He still didn't understand why he had come out onto the deck of Rachel's house, because as he stumbled to the edge of it with the half-filled bottle of raspberry flavored vodka curled loosely between his fingers, he shivered against the light nighttime breeze. Even with the alcohol thrumming through his blood, heating him up from the inside and flushing onto his cheeks and neck, he was shivering. The lights and the music still blaring from the basement were rising up to meet him, and it was a nice comfort at this point, providing some sort of comfort over his completely raw and ripped apart nerves.
At least someone's having a good time, Kurt thought to himself bitterly, taking another swig from the bottle. He winced against the burn as it went down, and set it back down on the wood beside him, feeling strangely hollow as he did. Collapsing down onto the edge of the deck, his legs hanging down over the side, he couldn't remember a time that he had felt so lonely. The more he continued to think about it, the more he realized that he really didn't care about the others having a good time. Because by insinuating that he actually cared about what was going on downstairs, that would mean he cared about the people who were downstairs. Which he clearly didn't. Duh.
He didn't care if the certain incredibly handsome, curly haired, now ex-future Mr. Kurt Elizabeth Hummel was deciding that he'd rather date the only person on the planet that thought she could wear what could only be described as a torture device create to maim and fatally wound those with sound fashion senses to a high-school kegger. He didn't care if Rachel Berry had decided to completely disregard the truce (if not the beginnings of what he had considered to be friendship) the two of them had recently created to do what was considered to be the most horrible act in all of feminism. She stole his crush knowingly, and she hadn't even thought twice about it.
But clearly, Kurt was above all that. Anyone else – anyone who cared (which Kurt didn't) - would've thrown a fit, gotten angry, perhaps became verbally enraged. But Kurt felt perfectly fine with his liquor away from everyone else. So he certainly didn't care what they were doing in the least bit, and he was proving that to all of them. He didn't care if they were still kissing of the floor of Rachel's basement. He didn't care if Blaine's hands were roaming all over the horrible mint-green nightgown she was wearing or holding her face in his hands as he tipped her head back and kissed her. He didn't care if Rachel was could now actually taste the coke and rum that Blaine had been drinking all night on her own lips.
And he certainly did not care in the least bit that they both had just broken his heart.
Because he was perfectly fine feeling like this. Absolutely. He didn't need a boyfriend to make him feel better. He'd already spent so much time on his own, so what did adding another element into the mix? Especially one who had horrible taste in women… No, he was clearly better off this way.
And maybe if he kept repeating it to himself, he'd eventually start believing it too. He swore under his breath, contemplating drinking some more out of the bottle. He was pretty drunk by now, because after the whole spin-the-bottle episode combined with the impromptu jam session on the Rachel Berry stage, there was no need to keep up appearances for Blaine. So as he watched Blaine take a corner of the couch, Rachel practically purring like some cat as she crawled onto top of him only to attach herself to his lips, the only response he could find was to snake a bottle of vodka from Quinn's hands and hole himself up in the bathroom. Where he'd be safe from all of the making out and betrayal. It was like a hurt-free zone…
It was pretty pathetic, even for his standards.
But by the time he even could consider how to backpedal and find a way of this quickly collapsing hole that he'd dug himself in, a third of the bottle was gone and he was laughing so hard he could care less about what people were thinking.
Taking a sip out of the bottle, he laid back against the cold deck beneath him, pulling out his phone from his jacket pocket. He was supposed to call Finn when he was ready to leave, or else Finn was going to rat him out to Burt. Kurt was kind of thankful for Finn at this point, especially that he was being sort of…. understanding. Because even Kurt knew that Finn wasn't over Rachel, despite how steadfastly he tried to deny his feelings for her. This thing with Blaine and Rachel, and the involvement Kurt and Finn both had in it (not to mention their past history) had the ability to quickly turn into some sort of Greek tragedy. The thought of how intertwined Blaine, Rachel, Finn, and himself were now made his head hurt.
But when Kurt scrolled up to Finn's name, he paused his finger over the 'send' button, as all he could focus on was the name that was right below Finn's in his list of contacts.
He laughed loudly, unable to contain himself for a minute, because he couldn't understand why in the world Karofsky's phone number would still be in his phone. Clamping a hand down over his mouth in an effort to quiet his laughs, he realized that he should delete it now, because when would he ever need to call Dave Karofsky? Really, what possible want could he have for wanting to talk to that overgrown kindergartener?
