So, this is the most AU thing I've ever written. I was inspired by several great stories I've enjoyed recently that are really outside of the box, featuring zombies, past lives or post-apocalyptic worlds, to name just a few. This isn't quite as far-reaching as that, but since I so often try to stick to stuff you'd see on the show in my writing, I thought this might be a nice way to spread my wings during the hiatus.

And because it' so AU from the show, that means my muse is ready to write Kurtofsky smut again! Eff yeah, y'all! It's rated M for a reason. XD Oh, and the title is from Five For Fighting's "Superman (It's Not Easy)" song.

This just could not be happening. There was no way that Kurt Hummel was being denied boarding on the plane to New York City, the plane that was supposed to be taking him and the rest of New Directions to Nationals. Somehow - and he had every reason to suspect that Sue Sylvester was heavily involved - his name had been put on the no-fly list. Mr. Schuester tried to reason with the security team, to no avail. They even admitted that it could have been some sort of clerical error, but in this day and age of flying, there was no way they could risk letting Kurt on the plane. They told him he was welcome to come back the next day with his father and scores of documentation to get his status reversed, but was warned it could take days to get through the red tape. Which pretty much sucked, because this was Thursday evening, and the Nationals competition was taking place first thing Saturday morning.

But what sucked most of all was that Kurt wasn't the only one who'd been set up. He figured the glee club could do okay missing one member, even if it was someone as amazing as himself. But while going through security, the newest member of New Directions' carry-on bag set off the metal detectors like crazy. When the bag was opened, it was found to contain a Swiss army knife, a can of lighter fluid, and written directions on how to make a pipe bomb out of common household items. "None of that shit is mine, I swear it!" Dave Karofsky yelled at the top of his lungs, as he was marched off to the security office. With two members down, McKinley's glee club might be disqualified before they ever got to sing a note. But Kurt had urged them to go ahead anyway and at least try, assuring everyone that both he and Dave's dads were on their way to the Dayton airport to get their sons back to Lima. Hopefully without either boy winding up in juvenile detention.

Kurt and Dave sat awkwardly next to each other in the security office while waiting to be collected. Over the past three months, they had maintained a civility that Kurt at one point would have thought impossible. He still wasn't completely sure what had happened; all he knew was that upon returning to McKinley High after his family ran out of money to continue sending him to Dalton, he found a very changed David Karofsky. His former bully apologized to him for his previous behavior, and promised that he had no intention of attacking Kurt either physically or verbally ever again. He had apparently also apologized to the entire glee club days before, Will Schuester's hand on his shoulder the entire time, and asked if he might be given the chance to become a member after all. And most shockingly, Kurt came back to public school to find that he was no longer the only out student enrolled there. Even though there had been no drama - no hidden camera footage, or personal discovery of a secret boy-on-boy rendezvous, or anything - word had simply gotten around the school that Dave was totally gay, and Dave had not denied it. It was such an anti-climax, Kurt was still trying to wrap his mind around it all this time later.

It was really, really weird to sit in the choir room with Dave, and listen to him offer the occasional quiet opinion about this song or that. Or to see him fulfill his weekly glee assignments as a soloist, or once with Santana, as a duet. Their performance of Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better was pretty epic, Kurt had to admit. But honestly, performing with Dave was the weirdest thing of all. It was just something he'd never even conceived possible, and whenever he caught Dave out of the corner of his eye, wearing a matching/coordinating shirt and projecting his surprisingly rich baritone voice to the audience, it was just so surreal.

"It was Sylvester, you know, "said Dave in a tired, defeated voice. "I didn't put any of that crap in my bag."

"Well, duh," replied Kurt. "I'm not exactly a terrorist either." He sighed. "She pulled some strings, did something to get my name on that list. And I know she planted those things on you." He couldn't believe that Dave needed to hear him say it, but based on the larger boy's relieved expression, apparently he did. "She's always been set on destroying any chance that New Directions has for success. But us going to Nationals when the Cheerios crashed and burned after Quinn, Brittany and Santana quit? I think it pushed her over the edge. This is crazy, Dave."

Dave's eyes met Kurt's briefly, then looked away. It was a fairly common and uncomfortable occurrence between the two of them. But what happened next was definitely not. Kurt could almost literally see a lightbulb come on over Dave's head, and his mouth opened slightly. "Usually, you say someone's crazy, not stupid." He turned to face Kurt, this time his gaze unwavering. "But she's both. Crazy and stupid."

"She's stupid why?" asked Kurt, totally confused.

"Because she didn't do her research. She didn't learn one very important fact about one of the kids she stopped from getting on that plane."

"Which is?" Kurt looked questioningly at Dave, because he was pretty sure he wasn't talking about him.

"The fact that my uncle is a small aircraft pilot." The corners of Dave's lips curled up in a completely satisfied and not at all unattractive smile.

"What?" said Kurt, not sure he was hearing correctly.

