Disclaimer: I don't own Glee.
Note: So the idea for this one came while watching Dream On today (season one, episode nineteen). It came in a brilliant flash of inspiration that probably won't be as brilliant written down, but in my mind, it's awesome. Know what I mean? Also, the ending is a bit open-ended. Anyway, please review this.
Kurt Hummel was strolling the halls of McKinley High in his Cheerios uniform. It felt good to be part of the "In Crowd" for once in his life. He was suddenly much more popular, even if he was just a vocalist for the Cheerios. Of course, it didn't help much that the football guys harassed him even more than ever because he was a cheerleader now. Still, Kurt was happy as long as he belonged. He didn't love the Cheerios as much as he loved New Directions, but still, it was something for him to do, and he could hang out with girls without being called a faggot, like he had been called nearly every day at school since he came out, and even before that.
He strode down the hall where the choir room was. The choir room was his safe haven. It always had been. In there, he wasn't judged. He wasn't seen for something that he wasn't. He was allowed to be himself, and wasn't mocked for it. As he neared it, he saw a familiar figure running out. As he moved closer, Kurt could see that it was Tina Cohen-Chang. Tears were streaming down her face as she exited the choir room, clearly shaken by something that had just happened.
"Tina, what happened?" Kurt called out to her. She didn't answer him. She just ran past, crying harder, mascara running down her cheeks. He peered in the choir room, curious. What he saw there startled him. Artie was lying on the floor, facedown, his chair somewhat near him.
"Oh my God," Kurt ran up to him and knelt down. "Artie, what happened?"
"Go away," Artie muttered. "Just leave me here."
"Like hell I will," Kurt said.
"Please, Kurt…just go…"
"No," Kurt lay down next to Artie so that they were face to face. "Tell me why you're lying on the floor and why Tina ran out of here crying."
Artie just blinked at him and groaned. "Face hurts. Arm hurts. Heart hurts."
"Well, let me get you up," Kurt stood.
"Leave me alone to die," Artie moaned.
"Up you go," Kurt managed to get Artie into more of a sitting position and hoisted him up in his arms, bridal style.
"Kurt, what are you…?" Artie breathed.
"Putting you back in your chair so you'll stop being a Negative Nancy," Kurt gently put Artie down.
"Oh. Well. Um, thanks, Kurt."
"Anytime. So do you want to tell me why you were laying there? I have a pretty good feeling you didn't get out of the chair yourself." Kurt dragged one of the chairs in the room over, sitting down across from the bespectacled boy.
"Not entirely," Artie said. "See those forearm crutches over there?" Kurt nodded. "I kind of borrowed them from someone. I wanted to see if I could stand, if I could use my arms to get me around the room a little bit. I wanted to dance with Tina," he said slowly. "But obviously that wasn't happening. She tried to get me to take a few steps…and I was…but then I fell. I yelled at her, and she ran. She tried to help but I guess I kind of pushed her away. God, I'm so stupid."
"Stupid for wanting to walk again? I don't think so," Kurt said.
"You know how Bryan Ryan made us write down our dreams?" Artie asked.
"Of course. He crumpled yours up and threw it away, didn't he?"
"Yeah," Artie said softly. "You know what mine was?"
"Rocket scientist?" Kurt tried.
"Dancer," Artie confided in him. "But it's a stupid dream, and one that'll never come true."
"It's not stupid," Kurt shook his head.
"Yes it is," Artie said. "I'll never dance again, or even walk. Why dream about something that will never happen? I should just stick to dreams that I can actually make come true." There was an awkward pause. "So what was it? Your dream, that is."
"Oh, it's silly," Kurt said lightly.
"Hey, I just told you mine. It's only fair that you tell me yours."
"Mine's not happening either, Artie. What's the point?"
"Kurt, I don't believe that. You can do anything."
"Except bring my mother back," Kurt whispered, tears forming in his eyes. "That was my dream, Artie. To see my mother again."
"That's not stupid, Kurt. It's perfectly natural to want to see her again."
"It's been eight years," Kurt brushed the tears away. He didn't want Artie to see him cry. "And I still miss her like hell."
"Do you remember that day?" Artie asked, looking at Kurt, his heart skipping a beat.
"Of course I do," Kurt said, indignant.
"I remember looking over at you, in the car," Artie said quietly. "You looked terrified. Our mothers were screaming. You just looked at me, and said my name. Then everything after that is a blur. I don't remember anything else until the hospital a couple days later."
"I said your name?" Kurt looked confused. "I don't remember that."
"Well, I remember it," Artie laughed. "Do you think it was fair?"
"Do I think what's fair? That I and your mother walked away fine while you ended up in the chair and my mother ended up six feet under?"
Artie winced. "Well, when you put it that way…"
"I wonder why I said your name right before the impact," Kurt cut him off.
Artie turned red and shrugged. "How should I know?"
"We were best friends. That's the only reason I…oh, God," Kurt turned pale.
"What? What is it?"
"I think I know why," Kurt said, suddenly remembering everything about his childhood that he'd been repressing for so long. "You were my first crush."
Artie looked surprised. "Really? I was?"
"Yeah," Kurt nodded. "I remember everything now. I had such a crush on you when we were kids. That's when I knew I was gay."
"Well, um," Artie didn't know what to say. "Well, um."
"Oh, God, I'm sorry. This is so awkward."
"No, it's okay, Kurt. Thanks for telling me. I always wondered that. Guess I know now."
Artie sighed and wheeled over to get his book bag. "Well, thanks again for helping me up, Kurt."
"Wait," Kurt said, stopping him. "There is…one thing I always wanted to do when we were kids. I, um, never got the chance to…after the accident, my dad didn't talk to your family much. You know, too painful and all. So I never got to…"
"To what?" Artie asked cautiously.
"Kiss you," Kurt blushed furiously.
"Oh. Well. Um, I guess you can kiss me now, if you want to." Artie looked down at his feet, fumbling with his hands, not meeting Kurt's eyes.
"But Artie…it wouldn't be fair…Tina…"
"Doesn't have to know," Artie shrugged.
"You're straight…I couldn't…."
"Eh, I don't mind," Artie said. "Besides, we were best friends. And now we're in Glee together. So why not? You only live once."
Kurt's heart was pounding in his chest. Finally, he was about to make one of his childhood dreams come true! He knelt down so that he was eye-level with Artie.
"No," Artie said. "We're going to do this right. Sit on my lap." Kurt's eyes widened. "It won't hurt me," Artie reassured him.
Kurt tentatively sat on Artie's knees. "Like this?"
"Closer," Artie drew Kurt in to him. "Like that."
Kurt was certain that Artie could hear the way that his heart was pounding. He was about to get his first real kiss. He wrapped his shaking arms around Artie's neck. Slowly, slowly, he leaned in, drawing his eyes shut. After what seemed like forever, their lips made contact. God, Kurt thought. This is what I've been missing for eight years. Artie's lips were just so warm, so inviting, and Kurt couldn't help but to get lost in them. Eventually he had to remind himself that Artie was in fact straight, and that he should stop. As much as it pained him, he forced himself to pull away.
"Worth waiting eight years for?" Artie said softly.
"Uh-huh," Kurt nodded, blushing with a new fierceness.
"I just have one thing to say to you," Artie whispered.
"And what is that?" Kurt managed to say.