mess with *him*, and walk out with all their body parts intact? Ha. He could smell the blood already. The crunching of bones was like music to the ears. No one would be walking away tonight. He would slam those motherfuckers so hard into the ground that they'd spend the rest of their goddamn lives in a hospital bed—

"Yo, man, you ready to kick some ass?" Dave started slightly as a lineman's enormous palm clapped down onto his equally enormous shoulder, then bared his teeth at him with a laugh.

"Oh yeah. Gonna put those bitches in their place!" Another grin and he was alone again, once more staring seriously into his locker. He slowly lifted his fingertips, brushing them against his lips, then reaching out to gently touch his little mirror.

More sweat dribbled down his face.

Breathe in, breathe out. He glanced nervously over his shoulder then shook his head at his own paranoia. No one could see around his fat ass and probably wouldn't give a shit even if they did. The boys would probably think it was a picture of his sister or something. Very slowly he tugged down the mirror, a tiny smile crossing his face as he gazed at the photo behind it.

Dave wasn't sure if you could swallow down something as abstract as loneliness, but since the feeling was rising in his gorge like a wave of vomit, he did his best, licking his lips anxiously.

What the hell was *wrong* with him, that he stood there every freakin' game, staring sappily into the eyes of Lady Gaga and Elton John's bastard child? He was a freakin' titan, a gladiator, three hundred pounds of pure DANGEROUS—he cut the thought off abruptly. Screw that shit. Who was he kidding? He could grind every dude from here to Never Never Land into a pile of bloody guts and he'd still be a coward. A sweaty, chubby coward.

It had been seven years, but it might as well have been forever. Forever and seven years since he'd last spoken to the boy whose simple *presence* had caused everything Dave thought he knew about himself to be ripped into little pieces of sparkle and stuffed it into Coach Sylvester's confetti cannons, where it would wait patiently for the day that it could all blow up in his face. Seven years since he'd last tugged on Fancy's metaphorical pigtail. Seven years since he'd swallowed his schoolboy crush and bowed to the will of millions of psychotic fans and a bunch of sponsors with nine hundred dollar putters shoved up their butts. Seven years and he was still just a sweaty, chubby, hulking *coward*.

Dammit! He slammed his hand against the wall of lockers, then ducked his head in embarrassment as one of his teammates looked at him strangely. Dave stared at nothing until the other man looked away with a "what the hell?" look plastered on his face, then glanced around again at the other guys trolling the locker room. Assured once more of the fact that no one gave a shit why he'd been standing in front of a mostly empty locker for the past fifteen minutes, Dave turned back to the photo, running his fingers along the small of headshot of a young man wearing a sparkly pink scarf, a hat full of feathers, and a bright grin.

The word 'COURAGE' was scrawled across the bottom in messy black letters.

Needless to say, Azimio had *not* been watching when he'd "defaced" this particular yearbook picture of Kurt Hummel. A smile tugged at Dave's lips once more as he *really* studied the picture, tonguing his cheek in mild amusement at the boy's outfit.

Most days he felt like he'd kill to have as much courage at that pretty little boy, but he did have to admit there were times when all the feathers in that leopard print hat just plain made his eyes hurt.

"You ready to go, Demo?" Coach called out, grabbing Dave's gloves off the bench behind him and tossing them in his general direction.

Dave caught them reflexively, nodding. "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming." He made to slam his locker, then paused as his phone buzzed.

Probably just his housekeeper calling to tell him that the dogs had escaped and peed all over the couch again—something that the forty bucks an hour he paid her apparently did not cover. He yanked it out, skimming over the screen, then rolled his eyes.

TXT MSG from AZIMIO: demolish em dude! i gots $$$$ on u!

He typed quickly with one hand as he used the other to awkwardly pull on his helmet, buckling the chin strap absently.

TXT MSG RPLY: ur a dumbass. but u can still bet the farm on us!

