Title: Everything.
Pairing: Kurt/Karofsky
Rating: PG-13 in this chapter, hopefully rising to NC-17 as the story progresses.
Spoilers: Season 2 Episode 6. Branches off into my own private AU from there on, so no episodes 7-10. Hopefully, various events from these episodes will make it in somehow.
Disclaimer: Glee is © of Ryan Murphy and the actors. 'In the End' is © Linkin Park.
Summary: When Karofsky pushes Kurt hard enough to warrant hospitalization, the school faculty finally realize that something must be done. When Principal Figgins declares Karofsky Kurt's personal driver and bag-carrier while his broken arm heals, the resident bully is the first to say it's not going to be easy. But surprisingly, he's willing to try.


Chapter One

The ride in Mr. Shuester's car to the hospital was a painful one. The school nurse, a thankfully more competent woman than Teri Shuester had been, had given him a couple of ibuprofen to dull the pain, but every bump and pothole in the rode jarred Kurt's broken arm hard enough to make him clench his teeth and whimper.

The time spent waiting to be admitted in the ER, the X-ray, the splinting of his arm – everything went by in a haze of pain for Kurt, who just wanted his mother. When he belatedly remembered that she was dead, he settled for wanting his father. Mr. Shuester had taken his phone when they'd arrived at the hospital, so hopefully his dad was on the way. Meanwhile, Kurt drifted off into a pain-filled half-sleep, trying to remember what had happened before everything started to hurt so badly.

He'd been on his way to his fifth-period History class at school on Friday when he spotted Karofsky stalking down the hall. Two weeks had passed since the locker room kiss, and Karofsky had avoided him diligently. As things got nicer with Blaine, Kurt had done his best to forget about the bully and enjoy the fact that at least he was no longer being thrown into dumpsters. He sighed, recognizing the look on Karofsky's face and realizing that his happy times were over.

He braced himself as Karofsky drew nearer. He still remembered how it felt to hit the beige wall of lockers – and sure enough, Karofsky's hands were reaching out towards him.

What neither of the boys noticed was the girl approaching the lockers between them. She reached for her combination lock and swung the locker door open just as Karofsky took Kurt's shoulders and threw him at the wall. Kurt had drawn up his arm to protect his body from the force of hitting the lockers, and his forearm caught directly across the open locker door.

The snap of bone was audible over the tinny sound of the locker, and Kurt collapsed to the floor silently, too shocked at the pain to utter a sound. The girl whose locker he'd crashed against gasped, dropping her books, and Karofsky froze in the middle of the hallway. He looked at Kurt strangely, then nudged him with the toe of his shoe.

"Get up, Hummel, I didn't throw you that hard." When Kurt didn't respond, Karofsky bent down to look at him more closely. "Yo, Hummel. You alive?" He shook the prone boy's shoulder – and then Kurt shrieked.

Karofsky was so startled that he stumbled backwards, hitting the opposite wall of lockers with the sound he'd always associated with throwing someone else. The girl gasped again and ran down the hall, screaming for a teacher. Mr. Shuester stepped out from the nearby Spanish classroom, instantly spotting Kurt writhing on the floor and Karofsky sitting across the hallway. He ran to Kurt's side, gathering the boy up and helping him stand.

"Shh, Kurt, let me see. Damn it, it looks like your arm's probably broken. Don't move it. Come on, up you get, let's go. I'll take you to the hospital. You," he snarled, turning to Karofsky. "Figgins' office. Now."

Karofsky swallowed hard, scared of a teacher for the first time in his high-school career. He trudged off to the principal's office, looking back worriedly at Mr. Shuester and Kurt as they slowly made their way towards the nurse's office.

-:-

A moment of clarity hit Kurt in his hospital bed, the pain medications dripping into his IV finally having kicked in. Karofsky really hadn't pushed him that hard. It had been a little shove, only for show; barely more than Kurt himself might use on any of his friends. Only the half-open locker door had caused the damage – if Kurt had hit the lockers flat, he wouldn't have even had a bruise on his arm.

No-one but Karofsky and himself knew it, but for the first time, Karofsky had actually meant not to hurt Kurt.

For some reason, that thought disturbed Kurt more than it consoled him as he fell asleep.


The whole of the Glee club had passed through his small hospital room on the single afternoon he was hospitalized, as well as Carole Hudson and Blaine, all of them showering him with well-wishes and large, colorful flower arrangements. Kurt had to discourage Finn and Puck from plotting revenge on Karofsky, saying he didn't want them to get into trouble. Rachel informed them that Karofsky had been suspended from school anyway, and would probably earn a note in his records. Kurt's mouth worked at that knowledge; it was a long time coming, but the more people raved against Karofsky, the more he wanted to reveal that it had been an accident.

