Author's Note: This one's a little darker than I usually write. I feel a little guilty about the portrayal of Karofsky in this story, but at least I'm making it up to him very soon in another. Also, wow I need to write action scenes more often. That was hard. I hope you all like this story even if that part is a little rough. :)
Kurt hadn't spoken in seven days, but that didn't mean he had nothing to say.
He just had no one to listen. Not his friends at New Directions, who took his transfer to McKinley in stride and with little fanfare. After a beautiful goodbye serenade from the Warblers, Kurt had been looking forward to a friendly welcome back number. He barely got a mumbled group hello. Mr. Schuester had hugged him at least, but then it was on to the lesson of the week. Which was, unsurprisingly, a repeat performance.
Then there was his family. Finn and Burt had recently gotten caught up in fantasy football, which as far as Kurt could tell was some kind of Sports Manager LARP. This was good for Burt, who was finally learning basic computer skills, but it was bad for Finn, who was only distracting himself from his inevitable prom date fiasco. And Kurt? Now any family conversation wandered back to their current game and Finn had canceled their night-time brotherly chats. With Carole caught up in an important contract at work, Kurt found himself mostly alone in his room. It was a house, but not a home.
Worst of all, he really needed someone to talk to. Because he had a problem on his hands. That problem was Karofsky, and it seemed like it was his alone to bear.
"But he's gotten a lot better," Sam had said. Better at what? Kurt wondered. Where was the Sam that had taken a black eye for him?
"Forgive and forget, Kurt," Mercedes said. As if throwing religious proverbs in his face would guilt him into getting along, like he was the one with the problem.
Even Finn spoke with pride when Karofsky's name came up. "I'm the one who convinced him to join glee," he told Kurt one night. Was Kurt supposed to be thrilled that he'd have to see his tormentor every day now?
At glee club, everything appeared normal. Karofsky didn't participate as much as everyone else. He sang and danced pretty well and kept to the back, which was enough to please spotlight hoggers like Rachel. Kurt knew he shouldn't hold it against everyone. He knew how alluring the thought of a second chance was. Quinn and Puck were former bullies and nobody held it against them, for example.
But the difference was, Karofsky still was one. He just waited until he could get Kurt alone.
Then he'd accidentally bump into him, and his hand would fall to Kurt's waist or thigh. Or Kurt would feel eyes on his body and when he traced them to Karofsky, he'd lick his lips or wink. There was no more shoving into lockers, instead he had breath on his neck and hair to worry about. Kurt was back in a horror movie, but in this sequel the monster was after something else.
And Kurt was the boy who cried 'bully' too many times so nobody was interested enough to believe him now. He tried to casually bring up these incidents, but they didn't seemed to care. And he tried to tell them about the kiss but found he couldn't. Even given the circumstances, he didn't feel right about outing somebody else who wasn't ready. Reminding them of the death threat inspired boredom instead of sympathy. No one was listening to him anymore.
Kurt had no control over his own life. He began to think too much, about dangerous things. He thought about what would happen if he stopped eating. He even tried. Anorexia wasn't for him, thankfully; he was too hungry to continue after twelve hours. Then he thought about cutting himself, but investigating the kitchen knives grossed him out too much to speculate further on that. He was thinking so many frustrating thoughts that one night at family dinner, he didn't say anything at all.
And nobody noticed.
Nobody noticed the next day, either. He sat in his room all day, catching up on homework and wondering. Wondering about how long he could go without talking. How long it would take for anyone to care. And soon it became two days without talking, then three.
And he was right, no one said anything to him. But being right didn't always make you feel better.
Actually, Karofsky had noticed, which did offer him some satisfaction. A bully hates nothing more than being ignored, and Kurt could tell his indifference was causing Karofsky major frustration. But other than that small victory, life continued on in a dull repeated pattern. Until, on the seventh day, Blaine called.
Kurt didn't answer. He had made it this long without talking and he wasn't going to break his record now. Even if it pained him to do so.