Kurt scoffed under his breath, unable to believe that he still had the oaf's phone number in his contacts. It's not like he needed it for anything. Because he didn't care. He didn't care that no one wanted him. He could care less that the only eligible man he's ever been interested in showed how much they cared about him by shoving his tongue down Rachel Berry's throat. It was totally and completely okay that no man was ever interested in him.
But it's not like he had even imagined what it would've been like. Really. Because he had much better things to do than think about what Blaine's lips would've felt like against his. He could care less.
It was strange – as the last thought passed through his head, it seemed like everything seemed to slow down, focusing in on those last few phrases, the inner monologue that constantly ran through his head seeming to articulate on the last part. A beat of silence passed, as he sat simply wrapping his fingers around his phone tighter. And then another moment came and went.
He sat up so fast he had to grab onto the edge of the deck to stop himself from toppling over it, the smile that was growing on his face starting to scare him. He shouldn't be excited about this. Fuck, he shouldn't even be considering this. This isn't him. He doesn't do this. He was smarter than walking straight into the lion's den.
But if he told himself that watching Blaine – who had mentored him, had told him that being true to himself was the best part of him, who had knowingly and purposely led him on under the premises that he was completely gay – Kurt'd be lying to himself. At this moment, all he felt was betrayed. Betrayed and unwanted. It was a little less than a week ago he'd laid his heart out on a silver platter, for Blaine and Blaine alone.
And Blaine had responded by deciding to make out with one of his female friends.
Gay guys claiming to go through a sexuality crisis was just an easy way for them to avoid commitment. Blaine knew that Kurt was in love with him, and he didn't care. This whole act with Rachel was just his way of trying to distance him from Kurt's feelings. Wrapping his jacket a little tighter around himself again, Kurt sighed. He had tried so hard to tone everything down for Blaine, tried to tone himself down to fit in with the Warblers, tried to not make this a repeat of what had happened with Finn. And yet, Blaine still didn't get it.
He most likely never was going to because he didn't want to. He didn't want Kurt.
Kurt was dialing the number before he could stop himself. It was something he was most likely going to regret in the morning, but he could just add that onto the list that included polishing off half a bottle of generic raspberry vodka and most likely making a fool of himself in front of the entire group of New Directions.
"Hello?" the voice asked, sounded surprisingly subdued.
"Karofsky!" Kurt exclaimed, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as pulled himself to his feet, stumbling only a little bit as he reached back down onto the deck to grab the bottle. "What's up?" There was a long pause, the silence seeming to stretch out. Kurt leaned back against the railing of the deck, bottle loose in his arms as he cradled the phone between his shoulder and his ear.
Closing his eyes, Kurt took a deep breath, because this was surprisingly harder than he thought it was going to be. Here he was, reaching out to the one person who had singlehandedly made him run from McKinley in fear. He was the one who had sworn that Dave Karofsky was a monster of a man who didn't deserve acceptance.
But through all of that, Dave Karofsky was still the only person who had ever shown interest in him. He might've had all the grace of the overgrown kindergartener that he was, pushing Kurt down and figuratively pulling his pigtails at every chance that he had. A little rough around the edges, a lack of charm here and there… but in the end what really mattered was that Dave wanted Kurt. He had put him through all that crap because he wanted him that badly.
It's not exactly the fairytale happy ending Kurt's been searching for, but in this alcohol induced haze, all he really wants is to hear that.
"Hummel?" Dave finally says softly, although the tone in his voice is once again extremely restrained. "What – why in the world are you calling me?" It's at the moment that it clicked with Kurt that he hasn't spoken to Dave since he was expelled, which has the opportunity to turn this conversation awkward very quickly.
But Kurt's too drunk to let something like that bother him.
"Well," he started, dragging the 'L' of the word out a little too long. "I was calling you… to tell you that I'm currently at a party at Rachel Berry's. And…" It hadn't really occurred to him how slurred his words were going to be, but as he started to talk, his words seemed to have no beginning and no end. He didn't even want to think how Dave was hearing this. "And I thought you'd like to know that my heart has efetic – effet – eceffi…"
"Effectively?" Dave offered, something hidden beneath his voice that Kurt couldn't quite understand.
"Yes!" Kurt exclaimed, starting to pace around the deck. "What you said. My heart has been – that word – broken. And I just thought you'd like to know. So. There. That's all I was calling to tell you…"
The silence on the other end is deafening, and in no way what Kurt had been expecting to hear. On one hand, what he had been waiting for ever since Dave had picked up the phone was the screaming and yelling and threatening with bodily harm and death side of Dave Karofsky. On the other hand, what he'd wanted was the caveman-like possessiveness that he'd figured was running through the football players veins – the person that was going to throw Kurt over his shoulder and drag him back their hut, but only after he'd hit Blaine with his club of course…
But this… this silence. It was extremely unnerving.
