Thanks so much to all of you who responded to my AN at the end of "Unmasked", saying that you'd like to read my take on how Dave spent Valentine's Day this year. This fic is based on a quote from Max Adler, when asked about it: "Karofsky has to drop the bravado and just be who he is before he can start looking for any kind of love. I guess on Valentine's Day he will be hiding in his room crying."

This story is sort of a bookend to "Unmasked", but it's not really a sequel, per se.

I'm on top! Why would I want to change that?

Dave sat at his computer desk, although his eyes were nowhere near the glowing laptop screen. He'd been checking his Facebook wall, but all the posts from friends regarding their exciting plans for Valentine's Day had sent him spiraling back down into depression. Strangely, it wasn't even the status updates from his football teammates announcing that they were headed out with whatever Cheerio they were banging this week that got him down. No, it was mostly his newest "friends"; the ones that he'd added simply because Facebook was really the most convenient way to communicate about dress rehearsals and choreography changes.

Mercedes Jones

Off to Kurt Hummel's Lonely Hearts Dinner. I may not have a date, but there are much worse ways to spend the holiday, ammirite?

Noah Puckerman

Heading out to Breadstix. Hoping Lauren Zizes will let me get a little sumptin' sumptin. ;)

Lauren Zizes

Srsly? You wish.

Noah Puckerman likes this

Santana Lopez

FML. Gonna drown my sorrows in some cute boarding school ass.

Sam Evans

Screw dinner. I'm going straight for dessert tonight. I hope they have chocolate cake at Breadstix.

It was February 14th, and despite his participation in both a championship football game and an unexpectedly well-received halftime show, Dave found himself exactly in the same place he'd been every other year. Sitting in his bedroom, all alone and trying to figure out what the hell his life had become. Although this year, he'd at least had options. Several girls had dropped by his locker, flirting and obviously angling for an invitation to dinner and quite possibly the kind of fucking that Dave had zero interest in. And Finn, either clueless or just still stubbornly trying to win him over to the gleek side, had invited him to some Valentine's Day shindig at Breadstix.

Dave was embarrassed to admit that he'd actually considered it. The Breadstx thing, not the opportunity to prove how totally not gay he was by nailing a girl. There was at least some kind of truce, however long it was going to last, between the football players and the glee club. No one had suggested a slushie attack on them this past week, and Dave wasn't exactly eager to bring it up himself. Personally, he was more than happy to dedicate his entire slushie fund to the hockey team this time around. And to think, at one point he'd considered those loser puckheads to be his teammates and friends. He understood that they were a little pissed that he'd abandoned hockey for football. He was, after all, one of the best right defensemen McKinley had ever had. But as much as he'd loved playing hockey, you just didn't get up any further on the high school totem pole of popularity than by being a football player. So when he'd actually made the cut for football this Fall, ditching hockey was a total no-brainer. The need to be as popular, as normal, as…manly as possible, always trumped anything else. If he didn't focus on that, people might wonder, and that was the last thing Dave wanted anyone doing about him.

It was so exhausting, so draining to constantly be vigilant about everything that he said and did. He had to make sure that there wasn't the least bit of suspicion about his true nature. It had been so hard this week, with not one but two people suggesting that he was gay. Sure, that asshole from the hockey team was just trying to get a rise out of him, he was pretty sure. But when Finn had speculated on the reason that Dave didn't ever seem to have a girlfriend, and suggested maybe he was protesting a little too strongly, it was different. Especially when he had blown up after the comment, Dave was really worried that Finn might actually think there was truth to his accusation. After all, he lived with Hummel now, so his gaydar was probably a lot more finely tuned these days.

And speaking of Hummel, he couldn't believe that Finn had suggested he actually go to see him and try to make nice with him. Okay, so Finn didn't know the whole story; at least, not unless Kurt had spilled everything, which he doubted. But seriously, Hudson? Seriously? Dave couldn't think of anything he wanted less than to see or talk to Kurt Hummel. If there was anything that could blow his cover completely, it would be getting him and that fricking flamer in a room together. There was something about Hummel that completely eroded his inhibitions and usual discretion. Dave was so relieved that the kid had transferred, because he was horrified by risky his behavior around Hummel had become those last few weeks. Not only the kiss, which was bad enough. At least that had happened in private. But all the talking to Hummel in a low voice at his locker? Winking at him as he walked through the cafeteria? Touching him in the hallway, for everyone to see, drawing his finger slowly down Hummel's chest while staring into his eyes? Jesus fuck, how could he have been so reckless? Sure, all of the above had been interpreted as threatening, and just an escalation of the whole bullying thing by Hummel. But anyone else witnessing it could have easily gotten the wrong idea. Or the right one, thought Dave, snorting. Dave wasn't really sure why he'd done any of it; he only knew that when he got around Hummel, the need to affect the other boy in some way was so strong, it blotted out everything else around him. When he'd found out that the little fairy had run away for good, Dave had been grateful to the universe for the first time in months. He'd been able to go back to his usual routine of slushying geeks, studiously avoiding looking at any of his undressed teammates in the locker room, and checking for other reactions in a group setting before having his own matching one. It felt like shit as usual, but at least it was what he knew worked. Dave Karofsky was a guy who was all about his comfort zone.