An hour after he called, the doorbell rang. Since everyone else home was busy with their football fantasy extravaganza, Kurt answered it. He wasn't particularly surprised to find Blaine on the doorstep. But he wasn't sure what his reaction was going to be to Kurt's silent protest.
"Hey," Blaine said. "I haven't heard from you in awhile. I want to take you out on a date."
Kurt said nothing, but he grabbed his bag and followed Blaine to the car. He had been intentionally avoiding Blaine. Not because he didn't love his boyfriend, but because he didn't want to worry him. Or maybe part of him was embarrassed to admit that coming back to McKinley was seeming more and more like a mistake. Still, going anywhere on a drive with Blaine was bound to be more fun then sitting at home again.
"Let's go somewhere different," Blaine said. "How do you feel about roller skating? Have you been before?"
Kurt shook his head. He had been once with the glee club, but most of that trip was spent eavesdropping on Mr. Schuester's bizarre attempt at flirting with April Rhodes.
"Awesome, I'm going to teach you!" Blaine tapped his fingers along the steering wheel, bobbing along to the song on the radio. "Now, don't be intimidated at how good I am. I'm sure you'll catch up in no time."
Blaine was terrible at roller skating.
He had fallen five times in their first lap around the rink. "They really should replace this floor," he said as Kurt helped him to his feet. Again. "It's dangerous for kids."
They held hands from then on. Kurt found himself having more fun catching Blaine then actually skating. It was also impossible to predict when he would began flailing and stumbling next, turning it almost into a game. Kurt was also secretly proud that so far he hadn't fallen once.
"You're a natural!" Blaine said. They were sitting on a bench to the side, indulging in a fast food break. "I had no idea you were so athletic, Kurt. That's kinda hot."
Kurt said nothing, but he did smile. Later he would have to tell Blaine about his championship cheerleading game and his stint on the football team.
Blaine smiled back. "Hey, is everything okay with you? You're quieter than usual."
Kurt nodded. Not that he was okay, but he was quieter than usual.
"How's New Directions? I bet they're glad to have you back." Blaine tilted his head to the side, calculating.
Kurt rolled his eyes, shook his head.
Blaine reached out and took Kurt's hand in his. "I'm sorry to hear that. Going through a bit of a tough period?"
Kurt nodded. Yes.
"So, you're not speaking for awhile?" Blaine looked thoughtful, but not judgmental. He stroked Kurt's hand. "Can I do anything to help?"
Kurt shrugged. He felt a little guilty. There was so much he wanted to say: that he was relieved to have Blaine in his life, that he was having fun for the first time since he transferred. That he loved Blaine so much it hurt, and he didn't want to unload all his stupid problems on him and make his life more difficult.
That he was being sexually harassed at school.
"I can sing to you," Blaine offered. "I've always wanted a captive audience to try out my more experimental stuff. Would you like to hear me beatbox?"
The corner of Kurt's mouth quirked up, but he tried to suppress it.
Blaine regarded him carefully. Then, nonchalantly, he used a french fry to brush a glob of ketchup onto his nose.
"What?" Blaine was a good actor, but this innocent act wouldn't fool anyone. "Is there something you want to tell me?"
The ketchup was sliding down his nose, and with it went Kurt's self-control. He began to snicker.
"Is there something on my face?" Blaine crossed his eyes, which only made Kurt's fit of laughter worse.
"It's rude to laugh at people, Kurt." He circled the table and scooted next to Kurt on the bench. "You need to be taught some manners."
Blaine reached under his arms. Sensing the impending danger of tickling, Kurt swatted his hands away. Blaine dipped his face in but there was no way Kurt was getting ketchup all over himself. He held Blaine at arm's length, dipped a napkin into his Coke and began wiping Blaine's face clean.
"But I don't think soda is good for my pores," Blaine whined. Kurt glared at him, but let Blaine pull him into a close hug. Kurt breathed in Blaine's aftershave and relaxed.
