Dave had been good at school, once upon a time, but after his awful semester Junior year where he had barely maintained 2.0 for sports eligibility and got expelled from McKinley High, hopes about college had pretty quickly been dashed. Of course after the whole… incident his grades got back to normal and he rocked his SAT scores. So when he got offered a full-ride sports scholarship to a college in Boston for hockey, he jumps at the opportunity. His parents are on board, of course, and proud that their idiot jock son had made it to a good school despite all his acting out.
The first semester was one of the hardest things that Dave has ever done. If he isn't practicing or training he's stuck in his dorm studying, but the team provides him with a tutor who helps him learn how to try again and he passes all his classes; she also tells him that she's pretty sure he might have dyslexia and he should really consider getting tested, but she offers him some tips to help with reading comprehension. He doesn't take her seriously. He's been doing fine long enough.
He kicks ass on the ice, does okay in his classes, and hangs out with his team on trivia nights in a local pub. That's the pattern that has developed and that is the one he'll stick with.
The idea of not being a total idiot jock seems so completely foreign to him after so long that he can't even begin to believe her, at least not until he starts following her advice and writes a paper for his late 19th century English literature class on The Picture of Dorian Gray that earns him his first A minus since he was in sophomore year.
Dave can't even begin to think of words to express how he's feeling, but he tries to explain it to his parents over the phone. It's like this unbelievable shakiness in his chest. Like any moments he feels like he might puke or his heart might explode. It feels like he's finally, finally doing something right for once in his life. They doesn't seem to really get it, so Dave changes the subject back to Thanksgiving plans and he has to tell his mother for the sixteenth time that he doesn't have a girlfriend to bring.
The whole... gay thing, well that's still there, obviously, but he hasn't shoved a kid in to a locker since he got expelled from McKinley. And while he tries not to admit it, sometimes when he's in bed or in the shower jerking off, he thinks back to the day in the locker room. But, in his fantasies Kurt doesn't push him away, because Kurt doesn't want to push him away.
The summer after his freshman year he moves in to a house with the other guys from the hockey team. It is pretty much like living in a frat house except you have to wake up at five AM to go out on morning runs and sometimes the team's nutritionist comes in and clears out all the junk food when they're away at practice.
One evening, right after finals one of his teammates runs down the stairs and hurdles himself over the old couch to land next to Dave, who is reading a play by Oscar Wilde.
"We're going to go get some pussy tonight," he announces, "you in?"
And then Dave says it, as easily as he ever could have while he refuses to look up from his reading at his teammate "I'm gay, Clyde."
"You're joking," the hockey player replies flatly.
"No," Dave's voice is a little lower now, and he isn't exactly scared, but he isn't exactly certain either.
"You've seriously been keeping this from us?" the blond stands up and takes a step away from the couch, "Christ Karofsky! Gay dudes are like girl Kryptonite. Weakens their defenses, gets you in their panties in like half the time and half the effort. We should go to Rise tonight."
Dave takes a second to respond, but eventually he does.
"Isn't that a gay club?"
"Yeah, man. Tons of straight girls go there with their gay dude friends and they get all horny and shit and then you can swoop in and get laid. I'll tell the boys and you… you need to go upstairs and get changed."
Dave closes his book and looks down at the gray zip-up team sweatshirt and jeans he has on.
"What's wrong with this?"
Clyde takes one look at him and laughs, "Seriously? No one's going to believe you're gay if you're dressed like that."
He does go upstairs and changes in to a pair of jeans that don't have a food stain from dinner and a t-shirt that doesn't smell like he's been wearing it for the last three days (which he has). He considers wearing that nice button-up shirt his mom sent him for his birthday, but ends up wearing a plain blue polo shirt instead.
That night every guy on the team gets laid, except for Dave who spends most of the evening sitting awkwardly at the bar watching people dance and refusing the advances of anyone who tries to strike up a conversation.