At least he was until a couple of weeks ago, when Bieste had forced him and the others to join the glee club. His initial reaction was terror with a side order of fury. There was no way, no fucking way he was going to sing and dance and be part of what was largely considered to be the gayest thing you could possibly participate in at McKinley. He might as well build a Pride parade float and drive it down the hallways. But Bieste was not taking no for an answer, and Dave knew that she'd absolutely forfeit the championship before she'd let her players undermine her authority. It was one of the things that made her such a great coach, capable of leading McKineley's crappy-ass football team from rock bottom to the championship in a single season. She took coaching very seriously, and Dave supposed she considered herself a mentor to all of them, or some such shit. Dave didn't know or care what you called it, but it worked. Prior to her throwing them under the bus, Dave had actually really liked Bieste. Her signature style of harsh commentary balanced with genuine praise resonated with Dave, and sometimes it even succeeded in chasing back the depression and fear a bit. But it all came crashing down when she teamed up with Schuester on this crazy plan. She was a bitch after all; just one more person in an apparently endless line of people who just needed to fuck up his life for some reason.

Sure, half the starting line was actually in glee. They sang show tunes and danced in matching outfits at assemblies, and for some reason seemed to have the time of their lives doing it. But they were different than Dave. They all had girlfriends; shit, even Wheels was getting boned on a regular basis these days. They were secure in their masculinity and straightness. They were able to shrug off the taunts of being faggots and ass bandits because there wasn't a shred of truth to the insults. But for him…being straight was nothing but an illusion, one that could come apart so easily it scared Dave shitless. He needed to fit in. He needed to belong, and to have friends like other people needed to breathe. When he was younger, he'd been picked on mercilessly because he was fat, and because he hit puberty so much earlier than the other boys. But as his peers caught up with him, and his largeness became an asset when it came to sports, he'd begun to be part of the crowed instead of an outsider. Being popular was a lot better than being a loser, and it became more and more important to him with every passing day. This year he'd been more successful at it than ever. But it would all end if it was revealed that he preferred dick to pussy; that he jerked off not thinking about Cheerios, but about his own teammates. And if they knew that the star of the majority of his wet dreams since junior high was none other than Kurt Hummel.

No, Dave could never join glee club. Even if those moments of performing had sent a pleasurable sensation through him like he'd never felt before. Of course he'd had moments before where he'd felt happy, triumphant and totally cool. But there were usually other feelings that got mixed in and took away from it; like anger and aggression when he successfully blocked an opponent of the football field, or shame and guilt when he tossed a slushie or pushed someone much smaller than him into a locker. But the feeling when he danced and sang was really different. It was…simple. It just was what it was, without any complex feelings tainting it. He didn't know that it was possible to feel so strong and in control, without taking someone else's dignity in order to get there. Sometimes he thought that having that feeling on a regular basis might be worth losing his current friends and status at McKinley. But then he would remember how terrible it felt to have other people pick on you, and make you feel worthless, and he would change his mind immediately. He'd had a couple of years of the warm comfort of popularity, and only a few fleeting moments of the other, and in the end it was simply no contest.

Still, he felt inexorably pulled towards those people that he'd tapped into that feeling with for the first time. Thus the Facebook stalking, and his temptation to go to the Valentine's Day thing that Finn had told him about. It sounded like there would be a lot of people there, and maybe he could just get an inconspicuous table in the back and not be seen. With the people he'd heard would be attending, he didn't see how there wouldn't be at least a few performances. And even if he couldn't participate, he thought just being in the same room while it happened might be enough to recapture a little of what he'd had so briefly. But then he'd overheard Rachel and Mercedes talking in the lunch line yesterday, about how happy they were to be seeing Kurt again, and how brilliant his idea for a Lonely Hearts dinner was. And with those words, Dave knew he wasn't going anywhere near Breadstix the next night. He couldn't handle seeing Hummel, and he was pretty sure if the other boy saw him he might very well call the cops.

Sighing, Dave refreshed his browser to update his wall. It was well past 8pm at this point, and the party was probably in full swing by now. Sure enough, several of the attendees had begun to upload mobile shots of the festivities. Here was Artie and Brittany, smiling blissfully in an obvious self-portrait. That pretty boy Blaine, caught with a really goofy look on his face as he belted out whatever song he was singing. Puck sitting with Lauren, her face turned away from him and blushing as he tried for a kiss. Santana grinning as two guys in Dalton uniforms serenaded her. And finally, a picture of Hummel hugging Rachel and Mercedes, glowing with camaraderie and love that even the slightly fuzzy photo showed plainly. Dave looked at all the pictures, especially the last one, and tried to convince himself that he was doing the right thing - the smart thing - by staying right where he was. He felt tears prick the corners of his eyes, and since he couldn't see through the sheen of them anymore, turned away from the computer screen and put his head in his hands. It's like you told Finn, he said to himself. That sort of thing doesn't last. You could be part of it for a little while, but the next day you'd be an outcast back at school. It's not worth it, man. Not when you're finally on top.

And as Dave sat in his room on Valentine's Day, crying and wishing so many things could be different, he couldn't help his surprise in finding that being on top kind of sucked after all.

I love Valentine's Day (it's also my birthday, the big 4-0 this year!), and it was so weird to write something so angsty and sad instead of a fluffy romance piece. But hey, it's kind of where I (and apparently, Max) think Dave is now, so that's what came out of me.

Now that we've met Dave's dad, I'm coming around to the idea that getting tossed out by his parent's doesn't have much to do with Dave's fear of coming out. After the Superbowl episode, I started to think that for whatever reason, Dave sees being rejected by his peers as the worst thing that could ever happen to him. They touched on Dave being possibly bullied himself when he was younger (his saying in season 1 that Finn made fun of him for having pubes in elementary school), and it made me think that Dave has some baggage above and beyond being gay that makes him act out so horribly.

This is the most Dave POV I've ever written, so I'd love it if you'd review and let me know what you thought.