Blaine nuzzled against his neck. "When you're ready to talk about it, I'm here."
Kurt closed his eyes. He knew.
"Hey, let's get back out there, kiddo. If you keep practicing you might get as good as me."
It did look like there were less children for Blaine to run over at the moment. But nature had called first. Kurt stood, made a running motion with his hands and pointed to his crotch.
"You want to run a marathon, and then have sex?" Blaine asked, scandalized. "I thought we agreed to take this relationship slow."
Kurt rolled his eyes and pointed at the men's room.
"I don't think that room's equipped for races or intercourse, my dear." Blaine scrunched up his nose. "And the floor is so dirty."
Kurt stomped his foot.
"Okay, okay. Don't fall in." Blaine squeezed his hand and let him go.
In general, Kurt avoided urinals. He was well aware that straight guys felt awkward letting it all hang out in his vicinity, so it was just easier for everyone if he used a stall. Unfortunately, the bathroom's one stall was occupied, so Kurt was forced to use this urinal this time.
He should have waited on the stall. Then he would have at least been facing Karofsky when he emerged from it. As it was, with his back turned, it was all too easy for Kurt to be pinned between the wall in front of him and Karofsky pressed behind him.
"Well, if it isn't Kurt Hummel," Karofsky said, breath hot on Kurt's neck in a way that was unfortunately familiar. "Using a urinal like a damn commoner."
Kurt said nothing. If he did, it would be exactly what Dave wanted. Attention. Careful not to make eye contact, Kurt brushed past him and headed for the door.
Or tried to, but a rough hand snagged his wrist and pulled him back, stumbling against the other boy's body. He couldn't help himself from recoiling, stepping back and away. Which left Karofsky in between him and the door.
"Why won't you say anything?" Karofsky asked.
Kurt hated his eyes. Hated his face. Hated that even on a date with Blaine he couldn't get away from his problems. But he would not let Karofsky win. He would not speak for him.
"Look what do you want from me?" Dave scowled. "I don't shove you any more. I'm changing, okay? I'm changing for you."
Kurt made a break for it, feigning a dash to the left then shoving past on the right. But Karofsky tackled him, lifted him off the ground and dragged him into the stall. And then Kurt was kicking, elbowing, thrashing as much as he could. But he just couldn't get out his grasp.
"Stop fighting," Karofsky said. "Just listen to me. Give me a chance to make it up to you!"
Kurt tried to punch him, to wriggle away. It wasn't fair, that just because someone was bigger than you they could do whatever they wanted. It wasn't fair, because Kurt didn't want to make it up. He wanted to be left alone. He wanted somebody to hear him and help him. He needed someone to, because despite all his fighting, he was losing this battle.
The door squeaked open. They froze, Karofsky slamming a hand over Kurt's mouth and pinning his body to the wall.
"You didn't actually fall in, did you?" Blaine couldn't see them yet behind the stall divider, but Kurt hoped he could see the two pairs of shoes in the gap below it. At the same time, he was terrified. Blaine was going to be beaten to death if he tried to start a fight with Karofsky.
They listened as Blaine took a step forward. "Are you in here, Kurt?" he said. Karofsky breathed on him in the silence.
Then, after some shuffling, the door creaked again. He hoped Blaine was getting help. He was smart. He had to have known that Kurt was in there, in trouble and decided to go get help rather than be a hero. That was the right thing to do, so Kurt didn't understand why he felt so let down about it. Maybe because a small part of him worried Blaine hadn't noticed, and had actually left him in there to fend for himself.
That's what Karofsky thought. "What a coward. What do you see in that runt? What does he do for you that I can't-"
Kurt slammed the palm of his hand upward into Karofsky's jaw, causing it to snap shut. He turned on his heel and leaped out of the stall, kicking off the wall in an effort to keep the few inches ahead it would take to get him out of the door before getting grabbed again.