They end up going to that club once every month or two, usually after a particularly good exciting win when everyone his hopped up on adrenaline, or after a particularly bad loss when they just need to fuck. He thinks maybe he'll find a guy like himself one day, someone who likes beer, sports and cars. Someone who is just as tone deaf as him and likes action movies and can't speak French. Some of those guys approach him and they get in to debates about who is going to win the world series or the super bowl, but no matter what he tries, he finds himself attracted to the same thing he always has, thin beautiful boys with haughty eyes. And he goes home alone.
Dave doesn't really know what he wants to do after he graduates from here, if he doesn't get picked up to play professionally that is. There have been a few scouts and their team is doing really well, but if that doesn't pan out he wants a backup plan. The last thing he wants to do is go back to Lima and live in his parents' basement. He could always join the military, as long as they don't ask him and he doesn't tell, but if they did found out he'd get discharged and would it really be worth all the effort?
He actually kind of likes English now, which used to be his worst subject, and sometimes he even writes short stories and poems. It makes him feel kind of girly when he does, so he hasn't done anything with them and he's pretty sure they're crap. He doesn't want to be an author or anything like that, but he does get this idea that maybe he could teach. It seems so utterly ridiculous that he can't help but laugh at himself, but the more he thinks about it the more the idea seems to take hold.
Maybe he could even stop the kids like him from doing the stuff he'd done. Maybe he could make someone's life a little less awful.
It isn't until halfway through the first semester of his junior year that he runs in to him. It seems so surreal, almost like one of his old dreams, that he totally forgets the conversation he's having and wanders away midsentence. He'd heard that Kurt had gone to that famous Berklee music school, but Boston is a big city and bumping in to Kurt is like some abstract dream that won't ever take shape. Dave though he never he'd see him again, but there he is across the room walking towards a group of theater-looking kids.
"Hummel!" he calls out once and then again as he presses through the crowd and grabs him by the arm. When the boy whips around he pulls his arm away.
"Jesus, Kurt," he breaths out as he lets go of him, "Don't looks so scared. I'm not going to hurt you."
"Karofsky? What're you even doing outside of Lima?" He looks angry and yeah, no that makes sense. All those times with his hand on his cock, imagining it was Kurt's, imagining him wanting Dave as much as he wanted him. Those were only fantasies.
This is reality and he's the bastard jock he used to shove him in to lockers.
"Scholarship," he mumbles and shoves his hand in to the pockets of his sweatshirt and glances back over his shoulder to his teammates. Most of them aren't watching, but those that are happen to be giving him the thumps up, "only way a meathead like me could get out of there, right?"
"What do you want, Karofsky?"
"Nothing," Dave says quickly and recoils a bit with that condescending glare Kurt is sending his way. He feels sixteen again: angry, confused, frustrated, and desperately lost. "I just... I saw you and thought maybe I could-"
"You could what? Try and get in my pants again?"
"No. You already told me you don't dig on chubby guys. I, um," he pauses and his jaw twitches, "I thought I could apologize."
"Really? You're going to say you're sorry and think that will fix everything?"
"I never said it'd-"
"Well I've got news for you, you made my life a goddamn living hell because of your own damn issues. Do you have any idea what I was going through? My mom was dead. Did you know my Dad almost died? He was in a coma. Do you even know what that word means? No, of course you don't because you're a dumb asshole who doesn't give a fuck about anyone else's feelings. You getting expelled was the best thing that ever happened to me."
"I'm sorry," he whispers pitifully. And he genuinely, truly is.
"Yes, sorry sorry sorry. Everyone is sorry and no one did a goddamn thing about it, but Sue. You couldn't handle then fact that you like cock you had to take it out on me because I had the courage to come out. But you had to be a coward about the whole thing and act like a kindergartner trying to pull my pigtails because you liked me and you couldn't handle it. You haven't changed have you? You're still the pathetic bastard who-"
"I almost forgot how much of a little bitch you could be," Dave interrupts and god he still wants him so unbelievably badly it honestly aches.
"Fuck you," Kurt hisses and moves to slap him.
Dave catches his hand and pins it against the wall above him as he closes the distance between them. He presses up against Kurt and kisses him, just as desperate as the first time. He whimpers again, just like last time, as he lets go and takes a quick step back. It doesn't even occur to him that there are people around him this time.
