Story: Paragraph 175
By: Ruby Lis
Pairing: Kurt/Karofsky, set after "Never Been Kissed". Possibly slightly AU as I don't plan on including Blaine/Dalton.
Rating: M for subject matter-language, violence, mental/physical torture (Holocaust), anti-gay slurs.
Summary: Kurt discovers that Karofsky's hatred has its roots in something that happened between their families during the Holocaust. The title refers to the German law that made homosexuality a crime.
Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy.
A/N: First, I do plan on updating regularly but I can't guarantee a weekly update. Work has been pretty busy. Second, while I did do some basic research, please be patient with me regarding historical/cultural mistakes I may have made. Please PM me and let me know if I have any facts wrong. Thanks!
Normally, World History was one of the few classes Dave Karofsky looked forward to. Part of it was the fact his teacher, Mr. Reuben Heigle, addressed everyone formally as Mr. or Miss. The other part was that history was a lot like football with different countries and cultures trying to get the upper hand over each other. He loved the strategy behind world events-reading about cause and effect as the events played out.
The current class assignment was proving particularly interesting. They were supposed to research how world history had affected their personal history. Fascinating.
Until today. Until Kurt Hummel had walked to the front of the class to make his presentation.
Dave Karofsky didn't hate Kurt Hummel because he was gay. Not exactly. He hated Kurt Hummel because he was a Hummel. German. And Karofsky's family was Russian. Maybe Kurt was ignorant of their family histories, but Karofsky wasn't. And he had planned to use this class assignment to finally show Hummel's true colors.
Until Kurt had walked to the front of the class and held up the very photo Karofsky had planned to use for his report.
"-gays imprisoned during the Holocaust. My grandfather, Klaus Hummel, was one of them. This is a photograph from a Russian source showing Klaus as a prisoner." The photo showed two men, one dressed in a German uniform, the other wearing a prisoner's uniform with a pink triangle next to his i.d. number.
"That's not what it says." Karofsky blurted out, surprising himself as well as Kurt.
Kurt placed his hand on his hip and fixed Karofsky with an icy glare. "Really? Since when do you speak Russian?"
"Since I was 5."
Mr. Heigle's eyes brightened with interest. "Mr. Karofsky, would you care to translate for the rest of the class?"
"German soldier Klaus Hummel with homophile prisoner Nikolai Petrovich Karofsky at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp."
"You translated it without even looking at it." Kurt said coldly.
Karofsky shrugged, "It's a photo of my great uncle. It's been in my family for decades."
"Indeed?" Mr. Heigle rocked on his heels as he studied Karofsky, curious about the apparent, unexpected connection between the Hummels and the Karofskys. "What else do you know about your great uncle?"
Karofsky fidgeted, suddenly aware that everyone in the class was looking at him.
"He kept a journal. About stuff that happened during the Holocaust. But it was lost." Karofsky chewed his lip. "We still have some of his letters, though." He shot Kurt a look. "And the photo."
Kurt's cheeks brightened with anger. "My grandfather was not a Nazi!"
Karofsky crossed his arms and scowled. "He's not wearing that uniform for cosplay."
The bell rang, dismissing the World History class for lunch break.
"Mr. Hummel, Mr. Karofsky, a moment, please."
Kurt and Karofsky exchanged a puzzled, unfriendly look then walked over to Mr. Heigle's desk. Mr. Heigle, however, beamed at the two young men. "What an unexpected opportunity!" He took his wire rimmed glasses and absentmindedly polished them on the hem of his shirt. "Mr. Karofsky, you said in class that your great uncle had a journal that was lost after World War II."
Mr. Heigle reached for an old, obviously worn journal on his desk. "As part of this class assignment, Mr. Hummel brought this in two days ago and asked if I could translate it for him."
Karofsky's mouth went dry. No freaking way. It couldn't be.
Kurt felt a sudden panic as he saw Mr. Heigle handing the journal to Karofsky. He quickly stepped between them and grabbed the journal just as Karofsky's fingers brushed the cover. Karofsky shot him a furious look.