TXT MSG from AZIMIO: u nail the game can i nail a cheerleader?

Dave smiled ruefully.

TXT MSG RPLY: and leave me 2 the wrath of ur wife? no way. besides they r so out of ur league

TXT MSG from AZIMIO: and theyre in urs? why do the fags get all the hot grrls? hahahahaha

Dave scowled deeply and tossed the phone back into the locker with a bang, moving to slam the door shut—preferably hard enough to dent the metal—but hesitated when his phone buzzed again.

Dammit, Azimio, way to take a guy's mind off the game.

He sighed and grabbed it again.

TXT MSG from AZIMIO: which reminds me. coach beasty just made a deal w/ da gleek teach. gangin up on sue after what she pulled. Havin a choir/ftball class of 2012 reunion on sat. chk ur email, we gonna b takin dwn sum gleeeks!

Dave stared blankly down at the text, shaking his head, one eyebrow raised. What the hell? Why the hell would they be having a reunion with the Gleeks? And did that mean that *he* would be there…?

Dave started to open his email but was interrupted when the coach grabbed his phone out of his hand, threw in in the locker and smacked him on the back of the helmet. "Head in the game, boy!"

Dave took a deep breath, nodded, and fell into line behind his fellow slamming machines, tucking his already sweat-soaked towel into the front of his pants as he tried his best to pretend that his mind wasn't somewhere else completely.

Somewhere with a lot less sweat and a lot more feathers.

No. No, no, no. So not going to go there. He couldn't go to this… whatever the hell you call a meetup of the show choir and the freaking football team. Dave didn't want to see him, not after seven years. He didn't want to see how he had made a life for himself, found someone to love, been so goddamn brave while he, Mr. Tough Guy, just wasted away, alone. He couldn't go.

He wasn't that brave.

Music began to pound over the loudspeakers and Dave mentally smacked his thoughts into silence. He had a game to play, and he didn't have to be fucking brave to do that. He just had to be able to bodily slam people into the ground—and if they gave Oscars for *that* kind of shit, he'd have a thousand lined up on his dresser.

"What TIME is it?"

"GAME TIME!" 90,000 people screamed.


Dave butted helmets with the quarterback, trying not to smile as he remembered the time Azimio had gotten so wasted that he'd tried to do that off the field with no helmets on—and had ended up accidentally kissing Puckerman.


And they were off onto the field.

The cheerleaders high kicked and danced, the team rallied, slapping each other's butts and ramming their helmets together, a pretty girl in the stands waved a glittery sign saying that she wanted a piece of his tight end. 90,000 people screamed for him.

And Dave Karofsky had never felt so alone.

He was such an effing coward.

The coin was flipped, their favor, the ball was kicked, and the Dallas offense fell into place along the line of scrimmage.

He couldn't go. Hell, for all he knew Hummel might have taken out a freaking restraining order on him.

The quarterback's voice echoed from the speakers in his pads but Dave couldn't quite catch the play over his thoughts. They were louder than the damn fans.

If he didn't go to this thing, wouldn't that just make him more of a coward? Or could you be more of a coward if you were already a coward?

The clock counted down and—

This was insane. What was he, some kind of girl? Trying to analyze every little—


Two three hundred pound men bodily slammed him from either side and he was down, their massive weight pressing down on him, choking the breath from him.

DAMMIT! Coach was no doubt screaming through the com in the quarterback's helmet 'cause the quarterback was screamin' at Dave. Gotta get his head in the fucking GAME!

Three seconds later and he was on his feet, ignoring the stabbing pain in his side, and they were lining up again.

Head. In. The. Game.

Dave dug his teeth into his mouthguard, adrenaline pumping, and one of the enormous defensive linemen wagged his eyebrows at him. "Break a leg, Karofsky!" he called out with a wink, a wicked look on his face.

Dave took a deep breath, clenching his fists. In his next life, he was totally joining show choir.