"I... I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry. I need to go-"
Kurt grabs on to the front of his sweatshirt and pulls him back, slides a hand behind the nape of his neck and pulls his face down and kisses him.
"You are taking me home tonight," Kurt whispers in his ear and it makes Dave shiver.
"Yeah, just let me text my roommate." He does that with a simple You have the couch tonight. You've owed me. Catcalls come from the team the minute his roommate receives it. Above the cheering he can hear Clyde distinctly yelling 'GET SOME' as he and Kurt move past them to leave the bar.
Dave is blushing, but he's too giddy to feel embarrassed. So giddy in fact he doesn't even register that Kurt is pointedly looking at someone from the table of theater kids.
"This tends to be the time when I claim it's not usually this messy," Dave explains a little self-consciously as he opens the door to his shared bedroom and kicks some dirty clothes under the bed on his side of the room, "but that would be a total lie."
Dave rubs at his arms nervously before he adds, "Twelve guys live in this house, so yeah, it tends to be pretty messy most of the time."
"Charming," Kurt replies as he scans the room. His eyes focus on the bookshelf that divides the room in halves and moves so he is standing in front of it and looking over it intently. Dave's side of the room is pretty sterile, thrift store computer desk and plain cotton sheets. His roommate has posters and pictures up over his walls and red comforter.
"Your roommate reads Oscar Wilde?" Kurt sounds slightly impressed, but mostly astounded.
"Um, no. Those are mine."
Kurt raises an eyebrow and asks "You can read?"
Dave's mouth twitches, but he doesn't respond.
"Dave," he replies, "you can call me Dave."
Kurt raises an eyebrow again and stares at him.
"I can get you a beer if you like-" Kurt scoffs and Dave feels boorish and uncultured compared to the fashionable young man standing in front of his bookshelf judging his possession, "or we have soda, water, orange juice. There's some sangria, I think if you want that. One of the guys is from Spain and he makes it every few weeks. It's actually pretty good."
"Sure," he idly replies as he runs his finger over the spine of one of the books.
Dave goes down stairs to the kitchen where he spends ten minutes trying to find an acceptable glass and when he finally does he has to wash it out because it still has lipstick stains on it. He pours it for Kurt and considers getting some for himself, but there is only one wine glass he can find and he can't bear the thought of how Kurt will look at him if he drinks wine out of a regular glass, so he settles for a beer and scales the stairs back to his room.
The minute he comes back he knows something is off, Kurt is standing at the other side of his room holding a piece of paper in his right hand
Kurt clears his throat and begins to read:
"It's cold where I am now,
and if I could I would
shrug off the weight of the sky,
move oceans and worlds
just so I could go to the place
where I held you close once
and felt your heartbeat
underneath my finger tips."
"Give that back!" Dave calls out and puts down the drinks on his roommate's computer desk near the doorway so he can close the distance between them and snatch the piece of binder paper away from Kurt.
"That wasn't half-bad," Kurt sounds almost surprised before he adds, "so, when did you learn to read Dave?"
"Second semester, Freshman year" he replies honestly as he folds the paper up and shoves it in his pocket, "after I got diagnosed with dyslexia."
For a second Kurt almost looks apologetic but it fades quickly as he rolls his eyes, "Well, that would explain why you always wrote FAG backwards on my forehead."
"If you're just going to be a bitch you should leave."
"Oh, because you were always such a gentleman."
"I'm not that guy anymore!" Dave snaps back, "It's too bad you can't see that."
There is silence for a few seconds before Kurt asks quietly, "Why did you hate me so much?"
"It wasn't just because you were out, it wasn't just the crush," Dave mumbles staring up at the ceiling arms folding his arms over his chest "I mean that was a lot of it, but it wasn't all of it. It was-"
"You made me feel dumb. And Inadequate and cowardly."
"Really?" Kurt's arms are crossed over his thing chest; Dave moves over to the edge of his bed and sits down.