It was like Dave was actually listening to him.
"Kurt?" Dave asked, metallic creaking in the background threatening to overtake the sound of his deliberately hushed voice. The noise in the background sounded very much like the springs of a mattress, which was then that it hit Kurt that it was almost 2AM and not everyone's out and about and drowning their sorrows in cheap booze. It's almost 2AM, and he just called Dave Karofsky out of the blue, waking him up because he wanted to feel wanted.
Fuck, maybe there is a reason why Blaine doesn't want him.
"Huh?" Kurt muttered, suddenly feeling like he was going to be sick for the first time this evening. Leaning down against the railing and taking a deep breath, propping his head between his elbows, he eventually swallowed down the rising nausea in his stomach. "Oh, uh, yeah. I should – I should get going. Let you. Let you get back to what you were doing. So yeah. Sorry…."
"Wait," Dave said, and strange as it seemed to Kurt, by Dave saying that it seemed to loosen up the sickening hold on his stomach. "Just… just hold on. Don't hang up. Okay?"
It wasn't until Kurt replied back that he became aware that he'd been holding his breath the entire time, biting down on his lip so hard that he'd forgotten to breathe. "Yeah," he said softly.
"How drunk are you, Hummel?" Dave mused quietly, and to Kurt's own surprise, started to laugh.
"Drunk? What would make you say such a thing?" Kurt chuckled, feeling a smile begin to tug at the corners of his own lips. Dave was laughing again, and Kurt still didn't really understand it, but he just went along with it because he was drunk and it was 2AM and he's on the phone with Dave Karofsky. There's really not that much to understand.
It was nice, for just that moment at least. When Kurt could put aside who was actually on the other end of the line and focus on how he was feeling. And even more than that, the fact that the person he was talking to – Dave Karofsky or not – was listening to him like he actually cared how he felt. That's not exactly normal. Kurt understood that wasn't saying a whole lot considering everything else that Dave Karofsky had done, but what he did know was that there weren't exactly people lined up to check see if he was okay after he'd left the party with a bottle of vodka. And if he could only get this one – this crazy, possibly sociopathic one – on the other end, well… he could deal with that.
"Alright, Hummel," Dave started, and how much Kurt was listening was maybe a bit scary. "I'm sorry about what happened tonight. I really am. Whatever happened to upset you and decide that the only way to fix it was to get smashed, though…it's not something you can't get over in time. I mean, hell, you managed to get over…"
The words that were supposed to finish that sentence went unspoken between the both of them, but Kurt already understood. It didn't really make him feel better at that point, but strangely it didn't make him feel horrible either. It just left him hanging. He frowned, taking a deep breath, because Dave was right. "Anyway," Dave continued, his voice sounded a little bit hoarser this time around, "the point I'm trying to make is that you're better than this. And hopefully you'll see this later, after the killer hangover you have tomorrow, of course…
Kurt laughed at that, hearing the smile in Dave's voice. "I bet you'd just love that…"
"Hey, you woke me up. It's the least you could do for me," Dave teased back. "Now go find Hudson and get him to take you home, Hummel."
Nodding to himself, Kurt pushed himself off the wooden railing that was behind him. He felt strangely lighter as compared to before. "Alright, alright," he mumbled, reaching out to grab onto the door that led back into Rachel's house. As his hand wrapped around the handle, he stopped, the smile slipping off of his face. Taking a deep breath, he frowned. "Uh, Karofsky? I mean, uh. Dave?"
"Thanks. For, you know…" Kurt said softly, finally realizing that the lightness he was feeling was actually him feeling better.
"Good night, Hummel."
As the line clicked dead, Kurt dropped his phone into his jacket pocket, pulling the door open. He smiled to himself, because even though this wasn't what he'd been expecting from the start, Dave Karofsky had actually made him feel better. Here Kurt had called him in an attempt to just make himself feel better about the fact that Dave Karofsky was animally possessive about Kurt and wanted to just be reassured of that.
Instead, Dave had actually made Kurt feel…good about himself.