"My uncle Donald. He flies a twin engine commuter plane out of Lima." Dave looked eagerly at Kurt. "I can talk to my dad on the way home. Uncle Don might be able to fly us to New York tomorrow! We could be there in plenty of time, even get a rehearsal in."

"Are you serious?" Unthinkingly, he grasped Dave's hands in his own. "That would be amazing!" Dave looked down at their clasped hands, and Kurt self-consciously released them in an instant

Dave cleared his throat and took out his phone, handing it to Kurt. "Uh yeah," he said, "Look, give me your number, and if I can work it out, I'll text you. Just don't unpack tonight, okay?"

Kurt had agreed, punching his number into Dave's contacts list. Their dads had arrived shortly after, both extremely upset and frustrated over the boys' situation. Burt was so tense, Kurt decided not to mention Dave's Plan B to him on the drive home; his father was still not terribly trusting of Dave or his motivations, and Kurt preferred not to add any more stress than necessary onto Burt's plate. When they got to the house, Burt yanked Kurt to him in a hard and heartfelt hug before Kurt ascended the stairs to his room. "I'm so sorry, buddy," he said. "We'll get to the bottom of this, and whoever screwed up your trip to Nationals is gonna pay, I promise."

Kurt had just changed into his silky blue pajamas and was about to slip between the covers when his phone vibrated, signaling an incoming text. He tried not to be too hopeful as the thumbed the New Message icon.

It's a go. Meet me at the Lima Allen County Airport at 5:30am tomorrow.

Kurt thought about telling his dad and Carole, but in the end decided to just leave a note. There was always the chance that they might say no since Dave was involved, and there was no way Kurt was missing a second chance to get to Nationals. So at 4:45am, Kurt snuck out of his house with his suitcase and messenger bag, and drove to the small, 2-runway Lima airport.

When he got there, he found Dave in the rapidly brightening dawn, standing next to a small plane and talking to a man that Kurt presumed to be his uncle. Kurt examined the aircraft from afar, and gulped. He'd been so excited about making it to New York City after all, he'd put the fact that he was going to be flying on a tiny little plane out of his mind completely. Kurt wasn't the best flyer; in fact, Kurt wasn't a flyer at all. The journey to Nationals was to have been Kurt's first flight ever, and he'd been nervous even thought it was to have been on a full sized commercial aircraft. But this plane was…jeeze, it was really small. It looked well maintained - shiny, even, and not too old. But Kurt couldn't help the thought that went through his head the minute he laid eyes on it. That's the kind of plane that always seems to crash with a load of singers and musicians on it. Kurt closed his eyes for a minute, trying to get his bearings, but it turned out to be a bad idea. Pictures of the fallen flashed behind his closed lids. Buddy Holly Richie Valens The Big Bopper Jim Croche Lynyrd Skynyrd Stevie Ray Vaughn Aaliyah-

"Hey Kurt, you made it!" Dave's voice, practically giddy, rang out across the empty runway, thankfully interrupting Kurt's morbid train of thought. He shook off the depressing images and strode forward towards Dave and the other man. "This is Jake, one of Uncle Don's pilot friends," said Dave. At Kurt's questioning look, Dave explained. "Uncle Don has a flight scheduled at 8am. He'd never make it back in time, but I guess Jake here owed him a favor."

Jake shook Kurt's hand, quirking an eyebrow at the boy's fashionable attire - bright teal cotton pants, a slouchy soft tee with a bold black and white graphic print under a skinny black vest, all worn with matching teal canvas shoes. He certainly looked a lot different than Don's nephew, who wore plain jeans, a McKinley High t-shirt, and ratty sneakers. But Don had told him that the kids were off to some singing competition in New York City, which he imagined would be attended by a lot of…theatrical types, like this boy appeared to be. "Jake Marshall. Don covered a couple of flights for me last month when I got food poisoning. It's the worst part of being a one man operation, you know? Hard to call in sick. But he really saved my nads, and wouldn't take much more than for his expenses. So I told him I'd be happy to run you two up to the Big Apple this morning."

"We really appreciate it, sir," said Kurt, trying not to show any fear or nervousness. The plane didn't look much bigger up close, sadly.

Jake caught him eyeing his plane and smiled reassuringly. "I know she may not look like much, but she's in great shape and I've made thousands of safe flights on her. And as for me, I've been a private pilot for over 15 years."

"Sorry," said Kurt, a little embarrassed. "I've just never flown in a small plane like this before." He paused. "Actually, I've never flown at all. Other than into a dumpster or two." He saw Dave flinch, and regretted the lame joke immediately. God, why was it always so awkward between them? Kurt was pretty sure he'd gotten over a lot of what Dave had done to him, and in a group situation they managed fairly well. But the few times they had one on one contact, it seemed like he or Dave was always saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, or in the wrong way.