Burt Hummel had already been to the school to talk to Principal Figgins and Karofsky's father, but he refused to tell Kurt what had been decided until he was discharged. He spent the weekend in bed, listening to show tunes on his iPhone and contemplating how he'd work his outfits around his newly acquired cast.

Monday arrived too soon. Kurt was still half-high on pain pills when Burt nudged him to sit in the chair in Figgins' office, so he didn't even flinch when David and Paul Karofsky entered the room to sit on Burt's other side. He cocked his head to the side, too preoccupied with the fact that Karofsky looked somehow smaller without his letterman jacket to notice the almost-panicked look on the boy's face.

Principal Figgins cleared his throat, and Kurt tired to focus.

"Mr. Hummel, Kurt, the school board would like to apologize for your injury, and we offer the following terms for the return of David Karofsky to William McKinley High School."

"I thought he was expelled?" Burt asked coldly.

"No," Paul Karofsky said, forestalling Figgins' answer. "Only suspended, thankfully," he continued, his voice hard as he looked at his son seriously. Karofsky hunched down in his seat, silent.

"Ahem. Yes," said Figgins. "Kurt, Friday's ... incident, has brought your situation more closely to my attention. I apologize for allowing it to go so far. David Karofsky has been suspended from both the football and hockey teams, indefinitely –" Karofsky's round face fell further at the mention of hockey – "and, if you will agree, he will help you through the school days in the coming months until your arm heals."

"Wait, what?" Kurt finally snapped to attention. "Help me? How?" Karofsky, too, frowned in confusion.

"Mr. Karofsky will drive you to and from school, seeing as you cannot drive with your arm broken. He will carry your bag or books until you get to class, and assist you in any physical duties you cannot perform until you are fully recovered. He will also attend counseling with Ms. Pillsbury, three hours a week, to discuss his feelings on the situation and what led up to it. You may join him if you wish. Is this acceptable?" Figgins looked at the four of them in turn. Burt and Paul Karofsky both nodded soberly, the former putting a stern hand on his son's shoulder.

Karofsky swallowed and nodded, apparently not trusting his voice. At a shake from his father, though, he managed to croak out, "I – I guess I have to."

"Mr. Hummel, do you accept these terms?" Figgins looked at Kurt, who felt the weight of the final decision rest on his already tired shoulders. Karofsky was almost innocent on this particular occasion, but still it was the last straw, and Kurt was not above using this opportunity to get even with the bully for all of his past offenses. He wouldn't abuse it, he decided, but only use Karofsky for the exact purposes Figgins had specified. He might even join him in counseling – maybe help to draw the poor closet-case out.

"I do," Kurt said, and then blinked, trying not to gag at the connotations of the phrase. "I accept the terms," he said to cover up for it. "Dad, can we go now? I don't think I'm up for school yet."

"Sure, Kurt." With a nod at Figgins and Karofsky's father, Burt guided his son out the door.

He paused to pluck a pen from Figgins' desk and scribbled something on a piece of paper. He handed it to Karofsky, saying seriously, "This is Kurt's cell. Call him tonight to say when you'll pick him up for school tomorrow morning. And no funny stuff," he warned.

"Indeed, Mr. Karofsky," Figgins said, looking seriously at the boy, "you will be monitored. So, as Mr. Hummel said – no funny stuff."

"Right." Karofsky slumped lower in his chair, a hand over his eyes.

-:-

Kurt was watching The Sound of Music and scratching vaguely at the edge of his cast that evening when he received a text message from an unknown number. He opened it curiously and nearly dropped the phone when he read the text:

pick u up 7:45 tmrow morning
karofsky

"Of course," Kurt scoffed, "he doesn't even have the guts to call me properly. What a coward. Can't spell, either." He threw the phone down onto the bed and unpaused the movie to continue watching. But for once in his life, Julie Andrews failed to hold his interest.


Kurt woke up sore the next morning, his arm twisted at an awkward angle because of the cast and the sheets tangled around his legs. He'd set his clock to ring even earlier than usual, anticipating the longer time it would take him to dress and arrange his hair now that his movements were limited. He barely had time to throw his father a healthy breakfast of whole-wheat toast and homemade peach jam, and to set the coffee machine they'd bought last year for Christmas to warm up when he heard the sound of a car honking outside.

It was 7:45, and Kurt's personal helper was there to drive him to school – surprisingly punctual. He sighed and threw his coat over one shoulder while he locked the front door. A black Toyota truck was parked in the driveway – Kurt tried to make out the model and year in order to distract himself from the truck's driver.

Procrastination could only delay the inevitable, though, and not save him; so Kurt steeled himself and opened the heavy door of the truck's passenger side. "Good morning," he said softly, sliding into the seat.

Karofsky was wearing his letterman jacket again, and clutching the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles were turning white. Kurt heaved the door closed and debated saying something more as Karofsky put the truck into gear and began driving. "Morning," he finally mumbled, but that was it.