Slowing his walk down as he reached the stairs, it hit Kurt that it was something his friends hadn't even tried to do tonight. Unless they were blind, they all knew his feelings for Blaine. And yet they simply watched it happen, too taken with their own needs to actually try to help Kurt. He didn't know which was worse at this point – Rachel engaging in it, or everyone else just letting it happen without saying anything.
Which meant, strangely, Dave Karofsky had been nicer to him that his own friends tonight. And not that that was so hard to conceive, but that combined with the fact that Karofsky had answered his phone call at 1AM and stayed on the line with him for the better parts of an hour and was weirdly nice to him… it left Kurt feeling off.
Almost like… almost like he'd rather talk to Karofsky again than his own friends.
When Kurt tumbled down onto his bed face first, he fisted his fingers through the comforter as some sort of attempt at relief from the pounding ache that was now heavily settled behind his eyes from the hour long screaming match that had just taken place between him and his father. Burying his face into his pillow, he groaned exasperatedly wondering how it was possible for a conversation with his father about his grades led to his father expressing how he was unhappy with Kurt's turnout at Dalton and that he and Carole were no longer going to pay for his tuition.
All he had wanted was to ask his Dad about some guidance on how to he could stop floundering academically. His dad was always going on about how all through high school, he'd worked around deadlines and assignments and any sort of restriction to make it work until he graduated. He even congratulated Finn on these sorts of conquests. And it wasn't like Kurt was proud of it or anything, because Kurt had always prided himself on his integrity. But with Regionals so quickly approaching, and all the work he has to put in with the Warblers and taking care of Pavoratti, and not to mention that he's desperately trying make up ground with Blaine…
It's just too much for him to focus on all of that and his grades. So any help that his dad could've given him would've been greatly appreciated.
Clearly his father didn't see it the same way. Because as soon as he brought it up, trying to explain it as delicately and sweetly as possible, his dad had practically reeled forward in his chair, throwing around words like 'not taking advantage of a quality education' and 'wasting away thousands of dollars' as well as 'a father always wants more for his son'.
After that, it was just a slippery slope downhill, because as his father began to tell him that if he was just going to try to work his way around his grades, it'd be best for everyone if he went back to McKinley. New Directions missed him, the school was trying to crack down on bullying ever since Kurt had left, and if that didn't work he'd have his friends as a support group. Burt has said that he sympathized with Kurt's need to leave McKinley for a while and gain some perspective. But he explained that it had been months now, and if Kurt wasn't going to take advantage of the excellent education that was sitting right in front of him, he wasn't going to keep paying for it.
So Kurt was going back to McKinley. All because he had opened his mouth.
Flipping onto his back with his head still under his pillow, he couldn't decide what he was more upset at by now – the fact that he was going to have to return to McKinley, or the fact that his dad completely disregarded what he wanted. All he knew at this point was that it didn't matter which one was upsetting him more, because he felt so angry and sad and miserable and just every negative emotion that could possibly be felt.
And it wasn't like he could talk to anyone about this, because if he tried to talk to someone like Mercedes or Artie or even Finn, they'd just be focused on the facts that he was coming back. Kurt still wasn't sure where his relationship with Rachel laid, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to bring something like him leaving Dalton up with Blaine. Because after the party at Rachel's house, Kurt had been treading lightly on the whole 'I desperately need you in my life' card, and if Blaine didn't react, well, poorly to the thought of him no longer being at Dalton, Kurt was pretty sure that'd be the final straw.
So that pretty much left him with no one to talk to, and still feeling like complete and total shit.
Grimacing, Kurt traced the outline of his phone in his pocket, realizing just how horrible of an idea this was. He had sworn to himself each time that he'd thought back to that conversation – which was almost every time he'd let his mind wander since Rachel's party – that it was entirely a fluke thing, and that Dave Karofsky did not have a comforting bone in his body. And now… he wasn't drunk, it wasn't past midnight, he didn't need his ego primped. There was no explicit reason for him to call Karofsky.
Yet now, all he wanted to do was call Dave Karofsky and feel the same way he had that night. Because after that conversation he'd had with Karofsky, Kurt couldn't remember a time when he'd felt better about himself. It was a strange thing to say after hanging up a conversation with his former bully, but beggars really couldn't be choosers. And the way Kurt was feeling lately, he was in no shape to be choosing.
With a groan, he swung his feet forward, pulling himself into a sitting position. This was quickly turning itself into one of the most dysfunctional relationship cycles Kurt had ever witnessed – and he was participating in it. The worst part, though, was that he didn't even care about it. He was so far gone to even contemplate how fucked up this was. At this point, all he wanted was for someone to listen to him and tell him that they understood and just be there for him.