But as he turned the corner he saw Blaine crouching by the wall with a pair of roller skates over his shoulder. The second door creak had been a diversion; the idiot was actually trying to be a hero after all. Kurt didn't have time to complain. He ducked, then flinched at the sound of the skates connecting with Karofsky's head behind him.
Karofsky swore but he was off balance. Kurt shoved him to the ground and they were a mess of limbs, Blaine and Kurt kicking at him until he was curled into a ball yelling for them to stop.
"How do you like this runt now?" Blaine hissed, hopping up and down with the energy of his adrenaline rush. "You okay?" he said to Kurt. Kurt nodded, reaching out for Blaine's arm to steady himself.
"You fucking queers!" Karofsky snapped, stumbling to his feet. It was just as Kurt had suspected. Corner a wild animal and his true colors come out. Blaine swung the skates at him again, forcing him to jump back.
"I get it, I really do," Blaine said slowly. Kurt felt tremors coursing through Blaine's arm. He had never seen him this angry before. "You want Kurt to like you. But you can't force him to."
"I'm not, I'm not forcing." Was that blood dripping out of Karofsky's nose? "I just want to talk to him-"
"He doesn't want to talk to you!" Blaine shouted. "How much clearer does he have to make that?"
His words echoed through the tiny room. Karofsky's eyes darted from one of them to the other, but he didn't protest. Kurt let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
"You're going to leave Kurt alone from now on," Blaine said. "Because if you don't, I'll hear about it. And I'll do whatever it takes to make sure Kurt is safe. I'll tell your dad you're gay. I'll humiliate you in front of your friends. I'll slash your tires. You'll never relax again."
Blaine stepped forward, yanked on the front of Karofsky's shirt. "You don't touch him, you don't look at him, you don't talk to him. I'll hear about it, Dave. And you have no idea what I'd do to keep my boyfriend safe."
They stared each other down. Kurt waited, ready to grab Blaine and run if fists were thrown. But it wasn't necessary. Something passed between them, silently, and Karofsky stepped back. He looked smaller. Still an animal, but one that had accepted defeat.
"So it's like that." Karofsky looked only at the floor on his way out. "Sorry. I- have a good life then."
And it was over. It was hard to believe that a poorly executed fist fight in a dirty bathroom was what finally worked, but somehow it had. Kurt blinked, processing the thought of a future where there would be no more unwanted touching, or breathing. Where someone had finally heard him and answered his call of distress, and the monster had been defeated for good.
Blaine whistled, breaking the silence in the room. "Well. That wasn't exactly the date I was expecting, but I hope you had some fun."
Kurt found himself shaking. He couldn't tell if he was crying or laughing, but whatever it was, it felt relieving. Like some wall had broken within him.
Blaine brushed a tear off Kurt's cheek. "Hey, don't cry now. It's okay. You'll be dressing fabulous and bitching people out for their nonsense by Tuesday. All back to normal."
Kurt leaned into Blaine's hand, feeling the warmth of it.
"I know this to be true," Blaine continued. "I've seen the future, you see. It turns out you and I go to prom together. Then you solo at Regionals. Then we get picked up by a vaudeville revival show and we hire massive bodyguards so this never happens again."
Kurt just looked at him. He was struggling to find the right words to say.
Blaine's eyebrows furrowed. "Hey, you're not mad at me, are you? I know you can take care of yourself. But I love you, Kurt, and I will protect you no mattter-"
He was such an idiot. Kurt threw himself into Blaine's arms, knocking them against a wall. He squeezed him as hard as he could. As if he could crush him closer.
"Thank you," Kurt said. "For being such a great listener."
Blaine said nothing. He didn't need to. His mouth against Kurt's said everything better.
In case you're reading this: to Lorelei-elf, sorry that the boys ended up in a public restroom again and to mooglegonekupo I hope you liked the Karofrontation (which is a word I totally made up just now)
Find me at ridgelessridgeback . tumblr . com if you want to be friends :)