"Well," said Jake, oblivious to the tension, "I'll get you both there in one piece for sure. Let's load up and we'll be on our way. You'll be in the city in time to join your classmates for breakfast." He stowed Kurt and Dave's suitcases in the back of the plane, then jumped into the cockpit. Dave and Kurt followed suit, climbing into the back and buckling in.

Both boys were quiet as Jake readied the aircraft for takeoff. Dave figured Kurt just wasn't in much of a talking mood, and rooted in his backpack for his iPod. As the plane taxied down the runway, he glanced over at Kurt for a moment, then did a double take. Kurt's slender hands were gripping the armrests of his seat so tightly, it looked like he might rip them right off. His eyes were closed and his face was deathly pale, murmuring something desperately under his breath. Dave wasn't sure making contact with Kurt was the best idea, but he didn't feel like he could just sit there and do nothing while his fellow glee club member had a panic attack right in front of him. He laid his hand gently on Kurt's wrist.

Kurt's eyes flew open, and he stared at Dave with wide green eyes clouded with fear. "Hey," said Dave, as gently as he could. It wasn't easy, because the engines were loud and he had to raise his voice quite a bit. "You okay?" Kurt shook his head slightly, the panicked look increasing as they began to lift off into the air. Dave moved his hand lower to touch Kurt's, and the smaller boy latched onto it like a lifeline. The squeezing was borderline painful, but Dave tried not to wince. "I've flown with my uncle lots of times, Kurt. This is no big deal, okay? You're going to be fine."

He watched Kurt swallow, and attempted not to stare like a damn creeper at Kurt's slender neck. Then Kurt licked his lips with a pink tongue, and Dave nearly groaned. I'm supposed to be reassuring him, not perving on him, thought Dave. Pull it together, asshole. But being so close to Kurt, and touching him when he was vulnerable and scared? It brought back sense memories of his overwhelming crush on Kurt earlier in the year, and the depth of his passionate obsession. Unhealthy as it was for both of them, there was a heady sort of madness back then that had filled every corner of his being with fire and want. And Kurt's fear brought it all back in an instant. Dave cleared his throat, trying to get a handle on his unruly emotions, and he got his control back just as the plane hit altitude.

Kurt began to calm when he felt the movement of the plane become smooth and even. He let out a huge, shuddering breath of relief. He chuffed out an embarrassed laugh and looked down, only to see the strange sight of his hand clasped in David's. He looked back up at Dave, tugging his hand away. "Sorry about that," he said, trying for a casual tone. "Didn't mean to freak out on you so badly."

"It's no problem," said Dave, brining his hand back to his own lap. "It's not like you started screaming, or threw up or anything. Takeoffs and landings are usually the scariest parts for people who don't fly often, I guess." He shrugged his broad shoulders. "Now that we're at altitude, it should be a piece of cake until we get to New York." He lifted his abandoned iPod off of his lap and plugged the earbuds in. Kurt watched him mouthing the lyrics to "Loser Like Me", which the New Directions were reprising at Nationals. After a minute or so, he was surprised to find himself quite sleepy, and turned to face forward. The adrenaline of his panic attack had left him worn out, and he hadn't gotten much sleep at all last night. Closing his eyes, this time in relaxation, Kurt let the hum of the plane lull him into a light doze. Maybe this flying thing wasn't so bad after all…

Kurt wasn't sure how long he'd been out, when a loud bang woke him suddenly. The plane shuddered around him, and he turned to look at Dave. It wasn't a very comforting sight, since the bigger boy looked absolutely terrified as he stared out Kurt's window. Following his gaze, Kurt saw something that turned his blood into ice. The engine outside Kurt's window was billowing smoke, and he could hear the sputtering as it tried to catch. Finally, it went completely silent, the only sound now coming from the engine outside Dave's window. Kurt looked out the window again, this time at the ground, and saw nothing but a wide expanse of trees. He also noticed that the ground was getting awfully close, awfully fast.

Confirming this, they heard Jake shouting from the cockpit. "We're going down! Get into crash position! I can set her down with one engine, but there's no fucking place to land!"

Kurt felt a hand on the back of his neck, forcing his head between his knees. One down there, he turned his head to see the teary gaze of Dave's hazel eyes. Dave was saying something, but it was so loud, he couldn't hear. Giving up, Dave reached out and grabbed Kurt's hand, clutching it as tightly as Kurt has done to Dave's earlier. Holding hands, both boys turned their heads to the floor and waited for whatever was going to happen to happen. Kurt felt the plane yawl crazily to one side, and only had a moment to think No not yet I'm not ready to die before everything went black.

Soooo…what do we think so far? Remember, reviews make my muse put out like the literary slut she is. XD

Oh, and BTW - I do realize that they could have driven to NYC and made it in time for Regionals. But you can't have a plane crash survival fic without a plane, so you'll have to suspend a little disbelief on that one. ;)