Clearly that was too much for Kurt to ask for, but if the only one who could fill that position was Dave Karofsky, Kurt was okay with that. It was selfish and twisted and against everything that he had ever stood for, but he was perfectly okay with that.
Which was why he chose that exact moment to dial Dave Karofsky's phone number.
Screw his dad, and Blaine, and Rachel, and everyone else who thought that they knew what was best for him. Because at this moment, the only one who knew what was best for Kurt was Kurt himself, and he knows what he wants. What he wants right now is to feel better – no questions asked. And the only one who's capable of doing so is Dave Karofsky.
"Hello?" Dave's voice didn't sound as sleepy or as quiet as it did the last time Kurt had called him, but it still didn't sound like him at all.
"Karofsky. You know it's me," Kurt mumbled, lying back onto his bed, throwing his arm over his face. This was beginning to tip the balance between genius and pathetically insane, and Kurt wasn't really interested in staying around to watch the aftershow.
There was a soft laugh, before he heard, "Hummel. To what do I owe the honors of this call?"
Swallowing thickly, Kurt closed his eyes. Because if just for one second he stopped to realize the magnitude of exactly what was happening – that he was calling Dave and wanting Dave to comfort him, that Dave was actually speaking cordially to him, that this was happening – a pinch would definitely be in order to wake himself from what appeared to be a very vivid dream. But this wasn't a dream, and he knew that. This was real, and as the words just started to spill forth from his mouth, proving once again that he was in fact awake, he couldn't stop himself. He was just digging himself deeper and deeper in.
"My life is officially over. Tomorrow I have to return to the hellhole we all know as McKinley, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to go through with it and make it through even a day because everyone knows I wasn't able to do it months ago, and now I know what great schooling really is and I have to leave it all behind. And this is all my father's fault because he thinks I'm wasting his money on something that I actually enjoy, which clearly is a travesty in my father's eyes, because unless it's associated with mending engines or tackling other men or getting sweaty or whatever. But my dreams? No… no way, there's no choice for me. It's either go to the school that I want and completely give up any singing that I enjoy, or retreat back to the dreary cave of McKinley where I'll be forced by Will Schuester to sing such glorious typecast hits as 'It's Raining Men', or 'Natural Woman'…" Finally stopping to take a breath, it was at that point that Kurt heard the soft laughter on the other end. Sighing dramatically, Kurt rolled over onto his side. "What is it now?"
As his laughter slowly died down, Dave finally spoke up. "I can't help it, Hummel. You're – you're pretty entertaining when you get on one of your little rants. I mean, the other week was definitely interesting, but tonight's even better, and you're not even drunk. You certainly know how to engage a guy in conversation… And I mean that in the most sincere of ways, of course…"
If it had been anyone else, any other moment, Kurt wouldn't have known what to say. But feeling the corners of his lips tug up, he didn't really have a chance to think about that, because the smile felt so natural. "Thanks, I take that in most sincere of ways, of course…"
The silence that settled over them was strangely comfortable, passing without either of them saying a word to one another. It left Kurt feeling unsettlingly familiarized with what was happening – like he'd been in this position all too often and become accustomed to it. It was nice, and at the same time, it was wrong. When Dave finally broke the silence his voice was even and strong, a tone Kurt had only heard him use when he had been making threats against him. "Hummel, I'm going to be completely honest with you, and you're probably not going to like it. I don't really agree with your dad, because you should be able to do what you want to do at whatever expense it costs you. But I'm not going to tell you how much it sucks that you have to come back to McKinley, because… well, I'd be lying…"
At that moment, Kurt froze, his head going still on the pillow beneath. It was strange, but the more Kurt continued to think about it, not completely unexpected. This whole concept of Dave Karofsky not calling him a fairy or somehow managing to throw a slushie at him through the phone, or doing something creepier like attempting to have phone sex – phone rape? – but actually listening was still pretty foreign to Kurt.
"What do you mean?" he whispered, propping himself up on an elbow.
"I don't know. It's stupid. Never mind."
"What did you mean?" Kurt pressed once again, holding the phone between his ear and his shoulder. Never would he have ever used the phrase of 'hard to read' as one for describing Karofsky, especially as he'd once considered Dave to have an IQ equivalent to tree stump.