"Yeah, I wanted to be like you: smart, talented, driven, and god, you were so brave."
"I wasn't," Kurt laughs as he takes a seat next to Dave on the bed, "I just wasn't good enough to hide."
Kurt places a hand on Dave's thigh and Dave doesn't move away.
They're sitting on Dave's bed with their backs against wall drinking. Dave has finished about a quarter of his beer because he keeps forgetting he has it. Mostly he's just staring at Kurt out of the corner of his eyes and trying not to be too obvious about it.
"I thought you'd have a bigger bed," Kurt comments. It's an extra long twin, like the beds they provide in dormrooms across America.
"We didn't really have enough room in here for anything else. And it's not like I usually have overnight guests so it's big enough."
Kurt raises an eyebrow at this comment and looks like he's about to say something so Dave interrupts him.
"You're still doing music and stuff, right?" Kurt lets out a little condescending huff that should probably make Dave feel uncomfortable, but he's too busy staring at Kurt's lips.
Then Kurt is talking for like maybe ten, fifteen, minutes about music and fashion and things that just go completely over Dave's head.
When he finishes talking Kurt looks like he expects Dave to say something back so he takes a sip of his beer to delay his response a few seconds longer while he thinks of something intelligent to say.
Kurt raises an eyebrow.
"I mean," he shrugs, "I figured you'd still be doing stuff like that. You were really creative and clearly you liked fashion. You always dressed really nicely."
"I thought you hated the way I dressed."
"It made my eyes tired," Dave replies and takes another sip of his beer so that he has something to do other than sit there and feel uncomfortable. Kurt has set down his wine glass mostly untouched on the bedside table and looks over at Dave with something akin to curiosity.
"What does that even mean?"
"I… couldn't stop staring at you."
Kurt laughs then, sharp and a little condescending. It has an 'I-told-you-so' sort of air to it.
"You wore a corset to French one day. What did you think would happen?"
"Well I certainly didn't dress myself in the morning thinking 'Now what will sexually excite the homophobic jock who tosses me in to lockers?'"
"Kurt, if I could-"
"Don't say anything Karofsky." He doesn't and the room is palpably silent for a few minutes more before Kurt speaks again.
"Are those Oscar Wilde books really yours?"
"Um, yeah. Why?"
"The idea of a Neanderthal like you reading let alone understanding Wilde is almost laughable."
"Alright, I'm done." Dave stands up and stares down at Kurt, his jaw twitching.
Kurt tugs him back down on to the bed, straddles him, and whispers in his ear "I think I have a better idea."
"I'm serious, Kurt," Dave says as Kurt looks down at him smugly, but he knows Kurt can feel he's hard and his hands are already unwinding the striped scarf from around the thin man's neck and tossing it on the ground.
"Of course you are, Karofsky," Kurt replies as he pulls off Dave's shirt, and then adds "Not as chubby as I thought" while he tosses it to the side.
"God, you're a bitch," Dave growls as he flips Kurt on to his back and starts to impatiently undo the buttons of his shirt.
"Hey!" Kurt cries out indignantly, "Be careful, that's Armani."
"I don't care," Dave replies as he roughly pulls it off and lets it fall onto the ground with the rest of Dave's dirty clothing.
Kurt looks like he's about to protest when Dave interrupts him with a fierce kiss; he continues to kiss his way down Kurt's chest until he's undoing the buckle on Kurt's fancy belt and pulling off his slacks.
Kurt closes his eyes, bites his lip, and forgets all about his shirt.
He falls asleep with his arm wrapped around Kurt's waist and his face buried in his neck.
In the morning he wakes alone with no evidence that anyone else was there the night before, except for the condoms in the trashcan and the striped scarf on the ground. He empties the trash downstairs and as he walks by the couch he smacks his roommate on the back of the head to wake him.
"Room's clear," he informs him dispassionately.
"He was cute," his roommate yawns as he trudges up the stairs behind Dave, blanket wrapped around him like a cloak, "in a looks like 12-year-old gay Hitler youth Liza Minnelli sort of way. Looked like you two knew each other-" his speech is interrupted by another yawn as he flops on the bed and curls up-"he your ex or something?"