The awkward silence stretched on as they drove towards the school, and Kurt was again on the verge of saying something – anything – when Karofsky beat him to it by reaching for the radio. He put in a CD, and soon the scratchings-and-piano introduction of Linkin Park's 'In the End' rang through the car.

It starts with one thing
I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme
To explain in due time
All I know

"Not your type of music, I'll bet," Karofsky said gruffly, "but I'm kind of addicted to them, 'specially their earlier albums."

Time is a valuable thing
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
Watch it count down to the end of the day
The clock ticks life away
It's so unreal

Kurt had to agree with the song – it was indeed unreal to be sitting in a car with his own personal bully, now turned helper, listening to music. Linkin Park truly wasn't Kurt's usual style, but still he could connect to anyone who liked music. Suddenly the whole situation seemed less hopeless. Kurt settled into the comfortable car seat and listened to the lyrics.

Didn't look out below
Watch the time go right out the window
Trying to hold on, didn't even know
Wasted it all just to watch you go
I kept everything inside and even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when –

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter

Karofsky was mouthing the lyrics as they stopped at an intersection. Kurt was surprised to see that Karofsky had stopped to let a group of children cross the street – he'd expected him to be as much a road bully as he was at school. But apparently Karofsky was a well-mannered driver. He didn't even pass the speed limit. Much.

One thing, I don't know why
It doesn't even matter how hard you try,
Keep that in mind
I designed this rhyme, to remind myself how
I tried so hard
In spite of the way you were mocking me
Acting like I was part of your property
Remembering all the times you fought with me
I'm surprised it got so far

So far? Things were going as well as they could – Karofsky had come to pick him up as per the terms the school board had set, and he hadn't hurt Kurt physically or verbally. Kurt wondered if maybe he was just saving it for school, where everybody could witness his brutality.

Things aren't the way they were before
You wouldn't even recognize me anymore
Not that you'd have knew me back then
But it all comes back to me in the end

Karofsky was singing properly now, his voice not as smooth as Mike Shinoda's but keeping up with the rapid-fire rap lyrics impressively.

You kept everything inside and even though I tried, it all fell apart
What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when I –

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter

Kurt decided to join in. He knew the song well enough and could actually appreciate Chester Bennington's voice – when he wasn't screaming. This softer verse was more like his style, too:

I've put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There's only one thing you should know...

They pulled into the school's parking lot then, and Kurt turned away when Karofsky looked at him strangely. The verse repeated in Chester's rasping shout, followed by the last chorus as Karofsky parked the truck.

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter...

"Hang on," Karofsky said as Kurt undid his seatbelt and stepped out of the car. Kurt stood and waited as Karofsky turned the engine off and got out. He moved around the car's hood and stopped before Kurt. "I'm gonna try hard, Hummel," he said, sounding awkward but determined. Kurt almost felt proud of him, handing the bigger boy his bookbag when Karofsky held his hand out for it.

"In the end, that's what matters," Kurt replied in turn, smiling hesitantly. Karofsky grinned back, just as small, liking the song reference. "Thank you."

"Sure. Come on, what's your first class?" Karofsky heaved his own backpack over one broad shoulder and started walking towards the school's front entrance. He seemed to be completely unashamed of being associated with Kurt, who found it refreshing. It seemed like Karofsky really was trying hard to redeem himself. Perhaps it was the unexpected bonding over a Linkin Park song. Who knew where this would lead?

"Spanish," he replied, falling into step beside Karofsky. Students whispered and stared at them as they walked through the school hallways, unused to the image of bully and victim walking side-by-side and not engaged in any acts of violence or humiliation. Karofsky glared at some of them, snarling to mind their own business. They stopped at the door of the Spanish classroom, where Mr. Shuester was waiting with his arms crossed.

"Morning, Mr. Shue," Kurt said as he went to his usual seat in the second row, sitting down next to Mercedes. The black girl was staring at Karofsky openly, her jaw working soundlessly.

"Morning, Kurt," Mr. Shuester replied, his eyes on Karofsky. The hockey player didn't meet his gaze. "Karofsky. Principal Figgins has informed me of your duties in helping Kurt through the school days while his arm heals. You should know that I'll be watching you very closely during this time, as will the rest of the school faculty. Do not disappoint us."

"Yes, Mr. Shuester," Karofsky said quietly. "See you after school, Hummel." He turned and closed the door, walking off to his first period English class as the bell rang.

"What was that all about?" Mercedes whispered in Kurt's ear as Mr. Shuester began writing that day's Spanish vocabulary on the whiteboard.

"Karofsky's punishment is to help me at school until my arm heals," Kurt whispered back. "I know it's weird, but I do need the help, and it might do Karofsky some good too. I'll tell you the whole story later," he promised, as Mr. Shuester turned back to face the class and begin his lesson.