Karofsky sighed before admitting "Call me a loser, but the school isn't the same without you, Hummel. Without you showing up to homeroom every morning in a corset or a pair of leather pants or whatever new fashion craze you're into… it's gotten a little boring, you know? Can't blame me for saying so, really…"
At first, Kurt wasn't sure if this was some really nasty yet pretty unoriginal prank played by the other jocks to somehow make fun of his clothing choices. But when nothing happened after a few moments, with his voice strangely shaking, Kurt finally spoke up. "Are you – are you saying that you miss me, Karofsky?" The smile that was pulling at the corners of his lips was a giveaway hint of the answer that he was looking for.
The silence on the other end only lasted for a few seconds, but that was enough for Kurt. Dave sighed, a noise of exasperation hanging over his voice. "Don't get all excited about it, Hummel. Let information like that out, and Hudson will never let me see the light of day again. Never mind your curly headed boyfriend…"
Immediately Kurt wanted to jump on that by telling him that Blaine wasn't his boyfriend, but he decided not to, feeling that it really wasn't the place to. Instead, he just chose to savor the moment as it was – where he'd completely forgotten about how badly he wanted to stay at Dalton, how he was angry at his father for treating him so much differently, how he knew that this repetitive cycle of calling and depending on Karofsky was growing out of control… He didn't care about any of that right now. Because when he heard Karofsky tell him that he had missed him, there wasn't much else he could focus on.
At first Kurt couldn't tell what the noise was, wondering if he had just dreamt that the loud buzzing was waking him. But when he rolled over, seeing his phone vibrating harshly against his nightstand and lighting up, he groaned, rubbing and hand over his face and grabbing it. Glancing at the clock, he picked it up, only wondering who in the world would be calling him at 3:27 AM.
"'lo?" he mumbled, sleepily as he switched his bedside lamp on.
"They know. They all know," the voice said darkly, and in that moment, Kurt was almost positive his heart stopped right in his chest.
"Dave?" he whispered, words seemingly caught in his chest as he sat straight up. It hit him at that moment that something wasn't right about this picture. All of the times before, Kurt had called Dave looking for something that he hoped only Dave would be able to provide to him. It never came out the way that he had hope it would, but this time, Dave was calling him. Meaning that Dave had immediately thought about him and wanted to talk to him.
And if he meant what Kurt thought he meant by 'they know', there was nothing that Kurt could do to help him. In fact, Kurt would probably only make it worse for Karofsky. So the only reason why Karofsky could possibly be calling Kurt is that… that he just wanted to talk.
When the thought of that finally crossed his mind, Kurt shut his eyes and inhaled deeply, trying in some way to think of any other possible reason as to why Karofsky might've been calling him at this hour.
"What happened?" he asked softly, breaking the silence.
"I don't know!" Karofsky exploded, and Kurt can finally feel the exterior of calmness that he must've been holding up since this happened beginning to crack. "I don't even know how they found out! All I know is that following our conditioning routine in the gym, I came back to the locker room to find mine plastered with all these pictures of naked men and the entire team staring at me and then Azimio came up to me and told me that they were all waiting for me to jerk one out since they all know the truth!"
Just picturing the scene that Karofsky described made Kurt's heart wrench in his chest. It was hard enough having to deal with being gay in a very narrow-minded high school. But at least Kurt had had his friends behind him to stand beside him (most of the time).
They weren't the ones who had turned on him.
"I don't know how they would've found out. I haven't done anything, I haven't said anything, nothing… the only thing that would've given me away is what happened between us in the locker room months ago, and I haven't said anything to anyone about it."
"Neither have –" Kurt started to protest automatically, but when it finally clicked that he actually had told someone. Really, one person in particular. "Oh, fuck," he muttered, dropping his head into his hand.
"I'm – I never thought – I'm so fucking sorry. I never thought he would've done something like this…" In just these past few moments that Kurt had been on the phone with Karofsky, everything he thought that he'd come to know and understand about himself and his own personal relationships had quickly come crashing down around him. Blaine, who he had originally thought that he could trust with his life had committed probably the biggest betrayal of trust Kurt had ever experienced. Blaine was the one who had told him about the sanctity of being able to come out on one's own terms. And yet Blaine felt that he had the power to take that from Karofsky? Kurt still couldn't understand why he would do such a thing, but Blaine really hadn't taken the whole 'going back to McKinley' plan as well as Kurt had hoped.
Granted, he didn't want to happen either, but for some reason Blaine must've blamed him.