"Not even close," Dave mumbles as he takes a seat in front of his computer, "I used to toss that fucker into lockers back in high school."
"God, you were a dick Karofsky."
"You don't know the half of it," he replies as he logs on to facebook and checks his updates. He's been tagged in some pictures from last night which is fairly unremarkable, except for the last photo of him standing and talking with Kurt taken from across the bar. The caption reads 'Some twink Karofsky had the hots for.'
He spends probably more time than he should analyzing the look on Kurt's face in the picture and by the end he has arrived at the conclusion that he has no idea what it means.
He goes to edit his profile and under 'interested in' he checks the box labeled men and hits save. He's still friends with people on here from highschool, mostly members of the football team and hockey team, but fuck it right? He's in Boston and never plans on moving back to Lima.
After a few minutes of silence Dave asks, "Who the hell is Liza Minnelli?" but his roommate has already fallen back asleep.
When he goes out the next evening he picks up Kurt's scarf from off the floor and wraps it around his neck; he feels like the biggest idiot in the world, but doesn't take it off.
The following week Dave has an eight page paper he needs to write for his Modernist Literature class, so he barely even thinks about Kurt. Just every few hours he'll pause for a second and remember what it was like to feel his body under him. But then he remembers his essay and goes back to writing, he decided to write about the portrayal of religion in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and tie it in with the social history of 20th century Ireland.
Dave spends his weekend sitting in front of his computer in his boxers drinking cans of mountain dew and eating sour patch kids and cold pizza while he carefully, letter by letter, types out an argument. It's only when he gets really stuck at a particular sentence or paragraph that he goes on to facebook and ends up looking at Kurt's profile page. He stares at the picture of him for longer than he should and closes the window entirely, not bothering to send him a friend request. He loses count of the times he does this before the weekend is over.
At three thirty in the morning when it's technically Sunday, but still feels like Saturday, his roommate bursts in with a half-naked girl. She shrieks and covers her breast with her hands when she spots Dave sitting at his desk, the glow of the screen illuminating his puzzled face.
"He saw my tits!" she cries out.
"It's okay!" his roommate drunkenly soothes as he kisses the back of her neck, "Karofsky's a gay. Right Karofsky?" Dave shuts his laptop and grabs a blanket and pillow off of his bed and makes his way to the door.
"Yup," he replies dryly as he exits his room and shuts the door behind him. Downstairs the goalie is asleep on the good couch, and one of the forwards is passed out in the recliner. The ratty couch has some girl he doesn't recognize asleep on it. He moves to the table in the kitchen, sets up his laptop and wraps the blanket around his body before getting back to work.
When his battery starts to run low three hours later he saves the file and shuts the laptop. He's a little over the length requirement so he wonders what he should cut out while he stands up, leaving his behind blanket on the chair as moves to the fridge where he tries to find something to eat. After a few minutes of consideration he decides to make himself a quesadilla with some of the leftover pepperjack cheese and roastbeef in the fridge. He grabs one of the pans out of the drying rack, places it on the stove, butters the surface and starts cooking.
He sits on down on the tiled counter as he eats, not bothering to get a plate or silverware because the idea of doing dishes is too exhausting at the moment. He watches the sunrise through the kitchen window and tries not to think about Kurt.
By the time he moves back to the living room the couch is clear so he curls up with his pillow and blanket and falls asleep.
Around noon he wakes up when three of the defenders are in the middle of a game of Halo. He yawns, sits up and holds his hand and catches the controller that gets thrown to him. Two of the boys sit on either side of him while the other one stays seated in the recliner. A bit later they switch to some WW2 game and Karofsky spends the next hour and a half shooting Nazis in the face which is more than a bit satisfying.
When he gets bored he tosses the controller to one of the boys whose gathered around to watch them play, then collects his blanket and computer to head upstairs. He forgets his pillow, but there is another one on his bed so he leaves it downstairs. He collapses on the mattress and falls asleep a few minutes later.