"Mr. Heigle, with all due respect, this journal is a family heirloom."
"Yeah, my family's!" Karofsky growled.
"You don't know that!" Kurt snapped back.
"Exactly!" Mr. Heigle rubbed his hands together excitedly. "We don't know whose journal it is. If it is your great uncle's journal, how did it come to be in the Hummel family's possession? What we do know is that it's written in Russian."
Kurt glanced at Karofsky out of the corner of his eye. He had a bad feeling about where this was going.
"And we know that Mr. Karofsky understands Russian." Mr. Heigle held his hand out for the journal. "First, we determine who wrote it, yes?"
Reluctantly, Kurt handed the journal over to Mr. Heigle and watched tensely as it was handed over to Karofsky. Kurt was surprised at the almost reverent way Karofsky handled the leather volume.
Karofsky opened the journal. Silently, he read the first few lines and felt his throat tighten with emotion.
"Karofsky, Nikolai Petrovich." Karofsky looked smug. "Told you it was mine."
"Unfortunately, Mr. Karofsky-" Mr. Heigle smoothly took the journal from Karofsky and handed it back to Kurt. "-ownership will need to be determined by a court of law, not a mere high school teacher."
Kurt quickly slid the journal into his messenger bag. Maybe the journal was written by Nikolai Karofsky, but Kurt wasn't about to hand it over to his great nephew until he knew how and why it had come to be in the Hummel family's possession. If Karofsky had it, Kurt bet he would never see it again.
"I would very much like the two of you to work on this class assignment together."
"I'm in." Karofsky accepted quickly, much to Kurt's surprise.
Mr. Heigle's phone rang and he walk to the other side of the room to take the call.
"What's the matter, Hummel? Don't want the rest of the world to find out your family's a bunch of liars and thieves?" He stepped closer and whispered. "How does it feel knowing your granddad killed people just-" Karofsky poked Kurt in his chest. "-like-" Another poke, harder this time. "-you?"
"How does it feel knowing your great uncle was gay? Just. Like. You." Kurt whispered back.
Karofsky's jaw tightened. "Do not go there!"
Mr. Heigle completed his call and turned back to the two boys.
"So, Mr. Karofsky is in. And you, Mr. Hummel?"
"I need to think about it."
"Good, good. Tell me your answer tomorrow." Mr. Heigle made a shooing motion with his hands. "Today-lunch! Go. Growing boys need to eat!"
Kurt and Karofsky walked out. As soon as they turned the corner and were out of Mr. Heigle's sight, Karofsky shoved Kurt into a locker.
"This stops now!"
Karofsky laughed at Kurt's outrage. "Yeah?" He shoved Kurt's shoulders. "Or what?"
Kurt grabbed his messenger bag and pulled out Nikolai's journal.
"Or you'll never see this again."
Karofsky shrugged but Kurt saw a flicker of worry in his eyes. "Like I care about what a dead fag wrote eighty years ago."
"I think you do care. A lot." Kurt spotted Azimio walking towards them, slushie in hand, smirk on his face. "If I'm wrong, I get a face full of blueberry syrup." Kurt slid Nikolai's journal under his shirt. "But if I'm right, you Neanderthals won't be so quick to slushie me any more."
Karofsky followed Kurt's gaze and finally noticed Azimio a few feet away and quickly closing the distance. Kurt watched Karofsky out of the corner of his eye, but the jock made no move to intercept his teammate. Azimio drew his arm back, ready to toss the slushie he carried straight into Kurt Hummel's face-until Karofsky smoothly grabbed the cup from his hand and took a noisy slurp. He gave Azimio a friendly punch to the shoulder.
"Thanks, man, I was dying for a drink!"
Karofsky turned to walk down the hall and Azimio caught up with him. Kurt smiled to himself. He patted Nikolai's journal, pleased that he finally had a useful weapon to use against Karofsky.
When he looked up, he saw Karofsky point to him and then slam his fist into a locker, the unspoken threat to Kurt communicated clearly.