"I – I don't care about that. I just…" It was hard for Kurt to continue listening at that point, because Karofsky sounded so defeated. With each word, his voice just continued to break a little more, and Kurt wondered how much longer he was going to be able to listen to this. "I just want to see you. Please."
This was what Kurt had been afraid of for so long. Even though he'd been back at McKinley for almost two weeks, he hadn't run into Karofsky or any of the other football players recently. Which, in his opinion, was a bit of a blessing in disguise. Because not having to face Karofsky and talk to him in person could just let Kurt push this whole telephone relationship farther back into his mind where he could let it lie in denial. If he had to come face to face with Dave, he wasn't sure what was going to happen, and that scared him. It left him feeling uneasy about his own emotions, and he always needed to be in control of his own emotions.
But the worse thing about it all was that even if he did come face to face with Karofsky, he wasn't sure what was the thing he was most afraid of. Was it just that he wasn't sure how the other boy was going to react? Or what other people were going to think about considering their past history?
Or something bigger?
"No," he said hoarsely, taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm the storm of nerves that had just erupted inside of him. He realized that this wasn't fair in the least bit considering everything that he'd put Dave through over the past month or so, but at this point, this was taking it a bit far… Swallowing thickly, Kurt pinched the bridge of his nose. When he had drunk dialed Karofsky almost a month ago, if he had known that it would've lead to something like this, he never would've done it. He would've just polished off the bottle of vodka and passed out in the backseat of Finn's car.
He can't get pulled down by something like this. He just – just can't.
"I can't…" he said softly, holding his breath so he would stop talking after those two words. If he didn't, there was no telling as to what he might say instead. "I'm – I'm sorry. I just can't. I can't do it…"
On the other end, Kurt heard Dave make a small noise of alarm, but after that the noise just faded all together into the background, turning into a white noise that hummed softly in Kurt's ears. All he could do was mutter 'I'm sorry' again before hanging up the phone, for if he didn't, there was no limit to what he could've said.
To be sitting in the choral room with the entirety of New Directions was something that Kurt hadn't realized that he would've missed so much. But during rehearsal as he was listening to Mercedes tell him about Jacob Ben Israel's new blog post about Coach Sylvester, or listening to Brittany tell Santana about a dream that she'd had where she was in a pack of dolphins, or even watching Mike and Tina making heart-eyes at one another… it was something that he'd definitely forgotten. It was nice to be back in his home.
When he looked up at the white board, all he saw scribbled across it in big letters was Manilow vs. Bolton? Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Kurt wondered where the line between genius and pure unadulterated insanity laid. If one existed, he was pretty sure that that line was the one and only Will Schuester.
"Mr. Schue, sorry I'm late. I'll explain everything later, but I need to grab Puck, Mike and Sam right now. There's a riot pretty much going on the boy's locker room, and I can't control it myself…" Finn was leaning against the door frame, his hair mussed and shirt twisted entirely around his body as he continued to breathe heavily. The look of panic combined with apprehension matched well with his disorderly appearance. Kurt sat forward in his seat, wanting to know more about what exactly was happening.
The truth was, though, that he already knew what was happening, He'd had a sinking feeling about it ever since he'd hung up the phone last night, and tried so hard just to forget about it.
Mr. Schue was nodding, a clear expression of concern on his face as he motioned for the boys to get up and follow Finn out of the room. Once they had ran outside, Kurt felt himself climbing out of his seat, walking out after him, almost like his entire body was moving faster than his head was. He heard his name called, but it wasn't until he had reached the hallway that he even bothered to turn around. At this point, he knew where he needed to be, and there was really nothing that could stop him.
He'd already screwed this up before. He didn't have room to do it again.
Taking the long way to the boys' locker room was a risky choice. On one hand, it gave Kurt assurance that he would probably be able to get in unnoticed in through the back door. On the other hand, with the amount of time it was going to take him to get there, he could already be too late. Silencing the already quickly coming what ifs that were following that thought, he picked up his pace.
It became clearer as he approached the heavy wooden door that he really hadn't thought this through all the way, because he wasn't sure what he was planning to do. In fact, he wasn't even sure what he wanted to do by coming here. The only thing he understood was that Dave needed someone right at this moment – the way Kurt had needed someone those times he'd called him - and Kurt had failed him last night.
He needed to make this right, at whatever cost it took.
When he pushed the door open, the room was thankfully quiet. Kurt made a mental note to himself to thank Finn for always needing to get involved because this was a time that it actually worked in Kurt's benefit. As he continued to step inside, his shoes echoing off the tiles the only thing he was able to hear, he started to worry that maybe he was too late. Maybe Dave was gone.
Which he should be thankful for… right? That Dave had managed to escape the riot of his football team peers unscathed, that he'd now be able to work on repairing what as left of his trampled social status, that Kurt could continue to pretend that he hadn't been affected by what had gone on between the two of them months ago…
That (hopefully) things would be able to return back to normal between Kurt and he – both of them blissfully ignoring one another. Clearly that would be the best thing right now. For both of them. To move on from this time of misunderstandings and misjudgments and… and just a dark time.
But when Kurt continued to step further into the dimly lit room, each click of his steps against the tile seemed to remind him a little bit more every time that Dave wasn't here.
Kurt had come to find him. And he wasn't here.
Kurt had come to see him. And he wasn't here.
Leaning against the edge of the row of lockers, Kurt closed his eyes, drawing a deep breath in. This was stupid. He shouldn't be feeling like this – he can't be feeling like this. It's not even possible to be upset right now, because he'd be upset over something that he didn't even have in the first place, which is the most idiotic thing ever. Laughing softly under his breath, Kurt leaned back, resting his head for just a second as he realized that for a moment he had actually thought that.
There was nothing. And there was never going to be anything. And for thinking that there might've been, Kurt wasn't sure if he should be angry with himself – or feel extremely pathetic. The truth though, no matter how bad it was, was that Kurt had to admit it to himself. When Kurt had drunk dialed Dave the night of Rachel's party, that was all it was supposed to be - a drunk and meaningless phone call to the one person who had wanted him. In the morning, he was supposed to move on and forget about it all...
Maybe. Kind of.
The smile quickly disappeared from his face, because no matter how good of a liar Kurt was, there was only one person that he couldn't lie to, and that was himself. No matter how many times he was trying to tell himself that he was completely okay with Karofsky not being here to see him or not being here to let Kurt be there for him – he knew he was lying to himself.
Kurt had wanted to see him. And he wasn't here.
Kurt let out a low noise of desperation, rolling his head to the side. It hadn't been the easiest thing to come to terms with his feelings for Blaine, and yet with his feelings for Dave, he'd been completely blindsided.
But that didn't even matter at this point. Because Kurt had lost it all.
"Hummel?" The voice came out low and quiet, just barely making enough noise to ring out over the sound of Kurt's racing thoughts. Slowly, Kurt tipped his head to the side, wondering if this was actually real life, or if he was just imagining it all. Because at this point, the way he'd fallen so far down, he wouldn't be surprised if this was just a figment of some twisted dream.
And yet, Dave was standing there, freshly showered and just in a pair of jeans, his head cocked to the side in sheer curiosity. From where he was standing, Kurt was able to see the fresh purple bruise littering over his shoulders and chest, as well as the all-too dark circle ringing his left eye. Lifelessly, Kurt pulled himself off the lockers, standing face to face with Karofsky – something that he hadn't done in months.
Since they were last in the locker room together.
It was too much for Kurt. Too much, too fast. One minute he's finally realizing his feelings, and the next he's standing inches away from shirtless, freshly showered Dave Karofsky?
"I just… I just… I couldn't. I couldn't do it yesterday…" he whispered softly, tucking his head down onto his chest. "These past weeks, you've been there for me no questions asked, and when it's finally the other way around, I drop the ball? Just because I can't figure out what I want… It's not fair to either of us."
When Kurt had called Dave a month ago, this was never the ending he'd expected. He had been drunk, and thought that during the course of their phone call, Dave would just come on to him or possibly even allude to the fact that he wanted to have phone sex or whatever. Even the second time around, he'd never thought of this. He'd just wanted someone to talk to him.
And yet, Karofsky – the same Karofsky who had spent the beginning of this year shoving him into lockers and threatening to kill him – was currently wrapping his arms around Kurt, pulling him against his bare, warm chest. Instinctively, Kurt wanted to pull away because everything in his head was telling him to.
But he didn't. Because even though his head was screaming at him to, he couldn't do it – he didn't want to do it.
So that afternoon, no matter how many times Kurt told himself that he shouldn't be here in the locker room, locker tight in an embrace with one Dave Karofsky, he realized it really didn't matter what he told himself. Because what he told himself often wasn't what he wanted. What he wanted right now – it was everything he was trying to deny himself.
And he couldn't do it to himself anymore. Which was why that afternoon in the locker room, it was Kurt who initiated the kiss.
And this time, no one pulled away.